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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

India’s Adani mining giant accused of corruption just as it seeks funds from the Australian government for coal mine

If true, one effect of the alleged scheme would have been to move vast sums of money from the Adani Group’s domestic accounts into offshore bank accounts where it could no longer be taxed or accounted for.

Adani mining giant faces financial fraud claims as it bids for Australian coal loan, Exclusive: Allegations by Indian customs of huge sums being siphoned off to tax havens from projects are contained in legal documents but denied by company, Guardian, Michael Safi in Delhi, 16 Aug 17, A global mining giant seeking public funds to develop one of the world’s largest coal mines in Australia has been accused of fraudulently siphoning hundreds of millions of dollars of borrowed money into overseas tax havens.

Indian conglomerate the Adani Group is expecting a legal decision in the “near future” in connection with allegations it inflated invoices for an electricity project in India to shift huge sums of money into offshore bank accounts.

The directorate of revenue intelligence (DRI) file, compiled in 2014, maps out a complex money trail from India through South Korea and Dubai, and eventually to an offshore company in Mauritius allegedly controlled by Vinod Shantilal Adani, the older brother of the billionaire Adani Group chief executive, Gautam Adani.

Vinod Adani is the director of four companies proposing to build a railway line and expand a coal port attached to Queensland’s vast Carmichael mine project.

The proposed mine, which would be Australia’s largest, has been the source of years of intense controversy, legal challenges and protests over its possible environmental impact.

Expanding the coal port to accommodate the mine will require dredging an estimated 1.1m cubic metres of spoil near the Great Barrier Reef marine park. Coal from the mine will also produce annual emissions equivalent to those of Malaysia or Austria according to one study.

One of the few remaining hurdles for the Adani Group is to raise finance to build the mine as well as a railway line to transport coal from the site to a port at Abbot Point on the Queensland coast.

To finance the railway Adani hopes to persuade the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (Naif), an Australian government-backed investment fund, to loan the Adani Group or a related entity about US$700m (A$900m) in public money.

While it awaits the decision on the loan, in Delhi the company is also expecting the judgment of a legal authority appointed under Indian financial crime laws in connection to allegations it siphoned borrowed money overseas.

The Adani Group fully denies the accusations, which it has challenged in submissions to the authority.

The investigation

News of the investigation was first reported in India three years ago, but the full customs intelligence document reveals forensic details of the workings of the alleged fraud which have not been publicly revealed.

The 97-page file accuses the Adani Group of ordering hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of equipment for an electricity project in western India’s Maharashtra state using a front company in Dubai.

To read the pdf click here.

The Dubai company allegedly sold the exact same equipment back to Adani Group-controlled businesses in India at massively inflated prices, in some instances said to be eight times the sale price.

According to the allegations in the file, the effect of these transactions was that the Adani Group spent an average 400% more for the materials. That money was allegedly paid to a company Indian authorities allege was owned through a series of shell companies leading to a Mauritius trust controlled by Vinod Adani.

If true, one effect of the alleged scheme would have been to move vast sums of money from the Adani Group’s domestic accounts into offshore bank accounts where it could no longer be taxed or accounted for.

Because tariffs for using electricity transmission networks are determined partly by what they cost to build, if the DRI’s accusations are correct, the overvaluation of capital goods would have been likely to have led to higher power prices for Indian consumers……

The Australian loan

The Adani Group, or a linked entity, has reportedly been granted “conditional approval” for the US$700m (AU$900m) concessional loan from Naif, the Australian government investment fund.

But due to secrecy around the operation of the investment fund, it is not clear whether the loan application discloses the existence of the DRI notice or the ongoing legal proceedings, or whether the applicant is required to do so under the Naif’s anti-money laundering provisions……

The Guardian is publishing excerpts from the DRI file in the interests of ensuring Naif, as well as the public, have access to as much relevant information as possible in assessing whether Adani or linked companies would be suitable recipients of public money.

In a separate case last year, six Adani subsidiaries were listed among 40 other companies being investigated for allegedly running a similar price-inflation scheme. The companies are accused of inflating the price of coal imports from Indonesia to hide profits in overseas tax havens.

The DRI and the ED did not respond to a request to clarify the status of the investigations.

The alleged money trail…..

How Adani allegedly siphoned money from India….

Who controls the companies?

Key to the alleged fraud, according to investigators, is that EIF, the company subcontracted to purchase the equipment from manufacturers in South Korea and China, was directly controlled by the Adani Group and its associates…. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/16/adani-mining-giant-faces-financial-claims-as-it-bids-for-australian-coal-loan

August 16, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, India, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Levels of humid heat will kill millions, if warming is not tackled

“If given just one word to describe climate change, then ‘unfairness’ would be a good candidate. Raised levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are expected to cause deadly heatwaves for much of South Asia. Yet many of those living there will have contributed little to climate change.”

Climate change to cause humid heatwaves that will kill even healthy people https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/aug/02/climate-change-to-cause-humid-heatwaves-that-will-kill-even-healthy-people

If warming is not tackled, levels of humid heat that can kill within hours will affect millions across south Asia within decades, analysis finds, Guardian, Damian  Carrington, 3 Aug 17,  Extreme heatwaves that kill even healthy people within hours will strike parts of the Indian subcontinent unless global carbon emissions are cut sharply and soon, according to new research.

Even outside of these hotspots, three-quarters of the 1.7bn population – particularly those farming in the Ganges and Indus valleys – will be exposed to a level of humid heat classed as posing “extreme danger” towards the end of the century.

The new analysis assesses the impact of climate change on the deadly combination of heat and humidity, measured as the “wet bulb” temperature (WBT). Once this reaches 35C, the human body cannot cool itself by sweating and even fit people sitting in the shade will die within six hours.

The revelations show the most severe impacts of global warming may strike those nations, such as India, whose carbon emissions are still rising as they lift millions of people out of poverty.

“It presents a dilemma for India between the need to grow economically at a fast pace, consuming fossil fuels, and the need to avoid such potentially lethal impacts,” said Prof Elfatih Eltahir, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US who led the new study. “To India, global climate change is no longer abstract – it is about how to save potentially vulnerable populations.”

Heatwaves are already a major risk in South Asia, with a severe episode in 2015 leading to 3,500 deaths, and India recorded its hottest ever dayin 2016 when the temperature in the city of Phalodi, Rajasthan, hit 51C. Another new study this week linked the impact of climate change to the suicides of nearly 60,000 Indian farmers.

Eltahir said poor farmers are most at risk from future humid heatwaves, but have contributed very little to the emissions that drive climate change. The eastern part of China, another populous region where emissions are rising, is also on track for extreme heatwaves and this risk is currently being examined by the scientists.

Their previous research, published in 2015, showed the Gulf in the Middle East, the heartland of the global oil industry, will also suffer heatwaves beyond the limit of human survival if climate change is unchecked, particularly Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha and coastal cities in Iran.

The new work, published in the journal Science Advances, used carefully selected computer climate models that accurately simulate the past climate of the South Asia to conduct a high resolution analysis of the region, down to 25km.

The scientists found that under a business-as-usual scenario, where carbon emissions are not curbed, 4% of the population would suffer unsurvivable six-hour heatwaves of 35C WBT at least once between 2071-2100. The affected cities include Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh and Patna in Bihar, each currently home to more than two million people.

Vast areas of South Asia – covering 75% of the area’s population – would endure at least one heatwave of 31C WBT. This is already above the level deemed by the US National Weather Service to represent “extreme danger”, with its warning stating: “If you don’t take precautions immediately when conditions are extreme, you may become seriously ill or even die.”

However, if emissions are reduced roughly in line with the global Paris climate change agreement, there would be no 35C WBT heatwaves and the population affected by the 31C WBT events falls to 55%, compared to the 15% exposed today.

The analysis also showed that the dangerous 31C WBT level would be passed once every two years for 30% of the population – more than 500 million people – if climate change is unchecked, but for only 2% of the population if the Paris goals are met. “The problem is very alarming but the intensity of the heatwaves can be reduced considerably if global society takes action,” said Eltahir.

South Asia is particularly at risk from these extreme heatwaves because the annual monsoon brings hot and humid air on to the land. The widespread use of irrigation adds to the risk, because evaporation of the water increases humidity. The projected extremes are higher in the Gulf in the Middle East, but there they mostly occur over the gulf itself, rather than on land as in South Asia.

The limit of survivability, at 35C WBT, was almost reached in Bandar Mahshahr in Iran in July 2015, where 46C heat combined with 50% humidity. “This suggests the threshold may be breached sooner than projected,” said the researchers.

Prof Christoph Schär, a climate scientist at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, and who was not involved in the study, said: “This is a solid piece of work, which will likely shape our perception of future climate change. In my view, the results are of concern and alarming.”

The report demonstrates the urgency of measures to both cut emissions and help people cope better with such heatwaves, he said. There are uncertainties in the modelling – which Schär noted could underestimate or overestimate the impacts – as representing monsoon climates can be difficult and historical data is relatively scarce.

Prof Chris Huntingford, at the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, said: “If given just one word to describe climate change, then ‘unfairness’ would be a good candidate. Raised levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are expected to cause deadly heatwaves for much of South Asia. Yet many of those living there will have contributed little to climate change.”

August 4, 2017 Posted by | climate change, India | Leave a comment

Many thousands of suicides in India – linked to climate change

Climate change linked to suicides of 59,000 farmers in India, finds report, Researchers find extra 67 people take their own lives for every one degree Celsius of warming,The Independent, 1 Aug 17 Tom Batchelor @_tombatchelor Scorching temperatures, drought, storms and famine triggered by climate change have led to thousands of extra suicides in India, a report has found.

During the south Asian nation’s growing season, every one degree Celsius of warming above 20°C sees an average of 67 more people take their own lives, according to the study.

Experts said the findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), are particularly alarming as India’s average temperatures are expected to rise another 3°C by 2050, meaning hundreds of extra deaths.India’s farmers are already regularly hit by extreme weather events, including strong storms and heat waves, and some still rely on natural rainfall to water their crops.

Scientists have shown that those weather patterns are already increasing as the planet warms.

Tamma Carleton, who conducted the research, said nearly 60,000 suicides over the past 30 years may be linked to climate change.

Looking at suicide data from India’s National Crime Records Bureau between 1967 and 2013, along with data on agricultural crop yields and on temperature change, she estimated that “warming temperature trends over the last three decades have already been responsible for over 59,000 suicides throughout India”.

“We may not be able to stop the world from warming, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do something to address suicide,” said Vikram Patel, an Indian psychiatrist and mental health expert with Harvard Medical School in Boston, who was not involved in the study.

There are many factors that can contribute to suicide, including poor crop yields, financial problems, access to easy methods of self-harm, or a lack of community support.In India, many farmers will drink toxic pesticides as a way out of backbreaking debt.

For the past month, hundreds of farmers – some carrying human skulls they say are from farmers who committed suicide in the drought-stricken southern state of Tamil Nadu – have been staging what they say will be a 100-day protest in New Delhi to “prevent the suicide of farmers who feed the nation”.

Parts of western and north-eastern India have been hit by floods that have washed away villages and crops.

Heavy rains have caused rivers in states such as Gujarat, Assam and Rajasthan to burst their banks, killing 130 people……..http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/climate-change-india-suicide-59000-global-warming-report-farmer-deaths-a7870496.html

 

August 2, 2017 Posted by | climate change, India | Leave a comment

Pictures of the devastating effects of uranium mining in Jadugoda, India

India’s Nuclear Graveyard: Haunting images show the devastating effects of uranium mining in Jadugoda http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/gallery/indias-nuclear-graveyard-haunting-images-10871818, BY NATALIE EVANSJAMIE FERGUSON, 1 Aug 17, 

For years, the local population has suffered from the extensive environmental degradation caused by mining operations, responsible for the high frequency of radiation related sicknesses and developmental disorders found in the area. Increases in miscarriages, impotency, infant mortality, Down’s syndrome, skeletal deformities, thalassemia have been reported. With raw radioactive ‘yellow-cake’ production to increase and more than 100,000 tons of radio-active waste stored at Jadugoda the threat to the local tribal communities is set to continue.

August 2, 2017 Posted by | health, India, Resources -audiovicual | Leave a comment

Thousands homeless, hundreds die in East India floods

Monsoon 2017: Floods Across Gujarat, Rajasthan, East India Kill Hundreds; Thousands Homeless, Sky Weather, 28 July 2017 Floods across many parts of the country have wreaked havoc resulting in chaos in several areas. The flood toll has reached a whopping 200 now and a few thousands have become homeless.

Rescue and relief operations were in full swing which is why thousands were sent to safer places.  Not only this, PM Modi announced that the injured are entitled to compensation of Rs 50,000, while the family of deceased will get Rs 2 lakh.

The two weather systems which developed over either side of the country, one being over South Rajasthan and Gujarat and another over Gangetic West Bengal as well as Jharkhand were responsible for bringing torrential rains. Heavy rains were witnessed over many parts of the country.

Parts of Odisha, Gangetic West Bengal and Jharkhand witnessed extremely heavy rains between July 21 and 25. These weather conditions were attributed to the low over Gangetic West Bengal and adjoining Jharkhand intensified into a low pressure area and now the system is lying over Southeast Uttar Pradesh as a depression…..

many parts of Gujarat and South Rajasthan have been reeling under flood conditions which escalated to being severe due to non stop rains.

Since the second week of July, back to back weather systems have been affecting Gujarat and South Rajasthan. Initially, the low which formed over Southeast Uttar Pradesh travelled over Gujarat and gave heavy rains over the region.

 Another Weather system which formed over West Central Bay off Odisha coast also travelled up to South Rajasthan and Gujarat around July 20. Since then, the system has been persisting over the region and giving heavy to extremely heavy rains over that area…..https://www.skymetweather.com/content/weather-news-and-analysis/monsoon-2017-floods-across-gujarat-rajasthan-east-india-kill-hundreds-thousands-homeless/

July 29, 2017 Posted by | climate change, India | Leave a comment

Indian State Government hands over land for nuclear development, displacing 2,200 families

Nuclear plant: 473 acres handed over toNPCIL, The Hindu, STAFF REPORTER, SRIKAKULAM,JULY 27, 2017  Remaining 1,500 acres to be given in three months

The State government on Wednesday handed over 473 acres of land to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) to facilitate construction of an atomic power plant in Kovvada village of Ranasthalam mandal in the district.

The government would hand over the remaining 1,500 acres of land in three months. Revenue Divisional Officer B. Dayanidhi handed over the relevant documents to NPCIL Project Director, Kovvada, G.V. Ramesh, at a programme organised in the office of the tahsildar in Ranasthalam……..

According to the revenue officials, the government will construct a model colony for the 2,200 families facing displacement in Dharmavaram village of Etcherla mandal in the district. An extent of 250 acres of forest land has already been acquired for the construction of the colony. ……http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/nuclear-plant-473-acres-handed-over-to-npcil/article19366598.ece

July 28, 2017 Posted by | India, politics | Leave a comment

Japan planning to export nuclear technology to India

All approvals in place, Japan nuclear deal comes into force http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/all-approvals-in-place-japan-nuclear-deal-comes-into-force/articleshow/59690053.cms, By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, ET Bureau| Jul 21, 2017 NEW DELHI: The landmark Indo-Japanese civil nuclear deal signed in November 2016 came into force from Thursday that would enable Japan to export nuclear power plant technology as well as provide finance for nuclear power plants in India.

Japan would also assist India in nuclear waste management and could undertake joint manufacture of nuclear power plant components under the Make in India initiative, persons familiar with the development told ET.

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe is expected to visit India this September and growing civil nuclear ties will be highlighted as one of the key elements of Indo-Japan strategic partnership.

Japanese industrial conglomerate Toshiba — which owns Westinghouse — will have a major role when US nuclear major supplies technology for the pair of six reactors in Andhra Pradesh. Since June, this will be the third major development in India’s civil nuclear outreach beginning with pacts with Russia for Units 5 & 6 for Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant anfirst uranium shipment from Australia. 

Last November India and Japan signed a landmark civil nuclear cooperation deal — upgrading MoU at the 2015 Annual summit. Subsequently, the Japanese government got approval from the Diet for the nuclear deal with India. The two countries had reached a broad agreement for cooperation in civil nuclear energy sector during Abe’s visit to India in December 2015. Hitachi, also from Japan, has stakes in GE, which has also proposed to set reactors in India.

India is the only non-NPT signatory with which Japan has entered into a civil nuclear deal in what can be described as a recognition for Delhi’s impeccable non-proliferation record, said a person familiar with the matter. American nuclear major

July 21, 2017 Posted by | India, Japan, marketing | Leave a comment

Conflict in remote Himalayan plateau could lead to war between India and China

Warnings of a ‘chance of war’ between India and China as nuclear rivals face off Benedict Brooknews.com.au JULY 17, 2017 ASK most people to name a current crisis between nuclear armed states and North Korea and the US’ rapidly worsening relations would come to mind.

July 17, 2017 Posted by | China, India, politics international, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Villagers protest, and stop drilling work for proposed nuclear power plant in Chutka, India

Drilling work for proposed nuclear power plant Chutka stopped after villagers protest, Villagers in tribal dominated Mandla district’s Chutka staged a protest on Saturday, refusing to allow drilling for soil samples for the proposed nuclear power plant in the area  BHOPAL Hindustan Times,  Jul 16, 2017 17 Villagers in tribal dominated Mandla district’s Chutka staged a protest on Saturday, refusing to allow drilling for soil samples for the proposed nuclear power plant in the area. They said their demands and concerns have not been addressed by the authorities. Mandla is 382 kms from Bhopal.

Union environment ministry’s forest advisory committee (FAC) recommended forest clearance for Chutka nuclear project in Mandla after discussing the diversion of 119.46 hectares of forest land in Mandla in its meeting on May 16 this year. In 2015 the state cabinet had approved allotment of 41 acres of land for the Chutka project.

The 1,400 megawatt project being set up by Nuclear Power Corporation of India in collaboration with the Madhya Pradesh Power Generation Company will come up at village Chutka in Narayan Ganj tehsil of Mandla district. Over 400 families will be displaced by the project.

People of the four villages in Mandla district, predominantly tribals, have been protesting against the project since it was cleared by Centre in 2009. Most of them were displaced by the Bargi Dam in 1984……

Environmental expert Soumya Dutta who has visited Chutka many times, told HT that there was no rationale for the proposed nuclear power plant as MP was already a power surplus state.

“Given the scenario of power generation and power demand at present, there is no need for nuclear power plant in MP. Besides, if a village Gram Sabha (of Kunda) has not approved the project, the government has to constitutionally accept it…

July 17, 2017 Posted by | India, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Russia enthusiastically marketing latest third-generation nuclear reactors to India

Russia offers India latest third-generation reactors for post-Kudankulam nuclear project, First Post , 11 July 17 Moscow: Russia has offered India the latest “Generation 3-plus” nuclear reactor —the VVER-1200 — powered by advanced fuel, to be set up at a yet-to-be designated site in parallel to the ongoing 6,000 MW Kudankulam project in Tamil Nadu……

Both countries have agreed on a second nuclear power project to follow Kudankulam, which envisages the construction of six reactors of the earlier generation VVER type of 1,000 MW capacity each. The VVER-1200 has 20 percent more capacity than the VVER-1000.

July 14, 2017 Posted by | India, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

India’s nuclear energy goals unattainable? delays, costs, terrorism risks, proliferation and wastes problems

A primer on India’s nuclear energy sector, Hans India , By Gudipati Rajendera Kumar  , 10 July 17    “……..Target set by DAE is that by 2050 33 % of India’s total electricity requirement by 2050 will be from nuclear power. This comes out to be about 275000 MW. This target seems unachievable and undesirable because of following concerns –

 1.  India’s domestic Uranium Reserve can support only 10000 MW of energy. So our future potential depends upon development of third stage of Nuclear Program. Otherwise, there will be again overdependence upon imported Uranium as it is case with Oil currently. Hence, long term strategy will be only determined when third stage is functional.
 2. Current Nuclear reactors consume significant amount of water. So most of upcoming plants will be set up near sea costs. It will put pressure on the coastline as India’s Western coastline is home to fragile ecology of Western Ghats.
3.  Further, till now only 21 plants have been operational. There are long gestation periods which increase costs of the plant significantly. Only a Nuclear Industry revolution in the future in nuclear energy can make this achievable.
4.  New safeguard requirements post Fukushima disaster, has pushed per MW costs of nuclear reactors significantly higher in comparison to Thermal, solar and wind plants. Jaitapur plant in Maharashtra (AREVA) is expected to cost 21 crore/ MW in comparison other sources cost 8-10 crore/ MW. It is to be seen that whether differences of operational/ running costs justify such higher capital expenditure on nuclear plants.
5.  Some argue that Total costs of a Nuclear Lifecycle which involves Mining of Uranium, transportation and storage, capital costs of plants , processing/ reprocessing of plants, possible disasters and then handling of waste generated for hundreds of years is significantly more that economic value generated during lifetime of the functioning of the plant, which is generally 40-50 years.
6.  Nuclear installations will be favorite targets of terrorists (also in case of war) which can cause irreversible damage to people living in nearby areas.
7.  In long run if worldwide dependence on Nuclear energy increases, it will be most unavoidable way of nuclear proliferation as interest and attempt to invest in indigenous industry will increase. Otherwise smaller counties will continue to buy relevant technologies or components from a few western countries which will serve private interest of few.
8.  India doesn’t yet have credible waste disposal policy and infrastructure in place……. http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Young-Hans/2017-07-10/A-primer-on-Indias-nuclear-energy-sector/311404

July 14, 2017 Posted by | India, politics | Leave a comment

India’s grand thorium nuclear plan: pity it’s many decades away and not economically viable

A primer on India’s nuclear energy sector, Hans India , By Gudipati Rajendera Kumar  , 10 July 17 “………India has insufficient Uranium reserves of 1-2% of global reserves, but is endowed with one of the largest reserves of Thorium which constitute about 30 % of global reserves.

Thorium however is not fissile and can’t be used directly to trigger Nuclear Reaction. But it is ‘fertile’ and what makes it Nuclear Fuel is the fact that its isotope Thorium – 232 can be converted to Uranium -233 which is ‘fissile’. This process of conversion is called ‘Transmutation’. To exploit Thorium reserves Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha conceived ‘3 Stage Nuclear Program’….
 
 at present thorium is not economically viable because global uranium prices are much lower…..
 
Thorium itself is not a fissile material, and thus cannot undergo fission to produce energy.

•  Instead, it must be transmuted to uranium-233 in a reactor fueled by other fissile materials [plutonium-239 or uranium-235].

•  The first two stages, natural uranium-fueled heavy water reactors and plutonium-fueled fast breeder reactors, are intended to generate sufficient fissile material from India’s limited uranium resources, so that all its vast thorium reserves can be fully utilized in the third stage of thermal breeder reactor.

Stage I – Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor [PHWR]

•  In the first stage of the programme, natural uranium fuelled pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWR) produce electricity while generating plutonium-239 as by-product.

[U-238 ] Plutonium-239 + Heat]

[In PWHR, enrichment of Uranium to improve concentration of U-235 is not required. U-238 can be directly fed into the reactor core]

[Natural uranium contains only 0.7% of the fissile isotope uranium-235. Most of the remaining 99.3% is uranium-238 which is not fissile but can be converted in a reactor to the fissile isotope plutonium-239].

[Heavy water (deuterium oxide, D 2O) is used as moderator and coolant in PHWR].

•  PHWRs was a natural choice for implementing the first stage because it had the mostefficient reactor design [uranium enrichment not required] in terms of uranium utilisation…..

 
• In the second stage, fast breeder reactors (FBRs)[moderators not required] would use plutonium-239, recovered by reprocessing spent fuel from the first stage, and natural uranium.

•  In FBRs, plutonium-239 undergoes fission to produce energy, while the uranium-238 present in the fuel transmutes to additional plutonium-239.

transmuted to Plutonium-239?

Uranium-235 and Plutonium-239 can sustain a chain reaction. But Uranium-238 cannot sustain a chain reaction. So it is transmuted to Plutonium-239.

But Why U-238 and not U-235?

Natural uranium contains only 0.7% of the fissile isotope uranium-235. Most of the remaining 99.3% is uranium-238.

•  Thus, the Stage II FBRs are designed to “breed” more fuel than they consume.

•  Once the inventory of plutonium-239 is built up thorium can be introduced as a blanket material in the reactor and transmuted to uranium-233 for use in the third stage.

• The surplus plutonium bred in each fast reactor can be used to set up more such reactors, and might thus grow the Indian civil nuclear power capacity till the point where the third stage reactors using thorium as fuel can be brought online.

As of August 2014, India’s first Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor at Kalpakkam had been delayed – with first criticality expected in 2015, 2016..and it drags on.

Stage III – Thorium Based Reactors

•   A Stage III reactor or an Advanced nuclear power system involves a self-sustaining series of thorium-232-uranium-233 fuelled reactors.

•  This would be a thermal breeder reactor, which in principle can be refueled – after its initial fuel charge – using only naturally occurring thorium.

•  According to replies given in Q&A in the Indian Parliament on two separate occasions, 19 August 2010 and 21 March 2012, large scale thorium deployment is only to be expected 3 – 4 decades after the commercial operation of fast breeder reactors. [2040-2070]

As there is a long delay before direct thorium utilisation in the three-stage programme, the country is now looking at reactor designs that allow more direct use of thorium in parallel with the sequential three-stage programme

•  Three options under consideration are the Accelerator Driven Systems (ADS), Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR) and Compact High Temperature Reactor

Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor at Kalpakkam

•  The Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) is a 500 MWe fast breeder nuclear reactor presently being constructed at the Madras Atomic Power Station in Kalpakkam, India.

•  The Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) is responsible for the design of this reactor.

•  As of 2007 the reactor was expected to begin functioning in 2010 but now it is expected to achieve first criticality in March-April 2016.

•  Construction is over and the owner/operator, Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited (BHAVINI), is awaiting clearance from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).

•  Total costs, originally estimated at 3500 crore are now estimated at 5,677 crore.

•  The Kalpakkam PFBR is using uranium-238 not thorium, to breed new fissile material, in a sodium-cooled fast reactor design.

•  The surplus plutonium or uranium-233 for thorium reactors [U-238 transmutes into plutonium] from each fast reactor can be used to set up more such reactors and grow the nuclear capacity in tune with India’s needs for power.

•  The fact that PFBR will be cooled by liquid sodium creates additional safety requirements to isolate the coolant from the environment, since sodium explodes if it comes into contact with water and burns when in contact with air……

 
1. In the first stage, heavy water reactors fuelled by natural uranium would produceplutonium [U-238 will be transmuted to Plutonium 239 in PHWR];

2.  The second stage would initially be fuelled by a mix of the plutonium from the first stage and natural uranium. This uranium would transmute into more plutonium and once sufficient stocks have been built up, thorium would be introduced into the fuel cycle to convert it intouranium 233 for the third stage [thorium will be transmuted to U-233 with the help plutonium 239].

3.  In the final stage, a mix of thorium and uranium fuels the reactors. The thorium transmutes to U-233 which powers the reactor. Fresh thorium can replace the depleted thorium [can be totally done away with uranium which is very scares in India] in the reactor core, making it essentially a thorium-fuelled reactor [thorium keeps transmuting into U-233. It is U-233 that generates the energy].

 
Present State of India’s Three-Stage Nuclear Power Programme

•  After decades of operating pressurized heavy-water reactors (PHWR), India is finally ready to start the second stage.

•  A 500 MW Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) at Kalpakkam is set to achieve criticality any day now and four more fast breeder reactors have been sanctioned, two at the same site and two elsewhere.

•  However, experts estimate that it would take India many more FBRs and at least another four decades before it has built up a sufficient fissile material inventory to launch the third stage.

Solution to India’s Fissile

Shortage Problem – Procuring Fissile Material Plutonium

•  The obvious solution to India’s shortage of fissile material is to procure it from the international markethttp://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Young-Hans/2017-07-10/A-primer-on-Indias-nuclear-energy-sector/311404

July 14, 2017 Posted by | India, Reference, technology, thorium | Leave a comment

The international nuclear industry in financial meltdown

Global Meltdown? Nuclear Power’s Annus Horribilis, Jim Green, New Matilda, 9 July 2017 https://newmatilda.com/2017/07/09/global-meltdown-nuclear-powers-annus-horribilis/

This year will go down with 1979 (Three Mile Island), 1986 (Chernobyl) and 2011 (Fukushima) as one of the nuclear industry’s worst ever ‒ and there’s still another six months to go, writes Dr Jim Green.

Two of the industry’s worst-ever years have been in the past decade and there will be many more bad years ahead as the trickle of closures of ageing reactors becomes a flood ‒ the International Energy Agency expects almost 200 reactor closures between 2014 and 2040. The likelihood of reactor start-ups matching closures over that time period has become vanishingly small.

In January, the World Nuclear Association anticipated 18 power reactor start-ups this year. The projection has been revised down to 14 and even that seems more than a stretch. There has only been one reactor start-up in the first half of the year according to the IAEA’s Power Reactor Information System, and two permanent reactor closures.

The number of power reactors under construction is on a downward trajectory ‒ 59 reactors are under construction as of May 2017, the first time since 2010 that the number has fallen below 60.

Pro-nuclear journalist Fred Pearce wrote on May 15: “Is the nuclear power industry in its death throes? Even some nuclear enthusiasts believe so. With the exception of China, most nations are moving away from nuclear ‒ existing power plants across the United States are being shut early; new reactor designs are falling foul of regulators, and public support remains in free fall. Now come the bankruptcies…. The industry is in crisis. It looks ever more like a 20th century industrial dinosaur, unloved by investors, the public, and policymakers alike. The crisis could prove terminal.”

Pro-nuclear lobby groups are warning about nuclear power’s “rapidly accelerating crisis“, a “crisis that threatens the death of nuclear energy in the West“, and noting that “the industry is on life support in the United States and other developed economies“.

United States

The most dramatic story this year has been the bankruptcy protection filing of US nuclear giant Westinghouse onMarch 29. Westinghouse’s parent company Toshiba states that there is “substantial doubt” about Toshiba’s “ability to continue as a going concern”. These nuclear industry giants have been brought to their knees by cost overruns ‒estimated at US$13 billion ‒ building four AP1000 power reactors in the U.S.

The nuclear debate in the US is firmly centred on attempts to extend the lifespan of ageing, uneconomic reactors with state bailouts. Financial bailouts by state governments in New York and Illinois are propping up ageing reactors, but a proposed bailout in Ohio is meeting stiff opposition. The fate of Westinghouse and its partially-built AP1000 reactors are much discussed, but there is no further discussion about new reactors ‒ other than to note that they won’t happen.

Six reactors have been shut down over the past five years in the US, and another handful will likely close in the next five years. How far and fast will nuclear fall? Exelon ‒ the leading nuclear power plant operator in the US ‒ claims that “economic and policy challenges threaten to close about half of America’s reactors” in the next two decades. According to pro-nuclear lobby group ‘Environmental Progress‘, almost one-quarter of US reactors are at high risk of closure by 2030, and almost three-quarters are at medium to high risk. In May, the US Energy Information Administration released an analysis projecting nuclear’s share of the nation’s electricity generating capacity will drop from 20 per cent to 11 per cent by 2050.

There are different views about how far and fast nuclear will fall in the US ‒ but fall it will. And there is no dispute that many plants are losing money. More than half in fact, racking up losses totalling about US$2.9 billion a year according to a recent analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. And a separate Bloomberg report found that expanding state aid to money-losing reactors across the eastern US may leave consumers on the hook for as much as US$3.9 billion a year in higher power bills.

Japan

Fukushima clean-up and compensation cost estimates have doubled and doubled again and now stand at US$191 billion. An analysis by the Japan Institute for Economic Research estimates that the total costs for decommissioning, decontamination and compensation could be far higher at US$443‒620 billion.

Only five reactors are operating in Japan as of July 2017, compared to 54 before the March 2011 Fukushima disaster. The prospects for new reactors are bleak. Japan has given up on its Monju fast breeder reactor ‒ successive governments wasted US$10.6 billion on Monju and decommissioning will cost another US$2.7 billion.

As mentioned, Toshiba is facing an existential crisis due to the crippling debts of its subsidiary Westinghouse. Toshibaannounced on May 15 that it expects to report a consolidated net loss of US$8.4 billion for the 2016‒2017 financial year which ended March 31.

Hitachi is backing away from its plan to build two Advanced Boiling Water Reactors in Wylfa, Wales. Hitachi recentlysaid that if it cannot attract partners to invest in the project before construction is due to start in 2019, the project will be suspended.

Hitachi recently booked a massive loss on a failed investment in laser uranium enrichment technology in the US. A 12 May 2017 statement said the company had posted an impairment loss on affiliated companies’ common stock of US$1.66 billion for the fiscal year ended 31 March 2017, and “the major factor” was Hitachi’s exit from the laser enrichment project. Last year a commentator opined that “the way to make a small fortune in the uranium enrichment business in the US is to start with a large one.”

France

The French nuclear industry is in its “worst situation ever” according to former EDF director Gérard Magnin. France has 58 operable reactors and just one under construction.

French EPR reactors under construction in France and Finland are three times over budget ‒ the combined cost overruns for the two reactors amount to about US$14.5 billion.

Bloomberg noted in April 2015 that Areva’s EPR export ambitions are “in tatters“. Now Areva itself is in tatters and is in the process of a government-led restructure and another taxpayer-funded bailout. On March 1, Areva posted a €665 million net loss for 2016. Losses in the preceding five years exceeded €10 billion.

In February, EDF released its financial figures for 2016: earnings and income fell and EDF’s debt remained steady at €37.4 billion. EDF plans to sell €10 billion of assets by 2020 to rein in its debt, and to sack up to 7,000 staff. The French government provided EDF with €3 billion in extra capital in 2016 and will contribute €3 billion towards a €4 billioncapital raising this year. On March 8, shares in EDF hit an all-time low a day after the €4 billion capital raising was launched; the share price fell to €7.78, less than one-tenth of the high a decade ago.

Costs of between €50 billion and €100 billion will need to be spent by 2030 to meet new safety requirements for reactors in France and to extend their operating lives beyond 40 years.

EDF has set aside €23 billion to cover reactor decommissioning and waste management costs in France ‒ just over half of the €54 billion that EDF estimates will be required. A recent report by the French National Assembly’s Commission for Sustainable Development and Regional Development concluded that there is “obvious under-provisioning” and that decommissioning and waste management will take longer, be more challenging and cost much more than EDF anticipates.

In 2015, concerns about the integrity of some EPR pressure vessels were revealed, prompting investigations that are still ongoing. Last year, the scandal was magnified when the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) announced that Areva had informed it of “irregularities in components produced at its Creusot Forge plant.” The problems concern documents attesting to the quality of parts manufactured at the site. At least 400 of the 10,000 quality documents reviewed by Areva contained anomalies. Work at the Creusot Forge foundry was suspended in the wake of the scandal and Areva is awaiting ASN approval to restart the foundry.

French environment and energy minister Nicolas Hulot said on June 12 that the government plans to close some nuclear reactors to reduce nuclear’s share of the country’s power mix. “We are going to close some nuclear reactors and it won’t be just a symbolic move,” he said.

India

Nuclear power accounts for just 3.4 percent of electricity supply in India and that figure will not rise significantly, if at all. In May, India’s Cabinet approved a plan to build 10 indigenous pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWR). That decision can be read as an acknowledgement that plans for six Westinghouse AP1000 reactors and six French EPR reactors are unlikely to eventuate.

The plan for 10 new PHWRs faces major challenges. Suvrat Raju and M.V. Ramana noted: “[N]uclear power will continue to be an expensive and relatively minor source of electricity for the foreseeable future…. The announcement about building 10 PHWRs fits a pattern, often seen with the current government, where it trumpets a routine decision to bolster its “bold” credentials. Most of the plants that were recently approved have been in the pipeline for years. Nevertheless, there is good reason to be sceptical of these plans given that similar plans to build large numbers of reactors have failed to meet their targets, often falling far short.”

South Africa

An extraordinary High Court judgement on April 26 ruled that much of South Africa’s nuclear new-build program is without legal foundation. The High Court set aside the Ministerial determination that South Africa required 9.6 gigawatts (GW) of new nuclear capacity, and found that numerous bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements were unconstitutional and unlawful. President Jacob Zuma is trying to revive the nuclear program, but it will most likely be shelved when Zuma leaves office in 2019 (if he isn’t removed earlier). Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi said on June 21 that South Africa will review its nuclear plans as part of its response to economic recession.

South Korea

South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-in said on June 19 that his government will halt plans to build new nuclear power plants and will not extend the lifespan of existing plants beyond 40 years. President Moon said: “We will completely re-examine the existing policies on nuclear power. We will scrap the nuclear-centred polices and move toward a nuclear-free era. We will eliminate all plans to build new nuclear plants.”

Since the presidential election on May 9, the ageing Kori-1 reactor has been permanently shut down, work on two partially-built reactors (Shin Kori 5 and 6) has been suspended pending a review, and work on two planned reactors (Shin-Hanul 3 and 4) has been stopped.

Taiwan

Taiwan’s Cabinet reiterated on June 12 the government’s resolve to phase out nuclear power. The government remains committed to the goal of decommissioning the three operational nuclear power plants as scheduled and making Taiwan nuclear-free by 2025, Cabinet spokesperson Hsu Kuo-yung said.

UK

Tim Yeo, a former Conservative politician and now a nuclear industry lobbyist with New Nuclear Watch Europe, saidthe compounding problems facing nuclear developers in the UK “add up to something of a crisis for the UK’s nuclear new-build programme.”

The lobby group noted delays with the EPR reactor in Flamanville, France and the possibility that those delays would flow on to the two planned EPR reactors at Hinkley Point; the lack of investors for the proposed Advanced Boiling Water Reactors at Wylfa; the acknowledgement by the NuGen consortium that the plan for three AP1000 reactors at Moorside faces a “significant funding gap”; and the fact that the Hualong One technology which China General Nuclear Power Corporation hopes to deploy at Bradwell in Essex has yet to undergo its generic design assessment.

The only reactor project with any momentum in the UK is Hinkley Point, based on the French EPR reactor design. The head of one of Britain’s top utilities said on June 19 that Hinkley Point is likely to be the only nuclear project to go ahead in the UK. Alistair Phillips-Davies, chief executive officer of SSE, an energy supplier and former investor in new nuclear plants, said: “The bottom line in nuclear is that it looks like only Hinkley Point will get built and Flamanville needs to go well for that to happen.”

There is growing pressure for the obscenely expensive Hinkley Point project to be cancelled. The UK National Audit Office report released a damning report on June 23. The Audit Office said: “The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s deal for Hinkley Point C has locked consumers into a risky and expensive project with uncertain strategic and economic benefits… Today’s report finds that the Department has not sufficiently considered the costs and risks of its deal for consumers…. Delays have pushed back the nuclear power plant’s construction, and the expected cost of top-up payments under the Hinkley Point C’s contract for difference has increased from £6 billion to £30 billion.”

Writing in the Financial Times on May 26, Neil Collins said: “EDF, of course, is the contractor for that white elephant in the nuclear room, Hinkley Point. If this unproven design ever gets built and produces electricity, the UK consumer will be obliged to pay over twice the current market price for the output…. The UK’s energy market is in an unholy mess… Scrapping Hinkley Point would not solve all of [the problems], but it would be a start.”

And on it goes. Hinkley Point is one of the “great spending dinosaurs of the political dark ages” according to The Guardian. It is a “white elephant” according to an editorial in The Times.

EDF said on June 26 that it is conducting a “full review of the costs and schedule of the Hinkley Point C project” and the results will be disclosed “soon”. On July 3, EDF announced that the estimated cost of the two Hinkley reactors has risen by €2.5 billion (to €23.2 billion, or €30.4 billion including finance costs). In 2007, EDF was boasting that Britons would be using electricity from Hinkley to cook their Christmas turkeys in December 2017. But in its latestannouncement, EDF pushes back the 2025 start-up dates for the two Hinkley reactors by 9‒15 months.

Oliver Tickell and Ian Fairlie wrote an obituary for Britain’s nuclear renaissance in The Ecologist on May 18. Theyconcluded: “[T]he prospects for new nuclear power in the UK have never been gloomier. The only way new nuclear power stations will ever be built in the UK is with massive political and financial commitment from government. That commitment is clearly absent. So yes, this finally looks like the end of the UK’s ‘nuclear renaissance’.”

Switzerland

Voters in Switzerland supported a May 21 referendum on a package of energy policy measures including a ban on new nuclear power reactors. Thus Switzerland has opted for a gradual nuclear phase out and all reactors will probably be closed by the early 2030s, if not earlier.

Germany will close its last reactor much sooner than Switzerland, in 2022.

Sweden

Unit 1 of the Oskarshamn nuclear power plant in Sweden has been permanently shut down. Unit 2 at the same plant was permanently shut down in 2015. Ringhals 1 and 2 are expected to be shut down in 2019‒2020, after which Sweden will have just six operating power reactors. Switzerland, Germany and Taiwan have made deliberate decisions to phase out nuclear power; in Sweden, the phase out will be attritional.

Russia

Rosatom deputy general director Vyacheslav Pershukov said in mid-June that the world market for the construction of new nuclear power plants is shrinking, and the possibilities for building new large reactors abroad are almost exhausted. He said Rosatom expects to be able to find customers for new reactors until 2020‒2025 but “it will be hard to continue.”

China

With 36 power reactors and another 22 under construction, China is the only country with a significant nuclear expansion program. However nuclear growth could take a big hit in the event of economic downturn. And nuclear growth could be derailed by a serious accident, which is all the more likely because of China’s inadequate nuclear safety standards, inadequate regulation, lack of transparency, repression of whistleblowers, world’s worst insurance and liability arrangements, security risks, and widespread corruption.

Dr Jim Green is the national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth, Australia, and editor of the World Information Service on Energy’s Nuclear Monitor newsletter.

July 10, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, politics, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK, USA | Leave a comment

Meeting between Narendra Modi and Donald Trump not likely to lead to any nuclear trade deal with India

PM Modi-Trump talks: Civil nuclear deal to figure, no pact on reactors,Time of India.| Jun 25, 2017, 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • A pact between the NPCIL and Westinghouse to build six power reactors in Andhra Pradesh is unlikely to be signed.
  • The progress on the 2008 civil nuclear deal is likely to be discussed during the meeting.
  • During his visit to the US on June 25-26, Modi is slated to meet Donald Trump.
NEW DELHI: The Indo-US civil nuclear deal is expected to figure during talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump on Monday, but a pact between the NPCIL and Westinghouse to build six power reactors in Andhra Pradesh is unlikely to be signed.
A host of strategic issues are expected to be discussed during the parleys between the leaders of the world’s two largest democracies,….
They said a financial turmoil in Westinghouse and absence of a functional reference atomic plant were the main impediments behind the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited’s (NPCIL) unwillingness to sign the agreement with the American nuclear giant.

According to a joint statement by Modi and the then US president Barack Obama in 2015, both the sides had resolved to work towards “finalising the contractual agreement by June 2017”.

However, a lot of water has flown under the bridge since then.

Westinghouse, which was acquired by Japanese conglomerate Toshiba in 2007, filed for bankruptcy in March.

Apprehending uncertainty, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the NPCIL are unwilling to go ahead with any agreement with the beleaguered company till it comes out of the financial turmoil……http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pm-modi-trump-talks-civil-nuclear-deal-to-figure-no-pact-on-reactors/articleshow/59311335.cms

June 26, 2017 Posted by | India, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

37 sites close, as world’s largest coal company winds down

The World’s Largest Coal Mining Company Is Closing 37 Sites https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/kzqdme/the-worlds-largest-coal-mining-company-is-closing-37-sites,ANKITA RAO, Jun 23 2017,

As solar energy becomes cheaper than coal, India’s growth will depend on renewables.

Coal India—a government-back coal company–is reportedly closing 37 of its “unviable” mines in the next year to cut back on losses.

India is primed for an energy revolution. The country’s ongoing economic growth has been powered by fossil fuels in the past, making it one of the top five largest energy consumers in the world. But it has also invested heavily in renewables, and the cost of solar power is now cheaper than ever. In some instances, villages in India have avoided coal-powered electricity altogether, and “leapfrogged” straight to solar power.

Partly because of this shift, Coal India, which produced 554.13 million tonnes of coal in the 2016-2017 fiscal year (for comparison, the largest company in the US produced about 175 million in 2015) saw demand dip in recent months. This is not the first sign that coal is no longer the most economic option for emerging economies like India and China. Earlier this year, the heavily industrial state of Gujarat cancelled its proposed coal power plants. And a few weeks ago The Hindu reported that Coal India had identified another 65 mines in losses.

ndia’s energy situation is changing so fast that even expert predictions about its switch to renewables are wildly off: A study from last year claimed India would be building more than 300 coal plants in the next 10 years, but experts said the data was already outdated by the time the report was published, and that India would be moving toward renewables instead.

We are collectively moving away from fossil fuels“For the first time, solar is cheaper than coal in India and the implications this has for transforming global energy markets are profound,” said Tim Buckley, Director of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) in a statement. The decline of Coal India, which produces 80 percent of the country’s domestic coal output, is more evidence that we are collectively moving away from fossil fuels as cleaner, renewable technologies become more widely available. This reality is important to grasp in every country where coal used to be king. Even as Donald Trump promises coal jobs, let’s remember that those jobs don’t are unlikely to come back.

“One of the most popular mines today employs [a couple hundred people] who are doing the work that used to be done by thousands,” Jerome Scott, a left-leaning activist with the League of Revolutionaries for a New America, said at the Left Forum earlier this month in Manhattan. “That’s the fundamental contradiction within capitalism—it’s being disrupted because they’re able to hire fewer and fewer workers.”

And for countries like India, where companies like Coal India employ more than 300,000 people, training people to work in more viable energy markets will be increasingly important to provide sustainable livelihoods. Luckily, it looks like the solar industry will have some job openings.

June 26, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, climate change, India | Leave a comment