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Small nuclear reactor project cut back to half size, due to financial worries

Eastern Idaho nuclear project goes from 12 to six reactors.  IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) 19 July 21— A Utah energy cooperative said it will reduce the number of small modular nuclear reactors it will build in Idaho from 12 to six for a first-of-a-kind project  [ totally ineffective against global heating] that is part of a federal effort to reduce greenhouse gasses that cause climate change……

The reactors are being built by Portland, Oregon-based NuScale Power. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission last year approved NuScale’s application for the small modular reactors, the first time U.S. officials approved a design for a small commercial nuclear reactor.

………….. Idaho Falls has committed to buying 5 megawatts of power from the reactors through the Carbon Free Power Project. The city had been committed to 10 megawatts but cut that in half in October amid concerns about financial risks.

………..  Idaho Falls City Council member John Radford said at a July 8 meeting. “This project is something that can help keep this country on this trajectory to a carbon-free future and maybe a better existence for all of us.” – [a complete untruth!!     this Councillor is either ignorant, or lying]  https://madison.com/news/national/govt-and-politics/eastern-idaho-nuclear-project-goes-from-12-to-six-reactors/article_cb353af6-5659-5baa-8365-dc575aeeba8d.html

July 20, 2021 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

Wiscasset – just one of thousands of American communities stuck with stranded nuclear wastes.

The situation in Wiscasset underscores a thorny issue facing more than 100 communities across the U.S.: What to do with hundreds of thousands of tons of nuclear waste that has no place to go.

Securing these remnants of nuclear energy generation is an ongoing task that requires armed guards around the clock and costs Maine Yankee’s owners some $10 million per year, which is being paid for with money from the government.

All told, the country’s many abandoned nuclear facilities — including Maine Yankee — have cost the federal government billions of dollars, a sum that increases by about $2 million each day

Keeping the spent fuel on the site was meant to be a temporary solution until the dry storage casks, or canisters, could be transported to a permanent home deep underground where they could stay undisturbed for hundreds of thousands of years.

Armed Guards Protect Tons Of Nuclear Waste That Maine Can’t Get Rid Of  Maine Public | By By Abigail Curtis, BDN July 19, 2021  In the summertime, the picturesque village of Wiscasset is infamous for its long lines of people hungry to try a lobster roll at Red’s Eats and cars that crawl through town on the often-clogged U.S. Route 1.

But just a few miles south of downtown is a different kind of roadblock: thousands of tons of nuclear waste stored on a coastal peninsula at the now-decommissioned Maine Yankee atomic energy plant that have nowhere to go.

The change in presidential administrations means another chance for the federal government to make good on its promise to remove the waste, so the site can be closed for good. The Biden administration’s Department of Energy seems to be picking up where the Obama administration left off, creating a process for communities to volunteer to host the waste.

“What worries me is that there really isn’t any national leadership right now on this stuff. There isn’t an agency that has a mission and has developed a strategy, that has goals and is willing to act on it,” Don Hudson, the chairman of the Maine Yankee Community Advisory Panel, said. “We’re currently in this limbo.”

That’s a problem because the waste — 1,400 spent nuclear fuel rods housed in 60 cement and steel canisters, plus four canisters of irradiated steel removed from the nuclear reactor when it was taken down — is safe for now, but can’t stay in Wiscasset forever.

The situation in Wiscasset underscores a thorny issue facing more than 100 communities across the U.S.: What to do with hundreds of thousands of tons of nuclear waste that has no place to go.

Securing these remnants of nuclear energy generation is an ongoing task that requires armed guards around the clock and costs Maine Yankee’s owners some $10 million per year, which is being paid for with money from the government.

After the government failed to remove the spent fuel, Maine Yankee and the other two decommissioned nuclear power plants in New England — Connecticut Yankee in East Hampton, Connecticut, and Yankee Atomic in Rowe, Massachusetts — took it to court. So far, they have been awarded a total of $575.5 million in damages during four rounds of litigation, money that has been paid out of the U.S. Judgment fund. A fifth round is happening now, and the lawsuits are likely to continue until the fuel is removed.

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July 20, 2021 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Fukushima effect: Now, South Korea to check food at Olympics for nuclear radiation 

Fukushima effect: Now, South Korea to check food at Olympics for nuclear radiation  https://www.wionews.com/sports/fukushima-effect-now-south-korea-to-check-food-at-olympics-for-nuclear-radiation-399078WION Web TeamSouth Korea Published: Jul 19, 2021,

According to reports, South Korea will start its exclusive food service for athletes and delegates during the Olympics near the games village and will reportedly screen food content for possible nuclear radiation citing safety concern over the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Reports say nearly 420 meals will be delivered from a hotel near the games village to South Korean athletes and others associated with the team.

July 20, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

After the lab-leak theory, US-Chinese relations head downhill

The United States and China could work together in sharing biosecurity-related samples, genetic materials and data, developing protocols and countermeasures against biosafety accidents, promoting transparency in dual-use research of concern, countering disinformation, and strengthening compliance with global health laws, including the Biological Weapons Convention and the International Health Regulations.

But the US push to investigate the lab leak and the political context in both countries likely puts the goal of finding the origins of COVID-19 and many other ambitions at risk………

After the lab-leak theory, US-Chinese relations head downhill, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, By Yanzhong Huang | July 16, 2021  In October, 2018, more than a year before the COVID-19 pandemic, dozens of international trainees visited the Wuhan Institute of Virology for an expansive workshop meant to “promote the cooperation between China and other countries in the field of biosafety.” The attendees, many from developing countries, took classes on virus handling and bioethics, they listened to speeches by Chinese and UN arms control officials, and learned from eminent scientists. For the organizers, the 10-day event was a chance to showcase China’s expertise in biosafety management. And for this, they could hardly have chosen a more perfect location, a prestigious virology institute that had just months earlier opened the country’s first state-of-the-art, specialized facility for safely studying the world’s most dangerous pathogens, a biosafety-level (BSL) 4 lab.

The marketing plan hasn’t paid out.

Two years on, the lofty vision the workshop at the advanced Chinese biolab embodied—one of international collaboration on disease control and scientific research—has disintegrated as the United States and China tangle in an increasingly nasty fight over the origins of the still-raging coronavirus pandemic. In the United States, President Joe Biden, prominent scientists, and once-skeptical mainstream media outlets have collectively revived a hypothesis that was initially largely framed as a conspiracy theory, that the COVID-19 virus could have escaped from the Wuhan lab. Meanwhile, in China, many are convinced COVID-19 started somewhere else, outside of the country.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology now sits at the forefront of the US-China row on the origins of a once-in-a-century pandemic.

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July 20, 2021 Posted by | China, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Canada’s small nuclear reactor project is looking like just a pipe-dream.

Globe Climate: Canada wants nuclear to power the future. But how? SIERRA BEIN Matthew McClearn is an investigative reporter and data journalist with The Globe. For this week’sdeeper dive, he talks about Canada’s nuclear ambitions. Globe and Mail, 19 July 21

Senior government officials, notably federal Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan, say small modular reactors (SMRs) will help Canada achieve net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century. There’s just one problem: it’s not clear yet whether any will be built.

To be sure, many promises made by SMR vendors seem compelling. By taking advantage of factory-style mass production, they’re supposed to be far cheaper than previous generations of reactors, which tended to be massive and prone to cost overruns. They’d also be easier to deploy…….. 

A mad scramble to deliver on these promises is now underway. Ontario Power Generation—by far Canada’s most experienced nuclear station operator—plans to select a vendor to build a SMR at its Darlington Station by 2028. Further out, Saskatchewan is considering whether to order its own SMRs to replace coal-fired plants.

Accomplishing all that would silence numerous critics and naysayers. But as I explain in my most recent story, history is littered with reactors that failed to live up to their promises.   . Many SMR vendors are very early-stage companies which face years of grueling, expensive R&D work to advance their designs to the point they could actually be built. And they’re competing against renewable technologies including wind and solar, which utilities can purchase and deploy today. It may be premature to count on SMRs to help meet Canada’s emissions targets.   https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-globe-climate-canada-wants-nuclear-to-power-the-future-but-how/https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-globe-climate-canada-wants-nuclear-to-power-the-future-but-how/

July 20, 2021 Posted by | Canada, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Judge rules distribution of compensation for investors who lost fortunes in multi billion-dollar nuclear reactor failure in South Carolina

Judge OKs distribution for $192M nuclear project settlement, https://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article252884293.html

BY MEG KINNARD ASSOCIATED PRESS, JULY 19, 2021  OLUMBIA, S.C.

Investors who lost fortunes in the failure of a multi billion-dollar nuclear reactor construction deal in South Carolina will soon begin to see their portions of a $192 million settlement, under a recently approved distribution.

Last week, a federal judge signed off on a plan to disperse the funds among former shareholders in SCANA Corp., the former parent company of South Carolina Electric & Gas. The settlement itself was the largest securities class action recovery obtained in South Carolina when a judge approved it last year, according to attorneys for the investors.

The utility company became embroiled in controversy after announcing in summer 2017 that it was shuttering a nuclear reactor construction project at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Columbia, following the bankruptcy of lead contractor Westinghouse.

Up to that point, SCANA and state-owned utility Santee Cooper, a minority partner in the project, had spent nearly $10 billion on it. The failure cost ratepayers and investors billions and left nearly 6,000 people jobless.

The abandonment spawned multiple lawsuits, some by ratepayers claiming company executives knew the project was doomed and misled consumers as well as regulators as they petitioned for a series of rate increases. State and federal authorities launched investigations, which have led to guilty pleas from two top-level SCANA executives.

More than 737,000 SCE&G customers had already paid more than $2 billion toward the project, which never generated any power. Customers did ultimately see retroactive credits applied to bills after lawmakers passed a temporary rate cut that knocked about $25 a month off the average residential customer’s bill.

SCANA shareholders accused the company of assuring them the project was above board, even as costs and delays spiraled out of control. This, investors alleged, caused SCANA stock to be traded at artificially inflated prices, numbers that plummeted once the project was mothballed. In July 2016, SCANA stock was trading at $76.12 a share but dropped more than 50% after news of the project’s failure, and the investigations surrounding it, became public, according to the investors’ attorneys.

The settlement includes $160 million in cash, with the remaining $32.5 million covered by cash or stock in Dominion Energy. The Virginia-based company took over SCANA in 2019, paying more than $6.8 billion to buy out the company’s stock and assuming its consolidated net debts of $6.6 billion.

Claimants will be required to cash their checks within 120 days or forfeit the award, according to the order.

“We are pleased that the court has approved the settlement distribution plan, and look forward to the distribution of the settlement funds to eligible class members according to the plan,” said Marlon Kimpson, a state senator and attorney representing the investors.

July 20, 2021 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Progressive lawmakers join across the world in a Global Alliance For A Green New Deal.

 Labour MP Clive Lewis and Caroline Lucas of the Green Party join lawmakers from US, Brazil, EU and Costa Rica in new global climate justice campaign. Leading progressive lawmakers from the UK, USA, Brazil, Costa Rica, and the European Parliament are among those joining forces in a new Global Alliance for a Green New Deal today, in a bid to promote the case for “a rapid and just transition in response to Covid-19 and the climate and nature crises”.


The Alliance calls for the creation of “a new internationalism based on cooperation, collaboration and global justice” in order to address the interlinked climate, biodiversity, and coronavirus crises. It adds that a ‘Green New Deal’ should be placed at the heart of national and global Covid economic recovery efforts. Among the 21 founding politicians in the Alliance are British MPs Clive Lewis from the Labour Party and the Green
Party’s Caroline Lucas, who both co-chair the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Green New Deal in the UK.

 Business Green 19th July 2021

https://www.businessgreen.com/news/4034612/moonshot-moment-uk-mps-join-global-alliance-green-deal

July 20, 2021 Posted by | politics international, UK | 1 Comment

City Council in Calgary, Canada, not happy about ”rushed” agreement to own stranded nuclear wastes in Maine.

The 11-acre temporary storage site is patrolled around the clock by armed security guards.

The situation concerns Coun. Evan Woolley, who said that Enmax never mentioned the spent nuclear fuel site when the utility briefed city council on its bid for Versant.

Calgarians have a stake in Maine nuclear fuel storage facility   https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?tab=rm&ogbl#inbox/KtbxLthlxCLcsbdhrlMgpmhjJQTWxmvSdV?compose=new

Facility part of the deal when Enmax bought U.S. utility for $1.8 billion, including debt

Scott Dippel · CBC News ·  Jul 19, 2021 Enmax’s acquisition of a utility in Maine last year came with a nuclear surprise that city council members say they weren’t told about.

When the city-owned Enmax closed on its deal to buy Versant Power (formerly Emera Maine) in March of 2020, it also acquired Versant’s interest in a former nuclear power plant.

The Maine Yankee plant operated from 1972 to 1996 and was decommissioned in 2005.

Versant owned 12 per cent of the electricity generated by the power plant. Its ratepayers also paid up front for 12 per cent of the decommissioning costs.

The plant was torn down and tonnes of spent nuclear fuel rods from the facility were temporarily encased in 64 concrete silos at a protected site in Wiscassett, Maine.

Part of the deal

The president of Versant Power, John Flynn, tells CBC News that Enmax couldn’t avoid taking on the Maine Yankee obligation when it purchased Versant.

“As part of the acquisition, Enmax really didn’t have the opportunity to pick and choose the assets or relationships or obligations it wanted,” said Flynn. “It was making a bid for the entire company.”

He said there isn’t a market for a temporary nuclear waste storage facility, so any buyer of Versant would have had to take on that obligation.

There are approximately $10 million US in annual costs related to the safe operation of the spent nuclear fuel storage site, including monitoring, maintenance and security.

About 38 people work at the site.

But Flynn said this doesn’t actually cost Versant or Enmax any money.


It’s covered by a trust fund which includes legal settlements from the US Department of Energy (DOE), which has a legal responsibility to ultimately remove the tonnes of spent fuel and find a permanent storage site.

Temporary site may be used for years

Flynn said there’s currently no estimate from the DOE on when it may move the materials to a final storage site.

He said the trust fund has enough money in it that the operation of the temporary facility will be covered for years to come.

In some years, Flynn said annual payments from the fund have been made to Versant customers who prepaid the decommissioning costs during the years the nuclear power plant was in operation.

The 11-acre temporary storage site is patrolled around the clock by armed security guards.

“The entire site is surrounded by a security perimeter that has 24/7 security that is of the level you would expect to see on an army base, so it is a hyper-secure site.”

While Enmax says it doesn’t own the spent nuclear fuel, it does list in its annual financial report the historical 12 per cent interest in Maine Yankee.

Council kept in dark

The situation concerns Coun. Evan Woolley, who said that Enmax never mentioned the spent nuclear fuel site when the utility briefed city council on its bid for Versant.

He is one of several council members contacted by CBC News who said they were unaware of that part of the $1.3 billion acquisition, which also included $500 million in debt.

Owning 12 per cent of a company that owns a bunch of nuclear waste has not only reputational risk but also real risk in terms of the world that we live in,” said Woolley.

The Ward 8 councillor, who is also the chair of council’s audit committee, said he would have liked to have known this information before council approved Enmax’s purchase.

“For us to not have been made aware of that is unacceptable,” said Woolley.

“Enmax and now Versant Power, which was Emera Maine, is owned by Calgarians. So council and the shareholder are accountable for that decision.”

Outside eyes needed

He describes Enmax’s pitch to city council to approve its takeover of the company in Maine as “rushed.”

His preference is that in future, a third party could assess such business opportunities for council and make a recommendation. 

That perspective could come from the city’s chief financial officer, the city solicitor or an external consultant.

A report is expected before the audit committee in September, which he said could result in changes that could help ensure Enmax and all of the city’s wholly-owned subsidiaries are on the same page as city council in the future.

He describes Enmax as “the massive gorilla in the room in terms of its size and scale.”  “The risk appetite of Enmax versus the risk appetite of a shareholder are different. And that’s where we need to provide better alignment,” said Woolley.

If council approves of any changes for its subsidiaries, he said it would mean that another transaction like the Versant purchase could not occur in the way that it did. 

The 11-acre temporary storage site is patrolled around the clock by armed security guards.

The situation concerns Coun. Evan Woolley, who said that Enmax never mentioned the spent nuclear fuel site when the utility briefed city council on its bid for Versant.

Calgarians have a stake in Maine nuclear fuel storage facility  AT TOP https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?tab=rm&ogbl#inbox/KtbxLthlxCLcsbdhrlMgpmhjJQTWxmvSdV?compose=new

Facility part of the deal when Enmax bought U.S. utility for $1.8 billion, including debt

Scott Dippel · CBC News ·  Jul 19, 2021 Enmax’s acquisition of a utility in Maine last year came with a nuclear surprise that city council members say they weren’t told about.

When the city-owned Enmax closed on its deal to buy Versant Power (formerly Emera Maine) in March of 2020, it also acquired Versant’s interest in a former nuclear power plant.

The Maine Yankee plant operated from 1972 to 1996 and was decommissioned in 2005.

Versant owned 12 per cent of the electricity generated by the power plant. Its ratepayers also paid up front for 12 per cent of the decommissioning costs.

The plant was torn down and tonnes of spent nuclear fuel rods from the facility were temporarily encased in 64 concrete silos at a protected site in Wiscassett, Maine.

Part of the deal

The president of Versant Power, John Flynn, tells CBC News that Enmax couldn’t avoid taking on the Maine Yankee obligation when it purchased Versant.

“As part of the acquisition, Enmax really didn’t have the opportunity to pick and choose the assets or relationships or obligations it wanted,” said Flynn. “It was making a bid for the entire company.”

He said there isn’t a market for a temporary nuclear waste storage facility, so any buyer of Versant would have had to take on that obligation.

There are approximately $10 million US in annual costs related to the safe operation of the spent nuclear fuel storage site, including monitoring, maintenance and security.

About 38 people work at the site.

But Flynn said this doesn’t actually cost Versant or Enmax any money.


It’s covered by a trust fund which includes legal settlements from the US Department of Energy (DOE), which has a legal responsibility to ultimately remove the tonnes of spent fuel and find a permanent storage site.

Temporary site may be used for years

Flynn said there’s currently no estimate from the DOE on when it may move the materials to a final storage site.

He said the trust fund has enough money in it that the operation of the temporary facility will be covered for years to come.

In some years, Flynn said annual payments from the fund have been made to Versant customers who prepaid the decommissioning costs during the years the nuclear power plant was in operation.

The 11-acre temporary storage site is patrolled around the clock by armed security guards.

“The entire site is surrounded by a security perimeter that has 24/7 security that is of the level you would expect to see on an army base, so it is a hyper-secure site.”

While Enmax says it doesn’t own the spent nuclear fuel, it does list in its annual financial report the historical 12 per cent interest in Maine Yankee.

Council kept in dark

The situation concerns Coun. Evan Woolley, who said that Enmax never mentioned the spent nuclear fuel site when the utility briefed city council on its bid for Versant.

He is one of several council members contacted by CBC News who said they were unaware of that part of the $1.3 billion acquisition, which also included $500 million in debt.

Owning 12 per cent of a company that owns a bunch of nuclear waste has not only reputational risk but also real risk in terms of the world that we live in,” said Woolley.

The Ward 8 councillor, who is also the chair of council’s audit committee, said he would have liked to have known this information before council approved Enmax’s purchase.

“For us to not have been made aware of that is unacceptable,” said Woolley.

“Enmax and now Versant Power, which was Emera Maine, is owned by Calgarians. So council and the shareholder are accountable for that decision.”

Outside eyes needed

He describes Enmax’s pitch to city council to approve its takeover of the company in Maine as “rushed.”

His preference is that in future, a third party could assess such business opportunities for council and make a recommendation. 

That perspective could come from the city’s chief financial officer, the city solicitor or an external consultant.

A report is expected before the audit committee in September, which he said could result in changes that could help ensure Enmax and all of the city’s wholly-owned subsidiaries are on the same page as city council in the future.

He describes Enmax as “the massive gorilla in the room in terms of its size and scale.”  “The risk appetite of Enmax versus the risk appetite of a shareholder are different. And that’s where we need to provide better alignment,” said Woolley.

If council approves of any changes for its subsidiaries, he said it would mean that another transaction like the Versant purchase could not occur in the way that it did. 

July 20, 2021 Posted by | Canada, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Greenpeace Rainbow Warrier aims to help workers to transition to renewable energy work

The Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior III ship is in Aberdeen Harbour as part of its Just Transition Tour. The campaign calls on government to train oil and gas workers for a smooth transition to renewable energy schemes. The 190-ft vessel will moor overnight in Aberdeen before heading for Wick with sights set on the 84-turbine Beatrice offshore windfarm sitting lying nine miles off the Caithness coast. The intrepid crew are keen to assess “the challenges and opportunities” facing the platforms’ workers.

Greenpeace UK’s oil campaign leader Mel Evans, head said offshore workers had their full support. He added: They have powered our economy through difficult times and they have plenty of transferable skills which will be vital to our transition to renewable energy. “Politicians must sit down with offshore workers and take urgent action to make the funds, retraining opportunities and jobs available to make Scotland’s clean energy transition a success.”

 Evening Express 18th July 2021

July 20, 2021 Posted by | employment, renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Risk of cracks in pressure tubes of Canada’s ageing nuclear reactors – how long can they keep operating safely?

The regulatory violations at the Bruce station are the latest indication that the industry’s approach to managing the aging of pressure tubes, and predicting deuterium ingress, may be breaking down.

At issue is the industry’s ability to accurately predict how long Canada’s aging nuclear reactors, many of which have already exceeded their 30-year design life, can continue to operate safely

Reactors at Bruce nuclear station violated terms of operating licence,   MATTHEW MCCLEARN  Globe and Mail, 19 Juy 21,Two reactors at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station have violated the terms of its operating licence, its operator and the federal regulator have revealed.

Bruce Power, which operates the plant in Kincardine, Ont., announced in a July 13 statement that pressure tubes in Unit 3 and Unit 6 were found to have “higher-than-anticipated readings.” The following day, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) issued its own statement saying hydrogen equivalent concentration (Heq) levels in some of the station’s pressure tubes exceeded the allowable limit of 120 parts per million.

Pressure tubes are six-metre-long rods that contain bundles of uranium fuel. A CANDU reactor contains several hundred of them – and they are considered the principal life-limiting component of Canada’s reactor fleet. Pressure tubes with high Heq levels are at risk of developing blisters and cracks that could cause them to fracture.

Citing an ongoing “regulatory process” that “will continue to evolve,” Bruce Power did not answer questions from The Globe and Mail regarding how many tubes were affected or how much they exceeded the allowable limit……………..

At issue is the industry’s ability to accurately predict how long Canada’s aging nuclear reactors, many of which have already exceeded their 30-year design life, can continue to operate safely……….

Frank Greening, a retired OPG employee who worked for more than a decade with pressure tubes, said the Unit 6 tube reading is unprecedented and puts the regulator in a difficult position………….

Pressure tubes deteriorate as they age, picking up deuterium (an isotope of hydrogen) through a corrosion process known as deuterium ingress. In combination with other aging processes, deuterium ingress causes tubes to grow in length and diameter, known as creep, which allows more coolant to bypass the fuel bundles, lowering the margin of safety. Over time, tube walls become thinner and more brittle, which can cause them to crack and eventually fracture.

In January, 2019, the CNSC renewed Bruce Power’s licence to operate the Bruce station for 10 years, to 2028. However, the regulator insisted that before Heq levels exceeded 120 ppm, Bruce Power would have to prove that its pressure tubes could continue to operate safely above that level. If any pressure tube reached the limit, it declared, the operator would have to shut down the reactor.

At the time, Bruce Power promised to “extend the validity limits of the existing fracture toughness model to 140 ppm of [Heq] in pressure tubes by the end of 2018 and to 160 ppm of [Heq] by the end of 2019.”

But the CNSC said it received a new fracture toughness model for review this May. “No decisions regarding acceptance of the model have been made at this time,” it said.

The regulatory violations at the Bruce station are the latest indication that the industry’s approach to managing the aging of pressure tubes, and predicting deuterium ingress, may be breaking down.

It shows their predictions aren’t worth beans,” Dr. Greening said. “Their predictions are failing. And this is not the first time.”

In March, The Globe reported that, since 2017, CNSC staffers had expressed concerns about unreliable data from pressure tube inspections by OPG at its Pickering plant, east of Toronto. CNSC staffers warned that measuring and predicting deuterium ingress is “potentially one of the biggest issues currently faced by the Industry.”………. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-reactors-at-bruce-nuclear-station-violated-terms-of-operating-licence/

July 20, 2021 Posted by | Canada, Reference, safety | Leave a comment

Pro nuclear U.S. lawmakers again introduce Bill to promote nuclear industry

WASHINGTON, D.C. 19 July 21, – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, along with Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) reintroduced the American Nuclear Infrastructure Act (ANIA)
……. pecifically, ANIA will:

  • Reestablish American international competitiveness and global leadership;
  • ANIA empowers the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to lead a consensus-building process in international forums to establish regulations for advanced nuclear reactor designs.
  • ANIA provides the NRC authority to deny imports of Russian nuclear fuel on national security grounds.
  • Expand nuclear energy through advanced nuclear technologies;
  • ANIA creates a prize to incentivize the successful licensing process of next generation nuclear technologies and fuels.
  • ANIA requires the NRC to identify and resolve regulatory barriers to enable advanced nuclear technologies to reduce industrial emissions.
  • Preserve existing nuclear energy; and
  • ANIA authorizes a targeted credit program to preserve nuclear plants at risk of prematurely shutting down.
  • ANIA modernizes outdated rules that restrict investment in nuclear energy.
  • Revitalize America’s nuclear supply chain infrastructure.
  • ANIA identifies modern manufacturing techniques to build nuclear reactors better, faster, cheaper, and smarter.  https://www.capito.senate.gov/news/press-releases/capito-whitehouse-barrasso-booker-crapo-introduce-legislation-to-preserve-and-expand-americas-nuclear-energy-sector

July 20, 2021 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Why Scientists Plant Sunflowers After Nuclear Disasters


Why Scientists Plant Sunflowers After Nuclear Disasters IFLS, 19 July21, ”………. 
The after-effects of what has become known locally as “3.11” are still being felt today, as Japan scrambles to find ways to deal with the million tonnes of radioactive wastewater and half that of solid waste. But in among all the controversies and high-tech solutions, there is one cleanup program you might have missed: sunflowers.

“We plant sunflowers, field mustard, amaranthus and cockscomb, which are all believed to absorb radiation,” Koyu Abe, chief monk at the nearby Buddhist Joenji temple, told Reuters a few months after the disaster. “So far we have grown at least 200,000 flowers … and distributed many more seeds. At least 8 million sunflowers blooming in Fukushima originated from here.”

But this is far from some Japanese folk wisdom: there is hard science backing it up. Sunflowers, it turns out, are fantastic at cleaning radioactive waste from the environment – which is why they were planted in their droves in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.

“Sunflowers are really good at taking up certain radioactive isotopes,” explained soil scientist Michael Blaylock in a 2011 interview. “And that’s really the connection between the sunflowers and the nuclear power plants that we’ve discovered … some of the fallout from the Chernobyl accident we were able to address through planting sunflowers in the affected areas.”

So why sunflowers? The jubilant plants weren’t chosen for their looks – although that’s certainly a bonus. Sunflowers have a whole host of practical properties that make them ideal for the job of nuclear cleanup: they grow quickly, easily, and pretty much anywhere. Even better, they store most of their biomass in the leaves and stems, so the radioactive material absorbed by the plants can be disposed of without having to dig up roots.

Phytoremediation, or the use of plants to clear toxins from the environment, was a huge success at Chernobyl, where the nuclear disaster left nearby soil and water heavy with the radioactive elements cesium and strontium. The process works because the isotopes “mimic” nutrients that the sunflower would naturally absorb – cesium mimics potassium, which plants need for photosynthesis, and strontium passes for calcium, which provides structural support.

“It was very effective for the water,” Blaylock explained. “The soil was a little bit of a different story because cesium in soil is a little bit tricky.” “But under the right set of circumstances, they could be effective in removing those contaminants from the soil [in Fukushima].”

Unfortunately, despite the success in Chernobyl, phytoremediation efforts in Fukushima were eventually deemed a failure. Not much literature exists on the experiment, but the few analyses that were carried out failed to find any plant that could effectively reduce the levels of radioactive isotopes in the soil.

Phytoremediation, or the use of plants to clear toxins from the environment, was a huge success at Chernobyl, where the nuclear disaster left nearby soil and water heavy with the radioactive elements cesium and strontium. The process works because the isotopes “mimic” nutrients that the sunflower would naturally absorb – cesium mimics potassium, which plants need for photosynthesis, and strontium passes for calcium, which provides structural support.

“It was very effective for the water,” Blaylock explained. “The soil was a little bit of a different story because cesium in soil is a little bit tricky.” “But under the right set of circumstances, they could be effective in removing those contaminants from the soil [in Fukushima].”

Unfortunately, despite the success in Chernobyl, phytoremediation efforts in Fukushima were eventually deemed a failure. Not much literature exists on the experiment, but the few analyses that were carried out failed to find any plant that could effectively reduce the levels of radioactive isotopes in the soil…… https://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/why-scientists-plant-sunflowers-after-nuclear-disasters/

July 20, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment | Leave a comment

Macron dithers on nuclear power investment as issue divides France.

 Macron dithers on nuclear power investment as issue divides France.
Emmanuel Macron has been a vocal supporter of nuclear power, insisting in December that the carbon emission-free energy was key to France’s green transition. But less than a year before presidential elections, the French leader is leaving the multibillion question of adding new reactors undecided as the issue becomes increasingly divisive.

An estimated €49bn by 2025 has been earmarked to extend the working lives of France’s 56 nuclear reactors, and Macron has yet to commit to any new reactor, beside the one that
state-owned company EDF is building in Flamanville, in the north-west.

 FT 19th July 2021

https://www.ft.com/content/137841f9-1c34-4b43-bcad-5923e27c1515

July 20, 2021 Posted by | Greece, politics | Leave a comment

The Green Jobs Taskforce

Just Transition**

 The UK is currently not on track to deliver a commitment to host two
million green-collar jobs by 2030. But the economic recovery from Covid-19
presents a window to accelerate investment and build a robust skills
pipeline, according to the Green Jobs Taskforce report published this week.


The Taskforce was set up by the Government late last year, following
pressure from trade bodies, businesses and NGOs. Its purpose is to develop
recommendations for helping unemployed people into skilled jobs that
contribute to the net-zero transition and supporting those currently
working in high-carbon businesses to upskill and reskill.

Under an overarching call to ensure that the Net-Zero Strategy is published to time
ahead of COP26 and includes significant commitments on jobs and skills,
three themes are covered in the report: Scaling up investment in the
net-zero transition, building pathways into good green careers and
supporting a just transition for workers in the high-carbon economy.

 Edie 16th July 2021

https://www.edie.net/news/11/Six-UK-green-policy-stories-you-need-to-know-about-this-week/

July 20, 2021 Posted by | employment, UK | Leave a comment

Emerging technologies and nuclear stability

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In June 2021, the Centre for Science & Security Studies (CSSS) at King’s College London published a report on the impact of emerging technologies on crisis stability.,,,,  This short article is intended to summarise the report’s high-level findings and deal with some of the feedback the author has received in the first month of its publication.

……………https://www.europeanleadershipnetwork.org/commentary/emerging-technologies-and-nuclear-stability/

Emerging technologies and nuclear stability
Marina Favaro
 |Consultant, Centre for Science and Security Studies (CSSS); Research Fellow, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy (IFSH)  n June 2021, the Centre for Science & Security Studies (CSSS) at King’s College London published 
a report on the impact of emerging technologies on crisis stability.

”……………………………….Which emerging technologies are affecting the nuclear realm, and in what ways?

………..I contend that emerging technologies are affecting the nuclear realm in three ways:

Technological change is accelerating, and the locus of innovation has shifted towards private actors

Technological innovation is outpacing nuclear policymaking

Nuclear risks are rising, but there is no clear path forward for risk reduction

So, which technologies are most likely to escalate a conflict past the nuclear threshold? And how can policymakers and scholars alike better understand this impact?

  1. The report identifies ten technologies with the potential to impact crisis stability in the next ten years. These are: AI-powered cyber operations; AI for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR); deep-fake technology; directed energy weapons; hypersonic missiles; kinetic anti-satellite (ASAT) capabilities; Rendezvous and Proximity Operations (RPO) in space; satellite jamming and spoofing systems; small satellites (‘smallsats’) for ISR; and swarm robotics.

Evidently, this is a heterogenous group of technologies, spanning multiple operating domains, at different maturity or Technology Readiness Levels (TRL), with different barriers to implementation, and will impact different elements of the global nuclear order to varying extents and in varying timescales.

Policymakers need a way to compare different technologies in terms of common parameters to determine where a state should allocate its limited resources.

Clustering the technologies enables us to identify similarities and differences in the ways these technologies might impact crisis stability
I use Machine Learning to group emerging technologies with similar risk profiles into four technology clusters. (For more information on the method, please see Annex A of the report, where this is discussed in detail.) Technology clusters can help policymakers to understand which technologies are most likely to escalate an ongoing crisis past the nuclear threshold, in what ways, and what can be done to mitigate these risks.

Cluster 1: Distort. The technologies in Cluster 1 (i.e., deep fake technology and satellite jamming and spoofing systems) were assessed by experts as capable of interrupting data flows and distorting the information landscape. This cluster is the most concerning in terms of nuclear risk, due to its potentially high impact and high feasibility of implementation. These technologies are likely to escalate an ongoing crisis in a nonlinear fashion. ……………

Cluster 2: Compress. The technologies in Cluster 2 (i.e., kinetic anti-satellite capabilities, AI-powered cyber operations, hypersonic missiles, Rendezvous and Proximity Operations, and swarm robotics) affect the pace of conflict and could compress decision-making timelines. Suggested risk reduction measures include more ‘traditional’ arms control, a strategic cyber no first use policy, and nationally assured space situational awareness.

Cluster 3: Thwart. The technology in Cluster 3 (i.e., directed energy weapons) can credibly thwart or blunt a nuclear attack. However, augmenting defence may also be destabilising if it has the intended or ancillary effect of diminishing a country’s second-strike response. Suggested risk reduction measures include limiting the number of directed energy weapons that can be deployed and norms against placing directed energy weapons in space.


Cluster 4: Illuminate. The technologies in Cluster 4 (i.e., AI for ISR and smallsats for ISR) provide more accurate and comprehensive data flows to decision-makers. This technology cluster presents an opportunity for augmenting crisis stability. The suggested risk reduction measure is a commitment on behalf of nuclear weapon states not to target each other’s nuclear command, control, and communications infrastructure.

Broader risk reduction recommendations for nuclear possessors and non-possessors

I

In addition to cluster-specific recommendations, the report proposes broader risk reduction measures for nuclear possessors and non-possessors…………………

To ignore emerging technologies increases nuclear risks

The objective of this report is to help policymakers identify how emerging technologies might increase nuclear risks and which technologies should be the focus of multilateral efforts to reduce those risks. It offers a framework for evaluating diverse technologies in a way that makes them comparable, by grouping technologies with similar risk profiles into technology clusters.

July 20, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety | Leave a comment