nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Switzerland’ binding referendum – voted to ban nuclear plants, shift to renewable energy

Switzerland votes to ban nuclear plants, shift to renewable energy, in referendum ABC News 22 May 17  Swiss voters have backed the Government’s plan to provide billions of dollars in subsidies for renewable energy, ban new nuclear plants and help bail out struggling utilities in a binding referendum.

Key points:

  • Provisional data shows nearly 60 per cent backed Government plan
  • Solar and wind account for less than 5 per cent of Switzerland’s energy output
  • Voters get final say on major policy issues in Switzerland

Provisional final figures showed support at 58.2 per cent under the Swiss system of direct democracy, which gives voters final say on major policy issues.

The Swiss initiative mirrors efforts elsewhere in Europe to reduce dependence on nuclear power, partly sparked by Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011.

Germany aims to phase out nuclear power by 2022, while Austria banned it decades ago.

“The results shows the population wants a new energy policy and does not want any new nuclear plants,” Energy Minister Doris Leuthard said, adding the law would boost domestic renewable energy, cut fossil fuel use and reduce reliance on foreign supplies……. http://www.abc.net.au/n

May 22, 2017 Posted by | politics, Switzerland | Leave a comment

Breakthrough for North Korea’s missile test – re-entry to Earth’s atmsophere

North Korea missile passes re-entry test in breakthrough for nuclear programme, Telegraph,  in Tokyo 20 MAY 2017
The ballistic missile launched by North Korea on May 14 successfully re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere, according to analysts, a significant breakthrough for Pyongyang’s missile programme.

Defence officials in South Korea and the US have confirmed that the launch of the liquid- fuel Hwasong-12 was a success.

North Korea claimed that the weapon reached an altitude of 2,111.5 km (1,312 miles) and travelled a distance of 489 miles before breaching Japan’s Air Defence Identification Zone and splashing down in the Sea of Japan……..

After numerous test launches, North Korean scientists have already mastered long-range guidance and control capabilities, while a series of underground tests have demonstrated that the regime of Kim Jong-un has acquired nuclear weapons.

 As a result of the latest North Korean test, US authorities have decided to extend the deployment of the USS Carl Vinson and its strike group in the Sea of Japan. The fleet – described as an “armada” by President Donald Trump – was due to depart from the region after the USS Ronald Reagan, another aircraft carrier, completed a refit at the US naval base at Yokosuka, Japan.

The USS Ronald Reagan put to sea on May 16 and the two strike groups are now scheduled to carry out manoeuvres with South Korean warships in the coming weeks…http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/20/northkorea-missile-passes-re-entry-test-breakthrough-nuclear/

May 22, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

North Korea’s vast military capabilities, even without nuclear weapons

How much damage could North Korea unleash even without nuclear weapons?, ABC News By Michael Collett, 21 May 17, There’s been a lot of focus on North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, and specifically, its hopes of developing a missile that could deliver a nuclear strike on the United States.

But what can be lost in the discussion of the country’s recent missile tests is the vast military capabilities the country already has.

This morning, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said any military solution to the North Korea crisis would be “tragic on an unbelievable scale”.

This is why a diplomatic solution is widely seen as the only solution.

What do we know about North Korea’s military?

Nick Bisley, executive director of La Trobe Asia and editor-in-chief of the Australian Journal of International Affairs, says the military is the second most important institution in North Korea behind the Kim dynasty.

“The whole economy and the purpose of the state is organised around ensuring that the military has vast capacity,” he said.

So despite North Korea having an estimated population of about 25 million — not much more than Australia — it has the second biggest military in Asia behind China……..

North Korea has vast artillery capabilities that are targeted on Seoul, which has a population of 10 million and is less than an hour’s drive from the DMZ……..

Ultimately, it’s all about regime security.

“Yes, there’s a paranoid streak in North Korean thinking, but it’s not unfounded. There is someone who’s out to get them,” Professor Bisley said…… http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-20/what-can-north-korea-already-do-without-nuclear-weapons/8543532

May 22, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Trump and retinue in Saudi Arabia – the main event $110 billion arms package

Saudis welcome Trump with gold medal, receive arms package, By JULIE PACE and JONATHAN LEMIRE, RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP), 21 May 17  — President Donald Trump basked in Saudi Arabia’s lavish royal welcome Saturday as he left behind, at least temporarily, the snowballing controversies dogging him in Washington. Trump rewarded his hosts with a $110 billion arms package aimed at bolstering Saudi security and a slew of business agreements.

“That was a tremendous day, tremendous investments in the United States,” Trump said during a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef……..

Trump made no substantial remarks on his first day abroad and spent most of his time shuttling between opulent palace ballrooms with the king. The two were overheard discussing natural resources and arms, and Salman bemoaned the destruction caused by Syria’s civil war.

The most tangible agreement between the two leaders was the $110 billion sale of military equipment to Saudi Arabia that is effective immediately and could expand up to $350 billion over 10 years. The deal includes tanks, combat ships, missile defense systems, radar and communications, and cybersecurity technology. The State Department said the agreement could support “tens of thousands of new jobs in the United States.”

Trump was joined on the trip by the CEOs of several major U.S. companies, which announced their own agreements with the Saudis. Among them was a $15 billion arrangement with GE focused on power, oil and gas, and health care.

The president was trailed on the trip by a large number of advisers, including Tillerson, chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon. Trump’s son-in law, Jared Kushner, and daughter Ivanka, both senior advisers, were also part of the official delegation………https://www.apnews.com/0f8266623c3548e1952525d93011bd56

May 22, 2017 Posted by | politics international, Saudi Arabia, USA | Leave a comment

Election of Rouhani s good result for Tehran’s compliance with nuclear deal

Elysee: Rouhani reelection gives hope for Tehran’s compliance with nuclear deal http://theiranproject.com/blog/2017/05/21/elysee-rouhani-reelection-gives-hope-tehrans-compliance-nuclear-deal/  – The office of French President Emmanuel Macron said that the reelection of Hassan Rouhani as Iranian President gives hope for the country’s compliance with the nuclear deal.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The reelection of Hassan Rouhani as Iranian President gives hope for the country’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) aimed at settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue, the office of French President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement.

“The reelection of President Rouhani strengthens the hope that his government will abide accurately by the historic agreement of July 14, 2015, which allowed to regulate through the diplomatic means the disagreements on the nuclear issue and to engage in the new stage of the relations between Iran and the international community. France, in turn, will continue to exercise vigilance over the strict implementation of [the agreement’s] elements,” the statement distributed by Macron’s press office read.

In the document, the French president congratulated his Iranian counterpart on the reelection and expressed hope for the improvement of the economic, scientific and cultural ties between Tehran and Paris.

Apart from this, Macron called on Iran to contribute to the settlement of the crises in the Middle East.

“Adhering to the development of the political dialogue with Iran, France reiterates the necessity of the diplomatic regulation of the conflicts in the Middle East and urges Iran to participate in it,” the statement stressed.

May 22, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) wanting to take over Britain’s Moorside nuclear project?

Times 21st May 2017 A Chinese state-owned power giant has set its sights on the £15bn nuclear plant planned for the Cumbrian coast. State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) is considering investing in Toshiba’s troubled NuGen
project at Moorside — risking a collision with Theresa May and her new interventionist approach to foreign takeovers.

Industry sources said a delegation from SNPTC and its parent, State Power Investment Corporation, was due in London. Eight senior officials will meet executives from NuGen and Britain’s atomic power trade body, the Nuclear Industry Association, on Tuesday.

It is unclear whether the election hiatus will hinder meetings with Whitehall officials. The talks underline China’s ambitions in nuclear power after another state-owned giant, China General Nuclear, bankrolled the £18bn Hinkley Point plant in Somerset. CGN took a 33% stake in Hinkley but its ultimate ambition is to build a power station, fuelled
with its own home-grown reactors, at Bradwell in Essex.

Sources said SNPTC could seek to power NuGen with its own reactor — a derivative of Westinghouse’s AP1000 model, which is planned for the site. SNPTC could not be reached for comment. NuGen said it was exploring a “universe of
options” for investment.   https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/business/chinese-eye-rescue-of-nuclear-plant-qlj09k5wn

May 22, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, China, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

A nuclear accident in South Korea could contaminate Western Japan, more eriously than South Korea

South Korean nuclear power plant accident would heavily taint western Japan: simulation http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/05/21/national/science-health/nuclear-accident-south-korean-plant-leave-western-japan-massively-contaminated-study/#.WSJ_W5KGPGg

KYODO  A nuclear accident at a power plant in South Korea could cause wider radiation contamination in western Japan than on its home soil, a study by a South Korean scientist has shown.

If a cooling system fails at the spent-fuel storage pools at the Kori power plant’s No. 3 reactor in Busan, massive amounts of cesium-137 would be released that could potentially reach western Japan, according to a simulation by Jungmin Kang of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a U.S. think tank.

In the worst-case scenario, up to 67,000 sq. km of Japanese soil would be contaminated and 28.3 million people would be forced to evacuate, the study said, though the fallout’s spread would depend on the season.

As for South Korea, an accident at the plant could taint more than half of the nation by contaminating up to 54,000 sq. km, it said.

A total of 818 tons of spent nuclear fuel were stored in pools at the site as of the end of 2015, Kang said. He said an accident could be triggered not only by natural disasters but by terrorism or a missile from North Korea.

May 22, 2017 Posted by | Japan, safety, South Korea | Leave a comment

Hanford nuclear waste site – a possible leak

Possible leak found at Washington nuclear site, NewsFix, MAY 21, 2017, BY CNN WIRE, WASHINGTON — Authorities at Washington state’s Hanford nuclear waste site are investigating a possible leak after discovering radioactive material on a worker’s clothing. The discovery follows an incident two weeks earlier in which a site tunnel collapsed, sparking fears of radiation exposure.

Washington River Protection Solutions, a contractor working at the site, on Thursday detected high readings of radiation on a robotic device known as a crawler that workers were pulling out of a nuclear waste tank. Contamination was also discovered on the clothing of one of the workers.

“Established decontamination procedures were followed, which involves removing the contaminated clothing. Further surveying the worker showed no contamination remained. No other workers were affected, and all members of the crew were cleared for normal duty,” said WRPS spokesman Peter Bengtson.

The Double-Shell Tank AZ-101 contains 800,000 gallons of nuclear waste, according to the Washington Department of Ecology, which oversees the Hanford site. The nuclear plant is located in the south-central part of Washington state, about 45 miles from Yakima.

Using leak-detection instruments, WRPS said it did not find liquid escaping the tank. However, workers are preparing a plan to conduct a visual inspection by video.

State officials are also urging the US Department of Energy to investigate the incident and determine the safety of the site…….http://cw39.com/2017/05/21/possible-leak-found-at-washington-nuclear-site/

May 22, 2017 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear storage plan at San Onofre beach leaves out tribal voices

Beachfront Nuclear Wasteland in Southern California? Nuclear storage plan at San Onofre beach leaves out tribal voices, Indian Country Today  Dina Gilio-Whitaker • May 15, 2017

A controversial plan to temporarily store more than three million pounds of spent nuclear fuel 100 feet from one of Southern California’s most popular beaches, San Onofre, is meeting with fierce resistance from local communities, including tribal members. The problem for the Native population is that while the formal decision-making process systematically involved a wide variety of stakeholders including local and state governments, community groups, environmentalists, academics, military, and business, education, and labor leaders, tribal governments were excluded.

The Backstory

Halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, and with eight million people living within a 50-mile radius, the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) looms above what is otherwise a pristine stretch of coastline. It is surrounded by San Onofre State Park, one of the state’s busiest parks, which sits within the Camp Pendleton Marine Base. San Onofre is the traditional territory of the Acjachemen people, who know the area as Panhe. Prior to colonization, San Onofre was also territory shared by the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians (Luiseño). Both are state-recognized tribes. All these factors mean there are many different people with strong opinions about nuclear waste storage near their communities.

The aging “nuke plant,” as local residents call it, is owned primarily by Southern California Edison, and was permanently shut down in 2013 after a discovery that it was leaking radioactive gas. It is scheduled for full decommissioning; at issue is how and where to store the accumulated radioactive waste in the short term before a long-term plan can be worked out.

“To the best of our knowledge, our tribal government was never contacted by Edison,” Rebecca Robles, Acjachemen tribal member and co-director of the United Coalition to Protect Panhe, told ICMN. Other local tribal leaders declined to comment……

Spent fuel rods currently stored in cooling pools in SONGS’ two reactors need to be removed to dry storage, which according to studies is safer. SONGS planned to move more than 100 steel casks encased in concrete containers and bury them onsite just 100 feet from the high-tide mark in an area already plagued by erosion. In addition, ocean levels at that site are rising faster than expected, according to a recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey. Google Earth images highlight the reason that residents are so alarmed by the location of the storage, as the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

With increased awareness of the issue has come increased public criticism. Critics believe burying the waste so close to the beach in an earthquake-prone region is a recipe for disaster, in light of the 2011 Fukushima catastrophe, according to the Orange County Register.

They also believe that the 5/8-inch steel casks that SONGS plans to use are far too flimsy, according to a report by the citizen group San Onofre Safety.

Because SONGS is in the coastal zone it is subject to California Coastal Commission rules, and was granted a permit by the commission to temporarily store the waste for 20 years. In November 2015 the community watchdog group Citizen’s Oversight filed a lawsuit against the Coastal Commission, demanding that the permit be revoked and another site found, Reuters reported. Citizen’s Oversight and the state are now negotiating a settlement, Fox 5 News reported on April 7.

Decisions Made Without Tribal Input……. State law AB 52 requires consultation with tribal governments before it issues permits for development-related projects, prompting questions about why local Native nations weren’t consulted in this case……

It remains to be seen if or how the lawsuit negotiations will affect the location of the waste storage site. No matter what happens, however, this is only the beginning stage of the interim storage at SONGS and there will be a need for the Community Engagement Panel for years to come to monitor the issue. That means there is still plenty of reason for a tribal appointment.https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/environment/beachfront-nuclear-wastelandsouthern-california/

May 22, 2017 Posted by | indigenous issues, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Costly consequences for UK nuclear industry, following Brexit

UK nuclear industry faces Brexit fall-out, Climate News Network, May 17, 2017, by Paul Brown,  Leaving the EU treaty that prevents radioactive materials falling into the wrong hands could prove costly for the UK nuclear industry.

LONDON,  – The UK’s vote to leave the European Union has put the country’s nuclear industry at risk because its trade in radioactive materials will be forbidden under international law.

In the worst case scenario, legal experts say, the lights could go out in the UK, but they think the more probable outcome is simply that the government will find itself with an expensive industrial problem and an embarrassing diplomatic mess.

The unintended consequence for the British nuclear industry of last year’s referendum vote to leave the EU is that the decision will also take the UK out of the Euratom treaty that protects the EU’s nuclear industry against radioactive material falling into the hands of rogue states or terrorist groups.

Nuclear power stations already provide about one-fifth of the UK’s electricity, and the government has ambitious plans to build at least 10 more reactors as part of its strategy to cut carbon emissions.

It has withdrawn subsidies from onshore wind and solar power, and underwritten new nuclear stations instead.

However, the industry relies on foreign companies − based both in the EU and outside − that provide parts, fuel and raw materials. When the UK leaves Euratom, this trade will be contrary to international law.

Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industries Association, which represents 260 companies, says: “There is scope for real and considerable disruption.”

Nuclear materials

The Euratom safeguards are applied by the European Commission to provide confidence that nuclear materials in the EU are not diverted from their declared end use, which is producing electricity from uranium and plutonium, and dealing with the waste that results.

This enables countries inside the EU to trade with other member states in construction and providing parts and staff for nuclear power stations. It also allows trade in such dangerous materials as plutonium, uranium and spent fuel, provided it is both safe and for peaceful purposes.

There is no precedent for a member state leaving the EU. But, in theory, when the UK does so − and therefore leaves Euratom − possibly as soon as two years from now, this trade must cease, otherwise member states will be breaking the terms of the treaty.

This would effectively paralyse not only the UK industry, which relies on international trade to survive, but also many of its trading partners in the EU, and also Japan, China and the US, all of which the UK has nuclear deals with that would need a new safeguard regime in place in order to continue…….

Dame Sue Ion, chair of the Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board, which was established by the UK government in 2013, said a whole lot of new international agreements would have to be in place before anything in the nuclear sector could be transferred between countries.

“We would be crippled without other agreements in place,” she said. – Climate News Network http://climatenewsnetwork.net/uk-nuclear-industry-fall-brexit/

May 22, 2017 Posted by | Legal, UK | Leave a comment

Makeshift fix for breached Hanford radioactive waste tunnel

Temporary cover in place over breached Hanford radioactive waste tunnel, BY ANNETTE CARY, acary@tricityherald.com  21 May 17, Heavy plastic was pulled over the top of a Hanford waste storage tunnel on Saturday, helping keep the radioactive contents of the tunnel contained while a more permanent fix is planned.

May 22, 2017 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

While resident electricity rates soared, SCANA nuclear power executives received $3.5 million in bonuses

SCANA executives received $3.5 million in bonuses since 2008May 20, 2017 

SCANA executives have received $3.5 million in bonuses since 2008, according to public records.

The bonuses were awarded during the same time period in which SCANA subsidiary South Carolina Electric & Gas raised electric rates nine times for residential customers, public records show.

Bonuses came as costs have skyrocketed for two AP1000 reactors under construction at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Facility in Fairfax County. SCANA is a 55 percent owner of the reactors; Santee Cooper owns 45 percent.

The reactors are now years behind schedule and at least $2.5 billion over budget, government records show.

Westinghouse, the lead contractor at V.C. Summer, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on March 29. SCANA and Santee Cooper are temporarily assuming costs of construction at V.C. Summer per terms of an interim assessment agreement reached with Westinghouse in April.

SCANA awarded bonuses to executives in 2008-2009 and 2012-2014, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Individual bonus amounts ranged $36,600 to $500,000.

The bonuses are in addition to salary and compensation figures appearing in special reports published by the Aiken Standard.

In April, the Aiken Standard reported that the top five SCANA executives collectively received about $937,000 in compensation increases from 2015 to 2016. Total compensation rose from $13.06 million to nearly $14 million, public records show…….. http://www.aikenstandard.com/news/scana-executives-received-million-in-bonuses-since/article_096b889c-3cc3-11e7-8084-1bfa19a56d00.html

May 22, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Environmental pollution from North Korea’s underground nuclear tests a concern for China

China fears NK nuke leaks, Korea Times, By Oh Young-jin, 2017-05-21 China fears environmental contamination and earthquakes that may be triggered by North Korea’s underground nuclear tests, possibly bringing Beijing to the breaking point of its patience with its blood-sealed but increasingly defiant ally, a Chinese scholar said during an interview Friday.

“Chinese people in the northeast region that borders North Korea are fearful that they will fall victim to contaminated water and seismic disruptions from its nuclear blasts,” Professor Zhu Feng of Nanjing University told The Korea Times. The interview was held before his lecture on the Korea-China-U.S. relationship, sponsored by the Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies.Punggye-ri, North Hamgyong Province, which has served as the site for four of the five nuclear tests and will certainly accommodate a sixth, is within hundreds of kilometers of population centers in northeastern China. It is also quite close to Mt. Baekdu, a volcanic mountain that some experts fear may have another big eruption after the one in 946…….https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2017/05/120_229715.html

May 22, 2017 Posted by | China, environment | Leave a comment

UK election: party policies signal the end of new nuclear power

It now looks increasingly as if the Hinkley C project may be quietly shelved, or even cancelled, with the agreement of both UK and French governments.

And beyond that the prospects for new nuclear power in the UK have never been gloomier. The only way new nuclear power stations will ever be built in the UK is with massive political and financial commitment from government. That commitment is clearly absent.

So yes, this finally looks like the end of the UK’s ‘nuclear renaissance’. Not with a bang, nor even with a whimper, but with a deep and profoundly meaningful silence. Not a moment too soon.

Conservative election manifesto signals the end of new nuclear power, Ecologist, Oliver Tickell & Ian Fairlie, 18th May 2017  After years of pro-nuclear bombast from the Conservative Party, its 2017 manifesto hasn’t got a single word to say about nuclear power, write Oliver Tickell & Ian Fairlie. Instead it announces a renewed focus on cutting energy costs, and a big boost for increasingly low-cost wind power; while both Labour and Libdems offer only weak, highly qualified support for new nuclear build. And so the great British ‘nuclear renaissance’ reaches its timely end.

All of a sudden the UK’s political parties want to have nothing to do with nuclear power.

This much is clear from the party manifestos – notably that of the Conservative Party, published yesterday.

OK, it does not announce an end to Britain’s massive 10GW nuclear power programme set out in the Cameron-Osborne years of government.

In fact, it does not even mention nuclear power. Instead it states that a future Tory government will remain sublimely indifferent to how our electricity is generated, so long as it’s reliable, cheap and low carbon:……

now, it’s all about keeping costs down, says the 2017 manifesto: “We want to make sure that the cost of energy in Britain is internationally competitive, both for businesses and households … Our ambition is that the UK should have the lowest energy costs in Europe, both for households and businesses. So as we upgrade our energy infrastructure, we will do it in an affordable way, consistent with that ambition.”

And one sure way not to deliver cheap energy to the UK is to build new nuclear power stations. if Hinkley C is ever built, UK energy users will be paying more than double the current wholesale power price, inflation adjusted, for 35 years from the time it opens, something that could cost the UK economy £50-100 billion.

Labour and the Libdems: a pocketful of mumbles

By contrast, Labour does give nuclear power a specific mention it is manifesto – just a rather small one that adds up to no real commitment to anything.

“The UK has the world’s oldest nuclear industry, and nuclear will continue to be part of the UK energy supply. We will support further nuclear projects and protect nuclear workers’ jobs and pensions. There are considerable opportunities for nuclear power and decommissioning both internationally and domestically.”

Let’s decipher. Yes, nuclear power will continue to be part of energy supply as we still have quite a few old nuclear power stations that we are not about to shut down.

What about “We will support further nuclear projects”? What kind of nuclear projects? How about decommissioning, nuclear waste management, production of medical isotopes … ? Do these projects include nuclear power? They’re not telling. Most likely (after all we know that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is firmly anti-nuclear) these are warm but empty words to placate powerful nuclear-supporting trades unions like the GMB and Unite.

And what kind of ‘support’? Speeches in the House of Commons? Or tens of billions of pounds of hard cash. It’s hard to say. Does this add up to a firm commitment to build a fleet of new nuclear power stations at massive public cost? Hardly.

The Libdem position is similarly weak, promising only that “We will … Accept that new nuclear power stations can play a role in electricity supply provided concerns about safety, disposal of waste and cost are adequately addressed, new technology is incorporated, and there is no public subsidy for new build.”

We know perfectly well that nuclear power is hugely expensive, intrinsically unsafe due to its potential for massive harm (look only to Fukushima), can only operate with enormous public subsidies, and that no one has yet figured out a way to keep nuclear wastes safely contained for tens of thousands of years, an informed interpretation of this statement might go: “Nuclear power? Not on your nelly!”…….

Meanwhile the SNP says it wants no new nuclear power stations in Scotland; and Plaid Cymu leader Leanne Wood is opposed to new nuclear power, but her executive supports Wylfa because of the jobs. Got that?

Why the turnaround?

It has surely become clear to politicians that nuclear power is in a death spiral, terminally afflicted by:

  • very high costs, at least double those of conventional generation, which can only be carried by governments, taxpayers and energy users at the expense of more deserving and productive investments;
  • apparently unconstructable reactor designs hit by massive cost overruns and delays in France, Finland and the USA;
  • the bankruptcy of the world’s biggest nuclear power contractor, the Toshiba-owned Westinghouse – lined up to build a massive new nuclear complex at Moorside in Cumbria with three AP1000 reactors – mainly as a result of these cost overruns and delays on AP1000 projects in the USA;
  • the parlous condition of the French parastatals EDF and Areva, which survive only thanks to the inexhaustible largesse of French taxpayers;
  • investor reluctance to have anything to do with new nuclear power stations unless returns are guaranteed in cast iron contracts at huge expense to taxpayers;
  • the continuing lack of a long term solution for nuclear waste storage / disposal;
  • the inflexibility of nuclear power stations, which means that they overproduce when electricity is in surplus, while being unable to keep up with demand when power is desperately needed;
  • the continuing precipitous decline in the cost of disruptive ‘new energy’ technologies such as solar, wind, including offshore wind, grid-scale batteries, power to gas, smart grid, set to continue and gather pace for many years to come.

So what’s the alternative? Given that onshore wind is already the cheapest new source of power generation, and offshore wind costs are falling rapidly (and are already far cheaper than new nuclear), wind power really should have a big role. So check out this statement from the Conservative manifesto:

“While we do not believe that more large-scale onshore wind power is right for England, we will maintain our position as a global leader in offshore wind and support the development of wind projects in the remote islands of Scotland, where they will directly benefit local communities.”

This commits a future Tory government to maintaining a strong pipeline of large offshore wind projects, while opening the door to medium and small scale onshore wind power in England, as well as to large scale wind on Scottish islands and elsewhere in the devolved nations. What it ultimately means is that wind power has a great future in the UK – in stark contrast to previous policy…….

Not with a bang, nor even a whimper

It now looks increasingly as if the Hinkley C project may be quietly shelved, or even cancelled, with the agreement of both UK and French governments.

And beyond that the prospects for new nuclear power in the UK have never been gloomier. The only way new nuclear power stations will ever be built in the UK is with massive political and financial commitment from government. That commitment is clearly absent.

So yes, this finally looks like the end of the UK’s ‘nuclear renaissance’. Not with a bang, nor even with a whimper, but with a deep and profoundly meaningful silence. Not a moment too soon.http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2988965/conservative_election_manifesto_signals_the_end_of_new_nuclear_power.html

 

May 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Cold War nuclear weapons warped Earth’s magnetosphere – what will a nuclear war do?

BOMBSHELL FINDING  Cold War nuclear weapons warped Earth’s magnetosphere – revealing what the true fallout could be if World War 3 broke out

Chaos sparked by Cold War nuke tests is only just becoming apparent – and it’s a chilling prediction of what might be in store for our fragile planet, The Sun By Margi Murphy, 19th May 2017 

May 20, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment