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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Toshiba’s c rippling burden of its overseas nuclear business

toshiba-and-nukeOverseas nuclear business a huge burden on Toshiba , text-relevantJapan News, February 22, 2017 By Miho Yokoi / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writer   Toshiba Corp. has been facing a need to review its nuclear business because it has been a drag on the company’s reconstruction efforts, mostly caused by the huge loss booked in reactor building projects in the United States and construction delays in other countries.

Nonetheless, it will not be easy for the major electronics and machinery maker to considerably shrink its nuclear business overseas because there are only a handful of entities that can build such facilities.

Toshiba will likely book a loss of more than ¥700 billion for the April-December 2016 period, and U.S. subsidiary Westinghouse Electric Co. is a major factor behind the result…….

It is likely that Toshiba will face a ballooning loss if construction for the reactors [Plant Vogtle  in Georgia, USA) continues to be delayed. “It would be a lie if we say there’s no risk at all,” said Corporate Vice President Mamoru Hatazawa.

Toshiba won contracts for building two reactors in Texas in 2009, but their construction has not yet started. The projects have been affected by the increase in the amount of U.S. shale gas production, which has caused fuel prices for thermal power generation to nosedive, thereby boosting needs for a method with cheaper running costs.

Meanwhile, Toshiba’s nuclear businesses in countries other than the United States have also been facing an uphill battle.

In China, for example, Westinghouse has undertaken construction of four nuclear reactors, originally with an aim to put them into operation between 2013 and 2015. However, none of them has been completed because of delays in the work.

The U.S. subsidiary also hoped to win contracts for developing six reactors in India, but the plan has been stalled because it is so risky for a builder to sign a contract under the current Indian law, which obliges the entity to assume liability for compensation in the event of a nuclear accident……..http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003536775

February 24, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

New Mexico bill stalled – would have classed nuclear power as “renewable”

renewable-lie

Bill to label nuclear energy as renewable stalls A bill aimed at classifying nuclear power as a renewable energy source in New Mexico stalled Thursday afternoon in committee on a tie vote.

House Bill 406, sponsored by Rep. Cathrynn Brown, R-Carlsbad, would have amended the state’s Renewable Energy Act, which requires energy companies provide a certain amount of electricity from renewable sources…. New  Mexico Political Report 24 Feb 17 

Nuclear Is Renewable Energy? http://krwg.org/post/nuclear-renewable-energy
By CVNM •Santa Fe, N.M. 24 Feb 17  – Today, the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee debated Nuclear Energy as Renewable Energy (HB 406, Brown). The bill was tabled on a tied vote. CVNM Legislative Director Ben Shelton and CVNM Education Fund Western New Mexico Program Director Talia Boyd released the following statements:

“Nuclear energy is part of the problem, not the solution. Proposing to classify nuclear as renewable energy – as Governor Martinez did her in energy plan – disrespects the sacrifice Indigenous communities in western New Mexico have already made and continue to make with their health from the impacts of uranium mining,” says Ben Shelton, CVNM Legislative Director. “In addition, adding nuclear energy to the Renewable Energy Portfolio standard neutralizes its job creating potential because of nuclear assets already held by New Mexico’s two largest electric utilities – something our leaders should not consider a possibility.”

“My community in Gallup and Church Rock have witnessed our health, culture, families, and land be desecrated and sacrificed for uranium – an industry that many in our communities do not want, as demonstrated by a ban on uranium mining passed by the Navajo Nation in 2005,” says Talia Boyd, CVNM Education Fund Western New Mexico Organizer and member of the Diné Nation.

“Communities that have been living with the impacts of poor energy policy need to be at the table shaping our energy future by putting hardworking New Mexicans first with clean, renewable energy jobs, like wind and solar.”

February 24, 2017 Posted by | politics, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

The link between nuclear power stations and cancer rates

radiation-causing-cancerA link between cancer rates and nuclear plants? http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/MP/20170221/NEWS/170229937  Joseph Mangano Executive Director Radiation and Public Health Project 02/21/17,SINCE THE TWO NUCLEAR REACTORS AT LIMERICK Began operating in the 1980s, the question of whether toxic radiation releases affected local cancer rates has persisted.

February 24, 2017 Posted by | health, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

Trump aims to expand US nuclear arsenal, make it ‘top of the pack’

trump-full-figureDonald Trump wants to expand US nuclear arsenal, make it ‘top of the pack’  http://www.smh.com.au/world/donald-trump-wants-to-expand-us-nuclear-arsenal-make-it-top-of-the-pack-20170223-guk6ms.htm, Steve Holland, 23 Feb  17 

Washington: President Donald Trump has said he wants to build up the US nuclear arsenal to ensure it is at the “top of the pack,” saying the United States has fallen behind in its atomic weapons capacity.

In a Reuters interview, Trump also said China could solve the national security challenge posed by North Korea “very easily if they want to,” ratcheting up pressure on Beijing to exert more influence to rein in Pyongyang’s increasingly bellicose actions.

n his first comments about the US nuclear arsenal since taking office on January 20, Mr Trump said the United States has “fallen behind on nuclear weapon capacity.”

“… We’re never going to fall behind any country even if it’s a friendly country, we’re never going to fall behind on nuclear power.

“It would be wonderful, a dream would be that no country would have nukes, but if countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack,” Mr Trump said.

The new strategic arms limitation treaty, known as New START, between the US and Russia requires that by February 5, 2018, both countries must limit their arsenals of strategic nuclear weapons to equal levels for 10 years.

The treaty permits both countries to have no more than 800 deployed and non-deployed land-based intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missile launchers and heavy bombers equipped to carry nuclear weapons, and contains equal limits on other nuclear weapons.

Analysts have questioned whether Mr Trump wants to abrogate New START or would begin deploying other warheads.

In the interview, Mr Trump called New START “a one-sided deal”.

“Just another bad deal that the country made, whether it’s START, whether it’s the Iran deal … We’re going to start making good deals,” he said.

The United States is in the midst of a $US1 trillion ($1.3 trillion), 30-year modernisation of its aging ballistic missile submarines, bombers and land-based missiles, a price tag that most experts say the country cannot afford.

Mr Trump also complained that the Russian deployment of a ground-based cruise missile is in violation of a 1987 treaty that bans land-based American and Russian intermediate-range missiles.

“To me it’s a big deal,” he said.

Asked if he would raise the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Trump said he would do so “if and when we meet.” He said he had no meetings scheduled as of yet with Mr Putin.

Speaking from behind his desk in the Oval Office, Mr Trump declared that “we’re very angry” at North Korea’s ballistic missile tests and said accelerating a missile defense system for US allies Japan and South Korea was among many options available.

“There’s talks of a lot more than that,” Mr Trump said, when asked about the missile defense system. “We’ll see what happens. But it’s a very dangerous situation, and China can end it very quickly in my opinion.”

February 24, 2017 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear station restart at Oi, Japan, approved – but local consent is needed

text politicsflag-japanLocal consent needed despite OK to restart Oi nuclear plant, Asahi Shimbun February 23, 2017 The Nuclear Regulation Authority on Feb. 22 published a draft safety inspection report saying measures taken at the Nos. 3 and 4 reactors of Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture meet the new stricter anti-disaster standards.

In 2014, however, the Fukui District Court ordered the operator to keep the two reactors offline, raising serious questions about their safety.

Some 160,000 people in Fukui, Kyoto and Shiga prefectures reside within 30 kilometers from the plant. It is also questionable whether local residents can be evacuated quickly and smoothly if a serious accident occurs at the plant.

In a recent Asahi Shimbun survey, 57 percent of the respondents expressed their opposition to the restart of offline nuclear reactors, nearly double the number of those who supported the idea.

Come next month, six years will have passed since the catastrophic accident broke out at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Many Japanese remain unconvinced of the safety of nuclear reactors.

Kansai Electric Power is hoping to bring the two reactors back on line as early as this summer. But we find it difficult to support the plan.

There are multiple faults around the Oi plant. The biggest worry cited in the district court ruling was the possibility that a stronger earthquake than assumed could seriously damage the reactors or the spent fuel pool.

The electric utility has since appealed the ruling. But the company has also raised the estimated maximum ground acceleration that could occur in an earthquake at the location.

The utility will spend 122 billion yen ($1.07 billion) on measures to enhance the safety of the plant.

But Kunihiko Shimazaki, a seismologist and former acting chairman of the NRA, has warned against the plan. Using observation data about the powerful earthquakes that hit areas around Kumamoto Prefecture in April last year, he has argued that the utility’s calculation method may have underestimated the biggest potential shaking of a quake at the location.

After reviewing the data, the NRA dismissed Shimazaki’s argument, with Chairman Shunichi Tanaka calling it “groundless.”

But the scientist’s warning has deepened anxiety among local residents.

The spent fuel pools at Kansai Electric Power’s three nuclear power plants including Oi are almost filled to the brim.

The utility says it will build an interim storage facility outside Fukui Prefecture around 2030 so that used fuel rods can be removed from the pools.

But the company has yet to map out a specific and workable plan to build such a facility…….http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201702230032.html

February 24, 2017 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Archbishop in South Africa calls for scrapping of nuclear energy, expansion of renewables

church greenflag-S.AfricaS. African bishop says government should scrap nuclear power; expand renewable energy sources, Ecumenical News, 23 Feb 17 The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, has appealed to the South African government to scrap plans for developing nuclear energy and instead spend the money on education, training and other development initiatives.

The archbishop said in a statement issued from the church’s Synod of Bishops Feb. 22 coming at a time that faith and environmental groups are issuing a court challenge to a secret nuclear deal the government has struck up with Russia.

“The Synod of Bishops has revisited the resolution adopted by the church’s Provincial Synod last September, in which the church expressed its opposition to the expansion of nuclear energy and urged the government to pursue the path of renewable energy initiatives……

“We are deeply concerned that an expanded nuclear energy program will become an albatross around the necks of our children. And we cannot leave to the generations to come the task of disposing of our nuclear waste.”

Makgoba said the bishops believe South Africa has the potential of becoming a renewable energy hub for Africa, with huge potential for investment in manufacturing and associated employment.

“We note that overseas investors are queuing up to invest in our renewable energy program and since the design of the program is such that they provide the finance, this does not burden our people.”

ENVIRONMENT JUSTICE GROUPS

Environmental justice groups have renewed a challenge to the government’s planned expansion of nuclear energy in a court hearing in currently Cape Town.

In November the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute said a closed meeting on a nuclear build plan reinforces the perception that government has something to hide……http://www.ecumenicalnews.com/article/s-african-archbishop-says-government-should-scrap-nuclear-power-expand-renewable-energy-sources/59172.htm

February 24, 2017 Posted by | Religion and ethics, South Africa | Leave a comment

The rapidly deepening financial disaster that is the nuclear industry

burial NUCLEAR INDUSTRYNuclear power’s rapidly accelerating crisis, REneweconomy, By  on 22 February 2017   A fire-sale is underway as the punch-drunk nuclear power industry tries to stop the rot.

The French government is selling assets so it can prop up its heavily indebted nuclear utilities.  Électricité de France (EDF) announced in 2015 that it would sell A$13.8 billion of assets by 2020 to rein in its debt, which now stands at A$51.8 billion.

EDF is purchasing parts of its bankrupt sibling Areva, which has accumulated losses of over A$14 billion over the past five years. French EPR reactors under construction in France and Finland are three times over budget ‒ the combined cost overruns amount to about A$17.5 billion. Bloomberg noted in April 2015 that Areva’s EPR export ambitions are “in tatters“, and now Areva itself is in tatters.

Meanwhile, Japanese industrial giant Toshiba would like to sell indebted, US-based nuclear subsidiary Westinghouse, but there are no buyers so Toshiba must instead sell profitable assets to cover its nuclear debts and avoid bankruptcy.

Engie reportedly wants to sell its stake in the consortium, and the French government has already sold part of its stake in Engie … to help prop up EDF and Areva! Deck-chairs are being shuffled.

The latest dramas occur against a backdrop of deep industry malaise, with the receding hope of even the slightest growth resting squarely on the shoulders of China. A February 15 piece in the Financial Times said: “Hopes of a nuclear renaissance have largely disappeared. For many suppliers, not least Toshiba, simply avoiding a nuclear dark ages would be achievement enough.”

Toshiba and Westinghouse are in deep trouble because of massive cost overruns building four AP1000 reactors in the US ‒ the combined overruns are about A$14 billion and counting. The saga is detailed in Bloomberg pieces titled ‘Toshiba’s Nuclear Reactor Mess Winds Back to a Louisiana Swamp‘ and ‘Toshiba’s Record Fall Highlights U.S. Nuclear Cost Nightmare‘.

Toshiba said on February 14 that it expects to book a A$8.2 billion writedown on Westinghouse,(on top of a A$3 billion writedown in April 2016. These losses exceed the A$7.1 billion Toshiba paid when it bought a majority stake in Westinghouse in 2006.

Bankruptcy looms for Toshiba, with the banks circling and the risk heightened by the likelihood of further delays and cost overruns with the AP1000 reactors in the US, and unresolved litigation over those projects.

Toshiba says it would likely sell Westinghouse if that was an option ‒ but there is no prospect of a buyer. The nuclear unit is, as Bloomberg noted, “too much of a mess” to sell. And since that isn’t an option, Toshiba must sell profitable businesses instead to stave off bankruptcy.

Toshiba planned to make nuclear operations and microchips its two growth areas. But now the company plans to sell most ‒ perhaps all ‒ of its profitable microchip business to prop up the nuclear carcass and avoid bankruptcy. The company might get A$17‒22 billion by selling its entire stake in its microchip business, said Joel Hruska from ExtremeTech. “That would pay off the company’s immediate debts,” Hruska said, “but would leave it holding the bag on an incredibly expensive, underwhelming nuclear business with no prospects for near-term improvement.”

Plans for three AP1000 reactors at Moorside in the UK are in doubt. Toshiba hopes to sell its 60% stake in the project consortium NuGen. Cumbrians will be glad to see the back of corruption-plagued Toshiba ‒ but corruption-plagued South Korean utility KEPCO might take its place. Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE) commented: “KEPCO is itself still emerging from a major scandal that surfaced in 2012 involving bribery, corruption and faked safety tests for critical nuclear plant equipment which resulted in a prolonged shut-down of a number of nuclear power stations and the jailing of power engineers and parts suppliers.”

Plans for six AP1000 reactors in India may not survive the Toshiba / Westinghouse meltdown. The project is now almost impossible according to Reuters’ sources. India is said to be one of the countries leading the ‘nuclear renaissance’ but hasn’t seen a single reactor construction start since 2011.

Toshiba’s demise would not greatly concern the nuclear industry if it was an isolated case, but it is symptomatic of industry-wide problems. Nick Butler from Kings College London wrote in a Financial Times online post: “Toshiba is just one company in the global nuclear industry, but its current problems are symptomatic of the difficulties facing all the private enterprises in the sector.

Civil nuclear power involves huge up-front capital costs, very long pay-back periods and high risks that are compounded by a lack of experience, especially in managing nuclear construction projects after a long period with few new plants. For all those reasons, private investors avoid the sector and prefer to put their money where they see faster and safer returns.”http://reneweconomy.com.au/nuclear-powers-rapidly-accelerating-crisis-26711/

There is agreement that the nuclear industries in the US, Japan and the EU ‒ in particular their nuclear export industries ‒ are in deep trouble. A February 2017 EnergyPostWeekly article says “the EU, the US and Japan are busy committing nuclear suicide.” Michael Shellenberger from the pro-nuclear Breakthrough Institute notes that: “Nations are unlikely to buy nuclear from nations like the US, France and Japan that are closing (or not opening) their nuclear power plants.”

Shellenberger said: “From now on, there are only three major players in the global nuclear power plant market: Korea, China and Russia. The US, the EU and Japan are just out of the game. France could get back in, but they are not competitive today.”

That’s good news for the nuclear industries in South Korea, China and Russia. But they might end up squabbling over scraps ‒ there were just three reactor construction starts last year around the world. South Korean companies have failed to win a single contract since the contract to build four reactors in the UAE. Likewise, China has made no inroads into export markets other than projects in Pakistan and Argentina.

Russia’s Rosatom has countless non-binding agreements to supply reactors, mostly in developing countries. But Russia can’t afford the loan funding promised in these agreements, and most of the potential customer countries can’t afford to pay the capital costs for reactors. Former World Nuclear Association executive Steve Kidd says it is “highly unlikely that Russia will succeed in carrying out even half of the projects in which it claims to be closely involved”.

The pro-nuclear Breakthrough Institute’s Michael Shellenberger presents cataclysmic assessments of nuclear power’s “rapidly accelerating crisis” and a “crisis that threatens the death of nuclear energy in the West“.

Likewise, pro-nuclear commentator Dan Yurman says that a “sense of panic is emerging globally” as Toshiba exits the reactor construction industry. He adds: “After nine years of writing about the global nuclear industry, these developments make for an unusually grim outlook. It’s a very big rock hitting the pond. Toshiba’s self-inflicted wounds will result in long lasting challenges to the future of the global nuclear energy industry. Worse, it comes on top of the French government having to restructure and recapitalize Areva …”

Yurman notes that Westinghouse may struggle to keep its nuclear workforce intact: “Layoffs and cost cutting could reduce the core competencies of the firm and its ability to meet the service needs of existing customers much less be a vendor of nuclear technologies for new projects.” Likewise, Will Davis, a consultant and writer for the American Nuclear Society, explains the failure of the Japanese/US AP1000 projects and the French EPR projects with reference to the “loss of institutional knowledge, industrial capability and construction capability” over the past generation.

As recent history has repeatedly shown, this loss of capability leads to reactor project delays and cost overruns, and that in turn leads one after another country to abandon plans for new reactors. Vast numbers of staff, skilled across a range of disciplines, need to be trained and employed if the nuclear power industry is to move ahead (or even survive). But utilities and companies are firing, not hiring, vast numbers of staff and making a perilous situation much worse … possibly irretrievable. EDF, for example, plans to cut 5,200 to 7,000 staff by 2019 (including 2,000 sacked last year) ‒ about 10% of its total workforce.

Ironically, Westinghouse, the villain in Toshiba’s demise, may have made the best strategic decision of all the nuclear utilities. In 2014, Westinghouse announced plans to expand and hopefully triple its nuclear decommissioning business. The global reactor fleet is ageing and the International Energy Agency anticipates an “unprecedented rate of decommissioning” ‒ almost 200 reactor shut-downs between 2014 and 2040. http://reneweconomy.com.au/nuclear-powers-rapidly-accelerating-crisis-26711/

February 22, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs | Leave a comment

President Donald Trump’s control of U.S. nuclear forces is no longer a laughing matter.

TrumpThe Trump Nuclear Threat, It’s time to worry about Donald Trump’s control of U.S. nuclear forces. US News, By Louis René Beres | Feb. 21, 2017,

“The man who laughs,” warned the poet Bertolt Brecht, “has simply not yet heard the horrible news.” President Donald Trump’s control of U.S. nuclear forces is no longer a laughing matter.

Further, no longer does such a concerning conclusion have to be extrapolated from this president’s overall indifference to reason, facts and logic. Now, instead, it flows directly and unambiguously from his explicit press conference declaration last week that, regarding a Russian ship off the East coast, “the greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship that’s 30 miles offshore right out of the water.”  There was absolutely no defensible reason for this gratuitous declaration. These are not the musings of an ordinary or normal American president. Rather, extraneous to any other purpose than incessantly bizarre self-promotion, they represent revealingly clinical warnings of deep emotional disturbance, especially when examined together with other blatant and incontestable signs of malignant narcissism. Naturally, all decent and informed U.S. citizens will hesitate to concur offhandedly, or to in any way appear disrespectful to longstanding presidential authority, but there now also exists a much higher citizen obligation: This is the unavoidable responsibility to speak openly and candidly about a plainly emerging existential threat.

To be sure, as I know personally from almost 50 years of scholarship involving core matters of U.S. senior command authority (National Command Authority, or NCA), there are various institutional protections built into any presidential order to use nuclear weapons. Nonetheless, virtually all of these safeguards are prescriptively operational only at lower command levels, and not at the very highest level of decisional authority. In other words, succinctly, there are no permissible or codified legal grounds to disobey a presidential order to use nuclear weapons.  This means, inter alia, that if a U.S. president were sometime to issue an irrational nuclear order, the only way for the secretary of defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and possibly several relevant others to obstruct this unwarranted order would be prima facie illegal. Of course, such informal safeguards might still manage to succeed, but we really ought to inquire, now, about implementing certain other more suitably predictable and formally structural impediments….

…..Thus far, we have witnessed a new president who inappropriately analogizes the conduct of world affairs to real estate haggling, and who confuses personal bluster and bravado for usable strength and power. More than anything else, we must now prepare to speak more openly about this confusion, and also about Trump’s correspondingly dangerous behaviors. American national security can never be properly served by a president who proudly announces his own decisional infallibility (“I alone can fix it”), and who identifies growing international chaos as a distinctly positive negotiation opportunity.http://www.usnews.com/opinion/world-report/articles/2017-02-21/the-existential-threat-of-donald-trump-and-nuclear-weapons

February 22, 2017 Posted by | politics, psychology and culture, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Opposition to nuclear power grows, in China

As the plans circulated online, opposition to the plan appeared to be mounting in the wake of Chinese public reaction to rising radiation levels at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.

“Last year, 100,000 people took to the streets of Lianyungang in protest against a nuclear power plant there, and they successfully blocked [its] construction”

The growing concerns over China’s nuclear power program came as the Hong Kong-listed arm of a state-owned nuclear power company announced further delays to controversial reactors at Taishan in the southern province of Guangdong. 

Protest-No!flag-ChinaPlans to Build Four New Nuclear Power Plants in China’s Henan Spark Outcry, Radio Free Asia, 21  Feb 17  Reported by Ding Wenqi for RFA’s Mandarin Service, and by Goh Fung for the Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie. Plans by authorities in the central province of Henan to move ahead with four new nuclear power stations in the wake of the Fukushima disaster have sparked growing public fears in China.

In a directive dated Jan. 25, the provincial government was ordered to move ahead with the implementation of power generation plans that include new nuclear reactors at Nanyang, Xinyang, Luoyang and Pingdingshan, according to a statement on its official website.

“[We must make] steady progress with preliminary work for nuclear power projects,” the statements said. “We must complete onsite protection work for nuclear power projects at Nanyang, Xinyang and the other nuclear power projects,” it said. “We should proceed with the planning and construction of inland nuclear power projects on behalf of our country, and strive to continue to be included in the national nuclear long-term development plan,” the directive said.

It called on government departments to “strengthen public awareness of nuclear power projects, nuclear power project planning and construction to create a good atmosphere.”

As the plans circulated online, opposition to the plan appeared to be mounting in the wake of Chinese public reaction to rising radiation levels at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.

“An old issue in Japan has sent ripples across the East China Sea to shake China,” the Global Times newspaper, the sister paper of ruling Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece The People’s Daily, reported.

“The news has been traveling fast on the Chinese internet … Many Chinese became worried, some even canceling their trips to Japan,” the paper said.

A resident surnamed Li of Henan’s Anyang city told RFA that the news is causing great concern among local people.

“I am extremely worried about this; they definitely shouldn’t go ahead with building them,” Li said. “I heard the pollution from nuclear plants is very serious.”

“I expect there to be a public outcry in Anyang and in Henan about the plans to build nuclear power stations.”

Chernobyl fears

While one resident of Luoyang said they hadn’t heard of the plans, another Henan resident Yang Chunxia, hit out at the plans online.

“Last year, 100,000 people took to the streets of Lianyungang in protest against a nuclear power plant there, and they successfully blocked [its] construction,” Yang wrote.

“The whole of Eastern Europe was polluted by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1983,” the user added. “Now, they’ve got their eye on Henan. What will Henan people do about it? Please, everyone who lives in Henan, please pass this on!”

Meanwhile, authorities in Anyang detained local resident Wang Shoufeng for five days’ administrative detention for “making things up to disrupt public order” after he posted on social media in a similar vein.

Wang told RFA on Tuesday that he was innocent.

“I don’t believe that I did anything to disrupt public order,” he said. “A lot of people here in Henan want the government to go public with the information on this, and clarify whether they are planning to go ahead with it.”

“We want to understand everything about this and to catch the attention of as many people as possible.”

Wang’s friend Feng Lei said local people have a right to know about the dangers of nuclear power.

“They had that huge nuclear leak in Japan, and people here in Henan want a safe environment for their children and grandchildren to live in,” Feng said.

“They will be pushing for that.”

Repeated calls to the Henan provincial government offices rang unanswered during office hours on Tuesday.

The growing concerns over China’s nuclear power program came as the Hong Kong-listed arm of a state-owned nuclear power company announced further delays to controversial reactors at Taishan in the southern province of Guangdong.   …. http://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/nuclear-protest-02212017124518.html

February 22, 2017 Posted by | China, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Iitate village in Fukushima prefecture radioactively contaminated

text-what-radiationGreenpeace exposes high radiation risks in Fukushima village as govt prepares to lift evacuation order http://www.newkerala.com/news/fullnews-228867.html Tokyo/ New Delhi, Feb 21 : The Japanese government will soon lift evacuation orders for 6,000 citizens of Iitate village in Fukushima prefecture where radiation levels in nearby forests are comparable to the current levels within the Chernobyl 30km exclusion zone – an area that more than 30 years after the accident remains formally closed to habitation.

Seventy-five percent of Iitate is contaminated forested mountains, a Greenpeace statement claimed..
A survey team led by Greenpeace Japan recently found radiation dose rates at houses in the village of Iitate well above long-term government targets, with annual and lifetime exposure levels posing a long-term risk to citizens who may return. Evacuation orders will be lifted for Iitate no later than March 31, 2017, to be followed one year later by the termination of compensation payments.

The relatively high radiation values, both inside and outside houses, show an unacceptable radiation risk for citizens if they were to return to Iitate. Citizens returning to their irradiated homes are at risk of receiving radiation equivalent to one chest X-ray every week. This is not normal or acceptable, said Ai Kashiwagi, energy campaigner with Greenpeace Japan .

As Japan nears the six year anniversary of the nuclear disaster, the Japanese government last week confirmed that it has not yet conducted any assessments of lifetime exposure risks for citizens if they were to return to Iitate.

Recent reports suggest that the cost of cleaning up of Fukushima plant would cost more than 12lakh crores. If a developed country like Japan, known for its processes and systems, is finding it too difficult to handle the disaster, it makes little sense for India to go ahead and sign up for four more reactors at Kudankulam and elsewhere. In the words of George Santania Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it, says G. Sundarrajan of Poovulagin Nanbargal.

Life can never go back to normal for people living near nuclear power plants. But clearly, the world has failed to learn its lessons from nuclear accidents like those in Chernobyl and Fukushima. India, for instance, seems determined to add on to its nuclear power capacity despite putting the lives of millions of people at risk, says Nandikesh Sivalingam, climate and energy campaigner, Greenpeace India.

The fact remains that nuclear power is neither safe nor economical, and that India is grossly ill-prepared to handle a nuclear disaster. This was pointed out by Red Alert, a Greenpeace India report that released last year.

Last years Indo-Japan nuclear deal also negated the lessons learnt from Fukushima.

The deal to buy six AP1000 reactors was more of a last ditch effort to save Westinghouse/Toshiba from imminent meltdown. Now, after the meltdown, the future of the six nuclear reactors has put a question mark on the economic viability of nuclear power. Its reported that the cost of building these six reactors will be three to six times greater than the cost of building a solar photovoltaic plant of the same capacity.
It should also be noted that India is currently in a situation of surplus power witnessing massive installed overcapacity in the electricity sector. With the solar tariffs going down to record low levels, Indias energy needs for the next ten years can be fulfilled by cleaner and safer sources of energy in the form of solar and wind.

Greenpeace India stand by the victims of Fukushima who are being forced to return to the accident site for economic reasons. India must learn from the Fukushima disaster and its long lasting impacts on peoples lives and livelihoods and move away permanently from highly risky and economically unviable nuclear energy to safer, greener and cheaper energy sources like solar and wind.

Greenpeace has launched a public petition in solidarity with the Fukushima survivors campaigning for the restitution/protection of their human rights.

February 22, 2017 Posted by | environment, Fukushima continuing, Japan | Leave a comment

Radioactive Iodine-131 observed across much of northern and central Europe

French nuclear agency: Mystery radioactive residue over Europe raises concern  Concerns have spread in Europe about a potential nuclear “incident” following a recent report by a French nuclear watchdog agency – the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), the French national public expert in nuclear and radiological risks – that radioactive Iodine-131 had been observed across much of northern and central Europe. Since the isotope has a half-life of only eight days, the detection was an indication of a rather recent release. As the Barents Observer added, “where the radioactivity is coming from is still a mystery.” The emission was rumored to have originated close to the Arctic circle, with some speculating that a nuclear test of emergency had taken place in Russia in January and the fallout then spread to Norway and onward to Europe:

Iodine-131 a radionuclide of anthropogenic origin, has recently been detected in tiny amounts in the ground-level atmosphere in Europe. The preliminary report states it was first found during week 2 of January 2017 in northern Norway. Iodine-131 was also detected in Finland, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, France and Spain, until the end of January”, the French Institute de Radioprotection et de Süreté Nucléaire wrote in a press release.

Adding an air of mystery to this alleged “incident” was the spotting of the “Constant Phoenix”, which as we first reported, arrived on Friday in the UK’s Mildenhall airbase from Florida. The WC-135 Constant Phoenix has been used in the past to determine whether nuclear tests or detonations have taken place in any given region. The WC-135 is a derivative of the Boeing C-135 transport and support plane. Two of these aircraft are in service today out of the ten examples operated since 1963. The aircraft are flown by flight crews from the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron from Offutt Air Force Base while mission crews are staffed by Detachment 1 from the Air Force Technical Applications Center.

Read more here.   http://www.tornosnews.gr/en/world-news/23242-french-nuclear-agency-mystery-radioactive-residue-over-europe-raises-concern.htm

February 22, 2017 Posted by | environment, EUROPE | Leave a comment

On both sides o f USA-Canada border, opposition grows to transport of nuclear wastes

radiation-truckOpposition growing to cross-border nuclear shipments, http://news.wbfo.org/post/opposition-growing-cross-border-nuclear-shipments, Opposition is brewing on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border about plans to move dozens of shipments of nuclear waste from a plant in Chalk River, Ontario, to a plant in South Carolina.

Buffalo Congressman Brian Higgins has been very vocal in his opposition. He is being joined by opposition in Canada.   Dean Allison is the member of Parliament for Niagara West, which includes the QEW, a potential route for some shipments. The Conservative Allison says the shipments pose real problems for first responders because they are not being told anything about the shipments or how to prepare for the highly radioactive material.

“I’ve understood from talking to some of the people with the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility that it’s almost 17,000 times more toxic and more radioactive than when it first started and when it was first shipped, originally,” Allison says. “So our first responders need to have some kind of idea what it is because, more than likely, they will be the ones on the road, on the scene should anything happen.”

The material started in the United States and has been made far more radioactive in Canada because of research and developing nuclear materials for medical use. Higgins has long been demanding information about the shipments and their routes.

Beamsville resident Allison says he is trying to set up a meeting in his district to bring together residents, first responders and shipments officials to talk about what is going on.

“We’re going to try to get some of the key players down,” Allison says. “I don’t anticipate they’re going to give us more information but we’re going to certainly press and see if we can get anything that may be helpful to our first responders.”

February 22, 2017 Posted by | Canada, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Long closure of Flamanville nuclear reactor is costing EDF £1m a day

AREVA EDF crumblingEDF faces £1m a day bill to keep French nuclear reactor offline   https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/feb/21/edf-faces-1m-a-day-bill-to-keep-french-nuclear-reactor-offline Prolonged closure at Flamanville plant after fire damage piles further financial pressure on state-owned energy firm, Guardian, , 21  Feb 17, The prolonged closure of a major French atomic reactor after an explosion this month probably costs EDF at least £1m a day, according to experts.

The nuclear plant operator, which will spend £18bn building the UK’s first new nuclear power station in a generation, shut unit 1 at its Flamanville plant after a fire broke out in the turbine hall.

The company initially estimated it would switch on the reactor within a week, but later pushed the date to the end of March. Work begins this week on replacing damaged equipment.

The unexpectedly long closure adds to the financial pressure on EDF, which last week reported a 6.7% decline in core earnings to €16.4bn (£14bn) in 2016. Closures of its French nuclear plants last year, partly for safety checks, have already cost the 85% state-owned company an estimated €1.3bn.

Prof Neil C Hyatt, head of nuclear materials chemistry at the University of Sheffield, said the lost revenue from the reactor closure in Normandy could be £1m per day.

“Bringing a nuclear power plant back online after an unscheduled outage is a complex task and EDF will want to ensure that all parts of the system are working safely and effectively. A short delay to complete the necessary checks is to be expected, given that the outage was unplanned,” he said.

Another expert said the cost of closure could be up to £1.8m per day, depending on energy market prices, and questioned why there was a delay.

“It took operator EDF almost a week to progressively correct the original outage estimate from one day to 50 days. EDF has provided no information as to why the outage time went from a few days to seven weeks,” said Mycle Schneider, a nuclear energy consultant based in Paris.

The 1.3GW reactor at Flamanville is one of a dozen of EDF’s French nuclear fleet currently offline, which the company said was usual for this time of the year.

It did not say why the restart date for the reactor had been revised four times, or why it had jumped from a few days to more than six weeks. John Large, a nuclear consultant who has advised the UK government, said initial reports that the fire was in a ventilator suggested the offline reactor would be back online within a week or two. Replacing such parts should be relatively straightforward, he said.

He added that the plant’s continued closure would also add to headaches at the French grid operator RTE, which warned of power cuts at the start of winter due to nuclear outages. “The continuing impact on the grid is likely to be significant, especially if a cold snap develops,” Large said.

A second reactor at the plant is still supplying electricity to the French grid. EDF said: “Work on recommissioning the affected equipment has started this week and should last several weeks, with reconnection to the grid planned for the end of March.”

February 22, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

China stalls in its push for nuclear power

flag-ChinaChina Nuclear Push Stalled by Next-Generation Reactors, Bloomberg, by Stephen Stapczynski and Aibing Guo, February 21, 2017, 

  • Aims to approve eight new nuclear reactor projects this year
  • CGN’s Taishan units see further delay in commercial operations

China’s decision to approve its first new nuclear reactors in two years may need to wait for its success starting up the world’s first next-generation units.

Plans to green-light eight reactors this year in the world’s fastest-growing nuclear market, announced last week, could depend on whether it’s able to complete some of the world’s most-advanced facilities, including Westinghouse Electric Co.’s AP1000 and Areva SA’s EPR. The first such reactors may come online as early as the first half, followed by new approvals, according to Karl Liu, an analyst at BOC International Holdings Ltd. in Hong Kong.

“There are indications that Chinese policy makers want to wait for the AP1000s and EPRs under construction to come online and see how they do operationally before approving new projects,” said M.V. Ramana, a professor at the University of British Columbia. “I am not entirely sure that this plan will actually translate into reality.”

China is seeking to be the first country to bring online either an AP1000 or EPR, so-called generation III+ reactors, which have suffered costly delays in the U.S. and Europe. The world’s second-biggest economy, and largest energy consumer, is aiming to boost its nuclear power capacity and develop its own next-generation technology for export.

Construction delays for third-generation units are among reasons the Chinese government approved no new reactors last year, according to BOC’s Liu.

“The country wants to wait until the first AP1000 reactor successfully starts commercial operations before approving reactors using the same or similar technologies,” he said. …….

Originally designed to be cheaper and safer than earlier technology, growing complexity and new safety requirements of third-generation reactors are among cost issues that contributed to Westinghouse’s parent company Toshiba Corp. taking a multi-billion dollar writedown this year and Areva seeking a government bailout.

Oversupply

China’s power-generation overcapacity is another possible risk to new approvals, according to Ramana at the University of British Columbia. The country began showing signs of a glut as early as 2013, and hit a high in 2015, according to IHS Markit…….https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-20/china-nuclear-ambitions-seen-stalled-by-next-generation-reactors

February 22, 2017 Posted by | China, politics | Leave a comment

Pakistan and India have agreed to extend their bilateral nuclear safety agreement

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-pakistanflag-indiaPakistan, India extend nuclear safety agreement, By Our Correspondent, Express Tribune, February 21, 2017 ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and India have agreed to extend their bilateral agreement on reducing the risk from accidents relating to nuclear weapons in a move suggesting the two rivals are still mindful of nuclear dangers despite currently strained ties.

The key agreement was extended for the next five years (2017-2022), said a statement issued by the Foreign Office on Tuesday.

The agreement came into force in 2007. It was subsequently extended for a period of five years in 2012. The accord is part of the nuclear confidence building measures agreed between Pakistan and India. The aimed of the agreement is to promote a stable environment of peace and security between the two countries, reads the official handout.

“It is premised on the recognition that the nuclear dimension of the security environment of the two countries adds to their responsibility for avoidance of conflict,” the statement added.

The agreement provides for immediate exchange of information between the two countries in the event of any accident relating to nuclear weapons, under their respective jurisdiction and control, which could create the risk of radioactive fallout, with adverse consequences for both sides, or create the risk of an outbreak of a nuclear war…….https://tribune.com.pk/story/1334606/pakistan-india-extend-nuclear-safety-agreement/

February 22, 2017 Posted by | India, Pakistan, politics international | Leave a comment