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£132billion and counting – Britain’s nuclear decommissioning mess could take 120 years

Daily Mail 27th Nov 2020, The £132bn bill to make our nuclear sites safe: Decommissioning will cost a fortune and could take up to 120 years, report warns. The cost to current and future taxpayers is estimated at £132billion and more than a century of work will have a significant impact on those who live nearby, added the report. Just to get the sites to the care and maintenance stage of the process will cost up to £8.7 billion.
The PAC said past experience suggests the estimates will soon be out of date, with costs rising even higher. According to the report the NDA admits that it does not fully understand the condition of the sites, which include ten former Magnox power stations.

November 28, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, decommission reactor, UK | Leave a comment

Safety dangers of small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs)

Nuclear power isn’t the answer to Nunavut’s energy problems, expert says. Nicole Bogart Writer, @nlynnbogart, November 27, 2020 TORONTO — Despite growing interest from the federal government and nuclear proponents, the Canadian Environmental Law Association warns that the safety implications of small modular reactors (SMRs) may outweigh the environmental pay off.

Theresa McClenaghan, executive director of the Canadian Environmental Law Association, says despite proponents’ claims that Canada’s North is a promising market for the small, transportable reactors, the technology isn’t suited for remote locations.

“They’re very inappropriate for remote locations. They’re very inappropriate for anywhere,” McClenaghan told CTV’s Your Morning Friday.

“You’d be talking about creating new kinds of waste that we don’t already have in Canada… [and] having to worry about very long distance transportation.” ……

The federal government has invested in research into the technology and is set to release an SMR action plan with a focus on Canada’s North by the end of this year.

Alberta, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Ontario have all signed a memorandum of understanding regarding development of small modular reactors…….

McClenaghan says the government is missing key concerns, including the security of the reactors.

“A very serious concern that no one is talking about is non-proliferation risks – and the risk of a diversion of the materials to weapons,” she said.

“That’s a serious risk for any nuclear technology. But especially when you start to distribute the materials like this and have less control, [and] the industry is hoping they can just leave the units without operators.”

McClenaghan adds that despite the industry’s claims that nuclear power doesn’t produce greenhouse gases, the production of SMRs would.

“Nuclear does produce greenhouse gases because you have to mine, transport, and refine. In fact, the full life cycle is two times as much as solar and six times as much as onshore wind,” she explained.

There are also growing concerns about the implications for Indigenous communities in Canada.

The Northwest Territories Energy Strategy is calling for communities to decide. There’s a whole history of decisions being made and imposed in communities. That’s how a lot of the diesel ended up there in the first place,” McClenaghan said, noting that affordable energy remains the biggest rallying cry for these communities.

“I have seen quite a bit of interest in hybrid systems where they can start to reduce the reliance on diesel, but take advantage for the times of year when solar isn’t available.”

November 28, 2020 Posted by | Canada, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

UK taxpayers foot huge bill for the incompetence of The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA)

UK’s nuclear sites costing taxpayers ‘astronomical sums’, say MPs
Public accounts committee says ignorance, incompetence and weak oversight to blame,  Guardian, 
Damian Carrington Environment editor @dpcarrington Fri 27 Nov 2020 The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has a perpetual lack of knowledge about the state and location of waste on the 17 sites it is responsible for making safe, a powerful committee of MPs has found.

This results from decades of poor record keeping and weak government oversight, the MPs said. Combined with a “sorry saga” of incompetence and failure, this has left taxpayers footing the bill for “astronomical sums”, they said.

The NDA acknowledges that it still does not have full understanding of the condition of its sites, including 10 closed Magnox stations from Dungeness in Kent to Hunterston in Ayrshire, the MPs report said.

The NDA’s most recent estimate is that it will cost current and future generations of UK taxpayers £132bn to decommission the civil nuclear sites, with the work not being completed for another 120 years.

Since 2017, the NDA’s upper estimate of the cost of the 12-15-year programme just to get the sites to the ”‘care and maintenance” stage of the decommissioning process has increased by £3.1bn to £8.7bn. “Our past experience suggests these costs may increase further,” said the MPs’ report.

The lack of knowledge of the sites was a significant factor in the failure of a 2014 contract the NDA signed with a private sector company to decommission the Magnox sites. The government was forced to take back the contract in 2018 and the botched tender has now cost taxpayers £140m, the MPs found.

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, deputy chair of the public accounts committee (PAC), said: “Although progress has been made since our [2018] report, incredibly, the NDA still doesn’t know even where we’re currently at, in terms of the state and safety of the UK’s disused nuclear sites. Without that, and after the Magnox contracting disaster, it is hard to have confidence in future plans or estimates.” ……….

The UK has eight operating nuclear power plants, with all but one due to retire in the next decade. Only one new plant is being built, at Hinkley Point in Somerset, and it is years behind schedule and billions over budget.

Despite recent speculation over another new plant being given the go-ahead at Sizewell in Suffolk, Boris Johnson failed to announce this in his green industrial revolution plan last week. The government’s new national infrastructure strategy, published on Wednesday, said: “The government is pursuing large-scale nuclear projects, subject to clear value for money for both consumers and taxpayers.”

In 2015, the government stripped another private consortium of a £9bn contract to clean up the nuclear waste site at Sellafield. The company had been heavily criticised for its executives’ expense claims which included a £714 bill for a “cat in a taxi”.

November 28, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, decommission reactor, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Architect of its nuclear programme assassinated – Iran vows retaliation

Iran vows retaliation after top nuclear scientist shot dead near Tehran  Guardian,   Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, identified by Israel as director of nuclear weapons programme, ambushed in street  Patrick Wintour and Oliver Holmes, Sat 28 Nov 2020 Iran has vowed retaliation after the architect of its nuclear programme was assassinated on a highway near Tehran, in a major escalation of tensions that risks placing the Middle East on a new war footing.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was ambushed with explosives and machine gun fire in the town of Absard, 70km (44 miles) east of Tehran. Efforts to resuscitate him in hospital failed. His bodyguard and family members were also wounded.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said Israel was probably to blame, and an adviser to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, vowed retaliation. “We will strike as thunder at the killers of this oppressed martyr and will make them regret their action,” tweeted Hossein Dehghan.

The killing was seen inside Iran as being as grave as the assassination by US forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Qassem Soleimani in January.

Israel will face accusations that it is using the final weeks of the Trump administration to try to provoke Iran in the hope of closing off any chance of reconciliation between Tehran and the incoming US administration led by Joe Biden.

Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli Defence Force intelligence, said: “With the window of time left for Trump, such a move could lead Iran to a violent response, which would provide a pretext for a US-led attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.”……..

November 28, 2020 Posted by | incidents, Iran, Israel, politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties | 1 Comment

The global energy revolution

RethinkX 25th Nov 2020, We are on the cusp of the fastest, deepest, most profound disruption of the energy sector in over a century. Like most disruptions, this one is being driven by the convergence of several key technologies whose costs and capabilities have been improving on consistent and predictable trajectories – namely, solar photovoltaic power, wind power, and lithium-ion battery energy storage.

Our analysis shows that 100% clean electricity from the combination of solar, wind, and batteries (SWB) is both physically possible and economically affordable across the entire continental United States as well as the overwhelming majority of other populated regions of the world by 2030.

Adoption of SWB is growing exponentially worldwide and disruption is now inevitable because by 2030 they will offer the cheapest electricity option for most regions. Coal, gas, and nuclear power assets will become stranded during the 2020s, and no new investment in these technologies is rational from this point forward.

November 28, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

New comic book investigates the dilemma about France’s nuclear wastes

Mediapart 26th Nov 2020, What to do with nuclear waste? Bury them. Or ? Where the population is reluctant to dispute. For example, in Meuse. But how to convince the last recalcitrant? By watering the municipalities with subsidies. What if they resist? There remains repression. This mind-boggling story is that of a new comic book investigative book: One hundred thousand years.

November 28, 2020 Posted by | France, media, wastes | Leave a comment

Comprehensive research now shows that irradiated areas near Chernobyl have fewest mammals

Scientific American (accessed) 26th Nov 2020, More than 30 years after the Chernobyl nuclear plant’s meltdown, an 18-mile
radius around the site remains almost entirely devoid of human
activity—creating a haven for wildlife. But scientists disagree over
lingering radiation’s effects on animal populations in this region, called
the Exclusion Zone.

A new analysis, based on estimating the actual doses
animals receive in various parts of the zone, supports the hypothesis that
areas with the most radiation have the fewest mammals. “The effects we
saw are consistent with conventional wisdom about radiation,” says
University of South Carolina biologist Timothy Mousseau, co-author of the
new study in Scientific Reports. “What’s surprising is that it took this
long to start looking at this in a rigorous, comprehensive way.”

November 28, 2020 Posted by | environment, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Corruption investigation into AREVA’s sale of Nigerian uranium

Le Monde 25th Nov 2020, Opening of a corruption investigation into the sale of Nigerien uranium by Areva in 2011. Between 24 and 101 million dollars would have been diverted from the coffers of the Areva group between November 2011 and February 2012, according to “L’Obs”.

November 28, 2020 Posted by | France, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

British MP’s continue to botch in the ever more costly saga of Britain’s “old” nukes and “new” nukes

Times 27th Nov 2020, The NDA doesn’t really know because, as it told MPs, it “still does not have full understanding of the condition of the 17 sites”. It’s a point it proved with the meltdown of the £3.8 billion Magnox clean-up contract wrongly awarded to the Cavendish Fluor Partnership in 2014. That fiasco saw a High Court judge rule that the losing bidder, Energy Solutions and its partner, Bechtel, should have won the 14-year contract to bring the plants to a state of “care and maintenance”. The upshot? The government terminated the contract at a cost to the taxpayer of £142 million.

And now it’s back in the hands of the NDA, which is telling MPs that even that bit of work will now cost up to £8.7 billion and take another “12 to 15 years”. As the committee notes: “Past experience with the NDA suggests even these estimates will soon be out of date and costs may increase further”.

Isn’t that the story of everything to do with nuclear? True, you’d expect new-build plants to be better managed than Magnox and less
tricky to decommission than the Sellafield complex. The NDA also rejects the committee’s “suggestions that we may not understand the safety of our sites”. And the taxpayer-fleecing cost of the electricity coming from the £22.5 billion Hinkley Point C is meant to cover the clean-up bill.

Yet before Boris presses the go button on more nukes, including Rolls-Royce’s modular type, shouldn’t there be a debate about the waste? The government’s big idea is to bribe some local authority into housing a nice toxic dump, prettily dressed up as a “geological disposal facility”. Copeland in Cumbria is the closest to volunteering. But a deal is a long way off and the plan’s been vetoed before by Cumbria county council.

November 28, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Fukushima nuclear reactor no.1 – debris prevented from falling into fuel storage pool

Fukushima reactor one step closer to fuel removal, The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has finished work to prevent large debris from falling into a fuel storage pool in the No.1 reactor building.

Tokyo Electric Power Company on Thursday released footage showing precautions it had taken to keep a broken crane from falling into the pool.

The crane, weighing 161 tons, has been hanging over the pool since a hydrogen explosion hit the building in March 2011. The pool is still holding nuclear fuel.

The video shows a platform being moved on rails to a spot directly under the broken part of the crane. A bag on the platform is then filled with mortar and fixed to the crane to hold it in place.

The entire process was done remotely due to high levels of radiation in the reactor building.

TEPCO plans to install a cover over the whole building before starting the removal of fuel from the pool as early as fiscal 2027.

November 28, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Survey finds that most Fukushima evacuees do not intend to return

65% of Fukushima evacuees have no intention of returning home: survey
Sixty-five percent of the people who evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture after the March 2011 nuclear disaster have no intention of returning, according to a recent survey conducted by a Japanese university.

While the survey, conducted by a research facility at Kwansei Gakuin University, only received responses from 522 of 4,876 people to whom questionnaires were sent, it provided a rare insight into how former residents see the reconstruction of their former home.

The government of the northeastern prefecture has not carried out such surveys in recent years. There were over 36,900 evacuees within and outside the prefecture as of October, according to the prefectural government.

Among the 522 respondents who resided in the prefecture at the time of the nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant triggered by the massive quake and ensuing tsunamis, 341 people said they do not intend to return.

According to the survey conducted between July and September, 138 people said they plan to go back and 43 people did not answer or offer a valid response.

In response to a multiple-choice question asking why they have not returned to their homes, 46.1 percent said they still fear contamination of the environment, followed by 44.8 percent who said they have settled down in places they currently live.

November 28, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Russia claims to have successfully tested an “unstoppable” nuclear missile

Russia tests ‘unstoppable’ nuclear missile after worrying threat to the US
Russia claims to have successfully tested an “unstoppable” nuclear missile, with state media saying it has the ability to hit US cities in minutes. Fosterallyjfoster 27 Nov 20, 

The Russian military has claimed to have successfully tested an “unstoppable” nuclear missile, with the weapon almost reaching speeds of 10,000km/h.

The hypersonic weapon, known as the Mach 8 Zircon or Tsirkon, has been touted as President Vladimir Putin’s “weapon of choice”, with Russian media even claiming it could destroy prominent US locations within five minutes.

The Russian Ministry of Defence recently performed a test launch of the nuke in the White Sea, with officials claiming to have successfully hit a target located 450km away in the Barents Sea.

In a statement, the Russian Ministry of Defence claimed the missile reached speeds of more than 8 March, or about 9878 km/h.

It reportedly took just over four minutes to reach its target.

Though Russia has continually claimed success in testing and creating these nuclear missiles, the country has also recently been reminded of the dangers such weapons can pose if something goes wrong.

On August 8, 2019, an explosion at a weapons testing range in Nyonoksa killed seven people and injured multiple others.

Intelligence officials quickly came up with multiple theories about the cause of the deadly explosion, with some believing a test of a new nuclear powered missile had gone wrong and others claiming a nuclear reactor blew up.

………Russian officials remained tight lipped about the incident, simply claiming the explosion was the result of a failed test of an “isotope power source for a liquid-fuelled rocket engine”.

The country’s weather agency later confirmed the blast ejected radioactive material into the air.

Reports claimed radiation levels temporarily soared to 20 times above the normal level in Severodvinsk, a city about 30 km from the weapons testing site in Nyonoksa.

November 28, 2020 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A mock B61-12 nuclear bomb dropped for the first time.

Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

n.b This will be illegal under international law, as of January 22

F-35A drops inert nuclear bomb for first time,

By Greg Waldron27 November 2020 The Lockheed Martin F-35A has operated a flight test involving the dropping of a mock B61-12 nuclear bomb.The work took place at the Tonopah Test Range, and was conducted by Sandia National Laboratories. It was the first in a series of tests to assess the type’s ability to drop the weapon.

The aircraft, travelling faster than the speed of sound, dropped the inert weapon from 10,500ft. The weapon hit the designated target area 42s later.

“We’re showing the B61-12’s larger compatibility and broader versatility for the country’s nuclear deterrent, and we’re doing it in the world of Covid-19,” says Sandia executive Steven Samuels.

“We’re not slowing down. We’re still moving forward with the B61-12 compatibility activities on different platforms.”

This was the first time a B61-12 was dropped from the internal weapons bay of a fighter. It was also the first time the weapon was released at a speed greater than Mach 1.

The work follows other tests involving the Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle and Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bomber.

Sandia designs and produces non-nuclear components for the USA’s nuclear stock pile.

“The latest test is a critical piece in the F-35A and B61-12 programme,” adds Samuels. “Aboard the newest fighter, the B61-12 provides a strong piece of the overall nuclear deterrence strategy for our country and our allies.”

November 28, 2020 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment