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NO – Sir Keir Starmer – nuclear power is NOT clean.

A great opportunity being wasted!

The British Labour Party has the chance to get into power, following the disastrous Boris Johnson Tory leadership.

Top of Johnson’s follies was the plan for a fleet of nuclear reactors, large and small.

The incompetent Tories will inevitably go. Their hopeless dirty and super-costly nuclear plans should go with them.

But Keir Starmer now squanders this chance with his hypocritical pretence that nuclear power is clean.

Current reports that the Labour Opposition leader highlighted that, in power, Labour would bring a “different approach” to energy -it “would target 100% clean power generation by 2030”.  The
Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) jumped up and down with delight, not realising that they’re being taken for a ride by the nuclear lobby

All very good – wind, solar, hydrogen, green steel and carbon capture – it does sound clean.

But, sneaked in amongst all this positive, forward -looking stuff, is that dirty old dinosaur – nuclear power.

The inclusion of nuclear power in the compendium of clean energy technologies will mean that funds and resources are siphoned away from real solutions to climate change.

It will quietly send resources , talented workers, and money to the nuclear weapons industries.

Shame on Labour – for inventing Great British Energy – “It’s galvanised by reform: a new publicly owned company” – but very quickly subverted to push for the nuclear lobby.


January 9, 2023 Posted by | Christina's notes, politics, UK | 2 Comments

The problem with nuclear energy advocates

There is something curiously bewitching about nuclear power that makes its backers disciples rather than advocates. They become nuclear champions first rather than energy champions (which is what everyone should be), and are either unaware of or intentionally ignoring the fact that most of the time, they are putting their efforts into a solution that is looking for a problem.

ROUGH TRADE, By Ben Kritz, January 10, 2023

I WAS asked over the weekend if I planned to respond to a recent letter to the editor (“SMR issues addressed,” published on January 5), which said it was a reaction to my December 29 column about small modular reactor (SMR) technology and the problems that have been encountered in trying to make it commercially practical.

No, I responded, I had not planned to react to the letter because I could not see much in it to actually react to; while polite and thoughtful, it essentially boiled down to the same long-on-enthusiasm and short-on-specifics kind of pitch for SMR technology I see every day.

Maybe that’s exactly the point you need to address, my annoying yet helpful self-appointed consultant suggested.

I realized she’s right; there’s a bigger problem with nuclear energy and its advocates than just the technical and economic details that make it difficult to develop and use. There is something curiously bewitching about nuclear power that makes its backers disciples rather than advocates. They become nuclear champions first rather than energy champions (which is what everyone should be), and are either unaware of or intentionally ignoring the fact that most of the time, they are putting their efforts into a solution that is looking for a problem.

For the record, my December 29 column dealt with two more exotic forms of SMR technology, the traveling wave reactor (TWR) and the Natrium reactor; the basic difference between the two being that the latter uses uranium fuel that is enriched to a concentration that is four or five times what is used in a conventional reactor, and the former is designed to use unenriched or depleted uranium fuel. For a variety of reasons, both of those technologies are at least eight to 10 years from even being functional, and whether or not they can be made economical at all is still an open question.

The discussion about the less extreme and more common form of SMR technology was in the column prior to that, on December 27, and detailed obstacles with the development of commercial-ready SMRs that have been identified through actually trying to build an SMR plant, on the one hand, and a couple of reliable studies by nuclear experts (Stanford University and the Argonne National Laboratory) on the other.

The first obstacle is cost. A plant being constructed in rural Idaho by SMR developer NuScale — which is designed to eventually consist of six 77-megawatt units — has run into massive cost overruns, despite the assumption that SMRs are relatively inexpensive due to being smaller and simpler than conventional nuclear plants. NuScale is hoping to have the first of the six units online by 2029, but the per-megawatt-hour cost of the plant has hit $58, the threshold set by the consortium of six utilities in the western US which are financing the project to decide whether or not to continue.

The reason for this is that at that cost, there are already a variety of conventional and renewable energy generation sources available, so there is nothing to be gained by building the SMR complex, no matter how cutting-edge its technology may be.

The second obstacle is waste management. Again, because SMRs are smaller and less complex than conventional nuclear power plants, it is assumed that they would produce less radioactive waste, both of the more dangerous high-level variety in the form of spent fuel and the low-level variety in the form of wastewater and contaminated discarded equipment and other materials. 

This, however, is not the case, according to the Stanford and Argonne studies, both published last year. Both studies found the same result, that SMRs produce about as much waste as conventional light-water reactors, but differed in their subjective interpretation. The Stanford researchers concluded that this contraindicated the use of SMRs since they do not offer any improvement in waste management, while Argonne’s lead scientist suggested that the result was more positive, as it demonstrated using SMRs wouldn’t be any worse than conventional nuclear power.

Contrary to our recent reader-correspondent’s assertions, neither of those issues — the only two I focused on concerning SMRs, because they are not hypothetical, but demonstrated by real-world experience or analysis — are “addressed” at all by what he presented, which is “a unique approach to SMRs” being developed by an unnamed enterprise only identified as being Seattle-based. The design, according to him, uses “widely available, cheap low-enriched uranium” (as I have pointed out more than once, except for reactors running on exotic fuel like the Natrium, fuel is actually the least of the cost issues for a nuclear plant);  do not need to be refueled (are they then considered disposable?); and “are safe enough that their ‘plug-and-play’ generators can be placed anywhere with little infrastructure investment and without any special security.”

As for the application of this mysterious miracle technology in the Philippines, the company in question is “confident that they can satisfy all the requirements of the Philippine government regulators, the power companies and the public. They could even achieve the objective of having the current president preside over the ribbon-cutting ceremony before he leaves office.”

First of all, if the developer of this game-changing technology has created something that is ready enough that they are actively seeking a foothold in the Philippine market, one would think that they would be willing, even eager, to be clearly identified. I suspect I know who it is, and if I’m right, I’m going to be very disappointed because then this sly press release in the form of a letter to the editor (and yes, that’s exactly what it is; I get three or four press releases a day from different companies or trade publications that sound exactly like this) doesn’t even begin to answer questions that have already been raised about this specific company’s technology.

Second, even if this is just a standard-design SMR, we already know that a commercial version in its own country of origin will not be operational by the time President Marcos steps down, let alone be available to the Philippines. Local requirements might indeed be satisfied, but before that can even happen, the hoops that both US and Philippine stakeholders will have to jump through in order to secure export authorization from the US government — with the resulting agreement also needing approval from the Philippine Senate, the sort of thing it never acts quickly on — will take a couple of years at a minimum.

The Philippines could use nuclear energy, and it’s rational not to completely discount the future possibility of its doing so, provided a very long list of conditions are satisfactorily met. But it is in no position to serve as a test site for novel ideas that have been clearly demonstrated to be years from being a viable, let alone a practical, best option. Trying to mislead the public into believing that a magical solution is available for the asking — proselytizing for nuclear energy, rather than seeking actual attainable solutions for the country’s rather more immediate energy problems — is going to achieve very little, except to disappoint people and ensure this won’t be a market for whatever you’re selling.

January 9, 2023 Posted by | Philippines, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Lithuania deal to dismantle Soviet-era nuclear reactors could be world first

Pamela Largue , January 9, 2023

Two contracts have been signed to plan the dismantling and waste management for the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant in Lithuania.

The first of two four-year contracts was signed with a consortium led by Westinghouse Electric Spain, including Jacobs Slovakia, and Lithuanian Energy Institute.

The second contract was signed with another consortium led by the French company Electricite de France.

The dismantling services will be provided in two phases. The first will see contractors propose engineering solutions for dismantling the reactor.

The engineering design concept will be assessed and then further developed in consultation with stakeholders, namely the European Commission, Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Lithuania, CPVA (Central Project Management Agency) and VATESI (State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate).

Audrius Kamienas, director general of the Ignalina plant, said in a statement that the signing of the contracts is an important milestone, as dismantling the reactor core is the most challenging part of the decommissioning.

“There are only a few examples of graphite reactors being dismantled in the world today, but the RBMK reactor type has never been dismantled before.

“This is an extremely complex task, unprecedented in the world, for which preparatory work will continue for several more years.”

Physical dismantling of the reactor will commence in 2028 and will be funded by the EU Ignalina Programme.

Graphite-moderated reactor

Dismantling two of the most powerful RBMK reactors is believed to be a decommissioning first.

According to the World Nuclear Association, Soviet-designed RBMK (reaktor bolshoy moshchnosty kanalny, high-power channel reactor) is a water-cooled reactor with individual fuel channels and uses graphite as its moderator.

Ignalina could be the first graphite-moderated reactor plant to be dismantled, making it an important test bed for methodologies that could be used to decommission others of the same type, such as the UK’s Magnox and advanced gas-cooled reactors, which also have graphite cores.

Jacobs Energy, Security & Technology senior vice president Karen Wiemelt, commented: “Our teams based in the UK, France and Slovakia are applying decommissioning skills acquired through work on some of the world’s most complex and challenging nuclear sites including Sellafield and Fukushima.”

In 2002, the Lithuanian government decided to shut down Ignalina NPP, which supplied up to 88% of the country’s electricity.

January 9, 2023 Posted by | decommission reactor, EUROPE | Leave a comment

Ukraine on ‘NATO mission’ – defense minister 9 Jan 23

Aleksey Reznikov has argued that Kiev is shedding blood for the military bloc and expects weapons in return.

Kiev is shedding blood to carry out the mission NATO set for itself and expects the “civilized West” to provide weapons and ammunition in return, Ukrainian Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov has said in an interview for a domestic TV channel.

Appearing on the 1+1 network’s TSN channel on Thursday evening, Reznikov pointed out that at the Madrid summit last summer, NATO declared Russia the greatest threat to the US-led bloc.  

“Today, Ukraine is addressing that threat. We’re carrying out NATO’s mission today, without shedding their blood. We shed our blood, so we expect them to provide weapons,” he said.

Reznikov also claimed that his NATO colleagues have told him, both in conversations and via text messages, that Ukraine is the “shield of civilization” and “defending the entire civilized world, the entire West.”

Ukrainian officials, from President Vladimir Zelensky down, routinely make public appeals for tanks, missiles, artillery and ammunition. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told the General Staff in December that Moscow was de facto fighting the collective West. By his estimates, the government in Kiev has received almost $100 billion worth of weapons, ammunition and other supplies in 2022 alone.

Reznikov has led that effort, boasting to the US outlet Politico in October that he had figured out the Pentagon’s political process. His goal, he said, was to keep raising the bar until Ukraine received main battle tanks. 

While that particular threshold has yet to be crossed, on Friday Washington announced the delivery of 50 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, the most modern armor sent to Kiev so far, as part of a $3 billion weapons package. Earlier this week, France pledged a number of wheeled ‘light tanks’ as well.

These shipments are intended to replace Ukraine’s battlefield losses. Last month, Kiev’s top general Valery Zaluzhny told The Economist he would need 300 more tanks, up to 700 infantry fighting vehicles, and 500 howitzers to conduct offensive operations. This is more than the number of such vehicles in British or German inventory.

Moscow insists that Western weapon deliveries only serve to prolong the conflict, and has repeatedly warned Ukraine’s backers that this could result in an all-out military confrontation between Russia and NATO.

January 9, 2023 Posted by | Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Holtec seeks $7.4 billion government loan for expansion tied to new reactor

an outrageous pickpocketing of hardworking American taxpayers to benefit a filthy rich private company.”

Jim Walsh, Cherry Hill Courier-Post, 9 Jan 23  

CAMDEN – Holtec International Inc. has applied for a $7.4 billion federal loan to fund expansion expected from future sales of a company-designed nuclear reactor.

Holtec would tap the loan to boost capacity to make parts at its existing U.S. facilities, and to build and commission “at least four” SMR-160 advanced light water reactors.

It also expects to build “one or more additional manufacturing plants,” the company said.

Holtec added it’s “actively evaluating” potential sites “for the new ultra-modern manufacturing plant(s).”

The firm has three nuclear manufacturing facilities in the United States, including one at its Camden corporate campus that was designed for the eventual production of SMR-160s. It also has a fabrication plant in India.

Holtec claims its small modular reactor produces carbon-free energy more safely than a conventional nuclear power plant.

The firm has invested more than $400 million in the reactor’s development since 2010. It was approved in 2020 for $116 million in federal aid “to support the SMR-160’s commercialization readiness.”

Holtec is seeking the loan from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office, which received an infusion of about $111 billion from last year’s Inflation Reduction Act.

“We anticipate that (the application process) will be ongoing for a while as DOE usually (has requests) for information or clarifying questions for an applicant,” said Holtec spokesman Patrick O’Brien………………….

Holtec also said it expects the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission “early this year” will license its planned nuclear-waste storage facility in New Mexico.

The complex, in the works for seven years, could hold “the vast quantity of spent nuclear fuel presently stored at more than 70 nuclear sites in 35 states,” the company said.

But an environmental coalition plans to challenge any NRC approval in federal court, said Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear, a nonprofit that’s sharply critical of Holtec’s plan.

Kamps said Holtec’s waste-storage project also faces court challenges from the states of New Mexico and Texas, as well as from businesses with mining and ranching interests near the proposed storage site.

He also described potential federal aid to Holtec as “an outrageous pickpocketing of hardworking American taxpayers to benefit a filthy rich private company.”

According to Holtec, the operation of a consolidated waste-storage site would spur nuclear power in the United States, “leading to the rise of small modular reactors.”

It also expressed the belief that modular reactors made in America would find “a large global export market.”

Holtec previously has predicted it could place 32 SMR-160s in the United Kingdom by 2050…………..

January 9, 2023 Posted by | business and costs, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

Irish Republic monitoring nuclear risk as a consequence of fighting in Ukraine

International Atomic Energy Agency repeatedly expresses concern over shelling around Zaporizhzhia plant

Irish Times, Jennifer Bray, Mon Jan 9 2023

Europe’s exposure to a potential nuclear event in Ukraine is being monitored by a team of public health and Government officials as well as the State’s environmental watchdog.

The Zaporizhzhia plant, Europe’s largest, was captured by Russian forces in March, soon after their invasion of Ukraine. It repeatedly came under fire last year, prompting concerns about a possible nuclear disaster. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly expressed concerns over shelling around the site.

Health Service Executive chief risk officer Patrick Lynch told a meeting of the organisation’s audit and risk committee in October that public health officials were involved in an evaluation process around potential nuclear exposure which would require further reflection.

He advised the committee that a Government department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are “considering the potential risk of nuclear release in Ukraine and subsequent exposure across Europe”…….

A Department of the Environment spokesman confirmed that its officials and other agencies are “closely monitoring the evolving situation in Ukraine in relation to nuclear safety implications”.

He said the EPA is “in close contact” with the IAEA, the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group and national authorities in other European countries in order “to keep a close watch on developments and to monitor any increases in exposure levels”.

The department said that the EPA has an around-the-clock radiation monitor in use………………………..

The EPA operates a radiation monitoring network for Ireland which is continuously monitoring for radioactivity in the environment and also maintains contact with radiation authorities in other countries throughout Europe.”

January 9, 2023 Posted by | Ireland, safety | Leave a comment

to 9th January – nuclear news this week

A bit of good newsQuitea shortage of good news this week. I’m reduced to falling back on stories of individual goodness. Well, why not?  Individuals in their millions are doing kind things every day – that just doesn’t get into the news media. The Top 10 Acts of Kindness in 2022 Warmed Our Hearts and Restored Our Faith in Strangers and Neighbors.

Coronavirus.  Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19

Climate.  Climate change could cause ‘disaster’ in the world’s oceans.

Nuclear. Not much happening, except hype for small nuclear reactors. Australia’s nuclear submarines project is beginning to sound less like a goer, and more like something of a 171$billion ego-trip by former PM Scott Morrison, in a bid to look important on the world stage

Christina’s notes: They’re at it again! The nuclear industry dazzles journalists with its newest hogwash – “inflection point”.         Corporate media focusses on ‘new’ nuclear solutions. Are they stupid? Or is it just what they’re paid to write?



CIVIL LIBERTIES. Guilty of Journalism. Key US Allies Collaborate On Espionage Laws Considered Harmful To Whistleblowers And Journalists.

CLIMATE.  Coal 2 Nuclear: From the fossil fuel frying pan into the fission fire.   Under present conditions, a huge loss of the planet’s glaciers will happen in the next 30 years. Writers protest against UK’s imprisonment of climate activists


ENERGY. Analysis Shows U.S. Wind and Solar Could Outpace Coal and Nuclear Power in 2023.    European Energy Crisis: France Close to Electricity Rationing Over Problems with Local Nuclear Plants.  The Future Remains Uncertain For Nuclear Energy.   Nuclear is not the answer to the UK’s energy requirements, and honesty about Sizewell is needed.  Solar power innovation by two British local councils. Great Britain produced a record amount of wind-powered electricity in 2022. 

ENVIRONMENT. Namibia orders Russian uranium exploration to stop due to environmental concerns.

HEALTHElectromagnetic radiation – cellphones as a health hazard.  Ionising radiation. Return to studying baby teeth for radioactivity from nuclear weapons and nuclear facilities.

HISTORYIt’s all about the bomb: why civilian nuclear power is merely a cover for producing more nuclear weapons. Why Did Portland General Electric Want to Build Trojan Nuclear Plant in the First Place?

LEGAL. John LaForge Set to Be First US Activist Jailed in Germany for Anti-Nuke ProtestsTake Japan to court for nuclear water dumping.

MEDIAUnder Musk, Twitter Continues to Promote US Propaganda Networks. Zelensky Expands Crackdown on Ukrainian Media. Media Silent as Latest Twitter Files Expose Flagrant Misconduct in Govt. & Journalism.


PERSONAL STORIES.Beatrice Fihn – a decade fighting to ban nuclear weapons. This man saved the world from nuclear war. His story is a heart-pumper.

POLITICSGerman minister reignites coalition row with call to review nuclear exit.

POLITICS INTERNATIONAL and DIPLOMACYUS and South Korea hold talks on “nuclear sharingSouth Korea asks US for greater role in managing nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons and the resistance to reality.  U.S. President Biden contradicts South Korea’s President‘s claim that the two countries are planning joint nuclear exercises.   

 Pakistan supplies India with a list of its nuclear facilities.  US Says ‘All Options’ On Table As Iran Nuclear Talks Remain Deadlocked.



SPINBUSTERCountering nuclear industry propaganda by telling the facts – Joshua Frank’s book “Atomic Days”.      Workington under siege from new nuclear plans.


WAR and CONFLICTBefore the Bombs Come the Platitudes. Cold War estimates of deaths in nuclear conflict. A Secret War in the Making: Americans Should Not Die to Defend Taiwan

Number of civilians killed in Donbass revealed. Ukraine – The Big Push To End The War. CODEPINK calls on Zelensky, Biden and Congress to seize this chance for peace in Ukraine. Donetsk shelled in first minute of Christmas truce .  Los Alamos National Laboratory’s record $4.6B budget will still mostly fund nuclear weapons. 

Pentagon pressures NATO allies to boost arms flow to Ukraine. Defensive and offensive operations: “tank-killers” part of new U.S. $45b arms package to Ukraine

North Korea to have “exponential increase” in its nuclear arsenal. Raytheon sells long-range missiles to Romania for war in Black Sea 

January 9, 2023 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment