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Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Judges Visit Site for First Time in TEPCO Shareholders’ Derivative Suit

Oct. 29, 2021
In a lawsuit filed by shareholders of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) demanding compensation from the former management over the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, judges from the Tokyo District Court visited Fukushima Prefecture on March 29 and inspected the site of the plant. This is the first time that judges have inspected the site after the nuclear power plant accident.
On the morning of the 29th, two judges including Yoshihide Asakura, Chief Judge of the Tokyo District Court, clerks, and lawyers for the plaintiffs and defendants took a bus from JR Ono Station in Okuma Town, Fukushima Prefecture, to the site of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

The shareholders of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) are demanding that the company compensate five former executives for the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

According to a lawyer for the shareholders, the inspection lasted for more than five hours, and they checked the condition of the buildings of Units 1 through 6, as well as the entrances and exits of buildings with important equipment, before and after the accident.

According to TEPCO, this is the first time that a judge has inspected the premises of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant after the accident.
After the inspection, Hiroyuki Kawai, a lawyer for the shareholders, said, “The judges asked TEPCO many questions and looked around the site seriously. It was a very meaningful inspection, and we are hoping for a good verdict.
https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20211029/k10013327661000.html

October 30, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Regulatory Commission visits Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant over exhaust filter damage

Oct.28, 2021
On October 28, members of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) visited the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and inspected the facilities where the problem was found, following a series of damages to the exhaust filters of the facilities that treat contaminated water at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant of Tokyo Electric Power Company.

In September of this year at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, 32 of the 76 exhaust filters attached to the storage containers for radioactive waste from the ALPS system, which treats contaminated water, were found to be damaged.

The same exhaust filters were found to be damaged two years ago, but TEPCO replaced the filters and continued to operate the plant without analyzing the cause or taking countermeasures.

In response to these problems, Tomo Tanaka, Nobuhiko Ban, and other members of the Nuclear Regulation Authority inspected the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant on March 28.

Guided by TEPCO officials, the commission members entered the facility where the problematic exhaust filter was installed and confirmed the conditions at the time.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) believes that there was a problem with TEPCO’s management system and will investigate in detail the cause and background of the repeated damage.

Also, on the 29th, they plan to check the temporary storage area for radioactive waste generated from decommissioning of the plant in response to the rapid increase in temporary storage of radioactive waste outside.
https://www3.nhk.or.jp/lnews/fukushima/20211028/6050016204.html

October 30, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Japan looks to renewables, role of nuclear elusive ahead of election

Oct 29, 2021

Japan aims to increase its reliance on renewable energy in achieving net-zero emissions, but the role of nuclear power to be played toward that end appears to be elusive even in the government’s energy plan approved by the Cabinet about a week ahead of Sunday’s general election.

The plan outlines ways to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and cut greenhouse gas emissions 46 percent in fiscal 2030 from fiscal 2013 levels, an ambitious leap from the previous reduction target of 26 percent.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (C) visits the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan during a visit to areas affected by the March 2011 earthquake-tsunami disaster on Oct. 17, 2021.

The government aims to have renewables account for 36 to 38 percent of Japan’s total power generation capacity in fiscal 2030, more than double the 18 percent recorded in fiscal 2019, while the percentage of fossil-fuel-fired thermal power has been slashed to 41 percent, down from 76 percent.

But the percentage for nuclear power remains unchanged at 20 to 22 percent from the previous plan, released in 2018.

The status of many nuclear plants in 2030 and thereafter is unclear considering the facilities’ 40-year operating limit and other regulatory hurdles, and there has been no public consensus on whether the country should continue to use nuclear power beyond 2050 either.

Yudai Maeda, an executive of renewable energy firm afterFIT Co., said people’s emotional reactions toward nuclear issues have somewhat subsided from the years after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and voter interests have been taken over by the coronavirus pandemic.

Yudai Maeda, an executive of afterFIT Co., speaks in an interview in Tokyo on Oct. 19, 2021.

Major issues in the election are more like how to restore the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic,” Maeda said.

A recent Kyodo News poll showed 36.7 percent will decide on who to vote for in the general election based on economic policies, while 16.1 percent said coronavirus measures were paramount.

Tsutomu Miyasaka, a professor of biomedical engineering at Toin University of Yokohama and pioneering researcher on thin and flexible solar cells, also believes energy and environmental issues should attract attention, just as climate change was one of the key issues for German voters in their September election.

Tsutomu Miyasaka, a professor at the Faculty of Medical Engineering at Toin University of Yokohama, holds a perovskite solar module in an interview in Yokohama on Oct. 27, 2021.

A report by the U.N. Environment Programme released this week warned that the average global temperature could rise 2.7 C by the end of the century despite various climate pledges and mitigation steps.

That is well above the aspirational goal of the Paris Agreement — to keep global warming below 1.5 C this century over pre-industrial levels.

The international organization also said that whether the world can meet the goal of avoiding potential catastrophe hinges on efforts by humanity to halve annual greenhouse gas emissions in the next eight years.

Net-zero commitments, declared by 49 nations, including Japan, and the European Union could shave off another 0.5 C, if these pledges were made robust and if 2030 promises were made consistent with the net-zero commitments.

“Climate change is no longer a future problem. It is a now problem,” said Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP, ahead of the upcoming U.N. climate change conference known as COP26. “The clock is ticking loudly.”

To achieve the 2030 emissions cut target, Maeda said nuclear power plants are necessary. However, Japanese political parties cannot agree on what to do with nuclear plants even though they agree on the country’s direction toward carbon neutrality.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said his Liberal Democratic Party will restart idled nuclear plants, providing they have adequate safety measures, in order to supply electricity stably and at a reasonable price.

In contrast, the major opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan pledges to abandon nuclear power as soon as possible and will not allow any new nuclear plants to be built.

The Democratic Party for the People, a smaller opposition party, has said it will restart nuclear plants that cleared safety rules but will not allow the construction of new ones.

Following the nuclear crisis in Fukushima Prefecture triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami, most of the nuclear plants in Japan remain offline under stricter safety regulations.

“Realistically, I think (Japan) cannot help but to heavily rely on nuclear and solar power to achieve that 2030 goal,” said Maeda, a former Foreign Ministry official.

He stressed nuclear should not be a long-term power supply given the tremendous amount of money needed in the event of an accident and falling renewable energy costs.

In the long run, energy experts have high expectations for offshore wind power.

“Producing large quantities of electricity from renewables requires a vast amount of space. Since Japan is a maritime nation with the world’s sixth-largest exclusive economic zone, it’s got to be offshore wind,” he said, adding floating turbines will hold the key.

Solar cells produced by Miyasaka, also a fellow at the University of Tokyo’s Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, are expected to contribute to improving the space problem for renewables if they overcome durability challenges and go into commercial mass production.

Miyasaka’s perovskite solar modules are thin, flexible, and light yet capable of generating high voltages compared with silicon photovoltaics, with their characteristics enabling them to be installed or applied on unconventional places, including low load-bearing roofs, windows and automobile bodies.

In the not too distant future, Miyasaka believes people will be able to generate power by perovskite solar modules on places such as balcony floors and car bodies, store it in batteries and then use it during the night.

In building such a society, Miyasaka said the reliance on nuclear power could be reduced soon rather than later because disaster-prone Japan faces higher risks than many other countries.

“It is time for us to seriously engage in finding ways to live without nuclear power plants,” he said.

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2021/10/604995b5eef2-focus-japan-looks-to-renewables-role-of-nuclear-elusive-ahead-of-election.html

October 30, 2021 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Japan PM’s nuclear push faces resistance ahead of election

Oct 28, 2021

KASHIWAZAKI, Japan – A decade after triple meltdowns at Fukushima forced mass evacuations and a shut-down of the nuclear industry, Japan has restarted only a third of its 33 operable reactors

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s push to restart Japanese nuclear power plants idled after the Fukushima disaster faces stiff opposition ahead of a
general election on Sunday, October 31, where his future as leader hangs in
the balance if the vote is tight.

A decade after triple meltdowns at Fukushima forced mass evacuations and a shut-down of the nuclear industry, Japan has restarted only a third of its 33 operable reactors.

Debate over whether to fire more of them back up is highly charged, with 40% of the population opposing the move.

It matters most in rural cities hosting the idled plants which had once relied on them for economic activity, such as Kashiwazaki, 265 km (165 miles) northwest of Tokyo – home to the world’s largest atomic power complex.

“The reason why we feel so strongly about this is because we feel the danger of the nuclear power plant – it hangs over our heads every day,” said Mie Kuwabara, a resident of a town close to Kashiwazaki and anti-nuclear activist.

Voters mostly care about economic recovery from the pandemic. But energy policy came into sharp focus last month, when Kishida beat a popular anti-nuclear candidate in the race for the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) chief.

The architect of Kishida’s victory, party veteran Akira Amari, assumed a key party post and immediately pushed for restarts of 30 reactors while also promoting new, smaller reactors to replace aging ones.

Amari says Japan must revert to nuclear power to meet its 2050 carbon neutrality pledge, avoid rapidly rising prices of imported coal and gas and to cut its reliance on other countries for energy needs.

Amari faces a tight race in his home district, where he is struggling to attract support from anti-nuclear junior coalition partner, Komeito.

Opposition to his plan is strong in Kashiwazaki too.

“This prefecture as a whole, even within the LDP, is united behind the idea that the nuclear power plant can’t be restarted,” said Mineo Ono, who runs the LDP’s local chapter where anti-nuclear proponent Taro Kono polled higher than Kishida in the leadership race vote.

Ono cited local distrust caused by what he called multiple mishaps by the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Holdings (Tepco).

The nuclear regulator upended plans for a restart of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, which can power 24 million households, in April, after identifying operational issues including faulty intruder detection alarms and the misuse of ID cards.

Nation-wide, restarts have been delayed by technical issues, lawsuits and regulatory reviews.

Tepco in an emailed statement apologized and said it would work to regain the trust of locals. It added that while nuclear energy is instrumental in achieving carbon neutrality, the time is not right to discuss restarts.

That poses a problem for the LDP, which polls show is on the brink of losing its simple majority, an outcome that would still let it cling to power thanks to the coalition with Komeito, but that may lead to a push inside the party to oust Kishida.

The government said in its latest energy policy on Friday it would double 2020 levels of renewable energy to 38%, but has maintained nuclear power will provide some 22% of the country’s energy by 2030, up from 6% in the 2018 financial year.

‘Dividing factor’

Kashiwazaki, a town of 80,000, sits on the coast of the Sea of Japan. In the evening, buses unload workers maintaining the complex around the main train station.

“We host the world’s biggest nuclear plant, but that energy goes mostly to Tokyo and its surrounding regions. Locals feel deeply about that,” LDP’s Ono said. There is a ‘divide’ between the sentiment of the locals and people in Tokyo, he said.

A restart is critical for Tepco, which needs money to fund the clean-up at its Fukushima plant. Restarting two reactors at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa would save an estimated $880 million per year in fuel costs, it says.

But even the local chamber of commerce, instrumental in wooing the plant which started operations in 1985, says it is tired of what it sees as Tepco’s repeated failures.

“It’s almost unbearable, seeing how shoddy they are,” said chamber of commerce chief Masao Saikawa.

To allay these fears, Kenichi Hosoda, the LDP candidate in the district who serves as the vice minister at the Ministry of Industry overseeing energy policy, has toned down his pro-nuclear message.

“Now is not the time to discuss the issue,” he told Reuters after a recent rally held near the plant.

In response to a question on why discussions on the nuclear plant have been toned down before the vote, local LDP leader Ono spoke of “a large group of swing voters who the candidates have to capture.”

“When it comes down to it, the issue of nuclear energy will be the dividing factor. It’s a fact that the nuclear element has an influence,” said Ono. – Rappler.com

https://www.rappler.com/world/asia-pacific/japan-pms-nuclear-push-faces-resistance-ahead-of-election

October 30, 2021 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

HAPPY 90TH BIRTHDAY KING RUPERT!

October 30, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, media | Leave a comment

Health impacts of nuclear accidents

Too expensive, too slow: Even the baseload argument doesn’t work for nuclear. ReNeweconomy, Mark Diesendorf 29 October 2021 

”’………………………………………Health impacts of nuclear accidents

Another misleading pro-nuclear statement revived following the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in 2011 is that no excess cancer incidence has been observed around Fukushima, implying that no cancers will be induced. The logical error is to assume that the absence of evidence implies no impact.

It is still too early for most types of cancer, which have latent periods of 20–60 years, to appear around Fukushima. The only cancers likely to appear within a decade after exposure are thyroid cancer and leukemia.

A large increase in thyroid cancers has been observed in the region, but their cause is debated by some on the grounds that the increase could be the result of better screening. Leukemia is an uncommon disease and so even a large percentage increase would be impossible to verify statistically with high confidence (see UNSCEAR 2020).

Fortunately for the citizens of Tokyo, the wind was mostly blowing offshore during the meltdowns of three of the six Fukushima reactors, sending about 80 per cent of the emitted radioactive material out over the Pacific.

Soon after the disaster an exclusion zone was established around the power station and more than 100,000 people evacuated. For these reasons, Fukushima tells us very little about radiation-induced cancers.

The Chernobyl Forum, a group dominated by the International Atomic Energy Agency, estimated that the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 could be responsible for “up to 4000 cancer deaths” in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. However, the disaster also sprayed radionuclides over large areas of Europe outside those countries.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (Cardis et al. 2006) estimated that the disaster would be responsible for 16,000 cancer deaths in Europe by 2065.

Another estimate, by a team of medical researchers and practitioners in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia (Yablokov et al. 2006), found that the total number of deaths in their countries could be an order of magnitude higher, but a quantitative estimate was probably impossible due to uncertainties in the total quantities of radionuclides emitted, geographic distribution of radioactivity, and limitations in medical diagnosis and monitoring.

Most of the evidence that low-level radiation is carcinogenic comes from detailed studies of the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, medical professionals who worked with radiation, uranium miners, children who received CT scans, children living near nuclear power stations, and children who were exposed in utero in the bad old days when pregnant women were routinely x-rayed.

This is the basis of the linear-no-threshold model, the scientific understanding that the number of cancers induced by ionising radiation is proportional to the dose received and that there’s no threshold.

Was the Fukushima disaster “natural”?

Pro-nuclear campaigners claim that the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi was entirely the fault of the tsunami, that it was all just “a natural event”.

Yet the choice of technology cannot be exonerated, because it resulted in mass evacuation, compensation payments (huge in total but inadequate for individuals), destruction of the local agriculture and fishing industries, temporary loss of national tourism, temporary collapse of the electricity grid, massive removal of radioactive soil and vegetation, a multi-decades-long continuing process to decommission the reactors, and the need to import vast quantities of fossil fuels. (The latter would have been greatly reduced if the government’s prior commitment to nuclear energy hadn’t resulted in its neglect of renewables.)

Total costs have been estimated at over US$500 billion, while the nuclear power station was insured for only US$1.5 billion. …………………. https://reneweconomy.com.au/too-expensive-too-slow-even-the-baseload-argument-doesnt-work-for-nuclear/

October 30, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health, Reference | Leave a comment

Correcting Alan Finkel’s nuclear fallacies

30 Oct 21 Friends of the Earth has written to Dr. Alan Finkel, Special Adviser to the Australian Government on Low Emissions Technology, correcting a number of his recent statements regarding nuclear power. The letter is online.

Dr. Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth, said:

“Dr. Finkel is honest and intelligent ‒ which is more than can be said for some of the ideologues and idiots promoting nuclear power ‒ but his recent statements regarding nuclear power contain a number of inaccuracies.

“Dr. Finkel’s claim that the Fukushima disaster resulted in a “handful” of radiation deaths is inaccurate. The World Health Organization projects increases in all solid cancers, breast cancer, leukaemia and thyroid cancer. In addition, around 2,000 indirect deaths have been recorded. The economic costs amount to hundreds of billions of dollars and there is an incalculable human toll for the 160,000 evacuees from the disaster.

“Dr. Finkel’s claim that safety is the number one imperative underpinning the design of modern reactors is an industry claim that cannot be substantiated. Nuclear power is, in the words of Bob Carr, “cripplingly expensive” and far more expensive than renewables. The nuclear industry is trying to compete economically ‒ mostly by gouging taxpayers and electricity ratepayers ‒ and that is the number one imperative driving everything the industry does.

“Dr. Finkel’s comments about the ‘beauty’ of small modular reactors ignore the fact that the only SMR operating anywhere in the world, a Russian plant, was nine-years behind schedule, six times over-budget, produces power at an exorbitant A$270 per megawatt-hour, and is used to power fossil fuel mining operations in the Arctic. It is ugly in every respect.

“Dr. Finkel’s claim that high-level nuclear waste is being disposed of in a deep underground repository in Finland is false. The 2006 Switkowski report anticipated completion of this repository in 2010. Now, completion is anticipated in the mid-2020s. No waste has been disposed of.

“The only operating deep underground repository for nuclear waste is in the United States and was closed for three years after a chemical explosion in an underground waste barrel in 2014 ‒ the culmination of staggering mismanagement and regulatory failures.

“Here in Australia, the federal government is trying to establish a national nuclear waste dump on farming land near Kimba in SA despite the unanimous opposition of Barngarla Traditional Owners and NH&MRC guidelines which state that farming land should not be used for nuclear waste repositories.”

“The viability of renewables coupled with multiple storage technologies and demand management is a work in progress but there are promising signs. For example, South Australia has reached a 60% renewable share and the Liberal state government is enthusiastically pursuing a 100% net renewables target by 2030. Moreover, the SA Liberal government states that nuclear is not viable now and will not be viable for the foreseeable future.

“Calls for a discussion about nuclear power overlook the fact that there have been four inquiries over the past five years. The Prime Minister said just a few days ago that the federal government has no intention of repealing legislation banning nuclear power, and no state government is interested.

“Surely this is the time to have a breather from the seemingly endless nuclear debate, rather than starting yet another discussion?”

October 30, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Another example of climate change damaging the nuclear industry -jellyfish increase clogging up cooling systems of reactors

human-induced climate change has raised ocean water temperatures, setting conditions for larger-than-usual jellyfish populations. Further, the relatively warm water near nuclear power plant discharge outlets may attract jellyfish swarms, according to one study. Also, pollution has lowered oxygen levels in sea water, which jellyfish tolerate more than other marine animals, leading to their proliferation.

Jellyfish attack nuclear power plant. Again. Bulletin, By Susan D’Agostino | October 28, 2021Scotland’s only working nuclear power plant at Torness shut down in an emergency procedure when jellyfish clogged the sea water-cooling intake pipes at the plant, according to the Scotland Herald. Without access to cool water, a nuclear power plant risks overheating, with potentially disastrous results (see: Fukushima). The intake pipes can also be damaged, which disrupts power generation. And ocean life that gets sucked into a power plant’s intake pipes risks death.

The threat these gelatinous, pulsating, umbrella-shaped marine animals pose to nuclear power plants is neither new nor unknown. (Indeed, the Bulletin reported on this threat in 2015.) Nuclear power plant closures—even temporary ones—are expensive. To protect marine life and avert power plant closures, scientists are exploring early warning system options. …………

The clash between gelatinous jellyfish and hulking nuclear power plants has a long history. These spineless, brainless, bloodless creatures shut down the Torness nuclear power plant in 2011 at a cost of approximately $1.5 million per day, according to one estimate. Swarms of these invertebrates have also been responsible for nuclear power plant shutdowns in IsraelJapan, the United States, the PhilippinesSouth Korea, and Sweden.

Humans have unwittingly nurtured the adversarial relationship between jellyfish and nuclear power plants. That is, human-induced climate change has raised ocean water temperatures, setting conditions for larger-than-usual jellyfish populations. Further, the relatively warm water near nuclear power plant discharge outlets may attract jellyfish swarms, according to one study. Also, pollution has lowered oxygen levels in sea water, which jellyfish tolerate more than other marine animals, leading to their proliferation.

Some look at jellyfish and see elegant ballerinas of the sea, while others view them as pests. Either way, they are nothing if not resilient. Jellyfish are 95 percent water, drift in topical waters and the Arctic Ocean, and thrive in the ocean’s bottom as well as on its surface. Nuclear power plant operators might take note: Older-than-dinosaur jellyfish are likely here to stay. https://thebulletin.org/2021/10/jellyfish-attack-nuclear-power-plant-again/

October 30, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

EU countries ramp up pressure to grant nuclear a ‘green’ investment label

EU countries ramp up pressure to grant nuclear a ‘green’ investment label,  By Kira Taylor | EURACTIV.com, 29 Oct 21,

A group of ten European countries have heaped pressure on the European Commission to grant nuclear energy a ‘green’ label under the EU’s sustainable finance taxonomy, which acts as a guide to climate-friendly investments.

Energy ministers from the group of ten supported nuclear’s inclusion in the taxonomy during an extraordinary meeting of the EU’s Energy Council on Tuesday (26 October), convened hastily last week in response to rising energy prices.

A proposal from the European Commission is now expected “by the end of the year,” said Kadri Simson, the EU’s energy commissioner………


Earlier this month
, a group of ministers from ten EU countries signed a joint opinion article saying “nuclear power must be part of the solution” to the climate crisis and included in the taxonomy.

The article was signed by the economy and energy ministers from Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Finland, France, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

At this week’s ministerial meeting, the Netherlands offered their support while Sweden also spoke favourably about nuclear………..

Anti-nuclear lobby

By far the smallest group of countries in this debate is those who have spoken out against the inclusion of nuclear energy in the taxonomy. Austria and Luxembourg are the most vocal countries here, with Denmark also cautioning against nuclear.

“We think that it would be wrong to raise nuclear energy as the alternative – it’s not cheap and it’s not secure. The prices for the production of nuclear energy are much higher than that for photovoltaic solar production,” said Gregor Schusterschitz from Austria.

Meanwhile, Luxembourg’s energy minister, Claude Turmes, highlighted the length of time it would take to build new nuclear power plants, saying these would not come online until around 2035, making them useless as a solution to this year’s energy crisis.

He added that “extending nuclear reactors beyond 40 years only represents 10 billion tonnes oil equivalent, so you can see it’s a highly risky, low impact strategy”.

“With taxonomy, I think we have to be extremely cautious. Because look at the financial markets, look at the investors, look at what’s happening already with manipulation,” he told ministers.

Germany – a long-standing opponent of nuclear power – was much more neutral at the meeting, perhaps owing to its yet-to-be-formed government.

“We need to decrease our energy dependency – people are seeing this as a reason for nuclear power. Obviously we can’t achieve consensus at an EU level on the role of nuclear power,” said Andreas Feicht, German energy and economy minister.

The environmental NGO WWF has also warned against including nuclear energy and fossil gas.

“Nothing would do more to undermine the European Green Deal than to include fossil gas and nuclear in the green taxonomy. At the time of the COP26 summit, institutionalised European greenwashing of this sort would send a totally counterproductive global signal,” said Henry Eviston, spokesperson on sustainable finance for WWF European Policy Office………

At some point, the Commission will have to side with either the pro- or anti-nuclear camp. Ministers at the meeting called on the European Commission to publish the delegated act as soon as possible and the executive is beginning to run out of road to kick the can down. https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy-environment/news/eu-countries-ramp-up-pressure-to-grant-nuclear-a-green-investment-label/

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

The push for nuclear power in space

“We know that over the years the U.S. Department of Energy has a terrible track record of worker and community contamination during these space nukes fabrication processes. One example is the 244 cases of worker contamination at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico while building the plutonium generators for the 1997 Cassini space probe,” said Gagnon.

“We’ve known for years that virtually every space mission that NASA flies is ‘dual use’—meaning that it serves two masters—civilian and military.

“The ultimate lesson here,” said Gagnon, “is that the nuclear industry views space as a new market for nuclear rockets, nuclear-powered rovers on Mars, and nuclear-powered mining colonies on the planetary bodies. Concern from Congress about impacts for life on planet Earth?

Not one word in that regard was expressed in the hearing”


The Push for Nukes in Space
, CounterPunch,  BY KARL GROSSMAN, 28 Oct 21,

The co-chairs of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics of the U.S. House of Representatives Science, Space & Technology Committee were cheerleaders for the use of nuclear power in space at a hearing at which they presided over last week titled “Accelerating Deep Space Travel with Space Nuclear Propulsion.”

The advocacy of Representatives Don Beyer and Eddie Bernice Johnson for nukes in space was strongly criticized in a subsequent interview by Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space………

Witnesses testifying before the subcommittee included those from the aerospace industry including Michael French, vice president for space systems of the Aerospace Industries Association. ……….

There were no witnesses invited to the hearing who are critical of the use of nuclear power in space. Gagnon has been coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space since its formation in 1992. Based in Maine, it is the leading international organization opposing the use of nuclear power in space through protests, an annual “Space for Peace Week” and lawsuits through the years.

Said Gagnon: “The recent testimonies by aerospace industry operatives before the House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics were quite telling. But even more so were the opening statements by committee co-chairs, both Democrats, who hail from the heavily space-oriented states of Virginia and Texas. Both committee chairs Don Beyer (VA) and Bernice Johnson (TX) enthusiastically endorsed the proposal to continue spending hundreds of millions of dollars annually toward preparation of nuclear reactor flight tests in space.”

“The logic behind this dangerous ‘field test’ is to prepare to send nuclear-powered rockets to Mars,” said Gagnon. “Ostensibly these plans are to protect the ‘safety of our astronauts’ by reducing their exposure to in-space radiation with ‘shorter trips’ to the red planet because nuclear rockets would cut in half the travel time. This is very telling as concern over the safety of a couple of astronauts ‘trumps’ the safety of the Department of Energy workers who will be fabricating these space nuclear devices.”

“We know that over the years the U.S. Department of Energy has a terrible track record of worker and community contamination during these space nukes fabrication processes. One example is the 244 cases of worker contamination at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico while building the plutonium generators for the 1997 Cassini space probe,” said Gagnon.

“In addition, this concern over astronaut safety also ‘trumps’ the safety of all life on Earth as plans call for the testing of these nuclear rocket engines just over our heads in space,” he said.

“During the testimony of several aerospace industry executives at the hearing they admitted that current regulations that oversee ground testing of these reactors are ‘too restrictive’ because they require the capture and processing of ‘radiologic sources’ in order to ‘reduce contamination.’ Thus, with no regulation of testing in space the powerful alliance of aerospace and nuclear industry is asking Congress to give them a free pass,” Gagnon said.

“We’ve known for years that virtually every space mission that NASA flies is ‘dual use’—meaning that it serves two masters—civilian and military. During the committee hearing it was acknowledged that DARPA [the U.S. military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency] has its own nuclear propulsion project for ‘national security interests’. This indicates that this proposed space nuke testing program will benefit the Pentagon’s goal to create space nuclear reactors for military operations in space.”

“The ultimate lesson here,” said Gagnon, “is that the nuclear industry views space as a new market for nuclear rockets, nuclear-powered rovers on Mars, and nuclear-powered mining colonies on the planetary bodies. Concern from Congress about impacts for life on planet Earth? Not one word in that regard was expressed in the hearing”

“If NASA wants to travel into space, then use solar power. There are ample examples of current successful solar missions into deep space,” he said.

“Let’s slow this run-away freight train down and let the public know about, and comment on, these dangerous plans to nuclearize space,” said Gagnon…………………………………………

There have been three accidents involving U.S. space nuclear missions,

 the worst in 1964 involving a satellite powered by a plutonium-fueled RTG, the SNAP 9A. The satellite failed to achieve orbit, broke up in the atmosphere as it came crashing back down to Earth, its plutonium dispersing as dust extensively on Earth. Dr. John Gofman, an M.D. and Ph.D., professor at the University of California at Berkeley, formerly associate director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, author of Poisoned Power and involved in early studies of plutonium, linked this accident to an increase in lung cancer on Earth.

Following the SNAP-9A accident, NASA pushed the development of solar power for satellites and now all U.S. satellites have energized by solar power—as is the International Space Station.

Still, NASA for years insisted that nuclear power was necessary for power beyond the orbit of Mars—a claim that has been demonstrated to be false. In 2011, for example, NASA launched its Juno space probe to Jupiter—its electrical system energized by solar panels. It’s still up there studying Jupiter, despite sunlight being a hundredth of what it is on Earth.Still, the drive to utilize nuclear power in space continues being pushed hard…………………..Meanwhile, studies and articles have pointed to solar energy providing all the power needed for would-be settlements on Mars and the Moon. ……………………
Karl Grossman, professor of journalism at State University of New York/College at Old Westbury, and is the author of the book, The Wrong Stuff: The Space’s Program’s Nuclear Threat to Our Planet, and the Beyond Nuclear handbook, The U.S. Space Force and the dangers of nuclear power and nuclear war in space. Grossman is an associate of the media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion.   https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/10/28/the-push-for-nukes-in-space/

October 30, 2021 Posted by | space travel, USA | Leave a comment

UK public kept in the dark on household costs in paying for nuclear reactors before they’re built

it is somewhat dubious to replace a very expensive form of subsidy with one that promises to be merely expensive — and then claim that you have ‘saved’ money.

How much longer is the government going to suppress the cost to households of achieving net zero carbon emissions, or try to imply, as business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng recently seemed to imply on the Today programme, that it won’t cost us at all?

Even as he spoke Kwarteng was working on a new model for the funding of nuclear power stations that was unveiled yesterday in the form of the Nuclear Energy Finance Bill. The proposed legislation will impose levies on energy bills in order to subsidise the construction of new nuclear power stations. The new model of funding — called Regulated Asset Base — will replace the model by which Hinkley C is being constructed: the contracts for difference, or CfD, model which was used to entice EDF to undertake the project.

The carrot is a guaranteed ‘strike’ price for electricity generated by the plant as soon as it starts generating electricity. Funding plants upfront may have the agreeable effect of cutting out Chinese finance. Moreover, the CfD model was failing to attract investors for other projects, such as the proposed new nuclear reactor at Wylfa, which Hitachi abandoned a year ago.

But it will inevitably transfer risk to the consumer — should, say, the proposed new plant at Sizewell in Suffolk end up being abandoned before it begins generating power, taxpayers will already have paid towards the plant
through their bills. Transferring that risk to the private sector was the whole reason for introducing the Hinkley form of funding in the first place.

We don’t yet know how big the sting will be to energy consumers to finance Sizewell C through the new funding model — the Department for Business insists it will be ‘a few pounds a year’ per household during
the early construction phases, followed by ‘less than £1 a month’ during the full construction phase. But it is somewhat dubious to replace a very expensive form of subsidy with one that promises to be merely
expensive — and then claim that you have ‘saved’ money.

 Spectator 27th Oct 2021

 https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/who-should-pay-for-nuclear-

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

Sellafield workers told to return home due to flood warning – (climate change hitting nuclear again?)

 NUCLEAR power plant workers are being told to return home due to heavy
rainfall flooding parts of Cumbria. A spokesman for the West Cumbrian power
plant Sellafield issued a statement online advising people to only travel
if strictly necessary.

The warning comes after the county was battered with
heavy rainfall and flooding. A spokesman for Sellafield said: “Cumbria
Police say the threat of flooding in Cumbria remains high and are advising
people to only travel if strictly necessary and to take pre-emptive action
to protect themselves.

 Whitehaven News 28th Oct 2021

https://www.whitehavennews.co.uk/news/19679307.sellafield-workers-told-return-home-due-flood-warning/

October 30, 2021 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

World is failing to make changes needed to avoid climate breakdown, report finds

 Every corner of society is failing to take the “transformational change” needed to avert the most disastrous consequences of the climate crisis, with trends either too slow or in some cases even regressing, according to a major new global analysis.

Across 40 different areasspanning the power sector, heavy industry, agriculture, transportation, finance and technology, not one is changing quickly enough to avoid 1.5C in global heating beyond pre-industrial times, a critical target of the Paris climate agreement, according to the new Systems Change Lab report.

The dangerously sluggish pace of decarbonization, made plain just days before the start of crucial UN climate talks in Scotland, further highlights how the world is badly off track in its attempts to curb climate breakdown.

 Guardian 28th Oct 2021

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/28/world-failing-make-changes-avoid-climate-breakdown-report

October 30, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | 1 Comment

Nuclear has no place in Taiwan

 

While aiming for this ambitious goal, it is also paramount that the government considers national security, energy autonomy and the development of sustainable energy sources.

As a result, we need to focus our energies on developing renewables to achieve a green transition, and nuclear energy has no part in this.

 https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2021/10/30/2003766999, By Pan Wei-yiu 潘威佑 Translated by Paul Cooper The public must be confused about the issue of whether it is appropriate to restart construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮). The site has been sealed up for a long time, and the fuel rods have been shipped overseas. So why is a referendum needed on whether to restart construction of the mothballed plant?

The truth is that the plant has become something of a political ATM. If a political party wants to make it an issue for its own political benefit, it resurrects the debate.

However, not only is restarting construction of the plant inappropriate, it is imperative that the government remain committed to its policy of achieving a “nuclear-free homeland.”

There are three reasons that it is not appropriate to restart construction

First, with the development of any energy source, the protection of lives and property is paramount.

For Taiwan, a densely populated nation in an earthquake zone, if there were to be a nuclear accident, people would have to evacuate quickly. The harm and fear such an event would bring is difficult to imagine.

Second, from a purely economic point of view, construction of the plant, which commenced in 1999, has already cost more than NT$283.8 billion (US$10.2 billion) and the facilities that have been added are up to two decades old. Many of the components have degraded and no longer work.

If construction is to be restarted, those components would need to be replaced, a process that would take a lot of time and money — as a rough estimate, at least a decade and NT$80 billion.

It is questionable whether this process would be sufficient to provide the energy requirements for the rapid development in Taiwan.

Third, there is the question of environmental justice. Where is the nuclear waste to be stored? Nobody has proposed a satisfactory answer to this question. No one would accept having the waste near their home.

In the past, environmental justice was not taken seriously, but that does not mean this state of affairs should continue.

Restarting construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant would be unsafe, uneconomical and unjust.

Would Taiwan suffer from electricity shortages if it continues to progress to a non-nuclear homeland? This is the unfounded argument pushed by pro-nuclear groups.

According to electricity generation figures in a Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) report this year, the proportion of electricity generated from nuclear sources has fallen over the years, providing only 12.7 percent of the nation’s electricity last year.

If Taiwan could increase the percentage of renewable energy sources to 20 percent of the total energy mix by 2025, nuclear power would be a nonissue.

Additionally, if the percentage of renewable energy sources continues to increase, as is planned, Taiwan would no longer require nuclear power

The world has reached a consensus that the way to mitigate climate change is by reducing carbon emissions. Countries the world over are calling for net-zero emissions by 2050, and Taiwan has also committed to this target.

While aiming for this ambitious goal, it is also paramount that the government considers national security, energy autonomy and the development of sustainable energy sources.

As a result, we need to focus our energies on developing renewables to achieve a green transition, and nuclear energy has no part in this.

In the interests of achieving environmental sustainability, many Taiwanese companies have joined the RE100 global initiative to achieve 100 percent of power from renewable sources by 2050. Again, nuclear power is not part of the plan.

In response to the rapid changes and challenges of international political and economic trends, and the energy environment, the world is going through a crucial period of energy transformation.

Green energy technologies and energy conservation development are the major drivers of this transition around the world. Even though the development of renewable energy sources is difficult, it is incumbent that nations rise to the challenge and meet the responsibility to later generations.

It is also the way for Taiwan to truly become a “green island” nation.

Pan Wei-yiu is secretary-general of the Northern Taiwan Society.

October 30, 2021 Posted by | politics, Taiwan | Leave a comment

Doubts that the Flamanville nuclear reactor will start on the planned date

 IRSN expresses doubts about the start date of the EPR. The Nuclear Safety
Authority (ASN) must take a position on an opinion from IRSN expressing
doubts about the commissioning of the Flamanville EPR on the planned date
of 2023, has said to Montel. This IRSN opinion is currently being
analyzed within ASN.

 Montel 27th Oct 2021

https://www.montelnews.com/fr/news/1268065/lirsn-met-des-doutes-sur-la-date-de-dmarrage-de-lepr

October 30, 2021 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment