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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

UK government to consider Rolls-Royce’s Small Modular Nuclear Reactor (SMR) designs

Designs for ‘mini’ nuclear power plants proposed by Rolls-Royce led group set to be given go-ahead, Telegraph   Alan Tovey 22 OCTOBER 2017  

An important report assessing the viability of new “mini” nuclear power plants for the UK to be published this week is expected to give the green light to develop designs proposed by a British consortium led by Rolls-Royce.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is set to issue a study which formally ends a competition between different types of low-carbon power generation to assess which should be supported.

Industry sources say a concurrent Techno-Economic Assessment for the government by EY concludes that designs for small nuclear reactors (SMRs) from the Rolls consortium are the more likely to succeed.

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October 23, 2017 Posted by | politics, technology, UK | Leave a comment

Oil companies and environmentalists unite in opposing Trump’s bailout for struggling coal and nuclear

Trump Plan for Coal, Nuclear Power Draws Fire From Environmental, Oil Groups
Critics from factions often at odds are calling Trump administration’s proposal a bailout for struggling power plants, 
By  Timothy Puko Oct. 22, 2017 WASHINGTON—A Trump administration proposal aimed at shoring up coal-fired and nuclear power plants across the nation has generated opposition from an array of energy and consumer interests, including some who are often at odds on energy policy.

Oil and gas companies, wind and solar power producers, some public utilities, electricity consumers and environmentalists—rarely natural allies—are all publicly opposing the Energy Department’s proposal. The plan would effectively guarantee profits for some nuclear and coal-fired power… (subscribers only) https://www.wsj.com/articles/environmentalists-energy-companies-unite-in-fight-against-electrical-grid-plan-1508677201

October 23, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

For America’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “climate” is now a dirty, or rather, nonexistent, word.

EPA’s climate change website reappears, missing the word ‘climate’, Mashable, BY ANDREW FREEDMAN, On April 28, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) abruptly took down its long-standing treasure trove of online climate change resources, and put up a message stating that they were being updated to reflect the new priorities of the Trump administration.

 It’s becoming more and more clear that one of those priorities is to downplay the threat of climate change. And one way way to do that is to ignore it altogether.

To that end, on Friday, a group that monitors federal websites for changes in climate change content reported that the some of the climate websites taken down in April have returned to the EPA’s site, with all references to climate change removed.

According to the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative’s website monitoring group (EDGI), an EPA website that previously offered climate and energy resources for state, local, and tribal governments has been stripped of its references and links to climate science and policy. Prior to April 28, the site had contained programs and tools to assist these government entities in becoming more energy efficient, using more renewable energy, and developing climate change policies.

 Instead, that main site is now a page on “energy resources,” including a “Clean Energy Finance Tool,” Energy Information Administration state reports, newsletters, and other resources with links to previously existing EPA climate sites removed as well. The new webpage, which went online in late July, but was just analyzed in detail on Friday, omits about 15 mentions of the word “climate” from the main page for local governments.

“Large portions of climate resources that were formerly found on the previous website have not been returned, and thus have ultimately been removed from the current EPA website,” the EDGI web monitoring group stated.

 The new website’s main page has no links to pages such as the “State Climate Action Framework”, “Local Climate Action Framework”, and “Climate Showcase Communities,” among others, the report found………

he EPA’s voluminous climate change website had previously been maintained under both Republican and Democratic administrations dating back at least to the first Bush administration, and it had served as a valuable tool for teachers and students, researchers, and government officials looking for data and advice on climate resilience efforts.

 However, the site has become another casualty of an administration that appears hellbent on erasing as much climate science and climate policy from the books as possible.

Since becoming EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt has pursued an aggressive agenda of dismantling the Obama administration’s climate change regulations, culminating in his action on Oct. 10 to withdraw the Clean Power Plan, which would limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Pruitt has said he doesn’t believe that science shows greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels are the main cause of global warming, even though scientific evidence demonstrates exactly that link.

Pruitt instead wants to hold televised “red team, blue team” debates between climate scientists and deniers to contest the merits of mainstream climate science research. …… http://mashable.com/2017/10/20/epa-climate-website-missing-climate-change-references/#yfrYCTm9CPqM

October 21, 2017 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

What if White House officials really did have to physically stop President Donald Trump from starting a nuclear war?

Matt Lauer to John Brennan: Will Military Leaders ‘Lock’ Trump ‘in A Room’ to Stop Nuclear War? https://www.mediaite.com/tv/matt-lauer-to-john-brennan-will-military-leaders-lock-trump-in-a-room-to-stop-nuclear-war/, by Caleb Ecarma October 19th, 2017 

As talks of military confrontation between the US and North Korea continue to escalate, Today Show host Matt Lauer raised an incredible question: What if White House officials really did have to physically stop President Donald Trump from starting a nuclear war?

As ridiculous as the idea may seem, there have been reports circulating in which WH aides suggest that Chief of Staff John Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis may have formulated a plot to physically apprehend Trump before he reaches the nuclear football.

These reports inspired Lauer to ask Brennan the following:

“I feel weird asking you this, but you’ve read the same stories I’ve read. You know the key players around the president in Mattis, Mcmaster and John Kelly. Stories are going around out there that if the president inches closer to some kind of a nuclear confrontation with North Korea, that those guys are going to do something. They’re going to lock him in a room. They’re going to tackle him. You’re smiling. But these are the stories that are out there. And they will prevent him from carrying out any action that would cause that. Is that all nonsense?”

Despite the preposterous, slapstick image that Lauer’s question conjures up — Kelly or Mattis leaping like an NFL safety at Trump while he’s mid-nuclear launch — the always professional Brennan calmly clarified that the president alone has “unilateral authority” on military action. The former CIA director said Mattis’ options for protest include trying to talk the president out of it or tendering his resignation — the possibility of tackling Trump was not a listed option, though.

When asked whether or not he would follow unethical orders from his authorities, Brennan said that in certain cases — such as a command to bring back waterboarding — he would choose getting fired over following directives.

As for the Mattis, Kelly, and H.R. McMaster, Brennan commended all of them, saying, “They’re patriots… They understand the gravity of this situation, and I don’t think Trump does.”

October 21, 2017 Posted by | politics, Trump - personality, USA | Leave a comment

U.S. House to vote on non-nuclear Iran sanctions next week 

Patricia Zengerle   WASHINGTON (Reuters) 21 Oct 17,  – The U.S. House of Representatives will vote next week on new sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile program and on Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah militia, senior House Republicans said on Friday, seeking to take a tough line against Iran without immediately moving to undermine the international nuclear deal.

President Donald Trump defied both allies and adversaries on Oct. 13 by refusing to certify that Iran is complying with an international agreement on its nuclear program, and threatened that he might ultimately terminate the accord.

That threw the fate of the agreement between Iran, the United States and other world powers into the hands of Congress, by opening a 60-day window in which Congress could reimpose, or

“snap back,” sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program that were lifted under the agreement.

However, many of Trump’s fellow Republicans – who all opposed the deal reached under former Democratic President Barack Obama – have said they see no immediate need to do so.

Congressional aides said that, for now, House lawmakers are focusing on clamping down on Iran in other ways such as the missile and Hezbollah sanctions……https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-nuclear-congress/u-s-house-to-vote-on-non-nuclear-iran-sanctions-next-week-idUSKBN1CP2A7

October 21, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

South Korea still to phase out nuclear power: commission voted to complete present construction

Proposed resumption of nuclear reactors to delay Moon’s new energy policy http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2017/10/20/0301000000AEN20171020004651315.html SEOUL, Oct. 20 (Yonhap) — President Moon Jae-in was forced to push back the start of his new nuclear-free energy policy Friday after a public debate commission recommended resuming the construction of two unfinished nuclear reactors he earlier promised to scrap.

The resumption of the construction, however, may have limited effect on the president’s energy policy, which seeks to ultimately build a nuclear energy-free nation.

The commission said 59.5 percent of 471 citizens and experts who took part in the debate voted in favor of completing the Shin Kori-5 and Shin Kori-6 reactors, while 40.5 percent sided with the president to remove the unfinished reactors for good.

The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said it respects the commission’s recommendation, adding it will soon take necessary measures to resume the construction of the two nuclear reactors.

Such a swift response from Cheong Wa Dae comes after the president earlier said he would respect the outcome of the debate, noting it would mark the start of what he called “deliberative democracy.”

“The process of reaching a social consensus requires a lot of time and money. But I believe it is a valuable process, considering the social cost we must bear when such decisions are made unilaterally,” the president said earlier.

Scrapping the two new nuclear reactors was a key election pledge of Moon.

Despite the inevitable delay in the start of Moon’s new energy policy, the outcome of the monthslong debate on the fate of the two new nuclear reactors will likely have little or no effect on the president’s ongoing plan to build a nation free of nuclear energy.

The president has noted his new energy policy did not seek to immediately shut down nuclear reactors that are currently in operation, but to do so when they run out their natural designed lifespan, a process he said would take at least four decades, considering the 40-year lifespan of the reactors recently built.

The Shin Kori reactors will also operate for at least 40 years following their completion, which is expected to take a few more years.

Before it was disrupted in July, the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. said the construction of the two reactors was 28.8 percent complete. Work on them began in 2016.

Officials at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae insisted the president’s new energy policy was launched the day he took office in May, saying the policy also relied on not building any more nuclear reactors.

The public debate commission also hinted that its recommendation on the fate of the Shin Kori reactors may have been influenced by economic reasons, noting 53.2 percent of those who took part in the process voted in favor of reducing nuclear energy while 35.5 percent said the number of nuclear reactors should be maintained at the current level.

Only 9.7 percent said the number of nuclear reactors should increase, the commission said.

The government earlier said scrapping the construction of the Shin Kori reactors may cost more than US$2 billion for the payment of damages to developers and builders.

The president also remains firm on building a nuclear energy-free nation, the Cheong Wa Dae officials said.

“Up until now, the lives and safety of the people have been put in the backseat when establishing and implementing energy policies, while environmental considerations have also been overlooked,” Moon said earlier.

“To build a safe Republic of Korea and keep pace with the global trend, we … have to implement a great shift in our national energy policy that will reduce nuclear and coal-fired power plants, and implement and increase (the use of) clean, safe future energy.”

October 21, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Korea | Leave a comment

Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board – (nuisance to the nuclear industry) to be got rid of?

Efforts underway to remove ‘redundant’ nuclear safety board, Santa fe – New Mexican , By Rebecca Moss | The New Mexican, Oct 19, 2017 

Efforts have been underway to defund and dismantle an independent board charged with overseeing safety and security at nuclear weapons sites, and much of that work has been spearheaded by the board’s own Republican chairman, according to an investigative report released Thursday.
The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, a five-person panel appointed by the U.S. president, has been charged for three decades with conducting independent safety reviews at Los Alamos National Laboratory and other nuclear sites, as well as with advising the U.S. energy secretary and informing Congress about potential health and safety risks to workers and communities, accidents and contamination events at the sites, and efforts to remedy problems.

The board’s recommendations do not require action by the labs or the Energy Department but have led to more intense scrutiny of labs — including Los Alamos, which has had a poor safety record in recent years, with several serious breaches — and more stringent regulations.

 In June, Sean Sullivan, a Republican member of the nuclear safety board who was appointed chairman by the Trump administration, proposed in a letter to the White House Office of Management and Budget that the board be eliminated. He called it a Cold War legacy that is no longer relevant and said it creates “myriad unnecessary costs for the Department of Energy.”……

The efforts to disband the board and undermine its independence come amid increasing questions about the safety culture at a number of national labs, but particularly at Los Alamos.

In the past year, Los Alamos has faced a federal investigation for improperly shipping nuclear materials out of state and violated nuclear safety protocol in August at its plutonium facility. A small fire there in April also caused one worker to suffer second-degree burns.

Most of these issues were made public by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, which posts its weekly reports online.

Earlier this year, the safety board voiced concerns to Congress about Los Alamos’ ability to handle nuclear materials and raised questions about whether the lab’s nuclear facilities are structurally sound.

In early June, the board held a hearing in Santa Fe to question lab and Energy Department officials about whether the lab would be prepared to manage increasing quantities of nuclear material as ramped-up production of plutonium pits — the grapefruit-sized triggers inside nuclear bombs — begins as part of a plan to modernize the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

Given the protracted and ongoing safety issues at Los Alamos, a number of safety board members and lawmakers have objected to any relaxed oversight at the lab.

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., told the Center for Public Integrity that repeated safety issues, “including the two [labs] in New Mexico, are among the reasons for strengthening — not eliminating the outside oversight board.

“These incidents have demonstrated that there is a need for a strong watchdog that does not have a direct financial or political stake in the success of the labs,” Udall added………http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/efforts-underway-to-remove-redundant-nuclear-safety-board/article_73572fa5-362a-53dc-ba80-640b03e52f2b.html   Contact Rebecca Moss at 505-986-3011 or rmoss@sfnewmexican.com.

October 21, 2017 Posted by | politics, safety, USA | Leave a comment

North Koreans support Kim Jong un’s bellicose policies

North Koreans undaunted by the prospect of nuclear war http://www.euronews.com/2017/10/19/north-koreans-undaunted-by-the-prospect-of-nuclear-war, By Robert Hackwill, 

President Donald Trump’s bellicose rhetoric on North Korea appears to have had the effect of stiffening people’s resolve, with some North Koreans even believing they could survive nuclear conflict.

In this newly nuclear nation there seems to be more bikes on the road than cars. For decades they’ve had a military-first policy; that’s what we’re going to see. We are very quickly learning that President Trump’s rhetoric is having a profound effect. Officials here, talking to us about President Trump, the Vice Foreign Minister warning that he believes this region is on the brink of war, and if that is the case, then we are standing here on the front line,” reports NBC’s Kier Simmons.

“This is the border, the demilitarised zone between the north and South Korea. President Trump is expected to visit South Korea next month. I asked a Lieutenant-Colonel who is based here ‘What do you think about President Trump?’ He said to me, very plainly, that he believes the president is mentally ill. I spoke to another North Korean official who’s the father of a young son, and I said to him, ‘Aren’t you frightened by the prospect of war?’ And you know what he said to me? He said that all his life he has felt as if his existence is threatened by the United States, and he said that he thinks that North Korea and the North Koreans could even survive a nuclear war.”

October 21, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, public opinion | Leave a comment

NBC News poll shows that three quarters of Americans fear that Trump is leading them into war

Three-quarters of Americans think Trump is going to lead them into war http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-war-poll-americans-think-president-lead-conflict-a8009401.html

Unlike the President, most Americans don’t think diplomacy is a waste of time, Andrew Buncombe New York ,@AndrewBuncombe

  • Almost three-quarters of Americans fear the US is to become involved in a “major conflict” in the next few years, according to a new survey.Amid escalating tensions with North Korea over its aggressive missile tests and development of nuclear warheads, combined with sabre-rattling from Donald Trump, 72 per cent of the population fears the country will become embroiled in such a war within four years.Most people believe the greatest threat to the US is from North Korea, followed by Isis and Russia. Only two per cent of people believe Iran is the greatest threat.
  • The NBC News/SurveyMonkey National Security poll also found that people are evenly divided on what represents the greatest form of threat – nuclear weapons, a cyber attack or terrorism.

October 20, 2017 Posted by | public opinion, USA | Leave a comment

U.S. threats of war with North Korea are ‘dangerous and short-sighted’ – Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton says US threats of war with North Korea are ‘dangerous and short-sighted’, Express UK, 19 Oct 17,  HILLARY Clinton has declared that “cavalier” threats to start war on the Korean peninsula were “dangerous and short-sighted”, urging the United States to get all parties to the negotiating table.

The former US presidential candidate also called on China to take a “more outfront role” in enforcing sanctions against North Korea aimed at curbing its missile and nuclear development.

Mrs Clinton told the World Knowledge Forum in the South Korean capital of Seoul: “There is no need for us to be bellicose and aggressive (over North Korea).”

Tension between Pyongyang and Washington has soared following a series of weapons tests by North Korea and a string of increasingly bellicose exchanges between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Mrs Clinton said, without mentioning Mr Trump by name: “Picking fights with Kim Jong Un puts a smile on his face.”

Ms Clinton also indirectly referred to Trump’s social media comments on North Korea, saying, “The insults on Twitter have benefited North Korea, I don’t think they’ve benefited the United States”…….. http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/868114/Hillary-Clinton-US-threats-of-war-North-Korea-dangerous-short-sighted

October 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Dubious future for Armenia’s aging nuclear power station

The Uncertain Fate of Armenia’s Nuclear Power Plant, The Armenian Weekly, By Weekly Staff on October 20, 2017 YEREVAN (A.W.)—The fate of the 41-year-old Armenian Nuclear Power Plant (ANPP), commonly known as Metsamor, is up for debate yet again as reports have emerged questioning whether the Armenian government will abandon plans for renewal or replacement altogether.

Metsamor, which is the only nuclear energy plant in the South Caucasus and one of the five remaining Soviet nuclear reactors of its kind, provides energy to 40% of Armenian consumers. Despite its critical role in Armenia’s modern energy economy, its aging design and proximity to earthquake-prone areas make it among the most dangerous nuclear plants in the world.

Built in 1976, the plant was shut down in 1989 by Soviet officials, following the devastating Spitak Earthquake. However, the economic difficulty and energy scarcity in Armenia after the collapse of the USSR in 1991, motivated the new Armenian government to relaunch the second of the plant’s two units.

Since then, the reactor’s operations have been a contentious issue both domestically and internationally. The issue was even addressed in an impending EU-Armenia trade agreement, where a 350-page, publicly-released draft text stipulated the reactor should be closed and replaced (though practical measures in enforcing this were notably vague)………https://armenianweekly.com/2017/10/20/uncertain-fate-armenias-nuclear-power-plant/

October 20, 2017 Posted by | EUROPE, politics | Leave a comment

Trump administration set to unravel protection rules on ionising radiation?

EPA Says Higher Radiation Levels Pose ‘No Harmful Health Effect’Bloomberg, By Ari Natter, 

  • Trump administration guidelines may be  prelude to easier rules
In the event of a dirty bomb or a nuclear meltdown, emergency responders can safely tolerate radiation levels equivalent to thousands of chest X-rays, the Environmental Protection Agency said in new guidelines that ease off on established safety levels. The EPA’s determination sets a level ten times the drinking water standard for radiation recommended under President Barack Obama.
It could lead to the administration of President Donald Trump weakening radiation safety levels, watchdog groups critical of the move say. “It’s really a huge amount of radiation they are saying is safe,” said Daniel Hirsch, the retired director of the University of California, Santa Cruz’s program on environmental and nuclear policy.
“The position taken could readily unravel all radiation protection rules.” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-16/epa-says-higher-radiation-levels-pose-no-harmful-health-effect

October 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, radiation, USA | Leave a comment

FACT CHECK: Did Hillary Clinton Tell FBI’s Mueller to Deliver Uranium to Russians in 2009? ‘Secret Tarmac Meeting’?

Did Hillary Clinton Tell FBI’s Mueller to Deliver Uranium to Russians in 2009 ‘Secret Tarmac Meeting’? Snopes, 19 October 17, 

Hyperpartisan web sites mischaracterized a State Department cable alerting the U.S. Embassy in Russia of a transfer of criminal evidence obtained in a sting operation.

CLAIM:  Then-Secretary of State Clinton ordered then-FBI Director Robert Mueller to deliver highly enriched uranium to the Russians in a secret plane-side meeting in 2009.

RATING –    MIXTURE
WHAT’S TRUE:  On behalf of the U.S. government, Robert Mueller delivered a sample of highly enriched uranium confiscated from smugglers in Georgia to Russian authorities for forensic examination in 2009.

WHAT’S FALSE:  There was nothing nefarious in the transfer of the ten-gram sample, which was done at the request of Russian law enforcement and with the consent of the government of Georgia, whose agents had participated in its confiscation.

ORIGIN: In May and June 2017, a number of hyperpartisan news and opinion web sites published articles reporting that former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert Mueller, who in mid-May was named special counsel in the Justice Department’s investigation into alleged ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian officials, was himself enmeshed in “secret dealings” with Russia related to his 2009 delivery of a sample of highly enriched uranium (HEU) to Moscow ordered by Hillary Clinton.

The conspiracy web site Intellihub noted that the transfer was revealed in a WikiLeaks release of a classified State Department cable:

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton facilitated the transfer a highly enriched uranium (HEU) previously confiscated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) during a 2006 “nuclear smuggling sting operation involving one Russian national and several Georgian accomplices,” a newly leaked classified cable shows.

So-called “background” information was provided in the cable which gave vague details on a 2006 nuclear smuggling sting operation in which the U.S. government took possession of some HEU previously owned by the Russians.

The secret “action request,” dated Aug. 17, 2009, was sent out by Secretary of State Clinton and was addressed to the United States Ambassador to Georgia Embassy Tbilisi, the Russian Embassy, and Ambassador John Beyrle. It proposed that FBI Director Robert Mueller be the one that personally conduct the transfer a 10-gram sample of HEU to Russian law enforcement sources during a secret “plane-side” meeting on a “tarmac” in the early fall of 2009.

The WikiLeaks release was announced via Twitter on 18 May, the day after Mueller was appointed special counsel:

……….Intellihub characterized the plane-side transfer of uranium “shocking” and “rather reminisce [sic] of the infamous [then-Attorney General] Loretta Lynch/Bill Clinton meeting which occurred on a Phoenix, Arizona, tarmac back in June of 2016” (which meeting was cited by former FBI Director James Comey as the reason he concluded the Department of Justice wasn’t capable of an independent investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail issues at the State Department).

Read in its entirety, however, the cable itself reveals nothing questionable or nefarious about the transfer of evidence between Mueller and a similarly placed Russian law enforcement official in Moscow. It merely asked the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to inform the Russian government that the transfer, which was postponed from an earlier date, would take place on 21 September 2009.

Moreover, it provided a complete explanation of why the transfer was taking place:…….

The 2006 sting operation was widely reported after the fact by U.S. newspapers, including the Washington Post:

Republic of Georgia authorities, aided by the CIA, set up a sting operation last summer that led to the arrest of Russian man who tried to sell a small amount of nuclear-bomb grade uranium in a plastic bag in his jacket pocket, U.S. and Georgian officials said.

The operation, which neither government has publicized, represents one of the most serious cases of smuggling of nuclear material in recent years, according to analysts and officials.

Despite partisan attempts to make it appear conspiratorial, the transfer of the sample of confiscated uranium was simply an instance of cooperative law enforcement between three countries: the U.S., Georgia, and Russia. The Russia government requested a sample of the uranium for forensic testing, the Georgian government signed off on it, and the U.S. government carried out the delivery.

The total amount of HEU confiscated in the sting was 3.5 ounces (about 100 grams). The amount Mueller delivered to the Russians was ten grams (the weight of four U.S. pennies). https://www.snopes.com/hillary-clinton-robert-mueller-uranium/

October 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

UK Labour warns that nuclear safety laws post Brexit could damage Britain’s democracy

Energy Voice 17th Oct 2017Labour has threatened to vote against nuclear industry contingency measures post-Brexit, claiming they give ministers a blank cheque to make “controversial policy decisions”. Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey said the Nuclear Safeguards Bill contained so-called Henry VIII powers which would enable the Government to pass laws with less scrutiny in the Commons.

She told MPs: “The job of a legislature is to legislate: the Bill before us as it stands is efectively a blank cheque handing that job over to ministers. “And I hope that the Minister can respond today with an iron-clad guarantee that the Government will not use those powers in that way but the ultimate guarantee will be to change the face of this Bill
itself.

“Safeguards are vital for our nuclear industry, but they are needed for our parliamentary democracy as well.” Speaking during the Bill’s second reading, Ms Long Bailey received cheers from the Government benches as she said there needed to be a nuclear safeguarding regime for the UK after it leaves the EU “should all else fail”.

But she said: “Let me add a caveat to that: we will need to see evidence of substantial amendment of the procedure set out here in this Bill, and evidence that the Government is really thinking about the best post-Brexit Euratom formulation before we can wholeheartedly commit at report stage and third reading to the passage of this Bill.”
https://www.energyvoice.com/otherenergy/nuclear/153420/uk-needs-nuclear-safeguarding-regime-post-brexit-labour-says/

October 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

South Africa’s President Zuma now has a new (Nuclear) Energy Minister: David Mahlobo praises nuclear energy

New Energy Minister Mahlobo’s first words on his nuclear vision for SA, Fin 24, Oct 19 2017 Matthew le Cordeur , Cape Town – Incoming Energy Minister David Mahlobo on Thursday highlighted his vision for South Africa’s nuclear energy future, following the approval for Eskom to develop 4GW of new power stations near Koeberg last week.

Mahlobo is the third energy minister this year. Tina Joemat-Pettersson was axed in March after the nuclear programme was halted following a court ruling. Her successor, Mmamoloko Kubayi, was this week redeployed to the communications ministry, with speculation that President Jacob Zuma was not happy with her progress in restarting the nuclear procurement programme.

Critics and opposition parties have warned that Mahlobo’s appointment could be an attempt by Zuma to push through the nuclear deal, as the president’s leadership position hangs in the balance ahead of the ANC’s elective conference in December.

4GW of new nuclear next to Koeberg

His appointment comes as the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) last week authorised its Final Environmental Impact Report for the power station at Duynefontein, giving Eskom permission to develop a new nuclear plant next to the existing Koeberg power station.

Koeberg, based outside Cape Town, is Africa’s only nuclear power station and contributes 6%, or 1.8GW, to South Africa’s power grid.

Citing the outdated 2010 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which states that South Africa requires 9.6GW of nuclear energy before 2030, Mahlobo said the latest development forms part of a “policy decision to pursue nuclear energy as a baseload energy form to mitigate our carbon footprint”………..

Zuma’s nuclear minister?

Allegations that Mahlobo’s appointment is a desperate bid by Zuma to get the nuclear new build programme off the ground hinge on revelation that he accompanied Zuma (with Deputy International Relations Minister Nomaindia Mfeketo) on a state visit to Russia in 2014, where he met with Putin at his residence in Novo-Ogariovo. No aides, advisers or wives went along, creating a veil of secrecy.

It has been widely speculated that Zuma and Putin struck a deal on nuclear cooperation at this meeting, but no evidence has ever emerged to confirm this. Rosatom, Zuma and the Department of Energy have consistently denied such a deal.

Democratic Alliance energy spokesperson Gordon Mackay said South Africans should be deeply concerned. “This is the state securitisation of the energy department. It started under Kubayi and will be completed under Mahlobo.” http://www.fin24.com/Economy/new-energy-minister-mahlobos-first-words-on-his-nuclear-vision-for-sa-20171019

October 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment