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Why NuScam and other ”small” nuclear proposals just don’t make any sense

New nuclear projects, like this NuScale proposal, make no sense, Deseret,  By Robert Davies, Contributor  Sep 18, 2020, The debate over nuclear power has ramped up recently in Utah, with a number of the state’s municipal power agencies wrestling with continued participation in an experimental nuclear project in Idaho, the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems/NuScale project.

Much has already been written about the project itself. Though proponents tout benefits of cost and reliability, two municipalities so far, Logan and Lehi, have recently opted out of further participation, citing mainly financial concerns over an experimental design with delays and cost overruns mounting rapidly. Still, this extremely expensive energy might be worth it ― if the environmental benefits, particularly for climate change, were significant.

Climate change is regarded within the full scientific community as a bona fide civilizational emergency ― that is, a situation requiring immediate, meaningful response to avoid catastrophic outcomes. For the climate emergency, meaningful response means cutting global carbon emissions at least in half in the next decade, and eliminating them entirely in the next two to three decades.

Electricity generation, as roughly a third of the current carbon emissions, is a large piece of the equation ― and it is on this point that nuclear power has been worth considering. Indeed, the project’s developers, having christened the endeavor the “Carbon Free Power Project,” are emphasizing the climate angle. And if the question were about building new nuclear generation versus new fossil (coal or natural gas) generation, they would have a point; the clear winner with respect to climate would be nuclear.

But this isn’t the question. In rapidly decarbonizing the electrical grid, the name of the game is replacing existing high-carbon (coal and gas) with new low-carbon, as quickly as possible.

……..proposed new nuclear makes no sense ― because it isn’t competing with fossils. Instead, new nuclear is competing with low-carbon renewables, chiefly solar and wind. And it simply can’t compete.

Investing in new nuclear projects to combat climate change is akin to the crew of the Titanic devoting time to building a whole new ocean liner instead of putting all their effort into loading the lifeboats; it steals time and resources from a much better alternative. Any money spent on new nuclear could buy us four to six times more wind and solar energy, available in months instead of a decade. And, remember, the next 10 years are critical.

Faced with this reality, UAMPS/NuScale proponents have said they want a mostly renewable grid, but supplemented by just a bit of nuclear for “baseload” ― and that this is necessary.

The refrain of 20th century-era power managers is that renewables like wind and solar aren’t reliable (“The wind doesn’t always blow, the sun doesn’t always shine … ”) and so constantly humming “baseload” is necessary for reliability. It sounds reasonable, but like most bumper-sticker wisdom, doesn’t hold up. In fact, it is objectively, demonstrably wrong.

The technologies of energy storage (utility-scale battery systems, for example) and demand management (when the energy is used) have transformed the landscape. Traditional “baseload” is no longer a necessary grid attribute. Anyone who says it is simply isn’t keeping up.

In Australia, for example, a 100-megawatt utility-scale battery system (about 1.5 times bigger than one of NuScale’s nuclear modules) is already proving more reliable and 90% cheaper than the “baseload” natural gas system it’s replacing. ………

new nuclear makes no sense whatsoever ― financially, or far more importantly, for addressing climate change.

The UAMPS/NuScale project is a poor choice for the planet, for our nation and for Utah’s independent municipal power companies. A bright future is possible if we’re smart and focused; the nuclear power trap is a distraction we can’t afford.

Robert Davies is an associate professor of professional practice in Utah State University’s department of physics. His work focuses on global change, human sustainability and critical science communication.

September 19, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, climate change | Leave a comment

Nuclear energy CHEAP? Nuclear has drained Germany of more than €1trn to date


September 19, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, Germany, politics | Leave a comment

Julian Assange aimed for ‘stringent redactions’, extradition court hears

Julian Assange aimed for ‘stringent redactions’, extradition court hears,  SMH,  Latika Bourke. September 18, 2020  London: Julian Assange was “insistent” on redacting the names of Iraqi informants and even deployed software to remove Iraqi words from WikiLeaks cables which he later published in full, a prominent NGO told the Australian’s extradition hearing.John Sloboda who founded Iraq Body Count, a London-based non-government organisation that tallies civilian casualties gave evidence at London’s Old Bailey, on behalf of the defence.

he US Department of Justice wants Assange extradited to the United States so he can face 18 charges of computer hacking and for publishing the names of informants.

Sloboda, who worked with Assange and the WikiLeaks team on the Iraq war logs in 2010, said the Australian was determined to scrub sources’ names from the documents before publishing.

“It was impressed upon us that the aim was a very, very stringent redaction of the logs before publication.

“That was the aim of Mr Assange and WikiLeaks,” he told Assange’s lawyer.

Sloboda said it would have taken an “army of people” “a very long time” to redact the files by hand and that it was his colleague who came up with the idea of developing software that would scrub non-English words from the documents.

He said redactions of occupations were also carried out to stop informants’ identities being guessed.

He said this laborious process created tensions between WikiLeaks and the media outlets they were partnering with at the time, as the news organisations wanted to begin publishing documents they had already redacted. ………..

Assange has spoken out in court to deny he put lives in harm’s way. He faces a combined sentence of up to 175 years if convicted of all counts in the US. His extradition hearing is expected to run until October.

September 19, 2020 Posted by | Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Julian Assange was offered a pardon, if he would name a source

Trump ‘associates’ offered Assange pardon in return for emails source, court hears
WikiLeaks founder was asked to reveal source of leak damaging to Hillary Clinton, hearing told, 
Guardian,  Peter Beaumont in London, Sat 19 Sep 2020   Two political figures claiming to represent Donald Trump offered Julian Assange a “win-win” deal to avoid extradition to the US and indictment, a London court has heard.

Under the proposed deal, outlined by Assange’s barrister Jennifer Robinson, the WikiLeaks founder would be offered a pardon if he disclosed who leaked Democratic party emails to his site, in order to help clear up allegations they had been supplied by Russian hackers to help Trump’s election in 2016.

According to a statement from Robinson read out to the court, the offer was made by the then Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Trump associate Charles Johnson at a meeting on 15 August 2017 at the Ecuadorian embassy in London where Assange was then sheltering. At the time he was under secret investigation by a US grand jury.

Robinson added: “The proposal put forward by Congressman Rohrabacher was that Mr Assange identify the source for the 2016 election publications in return for some kind of pardon, assurance or agreement which would both benefit President Trump politically and prevent US indictment and extradition.”

……….. The barrister added that Assange did not name the source of the emails.While Assange’s legal team first made the claim in February detailing a deal for a pardon in exchange for denying the source of the emails was Russia, Robinson’s statement – admitted as evidence by the court – provides substantial details of the meeting………

Robinson’s description of the offer suggests Trump was prepared to consider a pardon for Assange in exchange for information almost a year before a federal grand jury issued a sealed indictment against the WikiLeaks founder.

If it is confirmed that the approach did indeed have the approval of Trump, it would mark the latest in a number of interventions by the US president in relation to the investigation into Russian election interference.

In her statement, Robinson said Rohrabacher and Johnson “wanted us to believe they were acting on behalf of the president”.

“They stated that President Trump was aware of and had approved of them coming to meet with Mr Assange to discuss a proposal – and that they would have an audience with the president to discuss the matter on their return to Washington DC,” she said……

Appearing to confirm that the approach had been made, James Lewis QC, for the US government, said: “The position of the government is we don’t contest these things were said,” adding: We obviously do not accept the truth of what was said by others.” …….

September 19, 2020 Posted by | Legal, politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | 1 Comment

Julian Assange exposed “a very serious pattern of actual war crimes”

Speaking on the significance of the WikiLeaks releases, Ellsberg said, “It was clear to me that these revelations, like the Pentagon papers, had the capability of informing the public that they had been seriously misled about the nature of the [Iraq and Afghan] war[s], the progress of the war, the likelihood that it would be ended successfully or at all, and that this was information of the highest importance to the American public.”

Characterising the wars that WikiLeaks exposed, Ellsberg explained, “The Iraq war was clearly recognisable, even to a layman, as a crime against the peace, as an aggressive war.”

September 19, 2020 Posted by | Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

BHP betrays international safety efforts

Above – uranium  tailings dam – Olympic Dam, South Australia

September 19, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Brazil, environment, Legal | Leave a comment

Hitachi pulls out – halting two big UK nuclear projects. Renewables would be a fraction of their costs

Hitachi halts 5.8 GW of UK nuclear plans

With the Japanese conglomerate this week walking away from two new nuclear plants in the United Kingdom, project developer Horizon Nuclear Power has confirmed all activities at both sites will cease. The facilities had struggled to secure funding despite offers from government. Horizon said it will ‘keep lines of communication open’ regarding the future of the sites. PV Magazine,  SEPTEMBER 18, 2020 MARK HUTCHINS  The former Wylfa nuclear power station was decommissioned in 2015. Plans for a new reactor on an adjacent site have been abandoned with the withdrawal of Hitachi from the project.

Japanese conglomerate Hitachi has pulled out of the construction of two U.K. nuclear projects with a total 5.8 GW of generation capacity, citing ongoing delays and an increasingly tough investment environment due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The projects, on the Welsh Isle of Anglesey and at Oldbury on Severn, near the English city of Bristol, were taken on by Hitachi in 2012. Construction was suspended in January last year as funding could not be secured for the reactor at Wylfa Newydd, on Anglesey, and Hitachi’s U.K. subsidiary Horizon Nuclear Power has confirmed it will cease development at both sites, though it still hopes to revive the projects.

Hitachi said it would coordinate with government and other stakeholders as holder of the license to build nuclear reactors at the sites. The company posted losses last year from the suspended projects and said it does not expect the decision to further affect its finances……….


Critics of nuclear power are likely to view the Hitachi decision as further evidence of the inherent cost and complexity problems associated with the technology, and will repeat arguments the U.K. and other regions would be better served by an energy transition focusing on renewables.

Mycle Schneider, lead author of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report told pv magazine: “Nuclear power plant projects frequently get abandoned even after construction has started. One in eight construction sites have been abandoned at various stages of advancement of construction. Some have been completed and never switched on, and there is absolutely no guarantee that Hinkley Point C will ever generate power,” said Schneider, in reference to a third planned nuclear plant in the southwest of England.

“It has become obvious that renewables, even unsubsidized, come in at a fraction of the cost of new nuclear power. In the U.K., onshore and offshore wind are less than half the cost of nuclear. If the U.K. government keeps planning for nuclear power plants, it’s not because there was no choice, and it has nothing to do with market-economy driven energy policy.”

Solar industry representatives also called on the government to recognize renewables’ potential to fill in gaps left by abandoned and delayed nuclear projects and to implement supportive policies, as well as an auctioning system to boost large-scale projects. “The UK is facing a significant low-carbon energy gap in the 2030s, resulting from the abandonment of new nuclear projects,” said Chris Hewett, Chief Executive of the Solar Trade Association. “Solar PV is well-positioned to help plug a significant portion of this, but the Government must step in to bring down the numerous barriers that are holding growth back, such as punitive business rates and a lack of prioritization of grid capacity for the technology.”

September 19, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

What Frogs Can Teach Us about the State of the World

We currently find ourselves on the other side of a stark but intangible line created by the climate tipping points we’ve blown past for and at our leisure, the virulent diseases we’ve helped spread, and the habitats we’ve destroyed in the name of peace and quiet. Being on this side of the line is a lot like grieving: we are in an “after” time.

And, as with other forms of grieving, in times defined by disease and mass extinction, we need to bear witness. We can be quiet and press record to capture what is still there. We can cup our hands around our ears and listen.

What Frogs Can Teach Us about the State of the World, By tracking amphibian songs, citizen scientists are helping us understand what’s happening to our environment, The Walrus , BY CAITLIN STALL-PAQUET 18 Sept 20, 

T’S AN HOUR after sunset, one night in early April, and I’m standing on the side of a dirt road in my hometown of Frelighsburg, Quebec, with my hands cupped around my ears. I’m listening for the calls of anurans—amphibians without a tail, so frogs and toads. I am here, more specifically, to hear the croaks of wood frogs, which are one of the first species to peek their little brown heads out after a long winter of hibernation.

This isn’t just recreational listening, mind you—this is also for science. I am a volunteer observer, one of several who are gathering data about dwindling amphibian populations in this region. Continue reading

September 19, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste transport , and legal action – UK

CORE Briefing 17th Sept 2020, With both the Pacific Egret and Grebe back in Barrow docks after their stints at Falmouth and Rosyth ship yards for safety and fitness Certification checks, return high level nuclear waste shipments from Sellafield to Germany will resume this autumn. A shipment due to take place in March this year was cancelled and its transit permit withdrawn by Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer to avoid the risk of Covid 90 infection to 6000 federal police officers needed to guard its safety.
But In a letter to Friends of the Earth Hesse on 15/9/20 the Federal Office for Nuclear Safety and Nuclear Waste Disposal ordered the immediate re-issuing of the transport permit for a new date this autumn. The group has announced it will fight this decision in court. A total of 3 shipments containing seven castors containing highly radioactive nuclear waste resulting from German spent fuel reprocessing at Sellafield will travel by rail along the West Cumbrian coast to the port of Barrow in Furness, loaded onto one of the INS (NDA subsidiary) ships and carried to the German port of Nordenham. From there it will travel by rail to the interim storage facility at Biblis nuclear power plant.

Due to numerous safety issues with storage of high-level waste at Biblis, the BUND Hessen has filed a lawsuit saying it will take legal action against the now reinstated transport licence. With last Sunday’s local German elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, the Greens achieved a record result with 20% and there will be green mayors in the former capital Bonn, Münster and the anti-nuclear stronghold Aachen.

September 19, 2020 Posted by | Legal, safety, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

The revolving door between government members and the nuclear industry

New nuclear role for former Cabinet minister, News and Star , By Federica BedendoReporter   A former Cabinet minister has been appointed as the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s social value specialist.18th September

Hazel Blears will provide advice to the whole of the NDA group on how to increase the social, economic and environmental impact of its work to decommission and clean up the UK’s oldest nuclear sites.

She is a nationally recognised expert in this field and is chairman of the Social Investment Business and a trustee of the Social Mobility Foundation. Ms Blears is also a former cabinet minister and, during her time as an MP, was one of the authors of the Social Value Act…….

September 19, 2020 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Plutonium in Hinkley nuclear mud dumping, but National Resources Wales’ call for full testing is ignored

September 19, 2020 Posted by | environment, UK | Leave a comment

U.S. general says that North Korea has a ”small” number of nuclear weapons (over 70?)

September 19, 2020 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

While other nations seek conciliation, agreement, the U.S. will declare that all international sanctions are back in force

September 19, 2020 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

USA DID have a plan to drop 80 nuclear weapons on Nortrh Korea

Yes, The United States DidDraw Up A Plan To Drop 80 Nuclear Weapons On North Korea, In 2017, a war between North Korea and the United States was “much closer than anyone would know,” President Trump claims. The Drive BY THOMAS NEWDICK, SEPTEMBER 18, 2020. 
Current nuclear war plans are among any nuclear-armed military’s most closely guarded secrets. Details of one such attack plan recently became available, however, revealing that the United States envisaged using 80 nuclear weapons in case of war with North Korea. The way this particular detail emerged is also pretty unusual — the associated passage appeared in U.S. journalist Bob Woodward’s book Rage, detailing President Trump’s administration, which was published this week.

This can be read two ways: a potential attack from the North could involve the use of 80 nuclear weapons, or the same number of weapons can be envisaged as a possible U.S. response to a first strike ordered by Pyongyang.

In an interview with NPR, Woodward cleared up any confusion, noting that the 80 nuclear weapons were part of a U.S. attack plan — OPLAN 5027, which would include ‘decapitating’ the North Korean regime of dictator Kim Jong-un.

“I think given North Korea is a rogue nation, they have, as I report, probably a couple of dozen nuclear weapons well-hidden and concealed,” Woodward explained to NPR. The veteran journalist confirmed that the then U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis was worried he might have to issue orders for a nuclear strike on North Korea. “The potential we’d have to shoot to prevent a second launch was real,” Mattis admitted.
“You’re going to incinerate a couple million people,” Mattis told himself, according to Woodward. “No person has the right to kill a million people as far as I’m concerned, yet that’s what I have to confront.” 
According to Woodward, Trump was worried that shooting down a North Korean ballistic missile (nuclear-armed or otherwise) on a trajectory headed toward the United States could prompt a full-scale nuclear attack from the “Hermit Kingdom.” Woodward writes that Trump had delegated authority to Jim Mattis to launch a conventionally armed interceptor missile to shoot down any North Korean missile that might be headed for the United States.

Woodward said that Mattis confided in him that he was not worried that Trump might launch a preemptive strike against North Korea. Instead, the source of his angst was the North Korean leader in Pyongyang.

In fact, such was Mattis’s level of concern that he would sleep in his gym clothes, Woodward claims. “There was a light in his bathroom… if he was in the shower and they detected a North Korean launch.”

There were alarm bells set up in Mattis’s bedroom and kitchen too, and on more than one occasion during the summer of 2017 they sounded the alert, and he entered the communications room in his Washington DC residency. Woodward explains that Mattis’s car was also constantly followed by an SUV with a team equipped to plot the flight path of any incoming missile, whether it was threatening Japan, South Korea, or the United States. If Mattis considered the missile hostile, he had a mobile communications link to issue launch orders to shoot it down. …………

Clearly, the status of a nuclear-armed North Korea provided much pause for thought within the U.S. administration during Mattis’ tenure as Secretary of Defense. That a strike plan against North Korea involving 80 nuclear weapons was discussed between the president and his defense secretary isn’t all that hard to imagine………..

One of the options under consideration in Washington was OPLAN 5015, a nuclear strike to take out the North Korean leadership, which Woodward also refers to, drawing again from his extensive interviews with Trump. Specifically, Woodward mentions “updating” such a plan — after all, Kim Jong-un and his predecessors will have always been priority targets in the case of an all-out war. ………………

September 19, 2020 Posted by | North Korea, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA taxpayers set up by government in the effort to save uneconomic nuclear power

September 19, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment