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Only Britain has the dubious plan to get to net zero by relying on multiple nuclear reactors

Even without our plentiful opportunities to exploit wind, solar, wave and tidal power many countries feel they do not need nuclear power to reach their goals.

Questions remain over the UK’s nuclear power plans

No other country taking part in Cop26 is relying on multiple new reactors to get to net zero by 2050   Paul Brown, Tue 2 Nov 2021 In 2007, Vincent de Rivaz, the then EDF chief executive, said Britain would be “cooking our Christmas turkeys” with electricity from Hinkley Point C nuclear station by 2017. Instead the first concrete was poured that year and the turkey is now scheduled for late 2026.

In the race against time to avert dangerous global heating, the UK government has decided to back an untried reactor from Rolls Royce. The first of these could be “plugged into the grid by 2031”, according to Nuclear Industry Association.

Internationally average planning time for reactor proposals is 10 years, plus another decade for building, and that is for already proven designs. The 16 planned Rolls Royce reactors are still on the drawing board. The arguments about where they could be sited are beginning. Apart from other possible objections the favoured UK coastal locations are vulnerable to sea level rise, erosion and storms.

Faced with the well-documented delays and drawbacks to nuclear programmes it is perhaps not surprising that there is no other country taking part in the Cop26 process in Glasgow relying on multiple new nuclear reactors to get to net zero carbon targets by 2050. Even without our plentiful opportunities to exploit wind, solar, wave and tidal power many countries feel they do not need nuclear power to reach their goals.

November 4, 2021 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Utah shouldn’t gamble on unproven small nuclear reactors without public input

The budget for the UAMPS nuclear project has already increased from $3.1 billion to $6.1 billion since it was first conceived, and they are still several years away from plant construction. Last fall, Logan, Kaysville, Bountiful, Murray, Heber and Lehi all withdrew because the financial risks were too significant.

We encourage policymakers who are already involved with or are being approached to participate in the UAMPS nuclear power project to invite presentations by independent experts who can provide a balanced analysis of the pros, cons, actual costs and alternatives.

Scott Williams: Utah shouldn’t gamble on unproven nuclear energy without public input,

During the October meeting of the Utah Legislature’s Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Interim Committee, the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), a consortium of small cities that operate their own power companies, gave a status update on a nuclear power project to supply electricity for Utahns who live in many of those cities. If this proposal were to succeed, it would be the first time any community in Utah would use nuclear energy to supply its electricity.

During this meeting, common themes of nuclear power being the best and/or only option to secure a reliable source of electricity to fill the gaps of wind and solar power were discussed and pushed forward.

UAMPS project would rely on new and as yet unproven technology. Its participating members would be gambling the dollars of Utah’s taxpayers and ratepayers that this first-of-a-kind project will succeed — a gamble that even risk-taking venture capitalists have shied away from. Our federal tax dollars would be funding much of the research, testing, licensing, construction, liability insurance and, perhaps most importantly, the cost of storing and safeguarding the highly toxic radioactive waste the plant would produce.

Before we accept the claims by the proponents of this project that it is the best and/or only option, the public officials who are approving these expenditures of public funds need to ask the questions about risks, benefits and alternatives that should be asked anytime public funds are being spent. In this case, it’s especially critical to do so because nuclear power projects have a history of significant cost overruns, bankruptcies and municipal bond defaults.

The VC Summer nuclear project budget in South Carolina ballooned from $11 billion to $25 billion. This project was ultimately canceled in 2017 after it was 40% complete and $9 billion had been spent. Ratepayers there will be paying for this mistake for the next 20 years.

The budget for the two new nuclear reactors currently under construction at the Vogtle plant in Georgia has increased from $14 billion to $28 billion.

The budget for the UAMPS nuclear project has already increased from $3.1 billion to $6.1 billion since it was first conceived, and they are still several years away from plant construction. Last fall, Logan, Kaysville, Bountiful, Murray, Heber and Lehi all withdrew because the financial risks were too significant.

The finance director in Logan convinced their city council to pull out, stating, “we’re the last entity that should be participating in risky endeavors. What we should participate in is the 4th or 5th iteration of this project. By that time, I guarantee that the costs will come down to whatever is the market rate for nuclear power.”

After this departure of subscribers, UAMPS decided to cut the size of the plant in half but still insisted that economies of scale would keep the rates competitive. To date, they only have a little over 20% of the purchasing commitments they need to make even this downsized project fully subscribed.

UAMPS issued no requests for proposals to see if this nuclear project was the most cost-effective way to fill the specific need for the power they are trying to address. Their minutes and supporting documents are only available by submitting a formal written public records request. And UAMPS is exempt from Utah’s Open Meetings Act, so the public cannot see the assumptions and calculations they are using to estimate the project’s costs.

We encourage policymakers who are already involved with or are being approached to participate in the UAMPS nuclear power project to invite presentations by independent experts who can provide a balanced analysis of the pros, cons, actual costs and alternatives. Scott Williams is the executive director of HEAL Utah.

November 4, 2021 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

New study throws gloom on hopes for future nuclear energy in Central Europe

Experts dampen hopes of Central Europe’s nuclear future

By EURACTIV Network, Aneta Zachová |, edited by Alexandra Brzozowski 3 Nov 2021

As Czechia looks to decarbonise its coal-based economy, it sees nuclear energy as the backbone of its future energy mix. The Czech government plans to build a new nuclear power plant unit that is expected to be operational in 2036. Still, experts warn of delays and high costs, already observed in Slovakia or Hungary.

According to the Industry and Trade Ministry, nuclear energy could solve the Czech need for low-carbon and stable energy sources. The country’s future energy mix is a hot topic due to the EU’s climate ambitions and the recent energy price hikes.

However, a new study published on Tuesday contradicts the current pro-nuclear narrative of the Czech government. “The new nuclear unit would not really contribute to decarbonisation, in terms of replacing the current coal sources,” said Oldřich Sklenář, author of the study and energy analyst at the Association for International Affairs, in an interview for

“The launch of the new unit should take place after 2036, but we have to phase out coal much earlier. Experience from the Euro-Atlantic area shows that it is a huge problem to meet the deadlines. Basically, everyone faces this problem,” Sklenář warned, adding that the actual costs of the projects could be double those expected.

Czechia is not the only Central European country betting on nuclear energy, but new nuclear projects in Slovakia and Hungary have faced long delays. 

New units in Slovakia’s Mochovce were supposed to be in operation in 2012 and 2013 but have been delayed until 2022. 

Planned Hungarian Paks II, to be constructed by Rosatom, faces problems as well, as the licensing of the project has been postponed. Hungary has amended its nuclear safety protocols to custom-fit the project, allowing some work to begin before the entire project gets the regulatory nod.

At the same time, the US has also tried to lure Eastern Europe with nuclear power, teasing a $23 trillion market to countries in Central and Eastern Europe by 2030.

In October last year, Poland and Washington signed a 30-year intergovernmental agreement on future cooperation in developing the Polish civil nuclear energy programme. The first nuclear power station could start operating in 2033.

With the currently ongoing energy crisis, a group of primarily Eastern European member states have heaped pressure on the European Commission to grant nuclear energy a ‘green’ label under the EU’s sustainable finance taxonomy, which guides climate-friendly investments.

A proposal from the European Commission is now expected “by the end of the year,” said Kadri Simson, the EU’s energy commissioner said after the recent energy ministerial in October.

November 4, 2021 Posted by | ENERGY, EUROPE | Leave a comment

”Deep fakes”: corruption of data has worrying implications for nuclear policy

Deep fakes: The next digital weapon with worrying implications for nuclear policy Sylvia Mishra |New Tech Nuclear Officer, 3 Nov 21,     The past decade has witnessed the unprecedented march of technology and the opportunities, dangers, and disruptions that accompany it. In the last 4-5 years, a synthetic media technology (that uses machine learning techniques and is created by generative adversarial networks – GANs) known as deep fakes, has revolutionised the ways that digital media can be altered. The ability of state and non-state actors to generate, forge, and manipulate media has created clickbait headlines and fake news, ‘terrorised women’ by substituting faces to create fake porn, and abetted the spread of misinformation and disinformation. An opinion piece in the Washington Post has called this worrying trend of mass-scale manipulation the “democratisation of forgery”.

One of the disquieting ramifications of this emerging and disruptive technology (EDT) is the challenge it poses to nuclear weapons decision-making, in particular its impact on decision-makers and wider society, Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications (NC3), nuclear doctrine, posturing and signalling.

Implications for nuclear weapons decision-making

In the 21st century, nuclear weapons decision-making is markedly different from that of the Cold War era. As great power competition has come back into sharper focus, countries are expanding and upgrading their nuclear arsenals and moving towards incorporating EDTs for warfighting. On the one hand, the political divide between nuclear haves and have-nots is widening and, on the other, the pursuit of EDTs by non-nuclear states is reducing the technology gap between nuclear and non-nuclear states. Simultaneously, arms control is waning. These developments are taking place at a time when trust among states and decision-makers is fast eroding, and generational divides among decision-makers are increasing. For example, senior decision-makers may find themselves lacking knowledge about new EDTs and technical know-how, while younger decision-makers might lack the understanding of nuclear policy-making compressed timelines.     

The ability of deep fakes to undermine the confidence in information analysis and outputs provided by digital security platforms can erode trust among states and, in turn, complicate nuclear weapons decision-making, making it difficult for decision-makers to make distinctions between correct and spurious information. Deep fakes expert and computer science professor at Dartmouth University, Hany Farid stated, “The things that keep me up at night these days are the ability to create a fake video and audio of a world leader saying ”I’ve launched nuclear weapons”.  He adds that the technology to do this exists today

As we witness rapid advancements of deep fake technology, nuclear weapons policy decision-makers are likely to be faced with questions like “will deep fakes undermine understanding about enemy intent and misdirect about an adversary capability?” Furthermore, deep fakes may cause algorithms that offer information on situational awareness to misclassify based on altered inputs. Such scenarios may cause a breakdown in automated NC3 architecture bearing serious consequences.      

With the corruption and poisoning of data, can adversaries take undue advantage and engage in nuclear brinkmanship? Can non-state actors create misperception and escalation by generating fake videos of a leader suggesting that they have deployed nuclear weapons against an adversary? Even if such fake videos can be quickly detected, it is highly likely that once these videos go online they will sow the seeds of widespread uncertainty.

During crises, the general population might find it difficult to tell factual from spurious information, exacerbating the situation. …………..

In a report titled ‘Weapons of Mass Distortion’, King’s College London’s Marina Favaro classifies deep fake as a ‘weapon of mass distortion’, arguing that it is capable of reducing situational awareness of a country and could erode Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications (NC3)……………….


November 4, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, media, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

French nuclear company pressing President Macron to declare nuclear power strategy

MAXPPP OUT Mandatory Credit: Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (10695784ad) French President Emmanuel Macron takes part in a working session during the G5 Sahel Summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania, 30 June 2020. The leaders of the G5 Sahel West African countries and their ally France are meeting to confer over their troubled efforts to stem a jihadist offensive unfolding in the region, six months after rebooting their campaign in Pau, southwestern France. G5 Sahel Summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania – 30 Jun 2020

Macron’s Nuclear Power Strategy Will Be Clear by Year End, Ecology Minister Says, Bloomberg, By Francois De Beaupuy and Ania Nussbaum, 27 October 2021,  

  • Final decision on plants seen after next April’s election
  • EDF wants construction of plants to start as soon as possible

French President Emmanuel Macron will probably say by the end of the year whether he supports the construction of new nuclear plants as part of the country’s plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, Ecology Minister Barbara Pompili said…….

“The president will probably express his preference and his orientation on the scenarios before the end of the year,” Pompili told reporters in Paris Tuesday. Still, there wouldn’t be a final decision before next April’s presidential elections, she said.  

The French atomic industry, led by state-controlled Electricite de France SA, is urging the government to start constructing nuclear plants as soon as possible. That’s because most of EDF’s 56 existing reactors — which provide more than two-thirds of France’s electricity — are due to be shut by 2050 or earlier.

A report on the cost of new nuclear plants will be published in coming weeks, Pompili said. Damaging delays, cost overruns and technical failings have afflicted the country’s nuclear sector in recent years, raising questions about EDF’s ability to build new plants on budget. ……

The government will help EDF and its partners develop small modular nuclear reactors by 2030, Macron said earlier this month.

November 4, 2021 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

Global emissions to surge past pre-Covid, as world fails to grasp ‘green recovery’ — RenewEconomy

Global greenhouse gas emissions will surge past pre-Covid levels, as the world returns to old practice, despite calls for a “green recovery”. The post Global emissions to surge past pre-Covid, as world fails to grasp ‘green recovery’ appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Global emissions to surge past pre-Covid, as world fails to grasp ‘green recovery’ — RenewEconomy

November 4, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What the most affected regions need from COP26 — The Earthbound Report

I’ve been in Glasgow for the last couple of days, a city full of people, groups, campaigns and delegations all competing for attention. My email inbox is the same – packed with demands from every conceivable interest group, legitimate or illegitimate. Why COP26 must hold a session on vegan diets. Why this is the COP […]

What the most affected regions need from COP26 — The Earthbound Report

November 4, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Mexico governor fears expansion of Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, to take even more high level nuclear waste

Nuclear Nerves. Governor says she’s concerned about possible increase in radioactive shipments through Santa Fe County, but a bigger worry remains.

Reporter, By Bella DavisNovember 03, 2021

Santa Fe-area activists and residents have been sounding the alarm that more nuclear waste shipments will soon be traveling through the county on their way to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant—the nation’s only long-term storage facility for transuranic radioactive waste, located near Carlsbad.

Equal parts questions and foreboding answers have dominated two recent town halls hosted by Santa Fe County officials and anti-nuclear activists. While the US Department of Energy is not exactly forthcoming about the future, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says such expansion would be limited to the capacity of state vehicle inspections.

The Energy Department must submit to inspections for all WIPP trucks and trucks that leave Los Alamos National Laboratory under an intergovernmental agreement. New Mexico State Police conducts those inspections—averaging about six or seven a week with the capacity for 20. The agency does not plan to hire additional staff to increase inspection capabilities, Lt. Mark Soriano writes in an email to SFR.

The Department of Energy tells SFR the rate of shipments to WIPP is “expected to increase to 10-12 shipments per week” over the next few months, but it has also put in requests with the state to expand the facility’s underground capabilities and announced earlier this year that it was going to prepare an environmental impact statement to dispose of surplus plutonium at WIPP.

A spokeswoman for Lujan Grisham says the governor is concerned about the possibility of future WIPP expansion and the notion of increased nuclear materials shipments through the state. But Lujan Grisham believes there’s a more pressing, immediate problem embedded in New Mexico’s long relationship with the nuclear industry and all that comes with it.

Her “biggest concern,” Nora Meyers Sackett, the spokeswoman, says, is that the US Department of Energy “continues to prioritize shipments from other states to…WIPP while failing to expedite cleanup of waste at Los Alamos” National Laboratory.

Lujan Grisham says the Energy Department’s position is “unacceptable,” Meyers Sackett tells SFR in a series of answers to emailed questions.

In February, the New Mexico Environment Department sued DOE over what it says is a “continuing pattern of delay and noncompliance” of legacy waste cleanup at Los Alamos, asking for a court-supervised process to resolve the issue. In its initial answer to the lawsuit, DOE “denies that [the state] is entitled to the relief it seeks.” Settlement negotiations in federal court are ongoing…………

Weehler worries about an accident, the odds of which would go up with increased shipments under WIPP’s plans for expansion, and that emergency responders wouldn’t be able to respond fast enough before people were exposed…………

November 4, 2021 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

With “net zero 2050” and 1.5°C in same breath, Glasgow reeks of cognitive dissonance

Glasgow will not get close to pledges to halve emissions by 2030, and any reputable climate scientist will say that means warming will shoot past 2°C. The post With “net zero 2050” and 1.5°C in same breath, Glasgow reeks of cognitive dissonance appeared first on RenewEconomy.

With “net zero 2050” and 1.5°C in same breath, Glasgow reeks of cognitive dissonance — RenewEconomy  So far most of the media coverage and advocacy at COP26 has been poor andseverely misinformed. One after another politicians, business leaders, journalists and NGO advocates talk about “net zero 2050” and the 1.5°C Paris goal in the same breath, and get away with it. This gross underestimation of the climate condition is utterly delusional, and very few seem to be calling it out.

“Net zero 2050” (NZ2050) is a con, as this blog has reported over and over again, as did this Breakthrough report. Central bankers have NZ2050 scenarios in which fossil fuels constitute 50% of primary energy use in 2050. When the Murdoch media endorses the NZ2050 climate goal, you know it is the problem and not the answer. 2050 is so far away it’s a reason for procrastination. Judging by the G20 outcome, even NZ2050 and a coal phase-out may not pass muster in Glasgow. China is on net zero by 2060 and India on net zero by 2070.Current climate models are not capturing all the risks, including the stalling of the Gulf Stream, polar ice melt and the uptick in extreme weather events.

Carbon dioxide and methane release from deep permafrost are not routinely included in climate models; Climate models do not account well for increased warming due to loss of Arctic sea-ice: “Losing the reflective power of Arctic sea ice will advance the 2ºC threshold by 25years”; and rhe IPCC 2021 report gives “a best estimate of equilibrium
climate sensitivity of 3°C” but including factors such as “slow”
feedbacks (carbon stores) and albedo changes (reflectivity), warming may be
as high as 5–6°C for a doubling of carbon dioxide for a range of climate
states between glacial conditions and ice-free Antarctica.

 Renew Economy 3rd Nov 2021

November 4, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Entering the Absurdicene as the Anthropocene loses its relevance

So, if you accept that humanity is now acting in an absurd way (ie, you accept the premise of the Absurdicene) then maybe we need to be honest about the prospects of a rational process towards sustainability. Maybe we need to focus on why this absurdity prevails, and what we need to do to short circuit it.

Entering the Absurdicene as the Anthropocene loses its relevance — Sustainability Bites

November 4, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Biden faces Pentagon hawks in his effort to curb nuclear weapons spending

Nuclear arms hawks give bureaucratic mauling to Biden vow to curb arsenal, Guardian,  Julian Borger in Washington, Wed 3 Nov 2021 Defence budget and nuclear posture review are battlegrounds as Republicans seek to block limits on US use of weapons,

A battle is being fought in Washington over the Biden administration’s nuclear weapons policy, amid fears by arms control advocates that the president will renege on campaign promises to rein in the US arsenal.

The battlegrounds are a nuclear posture review (NPR) due early next year and a defence budget expected about the same time. At stake is a chance to put the brakes on an arms race between the US, Russia and China – or the risk of that race accelerating.

Despite Biden’s pledge during the campaign – and in his interim national security guidance issued in March – that his administration would reduce “our reliance and excessive expenditure on nuclear weapons”, hawks at the Pentagon have won the early skirmishes.

Biden is also under pressure from some allies, nervous about Biden’s past support for limiting the use of nuclear weapons to the “sole purpose” of deterring, and retaliating against, a nuclear attack on the US or its allies.

The current US posture is broader, leaving open a nuclear response to “significant non-nuclear strategic attacks”. Britain and France also retain a certain amount of ambiguity about when they would use their weapons, and are concerned a US change to “sole purpose” would oblige them ultimately to narrow their options. Paris has taken the lead in conveying those anxieties, and Emmanuel Macron raised nuclear posture issues with Biden when the two met in Rome on Friday.

The big struggle, however, is on the home front, where arms control advocates are on the defensive.

The administration’s first defence budget in February included $43bn for an array of nuclear modernisation schemes, including controversial programmes introduced by Donald Trump, like a new sea-launched cruise missile. The total cost of modernisation could be over $1.5tn.

In September, one of Biden’s political appointees at the Pentagon, Leonor Tomero, who questioned the need for such a vast and growing nuclear weapons budget, was forced out in a bureaucratic power struggle after just nine months in the post. Her job had been to oversee the drafting of the NPR, which sets out what nuclear weapons the US should have and under what conditions they could be used…………..

Senator Edward Markey, a Democrat, has written to Biden demanding to know why Tomero had been removed in the midst of drafting the NPR, demanding to know if “ideology played any role”.

………..Nickolas Roth, the director of the nuclear security programme at the Stimson Center thinktank, said: “I am concerned that the removal of Leonor from her position will have a chilling effect throughout the Biden administration, on those who might be willing to propose anything other than the status quo for US nuclear weapons policy.”

………….  China’s nuclear weapons development, including the recent reported testing of a nuclear-capable hypersonic glider launched from orbit, has increased the political pressure on Biden to abandon his arms control pledges, although the Chinese arsenal is still dwarfed by the US total of 3,750 warheads.

Emma Belcher, the president of the Ploughshares Fund, an arms control advocacy organisation, argued that China’s rise as a nuclear weapons power only underlines the urgency of arms control.

“The best way to control the situation and head off an arms race with China is through diplomacy and restraint,” Belcher said. “We’ve seen this movie before. It’s expensive and dangerous. So what we’re hoping we’ll see from the NPR is for diplomacy to be put first, and an off ramp from a new kind of cold war.”

November 4, 2021 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iran: Nuclear talks with world powers to resume on November 29

Iran: Nuclear talks with world powers to resume on November 29

Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator says the resumption of negotiations is aimed at removing US-imposed sanctions. 
Iran has said it will resume multilateral talks on November 29 in Austria’s capital, Vienna, aimed at reviving the country’s nuclear deal with world powers.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani, who became Tehran’s chief negotiator in mid-September, said on Wednesday the date was set in a phone call with European Union mediator Enrique Mora……

The European Union also confirmed the news about the resumption of talks and said the negotiations would be chaired by Mora on behalf of EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

“Participants will continue the discussions on the prospect of a possible return of the United States to the JCPOA and how to ensure the full and effective implementation of the agreement by all sides,” said the EU’s European External Action Service in a statement, which added that the remaining JCPOA signatories would be represented.

……..The European Union also confirmed the news about the resumption of talks and said the negotiations would be chaired by Mora on behalf of EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell…………

November 4, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

China’s grandiose plans for nuclear build and export of reactors.

Along with the potential for geopolitical fallout, potential partners have other concerns. China hasn’t signed on to any of several international treaties that set standards for sharing liability in the event of accidents. It also hasn’t offered to take back spent fuel, an added disadvantage when competing with Russia, which does……………

China’s Climate Goals Hinge on a $440 Billion Nuclear Buildout. China is planning at least 150 new reactors in the next 15 years, more than the rest of the world has built in the past 35. Bloomberg, By Dan Murtaugh and Krystal Chia, 3 November 2021, Nuclear power once seemed like the world’s best hope for a carbon-neutral future. After decades of cost-overruns, public protests and disasters elsewhere, China has emerged as the world’s last great believer, with plans to generate an eye-popping amount of nuclear energy, quickly and at relatively low cost. ……………..

China also expects its domestic projects to persuade potential overseas buyers. In 2019, the former chairman of China National Nuclear Corp. said China could build 30 overseas reactors that could earn Chinese firms $145 billion by 2030 through its Belt and Road Initiative.

Its most eager customer has been Pakistan which, like China, shares a sometimes violently contested border with India. China’s built five nuclear reactors there since 1993, including one that came online this year and another expected to be completed next year.

Other countries have been more hesitant. Romania last year canceled a deal for two reactors with CGN and opted to work with the U.S. instead. A 2015 agreement with Argentina has been stalled by economic upheaval and changes in the country’s leadership. Memorandums of understanding to build reactors with countries including Kenya and Egypt have yet to develop into anything concrete.

Along with the potential for geopolitical fallout, potential partners have other concerns. China hasn’t signed on to any of several international treaties that set standards for sharing liability in the event of accidents. It also hasn’t offered to take back spent fuel, an added disadvantage when competing with Russia, which does……………

Prior to the meltdown at Fukushima, China’s nuclear goals were even bigger. Within a week of the tsunami that triggered a meltdown at the Japanese atomic plant, the Chinese government put a moratorium on new projects and began a deep safety review of its entire program. By 2014, it decided against building any more reactors that required active safety measures, like the one at Fukushima did. It paused approvals again for several years until it was satisfied with its new technology.

Fukushima, Chernobyl, Three-Mile Island: Each new disaster underscores the most obvious risk in nuclear energy. Plants house incredibly dangerous radioactive material — even after 10 years of cooling, spent fuel can release twenty times the fatal dose of radiation in one hour. And in the event of a leak or an explosion, the potential for immediate and long-term damage is enormous. In Chernobyl, 350,000 people had to be evacuated after an explosion shot radioactive material into the atmosphere, and dozens of workers died of radiation poisoning within weeks. More than 30 years later, there are still reports of dangerously high levels of radiation in locally produced milk and grain. ……….

public support for nuclear power has waned to the point that new investment is politically untenable in most democracies. At COP26, applications by the International Atomic Energy Agency and industry advocates to set up shop at a more public and visible area were rejected. Japan’s efforts to restart its fleet are mired in court actions and public opposition, Germany will take the last of its reactors offline next year, and France has pledged to cut its reliance on nuclear energy from 70% to 50% by 2035.

Beijing’s own record was largely spotless until June, when reports emerged of an issue at the French-designed plant in Taishan. Any report of a problem at a nuclear plant is alarming, let alone one at a facility within 100 miles of both Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

The incident underscored the potential problem with big nuclear projects, and how they can be made worse by Chinese firms’ typical lack of transparency or public accountability. While media reports and rumors swirled about a possible problem at the plant, CGN insisted everything was fine. Its partner, the French utility EDF, wasn’t so sure, and eventually took its case to the public as a way to push for more information, at one point alerting the U.S. government.

It took weeks before Chinese officials clarified that the problem involved a few damaged fuel rods, which is common and in this case, experts agreed, unthreatening. The plant was eventually shut for maintenance, which EDF said would have happened as a matter of course in France.

While the incident ended up being largely uneventful, it widened the already gaping trust gap between China and the global marketplace for nuclear technology. China’s business practices are often opaque and sometimes downright hostile to the world’s other big emitters. The U.S., India and others are unlikely to build critical infrastructure around Chinese technology, even if it does prove safe and cost-effective.

………. In 2016, China’s CGN invested in three U.K. reactor developments, part of an effort to upgrade an aging nuclear fleet. Now, even as the country confronts a potentially crippling energy crisis this winter, government officials are trying to minimize CGN’s involvement in one of the projects and buy out its stake in the other two.

Crisis or no, it’s hard to see the country move actively toward more nuclear now, given the country’s fraught relationship with China, said Michal Meidan, director of the China Energy Research Programme at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. “The lack of transparency and concerns about working relationships have become deeper,” she said.

November 4, 2021 Posted by | China, marketing, politics | Leave a comment

Japan’s election – winning candidates at odds on the future of nuclear power

Survey: LDP and Komeito take differing stances on nuclear power

By RYUTARO ABE/ Staff Writer, November 3, 2021  According to a new survey, winning candidates in the ruling coalition in the Oct. 31 Lower House election differ greatly on the future of nuclear power in Japan. 

Broken down by political parties, 72 percent of ruling Liberal Democratic Party winners supported nuclear power, the highest rate among parties, while just 9 percent of junior coalition partner Komeito victors did so.

The survey, jointly conducted by The Asahi Shimbun and a team led by Masaki Taniguchi, a professor of political science at the University of Tokyo, analyzed the political views of winners in the Lower House election.

For the survey, questionnaires were sent out from Sept. 2, and 448 of 465 election winners responded to them by Oct. 31. The response rate was 96.34 percent.

The survey asked the candidates which view they were leaning toward: “Abolish nuclear power immediately” or “Keep it as a power source for the future.”

Among the winners, those wanting to abolish nuclear power accounted for 19 percent, compared to 24 percent in the previous survey for the 2017 Lower House election.

Winners who favor maintaining nuclear power accounted for 45 percent, compared to 47 percent in the previous survey. Nearly half of the winners believe that nuclear power should remain as a source of power in the future.

Excluding the choice of “neither,” 13 percent of Komeito winners supported the abolition, 4 percentage points higher than those who support nuclear power.

t the time of the 2017 Lower House election, 33 percent of Komeito winners favored retaining nuclear power while no one supported abolishing it. In the new survey, many Komeito candidates drastically changed their stances.

Komeito, in its manifesto for the Lower House election, said, “We aim to achieve a nuclear-free society, not relying on nuclear power for the future.”

The survey also revealed differing stances on nuclear power among all the competing parties.

All the election winners of the Japanese Communist Party, Reiwa Shinsengumi and the Social Democratic Party supported pulling the plug on nuclear power, followed by victorious Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan members at 62 percent.

No winners of the Democratic Party for the People supported its abolition, while 27 percent supported nuclear power.

Thirty-nine percent of winners of Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party) want to retain nuclear power, the second highest rate after that of the LDP victors. The previous survey in 2017 showed just 9 percent favored nuclear power.

The survey also asked candidates about releasing processed radioactive water collected at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant into the sea.

Sixty-two percent of all the winners viewed the water release into the sea as “inevitable.” The LDP and Komeito winners, who shared the view, accounted for 80 percent and 59 percent, respectively.

At the same time, 95 percent of Nippon Ishin winners support the release, the highest rate among parties, followed by DPP victors at 73 percent.

Sixty-five percent of CDP winners leaned toward opposing the release, but 10 percent said, “It is inevitable.”

November 4, 2021 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

A year after damaged by fire, French nuclear submarine has been repaired

The French Navy’s damaged nuclear sub is out at sea once more, By Vivienne Machi  3 Nov 21, STUTTGART, Germany — The French Navy’s nuclear submarine Perle has returned to sea following just about a year of work to repair its fire-damaged body and splice it together with a second boat.

In late October, the 26-year-old nuclear attack submarine departed Cherbourg Naval Base, where it has been undergoing repairs by manufacturer Naval Group since October 2020, and returned to the service’s main base in Toulon, French Ministry of Defense spokesman Hervé Grandjean told reporters.

The nuclear attack submarine caught fire while undergoing maintenance in June 2020 in Toulon, and burned for 14 hours. The fore of the submarine suffered the most damage, while the aft of the ship, which houses the nuclear power plant and propulsion, was left intact……………..

November 4, 2021 Posted by | France, incidents | Leave a comment