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COP26 – while some progress has been made, a current policy world of 2.6C or 2.7C warming is still one with potentially catastrophic impacts on human and natural systems.

 Business Green 11th Nov 2021, Depending on whom you ask, the COP26 climate summit may seem like the best of times or the worst of times. On the one hand, reports proclaim boldly that limiting global warming to below 2C might finally be in reach. On theother, critics complain that modest improvements on country commitments amount to little more than “blah blah blah”. The reality is more nuanced. There has been progress made in flattening the curve of future emissions through both climate policies and falling clean energy costs.

At the same time, the world is still far from on track to meet Paris Agreement goals of limiting warming to 1.5C or “well below” 2C.

COP26 negotiations have seen a flurry of new reports on what existing and new promises and pledges mean for the climate.

Here, Carbon Brief breaks down these numbers, looking at what they refer to, where different groups agree and disagree on likely outcomes, and the potential impact of new long-term net-zero promises.

The analysis reveals widespread agreement between four different groups assessing the climate outcomes of COP26. They suggest that current policies will lead to a best-estimate of around 2.6C to 2.7C warming by 2100 (with an uncertainty range of 2C to 3.6C). 

Finally, if countries meet their long-term net-zero promises, global warming would be reduced to around 1.8C (1.4C to 2.6C) by 2100, though temperatures would likely peak around 1.9C in the middle of the century before declining.

In addition to the revised NDCs, there have been a series of announcements at COP26 – including the Global Methane Pledge and an accelerated coal phaseout, as well as business pledges as part of the Race to Zero campaign. Carbon Brief’s analysis finds that these new announcements – combined with recent updates to NDCs – have likely shaved an additional 0.1C warming off what was implied under commitments out to 2030. 

Similarly, India’s new net-zero pledge has reduced projected global temperature rise by around 0.2C – if all countries meet their long-term net-zero promises.

The extent to which the many new and revised targets will be met will depend on whether they are translated into meaningful near-term commitments. So far the lack of stronger commitments for emissions cuts by 2030 creates a “very big credibility gap” for net-zero promises, according to the Climate Action Tracker………………..

while some progress has been made, a current policy world of 2.6C or 2.7C warming is still one with potentially catastrophic impacts on human and natural systems. Much more needs to be done to further reduce emissions to meet Paris Agreement goals of limiting warming to “well below” 2C by 2100.   

 Business Green 11th Nov 2021

https://www.businessgreen.com/news/4040170/cop26-crucial-draft-text-delayed-talks-finance-struggling-progress

November 13, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | 1 Comment

EU states split on classifying nuclear energy as ‘green’ 

EU states split on classifying nuclear energy as ‘green’ DW  12 Nov 21,

“It’s too risky, too slow and too expensive,” Germany says — while other EU members have pushed for the bloc to classify nuclear power as eco-friendly for investors.

Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal, Denmark and Austria spoke out on Thursday against the classification of nuclear energy as a climate-friendly source of power

The five countries issued a statement on the sidelines of the UN climate summit in Glasgow, COP26. It comes as the European Commission is working on a so-called EU taxonomy, in which it lists what the bloc considers as “environmentally sustainable economic activities.” 

Some other EU countries, led by France, are seeking to add modern forms of nuclear energy to that list……

“The current decade will be crucial for our common path toward climate neutrality and an economic system that respects the limits of our planet,” Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal, Denmark and Austria said in a statement. 

Therefore, it is crucial to have an EU taxonomy that considers the sustainability of a form of energy “throughout its life cycle,” the signatories added, referring to the radioactive waste generated by nuclear power use. 

They also warned that the classification could risk diverting EU funds from renewable energies such as wind and solar power.

“Nuclear power cannot be a solution in the climate crisis,” said German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze.

“It is too risky, too slow and too expensive for the crucial decade in the fight against climate change,” she added. 

Austria’s environment minister, Leonore Gewessler, also backed Germany’s stance, saying, “Just because something is not quite so bad doesn’t mean it’s good.” 

What about the countries supporting nuclear energy?

France, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic have called on the European Commission to classify nuclear power plants and nuclear waste storage facilities as “green.” 

They also want the taxonomy to include natural gas-fired power plants.

What is the EU taxonomy? 

Compiled by the European Commission, the highly anticipated classification system is a list of “environmentally sustainable economic activities.”  

The Commission has said the list should “create security for investors, protect private investors from greenwashing, help companies to become more climate-friendly, mitigate market fragmentation and help shift investments where they are most needed.”

If Brussels classifies nuclear power as “sustainable” in the legal text, it will count as a direct recommendation to financial markets to invest in nuclear plants…..

 many environmentalists oppose nuclear power, citing the risk of nuclear meltdowns and the difficulty of properly disposing of nuclear waste.   

November 13, 2021 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE | 4 Comments

“Perilous Profiteering: The companies building nuclear arsenals and their financial backers”

Table on original lists the top 10 investors in nuclear weapons –Vanguard, State street, Capital Group, Blaxk Rock, Bank of America, Citigroup, J P Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley

$63 billion drop in investments: New report shows impact of nuclear weapons ban treaty on nuclear weapons business, ICAN, 


Anew report released by ICAN and PAX today, has found that the number of banks, pension funds, asset managers and insurance companies investing in the production of nuclear weapons has gone down in 2021, and shows significant drops in the shareholder values of investments in the 25 companies involved in nuclear weapon production around the world. There is also an early but visible impact of the entry into force of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), with many institutions citing the treaty’s entry into force and the risk of a negative public perception as reasons for the change in their investment policies.

The 2021 report “Perilous Profiteering: The companies building nuclear arsenals and their financial backers” exposes the banks, pension funds, asset managers and insurance companies investing in the production of nuclear weapons and examines the companies involved in producing, manufacturing, or developing nuclear weapons for six of the nine nuclear armed countries for which data was available between January 2019 and July 2021. 

Download the Executive Summary

Download the full report

Key findings from the report:

  • While $685,184 million was made available to the 25 nuclear weapons producing companies during this period, this actually marks a $63 billion drop from the 2019 “Shorting our securityreport, a trend that is affecting the producing companies’ stock holdings. There is also a marked shift in how the nuclear industry is raising funds to off-set debt, from significant loans to issuances, and underwriting of bond issuances rose by $80 billion.
  • Northrop Grumman is the biggest nuclear weapons profiteer, with at least $24 billion in outstanding contracts, not including the consortium and joint venture revenues. Raytheon Technologies and Lockheed Martin also hold multi-billion-dollar contracts to produce new nuclear weapon systems. 

Table on original lists the top 10 investors in nuclear weapons –Vanguard, State street, Capital Group, Blaxk Rock, Bank of America, Citigroup, J P Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley

The Good news:

  • In 2021,127 financial institutions stopped investing in companies producing nuclear weapons, valued at $31 billion. .
  • Several of these institutions are from states that joined the TPNW, including the Bank of Ireland and AIB (Ireland), and Investec (South Africa), but they are not the only ones. Exclusions by financial institutions based in nuclear-armed states or allied countries are worth billions, such as Longview Asset Management (U.S.) which divested $5.7 billion from General Dynamics or Nomura (Japan) which divested $273 million from Larsen & Toubro.
  • The nuclear weapons industry itself is getting smaller, with companies acquiring or merging together, which in turn makes it easier for financial institutions and other investors to exclude them from investments. Instead of tracking down hundreds, or even thousands of contributors to catastrophic threats, it’s simply a matter of exiting a few relationships

November 13, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, weapons and war | Leave a comment

ICAN and PAX show how despite $billions still going to nuclear weapons, – $63 billion has moved away from this funding

Perilous Profiteering: The companies building nuclear arsenals and their financial backers

The 2021 report “Perilous Profiteering: The companies building nuclear arsenals and their financial backers” is a joint publication of ICAN and it’s partner PAX. The report details how 338 financial institutions made $685 billion available to 25 nuclear weapon producing companies from China, France, India, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States.

This report looks at those with vested interests to keep a nuclear arms race going. The companies that want to get contracts to build weapons of mass destruction, and the private sector financiers and investors that want to generate a profit without apparent concern for the devastating potential consequences of any use of the products they support. It is only by knowing those who seek to maintain the status quo that we can engage and shift their behaviour……….https://www.icanw.org/perilous_profiteering_companies_building_nuclear_weapons_and_financial_backers?utm_campaign=perilous_profiteers_launch&utm_medium=email&utm_source=ican

ICAN – If you only take one thing away from this, it is that we moved $63 billion in funds away from the companies producing nuclear weapons in the last 2 years. 

Today, PAX and ICAN are releasing the latest Don’t Bank on the Bomb report “Perilous Profiteering: The companies building nuclear arsenals and their financial backers”, which names the 338 investors backing 25 nuclear weapon producing companies and the size of their investments. This report is also the first time we were able to find information on Russian and Chinese investments.

But that’s not the most interesting part. The report also found three clear signs that financial institutions are starting to see nuclear weapons as risky business, and are leaving them behind:


• From 2019 to 2021, the total amount made available for nuclear weapons producing companies dropped by an impressive $63 billion, and the total number of financial institutions willing to invest in nuclear weapons producing companies went down too.

• Nuclear weapons producing companies, despite billion dollar contracts, have debt. But investors are moving away. So instead, they’re borrowing from wherever they can to raise cash. In other words: producing weapons of mass destruction has become extremely unattractive.

• 127 financial institutions stopped investing in companies producing nuclear weapons this year!

Of course, we still have a lot of work to do to hold these profiteers accountable. Banks, insurers, asset managers and pension funds still made $685 billion available for the companies producing nuclear weapons (like Northrop Grumman, which has $24 billion in outstanding contracts).

Our banks, insurers, and pension funds have no business investing in companies that choose to be involved in illegal weapons of mass destruction, and we need to tell them. Can you start today by reading and sharing the key findings of the report?

November 13, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, weapons and war | Leave a comment

FW de Klerk, who ended South African apartheid, leaves another legacy: nuclear disarmament


FW de Klerk, who ended South African apartheid, leaves another legacy: nuclear disarmament, Bulletin 

By Robin Ephraim Möser | November 12, 2021 Almost nothing suggested that former South African president Frederik Willem de Klerk would be the one to dismantle apartheid. He was born into a family of politicians of the nascent apartheid state, became a member of Parliament in 1972, and was complicit in—even supportive of—all the evil committed under apartheid during numerous ministerial posts. But while serving as president, de Klerk stunned the world in February 1990 when he removed the ban on opposition political movements, including the African National Congress, and released political prisoners, including the individual with whom he would later share the Nobel Peace Prize—Nelson Mandela.

De Klerk’s death at the age of 85 this week has been widely reported in the New York Times, the BBCder Spiegel, the Daily Maverick, and other international media. Yet none mention that, under his leadership in 1991, South Africa joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and fully dismantled the country’s nuclear weapons arsenal.

De Klerk believed that nuclear weapons, having lost their deterrence value following the end of the regional conflicts, would subsequently burden his government. Two weeks after assuming the presidency, he held a top-secret meeting of advisors in which he requested a plan to rid the country of nuclear weapons. Those who attended agreed, though some rather grudgingly, as he recounted in my 2017 interview with him………..

Almost three decades later, in my 2017 interview with him, de Klerk revealed that his distaste for nuclear weapons preceded his presidency. He had decided that if ever he became president, he would review South Africa’s nuclear weapons program. He had that chance by 1990—and seized the denuclearization opportunity.

De Klerk’s nuclear rollback was complete and verifiable. Not only was South Africa free of nuclear weapons, but the development served as a catalyst for Africa as a nuclear-weapon-free zone. In 1995, President Nelson Mandela and other African heads of state signed the Treaty of Pelindaba, which forbade atomic bomb testing and banned nuclear weapons from the African continent.

South Africa remains the only country to have gone full circle on nuclear weapons. The South African National Party politicians initiated a nuclear weapons program during the 1970s and de Klerk ended it in 1989. De Klerk expressed the hope that South Africa’s example might inspire the nine leaders of other nuclear weapons states—the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea—to eliminate their arsenals. The world can only hope that, over time, they do. https://thebulletin.org/2021/11/fw-de-klerk-who-ended-south-african-apartheid-leaves-another-legacy-nuclear-disarmament/

November 13, 2021 Posted by | PERSONAL STORIES, South Africa, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Germany, Denmark, Luxembourg, Austria and Portugal warn against including nuclear in the proposed EU taxonomy


 The environment ministers of five EU member states including Germany
warned against including nuclear power in the proposed EU taxonomy at the
sidelines of the UN Cop 26 climate conference in Glasgow today.

In a jointstatement issued by the environment ministers of Germany, Denmark,
Luxembourg, Austria and Portugal, the signatories warn that including
nuclear in the taxonomy would permanently damage the latter’s “integrity,
credibility and therefore its usefulness”.

The EU taxonomy is to establish criteria for environmentally sustainable economic practices, steering
funding towards these activities. German caretaker environment minister
Svenja Schulze said that “nuclear power is too risky, too expensive”, and
in any case would come too late to make a notable contribution to
mitigating climate warming.

 Argus Media 11th Nov 2021

 https://www.argusmedia.com/en/news/2272872-ministries-reject-nuclear-inclusion-in-eu-taxonomy

November 13, 2021 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE | Leave a comment

Nuclear War and Climate Change: The Urgency for Action — The Center for Climate & Security

Christine Parthemore speaks on nuclear war and climate change at a COP26 side event hosted by the International Forum for Understanding, Nov 1, 2021. Source: International Forum for Understanding By Christine Parthemore I had the honor of delivering a keynote speech at a COP26 side event hosted by the International Forum for Understanding on November…

Nuclear War and Climate Change: The Urgency for Action — The Center for Climate & Security

EXPLORING THE SECURITY RISKS OF CLIMATE CHANGE   Nuclear War and Climate Change: The Urgency for Action By Christine Parthemore
–There is urgency in this Conference’s proceedings. The urgency is greater because the world’s leaders, to date, have not yet taken the climate crisis seriously enough. Not even close. Yet this echoes a shared challenge: across the most catastrophic risks facing humanity, whether climate change, biological risks, or the risk of nuclear war, we have historically underestimated these threats. 

Nuclear weapons  – shared history of underestimating effects

What happens when our policies and plans do not fully account for the damage they may cause to the world?

Just as we are witnessing the answers to this question unfolding regarding the climate crisis, there is a similar and in many ways shared history of underestimatingthe catastrophic effects that could come from nuclear weapons. 

During World War II, in the surge by the United States to ready nuclear weapons for potential use in the war, most estimates of damage focused on immediate blast effects of the use of these weapons — not secondary or enduring damage that may come after. And our knowledge of those effects was not robust. 

Those who created nuclear weapons largely seemed to believe that everyone within the area hit by these weapons would die from the nuclear blast itself — that everything would be obliterated quickly. That, it would be learned, was not necessarily the case. 

The first evidence came from the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The full human toll will never truly be known — estimates are between 110,000 and 210,000 people killed. 

Yet those who lost their lives directly from the attacks were just one aspect. The degree to which the use of atomic bombs in conflict caused serious, lasting, devastating injuries was underestimated. For those who were not immediately lost, thousands suffered ghastly burns, loss of skin, and shrapnel embedded in their bodies that caused excruciating pain for as long as they lived. This is in addition to extreme suffering beyond injuries and sickness, in years and in some cases lifetimes of economic hardship, social stigma, and psychological damage.

Under-estimating the damage of nuclear weapons contributed to the United States and Soviet Union producing astronomical numbers of them — tens of thousands — in part driven by the belief that they needed tens of thousands of nuclear warheads in order to effectively deter one another from war—or to effectively wipe out the other nation.

Along with these growing nuclear arsenals came increasing nuclear tests. Soviet and U.S. citizens  – and those of other nations – were subject to radiation effects from the detonation sites. 

Some of the early U.S. nuclear tests were carried out in the Marshall Islands. Others, in the desert of the U.S. southwest. 

Almost one quarter of all nuclear tests in history were conducted at one test site in what is now Kazakhstan from 1949 to 1989. The citizens of nearby villages that were exposed now tell the story of the radiation damage caused, including significant genetic effects that crossed generations. 

 On these terrible legacies of nuclear weapons tests was built significant knowledge of their effects. Before the international community united to ban them, mostly ending the practice, this included more than 2,000 nuclear tests. 

Though results were classified in their earliest decades, extensive data from these tests revealed that the use of nuclear weapons could cause major disruptions to temperature patterns, sunlight, and precipitation. Into the 1970s and 80s, it became clearer that such nuclear weapons effects could cause more geographically dispersed and longer-enduring harm than previously realized. 

With such data, the world was able to create mathematical and computer models of ever-increasing sophistication. 

mportantly, the results of modeling potential effects of nuclear war started becoming public in the last decades of the 20th Century. Citizens of the world began to learn more about how the use of nuclear weapons could cause dramatic changes in weather patterns, and how this could drive severe changes in the availability of food and water, and how it would affect peoples’ health and their ability to care for their families. One such initiative labeled the potential damages of nuclear war as a “nuclear winter” that would befall the planet in some scenarios.  ………..

Arms race today / Inflection Point

Unfortunately, this momentum has not been sustained. In the earliest decades of this Century, we have begun moving back in the wrong direction. 

During this time, the risk of nuclear war has begun rising again. Most nuclear-armed nations are trying to expand the types of nuclear capabilities they possess, adding even more scenarios for how these weapons might be used in conflict. 

Unfortunately, several nations — including my own — are reigniting interest in types of nuclear weapons that are envisioned to be more usable in conflict. These include increasing focus on the horrifically mis-labeled, so-called low-yield nuclear weapon options. 

Even more dangerous than the mere presence of such weapons is the mindset that, in the heat of a conflict, it may be feasible to use one nuclear weapon without it being reciprocated. This is a fallacy, and we should not accept it as an assumption steering policy. 

While this wasn’t the case early in the Cold War, this time, under-estimating the effects of using such nuclear weapons is not an excuse. We have to assume that the use of even one nuclear weapon would be followed by another, and potentially lead to a broader nuclear exchange and the catastrophic damage that would follow. Today, we know in great detail what that could look like…………..

Convergence

If the intersection of nuclear weapons use and climate change is rooted in work to understand how our atmosphere and our world may be altered by both, today we have an even more daunting task. We have to consider how these threats may actually manifest together. 

Some effects of climate change are reigniting attention to past nuclear weapons damages. The Marshall Islands are a central case: at one atoll where the United States conducted nuclear weapon tests, a concrete dome that was designed to encase debris contaminated by these tests is now being inundated by rising seas. We don’t have to model this damage — it has been measured, and we have drone footage recording this occurring………………..

We know that in addition to the immediate death and destruction, such a nuclear conflict also risks significant damage to agricultural production through contamination or disruptions in weather patterns. Now combine this with a scenario in which such conflict occurs when extreme weather exacerbated by climate change has already spent years devastating the world’s food supplies. 

How many more millions of people could starve? How many millions of people will try to move in order to save themselves and their families, and how many communities could descend into instability or internal conflict if pressure is not relieved any other way? 

This is the reality of the world that we live in today — in which several catastrophic risks to humanity are occurring simultaneously, and they are not isolated from one another in time or space. ………….

 I urge the leaders of our nations to commit to serious progress in addressing the climate crisis in the days ahead. We must then also act with urgency, expanding those efforts to rally similar momentum to reduce the risks of nuclear war as well. https://climateandsecurity.org/2021/11/nuclear-war-and-climate-change-the-urgency-for-action/#more-29718

November 13, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Speaker of UK Parliament refuses debate on motions against Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill.

Of course, consumers who have signed up to buy 100% renewable electricity could quite rightly feel aggrieved at having to pay the “nuclear tax” as well.

nuClear News, November. 21. Nuclear Energy Finance Bill On Wednesday 3rd November, MPs debated the second reading of the Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill. The Liberal Democrats and the SNP, bot put forward an amendment, but neither was accepted for debate by the Speaker. 

LibDem Motion: That this House declines to give a Second Reading to the Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill because there is no economic or environmental case for the construction of any further nuclear stations in the UK; because the Bill does nothing to address concerns about costs around nuclear waste disposal and decommissioning; because the Bill fails to bring forward meaningful reforms to accelerate the deployment of renewable power or the removal of restrictions on solar, wind and the building of more interconnectors to guarantee security of supply; and because it fails to remove barriers to investment in renewables or to support  investment and innovation in cutting-edge energy technologies, including tidal and wave power, energy storage, demand response, smart grids and hydrogen. 

SNP Motion: This House declines to give a Second Reading to the Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill because it believes there is no longer a justification for a large nuclear power station to provide base load energy, because large scale nuclear is not compatible as a counter to the intermittency of renewable wind as nuclear stations are too inflexible, because pumped storage hydro should be utilised to provide renewable energy that can be dispatched when required and pumped storage hydro should be supported with a minimum electricity price providing better value to bill payers than funding new nuclear, because wave and tidal technologies should be utilised to provide stable and predictable electricity generation and these technologies should be supported to scale up via the provision of a ring fenced pot of funding within the forthcoming contracts for difference auction, because the net zero pathway will be better advanced by supporting the Scottish Cluster as a fast track Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage project given that it includes hydrogen production, direct air capture and carbon storage facilities that will serve the wider UK, and because greater support and investment should be directed towards green hydrogen production and emerging storage technologies; and, as the cost of energy increases, this House calls on the Government to spend more money on energy efficiency measures and targeted support for those who suffer from or are at risk of fuel povertyac1

Continue reading

November 13, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Experts alarmed at the weakening of climate targets at COP26

World leaders will have to return to the negotiating table next year with
improved plans to cut greenhouse gases because the proposed targets agreed
at the Cop26 summit are too weak to prevent disastrous levels of global
heating, the three architects of the Paris agreement have warned.


Christiana Figueres, the former UN climate chief who oversaw the 2015 Paris
summit, and Laurence Tubiana, the French diplomat who crafted the
agreement, have told the Guardian the deadline is essential if the world is
to avoid exceeding its 1.5C temperature limit.

Laurent Fabius, the former French foreign minister who also oversaw Paris, added: “In the present
circumstances [targets] must be enhanced next year.” The last-ditch
intervention by such senior figures, with the Glasgow talks reaching their
final hours, reveals the heightened alarm among many experts over the chasm
between carbon targets and the deep cuts necessary to limit temperature
rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. Current national plans – known
as nationally determined contributions (NDCs) – would lead to 2.4C of
heating, according to an influential analysis this week by Climate Action
Tracker.

 Guardian 11th Nov 2021

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/nov/11/cop26-targets-too-weak-to-stop-disaster-say-paris-agreement-architects

November 13, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

New draft of climate deal of COP26 weakens plans to get rid of fossil fuels

A NEW draft of the deal that could be agreed at the Glasgow COP26 climate
talks appears to have watered down its push to curb fossil fuels. The first
draft of the “cover decision” for the overarching agreement at the
summit called for countries “to accelerate the phasing-out of coal and
subsidies for fossil fuels”.

 The National 12th Nov 2021

https://www.thenational.scot/news/19712427.cop26-draft-deal-new-text-weakens-language-ending-use-fossil-fuels/

November 13, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

With the confusing consortium behind it, the UK’s Rolls Royce ”small” nuclear reactor project is running a huge risk

this is a huge risk of public money on a speculative design. By the time we know how much SMRs will cost and whether they are reliable or not, there will be up to 10 reactors being manufactured unless production lines are allowed to sit idle for years waiting until the design is proven enough for new orders to be placed. Realistically the first reactor won’t be complete before the mid-2030s at about the time the last fossil fuel will disappear from the generation mix, so it’s too little, too late and too expensive    

What it turns out to amount to is an agreement to spend £400m over the next three years which may produce a design for a reactor which may get approved by the regulators and which may find investors willing to pay what will be at least £2billion to build each one

nuClear News November 21. Rolls Royce’s Small Modular Reactors On 9th November the Government announced that it would back the Rolls-Royce Small Modular Reactor with £210m in funding. Matched by private sector funding of over £250 million, this investment will take forward phase 2 of the Low-Cost Nuclear project to further develop SMR design and take it through the regulatory processes to assess suitability of potential deployment in the UK. 


The Government claimed that SMRs have the potential to be less expensive to build than traditional nuclear power plants because of their smaller size, and because the modular nature of the components offers the potential for parts to be produced in dedicated factories and shipped by road to site – reducing construction time and cost. Rolls Royce SMR estimate that each Small Modular Reactor could be capable of powering 1 million homes – equivalent to a city the size of Leeds.  

  The £210 million grant follows £18 million invested in November 2019, which, according to the Government, has already delivered significant development of the initial design as part of Phase One of the project. (1)

 The Rolls Royce SMR design is not exactly small. It was originally conceived as a 440 MW unit, but R-R has found a way of getting 470 MWe out of the core. Each of the proposed 16 reactors is expected to cost around £1.8 billion to £2.2bn and produce power at £40-60/MWh over 60 yrs. (2) Rolls Royce says it has a target cost of £1.8 billion once 5 reactors have been built. (3) 


  As well as the Government funding, Rolls-Royce has been backed by a consortium of private investors. The creation of the Rolls-Royce Small Modular Reactor (SMR) business was announced following a £195m cash injection from BNF Resources, and Exelon Generation to fund the plans over the next three years. (The Guardian suggests Rolls Royce will top this up with £50m of its own money, which gets us to £245m –not quite the ‘over £250m’ mentioned in the Government Press Release, but it’s not clear whether the £50m is extra money or part of the £195m). It is hoped the new company could create up to 40,000 jobs by 2050. The investment by Rolls-Royce Group, and the government will go towards developing Rolls-Royce’s SMR design and take it through regulatory processes to assess whether it is suitable to be deployed in the UK. It will also identify sites which will manufacture the reactors’ parts and most of the venture’s investment is expected to be focused in the north of the UK, where there is existing nuclear expertise. (4)

BNF Resources UK Limited appears to have been created in June and has two significant employees, Nicholas Fallows and Sean Benson. Benson says: “BNF has an established history of energy market investing and we are proud to be a part of Rolls-Royce SMR in this exciting opportunity. Following reviews of numerous proposals we found that this project, featuring a highly experienced team was the most realistic, affordable and scalable solution for provision of carbon-free baseload and alternative power requirements.” (5)


 It appears that BNF Resources UK Limited is a subsidiary of BNF Capital Limited which was created in 2012 (same address) and is registered in Guernsey. These two people seem to have a    history in Financial Investment. The Perrodo family, which made its fortune from the private oil company Perenco, is behind BNF Resources UK. 


Confusingly there has been no mention of the Rolls Royce SMR Consortium which included Assystem, Atkins, BAM Nuttall, Laing O’Rourke, National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), Jacobs, The Welding Institute (TWI) and Nuclear AMRC, as well as Rolls Royce. The consortium existed in July of this year when Cavendish signed up to work on the SMR. (6) Assystem has since said it will continue to lead on the design of key areas of power plant infrastructure including the turbine island, cooling water island and balance of plant systems, and is expecting to double the size of its SMR team in the next six months. (7) Similarly Nuclear AMRC has said it will work with Rolls-Royce to help prepare critical components for commercial production in the UK. The centre will also support the design of a new UK factory for large SMR components. (8)

Exelon is contributing under an agreement from a year ago to find international markets. (9)


This new funding will help Rolls-Royce start the SMRs on the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process. (10) In May, the government declared the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) open to advanced nuclear technologies – including SMRs – for the first time. The process allows the nuclear regulators to assess the safety, security and environmental implications of new reactor designs. Rolls-Royce SMR has stated its intention to enter the GDA process shortly. (11) This could take about 5 years. (The GDA process took 5.75 years for the EPR, 7.5 years for the AP1000, 4.75 years for the ABWR, and process for the UK HPR1000 is continuing after 4 years. (12)) According to the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) the GDA on SMRs was expected to have started by now but there have been delays.  

  Each of the initial run of reactors is expected to have a generation capacity of 470MW, or enough to power the equivalent of 1.3m UK homes, and cost about £2bn on average, well below the price per MW sought by developers of large-scale nuclear reactors. The consortium hopes to build on an initial run of five SMRs, the first of which could go on line by 2031, to create a multibillion-pound stable of 16 SMRs around the country. (13) 


This means that if delivered on budget and to engineering specifications, a single SMR would deliver roughly a seventh of the power of Hinkley for less than a twelfth of the price, while using less land. Each power station is said to be the size of two football pitches, (but this is open to question) and can also be used to create hydrogen by splitting water molecules. The company, primarily a jet engine maker, hopes the hydrogen SMRs could produce would accelerate a move to greener aviation.

Rolls-Royce will be seeking more investment for the project to help fund the building of actual SMRs. The government is currently passing legislation that will allow investors to back projects like SMRs using a regulated asset base (RAB) model, which allows them to recoup up-front costs. The government said this would “attract a wider range of private investment into these projects, reducing build costs, consumers’ energy bills and Britain’s reliance on overseas developers for finance.” 


Professor MV Ramana, a nuclear policy expert at the University of British Columbia in Canada, cautioned that this would be a new market for Rolls. He said: “It’s the same technology, but the set of constraints that you will be dealing with in the electricity sector are very different from submarines.” He also said Rolls has some catching up to do against rivals pursuing the same goals. NuScale Power, based in Oregon, received US regulatory approval for its own reactor design last year and could have a plant working by 2026. (14) 


Steve Thomas, Emeritus Professor of Energy Policy at Greenwich University said this is a huge risk of public money on a speculative design. By the time we know how much SMRs will cost and whether they are reliable or not, there will be up to 10 reactors being manufactured unless production lines are allowed to sit idle for years waiting until the design is proven enough for new orders to be placed. Realistically the first reactor won’t be complete before the mid-2030s at about the time the last fossil fuel will disappear from the generation mix, so it’s too little, too late and too expensive    

 Chair of the E3Gthink tank, Tom Burke, points out that this is the third or fourth time this programme has been announced in the past year. What it turns out to amount to is an agreement to spend £400m over the next three years which may produce a design for a reactor which may get approved by the regulators and which may find investors willing to pay what will be at least £2billion to build each one and which may be generating electricity which may be competitive with renewables just before the whole of our electricity system has to be decarbonised to meet the PM’s target. So, six things have to go right before we might see an SMR somewhere.


 As expected, Moorside, Wylfa and Trawsfynydd have all been mentioned as potential sites for an SMR. Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen also wants Hartlepool to be on the list. (15) Dylan Morgan of PAWB (People Against Wylfa B) said: “We have an immediate crisis now. Nuclear power is slow, dangerous and extortionately expensive. It will do nothing to address the current energy crisis, neither will it be effective to counter climate change. The UK and Welsh governments should divert resources and support away from wasteful and outdated nuclear power projects towards developing renewable technologies that are much cheaper and can provide faster and more sustainable solutions to the energy crisis and the challenges of climate change.” (16)  https://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/nuClearNewsNo135.pdf

November 13, 2021 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | Leave a comment

The environmental dimension of the use of nuclear weapons

The environmental dimension of the use of nuclear weapons, AT TOP https://www.europeanleadershipnetwork.org/commentary/the-environmental-dimension-of-the-use-of-nuclear-weapons/ European Leadership Network, Carlo Trezza |Former Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, Former Chairman of the Missile Technology Control Regime, 12 Nov 21,  In 2010, Jakob Kellenberger, the then President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, demonstrated extraordinary courage when he gathered all the accredited ambassadors in Geneva and made it clear that his organisation would not be able to ensure the required international standards of humanitarian assistance to civilian populations in the case of the use of nuclear weapons. In his words, “The mere assumption that atomic weapons may be used, for whatever reason, is enough to make illusory any attempt to protect non-combatants.”

That statement was made on the eve of the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in New York, and was instrumental to the adoption by that conference of the concept of the “catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons”, which nuclear-armed states had traditionally been reluctant to accept. One year earlier, with his historic speech in Prague (in which he promised to “seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons”), President Obama had already prepared the ground for the inclusion of the “catastrophic consequences” principle in the final document of the New York conference. During three international conferences subsequently convened by Norway, Mexico and Austria, the “humanitarian catastrophic” nature of any use of atomic weapons was further confirmed. This concept should be reiterated during the upcoming NPT Review Conference, scheduled for January 2022.

As the world’s leaders gather to discuss how to tackle climate change, it is also necessary to add that the use of nuclear weapons would have dangerous consequences for the environment. The environmental impact of nuclear weapons has been amply evidenced by the over 2000 nuclear tests carried out in deserted and uninhabited areas, while the dangers of radiation have also been demonstrated by the major accidents at the civilian nuclear power plants of Chernobyl and Fukushima.

Today the environmental impact of a nuclear attack on inhabited centres and industrial areas can only be calculated through simulations. The deadly environmental effects of the

 two bombs that annihilated Hiroshima and Nagasaki can hardly be considered a precedent since they would pale in comparison to what would happen if only part of the 13,000 nuclear devices currently possessed by the nuclear powers were to be detonated today. Studies on the environmental side of the nuclear coin have intensified in parallel with the growing nightmare of climate change and the increase of nuclear risks. While there are debates over the precise modelling (such as a controversy between scientists over whether an India-Pakistan nuclear exchange would be enough to cause a global nuclear winter), multiple studies raise alarming prospects that in the event of a nuclear conflict, there would be shocks akin to climate change, but on a much faster timescale and with an exponential impact.            

Nonetheless, the international community and the nuclear-armed states have not yet drawn political conclusions from the anticipated environmental impacts of the use of nuclear weapons. This concept has so far only been mentioned in some official texts (the Partial Test Ban Treaty, Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons), while the ENMOD (Environmental Modification Convention) Treaty adopted in 1978 is mostly focused on prohibiting the hostile use of environmental weather modification techniques but does not address the nuclear threat.

In his memorable statement on 11th November 2017 at the Vatican, Pope Francis expressed his “genuine concern” for the “catastrophic humanitarian and environmental effects of any employment of nuclear devices”.   More recently, on 28th October of this year, an event chaired by World Future Council and Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament was dedicated to the Climate /Nuclear Disarmament Nexus. Climate protection and nuclear risk reduction were the core subjects debated during the meeting which was called in preparation for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) and the incoming NPT RevCon.

This is the first step. A process similar to the 2010 humanitarian initiative should be launched during next year’s NPT conference, leading to the recognition of the “catastrophic environmental consequences of any use of nuclear weapons”. Hopefully, on the occasion of that conference, one or more international leaders will have the vision to promote this topic as Jakob Kellenberger did in 2010. The tragic consequences of climate change will be dramatically amplified if the Damocles sword of a nuclear disaster continues hanging over humanity. 

November 13, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The Risks of Nuclear Modernization

The Risks of Nuclear Modernization  AntiWar.com, by Starté Butone November 12, 2021

The US military establishment seems set to start a new Cold War with China, Russia, and every other country it can paint as an enemy. As with the first Cold War, it will not be complete without an arms race. This is exactly what is happening right now with various programs being implemented by the US government. Currently, the US has not produced any new nuclear warheads since 1991, and the assembly lines at the Pantex plant (where almost all US nuclear weapons are assembled) have laid dormant for decades. This may soon change, however. Congress and the President have already approved research for the new B-21 bomber and Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent, a new ICBM to replace the Minuteman III, as well as building new tactical nuclear warheads, the W93 and W76-2, a small number of which have already been created.

In addition, more components of nuclear modernization are included in this year’s National “Defense” Authorization Act (NDAA). These include the Columbia class of ballistic missile submarines to replace the Ohio class and the Long-Range Standoff (LRSO) air-launch cruise missile (ALCM). The modernization plan also includes upgrading existing W87-0 warheads (yield of 300 Kilotons of TNT) to their W87-1 variant (yield 475 KT), among other things.

There are 6 designs of nuclear weapons currently deployed in the US nuclear arsenal. These include the W76 (SLBM warhead, mostly 76-1 variant, yield 90 KT), W78 (ICBM warhead, yield 475 KT), W80 (ALCM warhead, yield 5-150 KT), B83 (Strategic bomber weapon, yield 1.2 MT), W87 (ICBM warhead, yield 300 KT), and W88 (SLBM warhead, yield 475 KT). W93 (in development, unknown yield and type) and most W76-2 (SLBM warhead, yield 5-7 KT) have not yet been deployed to delivery devices. The W76-2 is also created by re-purposing other W76s, thus not requiring new warheads to be manufactured. W76s make up the majority of the 1750 deployed nuclear weapons currently in the US arsenal. Up to 12 of them (limited to 8 by treaty) can be placed on Trident II Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs), of which there are 240 assigned to carry nuclear warheads………………………

  the human costs of such weapons being produced make any financial costs infinitesimal by comparison. ICBMs are a particularly high risk, as they are not equipped with self-destruct systems (unlike virtually every other weapons system in the US military), due to them increasing rocket weight, thus decreasing payloads. This causes an accidental launch of these weapons to be irreversible. However, nuclear planners in the early Cold War period saw hundreds of millions of unintentional deaths as an acceptable risk for increasing missile payloads. This has not changed in the last 65 years, as educational and media coverage have desensitized the public to such existential threats.  https://original.antiwar.com/butone/2021/11/11/the-risks-of-nuclear-modernization/

November 13, 2021 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

President Macron does not have the legal power to decide on new nuclear reactors – requires Parliamentary agreement

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

 Emmanuel Macron does not have the legal power to decide on his own the order for new nuclear reactors, as he announced he wanted to do, Tuesday, November 9, denounces the former Minister of the Environment, former MEP and famous lawyer specializing in the ecology, Corinne Lepage.

The President of the Republic must first seize the Parliament in order to comply with the multiannual energy programming.

 Ouest France 10th Nov 2021

https://www.ouest-france.fr/economie/entreprises/emmanuel-macron-ne-peut-pas-legalement-commander-des-reacteurs-seul-denonce-corinne-lepage-fa77fe4e-4224-11ec-bf34-dccbc8c1efb2

November 13, 2021 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

Bitcoin could be nuclear power’s last hope of salvation?

Bitcoin miners look toward nuclear power for sustainable energy, COINTELEGRAPH, 12 Nov 21,

Several major players say that nuclear energy might be the best choice for Bitcoin miners.  Major players in the Bitcoin (BTC) mining industry have their sights set on nuclear energy as pressure mounts to go green. [nuclear green? Wha aa t ?]

Nuclear energy could present a “tremendous opportunity” to introduce “enormous amounts of clean [nuclear clean? wha aa at?], carbon-free” energy to the baseload, Harry Sudock, vice president of Griid, said at the “Bitcoin & Beyond Virtual Summit” on Wednesday. Griid is an American company that procures low-cost, renewable energy to build vertically integrated Bitcoin mining facilities.

According to Sudock, past subsidy programs and discourse about renewable energy have largely focused on solar and wind power and neglected to consider the potential benefits of nuclear energy.

“The growth rate is largely focused around solar and wind right now, and that’s just the reality of the programs that have been rolled out over the last eight to 10 years. But what we’d love to see is an expansion of nuclear,” he said………..

Blockstream chief strategy officer Samson Mow  is also a proponent of nuclear energy for Bitcoin mining. “The problem is, we’ve regressed as a society where we have kind of rejected nuclear power and have gone for other things like wind and solar, which are more costly more difficult to generate and don’t always function,” he said…………….

Bitcoin miners will go to the cheapest form of electricity that they can find,” [nuclear cheap? wha aa at?]

said Amanda Fabiano at the summit. Fabiano is the head of mining at digital asset invest management firm Galaxy Digital and a founding member of BMC.  https://cointelegraph.com/news/bitcoin-miners-look-toward-nuclear-power-for-sustainable-energy

November 13, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs | Leave a comment