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Small nuclear power plants no use in climate crisis

Small nuclear power plants no use in climate crisis

Governments are investing in a new range of small nuclear power plants, with little chance they’ll ease the climate crisis.  By Paul Brown, Climate News Network, March 25, 2021 
  Claims that a new generation of so-called advanced, safe and easier-to-build nuclear reactors − small nuclear power plants − will be vital to combat climate change are an illusion, and the idea should be abandoned, says a group of scientists.

Their report, “Advanced” is not always better, published by the US Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), examines all the proposed new types of reactor under development in the US and fails to find any that could be developed in time to help deal with the urgent need to cut carbon emissions.

The US government is spending $600 million on supporting these prototypes.While the report goes into details only about the many designs of small and medium-sized reactors being developed by US companies, it is a serious blow to the worldwide nuclear industry because the technologies are all similar to those also being underwritten by taxpayers in Canada, the UK, Russia and China.

This is a market the World Economic Forum claimed in January could be worth $300 billion by 2040.Edwin Lyman, who wrote the report, and is the director of nuclear power safety in the UCS Climate and Energy Program, thinks the WEF estimate is extremely unlikely. He comments on nuclear power in general: “The technology has fundamental safety and security disadvantages compared with other low-carbon sources.“Nuclear reactors and their associated facilities for fuel production and waste handling are vulnerable to catastrophic accidents and sabotage, and they can be misused to produce materials for nuclear weapons.

The nuclear industry, policymakers, and regulators must address these shortcomings fully if the global use of nuclear power is to increase without posing unacceptable risks to public health, the environment and international peace and security.”Cheaper optionsLyman says none of the new reactors appears to solve any of these problems. Also, he says, the industry’s claims that their designs could cost less, be built quickly, reduce the production of nuclear waste, use uranium more efficiently and reduce the risk of nuclear proliferation have yet to be proved. The developers have also yet to demonstrate that the new generation of reactors has improved safety features enabling them to shut down quickly in the event of attack or accident.

Lyman examines the idea that reactors can be placed near cities or industry so that the waste heat from their electricity generation can be used in district heating or for industrial processes.He says there is no evidence that the public would be keen on the idea of having nuclear power stations planted in their neighbourhoods.Another of the industry’s ideas for using the power of the new nuclear stations to produce “green hydrogen” for use in transport or back-up energy production is technically feasible, but it seems likely that renewable energies like wind and solar could produce the hydrogen far more cheaply, the report says.In reality the nuclear industry is shrinking in international importance and is likely to continue to do so………

The report notes that it is not just the US that is having trouble with nuclear technology: Europe is also suffering severe delays and cost overruns with new plants at Olkiluoto in FinlandFlamanville in France and Hinkley Point C in the UK.Lyman’s comments might be of interest to the British government, which has just published its integrated review of defence and foreign policy.

Military link declared In it the government linked the future of the civil and defence nuclear capabilities of the country, showing that a healthy civil sector was important for propping up the military.   This is controversial because of the government’s decision announced in the same review to increase the number of nuclear warheads from 180 to 260, threatening an escalation of the international arms race.Although Lyman does not mention it, there is a clear crossover between civil and nuclear industries in the US, the UK, China, Russia and France. This is made more obvious because of the few countries that have renounced nuclear weapons − for example only Germany, Italy and Spain have shown no interest in building any kind of nuclear station. This is simply because renewables are cheaper and produce low carbon power far more quickly.But the link between civil and defence nuclear industries does explain why in the UK the government is spending £215m ($298m) on research and development into the civil use of the small medium reactors championed by a consortium headed by Rolls-Royce, which is also one of the country’s major defence contractors. 

Rolls-Royce wants to build 16 of these reactors in a factory and assemble them in various parts of the country. It is also looking to sell them into Europe to gain economies of scale.Judging by the UCS analysis, this deployment of as yet unproven new nuclear technologies is unlikely to be in time to help the climate crisis – one of the claims that both the US and UK governments and Rolls-Royce itself are making.  https://www.eco-business.com/news/small-nuclear-power-plants-no-use-in-climate-crisis/

March 27, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Amid a pandemic, the Tokyo torch relay risks sacrificing public health on the altar of Olympic pageantry”

NBC Opinion Piece Critical of Tokyo Olympic Torch Relay, https://www.nippon.com/en/news/yjj2021032600904/ Mar 26, 2021   New York, (Jiji Press)–U.S. broadcaster NBC, in an online edition on Thursday, posted an opinion piece harshly criticizing the torch relay for the Tokyo Olympic Games that started the same day amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Amid a pandemic, the Tokyo torch relay risks sacrificing public health on the altar of Olympic pageantry–a tradition established by the Nazis, no less,” Jules Boykoff, professor of Pacific University in Oregon and a former professional soccer player, said in the article. “Some traditions, especially those rooted in Nazi propaganda, should be extinguished.”

The vaccine rollout in Japan has only inched forward, so the population will not be fully vaccinated when the Olympics begin” in July after a one-year postponement due to the pandemic, he said. “The Japanese public is understandably jittery.”

The torch relay started in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, one of the prefectures hit hardest by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami and the subsequent nuclear accident.Boykoff said that although the Tokyo Games were originally branded the “Recovery Olympics” as a nod to the restoration of disaster areas, “many in the region actually blame the Tokyo Olympics for Fukushima’s slow recovery, with resources having been diverted from Fukushima to Tokyo to prepare for the games.”

March 27, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tokyo Olympic Games torch relay starts, but most Japanese want it cancelled

Tokyo Olympic torch relay begins in Fukushima as Japan tries to boost confidence in the delayed event

ABC, By North Asia correspondent Jake Sturmer and Yumi Asada in Fukushima, 26 Mar 21, “………..Japan remains sceptical of the scandal-ridden Games

Organisers hope this relay — and stories like Reina’s — will shift the mood in favour of the Olympics in Japan.

Opinion polls have consistently shown that a majority of Japanese want the Games postponed or cancelled.

Sexism scandals haven’t helped either.

The president of the Organising Committee, Yoshiro Mori, resigned after saying women talked too much in meetings.

Then the creative director of the opening and closing ceremonies Hiroshi Sasaki resigned after suggesting well-known Japanese comedian Naomi Watanabe could play a role in the ceremonies as an ‘Olympig’…………. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-03-25/tokyo-olympics-torch-relay-begins-after-pandemic-delay/100025394

March 27, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Delay in removal of debris from Fukushima nuclear plant. Longterm clean-up at least a century

Removal of nuclear debris from Fukushima plant delayed for ‘around a year’: TEPCO   https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20210326/p2a/00m/0na/030000c, March 26, 2021 (Mainichi Japan)   TOKYO — The removal of nuclear fuel debris from Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (TEPCO)’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will be delayed, according to a revised version of its 10-year decommissioning plan announced on March 25.

The biggest task in the decommissioning process is removing fuel debris including melted nuclear fuel from the plant’s No. 2 reactor. Initially the operator planned to commence this work in 2021 — 10 years after the plant’s triple-meltdown following the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami — but it has now been delayed “for around a year,” with no concrete commitment on when it will start.

Regarding the removal of fuel debris from reactors No. 1 and 3, the revised plan states that the operator will consider starting with reactor No. 3, envisaging subsequent expansion of the work to reactor No. 1, based on information and experience gained from the No. 2 reactor. However, the dates for removing the debris from the No. 1 and 3 reactors similarly remain undecided.

The government and TEPCO have projected that the decommissioning project will take 30-40 years from 2011. The latest 10-year plan extends to that time frame’s halfway point, but still there is no clear outlook for the decommissioning of the reactors. On the reason the operator was unable to state the date for the start of the No. 2 reactor fuel debris removal, an official at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry overseeing the revised action plan commented, “The effects of COVID-19 remain murky.”

As for the future of the nuclear plant site after decommissioning, locals have asked to turn it into a safe plot of vacant land, but there is no outline of this in the revised plan.Commenting on the form the site will take after decommissioning, Akira Ono, president of the Fukushima Daiichi Decontamination & Decommissioning Engineering Co., commented, “We’re unable to even discuss this.”

Last summer, the Atomic Energy Society of Japan estimated that it would take at least a century before the grounds of the nuclear power plant could be reused based on the time it would take to purify soil and groundwater contaminated with radioactive materials.Hiroshi Miyano of the society’s Study Committee on Decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi NPP, commented, “It relates to what our future picture of restoration looks like. We should quickly proceed with discussion.”(Japanese original by Suzuko Araki and Hisashi Tsukamoto, Science & Environment News Department)

March 27, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear power costs – from the CATO Institute – a reality check for those who imagine nuclear as a climate solution.



Nuclear Power Costs,  CATO Institute, By Peter Van Doren, 26 Mar, 21
,

“………………… In the Spring issue of Regulation I review a recent paper that documents the history of nuclear power plant construction in the United States and the increase in costs. From 1967 through 1978, 107 were constructed. Rather than costs going down over that time because of learning by doing, plant costs more than doubled with each doubling of cumulative U.S. capacity. The problem was declining “materials deployment productivity”—that is, the amount of concrete and steel that workers put together per unit time.

About 30 percent of the productivity reduction stems from nuclear regulatory safety concerns. According to the authors:

While our analysis identifies the rebar density in reinforced concrete as the most influential variable for cost decrease, changes to the amount and composition of containment concrete are constrained by safety regulations, most notably the requirement for containment structures to withstand commercial aircraft impacts. New plant designs with underground (embedded) reactors could allow for thinner containment walls. However, these designs are still under development and pose the risk of high excavation costs in areas or at sites with low productivity.

The sources of the other 70 percent of productivity slowdown were construction management and workflow issues, including lack of material and tool availability, overcrowded work areas, and scheduling conflicts between crews of different trades. Craft laborers, for example, were unproductive during 75 percent of scheduled working hours.

Plant builders attempted to address these problems by increasing the use of standardized prefabricated modules that could be shipped to site and installed. These were employed in later reactors, but whatever advantages they provided did not improve aggregate productivity.

Since the 1990s, two nuclear projects have begun construction in the U.S. Both are two‐reactor expansions of existing generating stations. The VC Summer project in South Carolina was abandoned in 2017 with sunk costs of $9 billion, and the Vogtle project in Georgia is severely delayed. Recent estimates place the total price of the Vogtle expansion at $25 billion, almost twice as high as the initial estimate of $14 billion, and costs are anticipated to rise further.


These problems are not unique to the United States. Projects in Finland and France also have experienced cost escalation, cost overrun, and schedule delays, which I also described ten years ago.

The paper provides an important reality check for those who believe nuclear power is an essential component of any strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. https://www.cato.org/blog/nuclear-power-costs

March 27, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear power costs – from the CATO Institute – a reality check for those who imagine nuclear as a climate solution

Nuclear Power Costs,  CATO Institute, By Peter Van Doren, 26 Mar 21,


“………………… In the Spring issue of Regulation I review a recent paper that documents the history of nuclear power plant construction in the United States and the increase in costs. From 1967 through 1978, 107 were constructed. Rather than costs going down over that time because of learning by doing, plant costs more than doubled with each doubling of cumulative U.S. capacity. The problem was declining “materials deployment productivity”—that is, the amount of concrete and steel that workers put together per unit time.

About 30 percent of the productivity reduction stems from nuclear regulatory safety concerns. According to the authors:

While our analysis identifies the rebar density in reinforced concrete as the most influential variable for cost decrease, changes to the amount and composition of containment concrete are constrained by safety regulations, most notably the requirement for containment structures to withstand commercial aircraft impacts. New plant designs with underground (embedded) reactors could allow for thinner containment walls. However, these designs are still under development and pose the risk of high excavation costs in areas or at sites with low productivity.

The sources of the other 70 percent of productivity slowdown were construction management and workflow issues, including lack of material and tool availability, overcrowded work areas, and scheduling conflicts between crews of different trades. Craft laborers, for example, were unproductive during 75 percent of scheduled working hours.

Plant builders attempted to address these problems by increasing the use of standardized prefabricated modules that could be shipped to site and installed. These were employed in later reactors, but whatever advantages they provided did not improve aggregate productivity.

Since the 1990s, two nuclear projects have begun construction in the U.S. Both are two‐reactor expansions of existing generating stations. The VC Summer project in South Carolina was abandoned in 2017 with sunk costs of $9 billion, and the Vogtle project in Georgia is severely delayed. Recent estimates place the total price of the Vogtle expansion at $25 billion, almost twice as high as the initial estimate of $14 billion, and costs are anticipated to rise further.


These problems are not unique to the United States. Projects in Finland and France also have experienced cost escalation, cost overrun, and schedule delays, which I also described ten years ago.

The paper provides an important reality check for those who believe nuclear power is an essential component of any strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. https://www.cato.org/blog/nuclear-power-costs

March 27, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Zealand speaks out against UK’s expansion of nuclear weaponry.

New Zealand ‘disappointed’ over United Kingdom’s plans to expand nuclear arsenal, Stuff, Thomas Manch, Mar 26 2021  

New Zealand says the United Kingdom’s plan to boost its nuclear armoury by 35 warheads “undermines” the global disarmament effort.The United Kingdom had previously committed to reducing its nuclear arsenal to 180 weapons. But after a review its defence and foreign policy upon leaving the European Union, the country decided to embrace nuclear weapons as a “deterrent” and increase its arsenal from “up to 225” warheads to “up to 260”.

Disarmament and Arms Control Minister Phil Twyford told Stuff that New Zealand officials had contacted their counterparts in Britain to express their disappointment.”On so many foreign policy issues, the Brits are our mates, basically. But this is very disappointing. And it comes to the time when the world is hoping that nuclear disarmament is going to get back on the agenda,” he said.He said the British bid to increase their arsenal undermined the decades-old Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, to which Britain was a signatory.

“The non-proliferation treaty is based on the idea that the nuclear weapon states including Britain will reduce their arsenals, and in return for that other countries won’t develop nuclear weapons, that’s the bargain that was struck.

“[This] undermines the efforts of countries around the world, including New Zealand, to promote the disarmament.”New Zealand has long been an advocate for nuclear disarmament, after the country declared itself a nuclear-free zone in the 1980s, banning nuclear armed and propelled ships from its waters.”There’s no doubt that heightened strategic rivalry has made the international climate much more difficult than in recent years, for a whole host of different multilateral things, including trade, but certainly disarmament and arms control.

But the answer to that is not to start some new arms race. The answer is to redouble our efforts to negotiate.”I know that it won’t just be New Zealand, it will be lots of other countries that are saying to the Brits, ‘This is not the direction we should be heading in’.”Twyford said the world was in “quite a risky, vulnerable situation”, as efforts to reduce the nuclear arsenal held by both the United States and Russia – 90 per cent of the world’s warheads – had slowed.New Zealand would be pushing for countries to sign up to the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in the coming year, he said. This new treaty asked countries to declare that nuclear weapons were illegal under international law……… https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/124666703/new-zealand-disappointed-over-united-kingdoms-plans-to-expand-nuclear-arsenal

March 27, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Beyond the pandemic, the priority should be the elimination of nuclear weapons

Eliminating nuclear weapons should be a priority as we look beyond the pandemic  ipolitics, By Gar Pardy. Mar 25, 2021,  “………..The world is not going to gather in Vienna as it did in 1815, where it reorganized Europe after the Napoleonic wars, and provided for a hundred years of relative freedom from wars. Today, the turmoil is different where coping with new diseases and the pollution of our environment takes precedent over global power relationships. However, the significance of those new relationships may give us the basis for a new world order more tuned to the needs of what was written in 1945 UN Charter. China, Russia and the United States were signatories to the Charter which opens with the words

WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINEDto save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, andto reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, andto establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, andto promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Gar Pardy is retired from the Canadian foreign service and comments on public policy issues from Ottawa.  His latest book “China is a Changing World” is available from all online book stores and from Books on Beechwood in Ottawa. https://ipolitics.ca/2021/03/25/eliminating-nuclear-weapons-should-be-a-priority-as-we-look-beyond-the-pandemic/

March 27, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The nuclear weapons issue is a women’s issue

During Women’s History Month, thank women for preventing nuclear disaster (Commentary) https://www.syracuse.com/opinion/2021/03/during-womens-history-month-thank-women-for-preventing-nuclear-disaster-commentary.html 26 Mar 21, By Wendy Yost | Syracuse Peace Council Wendy Yost, of Syracuse, writes on behalf of the Nuclear Free World Committee of the Syracuse Peace Council.

Depending on how old you are, you may remember the 1950s and ’60s “duck and cover” drills in elementary school and signs leading to the atomic bomb shelters in public buildings. Or you may remember the Cuban Missile crisis when the world came dangerously close to nuclear war. Then, and now, most of us probably had or have no true idea of the devastation that such a war would bring.


During Women’s History month, we should thank women for bringing some sanity to the insanity of the Cold War. In 1961 Bella Abzug and Dagmar Wilson founded “Women Strike for Peace.” Their goal was to stop nations from nuclear testing. The movement brought 50,000 women in 60 different cities together in protest. Coretta Scott King served as the organization’s delegate to an international disarmament conference in 1962. The public pressure brought by these women and the near-disaster of the Cuban Missile crisis helped bring the Soviet Union, United Kingdom and U.S. together to sign the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, prohibiting nuclear testing underwater, in outer space and in the atmosphere in 1963. This marked the beginning of a series of hard-won international agreements that have helped prevent nuclear war since the 1960s.

Bella Abzug framed the nuclear issue as a women’s issue in saying “… We are entitled to our shared economic resources of the country. We are entitled to equal pay for comparable work … We are entitled to have some hope for our family with a decent environment. We are permanently entitled to world peace, which is the only way in which we can rebuild and restructure this society to make it for all people.”

These words ring true for our time. In 2021, women are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic in lost wages and increased responsibilities for childcare, education, and emotional support for stressed kids. While our predominantly male Congress has debated the country’s ability to afford childcare subsidies, extended unemployment benefits, child tax credits and support to reopen schools safely, our government spends approximately $67.5 billion per year on nuclear weapons. At the same time, the world has become less safe from nuclear weapons as international agreements have ended and diplomacy has been hollowed out and denigrated by the Trump administration.

There are hopeful signs as the Biden administration has recommitted efforts to end the nuclear threat by already negotiating an extension of the New START Treaty with Russia, reviving efforts to negotiate with Iran over nuclear weapons, and committing to reduced U.S. expenditures on nuclear weapons of annihilation. Notably, Biden has nominated several women to senior positions that involve nuclear non-proliferation including Bonnie Jenkins as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and Mallory Stewart as Senior Director for Arms Control and National Non-Proliferation for the National Security Council. These appointments are historic in nature for appointing women to top positions who have spent their careers working for peace, security and nuclear non-proliferation.

Let’s have Women’s History Month in 2021 be a time for women (and men) commit to making history by working for a world that is safe from nuclear weapons and a world where resources are committed to life-affirming programs and policies. This means supporting, expecting and demanding that the new administration meet and exceed its commitments to quell the threat of nuclear war. Visit preventnuclearwar.org and or peacecouncil.net/programs/nuclear-free-world-committee to learn more and take action.

March 27, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Physicians for Social Responsibility challenge the 20 year license extension for old enbrittled Point Beach nuclear statiion


Physicians group challenges license extension for Point Beach nuclear plant
Chris Hubbuch | Wisconsin State Journal  26 Mar 21, An anti-nuclear group is seeking to block efforts to keep Wisconsin’s only operational nuclear power plant running through 2050.

Physicians for Social Responsibility filed a petition Tuesday asking federal regulators for a hearing on the application to add 20 years to the licenses for the Point Beach Nuclear plant in Two Rivers.The Madison-based nonprofit cites concerns about the age and structural integrity of the reactors, which began operation in 1970 and 1972, the public health risks of an accident and the heated water the plant dumps into Lake Michigan.

“These reactors are plagued with a long history of operational difficulties and embrittlement which make the risk of a catastrophic accident untenable for the safety of Wisconsin residents and the environment,” said Amy Schulz, a nurse and president of the Wisconsin chapter of PSR. “One simply needs to look at the financial, environmental and health costs paid by the people of Japan and Ukraine after the accidents at Fukushima and Chernobyl to recognize the folly of this relicensing proposal.

”The group also contends renewable energy sources provide safer and more economical alternatives to the plant, which sells electricity under contract to We Energies at a rate nearly double the average wholesale price in the Midwest.NextEra Energy last year filed an application asking the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to add 20 years to licenses for the two reactors at the 1,200-megawatt plant, which is Wisconsin’s single-largest source of electricity.Last renewed in 2005, the current licenses are set to expire in 2030 and 2033.

PSR filed the petition on behalf of 10 members who live within 50 miles of the plant, which they say poses a risk to their health and safety.Arnold Gundersen, a nuclear engineer and former plant operator testifying on behalf of PSR, said the Point Beach reactors “do not meet basic licensing requirements” and have been degraded by decades of radiation.

“Point Beach is the worst neutron embrittled reactor pressure vessel in the country, at risk of fracturing like glass in an emergency,” Gundersen said.The petition also calls the Point Beach units “super predators” that kill millions of aquatic organisms as they suck more than a trillion gallons of water per day from Lake Michigan and return the heated water.Hannah Mortensen, executive director of PSR Wisconsin, said while blocking the application extension is a long shot, the group hopes to at least persuade regulators to require the installation of cooling towers, which she said would mitigate some of the damage.“Lake Michigan already has enough problems with climate change,” Mortensen said.NextEra spokesman Peter Robbins said the company would respond to the group’s concerns through the NRC’s application review process……….

other witnesses for PSR question the value of the plant, which is under contract to provide electricity to We Energies. Under that agreement, the utility pays $55.82 per megawatt hour this year, about 63% higher than the average wholesale price for electricity in the region. By 2033, the cost rises to $122.45 per megawatt hour.The anti-nuclear group argues it would be far cheaper for ratepayers to replace the plant with a combination of solar panels with battery storage, energy efficiency measures and advanced grid controls.“Essentially it’s uneconomical to have Point Beach running into the future,” Mortensen said. “We actually have over 10 years to develop a plan. And the infrastructure is all there.”  
https://madison.com/wsj/news/local/environment/physicians-group-challenges-license-extension-for-point-beach-nuclear-plant/article_6dccf28d-6e5e-54a6-a66f-0acbcfc98e0e.html

March 27, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Czech secret services warn against involvement of Russia in nuclear tender 

Czech secret services warn against involvement of Russia in nuclear tender  https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/short_news/czech-secret-services-warn-against-involvement-of-russia-in-nuclear-tender/By Ondřej Plevák | EURACTIV.cz  The Czech secret services have warned the Czech government against including Russian energy giant Rosatom in a planned tender on building a new unit at the Dukovany nuclear power station as it would leave the country vulnerable.The only solution, according to the secret service, is to exclude Rosatom before the tender even begins.

However, President Miloš Zeman is lobbying to have the Russian company involved in the tender. According to the findings of EURACTIV.cz’s media partner Aktuálně.cz and weekly Respekt, Industry Minister Karel Havlíček now wants to order the semi-state energy company ČEZ to contact Rosatom and three other bidders and send them the tender documentation.Opposition parties have attacked the move as government has not yet voted on the tender process.26 Mar    

A final decision on a contract to build a new unit will be made by the next government, which will form after the general elections in autumn. However, according to experts, it will be very hard to exclude the Russian company after the documentation has been sent, even though the tender would not officially start yet. (Ondřej Plevák | EURACTIV.cz)

March 27, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Biased pro nuclear report on UK’s Sizewell project ignores the negative economic impacts

East Anglian Daily Times 25th March 2021, Opponents of Sizewell C have criticised a report claiming the power project will bring a £2billion boost to Suffolk as “smoke and mirrors” – but council chiefs have welcomed the findings. Commissioned by the Sizewell C Consortium, a group of 200-plus businesses and organisations supporting the proposed nuclear power station, the report was written by Ernst and Young after speaking to supply chain and key businesses in the region. The report said the decade-long construction period would bring an investment of £4.4bn in the East of England, of which around £2bn would be in Suffolk, along with tens of thousands of new jobs.

Campaign group Stop Sizewell C said: “This report uses smoke and mirrors. It massively overstates construction period jobs by counting them by the year so, over a 10-year build, the number is only 10% of those claimed. “Over three quarters of EDF’s construction workforce – around 6,000 – would be imported from outside East Anglia. EDF’s management has made no secret of its ‘ambition’to bring skilled workers from its Hinkley site to Suffolk. “The report uses gross spend rather than any net ‘benefit’ to Suffolk. “If a £20billion project is going to dominate the area for a decade you would expect a proportion to be spent locally, but 10% seems very bad value for money.


“The report also ignores the many negative economic impacts on East Suffolk’s thriving SME-based local business community, such as traffic congestion, displacement of workers, and loss of customers – not least in tourism.”

https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/sizewell-economic-boost-reaction-7849530

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Report on the military implications of China’s new fast-breeder nuclear reactor plans – ”Plowshares to Swords ?”

China’s Civil Nuclear Sector: Plowshares to Swords? (Occasional Paper 2102), 26 Mar 21, http://npolicy.org/article.php?aid=1548&rtid=2
 Today, Reuters reported that China is pushing the development of a new generation of fast breeder reactors that make significant quantities of weapons-grade plutonium. The article draws on reports that China is building not one, but two large reprocessing plants (the first likely to come on line in 2025; the second sometime before 2030) and two large fast breeder reactors (projected to begin operation in 2023 and 2026).

With the normal operation of fast breeder reactors of the size China is building comes the annual production of hundreds of bombs’ worth of weapons-grade plutonium. This has major military implications. To help clarify them, the Reuters article, cites NPEC’s research report, “China’s Civil Nuclear Sector: Plowshares to Swords?”, which NPEC is releasing today. The senior-most nuclear nonproliferation policy officials of both the Trump and the Obama Administrations — Christopher Ford and Thomas Countryman — coauthored the report’s preface and endorsed its determinations.

The report’s key finding is that given China’s large fast reactor program, China could conservatively produce 1,270 nuclear weapons by 2030 simply by exploiting the weapons-grade plutonium this program will produce. If China chose, in addition, to make weapons that either used highly enriched uranium or composite (uranium-plutonium) cores, it could increase this number by a factor of two or more.

The report makes several recommendations. First, our government needs to learn why, after 2017, China stopped reporting privately on its civilian plutonium activities and holdings to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). China, Russia, the United States, France, the UK, and Japan agreed to make these reports and have done so since 1997.

Second, the US, South Korea, Japan, and China should make this information public and also publicly share their uranium holdings and enrichment related activities. On the defense side, Washington should ask Beijing to reveal what its military plutonium and uranium holdings are. The United States already did so in 1996 and 2001.

Finally, the report recommends that the United States explore with China, Japan, and South Korea the idea of taking a commercial plutonium production timeout. Currently, fast reactors are far less economic than the least economic of conventional reactors. Japan, South Korea, and the United States could and should offer to delay their fast reactor and commercial plutonium programs if China would agree to do the same.

The full report includes work by Hui Zhang of Harvard’s Belfer Center, Greg Jones, Frank Von Hippel of Princeton University, David Von Hippel, and two appendices consisting of previously published NPEC studies. The later examine the difficulties of preventing abrupt and incremental diversions from commercial nuclear fuel-making plants of the type China and Japan have or are planning to build and that South Korea and the United States are considering developing.

March 27, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment