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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

This week in nuclear news

The undersea volcano near Tonga is bad enough. But one wonders what would be the effect of disrupting nuclear wastes undersea, whether they  be from atomic bomb testing, or from the dumping of nuclear trash.

Coronavirus.  It’s not that I have given up on studying this: it’s just that the news, and changes, come thick and fast, and we all live in uncertainty.

Climate change. It’s all happening. Keep up with the latest at Radio Ecoshock – Arctic Will Change Your Life. Nitrous Oxide, Sea Ice, & Western Fires.

Nuclear. This week,  Ukraine stalemate, and the same old issues drag on – Europe’s struggle to depict nuclear as ”green”, UK’s struggle to finance the nuclear industry, France’s struggle with old, (and some cracking) reactors. And Fukushima’s crisis springs eternal.

Some bits of good news. By the way, – biggest response ever this newsletter has received on any subject –   about the butterfly story last week!   Some wins for the planet in 2021.  Nice stories about animals – including several ”non-extinctions”.   Beavers Saved From Euthanasia Transform and Replenish Rivers in the Utah Desert.

Is US extradition inevitable for Julian Assange? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aw4Yz0Va1c

In 2022, nuclear power’s future looks grimmer than ever.   Nuclear: economically unsustainable, inherently dangerous and absolutely unfeasible as a solution to climate change.      A hopeless pursuit? National efforts to promote small modular nuclear reactors and revive nuclear power. Small modular reactors (SMRs) offer no hope for nuclear energy.

Climate change crisis ranked as the biggest threat facing the global economy ahead of wars and pandemics. The environmental impact of emissions from space launches: a comprehensive review .

The Guardian view on The Green Planet: verdant and necessary

We study ocean temperatures. The Earth just broke a heat increase record.

Global heating linked to early birth and damage to babies’ health, scientists find

Stoltenberg: NATO ready for war in Europe.

Horrors of Hiroshima, a reminder nuclear weapons remain global threat.

ARCTICClimate change destroying homes across the Arctic. Fieldwork in the High Arctic found cataclysmic impact of climate change happening 70 years ahead of what the scientific models expected.

UKRAINEThe media downplays Ukraine’s ties to Nazism, as they promote weapons sales, and war against Russia.  This is how I feel about the Ukraine crisis.

UK.

JAPAN.  Fukushima Takes a Turn for the Worse . Survey at Fukushima No. 1 reactor container halted.   Severely damaged fuel at Fukushima No 1 reactor – survey to find this has been halted.   Robotic failure: “We don’t know the cause, and the outlook is unclear…” High barrier to internal investigation of high radiation dose at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1.     Japan to join with NuScale, Bill Gates’ TerraPower, to develop plutonium fast reactors and small nuclear reactors.

FRANCE. 

NORWAYNorway Activists Protest After Docking Of US Nuclear Submarine In Tromso: Reports.

USA.

SOUTH KOREA. Why joint US-South Korean research on plutonium separation raises nuclear proliferation danger .

IRAN. Former Israeli premier says notion of destroying Iran’s nuclear capabilities mere ‘nonsense’.

EUROPE. The science-based case for excluding nuclear power from the EU taxonomy. EU delays deadline on green investment rules for nuclear and gas. The detail in the European Commission’s draft for ”sustainable nuclear energy” makes nuclear energy unfeasible – even the nuke lobby hates it!  Downright absurd to classify a technology with the potential danger of nuclear power plants as green and sustainable. The European Union will need to invest 500 billion euros ($568 billion) in new generation nuclear power stations! The European Association for Renewable Energie Eurosolar rejects inclusion of nuclear and natural in the EU taxonomy.

RUSSIA. Russia finds worrisome NATO’s wish to lower nuclear threshold — diplomat.

MIDDLE EAST. Nuclear war is a genuine threat, so why have non-proliferation efforts stalled?  

CANADAWhat motivates Canadian province Premiers to enthuse about costly, probably useless, Small Nuclear Reactors?

GERMANY. Germany to stick to its guns on phasing out nuclear and coal energy . Germany’s admirable record in promoting renewable energy, as it leaves nuclear behind.

FINLAND. No plans for new nuclear , and Fennovoima project hampered by the Ukraine crisis.

LUXEMBOURG.. Luxembourg’s Energy Minister denounces France’s actions on promoting nuclear to Europe.

SWEDEN. Large drone observed over Forsmark nuclear station . Police hunt for drone seen flying over Forsmark nuclear station.  

AUSTRALIA.  AUKUS an unwelcome guest at the table of nuclear disarmament.  In Western Australia, first Cameco’s Kintyre uranium project was disallowed, now Toro’s uranium project also rejected

January 17, 2022 Posted by | Christina's notes | 1 Comment

Nuclear power plants – ”no significant harm?”-risks of catastrophic accidents, wastes dangers to future generations, water consumption.

Not green and not sustainable,  The science-based case for excluding nuclear power from the EU taxonomy, Beyond Nuclear, 15 Jan 2022,  ”………………………Does the present generation of nuclear fission power plants ‘do no significant harm’? 

To answer this question, two specific issues for nuclear power stand out: the risk of a catastrophic accident and the management of high-level nuclear waste (HLW). Nuclear fission energy is characterized by low probability, high consequence risks to humans and the environment. Even the JRC recognizes that the risk of a severe nuclear accident cannot be excluded, even in the best commercially available nuclear power plants. 

The disaster in Fukushima (2011) was triggered by a process that these nuclear reactors were not “designed” to withstand. These circumstances shed light on the limitations of the technical risk assessments, which have not fully taken into account beyond design risks in particular of core melt accidents. 

The events in Fukushima have made it apparent that such assessments are based on specific assumptions, for example on seismic safety or the maximum height of a tsunami, and that reality can disprove these assumptions. Deciding whether such risks belong to the category of ‘tolerable risks’ for a given society depends on the various risk regulation measures put in place. Especially relevant for nuclear fission power is the fact that the liability of the operator in the case of a severe accident is limited and the remaining costs are (largely) taken on by the state (privatization of profits, socialization of risks).

The Taxonomy architecture is not designed to cater for such risks that carry an intergenerational impact lasting for thousands of years, making it an unsuitable instrument to decide on the sustainable nature of nuclear power. 

The characteristics and nature of HLW generated by the nuclear fission process present long-term intergenerational risks and thereby challenge the principle of ‘do no significant harm’ to the extent that nuclear fission energy may not be considered eligible for the EU Taxonomy. 

This was made abundantly clear to the Commission in the TEG’s recommendations, which were not published in their entirety. Independent, scientific, peer-reviewed evidence compiled by TEG provided confirmation of the risk of significant harm arising from nuclear waste. 

The back end of the fuel cycle is currently dominated by the containment of spent fuel rods and waste from nuclear power facilities. Safe and secure long-term storage of nuclear waste remains unresolved and has to be demonstrated in its operational complexity. Whilst the nuclear industry and international nuclear waste experts provide assurances of multiple engineered safeguards designed to reduce the risks from nuclear waste through geological disposal, the question remains whether, despite the solid scientific basis and thorough geological knowledge gathered, in the absence of experience with this technology, one can really guarantee that HLW will remain isolated from humans and the environment for thousands, let alone millions of years. 

The fact that a ‘solution’ has to be found for the existing quantities of waste (as well spent fuel as conditioned high level waste forms), and that geological disposal is the least bad solution for this, does not imply that nuclear power can suddenly be classified as a ‘green’ energy source. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that the risks presented by nuclear fission energy to the ‘do no significant harm’ principle and technical screening criteria of the EU Taxonomy means that it can not be considered EU Taxonomy eligible or aligned as long as the technology and fuel cycle management has not proven to be sustainable as a whole.  

Other concerns with regard to DNSH criteria 

Nuclear fission power plants require about three cubic metres of cooling water per megawatt hour (MWh) produced. A nuclear plant’s cooling water consumption is higher than that of fossil-fuel plants. Throughout the world, new nuclear plants and existing plants increasingly face cooling water scarcity induced by heat waves, a situation that is likely to be aggravated by climate change. More efficient cooling technologies could be considered, but this adds to the already high costs of nuclear power plants. 

For reasons of having access to enough cooling water, nuclear plants are mostly sited in coastal or estuarine locations, but this makes them vulnerable to flooding and extreme events that climate change may occasion. The siting of nuclear power plants along coastal zones presents adaptation risks associated with sea-level rise, water temperature rise, coastal erosion as well as natural catastrophes such as the Fukushima disaster demonstrates. 

The Fukushima disaster reveals how powerless human operators are when nuclear systems escape full, continuous control. Instead of helping to address the impacts of the Tsunami as renewable energy sources would have, the devastated nuclear power plant strongly aggravated the emergency relief in the province and left huge new problems of liquid waste and radioactive waste resulting from infrastructure and land cleaning activities, never encountered before in densely populated industrial areas. 

Furthermore, when major nuclear plant accidents occur significant land areas become unsuitable for human habitation (e.g. Chernobyl, Fukushima). 

Advocates of nuclear power draw attention to the survival of natural flora and fauna in zones contaminated by radioactive materials and precluding human access. However, this is presumably not the type of ecological protection and resilience that the EU Taxonomy aims to achieve. Surface or underground mining and the processing of uranium ore can substantially damage surrounding ecosystems and waterways. The huge volumes of associated mining waste in developing countries are normally not considered in life cycle waste inventories of nuclear energy producing countries. 

More critically, the adverse effects on local environmental conditions of routine discharging of nuclear isotopes to the air and water at reprocessing plants have not been considered thoroughly enough. A number of adverse impacts (of radiation) on soil/sediment, benthic flora and fauna and marine mammals has been demonstrated ………………………………  https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/3774941784

January 17, 2022 Posted by | climate change, environment, EUROPE | 4 Comments

The media downplays Ukraine’s ties to Nazism, as they promote weapons sales, and war against Russia

Absent information

The fact that that Ukraine’s government and armed forces include a Nazi-sympathizing current surely would have an impact on US public opinion—if the public knew about it. However, this information has been entirely absent in recent editions of the New York Times and Washington Post.

Shortly after the Maidan uprising of 2013 to 2014 brought in a new government, Ukraine began whitewashing Nazi collaborators on a statewide level. In 2015, Kyiv passed legislation declaring two WWII-era paramilitaries—the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA)—heroes and freedom fighters, and threatening legal action against anyone denying their status. The OUN was allied with the Nazis and participated in the Holocaust; the UPA murdered thousands of Jews and 70,000–100,000 Poles on their own accord.

Hawkish Pundits Downplay Threat of War, Ukraine’s Nazi Ties, Fair, GREGORY SHUPAK 16 Jan 22,  With the United States and Russia in a standoff over NATO expansion and Russian troop deployments along the Ukrainian border, US corporate media outlets are demanding that Washington escalate the risk of a broader war while misleading their audiences about important aspects of the conflict.

Many in the commentariat called on the US to take steps that would increase the likelihood of war. In the New York Times (12/10/21), retired US Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman wrote that “the United States must support Ukraine by providing more extensive military assistance.” He argued that “the United States should consider an out-of-cycle, division-level military deployment to Eastern Europe to reassure allies and bolster the defenses of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization,” even while calling for a strategy that “avoids crossing into military adventurism.” He went on to say that “the United States has to be more assertive in the region.”

Yet the US has been plenty “assertive in the region,” where, incidentally, America is not located. In 2014, the US supported anti-government protests in Ukraine that led to the ouster of democratically elected, Russia-aligned Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych (Foreign Policy3/4/14). Russia sent its armed forces into the Crimea, annexed the territory, and backed armed groups in eastern Ukraine.

Since then, the US has given Ukraine $2.5 billion in military aid, including Javelin anti-tank missiles (Politico6/18/21).  The US government has applied sanctions to Russia that, according to an International Monetary Fund estimate, cost Russia about 0.2 percentage points of GDP every year between 2014 and 2018 (Reuters4/16/21).

Furthermore, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)—a US-led military alliance hostile to Russia—has grown by 14 countries since the end of the Cold War. NATO expanded right up to Russia’s border in 2004, in violation of the promises made by the elder George Bush and Bill Clinton to Russian leaders Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin (Jacobin7/16/18).

In the Washington Post (12/24/21), Republican Sen. Rob Portman and Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen jointly contended in Orwellian fashion that the Biden administration should take “military measures that would strengthen a diplomatic approach and give it greater credibility.” They wrote that “the United States must speed up the pace of assistance and provide antiaircraft, antitank and anti-ship systems, along with electronic warfare capabilities.” The authors claimed that these actions “will help ensure a free and stable Europe,” though it’s easy to imagine how such steps could instead lead to a war-ravaged Europe, or at least a tension-plagued one.

Indeed, US “military measures” have tended to increase, rather than decrease, the temperature. Last summer, the US and Ukraine led multinational naval maneuvers held in the Black Sea, an annual undertaking called Sea Breeze. The US-financed exercises were the largest in decades, involving 32 ships, 40 aircraft and helicopters, and 5,000 soldiers from 24 countries (Deutsche Welle6/29/21). These steps didn’t create a “stable Europe”: Russia conducted a series of parallel drills in the Black Sea and southwestern Russia (AP7/10/21), and would go on to amass troops along the Ukrainian border.

Afghan precedent……

Whitewashing Nazis

US media should present Americans with a complete picture of Ukraine/Russia so that Americans can assess how much and what kind of support, if any, they want their government to continue providing to Ukraine’s. Such a comprehensive view would undoubtedly include an account of the Ukrainian state’s political orientation. Lev Golinkin in The Nation (5/6/21) outlined one of the Ukrainian government’s noteworthy tendencies:

Shortly after the Maidan uprising of 2013 to 2014 brought in a new government, Ukraine began whitewashing Nazi collaborators on a statewide level. In 2015, Kyiv passed legislation declaring two WWII-era paramilitaries—the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA)—heroes and freedom fighters, and threatening legal action against anyone denying their status. The OUN was allied with the Nazis and participated in the Holocaust; the UPA
murdered thousands of Jews and 70,000–100,000 Poles on their own accord.

Every January 1, Kyiv hosts a torchlight march in which thousands honor Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, who headed an OUN faction; in 2017, chants of “Jews Out!” rang out during the march. Such processions (often redolent with antisemitism) are a staple in Ukraine….

Ukraine’s total number of monuments to Third Reich collaborators who served in auxiliary police battalions and other units responsible for the Holocaust number in the several hundred. The whitewashing also extends to official book bans and citywide veneration of collaborators.

The typical reaction to this in the West is that Ukraine can’t be celebrating Nazi collaborators because it elected [Volodymyr] Zelensky, a Jewish president. Zelensky, however, has alternated between appeasing and ignoring the whitewashing: In 2018, he stated, “To some Ukrainians, [Nazi collaborator] Bandera is a hero, and that’s cool!”

Furthermore, according to a George Washington University study, members of the far-right group Centuria are in the Ukrainian military, and Centuria’s social media accounts show these soldiers giving Nazi salutes, encouraging white nationalism and praising members of Nazi SS units (Ottawa Citizen, 10/19/21). Centuria leaders have ties to the Azov movement, which “has attacked anti-fascist demonstrations, city council meetings, media outlets, art exhibitions, foreign students, the LGBTQ2S+ community and Roma people”: the Azov movement’s militia has been incorporated in the Ukrainian National Guard (CTV News, 10/20/21). Azov, the UN has documented, has carried out torture and rape.

Absent information

The fact that that Ukraine’s government and armed forces include a Nazi-sympathizing current surely would have an impact on US public opinion—if the public knew about it. However, this information has been entirely absent in recent editions of the New York Times and Washington Post.

From December 6, 2021, to January 6,  2022, the Times published 228 articles that refer to Ukraine, nine of which contain some variation on the word “Nazi.” Zero percent of these note Ukrainian government apologia for Nazis or the presence of pro-Nazi elements in Ukraine’s armed forces. …………

the Post ran 201 pieces that mention the word “Ukraine.” Of these, six mention the word “Nazi,” none of them to point out that the Ukrainian state has venerated Holocaust participants, or that there are Nazis in the Ukrainian military.  Max Boot (1/5/22) and Robyn Dixon (12/11/21), in fact, dismissed this fact as mere Russian propaganda. In Boot’s earlier Ukraine piece (12/15/21), he acknowledged that the UPA collaborated with the Nazis and killed thousands of Polish people, but his article nevertheless suggested that the UPA offer a useful model for how Ukrainians could resist a Russian invasion, asserting that “all is not lost” in case of a Russian invasion, because “Ukrainian patriots could fight as guerrillas against Russian occupiers”:………………….

Evidently neither the UPA’s precedent of fascist massacres, nor the presence of similarly oriented groups in contemporary Ukraine’s armed forces and society, give Boot pause.  He’d rather the US continue flooding the country with weapons; the consequences aren’t a concern of Boot’s.

Readers seeking riotous calls to violence in Eastern Europe should turn to the Times and the Post, but those who are interested in a thoroughgoing portrait will be disappointed. https://fair.org/home/hawkish-pundits-downplay-threat-of-war-ukraines-nazi-ties/

January 17, 2022 Posted by | Ukraine, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Small modular reactors (SMRs) offer no hope for nuclear energy

There is also a “Catch 22”. The economics will only be tested when large numbers of reactors manufactured on production lines have been built and their cost known. Private industry is not going to take the risk of paying for production lines and buying large numbers of reactors that could well prove uneconomic. So, it will be public money, as it nearly always has been the case with nuclear power, that will be risked.

Small modular reactors offer no hope for nuclear energy,  https://www.advancedsciencenews.com/small-modular-reactors-offer-no-hope-for-nuclear-energy/ by M.V. Ramana | Jan 14, 2022,

Many believe that small modular reactors will help solve the energy crisis, but this belief is grossly optimistic.  In December 2021, the government of Belgium joined an increasing number of countries expressing an interest in building what are called small modular reactors, which generate under 300 megawatts of electrical power — much smaller than the 1000 to 1700 megawatts typical of large reactors that dominate today’s nuclear power landscape.

Belgium’s interest in small modular reactors was paired with a decision to phase out the country’s operating nuclear power plants by 2025, with Prime Minister Alexander De Croo declaring that the decision amounted to bidding goodbye to the old nuclear reactors but looking to nuclear energy of the future.

Does replacing ageing nuclear capacity with these smaller reactors make economic sense and will it happen?

Belgium is hardly alone in being interested in small modular reactors. At the forefront of efforts to commercialize these designs are the governments of the U.S., the U.K., and Canada, all of which provide large amounts of taxpayer money to subsidize their development. These three countries have long histories in nuclear power and are influencing other countries to follow their lead.

Decline in nuclear power

The background to interest in small reactors is the consistently declining share of nuclear power in global electricity generation, from 17.5% in 1996 to around 10% in 2020. This decline reflects the steep falloff in orders for nuclear power from the mid-1980s onward.

Although often blamed on public opposition to nuclear power, especially resulting from the devastating accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima, the main cause for the drop in nuclear power’s importance has been the steadily rising cost of nuclear reactors and the almost invariable tendency for project construction costs and time to escalate dramatically.

An illustration is the Vogtle project in the U.S. state of Georgia, where two large 1100 megawatt AP1000 reactors are being constructed. These two reactors are among approximately 30 new reactor proposals announced after the U.S. government offered handsome financial incentives for nuclear power plant construction in 2005. Of these, only four reactors moved to the construction stage.

The other project was in the nearby state of South Carolina and also involved two AP1000 reactors. After $9 billion was spent on this project, the utility company abandoned construction in 2017 because capital costs and building schedules had escalated beyond control.

Construction of the Vogtle reactors continues despite the project cost increasing from an initial estimate of $14 billion to over $30 billion, and the plant is still at least two years from completion. This is typical of such projects, and the poor construction record has made nuclear power plants difficult to finance because financiers are unwilling to be exposed to these risks.

The economic challenges of small reactors

Advocates for small modular reactors claim that this strategy will lower costs in the long run. They blame rising costs and delays on the size and complexity of large reactors and on the difficulty in managing the large amount of work they need to construct on-site. Small modular reactors are expected to be cheaper because they will use production line-made modules that will require much less work at the site.

These arguments have superficial attractions and do not stand up to scrutiny. The main strategy for combating nuclear power’s historic lack of competitiveness has been to build ever-larger reactors because the expenses associated with constructing and operating a reactor should not increase in direct proportion to the power generated. Small modular reactors cannot defy this economic logic. The scale economies that will be lost cannot be compensated for by factory manufacturing, and they will cost more than large reactors for each unit (megawatt) of generation capacity.

Experience also suggests that factory manufacturing of modules will not be a panacea. The AP1000 design used at the Vogtle and Summer sites relied heavily on using modular factory-made components, but that reliance did not prevent the large cost and time overruns as well as quality problems that have bedeviled these projects.

There is also a “Catch 22”. The economics will only be tested when large numbers of reactors manufactured on production lines have been built and their cost known. Private industry is not going to take the risk of paying for production lines and buying large numbers of reactors that could well prove uneconomic. So, it will be public money, as it nearly always has been the case with nuclear power, that will be risked.

Renewables are a better alternative

Whether small modular reactors can beat large reactors in terms of economics is not the issue; it is their competitiveness with renewables. While nuclear costs have been relentlessly rising for decades, costs of renewables have plummeted and are now far lower than for nuclear. In its most recent estimate, the Wall Street firm, Lazard, estimated that a new nuclear plant will generate electricity at an average cost of $167 per megawatt hour, over four times the corresponding estimates of $38 and $34 per megawatt hour for new wind and solar energy plants, respectively.

Renewables can also be deployed much quicker and more reliably than nuclear — a key factor in dealing with a climate emergency. And the myth that electrical grids cannot be operated reliably with renewables because the Sun does not shine all the time and wind does not always blow is just that: a myth. In fact, renewables can be the basis of a reliable electricity system provided suitable and affordable options, such as energy efficiency, demand response, technological and geographic diversity, and some storage, are incorporated.

The economic problems associated with small reactors means that they will not be built in large numbers, and they will not halt the decline in nuclear power. The track record in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. so far suggests that the development efforts in these countries are unlikely to succeed. If even these countries, with their long history of exploiting nuclear power and large financial and skills resources cannot commercialize these technologies, then the prospects in other countries will also be bleak.

All of this can be ignored but for the “opportunity costs” of pursuing small modular reactors. Throughout nuclear power’s history, governments have continually believed that nuclear power would solve the energy problems of the day, whether it is dependence on hostile suppliers of oil and gas, acid rain, or now, climate change.

This belief has resulted in grossly over-optimistic and unfulfilled forecasts of nuclear expansion. The attempt has diverted money and resources away from the options that would have addressed these issues. If governments continue to pursue small reactors, this will jeopardize our attempts to mitigate climate change.   Written by: M. V. Ramana and Stephen Thomas

Reference: Stephen Thomas and M. V. Ramana, A Hopeless Pursuit? National Efforts to Promote Small Modular Nuclear Reactors and Revive Nuclear Power, WIRES Energy and Environment (2022). DOI: 10.1002/wene.429

January 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The science-based case for excluding nuclear power from the EU taxonomy

Not green and not sustainable,  The science-based case for excluding nuclear power from the EU taxonomy, Beyond Nuclear, 15 Jan 2022,

A statement by Dawn Slevin, Dr. Erik Laes, Paolo Masoni, Jochen Krimphoff, Fabrizio Varriale, Andrea Di Turi, Dr. Ulrich Ofterdinger, Dr. Dolores Byrne, Dr. Petra Kuenkel, Ursula Hartenberger, Kosha Joubert, Dr. Paul Dorfman, Anders Wijkman, Prof. Petra, Seibert, Rebecca Harms, Joseph Kobor, Michel Lee, Dr. Stuart Parkinson, and Dr. Ian Fairlie

One of the most influential policy initiatives of the European Commission in the past years has been the “EU Taxonomy”, essentially a shopping list of investments that may be considered environmentally sustainable across six environmental objectives

To be deemed EU Taxonomy aligned, the activity must demonstrate a substantial contribution to one environmental objective, such as climate change mitigation, whilst causing no significant harm to the remaining five environmental objectives (climate change adaptation, sustainable use and protection of water and marine resources, transition to a circular economy, pollution prevention and control, and protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems).  

All eligible activities are required to comply with technical screening criteria (TSC) for ‘substantial contribution’ and ‘do no significant harm’ and to demonstrate that social safeguards are in place. The EU Taxonomy provides a common language for sustainability reporting, a foundation for green bond reporting and much more. It is intended to be used by international financial markets participants whose products are sold within the EU in order to evaluate the sustainability of their underlying investments.  

The use of the EU Taxonomy is furthermore compulsory for the EU and member states when introducing requirements and standards regarding environmental sustainability of financial products, such as an EU ecolabel for investment products or an EU Green Bond Standard. It will also apply to 37% of activities earmarked as ‘climate-friendly’ financed by the EU COVID-19 recovery funding. Its science-based approach is designed to give confidence to a wide range of international stakeholders that environmental claims are not greenwashing. 

The question whether nuclear fission energy complies with the ‘do no significant harm’ (DNSH) criteria of the EU Taxonomy was the focus of the Technical Expert Group (TEG) DNSH assessment on nuclear fission technologies which recommended to the Commission that nuclear should not be included in the EU Taxonomy of environmentally sustainable activities.

Taking into account the significant financial implications of adopting the TEG recommendations, it became the starting point of intense behind-door lobbying. France led a coalition of 10 EU Member States arguing that nuclear fission as well as gas-fired power plants should be included in the Taxonomy. Together with Finland (Olkiluoto-3), France is at present the only EU country constructing a new nuclear power plant (Flamanville-3). 

The Finnish and French construction sites were meant to be the industrial demonstration of an evolutionary nuclear technology (the “European Pressurised water Reactor” or EPR). Olkiluoto-3 was meant to start generating power in 2009, followed by Flamanville-3 in 2012. Instead, the projects turned out to have multiple engineering difficulties and financial constraints that resulted in significant delays culminating in missed deadlines for various production start dates and tripling unit cost. 

Nevertheless, in October 2021 president Macron announced that France will continue to invest heavily in the construction of EPR ‘light’ versions, next to research into small modular reactor (SMR) technology. Following consultation with Member States, the Commission charged its former nuclear Joint Research Centre (JRC) to draft another technical report in 2020 – the “Technical assessment of nuclear energy with respect to the ‘do no significant harm’ criteria of Regulation (EU) 2020/852”. This report was reviewed by two sets of experts, the Group of Experts on radiation protection and waste management under Article 31 of the Euratom Treaty (having no specific competences in sustainability impact assessment other than impacts incurred by radiation) and the Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks on environmental impacts (Sheer). 

While the Sheer group pointed out some omissions, the Article 31 Group of Experts, unsurprisingly supported the conclusions of the JRC. Nevertheless, a minority report opposed the lack of integration of economic and environmental aspects, as put forward by the Rio principles for Sustainable Development. 

The JRC, supported by the Art. 31 experts, concluded amongst others that:  “…deep geological repositories are considered, at the state of today’s knowledge, appropriate and safe means of isolating spent fuel and other high-level waste (HLW) from the biosphere for very long timescales and the necessary technologies are now available;” “..the standards of environmental control needed to protect the members of the public are likely to be sufficient to ensure that other species are not put at risk;” “… the requirements in the [EU Taxonomy] TSC regarding protection of humans and the environment from harmful effects of ionising radiation are automatically satisfied in the EU if a licence can be issued.” 

Notwithstanding the findings of the JRC and the Article 31 Group of Experts, members of the TEG DNSH maintain our position that nuclear fission energy should not be included in the EU Taxonomy of environmentally sustainable activities. We the TEG DNSH members observe that the above JRC/Article 31 Group of experts’ statements and conclusions drawn thereof cannot be fully based on scientific evidence as deep geological disposal of high-level nuclear waste entails the need for adequate quality assurance and control of waste form compatibility, as well as for monitoring of health impacts and preservation of knowledge and memory for possibly thousands of years. It also requires operational demonstration of disposal within Europe. 

The fact that according to the current technical state of knowledge there is no alternative to deep geological disposal as a ‘solution’ for the nuclear waste problem does not take away from its ethically problematic character. Moreover the independent scientific evidence which the TEG presented to the European Commission, shows evidence of adverse impacts to the natural environment arising from the many processes involved in the nuclear power lifecycle (from uranium mining to waste disposal) that are operational today.  

Therefore, we maintain our recommendation to the European Commission that nuclear fission energy has no place on the EU Taxonomy of sustainable activities, whether or not it is licensed. It is furthermore our view that the proponents of nuclear energy have guided the interpretation of scientific knowledge and the framing of sustainability assessment in order to use the EU Taxonomy to place a ‘scientific’ stamp on what is primarily a political position on nuclear fission energy aiming to satisfy the few EU member states that wish to promote the associated technologies.  

Does the present generation of nuclear fission power plants ‘do no significant harm’? ……… 

The Taxonomy architecture is not designed to cater for such risks that carry an intergenerational impact lasting for thousands of years, making it an unsuitable instrument to decide on the sustainable nature of nuclear power. ………..

Other concerns with regard to DNSH criteria ……………………………..

Should nuclear fission power be included in the taxonomy as a transition activity? ……………………………………..

Further issues of justice beyond the DNSH criteria …………………….

The Way Forward .

Controlling nuclear technologies, investments, and practices requires a high level of technical expertise, which emphasizes the need for expert structures which are independent of the nuclear industry and can therefore better safeguard the common good at international, European and national levels. 

The nuclear industry is currently self-regulating with oversight provided by the IAEA (with a mandate to promote the peaceful applications of nuclear technology), EURATOM framing and international committees such as UNSCEAR depending too much on international diplomacy (which recently cast doubt on the health effects of exposure to low levels of radiation). 

We highlight the need for an independent international agency requiring revision of the EURATOM treaty as well in order to be able to review nuclear power issues with a focus on society’s need of sustainable development above nuclear sectoral interests, in terms of safeguarding public and environmental health, economic and energy security and general issues of justice. 

The proposed inclusion of nuclear fission energy in the EU Taxonomy will channel much needed capital away from proven sustainable energy sources, create more long-term operational and waste management risks and adverse environmental and social impacts that will undermine the principles and technical screening criteria of the EU Taxonomy and crucially, undermine Europe’s credibility and standing amongst its own citizens and international peers. 

Instead of giving the nuclear industry a new financial injection for solutions of the past such as the large scale EPR, the EU should focus on pressing issues such as looking for common solutions to the existing HLW problem in EU Member States (and internationally) and taking up a strong regulatory position on nuclear safety and peaceful developments in nuclear technology. 

It is the responsibility of Euratom to demonstrate a real European collaboration in solving the technical as well as the environmental and economic challenges related to HLW management (emergency management, harmonised safety and QA/QC criteria for waste forms, insurances). 

The signatories of this letter understand the need of the nuclear industry to receive ongoing regulatory support to ensure that their current operations, management of waste, and decommissioning are authorized and carried out in a safe manner. We therefore encourage the JRC and EU Institutions to extend and harmonise their support and strategic direction of the nuclear industry in the new energy transition paradigm, but we state categorically that the proposed inclusion of nuclear fission energy on the EU Taxonomy  of environmentally sustainable activities is contrary to the TEGs recommendation to the European Commission. 

The above is the content of a Statement of Concern sent by the EU Taxonomy subgroup DNSH TEG members and expert supporters to the Commission on December 21, 2021. The statement can also be downloaded in PDF format. https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/3774941784

January 17, 2022 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE | Leave a comment

President Macron’s plan for electricity price cut could cost EDF €8 billion

President Macron’s plan to avoid a politically explosive electricity price rise in France could cost EDF €8 billion, the French state-controlled energy group warned yesterday. The alert prompted a sharp sell-off in shares of EDF, which tumbled by 14.6 per cent, or €1.51, to close at €8.84 last night, as investors reacted with dismay to an order from the French government that the company must increase the amount of
cut-price electricity it sells to rivals to hold down prices for consumers.

EDF further spooked the markets by saying that it was extending the shutdowns of five nuclear reactors because of safety concerns, leading to a fresh cut to its electricity production forecasts. The group, which is leading the project to build Britain’s only new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, said that it was unable to calculate the exact financial consequences of the last salvo of bad news and withdrew its profit guidance for the year. It said that it would “consider appropriate measures to strengthen its balance sheet structure and any measure to protect its interests”.

 Times 15th Jan 2022

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/macron-energy-price-cut-will-wipe-8bn-off-revenue-at-edf-energy-vhnzrxt05

January 17, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

A hopeless pursuit? National efforts to promote small modular nuclear reactors and revive nuclear power. 

This article examines national efforts
in three countries, Canada, the UK, and the United States, which are
pursuing SMRs vigorously and where the government has funded their
development generously.

We compare the different strategies and foci of
these national strategies, analyzing the various forms of support offered
by the separate agencies of the government, and the private companies that
are trying to develop SMRs.

We also offer an overview of the different
types of reactor technologies being pursued in these different countries.

Following these, we outline the main challenge confronting SMR
technologies: their ability to generate electricity in an economically
competitive manner, highlighting the problems resulting from economies of
scale being lost. By examining the experience so far, we find that even
designs based on well-tested technology cannot be deployed till after 2030
and the more radical designs might never be.

 Wires Energy & Environment 12th Jan 2022

https://wires.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/wene.429

January 17, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | 2 Comments

Global heating linked to early birth and damage to babies’ health, scientists find

Global heating linked to early birth and damage to babies’ health, scientists find

Studies show high temperatures and air pollution during pregnancy can cause lifelong health effects

January 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Labour tries to curb cost overruns from Sizewell C development

Bill Bordass, Research and Policy Adviser for the Usable Buildings Trust said: ‘Surely the only sensible way to curb Sizewell C is to scrap it entirely? It is just good money after bad.’

Labour bids to curb cost overruns from Sizewell C development, https://100percentrenewableuk.org/labour-bids-to-curb-cost-overruns-from-sizewell-c-development, David Toke, 16 Jan 22, The Labour frontbench has put down an amendment to the Nuclear Financing Bill which would stop the automatic reimbursement of EDF for excess construction costs of the planned Sizewell C nuclear power plant. The amendment, put forward by Shadow Green New Deal and Energy Minister  Alan Whitehead, has been defeated by the Conservative majority in the Commons, but will soon come up for a vote in the House of Lords.

The Nuclear Financing Bill sets up a so-called Regulated Asset Base (RAB) means of funding nuclear power. This means the constructors would be be paid for the construction costs before the plant was generating anything. It would save the constructors money whilst making the project a lot more expensive for the energy consumer in the (most likely) event that the project experienced considerable cost overruns.

Although the SNP has also put down useful amendments to make the Government publish details of the costs of the project, Labour’s proposed amendment is potentially significant in that it could, if taken literally, dissuade EDF from moving ahead with any deal to build Sizewell C. As Whitehead told the Commons, analysis of historical experience of building nuclear power plant it is a near certainty that there will be cost overruns on the project.

In fact Whitehead implied he was not trying to stop the project, but merely argued that cost overruns should not automatically be added to consumer bills. If there were cost overruns then the Government could find the extra money to pay for the project from some other source.

Amongst other things, the SNP amendments asked that the Government should have to make public whether Sizewell C was being given a guarantee that its generation would be paid a minimum price for each MWh produced. Labour also sought to block nuclear power plant being owned by foreign companies, although it was argued this would not affect Sizewell C.

Labour joined forces with the Conservatives to vote through the Bill on the Third Reading, with the SNP, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party whipping against the Bill.

It ought to seem strange that at the very time there is concern about increased energy bills and strident calls to cut back on green levies from some Tory MPs, the very same MPs are unquestioningly voting through a piece of legislation that will add substantial sums onto consumer bills. EDF has said that Sizewell C will cost £20 billion. Considering that interest charges and also cost overruns will have to be added to this sum the total cost may very plausibly amount to £30 billion or more – and that represents more than £1000 for each household in the UK.

The amount of energy generated by Sizewell C will only be of the order of the next tranche of renewable energy projects (to be issued in the coming moths) that will cost the consumer effectively nothing. By contrast Sizewell C will likely not even be seriously begun until Hinkley C is completed (2027?) which means a 2035 or later start. The UK could have deployed a lot more renewable energy by then of course at much lower cost. The current nuclear crisis in France demonstrates how unreliable nuclear power can be.

Bill Bordass, Research and Policy Adviser for the Usable Buildings Trust said: ‘Surely the only sensible way to curb Sizewell C is to scrap it entirely? It is just good money after bad.’

The Commons debate details can be seen here. The House of Lords is due to vote on the Bill in the coming days.

January 17, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

10 out of 56 French nuclear reactors are currently shut down

“They are very anxious”: EDF in the face of nuclear reactor
breakdowns. Ten reactors out of 56 are shut down, i.e. 20% of French
nuclear production capacity. “In winter, the availability of the nuclear
fleet has never been so low”, observes RTE, the manager of the high voltage
network.

The black series continues for EDF. Thursday, January 13, the
group announced that a fourth nuclear reactor, Penly 1, in Seine-Maritime,
was affected by a corrosion problem on its safety injection system – a
device of capital importance in the event of a accident. His shutdown has
been extended until the end of May. Reporterre takes stock of the
situation.

 Reporterre 15th Jan 2022

https://reporterre.net/Ils-sont-tres-angoisses-EDF-face-aux-pannes-de-reacteurs-nucleaires
https://nuclearinformation.wordpress.com/

January 17, 2022 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

AUKUS an unwelcome guest at the table of nuclear disarmament.

AUKUS is emblematic of a belligerence that is at odds with moral and ethical demands for the future. It posits a vision of military aggression and confrontation that increase the risk of war and war turning nuclear; and concedes authoritarianism and lack of debate as defining principles for the present

AUKUS an unwelcome guest at the table of nuclear disarmament, Pearls and Irritations,
By Sanjay BarboraJan 16, 2022
   Despite many shortcomings, the Non-Proliferation Treaty remains a symbol of an inconsistent effort to ensure a world without threats of nuclear war.

The 2022 Review Conference (RevCon) of the Parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which was to meet from January 4 to 28 in New York has been postponed because of the resurgent virus. Consultations are under way to set a new meeting time.

………………As governments and civil society consider their priorities for the review conference, what then are we to expect? This question assumes greater significance for Australia, as the country’s leaders respond to the changing climate following the hastily announced AUKUS trilateral pact for the supply of nuclear-powered submarines to Australia in 2021.

Three closely related aspects ought to be considered by the country’s decision makers as they address the review conference. They are (a) Australia’s commitment to international obligations, (b) security implications of the proposed AUKUS submarines, and (c) reactions within civil society, either as they exist now or as may be anticipated in the future.

………………. In the past, Australia’s stated position was to aim for greater accountability from the Nuclear Weapons States (NWS), while widening the scope of non-nuclear weapons states (NNWS) to pursue the development of domestic nuclear energy. However, this position was undermined by its active opposition to and attempts to derail the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2017.

A decision to acquire nuclear-powered submarines under the AUKUS partnership would threaten this fraught history with further uncertainties. It would offer the United States an even greater say in Australian foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific-Indian Ocean region.

The specious defence that eight-nuclear propelled submarines do not constitute a breach of Australia’s commitment to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation has two obvious problems.

Firstly, politicians and political commentators have made it clear that current tensions with China have played a substantial role in the current government’s decision to override earlier agreements for creating domestic capacities to build submarines with French support.

Secondly, this dystopian vision of a future world of nuclear showdowns could encourage governments of other NNWS in the region and elsewhere to follow a similar disingenuous narrative for nuclear militarisation.

In any case, the pathway from civil use to military weaponisation remains an issue of concern, that any sovereign country might follow. This could undo several decades of Australian diplomacy that sought to place the country as a reliable partner for securing peaceful policies and development in the Asia-Pacific-Indian Ocean region.

AUKUS is emblematic of a belligerence that is at odds with moral and ethical demands for the future. It posits a vision of military aggression and confrontation that increase the risk of war and war turning nuclear; and concedes authoritarianism and lack of debate as defining principles for the present…………..

The NPT Review Conference, therefore offers an opportunity to revive Australian civil society’s responsibility to reiterate its commitment to regional and global peace and a world free of nuclear weapons.

Professor Sanjay Barbora, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India, is a Research Affiliate with the University of Melbourne’s Initiative for Peacebuilding. This article was stimulated by a closed-door roundtable discussion, “Would AUKUS undermine the NPT?” hosted by the Initiative for Peacebuilding on December 10. https://johnmenadue.com/aukus-an-unwelcome-guest-at-the-table-of-nuclear-disarmament/

January 17, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Swedish police hunt for drone seen flying over Forsmark nuclear station.

 Police in Sweden deployed patrols and helicopters to the Forsmark nuclear
plant to hunt for a large drone seen flying over the site late on Friday,
but were unable to catch the unmanned vehicle, they said on Saturday. The
incident came a day after Sweden’s military started patrolling the main
town on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland amid increased tensions between
NATO and Russia and a recent deployment of Russian landing craft in the
Baltic.

 Reuters 15th Jan 2022

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/swedish-police-hunt-drone-seen-flying-over-forsmark-nuclear-plant-2022-01-15/

January 17, 2022 Posted by | incidents, Sweden | Leave a comment

Horrors of Hiroshima, a reminder nuclear weapons remain global threat

UN News,    15 January 2022, Peace and Security, Despite the annihilation of two major Japanese cities in 1945, atomic bombs have not been relegated to the pages of history books, but continue to be developed today – with increasingly more power to destroy than they had when unleashed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki back in 1945.
 Those first nuclear weapons deployed by the United States, indiscriminately killed tens of thousands of non-combatants but also left indelible scars for the immediate survivors, that they, their children and grandchildren still carry today.

“The Red Cross hospital was full of dead bodies. The death of a human is a solemn and sad thing, but I didn’t have the time to think about it because I had to collect their bones and dispose of their bodies”, a then 25-year-old woman said in a recorded testimony, 1.5 km from Hiroshima’s ground zero.

“This was truly a living hell, I thought, and the cruel sights still stay in my mind”

To highlight the tireless work of the survivors, known in Japanese as the hibakusha, the UN’s Office for Disarmament Affairs, created an exhibition at UN Headquarters in New York which has just come to a close, entitled: Three Quarters of a Century After Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The Hibakusha—Brave Survivors Working for a Nuclear-Free World.

It vividly brings to life the devastation and havoc wreaked by those first atomic bombs (A-bombs), and their successor weapons, the more powerful hydrogen bombs (H-bombs) which began testing in the 1950s

Quest to save humanity

In the aftermath of the bombings in Japan, the hibakusha, conducted intense investigations with the aim of preventing history from repeating itself.

With an average age of 83 today, the dwindling band continue to share their stories and findings with supporters at home and abroad, “to sav[ing] humanity…through the lessons learned from our experiences, while at the same time saving ourselves”, they say, in the booklet No More Hibakusha -Message to the World, which accompanies the exhibit.

Recounting the day in Hiroshima that 11 members of her family slept together in an air raid shelter, a then 19-year-old woman spoke of how three small children died during the night, while calling for water.

“The next morning, we carried their bodies out of the shelter, but their faces were so swollen and black that we couldn’t tell them apart, so laid them out on the ground according to height and decided their identities according to their size”.

These brave survivors testify that peace cannot be achieved ever, through the use of nuclear weapons.

‘Absolute evil’

A group of elderly hibakusha, called Nihon Hidankyo, have dedicated their lives to achieving a non-proliferation treaty, which they hope will ultimately lead to a total ban on nuclear weapons.

“On an overcrowded train on the Hakushima line, I fainted for a while, holding in my arms my eldest daughter of one year and six months. I regained my senses at her cries and found no-one else was on the train”, a 34-year-old woman testifies in the booklet. She was located just two kilometres from the Hiroshima epicentre.

Fleeing to her relatives in Hesaka, at age 24 another woman remembers that “people, with the skin dangling down, were stumbling along. They fell down with a thud and died one after another”, adding, “still now I often have nightmares about this, and people say, ‘it’s neurosis’”.

One man who entered Hiroshima after the bomb recalled in the exhibition, “that dreadful scene – I cannot forget even after many decades”.

A woman who was 25 years-old at the time, said, “when I went outside, it was dark as night. Then it got brighter and brighter, and I could see burnt people crying and running about in utter confusion. It was hell…I found my neighbour trapped under a fallen concrete wall…Only half of his face was showing. He was burned alive”.Uniting for peace

The steadfast conviction of the Hidankyo remains: “Nuclear weapons are absolute evil that cannot coexist with humans. There is no choice but to abolish them”.

In August 1956, the survivors of the 1945 atomic bombs in Hiroshima on 6 August and Nagasaki three days later, formed the “Japan Confederation of A and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations”.

Encouraged by the movement to ban the atomic bomb that was triggered by the Daigo Fukuryu Maru disaster – when 23 men in a Japanese tuna fishing boat were contaminated by nuclear fallout from a hydrogen bomb test at Bikini Atoll in 1954 – they have not wavered in their efforts to prevent others from becoming nuclear victims.

“We have reassured our will to save humanity from its crisis through the lessons learned from our experiences, while at the same time saving ourselves”, they declared at the formation meeting.

The spirit of the declaration, in which their own sufferings are linked to the task of preventing the hardship that they continue to carry, resonates still in the movement today…………………………………………….

The hibakusha became more and more vocal in the suffering that was inflicted upon them, hoping that it could help create a road map towards the abolition of nuclear weapons.

In oral testimonies, they shared their experiences both during and after the bombings and sent written messages to the NPT Review Conference in 2010 appealing to the world.

In July 2017, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which complements the NPT, was adopted and came into force last year on 22 January……………………

the UN is committed to ensuring their testimonies live on, as a warning to each new generation.

The Hibakusha are a living reminder that nuclear weapons pose an existential threat and that the only guarantee against their use is their total elimination”, Mr. Guterres stated. “This goal continues to be the highest disarmament priority of the United Nations, as it has been since the first resolution adopted by the General Assembly in 1946”.

While the Tenth Review Conference of the NPT, which had been scheduled for January, has been postponed on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, he continued to urge world leaders to “draw on the spirit of the Hibakusha” by putting aside their differences and taking “bold steps towards achieving the collective goal of the elimination of nuclear weapons”. https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/01/1109602

January 17, 2022 Posted by | culture and arts, depleted uranium, Japan, PERSONAL STORIES | Leave a comment

The US and China Could Soon Be In Race For Nuclear-Powered Satellites.

The US and China Could Soon Be In Race For Nuclear-Powered Satellites, Defense One, 16 Jan 22,

An idea from the 1960s has found new backers.,  If future U.S. satellites are to dodge incoming Russian or Chinese fire, they’ll need better ways to move around than today’s fuel-intensive thrusters. That’s why the Pentagon is looking into nuclear-powered propulsion.

While leaders at the Space Force and the Pentagon Research and Development office remain publicly quiet about the idea of putting nuclear-powered spacecraft in orbit, the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace studies released a new report that argues for more focused work on it. 

It isn’t a new concept. NASA and the Atomic Energy Commission were working toward a flight test for their nuclear rocket until the Vietnam War sapped the program’s funding. It was cancelled in 1973, and safety concerns have since scuttled further efforts………….

If future U.S. satellites are to dodge incoming Russian or Chinese fire, they’ll need better ways to move around than today’s fuel-intensive thrusters. That’s why the Pentagon is looking into nuclear-powered propulsion.

While leaders at the Space Force and the Pentagon Research and Development office remain publicly quiet about the idea of putting nuclear-powered spacecraft in orbit, the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace studies released a new report that argues for more focused work on it. 

It isn’t a new concept. NASA and the Atomic Energy Commission were working toward a flight test for their nuclear rocket until the Vietnam War sapped the program’s funding. It was cancelled in 1973, and safety concerns have since scuttled further efforts……….

But one DARPA official, at least, suggests looking at the idea afresh. A 2020 policy change from the Trump White House has clearing the way for new research into nuclear propulsion, Micheal Leahy, the director of the tactical technology office at DARPA, told a virtual audience on Friday. Leahy’s office runs the DARPA Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations, or DRACO, program. Last April, DARPA awarded General Atomics a contract for a preliminary design of a reactor and propulsion subsystem, and gave Lockheed Martin and Blue Origin a contract for a spacecraft design.

But the bigger factor is thatChina is working along similar lines with planes to field its own nuclear-powered satellites by 2040. The lessons from the current gap in hypersonic missile technology should provide a cautionary tale, Leahy said. 

“We had the lead in hypersonics, only to watch it go away. Right?… Now I’m in a tail chase,” he said.  https://www.defenseone.com/technology/2022/01/us-and-china-could-soon-be-race-nuclear-powered-satellites/360792/

January 17, 2022 Posted by | China, space travel, USA | 1 Comment

Cracks on safety-critical pipes in France’s nuclear reactors

Cracks on safety-critical pipes: the list of nuclear reactors concerned is
growing! At the beginning of the year, the four most powerful reactors in
the fleet, Chooz and Civaux, are shut down following the detection of a
worrying generic anomaly (cracks in a pipe of the safety injection system)
which concerns at least three of them.

On January 13, the Institute for
Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety announced that reactor No. 1 of the
Penly nuclear power plant (Seine-Maritime) was also affected by this
defect, information confirmed by EDF. This discovery calls for a
questioning of safety control and French energy choices, based on nuclear
power whose supposed reliability is not there.

 Sortir du Nucleaire 14th Jan 2022

https://www.sortirdunucleaire.org/Fissures-sur-des-tuyauteries-cruciales-pour-la

January 17, 2022 Posted by | France, incidents | Leave a comment