nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Wind and Solar Accounted For 57 Percent of New U.S. Generating Capacity Additions in First Quarter

robertscribbler

Policy sure makes one heck of a difference. Thanks to legislation and investments by China, the U.S., Europe and numerous other countries around the world, solar energy has reached price parity or better with natural gas and coal over a growing subset of the globe. In the United States, fully 36 states in 2017 are seeing solar at parity with fossil fuel based generation. And costs for this new, clean energy source are expected to keep falling over at least the next five years as production lines continue to expand and technology and efficiency improves.

Wind, already competitive with natural gas and coal in many areas by the mid 2000s, is also seeing continued price declines as turbine sizes increase and industrial efficiency gains ground. As a result, the two mainstream energy sources most capable of combating human-caused climate change are taking larger and larger shares of the…

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June 27, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Clearance to Build New Russian Nuclear Reactors in India is Illegal (Koodankulam 3 & 4)

Mining Awareness +


Koodankulam Nuclear Power Protest – PMANE, – Dianuke.org

the first two units of the Koodankulam nuclear power project are sub-standard, unsafe and unviable. In order to hide their complete failure with them, the Indian and Russian governments are doing another gimmick in the name of “Base Concreting Work” even before they undertake the first pour of concrete in the first quarter of 2017….” “Stop the Koodankulam NPP Expansion Now!: PMANE’s Statement on Modi-Putin Nuclear Tango” OCTOBER 14 2016 People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) National Alliance of Anti-nuclear Movements (NAAM) Press Release, October 14, 2016 https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/10/24/stop-koodankulam-nuclear-reactor-expansion-modi-putin-nuclear-tango https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/01/11/reactors-from-russia-are-unsafe-and-unreliable-says-russian-environmentalist/


Boats near Koodankulum NPS CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 flickr by indiawaterportal.org /11813504325

All religious groups have participated in the protests against Koodankulan. However, nearby Idinthakarai is highly Christian. This shows that Putin’s claims of being protector of the Christian faith are false. He is only the protector of the…

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June 27, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

June 27 Energy News

geoharvey

World:

¶ Based on the industries the Great Barrier Reef supports, both directly and indirectly, consultants at Deloitte have estimated its total value at $42.4 billion (A$56 billion). Deloitte hopes that putting a monetary value on the reef will influence decision making on climate change, which has left it severely damaged, especially in the last year. [CNN]

Great Barrier Reef

¶ Thirteen industry leaders and associations from across Europe launched the new “Make Power Clean” initiative, aiming to promote a clean European electricity market. One specific goal is to ensure that only those energy technologies considered “clean” are eligible to receive public support in the form of capacity mechanisms. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Dong Energy has officially opened its 582-MW Gode Wind 1&2 offshore wind complex in the German North Sea. Offshore construction of 97 Siemens 6-MW turbines started in April 2015 and was wrapped up in May…

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June 27, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Three European nations spanned in human chain demanding closure of Belgian nuclear reactors

Human chain against aging nuclear plants spans three countries http://www.dw.com/en/human-chain-against-aging-nuclear-plants-spans-three-countries/a-39408428  Thousands have protested to demand the closure of two nuclear reactors in Belgium over safety concerns. Demonstrators formed a human chain that stretched from Germany, through the Netherlands and into Belgium. Organizers claimed that some 50,000 protesters took part in the demonstration on Sunday, forming a human chain that stretched from Aachen, Germany, to Liege, Belgium, and Maastricht, the Netherlands.

The chain also passed close the Tihange nuclear power plant some 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) southwest of Liege. The Tihange 2 and Doel 3 reactors have been the subject of safety concerns about microcracks in their structures.

Doel lies in northern Belgium, close to the port city of Antwerp, about halfway between Brussels and Amsterdam. Numerous safety incidents, mostly low-level, have been reported from the two reactors which have each been in operation for more than 30 years.

Protesters who massed in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium complain they are living with excessive risk

German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks last year urged Belgium to take the two reactors offline until open safety questions were cleared up. However, the request was dismissed by Belgium’s nuclear regulator.

Aachen takes legal action

The city of Aachen and some 100 communities in the border region are currently suing the operators of Tihange 2.

Sunday’s demonstration was organized by numerous environmental organizations in all three countries and spearheaded by Belgian actor and director Bouli Lanners. The mayors of Aachen and Cologne also lent their weight to the protest.

“It is the strongest message the region could send,” said the administrative head of the Aachen city region, Helmut Etschenberg. “We no longer want to live with the element of uncertainty that is Tihange 2 and we will keep on and on.”

As well as demanding the closure of the plant, demonstrators are calling for an end to deliveries of fuel elements to the two power stations from Germany’s Lingen nuclear power plant, in the state of Lower Saxony.Such is the level of concern about Belgium’s aging reactors in Germany that the state of North Rhine-Westphalia has stocked up with iodine tablets in an effort to limit human exposure to radiation. 

June 27, 2017 Posted by | EUROPE, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Hackers trading passwords used by managers at British nuclear power plants

Russian hackers trade passwords used by managers at British nuclear power plants – including ‘Rad1at10n’ and ‘Nuclear1’ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4635420/Russian-hackers-trade-passwords-UK-nuclear-plant-staff.html, 

  • The passwords of two senior EDF nuclear plant managers were traded online
  • French-owned firm EDF Energy operates all 15 of Britain’s nuclear reactors 
  • Comes as thousands of government officials – including MPs – were hacked 

The passwords – ‘Nuclear1’ and ‘Radiat10n’ – are thought to have been used on the business site LinkedIn.

They were being traded by hackers who had easily guessed the letters and numbers.

EDF, which operates Britain’s 15 nuclear reactors, did not comment about the breach.

But the French-owned firm did say, according to The Times, that it is ‘continually reviewing its defences and preparedness in this area’.

The lists on which the passwords appeared were traded privately before being made public.

It comes as around 1,000 British MPs and parliamentary staff, 7,000 police employees and more than 1,000 Foreign Office officials were all understood to have had confidential information traded online without their knowledge.Even some of the prime minister’s closest government ministers, including education secretary, Justine Greening, and business secretary, Greg Clark, are thought to have been affected by the hack.

The huge database was being sold for just £2, with the low price justified by the fact it had already spent months being passed around. Its original price is likely to have been much higher.

Hackers can easily guess many passwords, especially those which are merely a word associated with a certain person but with ‘3’ instead of ‘E’ or ‘1’ instead of ‘I’.

There have been warnings that the hacked passwords could be used to blackmail workers in sensitive jobs, or even to break into government servers.

June 27, 2017 Posted by | incidents, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Trump adminstration upsetting balance of power in Middle East

Iran’s Nuclear Chief Warns U.S. Against Tilting Power Balance In Middle East https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-nuclear-chief-wars-us-against-tilting-power-balance-middle-east-saudi-arms-sales-/28576396.html, 24 June 17 Iran’s atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi, who helped forge the 2015 nuclear agreement, warned the United States on June 23 against upsetting the balance of power in the Middle East by siding with arch-rival Saudi Arabia.

Writing in The Guardian newspaper, Salehi said Tehran views a “lavish” deal U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration recently announced to sell Saudi Arabia $110 billion in weapons as “provocative.”

“This is especially the case if the national defense efforts of Iran…are simultaneously opposed and undermined,” he said, alluding to steps the Trump administration has taken to increase U.S. sanctions on Iran for developing ballistic missiles even as it has ramped up arms sales to Riyadh and its allies.

“It would be unrealistic to expect Iran to remain indifferent to the destabilizing impact of such conduct,” said Salehi, an MIT graduate who has also served as Iran’s foreign minister and was a senior negotiator on the nuclear deal.

Salehi stressed that Washington’s strong tilt toward Tehran’s rivals in the Middle East not only risks setting off a regional arms race and “further tension and conflict” in the region, but it imperils the “hard-won” nuclear deal, which took two years to negotiate.

If the nuclear deal is to survive, he said the West must change course. “The moment of truth has arrived.”

Trump and the Saudis frequently blame Iran for wars ranging from Yemen to Syria, as well as for restive minority Shi’ite populations within the borders of the kingdom and other Persian Gulf states ruled by Sunni Muslims.

The Saudis, like Trump, were strongly opposed to the nuclear deal. But while Trump has promised to “dismantle the disastrous deal,” he has not so far taken any concrete steps to do so. His administration has indicated it will adhere to the deal, which requires Iran to curb its nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions, as long as Tehran continues to do so.

But Salehi’s article in the Guardian suggested that — what Iran says is — its so-far strict honoring of the deal may come into doubt in the future if the United States continues to disregard Iran’s “genuine security concerns” and “stokes Iranophobia” in the region.

Salehi urged the United States and its Western partners to “save” the nuclear deal with “reciprocal gestures” showing a commitment to engagement with Iran.

Iranian voters recently showed their preference for engagement with the West by re-electing President Hassan Rohani with his pro-Western platform, but “engagement is simply not a one-way street and we cannot go it alone,” Salehi said.

“Unfortunately, as things stand at the moment in the region, reaching a new state of equilibrium might simply be beyond reach for the foreseeable future,” he said.

June 27, 2017 Posted by | MIDDLE EAST, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Donald Trump leads the world to war against Iran

The Saudi war in Yemen is really directed at…Iran. Donald Trump’s first overseas visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel was specifically targeted at… Iran. The Saudi-led isolation of Qatar is actually about… Iran.

The escalation of U.S. military actions against the Syria government is… well, do I really need to spell this out any further?

Donald Trump has identified several number-one enemies to target. Throughout the campaign, he emphasized the importance of throwing the full weight of the Pentagon against the Islamic State. More recently, his secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, identifiedNorth Korea as “the most urgent and dangerous threat to peace and security.”

Other threats that have appeared at one time or another in the administration’s rotation include China, Cuba, the mainstream media, former FBI director James Comey, and Shakespeare (for writing Julius Caesar and then somehow, from the grave, persuadingthe Public Theater to run a scandalous version of it).

Through it all, however, Iran has loomed as the primary bogeyman of the Trump crowd. Fear of Iranian influence has prompted the administration to all but cancel the 2015 nuclear deal, intensify a number of proxy wars, consider pushing for regime change in Tehran, and even intervene in the mother of all battles between the Shia and Sunni variants of Islam.

You’re worried about Trump and the nuclear football? The prospect of blowback from an all-out U.S. assault on the Islamic State keeps you up at night? A preemptive strike against North Korea, which Mattis acknowledges would be disastrous, has you rethinking that upcoming trip to Seoul?

Sure, those are all dystopian possibilities. But if I had to choose a more likely catastrophe, it would be a direct confrontation between the United States and Iran. After all, everything seems to be pointing in that direction.

The Fate of the Deal

The nuclear deal that Iran signed with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany and the European Union is hanging by a thread. Trump made no bones about his distaste for this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). He promised to tear it up.

He hasn’t done so. It’s not just that he’s gotten pushback from the usual suspects in Washington (diplomats, foreign policy mavens, talking heads, journalists). Even members of his inner circle seem to see value in the agreement. Mattis, who is otherwise hawkish on Iran, has stood by the JCPOA and diplomacy more generally. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has, albeit reluctantly, acknowledged that Iran has lived up to its side of the agreement. Then there are all the American jobs on the line from the Iranian purchase of Boeing jets.

Even though Trump hasn’t torn up the agreement, he has certainly attempted to give it a good crumple. He has directed the Treasury Department to apply additional sanctions on Iran’s missile program. He’s considering the option of declaring the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization. Congress, meanwhile, is pursuing its own complementary set of sanctions against Iran (though, because it’s bundled with sanctions against Russia, the legislation may not meet Trump’s approval).

None of this violates the terms of the JCPOA. But it challenges the spirit of the accord.

Adding insult to injury, Trump damned Iran with faint condolences after the recent terrorist attacks in Tehran. “We grieve and pray for the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks in Iran, and for the Iranian people, who are going through such challenging times,” Trump wrote. “We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”

Talk about bad taste. After September 11, Iranians gathered for candlelight vigils to mourn the mostly American victims of the attacks. The Iranian government didn’t say anything about chickens coming home to roost after U.S. military interventions in the Middle East, for that would have been inappropriate (though accurate).

But Iran might yet have to make a statement that echoes Trump’s tone-deaf remark: States that tear up international agreements risk falling victim to the evil they promote.

Proxy Wars

The conflict is escalating in Syria, where Iran backs the regime of Bashar al-Assad and the United States supports a shifting set of anti-regime groups.

Both countries could decide to team up against the Islamic State. And indeed, Iran launched a missile attack against ISIS in Syria this last weekend in retaliation for the terrorist attacks in Tehran. As after September 11, when Tehran and Washington briefly worked together, cooperation against Sunni extremists would seem a no-brainer.

But the would-be caliphate, having lost most of Mosul and now teetering on the verge of conceding its capital in Raqqa, is shrinking at a rapid clip. Which may well explain why the United States has been wading deeper into the Syrian conflict. For the first time since the war in Syria began, U.S. forces shot down a Syrian government plane this last weekend. It’s only the latest in a series of attacks on Assad’s forces, according to The Atlantic:

Three times in the last month, the U.S. military has come into direct conflict with the combined forces of the Assad regime, Iran-supported Shiite militias, Hezbollah, and possibly even Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. The clashes have reportedly resulted in the deaths of a small number of pro-regime forces, and are much more strategically important than the much-ballyhooed U.S. air strike on the al-Shayrat airfield back in April in response to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons.

Several administration figures, notably Ezra Cohen-Watnick and Derek Harvey in the National Security Council, are eager to confront Assad and his Iranian backers more aggressively. Mattis, however, has reportedly opposed several of their risky propositions. Regardless of the Pentagon chief’s somewhat more risk-averse behavior, both Iran and the United States are maneuvering to control as much territory as possible in the vacuum created by the collapse of ISIS………

Back in 2013, Trump said,

We will end up going to war with Iran because we have people who don’t know what the hell they are doing. Every single thing that this administration and our president does is a failure.

Who knew that Donald Trump could be so prescient? The president has proven himself high-performing in at least this one regard: self-fulfilling prophecies.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-coming-war-with-iran_us_594ec1fce4b0f078efd9821c

June 27, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Once again, the world’s nuclear nations race toward catastrophe

The World’s Nuclear Powers Are Renewing their Race to Catastrophe,  http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/166175  by Lawrence Wittner Dr. Lawrence Wittner (http://www.lawrenceswittner.com) is Professor of History emeritus at SUNY/Albany. He is the author of Confronting the Bomb (Stanford University Press).  For as long as they have existed, nations have clung to the illusion that their military strength guarantees their security.

The problem with this kind of thinking is that the military power that one nation considers vital to its security fosters other nations’ sense of insecurity. In this climate of suspicion, an arms race ensues, often culminating in military conflict. Also, sometimes the very military strength that a nation intended for protection ends up emboldening it to engage in reckless, aggressive behavior, leading to war.

By the twentieth century, the devastation caused by wars among nations had grown so great that the general public and even many government officials began to recognize that a world left to the mercies of national military power was a dangerous world, indeed. As a result, after the mass slaughter of World War I, they organized the League of Nations to foster international security. When this proved insufficient to stop the march of nations toward World War II and its even greater devastation, they organized a new and stronger global entity: the United Nations.

Unfortunately, however, bad habits die hard, and relying on military force to solve problems is one of the oldest and most destructive habits in human history. Therefore, even as they paid lip service to the United Nations and its attempts to create international security, many nations slipped back into the familiar pattern of building up their armed forces and weaponry. This included nuclear weapons, the most effective instruments of mass slaughter yet devised.

Not surprisingly, then, although the leaders of highly militarized nations talked about building “peace through strength,” their countries often underwent many years of war. Indeed, the United States, the most heavily-armed nation since 1945, has been at war with other countries most of that time. Other nations whose post-World War II military might has helped embroil them in wars include Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Israel, Egypt, Iraq, and Iran.

Given this sorry record, it is alarming to find that the nine nuclear-armed nations (the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Israel, Pakistan, and North Korea) have ignored the obligation under the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to divest themselves of nuclear weapons and, instead, recently embarked on a new round in the nuclear arms race. The U.S. government, for example, has begun a massive, 30-year program to build a new generation of U.S. nuclear weapons and nuclear production facilities to last the United States well into the second half of the twenty-first century. This program, slated to cost $1 trillion, includes redesigned nuclear warheads, as well as new nuclear bombers, submarines, land-based missiles, weapons labs, and production plants.

However, as the nuclear powers renew their race to catastrophe, the non-nuclear powers are beginning to revolt. Constituting most nations of the world, they have considerable clout in the UN General Assembly. In late 2016, they brought to this body a resolution to launch negotiations on a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. Critics of the resolution maintained that such a treaty was ridiculous, for, ultimately, only the nine nuclear powers could negotiate their disarmament―not an assembly of other nations. But supporters of the resolution argued that, if the overwhelming majority of nations voted to ban nuclear weapons―that is, make them illegal under international law―this would put substantial pressure on the nuclear powers to comply with the world community by acting to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.

To avoid this embarrassment, the nuclear powers and their allies fought back vigorously against passage of this UN resolution. But, on December 23, 2016, the resolution sailed through the UN General Assembly by an overwhelming vote: 113 nations in favor and 35 opposed, with 13 abstentions.

And so, on March 27, 2017, a diplomatic conference convened, at the UN headquarters in New York City, with the goal of crafting what the UN called a “legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.” Some 130 countries participated in the first round of these negotiations that included discussions with leaders of peace and disarmament groups and a range of experts on nuclear weapons. But the nuclear powers and most of their allies boycotted the gathering. In fact, at a press conference conducted as the conclave began, Nikki Haley, the U.S. representative to the United Nations, and representatives of other nuclear powers denounced the proceedings.

Perhaps because of the boycott by the nuclear powers, the UN negotiations went forward smoothly. On May 22, Ambassador Elayne Whyte of Costa Rica, president of the conference, released a first draft of the UN treaty, which would prohibit nations from developing, producing, manufacturing, possessing, or stockpiling nuclear weapons. The UN conferees plan to adopt necessary revisions and, then, produce a final treaty for a vote in early July.

As this treaty directly challenges the long-time faith in the value of national military power, typified by the scramble for nuclear weapons, it might not get very far. But who really knows? Facing the unprecedented danger of nuclear war, the world community might finally be ready to dispense with this national illusion.

June 27, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Opposition toTennessee Valley Authority’s plan for Small Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)

Environmental groups challenge TVA nuclear reactor plan, Miami Herald, 25 June 17 The Associated Press  OAK RIDGE, TENN. 

Environmental groups are challenging the Tennessee Valley Authority’s proposal to use a Tennessee nuclear reactor design site abandoned in the 1970s to develop new small modular reactors.

According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press , the Southern Alliance for Clean Power, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League have challenged the Oak Ridge project’s site application. They say the reactors remain untested, unsafe and unneeded.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is reviewing the application to determine if the site works for two or more reactors generating up to 800 megawatts of nuclear power.

Sara Barczak, the high risk energy choices program director with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, compared the project to the Clinch River Breeder Reactor project that was planned for the site in the 1970s, but was scrapped amid escalating prices for the technology.

“We are very concerned that history is once again repeating itself,” Barczak said. “And we are concerned that billions of dollars could be spent on a technology that is unproven, untested and significantly more expensive than other types of power technology that are available to TVA.”…….. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article158140124.html

June 26, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, technology, USA | Leave a comment

New Federal investigation into error in shipment of nuclear materials from Los Alamos National Laboratory

‘Absolutely unacceptable’ error in shipment of nuclear materials prompts probe, By Rebecca Moss | The New Mexican, Jun 24, 2017 

Los Alamos National Laboratory is facing a new federal investigation for shipping nuclear materials out of state by aircraft, in violation of federal law, according to the National Nuclear Security Administration, which called the error “absolutely unacceptable.”

The agency released a statement Friday, saying the lab had mislabeled shipments of “special nuclear materials” — a term used for radioactive, weapons-grade plutonium and uranium — that were headed last week to the Savannah River National Laboratory in South Carolina and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

The shipments were packaged for ground cargo transportation, but instead were shipped by air, which is “a mode of transportation not authorized by Federal regulations,” according to the statement.

 Matt Nerzig, a spokesman for the Los Alamos National Laboratory, referred questions to the National Nuclear Security Administration.

The incident follows similar violations at the lab this spring involving mislabeled chemicals and hazardous waste, including nuclear materials. It also comes as the lab has faced a fresh wave of scrutiny from federal officials over whether it is capable of handling increasing quantities of plutonium as the nation ramps up its production of plutonium pits — the grapefruit-sized cores that trigger nuclear bombs — over the next 15 years at a Los Alamos facility.

The protocols for shipping sensitive nuclear materials by air are significantly different than those for ground shipments. More sensitive climate and pressure controls must be in place to transport plutonium by air, and special external controls are required to guard against an accident during flight or a radiation release, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The National Nuclear Security Administration said the incident didn’t lead to any loss of radioactive materials or contamination.

The agency said it will investigate “to determine the root cause of this incident, as well as procedures to avoid future incidents of this type,” and said it intends to hold the responsible parties accountable under the full terms of the lab’s management contract, currently held by Los Alamos National Security LLC, a consortium led by the University of California, Bechtel and other corporations.

The contract is currently up for bid, a decision made by the federal government following a series of management and safety issues. The lab is expected to be under new management in 2018.

But significant safety lapses continue.

In April, work was paused at the lab’s plutonium facility after a worker handled an unlabeled waste container that ignited, causing a small fire that gave one worker second-degree burns. In May, the lab failed to accurately document the pH levels of liquid hazardous waste shipped in drums to Colorado — the second time such an incident had occurred in six months. The waste was far more acidic than documented on its labels, which means it was likely more volatile. Those incidents triggered reviews of workplace and emergency protocols.

The lab also informed the New Mexico Environment Department this spring that it had been storing two drums containing nitrate salts in a special containment area for months, believing they were part of a volatile waste stream, only to learn the canisters were not dangerous.

These drums highlight one of the most notorious mispackaging mistakes in the lab’s recent history. A nitrate salt drum containing items laced with radioactive waste was packed with the wrong type of absorbent kitty litter at Los Alamos, causing a chemical reaction that led the drum to burst in the salt caverns of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad in February 2014.

The event led to a low-level radiological release and shut down the underground nuclear waste facility for nearly three years, at a cost of over $1 billion.

At a hearing in Santa Fe earlier this month, federal officials raised questions about how the lab would deal with “unprecedented” levels of plutonium, in order to build as many as 80 pits per year by 2030 as part of the nation’s goals of modernizing its nuclear weapons stockpile.

The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, which advises the Department of Energy and the president, asked federal and lab officials about a lack of foresight as the program moves forward, as well as aging infrastructure at the lab. Questions also were raised about the lab consistently failing to meet expectations in its nuclear criticality safety program — which is meant to ensure serious nuclear accidents don’t occur and potentially cause a widespread release of radiation…….http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/absolutely-unacceptable-error-in-shipment-of-nuclear-materials-prompts-probe/article_5c845fee-4b05-51e8-9f19-efa63afee7a9.html

June 26, 2017 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Britsh govt still intending to pump billions of tax-payers’ money in Hinkley nuclear white elephant

Hinkley Point: Britain’s nuclear white elephant trumpets again The NAO has produced a scathing report on a prestige project that could cost more than any tinpot tyrant’s folly, Independent, James Moore Chief Business Commentator @JimMooreJourno , 25 June 17 Brits, eh. We like to think we’re all about common sense (except, well, Brexit, but we’ll park that for the moment). We certainly don’t pump money into white elephants. Surely that sort of thing is best left to dictators with God complexes. We’re responsible with taxpayers’ cash!

If that is so, how on earth does the Government explain the plans for a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset?

The National Audit Office has just put a swarm of new flies into that particular bottle of radioactive ointment with the release of a scathing new report.

  • Here’s the (withering) top line: “The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s deal for Hinkley Point C has locked consumers into a risky and expensive project with uncertain strategic and economic benefits.”

    Ouch.

    But there’s more, and as the NAO makes clear, it’s we consumers who will be suffering the pain of it. The report says the Government failed to consider the costs, and the risks of the project. Moreover, the subsidy handed to its overseas backers, has ballooned.

    “Delays have pushed back the nuclear power plant’s construction, and the expected cost of top-up payments under the Hinkley Point C contract for difference has increased from £6bn to £30bn.”

  • That’s right: £30bn. You might have read about the capital city of Myanmar, Naypyidaw, which is 7,054 square kilometres in size and roughly four and a half times the size of London (1,569 square kilometres) but with only a tenth of the population.

    The cost of that white elephant has been put at just over £3bn, a bit less than a tenth of where the NAO currently has Hinkley’s subsidy, agreed to guarantee that the developers will make a profit when it is built, regardless of what happens to electricity prices.

    It should be said that the project still isn’t exactly risk free for the backers. EDF had directors resign over its interest in the thing.

    But let’s say EDF and its partners start to encounter difficulties during its construction. Do you think they’ll take any cost over-runs on the chin, as the contractual terms suggest that they should? Or do you think it’s more likely that we will see them knocking on the Chancellor’s door in search of another hand out?

    I’d bet on the latter, because that’s the way these things always seem to go. The NAO certainly fears that is what will happen……http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/hinkley-point-britains-nuclear-white-elephant-trumpets-again-a7805311.html

June 26, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Meeting between Narendra Modi and Donald Trump not likely to lead to any nuclear trade deal with India

PM Modi-Trump talks: Civil nuclear deal to figure, no pact on reactors,Time of India.| Jun 25, 2017, 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • A pact between the NPCIL and Westinghouse to build six power reactors in Andhra Pradesh is unlikely to be signed.
  • The progress on the 2008 civil nuclear deal is likely to be discussed during the meeting.
  • During his visit to the US on June 25-26, Modi is slated to meet Donald Trump.
NEW DELHI: The Indo-US civil nuclear deal is expected to figure during talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump on Monday, but a pact between the NPCIL and Westinghouse to build six power reactors in Andhra Pradesh is unlikely to be signed.
A host of strategic issues are expected to be discussed during the parleys between the leaders of the world’s two largest democracies,….
They said a financial turmoil in Westinghouse and absence of a functional reference atomic plant were the main impediments behind the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited’s (NPCIL) unwillingness to sign the agreement with the American nuclear giant.

According to a joint statement by Modi and the then US president Barack Obama in 2015, both the sides had resolved to work towards “finalising the contractual agreement by June 2017”.

However, a lot of water has flown under the bridge since then.

Westinghouse, which was acquired by Japanese conglomerate Toshiba in 2007, filed for bankruptcy in March.

Apprehending uncertainty, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the NPCIL are unwilling to go ahead with any agreement with the beleaguered company till it comes out of the financial turmoil……http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pm-modi-trump-talks-civil-nuclear-deal-to-figure-no-pact-on-reactors/articleshow/59311335.cms

June 26, 2017 Posted by | India, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Britain’s Hinkley Point nuclear project to cost billions more than was forecast

Nuclear plant to cost consumers ‘billions more’ News 24 24 June 17 London – A highly-controversial UK government deal for the new Hinkley Point nuclear power plant will cost British energy consumers billions more pounds than forecast, the country’s National Audit Office said on Friday.

“The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s deal for Hinkley Point C has locked consumers into a risky and expensive project with uncertain strategic and economic benefits,” the NAO said in a report.

Under the project, UK energy users will have sums added to their bills for a period of 35 years.

The NAO said the combined cost of such payments is set to surge to $38bn.

 “Delays have pushed back the nuclear power plant’s construction, and the expected cost of top-up payments under the Hinkley Point C’s contract… has increased $38bn,” the report said……

The contract for a French-Chinese consortium to build Britain’s first nuclear plant in a generation was signed in September after a string of controversies threatened to scupper the huge deal.

China’s involvement

The British government had delayed agreement over concerns about China’s involvement, while there were also questions about how the French state-owned power giant EDF would fund the construction of Hinkley Point.

But Britain finally gave the go-ahead last September for the complex, which is expected to provide seven percent of the country’s power needs. Beijing’s state-run China General Nuclear Corporation is set to finance £6bn of the cost of the Hinkley Point plant, with French state-owned power giant EDF providing the remaining £12bn.

Critics have focused on an electricity price guarantee to be paid to EDF of £92.5 for every megawatt hour of power produced by Hinkley for the next 35 years, rising with inflation, despite falling energy prices…….http://www.news24.com/World/News/nuclear-plant-to-cost-consumers-billions-more-20170624

June 26, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

The Fight Against Hinkley Nuclear Isn’t Over – UK Greens

Green Party 23rd June 2017,Lucas: “Consumers and taxpayers are going to be ripped off by this absurd
project” Caroline Lucas, the co-leader of the Green Party, has responded to
a report by the National Audit Office on Hinkley Power Station.

The report says that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s
deal for Hinkley Point C has locked consumers into a ‘risky and expensive
project’ with uncertain strategic and economic benefits. The multibillion
pound project at Hinkley is currently supported by both Labour and the
Coservatives, but opposition to the plans is expected to grow as the costs
soar.

Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party, said: “The National
Audit Office’s damning report confirms what many of us have been saying
for a long time: the Hinkley deal is overpriced and risky. Not only are
consumers and taxpayers going to be ripped off by this absurd project but
it will also divert resources away from building the clean energy
infrastructure we need, and threaten our climate change targets because of
the snail’s pace at which it will be built.

“The fight against Hinkley isn’t over – and we will be joining campaigners in continuing to
highlight the major shortcomings of this project. This is a crossroads for
Britain – and the signing of this deal has seen us swerve down the wrong
path. By reversing this decision we can put the resources needed into
building a decentralized energy system where Britain puts to use its most
abundant resources: the sun, sea and wind.”
https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2017/06/23/caroline-lucas-nao-report-on-hinkley-is-damning/

June 26, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Fear and Loathing Within America’s ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

INSIDE THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY: PARANOIA AND STIFLED WORKBased on interviews with 47 current and former EPA employees, a new report paints a picture of a deeply divided and stymied agency. Pacific Standard, FRANCIE DIEP, JUN 20, 2017 A new report paints the Environmental Protection Agency under Scott Pruitt’s leadership in a particularly bad light.

Among the allegations from the report, which relies on anonymous sources: that Pruitt, despite his role as EPA head, has almost never met with environmental groups, and is, in fact, hamstringing his own agency’s law enforcement and regional offices; that Pruitt has banned employees from taking pen and paper into meetings out of fear of information being leaked; and that Pruitt’s office suppressed plans for an agency Earth Daypicnic because it seemed too combative.

“Beneath the veneer of Pruitt’s public statements and appearances, I think there’s a lot of dysfunction,” says Christopher Sellers, a history professor at Stony Brook University who interviewed 32 current and former EPA employees for the report, which was released publicly today by the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative, an activist group of university professors. EDGI organized shortly after President Donald Trump’s election in a response to what founders saw as anti-science sentiment in the administration.

The new EDGI report indicates there’s widespread demoralization and dissent within the EPA. That’s not surprising. Trump has long called for policies that are sure to be unpopular at the agency. While running for office, he vowed to shutter the agency. Since then, he has blamed environmental regulation for killing jobs; worked to repeal EPA rules; and, in his proposed budget, called for a 31 percent cut to the agency’s funding, which would likely eliminate thousands of jobs. Pruitt, meanwhile, has denied the reality of climate change, then later said he thought the Earth is warming, but wasn’t sure how much human activity had to do with it. What the new report offers are fresh details about Pruitt’s internal decisions and how they may already be affecting the agency’s work.

For the report, Sellers worked with seven other academics to interview 10 current and 37 former employees of the EPA between December of 2016 and May of this year. They recruited their sources through EPA alumni groups and by asking people they were already in contact with to refer them to others. They did not reveal their sources’ identities to Pacific Standard. Requests for comment from the EPA were not returned.

EDGI’s work paints a picture of an imbalanced agency that favors certain industries and constituents over others and is stymied by distrust between its head and his staff. Indeed, some doubt whether Pruitt wants the EPA to work at all. “I think the plan is to get rid of EPA,” one employee told the EDGI interviewers. “I think this is just phase one.”

ONLY SOME STAKEHOLDERS

Pruitt hasn’t been around for his staff, interviewees told EDGI. Few of the interviewees had seen him in the Washington, D.C., office. Instead, the sources said Pruitt seems to travel frequently and to pay attention to a select group of stakeholders: He’s gone to meet the governors of Western states, farmers, and coal miners, for example. He decorated headquarters with posters showing him shaking hands with miners. In late March, Trump visited the EPA headquarters to sign an executive order rewriting the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan and starting the process of lifting a moratorium on coal leasing on federal land. He did so with Pruitt at his side and several coal miners surrounding him. “You know what it says, right?” Trump told the miners. “You’re going back to work.”…..https://psmag.com/environment/paranoia-and-stifled-work-at-epa

June 26, 2017 Posted by | psychology - mental health, USA | Leave a comment