nuclear-news

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

The poisoned environmental legacy of France’s ”Nuclear Park”

The poisoned environmental legacy of the ‘Nuclear Park’ https://culturico.com/2022/05/07/the-poisoned-environmental-legacy-of-the-nuclear-park/ Culturico 7th May 2022, Linda Pentz Gunter, Linda Pentz Gunter is the international specialist at Beyond Nuclear and editor and contributor at Beyond Nuclear International.

France prides itself on its “Nuclear Park”, its fleet of once 58 and now 56 operational nuclear reactors that deliver 70% of the country’s electricity. However, the environmental effects of this considerable use of nuclear power – specifically from the need to mine uranium and the choice to reprocess irradiated nuclear fuel – have negatively impacted the health of the French people.

France is heavily reliant on nuclear energy. Its 56 commercial reactors dot almost every corner of the country, providing 70% of all electricity consumed. France also possesses a nuclear weapons arsenal, fueled by the nuclear power program that predated it.

The possession of nuclear weapons affords France permanent membership status in the UN Security Council — a sense of prestige France is intent on maintaining.

French president, Emmanuel Macron, has now announced that the country will build new nuclear power plants, despite the fact that its current flagship Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR), is beset by technical mistakes, years behind schedule and billions of Euros over budget at construction sites in France, Finland and the UK. The first of two operational EPRs in China had to be shut down late last year due to vibrations that caused radioactive leakage.

Consequently, it is unpopular to question the use of nuclear power in France and oppositional voices are rarely heard. The French anti-nuclear movement — largely networked under the Réseau Sortir du nucléaire — is snubbed by the press, and its members have been arrested and even convicted of alleged crimes.
However, thanks to the pioneering work of activists, investigative journalists and independent scientists, some of the secrets buried beneath the ’Nuclear Park’, have started to be unearthed.

The damage from uranium mining

Nuclear power plants are fueled with uranium, a radioactive ore that is mined from the earth, typically in dry, desert areas far way, often by an Indigenous workforce offered little to no protection and none of the alleged benefits.
However, between 1948 and 2001, France operated its own uranium mines  — more than 250 of them in 27 departments across the country. Those French mine workers, like their Native American, Australian Aboriginal and African Touareg counterparts, labored unprotected and in ignorance of the true health risks.

The mines and the factories that milled and processed the uranium, now lie abandoned, leaving a legacy of radioactive waste that is hidden beneath flowering meadows, forest paths and ornamental lakes. But these radioactive residues and rocks — known as tailings — have also dispersed beyond the old mine boundaries, transported into rivers and streams, absorbed into wild plants, scattered on roadsides, and even paved into children’s playgrounds, homes and parking lots.

There are radioactive hotspots everywhere. France may not yet have opened a high-level radioactive waste repository — still under dispute at Bure — but thanks to the contamination left behind by uranium mining, large swaths of the country are de facto nuclear waste dumps. The widespread dispersal of radioactive contamination across France has been studied extensively by the independent French radiological laboratory, Commission de Recherche et d’Information Indépendantes sur la RADioactivité, known simply as CRIIRAD. Its scientists have traveled all over the world, measuring radiation levels at such notorious nuclear accident sites as Mayak and Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union, and at Fukushima in Japan. But often, they are just as shocked and outraged at the radiation levels they measure at home, and the failure of those responsible to take effective remediation steps to protect the public.

In the 2009 investigative French television program by Pieces de Conviction — entitled Uranium, the scandal of contaminated France — CRIIRAD’s scientific director, physicist Bruno Chareyron, is seen scraping the gravely surface off a parking lot at a cross-country ski club. Under the dusty gray stones we suddenly see a gleam of yellow. It is the telltale sign of uranium and Chareyron’s Geiger counter is recording radiation levels at more than 23mSv an hour. The internationally accepted “safe” dose for the public is 1mSv a year. The public should not have access to this, he says, especially not children who are prone to pick up and pocket pebbles.

In all, there are an estimated 200-300 million tonnes of radioactive tailings dumped across France, exposing those who live, work or play nearby. The contamination comes not only from the uranium, but from its often far more radioactive decay products.  And while the state-owned nuclear company Orano (formerly Areva and, before that, Cogema) insists that these sites have been “returned to nature”, it is a purely cosmetic exercise that has granted impunity to the polluter but endangered countless lives.

CRIIRAD subsequently released an urgent appeal to elected officials to take action. The laboratory recorded similar findings at numerous other abandoned uranium mine sites.

Now, with all the French uranium mines closed, the fuel for the Parc Nucléaire must be imported. It comes mainly from Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world, and predominantly from the giant French-owned uranium mine near the town of Arlit. There, CRIIRAD found that mine workers and inhabitants are routinely exposed to radioactivity in the environment as a result of uranium mining activities. A Greenpeace investigation concluded that French uranium mining activities in Niger had left behind a legacy of environmental contamination in that country, as it has in France, that would harm people for “centuries.”
The lethal legacy of uranium mining and processing that has contaminated so much of France is only the beginning of the story, however, just as uranium mining is only the beginning of the nuclear fuel chain.

Operating reactors and childhood leukemia

The electricity generation phase, on which the nuclear lobby bases its low-carbon argument to justify its continued use — while ignoring the front and back ends of the fuel chain, which have significant carbon footprints, (1) — is not without its damage to the environment either. Nuclear reactors release radiation into the environment as part of routine operation. At least 60 epidemiological studies have examined the possible health impacts of these releases, most of which found an increase in rates of leukemia among children living near operating nuclear power plants, compared to those living further away.

The most famous of these studies, conducted in Germany — Case-control study on childhood cancer in the vicinity of nuclear power plants in Germany 1980-2003 (2) — found a 60% increase in all cancers and a 120% increase in leukemias among children living within 5 km of all German nuclear power stations. This study was followed by others, largely supporting the data. But critics speculated that the amount of radioactivity in the releases was too low to have caused these epidemics.

For example, a 2008 study (3) by Laurier et al., of childhood leukemia around French reactors, concluded there was no “excess risk of leukaemia in young children living near French nuclear power plants”. However, the Laurier study was among those rebutted (4) and incorporated into a meta-analysis by Dr. Ian Fairlie and Dr. Alfred Körblein, which concluded that there were statistically significant increases in childhood leukemias near all the nuclear power plants studied and that “the matter is now beyond question, i.e., there’s a very clear association between increased child leukemias and proximity to nuclear power plants.”

The practice of averaging a month’s worth of releases into daily dose amounts ignores a sudden spike in radioactive releases, as happens when a reactor is refueling. Fairlie hypothesizes (5) that these spikes, delivering substantial radiation doses, could result in babies being born pre-leukemic due to exposure in utero, with the potential to progress to full leukemia additionally aggravated by subsequent post-natal exposure. (Nuclear power plants typically refuel every 18 months.)

Radioactive waste — the unsolved problem

At the end of nuclear power operations lies the huge and unsolved radioactive waste problem. Inevitably, the French reliance on nuclear power has generated an enormous amount of radioactive waste that must be managed and, ideally, isolated from the environment.

France is one of the few countries in the world to have chosen reprocessing as a way to try to manage irradiated reactor fuel. Reprocessing involves a chemical separation of plutonium from the uranium products in reactor fuel rods once they have ceased being used in the reactor. This operation is conducted at the giant La Hague reprocessing facility, on the Cherbourg peninsula, which began operation in 1976.

Reprocessing releases larger volumes of radioactivity — typically by a factor of several thousand— than nuclear power plants. Liquid radioactive discharges from La Hague are released through pipes into the English Channel (La Manche), while radioactive gases are emitted from chimney stacks. The liquid discharges from La Hague have been measured at 17 million times more radioactive than normal sea water. La Hague “legally discharges 33 million liters of radioactive liquid into the sea each year,” Yannick Rousselet of Greenpeace France told Deutsche Welle in a 2020 article. This has contributed, among other issues, to elevated concentrations of carcinogenic carbon-14 in sea life (6).

Concentrations of krypton-85 released at La Hague have been recorded at 90,000 times higher than natural background. La Hague is the largest single emitter of krypton-85 anywhere in the world. (7)

A November 1995 study — Incidence of leukemia in young people around La Hague nuclear waste reprocessing plant: a sensitivity analysis (8) —  found elevated rates of leukemia. Yet its lead author, Jean-François Viel, was subsequently viciously attacked in attempts to discredit his findings and reputation, attacks that worsened after the publication of a second paper (9) in January 1997.

The cumulative negative health and environmental impacts of the French nuclear sector render the so-called benefits of the resulting low electricity rates a bitter delusion. For while France tries, wrongly, to attribute Germany’s higher electricity rates to that country’s rejection of nuclear power, typical German households use less electricity and actually pay lower monthly electric bills than French ones. Meanwhile, the French rely exclusively on electricity for heat in winter. Unable to meet this demand, France imports coal-fired electricity from Germany, perpetuating an industry that is fatal for the climate. At the same time, renewable energy development in France has been stifled by the decades-long prioritization of nuclear power.

However, a culture of denial in the French nuclear sector is nothing new. In 1986, when the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded and melted down in the Ukraine, the French government assured its people that the radioactive plume would not reach France. Unlike in other European countries, the French continued to eat local produce and allowed their children to play outside. This lie of immunity, quickly exposed, was attributed to “fear of jeopardizing the country’s nuclear program and of hurting sales of its agricultural products.”

It was that deception in 1986 that led to the creation of the CRIIRAD laboratory in the first place, as its scientists began to map the hotspots in France where fallout from Chernobyl had deposited high levels of radioactivity.
The insistence on expanding rather than phasing out nuclear power has also cost France progress in its carbon reduction goals. As Euractiv reported in August 2021, “France lagging behind in renewables can be explained in part by the fact that close to 70% of its electricity production is based on nuclear power.”

Many French reactors have been operating since the 1970s and are now well past their expected lifespans. With aging comes degradation of key safety parts and heightened risk of accident. In late December 2021 and in early January 2022, France saw a series of unanticipated reactor shutdowns due to safety issues, causing power shortages during a winter freeze and plunging French nuclear output to its lowest in 30 years. By early May, half of its entire reactor fleet was shut down due to technical problems or scheduled maintenance outages. The health and wellbeing of the French population would be better served both by cleanup of — and reparation for — the existing radioactive contamination so widespread in the country, and by a serious shift away from the continued use of nuclear power and toward true climate solutions such as renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.

May 9, 2022 Posted by | environment, France | 2 Comments

US nuclear power: Status, prospects, and climate implications

that final abdication can’t rescue nuclear power, which stumbles33 even in countries with impotent regulators and suppressed public participation. In the end, physics and human fallibility win. History teaches that lax regulation ultimately causes confidence-shattering mishaps, so gutting safety rules is simply a deferred-assisted-suicide pact.

 Science Direct,  Amory B.Lovins,  Stanford University, USA    The Electricity JournalVolume 35, Issue 4, May 2022, 

Abstract

Nuclear power is being intensively promoted and increasingly subsidized in both old and potential new forms. Yet it is simultaneously suffering a global slow-motion commercial collapse due to intrinsically poor economics. This summary in a US context documents both trends, emphasizing the absence of an operational need and of a business or climate case.

In 2020, the world added1 5.521 GW (billion watts) of nuclear generating capacity—just above the 5.491 GW2 of lithium-ion batteries added to power grids. The average reactor was then 29 years old—39 in the United States, whose fleet is the world’s largest—so it’s not surprising that in 2020, maintenance or upgrade costs, safety concerns, and often simple operational uncompetitiveness caused owners worldwide to close 5.165 GW. The net nuclear capacity addition was thus the difference, 0.356 GW. Yet in the same year, the world added3 278.3 GW of renewables (or 257 GW without hydropower)—782× as much. Adjusted for relative US 2020 average capacity factors4, renewables’ net additions in 2020 thus raised the world’s annual carbon-free electricity supply by ~232× as much as nuclear power’s net additions did. That is, nuclear net growth increased the world’s carbon-free power supply in all of 2020 only as much as renewable power growth did every ~38 hours. Renewables also receive5 ~10–20 times more financial capital—mostly voluntary private investments—while nuclear investments used mainly tax revenues or capital conscripted from customers. These ratios look set to continue or strengthen6. Indeed, in 2021, world nuclear capacity fell by 1.57 or 2.48 GW—the seventh annual drop in 13 years9—while renewables were expected to add ~290 GW10.

In a normal industry, such market performance, let alone dismal economics (below), might dampen enthusiasm. Yet the nuclear industry’s immense lobbying and marketing power continues to yield at least tens of billions of dollars in annual public subsidies, still rapidly rising.

This reflects broad bipartisan support among US and many overseas political leaders (strong nuclear advocates lead seven of the ten nations with the biggest economies)—often contrary to their citizens’ preferences and, as we’ll see, to the goal of stabilizing the Earth’s climate. To explore this seeming paradox, here is my frank personal impression of nuclear power’s status, competitive landscape, operational status, prospects, and climate implications in the United States.

1. Status

When nuclear power emerged, from the mid-1950s through the 1960s, US utilities—vertically integrated, three-fourths private, technically and culturally conservative—didn’t want it. Yet powerful Federal actors offered heavily subsidized fuel and let them own it, largely relieved them of accident liability, and ultimately tempted and coerced them into a vast nuclear building spree, under implicit threat of displacing them with Federal nuclear utilities11………………….

As construction costs and durations relentlessly rose12, regulators and customers were assured their initial pain would usher in decades of low-cost generation. This too proved false. Some plants failed early, others’ operating costs rose, and decades later, owners are demanding huge new subsidies to keep running. After these scarifying experiences, capital markets are disinclined to invest in nuclear newbuild in the US or elsewhere. Contrary to a widely cultivated myth, the successive accidents (Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima Daiichi) widely blamed for this rejection all occurred after the business case and investor confidence had collapsed13……

………………….The US supply chain to sustain the 93 existing reactors persists, more or less, but of the four original US reactor vendors, all have merged (GE with Hitachi), exited, or failed, most recently Westinghouse19—bought by Toshiba, bankrupted20 by its new US projects, then restructured by a Canadian private-equity partnership (which recently considered selling it21) to maintain the plants it once built. Export markets have proven elusive: as Siemens’ power engineering CEO foresaw in 199122, “The countries that can still afford our nuclear plants won’t need the electricity, and the countries that will need the electricity won’t be able to afford the reactors.” Yet strong government promotion persists…………… Market appetite for big new reactors is anemic overseas and zero at home—and only for as many smaller units as taxpayers will largely or wholly pay for……………….

US public acceptance of nuclear power fluctuates, and depends strongly on how, by whom, and to whom the question is put. Nuclear advocates reported an even split in the 2019 Gallup Poll25 after long and intensive publicity campaigns, though renewables attract far larger and more consistent support…………………..

After decades of intense political pressure, industry capture26 of US nuclear safety and security regulation appears complete, with rules and processes arranged to the operators’ liking. The skill and integrity of some US Nuclear Regulatory Commission technical experts are commendable, but on major matters, their role is only to advise, not decide. ………………  new “reforms” are taking a singularly dangerous turn: as I summarized elsewhere29,

SMRs’ [Small Modular Reactors’] novel safety30 and proliferation31 issues threaten threadbare schedules and budgets, so promoters are attacking bedrock safety regulations. . NRC’s proposed Part 5332 would perfect long-evolving regulatory capture—shifting its expert staff’s end-to-end process from specific prescriptive standards, rigorous quality control, and verified technical performance to unsupported claims, proprietary data, and political appointees’ subjective risk estimates.

Continue reading

May 9, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, ENERGY, politics, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

No ”military justification” for the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki. A negotiated ending is better than ”fight to the death”

Paul Richards. NAGASAKI BOMBING, Nuclear Fuel Cycle WAtch Australihttps://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052   8 May 22

MacArthur’s views about the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were starkly different from what the general public supposed ….

When I asked General MacArthur about the decision to drop the bomb, I was surprised to learn he had not even been consulted.

What, I asked, would his advice have been?

General Douglas MacArthur replied that he saw no military justification for the dropping of the bomb.

The war might have ended weeks earlier, he said, if the United States had agreed, as it later did anyway, to the retention of the institution of the emperor.

____________ https://www.newsweek.com/november-11-1963-2608

May 9, 2022 Posted by | Reference, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

War and some unusual developments regarding nuclear-related topics – Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands

The huge problem with the idea of having a nuclear reactor power plant on a military base is that it may cause catastrophic damage to all human life in and around the immediate area despite official comments from the U.S. Army that there are several safety prevention measures being taken to address this concern. 

War and some unusual developments regarding nuclear-related topicsm By Rick Arriola Perez |  May 09 2022  https://www.saipantribune.com/index.php/war-and-some-unusual-developments-regarding-nuclear-related-topics/

Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands are one island chain that is embedded in the minds of Chinese military personnel who are charged with selecting and figuring out what adversary targets are most important to knock out, should China and the United States ever go to hot war. 

Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base is a huge military threat to the Chinese and to the North Koreans and Russians. Andersen is one of the most important American military bases in the world. Andersen has one of the world’s largest petroleum, oil, and lubricant storage facilities, training facilities, and areas that store, manage, maintain and load ordnance and other weapons of war. 

Andersen is located atop stolen Chamorro family lands located in our Deep Blue Pacific Ocean Marianas Trench continent. The U.S. Air Force is not formally required to ask permission to fly over foreign national airspace because from the American military perspective, we are close yet far enough away from any nation that requires the United States to first seek diplomatic approvals and notifications.  This is one of the many benefits afforded the Pentagon and the Air Force by residing in Guam and the Marianas. 

Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base is also the perfect location to store, manage, hold, and/or stage live nuclear missiles and weapons into and out of fighters, unmanned systems, and strategic aircraft that are assigned America’s nuclear bombing missions. These activities go relatively unnoticed because of our unique location. Missions can simply be initiated any day or night throughout the year. 

But bombs are not the only thing that is on the nuclear discussion table these days
These days the Department of Defense is also moving forward with design plan options to construct and operationalize nuclear-powered micro-reactors, transportable on Air Force cargo planes, to be used as power generation sources for military bases in remote locations.

These nuclear reactors are intended to generate the power equivalent of up to 1% of a large commercial nuclear power plant once assembled and turned on. The huge problem with the idea of having a nuclear reactor power plant on a military base is that it may cause catastrophic damage to all human life in and around the immediate area despite official comments from the U.S. Army that there are several safety prevention measures being taken to address this concern. 

One rationale that is being proposed to support the construction and design of nuclear reactors is that it will save over time millions of gallons of fossil fuel from being consumed, which is in line with environmental sustainability up to a point. Opposing viewpoints argue that there is simply no need to place a nuclear reactor in a remote military base because the amount of power generation it provides is not really needed because existing diesel-powered generators are adequate for use on remote military bases. 

Nuclear reactor controversies are nothing new to the Pentagon and the Army
The Army previously had a nuclear reactor program that started during the time of the Korean war era, lasting up through the Vietnam war era. The program had mixed results, one catastrophic outcome, and was quite expensive to maintain. The current program under consideration is supported by the idea that having a small and mobile nuclear power plant for use by base personnel will also mitigate military casualty rates associated with the transportation and security protection of fuel in land-based warfighting areas. Supporters also point to the need for a constant source of power generation required for radars and for high-energy weapons.

So why should our Chamorro Pacific Islander Deep Blue Continent civilization be concerned about these developments?
The Pentagon and the Army have identified Guam as one of approximately 10 sites that are slated to have a micro nuclear reactor. The Marshall Islands is also another site identified to receive a nuclear reactor. 

But what our Chamorro people should be aware, as well as the people of Micronesia, especially the Marshallese, is that it is the U.S. Congress, not the Pentagon, that has been the genesis behind the push to get the Pentagon funding to move forward on this micro-nuclear reactor effort. Why is this the case? 

What the Guam and NMI congressmen need to do
Michael San Nicolas and Kilili Sablan have not articulated why Congress has been pushing the Pentagon to look into the design, construction, and use of small nuclear reactors for the Army. 

Both congressmen have not publicly addressed the need for a multi-Mariana Islands nuclear bomb shelter infrastructure study nor has there been any effort by these congressional leaders to introduce authorization language addressing this huge human health, readiness, and life or death safety issue tied to the increased militarization of our Mariana Island chain. 

President Biden will be the final authority as to whether a small mobile nuclear reactor program will proceed or be cancelled. These congressmen have not talked to President Biden about this very important matter.

May 9, 2022 Posted by | OCEANIA, politics international, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Diseconomics and other factors mean that small nuclear reactors are duds

Such awkward realities won’t stop determined lobbyists and legislators from showering tax funds on SMR developers, seen as the industry’s last hope of revival (at least for now). With little private capital at stake, taxpayers bearing most of the cost, and customers bearing the cost-overrun and performance risks190 (as they did in the similarly structured WPPSS nuclear fiasco four decades ago), some SMRs may get built. I expect they’ll fail for the same fundamental reasons as their predecessors, then be quickly forgotten as marketers substitute the next shiny object

A lifetime of such disappointments has not yet induced sobriety. As long as the industry can fund potent lobbying that leverages orders of magnitude more federal funding, the party will carry on.

US nuclear power: Status, prospects, and climate implications, Science Direct,  Amory B.Lovins,  Stanford University, USA    The Electricity JournalVolume 35, Issue 4, May 2022, 

”…………………………………………………….. Advanced” or “Small Modular Reactors,” SMRs174, seek to revive and improve concepts generally tried and rejected decades ago due to economic175, technical176, safety177, or proliferation178 flaws179. BNEF estimates that early SMRs might generate at ~10× current solar prices, falling by severalfold after tens of GW were built, but not by enough to come anywhere near competing. Despite strong Federal support, proposed projects are challenged to find enough customers180 and markets181. Developers and nations are also pursuing >50 diverse designs—a repeatedly reproven failure condition.

SMRs’ basic economics are worse than meets the eye, because their goalposts keep receding. Reactors are built big because, for physics reasons, they don’t scale down well. Small reactors, say their more thoughtful advocates, will produce electricity initially about twice as costly as today’s big ones, which in turn, as noted earlier, are ~3–13× costlier per MWh than modern renewables (let alone efficiency). But those renewables will get another ~2× cheaper (say BNEF and NREL) by the time SMRs could be tested and start to scale toward the mass production that’s supposed to cut their costs. High volume cannot possibly cut SMRs’ costs by 2 × (3 to 13) × 2-fold, or ~12× to ~52×.

 Indeed, SMRs couldn’t compete even if the steam they produce to turn the turbine were free. Why not? In big light-water reactors, ~78–87% of the prohibitive capital cost buys non-nuclear components like the turbine, generator, heat sink, switchyard, and controls. Thus even if the nuclear island were free and a shared non-nuclear remainder were still at GW scale so it didn’t cost more per unit182, the whole SMR complex would still be manyfold out of the money.

SMRs are also too late. Despite streamlined (if not premature) licensing and many billions in Federal funding commitments, the first SMR module delivery isn’t expected until 2029. That’s in the same smaller-LWR project that just lost over half its subscribed sales as customers considered cost, timing, and risk183, and may lose the rest if they read a soberly scathing 2022 critique184. That analysis found that the vendor claims very low financial and performance risks but opaquely imposes them all on the customers. The first “advanced” reactors (a sodium-cooled fast reactor and a high-temperature gas reactor), ambitiously skipping over prototypes, are hoped by some advocates to start up in 2027–28. DOE in 2017 rosily assessed that if such initial projects succeeded, a first commercial demonstrator would then take another 6–8 years’ construction and 5 years’ operation before commercial orders, implying commercial generation at earliest in the late 2030s, more plausibly in the 2040s. But the US Administration plans to decarbonize the grid with renewables by 2035, preëmpting SMRs’ climate mission185.

An additional challenge would be siting new SMRs or clusters of them (which cuts cost but means that a problem with one SMR can affect, or block access to, others at the same site, as was predicted and experienced at Fukushima Daiichi). It looks harder to secure numerous sites and offtake agreements than a few. It would take roughly 50 SMR orders to justify building a factory to start capturing economies of production scale, and hundreds or thousands of SMRs to start seeing meaningful, though inadequate, cost reductions. A study assuming high electricity demand and cheap SMRs estimated a US need for just 350 SMRs by 2050186; some advocates expect far more. It’s hard to imagine how dozens of States and hundreds of localities could quickly approve those sites, especially given internal NRC dissension on basic SMR safety187 and the obvious financial risks188.

No credible path could deploy enough SMR capacity to replace inevitably retiring reactors timely and produce significant additional output by then—but efficiency and renewables could readily do that and more, based on their deployment rates and price behaviors observed in the US and global marketplace. For example189, through 2020, CAISO (wholesale power manager for a seventh of the US economy) reported 120 GW of renewables and storage in its interconnection queue, plus 158 GW in the non-ISO West; just solar-paired-with-storage projects in CAISO rose to over 71 GW by 5 Jan 2022, with the paired solar totaling nearly 64 GW—all three orders of magnitude more than the first 77-MW NuScale module hoped to enter service many years later.

Such awkward realities won’t stop determined lobbyists and legislators from showering tax funds on SMR developers, seen as the industry’s last hope of revival (at least for now). With little private capital at stake, taxpayers bearing most of the cost, and customers bearing the cost-overrun and performance risks190 (as they did in the similarly structured WPPSS nuclear fiasco four decades ago), some SMRs may get built. I expect they’ll fail for the same fundamental reasons as their predecessors, then be quickly forgotten as marketers substitute the next shiny object. 

A lifetime of such disappointments has not yet induced sobriety. As long as the industry can fund potent lobbying that leverages orders of magnitude more federal funding, the party will carry on. But where does its seemingly perpetual disappointment leave the Earth’s imperiled climate?…………………………. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1040619022000483

May 9, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, Reference, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Kishida, Johnson Enjoy Popcorn from Fukushima

May 6, 2022

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his British counterpart, Boris Johnson, enjoyed popcorn from Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, during their meeting in London on Thursday.
At the meeting, Johnson informed Kishida of Britain’s plan to lift by the end of June its import restrictions on food produced in Fukushima and other areas in Japan, which were introduced after the March 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s tsunami-crippled Fukushima No. 1 power station.
According to a statement released by the office of the British prime minister after the two leaders’ meeting, Johnson said he was “pleased” that Britain would soon lift the remaining restrictions on Fukushima food products.
The popcorn Kishida and Johnson tasted was flavored with peach nectar and coconuts, a photograph released by the British prime minister’s office showed. Kishida brought with him the popcorn produced by Hishinuma Farm in the city of Fukushima.
When the two met in Brussels in March this year, they enjoyed Fukushima-produced karinto, or deep-fried Japanese snack made with brown sugar. At that time, Johnson, who called himself a fan of karinto, brought the snack with him.

https://sp.m.jiji.com/english/show/19554?fbclid=IwAR0tuB9qTtZg2aA-B1q2l3Zms3TzEPTYZz_cDNtF7MVxuJn-d_91B-6UVUA

May 9, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Thought chlorinated chicken was bad? Fukushima food to be imported as restrictions get lifted

Boris Johnson munched on ‘Fukushima popcorn’ as he met with Fumio Kishida, the Japanese prime minister.

May 6, 2022

Those worried about imported chlorinated chicken from America might want to re-think their priorities after Boris Johnson struck a nuclear agreement with the Japanese prime minister, Fumio Kishida.

From now on, fish and vegetables grown near the old Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan can be freely sold in Britain after the Food Standards Agency (FSA) scrapped a rule on radioactivity levels in produce.

The agency reviewed controls ahead of the Japanese PM’s meeting with Johnson, with the pair sharing some ‘Fukushima popcorn’ to mark the lifting of all of the remaining restrictions.

The FSA said: “Our risk assessment shows that removing the 100 becquerels per kilogram (Bq/kg) maximum level of radiocaesium for food imported from Japan to the UK would result in a negligible increase in dose and any associated risk to UK consumers.

“Without specific import controls, the emphasis would fall on food businesses to ensure food is safe under General Food Law. However, we would not recommend businesses need to take any precautions beyond their normal due diligence.”

Tesco and Waitrose said they had no immediate plans to introduce the items in store. They are already available in limited quantities at some specialist Japanese grocers.

Downing Street said that the Prime Minister “was pleased Great Britain would soon lift the remaining restrictions on Fukushima”.

May 9, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Dumping treated nuclear wastewater in Pacific Ocean not recommended

Aerial photograph of Kwajalein Atoll showing its low-lying islands and coral reefs. Photo: Thomas Reiss, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

May 2, 2022

Japan has proposed discharging treated nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean, and an independent panel of global experts on nuclear issues was developed to support Pacific nations in their consultations. Robert Richmond, a research professor at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) and director of the Kewalo Marine Laboratory, was one of five experts selected to join the panel.

In 2011, a massive earthquake and tsunami in Fukushima, Japan damaged the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. To prevent further damage and overheating, workers pumped water through the remains. Last year, Japan announced its intentions to begin discharging the accumulated radioactively contaminated cooling water into the Pacific Ocean starting in 2023, claiming that after treatment, it is safe to do so. Some Pacific nations are concerned about whether that can be done safely.

The Pacific Islands Forum, made up of 18 independent Pacific Island countries, created the expert panel to provide independent technical advice as part of the ongoing dialogue with Japan officials and representatives of the nuclear power plant in Fukushima where the wastewater has accumulated since the tsunami.

“At this point, we’re unanimous in saying we don’t see enough information to support dumping the radioactively contaminated water into the ocean,” said Richmond, who has conducted marine conservation research in the Pacific for more than four decades. “Our first recommendation to the group is to take that option off the table for now.”

Trans-boundary issue

Through the movement of ocean currents and transport by pelagic fishes that can take up and accumulate radionuclides (a radioactive and unstable form of an element), more widespread distribution can and will take place.

“This is truly a trans-boundary issue,” said Richmond. “Fish don’t respect political lines, and neither do radionuclides or pollutants in the ocean. I really commend the members of the Pacific Islands Forum for recognizing that this is an issue that they need additional information on.”

In announcing the formation of the panel, Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Henry Puna emphasized, “Our ultimate goal is to safeguard the Blue Pacific—our ocean, our environment and our peoples—from any further nuclear contamination. This is the legacy we must leave for our children.”

Richmond has studied the uptake of radioactive Ru-106 in crayfish as an indicator of leakage from nuclear power plants while working at the Department of Radiation Biology and Biophysics at the University of Rochester Medical School and spent two years performing research on Enewetak Atoll, home to the U.S. nuclear testing program from 1948–58. He presented at the 7th Our Oceans Conference in Palau. This event, co-hosted by the Republic of Palau and the U.S., offered a key moment for countries, civil society and industry to commit to concrete and significant actions to protect the ocean. Richmond emphasized the need for adequate and accurate information for decision makers to make sound decisions to protect and conserve marine habitats and life, and all those who depend on ocean resources.

“This is not the first nuclear incident, and it won’t be the last,” said Richmond. “Perhaps this can be an opportunity to try different approaches that have never been tried before. Maybe this could be a learning opportunity to really set the bar for the future of not continuing to use our oceans as the dumping ground.”

Additional panel members are Ken Buesseler, senior scientist and oceanographer of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research; Antony Hooker, associate professor and director, Centre for Radiation Research, Education and Innovation, the University of Adelaide; Ferenc (Jacob Rolf) Dalnoki-Veress, scientist-in-residence and adjunct professor at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

The panel recently shared a detailed set of initial recommendations to the Secretariat that will be available soon.

This research is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Excellence in Research: Advancing the Research and Creative Work Enterprise (PDF), one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.

May 9, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan Says It Needs Nuclear Power. Can Host Towns Ever Trust It Again?

The Ukraine war has shown the fragility of Japan’s energy supplies. But the decision to restart plants after the Fukushima disaster is fraught with emotions and political calculation.

May 4, 2022

KASHIWAZAKI, Japan — Growing up, Mika Kasahara saw the nuclear power plant that hugs the coast of her hometown simply as the place where her father worked, a familiar fortress of cooling tanks and steel lightning towers overlooking the Sea of Japan.

“We thought that as long as nothing bad happened, it’s fine,” Ms. Kasahara, 45, said.

After the disaster 11 years ago at a nuclear power station in Fukushima, where an earthquake and tsunami led to a triple meltdown, Japan took most of its nuclear plants offline. Now, Ms. Kasahara, spooked by security breaches and damaged infrastructure at the power station near her home, wants it shuttered for good.

Ms. Kasahara symbolizes the long road Japan faces as Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, confronting threats to fuel supplies posed by the Ukraine war and vowing urgent action to reduce carbon emissions, intensifies efforts to reboot the country’s nuclear power network.

For the first time since the Fukushima catastrophe, a small majority of the Japanese public has expressed support for bringing the plants back online, indicating a growing awareness that the world’s third-largest economy may struggle to keep the lights on as it confronts its own limited resources during a time of geopolitical upheaval.

But the decision to restart the plants is fraught with emotions and political calculation, not to mention the gargantuan technical task of fortifying the stations against future disasters in an earthquake-prone nation.

In Kashiwazaki, a midsize suburban city, and neighboring Kariwa, a small village, which together host the seven-reactor plant — the world’s largest — in Niigata Prefecture in northwestern Japan, the fate of the nation’s idled power plants is deeply personal.

Mika Kasahara and her family walking their dog in Kashiwazaki. She wants the plant shuttered for good.
A family photo with Ms. Kasahara’s father, top right. When he died of cancer three years ago, she wondered if his two decades working at the plant had been a factor.

When Ms. Kasahara’s father died of esophagus and lung cancer three years ago, she wondered if his two decades inside the plant had been a factor. A traffic jam during an evacuation drill left her fearing that she and her family would be trapped by a nuclear accident.

“I was honestly very afraid,” she said.

Business leaders and workers whose livelihoods depend on the plant warn that if it does not come back online, the area will deteriorate, like many rural Japanese communities that are experiencing steep population decline. Currently about 5,500 people are working to maintain the idled plant, although employment would be likely to grow if it reopened.

Many local residents work in the plant or know friends and family who do. “I think that there are more people who understand the necessity of the plant,” said Masaaki Komuro, chief executive of Niigata Kankyo Service, a maintenance contractor at the facility.

Public polling presents a muddier picture. According to a 2020 survey by the city of Kashiwazaki, close to 20 percent of residents want to decommission the plant immediately. About 40 percent would accept the temporary operation of some reactors, but ultimately want the plant shut down. Just over half of prefectural residents oppose a nuclear restart, according to a 2021 survey by Niigata Nippo, a local newspaper.

The public wariness will be tested in an election for governor this month in Niigata Prefecture. The current governor, Hideyo Hanazumi, 63, is backed by the governing Liberal Democrats but has remained vague about his restart intentions. His challenger, Naomi Katagiri, a 72-year-old architect, promises to block the resumption of operations in Kashiwazaki and Kariwa.

The stakes are high because an unwritten government policy requires local political leaders to ratify nuclear reboots. Kariwa’s mayor, Hiroo Shinada, 65, is a vociferous proponent, while the mayor of Kashiwazaki, Masahiro Sakurai, 60, is investing in wind power but would support the temporary operation of some reactors.

A mother-baby class at a children’s play center in Kashiwazaki that is funded by central government subsidies for nuclear host towns
A sports and recreation center in Kariwa, a village of 4,400 people, funded by government subsidies.

“Japan is not like Communist China that can impose a project” on communities, said Daisaku Yamamoto, an associate professor of Asian studies at Colgate University and a native of Kashiwazaki. While the national government influences local decisions, host communities “are not powerless either,” he said.

Local opposition isn’t the only obstacle to restarting nuclear power stations. All plants must adhere to strict new guidelines adopted by Japan’s nuclear regulator two years after the Fukushima disaster. Operators are required to bolster tsunami defenses, build backup cooling pools and install filtered vents that would reduce radioactive discharges.

Out of 60 reactors in Japan, 24 have been decommissioned and five are currently operating. Another five have been approved to restart but are suspended for routine checkups, and three are under construction. The rest have not been approved to restart.

Nuclear power now contributes less than 4 percent of the nation’s electricity, down from nearly a third before the Fukushima disaster. Japan currently draws more than three-quarters of its electricity from fossil fuels, and about 18 percent from renewable sources.

Since 2014, the Liberal Democrats have said nuclear plants should generate more than 20 percent of Japan’s electricity by 2030. The war in Ukraine and the threat of a blackout in Tokyo after a strong earthquake this spring have made the public more receptive to this message.

In a March poll by the Nikkei business newspaper, 53 percent supported a restart of the plants. As recently as four years ago, more than 60 percent of the Japanese public opposed rebooting nuclear power.

In hopes of accelerating regulatory approvals, some Liberal Democratic lawmakers have submitted a proposal to loosen requirements for physical barriers to terrorism at plants.

Shutters at the Kariwa village hall, meant to create a pressure-resistant facility during a nuclear crisis.
A former plant worker, Motonori Nishikata, runs a restaurant in Kashiwazaki. He wants the plant to restart, and thinks concerns about safety have been overblown by antinuclear activists.

“The people who say that they are afraid of war or terrorism attacks against nuclear plants are probably the type of people who would oppose the restarts no matter what,” said Tsuyoshi Takagi, secretary-general of the Liberal Democrats’ task force on energy stability.

In Kashiwazaki and Kariwa, the national regulator has suspended approvals, citing concerns about the safety culture at the Tokyo Electric Power Company, the plant’s operator.

Last year, Tokyo Electric revealed that a plant worker had used a colleague’s security card and bypassed biometric systems in 2020, gaining entrance to a control room. The company admitted flawed welding work and a failure to install fire prevention machinery in a reactor. It reported that an earthquake in 2007 had damaged two concrete pegs in a building foundation, and the regulator found a risk of liquefaction in the ground beneath a sea wall protecting reactors.

Officials at Tokyo Electric say they are addressing the issues. The company has spent about $9 billion reinforcing the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant.

The setbacks have raised doubts among residents about the competence of the company, which also operated the Fukushima plant where the meltdowns occurred 11 years ago.

“I only feel distrust,” Miyuki Igarashi, 33, said as she loaded her 6-month-old daughter into an S.U.V. at a strip mall in Kashiwazaki. “I think they are hiding things.”

Some local residents say the problems have been overblown by antinuclear activists.

“People who oppose the restarts keep pointing out things that are wrong, and there is no end to it,” said Motonori Nishikata, 44, who worked at the plant for seven years before opening a grilled beef restaurant in Kashiwazaki.

Yoshimi Takakuwa and Chie Takakuwa at a campaign event for Naomi Katagiri, a candidate for governor who promises to block the restart of the power plant.
Junko Isogai, who left Fukushima Prefecture after the nuclear disaster there, opposes a restart at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant.

The community is already preparing for an eventual restart, in part by readying for a possible accident. Public shelters have installed filters to keep out radioactive contaminants. Pharmacists stock iodine pills, meant to block the most harmful effects of radiation.

Those who lived through the 2011 Fukushima crisis say the risk is not worth it.

Junko Isogai, 48, was raising two young daughters with her husband in Koriyama, a city in Fukushima Prefecture, when the meltdowns occurred 42 miles away.

Worried about their daughters’ health, the couple decided that she and the girls should move to Niigata, although her husband stayed behind for the next five years, working to pay the mortgage on a house they had built just before the disaster.

In Niigata, her elder daughter, Suzu, was bullied at school, called “dirty” by a classmate because of her Fukushima roots.

Three years ago, Ms. Isogai ran for a seat in the prefectural assembly, opposing a restart at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant. She lost but plans to run again next April.

“I don’t want anyone else to be in the situation that I was put in,” she said.

A faded anti-restart poster on the door of a shed in Kariwa.

May 9, 2022 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Hiroshima man’s anime sheds light on Fukushima nuclear project

The protagonist of the anime “Fukushima Genpatsu Hajimari Monogatari: Toge” (The prologue to the Fukushima nuclear power plant: Mountain pass) lives in temporary housing following the 2011 nuclear accident. (Provided by Machimonogatari Seisaku Iinkai)

May 3, 2022

Hiroshima resident Hidenobu Fukumoto was astonished when he learned there was once a plan to build a nuclear power plant in his hometown, the first city devastated by a nuclear bomb.

He discovered the shocking news by chance while visiting Fukushima Prefecture, which suffered its own nuclear disaster in 2011, as a “kamishibai” picture card show artist.

“I was stunned,” said Fukumoto, who has produced about 170 kamishibai titles based on the accounts of residents affected by the disaster. “I decided to face up to the new fact about Hiroshima I discovered during my visits to Fukushima.”

Fukumoto, 65, has created a 57-minute anime exploring why Fukushima Prefecture ended up hosting a nuclear plant. It tells the story through the eyes of residents who evacuated from their hometowns following the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant accident.

“I realized how all these events related to atomic bombing and nuclear plants led to the promotion of nuclear power,” he said. “I’ll be glad if it (the anime) helps the people of Fukushima stop blaming themselves for benefiting from the nuclear plant and set themselves free from the accusing stares of people around them.”

The anime, titled “Fukushima Genpatsu Hajimari Monogatari: Toge” (The prologue to the Fukushima nuclear power plant: Mountain pass), portrays a man in his 60s who was born in 1949 in Okuma, a town in Fukushima Prefecture that co-hosts the now-stricken plant.

When Japan’s economy begins booming following the period of postwar poverty, the protagonist enters a university in Tokyo and enjoys his college life.

The story illustrates the major events leading up to the construction of the nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture at a time when people in Japan were suddenly blessed with material wealth.

In 1953, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower called for the peaceful use of nuclear power during his “Atoms for Peace” speech at the United Nations. In response, exhibitions were held in Hiroshima and elsewhere to champion the cause.

In 1954, the tuna fishing boat Daigo Fukuryu Maru and other vessels were contaminated by fallout from the U.S. hydrogen bomb test at Bikini Atoll. Six years later, Fukushima Prefecture announced its bid to host a nuclear plant.

In one scene from the anime, a girl asks her mother lying on a bed at the Hiroshima Atomic-bomb Survivors Hospital to take her to an exhibition on the peaceful use of atomic energy when she recovers.

Another scene shows young people in Fukushima leaving their hometown to seek jobs, while long-term residents are split over whether the prefecture should host a nuclear plant.

When the protagonist eventually returns home in Okuma and sees a massive nuclear plant standing in the town, he is left speechless.

The anime then fast-forwards to 2011, when the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami triggered the triple meltdown at the plant.

“The move to promote atomic power prevailed globally under the pretext of the peaceful use of nuclear energy, overshadowing even the destruction of Hiroshima brought on by the atomic bomb,” the protagonist said while living as an evacuee at the end of the story. “Ordinary people like us could do nothing about it.”

Hidenobu Fukumoto, right, and Yu Sato, who holds a picture book of Fukumoto’s anime “Fukushima Genpatsu Hajimari Monogatari: Toge” (Miki Morimoto)

Fukumoto, who works as a “kamishibai” picture card show artist under the name of Teppei Ikumasa, said he wrote scripts and drew illustrations for the anime based on his interviews with people in Fukushima.

He began creating the work after hearing from a Fukushima resident that there was a plan to build a nuclear plant in Hiroshima.

Fukumoto heads Machimonogatari Seisaku Iinkai (Town story production committee), a Hiroshima-based group that uses kamishibai and other tools to pass on local culture to the next generations.

Following the 2011 nuclear disaster, he visited the affected areas to listen to what residents had to say. 

He learned about the Hiroshima nuclear plant plan from an Okuma resident who was working as a storyteller using Fukumoto’s kamishibai.

Fukumoto found an article online that said U.S. Congressman Sidney Yates proposed constructing a nuclear plant in Hiroshima in 1955.

Yu Sato, 20, a sophomore at Hiroshima City University who helps with Fukumoto’s kamishibai project as a volunteer, confirmed Yates’ original remarks by searching the congressional records kept in the Library of Congress’ online database.

“I have introduced today a bill to construct in the city of Hiroshima, Japan, through the cooperative efforts of the Governments of the United States and Japan, an atomic power reactor dedicated to the advancement of peace and progress by producing power for industrial purposes,” reads the transcript of the speech, which is also given in the anime.

STORY HITS HOME

Fukumoto’s kamishibai project has struck a chord with many Fukushima residents who experienced the nuclear disaster.

Yoko Oka, 61, who lives in Fukushima city as an evacuee from Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, met Fukumoto at a gathering place for people living in temporary housing in Kori in the prefecture in summer 2014.

Oka has been performing kamishibai with him both at home and abroad since then.

Yoko Oka, right, and Hisai Yashima perform an original “kamishibai” about Fukushima in Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, in December 2020. (Yusuke Noda)

She said she still remembers what Fukumoto told her: “I want you to tell people exactly what you went through and how you felt at the time. Only those who experienced the disaster can do that.”

Oka said her impression of Hiroshima, devastated by the 1945 atomic bombing, changed after the 2011 nuclear accident.

“I began imagining how hard it was to bring the city exposed to radiation back to what it is now,” she said. “I was shocked to learn from this anime that there was a plan to build a nuclear plant in Hiroshima.”

Kinue Ishii, 70, who also performs kamishibai with Oka as a member of a storytelling group, said people can think deeply about the nuclear accident by learning why the nuclear plant was built in Fukushima.

“I want people to imagine themselves becoming victims of a nuclear accident by watching this anime,” Ishii said.

Hisai Yashima, 56, another member of the storytelling group, said she hopes the anime will help raise awareness of what led to the construction of the nuclear plant because people from outside Fukushima often ask her why the prefecture approved the plan.

The package of an anime DVD and a 16-page, A4-size picture book costs 2,000 yen ($16). For more details, visit the production committee’s website: https://matimonogatari.iinaa.net) (Japanese only).

(This article was compiled from reports by Miki Morimoto and Yusuke Noda.)

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14604129

May 9, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , | Leave a comment

3 doctors to be dispatched nationwide to respond to nuclear accident; government requests early expansion

Doctors from around the country examine workers on the grounds of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. They rushed to Fukushima to provide medical support in June 2011.

May 2, 2022
The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (DENJIREN) learned in an interview on May 2 that only three doctors have been dispatched to power plants nationwide to provide initial treatment and health care to workers in the event of a nuclear power plant accident. The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (DENJI-ren) explained that “doctors can be stationed at the power plants for about one month after the accident,” and they plan to increase the number of doctors to five in FY2024.

 The Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (MHLW) has pointed out that “it is difficult to maintain a permanent system with only three doctors,” and has called for an early expansion.

 The dispatched doctors will provide lifesaving treatment and simple decontamination in the plant’s infirmary and other facilities in the event of worker injuries and illnesses, determine the priority of treatment, and prevent heat stroke and infectious diseases. Surgeries and mass exposures will not be handled, but transported outside. The company will respond to any nuclear power plant.
https://kahoku.news/articles/knp2022050201000378.html?fbclid=IwAR1pKh0iAGQwD56hGTvK47NdqEjWClLYf7q1W4U5u6zbKaAd-nT-a30ZlSs

May 9, 2022 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

TEPCO net profit slides 96.9%; cost for Fukushima well out of reach

Yoshimitsu Kobayashi, chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc., attends an April 28 news conference where the company’s financial results were announced

April 29, 2022

Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s dismal financial results have compounded the difficulties facing the company in compensating victims of the Fukushima nuclear disaster and covering the cleanup and decommissioning costs.

The parent company, Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc., on April 28 announced that net profit for the fiscal year that ended in March plummeted by 96.9 percent over the previous year to 5.6 billion yen ($43 million).

“With fuel prices continuing to surge, the business environment surrounding our company is not a very optimistic one,” Tomoaki Kobayakawa, the company president, said at the news conference to announce the business results.

He said the company would begin work to revise its corporate structure, including reorganizing group companies and heightening cooperative efforts with other companies.

Despite the dwindling profits, TEPCO must still carry out various tasks to clean up the mess made by the 2011 triple meltdown at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

In 2016, the government calculated that the total cost of compensating people displaced by the disaster, decommissioning reactors at the plant and conducting radiation decontamination work would come to a staggering 21.5 trillion yen.

TEPCO is expected to contribute about 16 trillion yen of that total.

About 10 trillion yen has already been spent for compensation and to remove radiation. Much of that total has been paid for by the government on condition that TEPCO reimburses it later.

Under the plan to rebuild TEPCO, the utility must also set aside about 500 billion yen a year to pay for decommissioning work.

But the last time TEPCO was able to reach that monetary goal was in fiscal 2017. For the past three years, it has only managed to set aside about 300 billion yen annually.

The company had also set a goal of 450 billion yen in net profit by 2030.

But as Yoshimitsu Kobayashi, the company chairman, admitted, “If nothing is done, profits will increasingly shrink and we will be unable to fulfill our responsibility regarding Fukushima.”

Retail sales of electric power used to be TEPCO’s strong point. But as of the end of 2021, newly created electric power companies accounted for 30.4 percent of the electricity sold in the area normally covered by TEPCO.

That is the largest ratio of any of the major electric power companies in Japan.

As a result, TEPCO Energy Partner Inc., which handles retail sales, recorded a loss of 66.4 billion yen for the fiscal year that ended in March.

TEPCO has also failed to capitalize on renewable energy, which had been considered a growth sector.

The government in December 2021 picked a group led by trading company Mitsubishi Corp. instead of TEPCO to handle offshore wind power facilities in Chiba and Akita prefectures.

And there is no sign of when TEPCO’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture can resume operations.

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14610645?fbclid=IwAR2jO6xCoNoiLgpiqT_dxdvdxsQdX4dfXwHDvKTZolVVMWyNV0tWDbvxR1M

May 9, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment