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

Briefly, nuclear news this week

The good news from 2020: 10 sunny stories from an otherwise dark year.

In ‘Huge Victory for Polar Bears’, Court Rejects Arctic Offshore Drilling Project.  U.S. “climate mayors” are hopeful that a Biden administration will help cities accelerate progress toward climate goals.


The Madness of Nuclear Deterrence.

Nuclear power ridiculously expensive and uncompetitive – the market has spoken.

ARCTIC.  Russia marketing small nuclear reactors to the Arctic , (who cares about the toxic wastes?).

JAPANFukushima nuclear debris removal to be delayed due to pandemic.


UK. Unacceptable secrecy by the nuclear industry in Sizewell documentation.  UK’s quest for nuclear fusion.  No acknowledgment, no compensation, for a British nuclear test hero.

EUROPE. Chinese demands on nuclear power investment complicate EU talks.  Marketing nuclear technology to Slovakia.

UKRAINE.  Are forest fires unlocking radiation in Chernobyl?  Dredging of the Pripyat river poses danger of Chernobyl radioactivity to drinking water of 8 million people.  Storage of Chernobyl nuclear waste – in reality unsafe for 1000s of years.

SOUTH KOREA.  South Korea: mayors and governors of all 17 major cities and provinces call on Japan not to dump Fukushima radioactive water into the ocean.

NORTH KOREA.  Economic crisis forces North Korea to put new nuclear parade facilities on ice..

BELARUS.  EU visit to Belarus nuclear plant called off, deepening safety concerns.

IRAN Iran nuclear deal: ‘Heated rhetoric and the heightened risk of miscalculation’ widen differences.

CHINAChina rejects reports of hitch in investment pact talks with EU.

RUSSIA.  Russia keenly marketing nuclear technology to Bolivia.  Russian Army Chief Warns of Nuclear Risks in Cyber Hacks, Space .  Russia’s nuclear-powered ice-breaker in trouble.

AUSTRALIA. Curiouser and curiouser – the dishonest acrobatics of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO)

December 28, 2020 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

Donald Trump’s dangerous nuclear legacy

Donald Trump Is A Nuclear President—His Legacy Is More Nukes, Fewer Controls
David Axe, Forbes Staff  In his single term in the White House, Donald Trump expanded America’s nuclear arsenal and undermined decades of arms-control efforts. While President-elect Joe Biden could reverse some of Trump’s atomic initiatives, it’s highly unlikely he can undo all of them.And it’s impossible for Biden to travel back in time and seize opportunities for nuclear arms-reduction that Trump squandered—with North Korea, in particular.

For that reason alone, Trump’s atomic legacy will be a meaningful one. “He drove the final few nails in the coffin for the first era of arms-control,” said Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in California.

Kingston Reif, a missile expert at the Arms Control Association in Washington, D.C., neatly summarized Trump’s nuclear initiatives on Twitter in mid-December. To paraphrase:

1. Trump nudged the Pentagon to double the number of low-yield nuclear weapons, which according to experts raise the risk of nuclear war by making nukes seemingly more “useable” in an armed clash between major powers. At the same time, Trump’s nuclear doctrine expanded the list of external threats that officially justify nuclear retaliation. Perhaps most notably, the list of threats now includes a major hacking event. The U.S. Navy subsequently deployed the low-yield W76-2 variant of its Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missile.

2. At the opposite end of the yield spectrum, the billionaire president accelerated development of high-yield SLBMs and canceled a Pentagon plan to decommission the megaton-class B83-1 gravity bomb.

3. To arm these new weapons, Trump took steps to restart production of plutonium cores for nuclear warheads, despite arguments that the United States already possesses plenty of cores. The core-production falls under a roughly $9-billion budgetary boost that Trump helped push through for the U.S. National Nuclear Security Agency, which oversees America’s nukes.

4. Citing Russian development of banned weapons, Trump withdrew the United States from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, which limited ground-launched nukes in Europe. The former reality TV star also pulled America out of the 1992 Open Skies Treaty, which allows the United States, Russia and many European states to monitor each other’s atomic arsenals via photographic-reconnaissance flights. Finally, Trump has been reluctant to approve an extension—due in February—of the 2010 New START, a U.S.-Russian accord that puts a cap on nuclear weapons and helped both countries reduce their atomic arsenals in the years prior to Trump’s presidency. It’s possible Biden could bring the USA back into Open Skies while also scrambling to extend New START, but the INF Treaty almost certainly is dead, as both the United States and Russia now openly are developing intermediate-range nukes.

5. After failing several times to negotiate any kind of enforceable arms limitations with North Korea, Trump became the first president since the 1960s not to negotiate any new nuclear arms-control agreement. Instead, he did the very opposite—loosened controls, encouraged proliferation and, as a result, is “the first post-Cold War president not to reduce the size of the nuclear warhead stockpile,” according to Reif.

“The Trump administration’s nuclear legacy is one of failure,” Reif said. “The administration inherited several nuclear challenges, to be sure, but it has made nearly all of them worse.”

December 28, 2020 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | 2 Comments

Nuclear power ridiculously expensive and uncompetitive – the market has spoken

“nuclear is ridiculously expensive and uncompetitive”. So, nothing really needs to happen for renewable energy investment to grow. The reality is that the market has said “no” to nuclear and “yes” to renewables.

The Reality Is that the Market Has Said “No” to Nuclear and “Yes” to Renewables, RIAC, Paul Dorfman PhD, Honorary Senior Research Associate at the UCL Energy Institute University College London; Chair of the Nuclear Consulting Group; Member of the Irish Govt. Environment Protection Agency Radiation Protection Advisory Committee,  and Tatyana Kanunnikova27 Dec 20, 

“……….   As for nuclear energy, can it be used to help mitigate climate change? What are the problems associated with nuclear energy?

With mounting public concern and policy recognition over the speed and pace of the low carbon energy transition needed to mitigate climate change, nuclear power has been reframed as a response to the threat of global warming. However, at the heart of the question of nuclear power, there are differing views on how to apply foresight, precaution, and responsibility in the context of the poor economics of nuclear, the possibility of accidents, the consequences of those accidents, and indeed whether there exists a place for nuclear at all within the swiftly expanding renewable evolution.

When one considers nuclear, it is absolutely important to consider its life cycle in terms of carbon emissions. A study by Prof Benjamin Sovacool looked at 103 different studies and concluded that the average value for nuclear in terms of life cycle emissions was about 66 grams of carbon dioxide for every kilowatt-hour produced. This compares to about 9 grams per kilowatt-hour for wind and 32 grams per kilowatt-hour for solar. This puts nuclear as the third-highest carbon emitter after coal-fired plants and natural gas.

So, in terms of carbon emissions, nuclear is lower than fossil fuel but produces significantly more carbon dioxide in terms of its life cycle than renewable power. And perhaps more importantly, with ramping predictions for sea level rise and climate disturbance, nuclear will be an important risk, since climate change will impact coastal nuclear plants earlier and harder than is currently expected. Proposed new reactors, together with radioactive waste stores, including spent fuel located on the coasts, will be vulnerable to sea level rise, flooding, and storm surge. These coastal sites will need considerable investment just to protect them against sea level rise, and in the medium term, they will even be subject to abandonment or relocation.

Adapting coastal nuclear power to climate change will entail significantly increased expense for construction, operation, waste storage, and decommissioning. Inland nuclear power plants will do no better. This is because they must be cooled by significant amounts of water and they have to shut down if that cooling water is either too warm or the river flow is reduced. These are two factors that will absolutely happen with increased climate change. We are seeing this already in France where their reactors stationed by rivers, reliant on river water for cooling, have both diminished river flow and increased water temperatures in the summertime. That implies that there will be a significant inland nuclear station nuclear power shutdown in the future.

The other problem is one of economics, since nuclear is so hugely expensive. Carrying on constructing and prolonging the life of current nuclear plants is enormously costly. New construction is eye-wateringly expensive, which means that if we continue to build nuclear plants, we have much less resource, money, to put into the real solution to climate change, which is renewable power, demand-side management, and storage.

What are the advantages of solar and wind power?

A recent report by Standard and Poor, the key market analyst, found that renewable energy technology global investment has been running at about 350 billion dollars per year for the last few years. But for nuclear, it fell to about 17 billion for last year.

Standard and Poor say that they see “little economic rationale for new nuclear build in the US or Western Europe owing to massive cost escalations and renewables cost-competitiveness, which should lead to a material decline in nuclear generation”. Similarly, Lazard—the world’s leading financial advisory and asset management firm—has just compared the cost of new nuclear, which runs at about $119 to $192 per megawatt-hour, compared to $32 to $42 for utility-scale solar and between $20 and $54 for onshore wind per megawatt-hour. So there is a huge cost difference between nuclear and renewable technologies. Lazard go on to say that the unsubsidized, levelized cost of energy of large-scale wind and solar are at a fraction of the cost of new nuclear or even coal generators, even if the very great cost of nuclear decommissioning and ongoing maintenance is excluded.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance agrees with Lazard’s analysis. The key disadvantage to nuclear power is that it is just too expensive. For renewables, the cost is far lower and continues to fall, which is why what we see is the majority of new nuclear only being constructed with the support of vast state and public subsidy. So, given the reality that funding is limited, we need to make a choice between very expensive nuclear and very inexpensive renewables.

What hinders investments in renewable energy?

In fact, all of the markets are putting all of the money into renewable energy and none of the markets are putting their money into nuclear. There is no market investment in new nuclear. All the investment is going into renewable energy, as I have just discussed. The only problem is, of course, is that if governments via state subsidy put enormous amounts of the low carbon energy budgets into nuclear, they will have less money to invest properly in real low carbon energy technologies such as renewables, storage, and demand-side management.

What initiatives could help promote investments in renewable energy?

I do not think renewable energy needs pushing. The cost of renewables is a fraction of the cost of new nuclear. As Mr. Tanaka, a former director of the International Energy Agency and a former long-standing nuclear advocate, says, “nuclear is ridiculously expensive and uncompetitive”. So, nothing really needs to happen for renewable energy investment to grow. The reality is that the market has said “no” to nuclear and “yes” to renewables……………..

In the journey to manage the decline of fossil fuels, not all low carbon technologies are equal. The reality is that nuclear is far less benign, far more expensive, and far more carbon-intensive than other renewable options. Nuclear will struggle to compete with the technological, economic, and security advantages of the coming renewable evolution. In bidding goodbye to fossil fuels, we should also say goodbye to nuclear. And given the ramping costs and risks that cling to this, essentially late 20th-century technology, it is not before time.

Interviewed by Tatyana Kanunnikova.

December 28, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, Reference | Leave a comment

Russia’s nuclear-powered ice-breaker in trouble

Strategy Page 25th Dec 2020 , The world’s only nuclear-powered non-military ships are operated by Russia. These include five nuclear powered icebreakers and one cargo ship,nthe Sevmorput.

While Russia is building five new nuclear icebreakers, the first one completed has run into problems. To make matters worse, the
oldest Russian nuclear-powered ship, the Sevmorput was stranded off thewest coast of Africa as emergency repairs are undertaken so it can continuenits trip to Antarctica where it will deliver 5,000 tons of supplies and construction materials for a new Russian research base in Antarctica.
The mission was cancelled and on December 2nd  and the Sevmorput turned around and began the long voyage, at half speed, to repairs at St Petersburg. The temporary fix involved disabling one of the four propellers so that two were out of action but at least the ship could steer, which was not the case when one of the four propellers was out of action and there was no way to easily turn off any of the others.

Moscow Times 16th Dec 2020, A Russian nuclear-powered cargo ship bound for Antarctica has been forced to turn back after sustaining damage, and will bypass Europe before undergoing repairs, state nuclear agency Rosatom said Wednesday. Green  activists have expressed concern that the vessel will be sailing past several European countries on its way home during the winter storm season.

December 28, 2020 Posted by | Russia, safety | Leave a comment

Storage of Chernobyl nuclear waste – in reality unsafe for 1000s of years

Tsunami-crippled Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant No.4 (R) and No.3 reactor buildings are seen in Fukushima prefecture February 28, 2012. Members of the foreign media were allowed into the plant on Tuesday ahead of the first anniversary of the March 11, 2011 tsunami and earthquake which triggered the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl. REUTERS/Kimimasa Mayama/Pool (JAPAN – Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT ENERGY) – RTR2YKOE

Paul Waldon  Fight to Stop a Nuclear Waste Dump in South Australia, 28 Dec 20, 

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has been tasked by the international community to manage funds, financing the efforts to transform Chernobyl into a safe and secure state. In a recent address to the public there have been interesting points of claim.
1: Chernobyl has reached a milestone in nuclear safety.
2: The first spent reactor fuel from the infamous nuclear power plant has been securely stored at last.
3: The risk of an accident is being mitigated.
4: The fuel will safely be stored for at least a century.
“My take on the subject is”
1: A nuclear plant that has a reactor meltdown is not safe.
2: The reactor’s main function is to manufacture radioactive waste, fuel is not spent but used!
3: As long as the waste remains, the risks remain.
4: 100 Year storage is but a respite in the timeline of radioactive fuel when we look back at the first nuclear reactor that was fired up by Enrico Fermi 78 years ago and that waste is still with us today. Chernobyl’s first reactor was completed 43 years ago, then a meltdown gave birth to Chernobyl’s place in history nearly 35 years ago. So to imply that 100 years is an adequate time to manage fuel, waste and debris from reactors is nothing short of irresponsible.

December 28, 2020 Posted by | Ukraine, wastes | Leave a comment