This Week’s Featured Interview:
- Tim Deere-Jones is an independent marine pollution consultant and a specialist in the behavior and fate of marine pollutants in ocean, coastal and estuarine environments. He explains how radiation in the ocean from Fukushima and the UK’s Sellafield nuclear facility have impacted food safety at tremendous distances, as far away as the US West Coast. A jaw-dropping eye-opening report. This is an Encore presentation originally presented on Nuclear Hotseat #225 from October 13, 2015.
Numnutz of the Week:
The only thing “super” about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe-Baby showing up dressed as Super Mario at the Rio Olympics is his gall at continuing to lie about the nuclear contamination awaiting anyone who dares to attend the 2020 Tokyo Radioactive NOlympics. (And that ball he’s holding is pure projection, if not delusion…)
Nuclear bombs transformed the planet and set off the Age of Humans, geologists say, WP By Sarah Kaplan August 29 16, Around 1950, as atomic bombs fell on empty deserts, crowded cities and island atolls; as highways carved concrete paths across the planet; as populations exploded; as consumption skyrocketed; and as the average global temperature began its dangerous upward creep in earnest, Earth entered the epoch of humans.
Monday, members of the group presented their findings at the annual International Geological Congress in Cape Town, South Africa…….https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2016/08/29/scientists-believe-the-age-of-humans-began-in-1950-now-they-have-to-prove-it/
South Korea Seeks Indigenous Missile Defense System To Deal With North, Raises 2017 Defense Budget, IBT, BY KUKIL BORA @KUKILBORA ON 08/30/16 The South Korean government on Tuesday raised the country’s 2017 defense budget to build a homegrown missile defense system to better counter growing North Korean missile and nuclear threats. The announcement came nearly a week after Pyongyang test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in an apparent response to the annual Seoul-Washington military drill that will continue till Friday.
According to the South Korean Ministry of Strategy and Finance, the allotted defense budget of 40.3 trillion won ($36.1 billion) — up 4 percent from the previous year — for 2017 was proposed to build the country’s own “Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD)” system to deal with potential North Korean threats. In addition, some 39.9 billion won ($35.7 million) will be used to equip all military barracks with air conditioning systems, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.
The KAMD, expected to be deployed by mid-2020s, includes medium-range surface-to-air missiles (M-SAM), long-range surface-to-air missiles (L-SAM), U.S. Patriot missiles and early-warning radars to shoot down missiles fired by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) — the official title for the reclusive nation.
The sped-up efforts to develop the homegrown KAMD comes amid growing tensions in the Korean peninsula after Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear test in January, followed by the launch of a long-range rocket in February……http://www.ibtimes.com/south-korea-seeks-indigenous-missile-defense-system-deal-north-raises-2017-defense-2409128
Nasa: Earth is warming at a pace ‘unprecedented in 1,000 years’ Records of temperature that go back far further than 1800s suggest warming of recent decades is out of step with any period over the past millennium, Guardian, Oliver Milman, 30 Aug 16, The planet is warming at a pace not experienced within the past 1,000 years, at least, making it “very unlikely” that the world will stay within a crucial temperature limit agreed by nations just last year, according to Nasa’s top climate scientist.
This year has already seen scorching heat around the world, with the average global temperature peaking at 1.38C above levels experienced in the 19th century, perilously close to the 1.5C limit agreed in the landmark Paris climate accord. July was the warmest month since modern record keeping began in 1880, with each month since October 2015 setting a new high mark for heat.
But Nasa said that records of temperature that go back far further, taken via analysis of ice cores and sediments, suggest that the warming of recent decades is out of step with any period over the past millennium.
“In the last 30 years we’ve really moved into exceptional territory,” Gavin Schmidt, director of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said. “It’s unprecedented in 1,000 years. There’s no period that has the trend seen in the 20th century in terms of the inclination (of temperatures).”……..https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/30/nasa-climate-change-warning-earth-temperature-warming
Decommissioning costs: A blind spot in the nuclear power debate In nuclear policy, too little thought is given to the considerable costs of storing radioactive waste on site, Utility Dive By Christina Simeone | August 30, 2016 With over 10 GW of nuclear capacity at risk for premature retirement – defined as retirement before license expiration – many states are considering subsidy policies to keep these economically struggling reactors operating.
Arguments for subsidies focus on protecting local jobs, keeping low-cost baseload power, maintaining reliability, and preserving the zero-carbon resources needed to address climate change. Opponents argue that out-of-market subsidies distort competitive markets and amount to ratepayer bailouts of uneconomic generation.
Absent from the debate, however, is a focus on what happens to nuclear power plants when they retire and decommission. Specifically, how Americans like you and I will continue to pay more and be subjected to greater risks as nuclear power plants are converted to interim waste storage facilities.
This is the focus of a new report from the University of Pennsylvania’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, entitled “Nuclear Decommissioning: Paying More for Greater, Uncompensated Risks.”
Let me explain.
When most nuclear power plants were built, the expectation was spent fuel waste would either be reprocessed (for most plants built before 1977) or the government would take custody of the waste for permanent disposal, per the 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act. Licensees that built the reactors were also required to establish financial mechanisms – such as trust funds – to ensure availability of funds to decontaminate equipment and decommission the plant site.
The Nuclear Waste Policy Act established a per-kilowatt-hour fee on nuclear power production that Licensees would pay in exchange for a contractual agreement committing the federal government to take custody of the waste – beginning in 1998 – for permanent geologic disposal. Licensees would recover these fees from electricity ratepayers that enjoyed low cost, baseload nuclear power.
In 1998, the federal government was not prepared to accept the waste. To date, the government has spent more than $7.5 billion to study the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada for geologic disposal, but political opposition from within that state killed the project. There are currently no plans underway to build a geologic disposal repository.
Meanwhile, there are over $34 billion in ratepayer funds sitting in a restricted government account that by law can only be spent on activities related to the geologic disposal site. (The ratepayer fee was suspended in 2014, a few years after the Yucca Mountain project was terminated.)
In the interim, nuclear reactor Licensees have been forced to make significant capital investments to expand their ability to store spent fuel on site at power plants. Licensees sued the federal government for financial damages caused by the government’s failure to accept nuclear waste for disposal, and the Licensees won.
The federal government is therefore using taxpayer money to pay back the Licensee’s costs of interim waste storage. As of 2015, more than $5 billion of taxpayer dollars were paid to reactor Licensees. The total cost of damages is estimated to range from $29 billion to $50 billion if the government begins to accept waste in 10 years. If this date slides, government liabilities increase by $500 million per year.
So today, all 100 operating nuclear power reactors are storing waste on site in wet and/or dry storage. When a full plant retires, the entire site cannot be decommissioned, because a portion of the site must continue to store waste.
With this background in mind, it is important that policymakers consider the following facts when contemplating the fate of struggling nuclear power facilities:
- Distributed, interim (if not perpetual) storage of spent fuel and high level radioactive waste is less safe and less secure than permanent geologic disposal, according to the IAEA.
- Costs of interim storage have been and will continue to be paid by taxpayers, and these costs will accumulate indefinitely. Meanwhile, there is no refund provided to the ratepayers who paid to have nuclear waste removed from their neighborhoods and into a permanent geologic disposal facility. Many Americans are paying twice for nuclear waste management.
- Communities hosting nuclear power facilities – that include ratepayers and taxpayers – are not being compensated for the increased risks of perpetually storing high level radioactive waste. And, when a plant or reactor retires, these communities are also losing the benefits of nuclear power.
An additional concern is the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s formula for establishing upfront decontamination costs for reactor specific funds has widely been criticized to understate costs. When a reactor retires prematurely, these funds have less time to appreciate and may require additional financial guarantees from the Licensee. More research is needed to understand the ability of owners of at-risk generation to provide such guarantees, if needed……http://www.utilitydive.com/news/decommissioning-costs-a-blind-spot-in-the-nuclear-power-debate/425415/
US-Ukraine Coproduction of Weapons to Boost Risk of Nuclear War, http://sputniknews.com/politics/20160830/1044759268/us-ukraine-weapons-production.htmlUS and Ukraine joint production of weapons would seriously boost the risk of nuclear war between the United States and Russia, global peace campaigner Helen Caldicott told Sputnik. WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Last week, Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Valeriy Chaly proposed that Kiev and Washington should cooperate in producing weapons on Ukraine soil.
The system is reportedly thought to be capable of firing missiles at targets over 90 miles away. Independent, 31 Aug 16 Gabriel Samuels
The Fordow facility, situated roughly 60 miles south of the Iranian capital Tehran, is to be defended by a comprehensive S-300 surface-to-air missile defence system, supplied by the Russian government.
The system is thought to be capable of firing missiles at targets over 90 miles away and track potential threats within a 200 mile radius, carried on the back of large launcher trucks.
- Iranian state television broadcast footage showing the deployment of the system with General Farzad Esmaili telling reporters it was the air force’s “main priority” to protect the country’s nuclear facilities…….
- Operations at the Fordow uranium plant were thought to have ceased in January following an international agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for lifting sanctions on Tehran…….
Officials have stated the site is now primarily being used for nuclear research and the production of isotopes for medical purposes, after the facility was converted into a technology and science centre.
General Esmaili said the S-300 missiles were a mobile system which would be relocated often to protect a range of site across the area.
Iran says that it has never sought nuclear arms and that the security around the site is intended to protect it from American or Israeli airstrikes.
Russia began delivering the S-300 system this year under a contract signed in 2007, and Iran says the entire system should be in place by the end of the year. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iran-installs-air-missile-systems-around-former-nuclear-enrichment-plant-a7216846.html
As part of that state’s Clean Energy Standard, utilities will be required to buy “zero emission credits,” providing what is estimated to be a $500 million annual subsidy to keep the nuclear plants open. Nuclear power comprises nearly 30 percent of New York’s electricity supply.
The move came after nuclear operators warned they might be forced to shut down reactors early if they didn’t receive financial support for the zero-carbon fuel. Already, more than half a dozen nuclear plants across the country have been pegged for early retirement because they are losing money.
With victory in New York, it’s only natural for nuclear operators to use the momentum to go after subsidies in other states, wrote Kit Konolige, a senior utility industry analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, in a recent note.
“Companies probably will end up seeking billions of dollars from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio and Connecticut,” he wrote. “Closing nuclear plants could lead to higher carbon emissions and thousands of layoffs. Subsidizing them would boost electric bills and hurt rival generators’ margins.”
He speculated that the three operators of Pennsylvania’s five nuclear plants — Akron-based FirstEnergy, Illinois-based Exelon, and Talen Energy, based in Allentown — “could unite in Pennsylvania aid push” on the heels of the New York decision.
It’s not yet clear what the ask will look like and if it will rely on regulations or laws to prop up struggling nuclear plants.
Mr. Konolige noted that while Exelon, which operates two plants in New York, was successful in getting support through that state’s public utility commission, efforts to push nuclear subsidies through the legislature in its home state of Illinois did not pan out.
“It’s too early to tell which route will be taken in Pennsylvania,” Mr. Konolige wrote.
Nuclear plants, for decades a source of baseload generation and 20 percent of the electricity in the U.S., are falling victim to the same market dynamics pushing out coal plants: the low price of natural gas, which tends to set the electricity price paid to all sources on the grid.
Natural gas power plants also can ramp up and down fairly quickly, while nuclear plants must run continuously. That means when the grid price is lower than the operating costs, nuclear reactors have no choice but to run and lose money…..
During a company earnings call last month, FirstEnergy’s CEO Chuck Jones said the company is considering selling off its nonregulated generation plants, such as Beaver Valley, because the market dynamics don’t reward their reliability. He also said FirstEnergy is delaying by two years replacing the steam generator at one of the Beaver Valley reactors……http://powersource.post-gazette.com/powersource/policy-powersource/2016/08/30/After-New-York-props-up-nuclear-power-generation-sector-is-Pennsylvania-next/stories/201608300009
India US to advance talks on building six nuclear reactors Under the Indo-US nuclear cooperation agreement signed in October 2008, two US companies would build 12 atomic reactors, each with a capacity of 1000 MWs. Indian Express By: PTI | New Delhi :August 30, 2016 India and the US on Tuesday agreed to move forward on building six nuclear reactors and discussed ways to enhance cooperation in the field of atomic power and space.
John Kerry, US Secretary of State, who is here for the 2nd Indo-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD), said his country would want its civil nuclear cooperation with India to take shape in setting up of reactors.
“We have agreed now to move forward on six Westing House nuclear reactors which will provide energy for six million Indians, not to mention the enormous number of jobs (it will create)……
Under the Indo-US nuclear cooperation agreement signed in October 2008, two US companies would build 12 atomic reactors, each with a capacity of 1000 MWs. However, the US has often raised concern about hurdles faced by American companies over a series of issues.
Its major concerns like the liability clause in the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010 has already been addressed and talks between the WestingHouse Co, which will build six reactors, and the Indian side are on, sources said. The two sides are also cooperating in the field of space. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/india-us-to-advance-talks-on-building-six-nuclear-reactors-3004675/
The Anthropocene epoch: scientists declare dawn of human-influenced age Experts say human impact on Earth so profound that Holocene must give way to epoch defined by nuclear tests, plastic pollution and domesticated chicken, Guardian, Damian Carrington, 29 Aug 16, Humanity’s impact on the Earth is now so profound that a new geological epoch – the Anthropocene – needs to be declared, according to an official expert group who presented the recommendation to the International Geological Congress in Cape Town on Monday.
The new epoch should begin about 1950, the experts said, and was likely to be defined by the radioactive elements dispersed across the planet by nuclear bomb tests, although an array of other signals, including plastic pollution, soot from power stations, concrete, and even the bones left by the global proliferation of the domestic chicken were now under consideration.
The current epoch, the Holocene, is the 12,000 years of stable climate since the last ice age during which all human civilisation developed. But the striking acceleration since the mid-20th century of carbon dioxide emissions and sea level rise, the global mass extinction of species, and the transformation of land by deforestation and development mark the end of that slice of geological time, the experts argue. The Earth is so profoundly changed that the Holocene must give way to the Anthropocene………
To define a new geological epoch, a signal must be found that occurs globally and will be incorporated into deposits in the future geological record. For example, the extinction of the dinosaurs 66m years ago at the end of the Cretaceous epoch is defined by a “golden spike” in sediments around the world of the metal iridium, which was dispersed from the meteorite that collided with Earth to end the dinosaur age.
For the Anthropocene, the best candidate for such a golden spike are radioactive elements from nuclear bomb tests, which were blown into the stratosphere before settling down to Earth. “The radionuclides are probably the sharpest – they really come on with a bang,” said Zalasiewicz. “But we are spoiled for choice. There are so many signals.”
Other spikes being considered as evidence of the onset of the Anthropocene include the tough, unburned carbon spheres emitted by power stations. “The Earth has been smoked, with signals very clearly around the world in the mid-20th century,” said Zalasiewicz.
Other candidates include plastic pollution, aluminium and concrete particles, and high levels of nitrogen and phosphate in soils, derived from artificial fertilisers. Although the world is currently seeing only the sixth mass extinction of species in the 700m-year history of complex life on Earth, this is unlikely to provide a useful golden spike as the animals are by definition very rare and rarely dispersed worldwide.
In contrast, some species have with human help spread rapidly across the world. ……..https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/29/declare-anthropocene-epoch-experts-urge-geological-congress-human-impact-earth
Protests outside nuke conference venue in Manila http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/protests-outside-nuke-conference-venue-in-manila-116083000516_1.html IANS | Manila August 30, 2016 Around a dozen protesters gathered outside the venue of an international conference on nuclear power in this capital city on Tuesday, denouncing the development of atomic power in the Philippines.
The conference on the prospects of nuclear power in the Asia Pacific region hosted by thePhilippinesDepartment of Energy (DOE) brought together representatives from 18 countries who are members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to discuss the issues and challenges of nuclear power, reports Efe news .
They also shouted slogans warning of the dangers of nuclear power and the threat of meltdowns, like the one at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. he protest was motivated by fears that the government is using the conference to revive the dormant Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, about 100 km west of Manila, which was built during the time of late Philippinesdictator Ferdinand Marcos but has never launched.
The conference will run until Thursday
MANILA – The Philippines is looking into operating the country’s only nuclear power plant, built four decades ago at more than $2 billion but never used, to ensure the long-term supply of clean and cheap electricity, its energy minister said.
The Southeast Asian country is joining more than two dozen other countries looking to add nuclear power to their energy mix, including neighbors Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said on Tuesday reviving the mothballed 620-megawatt nuclear plant in Bataan province, northwest of Manila, will require a $1 billion investment.
Nuclear generation is one of the options for the Philippines to meet its growing power needs, with annual electricity demand expected to rise by an average 5 percent until 2030, he said. “We have to weigh all our options, with emphasis not just on meeting capacity requirements, but sustainability and environmental obligations as well,” Cusi said, speaking at the opening of a three-day international conference on nuclear power in Manila.
Cusi will revive a government task force created in 2007 to study nuclear power as an alternative to imported fuel oil and coal, which currently provide more than half of the country’s energy mix.
He said technical experts, including those from the International Atomic Energy Agency, have been invited to help the country identify the next steps and come up with a “well-informed” decision.
Cusi is not committing any timetable for the study, but he expects the move to reignite protests against the project, especially by environmentalists and the Catholic Church arguing restarting the plant is unsafe and expensive.
“We need to move away from fossil fuels like coal but nuclear energy is not safe and will also harm the people and environment,” said Zaira Patricia Baniaga of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice in a statement issued before the conference.
The late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos order the plant built in 1976 in response to rising energy prices and it was finished in 1984.
The facility never started generating electricity after it was declared unsafe because it sits on a major earthquake fault line and lies near the Pinatubo volcano, which was dormant at that time.
Pinatubo’s 1991 eruption had no effect on the Bataan plant, 70 km (45 miles) away, but the project was mothballed in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.
A decade ago Manila looked into reopening the plant but the 2011 Fukushima nuclear incident renewed concerns about safety.
Ambitious Nuclear Expansion Is Causing Problems For China. Oil Price, By Irina Slav – Aug 29, 2016, China General Nuclear Power Corp. has been indicted by the FBI on allegations that it has been trying to illegally acquire nuclear technology secrets from its U.S. consultants. According to the indictment, the country has been working with said consultants for years – and has been pressuring them into handing over sensitive trade information – pursuing Beijing’s international nuclear expansion ambitions.
Last month, Britain’s PM Theresa May postponed the go-ahead for the construction of the country’s biggest NPP in several decades, Hinckley Point, citing concerns about Chinese interference in British national security. The Chinese company behind Hinckley Point is China General Nuclear Power Corp.
These two cases have highlighted China’s growing ambitions in the nuclear field – not just domestic but international. They have also highlighted the inherent suspicion that Western governments feel towards China. In the case with the U.S. consultants, it’s very likely that the charges are legitimate, despite CGNP issuing a statement that said it “always sticks to the principle of following laws and regulations.”……
China has very aggressive international nuclear ambitions. The country’s state-owned nuclear power companies have been working with international leaders such as France’s Areva and EDF, and Westinghouse, on developing its own nuclear reactor that Beijing hopes to start exporting on a large scale.
The reactor in question is Hualong One, and it has been exported to two countries to date, Pakistan and Argentina. Both deals include financing for the construction of the power plants from Chinese sources, which is the model China used to get into road construction and other infrastructure in Africa an the Middle East, AP notes.
CGNP’s investment in the $24-billion Hinckley Point is yet another aspect of China’s international nuclear ambitions. Experts, however, are wary of the success of this ambition. Many warn that China has yet to win the trust of its potential clients – even though no Chinese nuclear plant has so far made headlines by causing a disaster, general sentiment towards nuclear energy is suspicious, and as a result, safety standards are very stringent. In addition to this stringency, they also vary from country to country, so Chinese reactor builders will have to be very flexible in their offer if they want to convince their potential clients to become actual ones.
What’s more, this market is extremely competitive, and there are clear global leaders, such as the aforementioned French and U.S. companies. These companies have the experience, the track record, and the reputation that ensure their place at the top. China lacks all of these, so pushing into the international nuclear reactor market may prove difficult.
Still, it has enough to do at home, with 20 reactors in construction and more planned in order to raise the country’s nuclear generation capacity to at least 58 GWe over the next five to six years, and further to 150 GWe by 2030……http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Ambitious-Nuclear-Expansion-Is-Causing-Problems-For-China.html
Nuclear Plants Had 21 Breaches Last Year And Officials Are Looking At China http://dailycaller.com/2016/08/29/nuclear-plants-had-21-breaches-last-year-and-officials-are-looking-at-china/ ANDREW FOLLETT Britain’s nuclear power plants had 21 security breaches last year and experts suspect that China might be involved, U.K. police announced Monday.
The Civil Nuclear Constabulary, which is in charge of security at nuclear plants, found 13 cases of identity cards and similar materials being lost or stolen at the plants that could be used to grant access to one of the country’s eleven nuclear reactors. In one case, armory access codes were accidentally emailed to unauthorized personnel.
“It sets alarm bells ringing that so many security failures could have happened at a time when there are plans to expand the UK nuclear industry,” Dr. David Lowry, a research fellow at the US Institute for Resource and Security Studies, told The Ferret.
The Ferret obtained a document detailing each of the 21 nuclear plant security breaches in 2015. The documents shows the number of security breaches has substantially risen from only 13 last year, and some are worried that some of the breaches may have been a result of espionage. Eight of the security breaches, however, were actually caused by the police themselves.
Despite the espionage concerns, a columnist for a Chinese state-run media outlet called Britain’s reluctance to approve Hinkley Point a result of “China-phobia.”
The Chinese pundit attacked May for delaying the approval of the Hinkley Point nuclear power project — one third of which will be paid for by the state-owned China General Nuclear Power. May’s decision came after U.S. officials charged CGNP with espionage.
May initially considered canceling the Hinkley Point nuclear plant due to its high costs and environmentalist opposition before the Chinese company behind the project was charged with nuclear espionage by the U.S. government in August.
When and Why Will Ukrainian Power Grid Collapse – UA Nuclear Reform Group Fort Russ, August 29th, 2016 Translated by Tatzhit Mihail Umanets, co-director of the reform committee for the atomic-industrial complex of Ukraine, and the former director of Chernobyl nuclear power plant:
- 1 NUCLEAR ISSUES
- business and costs
- climate change
- indigenous issues
- marketing of nuclear
- opposition to nuclear
- politics international
- Religion and ethics
- secrets,lies and civil liberties
- weapons and war
- 2 WORLD
- MIDDLE EAST
- NORTH AMERICA
- SOUTH AMERICA
- Christina's notes
- Christina's themes
- global warming
- RARE EARTHS
- resources – print
- Resources -audiovicual
- World Nuclear