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Trump tried to close federal loan program, but now wants it to fund Vogtle nuclear station!

To Save a Nuclear Plant, Trump Taps the Solyndra Loan Program He Tried to Cut, Bloomberg, By Ari Natter,  March 23, 2019,

  • $3.7 billion loan guarantee a key lifeline for nuclear project
  •  Aid to Southern Co. raises concerns with taxpayer watchdogs

President Donald Trump is dipping into a federal loan program that his administration has repeatedly sought to kill as a way to rescue a struggling nuclear power project in Georgia that critics say poses a credit risk to U.S. taxpayers.

The Trump administration announced Friday it’s finalizing a $3.7 billion loan guarantee for two nuclear reactors being built by Southern Co. Called Plant Vogtle, it’s the only nuclear facility under construction in the U.S. and one seen as vital for an industry that’s lagged due to competition from cheaper natural gas and renewable energy.

This is the real new green deal,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Friday during a visit to the site near Waynesboro, Georgia, alongside Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Southern Chief Executive Officer Tom Fanning. “If you want clean energy that helps your environment, there is no source that is cleaner than nuclear energy. This is it.”

The source of the aid is an Energy Department loan program that’s been in the cross-hairs of the Trump team since before his inauguration, when his transition team saw it as corporate welfare. Trump has asked Congress to ax the program for three years running, including in the budget submitted this month, arguing that financing provided by the fund should come from the private sector instead.

….. The aid to Southern and its partners building the plant comes on top of a record $8.3 billion in loan guarantees inked by the Obama administration for the project, bringing the total amount of exposure to taxpayers to $12 billion.

That’s raised concerns among watchdog groups and critics of the project, which is supposed to be completed in late 2022, who are questioning the wisdom of more government loans.

It would be a gross understatement to say this decision is fiscally reckless,” said Ryan Alexander, president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a non-partisan group based in Washington. “Putting the full faith and credit of the U.S. Treasury behind a project after it’s been plagued by skyrocketing costs and multi-year delays is an unjustifiable handout to the well-heeled Southern Company and its partners. Throwing good money after bad is never good policy.”

Behind Schedule

The project, which is more than five years behind schedule and has doubled in cost to $28 billion, was dealt a major setback after contractor Westinghouse Electric Co. went bankrupt in 2017. Southern assumed responsibility for managing construction of the project after that…….. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-22/trump-taps-solyndra-loan-program-he-wants-cut-for-nuclear-plant

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March 23, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

American nuclear lobby keen to market new nuclear reactors to overseas, to anyone!

The US is losing the nuclear energy export race to China and Russia. Here’s the Trump team’s plan to turn the tide

CNBC, MAR 21 2019 
 Tom DiChristopher@TDICHRISTOPHER 

  • Russian and Chinese companies are aggressively pursuing nuclear energy export deals and building more reactors overseas than U.S. firms.
  • The Trump administration aims to disrupt that progress by expanding early stage cooperation with countries interested in adopting nuclear energy.
  •  new initiative aims to make the U.S. the global leader in advanced nuclear reactors poised to hit the market in the coming years.The Trump administration is preparing a new push to help American companies compete in the race to build the next generation of nuclear power plants around the world — a competition the U.S. is currently losing.

    In doing so, the administration also aims to push back on the growing dominance of Russia and China in the space, preventing them from expanding their international influence by forging long-lasting nuclear ties with foreign powers.

    The State Department plans to expand cooperation with countries pursuing atomic energy long before those nations ever purchase a nuclear reactor. By facilitating early stage talks, the U.S. intends to put American companies first in line to build tomorrow’s fleet of nuclear power plants overseas

    We still lead the world in nuclear technology innovation. Our big challenge is taking that incredible IP and those incredible technological innovative breakthroughs and bringing them to market.

    To be sure, the Energy and Commerce departments actively facilitate U.S. nuclear cooperation with their foreign counterparts. But the State Department now intends to push the issue in talks at the highest levels of government, making it clear that Washington believes cooperation in the nuclear realm is central to its strategic relationships…….

    Rise of Russia and China

    The U.S. dominated nuclear energy exports decades ago, but faces stiff competition today, including from allies like France and South Korea. But it’s the growing dominance of adversaries in Beijing and Moscow that worries the Trump administration and nonproliferation experts……..

    Russia is also changing the rules of the game by offering generous financing that makes nuclear energy affordable to more nations. Moscow is targeting non-nuclear states in the Middle East and Africa with a model to build, own and operate the plants.

    The State Department intends to actively dissuade its partners from working with China and Russia, according to Christopher Ford, assistant secretary for international security and nonproliferation.

    Ford previewed that message last month at the Hudson Institute in Washington DC: “Russia and China also use reactor sales by their heavily state-supported nuclear industries as a geopolitical tool to deepen political relationships with partner countries, to foster energy dependence by foreign partners, and sometimes even to use predatory financing to lure foreign political leaderships into ‘debt traps’ that give Beijing or Moscow leverage that it can exploit later for geopolitical advantage.”

    New plan takes shape

    During the address, Ford outlined State’s plan to help American companies compete with Chinese and Russian firms.

    The department will more closely coordinate nuclear cooperation efforts across agencies and ramp up informal, non-binding talks with nations that might pursue nuclear energy technology. The goal is to expand the number of countries engaged in ongoing communication with U.S. government agencies, nuclear energy companies and researchers.

    The State Department will do this by signing nuclear cooperation memorandums of understanding with the countries……..

    State’s focus is on teeing up sales of a new generation of nuclear technology expected to come online in the next five to 10 years, the official said.Those include small modular reactors that can be bolted together to form larger units, Terrapower’s traveling wave reactor backed by Bill Gates and microreactors meant to provide enough power for a few thousand homes.

    Altogether, there are about two dozen serious designs for advanced nuclear reactors trying to break into the market, said McGinnis. Under McGinnis and Secretary Rick Perry, one of the Energy Department’s top priorities is facilitating the development of these new technologies…….

    On Tuesday, NuScale Energy signed a memorandum to explore deploying its small modular reactors in Romania, after signing similar agreements with Canada and Jordan.

    The U.S. will still have to reach so-called 123 Agreements with foreign countries before American firms can sell nuclear reactors overseas. These agreements place limits on the use of nuclear technology and must be approved by Congress.

    These agreements have recently drawn scrutiny from Democratic and Republican lawmakers as Westinghouse bids for nuclear power contracts in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have long insisted on their right to enrich uranium, something the U.S. usually opposes. The bidding also comes as tension between Riyadh and Capitol Hill has escalated after Saudi agents killed Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in October. ……..  https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/21/trump-aims-to-beat-china-and-russia-in-nuclear-energy-export-race.html

March 23, 2019 Posted by | marketing, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | 1 Comment

Power firms agree on route to close Spain’s oldest nuclear plant

https://www.reuters.com/article/spain-energy-nuclearpower/power-firms-agree-on-route-to-close-spains-oldest-nuclear-plant-idUSL8N2193XV

MADRID, March 22 (Reuters) – Spain’s main electricity providers have reached an agreement to renew the life of the country’s oldest nuclear plant until its planned closure, the company that operates the site said on Friday.

The Almaraz plant in Western Spain is the first nuclear reactor slated for closure in a calendar which foresees all seven in the country going offline between 2027 and 2035.

Phasing out nuclear power, which provides around a fifth of Spain’s electricity, is part of a package of energy market proposals that was one of the last gambits of the Socialist government before parliament was dissolved ahead of a general election next month.

A disagreement between Almaraz’s owners, Iberdrola, Endesa and Naturgy, over how much to invest to keep the plant running rumbled on close to a March 31 licence renewal deadline, putting the plant at risk of an earlier closure.

The firms will now apply to keep the site’s two reactors running until 2027 and 2028 respectively, on condition they will spend no more than 600 million euros on them, three sources with knowledge of the talks said.

Endesa had resisted adding any spending limits to a protocol signed last week setting out the closure dates, but a spokesman for the company said it was pleased with the deal.

We are very satisfied with the agreement because it fulfils the protocol signed last week which allows the plants to keep operating,” the spokesman said.

The spokesman added that the agreement also applied to two other nuclear power stations in which it holds majority stakes, whose licences likewise need renewing.

Iberdrola and Naturgy declined to comment.

March 23, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, Spain | Leave a comment

NuScale includes Romania in its desperate search for taxpayer funding for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

Romania to explore NuScale SMR deployment, WNN, 19 March 2019 An agreement between US small modular reactor (SMR) developer NuScale Power and Romanian energy company Societata Nationala Nuclearelectrica SA (SNN SA) to explore the use of SMRs in Romania has been welcomed by the US Department of Energy (DOE). The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding covering the exchange of business and technical information on NuScale’s nuclear technology, with the goal of evaluating the development, licensing and construction of a NuScale SMR for a “potential similar long-term solution” in Romania……… NuScale has also signed MOUs to explore the deployment of its SMR technology in Canada and Jordan. http://world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Romania-to-explore-NuScale-SMR-deployment

March 21, 2019 Posted by | marketing, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | 1 Comment

China trying to market nuclear technology to Argentina

Chinese delegation set to revive stalled Argentina nuclear power plant talks
Technical team expected to go to Latin American country to discuss project reportedly worth up to US$8 billion, SCMP, 16 Mar, 2019 A delegation from China will visit Argentina this month to discuss the construction of a nuclear power plant, signalling possible progress in a deal that could increase Beijing’s deepening influence in the South American nation.

March 18, 2019 Posted by | China, marketing | Leave a comment

$70 billion price tag for restarting Taiwan’s No. 4 nuclear plant project , and that’s not counting wastes costs

Restarting No. 4 nuclear plant project could cost NT$70 billion: AEC Focus Taiwan, 2019/03/14   Taipei, March 14 (CNA) It could cost an estimated NT$60-70 billion (US$1.94-2.26 billion) and take at least 10 years to revive the mothballed fourth nuclear power plant at Longmen in New Taipei’s Gongliao District, Atomic Energy Council (AEC) Minister Hsieh Shou-shing (謝曉星) said Thursday.

However, Hsieh said that a decision to search for a final disposal repository for radioactive waste has not been reached and he declined to answer the question of when the location of a final repository can be determined, because no cities or counties in the country are willing to have such a facility in their localities.

Hsieh was responding to a legislator’s questioning about restarting the nuclear plant project during a legislative hearing, as the topic has sparked considerable debate after pro-nuclear energy activists recently proposed a referendum on the issue……..

 the ministry also cited Taipower estimates that it would require about NT$47.8 billion to revive the nuclear plant and put it into commercial operation, adding that the amount could be even higher than that.

(By Liu Lee-jung and Evelyn Kao) http://focustaiwan.tw/news/aeco/201903140013.aspx

March 16, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, Taiwan | Leave a comment

USA Government Accounting Office reports lack of financial oversight at Hanford and other nuclear sites

March 16, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Brazil Seeks Nuclear Pact With U.S. During Bolsonaro’s Visit

Bloomberg, By  Sabrina Valle  March 15, 2019, 
  •  Minister says he wants Brazil open to uranium mining companies
  •  Government also supports construction of new nuclear plants

Brazil’s energy minister said the country plans to sign an accord next week with President Donald J. Trump that could pave the way for U.S. companies to explore the Latin American country for uranium and invest in new nuclear-power plants.

Bento Albuquerque, a former admiral who once ran the Brazilian Navy’s atomic program, met with U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry in Houston this week and discussed creating a bilateral forum on energy cooperation that would include nuclear projects. That’s expected to be part of a memorandum signed by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on his first trip to the White House next week, Albuquerque said Thursday in an interview.

The proposed collaboration is another element of the Bolsonaro administration’s push to align with Trump……https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-14/brazil-seeks-nuclear-pact-with-u-s-during-bolsonaro-s-visit

March 16, 2019 Posted by | Brazil, marketing, USA | Leave a comment

Rolls Royce, EDF, Centrica – all trying to sell of their money-losing nuclear businesses

Ian Fairlie 11th Marcvh 2019 UK nuclear going down the pan? Readers will have seen the news that Rolls
Royce is trying to get rid of the main bulk of its civil UK nuclear
business though not Small Modular Reactors, nuclear submarines and Hinkley
Point C involvement.

It has appointed the consultancy firm KPMG to find a
buyer. This follows the earlier revelation that EdF Energy has been doing
the same for at least a year, ie trying to find a buyer for its ageing UK
reactor fleet.

It is unlikely either company will find a buyer, or at least
find one willing to pay a reasonable price . For example, UK energy giant
Centrica[4] has been trying for years to offload its 20% shareholding of
EDF Energy. Back in 2012, after it pulled out of the mooted Hinkley Point C
development (thereby losing £200 million in sunk costs), Centrica
appointed the German investment bank UBS to look for a suitable buyer but
none has ever been found.

The main reason these companies are trying to
offload their nuclear reactor businesses is that they are essentially
unprofitable: the electricity they produce is more expensive than the sales
they generate. And their fuel costs are far more expensive than the
effectively zero fuel costs of electricity from wind and solar.

https://www.ianfairlie.org/news/uk-nuclear-going-down-the-pan/

March 14, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Misleading inaccuracies in BBC report on Hunterston nuclear reactors

Ianfairlie 8th March 2019 On March 8, the BBC published a news item about cracks in the Hunterston B nuclear reactors. Whilst it is good that the story highlighted reporting of the safety issues surrounding the plant and, in particular, included photographs of the cracked graphite core, we wish to correct several inaccuracies.

The BBC article claims that early decommissioning could cause serious energy supply problems. This is simply not the case and is alarmist nonsense: the reality is that Scotland has, if anything, an oversupply of electricity. Both Hunterston and Torness could be closed without problem to Scotland’s electricity supplies.

The BBC article then states that “Concerns have also been raised about the consequences for local jobs if Hunterston closed early.”As pointed out in our article, few if any jobs would be lost if the reactors Hunterston B were closed permanently: dealing with the immense heat rates from radioactive decay even from closed reactors will guarantee jobs there for the first 2 to 3 years.

After that decommissioning will provide more jobs then when the reactors operated, just as is occurring at the closed reactors at Dounreay. The BBC cites Councillor Tom Marshall as stating: “Most of the large employers round about here have disappeared – and this is one of the last major employers.

So, if it is safe to run most people locally would be happy to see it running.” We obviously share the concerns of local people about deindustrialisation and the appalling effects of the UK Government’s uncivilised austerity programmes in Scotland. But local councillors should\ not be misled by incorrect statements by the nuclear industry. Closing
Hunterston B for good will not lead to large numbers of job losses: the contrary in fact.

https://www.ianfairlie.org/news/incorrect-statements-in-bbc-news-hunterston-b-pictures-show-cracks-in-ayrshire-nuclear-reactor/

Dave Toke’s Blog 8th March 2019

https://realfeed-intariffs.blogspot.com/2019/03/the-real-story-about-stricken.html

March 10, 2019 Posted by | employment, media, UK | Leave a comment

A billion dollar bailout for Three Mile Island Nuclear Station?

Bailout bill proposed for Three Mile Island nuclear plant, 21 News, by Jessie McDonough, March 9th 2019  MIDDLETOWN, PA — A 981-million dollar bailout will be proposed next week to keep Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant afloat.

Republican representatives want to amend Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio

MIDDLETOWN, PA — A 981-million dollar bailout will be proposed next week to keep Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant afloat.

Republican representatives want to amend Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard by adding nuclear energy to the plan. Energy providers will have to buy a certain percentage of nuclear which would lead high utility bills for you the consumer.

The proposal would bail out two nuclear energy plants. One of those is Exelon’s Three Mile Island.

Not everyone is on board with the proposal and its’ hefty price tag.

“We are talking almost a billion dollar nuclear bailout and basically it is a tax on consumers. It is going to force energy prices to be higher”, said Commonwealth of Pennsylvania CEO Nathan Benefield.

Some residents in Middletown where the plant is located are also worried about increases in their electric bill……. https://local21news.com/news/local/bailout-bill-proposed-for-three-mile-island-nuclear-plant

March 10, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Fukushima nuclear workers still facing radiation danger, eight years on.

Eight years after Fukushima nuclear meltdown, workers still facing radiation risk https://www.peoplesworld.org/article/eight-years-after-fukushima-nuclear-meltdown-workers-still-facing-radiation-risk/  February 22, 2019   BY SHIMBUN AKAHATA  eight years since the nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The NPP operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), says that it will soon conduct a probe into the containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor in order to find out the condition of the melted nuclear fuel inside, which means that TEPCO has yet to obtain even such basic information.

TEPCO officials recently said to Akahata that high-risk zones in the Fukushima Daiichi plant have become smaller and that now workers do not need to wear a full-face mask and a protective suit in 96 percent of the plant premises. This is because the level of radioactive materials in the air has decreased as a larger area of the site is now covered with concrete, according to officials. At the crippled nuclear power plant, the number of workers coping with the aftermath of the 2011 nuclear accident, though, is still more than 4,000 per day.

However, the hidden reality regarding contamination risks seems to differ from the impression the utility wanted to create by citing the figure “96 percent.” In a recently published survey of Fukushima workers conducted by TEPCO, of the respondents who are anxious about their exposure to radiation, nearly half feared that their health would be damaged in the future. In another question in the same survey, more than 40 percent were concerned about working at the nuclear power plant.

The most common reason for their concern was that they have no idea how long they need to work at the plant because it is unclear how much work remains to be done. They are also worried about the risk of radiation-induced health damage in the future with no guarantee of a stable income. Without a worker-friendly environment, the decommissioning of the crippled reactors will be extremely time-consuming.

The storage of radiation-contaminated water is another major issue. Around 100-150 tons of polluted water is produced every day at the plant, which means that a 1,000-ton tank is filled up in seven to ten days. Currently, around 1.1 million tons of radioactive water are stored on the plant premises, but under TEPCO’s plan, the maximum planned storage capacity is only 1.37 million tons.

In another survey of residents conducted by municipalities near the Fukushima plant, among the respondents who decided not to go back to their hometowns and who cannot decide whether to do so, many cited worries about the safety of the plant as a reason.

The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, however, is still encouraging Fukushima evacuees to return to their homes, but as the nuclear disaster drags on.

March 9, 2019 Posted by | employment, Japan | Leave a comment

All use of nuclear power will end in Germany by end of 2022

Nuclear “finished” in Germany, plant operators affirm  https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/nuclear-finished-germany-plant-operators-affirm Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung  04 Mar 2019,    Benjamin Wehrmann

The use of nuclear power in Germany will come to an end by the end of 2022 as planned, operators of the country’s remaining nuclear plants have told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in reaction to a survey in which almost half of the respondents said nuclear plants should run longer than coal plants. Energy company EnBW said that the political regulation means that “nuclear energy is finished in Germany,” adding that its two remaining plants would be deconstructed right after they are taken off the grid. Ralf Güldner, head of the German Nuclear Forum, said ending nuclear power while at the same time phasing out coal and struggling to expand the power grid could mean that Germany’s autonomous power supply security becomes threatened. However, Güldner too said the political situation was “very clear.” Plant operator Preussen-Elektra said “we certainly don’t think about any plan B.” According to the article, operators say that they will not have qualified staff anymore to keep nuclear plants running longer than agreed.

In the survey, 49.5 percent of respondents said the planned decommissioning of the last nuclear plant by 2022 and of the last coal plant by 2038 is the right order, while 44.1 percent said closing nuclear plants before coal plants is wrong from a climate perspective.

March 7, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, Greece, politics | Leave a comment

Russia ready to enter deal to build nuclear power plant in Czech Republic

CZECH-RUSSIAN TALKS INCLUDED DISCUSSIONS ON CONSTRUCTION OF NEW NUCLEAR POWER BLOCKhttps://www.radio.cz/en/section/news/czech-russian-talks-included-discussions-on-construction-of-new-nuclear-power-block  Tom McEnchroe,  06-03-2019

If the Czech Republic issues a tender to build a new nuclear power source, Rosatom will send a proposal, the Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov told journalists after a bilateral intergovernmental commission on Wednesday.

His Czech counterpart Marta Nováková (ANO) said one tender conditions would be that the third nuclear power source remain fully under the administration of the Czech Republic once finished.

The intergovernmental commission also discussed mutual cooperation in supporting small- and medium-sized businesses, mutual exports into third-countries and cooperation within the aircraft industry.

March 7, 2019 Posted by | marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Russia keen to have Bulgaria go into debt to Russia, to implement Belne nuclear station

Russia Ready To Take Part in Bulgaria’s Belene Nuclear Power Plant, Medvedev Says,  Moscow Times 

March 7, 2019 Posted by | Bulgaria, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment