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USA Congressmen concerned at slow clean-up of dangerous San Onofre nuclear site

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April 18, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Trump’s administration speeds up the revolving door between Pentagon and nuclear weapons companies

April 18, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Some consternation in France, as EDF plans to split off its nuclear section

Le Monde 15th April 2019 For several weeks, EDF’s management and the executive have been
preparing a plan to separate nuclear activities from the rest of the group.
A high-risk issue for the government.

https://www.lemonde.fr/economie/article/2019/04/15/les-pistes-du-gouvernement-pour-decouper-edf_5450313_3234.html

Le Monde 15th April 2019 The CGT secretary of the EDF works council, François Dos Santos, protested against the government’s desire to divide the group into two separate
subsidiaries.

https://www.lemonde.fr/economie/article/2019/04/15/edf-modifier-le-perimetre-du-groupe-est-inacceptable_5450416_3234.html

April 18, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

Electricite de France (EDF) €33 billion debt, and more problems – its nuclear section to be nationalised.

Times 16th April 2019 A row erupted in France yesterday after it emerged that EDF’s board will discuss plans to renationalise the group’s nuclear activities and split them from the rest of its business. Unions reacted with anger to what they depicted as the first step towards the dismantling of the energy group that is building Britain’s new reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

The board is due to review the restructuring plan next month before presenting it to senior managers and union representatives in June, according to a source. The scheme involves the creation of a parent company to run the group’s 58 reactors in France, as well as new ones that it may build.

This part of the group could be renationalised, rolling back the partial privatisation of EDF in 2004, which left the state with an 83.7 per cent stake. Most of the rest of the group’s activities then would be placed in a subsidiary that would continue to seek private investors under the plan, which has been codenamed Project Hercules, according to the newspaper Le Parisien.

People close to President Macron, who has the final say, claim that he broadly supports the idea, but may backtrack if the price of compensating shareholders proves to be beyond the means of France’s hard-pressed state budget. A fierce union reaction also could prompt him to retreat,
commentators said.

Although a source insisted that the restructuring would have no direct impact on Hinkley Point, it is likely to create short-term uncertainty for EDF Energy, the group’s British division.

EDF is struggling to meet the cost of renovating its ageing French nuclear fleet, which is estimated at between €55 billion and €75 billion. In addition, the group, which has a debt of €33 billion, is facing several other difficulties, not least that it is committed to funding two thirds of the estimated £22.3 billion cost of the new-generation European pressurised reactors being built at Hinkley Point.

A similar reactor at Flamanville in northern France was meant to cost €3 billion and come on stream in 2012. The reactor is still not operating and the budget has reached €10.9 billion. Last week, it emerged that experts had advised that EDF should repair faulty weldings at Flamanville, which would add hundreds of millions of euros to the bill and lead to a further delay.

April 18, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

AARP Ohio, on behalf of its 1.5 million members and families, strongly Ohio nuclear subsidies

April 18, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, opposition to nuclear, politics, USA | Leave a comment

America’s nuclear lobby spending up big to get $millions in State subsidies

April 18, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

China gambles on untested “Hualong One” nuclear reactor, and plans for international sales

China goes all-in on home grown tech in push for nuclear dominance, David Stanway, SHANGHAI (Reuters)17 Apr 19 – China plans to gamble on the bulk deployment of its untested “Hualong One” nuclear reactor, squeezing out foreign designs, as it resumes a long-delayed nuclear program aimed at meeting its clean energy goals, government and industry officials said.

China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, was once seen as a “shop window” for big nuclear developers to show off new technologies, with Beijing embarking on a program to build plants based on designs from France, the United States, Russia and Canada.

But after years of construction delays, overseas models such as Westinghouse’s AP1000 and France’s “Evolutionary Pressurised Reactor” (EPR) are now set to lose out in favor of new localized technologies, industry experts and officials said.

……….Though China has yet to complete its first Hualong One, officials are confident it will not encounter the delays suffered by rivals, and say it can compete on safety and cost.

Beijing has already decided to use the Hualong One for its first newly commissioned nuclear project in three years, set to begin construction later this year at Zhangzhou, a site originally earmarked for the AP1000. [nL3N2152KM]

……… EDF, France’s state-run utility, which helped build the EPR project at Taishan in Guangdong province, declined to comment. Westinghouse, now owned by Brookfield after entering bankruptcy restructuring, also did not respond to a request for comment.

INTERNATIONAL AMBITIONS

China’s ambitions for the Hualong One extend overseas as well. The first foreign project using the reactor is under construction in Pakistan and the model is in the running for projects in Argentina and Britain……..https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-nuclearpower-hualong/china-goes-all-in-on-home-grown-tech-in-push-for-nuclear-dominance-idUSKCN1RT0C0

April 18, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, China, marketing, politics, safety | Leave a comment

North Dakota prohibits nuclear waste dumping in the state

Bill prohibits, sets guidelines for nuclear waste disposal

April 17, 2019  BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s Legislature has passed a bill that prohibits nuclear waste dumping in the state. The bill passed by the House Wednesday and the Senate a day earlier also sets the regulatory framework for disposal and storage of the radioactive waste if the state is forced to accept it by the federal government…… (subscribers only) https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Bill-prohibits-sets-guidelines-for-nuclear-waste-13775275.php

April 18, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

U.S.nuclear bailouts – Exelon and the death of competitive energy markets

April 18, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Will the Japanese people agree to their government welcoming American nuclear weapons inside Japan?

The Pain and Politics of Hiroshima

Nuclear Weapons in the Reiwa Era   https://allthingsnuclear.org/gkulacki/nuclear-weapons-in-the-reiwa-era, GREGORY KULACKI, CHINA PROJECT MANAGER AND SENIOR ANALYST | APRIL 11, 2019 Japan will soon have a new emperor and a new dynastic name to mark the traditional Japanese calender: Reiwa (令和). Interminable commentary on the significance of the name is just beginning, but in the end it will be defined not by words but by deeds. One of the most important acts the Japanese people may be compelled to take as the new era begins is to decide whether to allow their government to introduce US nuclear weapons into Japan. They may have to choose between continuing to honor the LEGACY OF HIROSHIMA and the warnings of the HIBAKUSHA or abandoning Japan’s longstanding role as a leading voice for peace and nuclear disarmament.

Prime Minister Abe and the foreign policy elite of his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) are pushing the United States to increase the role of US nuclear weapons in Asia. They told US officials they want to alter Japan’s Three Non-Nuclear Principles to permit the introduction of US nuclear weapons into Japan. They also want to revise Article 9 of Japan’s post-war constitution, in which the Japanese people “forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a mean of settling international disputes.” The Abe government’s desire to re-write the constitution and re-arm Japan is well known and hotly debated. But its efforts to bring US nuclear weapons into Japan are a closely guarded secret, known only to a small group of officials in Japan’s foreign policy establishment.

UCS obtained a document that contains a detailed description of the Japanese foreign ministry’s requirements for US nuclear weapons. Multiple conversations with the Japanese official who presented this document to his US counterparts not only confirmed its content, they also revealed this small group of hawkish officials wants to train Japanese military personnel to deliver US nuclear weapons. They would even like the United States to grant Japanese leaders the authority to decide when to use them. Japanese officials refer to this arrangement as “nuclear sharing.”

This information is not being kept from the Japanese people for security reasons. The responsible officials believe it is important for China to know Japan has the authority to make such a decision and the capability to carry it out. Preparations to make “nuclear sharing” a reality are being kept secret because these officials are afraid the Japanese public would oppose it. Their covert nuclear weapons wish list blatantly violates both the letter and the spirit of Japan’s constitution and the Three Non-Nuclear Principles.

Public opinion polls indicate many Japanese people would like to make the use or threat to use nuclear weapons illegal, which is the purpose of the recently adopted UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). A large majority of their elected representatives, even within Abe’s ruling LDP, want to uphold Japan’s Three Non-Nuclear Principles, which forbid “nuclear sharing.” Many Japanese people take pride in the belief that their country plays a leading role in advancing nuclear disarmament.

The gap between the public’s aspirations and the private machinations of its current leaders is difficult to reconcile.
Prime Minister Abe, like US President Trump, governs his country with a mix of nationalism and authoritarianism. His political opponents seem incapable of mounting a serious challenge to his leadership or his policies. But the absence of effective opposition is not an indication of popular support. Abe’s approval rating is not that much better than Trump’s. And like the current US president, he holds on to power with a dedicated minority of loyalists, disingenuous manipulation of the mass media and the resignation of a dispirited majority who see no compelling alternative.

Abe appears to have injected his nationalist agenda into the selection of the name for the new era. Press reports highlight that Reiwa (令和) is the first Japanese dynastic name not taken from the Chinese classics. The collection of Japanese poetry that inspired Abe’s selection was popular among the military officers of Imperial Japan who led their nation into World War II. Critics panned Reiwa as a cold expression of Abe’s authoritarian tendencies, but it seemed to be well-received and gave an immediate lift to the popularity of a man on track to become the longest serving prime minister in Japanese history.

Abe told the press Reiwa suggests a period when “culture is born and nurtured as the people’s hearts are beautifully drawn together.” His cabinet secretary told the world that Reiwa should be translated into English as “beautiful harmony.” So it may be that the initial appeal of the new name is more in line with the widespread public support for Japan’s pacifist constitution and the spirit of international cooperation than with Abe’s atavistic appeals to the chauvinist ambitions that led to Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima.

Only time will tell. Japanese attitudes towards nuclear weapons may be the most important window into the ultimate meaning of Reiwa. Making sure the Japanese people know what their government is saying and doing about nuclear weapons may be the best way to ensure that window is clear.

Also: today we’re releasing a short documentary that we filmed in Hiroshima last year. It covers some of the issues around the Japanese Foreign Ministry and US nuclear weapons, as well as firsthand accounts of the bombing.

April 13, 2019 Posted by | politics, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

As WHO upholds South Korea’s ban, Japan promotes Fukushima food exports

Japan pitches safety of food from Fukushima and Tohoku in wake of WTO ruling for South Korea, Japan Times ,12 Apr19, KYODO Japan will seek to reassure other countries about the safety of food produced in areas affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, officials said Friday, after the World Trade Organization supported South Korea’s import ban on some Japanese seafood.Fishermen in Tohoku, the region hit hardest by the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami that triggered the triple core meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, expressed disappointment with the WTO’s decision, saying their catches clear strict safety checks before shipment……….

Japan has been promoting its agricultural and seafood exports, which have been growing in recent years and reached ¥906.8 billion ($8.1 billion) in 2018, putting the government’s target of ¥1 trillion for this year in sight.

By holding baseball and soccer games in the disaster-hit region, Japan hopes to present the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in 2020 as a symbol of reconstruction.

“I will promote the high quality of food products (in the disaster-hit areas),” Olympics minister Shunichi Suzuki said at a news conference held just a day after he was reappointed to his role.

The WTO’s appellate body for dispute settlement on Thursday ruled in favor of South Korea’s import ban on fishery products from Fukushima and seven other prefectures, reversing an earlier decision.

Thursday’s ruling is final as the appellate body is the highest authority in the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism.

Due to fears of radioactive contamination, South Korea expanded its initial ban to include all fishery products from Fukushima and the seven other prefectures in 2013.

A total of 54 countries and regions introduced import restrictions following the meltdowns. The number has since declined, but South Korea is among 23 that are keeping the restrictions in place, according to the Japanese government. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/04/12/national/japan-pitches-safety-food-fukushima-vicinity-wake-wto-ruling-south-korea/#.XLEUO4kzbGg

April 13, 2019 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Revised Ohio nuclear ‘bailout’ bill ould still exclude wind and solar from clean air credits

April 13, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Ohio’s FirstEnergy Nuclear Bailout Bill designed to cut funding from renewables and energy efficiency

April 11, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Satellite images reveal that Saudi Arabia has almost completed its first nuclear reactor site

Saudi Arabia has almost completed its first nuclear reactor site, satellite images reveal

Saudi Arabia’s latest construction is raising eyebrows in the West, with these new satellite images sparking fears about the kingdom’s quest for power. News.com.au, Gavin Fernando, @gavindfernando, 8 Apr 19

Saudi Arabia has nearly completed construction of its first nuclear reactor, sparking fears about the country’s quest for nuclear power.

New satellite images, first published by Bloomberg, show construction on the building site has made significant process over the past three months.

The three images below [on original] show the rapid developments on the site between April 2017 and today.

The images show the construction of a 10-metre high steel vessel, which would contain nuclear fuel, and construction work on the surrounding concrete building.

The facility is located in the southwest corner of the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology in Riyadh.

………Robert Kelley, a nuclear expert and veteran of the US Department of Energy, said the reactor could be completed in “nine months to a year”.

He said the construction appears to be small in size and intended for research and training purposes.

Mr Kelley also said that, before the kingdom can insert nuclear fuel into the reactor, it would have to abide by international agreements.

He said it had been surprising to him “how non-transparent” the kingdom had been in the process of building the reactor and “how they seem very cavalier about modifying their arrangements with the IAEA”.

Mr Kelley was referring to agreements the kingdom has signed. The kingdom agreed to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty three decades ago. In 2005, it signed an agreement with the IAEA known as the “small quantities protocol” that allowed countries with negligible nuclear programs to be exempt from regular inspections or nuclear monitoring.

However, once nuclear fuel was brought into the country to operate this small reactor, inspections by the IAEA would be required, Mr Kelley added.

…….. He said the Saudi reactor was being built by the Argentinian government-owned company INVAP. Before Argentina brings nuclear fuel to Saudi Arabia for the reactor, the IAEA agreement in place that exempts Saudi Arabia from inspections would need to be rescinded, Mr Kelley said.

“I think it’s a 100 per cent certainty that Argentina is not going to supply uranium fuel to a country that doesn’t have a safeguards agreement in force,” he added.

……….  the kingdom has previously pushed back against agreeing to US standards that would block two paths to potentially making fissile material for nuclear weapons.

Last Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was adamant that it was unacceptable for Saudi Arabia to become a nuclear power.

“We will not permit that to happen. We will not permit that to happen anywhere in the world,” he told CBS. “The President understands the threat of proliferation. We will never write a $150 million check to the Saudis and hand them over the capacity to threaten Israel and the United States with nuclear weapons, never.”

The publication of the satellite images follows a struggle between the Trump administration and Congress over the sale of nuclear technology to Riyadh.

Last month, The Daily Beast revealed the US Department of Energy had approved six authorisations for US companies that were looking to conduct nuclear-related work in the Middle Eastern kingdom.

The approvals, known as Part 810 authorisations, would allow companies to do preliminary work on nuclear power ahead of any deal but not ship equipment that would go into a plant………https://www.news.com.au/finance/work/leaders/saudi-arabia-has-almost-completed-its-first-nuclear-reactor-site-satellite-images-reveal/news-story/64346c4fbf0906ee7c2ddb3b95541c4d

 

April 9, 2019 Posted by | politics, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

Many obstacles to small modular nuclear reactors, but U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission recommends them, anyway

NRC recommends issuing early site permit for Clinch River Nuclear Site, OAK RIDGE TODAY,  APRIL 8, 2019BY JOHN HUOTARI The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a final environmental impact statement, and the staff has recommended, based upon the environmental review, issuing an early site permit for the Clinch River Nuclear Site in west Oak Ridge, where two or more small modular nuclear reactors could be built.The final environmental impact statement, or EIS, was issued by the NRC on April 3. A notice of the EIS and the staff’s recommendation were published in the Federal Register on Monday, April 8.

The 935-acre Clinch River Nuclear Site is located in Roane County along the Clinch River……….

An early site permit is the NRC’s approval of a site for one or more nuclear power facilities. It does not authorize the actual construction and operation of a new nuclear power plant. That requires a construction permit and an operating license, or a combined license. ………

The Clinch River Nuclear Site could be used to demonstrate small modular reactors with a maximum total electrical output of 800 megawatts………

Now that the final EIS has been published, there will be a mandatory hearing with the NRC after a final safety evaluation report is issued. The NRC expects that report to be published in June. The five-member commission will make a decision after the hearing about whether to issue the early site permit.

A contested hearing could be held by the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board panel if a member of the public or an organization successfully files a petition that raises safety or environmental concerns about granting the site a permit, the NRC said.

The NRC said an authorization for the construction or operation of new nuclear units at the Clinch River site is not being sought at this time.

The potential timing of any reactors being built at the site is not clear. Among other things, TVA doesn’t control the reactor certification process.

“There are currently no certified small modular reactor designs available, but TVA will continue working to ensure we are ready to fully evaluate them when they are available,” Hopson said.

Financial considerations would have to be evaluated, and the TVA board of directors would have the final decision “based on what they believe will be in the best interest of the people of the Tennessee Valley,” Hopson said.

Since a design hasn’t been certified for a small modular reactor, TVA used what is known as a “plant parameter envelope” as a surrogate for a nuclear power plant and its facilities when applying for the early site permit. The “plant parameter envelope” estimated the potential environmental impacts of building and operating two or more small modular reactors at the site. TVA used information from four small modular reactor vendors to develop the “plant parameter envelope.”

A reader has asked why TVA might consider adding new generating capacity at the Clinch River site even as it plans to retire coal-fired units like the Bull Run Fossil Plant in Claxton, citing flat or declining demand………https://oakridgetoday.com/2019/04/08/nrc-recommends-issuing-early-site-permit-clinch-river-nuclear-site/

April 9, 2019 Posted by | politics, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment