nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Energy efficiency, renewables, battery storage race ahead, as Bill Gates seeks tax-payer funds for chimera of “small modular nuclear reactors”

Consumers, businesses and utilities all win with this new distributed clean utility because renewables plus efficiency and batteries is available as a very resilient, near-zero carbon solution to providing power when and where it’s needed at the lowest cost. As these technologies continue to scale, they continue to experience steep cost declines, making the idea of a nuclear alternative vanishingly unrealistic.

Tens of billions of dollars have been spent developing different nuclear power plant designs, and even with enormous government subsidies and guarantees, corporations and utilities do not want to invest in nuclear power. Gates is a large investor in a nuclear firm, Terrapower, which hopes to build a prototype by 2030. If this target is achieved and a prototype is demonstrated by 2030, it could move toward commercial deployment in the 2030s. But we cannot afford to wait 15 or 20 years to scale very-low-carbon energy — and, fortunately, we don’t need to.

Renewable energy has more than doubled in the last decade to provide 20 percent of U.S. electricity, as much as nuclear.

Bill Gates’ quixotic quest to revive nuclear power https://www.greenbiz.com/article/bill-gates-quixotic-quest-revive-nuclear-power,Greg Kats, February 7, 2019  Bill Gates has been lobbying Congress to secure federal financial support for nuclear power and for a nuclear company in which he is a large investor. This plea for federal largesse from a decabillionaire illustrates why further nuclear subsidies make no sense.

Nuclear power is already a heavily subsidized 60-year-old industry with over half a trillion dollars invested in several hundred large operating nuclear plants, including 99 in the United States. The cost of nuclear power has soared while the cost for other low-carbon power options — including wind, solar, batteries and energy efficiency — have plunged. This is why no U.S. utilities want to build nuclear plants unless they can get large additional subsidies.

Gates’ rationale for nuclear power can be summarized as follows: Given the reality and gravity of climate change, nuclear provides the only large-scale, very-low-carbon electricity source that cost-effectively can provide power at scale when needed. Other very-low-carbon options, such as wind and solar power, batteries and energy efficiency, cannot reliably provide power when needed — especially on hot summer afternoons when air conditioning loads are large.

This same argument was made by nuclear advocates 30 years ago and is even less true today. Continue reading

Advertisements

February 16, 2019 Posted by | renewable, spinbuster | Leave a comment

“New nukes” company Terrestrial Energy sets up a new group to promote its (as yet non-existent) molten salt nuclear reactors.

Terrestrial Energy Forms Nuclear Innovation Working Group to Support IMSR Power Plant Development

– Bruce Power, Michael Rencheck, President and CEO — Burns & McDonnell, Glenn Neises, Nuclear Director — SNC-Lavalin, EVP and Candu Energy, President and CEO, William (Bill) A. Fox III, — Corporate Risk Associates Limited, Jasbir Sidhu, CEO — Kinectrics, David Harris, President and CEO — Laker Energy Products, Christopher Hughes, President and CEO — Promation, Mark Zimny, President and CEO — Sargent & Lundy, Michael J. Knaszak, Senior Vice President and Project Director

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Canada, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Japan’s Reconstruction Agency to air ad for Fukushima products on TV, online and at cinemas 

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/02/08/national/japans-reconstruction-agency-air-ad-fukushima-products-tv-online-cinemas/#.XF3p09IzbGg
JIJI, FEB 8, 2019,    The Reconstruction Agency said Friday that it will run a television commercial advertising farm, fishery and forestry products made in Fukushima Prefecture for about a week from Saturday.

The 30-second spot is aimed at dispelling harmful rumors about the safety of products from the prefecture following the nuclear meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant, which was heavily damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The agency hopes to capitalize on rising interest in Fukushima Prefecture ahead of the eighth anniversary of the disaster on March 11.

The commercial, which will also highlight tourism spots in the prefecture, will be broadcast nationwide. It will also be run at movie theaters and online.

The agency has also created a section on its website to explain the current conditions in Fukushima Prefecture, helping visitors to learn about radiation and progress in reconstruction efforts.

February 11, 2019 Posted by | Japan, spinbuster | Leave a comment

New radiation panel leader appointed by EPA in the interests of nuclear corporations, not of the public

Guy Who Wants to Eliminate Radiation Limits Will Lead EPA on Radiation, https://www.care2.com/causes/guy-who-wants-to-eliminate-radiation-limits-will-lead-epa-on-radiation.html By: Kevin Mathews, February 3, 2019, About Kevin, Follow Kevin at @care2

When Trump supporters chant “make America great again,” I have difficulty imagining that any of them are longing for the days when radiation exposure went unregulated. Nevertheless, that’s precisely the direction the EPA is headed with its latest appointment.

Brant Ulsh, a health physicist working for a consulting firm, will serve as both a scientific advisor to the EPA and as the new leader of the Radiation Advisory Committee. Ulsh is a controversial choice because he is considered the nation’s most outspoken critic of radiation levels.

His papers and positions put him at odds with the overwhelming majority of the scientific community that believes coming into contact with even low levels of ionizing radiation poses a significant cancer risk. He claims the science is too outdated and insufficient to warrant the existing government standards.

“Once again the Trump administration is moving to the fringe for its scientific advice, choosing someone who could undercut foundational protections from radiation,” wrote the Natural Resources Defense Council in a statement regarding Ulsh’s appointment.  “We need sound science to dictate health protections, not dangerous theories.”

If you’re wondering what angle Ulsh is working, he admits to it in his own papers. Evidently, he’s concerned that our radiation regulations put “unnecessary burdens” on corporations. Funny how the conservatives in power always seem more concerned with the extra money rich companies pay to keep people safe than actual public safety.

For what it’s worth – and it should be worth a lot, EPA head Andrew Wheeler – just last year the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements reviewed 29 studies that reconfirmed a correlation between low level radiation exposure and an increased risk of cancer.

As a scientific advisor to the EPA and the head of the Radiation Advisory Committee, Ulsh could play a pivotal role in rolling back the standards that dictate acceptable amounts of radiation. Since humans can’t detect when they’re exposed to radiation, we rely on enforcement of these limits to keep us safe.

Make no mistake – this appointment isn’t accidental. There are countless scientists who could have led the Radiation Advisory Committee that accept the existing scientific consensus on radiation levels. To choose an outlier like Ulsh is to look for someone to deliberately take the agency in a different direction.

In fact, thanks to an Associated Press story from last year, we know that the EPA was already making plans to throw out regulations on radiation, so having a scientist like Ulsh bring his own opinions could be the ideal vehicle in order to accomplish that agenda.

At the risk of being hyperbolic, at this point, I think we’ve got to ask ourselves: is the Trump administration just trying to kill us? They’re appointing fossil fuel lobbyists to oversee climate change, corporate polluters to worry about clean water, chemical bigwigs to regulate pesticides and now a pro-radiation guy to set radiation standards.

Is nothing sacred? Does the Trump administration feel no obligation to keep the American people safe? If the EPA is so confident that scientists are wrong and radiation isn’t actually harmful, maybe it should start by experimenting at the White House before unleashing it on the public at large.

February 4, 2019 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster, USA | 2 Comments

Japan’s propaganda about Fukushima’s ‘recovery’- getting people back to nuclear irradiated areas

The returning residents of Fukushima’s nuclear disaster

Near site of Fukushima nuclear disaster, a shattered town and scattered lives, WP, By Simon Denyer, February 3 2019 NAMIE, Japan —  Noboru Honda lost 12 members of his extended family when a tsunami struck the Fukushima prefecture in northern Japan nearly eight years ago. Last year, he was diagnosed with cancer and initially given a few months to live.

Today, he is facing a third sorrow: Watching what may be the last gasps of his hometown.

For six years, Namie was deemed unsafe after a multiple-reactor meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant following a 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

In March 2017, the government lifted its evacuation order for the center of Namie. But so far, hardly anyone has ventured back.

Its people are scattered and divided. Families are split. The sense of community is coming apart.

“It has been eight years; we were hoping things would be settled now,” the 66-year-old Honda said. “This is the worst time, the most painful period.”

For the people of Namie and other towns near the Fukushima plant, the pain is sharpened by the way the Japanese government is trying to move beyond the tragedy, to use the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a symbol of hope and recovery, a sign that life can return to normal after a disaster of this magnitude.

Its charm offensive is also tied up with efforts to restart the country’s nuclear-power industry, one of the world’s most extensive networks of atomic power generation.

Six Olympic softball games and a baseball game will be staged in Fukushima, the prefecture’s bustling and radiation-free capital city, and the Olympic torch relay will start from here.

But in Namie, much closer to the ill-fated nuclear plant, that celebration rings hollow, residents say.

This was a close-knit community of farmers, fishermen and potters — of orchards, rice paddies and cattle sandwiched between the mountains and the sea. It was a place where people celebrated and mourned as a community, and families lived together across generations.

That’s all gone. On the main street, a small new shopping arcade has opened. But a short walk away, a barber shop stands abandoned, its empty chairs gathering years of dust. A sign telling customers to make themselves at home is still displayed in a bar, but inside debris litters the floor. A karaoke parlor is boarded up. Wild boars, monkeys and palm civets still roam the streets, residents say.

Just 873 people, or under 5 percent, of an original population of 17,613 have returned. Many are scared — with some obvious justification — that their homes and surroundings are still unsafe. Most of the returnees are elderly. Only six children are enrolled at the gleaming new elementary school. This is not a place for young families.

Four-fifths of Namie’s geographical area is mountain and forest, impossible to decontaminate, still deemed unsafe to return. When it rains, the radioactive cesium in the mountains flows into rivers and underground water sources close to the town.

Greenpeace has been taking thousands of radiation readings for years in the towns around the Fukushima nuclear plant. It says radiation levels in parts of Namie where evacuation orders have been lifted will remain well above international maximum safety recommendations for many decades, raising the risks of leukemia and other cancers to “unjustifiable levels,” especially for children.

In the rural areas around the town, radiation levels are much higher and could remain unsafe for people to live beyond the end of this century, Greenpeace concluded in a 2018 report.

“The scale of the problem is clearly not something the government wants to communicate to the Japanese people, and that’s driving the whole issue of the return of evacuees,” said Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace. “The idea that an industrial accident closes off an area of Japan, with its limited habitable land, for generations and longer — that would just remind the public why they are right to be opposed to nuclear power.”

Today, Namie’s former residents are scattered across all but one of Japan’s 47 prefectures. Many live in the nearby town of Nihonmatsu, in comfortable but isolating apartment blocks where communal space and interaction are limited. With young people moving away, the elderly, who already feel the loss of Namie most acutely, find themselves even more alone.

………. many residents say the central government is being heavy handed in its attempts to convince people to return, failing to support residents’ efforts to build new communities in places like Nihonmatsu, and then ending compensation payments within a year of evacuation orders being lifted. …….https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/near-site-of-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-a-shattered-town-and-scattere

February 4, 2019 Posted by | environment, Japan, politics, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Nuclear power: Surviving on secrecy and misinformation 

https://www.thedailystar.net/star-weekend/long-form/nuclear-power-surviving-secrecy-and-misinformation-1528468 Mowdud Rahman and Debasish Sarker, 2 Feb 2018
While countries like Germany, Belgium, France, and Japan are trying to find an escape route from nuclear power, Bangladesh is taking two steps back. Although the 2,400-MW Rooppur nuclear power project has already garnered some support, there are critical issues that need to be addressed for the country’s safety and security. We need to establish whether the claims of cheap electricity, people’s acceptance, risk-free waste management and use of safe technology are simply rhetoric or not. We also need to draw a careful line between fact and propaganda.

Technology is not the answer

Technology is ever-changing, ever-developing. Thus, the glorification of the “third generation plus” reactor for Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) must be challenged.

Russian company Rosatom won the bid to construct the plant in Bangladesh and is now trying to sell us on “post-Fukushima technology”. But can the same company guarantee that there will not be a thing such as “post-Rooppur technology”?

4,000 lives were lost in Chernobyl. Till date, USD 188 billion has been devoted towards cleaning up Fukushima. That too in a country renowned for its technological advancement. Right now, third-generation technology might be the latest one, but surely it’s not the last. When the Fukushima disaster happened, it had the most advanced technology yet, but that did not avert disaster.

Advanced technology could be their selling point, but it does not truly diminish any of our concerns. In fact, the question we should all be asking is: why is such “safe” technology in such dire need of the protection of the indemnity law—the Nuclear Power Plant Act 2015—in the case of any accidental loss of anyone related?

Radiation leaks are also very common in nuclear power plants, but the concerned authorities have always managed to shrug off the problem. That’s how this industry is still surviving. Only last October, the IRSN, France’s public authority on nuclear safety and security, identified a cloud of radioactive isotope ruthenium-106 in European territory originating from a Russian nuclear facility. But Russia’s nuclear agency has refused to accept responsibility (The Guardian, November 21, 2017).

In India, on the other hand, 1,733 scientists and employees who used to work in nuclear establishments and related facilities died between 1995 to 2010. Most of the victims were below 50 years of age (Rediff, October 4, 2010). However, there was neither any fact-finding committee nor any public disclosure about such a large number of untimely deaths in so-called “safe” nuclear facilities. The government of India has formed three committees so far for auditing the safety and security standards of nuclear power plants, but the recommendations, which require millions of dollars, are yet to be implemented.

Too expensive to matter?

The once-rhetorical claim made by the nuclear industry of making electricity “too cheap to matter” has already proven wrong and turned into a case of “too expensive to matter.” In fact, it matters so much that the world’s largest nuclear builder, Westinghouse, filed for bankruptcy protection in the US last year (The Guardian, March 29, 2017). And according to the latest World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR), the French state-owned nuclear builder and service company AREVA had accumulated USD 12.3 billion in losses over the past six years and was at last bailed out by the government with a cash injection worth USD 5.3 billion and subsequently broken up.

Such extravagant expenditure is not new for the nuclear industry. Rather it has been surviving on state-sponsorship since its inception. But now the price of this arrangement is felt so heavily by some countries that they have decided to pull the plug on it. For example, Vietnam decided to backtrack from nuclear power projects even after its deals with Russia and Japan—not because of baseless fears, but because the costs were escalating at such a rate that within just seven years the projected costs doubled (Reuters, November 22, 2016).

Costs rising exponentially is nothing new. The construction of 75 nuclear reactors was started in the US between 1966 and 1976. In each of these cases, the actual construction cost was found to be 300 percent higher on average than the estimated cost at the beginning (Ramana M V, 2009). Similarly, the construction of the 1,600 MW Flamanville nuclear power plant has already required three times the predicted cost till date and is yet to be completed (Reuters, December 4, 2012).

Bangladesh’s Rooppur power plant is no exception. Even before construction started, the project cost increased from USD 4 billion to USD 12.65 billion within just three years of the time frame (WNISR 2017). As the contract with Russia is not a fixed price contract, but a cost plus one, the vendor retains every right to come up with a revised budget in coming days. 90 percent of its required budget is being taken from Russia on credit at an interest rate of the Intercontinental Exchange London Interbank Offered Rate plus 1.75 percent, which is not only going to increase national debt, but also impose a great threat on our economy as a whole. Worrying still, the government has not disclosed the estimated price per unit of electricity from this plant after accounting for fuel cost, waste management and disposal cost, and decommissioning cost.

Rhetorical claim

While the government is touting the international standards and guidelines that will be abided, in reality, without public participation and public disclosure of the much needed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and without asserting the guideline of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), these claims are nothing but sheer rhetoric.

In Bangladesh, a 300-800 metre area surrounding the nuclear reactor is being considered as “Exclusion Zone” or “Sanitary Protection Zone”and it is being claimed that people are safe outside this 800-metre parameter. But according to IAEA safety standard guidelines, there are in fact two safety zones—the Precautionary Action Zone, which has a five-kilometre radius and where it is recommended to have evacuation facilities for an emergency evacuation within 15 minutes; and the Urgent Protective Action Planning Zone, which has a 30-kilometre radius and where it is recommended to have evacuation facilities for an emergency evacuation within an hour.

The people of Pabna, Bheramara, Lalpur, Kushtia, and Ishwardi all live within 30 kilometres of the proposed Rooppur nuclear power reactor. Has the government informed them of emergency evacuation? Is there any plan compliant with international safety and security standards to build the infrastructure required to evacuate millions of people within hours? Would it be possible to arrange its construction within the next few years?

Nuclear waste management is another concerning issue, which needs special infrastructure as well as separate budget allocation. But nothing is on the scene except a draft agreement to take back the spent nuclear fuel to Russia (Dhaka Tribune, March 18, 2017). Unfortunately, that’s not the end of the story. Russia can take back the spent fuel, reprocess it for fast breeder reactors, but it has to give it back the nuclear waste back to Bangladesh because according to the law of the Russian Federation, disposal of foreign nuclear waste is not possible in Russia (World-nuclear.org, January 15, 2018). What assurance do we have that Russia will change their law for the sake of Bangladesh and do this costly disposal free of cost? Or is Bangladesh going to be the next destination for the disposal of the Russian nuclear industry’s waste from all over the world?

Alternatives are cheap

The top-heavy, wasteful, authoritarian world of nuclear power is being challenged by the innovative, low-cost, democratic world of renewables. Rational societies are reaping the latter’s benefits. Germany has decided to close down all of its nuclear reactors by 2022 and replace those with solar and wind power. With the plummeting cost of renewables, they are winning (World-nuclear.org, January 15, 2018). They exported 53.7 TWh of electricity in 2016, setting a new record and are going on to become the biggest net power exporter in Europe (WNISR 2017). Renewables were the largest contributor to their power mix.

In India, solar and wind electricity is now being produced at costs below BDT 3.5 per unit and they have already set a target to install a combined 100 GW solar and 60 GW wind power plant by 2022 (Mnre.gov.in).

In Bangladesh, on the other hand, renewable energy and imported power were presented as substitutes for each other in the Power Sector Master Plan 2016 (PSMP–2016). In the whole energy mix, only 15 percent of the electricity generation target has been fixed for renewable energy or imported power capacity addition. The renewable energy based generation is shown as 7 TWh—a mere 3 percent of the total demand by 2041. The PSMP–2016 also estimated 3.6 GW of potential renewable-energy-based power generation all together. This is in sharp contrast to recent research with predicted that, only from wind power alone, Bangladesh has the potential to generate 20 GW of electricity (Saifullah et al, 2016).

Globally and locally, scholars from across different disciplines are working on developing better frameworks, methods and models of renewable energy. A group of scientists from Stanford University working  extensively on clean energy, last year found that by 2050, a 100 percent renewable-energy-based solution for Bangladesh is not only possible, but is also the most economical option. According to their research, per unit electricity cost would be BDT 5.6 from renewables at the 2014 USD rate, which would save BDT 2,000 per person per year by 2050 (Jacobson et al, 2017).

The rationalisation for nuclear power hinges on a high initial cost for future benefit, but if we take into account its costly waste management, the need for decommissioning as well as loan repayment, Rooppur is little less than a future burden. Disregarding proper procedure and public consultation, the Bangladeshi government is not only constructing the 2,400 MW Rooppur nuclear power plant, but is also planning to install more such plants with a capacity of 4,800 MW across the country by 2041. Rooppur nuclear plant is not the technological milestone that it is portrayed to be. After all, how can imported technology and foreign dependency be a landmark or our nation’s scientific community? Without dealing with the contentious issues surrounding Rooppur, the plant may turn out to be the cause of endless misery for Bangladesh in the days to come.

Mowdud Rahman is an engineer and Energy Technology Researcher at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay).

Debasish Sarker is an engineer and PhD Researcher on Nuclear Safety at Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Germany.

February 2, 2019 Posted by | ASIA, Education | Leave a comment

USA’ s EPA appoints a radiation sceptic to head the panel on radiation

Skeptic on radiation limits will head EPA radiation panel,  https://www.kwch.com/content/news/Skeptic-on-radiation-limits-will-head-EPA-radiation-panel-505198021.html By ELLEN KNICKMEYER, Associated Press 1 Feb 19, WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency has appointed a scientist who argues for easing regulations on lower-level radiation exposures to lead the agency’s radiation advisory committee.

Acting EPA head Andrew Wheeler on Thursday announced the appointment of Brant Ulsh, a health physicist, as one of the EPA’s science advisers and the panel chairman. Ulsh has been a leading critic of the EPA’s decades-old position that exposure to any amount of ionizing radiation is a cancer risk.

In a paper he co-wrote last year, Ulsh and a colleague argued that the position was based on outdated scientific information and forced the “unnecessary burdens of costly clean-ups” on facilities working with radiation.

The EPA under President Donald Trump has targeted a range of environmental protections, in line with Trump’s arguments that overly strict environmental rules have hurt U.S. businesses. Environmental and public health advocates say the rollbacks threaten the health and safety of Americans.

Some environmental groups and scientists have criticized what they say is the administration’s openness to an outlier position on radiation risks.

“Once again the Trump administration is moving to the fringe for its scientific advice, choosing someone who could undercut foundational protections from radiation,” Bemnet Alemayehu, a staff scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council environmental advocacy group, said in a statement Friday. “We need sound science to dictate health protections, not dangerous theories.”

EPA spokesman John Konkus declined comment Friday, referring a reporter to a news release announcing the appointment.

Ulsh did not immediately respond to an email Friday asking for comment, including whether he intended to use the advisory position to encourage reconsideration of the EPA’s no-tolerance policy on lower doses of radiation exposure.

Last year, Ulsh told The Associated Press that “we spend an enormous effort trying to minimize low doses” at nuclear power plants, for example.

“Instead, let’s spend the resources on minimizing the effect of a really big event,” he said.

U.S. agencies have long maintained there is no threshold of radiation exposure that is risk-free.

The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements reaffirmed that last year after reviewing 29 public health studies on cancer rates among people exposed to low-dose radiation.

The EPA last year proposed a rule that would have instructed regulators to consider “models across the exposure range” when it comes to dangerous substances.

Environmental groups and some scientists expressed concern then that the directive could open the way for an agency retreat from its long-standing no-tolerance rule for ionizing radiation exposure. But the proposed rule did not mention radiation, and EPA officials denied it would have applied to radiation. It said the agency still follows its no-tolerance guidelines.

But the EPA’s proposal last year did specify consideration of a particular scientific model, called the U curve, put forward by Edward Calabrese, a toxicologist and leading proponent of the theory that exposure to radiation and other hazardous substances can actually be healthy at low doses

The EPA’s initial news release on the rule last April quoted Calabrese as praising the proposal, calling it a “major scientific step forward” in assessing the risks of “chemicals and radiation.”

EPA calendars obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show an appointment between Calabrese and EPA chief of staff Ryan Jackson on June 28, 2017, early in the tenure of Scott Pruitt, Wheeler’s predecessor.

February 2, 2019 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear propaganda keeps spinning, despite the gloomy reality of the industry

Nuclear power down for the count, Jim Green, Online Opinion, 31 January 2019, http://onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=20138&page=0  

Last year was a “positive year for nuclear power” according to the World Nuclear Association (WNA). And indeed it was, compared to 2017, which was one of the industry’s worst-ever years.

The WNA cited nuclear power’s net gain in 2018 (nine reactor grid connections compared to six permanent shutdowns). A superficial look at the numbers suggests some more good news for the industry. The number of reactor grid connections (start-ups) over the past five years (38) almost doubled the number in the five years before that (21). If the number doubled again, the much-hyped nuclear renaissance would be upon us.

A casual observer might also be impressed by the fact that the number of reactor grid connections (59) and construction starts (71) over the past decade exceeded the number of permanent reactor shutdowns (50).

And some more good news for the industry: according to the WNA, 41 reactors will enter commercial operation in the four years from 2019-22. But after that, the pre-Fukushima mini-renaissance (38 reactor construction starts from 2008-2010) slows dramatically with an estimated total of just nine reactor start-ups in the following four years.

Ominously for the industry, the 22 construction starts from 2014-18 was less than half the number (49) from 2009-13.

The (independent) World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR) noted in early January that 49 reactors are under construction worldwide ‒ the first time the number has fallen below 50 in a decade, down 19 since 2013, and the number has decreased for five years in a row.

If all these contradictory good-news, bad-news figures seem a little … contradictory, that’s because nuclear power currently reflects two opposing dynamics: the mini-renaissance is evident but will subside by the mid-2020s, and the Era of Nuclear Decommissioning (discussed later) has begun and will be in sharp focus by the mid-2020s.

By contrast, renewable power generation continues to expand rapidly and costs continue to fall dramatically. Renewables accounted for 26.5 percent of global electricity generation in 2017 compared to nuclear power’s 10.3 percent.

Ageing reactor fleet

The industry faces severe problems, not least the ageing of the global reactor fleet. The average age of the fleet continues to rise and reached 30 years in mid-2018. A reasonable estimate is that the average lifespan of the current reactor fleet will be about 40 years.

There will likely be an average of 8-11 permanent reactor shutdowns annually over the next few decades:

·         The International Energy Agency expects a “wave of retirements of ageing nuclear reactors” and an “unprecedented rate of decommissioning” ‒ almost 200 reactor shutdowns between 2014 and 2040.

·         The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) anticipates 320 gigawatts (GW) of retirements from 2017 to 2050 (that’s about 80 percent of the current worldwide reactor fleet).

·         Another IAEA report estimates up to 139 GW of permanent shutdowns from 2018-2030 and up to 186 GW of further shutdowns from 2030-2050.

·         The reference scenario in the 2017 edition of the WNA’s Nuclear Fuel Report has 140 reactors closing by 2035.

·         A 2017 Nuclear Energy Insider article estimates up to 200 permanent shutdowns over the next two decades.

So an average of 8-11 construction starts and grid connections will be required to maintain current nuclear generation. Yet construction starts have averaged just 4.5 over the past five years.

Grim prospects

For the first time in many years, perhaps ever, the IAEA was up-front about the grim prospects for nuclear power in a September 2018 report. The IAEA said:

“Nuclear power’s electricity generating capacity risks shrinking in the coming decades as ageing reactors are retired and the industry struggles with reduced competitiveness … Over the short term, the low price of natural gas, the impact of renewable energy sources on electricity prices, and national nuclear policies in several countries following the accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in 2011 are expected to continue weighing on nuclear power’s growth prospects … In addition, the nuclear power industry faces increased construction times and costs due to heightened safety requirements, challenges in deploying advanced technologies and other factors.”

The IAEA’s low and high projections for global nuclear power capacity in 2030 are both 36 percent lower than the same projections in 2010, the year before the Fukushima disaster.

Former World Nuclear Association executive Steve Kidd noted in an August 2018 article:

“The current upward spike in reactor commissioning certainly looks impressive (at least compared with the recent past) but there are few signs that here will be a further uplift in the 2020s. What we see today is largely the result of rapid growth in the Chinese industry, which has now seemingly ended. … In Asia, the sharp downturn in Chinese interest in nuclear is unlikely to be replaced by India or by a combination of the other populous counties there. It is clear that without a strong lead from the established nuclear countries, a worldwide uplift in reactor construction is not going to happen.”

And therein lies a fundamental problem for the nuclear industry: it is in a frightful mess in the three countries that accounted for 56 percent of global nuclear power capacity just before the Fukushima disaster: the US, France and Japan. A 2017 EnergyPostWeekly article said “the EU, the US and Japan are busy committing nuclear suicide.”

Spin

Bright New World, an Australian pro-nuclear lobby group (that accepts secret corporate donationslisted these wins in 2018:

1. Taiwanese voters voiced support for overturning legislation to eliminate nuclear power.

2. Poland announced plans for a 6-9 GW nuclear sector.

3. China connected the world’s first AP1000 and EPR reactors to the electrical grid.

4. Some progress with Generation IV R&D projects (Terrestrial Energy, NuScale, Moltex), and the passing of the US Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act which aims to speed up the development of advanced reactors.

Those are modest and pyrrhic wins. To take each in turn:

1. Taiwan’s government remains committed to phasing out nuclear power although the 2025 deadline has been abandoned following a referendum in November 2018.

2. Poland might join the club of countries producing nuclear power ‒ or it might not. Currently it is a member of a group of countries that failed to complete partially-built power reactors and have never generated nuclear power, along with Austria, Cuba, the Philippines, and North Korea.

3. China’s nuclear power program has stalled ‒ the country has not opened a new construction site for a commercial reactor since December 2016. The most likely outcome over the next decade is that a small number of new reactor projects will be approved each year, well short of previous projections and not enough to match the decline in the rest of the world.

4. Generation IV fantasies are as fantastical as ever. David Elliot ‒ author of the 2017 book Nuclear Power: Past, Present and Future ‒ notes that many Generation IV concepts “are in fact old ideas that were looked at in the early days and mostly abandoned. There were certainly problems with some of these early experimental reactors, some of them quite dramatic.”

One example of the gap between Generation IV rhetoric and reality was Transatomic Power’s decision to give up on its molten salt reactor R&D project in the US in September 2018 ‒ just weeks before the public release of the New Fire propaganda film that heavily promotes the young entrepreneurs who founded Transatomic. The company tried but failed to raise a modest US$15 million for the next phase of its R&D project.

An article by four current and former researchers from Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Engineering and Public Policy, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science in July 2018, argues that no US advanced reactor design will be commercialised before mid-century.

Further, the Carnegie authors systematically investigated how a domestic market could develop to support a small modular reactor industry in the US over the next few decades ‒ including using them to back up wind and solar, desalinate water, produce heat for industrial processes, or serve military bases ‒ and were unable to make a convincing case.

Long-time energy journalist Kennedy Maize recently argued in POWER magazine that Generation IV R&D projects are “longshots” and that the “highest profile of the LWR apostates is TerraPower … backed by Microsoft founder and multi-billionaire Bill Gates. Founded in 2006, TerraPower is working on a liquid-sodium-cooled breeder-burner machine that can run on uranium waste, while it generates power and plutonium, with the plutonium used to generate more power, all in a continuous process.”

TerraPower recently abandoned its plan for a prototype reactor in China due to new restrictions placed on nuclear trade with China by the Trump administration.

Cost blowouts

The Bright New World lobby group might have cited some other pyrrhic wins in 2018. The French government abandoned previous plans to reduce nuclear power to 50 percent of total electricity generation by 2035 (compared to 71.6 percent currently) but still plans to shut 14 reactors by 2035. Cost estimates for two French-built reactors ‒ one in France and the other in Finland ‒ have increased by a factor of 2.5‒3and the reactors are the best part of a decade behind schedule.

The Vogtle reactor project in the US state of Georgia came close to being abandoned last year but it was rescued despite multi-year delays and monumental cost overruns (the estimate for two AP1000 reactors has doubled from US$14 billion to US$28 billion).

The current cost estimate for Vogtle reactors #3 and #4 is an order of magnitude greater than Westinghouse’s 2006 estimate of US$1.4-$1.9 billion to build one AP1000 reactor. To find another blowout of that magnitude you’d need to go back to … Vogtle #1 and #2! Built in the 1970s and 1980s, the cost of the first Vogtle twin-reactor project skyrocketed 13-fold, from US$660 million to US$8.7 billion (around US$18 billion in today’s money).

The only other reactor construction project in the US ‒ a twin-reactor AP1000 project in South Carolina ‒ was abandoned in 2017 after the expenditure of US$9‒10.4 billion. That disaster bankrupted Westinghouse and almost bankrupted its parent company Toshiba. So much for the nuclear renaissance.

The Era of Nuclear Decommissioning

In many countries with nuclear power, the prospects for new reactors are bleak and rear-guard battles are being fought to extend the lifespans of ageing reactors that are approaching or past their design date. A new era is approaching ‒ the Era of Nuclear Decommissioning ‒ following on from nuclear power’s growth spurt from the 1970s to the 1990s then 20 years of stagnation.

The Era of Nuclear Decommissioning will entail:

·         A decline in the number of operating reactors.

·         An increasingly unreliable and accident-prone reactor fleet as ageing sets in.

·         Countless battles over lifespan extensions for ageing reactors.

·         An internationalisation of anti-nuclear opposition as neighbouring countries object to the continued operation of ageing reactors (international opposition to Belgium’s ageing reactors is a case in point and there are numerous other examples).

·         Battles over and problems with decommissioning projects (e.g. the UK government’s £100+ million settlement over a botched decommissioning tendering process).

·         Battles over taxpayer bailout proposals for companies and utilities that haven’t set aside adequate funds for decommissioning and nuclear waste management and disposal. (According to Nuclear Energy Insider, European nuclear utilities face “significant and urgent challenges” with over a third of the continent’s nuclear plants to be shut down by 2025, and utilities facing a €118 billion shortfall in decommissioning and waste management funds.)

·         Battles over proposals to impose nuclear waste repositories and stores on unwilling or divided communities.

January 31, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Bill Gates urging U.S. Congress to spend $billions of tax-payer money for developing new nuclear reactors

Bill Gates comes to Washington — selling the promise of nuclear energy, WP, By Steven Mufson, January 25 

Bill Gates thinks he has a key part of the answer for combating climate change: a return to nuclear power. The Microsoft co-founder is making the rounds on Capitol Hill to persuade Congress to spend billions of dollars over the next decade for pilot projects to test new designs for nuclear power reactors.

Gates, who founded TerraPower in 2006, is telling lawmakers that he personally would invest $1 billion and raise $1 billion more in private capital to go along with federal funds for a pilot of his company’s never-before-used technology, according to congressional staffers…….

 Gates said in his year-end public letter. “The problems with today’s reactors, such as the risk of accidents, can be solved through innovation.” …..

But many nuclear experts say that Gates’s company is pursuing a flawed technology and that any new nuclear design is likely to come at a prohibitive economic cost and take decades to perfect, market and construct in any significant numbers.

Lawmakers are listening to him. Through the Energy Department, Congress approved $221 million to help companies develop advanced reactors and smaller modular reactors in fiscal 2019, above the budget request. But Gates and TerraPower, which received a $40 million Energy Department research grant in 2016, are looking for more. …….

Edwin Lyman, a nuclear expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said TerraPower is one of many companies that is raising the public’s hopes for advanced nuclear reactor designs even though they’re still on the drawing boards and will remain unable to combat climate change for many years.

We think the vendors of advanced nuclear power designs are saying they can commercially deploy them in a few years and all over the world,” Lyman said. “We think that is counterproductive because it is misleading the public on how fast and effective these could be.” ……

Many nuclear power experts say that the technology Gates is promoting — called a “traveling wave reactor” — does not work as advertised, at least not yet. “These designs . . . require advances in fuel and materials technology to meet performance objectives,” a Massachusetts Institute of Technology report said last year.

TerraPower has changed key elements of its design and has still not resolved critical problems, experts say……

critics say TerraPower has been stumbling over a handful of obstacles.

First, TerraPower has discovered that the traveling wave didn’t travel so well and that it would not evenly burn the depleted uranium in the “candle.” Second, and partly as a result, it needed to change the design to reshuffle the fuel rods — and do that robotically while keeping the reactor running. Third, it has struggled to find a metal strong enough to protect the fuel rods from a bombardment of neutrons more intense than those commonly used in reactors — and for a much longer period of time…….

In many ways, TerraPower’s design resembles fast breeder reactors. Fast breeders have faster moving neutrons, the subatomic particles that trigger fission.

Allison Macfarlane, former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said earlier versions of fast breeder reactors have turned in a “dismal performance.” The United States built two small reactors at a government laboratory in Idaho, Japan built a commercial unit called Monju, and France built two called Phenix and Superphenix — and all of them have been shut down.

……TerraPower has also been working with the Energy Department on another reactor. If it moved ahead, it could obtain federal funds for 60 percent of the cost of a test reactor, Burkey said. That design would rely on molten salt as both coolant and fuel. TerraPower believes an advanced molten salt reactor could be more efficient and produce less waste than current models.

However, that technology was examined in different countries 60 years ago — and abandoned. Lyman said the molten salt was “highly corrosive, so you need special materials for the reactor. That’s an engineering problem they still have to confront.” ……  https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/bill-gates-comes-to-washington–selling-the-promise-of-nuclear-energy/2019/01/25/4bd9c030-1445-11e9-b6ad-9cfd62dbb0a8_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.115327089881

January 26, 2019 Posted by | politics, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

University of Wisconsin hosts nuclear propagandist

Professor says nuclear energy is safest, most practical energy source, Waste from lifetime of nuclear energy use in US would fit in soda can, professor said, The Badger Herald, by COURTNEY ERDMAN · Jan 24, 2019  University of Wisconsin hosted an international relations professor Thursday, who argued nuclear energy was the safest, most practical power source, and the best one to transition the world away from fossil fuels. ……. Goldstein recognized that many people are also afraid of nuclear waste and how to dispose of it, but their fears are also unfounded.“The actual waste would fit in a soda can if you used your whole lifetime of American-style electricity from nuclear power,” Goldstein said. …….https://badgerherald.com/news/2019/01/24/professor-says-nuclear-energy-is-safest-most-practical-energy-source/

January 26, 2019 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Rosatom announces scholarships for Indian students in nuclear energy studies 

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi, 21 Jan 19  Rosatom, the Russian agency for atomic energy, has announced scholarships for Indian students in the arena of nuclear energy, according to a statement on Monday.

January 22, 2019 Posted by | Education, Russia | Leave a comment

Schoolchildren co-opted to promote propaganda on Fukushima food safety

Students tasked to develop dishes with Fukushima produce to promote prefecture’s recovery, Japan Times, 13 Jan 19 

 A group of elementary, junior high and high school students in the city of Fukushima are taking part in an initiative to develop original recipes using local agricultural products as part of a broader project to highlight the city’s recovery from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

The first phase of the campaign, known as the Fukko Project, whereby the students create new dishes, started Dec. 16. It is designed to help the children learn about local agriculture so they will be able to implement their own action plans to assist Fukushima’s recovery……https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/01/13/national/students-tasked-develop-dishes-fukushima-produce-promote-prefectures-recovery/#.XDudF9IzbGg

January 14, 2019 Posted by | Japan, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Academic whitewash of leukaemia incidence near Sellafield nuclear site

there is, or was, an excess of childhood leukemia close in to Sellafield.
There is no doubt that Pu contamination in children close in to Sellafield is higher than Pu contamination in children more distant from Sellafield. (O’Donnell et al) and that the Sellafield leukemia cluster adjacent to Sellafield exists or existed

On what basis does the British and World nuclear industry claim that Sellafield’s emissions have not caused and do not cause disease?

That is the claim and I cannot believe that claim. There is no rational path for me to attain such a level of blind faith.

Variations in the concentration of Pu, Sr-90 and total alpha-emitters in human teeth collected within the British Isles https://nuclearexhaust.wordpress.com/2019/01/05/variations-in-the-concentration-of-pu-sr-90-and-total-alpha-emitters-in-human-teeth-collected-within-the-british-isles/
Variations in the concentration of plutonium, strontium-90 and total alpha-emitters in human teeth collected within the British Isles

R.G.O’Donnell P.I.Mitchell N.D.Priest L.Strange A.Fox.L.Henshaw S.C.Long

Science of The Total Environment

Volume 201, Issue 3, 18 August 1997, Pages 235-243

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969797840600  quote “Abstract

quote “Abstract

Concentrations of plutonium-239, plutonium-240, strontium-90 and total α-emitters have been measured in children’s teeth collected throughout Great Britain and Ireland. The concentrations of plutonium and strontium-90 were measured in batched samples, each containing approximately 50 teeth, using low-background radiochemical methods. The concentrations of total α-emitters were determined in single teeth using α-sensitive plastic track detectors. The results showed that the average concentrations of total α-emitters and strontium-90 were approximately one to three orders of magnitude greater than the equivalent concentrations of plutonium-239, 240. Regression analyses indicated that the concentrations of plutonium, but not strontium-90 or total α-emitters, decreased with increasing distance from the Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing plant — suggesting that this plant is a source of plutonium contamination in the wider population of the British Isles. Nevertheless, the measured absolute concentrations of plutonium (mean = 5 ± 4 mBq kg−1 ash wt.) were so low that they are considered to present an insignificant radiological hazard.” end quote. emphasis added.

For the organism, it is the total dose which counts as far as biological effects and induction of diseases are concerned. Total dose is the sum of all dose contributors.

Further, comparison involves a subtraction of one thing from one or more other things in order to highlight proportion.

The bio-medical language in the abstract quoted above is laden with legal defensiveness which is totally inappropriate when considering the fate of an exposed cell, tissue and organism. Continue reading

January 7, 2019 Posted by | spinbuster | Leave a comment

New nuclear technology is NOT a solution to climate change

Debate Continues: Can New Technology Save Nuclear Power?   Power, 01/01/2019 | Kennedy Maize.………Are advanced nuclear reactor designs the answer to the decades-long doldrums for nuclear power? For the U.S., a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel led by long-time nuclear advocate M. Granger Morgan of Carnegie Mellon University, issued a pessimistic report last July—US nuclear power: The vanishing low-carbon wedge.

The academy’s report found, “While advanced reactor designs are sometimes held up as a potential solution to nuclear power’s challenges, our assessment of the advanced fission enterprise suggests that no US design will be commercialized before midcentury.” That’s a chilling indictment for all advanced LWRs. The crux of the Morgan report is an assessment that the economic hurdles for nuclear in the U.S. are insurmountable.………

Peter Bradford, a veteran electric utility regulator and nuclear skeptic who served on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) from 1977 to 1982, agrees that nuclear power in the U.S. is priced out of the market. “Even if, for once, they could contain or level out the costs,” he told POWER, “new nuclear is so far outside the competitive range. They have to cut costs and they can’t cut costs without building a bunch [of reactors]. That really isn’t in the cards.”

Nor does Bradford see new nuclear as a way to combat global warming. “Even if it is scaled up much faster than anything now in prospect, it cannot provide more than 10% to 15% of the greenhouse gas displacement that is likely to be needed by mid-century. Not only can nuclear power not stop global warming, it is probably not even an essential part of the solution to global warming,” he wrote in 2006. Since then, he argues, the declining costs of renewables and energy efficiency swamp nuclear economics even further.

While advocates call for setting a price on carbon to reward carbon-free generation, Bradford said that is a weak reed. “At any given level” of carbon prices, he said, “it is going to wind up benefiting renewables and storage,” not nuclear. A reasonable carbon price, he argued, “might not be enough to keep existing plants running.”

SMRs to the Rescue?…. 

while smaller nuclear reactors are an appealing technological approach to keeping nuclear in the generating mix, they come with their own set of problems.

On closer inspection, said the NAS panel, “Our results reveal that while one light water SMR module would indeed cost much less than a large LWR, it is highly likely that the cost per unit of power will be higher. In other words, light water SMRs do make nuclear power more affordable but not necessarily more economically competitive for power generation.”

Given the “economic premium” of SMRs, along with “the considerable regulatory burden associated with any nuclear reactor, we do not see a clear path forward for the United States to deploy sufficient numbers of SMRs in the electric power sector to make a significant contribution to greenhouse gas mitigation by the middle of this century,” the report says. Economist Kee echoed that conclusion. When it comes to SMRs, he said there “is a lot of work to do and not much time to do it.”

SMRs also face a challenge of demonstrating their viability: Making an economic or climate impact requires many reactors. Neil Alexander, a Canadian nuclear consultant, wrote recently, “Everything about SMRs such as the cost of construction, availability of fuel, cost of shared services, availability of trained operators, and cost of research needed to resolve emerging challenges, only work economically when the unit is in a fleet. A FOAK [first-of-a-kind] cannot stand alone and the barrier to entry that the industry faces is more akin to the ‘First Dozen of a Kind.’ ”

Portland, Oregon-based NuScale appears to be the leader in developing SMR technology (Figure 4 on original). It is taking Alexander’s advice. NuScale has a customer for a 12-unit (720-MW) station: Utah Associated Municipal Power System (UAMPS), which has a site at the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Idaho National Laboratory (INL). UAMPS will own the project and Energy Northwest, a municipal joint action agency that operates the Columbia nuclear station near Richland, Washington, will run the plant. Columbia is a 1,100-MW boiling water reactor.

NuScale recently selected BWX Technologies (BWXT) of Lynchburg, Virginia, to begin engineering work leading up to the manufacture of the 60-MW NuScale reactors. BWXT, created after reactor builder Babcock & Wilcox (B&W) emerged from bankruptcy in 2006, has deep experience in the U.S. naval reactor program. NuScale has received a commitment of some $200 million from the DOE. Global engineering firm Fluor Corp. is the majority investor in NuScale.

Ironically, BWXT was the early leader in the SMR race, with its 195-MW mPower pressurized water reactor design. After spending some $400 million on the mPower venture (including $100 million from the DOE), B&W declared it officially dead in March 2017. Rod Adams, who worked on the project for B&W, had this epitaph for the mPower project, “There was simply too much work left to do, too much money left to invest, and an insufficient level of interest in the product to allow continued expenditures to clear corporate decision hurdles.”

NuScale still has a long way to go to demonstrate the validity of its SMR. The company said it expects the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will approve the NuScale reactor design in September 2020. UAMPS will also have to get NRC approval for a combined construction and operating license for the site at INL. Nonetheless, NuScale’s optimistic schedule projects commercial operation “by the mid-2020s.”

Past experience suggests that nuclear construction schedules are made to be broken. SMRs pose unique challenges to federal regulators, both in the reactor designs and in operational issues such as staffing levels and communications among 12 discrete units, particularly if they are used to follow load. Additionally, power prices in the Western U.S. are already low and natural gas is driving them lower.

Recognizing the challenges to deploying SMRs, the DOE in November issued a report suggesting state standards and incentives, modeled on those boosting renewables, be applied to SMR technology. But, as POWER reported, “To make a meaningful impact, nearly $10 billion in incentives would be needed to deploy 6 GW of SMR capacity by 2035.”

Beyond the LWR?

Several efforts are in place to replace conventional LWRs with other approaches to splitting atoms to generate power. Admittedly longshots, these build-on technologies go back to the early days of civilian nuclear power, and were previously abandoned in favor of the proven LWR designs.

The highest profile of the LWR apostates is TerraPower, based in Bellevue, Washington, and backed by Microsoft founder and multi-billionaire Bill Gates. [ Ed note: TerraPower has now abandoned this joint project with China] Founded in 2006, TerraPower is working on a liquid-sodium-cooled breeder-burner machine that can run on uranium waste, while it generates power and plutonium, with the plutonium used to generate more power, all in a continuous process.

Liquid sodium has advantages over pressurized water as a coolant, including better heat transfer. It also does not act as a moderator to slow neutrons, which allows for breeding plutonium. Sodium coolant has its own set of problems. Sodium catches fire when exposed to oxygen so coolant leaks can be devastating, as has happened in the past.

Nuclear power father Adm. Hyman Rickover, after a bad experience with the Seawolf-class submarine sodium-cooled reactor—the second subs to use LWR technology after the USS Nautilus—commented that sodium-cooled systems were “expensive to build, complex to operate, susceptible to prolonged shutdown as a result of even minor malfunctions, and difficult and time-consuming to repair.” TerraPower hopes to have commercial machines operating in the late 2020s, but industry insiders have reported that the company’s prototype reactor being built in China has experienced major problems.

Another approach to bypass LWRs is the molten salt reactor, long a favorite of nuclear pioneer Alvin Weinberg. A Canadian firm, Terrestrial Energy, is pushing a 190-MW SMR design using the technology Weinberg developed at Oak Ridge National Lab in the mid-1960s. Molten salt technology operates at close to atmospheric temperature and combines the fuel and the coolant. Terrestrial plans to use the technology to power an SMR, with a target date for the late 2020s. Molten salt poses new engineering challenges for nuclear reactors. One nuclear observer commented, “I prefer solid fuel” to the liquid fuel-coolant in the molten salt reactor.

Finally, developers are looking at abandoning uranium as the primary nuclear fuel. Instead, the idea is to use thorium, one of the most-common elements on the planet. Thorium is a slightly radioactive metal. But thorium is not fissile—able to undergo nuclear fission—so it has to be irradiated with enriched uranium in order to be transmuted into fissile U-233.

Thorium’s chief attribute is that the fuel is so plentiful. Terrestrial Energy has shown interest in using thorium in its molten salt reactors, along with low-enriched uranium that is used in the design it is pursuing in Canada. Skeptics suggest that thorium is an answer in search of a question, given the easy availability of uranium, particularly in seawater. Uranium shortages, forecast in the 1960s when advocates first suggested using thorium, have never materialized.

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is currently wrapping up a study of the new, non-LWR reactor designs. Physicist Ed Lyman, a veteran UCS staffer, told POWER, “Our overall conclusion is that vendors, DOE, and advocates are greatly exaggerating the benefits” of the technologies. “The whole landscape is not compelling. We question whether the best direction for nuclear power is to go off on these more exotic tangents,” rather than focus on making LWRs cheaper and safer. “That’s potentially a better near term” investment, he said.

The original generations of civilian nuclear power failed to live up to their promises. The U.S. nuclear industry stalled in the mid-1970s and has not recovered, despite repeated government and industry attempts at a restart.

Gen III reactors were aimed at overcoming the perceived safety and economic shortcomings of the original machines. As those new designs appear to be falling short, attention has shifted to SMRs or new approaches that abandon traditional light-water technology. Whether they will live up to their billing remains a serious, open question. ■

Kennedy Maize is a long-time energy journalist and frequent contributor to POWER. https://www.powermag.com/debate-continues-can-new-technology-save-nuclear-power/?pagenum=1 

 

January 5, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Reference, spinbuster, technology | Leave a comment

The nuclear lobby will be delighted with this knighthood, earned for obscuring the cause of leukaemia

Knighted for Services Rendered: Don’t Worry about the Nukiller Plant on your doorstop – Just Let Them Drink 

The New Years Honours List Does its Thing…..‘For 30 years I’ve been obsessed by why children get leukaemia. Now we have an answer’

Let Them Drink Yoghurt!

Newly knighted cancer scientist Mel Greaves explains why a cocktail of microbes could give protection against disease

The national press trumpet the clarion cry that could have come from the nuclear industry’s PR book:   “From this perspective, the disease has nothing to with power lines or nuclear fuel reprocessing stations, as has been suggested in the past, but is caused by a double whammy of interacting prenatal and environmental events, as Greaves outlined in the journal Nature Reviews Cancer earlier this year.”

It seems a good time to revisit one of our early blog posts which first appeared on Indymedia back in 2009. What has changed?  The Nuclear Spin has got more blatant and God Forbid that anyone should mention nukiller and leukaemia in the same breath.

What ever did happen to all that research from the body snatching scandal?

Marianne Birkby  04.09.2009

Bodysnatching, radioactive poisoning and infanticide, the nuclear industry  has it all in spades.
Is this alarmist, you might ask? No, not really. Let’s look at “bodysnatching”: remember the Redfern Inquiry into the taking
of body parts from radioactively-contaminated workers in Cumbria? Radiation Free Lakeland has been contacted by many people anxious to know when the findings of this Inquiry will be revealed so that justice and closure can
take place.
That thousands of dead nuclear workers’ organs were taken without consent for secret research into radiation poisoning was and is morally unacceptable. The government has put the Redfern Inquiry “on hold” indefinitely. What other industry can get away with such a suspension of justice and carry on with business as usual?Radioactive poisoning?
Sellafield recently admitted to exposing two workers to dangerous levels of radiation in 2007 and were supposed to be sentenced in Carlisle’s Crown Court on 21st August this year. This also has been held back and at the time of writing no new date has been set. Again, what other industry has such power and influence?Infanticide?
In Germany, a major Government-sponsored scientific study recently uncovered very strong links between living near nuclear power plants and childhood leukaemia: these findings were accepted by its government. Many peer-reviewed scientific articles in respected journals have described these disturbing findings in detail. In essence, increased numbers of pregnant women near German nuclear reactors are having babies which later die of leukaemia. Let’s call this by its proper name: infanticide. It appears we might be killing our babies for the sake of nuclear electricity. Should we be doing this? Should we be proposing to build yet more nuclear reactors?
Where has our moral compass gone  ?Independent scientists have stated that whatever the explanation for these increased leukaemia deaths in babies, they raise difficult questions including whether vulnerable people – in particular, pregnant women and women of child-bearing age – should be advised to move away from nuclear facilities. What other industry would be allowed to get away with this nonsense? Can you imagine a chemical firm getting away with it?
Some people appear to accept nuclear (often half-heartedly or with embarrassment) as they misguidedly think nuclear is a solution to global warming. But it isn’t. The nuclear industry overall causes large carbon releases (think of uranium mining, milling and processing) and its potential for reducing UK CO2 emissions is a pitiful 4% according to the Government’s
Sustainable Development Commission in 2006. There are many options for reducing our CO2 emissions, but it turns out nuclear is the least cost effective.
Just ask yourself – if nuclear power led to reduced reliance on oil then why is nuclear France’s per capita consumption of oil higher than non-nuclear Italy, nuclear phase-out Germany or the EU average?But even if nuclear were everything the government and industry falsely claim regarding climate change – that would still not justify new build. Nuclear also results in our passing on dangerous nuclear wastes, for which there is no solution on the horizon, to our children and grandchildren and to future generations for many millennia: this is ethically and morally
scandalous.So why are we being steam-rollered into a nuclear future? Let’s stand up together and say, loudly, NO TO NUCLEAR.Medicine, Conflict and Survival
Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:

Childhood cancers near German nuclear power stations: hypothesis to explain
the cancer increases
Ian Fairlie
Online Publication Date: 01 July 2009

 https://webmail.plus.net/src/webmail.php

January 1, 2019 Posted by | spinbuster, UK | 4 Comments