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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

NATO’s nuclear weapons drills in Germany

NATO’s Hidden Agenda: What’s Behind Drills With US Nuclear Weapons in Germany  https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201710221058446313-germany-drills-us-nuclear-weapons/  NATO is holding an American nuclear weapons safety procedure exercise at a base in Büchel, Germany and in the Belgian town of Kleine-Brogel. The legitimacy of such actions and the deployment of nuclear weapons in non-nuclear countries raises several questions. The drills have also been criticized by Russia.

Drills in Europe

The airbase in Büchel still houses up to 20 American nuclear bombs and  is the only facility in Germany where nuclear weapons are deployed. Currently, Bundeswehr pilots and personnel from other NATO countries are practicing nuclear weapons handling procedures.

“This exercise is nicknamed ‘Steadfast Noon’ within the alliance and is held annually at military bases across Europe,” Otfried Nassauer, a researcher with the Berlin Information Center for Security (BITS), told Sputnik Germany.

He explained that during the drills which are supervised by the US military personnel, practice safety regulations while mounting a nuclear bomb on an aircraft and they are observed until the plane takes off. However, no real nuclear weapons are used in the drills.

Legal Dilemma Since the 1960s, NATO’s nuclear participation has provided for the possible use of American nuclear weapons by four non-nuclear European nations in the event of war. According to NATO officials, nuclear participation complies with the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, which is often disputed by critics.

“Their argument is that as a result of this situation a new group of countries emerges in between the nuclear and non-nuclear parties of the treaty. This is a group of pseudo-nuclear states, which are not mentioned by the treaty,” Nassauer pointed out.

German forces are not allowed to use nuclear weapons, in accordance with international law. However, during the current drills German personnel receive orders not from the defense ministry, but from NATO’s command.

“This creates an embarrassing situation. The law prohibits the use of nuclear weapons by German troops, but they receive such orders from NATO. They may try to disobey such orders at their own risk, because according to German laws a soldier must not obey an illegal order,” the analyst said.

Signal to Russia

Retired Bundeswehr colonel Ulrich Scholz, who was involved in NATO’s air force planning, described the drills a “questionable affair” and said they are likely to be a political argument against Russia.

Scholz expressed serious concerns about Germany’s national security. If we’re abandoning nuclear energy due to safety concerns but stockpiling nukes on our soil and taking part in these drills, I’ve got one question: is anybody out there concerned about Germany’s security?” he said.

The former officer also noted that Washington’s “geo-strategic interests” are now again focused on Russia, as it was during the Cold War.

According to Nassauer, the US is interested in keep all of its allies bound together. For the first time, Poland, Greece and the Czech Republic have been involved in the exercise this year. Moreover, the exercise has been held at different military facilities.

“In light of the continuing tensions between Russia and the West, all of the above looks like a political signal from NATO to Moscow,” he said.

On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for the removal of US nuclear weapons from Europe.

“We gradually stand for the withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from Europe and their return to the US,” Lavrov said a nuclear weapons non-proliferation conference in Moscow.

The minister called on NATO to stop nuclear weapons drills in its non-nuclear members.

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October 23, 2017 Posted by | Germany, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Britain and Germany join in commitment to the Iran nuclear agreement

Britain, Germany committed to Iran nuclear deal, says PM May’s office https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/15/britain-germany-committed-to-iran-nuclear-deal-theresa-mays-office-says.html

  • Britain and Germany agreed on Sunday they remained committed to the nuclear deal with Iran
  • The U.S. decided earlier this week that it would decertify the agreement

Britain and Germany agreed on Sunday they remained committed to the nuclear deal with Iran after a U.S. decision to decertify the agreement, a spokeswoman said after a call between Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“They agreed the UK and Germany both remained firmly committed to the deal,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.

“They also agreed the international community needed to continue to come together to push back against Iran’s destabilizing regional activity, and to explore ways of addressing concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile program.”

October 16, 2017 Posted by | Germany, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

German authorities puzzled over increase in radioactive particles in air

Deutche Welle 5th Oct 2017, German authorities have measured an increase in radioactive material in the
air. Officials say there is no risk to human health whatsoever, but are
puzzling over its source. Since September 29, a slight increase in the
isotope Ruthenium-106 has been measured in the air in Germany, Italy,
Austria, Switzerland and France.
http://www.dw.com/en/spike-in-radioactivity-measured-in-germany-other-european-countries/a-40825708

October 6, 2017 Posted by | environment, Germany | Leave a comment

New find points to Hitler’s project towards a nuclear bomb

Discovery of radioactive metal points to ‘success’ of Nazi atomic bomb programme http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/radioactive-nazi-atom-bomb-bernd-th-lmann-germany-amateur-treasure-hunter-a7963521.html

Oranienburg was reportedly the location of Adolf Hitler’s secret uranium enrichment facility  Fiona Keating An amateur treasure hunter in Germany has stumbled upon what could be radioactive material from a secret research facility dating back to World War II.

64-year-old Bernd Thälmann was exploring the ground in Oranienburg, north-east Germany, with his metal detector when it gave an unusual ‘bleep’.

After bringing the mysterious object home, the pensioner alerted the authorities about his discovery of a shiny lump of metal.

Police discovered the find was radioactive, leading to the evacuation of 15 residents from several houses by emergency services.  Specialists in hazmat suits searched Mr Thälmann’s home and removed the suspicious object in a lead-lined container which was then placed inside a protective suitcase.
Mr Thälmann is now being investigated for being in possession of “unauthorised radioactive substances”, according to the Berlin Courier.

German authorities have revealed that the area of Oranienburg was the location of Adolf Hitler’s secret uranium enrichment facility.

The research centre was tasked with enriching uranium oxide imported from South America, to make weapons-grade plutonium. The ultimate aim was to create a Nazi atomic bomb.

According to police, Mr Thälmann was intent on retracing his steps to find more hard evidence of the mysterious Nazi-era site. The amateur archaeologist was proving uncooperative, according to authorities.

A police statement revealed that “the finder refuses to provide information on the exact location.” An investigation was launched, with the radioactive find part of a criminal investigation, according to AFP.

Britain and the United States have long possessed information regarding the Nazi’s plans to make atomic bombs.

 

September 25, 2017 Posted by | Germany, history | Leave a comment

Nuclear power and renewable energy shown to not work well together

German nuclear damage shows atomic and renewable power are unhappy bedfellows https://www.euractiv.com/section/electricity/news/german-nuclear-damage-shows-atomic-and-renewable-power-are-unhappy-bedfellows/,By Dagmar Dehmer | Der Tagesspiegel | translated by Sam MorganJul 26, 2017, A Germany nuclear plant was damaged because its operators increased and decreased its output to respond to energy grid fluctuations. The incident supports the theory that nuclear and renewable energy generation are incompatible. EURACTIV’s partner Der Tagesspiegel reports.

September 14, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Germany, renewable | Leave a comment

Iodine tablets for German communities near Belgian nuclear reactor

German region to hand out iodine over Belgium nuclear fears,  August 31  BERLIN — A German border region is preparing to hand out potassium iodide tablets to residents who want them in case of an accident at a nuclear power plant in Belgium that has caused friction between the two countries.

Local officials in the Aachen area received permission from the regional government to distribute the tablets as a precaution amid longstanding concerns in Germany over the safety of the Tihange plant, less than 70 kilometers (43 miles) away. They’re meant to prevent thyroid cancer in case of radioactive contamination.

From Friday through Nov. 15, people under 46 can apply online for a coupon for the iodine tablets, which they can pick up free at pharmacies.

Germany plans to switch off all its nuclear reactors by 2022 and already has shut its oldest plants.

September 1, 2017 Posted by | Germany, safety | Leave a comment

 German Social Democrat candidate for chancellor wants US nuclear arms removed from Germany

US nuclear arms should be removed from Germany – chancellor candidate, Rt. 23 Aug, 2017 German Social Democrat candidate for chancellor Martin Schulz says he will push for US nuclear weapons to be removed from Germany, calling for an end to the “armament spiral” pushed by US President Donald Trump.

“As German Chancellor… I will champion for the withdrawal of the nuclear weapons stationed in Germany,” the leader of the Social Democrats (SPD) said in Trier, addressing a campaign rally on Tuesday.

About 20 US nuclear warheads are currently stationed at a military base in Buechel, Germany, DPA news agency reported, citing unofficial estimates. The SPD leader also made it clear that, unlike Angela Merkel, he is strongly opposed to President Trump’s demands for NATO members to increase their defense spending.

“Trump wants nuclear armament. We reject it,” Schulz said, adding that his position also applies to the North Korea crisis.

“More than ever, the North Korean conflict signals the need for arms limitation, especially [need for] nuclear disarmament.”….

Schulz says the money would be better used for other purposes, like schools. “It cannot be that Federal Republic of Germany looks without any comment or action at how the armament spiral, which is wanted by Trump, continues to develop.”

In an opinion piece last week, German Foreign Minister and SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel slammed Trump’s calls for NATO members to meet the defense spending target of two percent of GDP, accusing Merkel of following Trump’s “dictate” and essentially “kneeling” to the US leader.

“We must free ourselves from the devilish logic saying that security is to be reached through armament,” Gabriel said…..

Strong opposition to Trump’s armament plans also came from European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker earlier this year. “I am very much against letting ourselves be pushed into this,”he said……https://www.rt.com/news/400656-schulz-germany-us-nuclear/#.WZ3nUOZRYVQ.facebook

August 25, 2017 Posted by | Germany, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Donald Trump: USA ready to act militarily against North Korea: Merkel calls for de-escalation of the rhetoric

Donald Trump says US military solutions ‘locked and loaded’ against North.  Korea.news.com.au , AUGUST 12, 2017 US PRESIDENT Donald Trump says North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will “regret it and regret it fast” if he attacks the US air bases in Guam or any of America’s allies.

August 12, 2017 Posted by | Germany, Pakistan, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Northern Germany hit by floods

Floods hit northern Germany, force some evacuations, 

 BERLIN — Heavy rains led to flooding Wednesday in some parts of northern Germany, forcing some evacuations and prompting residents to pile sandbags in front of their homes to protect themselves from a swollen river.
The center of the town of Goslar, in the mountainous Harz region of northern Germany, west of Berlin, was closed off and a hotel and a home for the elderly were evacuated as its central market square was flooded.

Elsewhere, streets were flooded and basements had to be pumped dry of water in the Harz region, and two stretches of railway lines were closed.

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

Nuclear and Renewable power really don’t work well together

German nuclear damage shows atomic and renewable power are unhappy bedfellows, Euractiv, By Dagmar Dehmer | Der Tagesspiegel | translated by Sam Morgan 20 July 17 A Germany nuclear plant was damaged because its operators increased and decreased its output to respond to energy grid fluctuations. The incident supports the theory that nuclear and renewable energy generation are incompatible. EURACTIV’s partner Der Tagesspiegel reports.

July 21, 2017 Posted by | Germany, renewable | Leave a comment

Corruption in Israel-Germany submarine deal – suspects held


Suspects remanded in Israel-Germany submarine deal probe, 
JERUSALEM (Reuters) by Maayan Lubell, JULY 10, 2017- Three suspects were remanded in custody and a fourth ordered held under house arrest on Monday after Israeli police questioned six people on suspicion of corruption in a $2 billion deal to buy submarines and patrol craft from Germany.

The 2016 deal has been under public scrutiny since it emerged that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s personal lawyer also represented the local agent of the German conglomerate ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems set to build the vessels.

The six, who were questioned under caution on suspicion of bribery, fraud and tax offences, include public officials and private citizens, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said. No further details were immediately available.

German authorities also are looking into the deal.

In June, German magazine Der Spiegel reported Germany’s national security council had approved the sale of the three nuclear-capable submarines to Israel and that authorities inserted a clause into the contract giving it the right to void it if corruption allegations were proven…… https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-corruption-germany-idUSKBN19V15U?il=0

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Germany, Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

The international nuclear industry in financial meltdown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United States

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

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

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

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

Japan

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

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

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

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

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

France

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

India

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

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

South Africa

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

South Korea

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

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

Taiwan

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

UK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Switzerland

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

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

Sweden

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

Russia

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

China

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

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

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

 EON SE nuclear plant now losing millions

EON’s Old Nuclear Money Spinners Are Now Just a Big Hassle, Bloomberg, By Weixin Zha and Tino Andresen, 4 July 2017, 

Brokdorf reactor halt has cost more than 100 million euros
Utility awaiting regulatory approval after February outage 

An EON SE nuclear plant that made billions for the German utility is now losing money.

Essen-based EON is battling repeated delays to production at its Brokdorf reactor that has cost the company more than 100 million euros ($114 million) since halting in February, the utility said by email. The unit is now scheduled to start July 19.

Brokdorf, a 1.4-gigawatt reactor capable of powering 2.8 million homes, is offline after regulators raised concerns about oxide layers on fuel rods discovered when the unit stopped for maintenance. EON has submitted its examination results to the regulator and is awaiting approval to restart.

EON, which last year separated its conventional power plant business into a new company called Uniper SE, still operates three atomic plants including the 31-year-old Brokdorf facility. EON had to keep the nuclear business after the government made plant operators permanently liable for decommissioning costs under the nation’s plan to exit atomic power.

“For the market, it will be an issue if Brokdorf still wasn’t available in the fall,” said Lueder Schumacher, an analyst at Societe Generale SA in London.

EON transferred on Monday its share of 24 billion euros that the government demanded from utilities into a fund that will pay for costs related to the final storage of radioactive waste.

Brokdorf’s outage contributed to a 20 percent drop in EON’s first quarteradjusted net income to 525 million euros, the utility said in May.

“The financial damage to our company due to the production loss is now at a three-digit million amount,” Almut Zyweck, a spokeswoman for EON’s nuclear unit, said by email on Monday…….https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-04/eon-s-old-nuclear-money-spinners-are-now-just-a-big-hassle

July 5, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Germany | Leave a comment

Germany’s renewable energy auctions

Energy Post 27th June 2017,The introduction of renewables auctions in Germany, replacing administratively set feed-in premiums, has led to considerably lower prices and very high realization rates. However, community participation was very low in the first solar PV auctions.

Now a new rule favouring community projects in onshore wind auctions turned out to be so attractive that most
bidders created community projects to profit from them. This is turning the
market upside down. Corinna Klessmann and Silvana Tiedemann of consultancy Ecofys, a Navigant company, look at the effects of auctions on the German renewables markets and make recommendations.    http://energypost.eu/germanys-first-renewables-auctions-are-a-success-but-new-rules-are-upsetting-the-market/

July 3, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, decentralised, Germany | Leave a comment

European Commission approves Germany’s plan for funding radioactive waste management

Reuters 16th June 2017, The European Commission said on Friday it had approved Germany’s plan to
create a public fund to deal with radioactive waste. Germany intends to
take over the liabilities relating to management of radioactive waste and
spent fuel from nuclear power plant operators.

They would have to pay in about 24.1 billion euros ($26.9 billion). This is made up of a basic amount
equivalent to the provisions already set aside by the operators for this
purpose and a risk premium aimed at covering the risk of cost increases in
the future.

The Commission concluded that the move did involve state aid
because of uncertainties over the cost of a repository for waste and the
possibility of cost overruns. Germany regards the measure as necessary as
it seeks to phase out nuclear energy production by 2022.  http://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-eu-nuclearpower-subsidies-idUSKBN197144

June 19, 2017 Posted by | Germany, Legal | Leave a comment