The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Dana Durnfords broken Geiger counter (fear porn debunk)



In this video I describe the problem with Dana Durnfords cheap Geiger counter giving higher readings than it should. His readout does not match the strikes (Counts) measured on his Geiger (represented by the light flashes (or counts) per minute. He needs to have the Geiger recalibrated but still uses it regardless.
A video response to his recent attack on Prof Chris Busby, myself and many other activists 🙂
Link to seaweed video shown in this video.

July 11, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The trials and tribulations of Chris Busby. Update Video 18th June 2017


In this video Shaun McGee (aka arclight2011) interviews Prof. C.Busby to discuss the USS Ronald Reagan radiation court case (where he is the main strategist for this court case), the new child mortality findings concerning Fracking in Pennsylvania, updates on the British Nuclear Veterans appeal in the UK courts and the Re-justification of EURATOM petition on health grounds. Also, we discuss some other issues with media and activism. We also celebrate Libbe Halevy`s 6th year producing the weekly Nuclear Hotseat Podcast series.

This is a frank and honest discussion with Chris where we also discuss media and security attacks on activists, fear and concern with anti nuclear activists in challenging health effects of radiation to the public and some of Chris`s perceptions of how he is dealing with Ad Hominem attacks by the authorities.

June 29, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Trump plans for the nuclear industry put Americans in danger – Sen. Ed Markey speaks out! Videos..

Following the Fukushima accident, high contamination levels were found well beyond 10 miles from the plant (the distance used for emergency planning in the United States). If the NRC does not change its regulations, new reactors will not be significantly safer, and as the number of reactors increases so will the chances of a catastrophic event. Source – 2011

Sen Ed Markey and Congressman Bill Keating Town Hall Meeting — Orleans MA 04/20/17

Screenshot from 2017-04-22 23:13:36

Senator Ed Markey made the statement that Trumps administration will NOT upgrade the plants as per the Fukushima recommendations from that report.. An important point to note.. Trump quietly signed the relaxing of nuclear safeguards and costs within days of his administration.. This includes regulations on new plants also ..

According to Sen. Ed Markey, the Trump Administration will be making an 18 percent cut in research that will have an effect in stopping research that was designed to find the causes of the increased chance of American women getting breast cancer..

See the videos for a full breakdown on the challenges that are facing the American citizens on nuclear issues in the coming years by watching the video uploads, sharing the videos on your social media pages with some commentary and liking and commenting on the videos on You Tube to support the channel John Carlton-Foss Here are three links that prove my point ;


Video 1 28 mins 34 sec


Video 2 44min 12 sec


Video 4  44 mins 33 sec

April 23, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

The Aegis 9: Nine activists with Maine Veterans for Peace and the Global Network Against Weapon and Nuclear Power in Space arrested


The Aegis 9: Nine activists with Maine Veterans for Peace and the Global Network Against Weapon and Nuclear Power in Space were arrested during a snow storm at Bath Iron Works in Maine on Saturday morning, April 1 after blocking the ceremony entry gate to the “christening” of a warship. Read more at

April 2, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

UK regulators give design acceptance to the AP1000 nuclear power station design

SNIP “….In seeking protection under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy act, Westinghouse could still finish building those plants. Westinghouse said it has arranged $800 million in financing so that it can continue to serve customers while restructuring its business…..” Source March 29 2017


Press release from the UK Environment Agency 1 April (not an April fools joke unfortunately)

As regulators of the nuclear industry we are working with the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to ensure that any new nuclear power stations built in the UK meet high standards of safety, security, environmental protection and waste management.

Yesterday we announced that the AP1000Âź nuclear reactor, designed by Westinghouse, is suitable for construction in the UK following completion of an in-depth assessment of the nuclear power station design.

We are satisfied that the reactor meets expectations on safety, security and environmental protection at this stage of the regulatory process.

Our documents have been published on GOV.UK

Press release

Further information about our decision, interim SoDA and consultation can be found on GOV.UK

Information about the Office for Nuclear Regulation’s decision and documents are on the ONR website

April 2, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fukushima nuclear disaster aftermath cost now estimated at Y70 tril (626 billion dollars)

TOKYO — Apr. 02, 2017

The total cost to deal with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster has been estimated at 70 trillion yen ($626 billion), over three times more than the government calculation, a study by a private think tank showed Saturday.

The Japan Center for Economic Research said total costs at the Fukushima nuclear complex operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc could rise to between 50 trillion and 70 trillion yen. It compares with the roughly 22 trillion yen a government panel estimated in December.

“If costs rise, the public burden could greatly increase. The country’s nuclear policy needs to be reviewed,” the JCER said.

Initially in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, the government expected the costs to total 11 trillion.

But a study by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed the figure could be double the sum estimated in 2013.

Following that, the government decided to raise electricity rates to secure the money necessary to cover compensation payments, increasing the national burden.

Among the costs, the bill for compensation has been estimated at 8 trillion yen by the ministry. The JCER also adopted the figure.

The JCER, however, estimated costs for decontamination work at 30 trillion yen, compared with the government’s figure of 6 trillion yen, after the think tank made a calculation under a presumption that radioactive substances are disposed of at a facility in Rokkasho village in Aomori Prefecture.

The government is seeking a way to treat waste in Fukushima Prefecture, including radioactive soil, of which the amount could add up to roughly 22 million cubic meters, but where and how it will be disposed of has yet to be decided. Costs related to the procedure are not included in the government’s calculation.

Costs for decommissioning crippled reactors, which is expected to take 30 to 40 years, were estimated by the center at 11 trillion yen, compared with the government’s 8 trillion yen.

Expenses to treat contaminated water that remains in tanks at the plant were estimated by the center at 20 trillion yen unless the toxic water is released in the ocean after being diluted as nuclear regulation authorities recommend.

April 2, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear battle fears: Saudi Arabia trying to pay money for ‘nukes to fight Iran’

The Saudi Government has accelerated research into nuclear programmes and has begun building a team of experts, according to a new report by.

Labelled a nuclear ”newcomer” the Saudi Kingdom is pushing to arm itself with new technologies, the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) said.

The Washington DC-based group wrote since nuclear action was scaled back in Iran, it has increased in the Saudi kingdom.

Iran signed a landmark nuclear deal with world powers including the US, the UK, France and Russia in 2015.

Huge economic sanctions on Iran were lifted as a result of it restricting its sensitive nuclear activities.

The deal limited Iran’s sensitive nuclear program and subjected it to greater international monitoring.

But in nearby Said Arabia, a new threat is growing, it is claimed.

The organisation which monitors global proliferation issues (ISIS) said: “Saudi Arabia is in the early stages of nuclear development.

It is also claimed Saudi will “more actively seek nuclear weapons capabilities” in retaliation to the situation in Iran.

But currently it is focused on civilian nuclear uses.

Former US President Barrack Obama’s administration claimed the nuclear deal would calm tensions in the area

However, this is not the case.

Saudi Arabia has already stated its intention to build at least 16 nuclear reactors in the coming years.

April 2, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Pakistan, India taking rival steps ‘to advance nuclear arsenals’

NEW YORK –  India and Pakistan have in recent months adopted duelling steps to test new nuclear weapons aimed at gaining strategic advantage over each other, according to a US media report.

“The nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan is intensifying, with new weaponry and more aggressive doctrines that are stoking tensions between two powers at growing risk of confrontation,” The Wall Street Journal reported from Islamabad.

Each has more than 100 nuclear warheads and new ways to deliver them from land, air and sea, with India appearing to be considering changing its nuclear doctrine to allow a first strike against Pakistan, correspondent Saeed Shah said, citing analysts.

Among rival developments, India tested interceptor missiles twice this year as part of its plan to develop a ballistic missile-defence shield, the report pointed out. Pakistan in January tested a missile with multiple warheads capable of evading it.

India said last year it began testing its first homemade nuclear-powered submarine at sea and a nuclear missile capable of striking all of Pakistani territory from far offshore. Then Pakistan this year said it had tested its own undersea nuclear missile capable of carrying out a retaliatory strike, the report said.

India’s army chief said for the first time this year that it devised a plan for a rapid, shallow, conventional invasion of Pakistan that some analysts say could be unleashed in response to a cross-border terror attack like the Mumbai assault of 2008.

India has calibrated such an invasion so as not to provoke Pakistan to retaliate with its big, strategic nuclear weapons, the report said citing current and former officials from both sides.

Pakistan, in response, has developed a capability to strike such an advance with tactical nuclear weapons-which have a smaller detonation-that it calculates wouldn’t trigger a massive retaliation from India, it said.

“We assess that these types of attacks and the potential reactions increase the likelihood for miscalculation by both countries,” warned the head of US Central Command, Gen. Joseph Votel, in congressional testimony in March. “A significant conventional conflict between Pakistan and India could escalate into a nuclear exchange.”

The US State Department declined to comment, the report said. The foreign ministries of Pakistan and India didn’t respond to requests for comment. Both countries say they are developing a “credible minimal” nuclear deterrent.

While Pakistan races to keep pace with India, India is vying with the larger nuclear programme of Pakistan’s ally China, according to the report. China, meanwhile, is in competition with the US, which has drawn close to India in recent years.

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, an advocacy group, said even a limited nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan would have such a devastating impact on global climate that it would put two billion people at risk of famine.

Pakistan says the driver of the current round of nuclear competition is the US move in 2005 to legitimize India’s nuclear programme and allow it to buy fissile material on the international market. The US claims the deal strengthened non-proliferation.

That accord was intended to cement US ties with India to help contain a rising China, it said, citing analysts. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s relationship with the US has suffered as the two nations blamed each other for chaos in Afghanistan.

“With the US closer to India and an untested president in the White House, some nuclear strategists question whether Washington can still play its former honest-broker role to defuse India-Pakistan tensions,” correspondent Shah wrote.

Pakistan is increasingly relying on its nuclear deterrent against a neighbour that has a five-time bigger defence budget and twice the military manpower, it was pointed out. Pakistan is out producing India’s nuclear weapons by four to one, according to the Stimson Center, a Washington research group. Islamabad disputes that assessment.

India’s bigger stockpile of nuclear fuel and new reactors set to soon start producing substantial amounts of plutonium give New Delhi the potential to overtake Pakistan’s production of nuclear weapons in the future, it said, citing experts.

Pakistan’s recent development of tactical devices raises the risk of a nuclear weapon being used and of them falling into the hands of militants, the report cited “some experts” as claiming.

Another risk, they say, is India’s stated belief that a limited conventional war with Pakistan is possible despite nuclear arms on both sides.

India seems to be rethinking its declared policy of not using nuclear weapons first, Vipin Narang, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was quoted as saying.

If India believes Pakistan is about to use its tactical weapons, it would need to hit them first-and take out Pakistan’s strategic arsenal with nuclear strikes before Pakistan could retaliate against Indian cities, the report said.

To destroy Pakistan’s arsenal, India would need many more nuclear weapons; Pakistan would need to dramatically increase numbers to have a good chance of some weapons surviving an Indian first strike.

“Pakistan would have to go first and with everything because it can’t afford to lose. And the Indians would have to go even earlier. Iteratively, it is very destabilising. No side could afford to go second,” Prof Narang said.

India, now led by a Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government, will respond to any terror attacks in a more determined manner, as demonstrated with its special forces [so-called] incursion into Pakistani territory after an attack against an Indian base at Uri last year, Rajeswari Rajagopalan, a former Indian National Security Council official now at the Observer Research Foundation, a think tank in Delhi, was quoted as saying.

As neighbours, India and Pakistan would have just 10 minutes to react to the launch of a missile by the other side and judge whether it is nuclear armed.

Though the two have diplomatic ties, no dialogue exists to rein in the nuclear rivalry, the report said.

“If this kind of arms competition continues between India and Pakistan, the rhetoric continues to increase, and non-state actors continue to run amok, sooner or later we’ll have a crisis,” Feroz Khan, a former senior official in Pakistan’s nuclear programme, who now teaches at the Naval Postgraduate School, California, said. “South Asia sits on a tinderbox.”

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 02-Apr-2017 here

April 2, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is India Reconsidering its No-First-Use Nuclear Weapons Policy?

An unstable Pakistan-India border region and rumblings among former officials has given Islamabad reason to fear that New Delhi is reconsidering its long-held nuclear weapons doctrine of ‘no first use.’

Since obtaining nuclear weapons capability in 1967, India has traditionally subscribed to a purely defensive doctrine when it comes to the use of atom bombs.

However, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Vipin Narang asserted at the recent Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference in Washington DC that the long-standing defensive posture of New Delhi with regard to the use of nuclear weapons could be at an end and a new “pre-emptive” mentality put in its place, Business Insider reports.

Affirming these claims, General Ehsan ul Haq, a former chairman of Pakistan’s Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, has asserted that India is rethinking its nuclear posture, in what he suggests are only the latest in a series of increasingly provocative actions toward Pakistan.

These include former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar questioning the point of the no-first-use policy in a speech in November 2016, New Delhi’s dropping out of the Saarc Summit (an annual conference attended by member states Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), increased war hysteria at home, attempts to isolate Islamabad diplomatically and noticeably-heightened border tensions.

Haq has affirmed that India is “challenging the credibility of Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence through doctrinal as well as technological developments,” cited by the Times of India.

Naeem Salik, a former Strategic Plans Division official with the Pakistan government, asserted that India’s suggestions about changing from a “passive [no-first-use] to pre-emptive disarming strikes” has created an air of fear among Pakistani strategists.

“We have not only got to study our side of the game, we also have to watch out what is happening on the other side so that we learn from there also and adapt and reform own processes as well,” Salik said.

Adding to the disquiet in Islamabad, former Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon said New Delhi’s nuclear posture now has ‘far greater flexibility,’ according to In Menon’s memoir, he wrote, ”There is a potential gray area as to when India would use nuclear weapons first” against a similarly armed enemy, presumably Pakistan.

“It’s very scary because all the ‘first-strike instability’ stuff is real,” Narang said.

April 2, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UK Airports and nuclear power stations on terror alert

Britain’s airports and nuclear power stations have been told to tighten their defences against terrorist attacks in the face of increased threats to electronic security systems.

Security services have issued a series of alerts in the past 24 hours, warning that terrorists may have developed ways of bypassing safety checks.

Intelligence agencies believe that Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) and other terrorist groups have developed ways to plant explosives in laptops and mobile phones that can evade airport security screening methods.

It is this intelligence which is understood in the past fortnight to have led the US and Britain to ban travellers from a number of countries carrying laptops and large electronic devices on board.

Now there are concerns that terrorists will use the techniques to bypass screening devices at European and US airports.

There were also fears that computer hackers were trying to bypass nuclear power station security measures. Government officials have warned that terrorists, foreign spies and “hacktivists” are looking to exploit “vulnerabilities” in the nuclear industry’s internet defences.

Jesse Norman, the energy minister, told The Telegraph that nuclear plants must make sure that they “remain resilient to evolving cyber threats”.


Mr Norman said: “The Government is fully committed to defending the UK against cyber threats, with a £1.9 billion investment designed to transform this country’s cyber security.”

He said the civil nuclear strategy published in February sets out ways to ensure that the civil nuclear sector “can defend against, recover from, and remain resilient to evolving cyber threats”.


Prof Malcolm Chalmers, deputy  director-general of the Royal United Services Institute, an independent think tank for defence and security, said: “It is important for the Government to respond rapidly to evolving cyber security threats.  “The potential threats are wide-ranging and are coming from government and non-government sources.  “Crucially there has to be clear  co-operation with the private sector to tackle this, especially as airports are usually in private hands.”


US intelligence officials have warned that groups including Isil and al-Qaeda may have developed ways to build bombs in laptops and other electronic devices that can fool airport security.

There are fears that terrorists made the breakthrough after obtaining airport screening equipment to allow them to experiment.

FBI experts have tested how the explosives can be hidden inside laptop battery compartments in a way that allows a computer still to be turned on.


They were said to have found that the technique would be achievable  using everyday equipment.

The US Department of Homeland Security said in a statement: “Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in electronics.

“The US government continually reassesses existing intelligence and collects new intelligence. This allows us to constantly evaluate our aviation security processes and policies and make enhancements when they are deemed necessary to keep passengers safe.”

Manny Gomez, a former FBI special agent, said: “We had the shoe bomber, cartridge attempt, now this is the next level. We need to be several steps ahead of them.”


Last year al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda  affiliate in Somalia, detonated a bomb on a flight from Mogadishu to Djibouti.


The explosives were hidden in a part of a laptop where bomb-makers had  removed a DVD drive.

The bomber was blown out of the window but the plane survived.

However, experts have said the bomb would have been far more devastating had the plane reached cruising altitude. The warnings come as Britain remains on a “severe” state of alert following last month’s attack at Westminster, in which four people were killed and more than 50 injured.

Warnings that the nuclear industry has to do more to protect itself were contained in the five-year Civil Nuclear Cyber Security Strategy.

It says: “The volume and complexity of cyber attacks against the UK are growing and the range of actors is  widening.” Government officials say that the threat from cyber attacks is “growing” and add: “These attacks could disrupt supply, damage facilities, delay hazard and risk reduction, and risk adverse impacts to workers, the public or the  environment.”

April 2, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Did President Putin deny man made CO2 driven Climate change?

50 minutes in to the video and Putin mentions an Island in the Arctic called Franz Joseph. He said that the Austrian explorer Mr Bayer had gone there in the 1930`s and later in the 1950`s The Italian President took pictures of the ice and when the Austrian explorer saw them and said that they ice had drastically disappeared within 20 years. He then said that there was no man made effects at that time 1920 and that it could be a “Planetary cycle” effect when answering a question on the USA position on Climate change.


In the early part of the debate Putin said that commercialisation of the Arctic was inevitable and he expected a tenfold increase in Shipping traffic in the Arctic that he was planning for.

53 minutes in and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said he agreed with what Putin said but also pointed out that he was still hopeful with the Paris Climate change agreement.

55 minutes in and Putin looked at the ice on Franz Joseph island.. He saw evidence of black carbon on the ice from thousands of years ago that came from Mount Etna and was worse than man made causes of black carbon. Putin then addressed Iceland’s president, Gudni Johannesson. Earlier points but saying that science should be encouraged to develop business and protect the environment .

59 minutes in and the CNN reporter hosting the event, hit Putin with the USA election and Ukraine and Crimea.. Listen for your self .. “Bunch of lies” said Putin.. He goes on briefly to discuss some of the geopolitical issues in this area.
He then mentions cooperation with the USA including recent negotiations concerning the Bering straights where shipping agreements, scientific projects, safety and free travel between Alaska and Russia are in operation. He also mentions fishing and Polar bear conservation as the projected increase in shipping develops. Further to that, Putin talks of the developing of hydrocarbons and Russia working with Exxon, Mobil and other partners and that prospects are huge for the USA, Russia and the whole world, also that this will benefit relations with the USA and Russia (To a huge round of applause from the hundreds of attendees to the conference).

1 hr and 5 minutes in the CNN reporter hosting the conference then goes back off topic and reiterated the question, “you and the Russian government did not try to influence the US presidential American election and there will be no evidence found?”

Quoting Ronald Reagan Putin said “read my lips, No!”. The CNN reporter persisted and Putin said that the Russian conference wanted to cooperate with US authorities but here was blocks put up by the US authorities to clear up Russian business corruption.

1hr 12 min in and President Sauli Niinisto said that European dealings with Russia did not reflect the USA position. Even during the cold war where interrelations were still possible. Iceland’s president, Gudni Johannesson then pointed out that respect for international treaties and trust were very important and that even small countries had a voice in this process.

1 hr and 17 minutes in and the CNN host then mentioned Finland being in the American backed NATO treaty and then quoted General Mattis as saying that Russain moves in the arctic were “aggressive” . Putin responded “our aggressive steps?” and then the CNN host said it was “Umm a quote from James Mattis, the US defense secretary”
The audio on the video became bad at this point.. Putin defended this as the USA develops its military infrastructure in the area including its nuclear infrastructure. This means that Russia needs to retaliated because the US withdrew from the ABM treaty. He said that he is rebuilding the Arctic resources to limit smuggling, piracy and illegal fishing.. The Russian military infrastructure is dual use for emergency incidents , oil spills and scientists research deployment and that Russia is transparent and hopes for more cooperation with the USA on these matters.

1 hr 22mins in and Putin is asked by the CNN host how will cooperation be encouraged? An example of cooperation Putin said that aircraft transponders should be kept on when responding to concerns from Finland but when Putin asked for an agreement NATO said they would not comply. He then mentions the USA has the biggest military budget and the most planes flying. Putin did say that some cooperation is being agreed in Syria and he hoped this would expand to the Arctic. The Finnish Prime minister said that he asked for all transponders to be switched on and not just Russian planes. He also said that some NATO representatives are looking into turning transponders on. The discussion then turned to Syria and the need for global cooperation.
1hr 31 min in and the question of territorial claims (200 km from Russian border). Putin mentions the agreement with Norway and its successful conclusion in signing a treaty. The Icelandic prime minister added that the Arctic council was a general success and the issue of fish catch quotas were underway despite challenges. He also mentions difficulties with scientific differences and that the science behind fisheries has a good agreement.

1 hr 35 min in and the question of the future of the Arctic is mentioned.The host mentions that large contingent from China that wishes to make claims on its near Arctic resources. Putin mentions the international agreements and that all countries have the right to work in the arctic region mentioning business`s from N Korea China and India with 4 others. Rules of working on this area are underway. The Finnish minister mentions the N. eastern passage connecting the Pacific and Atlantic regions. Iceland`s minister acknowledged that other non Arctic nations have a right to resources and communication channels and mentioned that many discussions are underway irregardless of the size of the countries involved.

1hr 45 minutes in and the discussion turns to sanctions and Putin said that he doesn’t want to discuss these issues and other issues as there are ongoing discussions. He quotes concerns of the Arab spring and Ukrainian protests as the reason to clamp down on Russian protesters and sanctions destroying the lives of 100,000`s of Americans and Europeans effected by these sanctions. He hopes that future talks might might be a solution to this problem.

1 hr 53 minutes in and the host asks the ministers one way to move froward with positive outcomes.
Discussion, agreement, solutions and developing positive relations were mentioned and Putin said that he hoped these principles and agreements in the Arctic would spread globally.

Full video source on the International Arctic treaty can be found here ;

Streamed live on 30 Mar 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin is speaking at a plenary session of the International Arctic Forum, dubbed ‘The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue’. The conference is a major platform for discussing the problems and prospects of the Arctic. About 2,000 guests are expected at the forum in Russia’s northwestern city of Arkhangelsk, including Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Iceland’s president, Gudni Johannesson.

April 1, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Unions warn Areva nuclear waste container fault shows safety flaws at La Hague

 UPDATE 2-Unions warn Areva nuclear waste container fault shows safety flaws

Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:01pm GMT
* Unions reveal incident with nuclear waste containers

* They warn cost cuts, redundancies jeopardise safety

* Regulator ASN inspected plant following union warning

* ASN says plant is safe but will be vigilant to warning (Adds detail about vitrification incident, union comment)

By Geert De Clercq

PARIS, March 23 (Reuters) – Flaws found in the production of nuclear waste containers highlight gaps in the safety culture at French nuclear group Areva’s nuclear waste recycling facility at La Hague in Normandy, the firm’s unions allege.

An internal document from the La Hague CHSCT Health and Safety Committee, which was seen by Reuters, says that in late 2016 the plant produced several substandard containers of vitrified highly radioactive waste.

Areva, which confirmed the incident, said that all units of the plant have appropriate staffing levels in line with safety guidelines. As soon as a problem was discovered, an investigation was launched and repairs were made, it added.

“The … site operates within strict safety rules which are absolutely not put into question,” an Areva spokeswoman said.

A top official for the French nuclear safety authority ASN told Reuters that about five containers had not been produced according to specifications, but denied there was a broader safety problem. It received the CHSCT note in November and had initiated a site inspection and met with management in December.

“We have not observed a deterioration of safety on the site,” Helene Heron, head of ASN’s Caen unit, which oversees La Hague said, adding that the regulator would be “vigilant” about the issues reported and may adapt some control processes.

Areva La Hague is one of the world’s biggest nuclear sites, recycling spent fuel for EDF and other power utilities abroad, including Japan. Its pools hold nearly 10,000 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel.

In its waste processing unit, Areva mixes calcified nuclear waste with molten glass, which is then poured into stainless steel containers destined for deep geological storage.

Areva fills hundreds of such containers every year and stores them on-site. Each container weighs 400 to 500 tonnes.

The five containers would be analysed, after which the company will decide what to do with them, Areva said.

“The workshop functions normally and preventive measures are being formulated in order to prevent such an incident from recurring,” Areva said.

However, Areva’s unions say that the incident is symptomatic of a slackening of the safety culture at La Hague, which they blame on redundancies and cost savings.

Areva employs some 4,000 staff at La Hague, but in a voluntary redundancy plan started in 2015, 346 jobs have been cut as part of a government-led recapitalisation and restructuring that aims to restore the balance sheet of Areva, whose equity has been wiped out by years of losses.

The CHSCT note, which is undated and unsigned, says “frantic cost-cutting is jeopardising long-established procedures” to prevent the risk of technical failures and human error.

The unions say that financial performance is now the main driving force behind the plant’s management, which leads to recurrent understaffing.

“We are launching a serious alert message: Until recently we pursued excellence in matters of safety, now we just try to be okay, which makes no sense in an industry that has no room for error,” the CHSCT note said.

Several work stations now have staffing levels that only respect minimal levels of security, that some on-call staff do not have the required skills or competencies and that management is relying on workers who are still in training, it added.

The Areva spokeswoman said that since 2015, Areva La Hague has been implementing a major restructuring plan that aims to boost its competitiveness and that it continues to invest 200 million euros ($216 million) a year to ensure the site’s safety.

The CHSCT document is highly unusual for the French nuclear industry, in which the unions are closer to management than in many French industries and typically never criticise the safety culture in their plants.

Jean-Claude Zerbib, a retired state nuclear agency CEA engineer who lives close to La Hague, said it is rare for the unions to agree on the same text, and even rarer for them to criticise management about safety.

“Generally, unions and management defend their shop.” ($1 = 0.9270 euros) (Editing by Andrew Callus/Adrian Croft/Alexander Smith)

March 25, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

TEPCO eyes reorganization in nuclear, transmission businesses

22 March 2017 17:45


Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. is aiming to integrate its nuclear and power transmission and distribution businesses with other utilities to free up funds to use in dealing with the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster.

According to TEPCO’s revised business turnaround plan announced Wednesday, the company will establish a consortium with other utilities to quickly facilitate its reorganization and integration plan.

The utility’s first major revision to the business turnaround plan since its formulation in January 2014 follows Japan’s industry ministry doubling its estimated total cost of the nuclear disaster cleanup to an estimated 22 trillion yen ($197 billion).

Once it finishes the overall revision, possibly in April, TEPCO intends to obtain government approval for the plan.

Under the revised plan, TEPCO is aiming to boost management efficiency and increase productivity to free up funds, and it will decide whether to postpone freeing itself from state control from the originally planned fiscal 2017 to the fiscal year starting April 2019.

The revised plan stresses the importance of reaching a basic agreement with Chubu Electric Power Co. to fully integrate their non-nuclear thermal power generation operations by this spring.

TEPCO is also planning to hold discussions with other utilities in the near future to promote the reorganization and integration of power transmission and distribution in the industry. The utility is considering acquiring related overseas operators over the medium- to long-term as part of the strategy.

The company also envisions reorganizing and integrating its nuclear operations in the future. It hopes to establish a consortium with domestic nuclear operators to secure talent and technologies, and develop new light-water reactors. The utility is also aiming to expand into overseas nuclear power generation markets, according to the plan.

The company will also seek cooperation from other power companies in reactivating its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture despite a public loss of confidence.

The prospect of the reactivation of the seven-reactor plant remains unclear with Niigata Gov. Ryuichi Yoneyama having taken a cautious stance toward its restart. The latest plan does not set out a specific timeline.

As the cleanup and decommissioning costs mount, TEPCO remains under state control with the Japanese government holding majority voting rights through the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp. The entity was established after the disaster to help the utility pay damages for the disaster.

TEPCO’s status has prompted concerns among other major utilities that even if they cooperate, profits generated through such arrangements could be used to pay for decommissioning and damages.

To ease such concerns, the revised turnaround plan says TEPCO will map out rules for government involvement and where the cost burden will fall.


March 22, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Brazil’s Angra III nuclear project to be auctioned by 2018

Brazil’s government wants to auction the Angra III nuclear plant project by 2018, its deputy energy minister said, adding that Russian and Chinese investors are interested in finishing it.
The deputy minister, Paulo Pedrosa, expects Angra III to be completed by 2023. He also announced that the government has decided to retake Cia EnergĂ©tica de Minas Gerais’s power dams and put them up for auction. The contracts on the dams expired in 2015.

Angra Nuclear Power Plant is is located at the Central Nuclear Almirante Álvaro Alberto (CNAngra III) on the Itaorna Beach in Angra dos Reis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

It consists of two Pressurized water reactors, Angra I, with a net output of 637 MWe, first connected to the power grid in 1985 and Angra II, with a net output of 1,350 MWe, connected in 2000.

Work on a third reactor, Angra III, with a projected output of 1,405 MWe, began in 1984 but was halted in 1986. Work started again on 1 June 2010 for entry into service in 2015 and later delayed to 2018. ■

March 22, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

State lawmakers push for details on nuclear plant subsidies

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York lawmakers are continuing to push for more details about the state’s decision to make utility consumers pay up to $7.6 billion over several years to subsidize aging upstate nuclear plants.

Democrats in the state Assembly on Wednesday will call on state utility regulators to publicly release the financial review that they used to justify the decision.

 Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration argues the money will ensure the nuclear plants remain open and not be replaced by fossil fuel plants while the state shifts to greater renewable energy.

Some environmentalists and consumer advocates have objected, however, saying the investment amounts to a costly bailout for a hazardous industry.

March 22, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment