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NuScale includes Romania in its desperate search for taxpayer funding for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

Romania to explore NuScale SMR deployment, WNN, 19 March 2019 An agreement between US small modular reactor (SMR) developer NuScale Power and Romanian energy company Societata Nationala Nuclearelectrica SA (SNN SA) to explore the use of SMRs in Romania has been welcomed by the US Department of Energy (DOE). The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding covering the exchange of business and technical information on NuScale’s nuclear technology, with the goal of evaluating the development, licensing and construction of a NuScale SMR for a “potential similar long-term solution” in Romania……… NuScale has also signed MOUs to explore the deployment of its SMR technology in Canada and Jordan.

March 21, 2019 Posted by | marketing, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | 1 Comment

UK pledges to fully fund EU nuclear-fusion facility

Britain will pay £60 million to keep the Joint European Torus near Oxford running if negotiations to continue EU funding stall. Nature, Elizabeth Gibney, 20 Mar19,

The UK government has said that it will step in to pay for a European Union-funded nuclear-fusion laboratory near Oxford after 29 March, if European cash cannot be agreed in the next ten days.

The Joint European Torus (JET) laboratory currently has only a short-term funding contract with the European Commission, which will run out on 28 March, the day before Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union. Until now, JET has received around 88% of its funding from EU sources, and the remainder from the United Kingdom. Negotiations with the EU to agree a new contract to fund the facility until the end of 2020 are ongoing, but have stalled in part because of uncertainty over Brexit.

In a statement to Parliament on 13 March, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond promised to front up to £60 million (US$80 million) to run the JET in 2019–20, should no new agreement be reached in time.

The £60 million would cover the whole of the lab’s 2019–20 budget, says Ian Chapman, chief executive of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy near Oxford, which hosts JET. Chapman says that the pledge is effectively an “insurance policy”: he is still optimistic that a contract with the EU will be signed in time, and that the commission will continue to fund JET in the long term. “It’s not the intention on either side for [JET] to become a UK facility. This is to make sure we’re covered and operations continue in every eventuality,” he says. ……

Unless the deal is passed by Parliament, or Brexit is delayed, the United Kingdom will leave the EU without a deal. Although it would be possible for the bloc to keep funding JET in a ‘no deal’ Brexit, it is unclear whether this would happen. A UK government spokesperson said that the funding for JET would come from existing funds earmarked for science.

March 21, 2019 Posted by | politics international, technology, UK | 1 Comment

Stop the nuclear bailout,Tom McCarey,Mar 19, 2019

    The push is on in the Pennsylvania Legislature to bail out the nuclear reactors, Exelon in particular. Apparently, this is the state legislature paying back Exelon for all the campaign money it has given the politicians.

I urge readers to contact their representative, senator, the governor and the state’s Public Utility Commission and demand no nuclear bailout!

Under no circumstances should the nuclear industry in Pennsylvania be bailed out in any amount for any reason.

We are being extorted by Exelon with scare tactics and bullying. Exelon considers Pennsylvania a cash cow, and now they want to milk us even more. Ratepayers have had their electric bills go up wherever state governments have knuckled under to the nuclear lobby and bailed them out. There is no reason the free market can’t sort out the problems Exelon is having.

It is not the ratepayers’ fault that Exelon is losing money on some reactors, it is Exelon’s own fault for bad management. And it’s not the ratepayers’ responsibility to open their wallets to give Exelon the profit they seek.

Pennsylvania already has some of the highest electric rates in the country, courtesy of the PA PUC and the inability or unwillingness of the Legislature to protect the ratepayer. If they allow a bailout of Exelon or any other nuclear company, they will be betraying every ratepayer in the commonwealth.

Sign the petition. Stop the nuclear bailout!

March 21, 2019 Posted by | general | 1 Comment

USA pushing mini-nuclear reactors for military reasons

US pursuing mini-nuclear reactors to support military expeditionary capabilities,  Defence Connect, 20 Mar 19, The US military is conducting research into the development of rapidly deployable, container mounted nuclear reactors to support deployed American and allied forces, reducing threats to traditional supply and support convoys…….

The US has initiated a series of programs to develop, test and deploy alternatives to traditional petrol-based fuel systems, particularly for power generation and small-scale manufacturing of key materials like munitions at forward operating bases operating in close proximity to peer-competitors, limiting supply line and convoy exposure to enemy interdiction.  ….. Enter the development of very small modular nuclear reactors (vSMRs), designed to deliver between one and 10 megawatts (MW) for years without refuelling in a rapidly-deployable (road and/or air) package. Both the US Department of Defense and NASA have collaborated on the development of such reactors for use in military and space exploration contingencies.   ………The HOLOS reactor in particular has been designed to support deployed military requirements……..

March 21, 2019 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

EDF Energy extends outages at UK’s Hunterston B nuclear plant

Nina Chestney, Reuters LONDON (20 Mar 19,  – EDF Energy, owned by France’s EDF, has extended outages at two nuclear reactors at its Hunterston B plant in Scotland while it waits for Britain’s nuclear regulator to assess their safety cases.

  • Hunterston B-8 reactor is now expected to restart on April 30, a month later than previously forecast. Hunterston B-7 is scheduled to restart on June 29, compared with a previous date of April 30, according to EDF Energy’s website.
  • In March last year, the two reactors were taken offline to carry out inspections of the graphite core. These confirmed the presence of cracks and showed these were happening at a higher rate than modelled………


March 21, 2019 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Democrat presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard calls for end of ‘wasteful wars,’ nuclear tension

Campaigning in Vegas, Gabbard calls for end of ‘wasteful wars,’ nuclear tension, 19, 2019 at 4:48 AM HST – Updated March 19 at 4:48 AM 

LAS VEGAS (AP) – Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard says her top priorities if she’s elected to the White House in 2020 would be to end military action in countries like Iraq and Syria and to de-escalate tensions with nuclear-armed countries like Russia and China.

The Hawaii congresswoman told a small but diverse crowd in Las Vegas on Monday afternoon that she wants to end what she called “wasteful regime change wars” that are costing the country trillions of dollars and instead spend that money on health care, education and other needs in the U.S.

Gabbard, a 37-year-old combat veteran, was making her first foray into early-nominating state Nevada as a presidential candidate.

She planned to hold a “meet and greet luau” west of the Las Vegas Strip later in the evening.

March 21, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | 2 Comments

Mary Robinson, international climate badass, on why green solutions require a feminist lens, grist

 Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson is a bonafide international environmental badass. Not only was she the first female president of her country, but she has also made climate justice the focus of her foundation.

March 21, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Chelsea Manning – an American hero! Daniel Ellsberg explains

March 21, 2019 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Are the UK’s cracked Hunterston nuclear reactors safe?

The Ferret 19th March 2019  Plans to restart two cracked and ageing reactors at Hunterston in north Ayrshire have again been delayed as operators struggle to convince regulators they are safe.

EDF Energy, the French company that runs Hunterston B nuclear power station, has postponed the restart date for reactor three by two months to 30 June 2019. The restart of reactor four has been postponed a month until 30 April 2019.

Some 370 major cracks have been found in the graphite core of reactor three, which has been closed down for more than a year since 9 March 2018. There are estimated to be around 200 similar cracks in reactor four, which was closed down on 2 October 2018.

The operational safety limit for cracks imposed by the UK government’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is 350. EDF is now trying to convince ONR that reactors should be allowed to operate with up to 700 cracks.

The proposed restart dates for both reactors have been repeatedly delayed over the last six months. They started generating electricity in 1976 and were originally due to close in 2006 – but EDF wants to keep them going until at least 2023.

Critics, however, reiterated calls for the reactors to shut down permanently. “It really is time for EDF to admit that these stations are well past their sell-by date and need to close,” said nuclear consultant, Peter Roche. “They should start talking to the Scottish Government about providing alternative employment opportunities in Ayrshire, preferably by bringing forward decommissioning and dismantling and developing robot technology.”

Rita Holmes, chair of the Hunterston site stakeholder group chair, said that personally she had no doubt that ONR would take time to scrutinise EDF’s safety cases. “Some people find the delays reassuring because EDF is sparing no expense, leaving no stone unturned, consulting the experts in order to build a robust safety case,” she said.

“Some feel the opposite – if it takes EDF that long to provide a robust safety case then maybe there is something far wrong. The safety case might or might not satisfy the regulator………. 

March 21, 2019 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment