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Investors in Northrop, Boeing, etc rejoice! USA to spend $500 billion on nuclear weapons

Across this nuclear triad, the takeaway for investors is, there’s a lot of money on the table up for grabs………Definitely going to be a bullish sign for these defense contractors going forward.   

The $500 Billion Push to Modernize the Nuclear Triad, Cold War-era technology is due for replacement, but the cost is out of this world., Motley Fool Staff, (the_motley_fool), Feb 5, 2019 .

On this segment of Industry Focus: Energy, The Motley Fool’s Nick Sciple and Fool.com contributor Lou Whiteman discuss a Congressional Budget Office report that estimates the U.S. needs to invest nearly $500 billion to modernize its nuclear weapon systems. That includes new submarines, bombers, and rockets, as well as the systems that support them.

A full transcript follows the video…..

Lou Whiteman “……..The CBO just updated a study on the triad. They determined almost $500 billion, $494 billion, needs to be spent in the next 10 years on nuclear triad modernization. That’s up considerably, 20% or more, from their 2017 estimate. Part of that is, we have a road map for some of this spending. Part of it is, now, we’re getting into the years where hopefully, those investments will be made. So, some of that increase was expected. But it’s a massive amount, half $1 trillion is going to go into new bombers, new subs, new rockets, new warheads to put on them, plus all the support. It’s a huge area. The details, some of them have to be worked out, but it’s almost guaranteed revenue for some of these companies, the lucky winners of these, because it’s a huge priority for the United States…….

Sciple: Let’s talk about some of these items. Northrop Grumman is developing a new bomber, the B-21. The number that I saw is, between now and 2028, the Pentagon is expected to spend $49 billion on that program. Can you talk about the significance of that aircraft for Northrop Grumman, as well as for our defense arsenal as a country?

Whiteman: That’s the keystone project for Northrop Grumman. They won that bomber. It’s been a slow road……. This is a huge expense. They’re doing their best to modernize it. It’s replacing an aircraft that isn’t that old…….

Whiteman: Naval is a big part of the bull story on General Dynamics ……….

Whiteman: ………The Minuteman is our go-to rocket. It needs to be replaced. That’s the only part of this triad that we don’t know who the eventual winner is. It’s going to be a big deal for either Northrop or Boeing.

………Sciple: Across this nuclear triad, the takeaway for investors is, there’s a lot of money on the table up for grabs………Definitely going to be a bullish sign for these defense contractors going forward.

Whiteman: Exactly right. You can maybe wonder about individual quarters and exact timing, but over the long haul, if you’re a long-term investor, this is pretty close to guaranteed, that these programs are going to be invested in, and this is revenue that’s going to be coming in.   https://www.fool.com/investing/2019/02/05/the-500-billion-push-to-modernize-the-nuclear-tria.aspx

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February 7, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Central American immigration driven by climate change, but this fact is being ignored

Climate change is the overlooked driver of Central American migration, https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-02-06/climate-change-overlooked-driver-central-american-migration, Living on Earth. February 06, 2019 Adam Wernick As people from Guatemala and Honduras continue to seek sanctuary in the US for a variety of reasons, including violence and poverty, another factor driving their migration has gotten much less attention: climate disruption.Many members of the migrant “caravans” that made headlines during the 2018 US midterm elections are fleeing a massive drought that has lasted for five years.

The drought has hit harder in some places than in others, says John Sutter, senior investigative reporter for CNN, who went to rural Honduras to report on climate change and immigration. In the area of Central America known as the “dry corridor,” for example, drought is not uncommon. But, Sutter says, some of the climate scientists he spoke with say they are seeing unprecedented effects.

“In particular, spring rains, which are incredibly important for corn crops — a staple in this region — just haven’t been coming,” Sutter reports. “They’re almost completely missing when you look at the average rainfall by the month. It’s partly that rains have decreased; it’s partly that they’ve shifted and are no longer falling in the seasons when they have been so useful to farmers in the past. But it’s been very troubling and created a lot of hardship.”

Many people who live in the dry corridor of Central America are subsistence farmers, completely reliant on what they grow for their survival. Unlike in the US and parts of Europe, there is no crop insurance or other programs to tide farmers over in bad years. Often, there are no irrigation systems, either. So, if the rains don’t fall, crops simply don’t grow.

“If you have one bad year and the rains don’t fall, that creates a certain stress,” Sutter says. “If you have year after year after year — and, at this point, essentially five years of very bad drought conditions — then that’s when conditions can lead to hunger and starvation.”

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization says 2 million people in the region are at risk for hunger, Sutter points out.

“I think that’s [something] people underestimate about the caravan, or any migration story, really, when you hear about it: It has to be really bad for you to want to flee a problem,” Sutter says. “There’s an incredible attachment to a sense of home and place, especially among people who are farmers, who are attached to the land. It’s a big deal to think about leaving. That gives you a hint at how intense the situation is for many farmers.”

While President Donald Trump claims that caravans of migrants heading from Central America to the US are an “invasion” of “gang members and very bad people,” his own commissioner of the US Customs and Border Protection says that crop failure is one of the main drivers of migration.

“Migration stories are always complex,” Sutter says. “It’s not untrue that violence is driving people out; it’s not untrue that poverty is driving people out. But it is also true that climate change and severe drought are causing people to move from Central America, and from other [regions]. And I think that we have to look at that in a clear-eyed way and think about what that means.”

He adds: “I wish the administration, or really anyone in Washington, would talk about this issue of migration in terms of climate change, because the projections for how many climate migrants or climate refugees there will be in the world are uncertain, and we’re not preparing for that.”

If anything, Sutter says, the United States and some European countries are doing the opposite. They are putting up walls and barriers and trying to slow the movement of people — fully knowing that climate change is going to push people out their homes.

The United States has done more than any other country to cause global warming, while many of the people suffering from the worst effects of this warming have done little, if anything, to cause it, Sutter points out.

“I think it’s a really important moral question we need to ask ourselves: We’re causing this hardship in parts of the world many of us may never travel through or see, but it’s real and it’s causing repercussions, one of which is that people are on the move to try to make ends meet, to try to make a livelihood,” Sutter says. “It doesn’t invalidate the other stories that we’ve heard about the caravan, but it certainly complicates them.”

Many climate experts believe the big, industrialized countries — the US, Europe, China — owe it to these people to tell this part of the story to the world.

This article is based on an interview that aired on PRI’s Living on Earth with Steve Curwood.

February 7, 2019 Posted by | climate change, politics international | 2 Comments

Yes, the Green New Deal is expensive,but nothing to compare with the nuclear boondoggle

SOUTH CAROLINA SPENT $9 BILLION TO DIG A HOLE IN THE GROUND AND THEN FILL IT BACK IN, The Intercept, Akela Lacy  February 6 2019 

THE OBJECTION RAISED most frequently when it comes to a Green New Deal is its cost. It’s preposterous; it’s too expensive; we just can’t afford it.

But before scoffing at the prospect of the wealthiest nation in the history of the world funding such a project, it’s worth taking a look at what one of the country’s poorest states was recently able to spend.

South Carolina, in a bid to expand its generation of nuclear power in recent years, dropped $9 billion on a single project — and has nothing to show for it.

The boondoggle, which was covered widely in the Palmetto State press but got little attention nationally, sheds light on just how much money is genuinely available for an industrial-level energy transformation, if only the political will were there.

There are no firm figures tied to a Green New Deal, but former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s proposed version of the project would have cost between $700 billion and $1 trillion. The new plan, being crafted with the help of progressive groups like the Sunrise Movement and pushed to the top of the House legislative agenda by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives, promises more substantial change on a much shorter schedule. In addition to moving the U.S. to 100 percent renewable energy in 10 years, upgrading all residential and industrial buildings for energy efficiency, and eliminating greenhouse gases from manufacturing and agriculture, it includes a jobs guarantee and a recognition of the rights of tribal nations. Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey are planning to introduce legislation for the plan this week, Axios reported.

In South Carolina, lawmakers greenlighted a multibillion-dollar energy project and stuck utility customers with the tab. “In the private sector,” former Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Gregory Jaczko told The Intercept, “you would never be able to justify this.”

The saga, and related nuclear project failures, calls into question the role of new nuclear energy production in the effort to decarbonize the economy. New plants, Jaczko said, take too long to build for the urgency of the climate crisis and simply aren’t cost effective, given advances in renewable energy. “I don’t see nuclear as a solution to climate change,” Jaczko said. “It’s too expensive, and would take too long if it could even be deployed. There are cheaper, better alternatives. And even better alternatives that are getting cheaper, faster.”

The Nuclear Boondoggle

It started in 2008. SCE&G and Santee Cooper announced plans to add two nuclear reactors to the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville, South Carolina, ……….

Left With the Tab

Thanks to a state law passed in 2007, residents in South Carolina are footing the bill for a massive failed nuclear reactor program that cost a total of $9 billion. Analysts say that corporate mismanagement and poor oversight means residents and their families will be paying for that failed energy program —  which never produced a watt of energy — for the next 20 years or more.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has since called parts of the law, the Base Load Review Act, “constitutionally suspect,” and state senators have voted to overturn it —  but that wouldn’t necessarily get ratepayers off the hook for paying for the failed project.

Both the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commissionopened separate investigations into the failed project, and at least 19 lawsuits have been filed against one company involved.

The two South Carolina companies, South Carolina Electric & Gas and Santee Cooper, a state-owned utility, spent $9 billion on a plan to build two nuclear reactors and eventually canceled it due to a series of cost miscalculations and corporate buyouts that left one construction company bankrupt and sent shockwaves all the way to Japanese tech giant Toshiba.

……….because nuclear power involves heavier upfront capital costs and financing charges, Jaczko explained, states looking to revive nuclear power tried to bypass those extra costs by passing laws allowing companies to save money by recovering the cost of financing the projects during the period of construction.

“Even the law that was written in South Carolina envisioned the fact that the project could get canceled. But of course everybody promised that that wouldn’t happen,” Jaczko said……..

For conservatives and corporate-friendly Democrats, the idea of spending absurd amounts of money on a comprehensive national plan to wean the economy off dirty energy and create sustainable jobs is out of the question. It’s an idea much easier to swallow when its stated purpose is corporate profit, as in South Carolina. Or at the federal level, national defense. President Donald Trump signed into law last summer a $717 billion defense bill, up from $600 billion in 2016, and around $300 billionin 2000. In December the president tweeted that U.S. military spending was “Crazy!”

For scale, the national deficit for fiscal year 2019 is just shy of $1 trillion. Of the $4.4 trillion federal budget, military spending across agencies makes up close to $800 billion. The federal government spent about $1.1 trillion on health care in 2018. The latest government shutdown cost the U.S. an estimated $11 billion, the Congressional Budget Office reported. Trump requested $5.7 billion for a border wall, and Republicans in the House found it.

But $9 billion and zero nuclear reactors later, ratepayers in South Carolina have no say after their legislators played with the state’s resources and lost. If one state can throw away $9 billion on a project that never happened, legislators in Washington will have a difficult time claiming that they can’t find federal dollars to finance a plan that 81 percent of registered voters support.

“We can pay for a Green New Deal in the same way we pay for — whether it’s wars, or tax cuts, or any of the other great social programs that we have,” Greg Carlock told The Intercept. He’s a senior adviser at Data for Progress, where he authored a report outlining policy proposals for the Green New Deal. Unlike Ocasio-Cortez, Carlock says he disagrees with the argument that you have to tax the wealthy, or the middle class, to pay for a Green New Deal. Instead, he argues, Congress should just authorize new spending, like it does for everything else………

Investing in clean energy, sustainable jobs, and a basic standard of health care would actually save money in the long run — tens to hundreds of billions of dollars per year, according to a climate assessment released under the Trump administration this year. The argument that the money isn’t there just doesn’t hold up.

“Any politician whose first question about the Green New Deal is how to pay for it isn’t taking seriously the millions who will die if we fail to take action on the scale scientists say we need,” Stephen Hanlon, communications director for the Sunrise Movement, said in a statement to The Intercept.

“What we are talking about is a putting millions of people to work so they can buy food for their families, etc. This is the greatest investment in the American economy in generations, and that kind of investment pays substantial dividends,” Hanlon said.

“We will pay for this the same way we paid for the WWII (sic) and the original New Deal: deciding it’s a priority as a nation and that we can’t afford not to take action.”

Meanwhile, a $28 billion nuclear project in Georgia is headed for a similar fate. https://theintercept.com/2019/02/06/south-caroline-green-new-deal-south-carolina-nuclear-energy/

February 7, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | 7 Comments

Call for taxpayers not to fund Bill Gates’ small modular nuclear reactor folly

Taxpayers should not fund Bill Gates’ nuclear albatross https://thinkprogress.org/nuclear-power-is-so-uneconomical-even-bill-gates-cant-make-it-work-without-taxpayer-funding-faea0cdb60de/

Nuclear power is so uneconomical even Gates can’t make it work without billions from taxpayers.

JOE ROMMFEB 4, 2019Nuclear power is so uneconomical that even Bill Gates, who is worth $90 billion, can’t make it work without massive taxpayer funding.

Gates has been going around Capitol Hill in recent weeks trying “to persuade Congress to spend billions of dollars over the next decade… for a pilot of his company’s never-before-used technology, according to congressional staffers,” the Washington Post reported.

“This plea for federal largesse from a decabillionaire illustrates why further nuclear subsidies make no sense,” energy and finance expert Greg Kats writes in a forthcoming article for GreenBiz.com shared with ThinkProgress. Kats served as director of finance for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in the mid-1990s. (Disclosure: The author of this piece worked with Kats at the time as DOE acting assistant secretary.)

The reality is that nuclear power is so uneconomical that existing U.S. nuclear power plants are bleeding cash — and in many places it’s now cheaper to build and run new wind or solar farms than to simply run an existing nuclear power plant.

Saving the existing unprofitable nuclear plants would require a subsidy of at least $5 billion a year, according to an analysis last July by the Brattle Group.

So, given existing plants are so uneconomic, it’s no shock that building and financing an entire new fleet of nuclear plants is wildly unaffordable — especially since a new nuclear plant can cost $10 billion or more.

The nuclear industry has effectively priced itself out of the market for new power plants, at least in market-based economies. That’s why nuclear power’s share of global power generation has dropped to around 11 percent — its lowest level in decades.

The November “Cost of Energy Analysis 2018” by the financial firm Lazard Ltd makes clear just how untenable nuclear power is.

Even worse for nuclear, the price of electricity from new renewable plants and new nuclear plants have been headed in opposite directions for this entire decade.

Lazard reports that since 2010, the cost of wind power has dropped by 66 percent, the cost of solar power has dropped 83 percent, but the cost of nuclear power has increased by more than 50 percent.

The average lifecycle cost of electricity from new nuclear plants is now $151 per megawatt-hour, or 15.1 cents per kilowatt-hour (c/kWh). Meanwhile it is 4.3 c/kWh for utility scale solar and 4.2 c/kWh for wind. By comparison, the average price for electricity in the United States is under 11 cents per kWh.

Gates and his company, TerraPower, are working on so-called small modular reactors (SMRs), which use unproven next-generation technology and would be much smaller than current nuclear plants. Gates claims that this technology is needed in order to help drive down the price of nuclear power.

But the reality is that an SMR “worsens” the cost problem, as physicist M.V. Ramana explained in a December 2017 analysis.

“Larger reactors are cheaper on a per megawatt basis,” Ramana pointed out, “because their material and work requirements do not scale linearly with generation capacity.” In short, bigger reactors deliver cheaper power than smaller ones — that’s why the industry has kept scaling up the size over the years.

Yet in 2016, a major study by South Australia’s nuclear royal commission concluded that both large nukes and SMRs “consistently deliver strongly negative NPVs” (net present values) for both 2030 and 2050 — even for the strong climate action scenario. In other words, both large and small nuclear plants are projected to be unprofitable even in a future where carbon pollution has a high price.

Even the nuclear-friendly French — who get 70 percent of their power from nuclear  — can’t build an affordable, on-schedule next generation power plant. Last summer, for instance, the French utility EDF announced another delay and cost over-run for what would be the country’s first “third-generation” pressurized water reactor. Power magazine reported the price tag has “ballooned to €10.9 billion (USD $12.75 billion), triple the original budget.”

As for Gates’ TerraPower, analysts looking at the company’s specific design approach say the technology is just not ready for primetime. Last year, a major Massachusetts Institute of Technology report by nuclear power experts concluded such designs “require advances in fuel and materials technology to meet performance objectives.”

The company itself told the Washington Post in an email that it “has been researching new steel alloys.” But such alloys would need to be tested for years if not decades to prove they can withstand the intense bombardment of neutrons over the lifetime of the reactor.

The reality is that next generation nuclear power is still at the research phase. It is far from ready for a pilot that would be so expensive that even the world’s second richest man (after Amazon’s Jeff Bezos) isn’t willing to finance it himself, but has to go begging for federal money.

Gates asserted in a year-end blog post that “Nuclear is ideal for dealing with climate change, because it is the only carbon-free, scalable energy source that’s available 24 hours a day,”

But in fact, battery storage costs have plummeted this decade some 80 percent, meaning that we can increasingly use wind power when it isn’t windy and solar power when it isn’t sunny.

In places like Colorado, both wind power with storage and solar power with storage are vastly cheaper than new nuclear plants. Indeed, new Colorado wind farms with batteries already provide power at the same price as just running existing nuclear power plants.

Certainly, the climate crisis demands that we pursue all practical and economical approaches to cutting carbon pollution. And even some environmental groups are in favor of keeping existing nuclear plants running longer.

But as Kats explained, right now, new nuclear power plants are just far too expensive. What’s more, major investments in multibillion-dollar pilots and reactors could actually take away funds from clean energy technologies that would reduce vastly more

That’s not to say we shouldn’t keep investing in nuclear power research in the hope that someday it becomes affordable.

But given that we must make deep cuts in carbon pollution this decade to even have a chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change, we must focus the vast majority of our money today on vastly more affordable carbon-cutting technologies.

February 7, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | 4 Comments

Cost of USA’s cold war nuclear weapons waste clean-up now estimated at $377 Billion

February 7, 2019 Posted by | USA, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

North Korea’s moves to hide its nuclear missiles from US strikes,

North Korea trying to keep its nuclear missiles safe from US strikes, says UN report, Guardian,  Justin McCurry and agencies,5 Feb 2019 
Measures said to include using civilian facilities to make and test missiles North Korea is trying to ensure its nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities are safe from US military strikes, a UN report has said, as officials from both countries prepared to meet to discuss a second summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.Trump is expected to meet the North Korean leader, possibly in Vietnam, at the end of the month to discuss measures that would lead to Pyongyang giving up its nuclear weapons in return for US security guarantees and other assurances.

But the report, seen by Reuters on Monday, suggested the regime was doing everything possible to protect its nuclear and missile programmes.

In the confidential report, recently submitted to UN security council members, sanctions monitors said they had “found evidence of a consistent trend on the part of [North Korea] to disperse its assembly, storage and testing locations”…….. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/05/north-korea-trying-to-keep-its-nuclear-missiles-safe-from-us-strikes-says-un-report

February 7, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

British plans for nuclear waste dumping in Norther Ireland go awfy

Irish News 5th Feb 2019 THE British government-owned company tasked with finding sites for disposing of radioactive waste has said it cannot progress any plans for a nuclear dump in Northern Ireland while Stormont is suspended. Radioactive
Waste Management (RWM) said the north is the “region least likely” to house
a nuclear waste disposal facility because the project requires the approval
of the devolved administration, as well as those living near a potential
site.

Concern about the company’s plans was triggered by an online video
showing prospective locations for a nuclear dump. The video shows Amy
Shelton, a senior research manager with RWM, outlining the geological
conditions that make certain areas suitable for the disposal of radioactive
waste.

The presentation, which divides the north into four geological areas
– or sub-regions – is similar to corresponding videos produced by RWM
that cover England and Wales. Scotland does not feature as its devolved
government adopted a policy of ‘near surface disposal’, according to RWM.

The video sparked a response from political representatives in south Down
after the granite-rich area around Newry was earmarked by Ms Shelton as a
potential location for a “geological disposal facility”. She said more work
was needed to establish whether conditions are suitable. But Sinn Féin MP
Chris Hazzard said any proposal to locate a site in parts of Co Down and Co
Armagh was “totally unacceptable”.

http://www.irishnews.com/news/northernirelandnews/2019/02/05/news/stormont-suspension-thwarts-nuclear-dump-proposals-1543803/

February 7, 2019 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Calls to make Calder Hall the first nuclear reactor in the UK to be decommissioned

Whitehaven News 5th Feb 2019 , CALLS are growing to make Calder Hall the first nuclear reactor in the UK
to be decommissioned. Nuclear officials say that if decommissioning is
delayed, the asbestos in the reactor will pose a risk to workers, while
maintenance costs will become ‘unsupportable’.

Council bosses are ramping up the pressure on the Government to fast-track the dismantling of the world’s oldest industrial-scale nuclear power station based at
Sellafield. The authority’s nuclear board will be asked today to delegate
authority to council chief executive Pat Graham and the nuclear
portfolio-holder councillor David Moore to develop a detailed case for
accelerated decommissioning.

Councillors agreed at the end of last year
that the UK’s first industrial-scale power station to be built should
also be the first to be cleaned up. Calder Hall is one of 11 reactor sites
around the country and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is now
reviewing the “timing and sequence” of its nationwide clean-up
operation.

At present the defuelling of Calder Hall is due to be finished
in 2019/20, and would not enter a care and maintenance (C&M) status until
2034. The argument for tackling the Sellafield-based reactor first includes
the continuing risk it poses to workers and the public. The report said:
“As the oldest Magnox reactor, the deterioration of the building fabric
and the potential for significant quantities of asbestos to be present pose
risk to workers. The cost borne by the taxpayer associated with maintaining
the building in a safe state for a long period of care and maintenance
could be significant and could increase over time to meet future regulatory
requirement.”

The report concludes that the reactor could deteriorate to
the point that the cost of keeping it compliant with environmental
regulations becomes “unsupportable”. The accelerated clean-up of Calder
Hall could also create jobs to offset some of the 3,000 “surplus roles”
expected at Sellafield over the next four to five years.
https://www.whitehavennews.co.uk/news/17410498.calls-to-make-calder-hall-first-nuclear-reactor-in-uk-to-be-decommissioned/

February 7, 2019 Posted by | decommission reactor, UK | Leave a comment

France to discuss the recycled use of nuclear wastes

France Info 3rd Feb 2019 France Info 3rd Feb 2019 Will we end up with recycled nuclear waste in our everyday objects? The State will raise the issue of the recycling of low-level radioactive nuclear waste during a new public consultation in March.
https://www.francetvinfo.fr/societe/nucleaire/va-t-on-se-retrouver-avec-des-dechets-nucleaires-recycles-dans-nos-objets-du-quotidien_3172553.htm

February 7, 2019 Posted by | France | Leave a comment

Belgium heading for a nuclear-free future

Looking towards Belgium’s nuclear-free future, Power Technology By Ross Davies,6 Feb 19,

The recent closure of six out of seven nuclear reactors raised concerns over the ability of Belgium to cope without its nuclear power in the coming months. How will the country react and what lessons can the power industry learn when looking forward to the 2025 nuclear phase-out plan? ……….

Reasons for the closures

The closure of six of the nuclear reactors was for various unplanned reasons, but linked to nuclear safety, according to Engie Electrabel.

Engie Electrabel spokesperson Hellen Smeets says: “Some of our reactors [Doel 3 and 4, Tihange 1 and 2] have been under inspection programmes regarding the concrete on the ceilings of the bunkers. Those bunkers are right next to the reactor and we have noticed a bit of deterioration of the concrete because in those specific bunkers there were pipes where there was a lot of steam.”

The high levels of steam made the bunkers very hot and moist, and so a small amount of degradation occurred to the concrete ceiling.

Meanwhile, other reactors were in the stages of planned overhaul, in order to extend their life by ten years…………

Nuclear phase-out: the road to 2025

The approach taken by the Belgium power industry to handle any potential power shortages this winter could pose some interesting challenges and solutions when looking forward to the country’s nuclear phase-out plan.

The draft bill for Belgium to become a nuclear-free country, known as the Energy Pact, was announced in December 2017. In October 2018, the government confirmed its commitment to the pledge as long as alternative sources are found to meet demand in the next seven or so years. It’s no small feat, as the seven nuclear reactors contribute around 6GW of energy capacity, which would need to be replaced.

The solution could be simpler than replacing the huge amount of capacity supplied by the nuclear plants. If the whole population, both businesses and residents, can reduce its energy consumption, then there will be less of a strain on energy companies to meet demand.

Smeets says: “The big question is how will Belgium cope if that [2025] decision stands? I think we should really think about how to be as efficient as possible. Energy efficiency is really important.

“If we all consume less electricity there wouldn’t be the need to produce more and more. There wouldn’t be the need to replace all capacities, so I think we should really look into that and try to work on that because there is a lot of opportunity for everyone.”

Interestingly, large swathes of power consumption in Belgium are used for powering its old, energy inefficient buildings, according to Engie Electrabel.“We can help people, firms, and authorities to help make their buildings more energy efficient and consume less energy. I think there is a lot of opportunity there,” says Smeets.

“There are a lot of old buildings in Belgium and I think around 40% of energy consumption in Belgium goes into powering buildings – not industry, but buildings. If we could reduce the electricity consumption in buildings that would get us somewhere.”

Looking forward, Engie also plans to invest more in its renewables business, such as wind power.

“We have a lot of wind turbines and we are definitely looking further into expanding that and biogas, hydraulic power stations, etc. We think that is the future. So we are really trying to work on and expand that side of our services,” adds Smeets……..https://www.power-technology.com/features/belgiums-nuclear-free-future/

February 7, 2019 Posted by | EUROPE, politics | Leave a comment

Utah Senate committee calls for nuclear power – not everyone is happy

Nuclear power in Utah? Senators say ‘yes, please,by Michael Locklear, February 5th 2019 , State lawmakers are considering a non-binding resolution welcoming nuclear power to Utah, although opponents are concerned about the radioactive waste it would generate.

The resolution, sponsored by Republican Sen. Curt Bramble of Provo, was passed out of a Senate committee on Monday.

It “recognizes that advanced nuclear technology is a safe, resilient, and environmentally sustainable energy resource.”……..

Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, working with a company called NuScale, is planning a nuclear facility to be built in Idaho. It’s now moving through the regulatory process. Construction could begin in 2026. ………

Michael Simpson, the chair of the University of Utah’s metallurgical engineering department  said nuclear power is cleaner, but he raised concerns about the cost and the nuclear waste.

“The state of Utah should be wary of starting a project to build a nuclear reactor if there’s no place for them to send the fuel,” Simpson said.

“It really is incredibly poisonous stuff,” said Michael Shea of the environmental nonprofit HEAL Utah, “and even if they can store it within the site itself, there’s still a lot of potential for contamination or accidents.” ………

A spokeswoman for Rocky Mountain Power said the utility had no plans to build a nuclear facility, with a statement that reads: “Our most recent Integrated Resource Plan (2017 IRP) included a cost analysis that reflected nuclear generation to be more costly than other resources. However, we are always evaluating emerging technologies to support future needs.”

The resolution now moves to the full Senate. https://kutv.com/news/local/nuclear-power-in-utah-senators-say-yes-please

February 7, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

TVA says sale of Bellefonte nuclear plant to Haney would be illegal until regulators approve deal

TVA says sale of Bellefonte nuclear plant to Haney would be illegal until regulators approve deal, TVA defends decision to scrap sale of nuclear plant

February 5th, 2019, by Dave Flessner

The Tennessee Valley Authority says it cannot complete the sale of its Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant to developer Franklin L. Haney because Haney doesn’t have a license yet to operate the unfinished twin-reactor plant in Alabama.

In a 25-page legal brief filed in federal court Monday, TVA attorneys contend that any sale to Haney would be illegal under the Atomic Energy Act since Haney is trying to acquire and eventually operate the nuclear plant without a properly approved permit.

Haney’s company, Nuclear Development LLC , was the top bidder for Bellefonte at a TVA auction of the abandoned plant in November 2016. But Nuclear Development only filed a license transfer application with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to take over TVA’s construction permit on the Bellefonte plant on Nov. 13, 2018 — two weeks after the sale was originally supposed to close and only 17 days before an extended deadline for the sale on Nov. 30.

TVA told Haney the day before the Nov. 30 sale was supposed to be completed that it could not sell Bellefonte as a nuclear plant without approval of the license transfer by the NRC. In the sales agreement with Haney, TVA said “federal law at all times govern the validity, interpretation and enforceability” of the sale………..

The legal fight over whether TVA must now sell the Bellefonte plant to Haney is moving in some uncharted waters since the NRC has not previously transferred a deferred construction permit on a nuclear plant to a private individual or a company that has not previously operated a nuclear plant. NRC spokesman Scott Burnell said last month that the NRC staff is still reviewing Haney’s application to take over the deferred construction permit.

Although no active construction has occurred at Bellefonte in nearly a decade, TVA has maintained the plant in deferred status…………

Aided by more than $2 billion in production tax credits for new nuclear generation allocated for Bellefonte and the prospect of $5 billion or more in federal loan guarantees for the project, Haney claims he should be able to finish the reactors at a cost allowing him to deliver power as much as $500 million a year cheaper for electricity users.

But Haney, a former Chattanooga real estate developer who now lives in south Florida, has no previous experience owning or operating a nuclear plant. Haney has amassed a fortune over the past four decades buying, developing and leasing properties to TVA, the Internal Revenue Service and other government agencies and airports, along with hotels, office buildings and other developments.

Haney said he is assembling a team of top engineering, design and construction firms with experience in the nuclear power industry to finish building Bellefonte.

Haney, who contributed more than $1 million to President Trump’s inaugural fund through a limited partnership known as HFNWA and once hired Haney’s personal attorney Michael Cohen to help with the Bellefonte project, has applied for federal loan guarantees for Bellefonte. The U.S. Department of Energy is still considering Haney’s loan application……… https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/breakingnews/story/2019/feb/05/tva-says-bellefonte-illegal/488049/

February 7, 2019 Posted by | legal, USA | Leave a comment

New Hampshire must say no to nuclear war

My Turn: New Hampshire must say no to nuclear war, https://www.concordmonitor.com/NH-must-say-no-to-nuclear-war-23265489 By MINDI MESSMERFor the Monitor 2/6/2019 School children are no longer participating in duck-and-cover drills, but Americans and the public officials who represent them are becoming increasingly aware that the risks of a nuclear war, which could be started intentionally or accidentally, have not gone away.

Events here at home and abroad have brought renewed attention to this issue. Americans have suddenly realized that U.S. presidents have authority to order a nuclear weapon strike without consulting anyone. Just one phone call and hundreds of U.S. nuclear missiles can be launched in less than 10 minutes. Meanwhile, national security experts are speculating about a renewed nuclear arms race as the U.S. and Russia develop new nuclear weapons and the U.S. prepares to withdraw from arms control treaties, including the landmark 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty that President Ronald Reagan signed with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Both sides accuse the other of violating the treaty.

Cities and towns across New Hampshire and the country – including Durham and New London, N.H., Baltimore, Los Angeles and Portland, Maine – are passing resolutions calling on the United States to limit the risk of nuclear war by changing U.S. policies. About a dozen other New Hampshire cities are considering following suit. California and the U.S. Conference of Mayors have passed similar resolutions. Organizations including the Unitarian Universalist Association, Union of Concerned Scientists, Federation of American Scientists and Physicians for Social Responsibility have joined the call.

The resolutions recommend a number of steps that would make nuclear war less likely. Most importantly, they call on the U.S. to state that it will never use a nuclear weapon first; no U.S. president should ever start a nuclear war.

The N.H. General Court may be the next to take a position on this issue. The State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee in the N.H. House will hold a hearing today on HCR 7, a resolution introduced by Rep. Chuck Grassie that calls on the U.S. to establish a “no first use” policy.

If enacted, the measure would throw New Hampshire’s support behind legislation, introduced in Congress last week by House Armed Services Committee Chair Adam Smith and Senate Armed Services Committee member Elizabeth Warren, to make it U.S. policy not to use nuclear weapons first.

As the world’s most powerful country, the only reason the U.S. needs nuclear weapons is to deter a nuclear attack on America or its allies. The threat that the U.S. may use its nuclear weapons first is counterproductive and could prompt a pre-emptive strike from a nuclear-armed adversary if it feared a U.S. nuclear launch was imminent.

Knowing that the U.S. could respond to a nuclear attack with its own nuclear strike, however, is a real deterrent; that is the message a no-first-use policy would send to the rest of the world.

When cities and states enact resolutions like the one before the N.H. Legislature, it sends a strong message to Washington decision-makers, both in Congress and the White House, that they must act for the safety of all Americans.

(Mindi Messmer of Rye is an environmental scientist working with the Union of Concerned Scientists and a former N.H. state representative.)

February 7, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Britain’s secret nuclear weapons tests the spark to nuclear Armageddon – claims veteran

WW3: Britain ‘sparked ARMAGEDDON’ by running SECRET nuclear weapons tests, claims veteran https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1083026/ww3-britain-sparked-armageddon-secret-nuclear-test-spt 6 Feb 19

A VETERAN claims Britain sparked an “Armageddon” for the future after running secret nuclear weapons tests between 1957 and 1958.  By CALLUM HOARE

Operation Grapple was the name given to a series of four nuclear weapons tests of atomic and hydrogen bombs carried out at Malden Island and Christmas Island. Nine nuclear explosions were initiated, making Britain the third recognised possessor of thermonuclear weapons, and restoring the Nuclear Special Relationship with the US. However, veteran Dave Whyte, 82, who worked on the project, claimed they made a mistake by testing the weapons of mass destruction.

Mr Whyte said he suffered sterility and genetic damage through radiation exposure at the cost of the technology being leaked to other countries.

He exclaimed in 2017: “I witnessed the hydrogen bombs Grapple Y, Flagpole and Halliard and atomic bombs Pennant and Burgee in 1958.

“I found the bombs very interesting, it was wonderful to view two suns shining in the sky at the same time, our usual golden sun and the red glow of fire from the nuclear bombs.

“Great Britain has a nuclear arsenal, but at what cost?”

Mr Whyte went on to claim: “The veterans who helped in the nuclear experiments are cast aside, and are still waiting for a court to hear their case.

“There is a blood test which shows the level of radiation a person has received.

“Nuclear veterans are denied this test, even the offer of paying for the test is denied.

“Documents showing the true levels of radiation individuals received are hidden from view, and directions given by the judge to release them are ignored.”

Mr Whyte also claimed the action of Britain over 60 years ago could now be to blame for the end of the world – should nuclear war break out.  He continued: “It is said, by many, that nuclear bombs should be abandoned.

“Unfortunately, the technology is now available, and any rogue state can develop their own nuclear weapons.

“North Korea is a good example, they have the weapons now, and will be prepared to use them.

“Sadly, we have nuclear weapons and we cannot dispose of them now. I foresee an Armageddon in the future.”

February 7, 2019 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | 1 Comment

An Enthralling and Terrifying History of the Nuclear Meltdown at Chernobyl

 By Jennifer Szala,Feb. 6, 2019The word “Chernobyl” has long been synonymous with the catastrophic reactor explosion of 1986 — grim shorthand for what still qualifies, more than three decades later, as the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

As infamous as it is now, it’s easy to forget that the calamity seemed to drift to international attention as if by accident. A full two days after the meltdown began in Ukraine, with winds carrying radioactive fallout into Europe, alarms went off at a nuclear power station in faraway Sweden. Only then did Soviet officials deign to release a terse statement acknowledging “an accident has taken place,” while studiously neglecting to mention the specifics of what had happened or when.

Aid is being given to those affected,” the statement concluded. “A government commission has been set up.”

In his chilling new book, “Midnight in Chernobyl,” the journalist Adam Higginbotham shows how an almost fanatical compulsion for secrecy among the Soviet Union’s governing elite was part of what made the accident not just cataclysmic but so likely in the first  place. Interviewing eyewitnesses and consulting declassified archives — an official record that was frustratingly meager when it came to certain details and, Higginbotham says, couldn’t always be trusted — he reconstructs the disaster from the ground up, recounting the prelude to it as well as its aftermath. The result is superb, enthralling and necessarily terrifying………https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/06/books/review-midnight-chernobyl-adam-higginbotham.html

 

February 7, 2019 Posted by | resources - print | Leave a comment