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The suspension of the Tokyo OLympic Games 2020 — limitless life

The suspension of the Tokyo OLympic Games 2020 Dear Friends, Please allow me to draw your attention to the crucial facts relevant to the Tokyo Olympic Games. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is confronted with the serious financial shortage due to the Coronavirus crisis.(934.5billion yen reduced to 80.7 billion yen!) The influential economic […]

The suspension of the Tokyo OLympic Games 2020 — limitless life

July 1, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Russia’s nuclear workers in long lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic

Russia’s longest quarantine How ‘Rosatom’ is keeping its key nuclear power plant workers in isolation during the coronavirus pandemic    https://meduza.io/en/feature/2020/06/29/russia-s-longest-quarantine,, Summary by Olga Korelina, Translation by Eilish Hart , June 30, 2020  

Russia’s government-owned atomic energy corporation, Rosatom, has been keeping key employees from its nuclear power plants in isolation during the coronavirus pandemic, reports the investigative news outlet ProektIn particular, employees in charge of the control panel blocks and all technological aspects of these power stations have been isolated. Rosatom declared these people “critically important” workers, since the power units of these stations can’t function without them, and because replacing them is very difficult: in order to work in a nuclear control room you need to obtain a license and pass an exam. Russia has 11 nuclear power plants, which, according to Proekt’s calculationsemploy a little more than 1,000 control room operators. Presumably all of them were sent into quarantine: Rosatom announced the decision to isolate “all workers who ensure the continuity of production processes and work in nuclear facilities” in the spring.


Control panel operators were sent to a Rosatom sanatoriums — then they were banned from leaving, under threat of losing their jobs. 
The company began taking the nuclear engineers who spoke with Proekt to various sanatoriums at the beginning of April. According to the publication’s source from the Kursk Nuclear Power Plant, they were given rooms in pairs and fed “reasonably well,” but the internet at the sanatorium wasn’t working (the employees could only contact their families by phone). They were banned from going for walks more than 100 meters from the building, and were taken to work by bus. Proekt’s source from the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant said that once his colleagues left the sanatorium for a walk: they were quickly returned and threatened with dismissal. Other control room employees also said that disgruntled workers were threatened with either dismissal or penalties, such as lower salaries or potential problems with recertification.

Isolation was supposed to protect control room workers from the coronavirus, but they got sick anyway. A source from the Kursk Nuclear Power Plant told Proekt that six of his colleagues contracted the coronavirus, as well as five staff members at the sanatorium. “The percentage of patients here is higher than among the free workers at the power plant,” he said. Proekt’s source at the Leningrad Power Plant came down with the virus himself. Management asked him to leave the sanatorium quickly, despite the fact that when they were convincing him to go into isolation, they told him that this was also to prevent the spread of the infection to his family. The head of Rosatom’s communications department, Andrey Cheremisinov, stated that there are no coronavirus patients among control room staff members at the moment.

The quarantine for Rosatom employees is illegal, according to labor law expert Nikolai Zboroshenko. Upon arrival at the sanatorium, nuclear engineers signed a consent for isolation, but Zboroshenko maintains that such documents are legally void, and even with these consent forms in place, an employer has no right to restrict its personnel’s freedom. In turn, the head of Rosatom’s communications department, Andrey Cheremisinov, maintained that both the employees and their families are understanding of the situation: “Do you think that we are keeping them [in sanatoriums] in chains? They are going to these sanatoriums aware of their responsibilities.”

The nuclear engineers said that their isolation is set to continue for two to three more weeks. Some of them are heading into their third month of lockdown. When Russia began lifting restrictions at the beginning of May, some of the nuclear power plants’ managers allowed their control room employees to take turns going home. Rosatom also paid each isolated worker 30,000 rubles ($427.50). At the end of June, some of the nuclear engineers were released from the sanatoriums, but control room employees from the Leningrad, Smolensk, and Kursk nuclear power plants remained in isolation. Proekt calls this Russia’s longest quarantine. “Everyone is fed up with this ‘comfortable’ imprisonment. And most importantly, the prospect of release is nowhere in sight,” one of the employees at the Leningrad Power Plant told Proekt. 

The nuclear engineers said that their isolation is set to continue for two to three more weeks. Some of them are heading into their third month of lockdown. When Russia began lifting restrictions at the beginning of May, some of the nuclear power plants’ managers allowed their control room employees to take turns going home. Rosatom also paid each isolated worker 30,000 rubles ($427.50). At the end of June, some of the nuclear engineers were released from the sanatoriums, but control room employees from the Leningrad, Smolensk, and Kursk nuclear power plants remained in isolation. Proekt calls this Russia’s longest quarantine. “Everyone is fed up with this ‘comfortable’ imprisonment. And most importantly, the prospect of release is nowhere in sight,” one of the employees at the Leningrad Power Plant told Proekt. 

June 30, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Russia’s environmental groups protest nuclear waste imports

Russia is not a dump!

Stories of solidarity under coronavirus  http://www.foeeurope.org/covidsolidarity-russia

25 June 20    Coronavirus hasn’t affected everyone equally. We’re sharing stories from across our European and global network of what lockdown and life under coronavirus look like around the world. Hearing from those who are among the worst affected, and how they are taking action.

I’m with Russia

Russia and Germany have taken advantage of the coronavirus crisis to resume shipping radioactive waste to dump in the Urals and Siberia in northern Russia.

When Russian environmental groups discovered, in autumn 2019, that Germany was exporting radioactive waste from it’s nuclear power stations to Russia, via the harbor of Amsterdam, they directly organized protests in the three countries.

Those protests had success, and the transport by rail and sea of uranium – a waste product of nuclear fuel production by Urenco Germany – was put on hold. That was before the coronavirus crisis hit.

But in March 2020, when Covid-19 lockdowns restricted people’s right to protest in Russia even further, the shipments of radioactive waste were set to resume.

BBC news reports that twelve rail cars carrying 600 tonnes of depleted uranium left Germany bound for Russia earlier this week.

Vitaly Servetnik from Russian Social–Ecological Union/Friends of the Earth Russia said:

“This radioactive waste is being sent to the Urals and Siberia. There it will be stored in containers above ground posing a direct danger to the environment and people living in the area. Disguised as a commercial transaction between Rosatom and Urenco, Germany exports its radioactive waste problem.”

Olaf Bandt, chair of BUND / Friends of the Earth Germany said:

“The federal government stands by while part of the unresolved nuclear waste problem moves quietly and secretly to Russia. German nuclear waste should not be disposed of in other countries, putting lives of people in danger. Germany must finally complete the nuclear phase-out.”

In response, the Russian Social–Ecological Union/Friends of the Earth Russia and other environmental and human rights groups organised a digital action. Images of activists holding signs reading “No uranium tails!” and “Russia is not a dump!” flooded social media.

June 30, 2020 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

The Arctic’s climate disaster-Verkhoyansk goes from record cold to record heat

A Disastrous Summer in the Arctic, https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-a-warming-planet/a-disastrous-summer-in-the-arctic?utm_source=nl&utm_brand=tny&utm_mailing=TNY_Daily_062720&utm_campaign=aud-dev&utm_medium=email&bxid=5bea00ac3f92a404693b7a69&cndid=46508601&hasha=c25c4ad8a3e4cbc8faed20a1376eed39&hashb=637cacb29baeeb67e63d66fee2c449133fb8087a&hashc=4df42b687b9cea804c58e24a5a8eb39e5e143c4b6f747bc38a3be837d323c31f&esrc=home&utm_term=TNY_Daily

The Record, 28 June 20,The remote Siberian town of Verkhoyansk, three thousand miles east of Moscow and six miles north of the Arctic Circle, has long held the record, with another Siberian town, for the coldest inhabited place in the world. The record was set in 1892, when the temperature dropped to ninety below zero Fahrenheit, although these days winter temperatures are noticeably milder, hovering around fifty below. Last Saturday, Verkhoyansk claimed a new record: the hottest temperature ever recorded in the Arctic, with an observation of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit—the same temperature was recorded that day in Las Vegas. Miami has only hit a hundred degrees once since 1896. “This has been an unusually hot spring in Siberia,”  Randy Cerveny, the World Meteorological Organization’s rapporteur of weather and climate extremes, said. “The coinciding lack of underlying snow in the region, combined with over-all global temperature increases, undoubtedly helped play a critical role in causing this extreme.” Siberia, in other words, is in the midst of an astonishing and historic heat wave.

Anthropogenic climate change is causing the Arctic to heat up twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Climate models had predicted this phenomenon, known as Arctic amplification, but they did not predict how fast the warming would occur. Although Verkhoyansk has seen hot temperatures in the past, Saturday’s 100.4-degree record follows a wildly warm year across the region. Since December, temperatures in western Siberia have been eighteen degrees above normal. Since January, the mean temperature across Siberia has been at least 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit above the long-term average. As the meteorologist Jeff Berardelli reported for CBS, the heat that has fallen on Russia in 2020 “is so remarkable that it matches what’s projected to be normal by the year 2100, if current trends in heat-trapping carbon emissions continue.”  By April, owing to the heat, wildfires across the region were larger and more numerous than they were at the same time last year, when the Russian government eventually had to send military aircrafts to battle vast blazes. The scale of the current wildfires—with towering plumes of smoke visible for thousands of miles on satellite images—suggest that this summer could be worse. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, they will also be more complicated to fight.

Toward the end of May, as the sun stopped dropping below the horizon, the heat continued. In the town of Khatanga, far north of the Arctic Circle, the temperature hit seventy-eight degrees Fahrenheit, or forty-six degrees above normal, topping the previous record by twenty-four degrees. The heat and fires are also hastening the dissolution of Siberian permafrost, perennially frozen ground that, when thawed, unleashes more greenhouse gases and dramatically destabilizes the land, with grave consequences. On May 29th, outside Norilsk, the northernmost city in the world, the thawing ground buckled, causing an oil-storage tank to collapse and spew more than a hundred and fifty thousand barrels, or twenty-one thousand tons, of diesel fuel into the Ambarnaya River.   The spill was the largest to ever occur in the Russian Arctic.

Norilsk, which was constructed in the nineteen-thirties by prisoners of a nearby Gulag camp, Norillag, was already one of the most polluted places in the world. Most of its hundred and seventy-seven thousand residents work for Norilsk Nickel, the company that owns the collapsed oil tank. Its massive mining and metallurgy complex alone is worth two per cent of Russia’s G.D.P. The city contributes a fifth of the global nickel supply and nearly half of the world’s palladium, a metal used to make catalytic converters. Factories billow clouds of sulfur dioxide incessantly, and the resulting acid rain has turned the city and its surroundings into an industrial wasteland, with no green space or parks, just dirt and dead trees. Life expectancy in Norilsk is twenty years shorter than it is in the United States. The last time the town made the news, before the oil spill, was exactly a year ago, when an emaciated polar bear, a refugee from its melting home, was photographed rummaging through the city dump.

Norilsk Nickel’s executives have tried to skirt responsibility for the oil spill by blaming the thawing permafrost—or, as a press release stated, “a sudden sinking of the storage tank’s pillars, which served accident-free for more than thirty years.”

But the thaw did not happen unexpectedly, out of nowhere. Buildings in Norilsk have collapsed because of the sagging ground. Russian and international experts have been aware of the risks that rapidly thawing permafrost represents for more than a decade. A 2017 report from an Arctic Council working group said that “communities and infrastructure built on frozen soils are significantly affected by thawing permafrost, one of the most economically costly impacts of climate change in the Arctic.” They found that thawing permafrost could contaminate freshwater, when previously frozen industrial and municipal waste is released, and that the bearing capacity of building foundations has declined by forty to fifty per cent in some Siberian settlements since the nineteen-sixties. They also noted that “the vast Bovanenkovo gas field in western Siberia has seen a recent increase in landslides related to thawing permafrost.” The authors of a 2018 paper, published in Nature Communications, found that “45% of the hydrocarbon extraction fields in the Russian Arctic are in regions where thaw-related ground instability can cause severe damage to the built environment.” The paper continued, “Alarmingly, these figures are not reduced substantially even if the climate change targets of the Paris Agreement are reached.”

In early June, President Vladimir Putin declared a national emergency, and scolded local authorities for their slow response to the spill. The Kremlin allegedly found out about the spill two days after the fact, from pictures of a crimson river posted on social media. Although the Russian prosecutor general’s office agreed, in a preliminary finding, that the thawing permafrost was a contributing factor to the spill, investigators also said that the fuel-storage tank had needed repairs since 2018. They arrested four employees of the power plant on charges of violating environmental regulations. Norilsk Nickel denied the accusations but said that the company is coöperating with law-enforcement agencies and has launched “a full and thorough investigation.” “We fully accept our responsibility for the event,” the company said in a statement provided to the Guardian. Vladimir Potanin, the president of Norilsk Nickel and the richest man in Russia, said that the company will pay for the full cost of the disaster, which he estimated at ten billion rubles, or a hundred and forty-six million dollars. (A Russian environmental watchdog, Rosprirodnadzor, put the cost at around one and a half billion dollars.) Putin, meanwhile, publicly lambasted Potanin for the disaster, emphasizing that it was his company’s negligence that led to the spill. “If you replaced them in time,” Putin said, in a video call in early June, referring to the aging oil-storage tank, “there wouldn’t have been the damage to the environment and your company wouldn’t have to carry such costs.”

The company’s initial response efforts—floating booms to contain the spill—largely failed. By June 9th, the oil had entered the forty-three-mile-long Lake Pyasino, which borders a nature preserve and flows into the Pyasino River. “Once it enters that river system, it can’t be stopped,” Rob Huebert, an Arctic expert at the University of Calgary, said. “The oil could then make its way to the Arctic Ocean.” On June 11th, Russia’s investigative committee charged Norilsk’s mayor with criminal negligence, for his botched response to the disaster. Last Friday, in another video call, Putin’s emergencies minister reported that response teams had collected 3.6 million cubic feet of polluted soil and 1.1 million cubic feet of contaminated water. The company will construct a pipeline to pump the contaminated muck to unspecified disposal sites. But the region will remain toxic. Diesel oil seeps into river banks. Even if the oil is contained to the lake, the contamination can never be fully removed. Some of it will make its way through the food chain. Wildlife—fish, birds, reindeer—could suffer for decades. “You can’t ever really clean a spill up,” Huebert said. Putin, in the call, emphasized that work must continue until the damage is remedied. “Obviously, the disaster has brought dire consequences for the environment and severely impacted biodiversity in water bodies,” he said. “It will take a lot of time to reclaim and restore the environment.”

Putin, however, is not known for his environmentalism. His anger and concern about the Norilsk oil spill might have more to do with how much it exposed his government, making visible the overwhelming economic and environmental risks facing oil, gas, and mineral development in Siberia if temperatures there continue to rise. “The Russians’ continued development of oil and gas in the central Arctic region is their economic future,” Huebert said. “The Russians’ interest in all this is to keep the oil flowing, whatever it takes.” But sixty per cent of Russia is permafrost. Although much of the newest oil and gas infrastructure in the Far North has been engineered with climate change in mind, temperatures are currently on track to far exceed projections. Perhaps that is why the Kremlin did, finally, officially ratify the Paris accord last October. And yet the Kremlin continues to incentivize increased oil and gas development in eastern Siberia and the Arctic, which will lead to more greenhouse-gas emissions, which will continue speeding up the permafrost thaw.

June 30, 2020 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, Reference | Leave a comment

It’s time to get emotional about climate change

Rebecca Huntley on why it’s time to get emotional about climate change, SMH, By Caitlin Fitzsimmons, June 28, 2020 —Rebecca Huntley had to submit her manuscript for her new book on climate change just as the country was entering lockdown for coronavirus.

The book, How to Talk about Climate Change in a Way that Makes a Difference, to be published this Thursday July 2, is based on social science rather than science. What scientists know about climate change is the jumping off point for Huntley’s exploration of the psychology behind activism, disengagement and denial.

“I nearly called it How to Talk about Climate Change with Your Drunk Uncle,” says Huntley, a social researcher and author. “It’s a bit derogatory but it’s about the idea that everybody who is concerned about climate change has somebody in their life who wants to pick a fight with them about it. Do we fight them or not?”

If the book is about the human factor in the climate change equation and society has just been through major disruption in the form of the pandemic and lockdown, it begs the question whether anything has changed since April, when she submitted her final edits.

The short answer is yes. Huntley says the way the pandemic has played out, at least in Australia, has given her unexpected hope.

She knew greenhouse emissions would go down if people stayed at home, industry was closed and flights were grounded and she knew there would be stories, some of them apocryphal, about wildlife reclaiming human spaces.

stories about low emissions and environmental rejuvenation would mean that people associated climate action with personal deprivation, that we’ve all got to be locked in our homes, losing our jobs, not being able to hug our aunt and uncle and not being able to go on holidays … or out to dinner and the movies,” Huntley says. “I thought if people thought that was the sacrifice we have to make in order to do something about climate change, it would be hugely detrimental.”

The book’s thesis is that the climate change argument won’t be won by reason alone: it’s time to get emotional. Huntley writes about her own emotional transformation from a citizen who believed in the science of climate change and tried to act accordingly to a citizen who believed in the science of climate change and organised her entire personal and professional life accordingly. Her belief in the scientific consensus did not shift, her world-view did……. https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/rebecca-huntley-on-why-it-s-time-to-get-emotional-about-climate-change-20200625-p5561z.html

June 30, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, psychology - mental health | Leave a comment

Is South Korea’s nuclear industry a model for others to follow?

Jim Green, Nuclear Monitor #844, 25 May 2017, https://www.wiseinternational.org/nuclear-monitor/844/south-koreas-nuclear-industry-model-others-follow

As the nuclear power crisis has unfolded in recent months ‒ engulfing major nuclear companies and utilities in the US, Japan and France ‒ South Korea’s nuclear industry has been held up as a model for others to follow. US nuclear lobbyist Michael Shellenberger, for example, explains ‘why Korea won’: “Korea is winning the global competition to build new nuclear plants against China and Russia despite being a fraction of the size, at just 50 million people, and energy-poor. It has done so through focus: standard design, standard construction of plants, standard operation and standard regulation.”1

But South Korea’s nuclear industry is scandal-plagued, it hasn’t won any bids to build reactors overseas since 2009, and it is more than a stretch to describe it as “world class” as nuclear advocate Rod Adams would have you believe.2 Public and political support has been in freefall over the past five years because of the Fukushima disaster and a domestic nuclear corruption scandal (see the following article in this issue of the Nuclear Monitor). In the coming years, nuclear power’s contribution to domestic electricity supply is likely to decline and there is little likelihood that an export industry will flourish. Moreover, with public support for the nuclear industry in freefall, the government has little hope of achieving its aim of securing a site for a high-level nuclear waste repository by 2028.

Korea Times noted on April 21 that every major candidate in South Korea’s presidential election promised to stop building new nuclear reactors and to close down older ones.3 The winner of the May 9 presidential election, Moon Jae-in, who stood as the candidate of the Democratic Party of Korea, is a former human rights lawyer. World Nuclear News reported that Moon was one of seven presidential candidates who signed an agreement in March for a “common policy” to phase out nuclear power.4 During the election campaign, Moon said he would scrap plans for new reactors ‒ including Shin Kori units 5 and 6 ‒ while immediately closing the Wolsong-1 reactor.4 (In February 2017, the Seoul Administrative Court ordered the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission to cancel its decision to extend the lifespan of Wolsong-1 because legal procedures had not been followed in the decision-making process.) Moon also said he would block lifespan extensions for the older reactors at the Kori plant5 ‒ the four Kori reactors were grid-connected between 1977 and 1985. Continue reading

June 30, 2020 Posted by | Reference, safety, secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Korea | Leave a comment

South Pole warming at triple the global average

‘Nowhere to hide’: South Pole warms up with climate change a factor, https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/nowhere-to-hide-south-pole-warms-up-with-climate-change-a-factor-20200629-p55797.html, by Peter Hannam, June 30, 2020  The South Pole, the most remote part of the planet, has been warming at triple the global average, as natural variability joins with climate change to produce an abrupt shift in temperature trends.The findings, published Tuesday in the Nature Climate Change journal, show surface temperatures at the South Pole were stable in the first couple of decades of instrument records into the 1980s.

A record-breaking cold for a spell then made way for even warmer temperature anomalies from the early 2000s. For the 1989-2018 period, the mercury rose an average of 0.6 degrees per decade, or three times the global warming rate, the researchers found.

The report on the flipping of temperature trends at the most southerly point comes as abnormal warmth continues to bake the planet’s other polar extreme. The Russian town of Verkhoyansk last week reported 38 degrees, the warmest reading ever recorded within the Arctic Circle.

For Antarctica, the recent accelerated warming is estimated to be about two-thirds the result of natural variability with the role of rising greenhouse gases contributing about one-third, said Kyle Clem, a post-doctoral research fellow at New Zealand’s Victoria University.

The rapid warming “lies within the upper bounds of natural variability”, Dr Clem said. “It’s extremely rare and it appears very likely that humans played a role.”

The research shows “there’s no place on earth that’s immune to global warming”, he said. “There’s nowhere to hide – not even up on the Antarctic Plateau.”

Sitting at 2835 metres above sea level – or 600 metres higher than Mt Kosciuszko – on a rocky continent, the South Pole is exposed to different weather processes than its polar opposite. By contrast, the North Pole rests on shifting sea ice with the seabed more than four kilometres below.

Dr Clem, along with other researchers from the US and the UK, found changing circulation patterns in the Pacific and Southern Ocean determine which parts of Antarctica warm or cool.

For instance, the western tropical Pacific has periods when is warmer or cooler than usual.

The warmer period – known as the negative phase of the so-called Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation – set in about 2000. During this phase, there is more storm activity in the tropics which in turn spawns more high- and low-pressure systems that send heat far into the high latitudes.

The circumpolar westerly winds, which have been strengthening and contracting polewards under climate change – also play a role in amplifying the transfer of warmth into Antarctica.

When those two patterns align, as they have in recent decades, the South Pole warms but some parts, such as western Antarctica warm at a slow pace or even cool, as the frigid air shifts around.

Michael Mann, Director of the Earth System Science Centre at the University of Pennsylvania, said the study provided “a very detailed and useful analysis” of the forces at play in the far south.

If anything, though, the researchers’ use of model simulations to reach conclusions about regional trends probably understates the role of human-caused climate change.

“In short, what the authors attribute to natural internal cycles might just be a shift in atmospheric circulation that is actually due to human-caused climate change but isn’t accurately captured in the average over models,” Professor Mann said, in an email that included those italics.

The recent polar extremes – including eastern Siberian temperatures above 40 degrees – were important because “what happens in the poles doesn’t stay in the poles”, the prominent climate scientist said.

Changes at the South Pole itself were not as critical as the warming of the Southern Ocean, which is leading to the collapse of the West Antarctic ice shelves and the destabilisation of the interior ice sheet.

“This was not well predicted by climate models, meaning we are further along when it comes to the destabilisation of ice sheets and the commitment to rising sea levels than we expected to be at this point,” Professor Mann said.

June 30, 2020 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change, Reference | Leave a comment

France’s EDF in a financial pickle over huge costs of UK’s Hinkley C nuclear project

Dave Toke’s Blog 27th June 2020, The chickens are coming home to roost for EDF for their questionable decision to go ahead with building Hinkley C -a decision they took despite the lack of certainty over whether they would get enough backing from the British Government.

Originally EDF was publicised as being offered UK Treasury loan guarantees that had been widely touted as a vital basis for building Hinkley C. But now the French Financial Markets Regulator has
sanctioned EDF for not flagging up how conditional such loan guarantees were. These loan guarantees have never materialised.

Essentially, EDF is now continuing to build Hinkley C using money borrowed on its own balance
sheets – borrowings which are much more costly than UK Government backed guarantees and which reduce its own (EDF) profitability.

The Finance Officer of EDF actually resigned at the time EDF decided to go ahead with building Hinkley C. Of course all this is happening at the same time when we are being asked to believe that the next EPR (at Sizewell C) is going to be delivered at low cost to the consumer if the risk of building the plant is transferred from EDF to the British taxpayer and consumer!

This is the so-called RAB mechanism, something that could well just turn out to be an
almost unlimited cash facility for EDF to park their financial black hole in the centre of British finances (as well as those of the French).

https://realfeed-intariffs.blogspot.com/2020/06/edf-sanctioned-by-french-regulators-for.html

June 30, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

 SOUTH KOREA’S CORRUPT AND DANGEROUS NUCLEAR INDUSTRY

“During the eighteen months from the beginning of 2012 to mid- 2013, major corruption incidents occurred in the nuclear power industry in every country currently seeking to export nuclear reactors: the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Russia, France, and China….. “In the Korean case, systemic nuclear industry corruption was found

Supplementary Submission to the Victorian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Environment and Planning
Inquiry into Nuclear Prohibition Friends of the Earth Australia www.nuclear.foe.org.au
 June 2020  – Extract 

 SOUTH KOREA’S CORRUPT AND DANGEROUS NUCLEAR INDUSTRY

South Korea’s reactor project in the UAE is years behind schedule: the start-up of the first reactor has not yet occurred despite initially being scheduled for 2017. The project has been promoted as a US$20 billion (A$29 billion) contract but costs have undoubtedly increased. The World Nuclear Industry Status Report gives a figure of €24.4 billion (A$40 billion).[1]

[1] https://www.worldnuclearreport.org/The-World-Nuclear-Industry-Status-Report-2017-HTML.html

[2] KBS, 8 May 2020, ‘S. Korea Unveils Energy Plan to Reduce Coal-powered, Nuclear Power Plants’, http://world.kbs.co.kr/service/news_view.htm

The following articles discuss:

  1. The endemic corruption in South Korea’s nuclear industry.
  2. The business model which sacrifices safety in order to improve economics (the CEO of French nuclear utility Areva likened Korea’s AP1400 reactor design to ‘a car without airbags and safety belts.'[1])
  3. The level of state-sponsored skullduggery associated with South Korea’s nuclear industry is almost beyond belief, even extending to a secret military side-agreement to the UAE reactor contract which was agreed without the knowledge or agreement of South Korea’s parliament

Nuclear corruption and the partial reform of South Korea’s nuclear mafia

Jim Green, Nuclear Monitor #887, 17 June 2020, https://wiseinternational.org/nuclear-monitor/887/nuclear-monitor-887-17-june-2020

The corrupt behavior of Japan’s ‘nuclear village’ ‒ and the very existence of the nuclear village ‒ were root causes of the March 2011 Fukushima disaster and a string of earlier accidents.1 In the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, academic Richard Tanter identified a worldwide pattern of nuclear corruption:2

“During the eighteen months from the beginning of 2012 to mid- 2013, major corruption incidents occurred in the nuclear power industry in every country currently seeking to export nuclear reactors: the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Russia, France, and China. A number of other countries that operate or plan to have nuclear power plants also had major corruption cases, including Lithuania, Bulgaria, and Pakistan; moreover, serious allegations of corruption were raised in Egypt, India, Jordan, Nigeria, Slovakia, South Africa, and Taiwan.

 “In the Korean case, systemic nuclear industry corruption was found; in Canada, deep corporate corruption within the largest nuclear engineering corporation was one matter, and bribery of nuclear technology consuming countries’ senior ministers was another. In Russia, the issue was persistent, deep seated, and widespread corruption in state-owned and private nuclear industry companies, with profound implications for the safety of Russian nuclear industry exports.

South Korea is slowly phasing out its nuclear power industry. In the late 2000s, it was anticipated that South Korea’s nuclear capacity would rise from 18 gigawatts (GW) to 43 GW by 2030. The current plan is to reduce the number of reactors from a peak of 26 in 2024 to 17 reactors (approx. 17 GW) in 2034.[2] Thus the ambitions have been more than halved. In recent years the South Korean government has shut down the Kori-1 and Wolsong-1 reactors, and suspended or cancelled plans for six further reactors.

“Two cases in nuclear technology importing countries, Lithuania and Bulgaria, revealed large-scale bribery involving government, the nuclear industry, and foreign (US and Russian) companies.

 “Post-Soviet bloc geostrategic energy interests are central to both stories. The profound influence of organized crime in national energy policy, and on a transnational basis, is revealed in the Bulgarian and Russian cases. Suspicions are widespread and allegations common in the cases of India, Taiwan, and Bangladesh, but confirmed evidence remains weak.”

Since Tanter’s 2013 article, more information has surfaced regarding corruption in Russia’s nuclear industry3-4 and Russia’s nuclear dealings with India.5-7 The corruption associated with the abandoned Westinghouse nuclear power project in South Carolina is gradually coming to light.8 Corruption has been uncovered in the nuclear programs of South Africa9-15, Brazil16, Ukraine17 and, no doubt, elsewhere.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) noted in its 2015 Nuclear Technology Review that counterfeit, fraudulent and suspect items (CFSIs) “are becoming an increasing concern for operating organizations and regulators”18 And again in 2019, an IAEA report noted that CFSIs “are of increasing concern in the nuclear industry and generally throughout the industrial and commercial supply chains.”19 The 2019 report noted that CFSIs “can pose immediate and potential threats to worker safety, facility performance, the public and the environment, and they can negatively impact facility costs.”

 “Post-Soviet bloc geostrategic energy interests are central to both stories. The profound influence of organized crime in national energy policy, and on a transnational basis, is revealed in the Bulgarian and Russian cases. Suspicions are widespread and allegations common in the cases of India, Taiwan, and Bangladesh, but confirmed evidence remains weak.”

“The sequence of events that led to the station blackout began on 4 February 2012 when the management carried out a planned shutdown of the reactor for refuelling. On 9 February, the plant suffered a loss of power due to human error during a test of the main generator. After this, one of the two emergency diesel generators failed to start. The other generator was undergoing maintenance. In addition, the connection to one of the offsite auxiliary transformers failed to work as it had not been properly set up after maintenance; and the other offsite transformer was just entering maintenance. This caused a station blackout lasting 11 minutes 43 seconds. Cooling was lost for 11 minutes. The plant manager only reported the event to the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission on 12 March, more than one month later. … The plant manager justified the decision not to report the blackout on the risk of loss of public confidence and of credibility of the plant with the management of the operating company.”

Not long after, a much broader pattern of corruption began to come to light:

“Investigations of 101 companies revealed a wide range of illegal activities including bribery, overpaying, preferential treatment and favouritism, limiting competition in bidding, accepting parts with fraudulent or even no certificate, and collusion by parties in the falsification of testing reports.”

An investigation by the Korea Institute for Nuclear Safety showed that 2,114 test reports had been falsified by material suppliers and equipment manufacturers; that a further 62 equipment qualification documents (environmental and seismic qualification) were falsified between 1996 and 2012; and that a further 3,408 test reports and 53 qualification reports could not be verified or were unclear.22,23 Over 7,000 reactor parts were replaced in the aftermath of the scandal.23

Andrews-Speed details the corruption that probably had the greatest consequences for reactor safety:22

[1] Nucleonics Week (2010) : No core catcher, double containment for UAE reactors, South Koreans say, April 22, 2010.

“A very special case of systematic counterfeiting came to light in May 2013 when it was revealed that safety-grade control cable installed in four reactors had been falsely certified. The supplier of the cable was a Korean company, JS Cable. In 2004, KHNP decided for the first time to purchase cable from a domestic rather than foreign supplier. JS Cable submitted a bid to KEPCO E&C, despite not having the capability to make cable to the required specifications. KHNP awarded the contract to JS Cable with the first delivery due in 2017, on the condition that the cable met the required standards.

An investigation by the Korea Institute for Nuclear Safety showed that 2,114 test reports had been falsified by material suppliers and equipment manufacturers; that a further 62 equipment qualification documents (environmental and seismic qualification) were falsified between 1996 and 2012; and that a further 3,408 test reports and 53 qualification reports could not be verified or were unclear.22,23 Over 7,000 reactor parts were replaced in the aftermath of the scandal.23

“JS Cable chose Saehan TEP to test the cable, but this firm lacked the capacity to undertake the required loss of coolant testing. So Saehan TEP outsourced the process to the Canadian testing firm, RCM Technologies (RCMT). RCMT tested six samples, but only one passed. JS Cable sent six further samples. Only two passed, but these two samples were illegitimate as they had not been exposed to radiation before testing. In response, KHNP instructed KEPCO E&C to make the test results acceptable. So KEPCO E&C, Saehan TEP and JS cable agreed together to modify the test reports from RCMT to show that all the samples met the required standards.”

The corruption also affected South Korea’s reactor construction project in the UAE. Hyundai Heavy Industries employees offered bribes to KHNP officials in charge of the supply of parts for reactors to be exported to the UAE.24 And ‒ incredibly ‒ the reactor contract was underpinned by a secret military side-agreement, signed without the knowledge or approval of South Korea’s National Assembly, and containing a clause that does not require approval from the National Assembly to engage in conflict, should there be a request for military assistance from the UAE.25-28 The pact includes a clause that would obligate South Korea to intervene militarily to protect the UAE in the event of a crisis, in addition to the deployment of South Korean special forces and the ongoing supply of military equipment.25

Structural problems

Andrews-Speed describes the interlinking elements of South Korea’s ‘nuclear mafia’ involving nuclear power companies, research centers, regulators, government, and educational institutions. He notes that the country’s nuclear industry possesses some special features that make it particularly prone to corruption, relating to the structure and governance of the industry, and its close links with the government.

Both KHNP and KEPCO E&C are monopolists in their fields, and both suffer from poor corporate governance and weak internal management:22

“The poor corporate governance has its roots in the way in which the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy is directly involved in the management of KEPCO and its subsidiaries and in the political nature of appointments of many board members and senior managers. The weak internal management was particularly pertinent to safety because, before it was amended in 2014, the Act on Nuclear Safety and Security did not address the safety standards of parts and equipment. Thus, the selling of sub-standard components was not illegal and the task of supply chain oversight was left to KHNP to manage.”

Improvements and lingering problems

Andrews-Speed notes that the Kori-1 blackout and the systemic supply-chain corruption led to efforts to curb corruption. These included revisions to the Nuclear Safety Act giving greater powers to the newly created Nuclear Safety and Security Commission; placing new reporting obligations on all actors in the nuclear supply chain; and broader legislation and regulations governing public procurement, the conduct of public officials and corruption.

But it is doubtful whether these reforms are sufficient:22

“The principal obstacles to progress relate to power and structure. The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission lacks the authority of nuclear regulators in some other countries for a number of reasons

First, after 2013 the status of the Commission Chair was reduced from Ministerial to Vice-Ministerial level and their reporting line was changed from the President to the Prime Minister. The reason for this change of status related more to the career mobility of civil servants than to the governance of nuclear safety. Nevertheless, the consequences for the authority of the Commission have been significant. It cannot now issue any regulations without the approval of the Ministry of Justice and other Ministries. This results in delay and occasional suppression of new regulations. In addition, it has been alleged that the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission redacts and sanitizes the safety reports of the Korea Institute Nuclear Safety. The consequences of this practice on safety are exacerbated by the ability of ministries, politicians and KEPCO subsidiaries to block the tough enforcement of safety standards.

“Second, the National Assembly provides little oversight of the Commission. Instead, authority lies solely with the government. Finally, the term of the Commission Chair is just three years which is shorter than that of the nation’s president which is five years. This contrasts with the situation in the USA, for example, where the Chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is appointed for a five-year term, one year longer than that of the US President. As a result, Korean Presidents have significant influence over the nuclear regulator given their remit to appoint all nine members of the Commission. Taken together, these three factors enhance the power of the executive over the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission.

“The structural weaknesses within Korea’s nuclear industry are multiple. The Ministries of Finance and Strategy and of Trade, Industry and Energy exert excessive influence over state-owned enterprises, including KHNP and KEPCO E&C. These two corporations not only have strong monopolistic positions but KHNP combines the roles of constructor, owner and operator of nuclear power plants. In addition, KHNP exerts undue influence over KEPCO E&C. This strong triangular relationship between government and two monopolists persists today and forms the core of Korea’s ‘nuclear mafia’. Only radical structural and governance reform can address this fundamental weakness.

 “Further compounding factors include: the corporate culture of KEPCO and its subsidiaries that emphasizes the need for conformity; the weak culture of accountability that arises in part from the absence of a strong law providing for punitive damages; and the general standard of personal and corporate ethics in Korea.”

One indication of ongoing problems ‒ and efforts to resolve them ‒ was the awarding of ‘prize money’ to 14 whistleblowers in 2019 for reporting violations of nuclear or radiation safety laws to the Nuclear Safety and Security Committee.29

There were another six arrests related to nuclear corruption in 2018 ‒ an outcome that only scratched the surface of the problems according to a whistleblower.30

A recent example of violations of safety regulations occurred at the Hanbit-1 reactor on 10 May 2019. The reactor’s thermal output exceeded safety limits but was kept running for nearly 12 hours when it should have been shut down manually at once.31 In addition, the control rods were operated by a person who does not hold a Reactor Operator’s license.32

References: Continue reading

June 30, 2020 Posted by | Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Korea | Leave a comment

Misinformation about Energy Economics, from nuclear companies and their propagandists

It is generally accepted in the energy industry that the cost of new nuclear is several times that of wind and solar, even when the latter are backed up by storage.

The nuclear lobby, however, has been insisting to the parliamentary inquiry that wind and solar are four to seven times the cost of nuclear, and to try and prove the point the lobby has been making such extraordinary and outrageous claims that it makes you wonder if anything else they say about nuclear – its costs and safety – can be taken seriously.

Supplementary Submission to the Victorian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Environment and Planning
Inquiry into Nuclear Prohibition Friends of the Earth Australia www.nuclear.foe.org.au
 June 2020  – Extract 

“……..MISINFORMATION REGARDING ENERGY ECONOMICS BY NUCLEAR COMPANIES AND ENTHUSIASTS

 Highly questionable economic claims made by nuclear companies and enthusiasts are addressed in:

  • submission #40 by Friends of the Earth Australia to the NSW nuclear inquiry[1]
  • submission #64 to the NSW nuclear inquiry (see esp. sections 3.5 and 3.6)[2]

 An important article by Giles Parkinson ‒ an energy expert and former business and deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review ‒ is particularly helpful in this regard.  An excerpt is reproduced below but we encourage members of the Committee to read the full, referenced article. The article is focused on submissions to the federal nuclear inquiry[3] but many of the same claims have been presented to the NSW and Victorian inquiries.

Why the nuclear lobby makes stuff up about the cost of wind and solar

[1] https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/lcdocs/submissions/66217/0040%20Friends%20of%20the%20Earth.pdf

[2] https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/lcdocs/submissions/66348/0064%20Australian%20Conservation%20Foundation,%20Nature%20Conservation%20Council%20and%20%20Friends%20of%20the%20Earth%20Australia.pdf

[3] https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House/Environment_and_Energy/Nuclearenergy

Giles Parkinson, 23 Oct 2019, ‘Why the nuclear lobby makes stuff up about the cost of wind and solar’, https://reneweconomy.com.au/why-the-nuclear-lobby-makes-stuff-up-about-cost-of-wind-and-solar-46538/

Giles Parkinson, 23 Oct 2019, 

 It is generally accepted in the energy industry that the cost of new nuclear is several times that of wind and solar, even when the latter are backed up by storage. The GenCost 2018 report from the CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) puts the cost of nuclear at two to three times the cost of “firmed renewables”.

 The nuclear lobby, however, has been insisting to the parliamentary inquiry that wind and solar are four to seven times the cost of nuclear, and to try and prove the point the lobby has been making such extraordinary and outrageous claims that it makes you wonder if anything else they say about nuclear – its costs and safety – can be taken seriously.

 RenewEconomy has been going through the 290-something submissions and reading the public hearing transcripts, and has been struck by one consistent theme from the pro-nuclear organisations and ginger groups: When it comes to wind, solar and batteries, they just make stuff up.

 A typical example is the company SMR Nuclear Technology – backed by the coal baron Trevor St Baker – which borrows some highly questionable analysis to justify its claim that going 100 per cent renewables would cost “four times” that of replacing coal with nuclear.

It bases this on modelling by a consultancy called EPC, based on the south coast of NSW, apparently a husband and wife team, Robert and Linda Barr, who are also co-authors of “The essential veterinarian’s phone book”, a guide to vets on how to set up telephone systems. of wind at A$157/MWh (before transmission costs), which is about three times the current cost in Australia, and A$117/MWh for solar, which is more than double.

 The costs of wind and solar are not hard to verify. They are included in the GenCost report, in numerous pieces of analysis, and even in public announcements from companies involved, both buyers and sellers. St Baker could have helped out, as his company has signed two big solar contracts (for the Darlington and Vales Point solar farms) and we can bet he won’t be paying A$117/MWh.

 Apart from costs, the EPC scenarios for 100 per cent renewables are also, at best, imaginative. For some reason they think there will only be 10GW of solar in a 100% renewables grid and just 100MW of battery storage. Big hint: There is already 12GW of solar in the system and about 300MW of battery storage. But we discovered that assuming wind and solar do not or won’t exist, and completely ignoring distributed energy, are common themes of the nuclear playbook.

 The delivered cost of energy from wind and solar in the EPC modelling of a 100 per cent renewables grid? A hilariously outrageous sum of A$477/MWh (US$330/MWh).

Contrast this with SMR Nuclear Technology’s claims about the cost of a modern small modular reactor – US$65/MWh – even though it admits the technology “has not been constructed”, and which leading nuclear expert Ziggy Switkowski points out won’t likely be seen for at least another decade. …

Why the nuclear lobby makes stuff up about the cost of wind and solar

[1] https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/lcdocs/submissions/66217/0040%20Friends%20of%20the%20Earth.pdf

[2] https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/lcdocs/submissions/66348/0064%20Australian%20Conservation%20Foundation,%20Nature%20Conservation%20Council%20and%20%20Friends%20of%20the%20Earth%20Australia.pdf

[3] https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House/Environment_and_Energy/Nuclearenergy

Giles Parkinson, 23 Oct 2019, ‘Why the nuclear lobby makes stuff up about the cost of wind and solar’, https://reneweconomy.com.au/why-the-nuclear-lobby-makes-stuff-up-about-cost-of-wind-and-solar-46538/

Why the nuclear lobby makes stuff up about the cost of wind and solar

[1] https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/lcdocs/submissions/66217/0040%20Friends%20of%20the%20Earth.pdf

[2] https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/lcdocs/submissions/66348/0064%20Australian%20Conservation%20Foundation,%20Nature%20Conservation%20Council%20and%20%20Friends%20of%20the%20Earth%20Australia.pdf

[3] https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House/Environment_and_Energy/Nuclearenergy

 Moltex, which says it is “developing” some sort of fission technology (it says it has a design but hasn’t actually built anything) uses the same trick as EPC to paint a daunting picture of renewable and storage costs, in this case by multiplying the cost of batteries by the total amount of electricity consumed in a single day. “Australia consumes 627 Gigawatt hours of electricity per day, and so the battery storage required to cover just one 24 hour period would cost A$138 billion,” it proclaims. It is such an incredibly stupid and misleading claim that it simply takes the breath away. …

 But that’s what the nuclear industry feels it needs to do to make its yet-to-be invented technology sound feasible and competitive.

Let’s go to StarCore, a Canadian company that says it, too, wants to manufacture small modular reactors, and claims renewables are “seven times” the cost of nuclear, and which also has a fascination with the Nyngan solar farm. It uses the cost of Nyngan to make the bizarre claim that to build 405 of them would cost A$68 billion, and then compares this to what it claimed to be the “zero upfront capital costs” of one of StarCore’s plants.

 Say what? Does the nuclear plant appear just like that? Solar and wind farms also usually have long-term power purchase agreements, but they still have to be built and someone has to provide the capital to do so. Nuclear with a zero capital cost? Really, you couldn’t make this stuff up.

 Down Under Nuclear Energy, headed by a former oil and gas guy and a former professor at the University of Western Australia who specialises in mathematical social science and economics, also bases its solar costs on the Nyngan solar farm and makes this bizarre claim about battery storage: “The precipitous decline in solar technology is highly unlikely to be replicated in batteries, a technology already approaching 150 yrs of maturity,” it says.

Hey, here’s some breaking news. Costs of battery storage have already mirrored solar’s fall, down 80 per cent in last decade and utilities like Transgrid predict another 60 per cent fall over next 10-15 years.

 And most large-scale storage batteries use lithium, an abundant resource, and this is battery technology that was actually invented just over 40 years ago by the winners of this year’s Nobel Prize for Chemistry. As the Nobel citation says: “(Co-winner Stanley) Wittingham developed the first fully functional lithium battery in the 1970s.” Not 1870.

 Women in Nuclear and the Australian Workers Union both quote the Industry Super report on nuclear, which we debunked a while back, which puts the cost estimates of wind and solar plants at 10 times their actual cost.

The “capital cost” of the Dundonnel wind farm in Victoria, for instance, is put at A$4.2 billion (try A$400 million) according to their bizarre calculations, while the Darlington solar farm is put at $5.8 billion (try A$350 million). It’s pure garbage and the fact that it is being quoted really does beggar belief. …

 But all the nuclear submissions have one common trait. They assume that the deployment of renewables is stopped in its tracks, either now or sometime soon. It’s more wish than analysis, but in that they will have found a willing fellow traveller in federal energy minister, Angus Taylor “there is already too much wind and solar on the grid” Taylor, who thought it a good idea to have the inquiry.

 But the reality is that the rest of the energy industry wants to move on. They know that the grid can be largely decarbonised within the next two decades from a combination of renewables and storage. That’s a simple truth that the nuclear lobby cannot accept, and they’ve passed up the opportunity to have an open and honest debate by promoting utter garbage about renewables, to the point where it would be difficult to believe much of anything else they say.

June 30, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Groups in 5 other States challenge Holtec’s plan to transport nuclear waste to New Mexico

Holtec project challenged by out-of-state groups alleging dangers in transporting nuclear wastes   https://www.abqjournal.com/1470900/holtec-project-challenged-by-out-of-state-groups-alleging-dangers-in-transporting-nuclear-w.html     BY ADRIAN HEDDEN / CARLSBAD CURRENT-ARGUS, N.M. (TNS), Monday, June 29th, 2020
A group of organizations from around the country filed an appeal in federal court calling for a review of federal regulators’ denial of multiple contentions made against a temporary nuclear waste storage facility proposed to be built near Carlsbad and Hobbs.
The appeal was filed on Monday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit against a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) order in April that denied the standing and relevance of contentions against the facility’s license application submitted to the NRC by Holtec International.
Holtec proposed building and operating a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) to hold high-level spent nuclear fuel rods at the surface in a remote location near the Eddy-Lea county line on a temporary basis while a permanent repository was developed.
In total, the proposed facility could hold up to 173,00 metric tons of waste.
A permanent repository does not exist nor is one in development as a proposal for such a facility in Yucca Mountain, Nevada was de-funded in 2011 under the administration of former-President Barrack Obama.
Opponents of the Holtec facility warned that the repository could become permanent and posed a risk to public safety not only near the site but along the rail transport routes that would bring the waste to New Mexico from generator sites throughout the nation.
The shipments, up to 10,000 carrying the waste, could travel through up to 45 states before being placed into storage at Holtec, records show.
Supporters, mostly in the local communities closest to the proposed site, touted the economic benefits Holtec could bring to the area in diversifying its economy away from its sole reliance on the oil and gas industry.
Led by non-profit Don’t Waste Michigan, the coalition of groups appealing the NRC’s order spanned seven states including New Mexico which was represented by the Nuclear Issues Studies Group based in Albuquerque.
The group appealed seven contentions previously made in federal court but denied by the NRC including an alleged lack of consideration for historic and cultural properties near the proposed site, an insufficient assurance of financing by Holtec for the project including bonding in case of an emergency and the application’s “underestimation” of the volume of waste that would be stored.
It also called for the NRC to hold at least 24 meetings on the project in states across the country that could be impacted by the project.
Other contentions accused the NRC of an inadequate review of the transportation routes, a lack of a “significant risk assessment” as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and charged that the proposal does not include adequate safety oversight during development and operations of the CISF.
Molly Johnson, board member of San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace of California said the proposal would send nuclear waste unfairly to a low-income and minority community.
She advocated for storing the waste at or nearby generator sites until a permanent repository was made available.
“The proposal to transport high-level radioactive waste to a poor community of color in southeast New Mexico as a ‘temporary’ storage solution is dangerous and irrational,” Johnson said. “San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace advocates for storing waste at or as close as possible to the site of generation until a science-based permanent solution can be determined.”
Barbara Warren, executive director of Citizens’ Environmental Coalition of New York said the NRC had not adequately studied the safety issues she alleged would arise during the waste’s transportation.
“Multiple New York activists share serious concerns with our friends in New Mexico about the deficient environmental review for the long-term storage of nuclear waste that will be hazardous for millions of years,” Warren said. “NRC has not required controls adequate to handle both short-term and long-term hazards for this dangerously radioactive irradiated nuclear fuel.”
New Mexico activists also voiced their concerns as Leona Morgan with the Nuclear Issues Study Group said the proposal could lead to her state unduly taking on the burden of the nation’s nuclear waste.
She said the issue was of national concern beyond the opinions of local government in the proposed area of the site.
“The proposal to make New Mexico a national sacrifice zone includes tens of thousands of rail shipments of irradiated nuclear fuel and may be one of the most dramatic long-term transport efforts in the history of the United States,” Morgan said.
“We’re joining six other organizations in a total of five states to challenge the federal government demanding that the 200 million people living within 50 miles of rail corridors have a say in this decision to allow deadly radioactive waste to come through their communities.”
John Heaton, chairman of the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance, a consortium including the local governments of the cities of Carlsbad and Hobbs and Eddy and Lea counties that worked on developing the project and supporting the licensing project, pointed the NRC’s recent environmental impact statement (EIS) that found the project would have minimal environmental impact.
“They didn’t see any rational reason to not go forward and license the project,” he said. “If there is something significant, we’d like to hear it.”
He said the project was safe and could help protect southeast New Mexico from the economic volatility created by its reliance on extraction.
“We’ve always seen the ups and downs in the oil and gas industry,” Heaton said. “That is one of the main reasons we were looking at a safe nuclear project. This is about as benign a project as you could think of.”
Adrian Hedden can be reached at 575-628-5516, achedden@currentargus.com or @AdrianHedden on Twitter.

June 30, 2020 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, safety, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Hitachi- no plans to sell Wylfa nuclear site to China

Hitachi has said it has no plans to sell a Welsh nuclear power site to a
Chinese corporation after comments by Donald Trump. The US president was
quoted by the Sunday Times warning it not to sell Wylfa, on Anglesey, “to
China”.
Work on the £13bn project was put on hold last year because of
rising costs after Hitachi failed to reach a funding agreement with the UK
government. A Horizon Energy spokesman said: “We don’t comment on
speculation. “Our focus remains on securing the conditions necessary to
restart this crucial project, which would bring transformative economic
benefits to the region and play a huge role in helping deliver the UK’s
climate change commitments.”
Horizon is owned by Hitachi and was set to
lead the project to build the site. “We are not aware of any plans to sell
the project to China,” Hitachi told the Reuters news agency.https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-53212790

June 30, 2020 Posted by | politics international, UK | Leave a comment

An Unexpected Radiation Spike Has Been Detected Over Europe

An Unexpected Radiation Spike Has Been Detected Over Europe https://www.sciencealert.com/unexpected-radiation-spike-detected-over-europe-authorities-say, PETER DOCKRILL, 29 JUNE 2020

A mysterious increase in radiation levels over northern Europe was detected this month by authorities from several countries, although no nation has yet come forward to claim responsibility for the anomaly.  The subtle radiation spike – at levels that are considered harmless to humans, but significant enough to be picked up by radiation monitoring stations – began to make headlines last week, with European authorities announcing new readings of human-made radionuclide particles in the atmosphere.

“Very low levels of the radioactive substances cesium-134, cesium-137, cobalt-60 and ruthenium-103 were measured,” the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority tweeted on Tuesday.

“The levels measured are so low that they pose no danger to people or the environment.”

Similar observations were also made by radiation protection authorities in Norway and Finland.

Later in the week, Lassina Zerbo, the Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation, tweeted a map outlining the possible source region of the anomaly, most of which was territory inside Russia, but also parts of Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway.

“These isotopes are most likely from a civil source,” Zerbo tweeted, suggesting a source related to nuclear power production, not nuclear weapons.

“We are able to indicate the likely region of the source, but it’s outside the CTBTO’s [Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization] mandate to identify the exact origin.”

On Friday, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) announced that, based on an analysis of the available data, the “combination of radionuclides may be explained by an anomaly in the fuel elements of a nuclear power plant”.

On the available evidence, the organisation suggested that the radioactive particles detected had come from the direction of western Russia, but clarified that this did not mean they were definitively linked with Russian power plants.

“Some recent media reports claimed, possibly based on a mistranslation of our original report (in Dutch), that the radionuclides originated from western Russia,” RIVM said in a statement.

“The claim RIVM makes is that the radionuclides travelled from the direction of western Russia to Scandinavia, but that no specific country of origin can be pointed out at this moment.”

In response to online speculation that Russia was behind the radiation spike, a spokesperson for Rosenergoatom, part of Rosatom state nuclear energy corporation, said the nation’s two nuclear power plants in the region were operating normally, with normal radiation levels being reported.

“Both stations are working in normal regime. There have been no complaints about the equipment’s work,” Rosenergoatom told Russian news agency TASS.

“Aggregated emissions of all specified isotopes in the above-mentioned period did not exceed the reference numbers. No incidents related to release of radionuclide outside containment structures have been reported.”

As it stands, it’s hard to say whether additional evidence will be able to confirm where this slight radiation surge originated, but the incident recalls a similar situation that took place in 2017, in which another radioactive cloud was detected over Europe.

During that episode – which was also detected at levels harmless to people – many suggested Russian power plants were responsible – a hypothesis that was later supported by scientific findings, although disputed by Rosatom.

June 30, 2020 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Donald Trump intervenes in Wylfa nuclear project discussions

North Wales Live 28th June 2020, Donald Trump is understood to have intervened in discussions about the next generation of nuclear power on Anglesey. According to reports, the US
president’s administration has warned Hitachi, the company behind the site,
not to sell it on to the Chinese government. The intervention is a sign of
escalating tensions between the Americans and the Chinese, according to the
Times. It reports today that the White House is heaping pressure on Hitachi
– which is a Japanese-owned company – not to sell on its interest into the
site to Beijing.
https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/donald-trump-intervenes-anglesey-nuclear-18502362

 

June 30, 2020 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

New nuclear disaster plans sent to thousands of homes in Plymouth

June 30, 2020 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment