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Safety expert recommends shutdown of several of France’s old, dubiously safe, nuclear reactors

Objectif Gard 28th Feb 2021, The engineer and international consultant in energy Bernard Laponche signs a report on the safety of the Tricastin nuclear power plant (Drôme), whose reactors have been the subject of their fourth ten-year inspection for two years, which means that they are entering their fortieth year of operation.
An operation that EDF intends to extend for ten or twenty years, which, according to Bernard Laponche, poses serious problems. So much so that this former CEA, president of the association Global Chance, advocates outright the shutdown of several plants, including Tricastin. Interview.

March 6, 2021 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

Widespread public support for Germany’s nuclear phaseout, as renewable energy expands

TechXplore, 5 Mar 21,    ”……….By the end of 2022, Germany will have achieved its goal of completely phasing out nuclear power, set by Chancellor Angela Merkel on May 30, 2011.

The plan represented a dramatic change of course by Merkel’s ruling conservatives, who just a few months earlier had agreed to extend the lifespan of Germany’s oldest power stations.

It was met with widespread public support in a country with a powerful anti-nuclear movement, fuelled first by fears of a Cold War conflict and then by disasters such as Chernobyl.

Yet it also prompted a lengthy legal battle with major energy companies, which ended Friday with Berlin’s agreement to pay 2.4 billion euros worth of compensation to nuclear power plant operators………

The German government is still looking for a long-term storage site for the country’s residual nuclear waste.

Renewables have seen a spectacular rise since 2011 and in 2020 made up more than 50 percent of Germany’s energy mix for the first time, according to the Fraunhofer research institute—compared with less than 25 percent 10 years ago.

The declining importance of nuclear power (12.5 percent in 2020) “has been compensated for by the expansion of renewable energies”, Claudia Kemfert, an energy expert at the DIW economic research institute, told AFP.

Nuclear power stations have therefore not been replaced by coal, though the fossil fuel does still represent almost a quarter of the electricity mix.

March 6, 2021 Posted by | Germany, politics | Leave a comment

Germany to pay nuclear operators 2.4 bln euros for plant closures

March 6, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, Germany, politics | Leave a comment

Dust with French nuclear test residue threatens Turkey

March 4, 2021 Posted by | environment, France, radiation, Turkey | Leave a comment

Russia’s most high-tech multi-purpose nuclear submarine further delayed

Russia’s most high-tech multi-purpose nuclear sub further delayed

The first upgraded cruise missile submarine of the Yasen-M class, the Kazan, will for unknown reasons have to sail another test-voyage before being handed over to the Northern Fleet.  Barents Observer, 3 Mar 21, By  Thomas Nilsen

New date for possible handover is set for May-June 2021, TASS reports with a source in the military-industrial complex. The state-affiliated news agency is known voicing military insights, but also for sugarcoating facts.

Another factory sea trial is planned, to be followed by an audit of the components and mechanisms, the source said without elaborating on which technical design flaws are to be fixed this time.

The “Kazan” was expected to be handed over from the submarine builder Sevmash yard to the Northern Fleet last Friday.

“The lead nuclear submarine “Kazan” can be handed over to the Russian Navy on February 26, the head of the United Shipbuilding Corporation, Aleksey Rakhmanov told RIA Novosti as late as on February 10.

Why the prestigeous submarine is hold back for more testing is unkown……..

Since first scheduled for delivery to the navy in 2017, the submarine has been notoriously delayed. A planned delivery in 2018 was postponed to 2019. That year came with another announcement that the “Kazan” would probably need all of 2020 to fix a number of auxiliary parts and assemblies which did not met the tactical and technical requirements set by the Ministry of Defense, the Barents Observer reported at the time………

March 4, 2021 Posted by | politics, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Opinion poll – 77% of Ayshire public support a total ban on all nuclear weapons.

Poll gives Ayrshire anti-nuclear campaigners a real boost

Ayrshire CND are greatly encouraged by recent polllling which shows that 77 per cent of the public support a total ban on all nuclear weapons.

1 March 2021  Anti-nuclear campaigners across Ayrshire have been given a huge boost in their battle to force an end to the arms race, writes Stewart McConnell.
Ayrshire CND are greatly encouraged by recent polling which shows that 77 per cent of the public support a total ban on all nuclear weapons.

The survey also showed that almost 60 per cent of people want Britain to sign up to the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which came into force last month.

Group secretary Arthur West, pictured, said:  “This recent polling was organised by CND at UK level in conjunction with the professional polling company Survation and the results are hugely encouraging for our campaign to rid this country and our world of the scourge of nuclear weapons.”

Added the Irvine campaigner:  “This poll confirms that people in this country are realising that nuclear weapons are completely useless in responding to modern day threats such as climate change and the current pandemic.

“The government’s own figures show that the cost of maintaining Britain’s nuclear weapons based at Faslane is an eye watering 2 billion pounds a year.

“This is frankly money which could be better spent on decent things like health and education and creating quality jobs in areas such as renewable energy and affordable house building.”

The opinion poll referred to was organised by CND at UK level in conjunction with polling company Survation and was conducted on January 12-13.

March 2, 2021 Posted by | public opinion, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Labour’s nuclear weapons stance needs a rethink

Labour’s nuclear weapons stance needs a rethink,  Guardian, Richard Norton-Taylor
London  28 Feb 21, 
Readers respond to the shadow defence secretary’s announcement that his party’s commitment to Trident is ‘non-negotiable’

You report (Labour to state ‘non-negotiable’ support for UK’s nuclear weapons, 25 February) that the shadow defence secretary, John Healey, says his party’s commitment to nuclear weapons is “non-negotiable”, seemingly taking a harder line even than successive Conservative governments, which have at least supported talks on multilateral nuclear disarmament.

The new Labour leadership in its rhetoric seems more frightened of being accused at home of being weak on defence than a nuclear attack by a foreign power. For years, Whitehall analysts have considered a pandemic more likely than any real threat of a nuclear attack. Yet for years, ministers and opposition frontbenchers ignored the former while exaggerating the latter. Trade union leaders, meanwhile, back a new Trident missile programme and spending more than £200bn on unusable weapons, citing the need to preserve highly skilled jobs. Yet Britain has had to bank on French engineers for civil nuclear power stations of which Britain now appears to be in dire need.

February 28, 2021 Posted by | politics, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Jeremy Corbyn – Britain Should Join Nuclear Ban Treaty and Scrap Nukes.

Jeremy Corbyn – Britain Should Join Nuclear Ban Treaty & Scrap Nukes., 27th February 2021  “From coronavirus to environmental destruction to economic inequality, we face threats that the war machine cannot fix, & can only worsen.”

Jeremy Corbyn used a speech at the Stop the War Coalition AGM today to make the case for the labour movement taking a stand against nuclear weapons and US-led wars of intervention.

Speaking to Labour Outlook he said, “The public consensus is changing. One hundred and twenty countries have signed the Treaty on the Prevention of Nuclear Weapons at the UN this year.”

In his speech at the AGM, Jeremy pointed out how three out of five people in the UK think we should join them, and four out of five people support a total ban on all nuclear weapons globally.

Jeremy added, “Something else has happened. People have begun to understand where the real threats to our security are.

From coronavirus to environmental destruction to economic inequality, we face threats that the war machine cannot fix, and can only worsen.”

Yesterday saw Labour members across the country oppose the Party’s leadership decision to say support for nuclear weapons was not negotiable, including Emma Dent Coad and Diane Abbott MP in interviews with this publication.

As Jeremy said at the AGM, “Real security is public health. Real security is education. Real security is being able to eat. Real security is providing decent jobs in a fair economy, jobs that tackle challenges like climate change... [that can lead to] a world free from racism, poverty and war.”
Jeremy Corbyh has been a long-term supporter of both the Stop the War Coalition and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. His newly founded Peace and Justice Project is expected to campaign against the arms trade, militarism, and nuclear proliferation as part of its international justice work.

February 28, 2021 Posted by | politics, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Radioactive dust over Europe – from France’s nuclear bomb tests in the Sahara!

ACRO 24th Feb 2021, Sahara sand cloud: radioactive pollution coming back like a boomerang. While the dust-laden winds from the Sahara fly over Europe again this week, analysis carried out by ACRO show that they contain residues of radioactive pollution dating from the atomic bomb tests carried out by France in the 60s.

February 27, 2021 Posted by | AFRICA, environment, France, weapons and war | Leave a comment

France slow to leave nuclear power, (cheaper to extend lives of reactors)

France to extend lifetime of old nuclear power plants

Thu, 25 February 2021,   French safety officials on Thursday gave the green light to extend the lifetime of the country’s oldest nuclear power plants as it seeks to boost the share of renewables in its power mix.

Nuclear energy currently provides nearly 70 percent of French electricity, more than in any other country.

France, hoping to reduce that share to 50 percent by 2035 — a target pushed back from an earlier 2025 date — with the help of renewables, has been holding off from building new reactors.

The number of French reactors, at 56, is second in the world only to the United States which operates 85.

French safety officials on Thursday gave the green light to extend the lifetime of the country’s oldest nuclear power plants as it seeks to boost the share of renewables in its power mix.

Nuclear energy currently provides nearly 70 percent of French electricity, more than in any other country.

France, hoping to reduce that share to 50 percent by 2035 — a target pushed back from an earlier 2025 date — with the help of renewables, has been holding off from building new reactors.

The number of French reactors, at 56, is second in the world only to the United States which operates 85.

The safety of French nuclear plants is checked every decade.

ASN asked state-controlled electricity provider EDF, which manages the country’s nuclear plants, to undertake any necessary work to safeguard their security.

The main target was to “limit the consequences of any accident, especially any serious accident involving the meltdown of a reactor”, ASN’s deputy director-general Julien Collet told AFP.

Another objective was to improve the resistance of the plants to outside shocks including earthquakes, floods, extremely hot weather, or a fire in the reactor.

Anti-nuclear campaigners have long demanded the closure of veteran nuclear power stations, and last year obtained the decommissoning of France’s oldest plant at Fessenheim in the east of the country.

“Active French nuclear power plants were built to operate for 30 or 40 years. Beyond that, nuclear reactors enter an unknown ageing phase,” said NGO Greenpeace, calling for more plants to be closed.

ASN president Bernard Doroszczuk told the Ouest France newspaper that there were still “weak points” in the stations’ security equipment, requiring “vigilance”, but that there had been improvements.

France’s nuclear reactors, grouped in 18 sites, are all second-generation pressurised water reactors.

EDF in 2015 estimated the cost of dismantling all the reactors at 75 billion euros ($92 billion) but a parliamentary report said the real cost would be more.

A third-generation reactor called EPR and under construction since 2007 in Flamanville in northern France was supposed to go online in 2012, but the launch date has been delayed repeatedly and is now fixed for next year.

Flamanville’s cost has run over 10 billion euros, more than three times the initial estimate. Once operational, it will have an estimated life span of 60 years.

February 27, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

France’s nuclear reactors’ lives to be extended beyond 40 years

Le Monde 25th Feb 2021, The oldest nuclear reactors extended by ten years. EDF’s 32 900-megawatt reactors are the oldest in operation in France. They were originally designed to operate for forty years. This is a decision that officially opens the way to extending the life of the oldest reactors in France’s nuclear fleet beyond forty years. In an opinion published Thursday, February 25, the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) considers that “all the planned provisions open the prospect” of a continuation of the activity of the 32 French 900 megawatt (MW) reactors for a ten-year period. While French regulations do not provide for a maximum “lifespan” for reactors, an assumption of forty years of operation was adopted during their design.

February 27, 2021 Posted by | France, politics, safety | Leave a comment

Assange’s partner exposes ongoing denial of his legal and democratic rights, 

February 25, 2021 Posted by | civil liberties, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Luxembourg’s continued fight against nuclear power in Europe


20.02.2021 INTERVIEW BY CORDULA SCHNUERIn March 2011, an earthquake and tsunami off the coast of Japan triggered an explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986 and a stark reminder for environment minister Carole Dieschbourg (déi Gréng) that nuclear has got to go.

How do you remember the nuclear incident at Fukushima?

For me, it was a déjà vu of Chernobyl, which I remember very well. I felt for all the people who lost their homes and livelihoods. But you also immediately think: What would happen if there was a disaster like this at Cattenom, right on our doorstep? It’s terrifying. Nuclear energy always comes with a risk, but public awareness has increased enormously.

Some countries still see it as a cheap, emissions-free source of power. What will it take to change their minds?

It’s a constant battle. Some countries, also in Europe, see nuclear energy as a solution to the climate crisis. That is a fallacy. First, it’s not cheap. Hinkley Point in the UK, for example, will only work out economically at a fixed tariff that is higher than the price for renewable energy. The waste problem hasn’t been solved.

With a nuclear power station, money is locked in for decades and production is centralised. Renewables help make energy more democratic. We want to be more flexible, decentralised and allow people to participate in the energy transition, rather than moving from one energy dependency into another.

The European Commission is technology neutral, leaving it up to member countries to decide whether to use nuclear power. What challenges does this pose?

Luxembourg in recent debates–the EU taxonomy, the European Green Deal and Climate Law–has always tried to keep nuclear wording out of the texts. We must consider scenarios for climate solutions that are 100% renewable. We respect that every country chooses its energy mix. But we cannot accept that Luxembourg public money is invested in nuclear projects as part of EU funds.

Luxembourg still uses nuclear energy in its network. By when would you like to see this phased out?

We are in a free energy market. We cannot dictate to big industrial players where they buy their electricity. What we have achieved is that in the residential domain we are 100% renewable, and that this commitment extends to public players. For the rest, I hope that bit by bit the economic players will pull in the same direction.

You came out strongly against Belgium exploring nuclear waste storage sites near Luxembourg, with the Belgian environment minister citing a “serious diplomatic incident”. Would you react in the same way again today?

I would do exactly the same today. It wasn’t a diplomatic incident. This ministry was officially informed that the consultation procedure had been launched. We are directly affected in the border region and for us that meant we should have been involved from the start, not just informed. There was some disagreement on this, but for us it’s important to respect cross-border cooperation and for us to have our say. One of the potential sites is near our biggest drinking water reservoir; we need to be very clear about this.

France is in the process of exploring lengthening the lifespan of some of its reactors. What do you hope will happen with the Cattenom site in the next ten years?

Obviously, I want Cattenom to close and for there to be no extension. If I look towards the future, the best solution would be a switch to renewables, to new jobs and in favour of a circular economy. It’s about enabling a transition for the people working in this sector, too. Cattenom is a big power station.

We want to think in terms of the Greater Region, and we want to reach our sustainability goals together with our neighbours..

February 25, 2021 Posted by | EUROPE, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

Significant safety incident at EDF nuclear power plant in Flamanville

La Presse de la Manche 19th Feb 2021, The EDF power plant in Flamanville (Manche) declared, on Friday February 19, 2021, a level 1 event concerning the diesel of production unit n ° 1, still at a standstill. The management of the Flamanville 1-2 nuclear power plant (Manche) declared, on Friday February 19, 2021, a significant safety event at level 1 of the INES scale, with the Nuclear Safety Authority .

February 22, 2021 Posted by | France, incidents | Leave a comment

Lobbyists from West Cumbria Mining appointed to Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM)

Radiation Free Lakeland 19th Feb 2021, Letter sent today to MP Tim Farron from Radiation Free Lakeland. We haven been looking at West Cumbria Mining’s lobbying over the last several years. While WCM class themselves as a “small company” in order it seems to avoid full filing of company finances, they have been afforded incredible access to key government departments. Access that other Cumbrian small businesses could only dream of.
Meetings have taken place between West Cumbria Mining and at least three government departments including BEIS – the dept which is responsible for CoRWM appointments. The public would rightly assume that CoRWM and other government departments in the interests of transparency and ethics would not ever consider public appointments of individuals who have previously and continue to repeatedly lobby government departments to advance their business interests.
Especially when those business interests include the most controversial coal mine in UK history which coincidently is in the area where the UK government have repeatedly tried to progress Geological Disposal plans despite cumulative scientific evidence that the plan is dangerous (we
wonder how CoRWM expect Mark Kirkbride’s business interests of a coal mine in the same area will make the already complex and faulted geology in the Eastern Irish Sea area safer?)

February 22, 2021 Posted by | politics, UK | 1 Comment