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China, AUKUS clash over nuclear subs

By Francois Murphy, South Coast Register, September 17 2022  China has clashed with the countries in the AUKUS alliance at a meeting of the UN nuclear watchdog over their plan to supply Australia with nuclear-powered submarines, capping a week in which Beijing has repeatedly railed against the project.

Under the alliance between Washington, London and Canberra announced last year, Australia plans to acquire at least eight nuclear submarines that International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi has said will be fuelled by “very highly enriched uranium”, suggesting it could be weapons-grade or close to it.

To date no party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) other than the five countries the treaty recognises as weapons states – the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France – has nuclear submarines.

The vessels can stay underwater for longer than conventional subs and are harder to detect.

“The AUKUS partnership involves the illegal transfer of nuclear weapon materials, making it essentially an act of nuclear proliferation,” China said in a position paper sent to IAEA member states during this week’s quarterly meeting of the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors……………………

The AUKUS countries and the IAEA say the NPT allows so-called marine nuclear propulsion provided necessary arrangements are made with the IAEA.

China disagrees in this case because nuclear material will be transferred to Australia rather than being produced by it.

It argues the IAEA is overstepping its mandate and wants an unspecified “inter-governmental” process to examine the issue at the IAEA instead of leaving it to the agency.

In its seven-page position paper, China said AUKUS countries were seeking to take the IAEA “hostage” so it could “whitewash” nuclear proliferation.

Nuclear submarines are a particular challenge because when they are at sea their fuel is beyond the reach of the agency’s inspectors who are supposed to keep track of all nuclear material.

IAEA chief Grossi has said he is satisfied with the AUKUS countries’ transparency so far……………………

https://www.southcoastregister.com.au/story/7906718/china-aukus-clash-over-nuclear-subs/?cs=202

September 21, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The Defence Strategic Review – Australia is becoming a proxy or is it a patsy for the US in a possible conflict with China

Pearls and Irritations By John Menadue, Sep 16, 2022

The Defence Strategic Review must warn Minister Marles about the dangerous path he is committing Australia to. We are becoming a spear carrier for the US.

  • Fearing its world hegemony is under challenge the US is goading China at every opportunity. Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was but the most recent example of this goading.
  • The threat we face from China is if we continue to act in our region as a proxy for the US. Other regional countries are not doing so.
  • The ‘China’ threat is a rerun of the shameful and earlier ‘yellow peril’. China is not a military threat to Australia.
  • The US is the most violent and aggressive country in the world, almost always at war. Its  military empire includes 800 foreign military bases.

  • We need a strong US presence in our region but not the provocative and dangerous behaviour we see time and time again.
  • We are attaching ourselves uncritically to a declining  but dangerous hegemon.
  • Our ‘Washington Club’ has been on an American drip feed for a long time.It has a ‘colonial’ mind set.It accepts without serious thought the US view of the world.
  • Northern Australia is becoming a US military colony.These points are developed further below.

Northern Australia is becoming a US military colony

In some political difficulty in 2011 Julia Gillard was anxious for President Obama to visit Australia and address the Parliament. Kim Beazley, our Ambassador in Washington was very keen to help. As part of the deal to lock in the Obama visit Gillard agreed to the rotation of Marines through Darwin with US hopes for more future basing in Perth and Cocos-Keeling.

This was the real door opening for the Americans.

The colonisation has continued apace since then with more and more Marines rotating through Darwin and USAF operations in Northern Australia.

But putting the foot on the accelerator of US military colonisation really came in September 2021.

On 16 September 2021, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin hosted Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women Marise Payne and Minister for Defence Peter Dutton in Washington D.C. for the 31st Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN 2021). The Secretaries and Ministers endorsed the following areas of force posture cooperation:

Enhanced air cooperation through the rotational deployment of U.S. aircraft of all types in Australia and appropriate aircraft training and exercises.

Enhanced maritime cooperation by increasing logistics and sustainment capabilities of U.S. surface and subsurface vessels in Australia.

Enhanced land cooperation by conducting more complex and more integrated exercises and greater combined engagement with Allies and Partners in the region.

Establish a combined logistics, sustainment, and maintenance enterprise to support high end warfighting and combined military operations in the region.

See the Australia-US Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) joint statement.

We have committed ourselves to ‘high end warfighting and combined military operations and unfettered access for US forces and platforms’ in northern and western Australia.

Only yesterday the AFR highlighted the US focus on western and northern Australia. ‘Former foreign policy adviser to president George W. Bush and new United States Studies Centre chief executive Michael Green predicts the US will become more dependent on Australia for its military operations and intelligence. A shift in foreign policy focus from Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific meant that areas of western and northern Australia would be ‘‘critical’’ for the US and its allies. ‘‘We need access: we need purchase on the Indian Ocean and, so geographically, in technology, in terms of military operations and intelligence, the US is going to be more dependent on Australia,’’ Mr Green said. ‘‘There’s no two ways around it.’’

We have not seriously debated or considered the enormous and very risky consequences of all of this. Our sovereignty and integrity as a nation is on the line and at the whim of the US, a country that does not really know which path it is on, crypto-fascism, civil war or anarchy.

In AUKUS, at enormous cost and with great delay we are planning to fuse our future nuclear powered submarines with the US Navy to operate in the South China Sea against China.

Minister Marles has told us that we are not only working ‘inter-operatively’ with the US military in numerous ways but we are now committed to ‘inter-changeabilty’ with US forces. We are locking ourselves even more to a ‘dangerous ally’. Minister Marles seems unconcerned about the dangerous path we are on.Even worse he seems careless about surrendering our national sovereignty. He should be watched very carefully.

The US is the most violent country in the world and almost always at war

There is an enormous and powerful US constituency committed to continual war. We joined those wars in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. All were disastrous. Now the US is continually goading and provoking China and wants us to join it. And we are obliging…………….

In this blog, Is war in the American DNA?, I have drawn attention repeatedly to the risks we run in being “joined at the hip” to a country that is almost always at war. The facts are clear…………………..

Despite all the evidence of wars and meddling, the American Imperium continues without serious check or query in America or Australia………………………………………………………………

Australia is trapped within the American Imperium

This complex co-opts institutions and individuals around the globe. It has enormous influence. No US president, nor for that matter any Australian prime minister, would likely challenge it. Morrison and Albanese have the same view on the US imperium.

Australia has locked itself into this complex. Our military and defence leaders are heavily dependent on the US Departments of Defence and State, the CIA and the FBI for advice. We act as their branch offices.

…………………………………… AUKUS has locked us in even more. In AUKUS we are effectively fusing our Navy with that of the US so that we can operate together in the South China Sea and threaten China. We are surrendering more and more of our strategic autonomy by encouraging the US to use Northern Australia as a forward base against China as if the US does not have enough giant military bases ringing China in Japan, ROK and Guam.

A ’rules-based international order’; but not for America

The third reason for the continuing dominance of the American Imperium is the way the US expects others to abide by a “rules-based international order”………………………….

Derivative media compounds Australia’s lack of autonomy

A major voice in articulating American extremism and the American Imperium is Fox News and Rupert Murdoch who exert their influence not just in America but also in the UK and Australia. ………………………. But it is not just the destructive role of News Corp in the US, UK and Australia. Our media, including the ABC are so derivative. It is so pervasive and extensive, we don’t recognise it for its very nature. We really do have a ‘white man’s media’. We see it most obviously today in the way legacy media spew out an endless daily conveyor belt of anti-China stories…………………………………..

Read more in our Defence Strategic Review series of articles.  https://johnmenadue.com/the-defence-strategic-review-we-are-ceding-our-sovereignty-to-the-us/

September 21, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

American-backed Ukrainian attack to recapture Zaporizhzia nuclear power plant is a critical part of the Western strategy

Eventually, Ukrainian officials believe their long-term success requires progress on the original goals in the discarded strategy, including recapturing the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia

The Critical Moment Behind Ukraine’s Rapid Advance, New York Times, By Julian E. BarnesEric Schmitt and Helene Cooper, Sept. 13, 2022

WASHINGTON — The strategy behind Ukraine’s rapid military gains in recent days began to take shape months ago during a series of intense conversations between Ukrainian and U.S. officials about the way forward in the war against Russia, according to American officials.

The counteroffensive — revised this summer from its original form after urgent discussions between senior U.S. and Ukrainian officials — has succeeded beyond most predictions………..

The work began soon after President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine told his generals he wanted to make a dramatic move to demonstrate that his country could push back on the Russian invasion. Under his orders, the Ukrainian military devised a plan to launch a broad assault across the south to reclaim Kherson and cut off Mariupol from the Russian force in the east.

……………………………………..Long reluctant to share details of their plans, the Ukrainian commanders started opening up more to American and British intelligence officials and seeking advice.

Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, and Andriy Yermak, a top adviser to Mr. Zelensky, spoke multiple times about the planning for the counteroffensive, according to a senior administration official. Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and senior Ukrainian military leaders regularly discussed intelligence and military support.

And in Kyiv, Ukrainian and British military officials continued working together while the new American defense attaché, Brig. Gen. Garrick Harmon, began having daily sessions with Ukraine’s top officers…………….

This account of the lead-up to the counteroffensive is based on interviews with multiple senior American officials and others briefed on the classified discussions between Washington and Kyiv that helped Ukrainian commanders shape the battle. Many spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the secret nature of the talks…………………………

“We did do some modeling and some tabletop exercises,” Colin Kahl, the Pentagon’s policy chief, said in a telephone interview. “That set of exercises suggested that certain avenues for a counteroffensive were likely to be more successful than others. We provided that advice, and then the Ukrainians internalized that and made their own decision.”…………………………………………………….

Instead of one large offensive, the Ukrainian military proposed two. One, in Kherson, would most likely take days or weeks before any dramatic results because of the concentration of Russian troops. The other was planned for near Kharkiv.

Together Britain, the United States and Ukraine conducted an assessment of the new plan, trying to war game it once more. This time officials from the three countries agreed it would work — and give Mr. Zelensky what he wanted: a big, clear victory.

But the plan, according to an officer on the general staff in Kyiv, depended entirely on the size and pace of additional military aid from the United States.

Ukraine, a former Soviet republic that had used older Soviet weapons, exhausted most of its own ammunition. Learning how to use new weapons systems in the middle of the war is difficult. But so far the risky move has proved successful. More than 800,000 rounds of 155-millimeter artillery shells, for instance, have been sent to Kyiv, helping fuel its current offensives. The United States alone has committed more than $14.5 billion in military aid since the war started in February.

Before the counteroffensive, Ukraine’s armed forces sent the United States a detailed list of weapons they needed to make the plan successful, according to the Ukrainian officer.

Specific weapons, like the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, are having an outsize effect on the battlefield. The satellite-guided rockets fired by these launch vehicles, called GMLRS, each contain a warhead with 200 pounds of explosives and have been used in recent weeks by Ukrainian forces to destroy more than 400 Russian arms depots, command posts and other targets, American officials said.

More recently, Ukrainian forces have put American-supplied HARM air-launched missiles on Soviet-designed MiG-29 fighter jets, which no air force had ever done. The missiles have been particularly effective in destroying Russian radars.

“We are seeing real and measurable gains from Ukraine in the use of these systems,” General Milley said last week in Germany at a meeting of 50 countries that are helping Ukraine with military and humanitarian aid. “They’re having great difficulty resupplying their forces and replacing their combat losses.”

Ukrainian and American officials said the now weekly or biweekly Pentagon announcements of new shipments of weapons and munitions from American stockpiles have given Kyiv’s senior commanders the confidence to plan complex simultaneous offensives.

“The importance of Western military support is not just in specific weapons systems, but in the assurance and confidence that the Ukrainians can use in their future planning,” said Jack Watling, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London, who recently returned from Ukraine……….

Eventually, Ukrainian officials believe their long-term success requires progress on the original goals in the discarded strategy, including recapturing the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia,…………….

While Ukraine may have an opportunity to recapture more territory in the east, U.S. and Ukrainian officials say the south is the most important theater of the war.

“Kherson and Zaporizhzhia are likely potential objectives,” said Michael Kofman, the director of Russia studies at CNA, a defense research institute. “We might see further Ukrainian Army operations to achieve breakthroughs there in the future.”……….  https://archive.ph/ABurb#selection-933.0-945.244

September 21, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Offsite power supply to Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant destroyed

Offsite power supply to Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant destroyed

Guardian Isobel Koshiw in Kyiv, 10 Sept 22,

A vital offsite electricity supply to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant has been destroyed by shelling and there is little likelihood a reliable supply will be re-established, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog chief has said.

Rafael Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said shelling had destroyed the switchyard of a nearby thermal power plant.

The plant has supplied power to the nuclear facility each time its normal supply lines had been cut over the past three weeks. The thermal plant was also supplying the surrounding area, which was plunged into darkness.

Local Ukrainian officials said work was under way to restore the connection, which has been cut multiple times this week.

Grossi, who said he had been informed of the situation by IAEA representatives at the plant, called for an “immediate cessation of all shelling in the entire area”. “This is an unsustainable situation and is becoming increasingly precarious,” he said, without apportioning blame for the shelling.

Ukraine and Russia have blamed each other for shelling near Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine and within the perimeter of Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant, which has six reactors.

The thermal supply has been cut and restored multiple times this week and Enerhodar, the nearby town, has suffered several complete blackouts.

When the thermal supply has been cut the plant has relied on its only remaining operating reactor for the power needed for cooling and other safety functions. This method is designed to provide power only for a few hours at a time. Diesel generators are used as a last resort. The constant destruction of thermal power supply has led Ukraine to consider shutting down the remaining operating reactor, said Grossi. Ukraine “no longer [has] confidence in the restoration of offsite power”, he said.

Grossi said that if Ukraine decided not to restore the offsite supply the entire power plant would be reliant on emergency diesel generators to ensure supplies for the nuclear safety and security functions.

“As a consequence, the operator would not be able to restart the reactors unless offsite power was reliably re-established,” he said…………….. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/sep/09/offsite-power-supply-to-zaporizhzhia-nuclear-plant-destroyed

September 21, 2022 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Plan to encase a Fukushima nuclear reactor and then flood it.

Its fuel rods melted and mixed with concrete, metal and other materials in the reactors, all fusing together as they cooled.

A plan is being considered to completely encase one of the reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant in steel and then flood it with water in order to retrieve radioactive melted fuel. There are about 880 tonnes of melted nuclear fuel debris still inside the three reactors that suffered meltdowns in 2011, when a tsunami triggered by an earthquake off the coast of Japan disabled the plant’s cooling systems.

Nearly 20,000 people were killed and thousands more were injured by the tsunami, which also destroyed 123,000 homes. The highest waves topped 40m (133 feet). The nuclear plant was inundated, knocking out cooling systems and back-up generators.

Its fuel rods melted and mixed with concrete, metal and other materials in the reactors, all fusing together as they cooled.

Times 15th Sept 2022

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/fukushima-nuclear-reactor-may-be-flooded-to-tackle-radioactive-debris-bbmp5jvlk

September 21, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Gullible governments – US Energy Department returns to costly and risky plutonium separation technologies

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, By Jungmin KangMasafumi TakuboFrank von Hippel | September 14, 2022, On July 17, the United Kingdom ended 58 years of plutonium separation for nuclear fuel by closing its Magnox nuclear fuel reprocessing plant at Sellafield. This leaves the UK with the world’s largest stock of separated power-reactor plutonium, 140 metric tons as of the end of 2020, including 22 tons separated for Japan. The UK is also second in the world only to Russia in the size of its overall inventory of separated plutonium with 119 tons, including 3.2 tons for weapons. Russia’s stock, 191 tons, is mostly “weapon-grade” separated for use in nuclear weapons during the Cold War, but the UK’s power-reactor plutonium is also weapon usable, and therefore also poses a security risk. The UK has no plan for how it will dispose of its separated plutonium. Its “prudent estimate” placeholder for the disposal cost is £10 billion ($12.6 billion).

One obvious way to get rid of separated plutonium would be to mix it with depleted uranium to make “mixed-oxide” (MOX) fuel energetically equivalent to low-enriched uranium fuel, the standard fuel of conventional reactors. Despite the bad economics, since 1976 France has routinely separated out the approximately one percent plutonium in the low-enriched uranium spent fuel discharged by its water-cooled reactors and recycled the plutonium in MOX fuel.

But both the UK and the US have had negative experiences with building their own MOX production plants.

In 2001, the UK completed a MOX plant, only to abandon it in 2011 after 10 years of failed attempts to make it operate. For its part, the US Energy Department, which owns almost 50 tons of excess Cold War plutonium, contracted with the French government-owned nuclear-fuel cycle company, Areva (now Orano), in 2008 to build a MOX fuel fabrication plant. But the United States switched to a “dilute and dispose” policy for its excess plutonium in 2017 after the estimated cost of the MOX plant grew from $2.7 billion to $17 billion.

Despite decades of failed attempts around the world to make separated plutonium an economic fuel for nuclear power plants, the United States Energy Department is once again promoting the recycling of separated plutonium in the fuel of “advanced” reactor designs that were found to be economically uncompetitive 50 years ago. At the same time, other countries—including Canada and South Korea, working in collaboration with the Energy Department’s nuclear laboratories—are also promoting plutonium separation as a “solution” to their own spent fuel disposal problems. These efforts not only gloss over the long history of failure of these nuclear technologies; they also fail to take into account the proliferation risk associated with plutonium separation—a risk that history has shown to be quite real.

Renewed advocacy for plutonium separation. As the UK finally turns its back on plutonium separation, the United States Energy Department is looking in the other direction. Within the Energy Department, one part, the Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, is struggling to dispose of excess Cold War weapons plutonium, as two others—the Office of Nuclear Energy and ARPA-E (Advanced Research Project Agency – Energy)—are promoting plutonium separation……………………………………..

In fact, the Energy Department’s Office of Nuclear Energy is promoting sodium-cooled reactor designs based on the Idaho National Laboratory’s Experimental Breeder Reactor II, which was shut down in 1994 due to a lack of mission after the end of the US breeder program a decade earlier. The Energy Department’s office is now supporting research, development, and demonstration of sodium-cooled reactors by several nuclear energy startups.

Among them is Bill Gates’ Terrapower, to which the department has committed as much as $2 billion in matching funds to build a 345-megawatt-electric sodium-cooled prototype reactor—called Natrium (sodium in Latin)—in the state of Wyoming. One of Wyoming’s current senators, John Barrasso, is a leading advocate of nuclear power and could become chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources if the Republicans take control of the upper chamber in the elections this fall.

Terrapower insists Natrium is not a plutonium breeder reactor and will be fueled “once through” with uranium enriched to just below 20 percent and its spent fuel disposed of directly in a deep geologic repository, without reprocessing. Natrium, however, is set to use, initially at least, the same type of fuel used in Idaho’s Experimental Breeder Reactor II. The Energy Department maintains that this spent fuel cannot be disposed of directly because the sodium in the fuel could burn if it contacts underground water or air. On that basis, the Idaho National Laboratory has been struggling for 25 years to treat a mere three tons of spent fuel from the Experimental Breeder Reactor II using a special reprocessing technology called “pyroprocessing.”

In pyroprocessing, the fuel is dissolved in molten salt instead of acid, and the plutonium and uranium are recovered by passing a current through the salt and plating them out on electrodes. In 2021, Terrapower stated that it plans to switch later to a fuel for Natrium that does not contain sodium but then received in March 2022 the largest of eleven Energy Department grants for research and development on new reprocessing technologies.

Liquid-sodium-cooled reactor designs date back to the 1960s and 1970s, when the global nuclear power community believed conventional power reactor capacity would quickly outgrow the available supply of high-grade uranium ore. Conventional reactors are fueled primarily by chain-reacting uranium 235, which comprises only 0.7 percent by weight of natural uranium. Because of this low percentage, nuclear power advocates focused on developing plutonium “breeder” reactors that would be fueled by chain-reacting plutonium produced from the abundant but non-chain-reacting uranium 238 isotope, which constitutes 99.3 percent of natural uranium. (Liquid-sodium-cooled reactors are sometimes called “fast-neutron reactors” because they utilize fast neutrons to operate. Sodium was chosen as a coolant because it slows neutrons less than water. Fast neutrons are essential to a plutonium breeder reactor because the fission of plutonium by fast neutrons releases more excess secondary neutrons whose capture in uranium 238 makes possible the production of more plutonium than the reactor consumes.)

Large programs were launched to provide startup fuel for the breeder reactors by reprocessing spent conventional power-reactor fuel to recover its contained plutonium.

………………………………….. Only a few prototypes were built and then mostly abandoned. In 2020, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Nuclear Energy Agency estimated that sufficient low-cost uranium would be available to fuel existing conventional reactor capacity for more than a century.

Zombie plutonium-separation programs. Even though separated plutonium has morphed from the nuclear fuel of the future into a disposal problem, civilian plutonium separation continues in several countries, notably France, Japan, and Russia. It is also being advocated again by the offices within the US Energy Department that fund research and development on nuclear energy.

Russia still has an active breeder reactor development program, with two operating liquid sodium-cooled prototypes—only one of them plutonium fueled—plus a small, liquid, lead-cooled prototype under construction. But Russia has already separated 60 tons of power-reactor plutonium and has declared as excess above its weapons needs approximately 40 tons of weapon-grade plutonium. These 100 tons of separated plutonium would be enough to provide startup fuel for five years for six full-size breeder reactors.

China and India have breeder reactor prototypes under construction, but their breeders are suspected of being dual-purpose. In addition to their production of electric power, the weapon-grade plutonium produced in uranium “blankets” around the breeder cores is likely to be used for making additional warheads for their still-growing nuclear arsenals.

France and Japan require their nuclear utilities to pay for reprocessing their spent fuel and for recycling the recovered plutonium in MOX fuel, even though both countries have known for decades that the cost of plutonium recycling is several times more than using low-enriched uranium fuel “once through,” with the spent fuel being disposed of directly in a deep geological repository.

Claimed benefits of reprocessing. Advocates of plutonium recycling in France and Japan justify their programs with claims that it reduces uranium requirements, the volume of radioactive waste requiring disposal, and the duration of the decay heat and radiotoxicity of the spent fuel in a geologic repository. These benefits are, however, either minor or non-existent. First, France’s plutonium recycling program reduces its uranium requirements by only about 10 percent, which could be achieved at much less cost in other ways, such as by adjusting enrichment plants to extract a higher percentage of the uranium 235 isotopes in natural uranium. Second, with proper accounting, it is not at all clear that recycling produces a net reduction in the volume of radioactive waste requiring deep geological disposal. Third, the claimed heat reduction, if realized, could reduce the size of the repository by packing radioactive waste canisters more closely. But this is not significant because, with the currently used reprocessing technology, americium 241, which has a 430-year half-life and dominates the decay heat from the spent fuel during the first thousand years, remains in the reprocessed waste.

Claims of the reduced toxicity of reprocessed waste turn out to be false as well. For decades, France’s nuclear establishment has promoted continued reprocessing in part out of hope that, after its foreign reprocessing customers did not renew their contracts, it could sell its plutonium recycling technology to other countries, starting with China and the United States. But, with the notable exception of the canceled US MOX plant, these efforts so far have not materialized, and the willingness of the French government to continue funding its expensive nuclear fuel cycle strategy may be reaching its limits………………………..

Proliferation danger. Aside from the waste of taxpayer money, there is one major public-policy objection to plutonium separation: Plutonium can be used to make a nuclear weapon. The chain-reacting material in the Nagasaki bomb was six kilograms of plutonium, and the fission triggers of virtually all nuclear warheads today are powered with plutonium. Reactor-grade plutonium is weapon-usable, as well.

In the 1960s, however, blinded by enthusiasm for plutonium breeder reactors, the US Atomic Energy Commission—the Energy Department’s predecessor agency—promoted plutonium worldwide as the fuel of the future. During that period, India sent 1,000 scientists and engineers to Argonne and other US national laboratories to be educated in nuclear science and engineering. In 1964, India began to separate plutonium from the spent fuel of a heavy-water research reactor provided jointly by Canada and the United States. Ten years later, in 1974, India used some of that separated plutonium for a design test of a “peaceful nuclear explosive,” which is now a landmark in the history of nuclear weapon proliferation……………………….

False environmental claims for reprocessing. Since the 1980s, advocates of reprocessing and plutonium recycling and fast neutron reactors in the Energy Department’s Argonne and Idaho National Laboratories have promoted them primarily as a strategy to facilitate spent fuel disposal.

The George W. Bush administration, which came to power in 2001, embraced this argument because it saw the impasse over siting a spent fuel repository as an obstacle to the expansion of nuclear power in the United States. To address the proliferation issue, the Bush Administration proposed in 2006 a “Global Nuclear Energy Partnership” in which only countries that already reprocessed their spent fuel (China, France, Japan, and Russia) plus the United States would be allowed to reprocess the world’s spent fuel and extract plutonium. The recovered plutonium then would be used in the reprocessing countries to fuel advanced burner reactors (breeder reactors tweaked so that they would produce less plutonium than they consumed). These burner reactors would be sodium-cooled fast-neutron reactors because the slow neutrons that sustain the chain reaction in water-cooled reactors are not effective in fissioning some of the plutonium isotopes. After Congress understood the huge costs involved, however, it refused to fund the partnership…………………………….

Plutonium and the geological disposal of spent fuel. Despite the unfavorable economics, the idea of separating and fissioning the plutonium in spent fuel has been kept alive in the United States and some other countries in part by continuing political and technical obstacles to siting spent fuel repositories. Proponents of reprocessing have managed to keep their governments’ attention on plutonium because it is a long-lived radioelement, a ferocious carcinogen—if inhaled—and has fuel value if recycled.

But detailed studies have concluded that plutonium makes a relatively small contribution to the long-term risk from a spent fuel geologic repository for spent fuel from commercial power reactors.

……………………………………………….. risk assessments are theoretical, but they are based on real-world experience with the movement of radioisotopes through the environment.

The main source of that experience is from the large quantities of fission products and plutonium lofted into the stratosphere by the fireballs of megaton-scale atmospheric nuclear tests between 1952 and 1980. During that period, the Soviet Union, the United States, China, the United Kingdom, and France injected into the stratosphere a total of about eight tons of fission products and 3.4 tons of plutonium—comparable to the quantities in a few hundred tons of spent light water reactor fuel. These radioisotopes returned to earth as global radioactive “fallout.”

…………………………………… In addition to the proliferation danger dramatized by the case of India, plutonium separation also brings with it a danger of a massive accidental radioactive release during reprocessing. The world’s worst nuclear accident before Chernobyl involved the Soviet Union’s first reprocessing plant for plutonium production, in 1957……………………………………………..

Gullible governments. Nearly half a century after India conducted its first nuclear test in 1974 with assistance provided inadvertently by Canada and the United States, both countries’ governments seem to have forgotten about the proliferation risk associated with spent fuel reprocessing. Today, advocates of fast-neutron breeder or burner reactors are pitching again the same arguments—used before the test—to gullible governments that seem unaware of the history of this issue. This ignorance has created problems for Canada’s nonproliferation policy as well as that of the United States.

In Canada, a UK startup, Moltex, has obtained financial support from federal and provincial governments by promising to “solve” Canada’s spent fuel problem. Its proposed solution is to extract the plutonium in the spent fuel of Canada’s aging CANDU (CANada Deuterium Uranium) reactors to fuel a new generation of molten-salt-cooled reactors. The Moltex company also proposes to make Canada an export hub for its reactors and small reprocessing plants.

In South Korea, the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, with support from Energy Department’s Argonne and Idaho National Laboratories, has similarly been campaigning to persuade its government that pyroprocessing spent fuel and fissioning plutonium in sodium-cooled reactors would help solve that country’s spent fuel management problem.

It is time for governments to learn again about the risks involved with plutonium separation and to fence off “no-go zones” for their nuclear energy advocates, lest they unintentionally precipitate a new round of nuclear-weapon proliferation.

Notes:

[1] Carbon 14 and iodine 129 are difficult to capture during reprocessing and therefore are routinely released into the atmosphere and ocean by France’s reprocessing plant at La Hague. Also, had the uranium 238 in the spent fuel not been mined, its decay product, radium 226, would have been released within the original uranium deposit. So, even though some reprocessing advocates join with nuclear power critics in amplifying the hazards of plutonium and other transuranic elements in underground radioactive waste repositories, they generally omit comparisons with reprocessing hazards (in the case of reprocessing advocates) or with natural uranium deposits (in the case of repository opponents). https://thebulletin.org/2022/09/some-fuels-never-learn-us-energy-department-returns-to-costly-and-risky-plutonium-separation-technologies/

September 21, 2022 Posted by | - plutonium, 2 WORLD, Reference | Leave a comment

World BEYOND War Volunteers to Reproduce “Offensive” Peace Mural

 https://worldbeyondwar.org/world-beyond-war-volunteers-to-reproduce-offensive-peace-mural/By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, September 14, 2022

A talented artist in Melbourne, Australia, has been in the news for painting a mural of Ukrainian and Russian soldiers hugging — and then for taking it down because people were offended. The artist, Peter ‘CTO’ Seaton, has been quoted as saying he was raising funds for our organization, World BEYOND War. We want to not only thank him for that but offer to put the mural up elsewhere.

Here is a small sampling of the reporting on this story:

SBS News: “‘Utterly offensive’: Australia’s Ukrainian community furious over mural of Russian soldier embrace”
The Guardian: “Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia calls for removal of ‘offensive’ mural of Russian and Ukrainian soldiers”
Sydney Morning Herald: “Artist to paint over ‘utterly offensive’ Melbourne mural after Ukrainian community anger”
The Independent: “Australian artist takes down mural of hugging Ukraine and Russia soldiers after huge backlash”
Sky News: “Melbourne mural of Ukrainian and Russian soldiers hugging painted over after backlash”
Newsweek: “Artist Defends ‘Offensive’ Mural of Ukrainian and Russian Troops Hugging”
The Telegraph: “Other wars: Editorial on Peter Seaton’s anti-war mural & its repercussion”

Here is the artwork on Seaton’s website. The website says: “Peace before Pieces: Mural painted on Kingsway close to the Melbourne CBD. Focusing on a peaceful resolution between the Ukraine and Russia. Sooner or later the continued escalation of conflicts created by Politicians will be the death of our beloved planet.” We couldn’t agree more.

World BEYOND War has funds donated to us specifically for putting up billboards. We would like to offer, should Seaton find it acceptable and helpful, to put this image up on billboards in Brussels, Moscow, and Washington. We would like to help with reaching out to muralists to put it up elsewhere. And we would like to put it on yard signs that individuals can display around the world.

Our interest is not in offending anyone. We believe that even in the depths of misery, despair, anger, and revenge people are sometimes capable of imagining a better way. We’re aware that soldiers try to kill their enemies, not hug them. We’re aware that each side believes that all the evil is commited by the other side. We’re aware that each side typically believes total triumph is eternally imminent. But we believe that wars must end with the making of peace and that the sooner this is done the better. We believe that reconciliation is something to aspire to, and that it is tragic to find ourselves in a world in which even picturing it is deemed — not just unliklely, but — somehow offensive.

World BEYOND War is a global nonviolent movement to end war and establish a just and sustainable peace. World BEYOND War was founded on January 1st, 2014, when co-founders David Hartsough and David Swanson set out to create a global movement to abolish the institution of war itself, not just the “war of the day.” If war is ever to be abolished, then it must be taken off the table as a viable option. Just as there is no such thing as “good” or necessary slavery, there is no such thing as a “good” or necessary war. Both institutions are abhorrent and never acceptable, no matter the circumstances. So, if we can’t use war to resolve international conflicts, what can we do? Finding a way to transition to a global security system that is supported by international law, diplomacy, collaboration, and human rights, and defending those things with nonviolent action rather than the threat of violence, is the heart of WBW. Our work includes education that dispels myths, like “War is natural” or “We have always had war,” and shows people not only that war should be abolished, but also that it actually can be. Our work includes all variety of nonviolent activism that moves the world in the direction of ending all war.

September 21, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, culture and arts, spinbuster | Leave a comment

The Weapons Industry as a Taxpayer Scam

In all, the top five weapons contractors—Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman—split more than $200 billion in “defense” revenue in the last fiscal year, mostly from the Pentagon but also from lucrative foreign arms sales. The new budget proposals will only boost those already astounding figures.

Military contractors and arms manufacturers cash in as Congress adds billions to the Pentagon budget each year.

The jobs card is the strongest tool of influence available to the arms industry in its efforts to keep Congress eternally boosting Pentagon spending, but far from the only one

So far, in the 2022 election cycle, weapons firms have already donated $3.4 million to members of the House Armed Services Committee

There are scant, if any, restrictions against members of Congress owning or trading defense company stocks, even those who sit on influential national-security-related committees. In other words, it’s completely legal for them to marry their personal financial interests to those of defense contractors.

 https://www.commondreams.org/views/2022/09/12/weapons-industry-taxpayer-scam JULIA GLEDHILL,  WILLIAM HARTUNG, September 12, 2022 Congress has spoken when it comes to next year’s Pentagon budget and the results, if they weren’t so in line with past practices, should astonish us all. The House of Representatives voted to add $37 billion and the Senate $45 billion to the administration’s already humongous request for “national defense,” a staggering figure that includes both the Pentagon budget and work on nuclear weapons at the Department of Energy. If enacted, the Senate’s sum would push spending on the military to at least $850 billion annually, far more—adjusted for inflation—than at the height of the Korean or Vietnam wars or the peak years of the Cold War.

U.S. military spending is, of course, astronomically high—more than that of the next nine countries combined. Here’s the kicker, though: the Pentagon (an institution that has never passed a comprehensive financial audit) doesn’t even ask for all those yearly spending increases in its budget requests to Congress. Instead, the House and Senate continue to give it extra tens of billions of dollars annually. No matter that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has publicly stated the Pentagon has all it needs to “get the capabilities… to support our operational concepts” without such sums.

It would be one thing if such added funding were at least crafted in line with a carefully considered defense strategy.  More often than not, though, much of it goes to multibillion dollar weapons projects being built in the districts or states of key lawmakers or for items on Pentagon wish lists (formally known as “unfunded priorities lists”). It’s unclear how such items can be “priorities” when they haven’t even made it into the Pentagon’s already enormous official budget request.

In addition, throwing yet more money at a department incapable of managing its current budget only further strains its ability to meet program goals and delivery dates. In other words, it actually impairs military readiness. Whatever limited fiscal discipline the Pentagon has dissipates further when lawmakers arbitrarily increase its budget, despite rampant mismanagement leading to persistent cost overruns and delivery delays on the military’s most expensive (and sometimes least well-conceived) weapons programs.

Inn short, parochial concerns and special-interest politics regularly trump anything that might pass as in the national interest, while doing no favors to the safety and security of the United States. In the end, most of those extra funds simply pad the bottom lines of major weapons contractors like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies. They certainly don’t help our servicemembers, as congressional supporters of higher Pentagon budgets routinely claim.

A Captured Congress

The leading advocates of more Pentagon spending, Democrats and Republicans alike, generally act to support major contractors in their jurisdictions. Representative Jared Golden (D-ME), a co-sponsor of the House Armed Services Committee proposal to add $37 billion to the Pentagon budget, typically made sure it included funds for a $2 billion guided-missile destroyer to be built at General Dynamics’ shipyard in Bath, Maine. 

Similarly, his co-sponsor, Representative Elaine Luria (D-VA), whose district abuts Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipyard, successfully advocated for the inclusion of ample funding to produce aircraft carriers and attack submarines at that complex. Or consider Representative Mike Rogers (R-AL), the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee and a dogged advocate of annually increasing the Pentagon budget by at least 3% to 5% above inflation. He serves a district south of Huntsville, Alabama, dubbed “rocket city” because it’s the home to so many firms that work on missile defense and related projects.

There are even special congressional caucuses devoted solely to increasing Pentagon spending while fending off challenges to specific weapons systems. These range from the House shipbuilding and F-35 caucuses to the Senate ICBM Coalition. That coalition has been especially effective at keeping spending on a future land-based intercontinental ballistic missile dubbed the Sentinel on track, while defeating efforts to significantly reduce the number of ICBMs in the U.S. arsenal. Such “success” has come thanks to the stalwart support of senators from Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming, all states with ICBM bases or involved in major ICBM development and maintenance.

The jobs card is the strongest tool of influence available to the arms industry in its efforts to keep Congress eternally boosting Pentagon spending, but far from the only one. After all, the industrial part of the military-industrial-congressional complex gave more than $35 million in campaign contributions to members of Congress in 2020, the bulk of it going to those on the armed services and defense appropriations committees who have the most sway over the Pentagon budget and what it will be spent on.

So far, in the 2022 election cycle, weapons firms have already donated $3.4 million to members of the House Armed Services Committee, according to an analysis by Open Secrets.org, an organization that tracks campaign spending and political influence. Weapons-making corporations also currently employ nearly 700 lobbyists, more than one for every member of Congress, while spending additional millions to support industry-friendly think tanks that regularly push higher Pentagon spending and a more hawkish foreign policy.

The arms industry has another lever to pull as well when it comes to the personal finances of lawmakers. There are scant, if any, restrictions against members of Congress owning or trading defense company stocks, even those who sit on influential national-security-related committees. In other words, it’s completely legal for them to marry their personal financial interests to those of defense contractors.

The Cost of Coddling Contractors

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September 21, 2022 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

TODAY. The Ukrainian propaganda war becomes ever more sinister – with “filtration”

“Filtration” – yes – that’s the key word. It means the torture, expulsion, killing, of people that you call ‘collaborators” ETC. in Western propaganda now, there are dozens of media reports on how the Russians are abusing Ukrainians.

Then there’s just this one headline from the Wall Street Journal – “Ukraine hit squads are killing Russian occupiers and collaborators” (behind a paywall). What could they be thinking of? – When the standard Western dogma is that all the bad things are done by Russia, and Ukrainians are squeaky clean.

One report , from a pro-Russian media source, says “Ukraine cracks downs on civilians – official

I can’t imagine why on earth the Wall Street Journal lapsed from its religious Western duty to blacken Russians, but I bet they won’t let it happen again.

A heretical thought from a Westerner – but is it possible that, not just Russia, but both sides are guilty of atrocities, in this hate-filled Ukraine situation?

September 21, 2022 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

Sizewell C nuclear project might be scrapped as UK faces ‘long winter’ due to energy crisis

A NEW NUCLEAR reactor which is planned for the Sizewell site in Suffolk could face numerous problems with funding and completion, an expert has warned.

Express UK, By MATTHEW DOOLEY, Sun, Sep 11, 2022  Sizewell C nuclear power station is a proposed nuclear plant in Suffolk which would meet up to seven percent of the UK’s energy demand. The project is owned by the French nuclear giant EDF and the China Nuclear group who own an 80 and 20 percent stake, respectively, in the project.

……….  the plant will take years to complete, so it is unlikely it will have any effect on consumers’ bills in the short term.

Concerns have also been raised about the French company taking on the project, EDF. The company is reportedly heavily in-debt – €42.8billion (£37billion) at the end of June, according to Bloomberg.

In July, French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne announced that EDF would be nationalised with the French Government buying 14 percent of the company which it did not already own.

This led some experts to express concern over the viability of the new Sizewell plant amidst an ongoing energy crisis.

Associate Fellow at the Science Policy Research Unit, Sussex Business School, University of Sussex Paul Dorfman is an expert in civil nuclear technology.

He said that following the winter, EDF may lose its appetite for building a nuclear project in the UK, particularly when the rest of Europe was struggling with its own energy crisis.

He said: “EDF has huge problems, as they are massively in debt – essentially bankrupt, right now about €42billion in debt, with huge waste and decommissioning costs on the horizon.

“At the moment half of all French EDF reactors are offline, many with ageing maintenance and corrosion safety problems. Because of all this, the French Government has been forced to fully nationalise EDF.


“This winter will be a long time in energy and in politics. It will be a cold winter, and what would happen if France needed all its power for Paris, and fails to deliver power to the UK? How will that go down with UK people and policy, and could that impact the any new nuclear decision at Sizewell C?”

“What will happen if France says, ‘well we are in such problems with our nuclear, we don’t want to commit to the UK?’ Already, just this week, the EDF Board has refused sign off on Johnson’s Sizewell C contract – are they getting cold feet because they worry about taking on more debt for another UK project, when they have their own problems at home.”

Dr Dorfman was referring to a number of sources close to the matter who apparently told the French magazine Le Figaro EDF’s board of directors had voted against the Government’s negotiated decision with EDF to build the reactor at Sizewell……………….


The Sizewell C project would be funded by three parties – EDF would fund 20 percent while the Government would take on another 20 percent of the project. Private investors would take on another 60 percent of the funding while current investor China General Nuclear Power is expected to ease out of its 20 percent investment.

This adds more uncertainty to the project, according to Dr Dorfman who claims the current market won’t “touch nuclear with a barge pole”.

A portion of the construction will be funded by the Regulated Asset Base (RAB) module, which will see consumers pay a premium on their energy bills to go towards the construction of the plant.  https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/1667357/energy-crisis-sizewell-c-nuclear-plant-uk-long-winter-energy-crisis

September 21, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

All 6 reactors at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant now completely stopped operating

 Operations at the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine
have been fully stopped as a safety measure, Energoatom, the state agency
in charge of the plant, said. The plant “is completely stopped” after thec
agency disconnected the number 6 power unit from the grid at 3.41am (local
time), it said in a statement. “Preparations are under way for its cooling
and transfer to a cold state.”

 RTE 11th Sept 2022

https://www.rte.ie/news/ukraine/2022/0911/1321783-ukraine-russia/

September 21, 2022 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Ukraine Considers Shutting Nuclear Plant After Loss of Backup Power

After shelling destroys key electricity supply, Zaporizhzhia facility may have to rely on generators with 10 days of fuel left

WSJ, By Drew Hinshaw and Laurence Norman Sept. 9, 2022

Ukraine is considering shutting down the sole remaining reactor at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Friday, after shelling left the plant without a safe and sustainable source of backup power.

The plant, which has already shut down five of its six reactors, risks having only one remaining source of electricity to power its systems in case the sixth reactor has to go offline, said Director General Rafael Grossi in a statement..

Normally, if the plant can’t supply itself power,
it can draw electricity from a nearby thermal-energy plant. But shelling
overnight Thursday destroyed a switchyard that carries electricity out from
that coal-fired plant, Mr. Grossi said.

It is unlikely that it will be
repaired, he added, given the constant artillery fire, meaning the nuclear
plant would have no off-site emergency source of power. The plant could
turn to back up generators, but those only have enough fuel for about 10
days, according to Ukraine’s state-owned nuclear company, Energoatom. The
plant, occupied by Russian soldiers who patrol with grenades dangling off
their belts, is still operated by the company’s Ukrainian workforce.

Plant workers, meanwhile, have no electricity in their homes and the
shelling risks accelerating an exodus of essential staff. “This is an
unsustainable situation and is becoming increasingly precarious,” Mr.
Grossi said. “The power plant has no off-site power, This is completely
unacceptable. It cannot stand. ”The Zaporizhzhia plant is now producing a
minimal 250 megawatts, enough to monitor and sustain the temperature of its
cooling ponds, to pump water through the station, to clean the air inside
the plant, and to perform other basic safety functions, said Petro Kotin,
interim president of Energoatom.

If the last operating reactor goes down,
he said, the staff will need to supply 200 tons of diesel daily to the
generators. The IAEA said in a report Tuesday Ukraine had 2,250 tons of
diesel fuel available for the whole site. Procuring more would require
several truckloads of fuel to cross through an active conflict area
subjected to continual artillery fire, many times a day. Nuclear experts
said it could make sense to shut down the last reactor and work off backup
generators, because the earlier that is done, the cooler the reactor core
would be if Zaporizhzhia’s generators run out of fuel and there is an
accident.

Workers reached by The Wall Street Journal have blamed the
artillery fire on Russia. Plant technicians, backed by European officials
and independent nuclear analysts, have said the shelling serves the
Kremlin’s broader goal of severing Zaporizhzhia’s power connection to
Ukraine’s remaining territory and eventually rerouting it into
Russian-held areas. Russian soldiers have laid land mines around the
plant’s cooling ponds, parked heavy artillery near its reactors, and
turned its safety shelters—meant for plant workers to flee to in an
emergency—into a bunker for themselves, workers say.

When IAEA inspectors
visited the plant last week, they found that the alternative emergency
center that Russian soldiers offered the staff didn’t have its own
ventilation system to filter out radiation from the air, or its own source
of power—or even an internet connection.

Shutting down the plant, in the
midst of an active conflict, would pose enormous and unprecedented
challenges for the nuclear industry. Defunct or dormant nuclear plants
still require electricity and careful maintenance by trained staff to
monitor and safeguard spent nuclear fuel, among other safety operations.
The plant currently suffers obstacles sourcing the spare parts and fuel
that would be required. Compounding difficulties, the Zaporizhzhia plant
has seen a considerable amount of its workforce flee, slipping out through
Russian checkpoints to Ukrainian-held ground.

 Wall Street Journal 10th Sept 2022  https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-considers-shutting-nuclear-plant-after-loss-of-backup-power-11662747396

https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-considers-shutting-nuclear-plant-after-loss-of-backup-power-1166274739

September 21, 2022 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Here’s why the risk of a nuclear accident in Ukraine has ‘significantly increased’

https://www.wboi.org/npr-news/npr-news/2022-09-09/heres-why-the-risk-of-a-nuclear-accident-in-ukraine-has-significantly-increased By Geoff Brumfiel, September 9, 2022, The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency is warning that the risk of a nuclear accident at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has “significantly increased,” following ongoing fighting around the site.

“Let me be clear, the shelling around Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant must stop,” IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said in a brief recorded statement released on Friday.

Grossi also warned that the continued fighting might require the plant to shut down its last operating reactor. That would set into motion a chain of events that could intensify the current nuclear crisis. Here’s how.

Nuclear plants need electricity

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is the largest in Europe, capable of producing thousands of megawatts of electricity. But the plant also needs power from the same electricity grid it feeds.

The power is used to run the various parts of the plant, including its safety and cooling systems. Specifically, nuclear power plants require water to be pumped constantly through their cores in order to function safely, and the pumps need electricity.

At Zaporizhzhia, the power is normally supplied by four high-voltage lines, which connect the nuclear complex to Ukraine’s electricity grid, but the conflict has seen those lines systematically cut. The last 750kV line was severed on September 3, according to the IAEA.

A backup line was disconnected two days later due to a fire on the site. In a press conference shortly after returning from Zaporizhzhia, Grossi told reporters that he believed the power lines were being deliberately targeted:


Zaporizhzhia has been making its own power, but that’s a limited solution

Since losing its last connection to the grid on Sept. 5, the nuclear plant has been powering itself in so-called “islanding operation mode.” Under this setup, the Unit 6 reactor has been producing low levels of electricity that are running the rest of the facility.

The reactors at Zaporizhzhia are designed to operate in this mode during startup, according to a nuclear engineer who worked directly with the reactors when the plant began operations in the 1980s, but who was not authorized to speak publicly by his current employer.

“It’s not good, it cannot be done for a long time,” he says. The problem is less to do with the reactor itself than the turbine, generators and other systems–all of which are designed to run at significantly higher power levels than islanding operation mode provides.

Adding to the problem, Grossi said in his statement, is the increasing strain on the plant’s Ukrainian operators. Many of the plant’s current staff of just under 1,000 live in the nearby town of Enerhodar. Its water, sewage and electrical supplies have all been disrupted in recent days by the same fighting that’s damaged the lines around the plant.

“The shelling is putting in danger operators and their families, making it difficult to adequately staff the plant,” Grossi says.

Shutting down the last reactor will trigger emergency generators

With conditions deteriorating, it seems more likely that Ukrainian authorities will decide to power down the last reactor. But in the short term, that could exacerbate the crisis.

That’s because nuclear reactors are more like charcoal grills than gas stoves. Even after they’re shut off, they remain hot for a long period of time. Water must still circulate in the cores to prevent a meltdown.

With its reactors shut down, Zaporizhzhia will switch to backup emergency diesel generators to keep the reactors cool. The emergency generators themselves are a tried-and-true method for cooling a nuclear reactor. In fact, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires U.S. plants to switch to emergency diesel generators immediately, bypassing the “islanding operation mode” used in Zaporizhzhia.

“We don’t want to go on the diesel generators, but it’s a situation you can abide by for awhile,” says Steven Nesbit, a nuclear engineer and member of the American Nuclear Society’s rapid response taskforce, which is tracking the current crisis. For example, after losing power during Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the Turkey Point Nuclear Plant in Florida operated for days on emergency diesel power.

If the generators run out of fuel, a meltdown could occur

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September 21, 2022 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Wow! The nuclear lobby comes up with a new plan “to compel governments to make difficult decisions”

The solution that we have created  – the creation of a multilateral bank that will support nuclear investment and nuclear infrastructure all across the world – is a needed tool to achieve these objectives. 

The proposed International Bank for Nuclear Infrastructure (IBNI)will be based on the same model as the World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Asian Development Bank, among others.

“What a multilateral can do, through the establishment, adoption and enforcement of country-level agreements, is compel governments to make the politically-difficult decisions.

Financing issues for nuclear under the spotlight

World Nuclear News, 09 September 2022 The financing of nuclear projects under current mechanisms faces many challenges, panelists at World Nuclear Symposium agreed. However, plans for a new multilateral bank specifically for nuclear infrastructure could help projects move forward.

I think we all share a vision that nuclear needs to play a major role in the attainment of [energy security, sustainable development, climate targets] policy objectives,” said Daniel Dean, chair of the International Bank for Nuclear Infrastructure (IBNI) Implementation Organisation Strategic Advisory Group.

“The more we make nuclear accessible, financeable and achievable in countries throughout the world, the more that nuclear will be considered as a viable option to achieve those carbon transition objectives. But we are talking about multiple trillions of dollars of investment to achieve this vision. That is a problem given the existing financing mechanisms, the existing commercial structures being utilised to deliver nuclear projects.

George Borovas, partner and head of nuclear at law firm Hunton Andrews Kurth, who chaired the session, said the financing of nuclear projects is “an issue that is dear to my heart”. He said he has seen many such projects fail because of a lack of the right financial solutions……… You have to think about the financing solution up front.”

“General issues of public acceptance, reputational risk, potential controversies inevitably makes a lot of banks nervous, or at least cautious, about engaging with nuclear,” said Mark Muldowney of BNP Paribas…………..

Dean said nuclear must been considered from an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) perspective as an investor.

“We need to establish a better basis for the ESG status of nuclear and its role in terms of net-zero and its role in energy security,” he said. “That’s important as that will start to aggregate stability and actually say that nuclear is something that collectively financiers want to finance.”

 what you need for that assessment is for industry collectively to put together the case why nuclear makes sense – from a policy point of view that’s the government’s domain 

Dean said it is not just a financing issue. “It is a multidimensional problem that needs a multidimensional solution. The solution that we have created  – the creation of a multilateral bank that will support nuclear investment and nuclear infrastructure all across the world – is a needed tool to achieve these objectives. 

…………………… The proposed IBNI will be based on the same model as the World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Asian Development Bank, among others.

“What a multilateral can do, through the establishment, adoption and enforcement of country-level agreements, is compel governments to make the politically-difficult decisions.  https://world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Financing-issues-for-nuclear-under-the-spotlight

September 21, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs | Leave a comment

UK and Europe cannot depend on nuclear power, with reactors shutting down, just as winter hits.

 The first real winter test of how strained the UK’s energy supplies are will come next month when nuclear reactors start closing for maintenance, just as the heating season kicks off.

Nuclear output makes up roughly 15% of Britain’s energy mix, and the planned shutdowns may challenge
electricity production when the country can least afford it. Two units at n the Heysham plant in northern England are set to halt for periods between October and November, and more nuclear closures are scheduled through winter.

European power prices have surged amid an energy crisis linked to soaring gas costs caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine. While early winter weather is expected to be mild, the UK grid risks becoming particularly
tight as it gets colder, with the country exporting power to France because of major outages at reactors there.

 Bloomberg 7th Sept 2022

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-09-07/winter-nuclear-shutdowns-will-pose-first-big-test-for-uk-grid

September 21, 2022 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment