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Safety problems at Flamanville nuclear project throw Britain’s Hinkley C nuclear project into doubt

Dave Toke’s Blog 20th April 2018 ,This week’s story about problems with pipe welding at the French nuclear
plant being built at Flamanville could spell the end for the Hinkley C
nuclear project.

Treasury backed loan guarantees to build Hinkley C have
been linked to a target date for commissioning of the Flamanville plant of
the end of 2020. Yet the current target date of completion by the end of
2019 has been thrown in doubt by the freshly announced problems.

The main focus of attention of this problem for Hinkley has simply been that the
design of the Flamanville plant – the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) –
is the same as that to be built at Hinkley C and that the engineering
problems bode ill for the British scheme.

That is right, but it is rather worse than this. The commercial issue is that if the French plant is not
commercially operating by the end of 2020 then it seems the Treasury will
not be able to give loan guarantees for the scheme.

According to the analyst Professor Steve Thomas, the rules agreed between the European
Commission and the British Government stipulate that ”until Flamanville 3
was in commercial service, there would be a cap on the guaranteed loans
effectively meaning funding would be primarily through equity’.


April 22, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Trump to use wartime emergency Act to support coal and nuclear industries?

White House reportedly exploring wartime rule to help coal, nuclear, Ars Technica,President has used Act’s powers before for space industry. MEGAN GEUSS  

April 22, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Despite local opposition, another Genkai nuclear reactor to be restarted

Another reactor at Genkai nuclear plant to be restarted late May,  (Mainichi Japan) FUKUOKA (Kyodo) — The operator of the Genkai nuclear power plant in southwestern Japan aims to restart another reactor at the complex in late May, according to a plan recently submitted to the government.

The rebooting of the No. 4 unit at the plant in Saga Prefecture after a six-year hiatus will complete Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s plan to bring four of its reactors online after the country’s regulator implemented stricter screening following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

According to the plan submitted to the Nuclear Regulation Authority, the company will restart the reactor on May 24 if preparations go smoothly, with commercial operation slated for late June.

Kyushu Electric restarted the No. 3 reactor at the Genkai plant in March. At the company’s Sendai complex in Kagoshima Prefecture, two reactors came back online in 2015.

Some local residents have been opposed to the Genkai plant’s operation, questioning the validity of safety standards and citing the risk of volcanic eruptions in the region. The Saga District Court rejected in March a request for an injunction to suspend the plant’s restart.

April 22, 2018 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review makes allowance for NEW NUCLEAR BOMB TESTING

War on the rocks 20th April 2018 , While the Obama administration’s Nuclear Posture Review included a
blanket commitment not to conduct explosive nuclear tests, the Trump
administration’s 2018 version of the document argues that the United
States “must remain ready to resume nuclear testing if necessary to meet
severe technological or geopolitical challenges [emphasis added].”

Severe technological challenges that could merit a return to testing do not
currently exist. Specific geopolitical challenges, a new criterion, are not
defined. Does this mean the administration could resume testing if China
continues making aggressive moves in the South China Sea? If North Korea
tests another missile? If Russian hackers disrupt U.S. government websites?

April 22, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Trump administration dreams up a new plan to promote coal and nuclear

The Trump Administration Just Hatched Another Plan to Buoy Coal and Nuclear
Welcome to the third act of the administration’s emergency plan to save its favorite fuels.
GreenTech Media , 

April 21, 2018 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

South Africa’s Director General of Energy says there’s no new nuclear build programme

ENERGY DEPT: NO NEW NUCLEAR BUILD PROGRAMME, Eyewitness News,  Director General of Energy Thabane Zulu says the government doesn’t plan to spend any money on advancing its nuclear programme in this financial year. Lindsay  Dentlinger 17 Apr 18  CAPE TOWN The Department of Energy says there’s no new nuclear build programme.

The R816 million allocated in 2018’s national budget is purely for the ongoing work of the country’s nuclear institutions.

Members of Parliament’s energy committee on Tuesday sought clarity around the future of the country’s nuclear programme, but committee chairperson Fikile Majola says Minister Jeff Radebe should rather be called to do the explaining.

The Director General of Energy Thabane Zulu says the government doesn’t plan to spend any money on advancing its nuclear programme in this financial year.

He can’t say when the department will be ready to submit the long-awaited, updated Integrated Resource Plan to Cabinet, which will outline the country’s energy needs……

April 18, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Trump is being urged by Electric Power Supply Association to reject bailout for coal, nuclear

Power plant owners press Trump to reject bailout for coal, nuclear, Washington Examiner by John Siciliano, April 13, 2018 Power plant owners are urging President Trump to reject a plea by a Ohio power provider to save its fleet of coal and nuclear plants that are slated to shut down in the next three years, saying it would be legally wrong and jeopardize his America First agenda.

April 16, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

India’s Modi government drastically cutting back on nuclear power plans.

India Slashes Plans for New Nuclear Reactors by Two-Thirds, April 11, 2018 The Energy Collective The Financial Express, one of India’s major newspapers, reports that the Narendra Modi government, which had set the ambitious 63,000 MW nuclear power capacity addition target by the year 2031-32, has cut it to 22,480 MW, or by roughly two thirds.

…….. The drastic reduction in planned construction of new reactors will diminish India’s plans to rely on nuclear energy from 25% of electrical generation to about 8-10%.

…. It appears that India’s long list of nuclear reactors, which at one time it aspired to build, is now in the dust bin. Instead, a much shorter list of 19 units composed of indigenous 700 MW PHWRs and Russian VVERs will be completed for an additional 17 GWE……..

The list of 57 cancelled reactors also includes  700 MW PHWRs and Russian VVERs. In addition it includes future plans for Areva EPRs and Westinghouse AP1000s.  Four fast breeder reactors are part of this list which raises questions about India’s policy commitment to its three phase plan for nuclear energy. …….

While the Department of Atomic Energy did not specify the reasons for the change, it is likely that India has come face-to-face with the same reality that other developing nations seeking rapid construction of nuclear power plants. The challenges are the lack of funding, a reliable supply chain that can handle a huge increase in orders, and a trained workforce to build and operate the plants at the planned level of activity.


Modi government cuts nuclear power capacity addition target to one-thirdThe Narendra Modi government, which had set the ambitious 63,000 MW nuclear power capacity addition target by the year 2031-32, has cut it down to 22,480 MW, a Lok Sabha answer has revealed.Financial Express, By: Pragya Srivastava   April 5, 2018 The Narendra Modi government, which had set the ambitious 63,000 MW nuclear power capacity addition target by the year 2031-32, has cut it down to 22,480 MW, a Lok Sabha answer has revealed.  “With the completion of the under construction and sanctioned projects, the total nuclear power installed capacity in the country will reach 22480 MW… by the year 2031,” Jitendra Singh, MoS, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) said……….

April 14, 2018 Posted by | India, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear subsidy approved, could cost New Jersey ratepayers $billions

North Nicholas Pugliese, State House Bureau, @nickpugz  April 12, 2018  

April 14, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

New Zealand’s new government to ban future offshore oil and gas exploration

FT 12th April 2018 , New Zealand has become one of the world’s first countries to ban future offshore oil and gas exploration in a move heralded by environmental campaigners as a symbolic blow to “Big Oil”.

“There will be no further offshore oil and gas exploration permits granted,” said Jacinda Ardern, New
Zealand’s prime minister, on Thursday. “We must take this step as part of
our package of measures to tackle climate change,” she said.

The South Pacific nation’s ban is an important policy move at a time when nations are
exploring how to comply with their requirements under the Paris climate
change agreement.France, Belize and Costa Rica have already announced bans
on either fossil fuel exploration or production, although these are largely
symbolic as none are ma jor oil producers.

However, the policy shift announced by Prime Minister Ms Ardern marks a change in direction for
New Zealand, which under the previous conservative government prioritised
fossil fuel exploration to help the economy grow.

April 14, 2018 Posted by | climate change, New Zealand, politics | Leave a comment

UK Dept. for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) dodges the hard questions about community support for nuclear waste dumping

Too many questions left unanswered. April 12, 2018  

The Dept. for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the government department dealing with the GDF programme, has sent Cumbria Trust and other organisations a list of responses to questionswhich went unanswered at recent workshop events which we attended. Unfortunately and perhaps unsurprisingly they have been very selective in which questions they have chosen to answer, and which to ignore. They failed to give adequate responses to a number of Cumbria Trust’s key questions.  Here are just a few of them:

How could it possibly be appropriate for the first and only test of public support to take place 20 years after the process starts, during which time the community will have been subject to a large scale borehole drilling programme lasting for a decade or more?

Why does BEIS suggest (in 4.57) that a local authority member of a Community Partnership may have the power to overrule other partnership members?  What kind of partnership would that be if one member could ignore the others?

Why is the process very simple to enter – even a member of the public can formally express an interest, and yet be extremely difficult to leave?

Why has BEIS gone against the advice of their own advisory committee, CoRWM, and many others, by watering down the geological screening report to such an extent that it no longer screens any areas out at all?

This gives the clear impression that the consultations are not being taken seriously, and they are there to give the appearance of listening, while continuing along a predetermined path.

April 14, 2018 Posted by | politics, wastes | Leave a comment

South Africa: confusion and uncertainty over costly nuclear deal

Uncertainty mounts over costly nuclear deal  SUNDAY INDEPENDENT / 8 APRIL 2018,  SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI   Cape Town – South Africa’s decision on the nuclear programme is likely to be clarified in the next two weeks when Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe briefs Parliament on whether it’s officially off the table or not.

Portfolio committee on energy chairperson Fikile Majola said on Saturday Radebe would appear before the committee in the week of April 17 to talk about independent power producers (IPP), the nuclear energy programme and the sale of the country’s oil reserves.

Majola said he did not know if a definite decision had been made to scrap the nuclear programme, but Radebe would shed light on this then.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said in Davos, Switzerland, in January the programme was off the table.

This was followed by statements from former finance minister Malusi Gigaba and his successor Nhlanhla Nene to the effect that the nuclear project was unaffordable.

But Majola said he was not aware that nuclear energy was off the table.

“The committee is not aware of what is going to happen besides what the president has said.”

The government signed several agreements this week with the IPPs amounting to R55.6 billion. But this elicited an angry response from the National Union of Mineworkers and National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa.

When the matter was in the High Court in the Western Cape, Radebe said there would not be any nuclear deal until the matter had been brought before Parliament.

However, Ramaphosa has said it was off the table and did not even mention it in his State of the Nation Address.

Russian energy firm Rosatom told Independent Media recently it was still bidding for nuclear contracts and had not heard anything from the government.

Rosatom has signed multiple agreements in Africa to deliver nuclear energy. In Egypt the Russians bagged a nuclear deal worth $30 billion (R360 billion), with $25bn of it to be vendor financing.

This week, Russian president Vladimir Putin was in Turkey to sign another nuclear deal.

The Russians are to build a nuclear plant on the coast of Turkey. This followed an agreement signed a few years ago.

Head of Rosatom in southern Africa Viktor Polikarpov said recently the company was in Ghana and was moving into East Africa.

April 9, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Nuclear energy is not coming to Turkey quickly – 5 April 18, Nuclear technology is, no doubt, one of the hallmarks of state power and prestige.   That is certainly the case with Russia. Aside of the nuclear arsenal, which President Vladimir Putin bragged about during his “state of the union” address last month, Moscow takes pride in being a global leader in nuclear energy.

In an economy overwhelmingly reliant on hydrocarbons and other raw materials, apart from the arms industry, nuclear energy is one technology-intensive sector where Russia is among world leaders.

Turkey likewise has its eyes set on nuclear energy. Since 1970, it has been pursuing plans to build a nuclear power plant. But Turkey has lagged behind neighbours, including Armenia, whose Metsamor station is kilometres away from the Turkish border, Bulgaria, which has been the top exporter of electricity to Turkey in 2017, Romania and Iran.

Turkey’s economic growth and expanding population is expected to drive up demand for electricity in the next decade. Nuclear also promises to facilitate to the transition to a low-carbon economy. Not only does it displace coal, but it also makes renewables (hydropower, solar, wind, geothermal) more appealing. When the sun does not shine or the wind is low, there is a need for back-up. Government officials in Ankara have been making plans for two or even three nuclear power plants on both the Mediterranean and the Black Sea coasts.

So Russia and Turkey look like a perfect match. One has the goods, the other – the market. And on top of that, the two former rivals have been getting diplomatically and politically closer.

Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met once again in Ankara this week, joined later by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani. The Russian and Turkish leaders oversaw  – via video conference – the groundbreaking ceremony of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, near the Mediterranean city of Mersin.

Started in 2010 and implemented by Russia’s state-owned conglomerate Rosatom, the project’s first unit should be completed by 2023, the centennial of the Turkish Republic. Once all four units become operational, they will generate about 10 percent of Turkey’s electricity – enough to keep a huge city like Istanbul running.

The start of construction carries huge political symbolism. The Akkuyu project was frozen when Russia and Turkey fell out in late November 2015. Its restart in October 2016, when Putin was guest of honour the World Energy Congress in Istanbul, signalled a turnaround in relations between the two countries.

Yet behind the grand political façade, it is not all roses and sunshine. For starters, Russia managed to twist the Turkish government’s arm and obtain tax breaks to the tune of $3 billion before the relaunch. Moscow has good reason to drive a tough bargain. Akkuyu follows the Build-Operate-Own (BOO) model where Rosatom shoulders the financial risk from the $20 billion venture. The Turkish Electricity Trading and Contracting Company (TETAS) has committed to buy electricity from the power plant at fixed prices, but without a quota.

Rosatom, for its part, is in no position to find the cash to fund the project. That is why it transferred 49% of the venture to a Turkish consortium set up by Cengiz, Kolin and Kalyon (CKK) in June 2017. But last February, the three firms pulled out. Sources inside Rosatom said the decision was driven by disagreements. The Russians were unhappy about CKK’ choice of a Chinese consultant. More importantly, the Turks wanted to have a say in managing the projects before securing the financing for their shares.

As experts familiar with the Turkish energy sector point out, these are companies that have no experience and technical expertise with long-horizon projects. They are accustomed to state-funded construction and infrastructure development where there are quick bucks to be made. Akkuyu is a very different kettle of fish. Yet, there is a consolation prize: Cengiz is getting a $465-million hydrotechnical engineering contract with Akkuyu.

Whether Akkuyu moves according to schedule therefore depends on how quickly the Turkish side finds a strategic investor. Ultimately, it might turn out that direct or indirect budget transfers would be required. Like anywhere in the world, nuclear energy is not feasible without some form of state support or even direct payments. In other words, Turkey would end up propping up Rosatom, BOO model notwithstanding. The Russian company has already signed contracts to the tune of $4.2 billion. That is well beyond the $3 billion Rosatom has chipped in so far.

Raising money on global capital markets is a tough proposition, beating in mind the sanctions against Russia. It would not be surprising at all, in that sense, if the Kremlin is pressuring the Turkish government to pay up or bring in another minority shareholder to replace CKK. The question whether this is the most effective way to spend public resources may become pertinent, especially if more clouds start gathering over the Turkish economy.

What we saw this week was not the first launch of Akkuyu. There was already one such ceremony held in December last year. Who knows, there might be more such ceremonies in the future.

April 6, 2018 Posted by | politics, Turkey | Leave a comment

Massive subsidy plan for New York’ s nuclear power could be stymied by new evidence

New Evidence Might Bolster Case Against Massive NY Bailout of Nuclear Power Plants,  , 6 Apr 18

Opponents of the massive subsidy plan for New York’s struggling nuclear power plants say there’s new evidence that supports their case to repeal the 2016 bailout.  Two Oswego County plants owned by Exelon were among those granted $7.5 billion in taxpayer money over 12 years by the New York Public Service Commission. Executive Director of Nuclear Information and Resource Service Tim Judson expressed his disappointment in the PSC not serving the public’s interest.

The Public Service Commission was supposed to be making a rational decision for the benefit of New Yorkers across the state.  It appears based on what actually happened,  this was a decision to benefit the owners of nuclear power plants.  The PSC didn’t consider more cost-effective alternatives for meeting the state’s energy goals.”

Opponents  say their evidence includes a presentation made by a former lobbyist from Exelon in which he bragged about the $7.5 billion subsidy.  Judson says the presentation is a prime example of the huge profits companies can make via lobbying and political spending. However, he acknowledges its legality.

“It’s not clear that there’s anything illegal in terms of Exelon lobbying state government for financial assistance.  Companies have the right to do that.  But the PSC doesn’t need to be swayed by companies trying to protect their private interests.”

Judson says the PSC violated the rights of the public by not giving them enough notice or time to understand how their money would be spent.  He also notes how the closing of the nuclear plants would not have mattered much in the long run.

Before the whole proceeding that resulted in the subsidy was undertaken, the agency that runs the state’s electricity system had done an evaluation and determined the two reactors scheduled to close, plus several other power plants scheduled to close around the same time, could turn off and there wouldn’t be any need for additional power plants or energy sources to be developed.  There was plenty of power on the grid.”

Judson says the PSC should have looked into clean energy options that would have helped the state meet its Clean Energy Standard goals. A hearing for this case is expected this summer.

April 6, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

New Jersey’s Nuclear Subsidy Bill heads for uneasy passage in Houses


Clean-energy measures also voted out, but nuclear bill looms large — particularly when it comes to costs to ratepayers.

After months of contentious debate and false starts, a package of bills increasing the state’s reliance on renewable energy, as well as subsidizing nuclear power plants, won approval yesterday from a pair of legislative committees.

The passage sets the stage for final approval by both houses on Thursday to legislation that likely will impose billions of dollars in new costs on utility customers to support those programs.

If signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy as expected, the measures will begin implementing key parts of the new administration’s clean-energy agenda, while averting the threatened closing of nuclear power plants, operated by Public Service Enterprise Group.

……..The mounting public demand to address climate change and the difficult choices facing an unregulated energy sector have thrust those decisions before a Legislature largely oblivious of the implications of its actions, according to some. A key provision of the deal calls for subsidizing PSEG’s three nuclear power plants for as long as 10 years at a cost of $300 million annually.

“The proposed nuclear bailout will make it difficult to ramp up a clean-energy future,’’ argued Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey, who backed a clean-energy bill.

The nuclear bill (S-2313) has proven very controversial due to its cost. Critics, including many business groups, consumer advocates, and environmentalists, argue the company has never demonstrated the plants are in financial jeopardy.

No room for rate counsel

Under the bill, the plants would only be awarded the subsidies in certain circumstances. The state Board of Public Utilities would have to initiate a proceeding and find the plants are in financial distress. But the bill may leave the state’s Division of Rate Counsel, the agency representing consumers, out of the review process.

Rate Counsel director Stefanie Brand said the subsidies could end up costing consumers more than $3 billion over a decade, even though the company has not proved they are losing money. “They are making money, but not as much as the company wants,’’ Brand told the Senate Budget Committee.

……. “It is abundantly clear by now that ratepayers cannot afford a multibillion dollar tax hike, paid to bail out demonstrably profitable nuclear plants, just so PSEG shareholders can make some money,’’ said Matt Fossen, of the New Jersey Coalition for Fair Energy…….

April 6, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment