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Most Americans doubt that the Trump summit will result in North Korea giving up nuclear weapons

Poll: Majority skeptical North Korea will give up nuclear weapons as a result of Trump summit, 


June 18, 2018 Posted by | politics international, public opinion, USA | Leave a comment

South Korean nuclear reactor to be shut down early. Plans for new reactors cancelled

Korea Times 15th June 2018 , The Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) said Friday its board has decided to shut down the Wolsong-1 nuclear reactor in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, before the end of its lifespan and scrap all plans for building
four new reactors across the country.

“According to the government’s energy policy shift, we have reviewed operational plans of Wolsong reactors several times and concluded keeping the Wolsong-1 operating under strengthened safety regulations would not be economical,” KHNP CEO Chung
Jae-hoon said in a press conference in Seoul.

“Also, the plans for building new reactors of Cheonji-1,2 and Daejin-1,2 would be terminated in order to eradicate uncertainties in the KHNP’s management and restore smooth relations with local residents.”

June 18, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Korea | Leave a comment

UK govt providing $billions for Wylfa nuclear power project, but Hitachi still scrambling for more money from Japan and USA

Nikkei Asian Review 16th June 2018 , Hitachi continues to search for ways to share the burdens of building a British nuclear power plant and now is sounding out the Development Bank of Japan and several Japanese power companies about taking stakes in the
project, a high hurdle as many are still struggling with the heavy financial fallout from the 2011 meltdown at Fukushima.

The cost projection for the project on the Welsh island of Anglesey has ballooned to 3 trillion yen ($27.1 billion). To keep it commercially viable, the British government pledged on June 4 to arrange the entire 2 trillion yen in necessary loans, twice its original offer. In addition, 900 billion yen is to be invested in the Hitachi subsidiary responsible for developing and building the plant, with 300 billion yen coming from a consortium of Japanese companies and the Japanese government.

The DBJ is considering an investment as a government-affiliated financial institution. Chubu Electric Power, Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings, Kansai Electric Power, Chugoku Electric Power and Hokuriku Electric Power are some of the utilities being approached
about taking small stakes in the project, as well as Japan Atomic Power. Hitachi is also asking the utilities for technical support.

Japan Atomic Power already plans to support such aspects as operation and maintenance of the U.K. plant with U.S. energy provider Exelon. Tepco and Chubu Electric both operate in Japan boiling water reactors, the same type that will bebbuilt on Anglesey. But winning participation from these companies will not be an easy task. Tepco must raise 16 trillion yen of the 22 trillion yen needed to decommission the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant and compensate victims of the meltdown. The company has said it will improve profitability to do so, but such efforts are still in the preliminary stages.

June 18, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Resounding “No” to nuclear waste dump, from Czech rural community


The inhabitants of Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou, a village in the Vysočina region between Bohemia and Moravia, voted overwhelmingly against the construction of a nuclear waste storage site on their land in a referendum on Saturday.

Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou is one of nine Czech locations being considered by experts for the purposes of a nuclear waste store. About 45 percent of the village’s inhabitants took part in the vote, which makes the referendum valid.

June 18, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Genkai nuclear power station restart sparks protest

Japan Today 16th June 2018 , A nuclear reactor at a trouble-hit complex in southwestern Japan restarted
operations Saturday for the first time in more than six and a half years
amid lingering safety concerns. The No. 4 unit at the Genkai plant in Saga
Prefecture is the fourth reactor of operator Kyushu Electric Power Co’s to
go back online and the ninth nationwide under stricter safety rules
implemented after the Fukushima crisis in 2011. The utility aims to
generate and supply electricity from Wednesday and start commercial
operations in mid-July. The restart sparked local protests, with around 100
people gathering in front of the plant.

June 18, 2018 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Govt plan to reuse radioactive soil for agriculture meets opposition

BNA 14th June 2018 Japan’s plan to reuse soil contaminated with radiation from the
Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant accident for agriculture is sparking
something of its own nuclear reaction. Residents and other critics don’t
want any part of it.

June 18, 2018 Posted by | environment, Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Why TEPCO should quickly close down Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant

Editorial: TEPCO should quickly decommission Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant,  (Mainichi Japan).  Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has finally announced that it will decommission its Fukushima No. 2 Nuclear Power Plant, more than seven years after the outbreak of the ongoing crisis at its tsunami-ravaged Fukushima No. 1 plant. If realized, all 10 nuclear reactors in Fukushima Prefecture would be dismantled.

The presence of the No. 2 power station has offended Fukushima Prefecture residents, many of whom are still living as evacuees, and others who have suffered groundless rumors about radiation contamination. TEPCO needs to swiftly draw up a road map that will enable smooth decommissioning of the complex.

Like the No. 1 plant, the No. 2 complex was also hit by tsunami generated by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. However, some of its external power sources remained intact, averting meltdowns at the plant.

The No. 2 plant remains offline, but a massive amount of nuclear fuel remains in the complex. Since prefectural residents have deeply rooted concerns about the plant’s safety and its possible reactivation in the future, the prefectural government has urged TEPCO and the national government, which effectively has the largest stake in the utility, to decommission the plant at an early date.

Reactivation of a nuclear plant requires consent from the local municipalities hosting the complex. Therefore, the resumption of operations at the No. 2 power station has always been a politically unfeasible option.

Moreover, more than 30 years have passed since operation of its four reactors began.

To operate the reactors beyond the 40-year limit set under new rules introduced after the outbreak of the nuclear crisis, it is necessary to invest a vast amount of money for additional safety measures. That means there were no merits to keeping the power station open in terms of the utility’s finances.

Nevertheless, TEPCO had delayed the decision to decommission the complex.

Once a utility decides to decommission a nuclear reactor, the operator cannot regard the facility or the nuclear fuel inside it as part of the company’s assets, weakening its financial base. It appears TEPCO may have waited to make the decision until the company had restored its financial strength.

However, even considering the financial strain that TEPCO experienced after the March 2011 disaster, it deserves criticism for its lack of sincerity, failing to provide a sufficient explanation to the public about its plans for the reactors.

TEPCO President Tomoaki Kobayakawa, who notified Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori of the decision, has admitted that the No. 2 plant “has hindered disaster recovery.” If so, the utility should promptly begin preparations to decommission the complex.

The power company already faces the extremely difficult task of decommissioning the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. In order to smoothly carry out the decommissioning of the No. 2 plant as well, the company must exercise wisdom in allocating its management resources, such as funds and personnel. We hope TEPCO will cooperate with the government in swiftly materializing its plan for decommissioning the No. 2 power station.

The decommissioning of the Fukushima No. 2 plant would leave the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant in Niigata Prefecture as TEPCO’s sole atomic power station. This means that TEPCO may step up its efforts to persuade the local municipalities hosting that power plant to accept its reactivation. However, the company must keep in mind that the main priority is to ensure safety at the plant and to obtain the understanding and acceptance of local communities.

June 15, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Guam wants inclusion in radiation exposure compensation program: U.S. Senate considering this

S Senate panel to hear Guam’s inclusion in radiation exposure compensation program, 15 Jun 2018, Mar-Vic Cagurangan – For Variety HAGÅTÑA — Guam is getting close to achieving its long quest for inclusion in the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.

June 15, 2018 Posted by | OCEANIA, politics, USA | Leave a comment

A very hard project – Trump trying to bail out coal and nuclear power

Trump Wants to Bail Out Coal and Nuclear Power. Here’s Why That Will Be Hard.   NYT, 

June 15, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected Trump Administration’s plan to rescue coal and nuclear industries

Massive FERC Flop For Plan To Save Coal & Nuclear Power Plants, Clean Technica, June 13th, 2018 by Tina Casey 

The Trump Administration has devised a new plan for saving the nation’s aging fleet of coal and nuclear power plants, but so far it has been going over like a lead balloon. At a Senate hearing yesterday, all five members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave it the thumbs down.

Wait — what? Did you really think there was a chance the plan get the seal of approval from any of the FERC commissioners? Come to think of it, maybe. After all, the FERC Chairman himself was appointed by President* Trump. So, what went wrong at yesterday’s hearing?

What’s The Plan, Stan?

The new plan leverages the Energy Department’s authority to keep the electricity flowing under the federal Power Act. Here’s an explainer from the agency (emphasis added because that’s the important bit):

Under FPA section 202(c) during the continuance of a war in which the United States is engaged or when an emergency exists by reason of a sudden increase in the demand for electric energy, or a shortage of electric energy, or of facilities for the generation or transmission of electric energy, or of the fuel or water for generating facilities, or other causes, the Secretary of Energy may require by order temporary connections of facilities, and generation, delivery, interchange, or transmission of electricity as the Secretary determines will best meet the emergency and serve the public interest.

Fair enough. The question is whether or not an emergency exists, and at yesterday’s hearing the FERC commissioners couldn’t find anything in that long list of section 202(c) emergencies that would apply to the nation’s fleet of coal and nuclear power plants.

Meet The New Plan, Same As The Old Plan

More to the point, November’s midterm Congressional elections are fast approaching, so anything that looks like a taxpayer bailout is doomed to fail.

CleanTechnica predicted as much in a piece published Monday morning, before yesterday’s Senate hearing got under way………

June 15, 2018 Posted by | public opinion, USA | Leave a comment

Systemic failures in France’s Flamanville nuclear project

Challenges 8th June 2018 [Machine Translation] EPR plant in Flamanville: does EDF really control its
construction site? While China has inaugurated its first EPR reactor,
delays are accumulating on the site of the EPR Flamanville in the Channel.
Defects noted at the end of March on strategic welds will further postpone
the opening of the plant “at least a few months” according to the Nuclear
Safety Authority.

In Flamanville, we are facing systemic failures. It is no
longer a matter of simple problems that add up to each other. It is in
these terms that Mycle Schneider, an independent Canadian expert and
co-author of an annual report on the nuclear industry, draws the alarming
report of the Flamanville shipyard. On May 31, EDF announced a delay of
several months in the construction of the EPR plant due to welding defects
on pipes. A new setback that will delay the commissioning of the plant. And
this is mainly due to a long series of problems since the launch of the
project in December 2007.

June 13, 2018 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

Why wasn’t TEPCO bankrupted? – Japan’s Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center

Why wasn’t TEPCO bankrupted?   Hajime Matsukubo, CNIC, BY CNIC_ENGLISH · JUNE 4, 2018

The nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO’s) Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (FDNPS) has left TEPCO under a huge pile of debt. At the time, there were arguments in favor of dissolving TEPCO, the liable party, but due to the Japanese government’s generous support, the company continues to exist to this day. In this article, we attempt to throw light on the reasons why TEPCO was not bankrupted.

Act on Compensation for Nuclear Damage
Japan’s Act on Compensation for Nuclear Damage states in Section 3, “Where nuclear damage is caused as a result of reactor operation etc. during such operation, the nuclear operator who is engaged in the reactor operation etc. on this occasion shall be liable for the damage, except in the case where the damage is caused by a grave natural disaster of an exceptional character or by an insurrection.” In Section 4, the Act stipulates that “Where nuclear damage is covered by the preceding section, no person other than the nuclear operator who is liable for the damage pursuant to the preceding section shall be liable for the damage.” Thus while imposing on the nuclear power operator unlimited no-fault liability with liability concentrated in its hands, it also provides exemptions in the form of “a grave natural disaster of an exceptional character or by an insurrection.” At the same time, Section 16 provides for necessary government assistance to pay compensation, and Section 17 states that in the case of “a grave natural disaster of an exceptional character or by an insurrection” the government “shall take necessary measures to relieve victims and to prevent the damage from spreading.”
What became a problem at the time of the FNDPS accident was whether or not it had occurred due to a grave natural disaster of an exceptional character. From the outset, the government indicated the stance of not applying the exemption, stating, “As the nuclear power operator, TEPCO should bear liability for damage caused by this nuclear power plant accident.” TEPCO insisted that the accident was due to “a grave natural disaster of an exceptional character” and that “there is a margin for judging that an exemption be invoked,” but eventually accepted liability. 
Financing immediately after the accident
Since the exemption was not invoked, TEPCO faced unlimited compensation for the damage caused by the FNDPS accident. In 2011, the government estimated that compensation alone would be of the order of 4.5 trillion yen.
TEPCO’s cash and deposits as the accounts were closed at the end of the third quarter of 2010 (December 31, 2010) were 366.5 billion yen. With company bond redemptions of 500 billion yen coming up in FY2011 and the need to procure fuel worth 800 billion yen, financing from the market was fraught with difficulties after the FNDPS nuclear accident, bringing TEPCO close to bankruptcy.
TEPCO’s cash and deposits leaped up to 2.2 trillion yen at the close of accounts for FY2010 (March 31, 2011). This was almost all in long-term loans. According to news reports at the time, 1.865 trillion yen was provided in loans of three to ten years, with no warranty and at the same interest as before the accident, by eight financial institutions, including the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (600 billion yen), the Mizuho Corporate Bank (500 billion yen) and the Mitsubishi UFJ Bank (300 billion yen). It is said that in the background to this was the statement by the then deputy minister of the Ministry for the Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Kazuo Matsunaga, that “We must also not shirk  responsibility. I would also like to see support from financial institutions.”
TEPCO thus managed to overcome the problems of March 2011, but even after that, arguments insisting that TEPCO be declared bankrupt and go into legal liquidation continued. However, in the end, it was decided to allow the company to survive from the viewpoint that if TEPCO went into legal liquidation compensation to those affected by the nuclear accident would be delayed.
Especially problematical were the electric power bonds issued by TEPCO. The Electricity Business Act allows TEPCO and the other power business operators to issue company bonds with “general collateral” that make it possible to prioritize debt repayment to other creditors. In other words, if a company goes bankrupt, those financial institutions that originally stood to make profits from the purchase of the company bonds would receive first priority in debt repayment, whereas compensation for those affected by the nuclear accident would be on the same pecking order as repayment for other debts (e.g. loans, etc.).
TEPCO’s net assets as of March 31, 2011 were 1.6024 trillion yen. It was clear that the estimate for compensation at the time of 4.5 trillion yen would put TEPCO in a situation of net capital deficiency. The balance of company debt at this time was 4.4251 trillion yen. If TEPCO were to be declared bankrupt at that time, the company debt would first have to be repaid, after which other debts, including the liabilities to those affected by the nuclear accident, would be paid out.
There was also the option of allowing TEPCO to go bankrupt, and having discharged the debts the government would, in a separate deal, then pay out compensation from the national treasury to those affected by the nuclear accident. However, since the accident was still ongoing, liquidating TEPCO might pose obstacles to the work of the post-accident clean-up. Considering this, it is not unreasonable that the government at the time decided to allow TEPCO to continue to exist. However, by allowing TEPCO to survive, the stockholders who had invested in TEPCO and the financial institutions that had provided funds, i.e. the investors who bore a certain risk for the sake of profits, suffered no losses, and in their place the greater population of Japan overall would take on the burden. That was how the current TEPCO survival scheme was born.
The TEPCO survival scheme
In August 2011, the government enacted the Nuclear Damage Compensation Facilitation Corporation Act to avoid a TEPCO bankruptcy. The scheme inherent in the act is as follows:
1) The government shall establish the Nuclear Damage Compensation Facilitation Corporation (later reorganized as the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation in August 2014) as the facilitating organization handling compensation payments and so on in the case of nuclear damage, and nuclear power operators are to establish a reserve fund (general contributions) to provide compensation.
2) The Corporation shall levy a special contribution from the nuclear operator that caused the accident (in this case TEPCO).
3) The Corporation shall provide financial facilitation (granting of funds, acceptance of stocks, loans, purchase of company bonds, etc.) when the Corporation’s facilitation is required for compensation by the nuclear operator. To procure the funds necessary for financial facilitation, the Corporation can issue government-guaranteed compensation bonds to borrow money from financial institutions.
4) In the case that special support is required from the government, the Corporation and the nuclear operator shall determine the amount of compensation, prepare a “special business plan” that sets out the content and value of the financial support, policies for business management rationalization and so on, and receive approval from the relevant ministers (the Cabinet Office and METI). Following approval, the government will allocate government bonds to the Corporation, the necessary funds then being granted to the nuclear operator by the Corporation.
5) The Corporation shall pay into the national treasury money up to the amount of redemption of the government bonds.
  Based on this scheme, TEPCO and the Corporation devised a Special Emergency Business Plan in November 2011, following up with a Comprehensive Special Business Plan in May 2012, a New Comprehensive Special Business Plan in January 2014 and a New-New Comprehensive Special Business Plan in May 2017. On the basis of these business plans, the government established a government bond allocation limit of 13.5 trillion yen (including decontamination and mid-term storage of radioactive wastes, etc. as well as compensation) for the Corporation and it was decided to provide a grant of 10.2006 trillion yen to TEPCO. In addition to this, the Corporation accepted one trillion yen in TEPCO stocks in July 2012 (making the Corporation the holder of 54% of TEPCO stocks, which would increase to 80% if class B priority stocks were converted to class A stocks).
Furthermore, besides the above, TEPCO also estimates that that 8 trillion yen will be needed for decommissioning and as countermeasures for contaminated water. As a result, the costs involved in dealing with the FNDPS nuclear accident are therefore currently estimated to be 21.5 trillion yen.
Of this, it is presumed that the 4 trillion yen estimated for decontamination costs will be eventually supplemented by profits accruing from the sale of TEPCO stocks, the 1.6 trillion yen costs for intermediate storage facilities will be paid from the national treasury, and that 3.7 trillion yen of the total compensations will be paid by nuclear power operators from the general contributions, while 0.24 trillion yen will be borne by imposing a power distribution consignment charge on power companies that have entered the market recently due to deregulation of the power market.

June 11, 2018 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Japan’s Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center calls for TEPCO to be liquidated

it is impermissible for the government, which is spending such an enormous amount of taxpayers’ money on TEPCO, to allow the utility to give financial support to another collapsed company

  If the state is rich enough to permit TEPCO to spend massive funds for unnecessary purposes, it should force the utility to take responsibility for causing the Fukushima nuclear accident and reduce the financial burden borne by the Japanese public. 
  There is no need for TEPCO to survive any longer, because it has abdicated its responsibility for the nuclear accident and continues to support a virtually failed company.
  The utility should go bankrupt and be liquidated.
* TEPCO’s annual electricity sales for 2016 totaled 241.5 billion kWh, which means each household is paying 789 yen to the utility annually. (The average electricity consumption per household in 2016 was 4,432kWh.)

Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center   Create No Nukes World With Us   CNIC Statement, April 11, 2018 : Liquidate TEPCO!, BY CNIC_ENGLISH · JUNE 4, 2018  On April 5, 2018, the government’s Nuclear Damage Compensation Dispute Resolution Center notified residents of Namie Town, Fukushima Prefecture, and TEPCO of its decision to discontinue its efforts to achieve an Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) on the residents’ demand for additional compensation for mental anguish caused by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident. Continue reading

June 11, 2018 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Consumers will pay up to $17 billion each year for Trump’s nuclear bailout

Trump’s nuclear bailout could cost consumers up to $17 billion each year  The Trump Administration is taking unprecedented steps to bail out failing nuclear and coal power plants, effectively nationalizing the American energy market with potentially drastic consequences for the renewable energy industry and the American consumer. According to an updated report from the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), the Trump Administration’s plan could result in artificially high electricity prices. The planned subsidies for nuclear power plants alone could increase the overall cost of electricity in the U.S. by up to $17 billion each year; the subsidies for coal plants would add even more. This skewing of the American energy market, which has recently seen significant progress made by wind and solar energy, could also result in the decline of renewable energy in the U.S.

“By pushing for a nationwide bailout for nuclear power and coal, the Trump administration is rushing headlong into an energy buzz saw, and they don’t even seem to know it,” NIRS executive director Tim Judson said in a statement. It should come as no surprise to those who have followed President Trump that he would take steps to support coal and nuclear power at the expense of renewable energy. What is surprising is the heavy-handedness with which his administration is attempting to directly subsidize failing businesses, thereby ignoring the Republican Party’s long-held belief in the supremacy of a market free from government intrusion. By doing so, Trump could decimate the renewable energy industry, which employs more American workers than coal and nuclear combined. 

The administration claims that it must act to save failing coal and nuclear plants in the interest of national security. Not everyone is buying that excuse. “The Administration’s warnings of dire effects from power shortages caused by shortages of reliable and resilient generation are contradicted by all of the bodies with actual responsibility for assuring adequate supplies,” said former member of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Peter A. Bradford. “There are no state or federal energy regulators petitioning DOE for these measures. Indeed, those who have spoken clearly have said that such steps are unnecessary. … As was said in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the facts are being fixed around the desired end result.”

In order to enact its bailout policies, the Trump Administration has three options: Congressional action, review and approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or a formal National Security Council assessment. While the bailouts are likely to be delayed for the foreseeable future, if they even occur, the Trump Administration’s decision to subsidize failing power plants at the expense of American industry and consumer well-being makes its priorities quite cle

June 11, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | 1 Comment

Conservative Iranian lawmakers opposes Iran joining Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

Parliamentary group opposes Iran joining FATF as fate of nuclear deal is in disarray, June 9, 2018 TEHRAN – A number of conservative Iranian lawmakers, who are members of the Velayat (Jurisprudence) faction, issued a statement on Saturday calling on other fellow parliamentarians not to approve the legislation on joining the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as the U.S. pullout from the nuclear agreement has put the fate of the accord in disarray.

The statement said since the U.S. intends to impose “crippling” sanctions on Iran an approval of the FATF will pave the way for the U.S. to get access to all the economic and banking transactions by Iran.

“Now that the future of the JCPOA [the 2015 nuclear deal] has become vague after the withdrawal of the U.S. and the order to return the sanctions, it is illogical to join the FATF,” the statement said.

On May 8, U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the UN-endorsed nuclear agreement and ordered a return of sanctions on Iran.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on May 21 that the U.S. will apply economic and military pressure against Iran and will impose “the strongest sanctions in history” on the Islamic Republic.

The FATF is a set of measures designed to make financial affairs transparent and verifiable.


June 11, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics | Leave a comment