nuclear-news

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

Plowshare anti nuclear-weapons activists again face prison .

Longtime Anti-Nuke Activists Face Prison, Again, After Breaking Into Naval Base  https://www.npr.org/2020/12/28/948116757/longtime-anti-nuclear-activists-face-prison-again-after-breaking-into-naval-base
December 28, 20205: Heard on Morning Edition

EMMA PEASLEE.  Dressed in black, the seven intruders cut through a fence and stole along the perimeter of the naval base, trying to avoid detection from the guard towers, as a loudspeaker overhead blared: “Deadly force is authorized!”

Patrick O’Neill, who had a GoPro strapped to his head, tried to reassure himself by remembering a scene in the Bible where Jesus escapes unscathed from a wrathful mob that wants to throw him off a cliff.

When O’Neill and the others reached their target, they poured their own blood on the shield of the Kings Bay naval base in Georgia and attached a poster of Martin Luther King Jr. to a mock-up of a Trident II D5 ballistic missile at the welcome area.

The anti-nuclear activists — Roman Catholics who call themselves Plowshares, from the Biblical passage about “beating swords into plowshares” — followed the metaphor quite literally and took a hammer to the replica of the warhead.

“When you think of idolatry, that’s exactly what I think of: statues of nuclear weapons,” O’Neill said later. “I mean, my God, you’re gonna build a statue for something that if it’s used would blow up a whole city full of people. This is your idea of welcoming people? I mean, it’s sick.”

The break-in on the night of April 4, 2018, ended with the arrest and conviction on charges of trespassing and destruction of property for the seven activists aged 58 to 81.

And in the midst of a pandemic that’s wreaking havoc on prisons and disproportionately affecting older people, six of them have been sentenced to up to 33 months in prison. The seventh is scheduled to be sentenced in February.

The Plowshares activists were seeking to revive the anti-nuclear movement by committing acts of civil disobedience.

They are part of a larger faith-based movement that has been around since the 1980s, when anti-nuclear protests used to draw millions into the streets.

Those days are long gone, but the threat of nuclear warfare isn’t. According to some atomic scientists, the threat may be even greater now, and the activists are frustrated that in their view hardly anyone is paying attention.

Which is one reason why they have broken into military bases and sometimes succeeded in doing damage to actual nuclear armaments. In a highly publicized protest in 1980, Plowshares activists hammered two missile nose cones at a General Electric complex in King of Prussia, Pa., causing tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage. In 2012, another group that included an 82-year-old Catholic nun defaced a bunker holding weapons-grade uranium at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

People are always astounded that a bunch of old people or unarmed people or whatever people can gain access to these weapons at all,” said O’Neill, 64.

Patrick O’Neill, 64, is a member of the Kings Bay Plowshares. He reports to prison in January for a 14-month sentence.
Emma Peaslee/NPR

Martha Hennessey, 65, had already been to prison three times before beginning her sentence at a federal prison in Danbury, Conn., on Dec. 14. She is the granddaughter of the journalist-turned-activist Dorothy Day, who founded the pacifist Catholic Worker Movement in the 1930s.

Rather than dwell on her own sentence, she drew attention to the mass incarceration of people who have committed minor offenses.

“I mean, there are people being thrown into prison for years for, you know, things that are not even crimes,” she said in an interview before reporting to prison.

Members of the Plowshares group prefer not to talk about the risks they might face in prison, but their families are worried.

“I’m afraid that my dad might die in prison,” said Maura O’Neill, 26, one of O’Neill’s eight children. “I worry that he might contract COVID and get really sick, and it feels like a real possibility.”

December 31, 2020 Posted by | Legal, opposition to nuclear, PERSONAL STORIES, Religion and ethics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Brexit: UK and Euratom have signed a Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA)

World Nuclear News 29th Dec 2020, The UK and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) have signed a
Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA). This is separate from the wider UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement that was also announced on 24 December and which has since been approved by ambassadors from the 27 EU Member States, paving the way for it to take effect on 1 January. UK lawmakers will tomorrow return to the House of Commons, the lower chamber of parliament,
to vote on the so-called post-Brexit trade deal.

https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/UK-and-Euratom-sign-Nuclear-Cooperation-Agreement

December 31, 2020 Posted by | politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Scotland wants no part in the Tories’ latest nuclear energy folly

December 31, 2020 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

In so many ways, Sizewell C nuclear plan is a bad deal for Britain, and especially for climate action

Why Sizewell C is a bad deal for the UK public and our net zero goals
https://bhesco.co.uk/blog/stop-sizewell-c-nuclear-power by Dan Curtis on 21/12/2020   It has been a tumultuous few weeks for the UK’s energy policy, with the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for achieving Net Zero by 2050 followed swiftly by the Government’s long overdue Energy White Paper.

Then, the news broke that the UK Government has begun discussions with French utility EDF for the development of a new nuclear reactor at Sizewell, “C” in Suffolk, basically scrapping their 10 year policy that “there will be no levy, direct payment or market support for electricity supplied or capacity provided by a private sector new nuclear operator, unless similar support is also made available more widely to other types of generation”.

The site at Sizewell contains two existing nuclear power facilities, Sizewell A (decommissioning and site restoration until 2098 at taxpayers’ cost) and Sizewell B (still active). The new proposals are to build an extension to the site, implementing the same reactor design as that Hinkley Point “C” in Somerset.

Defenders of the project invariably claim that expanding the UK’s nuclear fleet will contribute to the decarbonisation of the energy supply, ensure energy security, while providing consumers with long-term affordable electricity – all arguments which fail to stand up to scrutiny, as we shall demonstrate.

Nuclear power does not provide good value for money

It takes a phenomenal amount of money to develop new nuclear power stations, before we even begin to consider the additional cost of storing and managing the radioactive waste material.

Hinkley C was originally estimated to cost £18 billion but the project has been mired in delays and is now vastly over-budget, predicted to cost up to £3 billion more than initially forecast – a quite remarkable overspend.

 

To address this vulnerability to financial losses for the project developers EDF and Chinese firm CGN, who are considering withdrawing their investment, the UK Government are considering investing directly in Sizewell C, shifting risk and cost to the British taxpayer.

This is in addition to a suggestion of implementing a “regulated asset base” financing model which would enable EDF to charge energy customers for the cost of construction as well as the cost of electricity generation (thereby exposing both customers and taxpayers to the risk of project cost overruns).

Adding to the financial nonsense of new nuclear power is the sky-high cost of the electricity that is produced to the end user. The government has granted a guaranteed, inflation linked price of £92.50 per megawatt hour for the electricity to be produced by Hinkley Point C.

Compare this to the cost of offshore wind, which under a 2019 contract for difference auction, saw prices come in at £39.65 per megawatt hour – less than half the cost of energy from Hinkley.

In contrast to the ever-increasing costs of nuclear (Sizewell C has an estimated starting price tag of £20 billion, which will no doubt balloon), the cost of solar and wind power continue to fall year on year, with solar costs having declined by an astonishing 87% since 2010.

A primary motivation for nuclear power is its value for military applications

The astronomical construction and decommissioning costs of nuclear power does not make financial sense when looking at it from a UK taxpayer/ consumer viewpoint.  It is only when considering the wider potential applications of a nuclear programme that we can begin to understand why successive UK governments have been so supportive of the industry.

 

Researchers at the University of Sussex found compelling evidence that the UK’s domestic nuclear power programme is only supported by the Government because of its value in contributing towards the military nuclear weapons programme, which would otherwise be financially unviable without such subsidised support from domestic energy customers.

Prof Andrew Stirling of the university’s Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) said:

”The exclusion of these issues from the consultation remit reflects a serious military-driven bias in UK Government attachments to nuclear power. This is not only making carbon emissions reductions slower and more expensive, but also impeding possibilities for the UK post-COVID economic recovery”.

We believe that the arguments in favour of nuclear power are disingenuous. Backers of nuclear power should be honest that they want to build more nuclear plants not because they will provide energy security or a good deal for customers, but because they are necessary for maintaining the UK’s fleet of nuclear submarines, and all of the sabre rattling ‘seat at the table’ geo-political bravado that goes along with retaining our position as a nuclear power.

New nuclear power takes too long to build to have any meaningful role in tackling the urgent climate crisis

Wherever new nuclear power stations are being built we see long delays and broken promises.

Hinkley Point C has suffered setbacks and complications ever since development began in 2017 and it is not expected to come online until 2025. It’s the same story at other locations where this type of reactor is being built, such as in Flamanville in France which is seven years overdue and the Olkiluoto plant in Finland which is ten years late!  There is only one EPR nuclear reactor operational in the world. This is the Taishun plant in China, built on the same sea where Fukishima exploded in 2011.

Clearly, new nuclear power plants will not address the issue of urgent and radical carbon emissions reductions needed to be achieved by 2030 if we are to avoid irreversible climate breakdown.

It is also worth noting the gigantic carbon footprint that would result from the construction of Sizewell C. When considering the pros and cons of nuclear power, it is vital to honestly account for the enormous quantities of cement (which has a huge carbon footprint) and other hazardous materials required to build the facility in the first place.

Adding insult to the assertion that Sizewell C will be a long-term benefit to the environment is the fact that the site is to be located adjacent to an RSPB nature reserve Minsmere, a AONB site that EDF has already started demolishing.

Nuclear power produces nuclear waste which lasts for thousands of years

The by-product of nuclear fission is hazardous nuclear waste which remains radioactive for thousands of years. This presents an extraordinary liability and storage risk to future UK taxpayers and residents.

The current liability cost of decommissioning and safely storing our existing nuclear waste is estimated to be in the region of £232 billion – a truly eye-watering sum, and one that will only continue to increase as more nuclear reactors such as Hinkley and Sizewell contribute additional toxic waste materials for every year that they are operational.

 

The UK already has the largest stockpile of radioactive plutonium in the world, estimated to be between 112 and 140 tons, stored in an area of outstanding natural beauty in Cumbria. Future generations will not think kindly of us if we continue to add to this dangerous legacy with more hazardous nuclear waste that costs billions each year to manage to avert disaster.

The UK does not need Sizewell C or any other nuclear power stations – we can meet our energy needs with 100% clean renewable energy

We already have the means at our disposal to meet our heat and power needs through a combination of renewable energy and energy storage technologies.

Combine this with a comprehensive programme to reduce demand through energy efficiency improvements and we can conclude with confidence that there is no reason to develop new nuclear power stations in the UK.  In fact, the alternatives will deliver lower energy prices for the consumer and better taxpayer value over the long term.

A common defence for nuclear power is the need for a steady supply of ‘base load’ power in the event that intermittant renewables cannot meet demand.

But this way of thinking is obsolete. Our future energy supply in the UK will be based on dynamism and flexibility, where consumers adapt their behaviour in sync with variable generation output. As Steve Holliday, former CEO of National Grid said in 2015:

“The idea of baseload power is already outdated. I think you should look at this the other way around. From a consumer’s point of view, baseload is what I am producing myself. The solar on my rooftop, my heat pump – that’s the baseload.”

The Government’s recent announcement that it is entering into talks with EDF regarding Sizewell C is, we are told, the beginning of a long consultation process which will consider the long-term costs and benefits of such a project before reaching a conclusion on whether to give it the go ahead.

These talks are by no means a ‘green-light’ to the project. We hope that it is not naïve to believe that due diligence will be done, that the information will be honest and transparent, and that logical, rational thinking for the benefit of all residents of our small island will prevail.

But this way of thinking is obsolete. Our future energy supply in the UK will be based on dynamism and flexibility, where consumers adapt their behaviour in sync with variable generation output. As Steve Holliday, former CEO of National Grid said in 2015:

“The idea of baseload power is already outdated. I think you should look at this the other way around. From a consumer’s point of view, baseload is what I am producing myself. The solar on my rooftop, my heat pump – that’s the baseload.”

The Government’s recent announcement that it is entering into talks with EDF regarding Sizewell C is, we are told, the beginning of a long consultation process which will consider the long-term costs and benefits of such a project before reaching a conclusion on whether to give it the go ahead.

These talks are by no means a ‘green-light’ to the project. We hope that it is not naïve to believe that due diligence will be done, that the information will be honest and transparent, and that logical, rational thinking for the benefit of all residents of our small island will prevail.’

Sources ……

December 31, 2020 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

South Korean government to cut nuclear power generation

9th National Power Supply Plan Finalized
Government to Cut Coal-fired and Nuclear Power Generation,
Business Korea, By Jung Suk-yee,  December 29, 2020The South Korean government finalized its ninth national power supply plan on Dec. 28. According to it, half of coal-fired power plants in South Korea will be shut down within 15 years for the purpose of carbon reduction, 11 old nuclear power plants will be shut down at the ends of their service lives without any service life extension, and LNG- and renewable energy-based power generation will be expanded to offset the resultant decrease in power supply. ……
When it comes to nuclear power plants, the government is planning to increase the number from 24 to 26 from this year to 2024 and then decrease it to 17 by 2034. The capacity of the plants will be reduced from 23.3 GW to 19.4 GW from this year to 2034……..http://www.businesskorea.co.kr/news/articleView.html?idxno=57559

December 31, 2020 Posted by | politics, South Korea | Leave a comment

Joe Biden reported to be considering cuts to America’s $1.2trillion nuclear modernization program

December 31, 2020 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment