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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Trump, ready to make it easy for Saudi Arabia to get ‘peaceful” nuclear, AND nuclear weapons

Trump Considers Easing Nuclear Rules for Saudi Project https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-12/trump-is-said-to-consider-easing-nuclear-rules-for-saudi-project By Jennifer Jacobs,  Ari Natter,and Jennifer A Dlouhy  

  • Westinghouse is looking for new markets after bankruptcy
  • Past deals barred uranium enrichment for overseas projects

The Trump administration is encouraging Saudi Arabia to consider bids by Westinghouse Electric Co. and other U.S. companies to build nuclear reactors in that country and may allow the enrichment of uranium as part of that deal, according to three people familiar with the plans.

 Energy Secretary Rick Perry visited Saudi Arabia this month where the projects were discussed, according to two people. The people familiar asked not to be identified discussing the confidential negotiations.
Previous U.S. agreements have prohibited the enrichment and reprocessing of uranium, and that had scuttled negotiations to use U.S. technology in Saudi nuclear projects during the Obama administration. The administration is mulling easing that requirement now as a way to help Westinghouse and other companies win Saudi Arabian contracts, two people said.

A meeting to hammer out details of the nuclear cooperation agreement, known as a 123 Agreement for the section of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act that requires it, will be held at the White House Wednesday, two administration officials said.

A successful U.S. bid would help deliver on President Donald Trump’s promise to revive and revitalize the domestic nuclear industry, helping American companies edge out Russian and Chinese competitors to build new fleets around the world. Saudi Arabia plans to construct 16 nuclear power reactors over the next 20 to 25 years at a cost of more than $80 billion, according to the World Nuclear Association.

Westinghouse, the nuclear technology pioneer that is part of Toshiba Corp., went bankrupt in March, after it hit delays with its AP1000 reactors at two U.S. plants. After it declared bankruptcy, Westinghouse — whose technology is used in more than half the world’s nuclear power plants — said it shifted its focus to expanding outside the U.S.

Winning contracts in Saudi Arabia could provide a new market that Westinghouse needs and provide at least a partial vindication for the investment in the AP1000 technology.

“Westinghouse is pleased that Saudi Arabia has decided to pursue nuclear energy,” Sarah Cassella, a spokeswoman, said in a emailed statement. “We are fully participating in their request for information and are pleased to provide the AP1000 plant, the industry’s most advanced technology.”

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Washington-based Arms Control Association, said weakening the prohibition against enrichment and reprocessing, often referred to as “the gold standard,” is disturbing given what he said was Saudi Arabia’s “sub-par nuclear nonproliferation record.”

“We shouldn’t compromise our longstanding efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons in order to play favorites with certain companies or countries,” he said in an email, calling the idea “disturbing and counterproductive.”

— With assistance by Chris Martin

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December 13, 2017 Posted by | marketing, politics international, Saudi Arabia, USA | Leave a comment

America’s trillions of dollars militaristic economy

The US Military Is the Biggest “Big Government” Entitlement Program on the Planet , December 10, 2017, By JP Sottile, Truthout |The US economy is caught in a trap. That trap is the Department of Defense: an increasingly sticky wicket that relies on an annual, trillion-dollar redistribution of government-collected wealth. In fact, it’s the biggest “big government” program on the planet, easily beating out China’s People’s Liberation Army in both size and cost. It is not only the “nation’s largest employer,” with 2.867 million people currently on the payroll, but it also provides government benefits to 2 million retirees and their family members. And it actively picks private sector winners by targeting billions of dollars to an elite group of profit-seeking contractors.

The top five overall recipients collectively pulled in $109.5 billion in FY2016, and their cohorts consistently dominate the government’s list of top 100 contractors. They reap this yearly largesse through a Rube-Goldberg-like system of influence peddlers, revolving doors and wasteful taxpayer-funded boondoggles. Finally, it is all justified by a deadly feedback loop of perpetual warfare that is predicated on a predictable supply of blowback.

But this belligerent cash machine doesn’t just produce haphazard interventions and shady partnerships with a motley assortment of strongmen, proxies and frenemies. It also has Uncle Sam caught in a strange cycle of taxpayer-funded dependence that may ultimately be the most expensive — and least productive — jobs program in human history………

Too Big to Fail?

The US stands alone as a globe-spanning empire with 787 overseas bases, “lily pad” deployments and host country facilities in 88 nations and territories, according to the most recent accounting by scholar David Vine. At home, a Google Maps search reveals another 603 bases, depots, arsenals and assorted military facilities peppered around the 50 states. The US dominates the land, sea and skies, and is moving to dominate space…….

taxpayers’ only end product is a larger military with more bases and more weapons. However, without a serious shift toward non-defense government priorities, cutting the defense budget would mean, in the immediate term, many Americans losing their jobs. In the absence of non-military jobs programs and other forms of robust social spending, these workers depend on military tax dollars to fund their livelihoods, their health care and their kids’ educations. Tax dollars sustain the military-driven local and regional economies within which they live and work. Not coincidentally, this misallocated investment in a “war and weapons-based economy” is, as Major Gen. (Ret.) Dennis Laich and Col. (Ret.) Lawrence Wilkerson write, also reflected in the inherent “unfairness” that feeds off the “all-volunteer force.”……….

So, what are the options now that the US finds itself stuck in this paradigmatic trap? There are three possible alternatives.

One is to simply slash the budget. The downside is that it will dislocate millions of people who rely directly and indirectly on defense spending. The upside is that it will force an immediate retreat from both empire and military Keynesianism. This also could stoke some economic growth if the half to three-quarters of a trillion in annual savings was “returned” to taxpayers in the form of a rebate check. Basically, Americans would finally get the “peace dividend” almost 30 years after the Cold War ended.

The second option is the post-WWII demobilization model. That influx of manpower was met with the GI Billtax breaks for new homeowners and investments in infrastructure. This is a truly Keynesian solution. Infrastructure jobs and educational subsidies would provide relief to Americans currently reliant on military Keynesianism for their livelihoods. The original GI Bill “returned $7 to the American economy for every $1 invested in the GI Bill,” notes Jared Lyon of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families. And a study by Costs of War Project determined allocating resources to “clean energy and health care spending create 50 percent more jobs than the equivalent amount of spending on the military,” and “education spending creates more than twice as many jobs” as defense spending.

Frankly, either of these two solutions is far better than the third option, which is to continue to misallocate hundreds of billions in precious capital away from the productive economy while wreaking havoc at home and abroad. And that’s the ultimate no-win situation for a militarized economy that has manufactured its share of bloody, no-win situations since the end of World War II. http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/42829-the-us-military-is-the-biggest-big-government-entitlement-program-on-the-planet

 

December 11, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Investing in nuclear weapons – some Swedish banks do this

Swedish banks allow investment in nuclear weapons: report https://www.thelocal.se/20171210/swedish-banks-allow-investment-in-nuclear-weapons-report Several Swedish banks allow investment in companies that manufacture nuclear weapons, according to an analysis.

The Fair Finance Guide organisation said that of the nine banks it reviewed, only three have zero-tolerance policies in relation to economic dealings involving nuclear weapons.

One bank highlighted by the organisation, Nordea, was placed in a ‘grey zone’. The bank has publicly expressed zero tolerance towards nuclear weapons in asset management and foundations, but does not have any lending policies with regard to nuclear weapons, according to Fair Finance Guide.

Nordea has business agreements with Russian state nuclear energy company Rosatom, which also manages the country’s nuclear weapons programme, according to a report by Svenska Dagbladet.

The Swedish bank has had a “strategic partnership” with Rosatom for several years, according to the newspaper.

Nordea maintains that it only finances the company’s nuclear energy activities.

“Nevertheless, this is enough to demonstrate support for the nuclear weapons arm of Rosatom, given that profits from the energy business are used to support its weapons industry,” Fair Finance Guide project leader Jakob König said in a press statement.

The organisation states on its website that it aims to improve the corporate social responsibility of banks.

Nordea sustainability manager Sasja Beslik rejected criticism of the bank. “The conclusion is incorrect. We do not finance – either directly or indirectly – any nuclear weapons production anywhere in the world,” Beslik said.

December 11, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Sweden, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Egypt to go into big debt to buy Russian nuclear reactors that it doesn’t need

Egypt to sign contracts for nuclear power plant during Putin’s visit: sources, CAIRO (Reuters) 10 Dec 17 – Egypt will sign contracts with Moscow during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Cairo on Monday for the country’s first nuclear power plant, three senior sources told Reuters on Sunday.

The construction of the 4,800 megawatt (MW) capacity plant, which is supposed to be built at Dabaa in the north of the country, is expected to be completed within seven years, added the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media……

Moscow and Cairo signed an agreement in 2015 for Russia to build a nuclear power plant in Egypt, with Russia extending a loan to Egypt to cover the cost of construction.

Egypt’s official gazette said last year the loan was worth $25 billion and would finance 85 percent of the value of each work contract, services and equipment shipping. Egypt would fund the remaining 15 percent.

The trial operation of the first nuclear reactor is expected to take place in 2022……

The nuclear plant is expected not to just cover the country’s energy needs, but to produce excess which can be exported, the sources told Reuters on Sunday.

Putin is scheduled to visit Cairo on Monday to meet with his counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, where they will discuss bilateral relations, trade and Middle Eastern issues, the Kremlin said last week.

Reporting by Momen Abdelkhalek; Writing by Amina Ismail; Editing by Toby Chopra

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-egypt-energy/egypt-to-sign-contracts-for-nuclear-power-plant-during-putins-visit-sources-idUSKBN1E40MY

December 11, 2017 Posted by | Egypt, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Coal-fired power stations in Europe now facing a financial “death spiral”

FT 8th Dec 2017, More than half of the coal-fired power stations in the EU are lossmaking
and almost all will be by 2030, according to a study that says the fossil
fuel faces a “death spiral” in Europe. Analysis of more than 600 power
plants by Carbon Tracker, the climate think-tank, estimates that £22bn of
losses could be avoided by phasing out coal in the EU by the end of the
next decade. The research comes ahead of a climate summit to be hosted by
French president Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Tuesday aimed at building on
the international agreement on emissions cuts struck in the same city two
years ago.
https://www.ft.com/content/f32c3caa-daf3-11e7-a039-c64b1c09b482

December 9, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, climate change, EUROPE | Leave a comment

Trump tax bill promotes polluting robots – and damages clean energy workers

Polluting robots win big, clean energy workers get screwed in Trump tax bill http://reneweconomy.com.au/polluting-robots-win-big-clean-energy-workers-get-screwed-trump-tax-bill-37122/ By Joe Romm on 7 December 2017

Think Progress  Polluting robots of the world, unite! The GOP tax bill is for you.

The rest of us, however, have a lot to lose from GOP tax changes that favor investments in dirty energy over clean — and robots over human workers.

As one MIT economist told Newsweek, “We are creating huge subsidies in our tax code for capital and encouraging employers to use machines instead of labor.” And unless significant changes are made in the GOP plan, those machines will be running on dirty energy.

 Last month, I discussed how the House tax bill targets key solar and wind energy tax credits that have helped make clean energy a crucial high-wage job-creating sector in the United States.

The good news is that the Senate tax bill doesn’t roll back those renewable energy tax credits.

The bad news is that it contains language that could seriously undermine the investment in renewables by imposing “a new 100 percent tax” on those credits, as Gregory Wetstone, head of the American Council on Renewable Energy, explained in a statement.

“If this bill passes as drafted, major financial institutions would no longer participate in tax equity financing, which is the principal mechanism for monetizing credits,” Wetstone pointed out.

“Almost overnight, you would see a devastating reduction in wind and solar energy investment and development.” Meanwhile, tax subsidies for fossil fuels, many of which are decades old, would continue unchanged–and the Senate bill opens up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.

This type of clean energy financing will reach $12 billion this year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which examined the impact of this change in detail.

This investment, much of it by multinational finance companies, has helped leveraged some $50 billion a year in U.S. wind and solar projects, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Ironically — or, rather, tragically — harming renewables mostly harms red states. As “The American Prospect” noted, “The states that voted for Trump produce nearly 70 percent of wind energy, while 85 percent of existing wind projects are in GOP-held congressional districts.”

As for longer-term impacts, the GOP plan would cut billions of dollars in incentives for  the biggest new source of sustainable high-wage employment in the world — clean energy — just as China and the rest of the world are making massive investments.

What’s unknown at this point is how these and other changes to these tax credits will be dealt with in the final bill, after the House and Senate work out their differences. While the House plan to gut the credits was intentional, it’s not clear that Senators intended to undermine them, so the problem is fixable.

 One thing that was very intentional was the “full and immediate expensing of equipment purchases” provision. This would let companies deduct from their taxes the full cost of some types of investments, such as new industrial equipment, that are currently only allowed a 50 percent deduction.

This change would occur just when companies are beginning to automate their factories using robots and advanced computing technology, as corporate tax attorney Robert Kovacev, explained to Huffington Post: “It’s going to accelerate spending, basically, on robots that could displace workers.”

The GOP plan naturally has no tax incentives to encourage businesses to hire more actual workers or to retrain those who lose their job due to automation

Indeed, the Senate bill is so bad that Bloomberg’s editors wrote a piece explaining “Republicans have managed to make a terrible plan worse.” As one example the equipment-expensing provision would take effect immediately, but the Senate only lowers the corporate tax rate to 20 percent (from 35) in 2019.

“This will allow businesses to take deductions on investments while rates are high, then pay a lower rate on the resulting income, creating a perverse incentive to pursue otherwise unprofitable projects,” explains Bloomberg.

So the Senate bill actually encourages companies to replace workers even with unprofitable robots.

Unprofitable polluting robots — quite a legacy for the disastrous GOP tax plan.

December 7, 2017 Posted by | employment, technology, USA | Leave a comment

Risk of Chernobyl sarcophagus collapsing – radiation danger to workers now sealing it

Vice News 5th Dec 2017, Workers at the Chernobyl Power Plant are now facing some of the highest
radiation levels ever while they put the finishing touches on a new
decontamination structure for the world’s worst nuclear disaster. After
the fallout in 1986, workers at the plant built a sarcophagus to contain
the radiation in just three months.

But it was just a quick fix, designed
without future decontamination in mind. And now, after more than 30 years,
it’s at risk of collapse. Workers are sealing the old structure with a
new one they finished building a year ago, called the New Safe Confinement.
They hope it will hold for the next 100 years.
https://news.vice.com/story/inside-the-clean-up-of-chernobyl-the-worlds-worst-nuclear-disaster

December 7, 2017 Posted by | employment, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Rick Perry to visit Saudi Arabia – a nation keen to have nuclear reactors AND to highly enrich uranium

U.S. Firms Courting Saudi Arabia to Build Nuclear Reactors; Rick Perry to Visit Riyadh, Haaretz, 3 Dec 17,  One of the sources also said Riyadh had told Washington it does not want to forfeit the possibility of one day enriching uranium – a process that can have military uses.
U.S. firms attracted by Saudi Arabia’s plans to build nuclear reactors are pushing Washington to restart talks with Riyadh on an agreement to help the kingdom develop atomic energy, three industry sources said.
Saudi Arabia has welcomed the lobbying, they said, though it is likely to worry regional rival Iran at a time when tensions are already high in the Middle East.
One of the sources also said Riyadh had told Washington it does not want to forfeit the possibility of one day enriching uranium – a process that can have military uses – though this is a standard condition of U.S. civil nuclear cooperation pacts. “They want to secure enrichment if down the line they want to do it,” the source, who is in contact with Saudi and U.S. officials, said before U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the former Governor of Texas and “Dancing with the Stars” contestant, holds talks in Riyadh early next week.
Another of the industry sources said Saudi Arabia and the United States had already held initial talks about a nuclear cooperation pact. U.S. officials and Saudi officials responsible for nuclear energy issues declined to comment for this article. The sources did not identify the U.S. firms involved in the lobbying.
Under Article 123 of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act, a peaceful cooperation agreement is required for the transfer of nuclear materials, technology and equipment. In previous talks, Saudi Arabia has refused to sign up to any agreement with the United States that would deprive the kingdom of the possibility of one day enriching uranium. Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil producer, says it wants nuclear power solely for peaceful uses – to produce electricity at home so that it can export more crude. It has not yet acquired nuclear power or enrichment technology.
Riyadh sent a request for information to nuclear reactor suppliers in October in a first step towards opening a multi-billion-dollar tender for two nuclear power reactors, and plans to award the first construction contract in 2018.
Reuters has reported that Westinghouse is in talks with other U.S.-based companies to form a consortium for the bid. A downturn in the U.S. nuclear industry makes business abroad increasingly valuable for American firms.
Reactors need uranium enriched to around 5 percent purity but the same technology in this process can also be used to enrich the heavy metal to a higher, weapons-grade level. This has been at the heart of Western and regional concerns over the nuclear work of Iran, which enriches uranium domestically.
Riyadh’s main reason to leave the door open to enrichment in the future may be political – to ensure the Sunni Muslim kingdom has the same possibility of enriching uranium as Shi’ite Muslim Iran, industry sources and analysts say.
Potential problem for Washington
Saudi Arabia’s position poses a potential problem for the United States, which has strengthened ties with the kingdom under President Donald Trump……….https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/1.826436

December 4, 2017 Posted by | marketing, Saudi Arabia, USA | Leave a comment

USA nuclear industry keen to sell to ANYBODY – pushing for Saudi Arabia sales

U.S. firms push Washington to restart nuclear pact talks with Riyadh: sources    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-nuclear-usa/u-s-firms-push-washington-to-restart-nuclear-pact-talks-with-riyadh-sources-idUSKBN1DV586?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews. Reem ShamseddineSylvia Westall RIYADH/DUBAI (Reuters) 1 Dec 17,  – U.S. firms attracted by Saudi Arabia’s plans to build nuclear reactors are pushing Washington to restart talks with Riyadh on an agreement to help the kingdom develop atomic energy, three industry sources said.

Saudi Arabia has welcomed the lobbying, they said, though it is likely to worry regional rival Iran at a time when tensions are already high in the Middle East.

One of the sources also said Riyadh had told Washington it does not want to forfeit the possibility of one day enriching uranium – a process that can have military uses – though this is a standard condition of U.S. civil nuclear cooperation pacts.

“They want to secure enrichment if down the line they want to do it,” the source, who is in contact with Saudi and U.S. officials, said before U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry holds talks in Riyadh early next week.

Another of the industry sources said Saudi Arabia and the United States had already held initial talks about a nuclear cooperation pact.

U.S. officials and Saudi officials responsible for nuclear energy issues declined to comment for this article. The sources did not identify the U.S. firms involved in the lobbying.

Under Article 123 of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act, a peaceful cooperation agreement is required for the transfer of nuclear materials, technology and equipment.

In previous talks, Saudi Arabia has refused to sign up to any agreement with the United States that would deprive the kingdom of the possibility of one day enriching uranium.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil producer, says it wants nuclear power solely for peaceful uses – to produce electricity at home so that it can export more crude. It has not yet acquired nuclear power or enrichment technology.

Riyadh sent a request for information to nuclear reactor suppliers in October in a first step towards opening a multi-billion-dollar tender for two nuclear power reactors, and plans to award the first construction contract in 2018.

Reuters has reported that Westinghouse is in talks with other U.S.-based companies to form a consortium for the bid. A downturn in the U.S. nuclear industry makes business abroad increasingly valuable for American firms.

Reactors need uranium enriched to around 5 percent purity but the same technology in this process can also be used to enrich the heavy metal to a higher, weapons-grade level. This has been at the heart of Western and regional concerns over the nuclear work of Iran, which enriches uranium domestically.

Riyadh’s main reason to leave the door open to enrichment in the future may be political – to ensure the Sunni Muslim kingdom has the same possibility of enriching uranium as Shi‘ite Muslim Iran, industry sources and analysts say.

POTENTIAL PROBLEM FOR WASHINGTON

Saudi Arabia’s position poses a potential problem for the United States, which has strengthened ties with the kingdom under President Donald Trump.

Washington usually requires a country to sign a nuclear cooperation pact – known as a 123 agreement – that forfeits steps in fuel production with potential bomb-making uses.

“Doing less than this would undermine U.S. credibility and risk the increased spread of nuclear weapons capabilities to Saudi Arabia and the region,” said David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector and president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).

It is not clear whether Riyadh will raise the issue during Perry’s visit, which one of the industry sources said could include discussion of nuclear export controls.

Under a nuclear deal Iran signed in 2015 with world powers – but which Trump has said he might pull the United States out of – Tehran can enrich uranium to around the level needed for commercial power-generation.

It would be “a huge change of policy” for Washington to allow Saudi Arabia the right to enrich uranium, said Mark Fitzpatrick, executive director of the Americas office at the International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank.

“Applying the ‘golden standard’ of not allowing enrichment or preprocessing (of spent fuel) has held up a 123 agreement with Jordan for many years, and has been a key issue in U.S. nuclear cooperation with South Korea,” said Fitzpatrick, a nuclear policy expert.

The United States is likely to aim for restrictions, non-proliferation analysts say.

These could be based on those included in the 123 agreement Washington signed in 2009 with the United Arab Emirates, which is set to start up its first South Korean-built reactor in 2018 and has ruled out enrichment and reprocessing.

“Perhaps Saudi Arabia is testing the Trump administration and seeing if the administration would be amenable to fewer restrictions in a 123 agreement,” ISIS’s Albright said.

It would be “a huge change of policy” for Washington to allow Saudi Arabia the right to enrich uranium, said Mark Fitzpatrick, executive director of the Americas office at the International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank.

“Applying the ‘golden standard’ of not allowing enrichment or preprocessing (of spent fuel) has held up a 123 agreement with Jordan for many years, and has been a key issue in U.S. nuclear cooperation with South Korea,” said Fitzpatrick, a nuclear policy expert.

The United States is likely to aim for restrictions, non-proliferation analysts say.

These could be based on those included in the 123 agreement Washington signed in 2009 with the United Arab Emirates, which is set to start up its first South Korean-built reactor in 2018 and has ruled out enrichment and reprocessing.

“Perhaps Saudi Arabia is testing the Trump administration and seeing if the administration would be amenable to fewer restrictions in a 123 agreement,” ISIS’s Albright said.

December 2, 2017 Posted by | marketing, politics international, Saudi Arabia, USA | Leave a comment

Underground bunkers – a promising marketing opportunity for South Korean and UK businessmen

Bomb shelter boss ‘wants North Korea to launch nuclear attack’ to help sell new ‘high street bunkers’  Mirror UK, 30 Nov 17    British bunker experts have been working alongside a Korean company on making the world’s toughest shelters to prepare for nuclear war A bomb shelter boss ‘wants North Korea to launch a nuclear attack’ to help sell ‘high street bunkers’.

The bunkers have been built to withstand a nuclear attack, by Kim Jong-un are now being sold on Seoul’s high street.

 British bunker experts Castellex have been working alongside the Korean company Chumdan Bunker System on making the world’s toughest shelters to prepare for nuclear war.

A ‘bunker showroom’ has now been opened in downtown Seoul, in the same shopping area where people are buying clothes and cosmetics.   CBS owner Go Wan Hyeok says that demand from ‘petrified’ locals for affordable bunkers led him to set up in the busy retail district of Jangan-Dong – and wants to branch out to Europe and the UK within five years.

He said: “I’m wishing that he presses the button and shoots the bomb! 

“I think more people will be selling bunkers on the high street in the next five years but I’m the first in the world. I want to then open up showrooms in Europe and my friends in the UK.”……http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/bomb-shelter-boss-wants-north-11613699

December 1, 2017 Posted by | marketing, South Korea, UK | Leave a comment

Looks as if UK nuclear power is coming to the end of the line

Is This The End Of Nuclear Power In The UK? https://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Nuclear-Power/Is-This-The-End-Of-Nuclear-Power-In-The-UK.html, 

First, let’s put the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in context. The UK government first announced its nuclear power expansion program in 2006. The plan was to build five new nuclear generating stations, producing 16 GWs, to be on-line by 2030. The units planned are at Sizewell, Wylfa, Moorside, Oldbury and Hinkley.

At the time the government cited two concerns with respect to the adequacy of national electric power generation. First, that “security of supply (was) jeopardized” and second, that by 2025 there would be a need to replace aging coal-fired and nuclear power generating plants. The ensuing decade was not kind to the assumptions of UK energy planners.

The price of both renewables and natural gas dropped significantly. License extensions could keep most existing nuclear power stations running. And demand for power has fallen below expectations due to moderating economic trends and the dampening impact of conservation measures.

From a UK power generation perspective, the big winners in recent years have been natural gas and renewables. Coal burn has dropped drastically and nuclear has remained stable.

On a price competition basis, the future looks like a race to the bottom between natural gas and the ever-declining costs of wind and solar technology. On a cost basis, the Hinkley guarantee of £92.50 per MWh looks rather steep compared with the £57.50 recent price for off-shore wind.

We can already hear the harrumphing from the pro nuclear contingent. But this to us is the problem of making commercial nuclear technology the Zelig of the energy world. In a world eager for low carbon, base load capacity, nuclear has attempted to re-brand itself as the low carbon option. But in countries facing stagnant or declining electrical demand, the need for new, non-intermittent base load power generating resources is diminishing as well.

You can find Leonard Hyman’s lastest book ‘Electricity Acts’ on Amazon

And the other low carbon generating resources, renewables, intermittent though they may be, are now much cheaper than new nuclear construction (£57.50 vs £92.50).

At another level, electricity is a commodity. A commodity that we can’t store, but still. And in a commodity business, where the product is wholly undifferentiated, price is the only consideration. Taken in this context, new nuclear is a non-starter.

December 1, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

South Korea looks for a stake in building UK’s Moorside Nuclear Power Station

Carlisle News and Star 30th Nov 2017, The British and Korean governments have agreed to greater collaboration onnuclear developments, fuelling speculation that a Korean company is about
to invest in West Cumbria’s Moorside power station.

Greg Clark, the secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, and Paik
Un-gyu, South Korean minister of trade, industry and energy, signed a
Memorandum of Understanding on Monday in London. It promises greater
collaboration in both the construction and decommissioning of nuclear power
stations.

The signing appears to have only been reported by World Nuclear
News and Business Korea websites. State-run Korea Electric Power
Corporation (Kepco) has revealed it is in “working-level” talks to buy
a stake in NuGen – which plans to build three new reactions in West
Cumbria to provide seven per cent of the UK’s electricity needs.

Toshiba, NuGen’s current owner, has been exploring a range of options to fund the
project after its then subsidiary Westinghouse Electric – due to supply
three AP1000 reactors to Moorside – filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
protection in the US having overpaid by several billion dollars for another
nuclear construction and services business….http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/business/International-agreement-fuels-Korean-interest-in-Moorside-2cefe362-b678-4e12-9214-ad75be6a1933-ds

December 1, 2017 Posted by | marketing, South Korea, UK | Leave a comment

France joins the rush to market nuclear power to Saudi Arabia

Reuters 29th Nov 2017, French state-controlled utility EDF intends to take part in a tender to
build two nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia, two sources familiar with the
situation told Reuters.

Saudi Arabia, which wants to reduce domestic oil
consumption, is considering building 17.6 gigawatts of nuclear-fuelled
power generation capacity by 2032 and has sent a request for information to
international suppliers to build two reactors

With answers to the request due by the end 2017 or early 2018, a formal tender could be launched by
mid-2018, but more likely toward the end of 2018 or early 2019, industry
specialists say.   https://www.reuters.com/article/saudi-nuclear-edf/update-1-frances-edf-plans-to-bid-in-saudi-arabia-nuclear-tender-sources-idUSL8N1NZ1YN

December 1, 2017 Posted by | France, marketing, Saudi Arabia | 2 Comments

Earthquake risks making Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors money losers?

Earthquake Risk Keeps Heat on Vulnerable Nuclear Reactors, https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/11/26/earthquake-risk-keeps-heat-vulnerable-nuclear-reactors  A proposal by a California administrative law judge has given safe energy advocates new hope by Harvey Wasserman

proposal by a California administrative law judge has given safe energy advocates new hope that two Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors will be shut before an earthquake on the San Andreas fault turns them to rubble, potentially threatening millions of people.

The huge reactors—California’s last—sit on a bluff above the Pacific, west of San Luis Obispo, among a dozen earthquake faults. They operate just 45 miles from the San Andreas. That’s half the distance from the fault that destroyed four reactors in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011. Diablo’s wind-blown emissions could irradiate the Los Angeles megalopolis in less than six hours if an earthquake destroyed the plant.

The death toll could be in the millions, the property damage in the trillions of dollars. The owner of the plant, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), would not be legally liable.

Last year, a deal to shut down Diablo’s two reactors in 2024 and 2025 was struck by the state, PG&E, surrounding communities and some environmental groups. Diablo’s federal licenses expire in those years, and PG&E agreed not to seek renewals. The power, it said, could be replaced with wind turbines and solar panels.

But the $1.7 billion in rate hikes stipulated in the deal still must be approved by California’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC). A proposed decision by administrative law Judge Peter Allen would limit them to less than $200 million.

The PUC must now factor Allen’s decision into how much it allows PG&E to charge. If it honors Allen’s opinion, the company must then decide whether it will continue to operate the reactors, which increasingly look like money losers.

The company’s standing is not exactly sterling. Massive fires that swept through Northern California in October killed at least 43 people, turning some 5,700 structures and whole forests, rural communities and parts of Santa Rosa into smoldering ash (the Trump administration has just omitted from its latest budget any federal aid to the region).

The San Jose Mercury News has speculated that PG&E may have been responsible for the conflagration by failing to maintain power lines that were blown over in a windstorm. Local fire departments were already complaining that trees and underbrush were being sparked by poles and wires PG&E had failed to maintain, though maintenance is required by law.

PG&E now faces a firestorm of lawsuits that could soar well into the billions. Criminal prosecution is also possible.

In 2010, a fire killed eight people and torched an upscale San Bruno neighborhood. The cause was badly maintained gas lines—for which PG&E had been cited repeatedly. Fines exceeded $1.4 billion, but criminal prosecution remains unresolved.

Other costly lapses have plagued PG&E through the years. Some involve Diablo itself, which opened in the mid-1980s amid America’s biggest “No Nukes” civil disobedience campaign, involving thousands of arrests.

Linda Seeley of San Luis Obispo’s Mothers for Peace says the company faces impossible hurdles in dealing with its thousands of tons of radioactive waste. In addition, she notes, “Many very expensive components in the two reactors must be replaced far before the proposed 2024-5 shutdown dates. Our concern is that PG&E may try to sneak through without paying to maintain the reactors even at basic safety levels.”

Michael Peck, a former Nuclear Regulatory Commission in-house inspector at Diablo, has warned that the reactors cannot survive a major earthquake and should close immediately. He has since been transferred to Chattanooga, Tenn.

“Diablo may no longer be profitable,” Seeley has said on my “California Solartopia” show on radio station KPFK. “The cost of wind and solar has dropped so fast it may not pay PG&E to run those plants anymore, even without doing the basic maintenance.”

Because much of Diablo’s aging workforce is retiring or looking elsewhere for job security, PG&E wants subsidies to retain skilled staff to run the place. Judge Allen specifically rejected much of the rate hike designed to meet that crisis.

California’s State Lands Commission is being sued by the World Business Academy, a Santa Barbara think tank, over key leases granted in the 1970s. The commission granted PG&E a waiver on conducting legally required environmental impact statements (gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom was among those who voted in favor). Should the business academy win its suit, or should the PUC honor Allen’s decision, and PG&E alter its timetable, those leases might be revisited. Without them, Diablo would almost certainly be forced to shut.

Challenges have also been raised over approval by the California Coastal Commission of Diablo’s cooling system.

Seeley and other activists have asked the public to pressure the PUC, state agencies and politicians like Newsom to shut Diablo sooner rather than later.

“Until they can specify the exact date and time the San Andreas and those other faults will go off,” Seeley said in a recent phone interview, “nobody should feel safe.”

Harvey Wasserman‘s latest book, America at the Brink of Rebirth: The Organic Spiral of US History, will be published in 2016.  His Solartopia Green Power & Wellness Show is at www.progressiveradionetwork.com, and he edits www.nukefree.org.

November 27, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, safety, USA | Leave a comment

America’s “overkill” with nuclear weapons – but Trump still wants more

The Sway of the Nuclear Arms Industry Over Donald Trump and Congress Is Terrifying
“The devastation is very important to me.”  Mother Jones his story originally appeared on TomDispatch.com……… in every sense of the term, our nuclear arsenal already represents overkill on an almost unimaginable scale. Independent experts from US war colleges suggest that about 300 warheads would be more than enough to deter any country from launching a nuclear attack on the United States.It may not surprise you to learn that there’s nothing new about the influence the nuclear weapons lobby has over Pentagon spending priorities. The successful machinations of the makers of strategic bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles, intended to keep tax dollars flowing their way, date back to the dawn of the nuclear age and are the primary reason President Dwight D. Eisenhower coined the term “military-industrial complex” and warned of its dangers in his 1961 farewell address.

Without the development of such weapons, that complex simply would not exist in its present form. The Manhattan Project, the vast endeavor that produced the first workable nukes during World War II, was one of the largest government-funded research and manufacturing projects in history. Today’s nuclear warhead complex is still largely built around facilities and locations dating back to that time…….

Eisenhower couldn’t have been more clear-eyed about all of this. He saw the missile gap for the fiction it was or, as he put it, a “useful piece of political demagoguery” for his opponents. “Munitions makers,” he insisted, “are making tremendous efforts towards getting more contracts and in fact seem to be exerting undue influence over the senators.”

 Once Kennedy took office, it became all too apparent that there was no missile gap, but by then it hardly mattered. The damage had been done. Billions of dollars more were flowing into the nuclear-industrial complex to build up an American arsenal of ICBMs already unmatched on the planet.

The techniques that the arms lobby and its allies in government used more than half a century ago to promote sky-high nuclear weapons spending continue to be wielded to this day. The 21st-century arms complex employs tools of influence that Kennedy and his compatriots would have found familiar indeed—including millions of dollars in campaign contributions that flow to members of Congress and the continual employment of 700 to 1,000 lobbyists to influence them; that’s nearly two arms lobbyists for every member of Congress. Much of this sort of activity remains focused on ensuring that nuclear weapons of all types are amply financed and that the funding for the new generations of the bombers, submarines, and missiles that will deliver them stays on track.

When traditional lobbying methods don’t get the job done, the industry’s argument of last resort is jobs—in particular, jobs in the states and districts of key members of Congress. This process is aided by the fact that nuclear weapons facilities are spread remarkably widely across the country There are labs in California and New Mexico; a testing and research site in Nevada; a warhead assembly and disassembly plant in Texas; a factory in Kansas City, Missouri, that builds nonnuclear parts for such weapons; and a plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, that produces weapon-grade uranium. There are factories or bases for ICBMs, bombers, and ballistic missile submarines in Connecticut, Georgia, Washington State, California, Ohio, Massachusetts, Louisiana, North Dakota, and Wyoming. Such a nuclear geography ensures that a striking number of congressional representatives will automatically favor more spending on nuclear weapons.

In reality, the jobs argument is deeply flawed. As the experts know, virtually any other activity into which such funding flowed would create significantly more jobs than Pentagon spending.study by economists at the University of Massachusetts, for example, found infrastructure investment would create one and one-half times as many jobs as Pentagon funding and education spending twice as many.

In most cases it hasn’t seemed to matter that the jobs claims for weapons spending are grotesquely exaggerated and better alternatives litter the landscape. The argument remains remarkably potent in states and communities that are particularly dependent on the Pentagon. Perhaps unsurprisingly, members of Congress from such areas are disproportionately represented on the committees that decide how much will be spent on nuclear and conventional weaponry………. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/11/devastation-very-important-nuclear-weapons-industry-donald-trump-1/

November 20, 2017 Posted by | employment, USA | Leave a comment