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Nuclear industry lobbies for tax-payer subsidies to try to make “new nukes” a commercially viable export industry

U.S. Nuclear Energy Industry Asks Washington For Help In International Expansion, Oil Price, 

It seems U.S. nuclear plant builders feel left out of an international race that could be very profitable.

“There is competition around the globe, and we want to be part of it,” Bloomberg quoted the chief executive of Exelon Corp., Chris Crane, as saying.

The help that the industry is seeking from the government involves “financial assistance” to make their products more competitive with other companies that are already receiving financial support from the governments, notably Russian and Chinese companies, but also French reactor builders. All these are also on an international expansion drive.

“The United States needs to maintain a leadership position,” Exelon’s Crane told media…… The U.S. nuclear industry is hard pressed to find new markets as local power plants age and become uncompetitive with renewable energy installations, following the path of coal-powered plants. Since the domestic market seems to be saturated with nuclear plants, the only viable option is expanding abroad.

Also, approval for new reactor technology would come in handy. The industry is working on next-generation reactors as well as smaller, modular nuclear reactor technology–but these need to be approved at the highest level before joining the competition. https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/US-Nuclear-Energy-Industry-Asks-White-House-for-Help-In-International-Expansio.html

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February 14, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

The danger of ‘dual use’ nuclear facilities – for both military and commercial purposes

Nuclear watchdogs warn against blurring energy, military uses at Ohio fuel plantNuclear watchdogs warn against blurring energy, military uses at Ohio fuel plant,  Energy News,  BY Kathiann M. Kowalski, 13 Feb 19, 

Combining the capability to make fuel for nuclear reactors and material for weapons undercuts nonproliferation efforts, critics say.

A planned nuclear fuel plant in Ohio could help enable the nation’s next wave of carbon-free electricity, a fleet of small reactors providing continuous power to the grid.

The U.S. Department of Energy fuel facility would be unique in part because it could also produce material for use in nuclear weapons. That crosses a potentially dangerous line, nuclear watchdog groups say — one that could undercut efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

The Department of Energy announced plans last month to contract with Centrus Energy Corp.’s American Centrifuge Operating subsidiary to reopen a nuclear fuel plant in Piketon, Ohio, about 70 miles south of Columbus where Appalachia’s foothills start rising from sprawling farmland.

The new project would likely resemble an earlier pilot program there that ended in 2015, but with various updates and technical fixes. It would also require U.S.-only sources, in lieu of some foreign components and technology.

Dual uses envisioned

DOE is proposing the company as the sole source for the work, and the agency’s notice suggests the demonstration project’s fuel could be used for both civilian and military purposes.

On the civilian side, the project’s fuel would be used for research and development of next-generation nuclear reactors. Designs for those smaller reactors call for fuel known as HALEU, which stands for high assay low-enriched uranium.

HALEU can have between 5 and 20 percent of uranium’s U-235 isotope. That’s the form that undergoes fission readily. In contrast, most U.S. commercial reactors use fuel with 3 to 5 percent U-235. Natural uranium is about 99 percent U-238.

On the defense side, HALEU could be used for small mobile reactorsto power on-the-go military operations. Beyond that, DOE’s requirement for U.S.-only technology could also let the plant’s fuel be used to make tritium. That radioactive isotope of hydrogen is used innuclear weapons.

Foreign policy fears

The possible crossover uses for the Piketon plant’s fuel could conflict with the country’s positions on nuclear nonproliferation.

The United States signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in1968 in hopes of curbing the risk of global nuclear war. The treaty recognizes the rights of countries to use nuclear power for peaceful purposes but forbids countries that didn’t already have nuclear weapons from building or obtaining them. Supplemental treaties apply to transfers of goods and technology and other matters.

Those treaties account for the “U.S.-only” requirement for any facility or technology that would produce nuclear fuel that could be used for the country’s nuclear weapons program. But critics see a problem in blurring the lines of civilian and military uses of Piketon’s fuel.

“Our entire nonproliferation endeavor where our reactors are concerned has been to prevent our civilian programs from being used in support of military bomb-making programs,” said Peter Bradford, a former member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission who later taught at Vermont Law School. “One of the pillars of that undertaking has been to keep them separate in the U.S.”

An exception has been the irradiation of rods in a light-water reactorat the Tennessee Valley Authority, using “U.S.-only” fuel. Tritium is then extracted from those rods at DOE’s Savannah River Site.

A dual use for the Piketon plant would expand the fuel supply for those or similar operations. But it would also add another site blending civilian and military uses of nuclear technology…………

Conceptually, I think that is a very bad image for the U.S. to project at this point when the U.S. is trying to dissuade other countries from building their own facilities,” said Edwin Lyman, acting director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Nuclear Safety Project. ……

“The proposed demonstration is very good news for the entire U.S. nuclear industry,” said Centrus Energy spokesperson Jeremy Derryberry. “If America wants to be competitive in supplying the next generation of nuclear reactors around the world, we need an assured, American source of high-assay low-enriched uranium to power those reactors. We stand ready to work with the department to get the proposed project underway as  quickly as possible.” The Nuclear Energy Institute likewise hailed the news. …….

However, Piketon isn’t the only option for supplying smaller, new nuclear reactors. “There is actually an enrichment facility in the United States in New Mexico that would be capable of supplying any civilian nuclear power plant,” said Lyman at the Union of Concerned Scientists……..

That “midnight-hour resurrection” of production at Piketon raises “a lot of questions about not only the viability of the project, but the need for it, and the consequences of getting it restarted at this point after this has been shut down for three years,” Lyman said.

“The plan and the intent have been to clean the Piketon plant up and to deal with all the radioactive contamination there,” Judson said. “This is a step in the wrong direction.” https://energynews.us/2019/02/13/midwest/nuclear-watchdogs-warn-against-blurring-energy-military-uses-at-ohio-fuel-plant/

February 14, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The wipeout of the Earth’s small creatures – by climate change

Climate change is killing off Earth’s little creatures http://theconversation.com/climate-change-is-killing-off-earths-little-creatures-109719, Bill Laurance, Distinguished Research Professor and Australian Laureate, James Cook University, February 12, 2019 Climate change gets blamed for a lot of things these days: inundating small islands, fueling catastrophic fires, amping-up hurricanes and smashing Arctic sea ice.
But a global review of insect research has found another casualty: 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered. It confirms what many have been suspecting: in Australia and around the world, arthropods – which include insects, spiders, centipedes and the like — appear to be in trouble.

The global review comes hard on the heels of research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA that suggests a potent link between intensifying heat waves and stunning declines in the abundance of arthropods.

If that study’s findings are broadly valid – something still far from certain – it has chilling implications for global biodiversity.

Arthropod Armageddon

In the mid-1970s, researchers on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico conducted a large-scale study to measure the total biomass (living mass) of insects and other arthropods in the island’s intact rainforests, using sweep nets and sticky-traps.

Four decades later, another research team returned to the island and repeated the study using identical methods and the same locations. To their surprise, they found that arthropod biomass was just one-eighth to one-sixtieth of that in the 1970s – a shocking collapse overall.

And the carnage didn’t end there. The team found that a bevy of arthropod-eating lizards, birds and frogs had fallen sharply in abundance as well.

In the minds of many ecologists, a widespread collapse of arthropods could be downright apocalyptic. Arthropods pollinate some of our most important food crops and thousands of wild plant species, disperse seeds, recycle nutrients and form key links in food chains that sustain entire webs of life.

This ecological ubiquity arises because arthropods are so abundant and diverse, comprising at least two-thirds of all known species on Earth. In the 1940s, evolutionary biologist J. B. S. Haldane quipped that “God has an inordinate fondness for beetles.” Humans might think we rule the world, but the planet really belongs to arthropods.

Killer heat waves

The researchers who documented the arthropod collapse in Puerto Rico considered a variety of possible causes, including pesticides and habitat disruption. But the evidence kept pointing to another driver: rising temperatures.

Weather stations in Puerto Rico indicate that temperatures there have risen progressively in the past several decades – by 2℃ on average.

But the researchers are far less worried about a gradual increase in temperature than the intensification of heat waves—which have risen markedly in Puerto Rico. This is because nearly all living species have thresholds of temperature tolerance.

For example, research in Australia has shown that at 41℃, flying foxes become badly heat-stressed, struggling to find shade and flapping their wings desperately to stay cool.

But nudge the thermometer up just one more degree, to 42℃, and the bats suddenly die.

In November, heat waves that peaked above 42℃ in north Queensland killed off almost a third of the region’s Spectacled Flying Foxes. The ground beneath bat colonies was littered with tens of thousands of dead animals. Dedicated animal carers could only save a small fraction of the dying bats.

The El Niño connection

El Niño events – fluctuations in Pacific sea-surface temperatures that drive multi-year variations in weather across large swaths of the planet – are also part of this story. New research appears to be resolving longstanding uncertainties about El Niños and global warming.

Recent studies published in Nature and Geophysical Research Letterssuggest global warming will in fact intensify El Niños – causing affected areas to suffer even more intensively from droughts and heat waves.

And this ties back to Puerto Rico, because the researchers there believe a series of unusually intense El Niño heatwaves were the cause the arthropod Armageddon. If they’re right then global warming was the gun, but El Niño pulled the trigger.

Beyond heat waves

Puerto Rico is certainly not the only place on Earth that has suffered severe declines in arthropods. Robust studies in EuropeNorth AmericaAustralia and other locales have revealed big arthropod declines as well.

And while climatic factors have contributed to some of these declines, it’s clear that many other environmental changes, such as habitat disruptionpesticidesintroduced pathogens and light pollution, are also taking heavy tolls.

So, at a planetary scale, arthropods are suffering from a wide variety of environmental insults. There’s no single reason why their populations are collapsing.


Read more: Climate change: effect on sperm could hold key to species extinction


The bottom line is: we’re changing our world in many different ways at once. And the myriad little creatures that play so many critical roles in the fabric of life are struggling to survive the onslaught.

February 14, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, environment | 1 Comment

At Soviet Union’s Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site, civilian population were used as radiation guinea pigs

WW3 SHOCK: How Soviets used OWN population as ‘NUCLEAR GUINEA PIGS’ during secret tests.  https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1086621/WW3-soviet-union-russia-guinea-pigs-nuclear-tests-polygon-spt

THE Soviet Union used its own population as “guinea pigs” to tests the effects of its secret nuclear weapons as tensions rose with the United States, a former member of the European Parliament for Scotland revealed. By CALLUM HOARE,  Feb 13, 2019 The Semipalatinsk Test Site, also known as The Polygon, was home to at least 456 nuclear tests between 1949 and 1989, during the height of the Cold War. These top-secret missions were carried out with little regard for human or environmental impact in the surrounding area, just 11 miles away. Locals were told their area had been selected to help counter the threat from the US but were not aware of the full extent of the radiation damage.

“They were not told these weapons were nuclear and there would be the question of radioactive fallout that would affect all of them.
“The KGB doctors would wait until the wind was blowing towards the villages, then detonate the bombs and spend days afterwards checking the effects on the locals.

“They were being used as human guinea pigs.”

Mr Stevenson claimed the KGB manipulated locals so they could test the full potential of their nuclear weapons.

He continued: “The KGB ordered them to pack books and bedding behind the windows of their houses and actually stand outside.

“The women were there holding their babies and the KGB told them ‘you will witness the might of Soviet technology’ and they were actually celebrating this massive bomb, not knowing it would make them severely ill.

“Igor Kurchatov and Andrei Sakharov were the fathers of the Soviet nuclear weapons.

“[Joseph] Stalin gave an order that if the bomb did not explode, the professors and all their team would be executed.”

In 1989, the anti-nuclear movement was started in Kazakhstan called “Nevada Semipalatinsk”, led by poet Olzhas Suleimenov.

The site was officially closed by the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev on 29 August 1991, denuclearising the country.

It has now become the best-researched atomic testing site in the world and is open to the public to visit.

February 14, 2019 Posted by | civil liberties, history, Russia, weapons and war | 5 Comments

Spain plans to close all nuclear plants by 2035

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/spain-plans-to-close-all-nuclear-plants-by-2035-11239490, 13 Feb 19, MADRID: Spain aims to close all seven of its nuclear plants between 2025 and 2035 as part of plans to generate all the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2050.

Energy Minister Teresa Ribera announced the move on Tuesday (Feb 12), just as the Socialist government gears up to call an early national election in anticipation of losing a budget vote.

Overhauling Spain’s energy system, which generated 40 per cent of its mainland electricity from renewable sources in 2018, will require investment of 235 billion euros (US$266 billion) between 2021 and 2030, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said last month.

Ribera said the government would present a draft plan to combat climate change, which had been due to be sent to the European Union for approval by the end of last year, to parliament on Feb 22.

Under a draft bill prepared last year, the government aims to ban sales of petrol, diesel and hybrid cars from 2040 and encourage the installation of at least 3,000 megawatts a year of renewable capacity such as wind farms and solar plants.

Phasing out nuclear power, which accounts for a little over 20 per cent of mainland Spain’s electricity, was a campaign pledge for the governing Socialists, who took office last summer after toppling their conservative predecessors in a confidence vote.

Spain’s nuclear plants, which started operating between 1983 and 1988, are owned by Iberdrola, Italian-owned Endesa, Naturgy and Portugal’s EDP.

February 14, 2019 Posted by | politics, Spain | Leave a comment

Nuclear files removed from UK National Archives so that they can no longer be accessed by the public.

The National 11th Feb 2019 ACCIDENT reports and safety reviews into nuclear weapons and atomic energy programmes in Scotland are among hundreds of documents to have been suddenly withdrawn from public view.

According to a report on the Sunday Post website, following a “security review” the files at the National Archives in Kew were removed so that they can no longer be accessed by the public.

The move has been described as “very concerning” by the Campaign  for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). The documents relate to a range of topics on Britain’s nuclear weapons and atomic energy programmes, including the nuclear power plant in Dounreay, Caithness, as well as Chapelcross in
Dumfries and Galloway and the Hunterston A and Hunterston B power stations which are located in Ayrshire.
https://www.thenational.scot/news/17423745.scotlands-nuclear-history-suddenly-disappears-from-public-archive/

February 14, 2019 Posted by | civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Call to preserve Japan’s historic “Fukuryu Maru” memorial of atomic bombing

Final mission: Keep anti-nuke message at site of Tsukiji market, http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201902130004.html, By NAOMI NISHIMURA/ Staff Writer, February 13, 2019 Busy construction workers and fast-walking passers-by pay little notice to a metal plate that symbolizes one of the darker periods in the postwar history of the now-closed Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo.

The continuing dismantling work and the future of the iconic former market has gained much of the public’s attention. The plate, measuring 42 centimeters tall and 52 cm wide, will remain on a fence surrounding the site at least until the project is complete.

The plate, marking the fallout of nuclear bomb tests carried out in the 1950s, carries a message that many people hope will remain in one form or another at the site.

“We have set up this plate out of the wish that there will be no suffering again from nuclear weapons,” the plate says in part.

A Tokyo metropolitan government official said “nothing has been decided on what objects will be installed” afterward at the Tsukiji site.

The plate is witness to the “A-bomb tuna” that arrived 65 years ago at the Tsukiji market in the capital’s Chuo Ward.

“Nearly 460 tons of contaminated fish were found from more than 850 fishing boats across Japan … and fish consumption dropped sharply,” another part of the plate’s inscription reads.

The radioactive “A-bomb” fish were actually exposed to radiation from hydrogen-bomb tests.

The text on the plate refers to the Daigo Fukuryu Maru (Lucky Dragon No. 5), a fishing vessel caught in the fallout of a U.S. H-bomb test near the Bikini Atoll in March 1954.

Some of the tuna and other fish caught by the Daigo Fukuryu Maru ended up at the Tsukiji market.

“There was a real panic” when the haul tested positive for radiation, said Takuji Adachi, 92, who was a metropolitan government official at the time in charge of hygiene on the market grounds.

Radiation was also found in other tuna hauls that arrived later from different parts of the country.

Workers sat up all night testing fish with radiation detectors borrowed from a university lab and elsewhere before their early-morning auctions, sources said.

Tuna lost half to two-thirds of their prices, and the values of other fish species also dropped. The radiation tests continued through the year-end, with 3,000 tuna going to waste.

The names of 856 Japanese fishing boats were identified as having been contaminated by radioactive fallout from a series of hydrogen-bomb tests conducted between March and May 1954, according to officials of the Daigo Fukuryu Maru Exhibition Hall.

The plate was installed at the Tsukiji fish market 45 years later.

PETITION FOR RELOCATING STONE MONUMENT

Matashichi Oishi, who was a crew member on the Fukuryu Maru involved in freezing the catch, wanted to set up a physical testimony to peace.

The now 85-year-old had asked the Tokyo metropolitan government to allow the installation at Tsukiji of a stone monument engraved with “Maguro Zuka” (tuna memorial).

He called for donations in units of 10 yen ($0.09) each time he gave a public speech. He ended up collecting 3 million yen, and the stone monument was completed.

However, opinion was divided at the time over whether the Tsukiji market should be relocated or redeveloped on the same site. Authorities said there was no space available for the stone monument, but they allowed the plate to be attached by the side of the main gate.

The stone monument currently stands in an open space on the grounds of the exhibition hall in Tokyo’s Koto Ward, where the hull of the Daigo Fukuryu Maru remains preserved.

The plate has since served as a memento for about two decades, but the Tsukiji market was relocated to the Toyosu district of Koto Ward in October last year.

With the future of the plate unknown, Oishi has collected 5,622 signatures over three years for a petition to have the stone monument relocated to a corner of the former Tsukiji market.

“Words engraved in stone will stay 50 years and 100 years down the road,” Oishi said last September during a meeting on the possible uses of the stone monument. “History could be repeated unless someone keeps talking about the horror of nuclear weapons.”

He said he hopes to hand the signatures to Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike to coincide with the March 1 Bikini Day, the anniversary of the Fukuryu Maru’s nuclear exposure.

Oishi said setting a path for the stone monument’s relocation is his “final mission in life.”

“The Fukuryu Maru later symbolized calls for eliminating nuclear weapons,” he said. “Tsukiji must also have the role of being a witness to the nuclear exposure incident.”

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Japan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

In Germany, a Cold War Deal to Host U.S. Nuclear Weapons Is Now in Question 

 Debate about U.S. nuclear weapons in Germany flares up for the first time since the 1980s…. (subscribers only)  https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-germany-anger-at-trump-throws-cold-war-nuclear-pact-into-question-11549976449

February 14, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Earth is now plagued with multiple environmental crises

Environment in multiple crises – report https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-47203344

Politicians and policymakers have failed to grasp the gravity of the environmental crisis facing the Earth, a report claims.

The think-tank IPPR says human impacts have reached a critical stage and threaten to destabilise society and the global economy.

Scientists warn of a potentially deadly combination of factors.

These include climate change, mass loss of species, topsoil erosion, forest felling and acidifying oceans.

The report from the centre-left Institute for Public Policy Research says these factors are “driving a complex, dynamic process of environmental destabilisation that has reached critical levels.

“This destabilisation is occurring at speeds unprecedented in human history and, in some cases, over billions of years.”

So what is needed?

The IPPR warns that the window of opportunity to avoid catastrophic outcomes is rapidly closing.

The authors urge three shifts in political understanding: on the scale and pace of environmental breakdown; the implications for societies; and the subsequent need for transformative change.

They say since 1950, the number of floods across the world has increased by 15 times, extreme temperature events by 20 times, and wildfires seven-fold.

At least climate change features in policy discussions, they say – but other vitally important impacts barely figure.

What issues are being under-played?

  • Topsoil is being lost 10 to 40 times faster than it is being replenished by natural processes
  • Since the mid-20th Century, 30% of the world’s arable land has become unproductive due to erosion
  • 95% of the Earth’s land areas could become degraded by 2050

These matters are close to home for British politicians, the authors argue, with the average population sizes of the most threatened species in the UK having decreased by two-thirds since 1970.

The UK is described as one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world.

Some 2.2 million tonnes of UK topsoil is eroded annually, and over 17% of arable land shows signs of erosion.

Nearly 85% of fertile peat topsoil in East Anglia has been lost since 1850, with the remainder at risk of being lost over next 30–60 years.

The IPPR says many scientists believe we have entered a new era of rapid environmental change.

The report warns: “We define this as the ‘age of environmental breakdown’ to better highlight the severity of the scale, pace and implications of environmental destabilisation resulting from aggregate human activity.”

Will society take the solutions on offer?

Simon Lewis, Professor of Global Change Science at University College London, told BBC News: “IPPR are right to say that environmental change is happening ever-faster and threatens to destabilise society.

“Future problems with food supplies could cause price spikes that drive civil unrest, while increases in levels of migration can strain societies.

“Both together could overload political institutions and global networks of trade.

“This century will be marked by rapid social and environmental change – that is certain. What is less clear is if societies can make wise political choices to avoid disaster in the future.”

Harriet Bulkeley, a geography professor at Durham University, told BBC News that the IPPR paper was a good interpretation of the current evidence, but she said it raised the question of how firm evidence of environmental threats had to be to prompt government action.

“We know lots of good things to do,” she said, “but often the argument is made that we need to have ‘evidence-based policy’.

“This can, of course, be used as an excuse for delay. So, I guess the question is how much more evidence is needed for action?”

A UK government spokesperson said: “We are committed to leaving our environment in a better state than we found it through our 25 Year Environment Plan and the forthcoming Environment Bill.

“Over 25 years we will replenish depleted soils, rid our seas and rivers of the rubbish trashing our planet, cut greenhouse gas emissions, cleanse our air of toxic pollutants, and develop cleaner, more sustainable energy sources.

“The Environment Bill will also create a new environmental body, the Office for Environmental Protection, to hold us to account on this commitment.”

February 14, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment | Leave a comment

Record USA national debt – topping $22 trillion, and nuclear industry STILL wants tax-payer handouts !

National debt hits new milestone, topping $22 trillionabc 22 now, by MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics WriterWednesday, February 13th 2019 WASHINGTON (AP) — The national debt has passed a new milestone, topping $22 trillion for the first time.

The Treasury Department‘s daily statement showed Tuesday that total outstanding public debt stands at $22.01 trillion. It stood at $19.95 trillion when President Donald Trump took office on Jan. 20, 2017.

The debt figure has been accelerating since the passage of Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax cut in December 2017 and action by Congress last year to increase spending on domestic and military programs.

The national debt is the total of the annual budget deficits. The Congressional Budget Office projects that this year’s deficit will be $897 billion — a 15.1 percent increase over last year’s imbalance of $779 billion. In the coming years, the CBO forecasts that the deficit will keep rising, top $1 trillion annually beginning in 2022 and never drop below $1 trillion through 2029. Much of the increase will come from mounting costs to fund Social Security and Medicare as the vast generation of baby boomers continue to retire.

The Trump administration contends that its tax cuts will eventually pay for themselves by generating faster economic growth. That projection is disputed by many economists…….https://abc22now.com/news/nation-world/national-debt-hits-new-milestone-topping-22-trillion

February 14, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Mental health issues in Kimba, a small Australian agricultural town, because government plans a nuclear waste dump there

Nuclear waste site selection process triggers mental health concerns, business boycotts and division, FOI documents reveal, ABC North and West By Gary-Jon Lysaght  13 Feb 19, (FOI documents are attached on the original) Freedom of Information (FOI) documents reveal the Federal Government has been aware of potential mental health issues, from as early as 2017, caused by the search for a site to store the nation’s nuclear waste.The Federal Government is currently considering two sites at Kimba and one near Hawker for a facility that would permanently store low-level waste and temporarily store medium-level waste.

Kimba, a small town on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, has been divided on whether to support or oppose the facility. Some residents believe the facility could help bring much-needed business to the rural town, while others suggest it could damage the region’s agricultural reputation.

“Many of the opposed group have raised the issue of mental health in submissions and direct discussions,” the FOI documents, written in 2017, said.

They believe mental health issues are arising in Kimba due to the stress of being in this process.

“These issues have been raised with the Kimba doctor and counsellor.”

Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick obtained the Freedom of Information documents and hoped the concerns were a catalyst for change.

“In my view, that creates a very strong obligation for the Government to act,” he said.

“They’ve clearly known about this issue since 2017 and it is now time to ask the minister exactly what he is doing in relation to that.”……. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-13/foi-documents-show-kimba-divided-over-nuclear-waste-site/10807462

February 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, psychology - mental health, social effects, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear energy developers want Trump administration to subsidise their business, in hopes of exporting “new nukes”

CEOs Ask Trump to Help Them Sell Nuclear Power Plants Abroad, Bloomberg, By Jennifer A Dlouhy,  Ari Natter, and Jennifer Jacobs, February 13, 2019,   Executives say they compete with China, Russia and France,  Thriving nuclear development key to U.S. security, they say

U.S. nuclear energy developers on Tuesday met with President Donald Trump and asked for help winning contracts to build power plants in the Middle East and elsewhere overseas……..

……..The push comes as developers seek U.S. government approval of next-generation advanced and small modular nuclear reactors — and the administration’s help in selling their products to the world. The International Atomic Energy Agency predicts that some 554 gigawatts of nuclear electric generating capacity will come online by 2030, a 42 percent increase over current levels.

The White House meeting included representatives from a range of nuclear developers, including NuScale Power LLCTerraPower LLCWestinghouse Electric Co. LLC and General Electric Co, as well as suppliers Centrus Energy Corp. and Lightbridge Corp. and other companies. It was initiated by Jack Keane, a retired Army general and the co-founder of IP3 International, a company that has advocated American nuclear power development in the Middle East, according to two people familiar with the session.

The executives sought to enlist Trump in their bid to make U.S. nuclear power more competitive globally, such as with financing assistance to vie against subsidized companies. Russia, China and France are also seeking to build nuclear plants overseas……….

The developers argued that U.S. national security would be jeopardized if the country cedes its role as a chief developer of civilian nuclear power plants. As the domestic nuclear fleet ages — and the prospects for building a new wave of plants diminish — exporting the technology globally is a way to ensure a robust and thriving U.S. brain trust on nuclear power.

……..One possibility: A directive laying out U.S. nuclear power development as a chief national security goal.

Also on the table: Efforts to secure agreements to share U.S. nuclear technology with Middle East nations, including Jordan and Saudi Arabia. While negotiations for a so-called 123 agreement with Saudi Arabia were damaged after the killing of columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, an agreement with Jordan is also a possibility.

Some nuclear executives also expressed concerns about a raft of policies designed to boost their competitors generating renewable power. The industry representatives meeting with Trump promised to come back in a few months with more concrete ideas.

Separately Tuesday, a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation that would require any nuclear sharing agreement between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. meet the so-called “gold standard” barring enrichment and reprocessing of uranium.

The White House has vowed to help the nuclear power industry, which is struggling to compete with electricity from cheaper natural gas and renewables, but the administration so far hasn’t been able to formulate a plan to do so.

IP3 International is backed by several prominent national security figures, including Keane, whom Trump has considered as a possible defense secretary.

Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser who pleaded guilty to making false and fraudulent statements to the FBI, has been linked to IP3 and was accused of failing to disclose private travel and meetings tied to a plan by Russia and Saudi Arabia to build nuclear plants while seeking a government security clearance.

Representatives of IP3 did not respond to a request seeking comment. A NuScale representative referred questions about the meeting to the U.S. Nuclear Infrastructure Council, which didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for the White House declined to comment.

— With assistance by Alyza Sebenius https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-12/trump-said-to-meet-with-nuclear-developers-looking-globally

February 14, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

France considers fully nationalising EDF nuclear energy company

France Mulls EDF De-Listing Amid Nuclear Challenge This was already looking like being a significant year for EDF after President Emmanuel Macron outlined his vision for French energy policy to shift in favor of renewable energy. From the point of view of investors, re-regulating and restructuring the company’s reactor fleet could be a big value driver, Vincent Ayral, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co, said in Jan. 30 research note.If the government opts for nationalization, the process would be long and require the approval of European antitrust authorities, the person said. France would at the same time have to get the region’s regulator to approve new rules for nuclear power because the current system, designed to boost competition in the French electricity market, expires at the end of 2025, the person added.

Last November, Macron said EDF would halt up to 14 reactors by 2035, with the aim of reducing nuclear power to 50 percent of the electricity mix from 72 percent currently. He delayed a decision to build new atomic plants until at least 2021 and presented plans to boost wind and solar. The president also called for a new regulation of EDF’s nuclear power prices to keep electricity bills under control amid weekly protests against energy costs and taxes.

  • Utility needs funds to maintain or replace aging reactors
  • Restructuring could help EDF to meet long-term challenges

The French government is considering buying out minority shareholders of Electricite de France SA, the first step in a corporate restructuring to address the challenge of replacing the country’s nuclear-power backbone, people familiar with the matter said.

The government has asked EDF, of which it owns 84 percent, to propose changes in its structure. The utility’s cash flows are vulnerable to volatile power prices and intensifying competition, and it’s already struggling to fund billions of euros of investments to maintain or replace its aging reactors.

Major Restructuring

Nuclear dominates French electricity supply, but the government wants a change

EDF is likely to be be taken into full state ownership, with nuclear operations being placed in a parent company and other businesses such as renewables placed in units, said one person at the utility, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private. Nationalization could help the utility cope with the state’s plan to reduce France’s dependence on nuclear power by phasing out some reactors, while also giving it the means to participate in the development of renewable energy, said a person familiar with the government’s thinking.

EDF is likely to be be taken into full state ownership, with nuclear operations being placed in a parent company and other businesses such as renewables placed in units, said one person at the utility, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private. Nationalization could help the utility cope with the state’s plan to reduce France’s dependence on nuclear power by phasing out some reactors, while also giving it the means to participate in the development of renewable energy, said a person familiar with the government’s thinking.

This was already looking like being a significant year for EDF after President Emmanuel Macron outlined his vision for French energy policy to shift in favor of renewable energy. From the point of view of investors, re-regulating and restructuring the company’s reactor fleet could be a big value driver, Vincent Ayral, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co, said in Jan. 30 research note.

If the government opts for nationalization, the process would be long and require the approval of European antitrust authorities, the person said. France would at the same time have to get the region’s regulator to approve new rules for nuclear power because the current system, designed to boost competition in the French electricity market, expires at the end of 2025, the person added.

Last November, Macron said EDF would halt up to 14 reactors by 2035, with the aim of reducing nuclear power to 50 percent of the electricity mix from 72 percent currently. He delayed a decision to build new atomic plants until at least 2021 and presented plans to boost wind and solar. The president also called for a new regulation of EDF’s nuclear power prices to keep electricity bills under control amid weekly protests against energy costs and taxes.

This was already looking like being a significant year for EDF after President Emmanuel Macron outlined his vision for French energy policy to shift in favor of renewable energy. From the point of view of investors, re-regulating and restructuring the company’s reactor fleet could be a big value driver, Vincent Ayral, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co, said in Jan. 30 research note.

If the government opts for nationalization, the process would be long and require the approval of European antitrust authorities, the person said. France would at the same time have to get the region’s regulator to approve new rules for nuclear power because the current system, designed to boost competition in the French electricity market, expires at the end of 2025, the person added.

Last November, Macron said EDF would halt up to 14 reactors by 2035, with the aim of reducing nuclear power to 50 percent of the electricity mix from 72 percent currently. He delayed a decision to build new atomic plants until at least 2021 and presented plans to boost wind and solar. The president also called for a new regulation of EDF’s nuclear power prices to keep electricity bills under control amid weekly protests against energy costs and taxes

February 14, 2019 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

“New nukes” company Terrestrial Energy sets up a new group to promote its (as yet non-existent) molten salt nuclear reactors.

Terrestrial Energy Forms Nuclear Innovation Working Group to Support IMSR Power Plant Development

– Bruce Power, Michael Rencheck, President and CEO — Burns & McDonnell, Glenn Neises, Nuclear Director — SNC-Lavalin, EVP and Candu Energy, President and CEO, William (Bill) A. Fox III, — Corporate Risk Associates Limited, Jasbir Sidhu, CEO — Kinectrics, David Harris, President and CEO — Laker Energy Products, Christopher Hughes, President and CEO — Promation, Mark Zimny, President and CEO — Sargent & Lundy, Michael J. Knaszak, Senior Vice President and Project Director

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Canada, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Theresa May says that UK is still in talks about Wylfa nuclear station plan

Wylfa Newydd: Nuclear plant talks to continue, says May  BBC 13 Feb 19, The UK government will continue talks with the company behind plans for a new nuclear power station in Anglesey, Theresa May has said.The prime minister told MPs that ministers will “support” discussions with Hitachi.

Last month the company announced it would suspend work on the £13bn Wylfa Newydd project because of rising costs.

The government said at the time it had failed to agree terms with Hitachi…….https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-politics-47229383

February 14, 2019 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment