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Time to retire Japan’s aging nuclear reactor at Genkai 

Decision looms on aging nuclear reactor at Genkai The operator of a nuclear power plant in western Japan says it plans to decide early this year whether to scrap one of the plant’s reactors, or extend its life.

On Thursday, Kyushu Electric Power Company President Kazuhiro Ikebe revealed the plan during a meeting with the governor of Saga Prefecture that hosts the Genkai plant.

Ikebe said his firm is looking into technical aspects of the plan, including whether the aging reactor could meet the stricter regulations introduced after the March 2011 nuclear accident.

The No.2 reactor at Genkai will turn 40 years old in March 2021. It has been offline since January 2011.

Post-disaster guidelines limit the operation of reactors to 40 years in principle, but allow extensions of up to 20 years with approval of the nuclear regulation authority.

Governor Yoshinori Yamaguchi told Ikebe that he hopes society will reduce its dependence on nuclear energy and eventually be nuclear-free.

Yamaguchi said the utility must understand that the decision it takes will come under public scrutiny.

Kyushu Electric put Genkai’s No.3 and No.4 reactors back online last year, but decided to decommission the No.1 reactor.

If the utility wants to extend the operation of the No.2 reactor, it must file an application with the government by March next year and take additional safety measures.

January 21, 2019 Posted by | decommission reactor, Japan | Leave a comment

Russia’s plans for nuclear-powered unmanned underwater weapons

UUVs to be Equipped with Nuclear Capabilities, Jan 20, 2019  Russia has been making efforts to advance a nuclear-powered unmanned underwater vehicle program. The Russian Navy plans to place more than 30 Poseidon strategic nuclear-capable unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) on combat duty.
“Two Poseidon-carrying submarines are expected to enter service with the Northern Fleet and the other two will join the Pacific Fleet. Each of the submarines will carry a maximum of eight drones and, therefore, the total number of Poseidons on combat duty may reach 32 vehicles,” tass.comreported.
The special-purpose nuclear-powered submarine Khabarovsk currently being built will become one of the organic carriers of the Poseidon nuclear-capable underwater drone, according to Also, special-purpose submarines and Project 949A nuclear-powered underwater cruisers operational in the Russian Navy may be used as the carriers “after their appropriate upgrade”.
In March 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin mentioned for the first time the country’s efforts to develop a nuclear-powered unmanned underwater vehicle that can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads and is capable of destroying enemy infrastructural facilities, aircraft carrier groups and other targets.
Doubts about the program were raised in “ “The UUV is being designed a weapon of last resort to strengthen Russia’s nuclear deterrence posture vis-à-vis the United States and NATO. Torpedoes equipped with a nuclear propulsion system and fitted with a nuclear warhead for use over long distances were first conceived in the Soviet Union back in the 1950s but were considered impractical and unreliable at the time. There are still questions whether Russia will be capable of building a reliable miniaturized nuclear reactor for the UUV [next to other technical challenges].”
Sea trials of the Poseidon commenced in December 2018. The ongoing tests are part of experimental design work rather than full-fledged sea trials, according to a Russian defense industry source.

January 21, 2019 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The nuclear lobby has “zero chance” of nuclear getting into a Green New Deal in USA

Nuclear’s Bleak Odds in a Green New Deal
Ocasio-Cortez won’t rule out inclusion of nuclear, but some see sector as incompatible with ‘100% renewable’ focus 
Morning Consult , January 14, 2019  Lawmakers embracing a transition to 100 percent renewable energy under a Green New Deal have largely left out mention of whether nuclear energy should be included in such a policy package. While Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the Green New Deal’s biggest proponents, said she hasn’t ruled out nuclear energy from the platform, other advocates on the left hold long-running concerns that appear to lessen nuclear’s chances of inclusion in the deal.

Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) is one of over 40 lawmakers who have issued their support for Green New Deal concepts championed by the freshman Democratic representative from New York, who has floated a draft resolution that calls on lawmakers to work toward supplying 100 percent of U.S. power demand from renewables, building a national smart grid and putting money toward a drawdown of greenhouse gases.

“I think on nuclear energy, we all have a general resistance to it,” Pingree said, because of the unsolved quandary of how to deal with nuclear waste, along with remaining environmental and safety issues. “We all think of Japan.”……..

The Sunrise Movement, an environmental group formed in 2017 that has taken up the Green New Deal cause and staged climate protests last year outside the office of now-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is still “working on a policy outline for what a Green New Deal includes and are consulting with experts and other organizations to develop that,” said Stephen O’Hanlon, who handles communications for the group, in an email. That plan will be ready soon, he said.

If the rest of the environmental community is any indication, nuclear’s outlook in a Green New Deal is even grimmer. The Green Party of the United States’ Green New Deal calls for a full phaseout of U.S. nuclear power. And on Thursday, hundreds of environmental groups wrote an open letter in support of a Green New Deal that supports transitioning completely away from nuclear, along with biomass resources and large-scale hydropower.

Mike McKenna, a Republican strategist who worked on President Donald Trump’s Energy Department transition team, said there is “zero chance” of nuclear getting into a Green New Deal…….

January 21, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

History of Israel’s Secret Nuclear Reactor

The papers, which include notes, memorandums, drafts and summaries by senior Israeli officials of the time, including Israel Galili, an adviser to prime ministers Levi Eshkol and Golda Meir, Eshkol himself, cabinet member Yigal Allon and IDF commander Moshe Dayan, defence chief-turned prime minister Shimon Peres, and senior diplomat Abba Eban, helped Raz piece together important details about the clandestine project.

Moral Qualms and Cost Concerns

The papers revealed that Galili had several concerns about the nuclear endeavour, known as “the enterprise,” including its potential to undermine Israel’s “moral status,” or cause then-Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser to attack Israel to try to take out a “justified target.” Finally, he feared that the program could incite Cairo to start work on its own nuclear program.

The documents also indicated that the cost of the Dimona reactor, estimated at about $53 million by Peres in April 1962, was revised upwards by Alon to “three times” the $60 million discussed by the cabinet in 1964. An undated note, presumably written sometime between 1963 and 1966, indicated that the real cost may have been as much as $340 million (about $2.75 billion in present day dollars, accounting for inflation).

“If it were known in advance that it would cost $340 million – would we have voted for Dimona?” the note, written by Eban to Galili, reads.

Meir Proposes Switching From Defense to Offense

The documents showed that after Eshkol succeeded David Ben-Gurion as prime minister in 1963, the new PM’s foreign minister, Golda Meir, proposed admitting the existence of the program in a bid to get support from America’s Jews.

“Our situation will be stronger when the struggle becomes public,” she insisted, adding the need to “switch to offence instead of defence.”

Interestingly, the papers reportedly show that Israeli leaders had to resist pressures to place the project under international supervision, not only from Charles de Gaulle of France, but even from the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations, who urged Israel to sign on to the non-Proliferation Treaty, which was being developed at the time. In one memo, Peres reportedly told Galili that “in order to overcome the supervision [that the US wanted], cooperation by both sides is needed.”

Nuclear Status Undefined

One particularly important note, again by Galili, seems to indicate that even several years into the reactor’s construction, Tel Aviv did not commit to building actual nuclear bombs. “There is no decision by the government of Israel to manufacture atomic weapons,” the note says.

In another bombshell document cited by Raz, Yigal Allon refers to a phraseology agreed between himself and Nixon Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, whereby a nuclear state is defined as “a state that has exploded a bomb or a device.” This definition allowed the US not to classify Israel as a nuclear state subject to the NPT.

“I am constantly using a phrase agreed with Kissinger — that Israel is not a nuclear state,” Allon wrote in one of the papers.

Nuclear Option in 1973

Finally, without providing any direct quotations from the documents, Raz noted that the subject of the possible use of nuclear weapons during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, in which Israel came dangerously close to defeat at the hands of Egypt and Syria, was also discussed in the papers. In brief, Raz confirmed that Defence Minister Dayan had arrived at defence headquarters in Tel Aviv on the afternoon of 8 October 1973 to recommend preparations to activate the nuclear option.

On October 9, Meir told Israeli Atomic Energy Commission Chief Shalhevet Freier that preparations would not be made without her explicit authorisation. Israel Lior, Meir’s military secretary, similarly indicated to Dayan and Freier that the nuclear option was a no-go.

Citing censorship, Raz indicated that the information he provided addresses “only a small portion of the subject that came up in the notes,” and urged Israeli authorities to allow for a more open discussion of the country’s nuclear program.


January 21, 2019 Posted by | history, Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Locals to go to court against public hearing for jetty near nuclear plant  Alok Deshpande, MUMBAI, JANUARY 21, 2019 As the district administration went ahead with the public hearing for building a jetty next to the proposed 9,900 MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant (JNPP) despite instructions against it from the State Environment minister and adverse reports from research institutes, locals have decided to approach the court and the Centre.

I Log Ports Private Limited has proposed developing a jetty at Nate village in Rajapur taluka of Ratnagiri, next to the site selected for the JNPP. The Hindu on Saturday reported that the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) in its letter to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board pointed out that proposed jetty violates conditions stipulated in the clearance for the JNPP. Senior Shiv Sena leader and Environment minister Ramdas Kadam also wrote a letter to Ratnagiri collector Sunil Chavan to not conduct the public hearing on Saturday.

On Saturday, the hearing was conducted amid opposition from locals. District authorities said, they were asked to register their objections but no one came forward.

Satyajit Chavan, convener, Konkan Vinashkari Prakalp Virodhi Samiti, said the public hearing was illegal and unconstitutional. “The hearing shouldn’t have been held as there are legitimate questions against the environment impact assessment report. This project is against the very principle of clearance given to nuclear plant and the minister himself had ordered not to hold the hearing,” he said. There was no question of submitting objection in an illegally-held public hearing. “It was done at the behest of a private company and is unjustified for locals.”

In his letter, BNHS director Deepak Apte said that the proposed captive jetty is against the very principle of the JNPP clearance. The letter also said that Terms of Reference have not been fulfilled and so the project warrants out right rejection, making the public hearing untenable.

January 21, 2019 Posted by | India, Legal | Leave a comment

Hiroaki Nakanishi, chairman of the Japan Business Federation gave a gloomy view of nuclear power’s future

Hitachi chief’s remarks on nuclear industry spark debate, Japan Times, BY PHILIP BRASOR , 20 Jan 19, On Jan. 1, Hiroaki Nakanishi, chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren), held press interviews on the outlook of the business community and, at one point, the discussion turned to nuclear energy.

Nakanishi is also the chairman of Hitachi Ltd., a major supplier of nuclear technology, and he said that the commercial possibilities for nuclear energy in Japan, for both “clients,” meaning power companies, and “vendors,” meaning plant manufacturers such as Hitachi, were increasingly limited. If clients can’t make a profit, then neither can vendors, and that will continue to be the case as long as the public is opposed to nuclear energy. The industry can’t force nuclear power on the citizens of a democracy.

Major media were presumably represented at the interviews, but only one outlet, All-Nippon News Network (ANN), reported Nakanishi’s nuclear-related comments. Jan. 1 was a newspaper holiday, which means that no newspapers were published on Jan. 2, but there was still no other mention of his remarks on Jan. 3. On Jan. 5, journalist Hajime Takano commented on this lack of interest to former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama on the latter’s web channel for his East Asian Community Institute. The head of Hitachi, a key company in nuclear technology, had said that the business of nuclear energy is impossible without public support. Since nuclear energy is national policy, the ramifications are huge, Takano said, and yet no other major media had covered the remarks or ANN’s report. Were they afraid of upsetting the government?

As Takano pointed out, the Tokyo Shimbun, which as a regional newspaper doesn’t qualify as “major media” and tends to question the government’s nuclear policy, did mention Nakanishi’s remarks on its front page on Jan. 5, suggesting that the Hitachi chairman was no longer aligned with the administration on nuclear energy. Almost eight years after the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, no nuclear plants in eastern Japan have resumed operation and, without an economic rationale for nuclear power, the policy is pointless.

But the Tokyo Shimbun also reported that Nakanishi said Japan does not have the right environment for renewable energy. This qualification seemed to imply that nuclear power was still preferable, but only if the public could be persuaded to accept it. So while part of Nakanishi’s remarks might give the impression that Japan’s nuclear power industry is throwing in the towel, they need to be contextualized within the larger picture of Hitachi’s business.

……… Ever since Japanese nuclear plant expansion ground to a halt after the Fukushima disaster, the government has promoted overseas nuclear development as a growth strategy, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as the lead international salesman. However, proposed projects in Vietnam, Taiwan and other places have stalled one after another. The collapse of the British project, which was formally announced Thursday, may be the final nail in the coffin.

In that light, Nakanishi’s new year remarks sound fatalistic, but pundits hear something different. Nikkan Gendai interviewed former trade ministry official Shigeaki Koga, who pointed out that Japan’s nuclear energy players are dependent on the government. Without support, there was no way private power companies or vendors could have made money on nuclear energy. They essentially stuck with it because it was national policy. Nakanishi’s remarks, Koga said, were really veiled threats directed at the government: If you don’t help us financially and legally, then we will have no choice but to get out of the nuclear business. If you want us to continue, he added, it’s your job to convince the public that nuclear energy is worth it……….

January 21, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment