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Naoto Matsumura Guardian Of Fukushima in TokyoPop March 2022

December 27, 2021

TokyoPop is to translate and publish the French manga series Guardian Of Fukushima by Naoto Matsumura for Free Comic Book Day in May, as well as the rest of TokyoPop’s March 2022.

March 11th, 2011: a massive earthquake off the coast of Japan triggered a devastating tsunami which, in turn, destroyed the three core reactors of the Fukushima nuclear power plant. This tragedy cost almost 20,000 lives and devastated countless more, including Naoto Matsumura, a farmer ordered to evacuate from the deadly radiation zone. Unwilling to abandon his beloved animals, Matsumura chose to return home to his farm, and to fight for the beauty of life. This powerful graphic novel from France intertwines Matsumura’s story of human resilience and compassion with the compelling mythology of Japanese folk tales.

Naoto, the guardian of Fukushima : life before everything else

What have we learned from Fukushima? A place name, chilling images, official lies galore and the terrible idea that once again Nature was stronger than man’s gamble. Against the speeches claiming that nuclear energy is safe and that the accidents of the past cannot happen again, reality imposed itself, forcing the authorities to lose face and admit that the core of three reactors of the Fukushima-Daiichi plant had melted. And that it will probably take thirty or forty years to put an end to the consequences of the disaster. Based on the true story of Naoto Matsumura, Fabien Grolleau and Ewen Blain revisit the events not from the point of view of death, but from the point of view of the life that follows its course beyond the collapse.

The Fukushima nuclear disaster is still very much in the memory. Even if the media attention has since shifted elsewhere, even if the real long-term consequences on underwater radiation, on living species, local and distant, is yet to be established, the terror has not yet faded from the collective memory. An earthquake, a tsunami whose waves rise higher than the specifications provided to the engineers in charge of the design of the plant, and here is that human know-how is transformed into evil genius…

Several graphic stories have already addressed the catastrophic aspect of the event, including a brilliant reportage drawn from the inside by a mangaka hired as a worker to decontaminate the site of Fukushima-Daiichi (At the heart of Fukushima, by Kazuto Tatsuta published in three volumes by Kana from 2016), the project here focuses less on the terrible events and their consequences than on the character who gives its title to the album.

Naoto Matsumuru was not an opponent of nuclear power. On the contrary, like most Japanese people, he believed in the miracle of atomic electricity, proclaimed green and safe by its operators and the governments that, as in France, make themselves the standard-bearers of a cause that is beyond them and of which they only perceive the economic and strategic interests.

It is the reality that opened his eyes by force: living near the power plant, farmer by profession, he endured the seismic shocks, then saw with his own eyes the consequences of the earthquake on the sea and on human constructions. Forced to flee and take refuge outside the contaminated zone, he discovers that he has become, in the eyes of his own family, a plague victim, contaminated by radiation…

Rather than flee further, he chooses to return to his farm and, without waiting for the State or Tepco, the company that manages the plant, to take care of him, he decides to take care of the animals abandoned on the spot. Where radiation makes life impossible, Naoto has decided to defend it no matter what the cost, risking his own existence to look after dogs, cats, ostriches and many cows left abandoned by humans… A foolish bet, which was not a bet at all. Naoto, as we can see in the plates of this book, which is more solar than nuclear, has simply chosen life at all costs rather than death by fire.

Through this astonishing journey, out of the ordinary in the true sense of the word, Fabien Grolleau tells us a tale of resilience and courage, in a particularly hostile environment. This story, which moves away from comic book reporting to become pure fiction at times, illustrates more effectively than many alarmist statements the power of an act of resistance and the strength of a testimony at the level of a human being in the face of a very abstract media narrative.

Today, Naoto is a first-hand witness to the horrors not of nuclear power itself, but of its deplorable management by men. He has become an active activist: he has come to Europe to support those who are still opposed to the forced march of nuclear power in defiance of the major health risks, especially at Fessenheim.

With Naoto, the guardian of Fukushima, Ewen Blain signs his first album as a comic book artist. Still a little stiff at times, especially in the first few panels, his line is nevertheless not lacking in accuracy to give substance to this story where Japanese fantasy tales and the fury of supernatural beings are mixed with a more documentary account. Blain seems to take an infectious pleasure in drawing the oriental monsters and the nature that is unleashed. A nice summary of what Fukushima is.

In short, this album that manages to give rise to optimism and to illustrate bravery in the heart of the disaster is a nice success.

The guardian of Fukushima, a soft and tender comic book to tell the horror of the drama

Naoto Matsumura lived through the tragedy of Fukushima, on March 11, 2011. He saw the abandoned lands, the devastated nature, the dead animals. Fabien Grolleau and Ewen Blain tell his story, that of a Japanese man running a peaceful farm, where everything changed overnight. They tell the story of the tragedy, of course, but above all of the life that was maintained there and that Naoto preserved despite the catastrophe.

Naoto is a soft and tender comic book to tell children the horror of the Fukushima disaster.

Fabien Grolleau takes this true story of Naoto Matsumura “the most irradiated man in Japan” who refused to be evacuated from his farm to save his animals, and all the others abandoned after the tsunami that ravaged the nuclear plant.

Ewen Blain’s drawings immerse us in the peaceful, luminous Japanese nature. We walk in it, we even feel it thanks to the evocation of the legends that embody it. The Tsunami is no longer a tsunami but the dragon Ruyjin who is angry. The radioactive cloud has become the terrible demon Akashita, who sees everything and sneaks around. The contemplative is transformed into an animated beast, furious, devastating to the extent of the drama of March 11, 2011, where Fukushima has become a second Chernobyl.

The lively line, the clear colors, contrast with the rather simple dialogues, which only give more power to the drama lived by hundreds of thousands of Japanese that day.

Naoto Matsumura really exists. He is well. When he is not on his farm taking care of his animals, he travels the world to make his anger heard against nuclear power.


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

Japan to implement compensation rules for losses by Fukushima rumors

Yeah, radiation is just a very harmful rumor….

Photo taken from a Kyodo News helicopter on Feb. 13, 2021, shows tanks at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant storing treated radioactive water from the plant.

Dec 28, 2021

The Japanese government on Tuesday decided to set, within a year, standards for compensating businesses that suffer losses due to rumors that may emerge when Japan starts discharging treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea.

As neighboring countries such as China and South Korea have expressed worries over the release of the treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant slated for spring of 2023, the action plan includes having the International Atomic Energy Agency evaluate the safety of the water to secure transparency.

The government will also set up a fund using 30 billion yen ($261 million) earmarked in the fiscal 2021 supplementary budget to purchase seafood products when demand falls and promote online sales of products by fishery groups.

During a Cabinet meeting on the topic, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno called on members to “implement the measures swiftly and steadily and have as many consumers as possible be aware of the safety (of the processed water) to create an environment in which people in communities can continue operating and expand their businesses.”

The action plan was formed as the government decided in April to allow Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. to release significantly diluted contaminated water into the sea in a step-by-step operation.

More than 1 million tons of the treated water has accumulated on the plant’s premises after a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March 2011.

The water is treated using an advanced liquid processing system. The process removes most radioactive material except for tritium, which is said to pose few health risks.

Under the action plan, the government will set compensation plans for each industry such as fisheries, agriculture, commerce and tourism and decide which period to compare when calculating losses before the Fukushima plant operator, TEPCO, creates standards for compensation.

The IAEA will dispatch a survey team to the Fukushima Daiichi power plant to compile its mid-term safety evaluation report within 2022 and will have long-term involvement with the release of the water, according to the plan.

The plan also includes holding online surveys targeting consumers in South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and elsewhere from January to understand their perceptions of the treated water and food products from Fukushima Prefecture.

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

Japan maps out plan for disposing of treated radioactive water from Fukushima plant

Under the government program, Japan aims to set standards for compensation for damage caused by what it described as harmful rumors about local industries such as fishing, tourism and agriculture, while reinforcing monitoring capability and transparency to avoid reputational damage.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno (second from left) and other Cabinet ministers hold a meeting Tuesday on the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant’s planned water release.

Dec 28, 2021

The government on Tuesday outlined a plan for releasing treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea, including compensation standards for local industry and the compilation of a safety assessment report.

Japan said in April it would discharge more than 1 million metric tons of contaminated water in stages after treatment and dilution, starting around spring 2023. The announcement provoked concern from local fishermen and objections from neighboring China and South Korea.

Earlier this month, the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., outlined detailed plans for the disposal, including building an undersea tunnel to release the water.

Under the government program, Japan aims to set standards for compensation for damage caused by what it described as harmful rumors about local industries such as fishing, tourism and agriculture, while reinforcing monitoring capability and transparency to avoid reputational damage.

Under the plan, the industry ministry and the Reconstruction Agency will work together from next month to start publicizing in Japan and abroad the safety of the water, and conduct a consumer opinion survey on the issue through next March.

The government will also create a fund to support the temporary purchase and storage of freezable seafood in case producers are hit by reputational damage. For the fund, the government has secured ¥30 billion under its fiscal 2021 supplementary budget.

Japan also expects the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to compile an interim safety assessment next year, based on its review over the safety of the treated water, competence of local analytical laboratories and regulatory frameworks, it said.

In an effort to improve transparency to gain the trust of the international community, Japan asked the IAEA in April to conduct a review to assess and advise on the handling of the water.

A decade after a massive earthquake and tsunami ravaged the country’s northeastern coast, disabling the plant and causing the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, nearly 1.3 million metric tons of contaminated water has accumulated at the site.

The water, enough to fill about 500 Olympic-sized swimming pools, is stored in huge tanks at an annual cost of about ¥100 billion ($870 million), and space is running out.

Japan has argued the release is necessary to press ahead with the complex decommissioning of the plant. It says similarly filtered water is routinely released from nuclear plants around the world.

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

Despite widespread opposition, Japan plans to dump water from Fukushima plant into the Pacific Ocean.

A million tons of contaminated water will be released in two years’ time

30 December 2021

People in coastal communities in Japan, joined by voices from around the world, denounced a new governmental plan to dump contaminated water from the site of the Fukushima nuclear disaster into the Pacific Ocean. Local communities and other nations in the Pacific Ocean fear the dumping will poison the environment and cripple local fishing and tourism industries that have struggled to recover from the March 2011 nuclear accident on Japan’s northeast coast for over a decade.

According to a government plan released on December 28, 2021, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) will start releasing 1 million metric tonnes of radioactive water from the Fukushima plant into the Pacific Ocean in 2023. The plan, which is still being developed over the coming months, states that an undersea tunnel will be built to pump the water out to the sea. Funds have also been reserved to compensate local fishing and tourism industries for potential “reputational damage.”

In March 2011 an earthquake and tsunami caused three nuclear reactors operated by TEPCO in Fukushima to meltdown. Over the years, groundwater flowing through the plants was contaminated with radioactive content. In order to prevent this water from reaching the ocean, it was pumped from the reactor buildings into large tanks that now dominate the reactor installation.

As of December 2021, at least 1 million tonnes of contaminated water are stored in the tanks inside the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

While highly radioactive contaminants are removed, the stored water that the Japanese government is planning to pump out to sea still contains significant amounts of tritium, a radioactive element that some experts say is harmless when diluted in seawater.

The Japanese government’s plan to pump the contaminated water has been in the works since 2020. Greenpeace said in April 2021 that it collected 183,000 signatures opposing the plan to discharge water from the Fukushima plant.

Also in April 2021, South Korean civil society groups issued a statement condemning TEPCO’s plan, noting, “even if diluted the total amount of radioactive material thrown into the sea remains unchanged. If the radioactive wastewater is discharged, it will be an irrevocable disaster not only for marine ecosystem but for the human.”

The issue was tackled during the Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers Meeting in July 2021, and the body made the following declaration:

Forum Foreign Ministers noted the concerns surrounding the seriousness of this issue in relation to the potential threat of further nuclear contamination of our Blue Pacific and the potential adverse and transboundary impacts to the health and security of the Blue Pacific Continent, and its peoples over both the short and long term.

In November 2021, TEPCO said its radiological impact assessment showed minimal impact on the environment:

The assessment found that effects of the discharge of ALPS (Advanced Liquid Process System) treated water into the sea on the public and the environment is minimal as calculated doses were significantly less than the dose limits, dose targets, and the values specified by international organizations for each species.

TEPCO assured the public that it is continually updating its scientific studies regarding the plan to release processed water into the Pacific. But doubts remain about their reports, mostly because there still are few concrete plans about how and where the contaminated water will be dumped, making it difficult for outside observers to assess the risk.

The Pacific Collective on Nuclear Issues, which represents civil society organizations based in Oceania, refutes the veracity of these studies. It also has a message for TEPCO and the Japanese government:

The Pacific is not and must not become the dumping ground for nuclear wastes.

The Collective considers that TEPCO, and the relevant Japanese Government agencies, have wrongly prioritised convenience and costs over the short term and long term environmental and human cost of their planned actions.

Japanese residents have also consistently expressed concern about TEPCO’s plan.

Greenpeace interviewed fisherman Ono Haruo from the township of Shinchi in Fukushima, who echoed the sentiments of the local population:

Fish are finally starting to return after ten years, but if they now pour tritium into the water, no matter how much they dilute it, who’s going to buy those fish? Who wants to eat poisoned fish?

The ocean is our place of work. Can you imagine what it feels like for that to be intentionally polluted?

It’ll be 30 or 40 years before we see the effects. The causal relationship will have become unclear and it’ll be impossible to prove anything. What’s going to happen to the future of our children, our grandchildren? It’s not even clear who will take responsibility.

A group of mothers in Iwaki city, Fukushima, participated in a protest in November 2021 opposing the plan to dump contaminated water into the ocean. The townships of Okuma and Futaba, which host the stricken Fukushima Daiichi complex, have experienced almost complete depopulation over the past decade.

In spring 2022, the International Atomic Energy Agency will evaluate and report on plans has on the Fukushima water treatment, while stakeholders will continue to engage authorities about the controversial plan of TEPCO.

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

Nuclear power in the EU taxonomy and Germany’s position

Q&A: Why is Germany phasing-out nuclear power and why now? 28 Dec 2021,  Kerstine Appunn ”……………………………..Nuclear power in the EU taxonomy and Germany’s position

Observers have called France’s push to include nuclear power projects in the EU taxonomy as a sustainable investment a “political nightmare” for Germany. Backed by a group of other European countries such as Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Finland, Hungary, Poland and Romania, French President Emmanuel Macron tries to make nuclear power a pillar of the EU’s decarbonisation strategy, while Germany is betting heavily on wind and solar power. It is supported in its push for a nuclear-free taxonomy by Portugal, Austria, Luxembourg and Denmark. Germany’s new Chancellor Olaf Scholz, of the Social Democrats (SPD), has told Macron that he has always been opposed to nuclear power, much like his coalition partner, the Green Party.

If included in the taxonomy, nuclear power investments could be part of green funds, banks could declare loans to nuclear projects as sustainable investments – all in aid of getting more private investment to flow into climate friendly economic activities and businesses.

Agora Energiewende’s Müller says the German approach is still more future-proof. “The idea that nuclear power stations can be built at predictable costs and by a predictable schedule has not proven to be realistic. We also still have the unresolved problem of nuclear waste storage as well as the possibility of a major accident. Germany’s decision to focus on the expansion of renewables instead of nuclear is reflected also by the markets as renewables dominate electricity investments internationally.”

The European Commission is set to come out with a proposal for the taxonomy in January 2022, which EU member states will then decide on with a majority vote. Instead of an in-or-out decision on nuclear (and natural gas), the commission is likely to present a compromise that would classify nuclear as a temporary, transitional technology which has to be labelled and declared in funds so that consumers and investors have the choice between “entirely green” products, e.g. renewable energies, or second or third tier products that include nuclear or gas technology.

Whatever the decision, Müller says Germany and France should focus more on the common ground concerning the energy transition. “Recent French studies show – independently of the future of nuclear energy – that a massive expansion of renewables is needed to reach the climate targets. And there are also opportunities for cooperation between Germany and France on green hydrogen.”

Shouldn’t Germany – like other countries – embrace and support the use of new small modular reactors?

Using a large fleet of small modular reactors (SMR) to secure climate neutral electricity supply in the future – as proposed by billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates – has been hailed as a climate change solution. In Belgium, which is set to shutter its two remaining nuclear power stations by 2025, the government agreed to invest 100 million euros in the research on SMR.

SMR proponents claim that, once produced in bulk, these small plants are cheaper and safer thanks to advanced reactor designs and can be operated with converted short-lived radioactive materials, solving the waste problem.

But two assessments commissioned by the Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management (BASE) have found that these tens of thousands of small reactors would carry enormous risks with regard to the proliferation of weapons-grade materials and will probably never be as cheap as their advocates say.

What is different in Germany compared to other countries in Europe which embrace nuclear as a CO2-free solution?

Germany not only has strong public support for, and a long history of, anti-nuclear sentiment, it also has only 11 percent of nuclear left in its power mix. Leaving it behind entirely is therefore a more obvious and easy decision than for other countries, such as France, where the share of nuclear power in domestic generation stands at 70.6 percent, but also in Bulgaria with 40.8 percent, in Sweden with 29.8 percent (in Spain: 22.2%, Russia at 20.%, United States at 19.7%, UK 16%, all in 2020).

Historians also explain the different attitude towards nuclear with the different reactions to the Chernobyl accident, which was felt much closer and more threatening to Germans compared to French or UK citizens. Another explanation for Germany’s sensitivity to nuclear power is that early on, the post-war critique of nuclear weapons was linked to the civilian use of nuclear fission. (A second wave of the German peace movement in the 1980s would also bolster a younger generation’s resistance to nuclear power.)

And even if there are people who make a case for nuclear for climate protection reasons, the exit has now proceeded too far to be reversed, and there is simply no influential political power that would consider re-opening the painful, decade-long debate on nuclear power that has finally been put to rest.

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

The murky world of financing Small Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)

IKEA it ain’t: don’t go looking for friendly nuclear option, no matter the spin

MICHAEL WEST MEDIA, By Noel Wauchope|December 30, 2021 

”……………..[Everyone] should be aware of the financial  gymnastics going on in the USA, with NuScale, and in the UK, with Rolls-Royce. That’s just to single out the two most advanced of the many dubious SMR projects still at the starting gate.

The Murdoch media is enthusiastic about SMRs. Missing from the hype are a lot of unanswered questions. For a start — the ”M” stands for ”modular” — meaning that these reactors will be built in pieces, sort of, and transferred to a site, where they will be assembled, like a piece of IKEA furniture. But in fact there are at least 50 designs being promoted, and not all are modular. 

The critical question comes down to – the money

The enthusiasm of the SMR lobby for the economic viability of SMRs is not matched by the facts.

 For one thing to consider – there’s the price of the electricity to be eventually delivered by these small nuclear reactors. The Minerals Council of Australia estimates that by 2030 and beyond, SMRs could offer power to grids from $64-$77MWh, depending on size and type.

An analysis by WSP / Parsons Brinckerhoff, prepared for the 2015-16 South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission,  estimated  a cost of A$225 / MWh for a reactor based on the NuScale design, about three times higher than the MCA’s target range. CSIRO  estimates SMR power costs at A$258-338 / MWh in 2020 and A$129-336 / MWh in 2030.

Then there are the costs of actually getting SMRs in the first place.

In Russia, China, France, and Argentina, the construction is done entirely or largely at taxpayers’ expense, and there is little or no transparency about the costs. But generally in the Western world, electricity production is supposed to be a commercially viable operation.  In the context of promoting low -carbon technologies, SMRs are promoted as being cheaper than large ones.  It is generally acceptable for the government to kick-start the process, with some funding, but with the understanding that the industry will become successful, profitable. 

NuScale financing contortions

In the US, NuScale leads the pack. After its efforts to partner with Romania, UK, Canada and Jordan, NuScale has joined with a Utah-based utility consortium to develop what initially was proposed to be a power plant with 12 small reactors. The project, which is now forecast to cost $5.1 billion, has since been scaled back to six reactors, expected to start coming online in 2029.  The Department of Energy (DOE)  is to provide an annual supplement of about $130 million a year for a decade. However, that would be dependent upon annual renewals of the funding by Congress during that decade, which is a risk.

NuScale promises to deliver electricity at  $55/MWh. UAMPS and NuScale have not explained the methodology used to develop  this figure. Meanwhile PacifiCorp and Idaho Power have concluded that electricity from NuScale reactors would cost $94-$121/MWh.

Now NuScale is to go public by merging with what’s known as a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. The company, Spring Valley Acquisition Corporation, is already publicly traded. The new company named NuScale Power Corporation will list on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol SMR. Their new SMR power plants will be called VOYGR, and NuScale will open centres at universities to promote technical training for them. The Department of Energy (DOE) will support these centres with funding, and NuScale will open centres at universities to promote technical training for them. DOE will support these centres with funding.

A SPAC is a type of shell company (shell companies being those not having actual business operations, just specific objectives, in this case, raising capital)  The SPAC raises money from the public through initial public offerings, the sponsor getting 20% of the funds invested. Later private investments through public equity, or PIPES, can be added, often bought at a discount price by big institutions. The whole process is done relatively speedily, and with much less scrutiny than in usual mergers.  US Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler wants to tighten regulations on SPACs:

Glitzy corporate presentation decks, hyped press releases and celebrity endorsements can balloon a SPAC’s equity well beyond a reasonable value long before proper disclosures are filed,  Gensler said.

SPACs have had a chequered history — they enable the sponsors to avoid financial loss, even if the business fails, as many did, in the 1990s.  Sixty-five per cent of deals completed in 2021 at a valuation above $1bn are trading below $10 — the price at which they were floated. All of the companies are trading below their stock market highs with some of them down by as much as 70%. Senator Elizabeth Warren and three other Democrats are investigating the imbalance between the financial results for the sponsors and banks versus the early investors.

Rolls-Royce still looking for money

The process of getting funding for the UK’s SMRs is equally tortuous.   The government invested £18 million in November 2019, which delivered significant development of the initial design as part of Phase One of the project. At the beginning of November 2021, Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc raised 455 million pounds ($608 million) to fund the development of SMRs, with almost half of the financing coming from the U.K government      Rolls-Royce Small Modular Reactor (SMR) business is  a consortium, backed by BNF Resources and Exelon Generation. BNF Resources UK Limited is a subsidiary of BNF Capital Limited. Other members of the consortium are Assystem, Atkins, BAM Nuttall, Laing O’Rourke, National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), Jacobs, The Welding Institute (TWI) and Nuclear AMRC, as well as Rolls-Royce. It’s not at all clear how much each group has put into the venture.

For the plan to have the planned £30 billion fleet of mini-nuclear power stations, the business will have to rely on UK taxpayers to help fund the construction of the first of the new designs. New government funding of £210 million announced on November 9 will take forward phase 2, over the next three years, of the so-called 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. Exelon is contributing under an agreement from a year ago to find international markets.  Rolls-Royce expects the first five SMR reactors to cost £2.2bn each, falling to £1.8bn for subsequent units.  

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 upfront costs from the consumers, over the construction period, long before those consumers actually get any electricity from the project. 

Mythical beasts
So — what it all boils down to is an agreement to spend about £400 million over the next three years — to perhaps produce a design for a reactor, which might get approved by the regulators, and might find investors who might be willing to pay what will be at least £2 billion to build each one.

It’s not at all clear who is going to end up paying the most for small nuclear reactors, or indeed, if that fleet of SMRs will ever become a reality. It will probably be the taxpayers.  I haven’t mentioned all those ancillary costs — of winning community approval, of security, waste disposal.

In the meantime, it’s worth being wary about the financial aspects, given the obscure manipulations going on in the US and UK, and remembering that not yet does one of these mythical beasts, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors actually exist.

Renewables remain the cheapest “new-build” source of energy generation. They exist. They work. 

December 30, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK, USA | Leave a comment

NuScale’s Small Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) to go public with the dodgy Special Purpose Acquisition Company System

US nuclear reactor company NuScale to go public via SPAC,, 30 Dec 21,
 NuScale Power announced plans to go public in a merger with blank cheque company Spring Valley Acquisition earlier this month, highlighting the growing area of small nuclear power reactors…….      So far, NuScale is the first and only company to design a SMR that received approval from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, according to the company’s presentation to investors…….

Going public

The deal values NuScale at $1.9bn, which implies a four-times multiple over its 2026 estimated EBITDA, CEO of Spring Valley Acquisition Chris Sorrells said in a call with investors.

The merger is expected to close in 2022 and will make NuScale a public company that trades on the Nasdaq under the ticker “SVIIU.”

The company has yet to produce revenue but estimates that once it’s incorporated, the company can begin producing around $16m in revenue next year and boost that to $13.1bn by 2030, according to the presentation.

NuScale was formed in 2007 when Oregon State University (OSU) granted exclusive rights to the core SMR technology patents. OSU maintains an interest in the company due to the technology transfer agreement.

Other companies that have invested in NuScale include Samsung’s construction subsidiary, Japanese engineering company JGC Holdings and Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction……

One of the first customers of NuScale’s technology will be Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, which is expected to deploy a new plant in Idaho by 2029 for its Carbon Free Power Project.

Just last month, Romania’s state-owned electric utility service SN Nuclearelectrica signed an agreement to advance the deployment of NuScale’s technology in the country as early as 2027–2028.

December 30, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

What it’s like to live in an energy efficient ‘power home’ ‘I haven’t had to put my heating on in December’

What it’s like to live in an energy efficient ‘power home’: ‘I haven’t had to put my heating on in December’

Jo Law and her children are the first family to move into an energy-efficient all-electric ‘power home’ in Kent, more 29th Dec 2021 By Aasma Day

Jo Law shakes her head in disbelief as she says: “I’ve only had to put my heating on twice since I moved here in September – and one of those times was to test it out.

“I’ve never lived anywhere before where I’ve not needed the heating on in December.”

Like many people, mother-of-two Jo wants to do her bit for the planet, safeguarding it for her children and future generations. But she never imagined that her choice of home could be beneficial to the planet – as well as safeguarding her against energy price increases by saving her money.

Jo and her children were the first family to move into a new generation of “power homes” that are designed so they can generate more energy than they consume.

The 38-year-old had been through a turbulent time with major life changes as she separated from her partner, battled with Crohn’s disease, was diagnosed with bowel cancer and had to shield during the pandemic. Her new home signifies a fresh start.

“I had to sell my home I had with my partner after we separated and I couldn’t afford a mortgage to buy a place on my own,” explains Jo, who lives in Sittingbourne, Kent.

When she heard about new energy-efficient all-electric “power homes” in Kent which were becoming available to rent, she and her two children Molly, 13, and Harry, 10, became the first family to move in.

The all-electric modular homes are built in a factory in Cambridgeshire in partnership with offsite manufacturer Premier Modular Group and can generate more energy than they consume.

Featuring a roof covered in photo-voltaic solar roof panels which are disguised to blend in with traditional roof tiles allows the properties to generate their own electricity.

With an EPC rating of A, the homes are kept warm by airtight high performance structural panels and consume less electricity by being fitted with A energy-rated dishwashers, fridge freezers and washer dryers.

Meanwhile, a traditional boiler isn’t needed to heat water as hot water is provided to the home by a hot water tank with an integrated air source heat pump.

The homes generate enough electricity to charge an electric vehicle for free every day and any excess electricity can be sold back to the grid. The overall energy bills can be up to 85 per cent cheaper than those faced by an average household.

While millions of families across Britain live in old, cold and draughty homes, Jo says that she and her children have already noticed the difference since moving into their energy-efficient home from Public Sector Plc.

I love the energy efficiency and simplicity, and for the first time in my life, I’m not at all worried about needing to put the heating on all the time through the winter months.” Jo tells i.

“In fact, I’ve not needed the heating on because the house is so warm without it. Like most people, I have spent most of my life living in older homes which become difficult to keep warm during the winter.

“Even when we do need to put the heating on, we know we won’t have the worries of not being able to afford it. Even though a lot of the rooms in this house are bigger than our old home, our overall bills are a lot less.”

Mark Davis, partnerships director at Public Sector Plc, says that according to the UK Green Building Council, the built environment contributes 40 per cent of the UK’s total carbon footprint.

“Instead of creating homes which only consume energy, we wanted to flip this approach on its head and deliver homes which produce energy too.” he explains.

“In achieving this, we’ve been able to create new homes which act as mini power stations rather than major energy drains.”

He adds: “As millions of us face steep energy price increases across the country, we think it’s incredibly important to highlight there are alternative types of homes to live in.”

Public Sector Plc designed the homes in Kent specifically for council and housing association partners and they are currently working with a number of public sector organisations to develop new, affordable homes across the UK.

For Jo, the knowledge that she is doing her bit for the environment is just as important as saving money.

“We all want to help save the planet and are doing things like trying not to use plastic.” she says. “I want my kids to grow up in a better environment and knowing our home is better for the planet is comforting.

“I can see normal houses nearby and when they turn their heating on, you can see fumes from the boiler coming out of the house. But there’s nothing from our boiler and you can’t even hear it as it’s so quiet.

“All the eco stuff is in the loft and locked, so it just feels like a normal home and doesn’t seem any different and is warm, safe and secure.

“After the difficult time I’ve had with bowel cancer and shielding, moving into this home has felt like a weight off my shoulders and we feel settled and the children are happy here.

“As we all start to become more conscious of climate change, it’s heartwarming to know that we’ll not be wasting energy or money this winter.”

December 30, 2021 Posted by | ENERGY, UK | Leave a comment

Q&A: Why is Germany phasing-out nuclear power and why now?   

Q&A: Why is Germany phasing-out nuclear power and why now?
   28 Dec 2021, 10:18 Kerstine Appunn


Facts of the German nuclear phase-out.……………..

How did the nuclear phase-out come about in Germany?…………….

Why the nuclear phase-out was the enabler of the energy transition………………..

What do different stakeholders in Germany think about the nuclear exit?………………..

Is there still a debate to continue the use of nuclear power and could its proponents succeed?………….

Why isn’t Germany phasing out coal before nuclear?………….

Will Germany emit more CO2 because of the nuclear phase-out?……………

No nuclear, no coal: Will the lights stay on?……………..

How does Germany want to make net-zero happen without nuclear?………………..

Why doesn’t Germany get an energy system with both renewables AND nuclear?………….

Will Germany become dependent on (nuclear) power imports from abroad?…………..

What’s more expensive – renewables or nuclear?…………

Nuclear power in the EU taxonomy and Germany’s position………….

Shouldn’t Germany – like other countries – embrace and support the use of new small modular reactors? …………………

What is different in Germany compared to other countries in Europe which embrace nuclear as a CO2-free solution?………………

Facts of the German nuclear phase-out

The last nuclear power plant in Germany will cease operation in December 2022. This definitive end-date is part of the 2011 Nuclear Energy Act (Atomgesetz) which withdrew the authorisation to operate nuclear reactors for power generation according to a phase-out schedule. From having a share of 22.2 percent in total electricity generation in 2010, the contribution of nuclear decreased to 11 percent in 2020. At the same time, renewables such as wind, solar PV and biogas provided around 45 percent of power generation in 2020.  After three out of six remaining reactors are shuttered in December 2021 (Grohnde, Gundremmingen C and Brokdorf), only three (with a combined capacity of 4 GW) will remain in service throughout 2022 (Isar 2, Emsland and Neckarwestheim 2).

…………………………………..   What do different stakeholders in Germany think about the nuclear exit?

Ever since the latest nuclear phase-out was decided by a large majority in the federal parliament (Bundestag) in 2011, the public has remained supportive of exiting nuclear power for good.

The German government since 2011 has remained steadfast in its decision despite going through a difficult process of securing the money from reactor operators to ensure their safe deconstruction and storage of radioactive waste, initiating the search for a permanent waste storage facility, and weathering the legal proceedings following the not-quite constitutional compensation regulations in the nuclear exit law.. SPD environment minister Svenja Schulze said at the 2021 anniversary of the Fukushima accident that “nuclear power is neither safe nor clean” and could not be a part of a low-carbon power production. Angela Merkel reiterated in her last summer press conferences before the end of her chancellorship, that “the nuclear phase-out is the right thing to do for Germany”, adding that this could be seen differently by other countries and activists who push for climate neutrality. “I don’t think nuclear energy is a sustainable form of energy in the long term,” Merkel said.

The new German government of Social Democrats (SPD), Green Party and Free Democrats (FDP) which took office in December 2021 wrote in its coalition treaty “we stand by the nuclear phase-out”. The new (Green Party) environment minister Steffi Lemke said in December 2021: “Nuclear power would make our energy supply neither safer nor cheaper. A technology that has no solution for the disposal of toxic waste cannot be sustainable.” Climate and economy minister Robert Habeck (Green Party) said on 28 December: “The nuclear phase-out in Germany has been decided, clearly regulated by law and is valid. Security of supply in Germany continues to be guaranteed. Now it is important to consistently push ahead with the transition of our energy supply.”…………

Energy utilities and operators of Germany’s remaining nuclear power stations are adamant that there will be no extension of the reactors’ runtime. The large German utilities have – after years of struggling – embraced a renewable future and the planning security that the end of nuclear power gives them. They also point out that all the legal (compensation) issues of the nuclear phase-out have been resolved, operating licenses are scheduled to expire and difficult to re-obtain, contracts with suppliers and other service companies have been terminated, staff has been reassigned and there is no longer enough fuel…………….
It is “completely out of the question” that German nuclear power plants will get another lifetime extension, said Rainer Baake. “Because the operators don’t want it. Because there is no serious force in politics that is pursuing a lifetime extension, and the topic played no role in the coalition negotiations. Voters have not forgotten Chernobyl and Fukushima and know that there are better alternatives.”…………

Will Germany emit more CO2 because of the nuclear phase-out?……………

Economists of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) conclude in a recent paper that “the decline in nuclear power will temporarily lead to a higher use of fossil energies and imports, which will increase CO2 emissions in the short term. However, these should be quickly reduced by the accelerated expansion of renewable energies.” In the short term, nuclear power will indeed be substituted by fossil power plants and via imports. Imports increase by 15 terawatt-hours (TWh), emissions will be around 40 million tonnes CO2 higher, according to the DIW. Other research shows that in the context of the overall cap of the European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), rising emissions in Germany would be compensated by lower emissions in other countries, therefore keeping overall emissions stable and, at the same time, seeing a slight rise in the price for CO2 allowances.

Overall, renewables are now better placed to prevent carbon emissions than nuclear, physicist Amory B. Lovins, adjunct professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University concludes in an op-ed for Bloomberg Law: “Renewables swelled supply and displaced carbon as much every 38 hours as nuclear did all year. As of early December, 2021’s score looks like nuclear –3 GW, renewables +290 GW. Game over.”……………..

How does Germany want to make net-zero happen without nuclear?

Germany’s energy transition in the electricity sector has turned into a comprehensive plan to decarbonise the entire economy and reach net-zero greenhouse gases in 2045. With nuclear power and coal out of the picture by the end of the decade, the new government – which is adhering to the previous government’s climate targets – is putting the focus on renewables growth. Its aim is to reach a share of 80 percent renewables in electricity demand (which is envisaged to grow). Several “Germany net-zero” studies have shown that a system based on renewables is possible……………………

What’s more expensive – renewables or nuclear?

One of the reasons why it is an obvious choice for Germany to make wind and solar its main power source rather than nuclear, is that new renewable installations have become cheaper than all other electricity sources – especially where a CO2 price is applied.

According to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2021 and Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut), the energy costs for nuclear power generation are currently 15.5 cents per kilowatt hour, compared to 4.9 cents for solar energy and 4.1 cents for wind power.

The British government has given a price guarantee of 11 cents per kilowatt-hour for 35 years to the nuclear power plant project Hinkley Point C. In Germany, feed-in tariffs for onshore wind and solar PV are between 6-7 ct/kwh or, in some tenders, even lowerOffshore wind parks are now being built without any government support.

New reactor projects often turn out to be much more expensive than envisaged. The costs for a new “Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR)“ in Flamanville, France, have risen from 3.4 billion to more than 19 billion euros, while the project will likely take at least 11 years longer than planned. Similar price hikes and delays have occurred in the UK, Finland and the U.S.

“Nuclear technology has had negative learning rates, which means that new projects became more expensive instead of cheaper. If we take current investment costs as a basis, then it is clear that the cheapest power system is one that is fully based on renewables,” Simon Müller said. The global market situation shows that renewables dominate investments. The 2050 long-term projections by the International Energy Agency (IEA) see nuclear energy supplying about 10 percent of electricity. “For the transformation, we need to thus look to renewables,” Müller said.

As many new nuclear projects also take considerably longer to construct than planned, the Öko-Institut concludes that it would also be faster to build a system based on renewables……….

December 30, 2021 Posted by | Germany, politics | Leave a comment

Pentagon retains aircraft carrier, strike group in Mediterranean to confront Russia

US Keeps Carrier in Mediterranean Amid Russia Tensions The United States has ordered an aircraft carrier to remain in the Mediterranean in a bid to reassure European allies amid fears Russia…. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered the USS Harry S Truman aircraft carrier strike group to stay in the region and hold off on its […]

Pentagon retains aircraft carrier, strike group in Mediterranean to confront Russia — Anti-bellum

December 30, 2021 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Germany’s Brokdorf nuclear station closes, so activists end their 35 year vigil against it.

Germany’s long anti-nuclear protest ends, DW, 29 Dec 21,

Activists have been protesting in front of the nuclear power plant in Brokdorf, northern Germany for 35 years. But now that the plant is set to be removed from the grid, their vigil is finally over………

Singing peace songs and chatting while standing in a circle, the groups appear well-adjusted to the freezing cold, having met at the power plant’s gate on the sixth day of each month for the last 35 years.

Today, the activists are once again holding a vigil to commemorate the victims of nuclear catastrophes while also demanding the shutdown of the nuclear reactor in their neighborhood.

Today is different, however. This 425th vigil will be the last. Later this month, the Brokdorf nuclear power plant will be shut down as part of Germany’s 2022 nuclear phaseout.

First nuclear reactor after Chernobyl

Amid the growing anti-nuclear movement in the 1980s, hundreds of thousands protested against the construction of the nuclear plant in Brokdorf.

Time and again, the protesters clashed with the police — especially after the nuclear accident in Chernobyl in 1986 saw increased radiation levels in soil and foods across Germany…..

Opening in late 1986, Brokdorf was the first nuclear reactor in the world to go into operation after the Chernobyl disaster.

At that time, Werner and a few allies protested peacefully and decided to continue their protests in the future. They vowed to meet once a month until Brokdorf was shut down…….

Increased cancer risk, and an ice rink

His fears weren’t unjustified. In 2008, a study found that children growing up in close proximity to a German nuclear power plant face a higher risk of developing leukemia.

Yet plants stayed open amid such health threats. One reason might be the decades of high revenues earned by the Brokdorf municipality through a commercial tax on the plant. Local politicians were loath to give up this income…….

Meanwhile, the nuclear power lobby is promoting nuclear energy as an allegedly clean and, most importantly, climate-friendly alternative………..   compared to power from wind and solar energy, the technology costs are much higher, and the construction of nuclear plants takes significantly longer.

Military motives

The fact that states still stick with nuclear power clearly also has another reason, said Andrew Stirling, professor of science and technology policy at the University of Sussex.

“Globally speaking, those countries that are the most truly dedicated to a civil use of nuclear energy either also have nuclear weapons or they are very keen on getting them,” he said.

According to Stirling, the civil use of nuclear energy is often needed for the realization of nuclear weapons programs, a point admitted by nuclear armed France and the US.

Without the engineers and specialists working in the commercial nuclear power sector, it would be impossible to build nuclear-powered submarines, for example, Stirling explained.

“The reports from the USA are absolutely clear. Even if the costs of nuclear energy were twice as high, it would still make sense for them to build reactors because this allows them to keep up their military activities,” he said……….

although Brokdorf will be removed from the grid on December 31, the plant will continue to serve as a temporary storage facility for nuclear waste for decades. There is still no final repository for radioactive waste.

“Therefore, our commitment is not yet over,” said one of the activists.

December 30, 2021 Posted by | decommission reactor, Germany | Leave a comment

Radioactive radiation could damage biological tissue also via a previously unnoticed mechanism

Radioactive radiation could damage biological tissue also via a previously unnoticed mechanism, Science Daily
Date:December 27, 2021Source:Max-Planck-Gesellschaft

Summary:When cells are exposed to ionizing radiation, more destructive chain reactions may occur than previously thought. An international team led by researchers has now observed intermolecular Coulombic decay in organic molecules. This is triggered by ionizing radiation such as from radioactivity or from space. The effect damages two neighboring molecules and ultimately leads to the breaking of bonds – like the ones in DNA and proteins. The finding not only improves the understanding of radiation damage but could also help in the search for more effective substances to support radiation therapy………..

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

Secretive transports returning nuclear waste from UK to Australia

Nuclear waste from Britain heading to Lucas Heights,    THE AUSTRALIAN,   JACQUELIN MAGNAY   30 DECEMBER 21, LONDON@jacquelinmagnay,

Australia is to receive a two-tonne shipment of nuclear waste from Britain that will arrive under tight security and amid high secrecy in the coming months.

The shipment of intermediate-level nuclear waste has been ­prepared for delivery to the Australian Nuclear Science and Tech­nology Organisation facilities at Lucas Heights, in Sydney’s south.

It will be just the second tranche of intermediate-level nuclear waste returned to the country, and its arrival shines a spotlight on Australia’s lack of a long-term storage plan for nuclear waste classified above low-level material.

The radioactive uranium and plutonium waste has been vitrified in four glass containers and then encased in an outer container made of specialised steel, known as a TN81 cask.

ANSTO says its previous experience in receiving intermediate-level nuclear waste – which occurred in 2015 when a larger shipment was returned from France – will mitigate any risks.

In that shipment, all local roads along the route were shut for more than five hours, and the ­operation involved the NSW Riot Squad and other police units to contain antinuclear protesters.

In the coming weeks, the ­nuclear waste will be moved by rail from the decommissioned ­nuclear plant at Sellafield in Cumbria to the British coast before being loaded onto a ship operated by Nuclear Transport Solutions.

It is expected to travel through Australian waters, including some maritime parks, before berthing.

The cargo is likely to be unloaded at Port Kembla in Wollongong under heavy guard, arriving sometime before the middle of next year.

Wherever the ship berths, the container will be loaded onto a truck for transport through ­residential and industrial areas, as well as along the Princes Highway through the Royal National Park south of Sydney and on to the Lucas Heights facility.

ANSTO says the final route will be a closely guarded secret and will be decided in consultation with NSW authorities.

NTS confirmed that the return of the intermediate-level waste in the form of vitrified residue to Australia had first been expected to take place last year.

Preparations for the shipment have been carried out since 2014……..

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency has recently certified “the transport package”, and it will allow ANSTO to “temporarily” store the nuclear waste in the ­Interim Waste Store at Lucas Heights before another temporary storage facility for intermediate waste – currently being considered for Napandee, near the town of Kimba in South Australia – is ready to receive it.

This planned alternative storage solution, which is known as the ­National Radioactive Waste Management Facility, would bring together all the low-level radioactive waste from 100 different sites around the country and allow temporary storage of intermediate-level waste.

However, the proposed site in Kimba is being contested, with a judicial review requested earlier this month by traditional landowners the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation.

Longer-term storage plans for the intermediate waste are yet to be considered.

Despite this uncertainty, Australia is committed to receiving the waste after 114 ANSTO spent fuel rods were sent to Dounreay, Scotland, to be reprocessed of ­plutonium and uranium in 1996.

The processed waste being ­returned is of an equivalent radioactive level, but in a more condensed form than was originally exported to Scotland, and it has now been transported to the old Sellafield power station.

This means that instead of 52 500-litre drums of cemented waste, the British shipment will comprise four canisters of glass waste of an equivalent level.

It is classified by British authorities as having radioactivity levels greater than four GBq/tonne for alpha emitters and Beta/gamma emitters greater than 12 GBq/tonne – which puts it in the intermediate category.

ANSTO says it has experience in handling and storing such waste, citing the 2015 arrival of 25 tonnes of similar-level nuclear waste from France.

The new shipment will be stored next to that waste……………..

It is unclear if local councils positioned along the expected transport route will be notified when the shipment lands.

Previously, some export transportation of spent nuclear fuel rods from ANSTO to France for reprocessing has been carried out in the middle of the night with tight secrecy and no prior notice. Several councils, including Wollongong through which the nuclear waste will be carried, have called for Australia to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Australia can expect to have to receive further shipments of returned waste every six or seven years, including spent fuel elements from the Opal reactor sent to La Hague in France for reprocessing before being returned.

December 30, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Massive leak of tritium at France’s Tricastin nuclear power plant.

 A massive leak of tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, occurred earlier this month at the Tricastin nuclear power plant, one of the oldest in France, when subsequent radiation levels recorded in groundwater below it reached 28,900 becquerels per litre.

Both the plant’s operator, EDF, and the French nuclear safety watchdog, the ASN, insist that the spill has
been contained. But, as Jade Lindgaard reports, despite that claim it appears inevitable that that the radioactive effluent will pollute the local environment.

 Mediapart 28th Dec 2021

December 30, 2021 Posted by | France, incidents | Leave a comment

France’s oldest nuclear power plant, shut in 1985, still highly radioactive

 “You can’t see radioactivity, you can’t feel it, so people don’t care”: in Brennilis, nuclear power is no longer operating. Shutdown in 1985, the monts d’Arrée power plant was the first in France to begin dismantling.
The reactor block of the Finistère nuclear power plant in Brennilis remains one of the last vestiges of the gigantic installation, in operation from 1967 to 1985. Despite the decades, its dismantling has not yet been completed. It is in this building, however, that the most radioactive elements of the infrastructure are stored, a prototype of a heavy water reactor cooled with carbon dioxide, never reproduced in France afterwards.

 Le Monde 28th Dec 2021

December 30, 2021 Posted by | decommission reactor, France | Leave a comment