nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

This week: nuclear news – under the radar, but still there

Inundation of news this week, mostly about the USA election. But also about coronoavirus and climate.

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The nuclear issue is less covered, and could be seen as less important than those two present world crises.
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But here’s the problem. The global nuclear lobby is quietly organising, and the impending Biden-Harris administration in America is giving that lobby new impetus. It has been easier for the anti-nuclear and clean energy movement to oppose the policies of that bullying sociopath Donald Trump. It will be harder to oppose Biden and Kamala, who, like Barack Obama, are supporters of, and beholden to, the nuclear industry.
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I have found all the news quite overwhelming this week. While I acknowledge the urgency and importance of coronavirus and climate, I think that, from now on, I might need to confine my news to  nuclear issues, (which is where this newsletter started).  The nuclear threat is going on, as it were, under the radar. Politicians and communities are being sucked in by clever pro nuclear propaganda and financial incentives, all this helped along by slick and uncritical media coverage.
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Some bits of good news   Grass Restoration Project is a Virginia Success, Planting 600 Acres That Grow to Become 9,000.Growing food together is growing soul food, too.
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The beginning of the end for nuclear weapons?

Some problems that will handicap the development of Small Nuclear Reactors.

As with every week, the Google headlines about nuclear power mostly lead to articles that promote it.

JAPAN.  The accumulating radioactive water is another Fukushima disaster crisis.  The next generation of LDP leaders embrace both carbon neutrality and the elimination of nuclear energy.   Due to shutdowns, Japan has only one nuclear reactor working.  Japanese nuclear regulator’s website hit by possible cyberattack In desperate search of disposal sites for its nuclear waste, Japan offers poisonous grants to two small villages.

USA.

Climate.    Biden – Harris win is a win for the climate.  U.S. Senate election results – a disappointment for climate action, but with a couple of bright spots.  United States under Donald Trump formally exits Paris Agreement on climate change.

Nuclear. The most frightening prospect – Trump remaining still in control of nuclear weaponry.  Biden could take swift action on nuclear weapons policy and arms control agreements.   U.S. Navy to spend $billions on two Columbia-class nuclear missile submarinesSudden resignation of head of USA’s National Nuclear Security Administration. U.S. Nuclear Bomb Overseer Quits After Clash With Energy Chief.   America’s Kings Bay peace activists to be sentenced Nov. 12 and 13.  Cuban missile crisis -a reminder that nuclear war could so easily still happen.  A USA Senator reflects on the anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis.

UK. 

 

RUSSIA. Putin orders Russian government to try to meet Paris climate goals.

CANADA. Canada’s Bruce County Council postpones voting on nuclear waste bunker plan.

SOUTH  AFRICA.  Covid-19 divides and weakens the nuclear sector in South Africa.

UKRAINE.  Chernobyl’s bumblebees still affected by radiation.

GERMANYNuclear wastes from Sellafield UK to arrive in Germany.  Nuclear Technology Germany Association says Small Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) will always be more expensive than large ones.

POLAND.  Poland’s nuclear energy plans not likely to be supported by the European Commission.

FINLAND.  84% of Finland’s population support signing up to the U.N. Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty.

BELARUS.  Anxieties, memories of Chernobyl, as Belarus launches new nuclear power station.  Belarus opens nuclear plant opposed by neighboring Lithuania.

Philippines.  Nuclear power – simply unaffordable for the Philippines.

TURKEY.  Russian company with powerful connections withdrawa from Turkish nuclear plant operation.

EUROPE.  Europe still without a final disposal solution for its most dangerous nuclear waste.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO. The tragic nuclear history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

AUSTRALIA. Jo Biden’s win leaves Scott Morrison looking pretty silly on climate policy. Biden as president would pursue climate ‘cheaters’, such as Morrison’s Australia.

November 9, 2020 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

In desperate search of disposal sites for its nuclear waste, Japan offers poisonous grants to two small villages

November 9, 2020 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby is happy with the Biden-Harris election result

The nuclear lobby is quite happy with the Biden -Harris win.  More on this later, as I try to delve deeper into a possibly cosy relationship

Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

between Kamala Harris and the global nuclear lobby.

Meanwhile, the Atlantic Council writes confidently of the nuclear industry’s plans for future development under the new American administration.

The Atlantic Council, 8 Nov 20, “…………legislation that encourages the rapid deployment of nuclear energy technology represents an area where Democrats and Republicans can continue to work together—as they have over the last four years …….
legislation that encourages the rapid deployment of nuclear energy technology represents an area where Democrats and Republicans can continue to work together—as they have over the last four years……..
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With bipartisan support, Congress passed the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (NEICA), which was signed into law in 2018. Congress passed the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (NEIMA) in December 2018, and it was signed into law in 2019. NEICA helps establish public-private partnerships through the US Department of Energy’s Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) program in order to speed the development of the next generation of nuclear reactors.
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Strong bipartisan congressional support for nuclear reactors—both the existing fleet and also the next generation of advanced reactors.
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here are still more opportunities for bipartisan cooperation on nuclear energy policy. In July, the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA) was passed in the Senate as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 with bipartisan support, but it was not included in the House version of the bill. Both chambers will have to agree on a final version of NELA before the new president can sign it into law. Support for NELA, which focuses on advanced reactor demonstration and developing advanced reactor fuel, would send a powerful signal from the Biden Administration. This also holds true for the Nuclear Energy Research and Development Act (NERDA), which was introduced in the House by Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA-17) earlier this year….. https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/energysource/nuclear-energy-policy-represents-a-bipartisan-path-forward-on-climate-for-the-biden-administration/

November 9, 2020 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Biden could take swift action on nuclear weapons policy and arms control agreements

November 9, 2020 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK’s ‘small nuclear reactors’ – the real agenda is the funding of nuclear weapons

A secret military agenda.  UK defence policy is driving energy policy – with the public kept in the dark, Beyond Nuclear
By David Thorpe, 8 Nov 20
,The UK government has for 15 years persistently backed the need for new nuclear power. Given its many problems, most informed observers can’t understand why. The answer lies in its commitment to being a nuclear military force. Here’s how, and why, anyone opposing nuclear power also needs to oppose its military use.

“All of Britain’s household energy needs supplied by offshore wind by 2030,” proclaimed Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a recent online Conservative Party conference. This means 40 per cent of total UK electricity. Johnson did not say how, but it is likely, if it happens, to be by capacity auctions, as it has been in the recent past.

But this may have been a deliberate distraction: there were two further announcements on energy – both about nuclear power.

16 so-called “small nuclear reactors”

Downing Street told the Financial Times, which it faithfully reported, that it was “considering” £2 billion of taxpayers’ money to support “small nuclear reactors” – up to 16 of them “to help UK meet carbon emissions targets”.

It claimed the first SMR is expected to cost £2.2 billion and be online by 2029.

The government could also commission the first mini power station, giving confidence to suppliers and investors. Any final decision will be subject to the Treasury’s multiyear spending review, due later this year.

The consortium that would build it includes Rolls Royce and the National Nuclear Laboratory.

Support for this SMR technology is expected to form part of Boris Johnson’s “10-point plan for a green industrial revolution” and new Energy White Paper, which are scheduled for release later in the autumn.

Johnson will probably also frame it as his response to the English citizens assembly recommendations– a version of the one demanded by Extinction Rebellion in 2019 – which reported its conclusions last month.

While the new energy plan will also include carbon capture and storage, and using hydrogen as vehicle fuel, it’s the small modular reactors that are eye-popping.

They would be manufactured on production lines in central plants and transported to sites for assembly. Each would operate for up to 60 years, “providing 440MW of electricity per year — enough to power a city the size of Leeds”, Downing Street said, and the Financial Times copied.

The SMR design is alleged to be ready by April next year. The business and energy department has already pledged £18 million (US $23.48 million) towards the consortium’s early-stage plans.

They are not small

The first thing to know about these beasts is that they are not small. 440MW? The plant at Wylfa (Anglesey, north Wales) was 460MW (it’s closed now). 440MW is bigger than all the Magnox type reactors except Wylfa and comparable to an Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor.

Where will they be built? In the town of Derby – the home of Rolls Royce – where, as nuclear consultant Dr. David Lowry points out, the government is already using the budget of the Housing and Communities Department to finance the construction of a new advanced manufacturing centre site.

When asked why this site was not being financed by the business and energy department (BEIS), as you’d expect, a spokesperson responded that it was part of “levelling up regeneration money”.

Or perhaps BEIS did not want its budget used in such a way. Throwing money at such a “risky prospect” betrays “an irrationally cavalier attitude” according to Andrew Stirling, Professor of Science & Technology Policy at the University of Sussex Business School, because an “implausibly short time” is being allowed to produce an untested reactor design.

Only if military needs are driving this decision is it explicable, Stirling says. “Even in a worst case scenario, where this massive Rolls Royce production line and supply chain investment is badly delayed (or even a complete failure) with respect to civil reactor production, what will nonetheless have been gained is a tooled-up facility and a national skills infrastructure for producing perhaps two further generations of submarine propulsion reactors, right into the second half of the century.

“And the costs of this will have been borne not by the defence budget, but by consumers and citizens.”

Yes, military needs

UK defence policy is fully committed to military nuclear. The roots of civil nuclear power lay in the Cold War push to develop nuclear weapons. Thus has it ever been since the British public was told nuclear electricity would be “too cheap to meter”.

The legacy of empire and thrust for continued perceived world status are at the core of a post-Brexit mentality. It’s inconceivable to the English political elite that this status could exist without Great Britain being in the nuclear nations club, brandishing the totem of a nuclear deterrent.

“The civil-military link is undisputable and should be openly discussed,” agrees Dr Paul Dorfman at the Energy Institute, University College London.

Andrew Stirling talks of the “tragic relative popularity of (increasingly obsolescent) nuclear weapons”. The coincidental fact that civil nuclear installations are also crumbling provides a serendipitous opportunity for some.

The stores of plutonium in the UK are already overflowing and the military has its own dedicated uranium enrichment logistics.

Any nation’s defence budget in this day and age cannot afford a new generation of nuclear weapons. So it needs to pass the costs onto the energy sector.

“Clearly, the military need to maintain both reactor construction and operation skills and access to fissile materials will remain. I can well see the temptation for Defence Ministers to try to transfer this cost to civilian budgets,” observes Tom Burke, Chairman of think tank E3G.

The threat of nuclear proliferation

The threat of nuclear proliferation is therefore linked to the spread of civil nuclear power worldwide, says Dr David Toke, Reader in Energy Politics, Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Aberdeen. David Lowry agrees: “India, Pakistan and above all Israel are obvious examples, each of which certainly has built nuclear weapons.”

It’s impossible to separate the tasks of challenging civil nuclear power without also challenging military nuclear interests, Stirling strongly believes. “The massive expense of increasingly ineffective military nuclear systems extend beyond the declared huge budgets. They are also propped up by large hidden subsidies from consumer and taxpayer payments for costly nuclear power.

“Huge hidden military interests will likely continue to keep the civil nuclear monster growing new arms. Until critics reach out and engage the entire thing, we’ll never prevail in either struggle.”

How new plants would be paid for still remains a question. Nuclear power is prohibitively expensive………..https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/3011373103

November 9, 2020 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | Leave a comment

The tragic nuclear history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Six Million dead, The Congo Holocaust has its origins in minerals plunder and colonialism  https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/3011373848, By Linda Pentz Gunter, 8 Nov 20, 

When you’ve lost family members to the Nazi death camps, it’s a pain that never goes away. Six of my relatives were killed there, four more shot in Polish ghettos and at Forlì. They died long before I was born and were people I never knew. But we have their photographs. Their pain stares out from those images, a perpetual ache.

But what use is endless mourning if no lessons are learned? The most important one surely is that no such Holocaust must ever be allowed to happen again? And yet it has. To almost universal silence. No one speaks of today’s six million dead. They lie beneath the mineral-rich soil of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), invisible and unmourned by the world beyond their country’s borders.

“The Holocaust continues in DRC with the complicity of the international community,” Rodrigue Muganwa Lubulu wrote to me in an email exchange. “Women and girls are raped every day and the dead are counted by tens each day.” He is the program director for CRISPAL Afrique and gave a zoom talk recently hosted by ICAN Germany.

The tragedy of the DRC, the second largest country in Africa, began with the discovery in 1915 of the Shinkolobwe uranium deposit, the richest ever discovered at the time. Its plunder, from 1921 until its closure in 2004, “has been a curse for the powerless community” around the mine, said Lubulu, “because not only have they been forced to abandon their lands, houses and fields in favor of uranium mining, but also all the men were forced to dig out those extremely radioactive materials without protective equipment.”

The cancers and other illnesses that killed those uranium workers are still harming the community today, Lubulu says, even though the mine is now shut down.

The DRC was first colonized by Belgium in 1908 and known as the Belgian Congo until it gained independence in 1960. (It was known as Zaire between 1971 and 1997.) It rapidly became a country of great interest, especially to the United State and the then Soviet Union, engaged in a growing Cold War arms race. Then, as now, the country promised riches to its White pillagers. In the Eastern part of the country, wrote Armin Rosen, in a June 26, 2013 article in The Atlantic, “just feet beneath the surface of the earth are enough minerals to keep the global technology and defense industries humming.”

But during World War II, the uranium mined from Shinkolobwe went to the American Manhattan Project. “More than 70 percent of the uranium in the Hiroshima bomb came from Shinkolobwe,” says Lubulu, whose organization is holding workshops and other events in an effort to persuade the government of the DNC to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

He is haunted by what might have been if the “ore of death” as he calls uranium, had instead been left where it belongs; in the ground. “Without the uranium of Shinkolobwe, the 5th of August 1945 would have been a perfect and productive day in Hiroshima,” he said during his ICAN presentation.

This is supported by a recollection from the Manhattan Project’s Colonel Ken Nichols, who wrote: “Without Sengier’s foresight in stockpiling ore in the United States and aboveground in Africa, we simply would not have had the amounts of uranium needed to justify building the large separation plants and the plutonium reactors.” Edgar Sengier was the then director of Union Minière du Haut Katanga, and had stockpiled 1,200 tonnes of uranium ore in a warehouse in New York. This ore and an additional 3,000 tonnes of ore stored above-ground at the mine was purchased by Nichols for use in the Manhattan Project.

That connection between his homeland and Hiroshima, and the haunting reminders of its outcome so movingly expressed by Japan’s Hibakusha, as the atomic bomb survivors are known, is what spurs Lubulu and CRISPAL to urge on the ratification and implementation of the TPNW.

“You cannot separate nuclear weapons from uranium,” Lubulu said. “Once you have one, you get the other. Once you dig it out, it becomes a monster and you can’t control it anymore.”

Tragically, that monster could be unleashed again at Shinkolobwe. Both France and China are interested in mineral rights there. CRISPAL needs to move fast to educate people about these renewed dangers. But they face dangers of their own in doing so.

Since 1997, when internal and cross-border strife took hold in the DRC, at least six million people have died. Trying to leaflet or hold meetings in such communities, especially if it is in opposition to uranium mining, is fraught with danger. No one involved has forgotten the brutal treatment of Congolese anti-uranium mining activist, Golden Misabiko, who was arrested, imprisoned twice, poisoned by his own government in an apparent, and mercifully unsuccessful, assassination attempt, separated from his family and forced into exile.

Despite this, Lubulu believes that, above all, love will find a way. “There is no door that enough love cannot open,” he said in concluding his presentation. Hopefully, the rest of the world will start sending some love in Congo’s direction.

November 9, 2020 Posted by | AFRICA, history, indigenous issues, Uranium | Leave a comment

Google news headline articles on nuclear search topics today

9 Nov 20, There were 88  articles under the search headline ”nuclear” today.  Of these, 31 concerned nuclear weapons.  Most of these were articles opposing nuclear weapons.  A large number also dealt with international politics, and described events and policies in a factual and neutral way.  There were 4 that were pro nuclear in that they stated the need for more nuclear weapons, and/or national pride in having them

Of the 47 pieces about commercial nuclear power, only 6 were clearly factual or neutral.

 

Most (30) were promoting or enthusing about nuclear power, mainly about ”new nuclear”, which usually means ”small” nuclear reactors. Arguments given were – new nukes will be ‘clean’, ‘fight climate change’ economical’ .   Also mentioned – fusion, medical use, hydrogen development, space travel.

The 11 anti  nuclear articles dealt mostly with new small nuclear reactors, discussed as expensive, and useless against climate change. Also pieces on toxic wastes.

November 9, 2020 Posted by | Christina's notes, media | Leave a comment

Biden – Harris win is a win for the climate

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris cinch win, Climate Group responds, Mirage News 8 Nov 20, The Climate Group congratulates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on their historic victory, as announced by the New York Times, Associated Press, and BBC.President-elect Biden’s climate and clean energy plan is the most ambitious we’ve seen from a major US presidential nominee. Under his administration and leadership, we are optimistic about the future of US climate action and the opportunity for renewed global collaboration to address the climate crisis.

Amy Davidsen, Executive Director at the Climate Group, said: “Concern for the climate played a major role in the 2020 presidential debates. President-elect Biden’s win shows that Americans expect their president to follow climate science and take the bold and necessary actions to get the US back on track as a leader…..   https://www.miragenews.com/joe-biden-and-kamala-harris-cinch-win-climate-group-responds/

November 9, 2020 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Explaining the diseconomics problems for the NuScale small nuclear reactors plan in Utah

First major modular nuclear project having difficulty retaining backers,  The complicated finances of the first major test of small modular nuclear reactors. https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/11/first-major-modular-nuclear-project-having-difficulty-retaining-backers/  JOHN TIMMER – 11/8/2020, 

Earlier this year, the US took a major step that could potentially change the economics of nuclear power: it approved a design for a small, modular nuclear reactor from a company called NuScale. These small reactors are intended to overcome the economic problems that have ground the construction of large nuclear plants to a near halt. While each only produces a fraction of the power possible with a large plant, the modular design allows for mass production and a design that requires less external safety support.

But safety approval is just an early step in the process of building a plant. And the leading proposal for the first NuScale plant is running into the same problem as traditional designs: finances. 

The proposal, called the Carbon Free Power Project, would be a cluster of a dozen NuScale reactors based at Idaho National Lab but run by Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, or UAMPS. With all 12 operating, the plant would produce 720MW of power. But UAMPS is selling it as a way to offer the flexibility needed to complement variable renewable power. Typically, a nuclear plant is either producing or not, but the modular design allows the Carbon Free Power Project to shut individual reactors off if demand is low.

But keeping a plant idle means you’re not selling any power from it, making it more difficult to pay off the initial investment made to produce it and adding to the financial risks. Further increasing risk is the fact that this is the first project of its kind—the NuScale website lists it as “NuScale’s First Plant.” All of this appears to be making things complicated for the Carbon Free Power Project.

According to one report, the US Department of Energy had originally planned to purchase the first reactor for research use, then turn it over to UAMPS. But now, the goal is apparently for the DOE to provide an annual supplement of about $130 million a year for a decade. However, that would be dependent upon annual renewals of the funding by Congress during that decade, which is yet another risk. Separately, to reach a target price for the power that is expected to be competitive with natural gas, the project has been made larger and its completion delayed by three years.

That has apparently been scaring off some utilities that had signed up for a slice of the project.
UAMPS runs a number of generating stations (many of them coal-based) that collectively serve needs throughout the US West from Wyoming and New Mexico to California. It distributes the power from these plants to small public utilities that often service a single small city. For the Carbon Free Power Project, UAMPS has been relying on those cities to buy a share of the project in return for a proportional share of the plant’s final generating capacity. With the changes in price and funding, a number of those utilities are dropping out.
There’s still plenty of time for UAMPS to find other participants among other utilities that it counts as customers, given that the plant isn’t expected to come online until 2030. But the financial challenges suggest that small modular nuclear plants may struggle to get off the ground.

That shouldn’t be unexpected, as utilities are notoriously conservative—justifiably so, considering how much their customers rely on electricity. So any new electrical technology is likely to face some struggles as its customers learn to use it effectively and understand how to extract the most value out of it. Typically, the government steps in to provide some support during this awkward phase, as it has done for wind and solar, and plans to do for NuScale.

That said, a decade is a long way out for the completion of the first plant, given the trajectories that wind, solar, and storage prices have taken. Perhaps as critically, most utilities are already done with the learning period needed to use variable renewables effectively, when that period will only start for small modular reactors in 2030. It’s entirely possible that we’ll be ready to move forward with this nuclear technology at roughly the same time we’re becoming confident that we won’t need much of it.

November 9, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

The Public Relations battle for nuclear power in the UK- editors giving it a free ride?

A secret military agenda.  UK defence policy is driving energy policy – with the public kept in the dark, Beyond Nuclear, By David Thorpe, 8 Nov 20 , “…………The PR battle for nuclear

There is a PR battle in the UK media for new nuclear – and now there are two sides to it.

Editors seem to favour giving pro-nuclear writers a clear ride and rarely question their baseless claims that nuclear is zero carbon. This is misguided and not based on empirical data, says Dr Lowry.

If the carbon footprint of the full uranium life cycle is considered – from uranium mining, milling, enrichment (which is highly energy intensive), fuel fabrication, irradiation, radioactive waste conditioning, storage, packaging to final disposal – nuclear power’s CO2 emissions are between 10 to 18 times greater than those from renewable energy technologies, according to a recent study by  Mark Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, California.

Another recent peer-reviewed article in Nature Energy shows that nations installing nuclear power don’t have lower carbon emissions, but those installing lots of renewables do. Moreover, investment in new nuclear “crowds out” investment in renewables.

Renewables therefore offer a more rapid and cost-effective means to address net zero targets. The opportunity cost of nuclear is severely negative. The 2019 version of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report comprehensively demolishes any evidence-based arguments on the utility of nuclear to help address climate change.

But that’s not the real argument. It’s military. At the very least, we deserve to be told………. https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/3011373103

David Thorpe is author of books such as Solar Technology and One Planet CitiesHe also runs online courses such as Post-Graduate Certificate in One Planet GovernanceHe is based in the UK. https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/3011373103

November 9, 2020 Posted by | media, UK | Leave a comment

Boris Johnson at a critical point on the decision about Sizewell C nuclear construction

Times 7th Nov 2020,  The prime minister was set to announce a ten-point plan to meet the UK’s climate change promises due the week after next.
A sticking point on the ten-point plan is nuclear power, with Mr Johnson confronted with a critical  decision over whether to press ahead with the Sizewell C plant in which a Chinese firm, CGN, has a 20 per cent stake. He is due to meet Rishi Sunak, his chancellor, and Alok Sharma, the business secretary, to decide the UK’s future civil nuclear programme on Monday.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/petrol-and-diesel-car-sales-face-2030-ban-x8bn3rjgp

November 9, 2020 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

UK government influenced by pro nuke advisor Dominic Cummins and Rolls Royce to invest in uneconomic nuclear power

By David Thorpe, 8 Nov 20 A secret military agenda.  UK defence policy is driving energy policy – with the public kept in the dark, Beyond Nuclear  By David Thorpe, 8 Nov 20    ” ……………..Rolls Royce and Dominic Cummings This sad, radioactive site is operated by – guess who – Rolls-Royce (under the Vulcan Trials Operation and Maintenance contract).

And Rolls Royce is already benefiting from public money flowing into new nuclear. It has for years been lobbying the government to support its small nuclear reactors wheeze.

Its 2017 pitch document contained phrases like “providing 440MW of electricity per year — enough to power a city the size of Leeds” – that Downing Street has literally copied and pasted into the above article fed to the Financial Times.

It doesn’t take much insight to see that Rolls Royce has turned Boris Johnson’s right-hand elf – the one who hates energy efficiency – Dominic Cummings. One can see his hand in the push for SMRs, while BEIS is pushing support for Sizewell C.

Rolls Royce is axing up to 8,000 jobs because of the pandemic-related aviation crash. This troubled company is a huge symbol of Great Britain plc. Millions of public money for SMRs is just what it needs.

But to back both Sizewell and the SMRs would be far too expensive for the public purse, already heavily in debt because of the coronavirus pandemic. Burke believes the SMR pitch is “Cummings fight back against the public pressure for Sizewell from EDF and (Tom) Greatrex”.

Tom Greatrex is the Nuclear Industry Association’s chairman. In a Times article he recently called for “a strong and unambiguous statement of the need for new nuclear to be able to meet the net-zero target” with backing for Sizewell……… https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/3011373103

November 9, 2020 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

U.S. Nuclear Bomb Overseer Quits After Clash With Energy Chief

November 9, 2020 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Belarus opens nuclear plant opposed by neighboring Lithuania

Belarus opens nuclear plant opposed by neighboring Lithuania
The president of Belarus has formally opened the country’s first nuclear power plant over the objections of neighboring Lithuania,
abc News ByThe Associated Press, 8 November 2020, KYIV, Ukraine — Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Saturday formally opened the country’s first nuclear power plant, a project sharply criticized by neighboring Lithuania……

Lithuania has long opposed the plant, located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of its capital, Vilnius. Lithuanian authorities say the project has been plagued by accidents, stolen materials and the mistreatment of workers.

In line with a law banning electricity imports from Belarus once the nuclear plant started up, Lithuania’s Litgrid power operator cut the inflow of electricity from Belarus when the plant began producing electricity on Tuesday…….

Belarus suffered severe damage from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which spewed radioactive fallout from a plant in then-Soviet Ukraine across large areas of Europe. That painful legacy has fueled opposition to the nuclear plant project in Belarus.

Lithuania closed its sole Soviet-built nuclear power plant in 2009. In recent weeks, Lithuanian authorities have handed out free iodine pills to residents living near the Belarus border. Iodine can help reduce radiation buildup in the thyroid in case of a leak at the nuclear plant. https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/belarus-opens-nuclear-plant-opposed-neighboring-lithuania-74073929

November 9, 2020 Posted by | Belarus, politics international | Leave a comment

Britain’s second option for new nuclear – Big Nuclear Reactors

 A secret military agenda.  UK defence policy is driving energy policy – with the public kept in the dark, Beyond NuclearBy David Thorpe, 8 Nov 20    “……..The second option for new nuclear.   While Downing Street is pushing SMRs, BEIS has been looking for a way to finance the £20 billion Sizewell C reactor which EDF has been lobbying to build in Suffolk. This could be why it did not want to bankroll Rolls Royce’s expansion.

One idea being floated by BEIS is the government taking equity stakes in future nuclear plants such as Sizewell C, the energy minister has confirmed.

French energy company EDF is unable to continue with its plans for a new UK nuclear power station without even more government support than it has already had.

The CEO of EDF, Jean-Bernard Lévy, met the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak recently to beg for such support. The head of Greenpeace UK, John Sauven, wrote to the Chancellor saying giving support may be in EDF’s interests, but it is not in the UK’s. Nevertheless, the government is considering taking a direct stake in the project, using a “Regulated Asset Base” (RAB) financing model, where costs are added to consumers’ bills during construction.

This would still result in multibillion-pound liabilities showing on the government’s balance sheet. So the Treasury is studying whether the government should in return have equity stakes in EDF’s Sizewell plant.

The government previously offered to take a one-third stake in Hitachi’s Wylfa plant on Anglesey, but the Japanese company still scrapped the project last month – even then it was too expensive.

The RAB approach is being challenged anyway by the national nuclear regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation, because it could introduce a dual regulator for the industry, which it does not regard as sensible or workable.

Renewables can supply UK energy needs and net zero targets sooner and cheaper than nuclear

Renewables are safer, cheaper, quicker to install and genuinely low carbon, with no fuel supply chain.

The Sizewell reactor could not realistically be supplying power until 2034 at the earliest, while wind and solar plants take less than two years to commission, on average.

The ability of the national grid to absorb more fluctuating renewable electricity input is improving, helped by the collapsing cost of batteries, and investment in hydrogen and other forms of storage.

The National Infrastructure Commission has testified that the absorption of 65 per cent renewables on the grid by 2030 is cost-effective – and more is technically achievable.

Implicitly recognising the truth of this, the Ministry of Defence’s Chief Scientific Adviser on nuclear science and technology matters, Robin Grimes, has just opened up another front against renewables.

Grimes is advocating nuclear power’s potential for cogeneration – using its “waste” heat for all manner of things from district heating and seawater desalination to synthetic fuel production and industrial process heat.

This is not likely to make much of a dent in the cost-benefit equation.

Alarm bells should be set ringing when you know that this same Grimes was also co-author of a once-secret report in 2014 for the Ministry of Defence where it was recommended that the UK nuclear submarine industry needs to forge links with civil nuclear power in order to extricate itself from the dire situation it is in.

This secret report discussed what to do about the radiation-leaking Vulcan Naval Reactor Test Establishment, a military submarine reactor testing facility built in 1950 at Dounreay in Scotland.

Engineers with nuclear expertise are dying out with the reactors. New nuclear subs need a new supply chain and new expertise. What better place to tackle all these issues?…………….https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/3011373103

November 9, 2020 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment