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Hitachi looks certain to cancel its plans for a £16bn nuclear power station in Wales

Hitachi set to cancel plans for £16bn nuclear power station in Wales Guardian, Adam Vaughan @adamvaughan_uk-12 Jan 2019

Move by Japanese firm would be blow to UK plans to replace coal plants and ageing reactors  The Japanese conglomerate Hitachi looks certain to cancel its plans for a £16bn nuclear power station in Wales, leaving Britain’s ambitions for a nuclear renaissance in tatters.

An impasse in months-long talks between the company, London and Toyko on financing is expected to result in the flagship project being axed at a Hitachi board meeting next week, according to the Nikkei newspaper.

The company has spent nearly £2bn on the planned Wylfa power station on Anglesey, which would have powered around 5m homes.

Another Japanese giant, Toshiba, scrapped a nuclear plant in Cumbria just two months ago after failing to find a buyer for the ailing project.

Withdrawal by Hitachi would be a major blow to the UK’s plans to replace dirty coal and ageing reactors with new nuclear power plants, and heap pressure on ministers to consider other large-scale alternatives such as offshore windfarms.

It would also mark an end to Japan’s hopes of exporting its nuclear technology around the world.

Hitachi and the UK and Japanese governments have been negotiating over a guaranteed price of power from Wylfa and a potentially £5bn-plus UK public stake in the scheme.

Talks have proved “tricky to find a solution that works for all parties”, industry sources said.

Unions said the prospect of Wylfa being cancelled was extremely worrying and losing two projects in such a short period “should set alarm bells ringing” about the government’s commitment to nuclear………

an insider said: “There has been a serious rift in Hitachi, and the group that said this is too large and risky an investment of Japanese capital have won out. They pointed to the uncertainty created by Brexit to say this was another reason to pull the plug.” ……….

Nuclear critics said a collapse of the scheme was not a disaster but an opportunity for a policy shift. Doug Parr, the chief scientist of Greenpeace UK, said: “We could have locked ourselves into reliance on an obsolete, unaffordable technology, but we’ve been given the chance to think again and make a better decision.”

Sara Medi Jones, the acting secretary general of CND, said: “With offshore wind now cheaper than nuclear it’s clear there is a clean and workable alternative. We just need the political will to make it happen.”

Just one new nuclear power station, EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C in Somerset, has been given the green light and begun construction. The French company and Chinese firm CGN both want to build more. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/11/hitachi-cancel-plans-nuclear-power-station-angelsey-wales

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January 12, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Iowa Utilities Board OK’s Alliant ending nuclear power purchase: Duane Arnold nuclear plant to shut down

State board OK’s Alliant ending nuclear power purchase, The Gazette, 11 Jan 19Alliant Energy’s request for a settlement that will allow the utility to end its purchase of energy from Duane Arnold Energy Center has been approved.

The Iowa Utilities Board’s approval of Alliant’s request to recover a one-time $110 million payment allows the utility to end its purchase of power from the state’s sole nuclear power plant. The plant, based in Palo, is slated to shut down in late 2020 — five years sooner than the current power purchase agreement between NextEra Energy Resources and Alliant Energy.

The Iowa Utilities Board announced the settlement agreement in a Thursday news release.

Duane Arnold, which first began producing power in 1975, is about 9 miles northwest of Cedar Rapids and is one of the larger employers in Linn County. The power plant, at 3277 Daec Road, is owned by Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources……..https://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/business/state-board-approves-alliants-plan-to-close-duane-arnold-in-2020-20181213

 

January 12, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Funding deadlock looks set to sink Japan’s last overseas nuclear project.

Nikkei Asian Review 11th Jan 2019 , Hitachi to suspend all work on UK nuclear plant. Funding deadlock looks set to sink Japan’s last overseas nuclear project. Hitachi plans to put a U.K.
nuclear power project on hold as negotiations with the British government over funding hit an impasse, all but closing the book on Tokyo’s vision for nuclear infrastructure exports.
The Japanese industrial conglomerate’s
board is expected to officially decide next week to suspend all work on the
plant, including design and preparations for construction. Hitachi will
freeze the roughly 300 billion yen ($2.77 billion) in assets held by its
British nuclear business and write down their value, likely booking a loss
of 200 billion yen to 300 billion yen for the fiscal year ending in March.
The move would bring to a halt Japan’s last active overseas nuclear project
after the news last month that a Japanese-led consortium including
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries was scrapping a project in Turkey. With the
aversion to nuclear power that took hold after the March 2011 Fukushima
Daiichi disaster showing little sign of abating, prospects look grim for a
sector that the Japanese government had positioned as a pillar of its
infrastructure export drive. Hitachi had taken on the planned construction
of two reactors on the Welsh island of Anglesey after acquiring U.K.-based
Horizon Nuclear Power in 2012. The company is leaving the door open to a
return. The project is “not being abandoned,” a source close to Hitachi
told Nikkei, suggesting the company would keep an eye on the situation and
resume the project if possible.
While negotiations with London are
apparently set to continue, reworking the project to the extent Hitachi
requires will be no easy task. As things stand now, it appears likely that
the company will ultimately be forced to bow out.
https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Business-Deals/Hitachi-to-suspend-all-work-on-UK-nuclear-plant

January 12, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, UK | Leave a comment

Japan, the U.S. and France failing in their efforts to sell nuclear reactors overseas, (or at home)

Japan’s Nuclear Export Struggles Narrow the Field of Suppliers, Only a handful of nations now seem capable of building new reactors, with the ability of the U.S. also in doubt. Greentech Media, Japan is struggling to find viable foreign buyers for its reactor technology in an expensive and competitive global nuclear market.

Only half a dozen nations currently have credible nuclear export capabilities. And besides Japan, the true export potential of at least two — the U.S. and France — is in doubt.

A recent report in the Japanese daily Mainichi Shimbun said a government strategy to export nuclear power technology had “run aground amid rising safety costs and deteriorating prospects for project profitability.” Proposed projects in Turkey and the United Kingdom had both hit roadblocks, the Mainichi Shimbun noted……..

Also, and perhaps more importantly, Japanese nuclear vendors are not state-owned like developers from China, Russia and South Korea. That puts Japanese firms at a disadvantage in terms of accessing finance and accepting risk.

These problems are not restricted to Japanese firms, though. They also apply to U.S. vendors.

Struggles in the U.S. nuke sector

While Japanese nuclear is at least enjoying something of a gradual recovery at home, with nine reactors back online after Fukushima and a further 17 looking to restart, in the U.S. the domestic sector is a mess.

This month saw Dominion Energy absorbing Scana Corporation after the latter failed to keep construction of two reactors at the Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station afloat.

A little over 100 miles away, Georgia state lawmakers have expressed concerns that a couple of new reactors at the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, which are already half a decade behind schedule, could see further delays.

Six reactors out of a total of 104 have shut down across the U.S. since 2012, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, and a further 13 are due to close before 2025.

Meanwhile, a 2017 study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found two-thirds of U.S. nuclear power capacity could become unprofitable over the next few years.

When publicly owned U.S. nuclear developers do not even have a viable domestic market to play in, it is hard to see how they might compete overseas. There are efforts underway to revive the U.S. nuclear industry, but industry advocates say much more support is needed.

U.S. nuclear export prospects are thus beginning to look a lot like those in Japan — and also those in France, which has been struggling to launch its Evolutionary Power Reactor technology. Like the U.S. and Japan, France seemingly has little appetite to attach state guarantees to nuclear projects abroad……

January 12, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs | Leave a comment

Nuclear Power Is Economically Obsolete

 https://www.ecowatch.com/nuclear-power-cost-renewables-2625524662.html, By Grant Smith, 9 Jan 19,

Last year the Trump administration’s Energy Department announced the launch of a media campaign to counter what an official called “misinformation” about nuclear power. We haven’t noticed an upsurge in pro-nuclear news—because there is none to report.

On the first day of 2019, the energy industry trade journal Power asked whether new technology can save nuclear power by making new reactors economically feasible—not only to replace coal and natural gas but also to compete with the rapidly dropping cost of renewable energy. The verdict from Peter Bradford, a former member of the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission:

. . . [N]ew nuclear is so far outside the competitive range. . . . Not only can nuclear power not stop global warming, it is probably not even an essential part of the solution to global warming.

His bleak outlook is shared by the authors of a recent article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The authors—an engineer, an economist and a national security analyst—reviewed the prospects for so-called advanced designs for large nuclear reactors, and for much smaller modular reactors that could avoid the billions in construction costs and overruns that have plagued the nuclear energy industry since the beginning.

They concluded that no new designs can possibly reach the market before the middle of the century. They cite the breeder reactor that, according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, received $100 billion in public development funds worldwide over six decades and still did not get off the ground.

The authors say there may be an opening for small modular reactors but that it will be very difficult to find a market for these reactors without—as is always the case with nuclear power—a massive infusion of taxpayer dollars. “For that to happen,” they argue, “several hundred billion dollars of direct and indirect subsidies would be needed to support their development and deployment over the next several decades, since present competitive energy markets will not induce their development and adoption.”

Despite the past failure and poor future outlook, support for more nuclear funding persists. In a recent study, the Energy Department pointed to the $50 billion in federal incentives provided to renewables like solar and wind power between 2005 and 2015, implying that such policies can have a similar impact on modular nuclear reactors. But unlike nuclear power, the costs of wind and solar have dropped dramatically, to the point where the cost of new, unsubsidized utility-scale wind and solar power investment can now competewith that of existing coal and nuclear power plants.

The bigger question is whether nuclear power is needed at all.

Nuclear advocates’ claims that nuclear power is required to fight climate change falls short. California met its climate goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 four years early by turning off its nuclear plants and setting policies that prioritize renewables, energy efficiency and energy storage investments over natural gas plant additions.

An argument advanced in the Energy Department report is that, to ensure that power can be delivered 24/7, large coal and nuclear power plants designed to run day and night—also known as baseload plants—need to be replaced by small nuclear units that run day and night. However, mounting, real-world evidence refutes this assertion.

Recent studies from New York and California show that it is cheaper to invest in renewables, energy efficiency and energy storage in order to replace aging nuclear plants than it is to keep the existing plants running. Savings range from hundreds of millions to billions of dollars—achieved without any impact on electric system reliability.

Nuclear power belongs in a museum. We shouldn’t continue to squander public dollars on a technology that will never make economic sense. We should divert resources into improving and deploying wind, solar, energy efficiency and energy storage technology that we know will keep the lights on, effectively reduce carbon emissions and cost what we can afford to pay.  Grant Smith is senior energy policy advisor at Environmental Working Group.

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

Major financial group in Japan bans lending to those developing, making or possessing nuclear weapons 

Resona bans lending to those developing, making or possessing nuclear weapons https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190107/p2a/00m/0bu/024000c, January 7, 2019 (Mainichi Japan) TOKYO — Resona Holdings Inc., a major financial group in Japan, has announced a policy of not extending loans to borrowers that are involved in the development, production or possession of nuclear weapons.

January 8, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

Japan losing hope for having a nuclear export industry

January 5, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

Uncertain future for nuclear engineers

High-Paying Jobs in Nuclear Power Aren’t Looking So Safe Anymore

A wave of plant closings has workers—even highly trained engineers—on edge, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, Erin Ailworth, Dec. 28, 2018  “………As large employers, these plants are often economic anchors for the smaller, sometimes rural communities in which they were built. When they disappear, so too can a significant portion of the tax base—a big blow for many. Each plant shuttered equals hundreds of jobs lost; combined, the nine slated to retire employ more than 7,000.

After a plant closes, those employees are left playing musical chairs, hoping to land a spot at another nuclear plant even as that job pool shrinks. Federal labor data for nuclear and other electric power generation shows the number of workers has dropped to about 63,000 in October from roughly 158,000 in 1990. At least 3,000 of those jobs vanished since the start of 2013………

Federal forecasts show that employment among nuclear power reactor operators, who tend to have a high school or equivalent education, is expected to fall by just over 10% from 2016 to 2026. Meanwhile, the Nuclear Energy Institute, a trade association, estimates that of 100,000 nuclear workers—including those with jobs outside power plants—it expects about 23,000 people to retire from or quit the industry over the next five years.

……. The latest nuclear job losses occurred at Oyster Creek, a 49-year-old plant owned by Exelon Corp. in New Jersey, that went offline in September. Next to go will be Entergy Corp.’s Pilgrim nuclear plant in Massachusetts, which is scheduled to shut down in May. Three Mile Island’s shuttering is slated for September 2019.

Christopher Crane, chief executive of Exelon, said his company is doing what it can to absorb workers displaced by Oyster Creek’s retirement, even as it works to avoid further closures by lobbying for policies that recognize nuclear power as a carbon-free resource akin to solar and wind farms.

…….. The last nuclear plant built in the U.S. came into full service in 2016. More recent nuclear projects have had huge cost overruns and delays.

The Trump administration, meanwhile, repeatedly has promised to help the struggling nuclear industry, but so far its efforts haven’t panned out.

Employees at the James A. FitzPatrick nuclear plant in central New York state worry about their future. https://www.wsj.com/articles/high-paying-jobs-in-nuclear-power-arent-looking-so-safe-anymore-11545993000

January 5, 2019 Posted by | employment, USA | Leave a comment

Japan abandoning ambition to sell nuclear power reactors to Turkey

January 5, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

Trump’s done one good thing – stopped the Bill Gates- China “new nuclear power” push

Bill Gates shelves nuclear reactor in China, citing U.S. policy, Axios, Dec 30

TerraPower, a nuclear-energy company founded by Bill Gates, is unlikely to follow through on building a demonstration reactor in China, due largely to the Trump administration’s crackdown on the country.

Why it matters: This is a blow to America’s attempts to commercialize advanced, smaller scale nuclear technology and, separately, further evidence of soured relations between the U.S. and China under President Trump.

Driving the news: In a year-end blog post covering various topics published Saturday night, Gates said of TerraPower: “We had hoped to build a pilot project in China, but recent policy changes here in the U.S. have made that unlikely.”

Details: The Trump administration, led by the Energy Department, announced in October that it was implementing measures to “prevent China’s illegal diversion of U.S. civil nuclear technology for military or other unauthorized purposes.”

  • Those measures have made it nearly impossible for TerraPower’s project to go forward, according to multiple people familiar with the development.
  • TerraPower had pursued plans to build a pilot reactor in China because that country has two things America doesn’t — growing electricity demand and a long-term strategic energy plan — a top TerraPower executive told me last year.
  • Morning Consult and, separately, an analyst for the think tank International Institute for Strategic Studies, covered the impacts of the October policy change shortly after it occurred, with brief mentions of the likely negative impact on TerraPower………

What’s next: “We may be able to build it [the reactor] in the United States if the funding and regulatory changes that I mentioned earlier happen,” Gates said in his post, although he didn’t specify which funding or regulations.

Meanwhile, the Energy Department just announced it plans to buy some of the power from new advanced reactors being pursued by NuScale, another advanced nuclear company, for here in the United States. https://www.axios.com/bill-gates-nuclear-reactor-china-terrapower-be4c792c-6f76-4723-bf63-d8f9fb527dc1.html

 

January 1, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, China, politics, USA | 2 Comments

Desperate effort to find a buyer for the Santee Cooper after its nuclear fiasco

Inside the hurried effort to find a buyer for Santee Cooper, Herald Sun, BY AVERY G. WILKS, DECEMBER 30, 2018 , COLUMBIA, SC 

A day before state regulators approved Dominion Energy’s bid to buy SCANA Corp., representatives from at least six firms gathered in a secret meeting in North Charleston to discuss a possible solution to the other half of South Carolina’s $9 billion nuclear construction fiasco.

The gathering revolved around the possible sale of Santee Cooper, the state-owned utility that racked up more than $4 billion in debt before abandoning a joint effort with SCANA to expand a nuclear power plant in Fairfield County.

ICF International — a Virginia-based firm hired by the General Assembly — hosted the invitation-only meeting as part of a hurried, ongoing effort to solicit and study bids from some of the largest names in the utility industry.

There to ask questions about Santee Cooper’s assets and operations — and to scout out the competition — were two dozen legal and financial experts representing Charlotte-based Duke Energy, Florida-based NextEra Energy, Virginia-based Dominion, Greenville-based Pacolet Milliken Enterprises, New York-based LS Power and South Carolina’s electric cooperatives — who together buy three-fifths of Santee Cooper’s electricity.

SCANA’s chapter of the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station debacle is winding down with the Cayce-based company’s impending sale to Dominion. But 17 months after the project’s collapse, the buzz surrounding Santee Cooper’s future is only now ramping up.

This summer, S.C. lawmakers slashed the nuclear-bloated electric rates for customers of SCANA’s electric subsidiary, SCE&G. That $22-a-month rate cut was made permanent by state regulators earlier this month.

Now, the nearly 2 million S.C. residents who get their power from Santee Cooper — either directly or through one of the state’s 20 electric co-ops — are wondering whether they will get a rate cut, too. That will be one of the biggest questions facing the General Assembly when it reconvenes in Columbia in January.

……….. The presentation on Santee Cooper’s assets and operations, and a question-and-answer period were scheduled to last all day. But with each of the bidders hesitant to ask a question that could tip their hands, the event wrapped up about lunchtime instead, sources said.

ICF declined to comment through a public relations agency.

State Rep. Murrell Smith, the Sumter Republican who co-chairs the Legislature’s Santee Cooper sale study committee, told The State in a recent interview he is confident in the timeline set for the process.

ICF told Smith’s committee there would be enough time for “meaningful and thorough bids,” particularly since potential buyers have known for more than a year that Santee Cooper could be on the auction block, he said.

Those bids are due Jan. 14. https://www.heraldsun.com/news/state/south-carolina/article223631625.html

December 31, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, USA | 1 Comment

Don’t mistake a short burst in uranium market – the longterm outlook is no good

How Poor Is the Long-term Outlook for Cameco Corp. (TSX:CCO)? The Motley Fool Matt Smith | December 27, 2018  “………it is becoming increasingly unpopular. This is primarily due to the dangers it poses during times of catastrophic failure, as demonstrated by the Fukushima incident. There are also concerns over the safe processing and storage of the radioactive waste that it produces.

Bullish analysts point to growing demand for the fuel and rising supply constraints as the reason to be optimistic for uranium and Cameco. This makes the demand side dynamics for uranium appear healthy, pointing to higher consumption which will bolster prices.

However, other nations are moving to reduce their dependence on nuclear power in favour of renewable sources of energy which in recent years have become significantly cheaper to install and operate. The inherent risks associated with nuclear power see France intending to reduce the share of its electricity generated by nuclear by 25% by 2025. Whereas Germany has measures in place to decommission all reactors by 2022 and South Korea intends to undergo a similar process.

According to analysis conducted by asset management firm Lazard, utility scale solar and wind generated electricity is significantly cheaper to produce than nuclear as well as coal and natural gas-fired power generation. This explains why a record level of renewable energy was installed during 2017 and most of that new installed capacity was composed of solar and wind. This points to a sharp deterioration in demand for nuclear power over the long term, particularly given that some of the reactors under construction will replace existing reactors that are to be decommissioned.

No analysis is complete without an understanding of the supply-side of the equation. Recent production cutbacks by Cameco and Kazakhstan’s state-owned producer Kazatomprom triggered uranium’s latest rally and those are likely only to be temporary. Both miners will boost output once uranium prices firm sufficiently to make the operations that they have shuttered economic to operate. Then you have nations such as Namibia, the world’s sixth-largest producer, which is aiming to boost production to benefit financially from uranium before it falls into disuse, becomes a stranded asset and loses its value.

The long-term outlook is poor

While the average spot price during the third quarter 2018 was higher than the equivalent period in 2017 Cameco’s revenue of $488 million was flat year over year. This can be attributed to much of the uranium sold by the miner being priced according to long-term contracts.  Cameco, however, reported a significant improvement in its bottom line, announcing adjusted net income of $15 million compared to a $50 million loss a year earlier.

The miner has also secured additional uranium deliveries during the fourth quarter 2018, which along with firmer prices, bodes well for Cameco to report stronger earnings. This will give its stock a short-term lift, but it appears that any lasting recovery may never occur. The reasons for this are simple: there is no sign of the bear market for uranium ending anytime soon. A combination of declining demand over the long-term and the potential for supply to grow significantly all points to uranium never attaining its pre-Fukushima prices. https://www.fool.ca/2018/12/27/how-poor-is-the-long-term-outlook-for-cameco-corp-tsxcco/

December 28, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Uranium | Leave a comment

McAfee computer virus protection company is in partnership with nuclear corporation AREVA, (now rebranded as ORANO, and rebranded again as FRAMATOME)

Framatome partners with McAfee to support energy industry cybersecurity 24 May 2018, Framatome signed an agreement with McAfee, the device-to-cloud cybersecurity company, to distribute cybersecurity solutions to energy transmission, distribution and generation facilities worldwide. Together, Framatome and McAfee will work with these facilities to help protect their digital assets and support the reliable production of electricity.

“In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, holistic and robust cybersecurity programs are critical to protecting nuclear energy facilities and electrical power and distribution infrastructure,” said Catherine Cornand, senior executive vice president of Framatome’s Installed Base Business Unit. “This partnership with McAfee will enhance our ability to provide customers with the right combination of cutting-edge technologies and expertise.”…….http://www.framatome.com/EN/businessnews-1331/framatome-partners-with-mcafee-to-support-energy-industry-cybersecurity.html

December 28, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

USA desperate to make money from the nuclear industry – selling radioactive trash clean-up technology

US to offer ‘black box’ nuclear waste tech to other nations ChannelNews Asia 20 Dec 18 

The U.S. Department of Energy’s nuclear security office is developing a project to help other countries handle nuclear waste, an effort to keep the United States competitive against global rivals in disposal technology, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

WASHINGTON: The U.S. Department of Energy’s nuclear security office is developing a project to help other countries handle nuclear waste, an effort to keep the United States competitive against global rivals in disposal technology, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The push comes as the United States struggles to find a solution for its own mounting nuclear waste inventories amid political opposition to a permanent dump site in Nevada, proposed decades ago, and concerns about the cost and security of recycling the waste back into fuel.

The National Nuclear Security Administration is considering helping other countries by using technologies that could involve techniques such as crushing, heating and sending a current through the waste to reduce its volume, the sources said.

The machinery would be encased in a “black box” the size of a shipping container and sent to other countries with nuclear energy programs, but be owned and operated by the United States, according to the sources, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

“That way you could address a country’s concerns about spent fuel without transferring ownership of the technology to them,” said one of the sources.

The NNSA confirmed a project to help other countries with nuclear waste is underway but declined to provide details.

We are in the conceptual phase of identifying approaches that could reduce the quantity of spent nuclear fuel without creating proliferation risks – a goal with significant economic and security benefits,” NNSA spokesman Dov Schwartz said.

The effort is being led by NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Brent Park, a nuclear physicist and former associate lab director at the Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, appointed by President Donald Trump in April.

The NNSA declined a Reuters request for an interview with Park.

The sources did not name countries to which the service would be marketed, or where the waste would be stored after it is run through the equipment. But they said they were concerned the processes under consideration could increase the risk of dangerous materials reaching militant groups or nations unfriendly to the United States.

Former President Jimmy Carter banned nuclear waste reprocessing in 1977 because it chemically unlocks purer streams of uranium and plutonium, both of which could be used to make nuclear bombs.

The NNSA’s Schwartz said the plans under consideration do not involve reprocessing, but declined to say what technologies could be used.

The sources familiar with the NNSA’s deliberations said there are three basic ways that the physical volume of nuclear waste can be reduced, all of which are costly. At least one of the techniques poses a security threat, they said.

The first, called consolidation, reduces the volume of nuclear waste by taking apart spent fuel assemblies and crunching the waste down to two times smaller than the original volume – an approach that is considered costly but which doesn’t add much security risk.

A second technique involves heating radioactive pellets in spent fuel assemblies. The process, which gives off gases that must be contained, results in a waste product that has more environmental and health risks.

A third approach called pyroprocessing – developed at the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory – puts spent fuel in liquid metal and runs an electric current through it. That reduces volume, but concentrates plutonium and uranium – making it a potential proliferation risk.

The nuclear community is divided on whether pyroprocessing fits the definition of reprocessing.

The Trump administration has made promoting nuclear technology abroad a high priority, as the United States seeks to retain its edge as a leader in the industry, amid advancements by other nations like Russia, and France – both of which already offer customers services to take care of waste.

U.S. reactor builder Westinghouse, which emerged from bankruptcy in August and is owned by Brookfield Asset Management, hopes to sell nuclear power technology to countries from Saudi Arabia to India, but faces stiff competition from Russia’s state-owned Rosatom.

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry visited Saudi Arabia this month for talks on a nuclear energy deal with the kingdom, despite pushback from lawmakers concerned about the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul………… https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/technology/exclusive–us-to-offer–black-box–nuclear-waste-tech-to-other-nations-11046762

December 20, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, wastes | 1 Comment

Reliability problems at Mississippi’s Grand Gulf nuclear power plant

December 20, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, safety | Leave a comment