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Waste Isolation Pilot Project workers trapped underground during power outage, due to wild weather

WIPP workers trapped underground during power outage

Adrian C Hedden, Carlsbad Current-ArgusPublished 1:14 p.m. MT March 13, 2019 A group of 36 miners at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant were trapped underground in an elevator for about three hours, Tuesday due to a power outage during heavy wind and storms.

The facility also ceased operations Wednesday due to an ongoing threat of heavy, damaging winds.

Tornadoes were confirmed Tuesday night in the Dexter and Loving areas.

Bobby St. John, spokesman for Nuclear Waste Partnership said an initial investigation showed WIPP’s utility provider lost power due to the “extreme weather.”……..

Work stoppage a safety measure

James Mason, acting public affairs manager with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Carlsbad Field Office said pausing WIPP operations on Wednesday was meant to ensure worker safety for commutes to and from the facility during the ongoing heavy winds.

The National Weather Service predicted winds in the area could reach up to 80 mph.

“The decision not to work today was based the prediction of 80 mph wind gusts,” Mason said. “With the community out there, with high-profile traffic, it’s a safety measure.”…….

March 16, 2019 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

New film shows Japan the story of Japanese fishermen exposed to 1954 nuclear bomb test

U.S. film shines light on Japan boat crew exposed to 1954 nuke test, By Miya Tanaka, KYODO NEWS – Mar 14, 2019 – For many Americans, the story of the Japanese fishing crew who were exposed to a U.S. hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific Ocean 65 years ago may be a footnote in history easy to overlook.

But Keith Reimink, a 40-year-old American documentary filmmaker, reacted differently when he came across in 2014 a tiny paragraph mentioning the incident in a nearly 500-page book criticizing the U.S. management of nuclear weapons.

Little was mentioned except for the fact that the 23 Japanese men aboard the tuna fishing vessel Fukuryu Maru No. 5 suffered radiation poisoning and that one of them died. But the Pittsburgh-based movie director was intrigued, and by the end of the year, his group was already in Japan to film interviews with three of the former fishermen.

Four years on, Reimink’s indie film company released last September in the United States a 75-minute documentary called “Day of the Western Sunrise” that depicts the horror of nuclear weapons through the vivid accounts of the fishermen and flashbacks of the incident presented as animation.

“The vast majority of Americans have not heard about any suffering related to nuclear tests after World War II ended…People need to learn about the legacy of nuclear testing in America so that it doesn’t happen again,” Reimink, who made his debut as a film director in 2012, told Kyodo News when he recently came to Japan for the film’s first public screening in the country……….

The film opens by noting that most people believe that Japan’s experience of nuclear weapons ended with the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

But another tragedy occurred on March 1, 1954, when the United States conducted its largest-ever nuclear weapons test, code-named Castle Bravo, at the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The explosion brought higher levels of fallout than predicted, contaminating the islands and boats sailing in the vicinity.

The three former Fukuryu Maru members recall in the film the moment of the blast that forever changed their lives. As a flash lit up the western sky, one of them shouted, “The sun rises in the west!”

A total of 22 crew members survived the initial illness, but further hardships awaited them. They were shunned by the local community amid rumors that radiation sickness was communicable, sometimes rejected when seeking marriage partners and haunted by fears that the exposure might still affect their health and their offspring as well.

Matashichi Oishi, 85, who has been the most active among the survivors in recounting his experiences in public, talks in the film about his first child being stillborn and deformed, which he kept a secret for a long time. “It could happen to anyone who is exposed to radiation,” he warns………

The footage revealed “personal and intimate” accounts of the fishermen, leading Reimink to think that the film should be “a Japanese story” and that there is “no room for an American opinion.”

As well as insisting on the narrator speaking in Japanese against the advice of many people, Reimink adopted an animation style inspired by Japanese traditional “kamishibai” storytelling that combines hand-drawn visuals with engaging narration.

The use of animation did not just help keep the production cost low, compared with using expensive archival footage, but is also expected to increase the educational potential for children of all ages, including for those who may be too small to understand the whole story but still are able to engage with the pictures………

March 16, 2019 Posted by | Resources -audiovicual | Leave a comment

UK govt’s health study of nuclear veterans – but they’ve lost half the records

Nuclear test guinea pigs study announced – then Government admits it’s lost half of them

Veterans say the research is meaningless, and demand a long-promised medal review By Susie Boniface,  14 MAR 2019 

The government has “lost” all trace of almost half its nuclear veterans – making a mockery of a planned health study.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson is now facing calls to cancel the expensive and “meaningless research” which survivors of the bomb tests say has no chance of proving their claims to have been irradiatedduring Cold War radiation experiments.

It comes after officials at Public Health England, which is conducting the six-figure study, admitted they have no way of checking the health of all 22,000 servicemen who took part in the 1950s tests.

Alan Owen, chairman of the British Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association, said: “We have been palmed off with meaningless research that has no chance of being definitive or accurate. The only reason for continuing it is shameless PR.

“Mr Williamson should cancel this useless study immediately, and use the money to provide our veterans with a medal for their exemplary service.”

Several studies have been carried out since the 1980s into the veterans’ rate of cancer, which if accurate could indicate radiation exposure.

But veterans says they are flawed because they compare the health of scientists with soldiers, and the health effects of smaller weapons that had fewer eyewitnesses with massive hydrogen bombs. Many of the servicemen lived in the fallout of such weapons for more than a year.

In 1983 the MoD said it could find records of only 85 per cent of those present, and now PHE staff have admitted they have lost almost half.

An official has now said privately to campaigners that they can trace 12,000 deaths of veterans for the research, but details for the remaining 9,400 people – or 44 per cent of the total – are missing from the records.

Those who have moved abroad, not registered with a GP after moving home, or who use private doctors will not be included. If a veterans’ NHS number becomes inactive they cannot be tracked for the study.

The Ministry of Defence did not confirm the figures that were leaked to the veterans.

A spokesman MoD said: “Around 2,000 [of the veterans] have emigrated and around 100 have not yet been traced. We continue to follow up with the remainder and are confident this study will bring the current information up to date.”

March 16, 2019 Posted by | health, UK | Leave a comment

Anniversary of Three Mile Island nuclear disaster soon – nuclear is not a solution to climate change

Is nuclear part of a solution to climate change? Houston Chronicle , March 13, 2019 

Now, as presidential candidates discuss a Green New Deal, it is easy to envision renewed interest in nuclear to reduce our nation’s impact on global climate….

Nevertheless, we should be cautious about nuclear.

We’ve seen two big examples of the dangers of nuclear power beyond the partial meltdown of a reactor at Three Mile Island, located near Harrisburg in Dauphin County. The 1986 disaster at Chernobyl left about 1,000 square miles of land uninhabitable by humans for the foreseeable future, including dangerous levels of Plutonium-239 in the soil. Plutonium-239 has a half-life of 24,000 years.

Imagine the same for a nuclear power plant near you. For central North Carolina, where I live, this would involve the exposure of 2 million people and the instantaneous and permanent abandonment of the campuses of Duke, N.C. State and the University of North Carolina.

The half-life of some of the other radioactive elements released at Chernobyl, such as Cesium-137 and Strontium-90, is about 30 years. Unfortunately, the contamination of the environment by these isotopes was more widespread, in part because they are lighter and more easily carried by winds and water. In this case, Cesium-137 was transported in the atmosphere and deposited in the United Kingdom, where dangerous levels may persist in the soil for more than 100 years. Levels of cesium in some sheep, which fed on grasses in contaminated soils, are above the standards for human consumption.

Nuclear advocates are quick to point out that some wildlife populations in the exclusion zone have increased dramatically — perhaps as a result of the relaxation of hunting and other human pressures after 1986. But the higher incidence of albinism in local barn swallows should be a reminder that radiation-induced genetic mutations afflict wildlife populations and potentially humans as well. Higher incidence of thyroid cancer and genetic irregularities are reported from human populations around Chernobyl.

Severe contamination of the local environment also resulted from the disaster at Fukushima. It is unclear whether some areas will ever be inhabited again. The worst effects of a nuclear disaster are normally found in the region around the event itself, but fallouts spread worldwide. Within a month of the catastrophe in Japan, elevated levels of Iodine-131 and Cesium-137 were recorded in rainfall collected by the National Atmospheric Deposition Stations (NADP) across the United States.

With nuclear power comes the associated problems of waste disposal, which have yet to be addressed effectively in the United States. And a proliferation of nuclear power also enhances the likelihood that nuclear materials will be diverted to nefarious purposes, such as the production of a “dirty bomb” by terrorists.

Stripped of subsidies, the cost of nuclear power is higher than that for solar and wind power to generate electricity. When the hidden costs are included, there is no contest.

Nuclear power may appear to be clean. We see no equivalent to black-lung disease among coal miners, no mercury accumulations in fishes downwind and no carbon dioxide emissions that change our climate globally. But when there is a problem with nuclear power, it is sure to be large, persistent and biocidal for the persistence of life on Earth.

Accidents always happen; we cannot afford an accident with nuclear power.

William Schlesinger H. is the James B. Duke professor emeritus of biogeochemistry and former dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University.

March 16, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

$70 billion price tag for restarting Taiwan’s No. 4 nuclear plant project , and that’s not counting wastes costs

Restarting No. 4 nuclear plant project could cost NT$70 billion: AEC Focus Taiwan, 2019/03/14   Taipei, March 14 (CNA) It could cost an estimated NT$60-70 billion (US$1.94-2.26 billion) and take at least 10 years to revive the mothballed fourth nuclear power plant at Longmen in New Taipei’s Gongliao District, Atomic Energy Council (AEC) Minister Hsieh Shou-shing (謝曉星) said Thursday.

However, Hsieh said that a decision to search for a final disposal repository for radioactive waste has not been reached and he declined to answer the question of when the location of a final repository can be determined, because no cities or counties in the country are willing to have such a facility in their localities.

Hsieh was responding to a legislator’s questioning about restarting the nuclear plant project during a legislative hearing, as the topic has sparked considerable debate after pro-nuclear energy activists recently proposed a referendum on the issue……..

 the ministry also cited Taipower estimates that it would require about NT$47.8 billion to revive the nuclear plant and put it into commercial operation, adding that the amount could be even higher than that.

(By Liu Lee-jung and Evelyn Kao)

March 16, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, Taiwan | Leave a comment

United States, Russia, France, China, UK all preach peace, while making a bonanza from weapons sales

Preaching World Peace by Day, Peddling Lethal Weapons By Night By Thalif Deen  UNITED NATIONS, Mar 11 2019 (IPS) – The Middle East, one of the world’s most politically-volatile and war-ravaged regions, has doubled its arms imports during the past five years, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The sharp increase in arms purchases has been triggered – directly or indirectly—by several conflicts and civil wars in the region, primarily the devastating four-year-old military conflict in Yemen which has resulted in “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis” with more than 5,000 civilians either killed or wounded in 2018.

The latest figures on military sales released by SIPRI March 11 also identifies the world’s five largest arms exporters in 2014–18, namely, the United States, Russia, France, Germany and China. (with the exception of Germany, all four are permanent members of the UN Security Council, along with UK, the sixth largest arms exporter).

Together, they accounted for a hefty 75 per cent of the total volume of arms exports in 2014–18.

The Security Council, the most powerful UN body dealing largely with conflict-resolution, relentlessly preaches the message of peace to the world at large– while all five of its permanent members (P-5s) are peddling arms and sustaining conflicts – in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and fuelling the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The warring parties in all of these conflicts are using weapons either from the US, France, UK, China or Russia—or are receiving military intelligence and air support from the five big powers.

One Asian diplomat put it this way: “They are retailing peace while wholesaling arms”.

SIPRI said arms imports by states in the Middle East increased by 87 per cent between 2009–13 and 2014–18 and accounted for 35 per cent of global arms imports in 2014–18.

Saudi Arabia became the world’s largest arms importer in 2014–18, with an increase of 192 per cent compared with 2009–13.

Arms imports by Egypt, the third largest arms importer in 2014–18, tripled (206 per cent) between 2009–13 and 2014–18 while arms imports by Israel (354 per cent), Qatar (225 per cent) and Iraq (139 per cent) also rose between 2009–13 and 2014–18, according to SIPRI.

However, Syria’s arms imports fell by 87 per cent, despite an ongoing eight-year-old civil war in that country which is militarily supported by Russia and China………

March 16, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA Government Accounting Office reports lack of financial oversight at Hanford and other nuclear sites

March 16, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Fukushima Prefecture to lose 15 high schools, due to population decline

As population declines, Fukushima Prefecture to lose 15 of its 96 high schools, Japan Times , FUKUSHIMA MINPO, MAR 15, 2019

The Fukushima Prefectural Board of Education will reduce its number of prefecture-run high schools by 15 by the end of fiscal 2023 as the region continues to struggle with a dwindling number of students due to a declining birthrate.

The mergers will be implemented over the span of three years from fiscal 2021 and will reduce the number of high schools in the prefecture from 96 to 81.

Twenty-five schools will be merged and reorganized into 13 under the plan, which will integrate schools located in close proximity of one another. Each school will retain four to six classes per grade.

With the merger, the prefecture’s 88 day schools and seven night schools will be reduced to 74 and six, respectively, by the end of March 2024, according to the education board’s reform plan revealed Feb. 8. Fukushima’s only correspondence school will remain open………

March 16, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, social effects | Leave a comment

Top general opposes U.S. plan for ‘no first use’ nuclear doctrine

Top general opposes shift to ‘no first use’ nuclear doctrine  – The Washington Times – Thursday, March 14, 2019

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff came out forcefully against a change in U.S. military policy which say the U.S. would not be the first to use nuclear weapons on a conflict with an adversary.

The “no first use” policy has been embraced by several Democratic candidates running for president in 2020, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who co-sponsored a bill in January that would establish in law that the U.S. would not be the first to use nuclear weapons.

But Gen. Joseph Dunford told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Thursday that “I absolutely believe that the current policy is the right policy.”

The Pentagon has long resisted adopting a blanket “no first use” doctrine in its nuclear strategy.

“I wouldn’t make any decisions to simplify an adversary’s decision-making calculus,” Gen. Dunford told lawmakers. “I can also imagine a few situations where we wouldn’t want to remove that option from the president.”

March 16, 2019 Posted by | politics international, United Arab Emirates, weapons and war | Leave a comment

‘We are looking at a global arms race now.’

A budding nuclear threat, from more than just the usual suspects, Christian Science Monitor ,By Howard LaFranchi Staff writer,Peter Ford Staff writer, Ann Scott Tyson Staff writer, Fred Weir Correspondent. 15 Mar 19WASHINGTON


As the U.S. and Russia back away from arms control, how worried should the world be? Says an expert in China, which has the world’s largest arsenal of ground-launched missiles: ‘We are looking at a global arms race now.’

………. The recent flare-up of tensions between India and Pakistan has served as a reminder that even conflicts between regional rivals can pose a global threat when the antagonists possess nuclear weapons. A growing alarm has spread across Asia as an increasingly assertive China expands its nuclear arsenal and deploys missiles around its periphery at a pace that has given it the world’s largest ground-launched missile arsenal.

Moreover, the advent of cybersecurity risks and the specter of nuclear powers hacking into and controlling adversaries’ arsenals adds a new element of uncertainty and instability to the already worrisome prospects of a post-arms control world.

Still it’s largely the U.S. and Russia, which together possess more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons, that are setting the tone. And the two nuclear giants appear to be dismantling, step by step, the arms control regime that has limited their deployment of new weapons systems and indeed had them reducing nuclear weapons stockpiles over recent decades. The risk is not just that the two major nuclear powers get back into an arms race, but that other states respond to rising tensions by joining the buildup. A Japan rattled by a nuclear buildup already has the technology and material to “go nuclear” with a weapon in a matter of months, experts say, while the decades-old specter of a Middle East nuclear arms race has been revived by Trump administration efforts to sell nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia that could be used to build a bomb.

“We’re pulling down the last pillars of the arms control building that has provided us with some degree of security and stability for five decades,” says Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund in Washington and a longtime nuclear policy expert. “If the small and medium states decide to take their cue from the big boys,” he adds, “it’s ‘Gentlemen, start your engines!’ ”

After dropping hints for months, the U.S. announced in February its withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which since 1987 has banned the deployment in Europe of all intermediate-range nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles. These are considered among the most destabilizing weapons systems because of the short time it takes (average six minutes) from launch to hitting their target.

The U.S. said it was pulling out of the Cold War-era accord over Russian violations. While arms control experts agree that Russia has been violating the treaty for a half-decade, most also say the U.S. withdrawal hands President Vladimir Putin the double-headed political victory he wants – an excuse to free Moscow from the INF Treaty’s limitations while blaming its demise on Washington.

ndeed, Mr. Putin wasted no time in ratcheting up the Cold War “we will bury you” rhetoric. In his Feb. 20 state of the nation address, he told members of the Russian Duma that if the U.S. deploys intermediate-range missiles in Europe, Russia will not only do the same – but will deploy its new Zircon hypersonic missile to target “those regions … where decisions are taken on using those missile systems threatening us” – meaning, of course, the U.S.

More worrying still for many in the arms control community, both in and out of government and among America’s allies, is what follows INF’s demise. A White House that came into office withdrawing the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal is now debating whether to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with Russia beyond its expiration in 2021.

If New START – which puts a cap of 1,550 on the long-range nuclear weapons each power can deploy – is also allowed to lapse, it will be the first time since 1972 that the world’s two nuclear-weapons behemoths have no arms control constraints holding them back from a new arms race.

“We have destroyed the old framework of arms control without having anything to replace it with,” says Andrey Kortunov, director of the foreign ministry-linked Russian International Affairs Council. “It’s my hope that big powers will realize that they need arms control, perhaps in a multilateral rather than the old bilateral form, but something that will roll back the most destabilizing weapons and build trust.” ………

The next big test of arms control diplomacy’s flagging fortunes will be New START and whether the U.S. and Russia decide to extend the decade-old treaty or let it die. The provision for a five-year extension of the treaty’s terms is already in the document, so “it would just take Putin and Trump sitting down and signing an agreement,” Mr. Kimball says. “It could be done with a big Sharpie pen. But it does require the will to sign something that is not just in your interest but is in the other side’s as well.”

Beyond agreements between the U.S. and Russia, experts say ways must be found to convince China and other regional powers that nuclear reductions are in their interest as well. Moreover, perhaps the biggest challenge on the horizon will be bringing emerging technologies such as cyber- and space weaponry under the umbrella of international limits and prohibition.

……….. Europe has been the biggest beneficiary of the INF Treaty. It eliminated thousands of nuclear missiles from the continent and helped end the Cold War. Even so, European governments have made remarkably little fuss about the treaty’s imminent demise. …….

March 16, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Brazil Seeks Nuclear Pact With U.S. During Bolsonaro’s Visit

Bloomberg, By  Sabrina Valle  March 15, 2019, 
  •  Minister says he wants Brazil open to uranium mining companies
  •  Government also supports construction of new nuclear plants

Brazil’s energy minister said the country plans to sign an accord next week with President Donald J. Trump that could pave the way for U.S. companies to explore the Latin American country for uranium and invest in new nuclear-power plants.

Bento Albuquerque, a former admiral who once ran the Brazilian Navy’s atomic program, met with U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry in Houston this week and discussed creating a bilateral forum on energy cooperation that would include nuclear projects. That’s expected to be part of a memorandum signed by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on his first trip to the White House next week, Albuquerque said Thursday in an interview.

The proposed collaboration is another element of the Bolsonaro administration’s push to align with Trump……

March 16, 2019 Posted by | Brazil, marketing, USA | Leave a comment

Yamaguchi court rejects residents’ call to halt last Ikata nuclear reactor in Ehime Prefecture 

Japan Times, KYODO  A district court on Friday rejected a plea by residents to halt a reactor at the Ikata nuclear power plant in Ehime Prefecture.

The decision by the Iwakuni branch of the Yamaguchi District Court is in line with rulings made by other regional courts and allows the No. 3 reactor to continue operating. The plant is managed by Shikoku Electric Power Co.

Unit No. 3, the sole remaining reactor at the plant, passed the state safety screening process that was revamped in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis. But concerns remain about its safety, which led residents to turn to the courts to seek an injunction.

Of the more than 30 reactors in Japan, excluding those set to be decommissioned, only a few are in operation.

A previous order forcing a halt in operations was issued by the Hiroshima High Court in December 2017, citing the risk of an eruption at the caldera of Mount Aso about 130 kilometers away. The decision was overturned in September 2018 and the utility company restarted the unit a month later. …….

The plaintiffs pointed out that pyroclastic flows from possible catastrophic eruptions could reach the plant.

They also said the utility underestimated the fact that the reactor sits on the median tectonic line, a massive fault zone, as well as the potential damage from a massive earthquake off the Pacific coast of central and western Japan…….

March 16, 2019 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

Confessions of a Rogue Nuclear Regulator – Gregory Jaczko

Riding the Wild Bull of Nuclear Power, Counter Punch,  

From atomic theory to nukes“…….Jaczko’s three-and-a-half years tenure as the chairman of NRC was stormy. The nuclear industry and its supporters in Congress could not stand him. The idea of reform or regulation was an anathema. In fact, the industry was so successful in its propaganda it had convinced Americans nuclear power was safe: don’t expect any accident at the nuclear power plants.

The other commissioners and senior staff looked at Jaczko with suspicion and mistrust. Here was a young man, younger than most of them, being their boss and constantly probing them to protect public health and the environment.

Running Jaczko out of town

Even the Fukushima tragedy made no difference. Jaczko was convinced NRC was a hopeless case, being a subsidiary of the nuclear industry.

“I eventually got run out of town because I saw things up close that I was not meant to see: an agency overwhelmed by the industry it is supposed to regulate and a political system determined to keep it that way,” he wrote.

The Fukushima “cataclysm” finally convinced him that “nuclear power is a failed technology.” Keep using it and it will bring “catastrophe in this country or somewhere else in the world,” he wrote.

I sympathize with the mental anguish and humiliations Jaczko suffered for trying to improve the safety of a dangerous technology. And shame on the Obama administration for missing a rare opportunity to get the country out of the nightmare embedded in nuclear power.

Jaczko had the courage to insist things  had to improve at NRC and the nuclear power plants. He knows what he is talking about. Like other dangerous technologies, nukes have no place in a civilized society.

I love Jaczko’s book: Confessions of a Rogue Nuclear Regulator. It’s a passionate and personal account of what happens to honest bureaucrats trying to use science and the government in the public interest. It’s also a riveting true story, well-written, insightful, very timely, and extremely important. In addition, the book is a warning from the horse’s mouth: nuclear power plants will continue melting down; they are ticking time bombs. And in the words of Jaczko: “Nuclear power… is large and bulky and will lumber into extinction.”

March 16, 2019 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

South Korea: Nuclear reactor shut after ‘malfunction’

Hanbit 5 nuclear reactor has been shut down twice in last six months, local media report says
Riyaz ul Khaliq   |15.03.2019 , ANKARA

A nuclear reactor in South Korea has been shut down on Friday following a technical glitch, local media reported.

According to Yonhap news agency, South Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) announced 1 million-kilowatt Hanbit No. 5 in Yeonggwang region “stopped operating at around 1.25 p.m. (0425GMT), apparently due to a malfunction in its transformer”.

South Korea has six operational reactors at the Hanbit plant. The same nuclear reactor was shut down last September for its regular examination. It restarted generating power in November.

KHNP said that the malfunction in the nuclear reactor “did not cause any radiation leak or pose safety risks”.

Yonhap reported that South Korean officials have opened an investigation into what caused the malfunction in the Hanbit plant.

Hanbit No. 5 is expected to resume its operation as soon as inspections are completed, the news agency said.

March 16, 2019 Posted by | safety, South Korea | Leave a comment

South Jersey nuclear power stations headed for big profits, but still beg for subsidies


Independent market monitor concludes that South Jersey plants, for which company is seeking $300 million in annual state aid, will net big profits over the next few years.

Coal and nuclear plants increased their profits last year, a finding in a new report that might undercut efforts to win subsidies for New Jersey’s three nuclear power plants.

In its annual State of the Market Report for the regional transmission organization PJM, the independent market monitor concluded that energy prices are not too low in the nation’s largest power grid, which includes New Jersey. Net revenues increased for all types of power plants, significantly so for coal and nuclear units, in 2018, according to the report.

The assessment differs sharply from what PSEG Nuclear has argued to legislators and state regulators in seeking up to $300 million in annual ratepayer subsidies to avert the closing of its three nuclear units in South Jersey. Without the subsidies, PSEG executives have said the plants will close, possibly beginning this fall with its Hope Creek unit.

The report, prepared by Joseph Bowring, the market monitor, used publicly available data, to assess the competitiveness of the energy market and to address, the economic viability of nuclear units within the PJM. Bowring also is an intervenor in the nuclear subsidy case before the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.

Of 18 nuclear plants in the region only three are operating with shortfalls, and these are scheduled to close, according to the report. (Two of the three plants are in Ohio; the other is Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania.)

Proof the plants ‘do not need’ to be subsidized

On the other hand, PSEG’s plants would net a surplus over each of the next three years, ranging about $50 million annually for Hope Creek, and around $100 million a year for the two Salem units, according to the report.

“This is confirmation that the plants do not need to be subsidized,’’ said John Shelk, president and CEO of the Electric Power Supply Association, a trade group of power companies that has opposed the subsidies……..

The report also downplayed the prospect of increased retirement of coal and nuclear plants. “The level of retirements does not pose a reliability issue in PJM and does not imply a fuel security issue,’’ according to the report.

The state is expected to make a decision on whether to give the nuclear units a subsidy by mid-April. However, that may not end the debate over the future of nuclear power in New Jersey, according to one analyst.

“Regardless of what happens over the next three years, there’s more to this issue over the long term,’’ said Paul Patterson, an energy analyst at Glenrock Associates. “You are looking at efforts to reduce energy consumption and increase the use of renewables by 50 percent in 10 years. You have to wonder what this means for nuclear power.’’

March 16, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment