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U.S. Strategic Command general tries to stir up trouble about nuclear arsenals

US Strategic Command general aspires to muddy the water of nuclear arsenals, By Hu XijinGlobal Times, Aug 29, 2021 US Air Force Lieutenant General Thomas Bussiere, who is deputy commander of the US Strategic Command which oversees the nuclear arsenal, said on Friday that China will soon surpass Russia as the top nuclear threat of the US, a Reuter report said………..

I think Bussiere’s remarks had two malicious goals. First, he wants to sow discord between Russia and China, instigating a sense of crisis in Russia that China’s nuclear capabilities are to surpass Russia.  

His reasoning is problematic. The number of nuclear warheads in China and Russia is not in the same order of magnitude. It is known that Russia owns more nuclear warheads than the US. It’s incredible that China’s nuclear capability could surpass that of Russia in the foreseeable future. 

Bussiere said his judgment is not based solely on the number of China’s stockpiled nuclear warheads, but he didn’t give any other parameters. Instead, he just vaguely said that it also depends on how they are “operationally fielded.” What he wants to achieve is to confuse and mislead the public. 

It’s well-known that China is the sole nuclear power that has declared a policy of “no-first-use” of nuclear weapons at any time, and, under any circumstances. China has far fewer nuclear warheads than Russia or the US, and has made the aforementioned self-restrained commitment. How can China’s nuclear deterrent surpass that of Russia? 

Bussiere’s second purpose is sinister, too. ……..

He wanted to prevent China from increasing nuclear deterrent, and, to sustain the huge disparity of nuclear weapons between China and the US………… https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202108/1232705.shtml

August 30, 2021 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

 Engie nuclear subsidiary Endel in bad shape about to be sold

 Nuclear: Engie about to sell its Endel subsidiary to the Altrad group. The
energy company’s industrial and nuclear maintenance subsidiary is in bad
shape. The state has given the green light for the operation.

 Le Figaro 26th Aug 2021

https://www.lefigaro.fr/societes/nucleaire-engie-sur-le-point-de-vendre-sa-filiale-endel-au-groupe-altrad-20210826

August 30, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, EUROPE | Leave a comment

Even the right-wing Competitive Enterprise Institute doubts the wisdom of bailing out struggling nuclear power stations

The dubious Senate proposal to bail out nuclear powerplants,      https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/569831-the-dubious-senate-proposal-to-bail-out-nuclear-powerplants  BY BENJAMIN ZYCHER, — 08/28/21 Costly economic distortions are an inexorable result of government bailouts for specific industries, the justifications for which are almost always deeply dubious.

Consider section 3203 of the proposed Senate Energy Infrastructure Act. It would establish a $6 billion credit program over four years starting in fiscal year 2022 for nuclear electricity plants “projected to cease operations due to economic factors.” The credits, disbursement of which would cease after 2031, would be defined as a certain dollar amount per megawatt-hour (mWh) of generation. And just as the production tax credit for wind electricity has been extended 13 times, it is difficult to believe that once implemented a similar subvention for nuclear power will fail to prove semi-permanent.

And sure enough: The draft legislation directs the comptroller general to submit by Jan. 1, 2024 “any recommendations to renew or expand the credits.” 

The bill makes it clear that the ostensible rationale for the credits is “the potential incremental air pollutants that would result if the [given] nuclear reactor were to cease operations. …and be replaced with other types of power generation.” 

But the draft legislation asks no one to investigate or even to speculate about whether the hypothetical increase in air pollutants resulting from a shutdown of a nuclear generating plant would yield a violation of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) in the relevant geographic region for any of the (criteria) pollutants covered by the Clean Air Act. 

Because the Clean Air Act requires that the respective NAAQS “protect the public health” with “an adequate margin of safety,” it is difficult to believe that a shutdown of a limited number of reactors and replacement with, say, combined-cycle gas generation, would result in ambient air quality in excess of a given NAAQS. The “public health” would continue to be protected.

Forget air pollution. This proposed subsidy is a bailout — that is, a sizable economic distortion to be added to all of the other distortions inflicted by various policies upon electricity markets. Would it not be better to reduce that aggregate of economic losses rather than to add to them? The actual unpublicized justifications for this proposal are exceedingly weak. 

Competitive price pressures from generation fueled with inexpensive natural gas. Competition is the very basis of a market economy, and a failure to foresee the sharp decline in natural gas prices when nuclear investments were made does not justify a federal bailout. Investors and managements contemplating large investments know that there are important risks, both known and unknown, and make their decisions accordingly. The proposed subsidy would shift those risks onto the taxpayers writ large, and there is no reason to believe that such a shift is efficient. 

Single-unit vs multi-unit nuclear operating costs. Two of the nuclear generating stations desperate for operating subsidies (Davis Besse and Perry, both in Ohio) are single-unit facilities, which have operating costs per mWh higher than those for multi-unit stations, because their fixed overhead costs are spread over less generation, and because they cannot achieve scale economies similar to those of multi-unit plants when negotiating service and fuel contracts. There is no reason that taxpayers should bear the attendant economic burdens.

Potential mismanagement. It is no secret that business management, like all human endeavors, varies in terms of the efficiency of the decisions made and the conduct of operations. Not only does the proposed legislation not consider the cost effects of possible mismanagement, it also reduces the economic penalty for such inefficiency.

Costly state regulation and the effects of “renewable portfolio” or “clean energy” standards. Regulation at the state level, imposed by legislatures, public utility commissions and other official bureaus, obviously creates costs and distortions, often sizable. Moreover, about 30 states require that some proportion of the electricity produced or consumed in the state be generated by certain technologies (e.g., wind and solar power), and those requirements often exclude nuclear electricity.

Is there a reason that federal taxpayers should be forced to bear the consequences of state laws and regulations? Reforms of state policies yielding adverse outcomes must be implemented at the state level; a federal bailout reduces the incentives for such reforms. The owners of nuclear powerplants should make their case to the state legislatures.

The distortions created by the federal wind production tax credit. The one argument in support of the proposed nuclear subsidy that is not wholly spurious is the effect of the wind production tax credit (PTC), now between $15 and $25 per mWh. The PTC thus allows the wind producers to reduce the prices that they bid for sales into bulk power markets – sometimes to negative levels – while still “earning” positive net prices. 

This obviously is unfair competition: The operators of nuclear plants receive no such subventions, and for technical engineering reasons, it is difficult or impossible for nuclear plants to ramp generation up and down in response to short-term price fluctuations.

So, one could argue that the proposed nuclear subsidy corrects the competitive problem created by the PTC, but that is a non sequitur. If the distortions created by given policies are to be addressed by incorporating new distortions, over time the entire economy in effect will become centrally planned, as one set of distortions after another is adopted to deal with the problems created by earlier ones. The proper course is to end the wind PTC and not to bail out nuclear plants with another subsidy program.

Note also that the prospective “profitability” of a given nuclear plant hinges on assumptions about prices, operations costs and other parameters that are subject to important uncertainties. One study by the former chief economist of the PJM Regional Transmission Organization projects net operating profits for 2021 of $30.4 million and $47.5 million for the two plants in Ohio referenced above, respectively. Another study from the PJM itself projects 2021 operating losses for those units of $28.8 million and $33.2 million, respectively.

In short, such calculations are far from straightforward, and no one will be surprised when those applying for the new nuclear credits find ways to increase the magnitude of the operating losses they will claim. 

The arguments in favor of this proposed subsidy are exceedingly weak, and the central principle weighing against it is powerful: Let us reduce rather than increase the distortions created by government economic policies. A failure to keep that principle in mind will yield ongoing economic losses for all of us.

Benjamin Zycher is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. 

August 30, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

UN urges Japan to investigate damaged Fukushima nuclear reactors for clean-up


UN urges Japan to investigate damaged Fukushima nuclear reactors for clean-up, New York Post, 
By Isabel Vincent 28 Aug 21.
 A team of United Nations experts is urging Japan to investigate nuclear reactors damaged a decade ago by a massive earthquake and tsunami.

Scientists working for the International Atomic Energy Agency reviewing the progress of the Fukushima plant’s clean-up say that Japan has been slow to examine the melted fuel inside the reactors.

And they’re worried that the country will be unable to meet a 2051 target to clean up the mess, according to a report.

“We need to gather more information on the fuel debris and more experience on the retrieval of the fuel debris to know if the plan can be completed as expected in the next 30 years,” said Christophe Xerri, head of IAEA, at a press conference after he and a colleague submitted a report on their recent findings to the Japanese government Friday……….https://nypost.com/2021/08/28/un-urges-japan-to-investigate-damaged-fukushima-nuclear-reactors/

August 30, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Nuclear Safety Commission Directs Bruce Power To Assess Fitness For Service Of Reactors

Nuclear Safety Commission Directs Bruce Power To Assess Fitness For Service Of Reactors https://www.bayshorebroadcasting.ca/2021/08/29/nuclear-safety-commission-directs-bruce-power-to-assess-fitness-for-service-of-reactors/ John Divinski, Aug 29, 2021

A public Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (SNSC) meeting is scheduled for Friday, September 3rd to talk about the recent discovery of elevated hydrogen equivalent concentrations and the responses by nuclear power plant licensees and CNSC staff.

The meeting is being held by the External Advisory Committee on pressure tubes.

You may recall Bruce Power ran into some issues earlier in July with the condition of pressure tubes in two units which are not operating at this time.

A Commission report says the Bruce Power pressure tubes in Units 3 and 6 had higher measurements of hydrogen equivalent (Heq) than predicted which contravened the company’s operating licence conditions.

A Commission report says the Bruce Power pressure tubes in Units 3 and 6 had higher measurements of hydrogen equivalent (Heq) than predicted which contravened the company’s operating licence conditions.

The reactors with the higher hydrogen content in pressure tubes are shut down for refurbishment and maintenance outages and do not pose a safety concern to the public or environment.

Hydrogen content is not a concern when reactors are shut down or have reached operating temperature.

At the time, the CNSC said in its release, “Since hydrogen content can only be measured while the reactors are shut down, CNSC staff have directed Bruce Power to assess the fitness for service of the other operating reactors and issued formal notices to all nuclear power plant licensees in Canada requesting further analysis on the continued safe operation of pressure tubes.”

The September 3rd virtual meeting will be webcast live at nuclearsafety.gc.ca

August 30, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear Regulatory Commission finds cable issues in special inspection of Vogtle Unit 3

Nuclear Regulatory Commission finds cable issues in special inspection of Vogtle Unit 3,  Augusta Chronicle Abraham Kenmore, 27 Aug 21, The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission has finished its special inspection of the Plant Vogtle Unit 3 expansion. The report found several preliminary issues with how cables had been installed during the construction of the new nuclear power facility.

“The NRC inspectors found that Southern Nuclear did not adequately separate safety and non-safety-related cables for reactor coolant pumps and equipment designed to safely shut down the reactor,” according to a press release sent with the report. “They also found instances where the company did not identify and report construction quality issues related to the safety-related electrical raceway system and enter them into its corrective action program.”

Southern Nuclear, the company in charge of construction, can choose to accept the results of the inspection or provide additional information before a final determination is reached. Unit 3 currently has no fuel loaded into the reactor and the press release makes it clear there is no increased risk to the public from the safety issues. Southern Company will not be allowed to operate the reactor until construction is finished to standards……… www.augustachronicle.com/story/news/2021/08/27/plant-vogtle-unit-3-nrc-inspection-shows-cable-problems/5603644001/?fbclid=IwAR2O-5h1IDZhDUu4H5sVJ9tPRoQXDYv58lFDQK0LkyjBE_qekMjnpKo7Q34

August 30, 2021 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Scotland: campaign against Trident nuclear weapons

  CAMPAIGNERS yesterday delivered the message that a “nuclear-free
independent Scotland is possible” as a rally was held outside the Faslane
submarine base on the Clyde. The demonstration against Trident, organised
by All Under One Banner, brought together a range of speakers from parties
and campaign groups.

 The National 29th Aug 2021

https://www.thenational.scot/news/19544858.auob-faslane-rally-sets-nuclear-free-vision-scotland/

August 30, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Secret nuclear waste proposals initiated by private landowners and companies

Dr Ruth Balogh, West Cumbria & North Lakes Friends of the Earth.
The NDA is touring West Cumbria with yet another set of proposals for a
deep geological disposal facility for high & intermediate level radwaste in
West Cumbria. The idea of siting this dump in the nuclear industry’s
traditional dumping ground, the Irish Sea, is enjoying favour.

Interest in such proposals has been expressed elsewhere, in Lincolnshire and
Hartlepool, to – unlike in West Cumbria – some political acrimony. In the
NDA press release about the Hartlepool initiative, Steve Reece, Head of
Siting said: ‘This is a process that is driven by communities.’

Yet all of these proposals were initiated in secrecy by private landowners and
companies. In Allerdale’s case the company isn’t even situated in the
Borough. It was followed by the establishment of a small Working Group with
a Borough Council representative on it.

Overtures from at least one community group to take part have been rebuffed. Which community is in the
driving seat here? Not ours. If the NDA want to dig an almighty hole, and
fill it with waste which has been waiting decades for a rational plan- and
which is going to be compounded by far more from Hinkley Point than we have
here already at Sellafield, it’s time they called a spade a spade. We
deserve truthful engagement, not high-minded aspirations.

 Times and Star 26th Aug 2021

https://www.timesandstar.co.uk/opinion/

August 30, 2021 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, wastes | Leave a comment

‘Critical issues’ with Sizewell C plans to be discussed at public hearings 

‘Critical issues’ with Sizewell C plans to be discussed at public hearings  https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/sizewell-c-september-2021-hearings-8274260Andrew Papworth0 August 26, 2021   “Critical issues” with plans for a new nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast – including the impact building work would have on residents – are to be discussed at public hearings.

The Planning Inspectorate is holding a series of Issue Specific Hearings on EDF Energy’s bid to build Sizewell C as part of its formal examination of proposals for a new twin-reactor.

Hearings have been taking place this week, with another four days of hearings scheduled to take place at Snape Maltings in mid-September.

The first day on Tuesday, September 14 will look at flood risk and water supply issues, while the following day will examine the “potential adverse effects on human health and living conditions of local residents during construction”.

The hearings on Thursday, September 16 will look at landscape and heritage issues, including “potential adverse effects on heritage assets forming part of the Heveningham Hall estate and National Trust Coastguard Cottages”.

The code of practice for the construction of the site will be assessed on Friday, September 17.

A spokesman for EDF Energy said: “We are pleased the hearings are going ahead, as they will allow the examining authority to continue to explore all our proposals and enable all interested parties to participate.”

But  Paul Collins, chairman of the Stop Sizewell C campaign group, said: “We are well over two-thirds of the way through the Sizewell C examination, which has exposed many serious failings in EDF’s application.

“There are still a  number of critical issues to be heard.

“Whether or not the Planning Inspectorate will agree with our MP’s recommendation that the examination is extended remains to be seen, although we note EDF’s latest financial report is now hinting that a secretary of state decision is due ‘mid-2022’ as opposed to April 2022, which suggests that they at least are expecting this.”

Once the examination process is concluded, an inspector will make a recommendation to government as to whether the nuclear plant should go ahead or not.

Sizewell C had delayed the original submission of the planning application by two months and extended the period of public registration due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This had followed eight years of public consultation to form the proposals for the new power station.

The meetings will be live-streamed and also available to watch afterwards.

To watch the hearings, click here.

August 30, 2021 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Anti-nuclear campaigners slam plans to install new nuclear reactors in Wales

Anti-nuclear campaigners slam plans to install new nuclear reactors in Wales, NATION CYMRU, 27 Aug 2021  Anti-nuclear campaigners in Wales have criticised the Welsh Government for supporting “flawed and outdated” technology amid plans to install new reactors in Wales.

It was revealed on Wednesday that Mike Tynan, former head of UK operations at US nuclear engineering group Westinghouse, has been recruited by the Welsh Government to head up their nuclear company Cwmni Egino with the aim of resurrecting the Trawsfynydd site.

Both Trawsfynydd and the Wylfa site on Anglesey are being discussed as possible locations for small modular reactors at existing nuclear sites.

But anti-nuclear campaign groups PAWB and CADNO said that the nuclear power station at Trawsfynydd should be a focus for the development of renewable and sustainable technologies.

Trawsnfynydd is already the site of the decommissioned Magnox nuclear power station that ran between 1965 and 1991.

PAWB and CADNO said that once again hopes for work for local people will be raised, with few substantive promises.

“There is not enough proof that the technology will have been developed enough to make a difference in the critical fight against climate change in time,” they said.

“In addition, limited public resources that support nuclear mean that those resources are not available to truly green and sustainable technologies.

Climate change, homelessness, poverty, inequality – these are the complex problems of our time. The nuclear obsession does nothing to solve these problems; it adds to them. ”……………….. https://nation.cymru/news/anti-nuclear-campaigners-slam-plans-to-install-new-nuclear-reactors-in-wales/

August 30, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Don’t Expect Real Climate Solutions From COP26. It Functions for Corporations.

Don’t Expect Real Climate Solutions From COP26. It Functions for Corporations.  Simon PiraniTruthout August 29, 2021  

n the run-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in the U.K. in November — the 26th session of the talks that were launched in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 — the governments of the world’s richest countries are making ever-louder claims that they are effectively confronting global warming. Nothing could be more dangerous than for social, labor and environmental movements to take this rhetoric at face value and assume that political leaders have the situation under control

There are three huge falsehoods running through these leaders’ narratives: that rich nations are supporting their poorer counterparts; that “net zero” targets will do what is needed; and that technology-focused “green growth” is the way to decarbonize.

First, wealthier countries claim to be supporting poorer nations — which are contributing least to global warming, and suffering most from its effects — to make the transition away from fossil fuels.

But at the G7 summit in June, the rich countries again failed to keep their own promise, made more than a decade ago, to provide $100 billion per year in climate finance for developing countries. Of the $60 billion per year they have actually come up with, more than half is bogus: analysis by Oxfam has shown that it is mostly loans and non-concessional finance, and that the amounts are often overstated.

Compare this degrading treatment of the Global South with the mobilization of many hundreds of billions for the post-pandemic recovery. Of $657 billion (public money alone) pledged by G20 nations to energy-producing or energy-consuming projects, $296 billion supports fossil fuels, nearly a third greater than the amount supporting clean energy ($228 billion).

Meanwhile, the impacts of climate change are magnified by poverty. This year’s floodswildfires and record temperatures in Europe and North America have been frightful enough. The same phenomena cause far greater devastation outside the Global North.

In 2020, “very extensive” flooding caused deaths, significant displacement of populations and further impacts from disease in 16 African countries, the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO’s) annual climate report recorded. India, China and parts of Southeast Asia suffered from record-breaking rainfall and flooding, too……………….

The political leaders’ second fiction is their pledge to attain “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 (the U.S., U.K. and Europe) or 2060 (China).

“Net zero” signifies a point at which the amount of greenhouse gases being pumped into the atmosphere is balanced by the amount being withdrawn. Once, it may have been a useful way of taking into account the way that forests, in particular, soak up carbon dioxide. But three decades of capitulation to fossil fuel companies, since the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was signed in 1992, have turned it into a monster of deceit.

Thanks to corporate capture and government complicity, many of the greenhouse gas emissions projections in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recent report factor in huge levels of carbon removal by dubious technologies that do not, and may never, work at scale (e.g., carbon dioxide removal, carbon capture and storage, and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage). Governments have drawn up “net zero” targets reliant on these myths………….

The politicians’ third and more complex deception is in the technology-centered “decarbonization” measures they embrace in the name of “green growth.” These rely on tweaking, rather than transforming, the big technological systems through which most fossil fuels are consumed — transport networks, electricity grids, urban infrastructure, and industrial, agricultural and military systems………………

In the U.S., community groups advocate zero-carbon energy systems as part of an integrated approach to a “just transition” away from fossil fuels.

Governments resist because the corporations resist. Energy corporations fear decentralized electricity generation outside of their control; property developers despise regulation that compels them to use zero-carbon building techniques; gas distributors hate electric heat pumps. Just as oil companies and car manufacturers dread radical decarbonization of transport, petrochemical giants fear plastic-free supply chains, big agribusiness is terrified by low-carbon food systems, and so on.

Climate researchers have shown that absolute zero (not “net zero”) emissions is entirely achievable, by reducing energy throughput and living differently. The path is blocked not by technological factors, but by political ones: by the dynamics of wealth and power that constitute capitalism — the same dynamics that force the burden of climate change on the Global South.

Tackling climate change involves overcoming those dynamics. It is not so much about replacing bad government with good government, as it is about subverting, confronting, confounding and defeating corporate power. It is about developing a vision of our collective future that goes beyond capitalism………….

The most powerful response to looming climate catastrophe will come not from within the COP26 process, but from outside it, in the actions of grassroots organizers, communities, social and labor movements, and of society as a whole. https://truthout.org/articles/dont-expect-real-climate-solutions-from-cop26-it-functions-for-corporations/?

August 30, 2021 Posted by | climate change, politics international | Leave a comment

August 29 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Louisiana Hasn’t Yet Recovered From Two Major Hurricanes In 2020. Now Another Is Taking Aim” • Five named storms struck Louisiana in 2020. Two of them were major hurricanes, doing a total of $18.75 billion in damages. As the state still reels from the destruction, another major hurricane is now barreling toward the […]

August 29 Energy News — geoharvey

August 30, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment