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U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission proposing dumping some nuclear wastes in landfills – a huge public health danger


April 7, 2020 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

As at 5 April, radiation levels in Chernobyl area were 16 times above normal, due to forest fires

April 7, 2020 Posted by | climate change, safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Georgia’s Vogtle nuclear project way over budget, way behind time, and now Coronavirus hits

First coronavirus case reported at Georgia nuclear plant project, William Freebairn Editor, Richard Rubin 6 Apr 20, 

  • Too early to say if completion delayed: Southern Company
  • Additional worker test results pending

    Washington — The first coronavirus infection has been confirmed at Georgia Power’s Vogtle nuclear plant construction site, the utility said Monday.There was one confirmed positive test result out of 69 people at the site tested, the company said in a statement. There were 54 negative test results, with 14 results still pending, it added.

    Georgia Power and three partners are completing two 1,150-MW nuclear units at Vogtle, near Augusta, with the first new  unit  scheduled to enter commercial operation in November 2021. The project is the largest industrial construction site

    in Georgia, with 9,000 workers, most of them contractors, at the plant, trade union officials have said.

    There is a risk the coronavirus pandemic could delay the completion and testing of the two new reactors, although it is too  soon to tell for certain, Southern Co., Georgia Power’s parent company, said in a financial filing April 1, before the positive test result.

    Construction of the project is about five years behind schedule and has exceeded the initial budget by more than $10 billion  as the result of first-of-a-kind design, licensing and construction issues.

    The company notified and sent home those who worked with the person who tested positive, Georgia Power said.

    “Construction work continues at the site under continuing enhanced protocols designed to reduce worker-to-worker contact and keep areas that workers frequent cleaned and sanitized,” the company said.

    In a filing with the Georgia Public Service Commission April 1, Georgia Power officials said the construction site had established  an expanded on-site medical clinic and put in place “aggressive” measures to keep workers in the field further apart.

April 7, 2020 Posted by | health, USA | 1 Comment

More delay in planning application for UK’s Wylfa Newydd nuclear project

Wylfa Newydd planning decision delayed again, NEI, 6 April 2020  A planning decision over the Wylfa Newydd nuclear power plant in Anglesey has been deferred, the UK Government has confirmed.

The Wylfa Newydd project, which envisaged the construction of two UK advanced boiling water reactors (ABWRs), was suspended in January 2019 after Hitachi, failed to reach a funding deal with the UK government. However, the government had been expected to grant a Development Consent Order to construct the £12 billion power station on 31 March……  The Secretary of State (Alok Sharma) has decided to re-set the statutory deadline for this application to 30 September 2020….'”

…..EDF Energy announced last month that it was delaying submission of its planning application for Sizewell C by a “few weeks” due to the coronavirus crisis. Construction work at Hinkley Point C has also been scaled back.

April 7, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | 1 Comment

USA has helped Israel to develop a mighty armory of nuclear missiles

Israel’s Nuclear Missiles Could Smash You Back to the Stone Age, And that’s just for starters. National Interest, by Caleb Larson 6 Apr 20,  Israel’s missile capabilities are perhaps among the most advanced in the Middle East. Through extensive aid from the United States and Europe, as well as collaboration in developing missiles, Israel has been able to nurture a mature domestic missile production capability that has been successful as exports.

Most of Israel’s missiles are relatively short- to medium-range, they also have several missiles in the Jericho family that can reach out into the 1,500 to 4,800-kilometer range (930 to 3000 miles). ……

April 7, 2020 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

277,700 Vietnamese support “Appeal of the Hibakusha ” – call to eliminate nuclear weapons

April 7, 2020 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Vietnam, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The Carbon Brief Profile: South Korea

COUNTRY PROFILES 6 April 2020   The Carbon Brief Profile: South Korea, 6 Apr 20, 

As part of its series on how key emitters are responding to climate change, Carbon Brief looks at South Korea’s attempts to balance its high-emitting industries with its “greenaspirations.

Though still dwarfed by those of its neighbours China and Japan, South Korea’s rapid economic expansion over the past few decades has left it with a significant carbon footprint. It was the world’s 13th largest greenhouse gas emitter in 2015…….

 the nation has drawn criticism for not always matching its green-growth rhetoric with action. Proposed phaseouts of coal and nuclear have been prompted primarily by concerns about air pollution and safety,as opposed to climate.

With an election approaching, many environmental groups joined together to call for more action from the major parties, which they claimed have prepared virtually “no countermeasures” against climate change.

In March, a group of Korean youth activists sued the government over its climate framework, which they deemed insufficient to meet the nation’s Paris Agreement targets.

According to a 2019 study by the Pew Research Centre, South Koreans place climate change highest in their list of potential national threats…….. Recent polling suggests 77% of voters would vote for political parties promising to respond to the threat of climate change in the general election……

This year, nations are expected – though not strictly required – under the Paris Agreement to come forward with updated plans that scale up the ambition of their original target. South Korea has yet to indicate whether it intends to meet this expectation. …….

Finally, South Korea is home to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a UN body based in the “international business district” of Songdo, near the north-western city of Incheon. The fund is the main mechanism set up for mobilising $100bn every year “by 2020” from richer countries to finance climate mitigation and adaptation in the developing world…….

‘Green growth’ policies

In keeping with South Korea’s rapid industrialisation over the past few decades, the nation’s approach to climate and energy is best summarised by the principle of “green growth”.

Upon the inauguration of President Lee Myung-bak in 2008, he made it clear his overarching philosophy would be based on clean-energy technologies and environmentally friendly development in order to fuel long-term economic growth. In a speech at the time, he said:

“If we make up our minds before others and take action, we will be able to lead green growth and take the initiative in creating a new civilisation.”

This was reflected in the flagship Framework Act on Low Carbon, Green Growth (pdf), which was passed in 2009 and provided the legislative framework for emissions targets and renewable energy expansion, as well as the basis for a carbon trading system.

A five-year plan implemented the same year saw South Korea commit 2% of its GDP through to 2013 to invest in the green economy, which included investing in renewable energy, smart grids and green homes.

According to the World Bank, this focus on green investment is partly credited with the nation’s early recovery from the global financial crisis…….

there are concerns that this system still does not make it attractive enough for private entities to invest in renewables, with insufficient subsidies for solar and wind while coal is still being incentivised .

Another issue with the current Korean system concerns the electricity grid, with renewable energy facilities facing delays in being connected due to inadequate substations.

The government-owned KEPCO controls the grid and has a monopoly on electricity generation. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has identified restructuring of KEPCO as a key recommendation for energy reform.

There are also concerns in South Korea that expanding renewable capacity only benefits foreign companies that already dominate these markets. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy issued a press release reassuring people that reports of Chinese companies dominating the Korean solar market were “not true”.

Despite all these issues, the SFOC has identified the “biggest problem” facing renewable expansion as conflicts arising with local communities, when trying to construct new renewable facilities in their vicinity.

Conservatives politicians and news outlets, often with a pro-nuclear slant, have been blamed for “tarnishing” the reputation of renewables by stating that solar projects in particular are the cause of “environmental destruction”. According to SFOC:

“As a result, there is an increasing number of local governments autonomously establishing ordinances and rules restricting the sites for solar PV and wind power.”

Analysis by SFOC
 found that South Korean public financial institutions have provided around $17bn (£13.7bn) of financial support for coal-power projects since 2008, around half of which was for schemes overseas.

The group concludes that without this “easily available financing…such proliferation of coal-fired power plants would not have been possible”.

Another report by Carbon Tracker questions the economic viability of South Korean coal power, identifying the country as having “the highest stranded asset risk in the world” due to market structures which effectively guarantee high returns for coal.

It concludes that South Korea “risks losing the low-carbon technology race” by remaining committed to coal. A newer report from the thinktank says it is already cheaper to invest in new renewables than build new coal in South Korea and it will be cheaper to invest in new renewables than to operate existing coal in 2022. ………

April 7, 2020 Posted by | climate change, South Korea | Leave a comment

U.S. taxpayers might cough up for a private company’s new “Small Nuclear” space travel gimmick

Private companies find role in developing nuclear power for space travel, By JoAnna Wendel – contributor 6 Apr 20, 

Nuclear-powered spacecraft could cut our travel time to Mars in half. Space is abouto go nuclear — at least if private companies get their way.

At the 2 t3rd annual Commercial Space Transportation Conference (CST) in Washington, D.C., in January, a panel of nuclear technology experts and leaders in the commercial space industry spoke about developments of the technology that could propel future spacecraft faster and more efficiently than current systems can.

Nuclear technology has powered spacecraft such as NASA’s Mars rovers, the Cassini mission and the two Voyagers that are currently exploring the outer reaches of our solar system. But those fuel sources rely on the passive decay of radioactive plutonium, converting heat from that process into electricity to power the spacecraft.

Instead, the CST panelists discussed Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP), a technology developed in the 1960s and ’70s that relies on the splitting, or fission, of hydrogen atoms. Although fission is associated with more warlike images, the panel’s experts emphasized the safety of nuclear thermal propulsion, which would use low-enriched uranium.

An NTP-powered spacecraft would pump hydrogen propellant through a miniature nuclear reactor core. Inside this reactor core, high energy neutrons would split uranium atoms in fission reactions; those freed neutrons would smack into other atoms and trigger more fission. The heat from these reactions would convert the hydrogen propellent into gas, which would produce thrust when forced through a nozzle.

This chain reaction is the key to NTP’s power, panelist Venessa Clark, CEO of Atomos Space, a company that’s developing thermonuclear propulsion powered spacecraft to provide in-space transportation options to satellite operators, told A soda-can-size fission reactor could propel humans to Mars in just three to four months, she said, about twice as fast as the currently estimated time it could take a chemically propelled ship to carry humans to the Red Planet. …..

But the government still has to play some role, both Clark and Thornburg said. Government agencies like NASA and the military branches may be the first clients for these commercial companies. Clark noted NASA’s recent pushes to partner with the private sector, such as its commercial lunar payload services program and its commercial crew program.

“Government players, NASA and also now the Air Force are looking at procuring services rather than funding the development of technology, which is really exciting for us,” Clark said….

COMMENT.  newtons_laws 06 April 2020 14:47

Quote from article”Instead, the CST panelists discussed Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP), a technology developed in the 1960s and ’70s that relies on the splitting, or fission, of hydrogen atoms” Whoever wrote that needs to learn some basic nuclear physics. In nuclear thermal propulsion the atoms of a fissile heavy element (such as Uranium 235 in the designs mentioned) are split, hydrogen is the simplest and lightest of the elements and cannot be split (hydrogen atoms can however be joined together in the process of nuclear fusion, but that is a different process). Where hydrogen comes in is that in the NTP designs it is the propellant gas that is heated by the nuclear fission reactor to provide propulsion, hydrogen is chosen because being the lightest element it achieves the highest exhaust velocities.


April 7, 2020 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment