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Rewarding failure: Taxpayers on hook for $12 billion Vogtle nuclear boondoggle.

The Hill 2nd April 2019 Rewarding failure: Taxpayers on hook for $12 billion nuclear boondoggle.
Vogtle’s nuclear expansion is billions of dollars over budget, its
completion is far from certain, and the federal government is once again
coming to the rescue. In March, Secretary Perry announced the finalization
of $3.7 billion in taxpayer-backed federal loan guarantees for the Vogtle
project. This came over repeated objections by taxpayer and consumer
watchdog organizations and despite numerous serious hurdles remaining for
the only new nuclear power project still under construction in the United
States. More importantly, these newly-finalized loan guarantees were on top
of $8.3 billion in federal loan guarantees that the project partners,
Southern Company’s Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power Corporation, and the
Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG Power), previously secured,
bringing the total to $12 billion.

https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/436876-rewarding-failure-taxpayers-on-hook-for-12-billion-nuclear

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April 4, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

China will fall short of its nuclear power generation capacity target for2020

Reuters 2nd April 2019 China will fall short of its nuclear power generation capacity target for
2020, according to a forecast from the China Electricity Council on
Tuesday. Total nuclear capacity is expected to reach 53 gigawatts (GW) next
year, below a target of 58 GW, council vice chairman Wei Shaofeng told the
China Nuclear Energy Sustainable Development Forum in Beijing.

China is the world’s third-biggest nuclear power producer by capacity, with 45.9 GW
installed by end-2018 and 11 units still under construction, but its
reactor building program has stalled since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear
disaster in Japan.

No new approvals have been granted for the past three
years, amid spiraling costs, delays for key projects and safety concerns
about new technologies. Environmental impact assessments for two new
projects in southeast China were submitted to regulators last month,
however, paving the way for a resumption of its atomic energy program.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-nuclearpower/china-to-fall-short-of-2020-nuclear-capacity-target-idUSKCN1RE04S

April 4, 2019 Posted by | China, politics | Leave a comment

China to Resume Approving Nuclear Power Plants

SIXTH TONE, Li YouApr 02, 2019  Energy official’s announcement comes after the Fukushima disaster in Japan led to new nuclear power projects in China being halted.  

China will begin construction on several new nuclear power projects this year, according to Liu Hua, deputy minister of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment and head of the National Nuclear Safety Administration.

Liu’s announcement — made Monday during the China Nuclear Energy Sustainable Development Forum in Beijing and later reported by Economic Information Daily — marks an end to the country’s three-year halt to approving new nuclear projects. Since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, China has been circumspect in approving new projects. From 2016 to 2018, the country did not greenlight a single one…….

treating spent nuclear fuel and disposing of nuclear waste raise concerns for both the environment and public safety. In August 2016, thousands of residents protestedagainst a planned nuclear waste facility in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, that led to the project being halted.  ….https://www.sixthtone.com/news/1003796/china-to-resume-approving-nuclear-power-plants

April 4, 2019 Posted by | China, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry is aggressively milking USA States for subsidies, despite Exelon profits

Is The Nuclear Industry Abusing Subsidies? Oil Price, One such state is Connecticut, where local news source the Connecticut Mirror just published a direct-to-the-point op-ed aptly titled “Nuclear plants will require ever-increasing subsidies”. The author Joel Gordes, a Connecticut-based energy and environmental strategist, argues that since the very beginning of nuclear energy in their country, when the argument for the resource was that nuclear energy was dirt cheap, nuclear has been deceptively pricey and getting pricier all the time.

“Please consider,” Gordes implores the reader, “the very basic fact that we have gone from nuclear technology sold in the 70s on the basis of being ‘too cheap to meter’ to one where they have been begging and receiving for what amounts to yet more subsidies. Even with the ‘too cheap to meter’ claim, in its heyday the nuclear industry was the recipient of huge amounts of subsidy in numerous forms.”

Gordes goes on to finish his denunciation of his state’s nuclear policy by imploring the government to rethink their history handouts: “With that, I suggest our leaders and regulators very carefully consider any actions contemplated to further subsidize this technology since that might add to its eventual stranded cost that will hold up newer, lower cost decentralized, modular and more secure options. Even more important is that aging plants may, themselves, present an existential danger to the citizens of the state.”

Meanwhile, energy insiders in Illinois are singing a similar tune. Chicago-based nuclear electric power generation company Exelon won ratepayer-funded subsidies for two nuclear plants in its home state just three years ago, and now it’s back in Springfield to ask for similar monetary support for other cash-strapped nuclear plants that have not yet had the benefit of a bailout. The bill will be voted on by the State of Illinois’ House Public Utilities Committee this week.

While Exelon is lobbying hard for more government support, however, it is receiving a fair amount of scrutiny and backlash. Just this month Monitoring Analytics released a “bombshell report” with the surprising findings that all five of Exelon’s nuclear plants in Northern Illinois are not in dire financial distress, but are in fact profitable, and are projected to continue to be so through 2021–by conservative estimates.

According to the Monitoring Analytics report, Exelon’s five Illinois-based nuclear plants will see a total estimated profit of approximately $472 million this year alone. What’s more, each individual plant will turn its own profit. Even in 2021, when it is anticipated that revenue will begin to decline, altogether the plants are still projected to earn a profit of $228 million–much lower, to be sure, but still a far cry from bankruptcy. The report has thrown doubt upon Exelon’s stance that the subsidy bill up for vote this week, which would legislate a very complex matter with massive consequences for Illinois’ power industry and energy market, is a matter of both urgency and necessity…….. https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Is-The-Nuclear-Industry-Abusing-Subsidies.html

April 4, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Silloth Town Council rejects nuclear waste dump for their area

Cumbria Trust 2nd April 2019 At the Silloth Town Council meeting held on 11 March 2019 it was
“RESOLVED that a letter be sent to say that Silloth Town Council will not
be volunteering to be a site for a GDF and that we don’t want it in our
area” which was in response to The Radioactive Waste Management –
Consultation on how they will evaluate potential sites for a GDF in the
future in England and Wales.

https://cumbriatrust.wordpress.com/2019/04/02/its-definitely-no-to-a-gdf-from-silloth-town-council/

April 4, 2019 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, politics, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

USA’s Secretary For Promoting Nuclear Energy, Rick Perry, wants Yucca waste dump site, not a bit worried about earthquake danger

As safety board cites quakes, Perry says Nevada nuke sites safe   By Gary Martin April 2, 2019

April 4, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

UK ‘public consultation’ on nuclear policy – submission ignored.

David Lowry’s Blog 1st April 2019 Last night I submitted my latest (of dozens) of responses to a Government
or nuclear industry sector public consultation on nuclear policy, this time
on the flawed machinations of trying to find site or sites where nuclear
waste can be disposed of.

I strongly complained that previous submissions
had been entirely ignored, which had reduced the incentive to commit to
researching and preparing detailed submission this time. The same complaint
was included in the Cumbria Trust submission, which asserted: “BEIS and its
predecessors have a track record of issuing consultation documents and
choosing to ignore responses that go against their preconceived plans.” My
own submission was very short, but appended the very long evidence I
submitted year ago, which was ignored, with the demand it be heeded this
time.

http://drdavidlowry.blogspot.com/2019/04/nuclear-waste-very-long-term.html

April 4, 2019 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

France’s ‘public consultation’ on old nuclear reactors – full of bureaucratic jargon – no debate took place

April 4, 2019 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

15 USA senators re-introduce bill to promote new nuclear reactors

Senate re-introduces bill to help advanced nuclear technology, Legislation was praise by Bill Gates, who has funded an advanced nuclear company. Ars Technica, MEGAN GEUSS – 4/1/2019, 

Last week, a bipartisan group of 15 US senators re-introduced a bill to instate the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA), which would offer incentives and set federal goals for advanced nuclear energy. A smaller group of senators originally introduced the bill in September of last year, but the Congressional session ended before the Senate voted on it.

Specifically, the bill authorizes the federal government to enter into 40-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) with nuclear power companies, as opposed to the 10-year agreements that were previously authorized. Securing a 40-year PPA would essentially guarantee to an advanced nuclear startup that it could sell its power for 40 years, which reduces the uncertainty that might come with building a complex and complicated power source.

……. In addition to supporting a 40-year PPA to improve the economics of advanced nuclear reactor research from the private market, the bill directs the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy to develop a 10-year strategic plan to support advanced nuclear reactor research. The DOE must also “construct a fast neutron-capable research facility” if the bill passes, which Senate materials say “is necessary to test important reactor components, demonstrate their safe and reliable operation, and ultimately license advanced reactor concepts.”

The bill also directs the federal government to make available some “high-assay low-enriched uranium” for research and testing in advanced reactors. Traditional light-water reactors use low-enriched uranium in which the active U-235 isotope constitutes 3 to 5 percent of the nuclear fuel, according to the World Nuclear Association. High-assay low-enriched uranium, on the other hand, pushes enrichment levels to about 7 percent of the fuel and, in some cases, can go as high as 20 percent.

Finally, the bill directs the DOE to create “a university nuclear leadership program” to train the next generation of nuclear engineers.

On Thursday, Microsoft mogul Bill Gates tweeted his support for the bill. Gates is currently the chairman for an advanced nuclear reactor company called Terrapower, which is developing a traveling wave reactor that uses depleted uranium as fuel (depleted uranium is a by-product of uranium enrichment). Terrapower suffered a political setback earlier this year, as US rules against sharing nuclear technology with China forced the company to abandon its plans for conducting preliminary trials of its technology in that country.

Gates praised this new bill, writing “I can’t overstate how important this is.”

…….. NuScale Power, a company that has made significant progress toward building a small modular reactor in Idaho, also praised the bill. In a statement to a market research company called The Morning Consult, chief strategy officer of NuScale Power Chris Colbert said that “the bill would ‘absolutely’ make it easier and more certain to reach deployment.” https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/03/senate-re-introduces-bill-to-help-advanced-nuclear-technology/

April 1, 2019 Posted by | politics, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Concerns in USA Congress as the Trump administration OKs nuclear energy transfers to Saudi Arabia

April 1, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Trump budget for fiscal year 2020 to sepnd up big on nuclear weapons

Trump Budget Boosts Nuclear Efforts   Arms Control Association, By Kingston Reif April 2019, Consistent with the recommendations of the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), the Trump administration’s fiscal year 2020 budget request would continue plans to expand U.S. nuclear weapon capabilities.

The ultimate fate of the request, submitted to Congress March 11, remains uncertain as Democrats, particularly in the House, have signaled strong opposition to several controversial funding proposals. Their concerns include administration plans to develop two additional low-yield nuclear weapons and two conventionally armed, ground-launched missiles currently prohibited by the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

The budget submission illustrates the rising cost of the nuclear mission and the challenge those expenses may pose to the administration’s other national security priorities.

A Congressional Budget Office report in February estimates that the United States will spend $494 billion on nuclear weapons from fiscal years 2019 through 2028. That is an increase of $94 billion, or 23 percent, from the CBO’s previous 10-year estimate of $400 billion, which was published in January 2017. (See ACT, March 2019.)

The Trump administration’s budget proposal contains increases for several Defense and Energy department nuclear weapons systems. The request does not change the planned development timelines for these programs.

The largest increase sought is for the nuclear weapons account of the Energy Department’s semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The budget request calls for $12.4 billion, an increase of $1.3 billion above the fiscal year 2019 appropriation and $530 million above the projection in the fiscal year 2019 budget request.

The request includes funds for the continued development of two missile systems with ranges prohibited by the INF Treaty, but despite numerous queries by Arms Control Today and other outlets, the Pentagon has yet to divulge the amount.

Defense Department officials told a group of reporters March 13 that the Pentagon is planning to test a ground-launched cruise missile and a ballistic missile by the end of this year.

The announcement came just over a month after the Trump administration announced on Feb. 2 that it would withdraw from the treaty on Aug. 2 unless Russia corrects alleged compliance violations with the agreement. (See ACT, March 2019.)

The budget request for nuclear weapons programs is part of the overall $750 billion request for national defense. That figure includes the Defense Department’s regular budget activities and the Energy Department’s nuclear weapons programs.

New Nuclear Capabilities

The budget request would finish development of a small number of low-yield nuclear warheads for submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and begin studies of a new fleet of sea-launched cruise missiles (SLCMs)…….. https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2019-04/news/trump-budget-boosts-nuclear-efforts

April 1, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK Parliament: protesters disrupt Brexit debate by baring bottoms over inaction on climate change

ABC News 2 Apr 19While some view the British parliament as a symbol of political stasis since the 2016 Brexit referendum, other Brits have utilised Westminster’s symbolic power to press — literally and figuratively — for faster action on climate change.

On Monday, members of climate change action group Extinction Rebellion stripped half-naked in the House of Common’s glass-walled public gallery during a Brexit debate, and some appeared to have glued themselves to the glass.

As MPs started yet another day of lengthy debate on how or even whether the country should leave the European Union, 14 protesters stripped to their underpants to show slogans painted on their backs, including: “Climate justice now”.

……. more acts of civil disobedience would occur in the lead up to the group’s ‘International Rebellion’ on climate change inaction slated for April 15.

In the moments afterward, numerous people took to Twitter to poke fun at a parliament that has otherwise been considered stale and mired in a prolonged Brexit debate….. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-02/british-protesters-bare-bottoms-in-parliament-to-protest-climate/10961468

April 1, 2019 Posted by | climate change, politics, UK | Leave a comment

India is waking up from nuclear energy dream, as renewables become safer, cheaper

April 1, 2019 Posted by | India, politics | Leave a comment

Proof now clear with evidence that Canadian government lied about the SNC Lavalin corruption case

Corbella: Wilson-Raybould’s version behind scandal is indisputable and nuclear, Calgary Herald, LICIA CORBELLA  March 29, 2019   Was she or wasn’t she (inappropriately pressured?) That is the central question behind the SNC-Lavalin controversy. All other questions are peripheral.

Licia Corbella is a Postmedia opinion columnist. lcorbella@postmedia.com

i.

March 30, 2019 Posted by | Canada, politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Government funding for dodgy Westinghouse “micro-reactor”

Bagging DOE Support, Westinghouse Eyes Demonstration for Nuclear Micro-reactor by 2022, Power, 03/28/2019 | Sonal Patel   The Department of Energy (DOE) is funding a project that would prepare Westinghouse’s 25-MWe eVinci micro-reactor for nuclear demonstration readiness by 2022. The agency on March 27 said it will provide $12.9 million of the estimated $28.6 million Westinghouse needs for a project to prepare the micro-reactor for a demonstration, including for design, analysis, licensing to manufacture, siting, and testing. eVinci is one of three small modular reactors (SMRs) and the first micro-reactor whose first-of-a-kind development the DOE is subsidizing under a December 2017–issued “U.S. Industry Opportunities for Advanced Nuclear Technology Development” funding opportunity announcement (FOA). (Details of other projects that have won funding awards under previous rounds of the FOA are at the end of this article.)

The funding announcements are part of a recent ramp up in attention and efforts by the U.S. government to boost development of advanced nuclear technologies. Also on March 27, a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation to bolster innovation for advanced reactors. Lawmakers said the U.S., which once led efforts to invent and commercialize key nuclear technologies, has “slipped” in leadership, and it risks losing out to Russia and China. 

…… According to Westinghouse, the eVinci reactor is an innovative combination of nuclear fission and space reactor technologies ……

However, Westinghouse admits that it is fielding a number of challenges related to the deployment of the micro-reactor. While the eVinci will use fuel enriched to 19.75 weight %, the industrial scale amount of uranium enriched to more than 5% is limited.  …….

Westinghouse also notes that while eVinci reactors will be manufactured and assembled in a factory, first reactor startup should also happen at that site, which means the factory will need to be equipped with radio protection equipment, safety and security systems, and have a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Transportation must also take into account safety and security. And because the reactor will be operated autonomously, Westinghouse will need to field first-of-their-kind challenges in licensing, instrumentation, remote reactor monitoring, and logistics…..https://www.powermag.com/bagging-doe-support-westinghouse-eyes-demonstration-for-nuclear-micro-reactor-by-2022/

March 30, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment