nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Dangerous Whitehaven coal mine plan – CLOSE TO RADIOACTOVE SELLAFIELD SITE !

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole, Crowd Justice,    https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/keep-cumbrian-coal-in-the-hole/  20 Oct 17 , by Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole Group of Cumbrians opposed to the first deep coal mine in the UK for 30 years. 

OLD KING COAL RESURRECTED?

There is a statue in Whitehaven, a poignant memorial to coal miners who lost their lives.

“End of an Era” …..Only apparently it isnt!

Now there is a plan to expand the dangerous Whitehaven mines with undersea coal mining. There has been lots of greenwashing heaped on the plan by West Cumbria Mining to reopen Whitehaven coal mine, the most gaseous, dangerous pit in the Kingdom.  In 1815, Sir Humphrey Davy’s invention of the miner’s safety lamp was first tested in Whitehaven Coking Coal Mine because of its reputation for “firedamp” (methane) and fatal explosions.

That was in the pre atomic age.  Now in the same area, just 8km away we have the most dangerous nuclear site in the world, Sellafield.   “Windscale – later renamed Sellafield, 8km away is too close”

What People are Saying:

“We are particularly concerned in regard to the potential impact upon the wider marine and coastal environment of the discharge of water into the sea, which has been pumped from the flooded anhydrite mine.” National Trust

“ The application site is in proximity (Solway Firth 1.5km) to a European designated site (also commonly referred to as Natura 2000 sites), and therefore has the potential to affect its interest features.”Natural England

“The impact of any level of subsidence upon the terrestrial or marine heritage assets and designated sites and landscapes could be significant and permanent, therefore having a detrimental impact ..The history of contamination of watercourses in the areas raises concerns for some local residents in relation to the impact of the development on the complex hydrology of the area.” Colourful Coast Partnership

“Our position is to object to the proposed development on the grounds of the adverse impact on groundwater, surface water and biodiversity.”Environment Agency

“It is clear that this is a very large mine, with a very long life span…of 20-50 years and a peak of 2.8 million tonnes a year. Assuming a 40 year life (following construction), and an average of 2 million tonnes a year, that is a total production of 80 million tonnes, which will emit around 175 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. The level of emissions and proposed life-time of the mine is of major concern….We would also query whether or not there has been robust enough analysis of the potential for seismicity (and subsidence) relating to well-known nuclear facilities in the wider area, including Sellafield and proposed new facility at Moorside? What potential is there for seismicity to effect these and other facilities (including the low level waste repository at Drigg) and the possible high level waste radioactive waste facility which has been proposed in West Cumbria for some time.” Friends of the Earth

“The application should be rejected because it is not in the national interest. From reviewing the documents submitted by West Cumbria Mining it is clear that the intention is to export the coal to Europe and Asia…The application to mine is too close to the Sellafield nuclear site and the proposal for another nuclear power station at Moorside. Underground mining can have a significant impact on the surrounding areas, recently a coking coal mine in Russia triggered an earthquake.” Coal Action Network

Just some of the “Star Species” found in this Heritage Coast and Marine Conservation Zone are listed by the RSPB as: Fulmar, Guillemot, Herring Gull, Kittiwake, Razorbill and so many more that would be impacted on by the plan for a new coal mine with possible subsidence of the Irish Sea bed impacting on food sources such as sandeels (and not to mention disturbing decades of Sellafield discharges which have settled there).

There are so many reasons to oppose this coal mine plan.  That is why we are campaigning hard to stop the plan.

TAKE ACTION

 Specialist law firm, Leigh Day have agreed to help which is amazing.  So we are raising funds for the cost for counsel to provide a written Opinion on Potential Grounds for Judicial Review.   This is to ensure that we will still have a chance of stopping the coal mine plan should Cumbria County Council ignore the advice of Natural England, the National Trust, Coal Action Network, the Environment Agency, Colourful Coast Partnership, Friends of the Earth and others and rubberstamp the plan.
People can get involved in many ways. You can write to the leader of Cumbria County Council and let him know you oppose the plan
by West Cumbria Mining for the new Woodhouse Colliery (planning application number 4/17/9007 )
Cumbria County Council is scheduled to be making a decision on the 24th of January, 2018.  The decision will be taken by the Development Control Committee.  Their contact details are here .  The more letters they get the better.   If you feel you can speak in opposition to the plan on the 24th of January then please do, whether as an individual or as a member of a group.  The meeting is open to public participation and you can register to speak by contacting Cumbria County Council.
We need to stop this diabolic plan for a new coal mine dangerously near Sellafield, if you can help in ANY way either by donation or by action then the better chance we have.
If you can help, you will be making history in the battle to stop the first deep coal mine in the UK for 30 years.  All donations no matter how small will be used directly to challenge West Cumbria Mining’s diabolic plan.  https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/keep-cumbrian-coal-in-the-hole/
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October 21, 2017 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

ICAN calls on Nobel Foundation to cease indirect nuclear arms investments

TRANSPARENCY CALL Nobel Foundation accused of indirect nuclear arms investments https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/transparency-call_nobel-foundation-accused-of-indirect-nuclear-arms-investments/43614160 The Swiss-based winner of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize has called on the Nobel Foundation

external link to be more transparent about how it invests its money. This follows allegations that the body has indirectly invested in companies linked to the United States’ nuclear arms programme.

Last month, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weaponsexternal link (ICAN) received the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts in the process to bring about a global treaty to ban nuclear arms.

But the German NGO Facing Finance, together with Norwegian environmental organisation Framtiden and German television channel ZDF, have uncovered evidence that the Nobel Foundation has invested in an index fund that includes Lockheed Martin, Textron and Raytheon. All three companies have been active in US nuclear weapons manufacturing.

Geneva-based ICAN has its own investment tracker called Don’t Bank on the Bomb, which encourages investors to publicly divest from companies associated with the production of nuclear weapons. But this system looks specifically at financial sector investments, and does not reveal individual investors.

ICAN Executive Director Beatrice Fihn called on the foundation to open its books more fully to public scrutiny.

“There are public reports that the Nobel Foundation has an ethical investment policy not to invest in weapons prohibited by international treaty, and we encourage the Nobel Foundation to be more public and transparent about how they implement this policy,” she said in an email to swissinfo.ch.

New direction

ICAN will officially receive the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10. Fihn said that ICAN would use the prize “to strengthen the work of prohibiting and eliminating nuclear weapons”.

In an emailed response to swissinfo.ch, the Nobel Foundation said it invested in funds rather than picking specific companies. Since the beginning of the year, it has changed its investment policy to find “more sustainable alternatives to our equity index funds”.

“Today, the Nobel Foundation has clear guidelines regarding ethics and sustainability. No new investments are made in funds that invest in companies that violate international conventions regarding, for example, land mines or cluster bombs, or who have investments in nuclear weapons,” Nobel Foundation Executive Director Lars Heikensten told swissinfo.ch.

“Our current investments are being investigated based on these guidelines. In addition, we have joined the UN initiative Principles for Responsible Investments (PRI), and have thereby incorporated environmental, social and governance factors into our investment decisions.”

He added that the foundation was “considering using our position to make active investments in sustainable projects and in this way, make a real difference”.

October 20, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, Switzerland, weapons and war | 1 Comment

UK annual inflation pushes up the already high costs of Britain’s Hinkley and Sizewell nuclear power projects

Platts 17th Oct 2017, UK annual inflation hit 3% in September for the first time since March
2012, up from 2.9% in August, the Office for National Statistics said
Tuesday. Monthly CPI as published by the ONS is used as an input in strike
prices awarded to low-carbon projects under the Contracts for Difference
regime. One of the early commercial agreements was for the Hinkley Point C
nuclear power station. LCCC data show the initial GBP89.50/MWh ($118/MWh)
strike price for the plant (2012 money) has risen GBP7.64/MWh to
GBP97.14/MWh. This initial strike price assumes a second EDF project at
Sizewell C proceeds. If not, the initial strike price rises to
GBP92.50/MWh. https://www.platts.com/latest-news/electric-power/london/uk-inflation-hits-3-in-september-strike-price-26822470

October 20, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear fusion won’t be able to compete with solar, wind power

Nuclear Fusion Unlikely to Challenge Solar, Wind Power https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-20/nuclear-fusion-unlikely-to-challenge-solar-wind-power

Even if it works, it will be expensive relative to alternatives, By Anna Hirtenstein, 21 Oct 17, 
The world’s biggest and most expensive science experiment is likely to be threatened by the advance of renewable energy. Questions remain about whether the ITER nuclear fusion project will work at all, let alone provide electricity at anything like the cost of more traditional forms of clean energy. Solar power has plummeted 62 percent in the past five years, wind has followed a similar trend and even the best-case scenario would result in fusion being significantly pricier than renewables.

October 20, 2017 Posted by | EUROPE, technology | Leave a comment

Dubious future for Armenia’s aging nuclear power station

The Uncertain Fate of Armenia’s Nuclear Power Plant, The Armenian Weekly, By Weekly Staff on October 20, 2017 YEREVAN (A.W.)—The fate of the 41-year-old Armenian Nuclear Power Plant (ANPP), commonly known as Metsamor, is up for debate yet again as reports have emerged questioning whether the Armenian government will abandon plans for renewal or replacement altogether.

Metsamor, which is the only nuclear energy plant in the South Caucasus and one of the five remaining Soviet nuclear reactors of its kind, provides energy to 40% of Armenian consumers. Despite its critical role in Armenia’s modern energy economy, its aging design and proximity to earthquake-prone areas make it among the most dangerous nuclear plants in the world.

Built in 1976, the plant was shut down in 1989 by Soviet officials, following the devastating Spitak Earthquake. However, the economic difficulty and energy scarcity in Armenia after the collapse of the USSR in 1991, motivated the new Armenian government to relaunch the second of the plant’s two units.

Since then, the reactor’s operations have been a contentious issue both domestically and internationally. The issue was even addressed in an impending EU-Armenia trade agreement, where a 350-page, publicly-released draft text stipulated the reactor should be closed and replaced (though practical measures in enforcing this were notably vague)………https://armenianweekly.com/2017/10/20/uncertain-fate-armenias-nuclear-power-plant/

October 20, 2017 Posted by | EUROPE, politics | Leave a comment

UK Labour warns that nuclear safety laws post Brexit could damage Britain’s democracy

Energy Voice 17th Oct 2017Labour has threatened to vote against nuclear industry contingency measures post-Brexit, claiming they give ministers a blank cheque to make “controversial policy decisions”. Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey said the Nuclear Safeguards Bill contained so-called Henry VIII powers which would enable the Government to pass laws with less scrutiny in the Commons.

She told MPs: “The job of a legislature is to legislate: the Bill before us as it stands is efectively a blank cheque handing that job over to ministers. “And I hope that the Minister can respond today with an iron-clad guarantee that the Government will not use those powers in that way but the ultimate guarantee will be to change the face of this Bill
itself.

“Safeguards are vital for our nuclear industry, but they are needed for our parliamentary democracy as well.” Speaking during the Bill’s second reading, Ms Long Bailey received cheers from the Government benches as she said there needed to be a nuclear safeguarding regime for the UK after it leaves the EU “should all else fail”.

But she said: “Let me add a caveat to that: we will need to see evidence of substantial amendment of the procedure set out here in this Bill, and evidence that the Government is really thinking about the best post-Brexit Euratom formulation before we can wholeheartedly commit at report stage and third reading to the passage of this Bill.”
https://www.energyvoice.com/otherenergy/nuclear/153420/uk-needs-nuclear-safeguarding-regime-post-brexit-labour-says/

October 20, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Electricite de France (EDF) keen to market nuclear power to Asia

French nuclear giant EDF seeks business in Asia China and India loom large for the world’s largest nuclear power company, Nikkei Asian Review, TALLULAH LUTKIN and TOGO SHIRAISHI, Nikkei staff writers, 19 Oct 17,    PARIS — The world’s largest nuclear power company, Electricite de France, believes nuclear power still has a role to play in the future, despite forecasts suggesting the market is in getting precarious. According to one senior EDF official, there are still plenty of opportunities in nuclear plant construction — especially in Asia — that can complement renewable power sources……

State-owned EDF is determined to play a role in the growth of the nuclear power industry worldwide…..

For future projects, EDF has its sights on China, where most of the world’s new reactors are currently being built…..

In India, EDF’s nuclear ambitions should benefit from a combination of a growing economy still reliant on coal, a lack of access to electricity for millions of people, and an existing nuclear program, Ursat said.

The company also plans to jointly develop a plant in Turkey in cooperation with Japan, using a new reactor design, the ATMEA1, developed by French multinational Areva and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. EDF’s close partnership with Mitsubishi is an indication of the importance of the Japanese market, Ursat said.

EDF is in the process of acquiring part of Areva, which is being restructured to save it from bankruptcy.  EDF will acquire Areva’s nuclear construction operations, renamed New NP, in December for between 1.25 billion and 1.875 billion euros. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is taking a 19.5% stake in New NP.

Ursat acknowledges that the nuclear power industry faces hurdles. “One of the challenges facing new projects is cost overruns,” he said. Thus, New NP’s primary objective is to “make new projects profitable, stay on schedule and lower costs.”……..

Projections by the International Atomic Energy Agency do not fully support EDF’s optimism, and vary significantly depending on circumstances. In the upper-end scenario, nuclear electricity generating capacity could increase from 391 gigawatts in 2016 to 874GW in 2050 worldwide. In the lower-end scenario, it would decline until 2040 before rebounding to current levels in 2050. Only three reactor constructions were started in 2016, down from 15 in 2010.

Moreover, some developed countries have decided to partly phase out nuclear power. France has announced its intention to close up to 17 nuclear reactors. South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, has vowed to cancel all plans for new nuclear power plants and “move toward a nuclear-free era,” something Germany is already pursuing. Both South Korea and Germany are looking to renewable sources as a replacement for nuclear power, rather than merely as a supplement.

Meanwhile, renewable energy sources are becoming more competitive. According to the International Energy Agency, auction prices for solar power will drop from over $150 per megawatt-hour in 2013 to $30 in 2020….. https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/French-nuclear-giant-EDF-seeks-business-in-Asia

October 20, 2017 Posted by | France, marketing | Leave a comment

£1.3bn Chernobyl New Safe Confinement planned for completion this year

BBC 17th Oct 2017, A manufacturer from Torfaen is helping to dismantle the remains of the
Chernobyl nuclear power station. A concrete and steel arch will cover the
reactor which was destroyed in the 1986 disaster. Pontypool-based
manufacturer Flamgard Calidair has developed fire and shut off dampers for
the project, known as the Chernobyl New Safe Confinement. The £1.3bn
(€1.5bn) building is set to be completed before Christmas 2017.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-41654257

October 20, 2017 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Czech Republic breaking its legal obligations in building nuclear facility, with neighbouring countries not participating

Client Earth 17th Oct 2017, The construction of nuclear power plants in a transboundary context require
the government of the country of origin to ensure participation of the
public concerned in its own territory as well as that of the neighbouring
countries affected. Analysis by Linli-Sophie Pan-Van de Meulebroeke.

In the context of a bilateral cooperation agreement with Germany regarding the
construction of a nuclear power plant in Temelín, the Czech Republic was
alleged to be in non-compliance with Articles 3(9), 6 and 9 of the Aarhus
Convention.

With regard to Article 6 of the Convention, the Compliance
Committee has confirmed the Maastricht Recommendations according to which a
transboundary context does not release the concerned Party from its
obligations under the Convention. The ultimate responsibility for ensuring
that the public participation procedure complies with Article 6 still rests
with the competent authorities of the Party of origin.
https://www.clientearth.org/accc-confirms-public-participation-obligations-regarding-construction-nuclear-power-plant-transboundary-context/

October 20, 2017 Posted by | EUROPE, Legal | Leave a comment

100 employees evacuated from office of French nuclear station , due to mysterious package found

Valeurs 17th Oct 2017,[Machine Translation] Security. According to information from France Bleu,
around a hundred employees were evacuated on Monday 16 October after the
discovery of a suspect package at one of the offices of the Cruas-Meysse
nuclear power plant in the Ardèche.
https://www.valeursactuelles.com/societe/ardeche-une-centrale-nucleaire-evacuee-en-urgence-89799

October 20, 2017 Posted by | France, incidents | Leave a comment

Silence about depleted uranium contamination in Albania

URANIUM FROM NATO BOMBS KILLS ALBANIANS TOO BUT THEY ARE SILENT ABOUT IT https://inserbia.info/today/2017/10/uranium-nato-bombs-kills-albanians-silent/,Oct 19, 2017
SOURCE Vecernje Novosti   
NATO aircrafts, during 78 days of bombing with uranium ammunition, poisoned large part of the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, so even today, with the latest equipment, it is impossible to locate all contaminated areas. Every NATO bullet with depleted uranium, if not detected and extracted, will practically continue killing forever.

This said Lieutenant-Colonel Radomir Aleksandric for the daily Vecernje Novosti, the man who on Christmas 1999, with only 29 years of age, received post of Commander of 52nd ABHO (Atomic-biological-chemical defense) battalion in Kosovo. He explained that only when the uranium bullet is extracted – ABHO device goes “crazy”, and while in the ground, it is barely detected with equipment. In the meantime, uranium oxidizes, the rain carries toxic poisons deeper into the ground and through water further into the food chain.

According to the Lieutenant-Colonel, all our officers in Kosovo and Metohija (KiM) in 1999 knew of the danger of this ammunition. He adds that ABHO equipment was inadequate, i.e. good only for mass atomic-chemical warfare, and that we were confronted with subversive nuclear mini-strikes.

In April and May 1999 ABHO units of the Pristina Corpus measured the consequences of the NATO strikes in KiM in 360 positions immediately after the actions of the enemy. The results were confusing: “slightly elevated” radioactivity was recorded in the vicinity of Pristina, Slatina airport, then in Belacevac, Gracanica, Podujevo, Urosevac, Prizren, Djakovica, Decani…

“These were minimal deviations from the natural background radiation, or, as we concluded later, we had instruments for measuring “tons”, and we should have measured milligrams. Namely, in most of the sites that were examined bullets made of depleted uranium were deeply in the ground and did not at first seem to be too dangerous. Only after the aggression we realized what had happened to us”, said Aleksandric.

October 20, 2017 Posted by | depleted uranium, EUROPE | Leave a comment

Nuclear wastes – a divisive problem for the French, that could mean the end of the industry

“if we manage to stop it, it will mean the end of the industry. Regardless of how you look at it, nuclear power is an industry with no future.”

What to do with nuclear waste? The question dividing France,https://www.equaltimes.org/what-to-do-with-nuclear-waste-the#.Wea2VY-CzGg , 17 Oct 17On 15 August, an anti-nuclear campaigner almost lost his foot during a demonstration in Bure, in the east of France. One month later, on 20 September, police conducted several raids on premises housing activists in the village, including the emblematic “Maison de la résistance”, (House of Resistance), the nerve centre of the fight against the nuclear dump.

The small village of Bure, in the Meuse department, has crystallised the anti-nuclear campaign in France in recent months. In 1998, it was selected as the site for an Industrial Geological Storage Centre (Cigéo), where the plan is to progressively bury 85,000 cubic metres of highly radioactive long-lived waste in a bed of clay, 500 metres below ground, by means of operations expected to last 150 years.

The ANDRA (National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management), which is managing the project, is expected to apply to the IRSN (French Institute for Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety) for authorisation to build in 2019. Its application has been deferred on several occasions due to legal and technical setbacks, which could explain the growing hostility towards the anti-Cigéo activists.

In an open letter, the residents of Bure and the surrounding area recently denounced the “systematic strategy of tension and asphyxiation” launched by the state several months ago, a strategy “aimed at wearing us down and isolating us, like hunted beasts”.

The closer the project comes to the completion phase, the stronger the opposition, and the more the noose of repression is tightened around the anti-nuclear campaigners.

A far from satisfactory solution

The 54 nuclear reactors in France, the second largest producer of nuclear energy in the world, behind the United States, produce 12,000 to 15,000 cubic metres of radioactive waste every year. This includes both low level short-lived radioactive waste and much more toxic long-lived waste.

“The uranium industry, presented as a “virtuous cycle” by the nuclear lobby, actually conceals a chain of dirty, polluting and unmanageable fuel, from the mine to the waste disposal phase,” denounces the French anti-nuclear network Sortir du Nucléaire.

Whereas before, France used to dispose of its nuclear waste in repositories in the Atlantic Ocean, underground disposal now seems to be “the only management option”, says Matthieu Denis-Vienot, who is in charge of institutional dialogue at ANDRA, in an interview with Equal Times.

This agency was given the task, in 1979, of answering the insoluble question of how to manage this waste, which can be destroyed by no known chemical or mechanical means, and is extremely toxic.

“We have the technical capacity to store this waste in such a way that it is harmful neither to man nor to the environment, nor the object of malicious acts,” ensures Matthieu Denis-Vienot. “Our priority is therefore focused on confining this waste, because we want to act responsibly and not to leave this burden with future generations.”

This option, although it has been written into French law since 1991 and is in line with the advice of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is far from satisfactory, according to some researchers.

“Whether the waste is thrown into the sea or buried in the ground, the principle behind it is the same: get rid of it, so we can forget about it, because we don’t know what to do with it,” argues Jean-Marie Brom, a physicist and researcher with the CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research). “What I can tell you as a scientist, is that burying it is the only solution, but it is far from being a good one.”

At ANDRA, the response to this is: “It’s all well and good to say it’s a heresy, but now that it’s there, what can we do about it?”

And that is the final argument put forward to the anti-Cigéo movement by ANDRA. The waste to be buried in Bure is all that generated by 43 years of nuclear energy production.

For the time being, it is being kept at the storage and reprocessing plant in La Hague, in the Manche department of France, where it is vitrified and placed in containers. It is a valid precaution, given that although this waste only represents four per cent of the total, it accounts for 99 per cent of the radioactivity emitted. Moreover, it is the waste with the longest lifespan. It takes 24,440 years for plutonium, for example, to lose half of its radioactivity.

The other 96 per cent of the waste, which accounts for one per cent of radioactivity, is stored on the surface, in the main, at two other storage centres, a few dozen kilometres from Bure.

Anti-nuclear campaigners are outraged by the situation. “It is far too dangerous. Firstly, it means that for 100 years, two radioactive convoys will cross France every day to come to Bure. And secondly, the safety of the site cannot be guaranteed when such long lifespans are involved. What will happen if, one day, these 200,000 “parcels” resurface, whilst they are still radioactive?” asks Jean-Marc Fleury, president of Eodra, a group of elected officials from the Grand Est region who are opposed to the Cigéo project.

The response from ANDRA is that geologists have conducted research and have established that the clay subsoil in the Meuse department of France is a stable geological formation over time.

The IRSN (French Institute for Radiological Protection and Reactor Safety), in its report from July, pointed to a number of risks, such as fire, and whilst acknowledging that the project had reached “satisfactory technical maturity”, it concluded that ANDRA’s current waste disposal concept “did not provide sufficient safety guarantees”.

The anti-nuclear campaigners highlight the example of the United States’ WIPP facility, in New Mexico, where a fire led to the release of radioactive gas, or that of Asse, in Lower Saxony, Germany, where 126,000 barrels of radioactive waste have to be evacuated from an old salt mine being eroded by seepage.

All these countries, confronted with the same problem, are far from having found long-term solutions, and face the same criticisms from the anti-nuclear movement.

Future of nuclear industry at issue

For those opposed to the Cigéo project, it is an ethical issue. “Since we know that collective memory is relatively short, it is possible that in a thousand years, it might be forgotten that it there is radioactive waste in Bure and people will go through these areas, with all the risks that entails,” explains researcher Jean-Marie Brom. “How can we warn future generations that there is extremely dangerous waste here?”

A whole new dimension is added when taking into account the waste to come from the nine reactors due to be decommissioned. And all the more so given that this number is expected to rise, with the Energy Transition Law, which envisages reducing the share of nuclear power in the country’s energy mix from 72 to 50 per cent by 2025.

The waste resulting from this decommissioning will have to be stored somewhere.

Beyond the unresolvable waste issue, the fight against the Cigéo project is part of a wider case against the nuclear industry in general. In a context where Germany has announced plans to close all of its nuclear power plants by 2022 and where Italy no longer has nuclear power, France stands out as an exception in the eyes of the activists.

“What is at stake in Bure, is the future of nuclear power,” says Jean-Marc Fleury. “If the Cigéo is not built here, the nuclear industry will come to an end in the next ten years, because a project like this could never be implemented anywhere else, everyone is conscious of that. That’s why we are fighting: if we manage to stop it, it will mean the end of the industry. Regardless of how you look at it, nuclear power is an industry with no future.”

Matthieu Denis-Viennot of ANDRA is not convinced by this line of reasoning. “The Cigéo has to be left out of the debate for or against nuclear power. We may not have chosen to launch the nuclear industry in France, but the fact is that, today, electricity comes mainly from this resource. Given the staggering lifespan of this radioactive waste, we can always question whether such or such a decision is legitimate, but that should not, nevertheless, reinforce indecision.”

So far, Nicolas Hulot, France’s new minister for the ecological transition, has not taken a stand.

The anti-Cigéo groups have, however, repeatedly reminded him of the positions he has taken in the past, including this photo from October 2016 of him posing, and smiling, with a placard against the Cigéo project.

But it seems that the new minister, who has taken off his environmental activist’s hat, has a short memory and is in no hurry to stop the project.

This story has been translated from French.

October 18, 2017 Posted by | France, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Hinkley nuclear white elephant: Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) warns UK govt against further loan guarantees

IEEFA Brief: U.K. Government at Risk in Over-Budget Nuclear Project That Stands Incomplete, A Sensible ‘Plan B’ for Hinkley Point C Project in Somerset Would Avoid Extending Public Loan Guarantees   Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFAOct. 16, 2017 (IEEFA.org) — A research brief published today by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis cautions the U.K. government against investing further in an unfinished nuclear project on the Bristol Channel in southwest England.

The brief — “A Half-Built, High-Priced Nuclear White Elephant: How Should the U.K. Proceed With This Troubled Project?”— concludes that the Hinkley Point C plant, an over-budget and delayed 3,200 megawatt (MW) power project in Somerset, may never enter commercial operation.

Gerard Wynn, a London-based energy finance consultant and lead author of the brief, said problems surrounding the project reflect those affecting the nuclear electricity-generation industry broadly.

“The now-stumbling renaissance of nuclear power in Europe and the U.S. has been a story of delays and cost overruns, with a new generation of untested nuclear power designs proving much harder to build than anyone imagined and even the project developers admitting to high levels of risk,” Wynn said.

“European Pressurized Reactors are untested, and those under construction have been more expensive and take longer to build than expected,” Wynn said. “The history of recent nuclear projects makes it very likely, perhaps probable, that Hinkley will cost substantially more and take far longer to build than its advocates are claiming.”

THE BRIEF DRAWS PARALLELS BETWEEN HINKLEY AND COSTLY NUCLEAR PROJECTS that have faltered elsewhere, most recently in the U.S.

“The similarities between Hinkley, which is now finally under construction after years of delay, and other troubled European and U.S. projects, particularly the recently shelved V.C. Summer plant in South Carolina, cannot be ignored,” the brief says. “Perhaps the most important similarity is in the question of what the project ultimately will cost.”

“Hinkley already is frequently described as the world’s most expensive power plant, with EDF estimating that the project will require £19.6 billion to build by the time it enters commercial operation, currently set for 2025. But others see higher costs, and any delays would inevitably lead to an increase in total costs. For example, the U.K.’s National Audit Office (NAO), which advises on the use of public money, calculates that the public subsidy for the plant could top £30 billion, and says the government needs a Plan B.”

Wynn noted that rising costs “were the leading factor in the decision by SCANA Corporation and Santee Cooper, the two South Carolina utilities building the Summer facility, to cancel that project. Costs there soared from an originally estimated $11.5 billion to upward of $25 billion by the time the utilities said they would abandon the two unit, 2,200-MW project.”

Other parallels with struggling and failed projects in Europe and the U.S. include:

1. Untested technologies…….

2. Construction delays of five to nine years…….

3. Cost overruns ranging from 79 percent to 250 percent…..

4. Delays and cost overruns are causing technology vendors extreme financial distress…..

5. Internal turmoil indicates misgivings among those closest to the projects……

Full report here: “A Half-Built, High-Priced Nuclear White Elephant: How Should the U.K. Proceed With This Troubled Project?”

Media contact: Karl Cates, kcates@ieefa.org917.439.8225

About IEEFA: The Cleveland-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) conducts research and analyses on financial and economic issues related to energy and the environment. http://ieefa.org/ieefa-brief-u-k-government-risk-budget-half-finished-nuclear-project-may-never-come-online/

October 18, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

European Union statement on the Iran nuclear Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

Iran nuclear deal: EU statement on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action  http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2017/10/16-iran-nuclear-deal-eu-jcpoa/

1. The JCPOA, the culmination of 12 years of diplomacy facilitated by the EU, unanimously endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231, is a key element of the nuclear non-proliferation global architecture and crucial for the security of the region. Its successful implementation continues to ensure that Iran’s nuclear programme remains exclusively peaceful. The EU underlines that the International Atomic Energy Agency has verified 8 times that Iran is implementing all its nuclear related commitments following a comprehensive and strict monitoring system.

2. The EU is committed to the continued full and effective implementation of all parts of the JCPOA. The EU underlines that the lifting of nuclear related sanctions has a positive impact on trade and economic relations with Iran including benefits for the Iranian people. It strengthens cooperation and allows for continuous dialogue with Iran.

3. The European Union considers President Trump’s decision not to certify Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA) as being in the context of an internal US process. The EU encourages the US to maintain its commitment to the JCPOA and to consider the implications for the security of the US, its partners and the region before taking further steps.

4. While the EU expresses its concerns related to ballistic missiles and increasing  tensions in the region, it reiterates the need to address them outside the JCPOA, in the relevant formats and fora . The EU stands ready to actively promote and support initiatives to ensure a more stable, peaceful and secure regional environment.

5. At a time of acute nuclear threat the EU is determined to preserve the JCPOA as a key pillar of the international non-proliferation architecture.

October 18, 2017 Posted by | EUROPE, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

29 French nuclear reactors at risk, warns France’s Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN).

29 French nuclear reactors vulnerable to natural disaster – safety watchdog 

Another nine reactors at four nuclear sites are at “risk of partial loss,”which is ‘level 0’ according to the INES. The scale has 7 levels that describe the safety significance of nuclear and radiological events, with the highest level classified as a ‘major accident,’ and events from levels 1 to 3 classified as ‘incidents.’ Events without any safety significance are rated as Below Scale/Level 0.

The French company EDF, which operates the country’s nuclear reactors, said earlier that 20 reactors might not be able to withstand earthquakes, which could cause a collapse of their cooling systems, and nine reactors’ cooling systems could also be at risk.

The ASN said that thickness measurements of pipeline systems at the Belleville Nuclear Power Plant in May and June 2017 revealed the metal is too thin to resist an earthquake. After discovering the vulnerabilities, “a thickness measurement campaign” was carried out by EDF at potentially at risk nuclear facilities.

EDF said on October 11 that it was fixing pipe problems at 20 nuclear reactors to prevent the collapse of cooling systems, and the ASN is currently checking the progress.

Last week, Greenpeace activists staged a fireworks display on the premises of the Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant to highlight “security risks” at the facility. Four reactors at the site were included among reactors at risk level 2 by the ASN.

France operates 58 nuclear reactors with total capacity of 63.2 GWe. Concerns over seismic safety were among the reasons it was decided to shut down the Fessenheim plant by April 2020.

October 18, 2017 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment