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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

UK proposal to offer subsidy contracts to Russia, China and South Korea to build nuclear power stations!

Russian-BearBuy-China-nukes-1Buy-S-Korea-nukesflag-UK

Russia, China and South Korea ‘should be invited to build UK nuclear plants’, Telegraph    Emily
Gosden
, energy editor 23 JULY 2016

Russian, Chinese and South Korean nuclear companies should be offered subsidy contracts to build reactors in the UK if they are cheaper than other projects already under development, a prominent nuclear lobbyist has said.

UK-subsidy 2016

Tim Yeo, the former chairman of the House of Commons energy select committee, said EDF’s proposed £18bn plant at Hinkley Point, which is expected to get the go-ahead this week, should be allowed to proceed, but he urged the Government to rethink its approach to future projects.The Japanese-owned Horizon and Franco-Japanese NuGen consortia are both developing plans for reactors at sites in the UK and hope to secure approval for their technologies and subsidy deals from the Government.

Mr Yeo, the MP for South Suffolk for 32 years until the 2015 general election, now chairs New Nuclear Watch Europe, a lobby group whose members include the Korean nuclear firm Kepco. He urged the Government to “urgently examine which nuclear vendors can deliver the cheapest electricity, maximise the number of UK supply chain jobs and minimise the risk of construction delays”………..

Mr Yeo suggested UK investors could be brought on board to operate any such plants to help counter political concerns about the technologies.

He also advocated a new funding approach under which “most of the construction costs are funded by government borrowing throughout the construction period” to help cut financing costs. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/07/23/russia-china-and-south-korea-should-be-invited-to-build-uk-nucle/

July 25, 2016 Posted by | China, marketing, Russia, South Korea, UK | Leave a comment

China trying to market nuclear power to India

Buy-China-nukes-1China Can Cooperate With India In Nuclear Sector: Official NDTV, 22 July 16 NEW DELHI: Describing China as an “important player” in the nuclear sector, a senior Chinese state policy researcher has said it is one of the areas where it can cooperate with India, a remark which comes amidst growing strain between the two countries over the NSG issue.

Speaking in Delhi, Wenling, a senior researcher of the Chinese State Council Research Office, also made a strong pitch for long-term visas for Chinese nationals visiting India, which she said would boost bilateral trade and investments.
On areas where the two neighbours can cooperate, she said manufacturing, nuclear energy, bullet trains, tourism, education, agriculture and services industry are among the areas where they can enhance their cooperation.

“China is an important player in the nuclear sector. Chinese energy players are investing in the US market,” she remarked during a discussion with a select gathering in Delhi in the presence of Minister Counselor Cheng Guangzhong yesterday…….http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/china-can-cooperate-with-india-in-nuclear-sector-official-1434936

July 23, 2016 Posted by | China, marketing | Leave a comment

Floating nuclear reactors for China in South China Sea?

reactors-floatingChina media again touts plans to float nuclear reactors in disputed South China Sea.  Reuters, 15 July 16China aims to launch a series of offshore nuclear power platforms to promote development in the South China Sea, state media said again on Friday, days after an international court ruled Beijing had no historic claims to most of the waters.

Sovereignty over the South China Sea is contested by China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan, and any move to build nuclear reactors is bound to stoke further tension in the region.

The China Securities Journal said 20 offshore nuclear platforms could eventually be built in the region as the country seeks to “speed up the commercial development” of the South China Sea.

“China’s first floating nuclear reactor will be assembled by the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation’s (CSIC) subsidiary, Bohai Heavy Industry, and the company will build 20 such reactors in the future,” the newspaper said.

“The marine nuclear power platform will provide energy and freshwater to the Nansha Islands,” it said, referring to the disputed Spratly Islands.

The newspaper was citing a social media post by the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), which has since been deleted…….

The news is old,” an expert with the China Nuclear Energy Association said. “It is repeated in reaction to the latest South China Sea disputes,” the expert, who declined to be identified, told Reuters.

“Little progress has been made on building such a small reactor.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang, asked at a daily news briefing, said he did not know anything about the plans.

Floating reactors were first proposed in the United States in the 1970s but then abandoned. The first demonstration of the technology is due to be launched in Russia next year.

“This will need several years of design and safety analysis before it can go into full construction,” said Li Ning, Dean of the School of Energy Research at Xiamen University…….

A spokesman for CNNC told Reuters the floating reactors plan had been drawn up by its affiliate, the Nuclear Power Institute of China, and a final decision would be made by CSIC. CSIC was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Kathy Chen and David Stanway; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie) http://www.reuters.com/article/us-southchinasea-ruling-china-nuclear-idUSKCN0ZV0UH

July 16, 2016 Posted by | China, technology | Leave a comment

Plutonium being collected in China and Japan? Fears of another nuclear arms race


Confronting plutonium nationalism in Northeast Asia,
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 
Fumihiko Yoshida , 30 June 16,   Although President Obama trumpeted his commitment to nuclear disarmament at this year’s Washington Nuclear Security Summit and more recently during his visit to Hiroshima, the White House has so far only discussed in whispers a far more pressing nuclear weapons-related danger—that Japan and China may soon be separating thousands of nuclear bombs worth of plutonium from nuclear spent fuel each year. If this level of production occurs, South Korea and other countries will likely try to go the plutonium route. If President Obama is to have a lasting legacy of nuclear threat reduction, his administration needs to do far more than it has to clarify just how harmful this plutonium proliferation would be to keeping peace in East Asia and the world.

Japan has already accumulated about 11 metric tons of separated plutonium on its soil—enough for about 2,500 nuclear bombs. It also plans to open a nuclear spent fuel reprocessing plant at Rokkasho designed to separate eight tons of plutonium—enough to make roughly 1,500 nuclear warheads a year—starting late in 2018. The Japanese plutonium program has raised China’s hackles. China’s new five-year plan includes a proposal to import a reprocessing plant from France with the same capacity as Rokkasho. Meanwhile, South Korea insists that it should have the same right to separate plutonium as Japan has.

Each of these countries emphasizes that it wants to separate plutonium for peaceful purposes. Yet in each country, there are skeptics who respond whenever this argument is made by a neighbor. China and South Korea suspect that Japan’s large stockpile of plutonium and its plans to operate the Rokkasho plant are designed to afford Tokyo some latent form of nuclear deterrence, i.e. a nuclear weapon option. A huge new Chinese commercial plutonium separation program could give Beijing an option to make far more nuclear weapons than it already has. It is unclear what Russia might make of all of this, or North Korea. One possibility is that either might use such “peaceful” plutonium production as an excuse to further expand its own nuclear arsenal. China might do the same as deterrence to Japan. If Seoul joined in, it would be even more difficult to cap North Korea’s nuclear program………

The Obama administration and Congress need to speak more clearly. As Countryman said, “(t)here is a degree of competition among the major powers in East Asia. It is a competition that in my view extends into irrational spheres…”

The United States can stop Japan from separating more plutonium and the spread of “plutonium nationalism” in East Asia only by bringing security issues to the front burner in politics and diplomacy. If the United States clearly announces that operations at Rokkasho constitute a security concern, Japan is almost sure to listen. Having the plutonium discussion between Japan and the United States is critically important; the Abe administration puts a high priority on security issues and is also very pro-United States.

Now is the time to speak clearly on these security issues—before China and Japan lock themselves into a plutonium production rivalry that will make cooperation between them and South Korea on pressing issues, including North Korea’s nuclear program, all the more difficult to secure. http://thebulletin.org/confronting-plutonium-nationalism-northeast-asia9617

July 4, 2016 Posted by | - plutonium, China, Japan | Leave a comment

China trying to market nuclear reactors to Argentina

nuclear-marketing-crapChina and Argentina reaffirm reactor agreement   World Nuclear News, 01 July 2016 China and Argentina have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) reaffirming their plans to construct two new nuclear power reactors in the Latin American country with financing from Chinese banks. Construction of Argentina’s fourth reactor is to start early next year……..

“China and Argentina, though a world apart, are in close nuclear cooperation,” CNNC general manager Qian Zhimin was quoted as saying by the People’s Daily. “The two countries share a tradition of friendship and both governments also attached much significance to nuclear cooperation.” http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-China-and-Argentina-reaffirm-reactor-agreement-0107164.html

July 2, 2016 Posted by | China, marketing | Leave a comment

Moldova hesitant – for now, resisting China’s nuclear marketing

Buy-China-nukes-1Will China Bring Nuclear Power to Moldova?, Eurasia Net 30 June 16  China appears willing to help Moldova become a nuclear power. But for now officials in Chi?in?u seem hesitant to go all-in on atomic energy.

Chinese representatives from the state-run National Nuclear Power Company (NNPC) were in Moldova in mid-May for talks aimed at identifying opportunities to boost “bilateral cooperation in the energy sector,” according to an official statement. Chinese and Moldovan officials agreed to complete a feasibility study on “launching new projects for producing electricity in Moldova” by the end of 2016……

For now, the Moldovan government seems more interested in renewable energy. ……

Târ?u said that he advised against a nuclear power plant because of the environmental risks, plus Moldova’s lack of water resources, facilities for storing radioactive waste, and “qualified and experienced staff in this field.”

Another risk also exists: an Associated Press report in late 2015 indicated that Moldova could be atrafficking hub for nuclear materials. Criminal groups with supposed Russian ties allegedly have used the country four times since 2010 to try and pass radioactive materials to anti-Western customers (including a Moldovan undercover agent posing as a representative of the Islamic State terror organization). None of the attempts succeeded……..

energy expert Târ?u does not believe that a nuclear power plant will be built in Moldova. Thirteen years ago, Moldova also considered the possibility of a French-built nuclear power plant, but the discussions resulted in nothing .  http://www.valuewalk.com/2016/06/china-nuclear-plant-moldova/

July 1, 2016 Posted by | China, EUROPE, marketing, safety | Leave a comment

USA promotes a nuclear arms race in Asia, by Supporting India’s entry to Nuclear Suppliers Group

flag-indiaPromoting a nuclear race?, Business Recorder June 23, 2016 IKRAM SEHGAL India clandestinely diverted nuclear fuel from the Canadian supplied civilian nuclear reactor in Tarapur for conducting its nuclear test in 1974. Created in 1974 as a direct result of the Indian subterfuge, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) was meant to prevent in future what India had done, being tasked with regulating nuclear commerce for civilian uses and preventing proliferation of nuclear weapons.

On the back of the US-India nuclear deal in 2008, the Bush Administration applied immense political pressure to exempt India from the NSG’s rules on civilian nuclear trade when it was under US sanctions for proliferation activities. This double standards waiver was engineered when Pakistani’s letter vehemently objecting to it was suddenly and surprisingly withdrawn in Vienna during NSG deliberations at the last minute on the express telephonic instructions from President Asif Zardari. This unparalleled “personal” initiative appeased the US and India but it destroyed the original concept of the NSG and cost Pakistan dearly. It “officially” allowed India to expand its arsenal massively by using imported fuel for civilian nuclear reactors and replenish stocks for weapon production. “Harvard’s Belfer Center” and US think tank “Arms Control Today” confirmed that this defeated the very purpose why the NSG was created in the first place.

ndia’s 1974 blast forced Pakistan into its own nuclear weapons programme, the Pokhran nuclear blasts in 1998 made Pakistan respond in kind to ensure a deterrence capability. Had the mandate of NSG been faithfully adhered to, India would not have stood a chance with a non-discriminatory and principled criterion for membership. Even if non-signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are to be allowed in NSG, it should have been on the basis of equitable criteria and procedures before the waiver was granted because even today India persists in diverting clandestinely imported fissile material from civilian to weapons use.

What about nuclear balance in South Asia? In an article published by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), in September 2008 the writers correctly assessed that, “The action the NSG has been goaded into taking by the US has immense and incendiary strategic implications for South Asia, tilling the balance of power between India and its historic rival Pakistan sharply in India’s favour. It also rubbishes the basic principle of the nuclear regulatory regime the US championed earlier that States which pursue nuclear weapons will be “punished” by an embargo on all nuclear trade and those that adhere to the NPT will, in return, be assisted in developing civilian nuclear energy. And, as was foreshadowed in the events at the NSG meeting itself, it will intensify and complicate the ongoing and ever more explosive rivalry amongst the big powers for markets, raw materials, and geo-strategic advantage.”

Having a triad of nuclear capable delivery systems of air, land and sea based short, medium and long range missiles; India can deliver SLBMs from nuclear powered submarines and is working on production of Hydrogen and thermo nuclear weapons. India has not fully separated its civilian and nuclear reactors despite the undertakings given when it got the NSG waiver in 2008. As the largest buyer of weaponry for its conventional military arms build-up, India has the potential many times over to pursue its aggressive “Cold Start” Doctrine against Pakistan. Pakistan’s development of Tactical Nuclear Weapons (TNWs) and delivery systems is meant to neutralise India’s “Cold Start” doctrine. What is disappointing is that the apparent security threats to Pakistan from India notwithstanding, the Obama Administration is asking Pakistan to freeze its nuclear and missile programs without extracting an equal demand from India!

A Senate hearing on 24 May saw US Senator Markey saying something extremely relevant, “Since 2008 when (we) also gave them an exemption, India has continued to produce fissile material for its nuclear weapons programme virtually un-checked. At that time Pakistan warned us that the deal would increase the chances of the nuclear arms race in South Asia”. Some countries, led by China and Turkey, are resisting this pressure on principle, arguing that if any exception to the rules is made, it should apply equally to both India and Pakistan. Since all 48 member NSG decisions are made by consensus, even one member can block a decision.

India has not honoured its limited commitments under the international non-proliferation regime that earned it the 2008 waiver, adhering to limited IAEA Additional Protocol as well as US laws (Hyde Act) for transparency in use of imported fissile material, agreeing to a moratorium on fissile material production for weapons use; signing and ratifying the CTBT and putting a cap on its nuclear weapons production. In the face of these obvious deficiencies, allowing India NSG membership will intensify the nuclear/strategic arms race in South Asia, undermine NSG’s credibility and will give India the legitimacy of a nuclear weapon state. Bent on using India as a counterweight to China, the US must realise the dangerous confrontation that will erupt in South Asia………http://www.brecorder.com/articles-a-letters/187/59532/

June 24, 2016 Posted by | China, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Safety issues at Taishan Nuclear Plant in China’s Guangdong

safety-symbol-Smflag-ChinaIssues at Taishan Nuclear Plant in China’s Guangdong Spark Safety Fears Radio Free Asia, 23 June 16  Reported by Lam Kwok-lap for RFA’s Cantonese Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie. Design flaws in a French-built nuclear reactor currently being tested at a power station on the southern coast of China have sparked safety concerns in neighboring Hong Kong, experts and local media reports said.

The U.S.$8.3 billion Taishan plant is among the first in the world to use European pressurised reactors (EPR) designed by French nuclear firm Areva, which recently sold a majority stake to energy giant Electricite de France (EDF).

Problems with the design of the reactors have emerged during testing, however, and were cited by EDF in a recent recommendation to the U.K. parliament that it postpone the Chinese-invested Hinkley Point nuclear plant, which had also planned to use EPR technology.

In a letter to U.K. lawmakers earlier this month, EDF said there may be “identical flaws” in the Taishan power plant, which lies just 160 km (100 miles) from the densely populated Pearl River Delta region, which includes Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, prolonged delays to an EPR reactor at Olkiluoto in Finland have resulted in multibillion-euro litigation between Areva and the Finnish energy group TVO. While Taishan has already postponed its scheduled opening by one year to 2018 after the discovery of too much carbon in the walls of the reactors, officials are still pushing for the plants to go ahead as planned, campaigners said in Hong Kong this week.
Last month, the concrete shells encasing the plant’s two pressure reactors were sealed, according to drone images gathered by Hong Kong’s crowd funded investigative news agency FactWire, which means that the EPR units can’t be removed or replaced now.

The amount of radioactive nuclear fuel stored at the Taishan plant is three times that of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant, campaigner Albert Lai told the agency.

50 million people

Lai fears that some 50 million people would be affected in the event of a large-scale nuclear leak, across a 7,000 square km area.

“There have been so many trust issues, that a lot of people now believe that quality control at this nuclear power plant is below standard,” engineer and sustainability campaigner Albert Lai, who convenes the Hong Kong think tank Professional Commons, told RFA on Thursday.

“What’s more, the problems are much more serious than we thought they were,” he said, citing a scandal over the falsification of parts forged at Areva’s Le Creusot facility that potentially put safety checks at risk………China General Nuclear has already posponed the opening of Taishan Unit 1 and Taishan Unit 2 to the first and second half of 2017 respectively, but FactWire reported, citing French engineers, that Unit 1 still required a large amount of tests, and the earliest it could start was 2018……..http://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/china-nuclear-06232016125814.html

June 24, 2016 Posted by | China, safety | Leave a comment

China not happy with USA’s promotion of India to join Nuclear Suppliers Group

flag-ChinaChina Takes Swipe At US Over India’s Nuke Club NSG Bid

All India |Written by Nidhi Razdan NDTV June 21, 2016 NEW DELHI:  China has taken a swipe at the US, while reiterating that India’s Nuclear Suppliers Group or NSG membership is not on the agenda at the elite nuclear club’s Seoul meeting, which is taking place this week. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, has also said the “door is open” for discussions on the issue but accused America of backtracking.

“I have not seen the US statement supporting India. But the US is one of those who made the rule that non-NPT countries should not join the Nuclear Suppliers Group,” she said.

“According to my understanding, it (entry of new members) is not on the agenda of the NSG meeting in Seoul. The door is open for the admission of the non-NPT members. It is never closed. It is open. But the members of the NSG should stay focused on whether the criteria should be changed and whether non-NPT members should be admitted into the NSG”, she added.

Talking to journalists about the implications of India’s membership, the Chinese official said, “If the non-proliferation regime is changed how can we explain the Iranian nuclear treaty. We have North Korean issues there. So this concerns the core issue whether NPT and non-proliferation system could be impacted by this.”

On Monday, the United States gave a fresh push to India’s membership by asking members of the NSG to support India’s entry. White House Press Secretary josh Earnest said, “We believe, and this has been US policy for some time, that India is ready for membership and the United States calls on participating governments to support India’s application at the plenary session of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)”……

Apart from China, countries like Turkey, South Africa, Ireland and New Zealand are not in favour of India’s entry into the NSG.

China has also been batting for its close ally Pakistan’s entry if NSG extends any exemption for India.

The NSG looks after critical issues relating to the nuclear sector and its members are allowed to trade in and export nuclear technology. Membership of the grouping will help India significantly expand its atomic energy sector. http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/china-takes-swipe-at-us-over-indias-nuke-club-nsg-bid-1421679

June 22, 2016 Posted by | China, India, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Macau environmentalists warn on dangers for Taishan nuclear power plant

ENVIRONMENTALIST RAISES RED FLAGS ON NUCLEAR PLANT Macao Daily Times , MAY 31, 2016 – Sammie Lun, chairman of Green Environment Protection Association of Macau, is concerned about safety issues surrounding the upcoming Taishan nuclear power plant. The plant, located approximately 80 kilometers west of Macau, is currently under construction and has been surrounded by controversies….

Lun told the Times “I am personally totally against nuclear power plants.” Furthermore, he added that he maintains his opposition to the plant simply because of the pollution risks that are known to come  with all nuclear power plants. “Even if the nuclear power plant is clean, if problems arise, they will be catastrophic, pollution will exist forever,” said Lun…..

GOV’T REQUESTS INFORMATIONThe government issued a statement yesterday indicating that it has requested from the Guangdong Provincial Government more information regarding the Taishan nuclear power plant. Macau’s security authorities have also requested more information from Guangdong’s Emergency Management Office. The statement mentions that the MSAR has a set of emergency response measures to cope with any possible nuclear incident in neighboring areas.http://macaudailytimes.com.mo/environmentalist-raises-red-flags-nuclear-plant.html

June 6, 2016 Posted by | China, safety | Leave a comment

China becoming more anxious over consequences of Fukushima nuclear disaster – calls for transparency

China’s action call over Fukushima, Shanghai Daily Source: Agencies | June 4, 2016 CHINA is extremely concerned about the consequences of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident, a foreign ministry spokeswoman said yesterday, and has urged the Japanese government to carry out timely follow-up measures.

“We hope Japan will take effective measures to provide timely, comprehensive and accurate information to the international community and protect the ocean environment,” Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing.

On Monday, the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co, admitted for the first time that its insistence on referring to the incident as “nuclear reactor damage” over the past five years had “hidden the truth.”

According to Ken Buesseler, a marine radiochemist with the US Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the consequences of the Fukushima accident were “unprecedented,” since over 80 percent of the leaked radioactive substances had flowed into the sea.

“We hope Japan will maintain a high sense of responsibility to its own people, the people in neighboring countries and the international community,” Hua said. China is willing to communicate with relevant parties, including South Korea, she added.

China has also asked the International Atomic Energy Agency to enhance monitoring and evaluation of the radioactive water that had resulted from the accident, Hua said…….http://www.shanghaidaily.com/nation/Chinas-action-call-over-Fukushima/shdaily.shtml

June 4, 2016 Posted by | China, politics international | Leave a comment

Russia and China working together to market nuclear reactors to the world

nuclear-marketing-crapRussia, China Working on Plan on Nuclear Cooperation Development. MOSCOW (Sputnik)  2 June 16 — Russia and China are working on a comprehensive document on the development of the bilateral strategic cooperation in the field of nuclear energy, the protocol of the Russia-China intergovernmental energy cooperation commission said.

The countries have joint energy projects, such as the Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), and are working on expanding cooperation to this end……..  http://sputniknews.com/world/20160601/1040619141/russia-china-nuclear-plan.html#ixzz4ASijSOLB

June 3, 2016 Posted by | China, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

China’s plans for floating nuclear power plants- major risks, good terrorism targets

While floating power plants may seem to present exciting economic opportunities–both for sites lacking affordable power and for the entities selling the plants—they also come with major risks.

“naval bombardment” is a growing risk in the South China Sea. A floating nuclear power plant might make a tempting target.

floating nuclear powership ChinaFloating nuclear power plants: China is far from first, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Dawn Stover , 2 June 16 On April 22, the state-owned Chinese newspaper Global Times reported that China plans to build as many as 20 floating nuclear power plants, the first of which could be producing power in just a few years. The story made a splash because the power from the floating reactors would most likely be used to accelerate construction of oil rigs and artificial islands in the South China Sea—already a source of border disputes and escalating tension between China and its neighbors.

Portable power stations may sound futuristic, but the idea is far from new. The United States launched the first floating nuclear power plant five decades ago, and Russia started its own construction project in 2000. Where the United States has seen a proprietary technology, though, China sees a marketing opportunity.

China floats an idea. Earlier this year, as part of its latest five-year plan, China’s National Development and Reform Commission approved the development of two nuclear reactors for marine platforms, one each from the country’s two big nuclear companies: The China General Nuclear Power Group will develop the ACPR50S, a small modular reactor with a generating capacity of 200 megawatts. Meanwhile, the China National Nuclear Corporation plans to work on the AC100S reactor, a marine version of its ACP100, which would generate 100 megawatts.

China General Nuclear has signed an agreement with China National Offshore Oil Corporation, which would presumably use floating nuclear power plants to provide power for offshore oil and gas exploration. China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, the country’s largest shipbuilder, is building a barge-like platform for China General Nuclear’s pilot plant. An illustration of the platform looks very similar to Russian designs, which is not surprising. Only a few years ago, the Chinese were planning to build floating nuclear power plants in China using Russian technology; now the Chinese are floating their own designs………

Potential risks and rewards. Russia’s nuclear-powered icebreakers use highly enriched uranium, but the modified reactors for the Akademik Lomonosov will run on low-enriched uranium. That helps to alleviate concerns about proliferation, but environmental and safety concerns remain. A floating nuclear power plant would probably be safe from earthquakes, but storms could be a threat, and accident response would be slow in remote Arctic areas.

In the event of a nuclear accident, an offshore plant would have plenty of cooling water readily available. But a floating nuclear power plant might not have access to off-site backup power, and it would be more difficult to contain any radioactive releases than when an accident occurs at a land-based plant. A failed reactor might end up being abandoned at sea, as has happened to seven Soviet or Russian nuclear submarines.

Those risks aren’t preventing the Russians and Chinese from moving ahead with plans for floating nuclear power plants. Russia hopes to lease floating plants to other countries, and China sees an opportunity to capitalize on technologies originally developed by the United States and Russia…….

While floating power plants may seem to present exciting economic opportunities–both for sites lacking affordable power and for the entities selling the plants—they also come with major risks. As Bennett Ramberg, author of the book Nuclear Power Plants as Weapons for the Enemy: An Unrecognized Military Perilnoted in the Bulletin’s March 1986 issue: “[F]acilities can be placed on large lakes, inland seas, or oceans—on floating platforms surrounded by breakwaters, on floating vessels anchored to the marine floor, on artificial islands, or even undersea. However, there would be higher transmission costs for reactors, unique construction costs, and exposure to such dangers as ship collisions, accidental explosions, and naval bombardment.”

Thirty years later, “naval bombardment” is a growing risk in the South China Sea. A floating nuclear power plant might make a tempting target.

Editor’s note: The Bulletin’s archives from 1945 to 1998, complete with the original covers and artwork, can be found here. Anything after 1998 can be found via the search engine on the Bulletin’s home page.  http://thebulletin.org/floating-nuclear-power-plants-china-far-first9522

June 3, 2016 Posted by | China, safety | Leave a comment

China readies nuclear armed submarines for the Pacific

submarine-missileflag-ChinaChina to send nuclear-armed submarines into Pacific amid tensions with US
Beijing risks stoking new arms race with move although military says expansion of the US missile defence has left it with no choice
, Guardian,  , 26 May 16  [ video, excellent graphics] The Chinese military is poised to send submarines armed with nuclear missiles into the Pacific Ocean for the first time, arguing that new US weapons systems have so undermined Beijing’s existing deterrent force that it has been left with no alternative.

Chinese military officials are not commenting on the timing of a maiden patrol, but insist the move is inevitable.

They point to plans unveiled in March to station the US Thaad anti-ballistic system in South Korea, and the development of hypersonic glide missiles potentially capable of hitting China less than an hour after launch, as huge threats to the effectiveness of its land-based deterrent force.

A recent Pentagon report to Congress predicted that “China will probably conduct its first nuclear deterrence patrol sometime in 2016”, though top US officers have made such predictions before…….

Last Tuesday, a US spy plane and two Chinese fighter jets came close to colliding 50 miles of Hainan island, where China’s four Jin-Class ballistic missile submarines are based. A fifth is under construction.

The two countries’ navies have also come uncomfortably close around disputed islands in the same region, and the chance of a clash will be heightened by cat-and-mouse submarine operations, according to Wu Riqiang, an associate professor at the School of International Studies at the Renmin University in Beijing.

“Because China’s SSBNs [nuclear missile submarines] are in the South China Sea, the US navy will try to send spy ships in there and get close to the SSBNs. China’s navy hates that and will try to push them away,” Wu said.

The primary reason Chinese military officials give for the move towards a sea-based deterrent is the expansion of US missile defence, which Moscow also claims is disturbing the global strategic balance and potentially stoking a new arms race.

The decision to deploy Thaad anti-ballistic interceptors in South Korea was taken after North Korea’s fourth nuclear test, and the stated mission of the truck-launched interceptors is to shield the south from missile attack.

But Beijing says the Thaad system’s range extends across much of China and contributes to the undermining of its nuclear deterrent. It has warned Seoul that relations between the two countries could be “destroyed in an instant” if the Thaad deployment goes ahead……

Under Xi’s assertive leadership, China seems determined that the Chinese nuclear deterrent will take finally to the ocean, and it has already taken thestep of putting multiple warheads on its missiles. Those steps are mostly in response to US measures, which in turn were triggered by unrelated actions by the North Koreans.

The law of unintended consequences is in danger of taking the upper hand. “The two sides may thus be stumbling blindly into severe crisis instability and growing competition by China with respect to strategic forces,” Lewis argues. “A competition between unevenly matched forces is inherently unstable.”http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/26/china-send-nuclear-armed-submarines-into-pacific-us

May 27, 2016 Posted by | China, oceans, weapons and war | Leave a comment

1MDB Unit Bought by China Nuclear Firm Was Distressed, Auditor Says

1MDB Unit Bought by China Nuclear Firm Was Distressed, Auditor Says China General Nuclear Power bought Edra Global Energy from debt-laden 1MDB last year, WSJ,  By YANTOULTRA NGUI May 26, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—An audit of a key energy group sold by troubled state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd. to a Chinese state-owned nuclear-power company flagged deep uncertainty over the company’s viability.

Notes from auditor Deloitte in the 140-page financial accounts of Edra Global Energy Bhd. for the year ended March 31, 2015, said the audit found “an existence of a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt about the group’s and company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

The auditor’s notes, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, are part of the most detailed account of Edra’s finances at the time that China General Nuclear Power Corp.purchased the firm for 9.83 billion ringgit ($2.4 billion) last November as the fund, known as 1MDB, was struggling to meet its debt obligations……..http://www.wsj.com/articles/1mdb-unit-bought-by-china-nuclear-firm-was-distressed-auditor-says-1464251503

May 27, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, China, Malaysia | Leave a comment

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