nuclear-news

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

Nuclear news – week to 12 April

 Some bits of good news .     Why the latest UN climate report is positive news .    New research shows planting trees and shrubs brings woodland birds back to farms, from superb fairy wrens to spotted pardalotes .    Climate change: greener lifestyles linked to greater happiness – in both rich and poor countries.  Annual bird count in UK gardens raises hopes for greenfinch .

Pandemic. It’s not as if the coronavirus has gone away – new sub-variants etc…

Climate. It’s not as if global heating has gone away.

Nuclear. While the Ukraine warseems to consume nearly all the news, there is a swamping of UK nuclear news at present. The mainstream media can be depended on for its usual regurgitation of handouts from the nuclear lobby, masquerading as news. All the same, there’s a surprising flow of information, even from conservative sources, warning that Boris Johnson”s nuclear energy dream looks like turning into a nightmare  –  useless against climate change, increasing the toxic waste problem, of dubious safety. and – shock horror – unaffordable.

The choices: fight to the last Ukrainian, or choose Macron’s dialogue path.    In the midst of war in Ukraine, U.S. and NATO must de-escalate.       Questions Abound About Bucha Massacre.

Pundits Who Advocate Hot War With Russia Are Enemies Of Humanity.  World leaders must look to peaceful solutions, not more weaponsWho speaks for the world? — IPPNW peace and health blogl      Ukraine is ground zero for the expansion of the U.S.-Russia proxy war, (and the war industry is jubilant).   Nuclear missiles, bombs market to surge 73% by 2030, report says, industry worried that international treaties ”might hamper growth”.     ‘Most Dangerous Point in Human History’ Looming, Warns Noam Chomsky.

NATO is punishing China               U.S., NATO push Asia-Pacific bloc against Russia, China, with Ukraine as pretext.
Shortening the kill chain: nuclear-capable U.S. B-52s integrate with NATO Eastern flank states

Protecting the environment to reduce the risk of another pandemic

IPCC ‘s dire warning on climate change is being ignored, amid war and economic turmoil. IPCC new report coming, on limiting global heatingWorld on ‘fast track to climate disaster’, says UN secretary general – video
 We can still avert climate catastrophe – but there is barely time.

Almost everyone now breathing polluted air, warns WHO

ANTARCTICA. New research links Antarctic ice loss to greenhouse gas emissions,

UKRAINE. Ending Ukraine’s suffering. The decision to negotiate this is up to Ukraine, not the USA.      Ukraine planning to resume control of Chernobyl nuclear site, as Russians withdraw.

Ukraine: Russian troops took Radioactive ‘souvenirs’ from Chernobyl, says agency Russian soldiers in Chernobyl ‘picked up radioactive material with barehands’ and contaminated inside of plant.  Over 70 Russian soldiers suffering from radiation exposure at Chernobyl nuclear site.

Greenpeace maps Ukraine’s nuclear power risks. Zaporizhzhia is a wake-up call demonstrating the vulnerability of nuclear plants to deliberate acts of war.     Why Ukraine’s Nuclear Waste Is A Major Threat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r88prlEbtmg&t=33s

Weapons, weapons and more weapons: Ukrainian FM welcomed at NATO headquarters

JAPAN. Japan to match Germany’s NATO military spending level, develop first external strike ability since WWII .  In Japan, no return to nuclear power any time soon, despite loud voices wanting this,

ITALY. ]NATO military involvement in Ukraine will lead to world war: Italian FM

UK.

RUSSIA. Would Putin use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine? Kremlin condemns Polish comments on readiness to host nuclear weapons. Rosatom, Russia’s nuclear corporation, exports nuclear fuel to Finland and others – has not been sanctioned by USA and Europe.

MARSHALL ISLANDSThe U.S. Must Take Responsibility for Nuclear Fallout in the Marshall Islands.

USA

EUROPE. The European Commission Platform on Sustainable Finance concludes that nuclear and gas power are not green.

 “Line between peace and war blurring”: NATO’s new warfighting agenda aims at military superiority for next 20 years/

FRANCE. Emmanuel Macron Gets Nuclear Energy All Wrong. In France, the nuclear waste keeps piling up: new reactors will add to the dilemma. Macron under Putin’s thumb as Russia could CRIPPLE France’s nuclear industry, as it controls uranium supply.

INDIA. India’s Inadvertent Missile Launch Underscores the Risk of Accidental Nuclear Warfare.

CHINA. China Is Accelerating Its Nuclear Buildup Over Rising Fears of U.S. Conflict. Nuclear bunkers are not what they used to be, with earth-penetrating weapons on the rise.

FINLAND. Nuclear waste management: Is Finland’s Onkalo facility safe?

POLAND Poland: Ruling party chief invites nuclear weapons, more U.S. troops

IRAN. Iran blames US for halt to nuclear talks. Iran MPs Set Conditions for Reviving 2015 Nuclear Deal amid Stalled Talks.Iran wants U.S. to show goodwill by lifting some sanctions prior to nuclear deal

SINGAPORE. Singapore’s nuclear power development is far away, relying on unproven reactor designs

GERMANY Chancellor Olaf Scholz reiterated Germany’s determination to close down all nuclear power stations

NORTH KOREAThe forgotten nuclear threat of North Korea.

PORTUGAL. European Commission takes Portugal to Court to guarantee citizens’ protection from ionising radiation-exposure

SOUTH KOREA. SouthKorea’s president-elect wants U.S. nuclear bombers, submarines to return,

ARGENTINA. Argentina wants China to fully fund $8.3 bln nuclear plant.

UZBEKISTAN. Uzbekistan: Nuclear deal with Russia still on the table despite sanctions. Ukraine War Has Upset Uzbekistan’s Nuclear Plans.

SWITZERLAND. Switzerland plans to bury spent nuclear fuel deep underground in clay.  

AUSTRALIA. FAST TRACK TO ARMAGEDDON — Declassified AustraliaAUKUS hypersonic announcement will ‘escalate global tensions’, warns CND

April 11, 2022 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

In the midst of war in Ukraine, U.S. and NATO must de-escalate

 https://www.nj.com/opinion/2022/04/in-the-midst-of-war-in-ukraine-us-and-nato-must-de-escalate-l-opinion.html Apr. 09, 2022 By Star-Ledger Guest Columnist

Robert Moore

Since invading Ukraine on Feb. 24, President Putin has put Russian nuclear forces on high alert and issued warnings to other nations that if they interfere with the Russian invasion they risk “consequences such as they have never seen in their history.” The Russians also elevated the nuclear risk by saying that Russia has a “right” to use nuclear weapons in the Ukraine conflict in response to conventional weapon threats or an “existential threat” to Russia.

What makes Russia’s threat especially dangerous is that it has been made in the context of ongoing warfare. Even if this threat were meant solely to intimidate, the fog of war sharply increases the chances of nuclear war through inadvertent escalation, miscalculation or accident.

It is therefore imperative that the U.S. and NATO de-escalate NOW to prevent the war in Ukraine from escalating into a nuclear war. I advocate for two near-term steps toward that end.

First, the U.S., France and the United Kingdom should publicly issue No First Use of Nuclear Weapons pledges. This multilateral declaration would make clear that the policy and nuclear weapon posture of the nuclear weapon nations within NATO is to never initiate the use of nuclear weapons. The only time such doomsday weapons would be used by them is if they were under nuclear attack.

This has the potential to dramatically transform the current escalatory dynamic. Instead of nuclear saber-rattling, the three nuclear nations in NATO would join the only other nuclear power that has a No First Use policy, China, in eschewing initiating the use of nuclear weapons.

Second, NATO should stop deploying nuclear weapons in NATO countries that aren’t nuclear weapon states. Currently, there are an estimated 100 nuclear weapons at U.S. Air Force Bases in five non-nuclear NATO countries. These are superfluous to the thousands deployed by the U.S., France and the U.K.

For the medium term, the U.S. should re-enter the Iran Nuclear Agreement that President Trump withdrew from in 2018. As a result of that withdrawal, Iran is very close to having enough nuclear weapon-grade material to assemble a nuclear bomb. Negotiations are reportedly very near the finish line.

https://fb3b3df81ca53751b5e2a5981eb7a5a6.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Other Nuclear Arms Control Treaties the U.S. could re-enter include the ABM Treaty George W. Bush withdrew from and the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which Trump also withdrew the U.S. from — that was the first-ever nuclear reduction treaty in 1987 and banned an entire class of nuclear weapons. The U.S. could also take leadership for a follow-up to the New START Nuclear Reduction Treaty to seek deeper reductions.

Ultimately, the U.S. needs to take leadership to move forward on the groundbreaking work of the UN’s Nuclear Ban Treaty, supported by a large majority of UN members. Moving toward the global abolition of nuclear weapons is the only sure way to guarantee that the world’s people won’t face the risk of extinction.

I’ve been a leader in the U.S. anti-nuclear weapons movement for 44 years. When I began, our goal was to reverse the rapidly escalating nuclear arms race. The active engagement of millions in the U.S. and across the world resulted in a reversal and an over 80% reduction in global nuclear arsenals.

If enough citizens again engage in sustained anti-nuclear activism, we can make the world safe from the danger of nuclear weapons use, now in Ukraine, and for all future generations.

The Rev. Robert Moore is executive director of the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action.

April 11, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | Leave a comment

Emmanuel Macron Gets Nuclear Energy All Wrong

The price of nuclear generation today is inordinate: a rip-off in terms of value, to put it bluntly. Indeed, while safety concerns drive up the cost of nuclear plant insurance, the price of renewables is predicted to sink further, by as much as 50 percent or more by 2030. ……No nuclear reactors anywhere are built without enormous government support, and France will be no different: The bill for the French taxpayers will start at $57 billion, according to the New York Times.

The single greatest barrier to the so-called nuclear renaissance is nuclear power itself and its inability to deliver affordable power on time and on budget.

Nuclear power won’t help France meet its climate goals on budget or on time.

 https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/03/22/macron-france-nuclear-energy-climate-renewables/ By Paul Hockenos, a Berlin-based journalist. 22  Mar 22,  At year’s end, Germany will shutter its last three nuclear plants; Belgium will follow suit by 2025. France, on the other hand, is committed to remaining Europe’s last stronghold of nuclear energy. At the center of French President Emmanuel Macron’s re-election platform is his plan to construct as many as 14 new-generation reactors and a fleet of smaller nuclear plants, supposedly to bolster the country’s climate protection strategy.

France’s bet on nuclear energy, however, is an egregious miscalculation that will severely inhibit its decarbonization efforts. At a critical juncture in the battle against climate change, diverting any finances and losing time with nuclear power, which has been in decline worldwide for decades, will only set back the country’s climate efforts, perhaps dooming its chances to go carbon neutral by 2050. Indeed, this Hail Mary pass, taken out of desperation as France has fallen woefully behind on its climate targets, will most probably come to naught anyway as the era of nuclear power wanes further no matter France’s declarations. 

The simple explanation: Fully fledged renewables are faster, cheaper, and lower risk than nuclear power.

Despite the flurry of media hype around new nuclear energy and loose talk of a “nuclear renaissance,” in recent years, the arguments against nuclear power have grown demonstrably stronger.

Critics’ original concern with nuclear power, namely its safety, remains levelheaded and paramount. The two most catastrophic meltdowns—namely in 1986 at Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power plant and in 2011 at Japan’s Fukushima site—are well known and had horrific repercussions that haunt those regions today. But these mega disasters are only the blockbusters. 

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, there have been 33 serious incidents at nuclear power stations worldwide since 1952—two in France, and six of them in the United States. Currently, a fifth of France’s geriatric nuclear generation is shut down because of safety issues—the older reactors get, the higher the risk of an accident—exacerbating an acute energy crunch there. So much for the 24/7 reliability of nuclear power.

And then there’s the now 80-year-old conundrum of how and where to dispose of radioactive waste. To date, no secure repositories are in operation anywhere in the world for the spent fuel, which remains toxic for hundreds of thousands of years. Experts estimate that more than 250,000 metric tons of radioactive waste—over 14,000 metric tons in France and 90,000 metric tons in the United States—is currently in temporary storage near nuclear power plants and military production facilities worldwide.

In France and elsewhere, there’s broad agreement that for security and health reasons, highly radioactive material can’t simply be lodged interminably at interim sites. But France’s wish to one day entomb its toxic refuse 500 meters below the Earth’s surface and 186 miles east of Paris is still on hold as locals refuse to accept the presence of a long-term nuclear repository near their homes. The story is the same just about everywhere: No one wants to raise families near a nuclear waste dump.

But these days, there are other arguments against nuclear energy that are arguably even more averse to a nuclear revival than the issues of safety and nuclear waste.

Nuclear power plants have actually pulled off one of the most remarkable feats of recent technological history: Where virtually all other technologies have gotten cheaper over time as they have developed and matured, nuclear power has actually become more expensive. Indeed, it has grown dauntingly costly compared with renewables: at least four times as costly as utility-scale solar and onshore wind power. While the cost of solar and wind energy generation, as well as battery storage, plummets by the year—in 2020 alone, onshore wind costs declined by 13 percent and those of utility-scale solar photovoltaics by 7 percent—the bill for new nuclear sites climbs upward.

The price of nuclear generation today is inordinate: a rip-off in terms of value, to put it bluntly. Indeed, while safety concerns drive up the cost of nuclear plant insurance, the price of renewables is predicted to sink further, by as much as 50 percent or more by 2030. This price trend is one reason why in 2020 total investment in new renewable electricity surpassed $300 billion, 17 times global investment in nuclear power, according to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report. No nuclear reactors anywhere are built without enormous government support, and France will be no different: The bill for the French taxpayers will start at $57 billion, according to the New York Times.

This yawning price differential means renewables generate many more times the electricity per dollar invested than does nuclear—and thus decreases emissions by a greater factor.

The single greatest barrier to the so-called nuclear renaissance is nuclear power itself and its inability to deliver affordable power on time and on budget. If Europe’s current headline nuclear projects are a measure—marred for decades now by massive cost overruns and protracted delays—France’s hopes to have its first new reactor up and running by 2035 are illusory. In Flamanville in northwest France, the French energy firm EDF is struggling to finish a reactor that is a full decade behind schedule and now roughly four times above cost projections. The Olkiluoto 3 reactors in Finland, also many times over budget, have been delayed again and again since the early 2000s.

Indeed, not one reactor conceived since 2000 in the European Union has generated even a kilowatt of energy. The Olkiluoto 3 plant may begin commercial activities this year. As for the new, smaller, presumably cheaper nuclear reactors envisioned by billionaire Bill Gates among others, not one is in operation anywhere in the world.

In a widely circulated Jan. 25 letter penned by four former top nuclear energy regulators in France, the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom, the authors excoriated the viability of relying on nuclear energy to beat climate change: Nuclear energy, they argue, “is just not part of any feasible strategy that could counter climate change. To make a relevant contribution to global power generation, up to more than ten thousand new reactors would be required, depending on reactor design.”

The fact is that nuclear power is simply too cumbersome to really play a meaningful role in tackling climate change—in France or elsewhere. We don’t have that kind of time. Indeed, there is no way countries can meet their 2030 decarbonization goals agreed to at the Paris Agreement by embarking now on nuclear power programs.


In stark contrast, renewable energy is a sprinter: Farms can be licensed, financed, and deployed much faster because they’re smaller, less capital intensive, more quickly approved, and easier to build. Depending on the country, vast utility-scale solar fields and onshore wind farms can materialize in just a handful of years. Last year, China brought to life about 50 gigawatts of solar capacity—that’s as much electricity generation as 10 nuclear reactors. Even the average nine-year schedule of offshore wind parks is still much, much shorter than nuclear’s erratic, extended timelines.

In Europe and elsewhere, building out nuclear power will greatly hamper the effort to curb climate change, not help it. “The more urgent climate change is, the more we must invest judiciously, not indiscriminately,” writes sustainability expert Amory Lovins, “to buy cheap, fast, sure options instead of costly, slow, speculative ones.”

In the end, the evidence speaks conclusively for ramping down fossil fuels and nuclear energy as fast as possible while embarking on an all-out expansion of sustainable renewables: wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric, and tidal/wave energy. Modern gas works will back up this clean energy model until green hydrogen can take over. Ever better energy storage, smart grids, energy conservation, and digital management will make this model of the future work.

Germany and Belgium—like Austria, Italy, and nine other EU countries—are looking the facts straight in the eye. By swearing off nuclear energy and fossil fuels at the same time, these countries will have the best chance at making a net-zero energy system functional by 2050, at the latest.  https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/03/22/macron-france-nuclear-energy-climate-renewables/

Paul Hockenos is a Berlin-based journalist. His recent book is Berlin Calling: A Story of Anarchy, Music, the Wall and the Birth of the New Berlin (The New Press).   

April 11, 2022 Posted by | France, politics | 1 Comment

Why Ukraine’s Nuclear Waste Is A Major Threat:

 

Why Ukraine’s Nuclear Waste Is A Major Threat: Nuclear plants in Ukraine
aren’t at risk for a Chernobyl-style meltdown, but destabilizing the kind
of waste stored at Chernobyl and Ukraine’s four other nuclear plants
could create a widespread environmental disaster.

 Business Insider 9th April 2022

April 11, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A $50 billion (bottomless?) pit? Four public interest groups demand review of production of nuclear weapons ”pits”

DOE’s and NNSA’s pit production plan would involve extensive processing, handling, and transportation of extremely hazardous and radioactive materials, and presents a real and imminent harm to the plaintiffs and to the frontline communities around the production sites.

The government estimates that the cleanup will take until about 2060, Kelley said. “And at Site 300, some contamination will remain there in perpetuity—parts of Site 300 are essentially a sacrifice.” Such contamination is present at all U.S. nuclear weapons sites, “and at some of the big production sites, the contamination is even worse.”

Nuclear weapons monitors demand environmental review of new bomb production plans https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/3943195911 By Marilyn Bechtel. 10 Apr 22,

Four public interest groups monitoring the nation’s nuclear weapons development sites are demanding the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Agency conduct a thorough environmental review of their plans to produce large quantities of a new type of nuclear bomb core, or plutonium pit, at sites in New Mexico and South Carolina.

The organizations, Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive EnvironmentSavannah River Site WatchNuclear Watch New Mexico, and Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition, filed suit in late June 2021 to compel the agencies to conduct the review as required under the National Environmental Policy Act. They are now fighting an effort by DOE and NNSA to dismiss the suit over the plaintiffs’ alleged lack of standing. The groups are represented by the nonprofit South Carolina Environmental Law Project.

In 2018, during the Trump administration, the federal government called for producing at least 80 of the newly designed pits per year by 2030.

The public interest groups launched their suit after repeated efforts starting in 2019 to assure that DOE and NNSA would carry out their obligations to issue a thorough nationwide programmatic environmental impact statement, or PEIS, to produce the new plutonium pits at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

The organizations said that in correspondence with NNSA in March, the agency stated that it did not plan to review pit production, relying instead on a decade-old PEIS and a separate review limited to the Savannah River Site.

Although more will be known when the Biden administration completes the Nuclear Posture Review now underway, the administration’s request for $43.2 billion in fiscal 2022 to maintain and modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and individual items to expand U.S. capabilities including pit production, very much follows the Trump administration’s spending patterns. The proposed nuclear weapons spending comes to nearly 6 percent of the $753 billion the current administration is asking for national defense, itself a total marginally higher than under Trump.

Continue reading

April 11, 2022 Posted by | indigenous issues, opposition to nuclear, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Macron under Putin’s thumb as Russia could CRIPPLE France’s nuclear industry, as it controls uranium supply.

Macron under Putin’s thumb as Russia could CRIPPLE France’s nuclear
industry. The recent reports of atrocities committed by Russian forces in
Bucha have finally pushed the EU into considering a ban on Russian fossil
fuels.

Oil and gas exports make up a large portion of Russia’s economy
and EU is heavily dependent on gas supplies from Moscow, making up 40
percent of its imports. The EU imported a staggering €48.5billion
(£38billion) of crude oil in 2021, and €22.5billion (£19billion) of
petroleum oils other than crude.

But even as EU leaders meet to discuss an immediate ban on Russian coal, experts have warned that aside from fossil fuels, Russia could also manipulate the EU’s energy through its control
of the global uranium supplies.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Dr Paul Dorfman,
an associate fellow at the University of Sussex’s Science Policy Research
Unit (SPRU) and chair of the Nuclear Consulting Group said: “In terms of
energy security, Russian controlled uranium – basically reactors run on
uranium, includes both Russia and corporations in Kazakhstan, which are
Russian controlled.

 Express 9th April 2022

https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/1592617/emmanuel-macron-putin-news-russia-eu-uranium-supplies-nuclear-energynce A

April 11, 2022 Posted by | France, politics international, Uranium | Leave a comment

Boris goes all out for UK nuclear

I do not think we should be building any new nuclear reactors until we have a geological disposal facility available.’ That applies to all scales of nuclear, SMRs as well as big plants, they all produce wastes. 

https://renewextraweekly.blogspot.com/2022/04/boris-goes-all-out-for-uk-nuclear.html Under the heading ‘Boris Johnson’s fixation on nuclear is a threat to Britain’s energy supply’, Times chief leader writer Simon Nixon said ‘Boris Johnson’s plans to build at least six or seven new nuclear power stations is the wrong strategy for meeting the government’s need to ensure the UK’s energy security, lower public bills and achieve its net-zero target. Britain’s track record on building nuclear power stations is almost as dire as its record in building garden bridges’

Nevertheless, despite negative views like this, Boris ploughed on. Indeed he managed to turn this criticism around, asking ‘why have the French got 56 nuclear reactors and we’ve got barely six?.’ He said we needed ‘big ticket’ nuclear solutions and also looked to having Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) before 2030.  Not everyone is convinced that SMR’s can deliver, but Johnson’s confidence in them may have been the result of a meeting with Last Energy, a US nuclear promoter backed by Elon Musk, which is pushing a simple fast-track mini PWR, at 20 MW, far smaller than the 470 MW Rolls Royce system. There was talk of 100s of units being deployed across the UK.  Last Energy’s business credo  ‘Innovate on the delivery model, not the reactor’, may have appealed to Boris. 

However, on the renewables side, while he was still keen on offshore wind (‘Energy companies tell me they can get an offshore wind turbine upright and generating in less than 24 hours’), the prospects for on-shore wind, which had begun to look more promising, seem to have taken a hit in favour of more nuclear- on shore wind once again getting some Tory ‘eyesore’ backlash, despite it actually attracting 80% public support. The expansion of the ECO energy saving scheme was also hit, despite energy efficiency arguably being the cheapest option of all.  

So when the new energy security strategy finally emerged it was not surprising that there was a commitment to 24 GW of nuclear by 2050, no new targets for on shore wind and very little on the energy savings side, just a £30m ‘heat pump investment accelerator competition’.   But at least a 50 GW offshore wind target by 2030 was confirmed, with up to 5GW of it being floating systems, coupled with a doubling of the low-carbon hydrogen target to 10GW by 2030, with at least half being green hydrogen. However, on shore wind will only get limited support: communities can volunteer for a project (although they could have anyway) and possibly get cheaper power, but with no significant changes in planning rules.  There will though be some PV planning rule changes to help solar expand- with an up to a five-fold increase in deployment expected by 2035. If achieved that would be a massive 70GW, although no target was specified.

Apart from the lamentable lack of support for on-shore wind and, even more provocatively, for energy saving, the nuclear expansion was the most controversial part. The strategy report says ‘a new government body, Great British Nuclear, will be set up immediately to bring forward new projects, backed by substantial funding, and we will launch the [already announced]  £120 million Future Nuclear Enabling Fund this month. We will work to progress a series of projects as soon as possible this decade, including Wylfa site in Anglesey. This could mean delivering up to eight reactors, equivalent to one reactor a year instead of one a decade, accelerating nuclear in Britain’.

Why nuclear?

It’s hard to see why Johnson thinks a big nuclear push is needed, or a good idea- apart from catching up with France! A bit more credibly, the strategy report stresses the importance of energy independence, but the nuclear programme has of late been mostly based on imported (French) technology and expertise- as well as funding from overseas.  It now looks as if he will no longer rely on China for any of this, but the new RAB funding scheme will allow nuclear plant developers like EDF to put a surcharge on UK power consumers bills to raise the necessary capital for construction in advance of any power being supplied.  That may be independence of a kind, but the profits do still go abroad

And it will be a decade or more before any of the proposed new nuclear plants (at Sizewell and elsewhere) are running- assuming all goes well.  So we will get hit with the costs now, or at least soon, but not get the benefits until far in the future. So much for helping to cut costs for hard pressed consumers

The energy independence idea is also not as urgent as it might appear. The UK does not import significant amounts of Russian gas, unlike Germany (and Austria), where admittedly things could get bad unless urgent action is taken.  But they are doing that, Germany backing renewables even more strongly, and both still being opposed to nuclear. That choice has been reinforced by the war in Ukraine which has illustrated just how risky it can be to have nuclear plants in conflict zones. The possibility of terrorist drone attacks apart, the UK may not (yet) face risks like that, but its coastal plants will increasingly face risks from climate change driven sea level rises and storm surges.  

One of the other key problems for nuclear has also been pointed up in response to the UK expansion plan – waste storage being a key one. Claire Corkhill, a professor of nuclear material degradation at the University of Sheffield said ‘I do not think we should be building any new nuclear reactors until we have a geological disposal facility available.’ That applies to all scales of nuclear, SMRs as well as big plants, they all produce wastes. 

Overall, it does seem odd to be pushing nuclear so hard.  For example, if it was really about an energy gap, it would be easy for renewables to fill it. RenewableUK says the UK could end its dependence on gas and replace it with renewable energy within the next 5 years – if the limit imposed on the amount of onshore wind was removed and budgets raised for deployment. Energy saving could do that too.  If it was really about jobs, then, as the UKERC has recently pointed out, renewable energy can create at least 2 times more jobs than nuclear, while investment in energy saving can create 5 times as many. If it was really about variable renewables and grid balancing, well the last thing we need is more large inflexible nuclear plants. And if it was really about costs and consumer bills, then why go for nuclear, the most expensive option. If that sort of money was available, why not go for tidal lagoons and tidal current turbines?  

However, all is not entirely lost. The 50 GW by 2030 offshore wind target is a significant  one, as is the hoped for 5-fold by 2035 PV solar expansion – putting the 24 GW by 2050 nuclear target into some sort of perspective. But we don’t really need it. And judging by the gross completion problems with the EPRs in France and Finland, and the problems with China’s version of it, the UK’s new 8 plant nuclear plan, with its ‘one reactor per year’ average installation target, seems very unlikely to be realised. 

All in all, the offshore wind and solar parts aside, not much of a viable security plan, and a bit thin in any case, with lots of targets but very little detail. Indeed, the Times leader (8/4/22) said ‘the number 8 appears to have been plucked out of the air’ and overall it was ‘little more than a glorified press release’, with the lack of effective commitment to energy saving making it ‘a cop out’. While Greenpeace said ‘the urgency of the climate crisis needed an urgent response. Sadly, the government’s energy security plan didn’t deliver.’ Not a lot of support then across the political spectrum. 

April 11, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Switzerland plans to bury spent nuclear fuel deep underground in clay

 Straits Times SAINT-URSANNE, SWITZERLAND (AFP) 10 Apr 22, – Storing radioactive waste above ground is a risky business, but the Swiss think they have found the solution: Burying spent nuclear fuel deep underground in clay.

The Mont Terri international laboratory was built to study the effects of burying radioactive waste in clay which sits 300m below the surface near Saint-Ursanne in the northwestern Jura region.

The underground laboratory stretches across 1.2km of tunnels.

Niches along the way, each around 5m high, are filled with various storage simulations, containing small quantities of radioactive material monitored by thousands of sensors.

More than 170 experiments have been carried out to simulate the different phases of the process – positioning the waste, sealing off the tunnels, surveillance – and to reproduce every imaginable physical and chemical effect.

According to experts, it takes 200,000 years for the radioactivity in the most toxic waste to return to natural levels……..

Three prospective sites in the northeast, near the German border, have been identified to receive such radioactive waste.

Switzerland’s nuclear plant operators are expected to choose their preferred option in September.

The Swiss government is not due to make the final decision until 2029, but that is unlikely to be the last word as the issue would probably go to a referendum under Switzerland’s famous direct democracy system.

Despite the drawn-out process, environmental campaigners Greenpeace say Switzerland is moving too fast.

“There are a myriad of technical questions that have not been resolved,” Mr Florian Kasser, in charge of nuclear issues for the environmental activist group, told AFP.

For starters, he said, it remains to be seen if the systems in place can “guarantee there will be no radioactive leakage in 100, 1,000 or 100,000 years”.

“We are putting the cart before the horse, because with numerous questions still unresolved, we are already looking for sites” to host the storage facilities, he said.

Mr Kasser said Switzerland also needed to consider how it will signal where there sites are to ensure they are not forgotten, and that people many centuries from now remain aware of the dangers.

Swiss nuclear power plants have been pumping out radioactive waste for more than half a century.

Until now, it has been handled by the National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste, or NAGRA, founded in 1972 by the plant operators in conjunction with the state.

For now, the waste is being stored in an “intermediary depot” in Wurenlingen, some 15km from the German border.

Switzerland hopes to join an elite club of countries closing in on deep geological storage……………….

Following the 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima power station in Japan, Switzerland decided to phase out nuclear power gradually: Its reactors can continue for as long as they remain safe.

A projected 83,000 cubic metres of radioactive waste, including some high activity waste, will have to be buried.

This volume corresponds to a 60-year operating life of the Beznau, Gosgen and Leibstadt nuclear power plants, and the 47 years that Muhleberg was in operation before closing in 2019.

Filling in the underground nuclear waste tombs should begin by 2060…….

The monitoring period will span several decades before the site is sealed some time in the 22nd century. https://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/switzerland-plans-to-bury-spent-nuclear-fuel-deep-underground-in-clay

April 11, 2022 Posted by | Switzerland, wastes | Leave a comment

Is the USA , while not directly involved in the war, giving direct instructions to Ukrainian forces?

US giving intel to Ukraine for operations in Donbas, Defense Secretary says

By Oren LiebermannBarbara StarrJeremy Herb and Katie Bo Lillis, CNN, April 7, 2022

(CNN) Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said publicly for the first time Thursday that the US is providing intelligence to Ukrainian forces to conduct operations in the Donbas region.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Austin was asked whether the US was providing intelligence to help Ukraine carry out attacks against Russian forces in the separatist-controlled Donbas region or Crimea.

“We are providing them intelligence to conduct operations in the Donbas, that’s correct,” Austin said in response to the question from Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas.

Austin did not mention Crimea in his response. He also stated the US is not discouraging Ukraine from launching attacks against Russian forces in these areas.

Austin’s comments were the first time a US official has publicly acknowledged the US role in Ukraine’s operations in the contested region as the fighting shifts away from the capital of Kyiv and toward southeast Ukraine.

A senior defense official told CNN that some of the intelligence provided to Ukraine is “near real time.”……………. more https://edition.cnn.com/2022/04/07/politics/us-intel-ukraine-donbas-operations/index.html

April 11, 2022 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

What to do with closed Massachusetts nuclear plant’s wastewater?

Columbian, By Jennifer McDermott, Associated Press April 9, 2022,

1 million gallons of radioactive water could be discharged into bay, evaporated or trucked elsewhere

One million gallons of radioactive water is inside a former nuclear power plant along Cape Cod Bay, and it has got to go.

But where? And will the state intervene as the company dismantling the plant decides? These are the vexing questions.

Holtec International is considering treating the water and discharging it into the bay, drawing fierce resistance from local residents, shell fishermen and politicians. Holtec is also considering evaporating the contaminated water or trucking it to a facility in another state.

The fight in Massachusetts mirrors a current, heated debate in Japan over a plan to release more than 1 million tons of treated radioactive wastewater into the ocean from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant in spring 2023. A massive tsunami in 2011 crashed into the plant. Three reactors melted down.

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Mass., closed in 2019 after nearly half a century providing electricity to the region. U.S. Rep. William Keating, a Democrat whose district includes the Cape, wrote to Holtec with other top Massachusetts lawmakers in January to oppose releasing water into Cape Cod Bay. He asked the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to examine its regulations.

Keating said in late March that Holtec’s handling of the radioactive water could set a precedent because the U.S. decommissioning industry is in its infancy. Most U.S. nuclear plants were built between 1970 and 1990.

Holtec has acquired closed nuclear plants across the country as part of its dismantling business, including the former Oyster Creek Generating Station in New Jersey and Indian Point Energy Center in New York. It’s taking ownership of the Palisades Nuclear Plant on Lake Michigan, which is closing this year.

Pilgrim was a boiling-water reactor. Water constantly circulated through the reactor vessel and nuclear fuel, converting it to steam to spin the turbine. The water was cooled and recirculated, picking up radioactive contamination.

Cape Cod is a tourist hotspot. Having radioactive water in the bay, even low levels, isn’t great for marketing, said Democratic state Rep. Josh Cutler, who represents a district there. Cutler is working to pass legislation to prohibit discharging radioactive material into coastal or inland waters……………….

Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station, another boiling-water reactor, was shut down in Vernon, Vt., in 2014. It’s sending wastewater to disposal specialists in Texas and other states. Entergy operated and sold both Vermont Yankee and Pilgrim. NorthStar, a separate and competing corporation in the decommissioning business, is dismantling Vermont Yankee……………………

Why are people worried?

In Duxbury, Kingston and Plymouth Bays, there are 50 oyster farms — the largest concentration in the state, worth $5.1 million last year, according to the Massachusetts Seafood Collaborative. The collaborative said dumping the water would devastate the industry, and the local economy along with it……………..

Towns on the Cape are trying to prohibit the dispersal of radioactive materials in their waters. Tribal leaders, fishermen, lobstermen and real estate agents have publicly stated their opposition as well…………….

Who gets the final say?

Holtec wouldn’t need a separate approval from the NRC to discharge the water into the bay. However, Holtec would need permission from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency if the water contained pollutants regulated by the Clean Water Act, such as dissolved metals.

If the water contained only radioactive materials regulated by the NRC, Holtec wouldn’t need to ask the EPA for a permit modification, according to the EPA’s water division for New England. Holtec has never given the EPA a pollutant characterization of the water associated with decommissioning, the division’s director said.

Mary Lampert, of Duxbury, is on a panel created by the state to look at issues related to Pilgrim’s decommissioning. She believes the state could use its existing laws and regulations to stop the dumping and plans to press the Massachusetts attorney general to file a preliminary injunction to do so.

The attorney general’s office said it’s monitoring the issue and would take any Clean Water Act violations seriously.

Mary Lampert, of Duxbury, is on a panel created by the state to look at issues related to Pilgrim’s decommissioning. She believes the state could use its existing laws and regulations to stop the dumping and plans to press the Massachusetts attorney general to file a preliminary injunction to do so.

The attorney general’s office said it’s monitoring the issue and would take any Clean Water Act violations seriously. https://www.columbian.com/news/2022/apr/09/what-to-do-with-closed-massachusetts-nuclear-plants-wastewater/

April 11, 2022 Posted by | USA, wastes, water | Leave a comment

UK government incoherent and inconsistent on energy crisis, and has no solution to the accumulating nuclear wastes

 Does the new government energy strategy tackle the immediate energy
crisis? This is the third document in six months that the government has
produced, and all that has happened is that they have become less coherent,
and less and less connected to what actually matters to most people.

What the Prime Minister seems to believe is that we want expensive nuclear
‘jam’ tomorrow, and that we are not that bothered about cheap energy
efficiency ‘bread’ today.

I think that this is rather like the Chancellors recent Spring Budget, in that it is simply not hearing, or paying attention, to what is actually happening in the country, and what
matters to people who have got to live with the immediate crisis of their
energy bills.

And the way that the government can deal with that right now
is to start spending money on energy efficiency, money by the way that the
government promised in its manifesto and hasn’t actually delivered. In
2012, we were insulating about 2.5 million houses per year, now we are down
to about 20 thousand. If we had carried on at that rate, we would be saving
people money right now as this crisis has occurred.

So, this is a real failure of the government to be consistent in doing the things that really
matter to most people. Why would we want to use nuclear when there are much
better options already available? This is the third big government
announcement on energy policy in 6 months, and all you have got is if you
were an investor why would you invest in whatever the current flavour of
the month is for the government?


You would wait to see what happens when
things settle down. Government incoherence and inconsistency is really
slowing down out whole response. The endless announcements, with no real
delivery, is really slowing down our ability to deal with climate change.

People are right to be terrified by the conclusions of the IPCCC report,
they really are very scary indeed.

There is a future bill for nuclear waste, which grows. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is responsiblefor dealing with nuclear waste in this country, it now spends several
billions per year of public money in order to deal with the waste that we
have already got. So, it is quite right to question why the government is
even thinking about piling on more nuclear waste to be dealt with, when we
can’t even deal with the waste that we already have now. We don’t know
what to do with the high-level waste, that is the most dangerous waste, not
because of its volume but because of its radioactivity. We don’t have a
solution for that yet, despite 50 years of trying to find one. 


Tom Burke 7th April 202 2http://tomburke.co.uk/2022/04/07/does-the-new-government-energy-strategy-tackle-the-immediate-energy-crisis/

April 11, 2022 Posted by | ENERGY, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Join Us to Stop the Scam of “Clean” Nuclear — RADIATION FREE LAKELAND

Dear Friends, As many of you will know the UK Government is planning several more nuclear reactors despite having no “away” for the nuclear waste. This time they have the brass neck to call nuclear “clean” ! To describe Nuclear energy as clean is fraudulent and the claim amounts to a mass marketing scam perpetrated […]

Join Us to Stop the Scam of “Clean” Nuclear — RADIATION FREE LAKELAND

April 11, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Negligence uncovered at Diablo Canyon Nuclear Station

Unsettling and Unacceptable’ Negligence Uncovered at Diablo Canyon.
Report Reveals Significant Failure by Nuclear Safety Inspectors at Avila
Beach Power Plant. The Office of the Inspector General issued a damning
report on a significant failure by nuclear safety inspectors charged with
ensuring the safe operation of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in
Avila Beach in southern San Luis Obispo County that led to one of the
plant’s two reactors being shut down for eight days in July 2020.

 Santa Barbara Independent 29th March 2022

ReplyForward

Unsettling and Unacceptable’ Negligence Uncovered at Diablo Canyon.
Report Reveals Significant Failure by Nuclear Safety Inspectors at Avila
Beach Power Plant. The Office of the Inspector General issued a damning
report on a significant failure by nuclear safety inspectors charged with
ensuring the safe operation of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in
Avila Beach in southern San Luis Obispo County that led to one of the
plant’s two reactors being shut down for eight days in July 2020.

 Santa Barbara Independent 29th March 2022

April 11, 2022 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

China Is Accelerating Its Nuclear Buildup Over Rising Fears of U.S. Conflict

China Is Accelerating Its Nuclear Buildup Over Rising Fears of U.S. Conflict

Beijing believes U.S. could turn to nuclear weapons in a war; Ukraine invasion underscores the value of a robust arsenal

By Alastair Gale, April 9, 2022     China has accelerated an expansion of its nuclear arsenal because of a change in its assessment of the threat posed by the U.S., people with knowledge of the Chinese leadership’s thinking say, shedding new light on a buildup that is raising tension between the two countries.

The Chinese nuclear effort long predates Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but the U.S.’s wariness about getting directly involved in the war there has likely reinforced Beijing’s decision to put greater emphasis on developing nuclear weapons as a deterrent,…(subscribers only)   https://www.wsj.com/amp/articles/china-is-accelerating-its-nuclear-buildup-over-rising-fears-of-u-s-conflict-11649509201

April 11, 2022 Posted by | China, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Ukraine War Has Upset Uzbekistan’s Nuclear Plans

Ukraine Has Upset Uzbekistan’s Nuclear Plans By Eurasianet – Apr 10, 2022, 10:00 AM CDT

  • Four years ago, Uzbekistan turned to nuclear energy as a way to address its chronic energy shortages, relying on Russian investment and expertise to drive the projects forward.
  • Today, with Russia facing sanctions from the international community due to its invasion of Ukraine, Uzbekistan’s nuclear future is suddenly looking very uncertain.

Uzbekistan is stuck between a rock and a hard place, not wanting to antagonize Russia by canceling the projects and wanting to avoid sanctions when the projects are completed………………………………………..   https://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Nuclear-Power/Russias-Invasion-Of-Ukraine-Has-Upset-Uzbekistans-Nuclear-Plans.html

April 11, 2022 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international | Leave a comment