nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

It’s nearly Christmas – it’s also nearly crisis – nuclear and climate news to 16 December

I know. It’s just not what you need to hear in the week before Christmas.  Unfortunately, I am reminded by the wonderful Katharine Hayhoe  that even if you ignore, or even disbelieve in scientific findings –  they are still there, still real.

My two big influences this week come from Radio Ecoshock. Firstly – we’ve underestimated global warming. Our current path heads to worst 5 degree warming. And, there’s suppression of climate facts, and some disinformation on global warming.  My second – it’ s the same as last week’s – Future Earth may be home to grass, bugs, and maybe, – maybe – a few humans. It’s a hot radioactive world.

Well – on with the dance –

The Arctic is melting with no turning back. We have been underestimating the amounts of sea level rise due to global warming. For the first time, scientists identify human-driven climate change as the cause of global heat waves in 2016. Explaining Extreme Events from a Climate Perspective – American Meteorological Society

10 December: Nobel Peace Prize awarded to International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson changes his mind: now will not talk with North Korea without “conditions”.  U.N.’s Guterres warns against ‘sleepwalking’ into war over North Korea.

USA. 

FRANCE. EDF keen to market nuclear to Asia, demands tax-payer support to build new nuclear reactors.

UK.

JAPAN. Government and utilities shaken by high court challenge to public trust in Japan’s nuclear authority. One Fukushima Tepco employee’s Leukemia certified, how many of the subcontracted employees ignored? Intensifying the Fukushima denial campaign. Many children diagnosed with thyroid cancer after 3.11 disasters, families still worried.

FRANCE. New defects detected in AREVA’s European Pressurised Nuclear Reactor (EPR). France faces a decade-long struggle to upgrade its nuclear power plants. France’s nuclear corporation EDF to make a massive push into solar energy.

RUSSIA. Russian nuclear plant says it finally emits nuclear isotope #Ruthenium106. Donor nations to pay up for trying to fix Russia’s devilish nuclear waste problem at Andreeva Bay. The unsolved hazard of damaged spent nuclear fuel rods – Andreeva Bay.

NORTH KOREA. The danger of the unsafety of North Korea’s nuclear facilities.

EGYPT. Russia disburses El Dabaa nuclear power plant loan/bribe to Egypt. Egypt to go into big debt to buy Russian nuclear reactors that it doesn’t need.

SAUDI ARABIA. It looks as if Saudi Arabia wants uranium enrichment etc as prelude to nuclear weapons development.

MIDDLE EAST. In Middle East – a heightened risk of attacks on nuclear facilities.

CHINA. Tests reveal crack in key component of Chinese nuclear power plant, 130km west of Hong Kong. China builds refugee camps – prepared for influx should Kim Jong-un’s regime collapse.

NIGERIA. Nigeria: Nuclear Agency Spent N367 Million Illegally – Senate Panel.

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December 16, 2017 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson changes his mind: now will not talk with North Korea without “conditions”

Tillerson backtracks on offer of unconditional North Korea talks https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/world/tillerson-backtracks-on-offer-of-unconditional-north-korea-talks/news-story/2236599a83ed87f95c79af52af2a9279 16 Dec 17

December 16, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

EDF keen to market nuclear to Asia, demands tax-payer support to build new nuclear reactors

MEDIA-EDF says no new nuclear reactors in France without state support-Ouest France,  https://www.reuters.com/article/edf-nuclearpower/media-edf-says-no-new-nuclear-reactors-in-france-without-state-support-ouest-france-idUSL8N1OF3EP Reporting by Geert de Clercq, Editing Dominique Vidalon,Reuters Staff, 15 Dec 17,      

** French state-controlled utility EDF’s CEO Jean-Bernard Levy tells Ouest France daily that EDF can no longer build new nuclear reactors in France without state support.

Asked when EDF could build new reactors at home, Levy says “Henceforth, we cannot build new reactors without adequate regulation providing guaranteed income”. He said that Flamanville was launched at a time of high power prices and that now all power sources, nuclear as well as renewable, need to get the same visibility on sales prices.

** For its project to build two EPRs in Hinkley Point, Britain, EDF has obtained an EU-approved state-guaranteed price of 92.5 pounds per megawatt-hour over 35 years, which is way above current market prices.

** The centrist government of French President Emmanuel Macron is not talking about building new nuclear reactors, but about closing old reactors in order to reduce the share of nuclear energy in French power generation to 50 percent by around 2035 from 75 percent today.

** Asked when the first Areva-designed EPR reactor could start up, Levy said ”that should be in a few weeks in China. The start-up will be gradual, to make sure everything works well.

** Levy said EDF expects to get approval to charge nuclear fuel in its Flamanville reactor at the end of 2018. He said that once operational, Flamanville will be a good showcase to sell nuclear reactors in Asia.

December 16, 2017 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

Trump’s disturbing willingness to sell nuclear technologies without the usual restrictions, to Saudi Arabia

U.S. To Boost Saudi Nuclear Power Development. Lobe Log., DECEMBER 14, 2017,  Almost a decade has passed since President George W.  Bush promised that the United States would help Saudi Arabia develop commercial nuclear energy plants. When he visited Riyadh in May 2008, he pledged to sign a “memorandum of understanding,” or MOU, committing the United States to “assist the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to develop civilian nuclear power for use in medicine, industry and power generation” and “establish a comprehensive framework for cooperation in the development of environmentally sustainable, safe, and secure nuclear energy.”

In return, Saudi Arabia, a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, would also join the worldwide Proliferation Security Initiative, a U.S.-sponsored program to confront the threat of nuclear proliferation.

The text of that MOU has never been made public, and nothing much happened as a result of it until last week. Then, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, after meeting senior officials in the kingdom, urged the Saudis to choose a U.S.-based vendor, Westinghouse Electric Co., to participate in the nuclear energy program to which the Saudis have long been committed.

The Energy Department’s official statement about Perry’s talks with Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry, and Mineral Resources, did not use the word “nuclear,” but numerous reports from the region said the Saudis heard Perry’s arguments for Westinghouse and were receptive to them.

“We heard that message that … ‘we want the United States to be our partner in this’,” Perry told the Reuters news agency. Westinghouse spokeswoman Sarah Casella said in a statement to Bloomberg News that “Westinghouse is pleased that Saudi Arabia has decided to pursue nuclear energy. We are fully participating in their request for information and are pleased to provide the AP1000 plant, the industry’s most advanced technology.” The Energy Department did not respond to several requests to go beyond its original statement or to confirm Perry’s reported remarks, but neither has it denied them.

There was a time when the words “nuclear” and “Saudi Arabia” in the same sentence would set off alarms all over Washington, because any such development in Saudi Arabia is bound to raise fears that the Saudis would use their program to develop nuclear weapons to counter what they fear is happening in Iran……….

Saudi Arabia has discussed nuclear development with China, Russia, and France, among other potential suppliers.

Under U.S. law, Westinghouse or any other U.S.-based vendor can sell material and technology to Saudi Arabia only after the two countries negotiate a nuclear cooperation agreement, known as a 123 Agreement for the section of the law setting the requirement. The U.S.-Abu Dhabi agreement is known in the industry as the “gold standard,” because the government of the United Arab Emirates agreed to forgo both ends of the nuclear fuel cycle–it will neither enrich its own uranium nor reprocess its spent fuel to extract the plutonium.

The Saudis have made clear that they do not want to accept the same restrictions because their country has extensive uranium resources, which they want to process domestically. In articles in the trade press in 2010, an executive of a Finnish firm that was consulting with the Saudis on their program said that it could eventually include enrichment of uranium.

That was a non-starter while Barack Obama was president, but reports of Perry’s commitment to expedite an agreement have ignited speculation that the United States is preparing to soften its terms to accommodate the Saudis on this point, especially because of the close ties that have developed between the Trump administration and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler…….

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, said in a statement that “The Trump administration’s willingness bend key rules and standards designed to restrict the spread of sensitive nuclear technologies that can be used to make nuclear weapons to in order to help U.S. companies profit from nuclear commerce with Saudi Arabia is  disturbing and counterproductive.” He said Congress, “which will have to review any such agreement, should insist on the highest possible nonproliferation standards for nuclear commerce, especially in a troubled and unstable region.”……..https://lobelog.com/u-s-to-boost-saudi-nuclear-power-development/

December 16, 2017 Posted by | marketing, Saudi Arabia, USA | Leave a comment

UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation approves nuclear power plans for Wylfa, Anglesey. Now where’s the funding?

Plans for major nuclear power station in Wales win green light, Office for Nuclear Regulation approves design for new reactor at Horizon Nuclear Power’s plant at Wylfa, Anglesey, Guardian, Adam Vaughan, 13 Dec 17Plans for a major new nuclear power station in Wales have taken a crucial step forward as UK regulators approved the project.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation and two other government bodies gave the green light on Thursday for the Japanese reactor design for Horizon Nuclear Power’s plant at Wylfa, marking the end of a five-year regulatory process……

Attention will now turn to financing the Hitachi-backed project on the island of Anglesey, which was the site of Britain’s oldest nuclear plant until it closed two years ago.

During a visit by UK ministers to Japan last December, it emerged that London and Tokyo were considering public financing for Wylfa. This would be a significant break with the UK government’s previous approach.

Hitachi has already spent £2bn on development. Last week the consortium said it needed a financial support package by mid-2018 or it could stop funding development.

Japan’s Toshiba has bowed out of the race to build nuclear plants in the UK, confirming last week that a South Korean nuclear firm had been chosen to buy its venture to build a plant in Cumbria.

………. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/14/plans-for-major-nuclear-power-station-in-wales-win-green-light-wylfa-anglesey

December 16, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

The Arctic is melting with no turning back

Climate Change Is Already Wreaking Havoc on Our Weather, Scientists Find, http://time.com/5064577/climate-change-arctic/  By JUSTIN WORLAND   The Arctic is melting with no turning back. Climate change increased rainfall during Hurricane Harvey by at least 15%. And several extreme weather events that occurred in 2016 would not have been possible without man-made global warming.

These are among the findings being discussed this week at this fall’s meeting of the American Geophysical Union in New Orleans, the largest gathering of Earth scientists in the world. Taken together, the findings show the deepening urgency of the fight against climate change.

“Climate change is hurting us without a doubt,” said James Byrne, a professor at the University of Lethbridge who studies climate change, at a press conference. “Houston, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, British Columbia — worst fire season ever. California, I think they declared it the worst fire season.”

Scientists have explored the link between climate change and extreme weather events for years, but many of the conclusions have relied on forecasts of potential future damage. This year, scientists say, the findings are no longer theoretical. Man-made global warming is causing problems here and now.

Take the American Meteorological Society’s report on extreme weather events in 2016, the sixth annual iteration of the report. In the past, the group found that likelihood had increased the chances of certain extreme weather events. But this year scientists found that 2016’s record global temperatures and historic warm waters in the Bering Sea “would not have been possible” in a world without human-caused climate change.

“These events were not just influenced by human-caused climate change,” said Jeff Rosenfeld of the American Meteorological Society at a press conference. “Some of the events in 2016 could not have happened without climate change.”

The report also highlighted global heat waves, an extreme occurence of El Niño and bleaching of coral reefs. These extreme events are all closely tied to climate change, though they remain theoretically possible in a world without the phenomenon.

Another report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that the state of continued ice melt, loss of snow cover and warm temperatures will be the “new normal” in the Arctic. The signs of climate change in the region have been pronounced for years as air temperatures have risen there at twice the rate as they have globally.

The effects of a melting Arctic — and the strong likelihood that it will not return to a normal state anytime soon — has significant implications far beyond its boundaries. Arctic sea ice plays an important role moderating global temperatures as it reflects sunlight back into space. And scientists say that the swift warming in the Arctic is a concerning sign of what’s to come globally. “Unlike Vegas what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic,” said Tim Gallaudet, acting NOAA administrator, at a press conference. “It affects the rest of the planet.”

Two separate studies presented at the conference showed that climate change worsened rainfall when Hurricane Harvey struck Houston earlier by somewhere between 15% and 38%. That storm brought nearly 50 inches of rain to some areas and caused billions in damages. The research comes as scientists increasingly try to draw explicit conclusions about the effect of climate change and individual storms, a practice unthinkable just a decade ago.

The warning from scientists comes as policymakers across the globe continue to grapple how to stem temperature rise. Countries have committed to trying to keep temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius (or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, but recent research shows leaders remain far from meeting that goal.

December 16, 2017 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change | Leave a comment

We have been underestimating the amounts of sea level rise due to global warming

We may be in for far higher amounts of sea level rise than ever thought before, Mashable, BY ANDREW FREEDMAN, 13 Dec 17, The amount of sea level rise that many of us will experience in our lifetimes may be more than double what was previously anticipated, unless we sharply curtail greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new study that factors in emerging, unsettling research on the tenuous stability of the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

 Importantly, the study highlights that cuts we could still make to greenhouse gas emissions during the next several years would significantly reduce the possibility of a sea level rise calamity after 2050.

Published Wednesday in the open access journal Earth’s Future, the study is the first to pair recently discovered mechanisms that would lead to the sudden collapse of parts of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, such as the disintegration of floating ice shelves and mechanical failure of tall ice cliffs facing the sea. The study also goes a step further by showing how the new projections could play out city by city around the world.

Researchers from several institutions, including Rutgers University, Princeton, Harvard, and the nonprofit research group Climate Central found that sea level rise predictions that incorporate a faster — even sudden — disintegration of huge parts of the Antarctic Ice Sheet would yield far more dire projections.

 This is especially the case when compared to the consensus put forward by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2014.

The IPCC did not incorporate the possibility that the Antarctic Ice Sheet could become unstable as air and sea temperatures warm, and essentially crumble into the sea, in rapid succession.

 More than 4 feet of sea level rise

Specifically, the new study finds a median sea level rise projection of 4 feet and 9 inches during the 21st Century if greenhouse gas emissions remain on their current high trajectory.

Or, when expressed as a range, the study shows that a high emissions scenario that takes new Antarctic melt mechanisms into account would yield between 3 and 8 feet of global average sea level rise by the year 2100. This contrasts with the projection that does not include the rapid Antarctic melt mechanisms, which shows just 1.6 to 3.9 feet of sea level rise through 2100.

The new study paints a far more alarming picture compared to what the IPCC found, which was a median projection of two feet and five inches of sea level rise by 2100 under a high emissions scenario. Most sea level rise predictions since that report was published have indicated that figure was too low, however.

The study shows that global average sea level is projected to increase by one foot by the year 2050, and several more feet by the year 2100, depending on the significance of any cuts to greenhouse gas emissions. If the temperature targets in the Paris Climate Agreement are met — which is a big if at the moment — then we’re unlikely to trigger a rapid Antarctic meltdown, the study found.

Prior sea level rise projections have not included the recently discovered mechanism of marine ice-cliff instability in Antarctica. Instead, those projections relied on other assumptions of how significantly the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets might melt during the course of the 21st Century. Nor have they included all of the ways that floating ice shelves might disintegrate rapidly, either, weakening inland ice………. http://mashable.com/2017/12/13/sea-level-rise-could-be-double-previous-estimates-climate-change-study/#rZy6GL2FCSqM

December 16, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

The battle against climate change is being lost – Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron says the world is losing the battle against climate change , ABCThe World Today By Connie Agius  13 Dec 17French President Emmanuel Macron has told fellow world leaders that the battle against climate change is being lost.

Key points:

  • Macron says 2015 Paris climate accord is in a fragile state since Trump pulled out in June
  • Summit marks two years since accord was signed in Paris
  • A dozen international projects were announced at the summit

Speaking at the One Planet Summit in Paris, Mr Macron said the 2015 Paris climate accord was in a fragile state after President Donald Trump pulled the US out in June.

“We’re not going fast enough, there lies the tragedy,” Mr Macron said.

“We’ve committed to limiting the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and if we carry on along this path, we’re heading towards 3 or 3.5.

“When I say that we’re losing the battle, I would like you to realise that of the countries represented here, 5, 10 or 15 of them won’t exist anymore in 50, 60 or 100 years.

“It’s as simple as that.”

Mr Macron emphasised that the need for action was now.

“The urgency is permanent and our generation’s challenge is to act, act faster and win this battle against time, and to put in place concrete measures that will change our countries, our societies, our economies.

“So that our children and maybe even ourselves can choose our future and not suffer through global warming.”……. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-13/we-are-losing-the-battle-french-president-tells-climate-summit/9254862

December 16, 2017 Posted by | climate change, France | Leave a comment

Explaining Extreme Events from a Climate Perspective

 

American Meteorological Society, Dec 17, 

This BAMS special report presents assessments of how human-caused climate change may have affected the strength and likelihood of individual extreme events.

This sixth edition of explaining extreme events of the previous year (2016) from a climate perspective is the first of these reports to find that some extreme events were not possible in a preindustrial climate. The events were the 2016 record global heat, the heat across Asia, as well as a marine heat wave off the coast of Alaska. While these results are novel, they were not unexpected. Climate attribution scientists have been predicting that eventually the influence of human-caused climate change would become sufficiently strong as to push events beyond the bounds of natural variability alone. It was also predicted that we would first observe this phenomenon for heat events where the climate change influence is most pronounced. Additional retrospective analysis will reveal if, in fact, these are the first events of their kind or were simply some of the first to be discovered. Read More

DOWNLOAD EXPLAINING EXTREME EVENTS OF 2016
Download high resolution version (46 MB).  https://www.ametsoc.org/ams/index.cfm/publications/bulletin-of-the-american-meteorological-society-bams/explaining-extreme-events-from-a-climate-perspective/

December 16, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Reference | Leave a comment

For the first time, scientists identify human-driven climate change as the cause of global heat waves in 2016

Global heat waves in 2016 resulted purely from human-driven climate change: study, https://www.sbs.com.au/news/global-heat-waves-in-2016-resulted-purely-from-human-driven-climate-change-study SBS, Last year’s global heat record, extreme heat in Asia and unusually warm waters off the coast of Alaska happened purely because the planet is getting warmer because of human activities like burning fossil fuels, a study said Wednesday.

The findings mark the first time that global scientists have identified severe weather that could not have happened without climate change, said the peer-reviewed report titled “Explaining Extreme Events in 2016 from a Climate Perspective.”

Until now, the contribution of human-driven climate change has been understood to raise the odds of certain floods, droughts, storms and heat waves – but not serve as the sole cause.

“This report marks a fundamental change,” said Jeff Rosenfeld, editor-in-chief of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, which published the peer-reviewed report.

“For years scientists have known humans are changing the risk of some extremes. But finding multiple extreme events that weren’t even possible without human influence makes clear that we’re experiencing new weather, because we’ve made a new climate.”

The report included 27 peer-reviewed analyses of extreme weather across five continents and two oceans.

A total of 116 scientists from 18 countries took part, incorporating historical observations and model simulations to determine the role of climate change in nearly two dozen extreme events.

Records shattered

In 2016, the planet reached a new high for global heat, making it the warmest year in modern times.

These record average surface temperatures worldwide were “only possible due to substantial centennial-scale anthropogenic warming,” said the report.

Asia also experienced stifling heat, with India suffering a major heat wave that killed 580 people from March to May. Thailand set a new record for energy consumption as people turned on air conditioners en masse to cool off.

Even though the tropical Pacific Ocean warming trend of El Nino was pronounced in 2015 and the first part of 2016, researchers concluded that it was not to blame.

“The 2016 extreme warmth across Asia would not have been possible without climate change,” said the report.

“Although El Nino was expected to warm Southeast Asia in 2016, the heat in the region was unusually widespread.”

In the Gulf of Alaska, the nearby Bering Sea, and off northern Australia, water temperatures were the highest in 35 years of satellite records.

This ocean warming led to “massive bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef and one of the largest harmful algal blooms ever off the Alaska shore,” according to the report.

“It was extremely unlikely that natural variability alone led to the observed anomalies.” Another chapter found that the so-called “blob” of sub-Arctic 2016 warmth “cannot be explained without anthropogenic climate warming.”

Most, not all

Most of the extreme events studied were influenced to some extent by climate change, as in the past six years that the work has been published.

Climate change was found to have boosted the odds and intensity of El Nino, the severity of coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef, and warmth in the North Pacific Ocean.

Flash droughts over southern Africa, like the one in 2015 and 2016, have tripled in the last 60 years mainly due to human-caused climate change, it said.

“Extreme rains, like the record-breaking 2016 event in Wuhan, China are 10 times more likely in the present climate than they were in 1961.” The unusual Arctic warmth observed in November–December 2016 “most likely would not have been possible without human-caused warming,” it added.

But not all extreme weather was influenced by global warming.

About 20 percent of the events studied were not linked to human-caused climate change, including a major winter snowstorm in the Mid-Atlantic United States, and the drought that led to water shortages in northeast Brazil.

The findings were released at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in New Orleans.

December 16, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

WWF COMMENTS ON NEW FUNDING FOR “MINI NUCLEAR POWER STATIONS”

WWF 7th Dec 2017, Gareth Redmond-King, head of Energy and Climate at WWF commented on the announcement by the UK Government of £56 million of funding for new advanced and small modular reactors – “mini nuclear power stations”

“At a time when the cost of large-scale nuclear is increasing, and the cost of renewables is plummeting, it is bewildering that the UK Government should be committing yet more money to new nuclear – only a matter of weeks after a freeze on renewables funding was announced.

“Small-scale nuclear is untried, untested technology which will deliver nothing for over two decades. Meanwhile, the next wave of offshore wind – not to mention onshore wind and solar – could deliver when we actually need them, during
the 2020s.”
https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/wwf-comments-new-funding-mini-nuclear-power-stations

December 16, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

The danger of the unsafety of North Korea’s nuclear facilities

North Korean Nuclear Reactor Safety: The Threat No One is Talking About, 38 NorthBY: MATT KORDA, DECEMBER 14, 2017  The ability of North Korea to safely operate its nuclear reactors, according to many experts, is increasingly being called into question given the North’s isolation and lack of safety culture. Pyongyang’s ability to respond to a nuclear accident in a timely fashion will make the difference between a small-scale event and a catastrophic disaster. And while the actual contamination would be localized, the lack of transparency from North Korea in dealing with the situation is likely to cause political panic in the region in excess of the actual radiological exposure and environmental impact. The opening of nuclear safety talks with the North to help prevent such an accident from occurring would provide a rare opportunity for regional dialogue and could pry open the door for realistic and productive discussions of North Korea’s nuclear program.

A Disaster Waiting to Happen?

A video of Kim Jong Un smoking next to an untested liquid-fueled missile tells you everything you need to know about North Korea’s nuclear safety culture. The remarkable 14-second clip shows the Supreme Leader taking a puff while a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile is erected on the launch pad mere feet away—prompting a torrent of snarky Twitter commentary expressing regret that Kim’s lit cigarette had not “solved the problem for us.” Kim’s recklessness is certainly notable, and it hints at an underemphasized and potentially devastating possibility: the threat of a nuclear accident in North Korea.

At the March 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, then-South Korean President Park Geun-hye claimed that Yongbyon, North Korea’s primary nuclear research center, “is home to such a dense concentration of nuclear facilities that a fire in a single building could lead to a disaster potentially worse than Chernobyl.” While her damage assessment is likely an exaggeration—researchers from 38 North assess Chernobyl’s power output to have been 3,000 percent greater than Yongbyon—the potential for a nuclear accident is not.

Niko Milonopoulos and Edward D. Blandford noted previously that a sudden fault in North Korea’s outdated power grid could prevent the Yongbyon reactors from being adequately cooled and could potentially trigger a meltdown. Such an event could also be prompted by a natural disaster or abnormal weather patterns. Complementary analysis by Nick Hansen indicates that North Korea’s 5 MWe plutonium production reactor had to be briefly shut down following a flood in July 2013 which destroyed parts of the cooling systems. He noted with concern that “if a major flood cuts off the cooling water supply to the reactors before they can be shut down, a major safety problem could occur.” This is exactly what prompted the series of nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima……….http://www.38north.org/2017/12/mkorda121417/

December 16, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, safety | Leave a comment

British parliamentarians worried that the UK nuclear industry will suffer as Britain leaves Euratom, in Brexit move

Independent 13th Dec 2017, Britain should retain as a close as possible a relationship with the European civil nuclear regulator after Brexit, a Commons committee has demanded ahead of a crucial vote on the issue. MPs on the committee warn that the impacts of leaving Euratom will be “profound”, putting the UK in a much weaker position to drive regulatory standards at a European level.

“We conclude that the Government should seek to retain as close as possible a relationship with Euratom, and that this should include accepting its delivery of existing safeguards requirements in the UK,” the report from the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committee states.

The committee’s report comes as more than 100 MPs signed an amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, dealing with the
Government’s intention to leave Euratom after Brexit. They want the Prime Minister to guarantee protections for the nuclear industry.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-nuclear-regulation-eurotom-leave-eu-co-operation-latest-news-energy-edf-mps-a8105711.html

December 16, 2017 Posted by | politics international, UK | Leave a comment

New defects detected in AREVA’s European Pressurised Nuclear Reactor (EPR)

Times 14th Dec 2017, A French-designed nuclear reactor ordered by Britain is facing further
scrutiny after the disclosure that defects were detected in one of the same models under construction in China. The revelation adds to the string of setbacks that have hit the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) designed by Areva, the French nuclear group.

Britain has ordered two of those reactors for Hinkley Point C. They are being built by EDF, the French state energy
giant, and China General Nuclear Power Corporation at a cost of £19.5 billion.

China General Nuclear Power Corporation, which is building two reactors in a joint venture with EDF near Macau in southern China, said it had found “local defects” in the Taishan 1 reactor. It said that welding in the deaerator, which is used to remove oxygen from water circuits, was defective. The parts had been replaced, it said.

Taishan 1 is due to come on stream this month to become the world’s first functioning example of the
European reactor. The second Chinese reactor, Taishan 2, is due to come online next year. The $8.7 billion project was initially due to be completed last year, but was delayed by safety concerns.

The problems in China pale by comparison with those affecting other projects. Work on a similar reactor at Olkiluoto in Finland began in 2005 and was supposed to finish in 2009. It is now expected to be in action from 2019. EDF is also
building a reactor at Flamanville in Normandy which was due to begin operating in 2012, but won’t be working until the end of next year. The reactors at Hinkley Point were originally due to be operational in 2025 but EDF said this summer that they were likely to be 15 months late.
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/business/new-defects-in-hinkley-type-reactor-tjj0cprhz

December 16, 2017 Posted by | China, safety | Leave a comment

France faces a decade-long struggle to upgrade its nuclear power plants

Bloomberg 13th Dec 2017, France faces a decade-long struggle to upgrade its nuclear power plants, but for Natacha Piot, whose firm makes metal pipe supports for reactors, there’s little visibility beyond Christmas. She’s chief executive
officer of one of the dozens of subcontractors engaged in a 48 billion-euro ($56.4 billion) project to extend the life of Electricite de France SA’s aging atomic plants.

Like several of her peers, Piot is critical of how the state-run utility is managing the process. “I can’t afford to hire
because we don’t know what we’ll have to do in a month,” said Piot, CEO of CITA Production, based near the Saone River, north of the vineyards of Burgundy. “We’re overloaded until Christmas, but it’s a total haze for 2018. We’re in a permanent fog.”

EDF has cut earnings forecasts as longer-than-planned maintenance and refueling halts at its 58 reactors were
compounded by safety checks demanded by the nation’s nuclear watchdog. That means the utility expects nuclear-power generation to barely rebound this year, after a shortage of skilled workers at its contractors cut output by 7.9 percent to 384 terawatt-hours in 2016.

EDF will probably miss its nuclear output goals in 2017 and 2018, lowering earnings to the bottom of the company’s latest forecasts, Olly Jeffery, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, wrote in a Dec. 6 note. “Delays could slip into 2019 as
well,” he said. As EDF wrestles to prolong the lifespan of reactors by at least an extra decade, CITA Production, the firm founded by Piot’s father in 1964, isn’t the only subcontractor struggling to keep up with the utility’s fast-changing requirements.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-12/french-nuclear-delays-escalate-as-contractors-fumble-in-the-dark

December 16, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment