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China absolutely clear on its policy of No First Use of Nuclear Weapons

July 25, 2019 Posted by | China, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New report: nuclear energy cannot be classified as “clean”, nor as economic

Nuclear: A poor investment strategy for clean energy

The study undertook an empirical survey of the 674 nuclear plants that have ever been built to demonstrate that private economic interests were not the motive, but instead have been driven by military interests.

“Nuclear power was never designed for commercial electricity generation; it was aimed at nuclear weapons. That is why nuclear electricity has been and will continue to be uneconomical,” says Christian von Hirschhausen, coauthor of the study.

In its Monte Carlo simulation model developed for the net present value of a 1 GW nuclear plant, the study found that expected loss of revenues range between 1.5 and 8.9 billion euros.  The model built in a variety of factors including the wholesale cost of electricity (20-80 euros/MWh), specific investment costs (4,000-9,000 euros/kW) and the weighted average cost of capital (4-10%). In the Monte Carlo analysis, researchers argue that, in all cases, nuclear investment would generate significant financial losses.

Expanding beyond lacking economic sustainability, the report goes on to further undermine international debates and policies which support nuclear as a part of climate action strategies. “Nuclear energy is by no means clean. Its radioactivity will endanger humans and the natural world for over one million years,” says von Hirschhausen.

The report calls out the International Energy Agency for recently suggesting nuclear energy in a clean energy system and for its encouragement of subsidies to the technology and its suppliers. Policies and frameworks around the world have incorporated nuclear power into the mix of future energy production. The EU Clean Energy Package built to support climate protection contains service life extensions for a number of nuclear plants and also recommends building more than 100 new plants by 2050.

“Describing nuclear energy as “clean” ignores the significant environmental risks and radioactive emissions it engenders along the process chain and beyond,” the report concludes.

Despite DIW’s warnings against costs and dangers, nuclear power capacity is increasing worldwide, even though solar and wind are taking front-runner positions as the cheapest grid-connected sources of energy. According to the World Nuclear Association, there are currently 50 reactors under construction, with more than 100 nuclear power reactors are on order or planned, and more than 300 additional plants proposed.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, Reference | Leave a comment

Nuclear reactors at Fukushima No 2 plant to be decommissioned

Tepco says it will decommission nuclear reactors at Fukushima No. 2 plant, 24 July 19,

  Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. will decommission the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant, its president, Tomoaki Kobayakawa, told Fukushima Gov. Masao Ochibori at a meeting Wednesday.

The facility is the second nuclear plant that the utility company has decided to decommission after accepting it would need to shutter the nearby Fukushima No. 1 plant, which was crippled by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster in the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.

Tepco’s decision to scrap Fukushima No. 2, which is expected to cost some ¥280 billion ($2.6 billion), will be formally approved at the company’s board meeting later this month if local municipalities accept the plan.

The prefecture has demanded the utility scrap the reactors at Fukushima No. 2, saying their existence would hamper its reconstruction efforts. The plant has been offline since its operations were suspended due to the 2011 disaster.

If the plan goes ahead, all 10 nuclear reactors in the prefecture — four at the No. 2 plant and six at the No. 1 facility — will be scrapped.

It will also leave the utility company with only the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture and the planned Higashidori nuclear plant in Aomori Prefecture.

Kobayakawa said at the meeting, also attended by the mayors of the two towns — Naraha and Tomioka — that host the plant, that Tepco plans to build a new on-site storage facility for spent nuclear fuel from the reactors at the Fukushima No. 2 plant.

The fuel will be placed in metallic containers and cooled using a dry storage approach, according to the operator.

No decision has been made regarding final disposal of the spent fuel, raising concerns that the radioactive waste may remain on-site for a long time.

The Fukushima No.2 plant currently has around 10,000 assemblies of spent fuel cooling in pools.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | decommission reactor, Japan | Leave a comment

Renewable energy providing more electricity than coal and nuclear power combined in Germany

Renewable energy providing more electricity than coal and nuclear power combined in Germany Independent  Solar, wind, biomass and hydroelectric power generates nearly half of country’s output.   Emma Snaith, 25 Jul 19, 

Renewable sources of energy produced more electricity than coal and nuclear power combined for the first time in Germany, according to new figures.

Solar, wind, biomass and hydroelectric power generation accounted for 47.3 per cent of the country’s electricity production in the first six months of 2019, while 43.4 per cent came from coal-fired and nuclearpower plants.

Around 15 per cent less carbon dioxide was produced than in the same period last year, according to figures published by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) in July.

However, some scientists have attributed the high renewable power output to favourable weather patterns and “market-driven events”.

Fabian Hein, from the think tank Agora Energiewende, told Deutsche Welle the 20 per cent increase in wind production was the result of particularly windy conditions in 2019……..

Renewables accounted for 40 per cent of Germany’s electricity consumption in 2018, according to government figures.

While in the UK, 29 per cent of electricity was sourced from renewables last year.

Germany is aiming to phase out its nuclear power plants by 2022. Its renewable energy has been rising steadily over the last two decades thanks in part to the Renewable Energy Act (EEG), which was reformed last year to cut costs for consumers.

But Germany still relies heavily on coal, gas and lignite for its energy needs.

Germany’s reluctance to end its dependence on coal saw hundreds of climate activists storm one of the country’s biggest open-pit coal mines in June to protest against fossil fuel use.

..electricity production from solar panels rose by six per cent, natural gas by 10 per cent, while the share of nuclear power in the country’s electricity production has remained virtually unchanged.


July 25, 2019 Posted by | Germany, renewable | Leave a comment

A layman’s guide to the ‘Regulated Asset Base’ that will fund Sizewell C nuclear power plant.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

UK’s love-in with “an innovative funding model” does not hide the hideous expense of nuclear power

Guardian 23rd July 2019 Let’s face it: nuclear power is hideously dear and far from ideal. The
government should be backing renewables, not tying itself to an expensive
nuclear future. That bill-payers got stuffed in the deal that brought the
Hinkley Point C project into existence is beyond dispute these days.

Even government ministers barely quibble with the National Audit Office’s
assessment that consumers will be paying through the nose for 35 years.

Instead, the defence has tended to run along these lines: don’t worry,
we’ve triggered a “resurgence” in the nuclear industry in the UK and
the next reactors will be relative bargains.

Now here’s the government’s latest effort to resurrect the show – “an innovative
funding model”. Of course, it’s not really innovative. The “regulated
asset base” (RAB) approach, which could be used at Sizewell B in Suffolk,
and is intended to copy the design of Hinkley, is common in other parts of
the utility world.

Aside from exposing consumers to the cost of overruns,
RAB in effect also requires them to provide financing at zero interest, a
point made by the National Infrastructure Commission last year. Little
wonder, then, that the juice should be cheaper than Hinkley’s – some of
the costs will be hidden from view.

The same NIC report said: “There is limited experience of using the RAB model for anything as complex and risky as nuclear.” Second, no financing model can disguise the core truth about
nuclear – the technology is hideously expensive. Even after recognising
the need to have secure “baseload” supplies, it recommended
commissioning only one more nuclear plant, on top of Hinkley, before 2025.

That remains a commonsense analysis. Renewables are winning the price race.
Let us pray, then, that a love-in with RAB does not reignite ministerial
fantasies about a “resurgence” in nuclear. We don’t want a
resurgence. We want to build as few new reactors as possible.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Climate change’s impacts on the nuclear industry – wildfires shut down parts of Idaho nuclear research site

Idaho nuclear research site shuts down some operations because of wildfire
The public has not been threatened as the 90,000-acre blaze burns near the Idaho National Laboratory, NBC News, July 24, 2019, By Phil Helsel

A brush fire that has burned about 90,000 acres in Idaho has curtailed much of the staff at one of the nation’s leading nuclear research facilities, officials said Tuesday.

No injuries have been reported, and there has been no damage or threats to buildings at the Idaho National Laboratory since the fire was sparked in grassland near the center about 6:30 p.m. Monday.

“The public has not been threatened at all,” Juan Alvarez, chief operations officer for the national lab, said at a news conference Tuesday……..

July 25, 2019 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

UK government commits to ordering mini nuclear reactors from Rolls Royce

Rolls-Royce gets government commitment for mini nuclear reactors UK aero-engine maker seeks to spearhead development of export-led industry Sylvia Pfeifer in London, 24 July 19, 

Although the initial commitment is just £18m, it will allow the consortium to mature the design of the reactors. The move, which is subject to a final sign-off, would still require significant levels of additional investment before the reactors can become a commercial reality. The UK aero-engine maker has long argued that its technology in this sphere should be regarded as a “national endeavour” to develop nuclear skills that can be used to create an export-led industry.

A consortium spokesperson said on Tuesday that the £18m investment would be used to “mature the design, address the considerable manufacturing technology requirements and to progress the regulatory licensing process”. He added: “We believe with early co-investment by the government, this power station design is a compelling commercial opportunity.”

Rolls-Royce and its team, which includes Laing O’Rourke and Arup, was one of several consortiums that bid in an initial government-sponsored competition launched in 2015 to find the most viable technology for a new generation of small nuclear modular reactors (SMRs). Most of these will not be commercial until the 2030s

Supporters argue that they can deliver nuclear power at lower cost and reduced risk. They will draw on modular manufacturing techniques that will reduce construction risk, which has plagued larger-scale projects. However, when a nuclear sector deal was finally unveiled last June, the government allocated funding only for more advanced modular reactors.

MRs, which typically use water-cooled reactors similar to existing nuclear power stations, were omitted from funding even though they were closer to becoming commercial. Rolls-Royce threatened last summer that it would shut down the project if there was no meaningful support from the government.

Ministers have in recent months scrambled to recast Britain’s energy policy after the collapse of plans to build several large reactors and on Monday evening published proposals to finance new nuclear plants by having taxpayers pay upfront through their energy bills. The government added that, as part of its plans to fund advanced nuclear technologies, it would make an “initial award” of up to £18m under the industrial strategy challenge fund to the Rolls-Royce-led consortium in the autumn. The consortium has said any government funding will be matched in part by contributions from the companies as well as by raising funds from third-party organisations.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | Leave a comment

Danger in Using Commercial Satellites To Control Nuclear Weapons

Using Commercial Satellites To Control Nuclear Weapons Is A Bad Idea — But
It’s Being Discussed Forbes, Loren Thompson 24 July 19, “……. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the appearance of new
threats, though, the sense of urgency about nuclear security has waned. The
infrastructure supporting nuclear deterrence has decayed to a point where all three
legs of the strategic “triad”—land-based missiles, sea-based missiles and long-range
bombers—need to be replaced. Meanwhile, the architecture used to command and
control nuclear forces has changed little since the Reagan era.
Against this backdrop, the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force said something curious at a meeting of
the Mitchell Institute on June 26. The institute recently produced a report focused on the need to
modernize technology for nuclear command and control. General David Goldfein opined that ongoing
efforts to network the Air Force were as relevant to control of nuclear forces as conventional forces.
In particular, he mentioned the “rapid and exciting expansion of commercial space”
as a trend that might facilitate the creation of resilient links for communicating with
nuclear forces. I was unaware of the chief’s comments until I saw a story by Mandy
Mayfield of National Defense Magazine entitled, “Air Force Wants To Utilize
Commercial Satellites For Nuclear Command, Control.” The Air Force is responsible
for most of the 200 systems comprising the nuclear command and control system, so
General Goldfein’s thoughts have to be taken seriously even if they are just random
This particular idea is dangerous.
Commercial satellites lack virtually all of the security features that would be
necessary to assure control of the nuclear arsenal in a crisis. First of all, they are not
survivable against a wide array of threats that China and Russia have begun posing
to U.S. orbital assets, ranging from kinetic attacks to electronic jamming to
electromagnetic pulse. Second, they are susceptible to cyber intrusion via their
ground stations that could impede their performance. Third, they frequently contain
foreign components, including in-orbit propulsion technology made in Russia, which
might be manipulated in a crisis or simply become unavailable during wartime.
Air Force planners presumably know all this, so why would General Goldfein suggest
relying on commercial satellites to execute the military’s most fateful decisions?
Perhaps for the same reason that the Army is backing into reliance on commercial
satellites for its next-generation battlefield networks. There are so many commercial
constellations in operation that it seems unlikely America’s enemies could shut them
all down in wartime, and they are a lot cheaper to use than orbiting dedicated military
satcoms with the requisite capacity and redundancy.
“Resilience” has become the watchword for modernizing military space activities, and
one way of creating resilience is to proliferate the pathways available for vital
communications to a point where adversaries can’t keep up with all the possible

options available to U.S. commanders. The same logic is leading technologists to
propose large numbers of cheap satellites in low-earth orbit as an adjunct to existing
military satcoms.
These “cheapsats” wouldn’t be anywhere near as capable as the secure
communications assets that Washington has placed in geostationary orbits, but there
would be so many that links could be sustained even in highly stressed
circumstances, such as the “trans-attack” phase of a nuclear war.
Or at least, so the reasoning goes.
……But the idea of relying on commercial satellites for command and control of
nuclear forces takes this reasoning a step too far, because market forces preclude
any of the hardening and other protective features that might be required in dedicated
military birds
……… think of all the ways an adversary like China might seek to interfere with
commercial satellites through their ground stations and uplinks, such as insertion of
malware via hacking and jamming of signals. ……..

July 25, 2019 Posted by | USA, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

In Texas oil town Andrews , there’s support for hosting nuclear waste dump

July 25, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | 2 Comments

USA’s Sensible, Timely Relief for America’s Nuclear Districts Economic Development (STRANDED) Act

Wiscasset could get $8 million for storing nuclear waste   A bill before Congress would compensate communities who store spent nuclear fuel that the federal government has failed to remove.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

UK consumers to start paying for nuclear reactors before they are built

Guardian 23rd July 2019 The government has confirmed plans for consumers to begin paying for new nuclear reactors before they are built, and for taxpayers to pay a share of
any cost overruns or construction delays. In a consultation document
launched on Monday night, officials said the model is “essential” to
attract private investors to back the UK’s new nuclear ambitions at a
price that is affordable for bill payers. The public purse would also
compensate nuclear investors if the project was scrapped. The new funding
structure could be used to prop up EDF Energy’s £16bn plans for a new
nuclear reactor at Sizewell B in Suffolk, which was left in doubt after
fierce criticism of the costs surrounding the Hinkley Point C project in

July 25, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear developer Horizon says UK government funding essential for restarting Wylfa

Nuclear funding proposal ‘essential’ for restarting Wylfa, BBC, 23 July 2019  

New ways to fund nuclear projects could be an “essential step” to restarting the shelved Wylfa Newydd scheme, developer Horizon has said.

Proposals announced by the UK government include electricity customers paying for part of nuclear schemes’ costs upfront through bills.

The £15bn scheme on Anglesey was suspended in January because of rising costs.

A Horizon spokesman said it “warmly welcomed” the announcement. He added: “As we said when we announced the suspension of our projects, a new funding and financing model is one of the essential steps if we are to potentially restart our development activities.

“We will now look in detail at what the government has set out and continue our engagement with them on this issue.”

The suggested model, known as RAB (Regulated Asset Base), has already been used to finance some large infrastructure projects, including the £4.2bn Thames Tideway “super-sewer”.

It allows investors to receive returns before the projects have been completed. The government said RAB had “the potential to attract significant investment for new nuclear projects at a lower cost to customers.”

But it said “significant challenges” remained, including raising capital and creating appropriate risk sharing arrangements.

The government has invited responses to the proposals, set out in a consultation paper. A White Paper on energy is expected later in the year……

July 25, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

UK Ministers insist on new nuclear plants, on the premise of ‘climate action’

Leaked government analysis reveals UK demand for new nuclear power plants, Times, 23 July 19Britain needs to build a fleet of nuclear or carbon-capture power plants equivalent to a dozen Hinkley Point Cs to hit climate change targets, a leaked government analysis suggests.

Up to 40 gigawatts of non-intermittent low carbon power stations could be needed in 2050 to reduce Britain’s emissions to “net zero”, ministers believe.

Just one is under construction: EDF’s 3.2-gigawatt Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset.
Greg Clark, the business secretary, disclosed the estimates to industry in a private meeting on Monday as his department published plans for a new funding model to support such plants.

The proposed “regulated asset base” (RAB) model would see consumers pay for the plants on their bills during construction, but would expose them and taxpayers to the… (subscribers only)

July 25, 2019 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

North Korea’s new submarine

North Korea just revealed one of its most potentially dangerous weapons yet

The revelation is clearly a message for Trump.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment