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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Algerian human rights agency to prosecute France for nuclear tests

justiceAlgerians take steps to prosecute France for nuclear tests https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170215-algerians-take-steps-to-prosecute-france-for-nuclear-tests/#.WKqZtaGEIJo.facebook

  The top human rights organisation in Algeria announced yesterday that it has contacted the UN Human Rights Council regarding France’s refusal to admit to the crimes of its nuclear test programme. The French government carried out 17 nuclear tests in the Algerian desert, causing the death of 42,000 individuals; thousands more were left chronically ill due to being exposed to nuclear radiation.

The details were revealed in a statement by the National Secretary of the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights, Houari Kaddour, who is tasked with this issue, during an interview with Anadolu news agency. Kaddour stressed that his organisation “is trying to use all legal means to put the French authorities on trial and prosecute them in all international legal bodies, as well as in the EU, for their crimes.”

Algeria marked the 57th anniversary of the French nuclear tests two days ago. They were carried out between 1960 and 1966; Algeria gained independence from France in 1962. The French authorities still refuse to admit to these crimes and instead have announced that they will pay financial compensation to the victims.

According to Kaddour, his organisation contacted the UN Human Rights council and requested it to look into the crimes. “We also urged the Algerians in Europe to help us find lawyers specialising in international law to file a lawsuit against France in the next three months, before the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights in the EU. We also plan to prosecute France in the local courts in Switzerland which specialise in international crimes.”

Kaddour said that his organisation is coordinating with a number of human rights and international bodies in this regard, including all international human rights organisations, international organisations against nuclear testing, and French human rights groups. He noted that the Algerians had submitted over 730,000 compensation cases that were rejected by the compensation committee due to the impossible conditions imposed on the victims. Civilian victims, he added, are not recognised.

The Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights accused the Algerian authorities of “not putting enough pressure on France to admit to these crimes.”

February 22, 2017 Posted by | France, Legal | Leave a comment

Florida Senate bill to promote solar energy, and repeal nuclear fees

text politicsFlag-USAPro-consumer Florida energy bills would expand solar, repeal nuclear fees http://protectingyourpocket.blog.mypalmbeachpost.com/2017/02/21/pro-consumer-florida-energy-bills-would-expand-solar-repeal-nuclear-fees/

February 22, 2017 Posted by | Legal, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Court battle over pro nuclear law – ‘Future Energy Jobs’

legal actionFlag-USANuclear power struggle winds up in court, Herald and Review, TONY REID H&R Staff Writer, 19 Feb 17    CLINTON – Smoldering resentment over the new law that saved Clinton Power Station – and its 700 jobs – has now flared into a federal lawsuit.

Filed on Valentine’s Day, the suit expresses no love for the Future Energy Jobs law and asked a federal judge to block the legislation, which is due to take effect in June.

The law guarantees the survival of the Clinton nuclear power station and another nuclear plant in Quad-Cities for 10 years by offering taxpayer subsidies worth up to $235 million a year to top up the price paid for the stations’ electricity.

 Exelon Corp., the owner of both stations, said they were both losing money and faced closure without cash help. It also claimed the subsidies would help even the playing field with other nongreenhouse gas producing energy sources like wind power, which have enjoyed substantial tax breaks.

The lawsuit was filed by several rival power producers, including Dynegy Inc., which once owned the former Illinois Power Co. in Decatur and which runs natural gas and coal-fueled power stations, and a trade group, the Electric Power Supply Association.

They allege the new law is fundamentally unfair and skews the wholesale power marketplace at the expense of power customers because rivals without the advantage of subsidies won’t be able to compete, causing prices to, eventually, rise.

The lawsuit also claims Illinois lawmakers acted unlawfully and unconstitutionally by interfering in a regional wholesale power market that is under the ultimate control of a federal agency, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC.

Running to some 40 pages, the lawsuit spells out the price advantage the two Exelon nuclear stations will enjoy for their power, priced in blocks called megawatt hours, or MWhs. Current prices now, set at regional power auctions, run at $18 and $25 per Mwh for Quad-Cities and Clinton respectively, but will be topped up by taxpayer payments worth another $16.50 per Mwh under the new law…….

And it isn’t just manufacturers that are objecting. The Illinois Public Interest Research Group, or PIRG, a consumer organization that often finds itself opposing big companies, is standing with them in opposition to the Future Energy Jobs legislation.

While the organization likes some of the provisions encouraging renewable energy, it has a big problem with effectively bailing out two nuclear power plants.

“We fundamentally don’t agree with it, because Illinois ratepayers have already paid for these nuclear plants multiple times over,” Illinois PIRG director Abe Scarr said.

“Every dollar that we spend on propping up these old nuclear plants is an opportunity lost, and it’s a dollar we’re not spending on the transition to truly clean renewable energy.

“Putting our thumb on the scale for nuclear power depresses the price for the wholesale power market and makes it harder for renewables and other power providers to compete in that market.” http://herald-review.com/business/energy/nuclear-power-struggle-winds-up-in-court/article_389fc122-970a-5910-b39a-b4bf15f8a207.html

February 20, 2017 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

SOMETIMES there’s A BIT of good news at Hanford nuclear facility

Fortunately, there is a bit of good news in his heap of radioactivity. Last November, a settlement was reached between the US Department of Justice, Bechtel Corp. and AECOM (formerly URS) for a whopping $125 million. The civil lawsuit alleged taxpayer funds were mismanaged and that both companies performed shoddy work. The lawsuit also claimed that government funds were illegally used to lobby members of Congress. Brought on by whistleblowers Gary Brunson, Donna Busche, and Walter Tamosaitis (Busche and Tamosaitis’s sagas were highlighted in two Investigative Fund reports I authored for Seattle Weekly in 2011 and 2012), the settlement was one of the largest in DoE history.

No doubt it was a substantial victory for whistleblowers and government accountability, despite the fact that the defendants did not admit guilt. Now, Washington State legislators are pushing HB 1723, a bill that would protect and treat Hanford workers for certain health problems that are a result of the work they’ve done at the facility, such as respiratory problems, heart issues, certain cancers like bone, breast, lung and thyroid, as well as neurological issues.

Hanford-waste-tanksGood News and Bad News at Hanford, America’s Most Polluted Site http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/02/09/good-news-and-bad-news-at-hanford-americas-most-polluted-site/FEBRUARY 9, 2017“The people running Hanford need to have a moral compass that directs them in the right way, as human beings, to do the right thing to protect these people,” retired Hanford employee Mike Geffre, who worked at Hanford for 26 years, told KING 5. “They’re trying to save money and save face. They’re standing behind their old position that there’s no problem. That’s absurd. They need to accept the fact that they made mistakes and get over it.”

text-evacuation-sign-hanford

Toxic odors at an old nuclear depot? This would be startling news anywhere else. But this is Hanford after all, where taxpayer money freely flows to contractors despite the snail-paced half-life of their work. Twenty years and $19 billion later, Hanford is still a nightmare — likely the most toxic site in the Western Hemisphere. Not one ounce of nuclear waste has ever been treated, and there are no indications Hanford will be nuke free anytime soon. To date, at least 1 million gallons of radioactive waste has leaked and is making its way to the Columbia River. It’s an environmental disaster of epic proportions — a disaster created by our government’s atomic obsession during the Cold War era.

No doubt, Hanford is a wreck in search of a remedy, yet the costs covered by American taxpayers appears to be growing exponentially. At the tail end of 2016, the estimated cost of turning the radioactive gunk into glass rods bumped up a cool $4.5 billion (adding to the ultimate price tag for the remaining Hanford cleanup, which had already reached a whopping $107.7 billion). These sorts of increases are so common they hardly make news anymore.

Donald Trump’s pick for Department of Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, who infamously stated he’d like to do away with the DoE altogether, now admits that Hanford’s one of the most dangerous facilities in the nation. But his commitment to cleaning up the fiscal and nuclear boondoggle remains to be seen. The plant that is to turn the waste into glass rods is set to open in 2023, but it’s a safe bet that won’t be happening. It’s already two decades behind schedule.

Meanwhile, workers on the front lines of the cleanup are often put in situations that are poorly monitored and exceedingly unsafe. Over the past three years KING 5 News in Seattle has tracked dozens of employees who were exposed to chemical vapors at Hanford and found their illnesses to include “toxic encephalopathy (dementia), reactive airway disease, COPD, and painful nerve damage.”

“The people running Hanford need to have a moral compass that directs them in the right way, as human beings, to do the right thing to protect these people,” retired Hanford employee Mike Geffre, who worked at Hanford for 26 years, told KING 5. “They’re trying to save money and save face. They’re standing behind their old position that there’s no problem. That’s absurd. They need to accept the fact that they made mistakes and get over it.”

Fortunately, there is a bit of good news in his heap of radioactivity. Last November, a settlement was reached between the US Department of Justice, Bechtel Corp. and AECOM (formerly URS) for a whopping $125 million. The civil lawsuit alleged taxpayer funds were mismanaged and that both companies performed shoddy work. The lawsuit also claimed that government funds were illegally used to lobby members of Congress. Brought on by whistleblowers Gary Brunson, Donna Busche, and Walter Tamosaitis (Busche and Tamosaitis’s sagas were highlighted in two Investigative Fund reports I authored for Seattle Weekly in 2011 and 2012), the settlement was one of the largest in DoE history.

No doubt it was a substantial victory for whistleblowers and government accountability, despite the fact that the defendants did not admit guilt. Now, Washington State legislators are pushing HB 1723, a bill that would protect and treat Hanford workers for certain health problems that are a result of the work they’ve done at the facility, such as respiratory problems, heart issues, certain cancers like bone, breast, lung and thyroid, as well as neurological issues.

“Currently, many Hanford workers are not receiving necessary medical care because they are put in the impossible situation of being unable to specify the chemicals to which they have been exposed, and in what concentrations, making it difficult for their doctors to connect their disease with their exposures,” Randy Walli, Business Manager for the pipefitters union, Local 598, told King 5.

Compensation for whistleblowers and employees whose health is impacted by their work are steps in the right direction. But Hanford’s contractors and the DoE that oversees them still have much to do to make the increasingly expensive nuclear cleanup at Hanford, safe, effective and transparent.

This piece first appeared at The Investigate Fund.

February 10, 2017 Posted by | Legal, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Seoul Administrative Court finds in favour of local residents, orders closure of nuclear facility

legal actionflag-S-KoreaSeoul Court Orders Gov’t to Close Nuclear Reactor Amid Safety Concerns, Sputnik News, 7 Feb 17 The Seoul Administrative Court ordered the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC) to cancel its resolution to extend the operation of a nuclear reactor located about 400 kilometers (250 miles) southeast of Seoul due to the commission’s failure to follow legal regulations.

MOSCOW  — The Seoul Administrative Court ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by a group of local residents to annul the NSSC’s approval of a 10-year extension of the operation of the Wolseong-1 reactor in Gyeongju, which was supposed to be shut down in 2012, the Yonhap news agency reported Tuesday.

The reactor was shut down in 2012 after reaching the end of its 30-year commercial operation period. However, the commission issued a new operation license for another 10 years and restarted the reactor in June 2015 after a total of 946 days offline. In the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, the commission’s decision raised safety concerns and resulted in a collective suit filed by 2,167 nearby residents. However, the court recognized only the claims of those living within an 80-kilometer radius of the reactor. The court’s verdict was based on the NSSC’s failure to follow the legal procedures……..https://sputniknews.com/asia/201702071050421931-south-korea-nuclear-reactor/

February 8, 2017 Posted by | Legal, South Korea | Leave a comment

A legal breakthrough for French Polynesia’s nuclear test victims.

Mururoa-test-1971Big shift afoot in French nuclear compo law  http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/323947/big-shift-afoot-in-french-nuclear-compo-lawThe French joint law commission has decided to remove the term negligible risk from the nuclear compensation law in what is seen as a breakthrough for French Polynesia’s test victims.

The unanimous decision is now to go to the National Assembly and the Senate for approval as Paris is to make good on its promise to loosen the law.

The compensation law, drawn up by Herve Morin when he was the defence minister in 2009, has been widely criticised for being too restrictive because almost all claims have been thrown out.

A month ago, two French lawmakers urged the social affairs minister Marisol Touraine to amend the decree on compensation to ensure that unsuccessful claimants can resubmit their files.

One of the MPs Jean-Patrick Gille said veterans would find it incomprehensible if the earlier rejection of their compensation bids were to be final.

France tested its atomic weapons first in Algeria and then from 1966 to 1996 in the South Pacific in a programme which involved more than 100,000 personnel.

February 8, 2017 Posted by | Legal, OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Toshiba’s financial woes continue – about to be sued by trust banks

legal actiontext-relevantTrust banks preparing to sue Toshiba – report   http://www.channelnomics.com/channelnomics-us/news/3003570/trust-banks-preparing-to-sue-toshiba-report Vendor also preparing to sell part of its memory business, Scharon Harding, 30 Jan 17, Toshiba may be hit with lawsuits from Japanese trust banks that could total over 1 billion yen ($8.8 million) over the accounting scandal it endured in 2015, Reuters reports.

According to the report, Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corp. said today it is getting ready to sue the Japanese vendor in the name of its clients’ pension funds after revelations the vendor had been exaggerating profits caused share prices to drop.

Reuters added that Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank Ltd and Mizuho Trust & Banking Co. are organizing “similar” lawsuits, according to anonymous sources.

News of the potential lawsuits comes three days after Toshiba announced plans to sell parts of its memory business, including its SSD business, by 31 Marcch. The move is an attempt to minimize damage from an upcoming writedown for its U.S. nuclear business that could reach billions, according to CNBC.

Toshiba is already facing a pile of cases in relation to findings that the company’s bookkeeping practices led to the overstating of profits by over 170 billion yen (about $1.4 billion) by 45 institutional investors for 16.7 billion yen ($146 million) and 15 Japanese entities totaling 15.3 billion yen ($134 million), Reuters said.

February 1, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

A Washington State judge uses doubt on climate change as legal cause to block a climate activist’s defense

text-cat-question

 

Would  any judge question a  medical expert’s evidence in the way that this judge doubts the evidence of the world’s climate scientists? Then again – they do say that “the law is an ass”

Judge in environmental activist’s trial says climate change is matter of debate
Controversial statements angered environmentalists who insist courts have an obligation to recognize the science about manmade climate change,
Guardian,   31 Jan 17, A Washington state judge has sparked outrage for remarks questioning the existence of climate change and the role of humans in global warming.

During the high-profile trial of Ken Ward, a climate activist facing 30 years in prison for shutting down an oil pipeline, Judge Michael E Rickert said: “I don’t know what everybody’s beliefs are on [climate change], but I know that there’s tremendous controversy over the fact whether it even exists. And even if people believe that it does or it doesn’t, the extent of what we’re doing to ourselves and our climate and our planet, there’s great controversy over that.”

The Skagit County judge made the comments on 24 January while addressing Ward’s request to present a “necessity defense” in court, meaning he would argue that the grave threat of climate change justified civil disobedience.

Rickert’s controversial statements, along with his decision to block Ward from arguing that his pipeline protest was necessary to prevent harm to the planet, angered environmentalists who insist that American courts have an obligation to recognize the science and consensus among researchers about man-made climate change.

“I thought it was shocking and deeply worrisome for my case,” said Ward, 60, of Corbett, Oregon, who temporarily shut off the safety valve of the TransMountain pipeline in Skagit County. “We are in the late stages of global collapse, and to have someone who is presumably as knowledgeable and aware as a judge should be blithely dismissing the biggest problem facing the world is chilling.”

Ward, whose trial began on Monday, is part of a group of activists that targeted oil sands pipelines in Washington, Oregon, North Dakota, Montana and Minnesota on 11 October 2016. The coordinated #ShutItDown actions – which have led to a dozen criminal cases and threats of hefty prison sentences against activists and journalists – was aimed at stopping 15% of US crude oil imports for a day.

He later added that with climate change, there’s “great controversy” with “over half of our political leaders”. (Critics have slammed the GOP as the “only major party in the advanced world” to deny climate change)……. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/31/environmental-activist-trial-judge-questions-climate-change-ken-ward

February 1, 2017 Posted by | climate change, Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Anti nuclear protestors found guilty after blockading nuclear bomb factory

justiceflag-UKFive anti-Trident protesters found guilty after blockading nuclear bomb factory   The group argued they were putting their religious beliefs into action BY blockading the AWE Burghfield The Independent  Jon Stone Political Correspondent @joncstone 27 Jan 17, Five anti-Trident protesters have been found guilty of blockading a nuclear weapons manufacturing facility – days after new concerns were raised about the safety of Britain’s Trident nuclear missiles.
The protesters, who barred the entrance to Burghfield Atomic Weapons Establishment in Berkshire in June of last year, were from the Christian group Put Down the Sword / Trident Ploughshares.

Trident mounted nuclear warheads are assembled at Burghfield, which has been the site of repeated demonstrations for a number of years. The MoD said work on the missile system was disrupted by the protests……

The activists’ defence team argued that they were acting in accordance with their religious beliefs, which they said were protected by the Human Rights Act.However district judge Khan said that he did not agree that “that the actions of the defendants were a manifestation of a religious belief” and in any case that “these rights have to yield to the primary right of passing and re-passing the highway” outside the base…….

A joint statement from the defendants said: “We stand by what we said in court: Trident is an illegal and immoral waste of money, a crime against humanity and God.

“The prosecution said we could just have joined in a prayer vigil to the side of the road, instead of lying in it; we said our consciences wouldn’t allow that. We believe prayer is important but sometimes our faith compels us to put our whole bodies in the way of injustice and violence.“The Bible says religious acts are meaningless unless we also stand up for the poor and needy; we are called to bring a just peace with hope for all. We will continue to seek peace, and to take the consequences of doing so. It’s a small price to pay for the chance to challenge an evil like nuclear weapons.”http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/trident-burghfield-reading-nuclear-missiles-bomb-factory-base-protests-guilty-a7549261.html 

 

January 28, 2017 Posted by | Legal, opposition to nuclear, Religion and ethics, UK | Leave a comment

USA’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission allows radioactive waste to be dumped Under Miami’s Drinking Water Aquifer,

water-radiationlegal actionFPL Wins Battle to Store Radioactive Waste Under Miami’s Drinking Water Aquifer, Miami New Times, BY JERRY IANNELLI JANUARY 16, 2017  Environmental activists have started a petition urging Florida lawmakers to prevent FPL from storing waste underground.   South Florida sits atop two gigantic underground stores of water: the Biscayne and Floridan Aquifers. Miamians get most of their drinking water from the upper Biscayne Aquifer, while the government has used the lower portion of the Floridian to dump waste and untreated sewage — despite the fact that multiple studies have warned that waste could one day seep into the drinking water.

So environmentalists are concerned that Florida Power & Light now wants to dump full-on radioactive waste into the that lower water table, called the Boulder Zone. A small group of activists called Citizens Allied for Safe Energy (CASE) tried to stop FPL’s plan, but their legal petition was shot down this past Friday.

According to NRC documents, CASE’s petition was dismissed for being filed “inexcusably late” in FPL’s application process.

“This was thrown out on procedural grounds,” says CASE’s president, Barry J. White. “The science is still there.”

CASE had filed a petition with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, but the NRC on Friday threw out CASE’s complaint, saying the environmental group had filed too late in FPL’s approval process.

The fight stems from the energy company’s plan to build two nuclear reactors at the controversial Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station south of Miami by roughly 2030. The towers might not be operational for a decade or two, but that doesn’t mean the public should stop paying attention to them. FPL is submitting numerous proposals about the project to the government.

As part of that package, FPL told the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it plans to store contaminated water used to clean the reactors, as well as radioactive waste (“radwaste”) in the Boulder Zone. In October, the NRC issued a report, stating FPL’s plan would pose “no environmental impacts” to the South Florida environment.

Roughly a month later, on November 28, CASE filed a legal petition demanding that the NRC hold a hearing on FPL’s radioactive waste plan. CASE alleges the government failed to address a host of concerns about the power company’s plan.

“Everything will be put into a supposedly ‘hermetically sealed’ Boulder Zone,” White told New Times in December. “But anybody who lives in South Florida knows nothing below us is hermetically sealed.” Environmentalists say the plan could leak carcinogens such as cesium, strontium 90, and tritium right into the drinking-water aquifers…….. http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/fpl-wins-battle-to-store-radioactive-waste-under-miamis-drinking-water-aquifer-9059210

January 20, 2017 Posted by | Legal, USA, water | Leave a comment

Legal action against subsidising of Amereca’s aging nuclear reactors

legal actionGroups sue to end ratepayer subsidies of aged nuclear power plants http://www.midhudsonnews.com/News/2017/January/19/nuke_plant_subsidy_suit.html BEACON – Hudson River Sloop Clearwater and a number of co-petitioners filed in Supreme Court a challenge to the recently enacted mandatory 12-year nuclear subsidy that is expected to cost New York ratepayers between $7 billion and $10 billion.The surcharge was ordered by the state Public Service Commission as part of its Clean Energy Standard.

The petitioners argue that the $7.6 billion nuclear subsidy imposed on the state’s electricity consumers was unjustified and that the PSC did not follow the law when it enacted them.

The subsidies will be paid by ratepayers on their monthly energy bills based on usages. That cost will “most seriously impact low-income ratepayers and businesses operating on a thin profit margin,” the groups said.

“New Yorkers who are currently using and who are committed to renewable energy and who are paying additionally for Renewable Energy Credits for 100 percent of their electrical needs should not also be billed for this $7.6 billion nuclear plant subsidy,” said North Salem Town Supervisor Warren Lucas.

“This action has brought to challenge the PSC’s nearly $8 billion bailout of the unsustainable and polluting nuclear industry, based on the mistaken premise that nuclear energy production is emission-free,” said attorney Susan Shapiro, owner of petitioner Goshen Green Farms. “Nuclear energy is not, nor has it ever been emission-free, as it routinely emits radiation, heat and greenhouse gases, which are all climate change catalysts.”

Clearwater Environmental Director Manna Jo Greene noted at Diablo Canyon in California, they are phasing out their last nuclear plant by committing to 100 percent renewable replacement energy, while protecting plant workers by retaining those with critical institutional memory and highly technical knowledge. She said they are also retraining those who are not needed for safe decommissioning, and placing them in jobs in the renewable energy economy.

“New York needs to create a just transition plan, not a prolonged nuclear bailout,” Greene said.

January 20, 2017 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Judge rules that Exxon Mobil Corp must hand over climate documents to Massachusetts

judge-1Massachusetts judge requires Exxon to hand over climate documents, Reuters 11 Jan 17  A Massachusetts judge has refused to excuse Exxon Mobil Corp from a request by the state’s attorney general to hand over decades worth of documents on its views on climate change, state officials said on Wednesday.

The decision by Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Heidi Brieger denying Exxon’s request for an order exempting it from handing over the documents represents a legal victory for Attorney General Maura Healey, who is investigating the world’s largest publicly traded oil company’s climate policies.

“This order affirms our longstanding authority to investigate fraud,” Healey said on Twitter following the decision, adding that Exxon “must come clean about what it knew about climate change.”……

The investigations follow separate reports by online news publication Inside Climate News and the Los Angeles Times showing that Exxon worked to play down the risks of climate change despite its own scientists’ having raised concerns about it decades earlier.

The news came on the day former Exxon Chief Executive Rex Tillerson faced a U.S. Senate confirmation hearing on his nomination to serve as President-elect Donald Trump’s secretary of state…….http://www.reuters.com/article/us-exxon-mobil-massachusetts-idUSKBN14W04Z

January 13, 2017 Posted by | climate change, Legal, USA | Leave a comment

New York nuclear subsidies an ‘existential threat’ to wholesale markets -Electric Power Supply Association

legal actionGenerators call New York nuclear subsidies an ‘existential threat’ to wholesale markets, Utility Dive   12 Jan 17 

Dive Brief:

Dive Insight:

The fight over New York’s zero emission credit (ZEC) program, which aims to save three struggling nuclear plants in the upstate region, has come under increasing fire from generators who say it distorts wholesale markets and is a scheme courts have already struck down……..http://www.utilitydive.com/news/generators-call-new-york-nuclear-subsidies-an-existential-threat-to-whole/433894/

January 13, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Legal, USA | Leave a comment

South Africa’s Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson ordered to pay punitive costs in nuclear case

joemat-pettersson-tinaSouth Africa: Court Orders Punitive Costs Against Minister in Nuclear Case http://allafrica.com/stories/201612150392.html By Ashleigh Furlong, 14 Dec 16   Minutes before hearing, ministry reveals new determination on nuclear energy

The Minister of Energy Tina Joemat-Pettersson has been ordered by the Western Cape High Court to pay punitive costs including the costs of four counsel for Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute (SAFCEI) after the state brought forward new evidence minutes before the case was set to begin.

A court orders punitive costs usually when it is dissatisfied with the conduct of a litigant. This is rare and is considered a strong rebuke.

The respondents in the case are the Minister of Energy, the president, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) as well as two representatives from Parliament.

Yesterday, the case began with a postponement until February 2017, as it was revealed mere minutes before the hearing was to begin that the Minister had made a new nuclear energy determination – replacing a decision that was gazetted last December.

Part of the relief sought by Earthlife and SAFCEI was for the old decision to be declared invalid. They also want the court to declare invalid the agreement between South Africa and Russia, as well as the tabling in Parliament of the deals with the USA and Korea.

  The new decision now states that Eskom, not the Department of Energy – as was the case in the old determination – will be the procurement agency for 9,600 megawatts of nuclear energy.

“Despite it being signed on 5 December 2016, the Court was not informed thereof and neither were the applicants – until literally minutes before the hearing was to begin. The Court stressed in its judgment that there was no evidence presented to the court explaining how this determination came about, when it was decided upon and the processes leading thereto, despite the Determination apparently having been made more than a week before the hearing,” says a statement issued by Earthlife and SAFCEI.

The South African Renewable Energy Council (SAREC) has also expressed concern over the new determination, saying that it was “seemingly rushed through” on the basis of “the very outdated Integrated Resource Plan published in 2010”.

“We are further disheartened by Eskom’s Acting CEO’s simultaneous announcement that the utility will release a nuclear Request for Proposals as soon as the determination is gazetted,” says Brenda Martin, Chair of SAREC in the statement.

“SAREC believes that this irrational behaviour fans the flames of suspicion as to the real motives behind the nuclear campaign. Facts, logic and basic financial prudence simply do not support this determination,” says the statement.

Earthlife and SAFCEI wanted the request for proposals to be halted until the court case was finalised. However, the court ruled that Eskom was allowed to go ahead with the process.

December 17, 2016 Posted by | Legal, South Africa | Leave a comment

Earthlife Africa takes legal action to stop South Africa’s nuclear power plan

legal actionEarthlife Africa goes to court to halt SA’s bid for nuclear power http://www.heraldlive.co.za/news/2016/12/13/earthlife-africa-goes-court-halt-sas-bid-nuclear-power/
In a David versus Goliath battle which could determine the country’s energy future‚ an NGO will be in the Cape Town High Court on Tuesday to try halt government’s nuclear procurement deal.

In an affidavit submitted to the court‚ Earthlife Africa argues that government’s agreement with Russia to supply South Africa with multiple nuclear power plants is both unlawful and unconstitutional.

The procurement deal would be the largest in the country’s history at an estimated R1-trillion‚ and would see the building of a “nuclear fleet” that would generate nearly 10GW of power.

In September 2014‚ Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson signed an agreement with Russia on strategic partnership and cooperation in the fields of nuclear power and industry‚ which was then authorised by President Jacob Zuma.

The agreement was tabled before Parliament in June 2015.

In the affidavit‚ Earthlife branch coordinator Phillipine Lekalakala stated that the deal was unlawful‚ and should be reviewed and set aside. “The decision to proceed with procuring these nuclear power plants… has occurred without any of the necessary statutory and constitutional decisions having been lawfully taken‚” said Lekalakala.

“The minister and the National Energy Regulator of SA were obligated to have determined that new generation capacity is required and that the electricity must be generated from nuclear power in terms of the Energy Regulations Act (ERA).”

“No ERA requirement decision or ERA nuclear procurement system decision has been taken.”

The state opposed the application saying that the nuclear programme was a policy direction adopted by government to establish a self-sufficient nuclear industry for the industrialisation and development of the country.

The deputy director-general of the Department of Energy‚ Zizamele Mbambo‚ said that‚ as part of the nuclear programme‚ the energy and electricity needs of the country would be provided for.

“This policy direction allows the country to discharge its international obligation to reduce CO2 emissions from our historical fleet of coal-driven power stations‚” Mbambo said.

Earthlife and co-applicants in the matter‚ Southern African Faith Ministries’ Environment Institute‚ will be holding a demonstration outside the court on Tuesday. – TMG Digital/The Times

December 14, 2016 Posted by | Legal, South Africa | Leave a comment