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

The nuclear lobby holds too much sway over governments, particularly in Japan

Nuclear power: at what cost?

March 17, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | Leave a comment

New type of large and highly radioactive particles found in Japan

March 17, 2021 Posted by | environment, Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Don’t believe hydrogen and nuclear hype – they can’t get us to net zero carbon by 2050 

Don’t believe hydrogen and nuclear hype – they can’t get us to net zero carbon by 2050  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/mar/16/hydrogen-nuclear-net-zero-carbon-renewables        

Jonathon Porritt, 15 Mar,21,   Big industry players pushing techno-fixes are ignoring the only realistic solution to the climate crisis: renewables.  

ow that the whole world seems to be aligned behind the goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, the nuclear industry is straining every sinew to present itself as an invaluable ally in the ambitious aim. Energy experts remain starkly divided on whether or not we can reach this global net zero target without nuclear power, but regardless, it remains a hard sell for pro-nuclear enthusiasts.

The problems they face are the same ones that have dogged the industry for decades: ever-higher costs, seemingly inevitable delays, no solutions to the nuclear waste challenge, security and proliferation risks.

The drawbacks to nuclear are compounded by the burgeoning success of renewables – both solar and wind are getting cheaper and more efficient, year after year. There is also a growing realisation that a combination of renewables, smart storage, energy efficiency and more flexible grids can now be delivered at scale and at speed – anywhere in the world.

While the majority of environmentalists continue to oppose nuclear power, there is now a significant minority, increasingly concerned about accelerating climate change, who just don’t see how we can get to that net zero comfort zone without it. They’re right to be concerned – it is a truly daunting challenge. All emissions of greenhouse gases (across the entire economy, including those from transport, heating, manufacturing and refining, farming and land use, as well as from shipping and aviation) must be brought down to as close to zero as possible, with all residual emissions compensated for by the removal of an equivalent amount of CO2 from the atmosphere.

It’s the sheer scale of that challenge that has led a lot of people (including Boris Johnson with the government’s 10-point plan in November) not just to keep a flag flying for the nuclear industry, but to revisit the idea of hydrogen doing some of the heavy lifting. Hydrogen hype has become all the rage over the last 18 months, with some offering up this “clean energy technology”, as government officials insist on describing it, as the answer to all our net zero prayers.

For those prayers to be answered, there will need to be a complete revolution in the way in which hydrogen is produced. As it is, 98% of the 115m tonnes used globally is “grey hydrogen”, made from natural gas or coal, that emits around 830m tonnes of CO2 per annum – 2% of total global greenhouse gas emissions. Beyond that, there’s a tiny amount of so-called “blue hydrogen” – essentially grey hydrogen but with its CO2 emissions captured and stored – and an even tinier amount of “green hydrogen” from electrolysing water, both of which are much more expensive than the climate-wrecking grey hydrogen.

The gulf between that current reality, one rarely mentioned by hydrogen enthusiasts, and the prospect of readily available and affordable green hydrogen that could help us get to net zero, is absolutely vast.

Don’t get me wrong: we will indeed need significant volumes of green hydrogen and it’s good that the government has set an ambitious target for 2030, in the hope that this will significantly reduce the costs of electrolysis to create it. But we need to be clear about what that green hydrogen should be used for: not for electricity; not for heating homes and non-domestic buildings; and not for cars, where electric vehicles will always be better. Instead we will need it for what are called the “hard-to-abate” sectors: for steel – replacing carbon-intensive coking coal – cement and shipping.

Much of the hype for hydrogen is coming from the oil and gas sector, in the hope that gullible politicians, seduced by an unattainable vision of limitless green hydrogen, will subsidise the vast investments needed to capture the emissions from gas-powered hydrogen. Their motivation couldn’t be clearer: to postpone the inevitable decline of their industry.

The nuclear industry is also desperate to get in on that game. One has to admire its capacity to pivot opportunistically. In February, the Nuclear Industry Council (made up of both industry and government representatives in the UK) published a shiny new Hydrogen Roadmap, exploring how either large-scale nuclear or small modular reactors could generate both the electricity and the heat needed to produce large amounts of green hydrogen. But the entire plan is premised on spectacular and totally speculative reductions in the cost of electrolysis.

Rather than being the solution we have been waiting for, this nuclear/hydrogen development would actually be a disastrous techno-fix. Low-carbon nuclear power will always be massively more expensive than renewables and we can never build enough reactors to replace those coming offline over the next decade. We also know that producing hydrogen is always going to be very expensive. The truth is, you need a lot of electricity to produce not a lot of hydrogen. All of which makes pipe-dreams about substituting hydrogen for conventional gas in the UK’s gas grid, or of producing millions of tonnes of blue hydrogen, look almost entirely absurd.

This, then, could lead to a double economic whammy of quite monstrous proportions. It would either have to be paid for through general taxation or through higher bills for consumers. That’s particularly problematic from the perspective of the 10% of households in England still living in cruel and degrading fuel poverty.

Environmentalists who are tempted by this new nuclear/hydrogen hype should remember that our transition to a net zero world has to be a just transition. Every kilowatt hour of nuclear-generated power will be a much more expensive kilowatt hour than one delivered from renewables plus storage.

So let’s just hold back on both the hydrogen hype and the nuclear propaganda, and concentrate instead on ramping up what we already know is cost-effectively deliverable: renewables. We need to do it as fast as we possibly can.

March 17, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Outcry in Tahiti over nuclear fallout study

Outcry in Tahiti over nuclear fallout study  https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/438520/outcry-in-tahiti-over-nuclear-fallout-study 16 March 2021 Walter Zweifel, RNZ Pacific Reporter

walter.zweifel@rnz.co.nz   There is renewed alarm in French Polynesia over the legacy of the French nuclear weapons tests.
There is renewed alarm in French Polynesia over the legacy of the French nuclear weapons tests.

For test veteran groups, the latest findings by Disclose confirmed that France had been economical with the truth.

At the heart of their campaign is the push for compensation, which has been a decade-long battle over measured and measurable fallout.

The Disclose assessment, if accepted, would make thousands more sick people eligible for compensation, and incur on France an obligation to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars.

The pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru said he denounced the tests all along and claims that the Disclose study proves that contamination extended to all inhabited islands as well as to other Pacific countries.

According to him, the test legacy should be raised by the Pacific Islands Forum.

Temaru furthermore pointed to the UN resolution of 2013 which put French Polynesia on the decolonisation list.

He argued that France had to report to the UN about the health and environmental impact of its 193 nuclear weapons tests.

Temaru accused France of duplicity in the way it dealt with French Polynesia and also took a swipe at the territory’s rival political side, which defended the tests.

A former president Gaston Flosse admitted he travelled the Pacific to reassure the region of the tests’ safety, but said he would now oppose the tests with physical force if he had known what price the territory had to pay.

In a statement, Flosse said on one hand that if the Disclose study was correct then France lied to French Polynesians for years.

On the other hand, he said France must re-examine all compensation claims that have been rejected, and should also scrap the compensation law because its very basis no longer existed.

The French Atomic Energy Commission, the French defence minister and the French High Commissioner in French Polynesia have largely dismissed the Disclose study.

In essence, they saw no new elements or said the existing studies had taken all relevant information into account.

The French Polynesian president Edouard Fritch expressed surprise at the virulent reaction in Tahiti.

However, nearly three years ago he told the assembly that he himself had been telling lies about the tests for decades.

For now, the French compensation commission will continue to pay compensation within the established framework, benefiting at best dozens of people.

Compensation is paid out of a sense of national solidarity not because the French state recognises any liability.

March 17, 2021 Posted by | environment, OCEANIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Production of plutonium must cease, for the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty to work

For the NPT to work, plutonium has to go   https://thebulletin.org/2021/03/for-the-npt-to-work-plutonium-has-to-go/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=MondayNewsletter03152021&utm_content=NuclearRisk_NPTwork_03152021

By Victor GilinskyHenry Sokolski | March 15, 2021   The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), whose tenth review conference is coming up in August, is in trouble, and not only because of the crescendo of complaints about the failure of the nuclear-armed states to implement nuclear disarmament. The treaty is threatened with irrelevancy because its controls have not kept up with the times. It was drafted over 50 years ago, when it was widely believed that nuclear energy represented the future and would soon take over the generation of electricity. Not surprisingly, countries put few treaty restrictions on access to technology or materials other than to impose international inspection, and even that was circumscribed. We now have a more realistic view of the dangers of access to fuels that are also nuclear explosives (plutonium and highly enriched uranium) and also of the limited economic utility of these fuels for powering reactors. If we want an effective NPT, we have to eliminate these dangerous materials from civilian nuclear power programs. Dealing with uranium enrichment is complicated because nuclear power plants use enriched uranium fuel, but that should not hold us back from eliminating the danger we can eliminate—plutonium.

As soon as one mentions reinterpreting what the NPT allows, the treaty’s “originalism” crowd immediately pronounces the notion a non-starter. But we already have essentially eliminated an entire article (Article V) of the NPT that covered a technology—“peaceful” nuclear explosives—subsequently deemed both too dangerous and with negligible economic promise. That is exactly the situation with plutonium-fueled nuclear power reactors.

Separated plutonium in national hands leaves too little safety margin against possible use in warheads. At the same time, there is no economic penalty for doing without it. It should not be permitted in commercial use in all member countries. Existing civil stocks, like Japan’s nine tons, should be put under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) supervision until their owners can safely dispose of the material.

This may sound radical, especially given the drumbeat of the US Energy Department and nuclear industry propaganda about a new generation of “advanced reactors” under development, most of them plutonium-fueled. But it is nothing more than President Gerry Ford’s common sense proposal in his 1976 Nuclear Policy Statement. He said we should forego using plutonium until “the world community can effectively overcome the associated risks of proliferation.” We are nowhere within reach of such a condition.

The NPT’s laxity on plutonium stems from the widespread beliefs at the time it was negotiated in the 1960s. Nuclear power plants were then considered destined to take over electricity generation and were thus vital for powering national economies. The US Atomic Energy Commission estimated that “essentially all [US] generating capacity built in the 21st century would be nuclear.” Moreover, and this is key, the Atomic Energy Commission believed uranium was scarce. To stretch nuclear fuel supply, they believed it would be necessary to develop reactors that turned the 99 percent of non-fissionable uranium into plutonium and then use that as fuel—plutonium-fueled fast breeder reactors.

That became doctrine in nuclear bureaucracies throughout the world and the NPT was drawn up to facilitate that result. (Ironically, had the projections been fulfilled, and the world commercial channels been flooded with plutonium, the possibility of effective control would have vanished.) Given nuclear power’s then-imagined critical importance, it’s not surprising that the less advanced NPT signatories insisted on full access to nuclear technology, hence on Article IV of the NPT that famously states all members have “the inalienable right” to it.

It has since turned out that all of the “expert” thinking about plutonium-fueled fast breeder reactors taking over electricity production was wrong. Contrary to the projections of the 1960s, nuclear energy’s prospects are limited, uranium is not scarce, extracting plutonium from irradiated uranium fuel is hugely expensive, and the plutonium-fueled reactors are expensive to build, which eliminated the economic arguments for the so-called plutonium economy. This is now clear to all but messianic believers in nuclear energy.

But the vestiges of this technological archaism continue to animate national bureaucracies that deal with the NPT, including that of the US, and the IAEA, as well. Perhaps the most glaring examples of the residual attachment to plutonium is Japan, which accumulated an enormous stockpile of plutonium and China, which, like Japan, plans to open a large reprocessing plant to separate more for two large fast breeder reactors. The US Energy Department is planning an expensive fast reactor to test fuel (the Versatile Test Reactor) for a mythical future commercial generation of such reactors. These steps legitimate similar actions elsewhere and undermine effective nonproliferation controls.

With the diminished prospects of nuclear power, the amount of this plutonium-related activity is not going to be anything like what the nuclear community once projected. The essential point remains: Amounts of plutonium that are very small in commercial terms can be very large in military terms.

At a more fundamental level, the United States needs to speak clearly to dispel the myth—one that still grips some NPT member countries—that nuclear power is an essential technology without which a country cannot consider itself as advanced. To get into the details would take us too far afield. But, as an indication of current nuclear prospects, consider the collapse of the highly vaunted “nuclear renaissance” at the beginning of this century that was to lead to construction of dozens of plants in the United States. US nuclear operators filed license applications for 31 large units. They ultimately canceled all but two, and those two are years behind schedule and already double the original cost, which led the original contractor, once proud Westinghouse, to file for bankruptcy.

America’s utility sector has been consistent on this score: It is not going to build any additional large nuclear reactors and doesn’t extract plutonium from used nuclear fuel. This message presented at the 2021 NPT Review Conference would help clear the decks for an honest assessment of what is needed for protection against access to nuclear weapons. If plutonium and reprocessing (its separation technology) are generally permissible, and only barred when worries arise in special cases like Iran, the NPT will ultimately undo itself.

None of this is to suggest that the NPT members will be easily persuaded, or perhaps even persuaded at all, of the need to limit what is permissible under the treaty. The entrenched plutonium-fuel firms and laboratories, and their government backers, including those in the United States, will not easily let go of their subsidies. But we need to start.

 

March 17, 2021 Posted by | - plutonium, USA | Leave a comment

Review of Michael Shellenberger’s book on ”Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All”

Book review: Bad science and bad arguments abound in ‘Apocalypse Never’ by Michael Shellenberger’, Yale Climate Connections , By Dr. Peter H. Gleick | Wednesday, July 15, 2020   ”……………….. A recent entry in this debate is Michael Shellenberger’s “Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All” (HarperCollins Publishers, 2020). Shellenberger explains in his introduction that he seeks to counter and dismiss what he considers irrational, overwrought arguments of pending Malthusian catastrophes; instead, he seeks to promote the Cornucopian view that environmental problems can be eliminated if we’d just pursue aggressive economic growth, simple technological advances, and increased tapping of abundant natural resources. In doing so, he echoes previous efforts of authors like Herman Kahn, Julian Simon, and Bjørn Lomborg.

Shellenberger self-describes as an environmentalist activist and a bringer of facts and science to counter “exaggeration,

alarmism, and extremism that are the enemy of a positive, humanistic, and rational environmentalism.” He decided to write  this book because he believes “the conversation about climate change and the environment has, in the last few years,  spiraled out of control.”‘…
 
Unfortunately, the book is deeply and fatally flawed. At the simplest level, it is a polemic based on a strawman argument: To  Shellenberger, scientists, “educated elite,” “activist journalists,” and high-profile environmental activists believe incorrectly
 that the end of the world is coming and yet refuse to support the only solutions that he thinks will work – nuclear energy and uninhibited economic growth.
But even if the author properly understood the complexity and nature of global challenges, which he does not, and got the science right, which he did not, a fatal flaw in his argument is the traditional Cornucopian oversimplification of his solutions – reliance on economic growth and silver-bullet technology. ……
the book suffers from logical fallacies, arguments based on emotion and ideology, the setting up and knocking down of strawman arguments, and the selective cherry-picking and misuse of facts, all interspersed with simple mistakes and misrepresentations of science. Distressingly, this is also an angry book, riddled with ugly ad hominem attacks on scientists, environmental advocates, and the media.
I provide just a few examples of these flaws here – a comprehensive catalog would require its own book. In short, what is new in here isn’t right, and what is right isn’t new.

Two Cornucopian ideas lie at the heart of this book: The first idea is that there are no real “limits to growth” and environmental problems are the result of poverty and will be solved by having everyone get richer. This idea isn’t original and has long been debunked by others (for a few examples see hereherehere, and here).

View that nuclear alone can address needs

The second idea – and the focus of much of Shellenberger’s past writings – is that climate and energy problems can and should be solved solely by nuclear power. He writes, “Only nuclear, not solar and wind, can provide abundant, reliable, and inexpensive heat,” and, “Only nuclear energy can power our high-energy human civilization while reducing humankind’s environmental footprint.” (“Apocalypse Never” – hereafter “AN” – pp. 153 and 278) The many economic, environmental, political, and social arguments levied against nuclear are simply dismissed as having no merit, for example: “As for nuclear waste, it is the best and safest kind of waste produced from electricity production. It has never hurt anyone and there is no reason to think it ever will.” (AN, p. 152) ……….

Using the facade of ‘strawman arguments’

Shellenberger regularly sets up other strawman arguments and then knocks them down. [A strawman argument is an effort to refute an argument that hasn’t been made by replacing your opponent’s actual argument with a different one.] One of the most prevalent strawman arguments in the climate debate is that scientists claim climate change “causes” extreme events, when in fact, climate scientists make careful distinctions between “causality” and “influence” – two very different things. This area, called “attribution science,” is one of the most exciting aspects of climate research today.

Shellenberger sets up the strawman argument that people are incorrectly claiming recent extreme events (like forest fires, floods, heat waves, and droughts) were caused by climate change, and then he debunks this strawman. “Many blamed climate change for wildfires that ravaged California” (AN, p.2) and “the fires would have occurred even had Australia’s climate not warmed.” (AN p. 21) He misrepresents how the media reported on the fires, describing a New York Times story on the 2019 Amazon fires: “As for the Amazon, The New York Times reported, correctly, that the ‘fires were not caused by climate change.’” But here Shellenberger is cherry-picking a quote: If you look at the actual article he cites, the journalist makes clear the “influence” of climate change just two sentences later:

These fires were not caused by climate change. They were, by and large, set by humans. However, climate change can make fires worse. Fires can burn hotter and spread more quickly under warmer and drier conditions. (emphasis added)

He also misunderstands or misrepresents the extensive and growing literature on the links between climate change and extreme events, ……

……. Another example of a serious conceptual confusion is his chapter dismissing the threat of species extinctions. The chapter is full of misunderstandings of extinction rates, ecosystem and biological functions, confusions about timescales, and misuses of data. For example, Shellenberger confuses the concept of species “richness” with “biodiversity” and makes the astounding claim that

Around the world, the biodiversity of islands has actually doubled on average, thanks to the migration of ‘invasive species.’ The introduction of new plant species has outnumbered plant extinctions one hundred fold. (AN, p. 66)

By this odd logic, if an island had 10 species of native birds found only there and they went extinct, but 20 other invasive bird species established themselves, the island’s “biodiversity” would double. This error results from a misunderstanding of the study he cites, which properly notes that simply assessing species numbers (richness not biodiversity) on islands ignores the critical issues of biodiversity raised by invasive species, including the disruption of endemic species interactions, weakening of ecosystem stability, alteration of ecosystem functions, and increasing homogenization of flora and fauna………………

Another classic logical fallacy is to try to discredit an opponent’s argument by attacking the person and her or his motives, rather than the argument – hence the Latin “ad hominem” (“against the man”). Ad hominem attacks are pervasive in this book and detract from its tone and the content.

Shellenberger attacks “apocalyptic environmentalists” as “oblivious, or worse, unconcerned” about poverty (AN, p. 35) or for opposing a massive dam on the Congo river. (AN, p. 276) He attacks the finances of leading environmental groups and leaders like the late David Brower, arguing they have taken donations from fossil fuel companies to “greenwash the closure of nuclear plants.” (AN, p. 205) And he attacks the motives, reputations, and science of many individual environmental and geophysical scientists whose work contradicts his arguments……

 Shellenberger has a special level of animosity for the press:

News media, editors, and journalists might consider whether their constant sensationalizing of environmental problems is consistent with their professional commitment to fairness and accuracy, and their personal commitment to being a positive force in the world…….

In the most disturbing examples of vicious personal attacks, he paints broad categories of people who disagree with him as motivated by a hatred of humanity:

When we hear activists, journalists, IPCC scientists, and others claim climate change will be apocalyptic unless we make immediate, radical changes, including massive reductions in energy consumption, we might consider whether they are motivated by love for humanity or something closer to its opposite (AN, p. 275, emphasis added). We must fight against Malthusian and apocalyptic environmentalists who condemn human civilization and humanity itself. (AN, p. 274) (emphasis added).”

He argues in his closing sections that people worried about environmental disasters are playing out “a kind of subconscious fantasy for people who dislike civilization” (AN, p. 270) and suggests that people who oppose the solutions he prefers do so because they long for the destruction of civilization – a nasty attack on the motives of all those working in this field.

Finally, the book is riddled with a variety of simple errors…….  the number and scope of them here is problematic.  ….     one example is a massive misstatement of the amount of water required to produce energy. …..    in an important omission, he fails to note that key renewable energy sources such as wind and solar photovoltaics require far less water per unit of electricity produced than all fossil fuel and nuclear thermal plants. ….  He claims, twice (AN pp. 211 and 241), that nuclear power plants produce “zero pollution” ………


Dr. Peter H. Gleick
 is president emeritus of the Pacific Institute, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a MacArthur Fellow, and winner of the 2018 Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization.  https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/07/review-bad-science-and-bad-arguments-abound-in-apocalypse-never/?fbclid=IwAR2jUB12zAF9WbluEtglePOQlOSKbLkIxdbWeeh9eSWbc366JXrHNIERzzY

March 17, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, resources - print, spinbuster | Leave a comment

‘Toxic masculinity’ – Britain to build more nuclear weapons

Boris Johnson ‘violating international law’ with plan to build more nuclear weapons, Defence review appears to breach Article 6 of nuclear non-proliferation treaty,  Independent,  Jon Stone Policy Correspondent, 16 Mar 21, 

”………..Reacting to the new policy, Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), said: “A decision by the United Kingdom to increase its stockpile of weapons of mass destruction in the middle of a pandemic is irresponsible, dangerous and violates international law.

“While the British people are struggling to cope with the pandemic, an economic crisis, violence against women, and racism, the government choses to increase insecurity and threats in the world. This is toxic masculinity on display.

“While the majority of the world’s nations are leading the way to a safer future without nuclear weapons by joining the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the United Kingdom is pushing for a dangerous new nuclear arms race.”

In a further statement, the organisation suggested the UK would face censure at the next NPT review conference, which is due to take place in August at the United Nations.

“The United Kingdom is legally obligated under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty to pursue disarmament. States will meet soon to review the NPT’s success and when they do, the UK will have to answer for its actions,” the statement said.

ICAN won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 for its “ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition” of nuclear weapons.

Article 6 of the NPT, to which Britain is a signatory, commits countries to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament”.

Kate Hudson, general secretary of the UK’s Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said: “A decision to increase Britain’s nuclear arsenal absolutely goes against our legal obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

“Not only is the UK failing to take the required steps towards disarmament, it is willfully and actively embarking on a new nuclear arms race – at a time when presidents Biden and Putin have renewed their bilateral nuclear reductions treaty.  Britain must not be responsible for pushing the world towards nuclear war. This is a dangerous and irresponsible move, and must be reversed.”…..  https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-uk-nuclear-weapons-international-law-b1817827.html

 

March 17, 2021 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear power has become irrelevant — like it or not

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2021/03/1a9b07886b98-opinion-nuclear-power-has-become-irrelevant—-like-it-or-not.html, By Mycle Schneider, KYODO NEWS , 16 Mar 21,

Ten years went by since the Fukushima Daiichi accident began. What happened in the United States, historically leading the world’s nuclear power programs and still operating the largest reactor fleet in the world? What are global developments in energy policy increasingly dominated by renewable energy?

“The debate is over. Nuclear power has been eclipsed by the sun and the wind,” Dave Freeman wrote in the foreword to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2017.

he renowned industry thinker, called an “energy prophet” by The New York Times, passed away last year at age 94. He had seen nuclear power coming and going. President Carter appointed him as chairman of the only fully public electricity utility in the United States, the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1977.

Construction had started on two nuclear reactors in the state in 1972. It took until 1996 to complete the first one and until 2016 for the second one. Those were the last units to start up in the United States.

Construction began on four units in 2013, but in 2017, the bankruptcy of builder Westinghouse led to the abandonment of the $10 billion V.C. Summer two-unit project in South Carolina.

Construction cost estimates for the only other active construction site in the United States, the two-unit Vogtle project in Georgia, have multiplied by a factor nearing five from $6.1 billion in 2009 to $28 billion by 2018. The startup continues to be delayed.

Meanwhile, lacking newbuild, the U.S. nuclear fleet is aging and the 94 still operating reactors now exceed an average age of 40 years. Although the U.S. nuclear industry claims to have achieved decreasing operation and maintenance costs — the only nuclear country to do so — the utilities are still struggling to compete with fierce competitors from the renewable energy sector.

Solar photovoltaic plants saw their electricity-generating costs decrease by 90 percent over the past decade, and wind power is down 70 percent, while nuclear kilowatt-hour costs increased by one third.

The global nuclear industry has lost the newbuild market. Five reactors started up in 2020, while six were closed down. While there was a net nuclear capacity increase of 0.4 gigawatt, renewables added an estimated 248 gigawatt. China, the only country with a significant newbuild program, added 2 gigawatt of nuclear and 150 gigawatt of solar and wind combined.

As Freeman stated, “These renewable, free-fuel sources are no longer a dream or a projection — they are a reality that are replacing nuclear as the preferred choice for new power plants worldwide.”

No wonder despair is reigning in nuclear companies’ headquarters. Ten years after the disaster struck Japan, nuclear power has become irrelevant in the world, an industrial reality that also Japanese policymakers need to face.

(Mycle Schneider is an independent international consultant on energy and nuclear power. He is the coordinator and publisher of the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Report.)

March 17, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | Leave a comment

Sudden death of defendant in Ohio nuclear corruption case

March 17, 2021 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Serious security lapse at a Japanese nuclear plant

March 17, 2021 Posted by | incidents, Japan | Leave a comment

United Nations nuclear watchdog says it’s possible to return to the Iran nuclear deal

UN atomic watchdog: Return to Iran nuclear deal possible   https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/atomic-watchdog-return-iran-nuclear-deal-76486424The head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog says a U.S. return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran remains possible, but suggested to European Parliamentarians both sides need to be prepared to negotiate, By DAVID RISING Associated Press, 17 March 2021, 

Iran has said that before it resumes compliance with the deal, the U.S. needs to return to its own obligations under the deal by dropping the sanctions.

Asked about Iran’s insistence that the U.S. take the first step, International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi said in a video appearance before three European Parliament committees that “it takes two to tango.”

He noted that over the past two years Iran has accumulated a lot of nuclear material and new capacities, and used the time for “honing their skills in these areas.”

“Even if you had a magic wand or the hand of God and said we go back tomorrow, there will be a lot of housekeeping,” he said.

Grossi said he had been talking to both sides in his agency’s “impartial neutral role” and did think that a U.S. return to the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, was possible.

“They want to come back,” he said. “But of course … there are a number of issues that still need to be clarified. So it’s not impossible. It is difficult, but not impossible.”

The ultimate goal of the deal is to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, something it insists it doesn’t want to do. Iran now has enough enriched uranium to make a bomb, but nowhere near the amount it had before the nuclear deal was signed.

As part of its ongoing violations of the JCPOA, Iran last month began restricting IAEA inspections of its nuclear facilities.

Under a last-minute deal worked out in a trip to Tehran by Grossi, however, some access was preserved.

Under that temporary agreement, Iran will no longer share surveillance footage of its nuclear facilities with the IAEA, but it has promised to preserve the tapes for three months. It will then hand them over to the IAEA if it is granted sanctions relief. Otherwise, Iran has vowed to erase the tapes, narrowing the window for a diplomatic breakthrough.

Admittedly it is limited, but it allows to maintain a record of the basic activities that are taking place,” Grossi said. “Granted it is not the same as the whole access that we used to have.”

Grossi said it was important for the JCPOA powers to use this three-month “diplomatic window of opportunity” that Iran has granted.

“In this time period, the parties involved will hopefully be able to achieve, or at least start to move back to the JCPOA,” he said.

March 17, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Report alleges elevated cancer deaths in Monroe may be result of nuclear plant

Report alleges elevated cancer deaths in Monroe may be result of nuclear plant, Tyler Eagle-The Monroe News, 16 Mar 21, 

A new report has found that Monroe County’s cancer mortality rate is significantly higher than that of the national average.

And the scientist behind it contends the driving force behind that statistic is DTE Energy’s Fermi 2 Nuclear Power Plant in Newport.

Epidemiologist and executive director of the Radiation and Health Project Joseph Mangano unveiled a report titled “Fermi 2 Nuclear Reactor and Rising Cancer Rates” Thursday afternoon during a virtual press conference.

Using mortality data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mangano’s analysis found that cancer-related deaths in Monroe County were 14.3% higher than the national average.

“We have raised red flags — these are matters of concern,” Mangano said. “There are no other obvious reasons for such an unexpected change. …

“You wouldn’t think Monroe County is a (center) for cancer. It’s a suburban county.”

More:DTE Energy decries advocacy group’s report

The national average for cancer-related deaths nationally was about 150 deaths per 100,000, according to Mangano’s report. Monroe County’s most recent metric — which is from 2019 — was 170 per 100,000.

Prior to Fermi 2’s activation in 1985, Monroe County’s cancer death rate was 3% less the national average, according to Mangano. He said the elevated trend has continued to increase in the last ten years, resulting in the most recent and highest metric.

Mangano said elevated risk and mortality of cancer was present in all population groups, including those classified by gender, race and age.

His report shows that in Monroe County, 10 of the 11 most common cancers in the U.S. occurred at a significantly higher rate, including leukemia, brain and central nervous system and bronchus and lung cancers.

The report also indicates that cancer-related mortality among younger populations is also much higher than the national average.

According to the report, cancer-related deaths among those ages 0-24 occurred 40.2% more than the national average.

Among those ages 25-49, the rate was 49.2% above the U.S. average.

Mangano is calling for more research into the matter, saying the federal and state government have not done enough to examine nuclear plants’ impact on those who live near such sites.

“You don’t have to wait for a meltdown for nuclear reactor to harm people,” Mangano said. “Every single day, reactors release a mix of 100 or more (harmful) chemicals into the environment. It gets into people’s bodies through the food chain.”……….

Mangano also discussed a new initiative to collect donated baby teeth from Monroe County residents in an effort to investigate whether there are increased instances of in-body radioactive contamination.

Mangano said the Tooth Fairy Project will analyze collected specimens for Strontium-90, a harmful substance that is a byproduct of nuclear reaction.

The project will seek to collect 25-50 local specimens, he said……….    https://www.monroenews.com/story/news/2021/03/11/study-elevated-cancer-deaths-monroe-may-result-nuclear-plant/4649665001/

March 17, 2021 Posted by | children, USA | Leave a comment

Why the Fukushima disaster signalled the end of Big Nuclear.

New Statesman 15th March 2021, Why the Fukushima disaster signalled the end of Big Nuclear. Ten years after the world’s second worst nuclear disaster, large nuclear power stations have yet to regain their appeal. While for many energy experts it may not make sense to hot-headedly shut off existing nuclear for largely ideological reasons, as Germany did in 2011, the past decade has left many countries asking why they would take the economic and political risk
associated with new nuclear power stations when they can invest instead in high volumes of renewable energy.

Big Nuclear has demonstrated the mistake of looking for an easy solution, and picking one technology as a silver bullet. Without a pragmatic approach, energy debates veer away from the
facts, technological and economic, and make it harder for governments to decide on the strategies needed for the most significant challenge of all – the need to reach net zero.

https://www.newstatesman.com/business/sustainability/2021/03/why-fukushima-disaster-signalled-end-big-nuclear

March 17, 2021 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

UK should build foreig policy on aid, conflict resolution, not on reversing nuclear disarmament

Tax Research UK 16th March 2021. Billions will be wasted, nuclear waste will be created, a dangerous precedent of reversing disarmament will have been set, and the world will be more unsafe, all for no gain. If the UK was wise now (and but isn’t) it would be pursuing a very different foreign policy, based on that of
Norway.

That country does punch above its weight. It has a strong foreign policy based on aid. It uses that to build strong diplomatic links around the world. And in the process it works, quietly, on conflict resolution.
That’s the way foreign policy should be done. We are just aggressively waving colonial flags. And that’s a disaster as well as being nuclear insanity.

https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2021/03/16/nuclear-insanity/

March 17, 2021 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Dilemma over plan to dump Himkley nuclear mud off Cardiff coast

Nation Cymru 15th March 2021,  Proposals to dump hundreds of thousands of tonnes more mud from theconstruction of a new nuclear power plant two miles off the Cardiff coast
will be discussed in the Senedd tomorrow. Last year a petition opposing EDF
Energy’s application demanded a full Environmental Impact Assessment
(EIA) before the dump could be licensed. The petition gained almost 10,700
signatures and forced a Senedd debate. In 2018 EDF were granted permission
to dump at the Cardiff Deep Grounds inshore disposal site despite fierce
opposition and an earlier debate in the Senedd.

https://nation.cymru/news/battle-to-block-hinkley-c-mud-dump-returns-to-the-senedd/

March 17, 2021 Posted by | politics, UK, wastes | Leave a comment