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

Even with billions of dollars in tax credits, costs skyrocket at U.S. Small Modular Reactor Project

Costs Skyrocket at U.S. Small Modular Reactor Project November 18, 2022

Higher steel costs and rising interest rates are taking the blame after a small modular nuclear reactor project in Utah reported a cost increase from US$58 to $90 or $100 per megawatt-hour for the electricity it’s meant to produce.

Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems is planning to bring the six NuScale reactors online in 2029 with combined output of 462 megawatts. But “the rise in prices likely means the UAMPS project will not hit certain engineering, procurement, and construction benchmarks, allowing participants to renegotiate the price they pay or abandon the project,” Utility Dive reports.

“It was like a punch in the gut when they told us,” said Scott Hughes, power manager for Hurricane City Power, one of the 27 municipal utilities that had signed on to buy power from UAMPS’ advanced nuclear Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP).

“The increased costs in the new Class 3 cost estimate currently being finalized for the CFPP have been shocking, even to NuScale and Fluor, the company responsible for overall management of the project,” the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) writes, citing minutes of an October, 2022, Idaho Falls Power Board meeting.

Another municipal utility official called the increase a “big red flag in our face”.

The new cost projections factor in billions of dollars in tax credits the project would receive under the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, amounting to a 30% saving. IEEFA estimates the total subsidy at $1.4 billion.

Without the IRA, the cost per megawatt-hour would be closer to $120. Utility Dive and IEEFA both say any price above $58/MWh could allow the utilities to renegotiate their contracts or leave the project with no financial penalty.

“The next question is what are we going to do instead?” Hughes told Utility Dive. “Or what if the project fails, what are we gonna do? There’s not a lot of options.”

Then again, if other cities abandon the CFPP, it “might just fail anyway,” he added.

With seven years remaining before the project goes online, Hughes said material costs and interest rates could come back down. But the history doesn’t back that hope. “Nuclear industry experience over the past four decades points to the likelihood of future cost increases and schedule delays during all phases of the project—design, construction, licencing, and testing,” IEEFA says.

The institute cites the Vogtle nuclear project in Georgia, the only new reactors currently under construction in the U.S., where costs have increased 140% and work has fallen more than six years behind schedule since construction began in 2011.

UAMPS doesn’t plan to complete design work until 2024, and has eight years of design, licencing, construction, and pre-operational and start-up testing ahead. (IEEFA puts the project start date at 2030, not 2029.) But even at today’s revised pricing, “a target power price between $90 and $100 per MWh will make the CFPP even more uneconomic compared to renewable and battery storage resources costs that are expected to continue to decline over the next decade.”

In October, analysis by investment banking giant Crédit Suisse found that IRA funding combined with other available tax credits would bring solar project costs in as low as $4 per megawatt-hour, or less than half a penny per kilowatt-hour, falling to zero (literally) in the second half of the decade.


November 20, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

With Kiev exposed for a lie that could have triggered a third world war, it is time to examine past deceptions that Western media promoted.

As the war grinds on, elements in the Biden administration appear to be growing impatient with the tall tales of their Ukrainian clients. “This is getting ridiculous,” an unnamed NATO official told the Financial Times on November 16. “The Ukrainians are destroying our confidence and they are openly lying. This is more destructive than the missile.”

Zelensky, media lackeys caught in most dangerous lie yet. ALEXANDER RUBINSTEIN·NOVEMBER 18, 2022

With Kiev exposed for a lie that could have triggered a third world war, it is time to examine past deceptions that Western media promoted.

A missile that exploded on Polish soil on November 15 killed two civilians and destroyed farm equipment. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Western corporate media rushed to blame the explosion on Russia in apparent hopes of triggering NATO’s Article 5, which requires NATO states to defend one another militarily when attacked by a hostile force.

Polish and NATO members including US President Joseph Biden have since confirmed the missile that struck Poland was, in fact, a Ukrainian S-300 anti-aircraft missile. Yet Zelensky is sticking to his line, blaming Russia for the strike, while NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg still insists that “Russia bears ultimate responsibility.” Meanwhile, the media outlets that reflexively pointed the finger at Russia have been forced to take a step back from their initial reporting.

“Russian missiles hit Poland, the territory of our friendly country. People died,” Zelensky insisted on November 15, the night of the attack. “The longer Russia feels impunity, the more threats there will be to anyone within reach of Russian missiles. To fire missiles at NATO territory! This is a Russian missile attack on collective security! This is a very significant escalation. We must act.”

Zelensky held firm the following day, despite mounting evidence that his own country’s air defenses were responsible, declaring “I have no doubt that this is not our missile… I believe that this was a Russian missile, based on our military reports.” By this time, most analysts rejected the Ukrainian president’s assessment, including the founder of the US government-sponsored intelligence cutout Bellingcat, who wrote “At this point I think it’s fair anyone saying that a Russian missile hit Poland based on the current evidence is being irresponsible.”

A Russian attack on NATO member Poland could have triggered Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization which compels its member states to consider “an attack against one Ally” to be “an attack against all Allies.” Such a mobilization would have amounted to World War III.

Despite the clear risk of such a catastrophic escalation – or perhaps because of it – Western corporate media immediately blamed Russia for the strike, never even posing the question of why Russia would consider Polish farmland such an important military target that it would be willing to risk a full-scale war with the 30-member NATO alliance. 

Initially, the Associated Press ran with the headline “Russian missiles cross into Poland during strike on Ukraine.” The article cited a “senior US intelligence official,” and later, “a second person.” 

On November 16, AP began redirecting the link to its original article to a correction that stated, “The Associated Press reported erroneously, based on information from a senior American intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity, that Russian missiles had crossed into Poland and killed two people. Subsequent reporting showed that the missiles were Russian-made and most likely fired by Ukraine in defense against a Russian attack.”

Time Magazine ran with the headline, “Russian Missiles Cross Into Poland During Strike, Killing Two,” and cited the AP report.

Fox News similarly announced, “Russian missiles cross into NATO member Poland, kill 2: senior US intelligence official, citing the Associated Press. MSNBC also blamed a “Russian missile” for the strike in its headline.

Then there was CNN, which reported, “Poland says Russian-made missile killed two, will consider invoking NATO Article 4.” NATO Article 4 deals with the meetings between NATO states that are to take place in the event one of them is “threatened” and would theoretically precede any invocation of Article 5. Like CNN, Reuters cited the Polish Foreign Ministry and ran the headline, “Poland says Russian rocket hit its territory as NATO weighs response.”

The New York Times stated in the second sentence of its report on the missile strike that “the blast came as Russia fired roughly 90 missiles into Ukraine.” Two lines later, the Times stated “local media suggests a Russian missile strike.” Readers of the paper of record would have to scroll down several times to even read that Russian officials denied responsibility.

Earlier in the war, in an article on “Ukraine’s online propaganda,” the New York Times sought to downplay the Ukrainian government’s penchant for pushing fake news, arguing that Kiev’s information war merely “dramatize[s] tales of Ukrainian fortitude and Russian aggression.” The article quoted an unnamed Twitter user, who wrote, “Why can’t we just let people believe some things? … If the Russians believe it, it brings fear. If the Ukrainians believe it, it gives them hope.”

The US media’s support for Ukraine’s propaganda efforts meant that it covered some of the most suspicious events without a hint of skepticism, and thereby encouraged more. 

These questionable incidents included the following:

  • On March 8, Western media reported that a Mariupol maternity hospital was attacked by Russian aircraft. Zelensky claimed the attack was evidence of Russian “genocide” against Ukraine. However, a key witness – a pregnant woman in the hospital photographed by AP – stated that no such airstrike occurred, and that nearby explosions were caused by Ukrainian artillery shells.
  • On March 16, the Ukrainian government blamed a targeted Russian airstrike for destroying the Mariupol Dramatic Theater and causing anywhere from 300 to 600 deaths. Western corporate media promoted the Ukrainian narrative of the event despite a total absence of footage showing a missile strike, no images or evidence of large numbers of dead civilians inside, no images or evidence of any attempted rescue, and testimony by Mariupol locals asserting the Azov Battalion fighters that controlled the theater’s grounds staged the explosion to provoke NATO military intervention. Photographic evidence showed that Azov fighters removed all vehicles from the theater’s parking lot one day before the explosion.
  • The Kramatorsk train station bombing that was blamed on Russia despite the fact the Tochka-U missile responsible for the blast contained a serial number matching others in Ukraine’s arsenal and originated from Ukrainian-controlled territory.

As the war grinds on, elements in the Biden administration appear to be growing impatient with the tall tales of their Ukrainian clients. “This is getting ridiculous,” an unnamed NATO official told the Financial Times on November 16. “The Ukrainians are destroying our confidence and they are openly lying. This is more destructive than the missile.”

November 20, 2022 Posted by | media, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Shelling of Zaporizhzhia is playing with fire, says UN nuclear chief, as blasts reported

Explosions cause damage at Ukrainian power plant, as Kyiv says it will investigate videos allegedly of surrendering Russians being shot

Guardian, Jennifer Rankin, Mon 21 Nov 2022

The UN nuclear energy watchdog has said the forces behind the shelling of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia power plant are “playing with fire”, after a series of explosions shook the facility.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has experts based at Zaporizhzhia, reported on Sunday that powerful explosions had shaken the area on Saturday night and Sunday. It said its on-site experts saw some of the explosions from their windows.

It reported more than a dozen blasts from apparent shelling, with damage to some buildings, systems and equipment, but “none so far critical for nuclear safety”.

The head of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, said the news was extremely disturbing and he called the explosions completely unacceptable. “Whoever is behind this, it must stop immediately. As I have said many times before, you’re playing with fire,” he said.

According to the IAEA Twitter account, Grossi renewed his appeal to Ukraine and Russia to agree and implement a nuclear safety and security zone around the plant as soon as possible.

Zaporizhzhia, in south-east Ukraine, is Europe’s largest nuclear power station and has been under Russian control since March, although its Ukrainian staff remain in place to run the facility. It has faced repeated shelling, raising fears of a nuclear disaster. Moscow and Kyiv have blamed each other for the attacks.

The plant’s six Soviet-designed water-cooled reactors are currently shut down, but there is a risk that nuclear fuel could overheat if the power that drives the cooling systems is shut. Shelling has frequently damaged the plant’s power supply.

Russian officials claimed that Ukrainian forces were behind the latest attacks. “They are shelling not only yesterday but also today, they are shelling even now,” an adviser to the head of Russia’s nuclear power operator Rosenergoatom, Renat Karchaa, told the Russian state news agency Tass. He said there had been 15 aerial strikes, including one that hit a storage facility.

Soon after the Russian accusations, Ukraine’s nuclear energy agency, Energoatom, said Russia was responsible for the shelling, which it said had resulted in 12 hits to Zaporizhzhia’s infrastructure. The company said on Telegram that the list of damaged equipment indicated that the attackers “targeted and disabled exactly the infrastructure that was necessary for the restart of 5th and 6th power units” and the restoration of power production for Ukrainian needs………………………………..

November 20, 2022 Posted by | incidents, Ukraine | Leave a comment

UK’s Sizewell nuclear project remains unfinanced

 Alistair Osborne: The wind of change with no direction. Sizewell all at C.
Sometimes the brackets do a lot of work: “The government will continue to
secure the UK’s energy security through delivering new nuclear power,
including Sizewell C (subject to final agreement)”.

How far away is that deal? Maybe an unbuilt nuke on a Suffolk flood plain really can attract an
investor fan club. But, as yet, this £20 billion to £30 billion project
— the top end, natch, knowing nuclear — remains unfinanced.

France’s EDF only wants about 20 per cent of the project, with the taxpayer possibly
taking a fifth. And the only money pledged to date is the £700 million
from Boris Johnson on his way out of No 10. Final agreement may prove some
way off.

 Times 18th Nov 2022

November 20, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Fallout from a nuclear past: New book explores human toll of ‘nuclear colonization’ in New Mexico.

From Los Alamos to the Trinity Test site, the human toll of “nuclear colonization” looms large

Las Cruces Sun News, Alicia Inez Guzmán, Searchlight New Mexico, 20 Nov 22,

Of the three waves of colonization New Mexico has undergone — Spanish, American and nuclear — the latter is the least explored. And for author Myrriah Gómez, there were personal reasons to reveal the truth about how “nuclear colonization” has altered the state’s past and continues to shape its future.

Gómez, an assistant professor at the University of New Mexico, is the author of  “Nuclear Nuevo México,” a book that explores the history of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the fundamental tension of living in its shadow. Its publication this month by the University of Arizona Press couldn’t be timelier: Los Alamos is currently preparing to build plutonium “pits” that act as triggers in nuclear weapons, putting the lab front and center in an ongoing national debate about nuclear impacts.

“If Spanish colonialism brought Spanish colonizers and U.S. colonialism brought American colonizers,” as Gómez writes in her book, “then nuclear colonialism brought nuclear colonizers, scientists, military personnel, atomic bomb testing, and nuclear waste among them.”

For Gómez, the story is deeply felt. She grew up in El Rancho, just 20 miles from Los Alamos. And like so many in the Pojoaque Valley and its nearby villages, she was surrounded by relatives and others who worked at “the labs.” The profound, but not uncommon, loss of family members to radiation exposure shaped her writing. 

The book describes in great detail how the Manhattan Project’s site was chosen; how the deaths of Nuevo Mexicanos in the 1950s were designated as “classified” and kept secret; and how atomic testing affected the health of people living in the Tularosa Basin, downwind of the world’s first nuclear detonation. She also touches on the plutonium pit production that is gearing up today.

I recently sat down with her to talk about her book, which started as a PhD dissertation and grew from there. We also shared some of our common experiences. As a Truchas native, I myself lost a relative to illness that was linked to his work at Los Alamos.

……………………………………………………………………………….So it’s not just the health, the illness, the disease and the deaths. It’s also the rifts created in the community. The big reduction in the labor forces that happened in the 1990s, the majority of whom were from the valley — that period of time was the biggest reflection of how dependent we are on the labs and why it’s problematic. 

It’s not just the illness. It’s not just kicking people off their land. It’s not just the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, or the ‘Let us give you this lump sum of money for how you’ve been sick.’ This is all treating the symptoms instead of getting to the root of the illness. 

Which is to say that it’s systemic, which is why it’s colonialism.

November 20, 2022 Posted by | environment, history, USA | Leave a comment

At the close of COP27 Summit, some progress on climate justice.

The COP27 Climate Summit closed early on Sunday morning with the adoption
of an historic new accord that for the first time commits countries to
providing funding to the most vulnerable nations to help them cope with the
loss and damage inflicted by escalating climate impacts.

But the final accord failed to deliver much progress on global efforts to curb greenhouse
gas emissions, with those countries seeking a more ambitious deal accusing
a number of petrostates and their allies of seeking to backslide on
previous agreements.

The deal came after 48 hours of round the clock
negotiations as countries sought to finalise an agreement that built on
last year’s Glasgow Climate Pact by delivering a boost to flows of climate
finance and further action to accelerate decarbonisation efforts worldwide.

On Saturday afternoon, the Egyptian hosts confirmed that after several days
of deadlock the negotiations appeared to have secured a major breakthrough
following an agreement between the EU and the G77 group of developing
economies, including China, which saw them back plans for a new Loss and
Damage financing mechanism that could be operationalised at next year’s
COP28 Climate Summit in Dubai.

Business Green 20th Nov 2022

November 20, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Putin’s nuclear grip on Europe could spark another energy crisis, expert warns

Russian President Vladimir Putin controls about 42 percent of the world’s nuclear fuel, and may be able to send electricity prices soaring if he withholds supplies. By JACOB PAUL, Nov 20, 2022, As global gas prices have been sent to record highs over the last year due to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine and his supply cuts to Europe, nations across the continent have been scrambling to wean themselves off Russian fossil fuels to weaken Moscow’s tight grip on the energy market. But an expert has told that countries which have hedged bets on nuclear power as a means of gaining energy independence may not actually be able to escape Putin’s clutches as the Kremlin has dominance over nuclear fuel supplies, which could potentially trigger another price crisis. 

While policymakers across Europe have argued that nuclear power stations can boost homegrown supplies of energy, they have failed to mention these plants require uranium to fuel them. 

This is the crux of the issue as Russia, and Russia-controlled Kazakhstan currently supplies 42 percent of all uranium for all reactors worldwide. And when compared with the gas crisis, the statistics look eerily similar.

The EU for instance, got around 40 percent of its gas from Russia before Putin sent his troops into Ukraine. And when he withheld supplies to Europe, prices in Britain shot up too, despite the UK only getting four percent of its gas from Russia. This is due to the integrated nature of the gas market. 

With the EU relying on Russia for 20 percent of its uranium needed to fuel supplies if Russia decided to curtail uranium deliveries to the bloc, it may spark the same problem and trigger another energy crisis.

Prof Paul Dorfman, an Associate Fellow from the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex told “The argument goes that nuclear provides a security of supply. In other words, ‘you don’t need to worry about Putin’s gas or the Middle East’s oil’. But this point of view is hugely problematic. 

“There is no question that the whole business about the Russian invasion of Ukraine has turned the nuclear industry on its head. This whole idea of security of supply, that nuclear won’t leave us dependent on foreign problems is false. 

“Putin, Russia and Russia-controlled Kazakhstan supply 42 percent of all uranium of all reactors worldwide. 20 percent for the EU, 14 percent of the US and nearly 30 percent of their enrichment services.

“The UK is different. We get our uranium from Australia and Canada and we don’t rely on Russia so we are ok.”

However, while nuclear fuel may not run short in the event of a supply cut from Russia, Prof Dorfman warned, it could send the cost of electricity in Britain soaring too. 

Asked if the nuclear market was similar to the gas market in this regard, Prof Dorfman told “In my view, it certainly would have a significant impact on UK electricity prices because we live in a market world. Absolutely, yes.”

This could be a concern for the UK, given that Britain is planning to dramatically expand its number of nuclear power plants, a desire unveiled in the April energy strategy under former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

It included the plan to set up new government body, Great British Nuclear, and a £120milion Future Nuclear Enabling Fund in a bid to build eight new reactors across the UK. Mr Johnson said: “We’re setting out bold plans to scale up and accelerate affordable, clean and secure energy made in Britain, for Britain – from new nuclear to offshore wind – in the decade ahead.

“This will reduce our dependence on power sources exposed to volatile international prices we cannot control, so we can enjoy greater energy self-sufficiency with cheaper bills.”

While it is recognised that renewable energies like wind and solar power are cheaper than other sources like oil and gas, Mr Johnson appeared to fail to take into account Putin’s grip on the global nuclear market and the prospect of sending electricity bills soaring in the UK. 

November 20, 2022 Posted by | politics international, Russia, Uranium | Leave a comment

USA desperate to sell NuScam’s small nuclear reactors – its latest targeted buyer is Thailand

Kamala Harris – nuclear saleswoman

BANGKOK: The United States will help Thailand develop nuclear power through a new class of small reactors, part of a programme aimed at [?] fighting climate change, Vice President Kamala Harris announced on a visit Saturday (Nov 19).

The White House said the assistance was part of its Net Zero World Initiative, a project launched at last year’s Glasgow climate summit in which the US partners with the private sector and philanthropists to promote [?]clean energy…………

Harris, who is visiting the US ally for an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, will discuss the nuclear power initiative in a meeting later Saturday with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha…………. more

November 20, 2022 Posted by | ASIA, marketing | Leave a comment

N Korea warns of ‘all-out’ nuclear response to US ‘aggression’

North Korea has promised to ‘resolutely react’ to US threat of nuclear weapons use with its own nuclear capabilities.

19 Nov 2022

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has promised to use nuclear weapons to counter threats from the United States hours after test-firing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICMB), the latest escalation as the UN Security Council prepares to convene an emergency session on Pyongyang’s actions.

The United Nations Security Council, at the behest of Japan, South Korea and the US will gather on Monday to discuss North Korea’s latest missile launch…………………………………….. more

November 20, 2022 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

TIDAL power extinguishes the arguments for new nuclear plants in Suffolk

Ian Blackford rubbishes case for Sizewell C on Question Time, The National, By Hamish Morrison 18 Nov 22

The SNP Westminster leader told the BBC Question Time audience in Suffolk – where the new Sizewell C nuclear plant will be built – he was “delighted” to assist them in objecting to the project.

It came on the same day the Chancellor confirmed the £30 billion project was going ahead as he announced the first £700 million contracts would be signed within weeks.

Citing a Royal Society report from 2021 which found the UK is capable of generating 11GW of tidal power by 2050 – 50% greater than current nuclear capacity, Blackford said: “We can produce safe, green energy, we don’t need nuclear.”

Blackford said the potential amount of energy that could be generated through tidal power – which generates electricity with waves in the sea – would be enough to meet the basic amount of demand for the UK.

And the technology, which uses underwater turbines to generate electricity, has the potential to support far more jobs in the country than does nuclear, Blackford added.

He said: “Between now and 2050, we could increase fivefold our green energy output in Scotland…………………………..

“Look at the Royal Society report, we don’t need nuclear because you can get the baseload from tidal.

“And if I can assist those that are objecting to Sizewell here [Suffolk], then I’d be delighted to do so. It’s expensive, it is a white elephant, we can produce safe, green energy we don’t need nuclear.”

November 20, 2022 Posted by | renewable | Leave a comment

The fading promise of low-cost power from UAMPS’ Small Modular Reactors – Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis

 Small Modular Reactor Update: The Fading Promise of Low-Cost Power from
UAMPS’ SMR. The original target power price for a planned 12-module SMR by
UAMPS (Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems) and NuScale Power
Corporation was $55 per megawatt-hour (MWh).

When UAMPS reduced the size of the carbon-free power plant (CFPP) to six modules in the summer of 2021, it raised the target power price to $58 per MWh. Recent presentations to the
power boards of Washington City and Hurricane, two of the Utah communities
that have signed agreements to buy power from the CFPP, suggest that
project power prices are now likely to end up in the range of $90-$100 per

The prices include an anticipated $1.4 billion subsidy from the U.S.
Department of Energy and a new subsidy from the Inflation Reduction Act
(IRA) on the order of $30 per MWh. The unsubsidized price of the power from
the CFPP would be substantially higher than $100 per MWh, perhaps even
double the current $58 target price.

 IEEFA 17th Nov 2022

November 20, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

Report on Fukushima water release plan to ‘provide confidence’: IAEA

The IAEA’s plan to provide confidence in TEPCO’s radioactive water dumping into the Pacific Ocean demands for sure a lot of gullibility on our part….

This Feb. 13, 2021 photo taken from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter shows the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture.

November 18, 2022

TOKYO (Kyodo) — An International Atomic Energy Agency official said Friday that a report to be released early next year on Japan’s plan to discharge treated radioactive water into the sea from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant “will provide confidence to Japanese society, neighbors, all the (IAEA) member states.”

The report will be an independent and scientific evaluation based on international standards, said Gustavo Caruso, director and coordinator of the IAEA’s Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, at a press conference in Tokyo following the completion of the organization’s second safety review.

During the five-day on-site assessment through Friday, an IAEA task force of experts led by Caruso discussed radioactivity measurements that should be taken when the water is released with plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

On Wednesday, the team inspected the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, crippled by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Tokyo decided in April last year to gradually discharge the water, treated through an advanced liquid processing system that removes radionuclides, except tritium, into the Pacific Ocean after dilution from around spring 2023.

Water that has become contaminated after being pumped in to cool the melted reactor fuel at the plant has been accumulating at the facility, mixing with rainwater and groundwater at the site. Tanks holding the water occupy a large area of the complex and are nearing capacity.

But even if the review by the IAEA finds that some aspects do not comply with international standards, it will be left up to the Japanese government to decide whether to postpone or cancel the water release, according to Caruso.

The IAEA will revisit Japan in January to exchange views with the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

“Before the water discharge begins, the IAEA will issue a comprehensive report on all collected findings until now,” Caruso said.

November 20, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Japan’s changing nuclear energy policy

No matter the policy, public trust for nuclear energy is unlikely to be restored

Workers inspect storage tanks for radioactive water at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Nov 16, 2022

On Aug. 24, at the newly established GX (Green Transformation) Implementation Council chaired by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the Japanese government announced a new nuclear energy policy.

The framework for this new policy consists of three key points: maximize the use of existing nuclear power plants through an accelerated restart and extension of their operation period; develop and build advanced next-generation reactors; and develop conditions suitable for the use of nuclear energy, including back-end support.

The most contentious of these is the second point: the development and construction of advanced next-generation reactors. Since the Fukushima nuclear disaster, previous Japanese government policy has made no mention of building new power plants, so it is being seen as a major policy change. What explains this policy change and is it really feasible?

The most significant influence on the new policy is surely the 2050 Carbon Neutral policy. At present, Japan has only nine nuclear reactors in operation. In fiscal 2020, nuclear power generation accounted for only around 7% of the country’s total power generation. According to an estimate by Hajime Matsukubo, secretary-general of the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center, achieving the government’s goal of raising this percentage to 20%-22% by fiscal 2030 will require around 26-33 operational nuclear reactors.

If the target ratio of nuclear power generation for fiscal 2050 is also set at around 20%, then around 37-50 operational reactors will be required. If new power plants are not constructed, by fiscal 2050 there will be three reactors with a 40-year service life and 23 reactors with a 60-year service life. If the Japanese government wants to keep the ratio of nuclear power generation at the stated level, then it will need around 20-40 new reactors.

Other factors cited as reasons for this shift in nuclear energy policy include soaring electric power prices due to the Ukrainian crisis and a desire to decrease dependency on fossil fuels. Whatever the reasons for the policy change may be, the government should explain them more clearly.

First, the policy mentions accelerating the restart and extending the operation period of existing nuclear power plants. However, the outlook for achieving this is unclear. Restarting nuclear power plants requires permission from the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) and the agreement of local communities. Plants could also be forced to close due to legal actions such as injunctions, so there is still uncertainty.

With regard to operating period (service life), proposals — led primarily by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry — have been made for the abolishment of the 40-year operating period regulation. But even with this regulation removed, the safety of all plants must ultimately be reviewed by the NAC. If the government is to observe its policy of placing top priority on safety, then it cannot influence NRA safety inspections.

In terms of constructing of new reactors, construction costs for advanced light water reactors — seen as the most practical — are already skyrocketing in the United States and Europe. In the case of small modular reactors, the second most anticipated type, almost all overseas projects are facing setbacks, delays and they have yet to be successfully constructed.

Above all, the biggest questions are these. Can nuclear power maintain competitiveness in a deregulated market? And are any power companies willing to place orders despite the investment risks? The answers are unknown.

The global situation also leaves little cause for optimism. According to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2022, the global ratio of nuclear power generation peaked in 1996 at 17.5% and has since gradually declined, falling to below 10% for the first time in 40 years, at 9.8% in 2021. At the same time, the ratio of renewable energy (wind and solar power) reached 10.2% in 2021, exceeding the ratio of nuclear power generation for the first time in history. In terms of future growth, it is quite likely that nuclear power generation’s contribution to combating climate change will decrease. In addition, the recent Ukrainian crisis has also highlighted the risks posed by nuclear power plants in the event of war. The future of nuclear energy at the global level hardly seems bright.

There are also numerous issues to be resolved before we can even begin speaking about a shift in policy. While the decision has already been made to allow contaminated water from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to be released into the ocean, the agreement of local fishermen has yet to be obtained. There is also no prospect of removing the melted fuel debris from the reactor in the foreseeable future. Still today there are more than 30,000 refugees who are unable to return to their homes and many court cases for compensation are still ongoing. In short, the Fukushima nuclear disaster is not over yet.

Moreover, cleanup for the nuclear energy policy that the government has pursued over the past 50 years remains unresolved. Nuclear waste problems (including spent nuclear fuel) and the decommissioning of old reactors remain as issues, regardless of the future direction for nuclear power plants. A review of the nuclear fuel cycle policy that has left the country with massive amounts of plutonium is also necessary and inevitable.

Last but not least, there is the issue of public trust in nuclear energy — trust that was lost as a result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster and has not been regained. Looking at this policy change, there is no trace of sufficient validation or discussion. Until a process is established for developing polices with a solid factual basis and then making policy decisions through dialogue with the public, public trust in nuclear energy policy is unlikely to be restored any time soon.

Tatsujiro Suzuki is a professor and vice director at the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, Nagasaki University. © 2022, The Diplomat

November 20, 2022 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

TEPCO announces method for measuring concentration of radioactive materials to be discharged into the ocean, targeting 31 species to be discharged from next spring

The radioactive polluting of our Pacific ocean is just a too important issue for us to trust Tepco, a company which has never been honest in the past 10 years with its announced facts and numbers.

November 14, 2022

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) announced on April 14 that it will measure the concentrations of 30 types of radioactive materials, including tritium, which cannot be removed by the purification facilities, to determine whether or not to discharge contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (Okuma and Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture) after purifying and treating it, immediately prior to its discharge into the ocean. The purification system removes 62 types of radioactive materials, but radioactive materials with short half-lives were excluded from the evaluation because they have decayed.

 According to TEPCO, radioactive materials that are expected to be reduced by half in less than one year and that were determined to be almost nonexistent in the treated water were excluded from the evaluation. TEPCO will continue to measure the excluded substances before they are discharged.

 At a press conference on the same day, Junichi Matsumoto, head of the TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Decommissioning Promotion Company, explained that the reason for reducing the number of substances to be evaluated compared to the radioactive substances to be removed by the ALPS is “to prevent unrealistic evaluations under excessively strict conditions. The measurement details will be submitted to the Nuclear Regulation Commission, and the Commission will review whether they are appropriate or not.

 The evaluation targets include radioactive cesium and strontium. It was confirmed that the total concentration of 30 types of radioactive substances other than tritium was below the government’s standard for release. Then, a large amount of seawater will be mixed with the treated water, which still contains tritium, to dilute the tritium concentration to less than 1/40th of the standard level, and the water will be discharged from the seafloor about 1 km offshore.

 TEPCO is now digging undersea tunnels with the aim of starting tritium discharge in or after next spring.

November 20, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Machinery manufacturer Nippon Steel Works subsidiary confirms 449 cases of fraud, including falsification of inspection resultsNippon Steel Works subsidiary confirms 449 cases of fraud, including falsification of inspection results

Machinery manufacturer Japan Steel Works announced that its subsidiary in Muroran, Hokkaido, Japan, repeatedly falsified or fabricated the inspection results of its products, and that a total of 449 irregularities were identified. These included products for nuclear power plants.

November 14, 2022

Machinery manufacturer Nippon Steel Works, Ltd. announced that its subsidiary in Muroran City, Hokkaido, Japan, has repeatedly falsified or fabricated inspection results for its products, and that a total of 449 cases of fraud have been confirmed. The company apologizes and says it will consider disciplinary action against those involved.

After an internal report uncovered irregularities in the rewriting of inspection data for parts at Muroran-based subsidiary Nippon Steel M&E, Nippon Steel established a special investigation committee made up of outside lawyers in May of this year, and has been conducting an investigation.

The company released a report summarizing the results of the investigation on April 14, stating that 449 cases of falsification and fabrication were confirmed.

The subsidiary is a major manufacturer of products used in nuclear power plants, and 20 of the fraudulent products were related to nuclear power plants.

In addition, the company has stated that none of the products involved are used in Japan for nuclear power plants.

The report also pointed out the causes of the irregularities, including a dysfunctional management system and a lack of awareness of compliance.
President Matsuo said, “We are deeply sorry for the inappropriate behavior in nuclear power products.
In response to the investigation report, Toshio Matsuo, president of Nippon Steel Corporation, issued a comment saying, “I would like to express my deepest apologies again for the inconvenience and concern we have caused you.

The report also stated, “We take the fact of the failure of the self-cleansing function and the recommendations of the special investigation committee very seriously and sincerely, and we will work to reform our systems and culture to prevent recurrence and restore confidence in our company. We are committed to reforming our systems and culture to prevent recurrence and restore trust in our company.

November 20, 2022 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment