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Olympic sports were intended as celebration of Fukushima’s ”recovery” from nuclear disaster, but that didn’t work.

Fukushima, intended to celebrate recovery from nuclear disaster, will have an ‘unfortunate’ lack of fans for Japan’s Olympic baseball game, By Blake Essig, Emiko Jozuka and George Ramsay, CNN July 28, 2021

After a 13-year hiatus, baseball is returning to the Olympics — although no fans will be there to witness it.

It’s a particular disappointment for the city of Fukushima, where the Olympics was supposed to celebrate the region’s recovery from a nuclear disaster more than a decade ago……….

…………  Iwamura adds that staging the Olympics in Japan is “controversial,” but hopes that a successful Games can “spread the possibilities of overcoming difficulties” — a particularly important message for Fukushima and one the city hopes to embody by hosting global sporting events…….

July 29, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

American public opinion ignored as NASA prioritises colonising Mars, over research to save the climate

63 percent according to a 2018 Pew Research Center survey—believe that NASA should prioritize monitoring Earth’s climate system. Only a minority—18 percent—said that NASA should prioritize sending humans to Mars.

Is using nuclear materials for space travel dangerous, genius, or a little of both? bulletin of the Atomic Scientists , Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, By Susan D’Agostino | July 28, 2021 

The 1977 Soviet satellite Kosmos 954 was supposed to monitor ocean traffic using radar—a technology that works best at short distances. For this reason, the craft traveled in Earth’s low orbit, where solar panels alone could not provide consistent power. And so, the satellite was equipped with a small, efficient, yet powerful nuclear reactor fueled by approximately 50 kg of weapons-grade uranium 235. Within weeks of its launch, Kosmos 954 veered from its path like a drunkard on a walk. The Soviets tried to eject its radioactive core into a higher orbit by way of a safety system designed for that purpose. But the safety system failed. In January 1978, Kosmos 954 burst into the Western Canada skyline, scattering radioactive dust and debris over a nearly 400-mile path. The cleanup and recovery process, which took nearly eight months and started in the subarctic winter, found that virtually all of the satellite fragments were radioactive, including one that was “sufficient to kill a person or number of persons remaining in contact with that part for a few hours.”

Now that the United States has set a goal of a human mission to Mars by 2039, the words “nuclear” and “space” are again popping up together in newspaper headlines. Nuclear propulsion systems for space exploration—should they materialize—are expected to offer significant advantages, including the possibility of sending spacecraft farther, in less time, and more efficiently than traditional chemical propulsion systems. But extreme physical conditions on the launchpad, in space, and during reentry raise questions about risk-mitigation measures, especially when nuclear materials are present. 

Why not travel to Mars on a chemically propelled spacecraft? Spaceships that use chemical propellants benefit from tremendous thrust to get the job done. However, they also need to carry fuel and oxidizer to power that incredible upward or forward movement………..

Even if a spacecraft were able to refuel with a chemical propellant in space or magically carry enough chemical propellant for the journey to Mars, the long transit time would present a hazard to the crew……..

In theory, nuclear propulsion for space travel will offer two significant advantages over chemical propulsion. First, since nuclear systems are much more efficient, the amount of fuel required for the journey to Mars is practical. Second, without a need to traverse the shortest path, the flight could take off from Earth and Mars anytime—without delay. The latter would reduce the length of the roundtrip journey and the crew’s exposure to radiation.

Still, attaching what amounts to a nuclear reactor to a human-occupied spaceship is not without risks.

Is the idea of sending nuclear materials into space new? The idea of sending nuclear materials into outer space is not new. And unlike Kosmos 954, many instances have been successful. Since 1961, NASA has powered more than 25 space missions with nuclear materials. The only other practical power option—solar power—is often unavailable in dark, dusty, far-off corners of the solar system.

Likewise, the Atomic Energy Commission launched a nuclear-thermal rocket propulsion research and development program in 1955. …….funding and interest in the programs dried up in the 1970s……

What new plans does the United States have for sending nuclear materials to space? The National Academies’ report released earlier this year recommended that NASA “commit within the year to conducting an extensive and objective assessment of the merits and challenges of using different types of space nuclear propulsion systems and to making significant technology investments this decade.” The report offers a roadmap for developing two different kinds of propulsion systems—nuclear electric and nuclear thermal—for human missions to Mars.

nuclear electric propulsion system bears some resemblance to a terrestrial power plant. That is, first a fission reactor generates power for electric thrusters. That power positively charges the ions in the gas propellant, after which electric, magnetic, or electrostatic fields accelerate the ions. The accelerated ions are then pushed out through a thruster, which propels the spacecraft.

Alternatively, in a nuclear thermal propulsion system, the reactor operates more as a heat exchanger in which a fuel such as liquid hydrogen is first heated to very high temperatures—up to 4,600 degrees Fahrenheit—that is then exhausted through a rocket nozzle to produce thrust.

“For nuclear thermal propulsion, the challenge is: temperature, temperature, temperature,” Anthony Calomino, a materials and structure research engineer at NASA’s Langley Research Center, said. “There are not many materials that can survive those kinds of temperatures.” ………..

While nuclear electric propulsion systems do not require extreme temperatures, they face a different hurdle. Nuclear electric systems have six subsystems, including a reactor, shield, power conversion, heat rejection, power management and distribution, and electric propulsion systems. The operating power of all of these subsystems will need to be scaled up by orders of magnitude—and in such a way that they continue to work together—before they are ready for space……………..

Why is the United States planning to send humans to Mars anyway? Some argue that the scientific value of a human-crewed Mars mission could be captured by robots at a much lower cost and risk. Others think that humans, whose role in terrestrial climate change is apparent, should first rehabilitate Earth before colonizing other planets. Still others worry that human microbes could contaminate the Red Planet.

Indeed, a majority of Americans—63 percent according to a 2018 Pew Research Center survey—believe that NASA should prioritize monitoring Earth’s climate system. Only a minority—18 percent—said that NASA should prioritize sending humans to Mars…………….

July 29, 2021 Posted by | space travel, USA | Leave a comment

Jeff Bezos wants to pay NASA $billions to choose HIS company over Elon Musk’s

Jeff Bezos offers Nasa $2bn in exchange for moon mission contract,  Guardian, Adam Gabbatt in New York and agencies@adamgabbatt 28 Jul 2021

Billionaire lost out to Elon Musk’s SpaceX in lunar bid
Bezos claims Nasa’s decision will delay moon mission

Jeff Bezos has offered Nasa $2bn – if the US space agency reverses course and chooses his company, Blue Origin, to make a spacecraft designed to land astronauts back on the moon.

In an open letter to the Nasa administrator, Bill Nelson – a former astronaut and Democratic senator from Florida – Bezos, who last week completed a suborbital trip to space, criticised the agency’s decision to award the moon contract to rival company SpaceX, owned by Elon Musk, in April.

Bezos urged Nasa to reconsider and said Blue Origin would waive payments in the government’s current fiscal year and the next after that up to $2bn, and pay for an orbital mission to vet its technology.

Nasa handed Musk’s SpaceX a $2.9bn contract to build a spacecraft to bring astronauts to the lunar surface as early as 2024, rejecting bids from Blue Origin and the defense contractor Dynetics. Nasa had been expected to winnow the field to two companies, but went all in on SpaceX. Blue Origin had partnered with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper in its bid.

The space agency cited its own funding shortfalls, SpaceX’s proven record of orbital missions and other factors in a contract decision that a senior Nasa official, Kathy Lueders, said represented “what’s the best value to the government”.

At the time Blue Origin said the decision “not only delays but also endangers America’s return to the moon”. The company filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Office, accusing the agency of giving SpaceX an unfair advantage by allowing it to revise its pricing.

In his letter on Monday, Bezos wrote: “Blue Origin will bridge the [Human Landing System] budgetary funding shortfall by waiving all payments in the current and next two government fiscal years up to $2bn to get the program back on track right now.

“This offer is not a deferral, but is an outright and permanent waiver of those payments. This offer provides time for government appropriation actions to catch up.”

In exchange, Bezos said, Blue Origin would accept a firm, fixed-priced contract and cover any system development cost overruns…………….

A Nasa spokesperson said the agency was aware of Bezos’s letter, but declined to comment further, citing the GAO protest filed by Blue Origin. A decision in that case is expected by early August, though industry experts say Blue Origin views the possibility of a reversal as unlikely.

July 29, 2021 Posted by | space travel, USA | Leave a comment

UK government headed for huge costs, and a major row with China over Hinkley C nuclear power station.

The Government is likely to become responsible for a huge bill for building Hinkley C power station. This is despite an insistence by the UK Government since they signed a deal with EDF to build Hinkley C in 2012
that electricity consumers will not have to pay for cost overruns for the project.

Yet it is now looking increasingly likely that this will end up being the case. When the deal was signed in 2012 the Government agreed to pay a much higher than expected £92.50 per MWh (in 2012 prices), this
price to be paid by consumers in their electricity bills (over twice the price given to recent offshore wind projects).

The Government claimed that there would be no bail-out if the project experienced large cost overruns
since the risk was borne by the holders of the share capital, EDF and also the Chinese state nuclear company, CGN. CGN holds around one third of the equity in Hinkley C.

But now there are mounting pressures on the Government to ensure that, for political and security reasons, China (through CGN) is not allowed to build its own nuclear design at Bradwell in Essex. Yet CNG only agreed to finance Hinkley C (and also in a similar fashion the planned Sizewell C project in Sufflok) on the basis that it was going to get the chance to showcase its own ‘Hualong’ nuclear plant at Bradwell.

If China’s Bradwell ambitions are thwarted then they will certainly pull out of the Sizewell C project and also do as much as is legally possible to forshorten their risks and responsibilities at Hinkley C. The Government is likely to have to take on big liabilities in the case of Hinkley C – that is against a long succession of pronouncements by Government ministers over the past nine years. Some are even urging the Government to take over all of CGN’s shareholdings in Hinkley C.

But even if the Chinese company cannot reclaim the money it will have spent on the project so far, if CGN is denied the opportunity to build at Bradwell they are very likely to refuse to pay for any cost overruns at Hinkley C (as well as pull out of Sizewell C). This means that the UK Government will have to take on the liability of future cost overruns, and maybe end up in a major row with China about financial compensation.

 100% Renewables 28thy July 2021

July 29, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Renewables overtake coal and nuclear to become 2nd biggest grid source in US — RenewEconomy

Renewables overtake both coal and nuclear for first time to become second biggest source of electricity generation in US in 2020. The post Renewables overtake coal and nuclear to become 2nd biggest grid source in US appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Renewables overtake coal and nuclear to become 2nd biggest grid source in US — RenewEconomy

July 29, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

French President acknowledges France’s debt to Polynesia, but no apology.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday that Paris owed “a debt” to
French Polynesia over nuclear tests conducted in the South Pacific
territory between 1966 and 1996, but stopped short of apologising.

 Daily Mail 28th July 2021

July 29, 2021 Posted by | France, OCEANIA, politics international | Leave a comment

Will British taxpayers end up bankrolling Sizewell C nuclear power project ?


The flagship of Britain’s new nuclear power fleet is under threat as the
Government prepares curbs on Chinese involvement in critical national
infrastructure. Whitehall sources admitted last night that the £23bn
Hinkley Point C project underway in Somerset could be jeopardised by plans
to block China General Nuclear (CGN) from future UK projects.

The Hinkley reactor, Britain’s first in a generation, is being partially bankrolled by
CGN as part of a wider deal with French company EDF to replace the UK’s
aging nuclear plants. Under Government proposals which have not been
officially confirmed, CGN’s involvement in subsequent planned projects, in
Suffolk and Essex, would end. Government insiders said that there are
concerns this could disrupt the linked deal under which CGN is developing
Hinkley, where work is already significantly advanced.

Ministers are preparing to introduce legislation to Parliament that would allow nuclear
power developers to recoup costs from household bills. This could spark a
significant backbench rebellion from MPs concerned about China if CGN is
involved. Industry sources also suggested that EDF would find it easier to
court pension funds and other institutional investors without the political
risk of a major Chinese state partner.

CGN owns about a third of Hinkley Point C and has a 20pc development phase stake in Sizewell C, with an
option to participate in the construction phase. Its own reactor design for
Bradwell is going through UK regulatory approval, with CGN hoping it can
then export this technology more widely. The Times reported last night that
the Government is considering buying an equity stake in Sizewell C as part
of its moves to replace CGN, reversing a long-standing wish to keep nuclear
build off the Government balance sheet.

 Telegraph 26th July 2021

July 29, 2021 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Facebook apologises for blocking access to the website of the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), – but does not explain why it happened

 The Ferret 27th July 2021, Facebook has issued an apology to the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear
Disarmament (CND) after blocking people from accessing the peace
organisation’s website from its platform. The Ferret reported last week
that Scottish CND was considering a complaint to Ofcom because people
trying to access its website from its Facebook page were advised the URL
breached “community standards”. Facebook has now resolved the issue but
Scottish CND criticised the social media giant for failing to explain why
its site was blocked in the first place. The peace group thinks it may have
been a “malicious complaint” or the word “bomb” in its URL which
proved problematic.

 The Ferret 27th July 2021

July 29, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, media | Leave a comment

More underground space is needed at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP)

More underground space is needed to complete the mission at the Waste
Isolation Pilot Plant to dispose of nuclear waste, contend WIPP officials
during a Monday public meeting. The U.S. Department of Energy was underway
with a permit modification request (PMR) that would amend the DOE’s
permit with the State of New Mexico to allow for the mining of two new
panels where waste would be disposed of along with drifts connecting the
panels to the rest of the underground repository. At WIPP, transuranic
(TRU) nuclear waste consisting of clothing items and equipment irradiated
during nuclear activities at DOE sites across the country is disposed of
via burying in an underground salt deposit.

 Carlsbad Current Argus 27th July 2021

July 29, 2021 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Whitehaven this Friday: Say No to Deep Nuclear Dump — RADIATION FREE LAKELAND

Image – Radiation Free Lakeland at Wasdale Show in 2012 saying No Deep Nuclear Dump – now we have to do it all over again – only this time the County Council has no right of veto and the Government have already asked West Cumbria Mining’s coal mine boss for costings for a big hole […]

Whitehaven this Friday: Say No to Deep Nuclear Dump — RADIATION FREE LAKELAND

We will be in Whitehaven on Saturday 30th July to show RESISTANCE to the
Government’s renewed push to “Deliver” a dangerous, deep nuclear
dump.The so-called “Copeland Working Group” will be holding a “drop
in” session to promote the “Delivery” plan – ironically at the
Traders Day Market. There is nothing more likely to poison Cumbrian
produced food and drink than a deep nuclear waste dump leaking into the sea
and the land.

 Radiation Free Lakeland 27th July 2021

July 29, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) welcomes news that Chinese company may pull out of Bradwell project

The Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) has welcomed the news of the possible withdrawal of the Chinese project to build a gigantic nuclear power station at Bradwell but has struck a note of caution. ‘BANNG has campaigned against a new nuclear power station at Bradwell for the past 13 years’, said Andy Blowers, Chair of BANNG.

The news that the Chinese company developing the site may be under pressure to withdraw comes as
little surprise and has looked on the cards for some while especially since CGN, the majority shareholder, announced a pause in the development in February.

We believe the Bradwell site is unsuitable, unsustainable and unacceptable – whoever proposes to develop it. We must remain vigilant and continue to oppose any further nuclear development at this site’. Quite aside from the Government’s concerns, BANNG has long argued that the project is doomed for other reasons, not the least of which has been the overwhelmingly hostile reaction of the communities led by BANNG around
the Blackwater.

Plans for Bradwell B were launched just as the Covid-19 pandemic broke and shocked the public by the sheer scale of the project and its devastating impact on environment, communities and wellbeing. The
development encountered strong local political opposition with Maldon District Council, which had for many years supported it, declaring its opposition and Colchester Borough Council Councillors unanimously declaring theirs. West Mersea Town Council is also opposed and others have consistently voiced concerns.

 BANNG 26th July 2021

July 29, 2021 Posted by | politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Japan’s new Basic Energy Plan looks to increased renewable energy. Nuclear power unlikely to go ahead much.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has compiled a draft
revision to Japan’s Basic Energy Plan, which indicates the direction of the
government’s energy policy. The revision brings our attention to the
predicted ratios of various power sources in fiscal 2030.

In order to reduce our dependence on carbon, renewable energy sources were increased
from 22 to 24% three years ago to 36 to 38% in the latest draft revision.
Some view this increase as being insufficient in making renewable energy
Japan’s main energy source.

But we commend the willingness expressed to
undertake the maximum possible implementation of renewable energy as an
utmost priority.

Meanwhile, doubts remain about the percentage of power
generation comprising nuclear reactors. The new Basic Energy Plan is trying
to maintain the 20 to 22% set in the 2015 revisions to the Basic Energy
Plan, but that is unrealistic. To achieve that kind of ratio, Japan would
need to be operating around 27 nuclear reactors at a high rate in fiscal
2030. However, since the major incident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.
Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, only 10 nuclear
reactors have resumed operations. The percentage of power generated by
nuclear reactors in fiscal 2019 was a mere 6%.

 Mainichi 28th July 2021

July 29, 2021 Posted by | ENERGY, Japan | Leave a comment

No-one can get finance to build a uranium mine in Australia.

BY K-A GARLICK JULY 26, 2021  
 CCWA nuclear-free campaigner Kerrie-Ann Garlick attended last week’s Toro meeting to raise concerns that the company’s most recent uranium proposal differs from its currently approved plan.

Toro Energy’s general meeting last Friday heard the death toll sounding on WA’s uranium hopefuls.

Toro Chair Richard Homsany told the meeting that no one can get finance to build a uranium mine in Australia. He also acknowledged that Toro’s conditional environmental approval for its stalled Wiluna project expires on January 9, 2022. From this date, Toro will not be able to mine without making project changes that would require further state government scrutiny and approval.

In 2017 the McGowan Labor government introduced a policy ban on uranium mining in WA but inherited four uranium mine proposals with existing approvals granted by the former Barnett government. By the end of January 2022, the current Ministerial approvals for all four of the states proposed uranium mines will expire if they do not commence mining.

Approval for Cameco’s Kintyre expired and was not renewed in March 2020, Vimy Resources Mulga Rock project approval expires in December 2021 and both Yeelirrie (Cameco) and Wiluna (Toro) are set to expire in January 2022. If any of these companies want to mine they will need to seek approval for amendments to Ministerial conditions. This may trigger a new assessment or a suite of other conditions being applied.

CCWA nuclear-free campaigner Kerrie-Ann Garlick attended last week’s Toro meeting to raise concerns that the company’s most recent uranium proposal differs from its currently approved plan. “Toro is now focused on developing a JV uranium project at Lake Maitland. This is completely separate from the existing approval for the Wiluna project and would require a whole new environmental assessment. It is our view that this could not be advanced because of the existing policy ban on uranium mining in WA.”

“The Wiluna uranium mine proposal is uneconomic and they don’t have the funding to develop it. There is almost no scenario in which the Wiluna uranium mine could be developed ahead of the approval expiry in January 2022”

“It is refreshing that the Toro Board are realistic about the current highly negative market conditions for uranium. No one is financing uranium mines and that is unlikely to change by January. It is increasingly likely that we will reach a point in January 2022 where there are no operating mines and no active approvals for uranium mining in WA,” Ms Garlick concluded.

July 29, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, business and costs | Leave a comment

Hinkley Point C and Sizewell nuclear power projects could unravel, leaving France’s nuclear company EDF with huge debt.

It was never very likely that the government would allow a Chinese
state-owned company to build a nuclear power station in Britain. So news
that it is now looking for ways to remove China General Nuclear Power Group
(CGN) from future nuclear projects hardly comes as a surprise.

Under the terms of a deal struck in 2015 CGN was to take minority stakes in two
French-led new nuclear power stations, Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C,
while taking a majority stake in a third, Bradwell in Essex, which would
use CGN’s own technology.

This deal, first agreed by the coalition government, was approved with only minor alterations by Theresa May after a review concluded that Britain’s robust regulatory and technological
safeguards were sufficient to protect against any threats to national
security. Whether or not that assessment was right, the political context
has since changed. The mood in parliament, particularly among Conservative
MPs, has turned decisively against China, making it inconceivable that any
government could allow China to build such sensitive national

CGN was blacklisted from US government contracts in 2019
after being accused by the Trump administration of technology theft. That
has made it harder for France’s EDF to attract the infrastructure
investors that it needs to make Sizewell C financially viable. The risk is
that China does not take its rejection well and the entire three-part deal
unravels, with CGN withdrawing from Hinkley Point C in protest. That could
leave EDF with a further shortfall of up to £4 billion.

 Times 26th July 2021

July 29, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Chinese company likely to be glad to abandon UK’s Hinkley and Bradwell nuclear power projects, as costs jump.

 China could quit UK nuclear projects if role threatened, experts warn.
Effort to remove state-owned CGN from Sizewell C said to leave Hinkley
Point and Bradwell developments exposed. China General Nuclear is likely to
walk away from the Hinkley Point C power station being built in Somerset if
the Chinese state-owned nuclear company is forced out of other future
projects in the UK, industry experts warned on Monday.

The company is already a minority investor in the 3.2 gigawatt Hinkley Point nuclear power
station, which France’s EDF is building. One nuclear industry executive
warned that CGN could now reassess its involvement with Hinkley Point.

They pointed out there were four interlinked agreements between CGN, EDF and the
government dating to 2015: Hinkley Point, Sizewell, Bradwell and the
pursuit of regulatory approval for China’s reactor design.

Steve Thomas, emeritus professor of energy policy at University of Greenwich, said
CGN’s investment in Hinkley was designed to make a profit and also help
secure its plant at Bradwell. With both of those now in jeopardy, the
company could quit the UK, he warned.

The Chinese company is eager to getUK regulatory approval at Bradwell for its own Hualong One HPR1000 reactor in order to help market it in other countries. The reactor design is
currently going through the UK’s rigorous approval process with a
decision expected in the second quarter of next year.

 But Thomas pointed out that with Hinkley’s budget having jumped from
£14bn to as much as £22.5bn it was no longer clear whether the consortium
would make a profit. “I would have thought that would put it into
lossmaking territory,” he said.

“They may well be very happy for an
excuse to get out of it,” Thomas said. “If Bradwell is off the agenda
and Hinkley Point won’t make money, why stick around?” Alison Downes of
Stop Sizewell C, a pressure group, said the government’s position threw
EDF’s funding problems for the new plant into sharper relief: “The
simple fact is that Sizewell C won’t go ahead without new investors,”
she said.

 FT 27th July 2021

July 29, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, China, UK | Leave a comment