The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Scottish power plant forced offline for a week by swarm of jellyfish

Power plants seek nuclear option to end jellyfish raids, Sunday Times, There are plenty of problems for those in charge of nuclear power stations to worry about when they look out to sea, from rising sea levels, erosion, storm surges, even in some cases tsunamis, but few are as ever present, or as irritating, as jellyfish.

Swarms of them have plagued coastal power plants worldwide by clogging their water intakes and cooling systems. In June 2011, Torness in the east of Scotland was forced offline for a week after moon jellyfish blocked its filters.

Yet they are fiendishly difficult to stop, track or predict because jellyfish have no hearts and thus… (registered readers only)

October 24, 2016 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

Spain – the cradle of renewable energy

Spain aiming for 100 per cent renewable energy, company director says, ABC News 

October 24, 2016 Posted by | renewable, Spain | Leave a comment

Risk of a military conflict between Moscow and Washington has been overstated

Why a military conflict between Russia and the US is unlikely, Russia Direct, Oct 21, 2016, 
The risk of a military conflict between Moscow and Washington has been overstated. However, both sides should think about prevention mechanisms to minimize the risk of accidents that could lead to an open conflict. The expert community has been crying wolf for a long time now: “War is at the doorstep!” The gloomy predictions indicate that Russia and the United States are at the brink of direct military clashes, as if they were trying to celebrate the 54th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis in some perverse way. However, any conflict, if it happens, will most probably be accidental  the parties are not yet ready for full-scale military confrontation.

In the last few years, Russia has been modernizing its armed forces to replace the outdated Soviet-era materiel and structure. Numerous exercises, trillions of rubles spent, new equipment and combat vehicles emerging out of the blue, and a charismatic defense minister who changed the entire image of the Russian Army and brought back its popularity with society  all these steps provided for the fast (and real) growth of national military might.

However, it remains rather limited in comparison with the overall total potential of theNATO states. Some would say that the alliance is reluctant to take any serious decisions and is nothing more than a paper tiger. Nonetheless, the brainwashing of the last two years has significantly improved the decision-making capacity of NATO and the chances for achieving consensus over the “Russian threat.”

The ability to mobilize quickly strong conventional forces is still low, as NATO generals admit themselves. However, active recent revival of the nuclear sharing arrangements and the consolidation of U.S. troops in various countries of Central and Eastern Europe present enough deterrence against any light-minded action. It is clear that the war will not happen in Europe (and not even in Ukraine with its unpredictable leadership). However, wherever it occurs, NATO forces can eventually be mobilized to help their allies.

Moreover, Moscow has largely been pursuing a defensive policy over the past 16 years. Even now, when “the Russians are (seemingly) coming,” an independent observer would probably notice that the lion’s share of the activities of Moscow are reactive rather than proactive. …….

Two factors raise the probability of an armed clash between Russia and the U.S. One of them is rhetoric. There have been more words than action so far and there is a clear trend nobody is responsible for their words any longer. Any of the statements of the last few months would mean immediate war in the 19th or even in the 20th century. Nowadays, politicians throw thousands of words against each other and the struggle is with the minds and hearts and not with bodies. However, such belligerent rhetoric creates the climate of antagonism and public anticipation of a conflict. As a result, such atmosphere may facilitate prompt steps “in response” to another accident.

The second factor is, paradoxically, the low importance of the regional conflicts. Syria is so far away from Moscow and Washington that the parties do not really care about its future, its population and even its militants. Both Russia and the United States can afford there much more than they could in Ukraine, for instance (where actually none of them cared about the fate of Ukraine, but the proximity of Europe made it more difficult to fight). And such lack of significance may lead to a dangerous neglect of dramatic consequences of any armed clash and make the decision-making process easier to go to war.

Nowadays, Russia and the United States demonstrate wisdom and restraint. Given the current leadership in both countries, the expectations of war will hopefully stay just that expectations. However, the situation may change next year and it would be better for the parties to think about some minimal confidence-building measures and provide for the prevention of accidents, any of which may become fatal, just like an accidental missile launch during the Cold War era.

October 22, 2016 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

German cabinet approves landmark nuclear waste deal with utilities

Germany approves landmark nuclear waste deal with utilities: source  BERLIN (Reuters) – The German cabinet approved a deal on Wednesday for its top utilities to start paying into a 23.6-billion-euro ($25.9 billion) fund next year in return for shifting liability for nuclear waste storage to the government, a source said.

The agreement removes uncertainty about the costs of storing interim and final waste and gives investors greater clarity over the future finances of E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall [VATN.UL].

The utilities will remain responsible for dismantling the country’s nuclear plants, the last of which will be shut down in 2022 as part of Germany’s abandonment of the technology, a decision triggered by Japan’s Fukushima disaster five years ago.

(Reporting by Markus Wacket; Writing by Caroline Copley; Editing by Joseph Nasr)

Read the original article on Reuters.

October 22, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, Germany, politics | Leave a comment

Ukraine decides to cease paying Russia for nuclear waste disposal

wastes-1flag-UkraineUkraine to stop paying Russia for nuclear waste disposal : 21 Oct, 2016 From next year Ukraine is not going to pay Russia $200 million annually to remove spent nuclear fuel from the country, according to Ukrainian Energy Minister IgorNasalik.

The country will build its own spent nuclear fuel storage facility, the minister announced.

The storage site chosen is in the exclusion zone of the Chernobyl nuclear power, but it is not designed to store nuclear waste for a long time.

The exclusion zone is a 30-kilometer radius from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant established by the USSR soon after the 1986 accident.

Construction of the new central used fuel storage facility is expected to start in March 2017, according to a director of a subsidiary of the Ukrainian nuclear power plant operator Energoatom.

European nuclear industry experts are concerned the Ukrainian project does not meet standards for nuclear safety and creates a risk of a radioactive accident.

In August, the former director of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant Mikhail Umanets warned of the rising number of emergency situations in Ukraine’s nuclear energy sector, stressing the country would face a “collapse” in the sector within seven years……


October 22, 2016 Posted by | Ukraine, wastes | Leave a comment

Majority of Swiss back proposal to shut down nuclear power by 2029

Poll finds support for nuclear phaseout, SwissInfo Ch By Urs Geiser , 21 Oct 16  

A proposal to decommission Switzerland’s nuclear power plants by 2029 has the backing of a majority of citizens, according to a survey conducted seven weeks ahead of a nationwide vote. Despite this, pollsters believe the initiative is likely to be defeated on November 27.

Supporters of the Green Party proposal had a 21% lead over opponents seven weeks before polling day, while 7% of respondents were undecided, results published on Friday showed.

“The political left, women and citizens in the French-speaking part of the country are in favour,” said Claude Longchamp of the leading GfS Bern research and polling institute.

Supporters face a strong alliance of opponents, including centre-right parties, parliament, the government and the business community.

Longchamp said the grassroots of the centrist Christian Democrats are likely to play a key role……..

October 22, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, politics, Switzerland | Leave a comment

America’s Congressional hawks rev up their anti Russia rhetoric

US Hawks Continue Hysteria Over All Things Russia

Amid Rising Tensions, Old Allegations Spark New Panic

by Jason Ditz, October 19, 2016 In 2008, Russia carried out a test of a cruise missile which US officials argued might conceivably violate the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). This was first brought up by US officials in 2014,  during the anti-Russia hysteria surrounding the East Ukraine civil war.

Two and a half years later, tensions with Russia are on the rise again, so officials appear to have decided that the exact same 2008 test is suddenly a huge thing again, with a number of Congressional hawks issuing a letter claiming the Russian test was an “egregious” violation, and demanding that the Obama Administration “impose penalties” on Russia over it.

Russia had threatened to withdraw from the INF over NATO’s expansion into Eastern Europe, saying it changed the balance of power in the region. They were also riled by the Bush Administration’s threats to install missile defense along the Russian frontier.

The missiles in question are a multi-stage system Russia designed which are aimed to technically comply with the letter of the treaty, while expanding intermediate range capabilities in ways that the treaty was meant to forbid. The US has made similar developments over the years since 1987.

With US officials riled at Russia over Aleppo, and presenting the fighting in the city as a “holocaust,” they have also brought up several other grievances they have with Russia, accusing them of everything from treaty violations to supporting Donald Trump.

It’s interesting to note, however, that most of the grievances aren’t particularly new, and didn’t have a lot of meat to them the last time they brought them up. The effort seems to be to just keep Russia’s name out there, and always in a negative light.

October 22, 2016 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA wants meeting with Russia Over Missile Treaty Dispute

U.S. Calls For Meeting With Russia Over Missile Treaty Dispute , Radio Free Europe,  20 Oct 16 WASHINGTON — The United States has called for a special meeting with Russia over alleged violations of a landmark Cold War-era arms-control treaty, a policy reversal that echoes deepening U.S. fears about Moscow’s intentions.

The planned meeting of the Special Verification Commission, scheduled in the near future, focuses new attention on concerns about the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF).

The treaty, which bans testing, producing, and possessing ground-launched cruise missiles with ranges between 500 to 5,500 kilometers, eliminated an entire class of missiles from Europe, and set up an extensive system of verification and compliance. The agreement was considered crucial in the thaw between the Soviet Union and the United States.

Two years ago, the United States first asserted that Russia was in violation of the treaty, by developing a missile system that fell within the INF prohibitions. Moscow denied the allegations, and later charged that U.S.-led efforts to install elements of a missile-defense system in Europe were in fact prohibited by the INF.

Since then, U.S. officials have pressed Russia on the alleged violations; at one point, President Barack Obama raised the issue directly with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin……..

October 22, 2016 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Final presidential debate reveals sobering facts on how fast nuclear war could happen

apocalypseClues to the end of the world shared during final 2016 presidential debate, Mondoweiss,  on October 20, 2016 “……Four minutes is what it takes between the president’s decision to fire nuclear missiles, Clinton claimed during the debate, and their launch………..Here is the most illuminating exchange on nuclear weapons, according to a transcript published by the Washington Post. Clinton gave a clinical description of how fast nuclear weapons can be fired away at a president’s command. That information was perhaps a subtle way of warning Russian president Vladimir Putin that we remain the fastest guns in the West.

CLINTON: “I — I find it ironic that he’s raising nuclear weapons. This is a person who has been very cavalier, even casual about the use of nuclear weapons. He’s advocated more countries getting them, Japan, Korea, even Saudi Arabia. He said, well, if we have them, why don’t we use them, which I think is terrifying.

But here’s the deal. The bottom line on nuclear weapons is that when the president gives the order, it must be followed. There’s about four minutes between the order being given and the people responsible for launching nuclear weapons to do so. And that’s why 10 people who have had that awesome responsibility have come out and, in an unprecedented way, said they would not trust Donald Trump with the nuclear codes or to have his finger on the nuclear button……..

What Trump doesn’t seem to understand that defending Saudi Arabia, Germany, Japan and South Korea means defending major trading partners and, in the case of Saudi Arabia, a sand seared ocean of oil. But if the American nuclear umbrella suddenly closed, all of those countries could have nuclear weapons ready within weeks or months. The details are unimportant. What’s nauseatingly disturbing is that we are discussing the possibility of nuclear war at all. After all, this is 2016, right? If the arc of history bends towards justice, a nuclear holocaust is the thing that would blow that arc to smithereens. The real end of history

Clinton, for her part, recommitted herself to a no-fly zone in Syria, a provocation to Russian air forces the U.S. blames for bombing civilians and Western-friendly rebels. She also said that the occupation of Iraq would “not be in our interest,” while not mentioning that the Iraqis also have their objections to American military occupation. Classic Clinton.

This is all happening while thousands of nuclear weapons in the United States and Russia stand waiting to incinerate you and your family, if necessary………

October 21, 2016 Posted by | Russia, USA, USA elections 2016, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Five more nuclear reactors need shutdown and safety inspection – says France’s nuclear regulator

safety-symbol-Smflag-franceFrance’s nuclear watchdog wants to shut down 5 reactors over failure risk 20 Oct, 2016 10: The French nuclear watchdog has called for the shutdown and inspection of five more nuclear reactors for safety checks. The reactors have a high level of carbon which could lead to various failures.

The Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) has asked nuclear power utility EDF to carry out additional inspections at Fessenheim 1,Tricastin 2 and 4, Gravelines 4 and Civaux 1 reactors, according to a press release. All these reactors are located across the whole France, close to towns and communes.

“The performance of these inspections will require shutdown of the reactors concerned,” ASN added. The watchdog wants to check “certain channel heads of the steam generators on five of its reactors, in which the steel is affected by a high carbon concentration.”

According to ASN’s analysis, “certain channel heads of the steam generators … contain a significant carbon concentration zone which could lead to lower than expected mechanical properties.”

The watchdog said that it doesn’t want to wait “for the scheduled refueling outage of these reactors” and thus demands safety checks “within three months.”

According to the Local, this abnormality could lead to failures in mechanical properties and even to leaks or explosions.

The five reactors under scrutiny are among 18 at which ASN found abnormalities in June. Of the 18 reactors ASN says that six could be restarted after inspection. Seven others (Bugey 4, Civaux 2, Dampierre 3, Gravelines 2, Saint-Laurent-des-Eaux B1 and Tricastin 1 and 3) are being inspected and awaiting reboot.

CEO of ASN Olivier Gupta downplayed the concerns in comments to Le Monde newspaper, saying “the safety margins are very large and the carbon content does not undermine integrity or security, even in the case of an accident.”

France has 58 nuclear reactors with total capacity of 63.2 GWe. The country gets two thirds of its electricity from nuclear generation. READ MORE: Risk of nuclear theft, sabotage, cyberattacks by terrorists may be increasing – report

In April, President Francois Hollande promised to formally initiate the shutdown of the France’s oldest nuclear reactors on the grounds of environmental and safety concerns surrounding the Fessenheim power plant near the German and Swiss borders.

READ MORE: Hollande vows to shut down France’s oldest nuclear power plant Fessenheim houses two 920 megawatt reactors and has been running since 1978, making it France’s oldest operating plant. Due to its age, the German government and activists alike have long been calling for it to be permanently closed.

READ MORE: France shuts down Flamanville nuclear reactor over transformer failure

The German government has repeatedly called on France to terminate the Fessenheim plant as soon as possible, after an April 2014 accident when one of the reactors had to be shut down as water was found leaking from several places.

October 21, 2016 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

Costs falling fast, as wind energy booms in Europe

Europe’s offshore wind industry booming as costs fall  The European Union’s push away from fossil fuels toward renewables, along with falling costs, has seen offshore wind thrive with turbines being installed from the Irish to the Baltic Seas, reports Environment 360, Guardian, Christian Schwägerl, 2q1 Oct 16  “……In Europe, offshore wind farms like the one at Burbo Bank are undergoing a boom. While still significantly outnumbered by windfarms on land, the importance of windfarms at sea has grown dramatically in the past several years. Until 2011, between 5 and 10% of newly installed wind energy capacity in Europe was offshore. Last year, almost every third new wind turbine went up offshore. That growth has helped boost the share of wind energy in the European Union’s electricity supply from 2% in the year 2000 to 12% today, according toWindEurope, a business advocacy group.

New investments for offshore projects totaled $15.5bn in the first half of 2016 alone, according to WindEurope, and newly installed offshore wind energy capacity will double to 3.7 gigawatts this year compared to 2015. More than 3,300 grid-connected turbines now exist in the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the Irish Sea, and 114 new wind turbines were linked to the grid in European waters in the first half of this year alone. This is in stark contrast to the US and Asia, where offshore wind use is only just getting started.

The offshore wind boom is part of a wider move from fossil fuels to renewable energy across the European Union. The overall share of renewable electricity sources in the EU – hydropower, wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal – has gone up from about 15% in 2004 to roughly 33% in 2014, according to data from Eurostat and Entso-E, the association of grid operators. Along with solar photovoltaic power, wind energy is driving this expansion. Newly installed wind energy capacity amounted to 13 gigawatts in 2015, twice as much as newly installed fossil fuel and nuclear capacity combined. WindEurope claims that all European wind turbines taken together can now generate enough electricity for87m households.

This is not only a result of government subsidies and incentives, but also of dramatically reduced production costs for wind energy. The price for a megawatt hour is now between €50 and €96 for onshore wind and €73 to €140 for offshore wind, compared to around €65 to €70 for gas and coal. Electricity generated from onshore windfarms is now the cheapest among newly installed power sources in the UK and many other countries. If environmental costs are considered, the picture looks even more favorable for wind power.

Germany now meets one-third of its electricity demand with renewable energy, Denmark 42%, and Scotland as much as 58%. On some sunny or very windy days, renewables can now fully supply the electricity demand in these countries.

The picture isn’t entirely rosy, though. The European wind industry says that grid and storage infrastructure hasn’t expanded fast enough to soak up surplus wind energy, and that the fossil fuel and nuclear industries are trying to sabotage what is called Energiewende, Germany’s transition from coal andnuclear power to renewable energy. The wind energy boom, with its recurrent surges of surplus energy, has led to a dramatic decline in electricity prices in spot market trading at the European Electricity Exchange, with the price per kilowatt hour falling by as much as 50% in the last five years. With preferential treatment from EU governments, wind energy is now outcompeting coal-fired power plants, posing major challenges for utilities heavily invested in fossil fuels.

Out in the Irish Sea, however, Dong Energy’s Sykes shows no mercy for the fossil fuel industry. “Wind power on land is becoming the cheapest form of newly installed electricity capacity,” he says. “And even out here at sea, we can’t say anymore that there are technical hurdles.”………

To long-term players in the field such as Henrik Stiesdal, a Danish wind power pioneer and former chief technology officer of Siemens Wind power, the situation is ironic: “While there were warnings in the past that wind energy would never be able to meet demands, politicians are now confronted with its abundance,” he said. Stiesdal sees storage technologies and better grid integration as opportunities, rather than problems – wind energy’s “golden bullets”.

“Once these problems are solved, wind will be able to cover the greatest part of the world’s electricity needs,” he says. The WindEurope business group says it could easily double the amount of wind electricity for EU consumption to almost 30% by the year 2030. The group argues that the recent ratification of the Paris agreement on climate change means the EU will have to pursue a more ambitious energy transition.

A visit to Dong Energy’s Burbo Bank project demonstrates the rapid progress the industry has made from its modest beginnings in the 1990s. It will take engineers and workers just a few months to assemble a facility that will provide electricity for a quarter-million households.

Like Stiesdal, Dong’s Sykes sees a bright future for offshore wind. He expects no impact from the UK’s Brexit and notes that the Burbo Bank extension is co-owned by an unlikely player in power production: the parent company of Lego, the toymaker. “Offshore is a reliable and increasingly cheap source of energy, with no lasting harm to the environment,” Sykes says. “It will soon be simply unbeatable.”

October 20, 2016 Posted by | EUROPE, renewable | Leave a comment

Public distrust inside and outside Belarus about troubled nuclear power project

safety-symbol1Controversial new nuclear plant ignites Belarus Thirty years after Chernobyl catastrophe, construction of new nuclear station on border with Lithuania stirs debate. Aljazeera by  Minsk, Belarus , 19 Oct 16, – Thirty years after an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power station devastated the countryside on the southern border of Belarus, leaving behind lasting consequences for millions of people, the construction of a new nuclear station is stirring discord between government officials, opposition politicians, the local populace and foreign diplomats.

The death of a 43-year-old Russian contractor last month, after an explosion at the Belarusian nuclear power plant (BelNPP) construction site near Astravets in northern Belarus on its border with Lithuania, is only the latest in a string of little-publicised incidents that has raised concerns at home and abroad about the how the station is being constructed.

On July 10 of this year, the 330-tonne reactor casing dropped from a height of between two and four metres in an incident that only came to the public’s attention two weeks later when a member of the Belarus United Civil Party, Mikalai Ulasevich, leaked the news to the local press.

The Ministry of Energy eventually released a statement acknowledging the incident, and Rosatom – the Russian state nuclear corporation and the primary contractor for the project, said that tests had revealed the dropped casing to be safe.

Concerns and opposition

However, with the memory of Chernobyl looming large, both the energy ministry and Rosatom, which agreed to replace the casing to “mitigate rumours and panic among the population” have so far failed to reassure all Belarusians of the station’s safety.

“They are building a crematorium,” Ulasevich says, driving through the rural village of Varniany where BelNPP’s stacks loom over the horizon.

“The only way to guarantee the safety of the plant is to cease its construction.”

Anti-BelNPP activists, including Ulasevich, are concerned by the government’s decision to build the plant in an ecologically pristine region of the country’s north, surrounded by agricultural land and lakes not affected by Chernobyl.

They have also accused the Belarusian government of violating both the Aarhus andEspoo environmental protection conventions in the planning and the construction of the station in Astravets……..

Threatened neighbour

News of the spate of accidents has been met with concern in neighbouring Lithuania. The country’s interior ministry recently indicated that plans were being drafted, in the event of an accident at Astravets, for the evacuation of the capital, Vilnius, which is only 50km from the BelNPP construction site.

Meanwhile, Lithuania has called for Belarus to carry out IAEA stress tests at the site, during which experts both from the EU and Lithuania may be present.

A Lithuanian delegation for the plant said that until the tests are carried out, Belarus should halt the construction work. In August, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite described the project as an “existential” threat to European security……..

Public mistrust

By June of this year, the Belarussian public was largely split on BelNPP. A poll conducted by the Independent Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies suggested that a slight majority – 35 percent or respondents – disapproved of the project.

Tatyana Korotkevich, who was an independent candidate in the country’s parliamentary elections in September, told Al Jazeera in her offices in central Minsk that Belarusians in her electorate feel their questions about the plant have not been sufficiently addressed by the government………

Who will profit?

Energy analysts and activists alike say that the government’s economic arguments for the station are outdated since the Belarusian economy entered into a decline that the World Bank forecasts will continue into 2017 [PDF].

They say there is little evidence to suggest that the country’s economy would benefit from or even require the energy surplus the $11bn BelNPP will produce.

Minsk, which in July owed Moscow almost $300m in energy debts, hopes its nuclear project will help to levy energy independence. But anti-nuclear activists and independent analysts note that Russia, the primary contractor, will be the sole supplier of fuel for the project once completed…..

Like thousands of Belarusians following Chernobyl, anti-nuclear activist Tanya Novikova was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She, like other anti-nuclear activists in Belarus, including Ulasevich, report having been detained and harassed in their opposition to the plant. But Novikova won’t be deterred, she told Al Jazeera.

“I personally know that the consequences of Chernobyl may be more scary, more dramatic than being arrested,” she said.

October 19, 2016 Posted by | Belarus, safety | Leave a comment

UK suppresses freedom of speech, blocks RT bank accounts

civil-liberty-2smflag-UKUK’s Attack on RT’s Accounts is a ‘Basic Crackdown on Freedom of Speech‘ The blocking of RT’s bank accounts is nothing but a crackdown on freedom of speech, Steve Topple, independent journalist and commentator, told Sputnik. n an interview with Sputnik, Steve Topple, independent journalist and commentator, lashed out at the blocking of the accounts of the RT broadcaster in the United Kingdom which he slammed as a crackdown on freedom of speech.
The interview came as Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said on Monday that the RT broadcaster’s accounts have been blocked in Britain. “The decision is not subject to revision’. Long live freedom of speech!” Simonyan wrote in her Twitter page. She was echoed by Steve Topple who minced no words when commenting on the matter.

“This is a basic crackdown on freedom of speech. If RT UK incited terrorism or cultural violence, the blocking of its bank accounts could have been understandable,” he said. In this vein, he pointed to the UK’s current bad record of press  freedom, saying that among such countries as Latvia, Ghana and Uruguay in terms of backsliding on human rights.

Citing anti-Russian feeling in the UK, Topple did not rule out that the move is part of the West’s efforts to contain Russia in Syria.

“It looks like another stage in a propaganda war between the two sides,” he pointed out. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova commented on the issue by saying that London has seemingly abandoned all of its freedom of speech obligations. According to RT UK, National Westminster Bank said its parent organization Royal Bank of Scotland Group would refuse to service the broadcaster and was “not prepared to enter into any discussion.” Earlier, a member of the Russian Lower House’s International Affairs Committee told Sputnik that Russian lawmakers will demand an explanation from UK authorities over the actions. “We will also demand that international organizations, including the United Nations and the Council of Europe, clarify their stance on the issue,” Sergey Zheleznyak said.

Simonyan, for her part, said that the blocking of the accounts of the RT broadcaster in the United Kingdom will not lead to the company halting its operations in the country.

Following Simonyan’s statement on Twitter earlier in the day, RT UK said it had been informed by National Westminster Bank that it “will no longer provide” banking arrangements for the broadcaster. RT operates a number of cable and satellite television channels in a multiple languages and is directed at a foreign audience. The channels provide 24-hour news coverage, as well as airing documentaries, talk shows and debates.

October 19, 2016 Posted by | civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

French nuclear company EDF lobbies Scottish party SNP. Environmental groups strongly oppose it

text-Noflag-ScotlandCharities reject case for nuclear extensions as EDF begins lobbying of SNP, Common Space, Nathanael Williams  18 Oct 16 As the SNP ends its autumn conference, green groups resist attempts to extend nuclear power in Scotland

ENVIRONMENTAL groups have come out in opposition to attempts by the energy company EDF to persuade the SNP to extend the lives of Scotland’s two nuclear power stations.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Scotland has also dismissed claims by the energy giant that the only way for Scotland to meet its energy demands was to invest more in nuclear power.

Instead, campaigners have emphasised the importance of renewables as the main source of economic growth, jobs and sustainability.

“Independent analysis has shown that our electricity system could be powered almost entirely by renewables within two decades without the need for any gas, coal or nuclear power in Scotland.” Lang Banks

Speaking to CommonSpace, Lang Banks, the director of WWF Scotland said: “Despite EDF’s claims, there’s simply no need for the two remaining nuclear power stations in Scotland to have their lives further extended.

“Independent analysis has shown that our electricity system could be powered almost entirely by renewables within two decades without the need for any gas, coal or nuclear power in Scotland. The analysis also shows that Scotland would maintain security of supply and its position as an electricity-exporting nation.

“From opinion polling, we know that the majority of the Scottish public support the view that all of our nation’s electricity should be generated from pollution-free renewables.

The Scottish Government’s forthcoming energy strategy provides the perfect opportunity to set out a bold vision of becoming the EU’s first fully renewable electricity nation by 2030.

“Embracing such a vision would ensure that we secure the maximum economic and social benefits that would come from a transition toward a zero-carbon society.”

“Despite EDF’s claims, there’s simply no need for the two remaining nuclear power stations in Scotland to have their lives further extended.” Lang Banks

WWF was responding to the French energy company, which owns two Scottish nuclear power stations, announcing at an SNP fringe event that it will re-started its lobbying the Scottish Government for an extension of the lives of both power stations.

Paris-based EDF took over the plants at Torness and Hunterston when previous operator British Energy plc went into administration over mounting costs of storing the highly radioactive residue created………

“The Scottish Government’s forthcoming energy strategy provides the perfect opportunity to set out a bold vision of becoming the EU’s first fully renewable electricity nation by 2030.” Lang Banks

Last month, WWF Scotland was among a number of charities including Friends of the Earth Scotland (FoES) which protested the decision to give a go-ahead to the new nuclear plant at Hinkley in Sussex. The main reason for campaigners objections to the Hinkley plant were the vast costs of construction and the better deals for customers if solar and hydro were invested in.

They additionally argue that Scotland’s progress in renewables capacity warrants further development of wind, hydro, solar and tidal and a rejection of nuclear. WWF Scotland’s research showed that this year, renewables generated 57 per cent of Scotland’s electricity consumption. The Scottish government in turn has set a target that by 2020 the equivalent of 100 per cent of gross annual electricity consumption will be renewables derived.

From a legal perspective, the building of any new nuclear power station in Scotland would require consent from Scottish Government Ministers under the Electricity Act of 1989.

The Scottish Government at the moment has stated it will not seek new nuclear facilities but has not been explicit in its rejection of extensions to existing ones. However, they were not avalible to comment when contacted by CommonSpace.

October 19, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear power plant maintenance stoppages cause France’s electricity prices to rise

French winter forward power prices rally on fresh nuclear concerns  Reuters By Vera Eckert and Bate Felix FRANKFURT/PARIS, Oct 18 French forward power prices hit fresh highs on Tuesday on persistent worries over further nuclear power reactor downtime in coming months at five plants, which could tighten European electricity supplies in winter.

Nuclear watchdog ASN has told state utility EDF to conduct tests on the five nuclear reactors before their scheduled maintenance period, potentially adding further pressure to the country’s already tight supply situation.

ASN said in a statement that the five reactors to be tested were: the 1,500 MW Civaux 1 (no maintenance date set); 900 MW Fessenheim 1, scheduled to go offline on Oct. 22; 900 MW Gravelines 4, scheduled for planned outage in April 2017; 900 MW Tricastin 4, scheduled for statutory outage on Oct. 22, and the 900 MW Tricastin 2 scheduled for outage in April 2017……..

French grid operator RTE said on Tuesday that French nuclear power production in September fell to its lowest in 18 years due to the issues with French reactors. Output has been on a steady decline since May………

Traders questioned France’s seemingly patchy outage reporting standards compared with their northwest European peers, who update the market of any slight changes in production outlook, especially since French power markets are exerting such a big pull over the broader European energy complex.

“Why is the market mover of all European commodities not saying a word about its own nuclear problems?,” a trader said.

French energy market regulator CRE said separately that it was paying attention to the reasons for the sharp rise in French forward power prices, and was paying particular attention to transparency obligations under European Union REMIT regulations. ($1 = 0.9098 euros) (Additional reporting by Oleg Vukmanovic and Geert De Clercq; Editing by Mark Potter and Adrian Croft)

October 19, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment