nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

As if in a department store sale day, foreign nuclear companies compete to sell their radioactive products to Britain

Foreign companies flock to build nuclear plants in the UK  A South Korean firm is just the latest to be lured by Britain’s atomic amibitions as safety concerns and cost stalk the industry, Guardian, , 26 Mar 17, Nuclear energy faces an uncertain future globally as concerns over safety and cost dog the industry. But in the UK, foreign investors are queueing up to back projects. The latest is South Korea. Its biggest power company is in talks to join the consortium backing a nuclear power station in Cumbria, in a sign of the continuing allure of Britain’s atomic ambitions to international companies. Kepco said last week it was interested in taking a stake in NuGen, which is 60% owned by Japan’s Toshiba and 40% by France’s Engie, confirming what had been an open secret in the industry for months.

Kepco’s president, Cho Hwan-eik, said that once the terms of a potential deal were ironed out, “we will be the first to jump into the race”…….

Potential investors have been drawn by the UK government’s enthusiasm and a nuclear standstill elsewhere, amid lingering safety fears in the wake of the Fukushima disaster and cost overruns at the Flamanville site in France which is using a new reactor design. As a result, South Korea has joined Japan, China and France in showing interest in British nuclear.

It’s pretty simple. We are the only people building new nuclear power stations and we have by far the biggest new nuclear programme outside China for the next 10 years,” said Peter Atherton, an analyst at consultancy Cornwall Energy. “The civil nuclear programme globally doesn’t have any orders.”

 One expert, Mycle Schneider, called the UK the “last hope” for the nuclear construction giants of the world. The Paris-based nuclear consultant said: “In Korea the political situation will dramatically change after the upcoming elections, [probably] not in favour of the nuclear industry. Success overseas will help survival at home. The Japanese industry clearly has no future at home and little prospects abroad [because of Fukushima].”

The UK has also dangled the prospect of economic support for foreign nuclear builders. French state-owned EDF, which is building two new reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset at a cost of £18bn, struck a subsidy contract with the government that will see it guaranteed twice the wholesale price of electricity for 35 years. The deal means Hinkley would be an “absolute goldmine” when operational, Atherton said.

He said UK financial support was not dissimilar to the deal Kepco has in the United Arab Emirates, where it is building four new reactors paid for by the UAE’s state-owned utility. “The economics of the project, and the economic risks of the project, fall on the host government,” said Atherton.

There is also the prospect that the UK government could take a stake in one of the new nuclear sites. Leaks to Japanese media revealed officials in London and Tokyo had discussed the UK offering state finance to a project led by Japan’s Hitachi to build reactors next to the site of an old one at Wylfa in Wales………https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/mar/25/foreign-firms-flock-to-build-nuclear-plants-in-uk

March 27, 2017 Posted by | marketing, UK | Leave a comment

Britain will struggle with nuclear regulatory system, after leaving European Union

Top nuclear boss advising May on protecting atomic industry from Brexit blow Energy Voice , 26 Mar 17 The German head of one of the UK’s top nuclear companies is counseling Prime Minister Theresa May’s government on what needs to be done to protect a global hub for the industry from Brexit.

With European Union leaders congregating to celebrate the Treaty of Rome’s 60th anniversary, Urenco Ltd.’s Chief Executive Officer Thomas Haeberle said he’s cautiously optimistic that new rules can be negotiated to guarantee the flow of nuclear materials in and out of the U.K. after the nation leaves the bloc.

“We are making the U.K. government, which is also our shareholder, aware of the requirements our business needs to fulfill in the context of Brexit and of leaving Euratom,” said Haeberle, referring to the European Atomic Community, a part of the EU’s bedrock agreement signed on March 25, 1957 – 26/03/20

Just as bankers have made London a global financial hub, nuclear workers have turned Britain into a central cog servicing the world’s flow of atomic materials. Urenco, the world’s second-biggest maker of reactor fuel, runs a factory in Capenhurst and oversees its global distribution network from Stoke Poges outside of London.

Owned by the U.K. and Dutch governments as well as German utilities EON SE and RWE AG, Urenco has set up a working group that “deals with all the risks and the possible mitigations,” Haeberle said. He spoke with Bloomberg a week before the EU celebrates Euratom’s 60th anniversary, his first interview since becoming CEO in January 2016.

Euratom’s main function is to safeguard nuclear fuel, making sure it isn’t diverted to make weapons. The U.K. will lose that service once it departs the EU. Nuclear fuel suppliers and power plants need certification from Euratom or whatever system succeeds it to buy material on the open market.

For Urenco’s business to continue uninterrupted after the U.K. leaves the EU, negotiators will have to seal new agreements with governments around the world setting out the new regulatory system Britain will follow after it leaves Euratom……..

Companies like Urenco face a potentially “high impact” from Brexit, Moody’s Investors Service wrote in a May 22 note saying that the overall credit impact from leaving the EU will be modest. Urenco, which has 2.1 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) of outstanding debt is rated Baa1, two grades above junk by Moody’s…… https://www.energyvoice.com/otherenergy/134874/top-nuclear-boss-advising-may-protecting-atomic-industry-brexit-blow/

 

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March 27, 2017 Posted by | politics international, safety, UK | Leave a comment

Britain’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) sounds alarm over doctored papers & security breaches at French nuclear parts supplier

UK watchdog sounds alarm over doctored papers & security breaches at French nuclear parts supplier, Rt.com  25 Mar, 2017 

The ONR report, obtained under a Freedom of Information request and seen by Reuters, gives details on the December 16 visit by an international monitoring team to a French Creusot forge, operated by the country’s state-owned nuclear supplier Areva.

In the report, the UK watchdog warned that safety procedures at Creusot were far below the required standards for a key nuclear equipment supplier. That, they said, could lead to severe consequences for EDF’s [the largest energy company in France] Hinkley Point nuclear project currently under construction in southwest Britain, which is set to receive forgings from Creusot.

“ONR should consider the adequacy of EDF’s… oversight and assurance arrangements for Areva as a key supplier to Hinkley Point, given the performance shortfalls at Creusot Forge and the associated risks to [nuclear] components manufacture,” the regulator said, as cited by Reuters.

Among the breaches was the continued use of correction fluid on documents at the foundry, despite an earlier ban.

The ONR report also inquired into why internal inspections and audits carried out in past decades at Creusor Forge had not discovered and dealt with any of the falsification activities.

Following the December findings, two EDF nuclear reactors were stopped for months, utilities worldwide started reviewing Areva-made parts, and Paris launched a probe into the suspected falsification of documents.

The inspection of the troubled facility was carried out last year by an international team from France, Canada, the US, China, Finland, and Britain…….https://www.rt.com/news/382273-nuclear-france-failure-uk/

March 27, 2017 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Ireland demands to be consulted on potential effects of nuclear power station on England’s west coast

Ireland issues powerful demand to have say on UK nuclear plant, Sunday Times, Environment minister Denis Naughten has asked the UK to consult Ireland on the potential effects of a nuclear power station on England’s west coast, 250km from Rosslare.

The Irish government has stopped short of calling for a full environmental impact assessment (EIA) of Hinkley Point C, the first new nuclear station in the UK in more than 20 years, however. Were such a study held, the Irish public could comment on the plans.

The environment department said it was a “matter for the UK to decide” whether work on Hinkley C should be put on hold while potentially affected countries such as Ireland are consulted, as recommended by a United Nations committee.

The UK has been criticised at the UN for not consulting neighbouring countries…http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/ireland/ireland-issues-powerful-demand-to-have-say-on-uk-nuclear-plant-nvb7q0rf8

March 27, 2017 Posted by | environment, UK | Leave a comment

Russia ready to discuss further reduction of nuclear capabilities

According to Russia’s foreign minister, the time has not come yet for the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons, http://tass.com/politics/937006MOSCOW, March 23. /TASS/. Russia is prepared to discuss the possibility of further reduction of nuclear capabilities, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday.

“We are ready to discuss the possible further gradual reduction of nuclear capabilities but taking into account all factors that affect strategic stability rather than only the quantity of strategic offensive weapons,” the minister said speaking at the Russian General Staff’s Military Academy.

“We are ready to discuss this issue proceeding from the growing urgency of making this process multilateral.”

Lavrov emphasized that the time has not come yet for abandoning nuclear weapons completely. “Efforts to coerce nuclear powers to abandon nuclear weapons have intensified significantly recently. It is absolutely clear that the time has not yet come for that,” he noted.

March 25, 2017 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

At Svanhovd, Norway, another tiny measurement of radioactive iodine – ongoing release?

Another tiny measurement of radioactive iodine at Svanhovd https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/ecology/2017/03/another-tiny-measurement-radioactive-iodine-svanhovd
Norwegian Radiation Protection Authorities (NRPA) without any suspected source. 
Thomas Nilsen March 23, 2017

The very small amount of radioactive iodine was measured in week 10, between March 6 to 13, by the authorities’ instruments at Svanhovd, a few hundred meters from Norway’s border to the Kola Peninsula in the north.

«We measured 0,35 microbecquerels of iodine-131. We didn’t detected any other radioactive isotopes,» says Head of section for emergency preparedness with NRPA, Astrid Liland, in an e-mail to the Barents Observer.

The radiation authorities says no other measurements of iodine are found anywhere else in Norway for the period.

NRPA underlines that no radiation is measured at Svalbard where the measurement filters are connected to the CTBTO network with the purpose of monitoring the nuclear test ban treaty.

This is the second time this winter that radioactive iodine is measured at Svanhovd. Following the traces measured in January, a series of tweets started to spread claiming the source to be a possible Russian nuclear weapon test at Novaya Zemlya. No other evidence supported such weapon test.

Ongoing release?

Nuclear physicist with the Bellona Foundation, Nils Bøhmer, says this second period of measurement indicates that there are some kind of ongoing releases.

«If it is iodine-131, it is serious because that likely means a continuing release still going on. Iodine-131 has a half-life of only 8 days, so what was measured in January are long gone,» Bøhmer says to the Barents Observer.

A possible ongoing release is supported by measurements in Finland a week before the trace was detected in Norway’s northeasternmost corner.

In late February, the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority of Finland detected radioactive Iodine-131 in Rovaniemi. Levels were at 0,3 microbecquerels per cubic meter of air. Norwegians have not reported any traces of the isotope for that period. The January trace of radioactive Iodine-131, still of unknown origin, was first detected at Svanhovd near Kirkenes in northern Norway. Shortly afterwards, the isotope was detected over large areas in Europe, first in Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland. Within the next two weeks, traces of radioactivity, although in tiny amounts, were measured in Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, France and Spain, the Barents Observer reported.

March 24, 2017 Posted by | environment, EUROPE, radiation | Leave a comment

As Toshiba’s $500m nuclear bankruptcy looms, Brtitain’s Moorside project looks doubtful

Fears for Moorside as Toshiba ‘lining up’ $500m bankruptcy backstop for Westinghouse nuclear arm,Telegraph UK  21 MARCH 2017 Fears that Toshiba’s struggling nuclear business Westinghouse could be on the brink of going under have been reignited following reports that it is lining up a US bankruptcy protection finance package.

The company is reportedly reviewing proposals from financial institutions and investment firms for a so-called debtor-in-possession loan to keep the company afloat while it undertakes a bankruptcy process.

According to Reuters, people familiar with the matter have said the loan is likely to be over $500m to enable the heavily indebted company to pay employees and complete the work on four nuclear power plants in the US. The projects are the first nuclear reactors to be built in the US for thirty years, but heavy delays have saddled Toshiba with writedowns of 712.5bn yen (£5bn).

The sources warned that the talks are at an early stage and that no final decision has been made to wind down the company. A UK spokesman for the company was not immediately able to comment.

A potential bankruptcy procedure raises serious questions over the future of a key £10bn nuclear project which plans to use the AP1000 nuclear reactor designed by Westinghouse.

Toshiba is a 60pc shareholder in the NuGeneration consortium, which plans to develop the Moorside project alongside France’s Engie, formerly known as GDF Suez.An early exit from Toshiba could heavily delay the start up of the 3.2GW Moorside project while NuGen scrambles to find new investment and approve a new nuclear reactor design to use in the project……
The company said it will deliver its full year results on April 11, its third scheduled date after failing to disclose the full impact of its Westinghouse woes twice before. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/03/21/toshiba-lining-500m-bankruptcy-backstop-say-reports/

March 24, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Unsafety at France’s La Hague nuclear recycling plant ? AREVA unions warn

Areva unions warn about safety at France’s La Hague nuclear recycling plant Unions says cost cuts, redundancies jeopardise safety * Regulator ASN inspects plant following union warning * ASN: plant is safe but will be vigilant, adapt procedures * ASN confirms some radioactive waste containers flawed (Adds ASN comments) Nasdaq, By Geert De ClercqPARIS, March 23 (Reuters) – 

Redundancies and cost savings are compromising safety at French nuclear group Areva’s <AREVA.PA> nuclear waste recycling facility at La Hague in Normandy, the firm’s unions say in an internal document. In an undated and unsigned note from the Areva La Hague Health and Safety Committee (CHSCT), seen by Reuters, the plant’s unions say that the Areva management’s “frantic cost-cutting is jeopardising long-established procedures” to prevent the risk of technical failures and human error. French nuclear safety authority ASN told Reuters it had received a copy of the note in November and had consequently inspected the plant, concluding that safety levels were acceptable.
However, it confirmed an incident in late 2016 – highlighted in the union note – in which several batches of highly radioactive waste were not properly processed during vitrification. It also said it would remain vigilant about issues signalled by the unions and may adapt its monitoring procedures.
 “We are launching a serious alert message: Until recently we pursued excellence in matters of safety, now we just try to be okay, which makes no sense in an industry that has no room for error,” the CHSCT note said……http://www.nasdaq.com/article/areva-unions-warn-about-safety-at-frances-la-hague-nuclear-recycling-plant-20170323-00787.

March 24, 2017 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

Campaign groups mobilise against UK’s Bradwell nuclear power project

‘Take Bradwell off the nuclear list now’ – Campaigners call for review of Government proposed sites http://www.gazette-news.co.uk/news/15168807.___Take_Bradwell_off_the_nuclear_list_now______Campaigners_call_for_review_of_Government_proposed_sites/ Rebecca Creed, Chief Reporter / ,  21 Mar 17 A CAMPAIGN group fighting against a new power station at Bradwell has called for the proposed site to be removed from a Government list.

In 2011 the Government revealed a list of eight sites deemed “potentially suitable” for new nuclear stations, including Bradwell.

But Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG), which has campaigned against a new power station, believes the list should be reviewed. It comes as the group, along with other campaigners, submitted their response to a pre-application consultation for Sizewell C in Suffolk.

Andy Blowers, chairman of BANNG, said: “The policy for new nuclear power stations is out of time and out of order and safer, less expensive and environmentally-sustainable alternatives need to be put in place.”

In January, it was announced the Government had asked nuclear regulators to begin the process of approving a Chinese-designed reactor for a new power plant.

EDF Energy signed a deal with China General Nuclear Power Corporation for Bradwell B, a greenfield site next to the former station.

The Chinese company will provide two thirds of the development costs of Bradwell B and hopes to begin construction by 2023..Up to 25,000 jobs will be created during construction, although it is unclear how many vacancies will be filled by residents.

Mr Blowers added: “In the coming months BANNG will continue its campaign to oppose the Chinese nuclear project at Bradwell, which threatens to destroy a precious environment and inflict harm on present and future generations.

“At the local level we will work with the communities around the Blackwater to thwart the project in its early stages.

“At regional level we will back Together Against Sizewell C’s legal challenge to the Government’s nuclear policy.

“And, at the national level, with other protest group leaders, we shall fight to have both Bradwell and Sizewell removed from the list of nominated sites for new nuclear power stations. The Government’s policy is misguided and in need of urgent review.”Harwich and North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin has said a new power station could threaten the eco-system of the Blackwater estuary at Mersea.

March 24, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Russia developing Major Naval Base for Nuclear Warships in Syria

How Russia Is Turning Syria into a Major Naval Base for Nuclear Warships (and Israel Is Worried), National Interest, Michael Peck, 18 Mar 17, During the 1970s, the Syrian naval base of Tartus became a major port servicing warships of the Soviet Union’s Fifth Mediterranean squadron.

The Soviet Union is gone, and so is Syria as a unified nation. But Russia is back, and it’s building up Tartus again as a naval base that can handle Russia’s largest nuclear-powered ships.

Already, Israel says the Tartus base is affecting its naval operations. U.S. and NATO operations could be next.

Under the forty-nine-year agreement inked late last year by Russia and Syria, “the maximum number of the Russian warships allowed at the Russian naval facility at one time is 11, including nuclear-powered warships, providing that nuclear and ecological security rules are observed,” according to Russia’s RT news site. Russia will also be allowed to expand port facilities to accommodate the vessels.

The specification allowing nuclear-powered warships means that Russia wants to be able to base in Syria large surface ships, namely Kirov-class nuclear-powered battle cruisers, as well as nuclear submarines.

In addition, the treaty allows “Russia is allowed to bring in and out any kind of ‘weaponry, ammunition, devices and materials’ to provide security for the facility staff, crew, and their families throughout the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic ‘without any duties or levies,’” according to RT.

Expansion of the port will take about five years, according to an anonymous source cited in Russia’s Sputnik News. “The source added that the works would focus on dredging operations to allow cruisers and even possibly aircraft carriers to use the facility’s infrastructure,” Sputnik News reported. “According to the source, Russia also needs to develop the facility’s ground infrastructure, through construction of canalization, electricity generation facilities and barracks for the servicemen.”

Sputnik News also listed other provisions of the agreement. These include:

• Russia will be responsible for sea and air security of the base, while Syria handles the land defenses.

• Russia can deploy “temporary mobile outposts” beyond the base, as long as they coordinate them with the Syrians.

• Russia can renovate the base at will, including underwater construction, and build offshore platforms.

• Upon Syrian request, Russia will send specialists to service Syrian warships, conduct search and rescue in Syrian waters, and organize the defense of Tartus.

• Syria agrees not to “make any objections related to the military activities of the base, which will also be beyond Damascus’ jurisdiction.”

• “Syria also pledges to solve any conflicts that may arise if a third party objects to the activities of the base.”

The Tartus deal is significant on several levels…… http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/how-russia-turning-syria-major-naval-base-nuclear-warships-19813

March 20, 2017 Posted by | Russia, Syria, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Request by UN to Britain: Pause Hinkley Nuclear Plant Work for Environmental Assessment

UN Asks U.K. to Pause Hinkley Nuclear Plant Work for Assessment https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-18/un-asks-u-k-to-pause-hinkley-nuclear-plant-work-for-assessment by Grant Smith and Alex Morales March 19, 2017 

  • UN committee calls for halt to allow environmental studies
  • EDF won approval to build 18 billion-pound plant in September

A United Nations committee asked the U.K. to suspend work on the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant pending assessment of the environmental impact.

The UN Economic Commission for Europe requested the pause, it said in a document on its website. Electricite de France SA, the French state-controlled utility, won approval to build an 18 billion-pound ($22.3 billion) nuclear plant on England’s western coast in September. To help shoulder the construction costs, EDF convinced China General Nuclear Power Corp. to take 33.5 percent of the project.

The UN committee recommended the halt until it established whether “a notification under the Espoo Convention” was useful, according to the statement. The Espoo Convention sets out the obligations of countries to “assess the environmental impact of certain activities,” according to the commission’s website.

Bouygues SA and Areva SA have received contracts for work at the plant.

March 20, 2017 Posted by | politics international, UK | Leave a comment

The very serious threat of sea level rise

SEA-LEVEL RISE IS A ‘SERIOUS THREAT’ #CLIMATECHANGE #AUSPOL https://jpratt27.wordpress.com/2017/03/17/sea-level-rise-is-a-serious-threat-climatechange-auspol/

Sea-level rise poses ‘a serious threat’ to millions of Europeans, scientists warn. A new study spells out the threat of sea-level rise in coastal communities.The kind of devastating flooding that occurs once every century along Europe’s northern coastline could become an annual event if greenhouse gas emissions continue to climb, according to a recent study published in the journal Earth’s Future.

New analysis takes into account changes in sea-level rise, tides, waves, and storm surge over the 21st century and found that climate change could prompt extreme sea levels — the maximum levels seen during major storms, which produce massive flooding — to increase significantly along the European coastline by 2100.

This scenario will likely stress coastal protection structures beyond their capacity, leaving much of the European coastline vulnerable to dangerous flooding, according to study authors.

“Unless we take different protection measures, five million people will be exposed to coastal flooding on an annual basis,” said Michalis Vousdoukas, a coastal oceanographer at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission and lead author of the study.

The study described the projected rise in extreme sea levels as “a serious threat” to coastal communities, noting, “their safety and resilience depends on the effectiveness of natural and man-made coastal flood protection.”

Kevin Trenberth, a scientist with the climate analysis section of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, who was not involved in this research, said the signs of extreme sea levels are already worrisome, not just in Europe, but in the United States as well. “Witness the sunshine flooding in Florida already, the flooding that shows up even with no storm on many streets any time there is a slightly high tide,” he said.

Sea level is going up because the ocean is warming and hence expanding, and because land ice — glaciers, etc. — are melting and putting more water into the ocean. But it is not the gradual rise that matters,” Trenberth said. “Rather, it is the storm surge on top of a high tide riding on top of the increase in sea level that crosses thresholds and causes things to break.”

Richard Alley, professor of geosciences at Pennsylvania State University, who also did not take part in this study, noted that the study didn’t consider the possible collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet. “If that happens, then sea-level rise and impacts to coasts could be much higher than in this paper,” Alley said. “Rapid West Antarctic collapse could cause enough rise to make many of these other factors of secondary importance. So, the ‘worst case’ in this paper isn’t really the worst case.”

The new paper predicted that some regions could experience an even higher increase in the frequency of these extreme flooding events, specifically along the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, where the present day 100-year extreme sea level could occur as often as several times a year.

“The ‘worst case’ in this paper isn’t really the worst case.”

Information about the number of people at risk from flooding can be used to determine how large the social and economic impact of these events will be, said Marta Marcos, a researcher at the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies in Spain, who was not involved in the new study. “In terms of adaptation strategies and policy-making, it is very relevant,” she said.

The researchers studied changes in extreme sea levels by 2100 under different greenhouse gas scenarios and considered how all these components — mean sea level, tides, waves, and storm surge — will be affected by climate change.

f emissions continue to rise unabated throughout this century, extreme sea levels along Europe’s coastlines could increase by more than 2.5 feet, on average, by 2100. Under a more moderate situation, where greenhouse gas emissions peak in 2040, 100-year extreme sea levels still could jump by nearly 2 feet, on average, by the end of the century — with flooding events occurring every few years — according to study’s authors.

In a related study appearing in Geophysical Research Letters, scientists found that if greenhouse gases continue to rise, there could be disturbing changes by the end of the century in the energy that waves carry to the coast.

In the southern hemisphere, extreme waves could carry up to 30 percent more energy by 2100, according to the study, meaning that stronger waves will become more frequent, and have a greater impact on the coast, said Lorenzo Mentaschi, a researcher at the Joint Research Centre and lead author of the study.

The new study attributed the changes in wave energy to the intensification of weather patterns, like El Niño. The new research will be provided to European Union policymakers. The data will also be made public so it can be used by scientists, engineers, and coastal managers.

Michael Mann, professor of atmospheric science at Pennsylvania State University, said the research once again underscored how climate change, “which has already increased the threat to our coastlines through a combination of sea-level rise and intensified coastal storms, will be catastrophic for coastal communities if we don’t reduce global carbon emissions.”

Marlene Cimons writes for Nexus Media, a syndicated newswire covering climate, energy, policy, art & culture.

Press link for more: Think Progress

March 17, 2017 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE, oceans | Leave a comment

UK plans for small nuclear reactors stalling. Bechtel pulls out.

Bechtel pulls out of mini-nuclear development, Construction News, 17 MARCH, 2017 Bechtel is to pull out of small modular reactor development, the US engineering giant has confirmed. The company said it would no longer be attempting to create its own SMR reactor after it was unable to find investment for its programme, or a utility company that would provide a site.

Bechtel’s SMR aspirations were as part of mPower, a joint venture with energy giant Babcock & Wilcox…..

Bechtel will take itself out of the government’s SMR reactor design competition.

In March 2016 the government launched its £250m SMR competition which set out to identify the preferred reactor technology to be rolled out across the UK over the next 15 years. The Bechtel team was listed as one of the 33 parties to have made it past the first round of the competition, including engineering firms such as Atkins and contractors such as Costain.

Alongside firms such as Westinghouse and NuScale Power, the mPower JV was one of the companies capable of developing the technology after its reactor design was recommended for “further government investigation” by the National Nuclear Laboratory in 2014.

The competition has stalled ever since, with sources telling Construction News that they have been largely left in the dark by the government over the next steps……

March 17, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics, technology, UK | Leave a comment

GreenLeft did very well in Netherlands election

GreenLeft proves to be big winner in Dutch election Party forecast to boost its MPs from four to 14 after storming campaign by young leader Jesse Klaver, Guardian  , 17 Mar 17, The big winner of Wednesday’s election – and now the largest party of the Dutch left for the first time – was GreenLeft, headed by 30-year-old Jesse Klaver, hailed by his enthusiastic supporters as the “Jessiah”.

With more than 95% of votes counted, the party – formed 25 years ago by a merger of communists, pacifists, evangelicals and self-styled radicals – boosted its MPs from four to 14 after a storming campaign by Klaver.

“This is a fantastic result for us, a historic victory,” said the party chairwoman, Marjolein Meijer.

The result showed there was “very fertile ground in the Netherlands for change and a positive and hopeful story”, she said. “For us this is just the beginning.”……..

The Netherlands’ youngest ever party leader, Klaver built a strong following on social media through small Meetup events after taking over GreenLeft’s leadership in May 2015.

His rallies were among the campaign’s largest, including an Amsterdam meeting that drew more than 5,000 people – plus 5,000 more following live on Facebook.

His TV debates were also widely regarded as triumphs. In one debate watched by 1.6 million viewers, Klaver told his far-right, anti-Islam rival Geert Wilders that it was rightwing populism, not Muslim immigration, that was undermining Dutch culture and traditions. ……https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/15/dutch-elections-greenleft-jesse-klaver

March 17, 2017 Posted by | EUROPE, politics | 2 Comments

UK government boycotts UN nuclear disarmament talks

UN nuclear disarmament talks: UK Government not attending discussions labelled ‘reckless and irresponsible’ ‘I don’t think it’s taking nuclear disarmament seriously,’ Green Party leader Caroline Lucas tells The Independent Harriet Agerholm  @HarrietAgerholm 15 Mar 17 The Government has been called “reckless and irresponsible” after it refused to send a single representative to United Nations (UN) talks about a ban on nuclear weapons.

The Foreign Office revealed that no one from the UK attended a February meeting ahead of the negotiations and no one would go to the discussions when they take place later this month.

It was responding to a parliamentary question by Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas, who told The Independent that it showed the Government was being “massively hypocritical” and failing in its commitment to working towards a world without nuclear weapons. …..

  • “The Government has said it’s committed to multilateral nuclear disarmament,” Ms Lucas said, adding that whenever ministers are asked to get rid of Trident – the UK’s nuclear weapons system – they “always say we’re not going to because it’s unilateral.”

    The Brighton MP said: “Now there’s opportunity to have a multinational set of negotiations and they’re not even bothering to turn up. I just think it’s mind blowing.”

    Although the talks may not immediately agree on an outright ban, Ms Lucas said they were an important step towards reducing nuclear weapons internationally.

    “Essentially what such a major global moment does is to help delegitimize the weapons,” she said, “that can’t be underestimated.

    “So although clearly we’re not going to have the nuclear weapons states signing up by June, the very existence of that treaty will make it more likely that those countries that have them will begin to negotiate to get rid of them.”

  • Ms Lucas has applied to the Backbench Business Committee to get parliamentary time allocated to debating whether the UK should be represented at the UN talks…….http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/un-nuclear-disarmament-talks-uk-government-not-attend-caroline-lucas-mp-reckless-irresponsible-123-a7631546.html

March 17, 2017 Posted by | politics international, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment