nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Desperate times for the nuclear industry – could Australia be its saviour?

the number one goal of the nuclear lobby is to remove Australia’s national and state laws that prohibit the nuclear industry.

the campaign by the global nuclear industry, particularly the American industry, to kickstart another “nuclear renaissance”, before it’s too late.

Australia is the great ‘white’ hope for the global nuclear industry, Independent Australia, By Noel Wauchope | 19 November 2019, The global nuclear industry is in crisis but that doesn’t stop the pro-nuclear lobby from peddling exorbitantly expensive nuclear as a “green alternative”. Noel Wauchope reports.

The global nuclear industry is in crisis. Well, in the Western world, anyway. It is hard to get a clear picture of  Russia and China, who appear to be happy putting developing nations into debt, as they market their nuclear reactors overseas with very generous loans — it helps to have stte-owned companies funding this effort.

But when it comes to Western democracies, where the industry is supposed to be commercially viable, there’s trouble. The latest news from S&P Global Ratings has made it plain: nuclear power can survive only with massive tax-payer support. Existing large nuclear  reactors need subsidies to continue, while the expense of building new ones has scared off investors.

So, for the nuclear lobby, ultimate survival seems to depend on developing and mass marketing “Generation IV” small and medium reactors (SMRs). …..

for the U.S. marketers, Australia, as a politically stable English-speaking ally, is a particularly desirable target. Australia’s geographic situation has advantages. One is the possibility of making Australia a hub for taking in radioactive wastes from South-East Asian countries. That’s a long-term goal of the global nuclear lobby.   …..

In particular, small nuclear reactors are marketed for submarines. That’s especially important now, as a new type of non-nuclear submarine – the Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) submarine, faster and much cheaper – could be making nuclear submarines obsolete. The Australian nuclear lobby is very keen on nuclear submarines: they are now promoting SMRs with propagandists such as Heiko Timmers, from Australian National University. This is an additional reason why Australia is the great white hope.

I use the word “white” advisedly here because Australia has a remarkable history of distrust and opposition to this industry form Indigenous Australians…..

The hunt for a national waste dump site is one problematic side of the nuclear lobby’s push for Australia. While accepted international policy on nuclear waste storage is that the site should be as near as possible to the point of production, the Australian Government’s plan is to set up a temporary site for nuclear waste, some 1700 km from its production at Lucas Heights. The other equally problematic issue is how to gain political and public support for the industry, which is currently banned by both Federal and state laws. SMR companies like NuScale are loath to spend money on winning hearts and minds in Australia while nuclear prohibition laws remain.

Ziggy Switkowski, a long-time promoter of the nuclear industry, has now renewed this campaign — although he covers himself well, in case it all goes bad, noting that nuclear energy for Australia could be a “catastrophic failure“. ……

his submission (No. 41) to the current Federal Inquiry into nuclear power sets out only one aim, that

‘… all obstacles … be removed to the consideration of nuclear power as part of the national energy strategy debate.’

So the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act) should be changed, according to Switkowski. In an article in The Australian, NSW State Liberal MP Taylor Martin suggested that the Federal and state laws be changed to prohibit existing forms of nuclear power technology but to allow small modular reactors.

Switkowski makes it clear that the number one goal of the nuclear lobby is to remove Australia’s national and state laws that prohibit the nuclear industry. And, from reading many pro-nuclear submissions to the Federal Inquiry, this emerges as their most significant aim.

It does not appear that the Australian public is currently all agog about nuclear power. So, it does seem a great coincidence that so many of their representatives in parliaments – Federal, VictorianNew South WalesSouth Australia and members of a new party in Western Australia – are now advocating nuclear inquiries, leading to the repeal of nuclear prohibition laws.

We can only conclude that this new, seemingly coincidental push to overturn Australia’s nuclear prohibition laws, is in concert with the push for a national nuclear waste dump in rural South Australia — part of the campaign by the global nuclear industry, particularly the American industry, to kickstart another “nuclear renaissance”, before it’s too late.

Despite its relatively small population, Australia does “punch above its weight” in terms of its international reputation and as a commercial market. The repeal of Australia’s laws banning the nuclear industry would be a very significant symbol for much-needed new credibility for the pro-nuclear lobby. It would open the door for a clever publicity drive, no doubt using “action on climate change” as the rationale for developing nuclear power.

In the meantime, Australia has abundant natural resources for sun, wind and wave energy, and could become a leader in the South-East Asian region for developing and exporting renewable energy — a much quicker and more credible way to combat global warming. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/australia-is-the-great-white-hope-for-the-global-nuclear-industry,13326

November 19, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, marketing, politics, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Before he’s even in the job, USA’s new Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette is busily promoting SMRs for his REAL bosses, the nuclear industryg

Could tiny nuclear reactors power Alaska villages?

By Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media November 14, 2019 President Trump’s nominee to be the next secretary of energy says he would continue the quest to develop mini nuclear reactors that could one day power communities in rural Alaska.

“We want to get to a place where we can develop small micro-reactors, one to five megawatts,” Dan Brouillette said Thursday at his confirmation hearing in the U.S. Senate Energy Committee. …..

Brouillette is now the deputy secretary. He told Murkowski there’s reason to be optimistic about the development of reactors that are a fraction of the size of those in use today. ….. https://www.alaskapublic.org/2019/11/14/energy-secretary-nominee-says-tiny-nuclear-reactors-could-power-alaska-villages/

November 16, 2019 Posted by | marketing, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Messianic Rick Perry preaches nuclear to sceptical Europeans

Messianic Perry preaches nuclear to sceptical Europeans, By Frédéric Simon | EURACTIV.com Oct 26, 2019  Small nuclear reactors can help “vulnerable nations take control of their destinies,” the US energy secretary said in Brussels today (21 October), claiming that small off-grid nuclear plants can bring electricity to poor nations and “disperse the darkness” around the globe…….

Today’s remarks, made in Brussels at the first EU-US high-level forum on small modular reactors, were again chiefly aimed at Eastern European countries, which have repeatedly complained about Russian interference in national politics, using gas as a lever.

Nuclear is a divise topic in Europe. While countries like France opted for it decades ago, others like Germany and Austria are strongly opposed.

“Nuclear energy is neither safe and sustainable nor cost-effective,” said German State Secretary for Energy, Andreas Feicht, during a recent meeting of EU energy ministers,  firmly rejecting suggestions that EU money might be used to extend the lifetime of existing nuclear plants.

Today’s remarks, made in Brussels at the first EU-US high-level forum on small modular reactors, were again chiefly aimed at Eastern European countries, which have repeatedly complained about Russian interference in national politics, using gas as a lever.

Nuclear is a divise topic in Europe. While countries like France opted for it decades ago, others like Germany and Austria are strongly opposed.

“Nuclear energy is neither safe and sustainable nor cost-effective,” said German State Secretary for Energy, Andreas Feicht, during a recent meeting of EU energy ministers,  firmly rejecting suggestions that EU money might be used to extend the lifetime of existing nuclear plants……

November 14, 2019 Posted by | EUROPE, marketing, USA | Leave a comment

The push for nuclear power in Africa, but what happens to the wastes?

November 14, 2019 Posted by | AFRICA, marketing, wastes | Leave a comment

African countries being conned into nuclear debt, by Russia

African countries rush to sign nuclear deals with Russia, Daily Maverick By Peter Fabricius• 29 October 2019

But concerns are being raised about whether they can all afford nuclear energy.

The Russian nuclear power corporation Rosatom has already signed nuclear cooperation agreements with about 18 African counties, as Russia accelerates its drive for nuclear business on the continent.

The growing commitment of African countries to high capital cost nuclear energy has raised some concern about whether they are committing themselves to unaffordable debt.

Rosatom director-general Alexey Likhachev revealed a large number of nuclear agreements with African countries after signing an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy with the Ethiopian Minister of Innovation and Technology, Getahun Mekuria Kuma, during the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi on the Black Sea last week.

Mekuria later told the Russian official news agency Tass that Ethiopia had plants to build a nuclear power plant.

Rosatom later also signed an agreement with Rwanda at the summit on cooperation for the construction of a centre of nuclear science and technology in Rwanda. Rosatom had a strong presence at the economic forum which paralleled the political summit. The Rosatom stand attracted scores of interested African government officials on the sidelines of the forum. …..

Likhachev told journalists after the discussion that Rosatom had now signed memoranda of understanding or intergovernmental agreements with about one-third of countries on the continent – about 18. He could not say how many of these were about scientific cooperation and how many were about producing nuclear energy “because very often those two tracks go hand in hand”.

But he did say in the discussion that about half of the African countries with which Rosatom had signed nuclear agreements were actively discussing joint projects with the corporation, which had been stipulated in contracts. The most advanced joint project is with Egypt, which has contracted Rosatom to build a 4,800MW nuclear power plant……

“We are ready to propose to Ethiopia cutting-edge solutions of nuclear technology. And our Ethiopian partners are invited to visit nuclear facilities in our country.

“Apart from larger capacity nuclear power plants, we also stand ready to offer smaller capacity, modular reactors.”

……..However, the apparent rush to nuclear energy by African countries has raised some concerns that they may be committing themselves to high capital costs of nuclear power production which they will be unable to afford.

Analysts have noted that even South Africa, one of the top two economies on the continent, backed away from an apparent commitment by former president Jacob Zuma to order 9,600MW of nuclear power plant production from Rosatom – at an estimated cost of about R1-trillion.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said after meeting Putin on the sidelines of the summit that the Russian president had once again asked him if South Africa was still interested in building a nuclear power plant and he had told him once again that it still could not afford to.

An African minister at the summit told Daily Maverick that although power plants could be an important source of economic growth, African countries were sinking further into debt and had to be careful to ensure they could afford the infrastructure they built.

Likhachev defended nuclear energy as an economical source of electricity over the long term. ……….

Olivier Nduhungirehe, Rwandan minister in charge of the East African community  would not be drawn on the cost and affordability implications, saying the details of the agreement would be announced in due course. https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2019-10-29-african-countries-rush-to-sign-nuclear-deals-with-russia/

October 31, 2019 Posted by | AFRICA, marketing, politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

USA negotiating nuclear sales with Saudi Arabia

October 31, 2019 Posted by | marketing, Saudi Arabia, USA | Leave a comment

Countries vie to market nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia

October 31, 2019 Posted by | marketing, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

Russia’s Rosatom nuclear firm targets its marketing at African countries

Russia’s State-Owned Nuclear Giant Is Targeting Africa for its Growth

By Paul Burkhardt   October 30, 2019, 
  •  Russian developer has signed over a dozen agreements in Africa
  •  Various financing options being considered for the plant build

Rosatom Corp., is eyeing Africa as one of its “priority regions” to build more nuclear reactors and expand its business……(Subscribers only) https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-30/russia-s-rosatom-focuses-on-africa-for-its-nuclear-expansion

October 31, 2019 Posted by | AFRICA, marketing | Leave a comment

US Energy Secretary Perry turns New Nuclear Salesman to Europe

October 22, 2019 Posted by | EUROPE, marketing, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear shill Rick Perry switching from DOE Secretary to Small Nuclear Reactor Salesman

Perry to Resign as DOE Secretary, With Nuclear Weapon Programs on Autopilot, OCTOBER 18, 2019, BY DAN LEONE,Rick Perry on Thursday announced his resignation as the Donald Trump administration’s first secretary of energy after more than two-and-a-half years on the job. In a published letter to President Donald Trump, Perry said he would resign “later this year”…(subscribers only) https://www.exchangemonitor.com/perry-resign-doe-secretary-nuclear-weapon-programs-autopilot/

Energy Wire 17th Oct 2019, Energy Secretary Rick Perry will head back to Europe next week as part of an effort to boost the U.S. advanced nuclear industry’s ability to export its technologies across the globe.
https://www.eenews.net/energywire/2019/10/17/stories/1061299145

October 19, 2019 Posted by | EUROPE, marketing, politics, USA | 1 Comment

Russia’s manipulations in supplying Bangladesh with nuclear technology

Derek Abbott  Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch Australia,7 Oct 19

I’m at an engineering meeting and got to meet an engineer working on the nuclear program in Bangladesh.

I asked him if Bangladesh had renewables. He said they have a lot.

I then made the point that nuclear is therefore not a good investment as his grid is now in greater need of sources that turn on and off quickly. As nuclear can’t do that, nuclear is not cost effective.

He agreed and said for that reason the Bangladeshi govt would actually never pay upfront for a nuclear station on an economic basis.

He said the nuclear program was a result of a political deal with the Russians.

He said that Pakistan and India have nuclear in the region, so the idea of Bangladesh having a nuclear station is a show of “arm flexing.”

The Russians were pushy and made a deal too hard to resist: The Russians will only charge 1% of the cost per annum for the first 30 years of operation and have agreed to remove all waste and ship it back to Russia.

I said that deal does seem too hard to resist.

I then naively asked why on earth the Russians would go to such lengths at an apparent economic loss to them.

His answer was that Bangladesh is seen as an economically strategic region. Labour costs are lower than India, and it has a very capable workforce with a GDP that is over 5 times (per head) higher than India!

I hadn’t realised that and asked how they are making money. He said that India is no longer the power house of the clothing industry. Due to lower wages, clothes are now made in Bangladesh. All your designer labels you might be wearing come from there and have been rebranded.

There are very strong trade deals between China and Bangladesh, and it his belief that Russia’s “bargain basement” nuclear deal is way of getting a foothold in the region themselves. It is a geopolitical maneuver.

What the Russians giveth with one hand, they’ll probably find a way to taketh with another.

October 6, 2019 Posted by | ASIA, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby’s keen propaganda campaign in Indonesia

Nuclear tourism experience in Bandung to be launched in October   https://www.thejakartapost.com/travel/2019/09/18/nuclear-tourism-experience-in-bandung-to-be-launched-in-october.html, THE JAKARTA POST, Jakarta  /  Wed, September 18, 2019  

The National Nuclear Energy Agency (Batan) is set to launch a nuclear tourism experience on Oct. 30, aiming to introduce nuclear technology to the public.

“We will have an open house to present the results of our research and development team from 2015 to 2019,” said Jupiter Sitorus Pane, head of the Science and Applied Nuclear Technology Center of Batan in Bandung on Wednesday to Antara news agency.

Jupiter said travelers can visit a number of places related to Batan in Bandung, such as reactors, isotopes production lab, the reactor conversion lab and Applied Nuclear Technology Center.

“Our target market is students and those interested in nuclear sciences. As this is a nuclear facility and considered a vital object, visitors must be at least 18 years old,” he said, adding that the tour will be free of charge.

September 19, 2019 Posted by | Indonesia, marketing | Leave a comment

Russia trying to market nuclear power to Uganda (or to anybody, really)

Uganda says Russia to help it develop nuclear energy, KAMPALA (Reuters) 18 Sept 19, – Uganda said on Wednesday it had signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) with Russia to help the East African country build capacity to exploit nuclear technology for energy, medical and other peaceful purposes.The government of President Yoweri Museveni has previously said it is eager to use the country’s uranium deposits to boost energy production capacity.

In May last year Uganda also signed a memorandum of understanding with China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) to help Uganda build capacity in the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes.

In an emailed statement, Uganda’s energy ministry said the IGA with Russia was signed in Vienna on Tuesday between Energy Minister Irene Muloni and Nikolai Spasskiy, the deputy director general of Russian state corporation ROSATOM……….

Reporting by Elias Biryabarema in Kampala; Editing by Matthew Lewis https://www.reuters.com/article/us-uganda-russia/uganda-says-russia-to-help-it-develop-nuclear-energy-idUSKBN1W328N

 

September 19, 2019 Posted by | AFRICA, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Russia Spreads Influence in Africa Using Nuclear Power

Russia Spreads Influence in Africa Using Nuclear Power – Reports, Moscow Times, 30 Aug 19, Russia is working to win influence in at least 10 African states with high-cost nuclear technology that for the most part does not suit their needs, researchers and NGOs have told The Guardian newspaper.

With booming exports, nuclear energy is one example of Russia’s increasing presence in Africa in recent years. Elsewhere, a businessman known as “Putin’s chef,” Yevgeny Prigozhin, is widely reported to be spearheading Russia’s push to exchange security and electioneering services for mining rights in Africa.

Russia’s state nuclear agency Rosatom has approached the leaders of “dozens” of African countries with various nuclear energy projects in the past two years, The Guardian reported Wednesday. Rosatom has existing deals with Egypt and Nigeria and other various agreements with other countries on the continent.

Few African countries have the capacity to distribute the amount of nuclear energy generated by the type of reactors that Rosatom is exporting, experts told the outlet. Observers also noted that the costly projects favored by Rosatom likely wouldn’t benefit Africa’s poorest populations…….. https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/08/29/russia-spreads-influence-in-africa-using-nuclear-power-reports-a67077

August 31, 2019 Posted by | AFRICA, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

NuScale, realising there’s no real market for small nuclear reactors, pins its hopes on mass orders from tax-payer funded military

Advanced US nukes need a boost; is the Pentagon the answer? As proponents for the fuel seek to establish a commercial domestic market, federal PPAs are seen as key to unlocking private investments. Utility Dive By Catherine Morehouse  July 19, 2019 “……  the large-scale reactors that are the norm across the U.S. don’t fit in with the growing trend toward smaller, decentralized power.

Small, advanced nuclear reactors better fit that mold, but have yet to enter the market. So the key question, say stakeholders, is how to spur that initial investment and establish a commercial domestic market, with a loftier goal of establishing the U.S. as a nuclear power export leader.

“……..you really are going to need to have that public involvement to persuade the private sector to roll along,” – Daniel Poneman, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy, and current president and CEO of nuclear developer Centrus

One potential solution floated at the conference was federal power purchase agreements between the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Energy (DOE). 

A public-private partnership

“I think that the Department of Defense is a logical first customer for these reactors, especially micro reactors that are under development that can be deployed in remote regions,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who chairs the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, told the New Nuclear Capital audience on Tuesday……..

DOD’s ability to purchase in bulk and “underwrite an investment that may not have an immediate commercial appeal,” makes it an ideal first customer, said Poneman. And that initial investment is key.

It “really helps to have that, frankly, that initial investment from an investor that is looking at their returns not in quarterly earning statements but in the long-term security payoffs,” said Poneman. “Then when they make that initial major investment, it’s the cost of the very first one that’s always very, very high. And sometimes you find a cost curve that declines really quite steeply as you make more.”

Currently, a lot of capital being invested in the nuclear space comes from “eccentric billionaires who want to save the world,” Managing Director of Private Equity at Growth Capital Services James Magowan said at the conference. This poses a problem when trying to bring in “real venture capitalists,” whose first question is “Who’s your customer? Do you have a customer?” 

To that end, “the suggestion that the DOD could step up and be a customer is a great one, I think that solves an initial customer problem,” he said. But in order to establish a domestic market, more players need to be involved.

The DOD has shown interest in advanced nuclear technology, Murkowski told reporters, making them a “likely candidate” for investment. DOD did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Building a domestic market

Many in the nuclear industry argue that establishing the U.S. as a nuclear export leader is essential to both national security as well as global decarbonization. While the Pentagon can get things rolling for small-scale nuclear, utilities will be essential to building out the market as buyers.

“I think you see utilities, particularly in Canada, stepping up with the Canadian government to take on that market-making role and we look forward to similar discussions here in the U.S.,” Donald Wolf, president and CEO of Advanced Reactor Concepts, a U.S.-based developer, said at the New Nuclear Capital Conference. “Before we, in effect, push these new designs on foreign countries, it really helps to say we built it here first. We’ve improved it at home, and it’s safe for us.”

And some developers are moving to establish those markets for small reactors with municipal power systems, which make for more attractive first customers than IOUs, according to Colbert. Municipal power systems have access to a lower weighted cost of capital, around 3%-4%, compared to IOUs’ approximately 8%-10%. 

NuScale has jointly pursued both DOD and the Utah Associated Municipal Power Association (UAMP) as first customers. ……

“If you look at nuclear, the market for energy … is pretty well known,” said Chris Colbert, Chief Strategy Officer at nuclear developer NuScale  . “What’s not so well known is how do you get through the nuclear regulatory process, the [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] process.”

While safety remains a paramount concern for nuclear power, many in the industry say they no longer view public perception as a major problem.

“How do we tell the masses the progress we’re making? …….https://www.utilitydive.com/news/advanced-us-nukes-need-a-boost-is-the-pentagon-the-answer/559088/

 

July 23, 2019 Posted by | marketing, USA | Leave a comment