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Buildup of radioactivity in wild boars in Sweden – from eating Chernobyl area mushrooms

Radioactive wild boars in Sweden are eating nuclear mushrooms, Quartz, 13 Oct 17  Radioactive wild boars currently roaming central and northern Sweden are proof positive that nuclear disasters have long-term environmental impacts, both near and far from where they occur.

In 1986, a nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine exploded, irradiating the surrounding region, including Belarus, Russia and the rest of the Ukraine, and sending a cloud of radioactive material over northern and central Sweden. At the time, Swedes were warned against eating potentially nuclear berries and mushrooms. But no one told the wild boars about irradiated fruits and fungus, and three decades later these Swedish animals show exceptionally high levels of radioactivity because of mushrooms rooted deep in ground that remains radioactive.

On Oct. 5, the Swedish television channel SVT reported (link in Swedish) that of 30 wild boar carcasses tested for radiation this year by Calluna, a local environmental consultancy, 24 showed high levels of exposure. Calluna’s Ulf Frykman recently alerted local hunters in the Gävle region, about 100 miles north of Stockholm, of “extremely high” radiation levels among local boar,

“This is the highest level we’ve ever measured,” he told the Telegraph, noting one animal in particular. Although flora and fauna in Sweden have been generally deemed safe, Frykman believes deeply-rooted, nuclear mushrooms in the country’s northern territories are to blame for the high traces of radiation in these wild boars.

The creatures root for food in the soil, which exposes them to the iodine and cesium-137 traces that remain in soil long after they’re gone above ground. “Wild boar root around in the earth searching for food, and all the cesium stays in the ground,” Frykman explained. “If you look at deer and elk, they eat up in the bushes and you do not have not so much cesium there.”…….https://qz.com/1099248/radioactive-wild-boars-in-sweden-are-eating-nuclear-mushrooms/

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October 14, 2017 Posted by | environment, Sweden | Leave a comment

Sweden’s Environmental Court hearing proposal for a final repository for spent nuclear fuel in Forsmark

Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

This is of particular interest to Australia. The Australian  government touts Finland as the great model for acceptance of nuclear waste dump. But in fact, the model adopted by Finland, (by a poorly informed public) was taken from the one refused by Sweden – where a much more informed community used a much more democratic process to study the waste dump issue. See “When haste makes risky waste: Public involvement in radioactive and nuclear waste management in Sweden and Finland” http://bellona.org/…/radioactive-waste…/2016-08-21710

The Environmental Court’s main licensing hearing about a final repository for spent nuclear fuel in Forsmark – September 5 to October 27     http://www.mkg.se/en/the-environmental-court-s-main-licensing-hearing-about-a-final-repository-for-spent-nuclear-fuel-in#.WbJtaWAl7II.facebook The Environmental Court’s main hearing concerning the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company SKB’s license application for a final repository for spent nuclear fuel in Forsmark, Sweden, began September 5, at Quality Hotel Nacka in Stockholm. The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, SSNC, and the Swedish NGO Office for Nuclear Waste Review, MKG, are working together during the main hearing. Follow and get updates during and after the main hearing from the Twitter account of the director of MKG, Johan Swahn, and MKG’s Facebook.

On September 5, the Environmental Court’s main hearing concerning the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company SKB’s license application for a final repository for spent nuclear fuel in Forsmark, Sweden, began at Quality Hotel Nacka in Stockholm. The main hearing will be in progress for five weeks, between September 5 and October 27. The first two weeks take place in Stockholm. Then, there will be a break for two weeks. The third week will take place in Oskarhamn (were the interim storage Clab is located and were the Waste Company wants to build an encapsulation facility, Clink) and the fourth week will take place in Östhammar (nearby the selected site for the final repository). After another break for one week, the main hearing will be concluded in Stockholm.

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, SSNC, and the Swedish NGO Office for Nuclear Waste Review, MKG, are working together during the main hearing. The organisations will bring their statements, which fundamentally are:

    • The chosen solution for a final repository will not be safe since there is a large risk of the malfunction of the barrier system of copper and clay – the licence application should be denied or rejected!

    • There is a large risk that the copper canisters will break down within 1 000 years – a possible scenario is that it might be a contaminated, uninhabitable, forbidden zone in Forsmark!
    • The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, SSM, is aware of the large problems with the license application, but still wants to give an OK to continue towards a Government decision and afterwards ensure that the copper canister will function as intended – this is unaccepted and legal questionable!
    • There is an alternative method, the use of very deep boreholes – that might be environmentally safer, entails less risks for human intrusion, and is most likely a less expensive solution for final disposal!

    • The nature existing on the suggested site in Forsmark is of high value (there is a number of red-listed species and species protected by the Habitats Directive’s appendix 4) ­– this, in itself, constitutes a reason to reject the license application!

Follow and get updates during and after the main hearing at the director of MKG’s Twitter (@jswahn) and at MKG:s Facebook (mostly written in Swedish but can be translated directly on the website).

Links:

The negotiation procedure of the main hearing, 170704 >>

The director of MKG’s Twitter >>

MKG on Facebook >>

Previous news on MKG’s website:

Regulator recommends approval of final repository plan — despite unresolved safety issues, 160629 >>

Reject the application! Legal brief from the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation and MKG to the Environmental Court and SSM, 160531 >>

September 9, 2017 Posted by | Legal, Sweden, wastes | Leave a comment

America bullying Sweden because Sweden signed the UN nuclear weapons ban treaty

Mattis reportedly threatened Sweden with retaliation over signing a nuclear-weapons ban, Business Insider CHRISTOPHER WOODY, SEP 6, 2017 US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis reportedly warned Sweden of severe consequences if the country followed through on signing a UN treaty banning nuclear weapons.

September 6, 2017 Posted by | politics international, Sweden, USA | 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

Climate change: making polluters pay. Sweden’s Climate Act

Climate Change
40 countries are making polluters pay for carbon pollution. Guess who’s not.
Most people who have given climate change policy any thought agree that it is important to put a price on greenhouse gas emissions. They are a form of harmful waste; those producing the waste should pay for the harms
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/2460133000468975388

Sweden passes ambitious climate law to be carbon neutral by 2045.
Sweden passed a new Climate Act on Thursday, legally binding the country to reach net-zero emissions by the year 2045. The act, which passed in parliament by a vote of 254 to 41, is even more ambitious than what the Scandinavian country pledged under the Paris Agreement: Under the new act, Sweden will reach carbon neutrality five years earlier.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/2460133000468975393

June 19, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Sweden | Leave a comment

In Sweden, civil society can influence nuclear waste decisions

How can civil society influence nuclear waste decisions? Nuclear Transparency Watch Johan Swahn, ENEF May 23 2017 I have worked with radioactive waste issues for many years, first at university and since 12 years for the Swedish environmental movement.

In Sweden the systems set up for access to information, consultation and public information are very favourable for dialogue. It is not always easy to interest the general public or politicians in the
complexity of radioactive waste issues, but the interactions between the industry (SKB), the regulator (SSM), the nuclear communities (Östhammar and Oskarshamn), the Swedish Council for Nuclear Waste (the Government’s scientific advisory board), academia, the environmental movement and other
actors are well developed.  http://www.nuclear-transparency-watch.eu/activities/presentation-of-johan-swahn-during-the-enef-on-may-23-2017-panel-on-radioactive-waste-management.html

May 31, 2017 Posted by | politics, Sweden | Leave a comment

Sweden cancels arrest warrant for Julian Assange, closes investigation

Sweden shuts down Julian Assange rape investigation, TT/The Local news@thelocal.se 19 May 2017, Swedish prosecutors have decided to end the rape investigation into Julian Assange and lift the Europe-wide arrest warrant against him, but UK police say they will still arrest him.In a statement on its website, the Swedish prosecution authority said that the “Director of Public Prosecution, Ms Marianne Ny, has today decided to discontinue the investigation regarding suspected rape (lesser degree) by Julian Assange”.

May 20, 2017 Posted by | Legal, politics international, Sweden | Leave a comment

Nuclear costs weigh on Vattenfall causes a loss

thumbs-downVattenfall slides to Q4 loss as German nuclear costs weigh, Nasdaq, 7 Feb 17 
Fourth-quarter operating loss 2.8 bln crowns * 5.6 bln provision for Germany nuclear waste storage costs * Proposes no dividend for 2016 for fourth year in a row (Adds detail, background) STOCKHOLM, Feb 7 (Reuters) – Swedish utility Vattenfall [VATN.UL] slumped to an operating loss of 2.8 billion crowns ($315 million) in the fourth quarter after booking provisions for nuclear waste storage in Germany and other one-off charges. Vattenfall had already taken a $3.5 billion charge in the second quarter, mainly for German lignite mines and power plants sold in September, and it ended 2016 with a record annual loss of 21.2 billion crowns. [nFWN1C60K7]
The company, which has struggled for years due to low energy prices and financially disastrous overseas expansion, said it would not pay an annual dividend to its owner, the Swedish government, for a fourth straight year……..
Vattenfall said higher provisions for future nuclear waste storage due to new legislation in Germany, which is phasing out nuclear power, accounted for 5.6 billion crowns of the 9.9 billion of net charges in the fourth quarter.
http://www.nasdaq.com/article/update-1vattenfall-slides-to-q4-loss-as-german-nuclear-costs-weigh-20170207-00586#ixzz4Y29RqzU7

February 8, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Sweden | Leave a comment

America’s Nuclear Submarines Now Obsolete? – new Swedish Technology

submarine,-nuclear-underwatDid Sweden Make America’s Nuclear Submarines Obsolete? The National Interest, 30 Dec 16 Nuclear-powered submarines have traditionally held a decisive edge in endurance, stealth and speed over cheaper diesel submarines. However, new Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) technology has significantly narrowed the performance gap on a new generation of submarines that cost a fraction of the price of a nuclear-powered boat……..

Nuclear vs. AIP: Who Wins?:

Broadly speaking, how do AIP vessels compare in performance to nuclear submarines?  Let’s consider the costs and benefits in terms of stealth, endurance, speed and cost.

Stealth:

Nuclear powered submarines have become very quiet—at least an order of magnitude quieter than a diesel submarine with its engine running.  In fact, nuclear-powered submarines may be unable to detect each other using passive sonar, as evidenced by the 2009 collision of a British and French nuclear ballistic missile submarines, both oblivious to the presence of the other.

However, there’s reason to believe that AIP submarines can, if properly designed, swim underwater even more quietly. The hydraulics in a nuclear reactor produce noise as they pump coolant liquid, while an AIP’s submarine’s engines are virtually silent. Diesel-powered submarines can also approach this level of quietness while running on battery power, but can only do so for a few hours whereas an AIP submarine can keep it up for days.

Diesel and AIP powered submarines have on more than one occasion managed to slip through anti-submarine defenses and sink American aircraft carriers in war games. Of course, such feats have also been performed by nuclear submarines.

Endurance:

Nuclear submarines can operate underwater for three or four months at a time and cross oceans with ease. While some conventional submarines can handle the distance, none have comparable underwater endurance.

AIP submarines have narrowed the gap, however.  While old diesel submarines needed to surface in a matter of hours or a few days at best to recharge batteries, new AIP powered vessels only need to surface every two to four weeks depending on type. (Some sources make the unconfirmed claim that the German Type 214 can even last more than 2 months.) Of course, surfaced submarines, or even those employing a snorkel, are comparatively easy to detect and attack.

Nuclear submarines still have a clear advantage in endurance over AIP boats, particularly on the long-distance patrols.  However, for countries like Japan, Germany and China that mostly operate close to friendly shores, extreme endurance may be a lower priority.

Speed:……..Obviously, high maximum speed grants advantages in both strategic mobility and tactical agility.  However, it should be kept in mind that even nuclear submarines rarely operate at maximum speed because of the additional noise produced.

 On the other hand, an AIP submarine is likely to move at especially slow speeds when cruising sustainably using AIP compared to diesel or nuclear submarines.  For example, a Gotland class submarine is reduced to just 6 miles per hour if it wishes to remain submerged at maximum endurance—which is simply too slow for long distance transits or traveling with surface ships.  Current AIP technology doesn’t produce enough power for higher speeds, and thus most AIP submarines also come with noisy diesel engines as backup.

Cost:

Who would have guessed nuclear reactors are incredibly expensive?  The contemporary U.S. Virginia class attack submarine costs $2.6 billion dollars, and the earlier Los Angeles class before it around $2 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars.  Mid-life nuclear refueling costs add millions more.

By comparison, AIP powered submarines have generally cost between $200 and $600 million, meaning a country could easily buy three or four medium-sized AIP submarines instead of one nuclear attack submarine. Bear in mind, however, that the AIP submarines are mostly small or medium sized vessels with crews of around 30 and 60 respectively, while nuclear submarines are often larger with crews of 100 or more.  They may also have heavier armament, such as Vertical Launch Systems, when compared to most AIP powered vessels.

Nevertheless, a torpedo or missile from a small submarine can hit just as hard as one fired from a large one, and having three times the number of submarine operating in a given stretch of ocean could increase the likelihood chancing upon an important target, and make it easier to overwhelm anti-submarine defenses.

While AIP vessels may not be able to do everything a nuclear submarine can, having a larger fleet of submarines would be very useful in hunting opposing ships and submarines for control of the seas. Nor would it be impossible to deploy larger AIP powered submarines; China has already deployed one, and France is marketing a cheaper AIP-powered version of the Barracuda-class nuclear attack submarine.

It is no surprise that navies that operate largely around coastal waters are turning to cheap AIP submarines, as their disadvantage are not as relevant when friendly ports are close at hand. ……..http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/did-sweden-make-americas-nuclear-submarines-obsolete-18908?page=2

January 2, 2017 Posted by | Sweden, technology, weapons and war | 1 Comment

In Swedish storm wind power is equivalent to six nuclear power plants

Wind turbines at sunrise (Wind Data Centre)Wind power is equivalent to six nuclear power plants during Swedish storm http://www.mining.com/wind-power-equivalent-six-nuclear-power-plants-swedish-storm/   28 Dec 16, A hurricane-strength storm that swept through Sweden this week generated record wind power that topped at 5.7 million kWh during single hour, which is 0.5 million more than the previous record, says energy company Bixia (news release in Swedish).

Over the past three days wind power accounted for 26 percent of total electricity consumption, almost as much as six nuclear power plants, says Anders Enqvist, Director of Risk Management at Bixia.

Sweden currently has three nuclear plants with ten nuclear reactors in commercial operation, making it the only country in the world that has more than one reactor per million inhabitants, says the Swedish Institute.

In 2015 Sweden added 200 more wind turbines. More wind blows in Sweden during the winter.

December 30, 2016 Posted by | renewable, Sweden | Leave a comment

Sweden ditching taxes on solar energy, to promote fast investment in renewables

Sweden to scrap taxes on solar energy in 2017 http://www.france24.com/en/20161121-sweden-scrap-taxes-solar-energy-2017?ref=tw_i  STOCKHOLM (AFP) –  Sweden is set to ditch taxes on its production of solar energy in 2017 in a bid to run entirely on renewable energy by 2040, the government said on Monday.

Solar energy is currently marginal in the Nordic nation, accounting for less than 0.1 percent of electricity production. Sweden relies mostly on hydropower (39 percent) and nuclear power (36 percent). The finance ministry said in a statement that the production of solar electricity for own use would be entirely exempt from taxes. Electricity providers would meanwhile only be taxed 500 kronor (51 euros) per megawatt hour, which is a 98-percent reduction from the current level.

“This makes fast investments possible,” Social Democratic Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson said.

The proposal is likely to be adopted by parliament, with the centre-right opposition having criticised the minister for her lack of ambition with regards renewable energy investments.

The move must also be approved by the European Commission in Brussels, which aims to boost the EU’s share of renewable energy to at least 20 percent of consumption.

In October, the Swedish energy market regulator had estimated that in order to reach the target of 100 percent renewable energy, the share of solar electricity would have to rise to between five and 10 percent.

November 26, 2016 Posted by | renewable, Sweden | Leave a comment

The nuclear power door is only just still open in Sweden

flag-SwedenSweden’s deal leaves door to nuclear power open, but only just, Reuters STOCKHOLM, JUNE 23 | BY DANIEL DICKSON AND NERIJUS ADOMAITIS Sweden has agreed to cut taxes on nuclear power generators and allow for the construction of new reactors but policymakers have yet to work out how that fits with a commitment to using 100 percent renewable energy……..

Spokeswomen for the Energy Minister Ibrahim Baylan and for the Green Party, a junior member of the ruling coalition……….the target is formulated as electricity production… that means all production in Sweden is renewable,” Lise Nordin, Green Party energy policy spokeswoman and member of the parliament, told Reuters.

While the agreement allows power generators “in theory” to build new reactors, in reality they would be too costly, she added.

“The probability that new nuclear power will be built is zero,” Nordin said……..http://uk.reuters.com/article/sweden-nuclearpower-idUKL8N19E2VM

June 24, 2016 Posted by | politics, Sweden | Leave a comment

Sweden’s contradiction – wants 100% renewable energy, AND to save the nuclear industry

contradictionflag-SwedenSweden has committed to 100% renewable energy by 2040 – and at the same time ‘saved nuclear power’ http://nordic.businessinsider.com/sweden-is-to-use-100-renewable-energy-by-2040—but-no-expiration-date-has-been-set-for-nuclear-energy-2016-6/

Business Insider Nordic   June 10, 2016 the Swedish government coalition together with a couple of the opposition parties presented a new broad agreement for Sweden’s energy consumption.

A date was set for Sweden’s energy production to be 100% renewable, but at the same time the agreement promises better conditions for Sweden’s nuclear power production: lower taxation, new facilites and no expiration date.

The agreement was presented at a press conference at which many of the involved parties emphasized the agreement as progress in the adaptation of renewable energy sources. Amongst other points an ambitious goal was set for 100% of Swedish energy consumption to come from renewable energy sources by 2040, according to Omni.

Such claims did not prevent some of the opposition parties from making the agreement out as a major victory in the dispute over the use of nuclear energy. A major tax on nuclear power was instead scrapped and no expiration date has been set, though one is often called for in the political debate.

According to SVT, Pernilla Gunther, who’s represented the Christian democratic party in the negotiations said, “With these negotiations we’ve achieved the goal of saving nuclear power, both in the long term and short term.”

Swedish nuclear power is a very controversial political topic.

The issue of nuclear power in Sweden is controversial because after the Harrisburg nuclear catastrophe a referendum in 1980 led to the decision that nuclear power should be non-existent in Sweden by 2010. The referendum has been criticized because there was no option to vote for not abolishing nuclear power.

Since then only one facility have been closed, while the Swedish parliament has approved that new facilities may be opened to replace old ones. The new agreement even allows for 10 new facilities to be built.

In this light it is not sursprising that the different parties are highlighting conflicting aspects of an agreement they all stand behind.

The problem seems to be that no sitting government is prepared to commit to abolishing nuclear power any time in the foreseeable future, though it is easy to shout demands and refer to the will of the people when in opposition. There has not been any consensus as to an alternative that is good enough, but with the new agreement perhaps there is hope.

When it comes to wind power, for example, the Liberal party left the discussions because they could not support the subsidies. Similarly the Danish government recently took a step back from the country’s wind power investment, because a ruling by the European Commission that would abolish the subsidy, along with falling prices on other sources is making wind power relatively expensive all of a sudden.

Renewable energy production is progressing, but the plan i svery ambitious.

At the same time, renewable energy production is certainly progressing and doing so according to schedule. Sweden and Norway have a joint scheme for meeting the green energy target of 28.4 terawatt-hours by 2020 and according to Reuters, the countries are set to deliver on track though Norwegian regulators may adjust the renewable quota downwards and while Swedish regulators adjust it upwards.

In any case the target is modest compared with Denmark, which already produces those amounts of renewable energy, with only a third of the population, according to Reuters. Yet Denmark has set the date of relying 100% on renewable energy to 2050. That makes the Swedish agreement saying 2040 seem very ambitious.

June 10, 2016 Posted by | politics, Sweden | Leave a comment

Sweden heads for 100% renewable energy

renewable-energy-pictureflag-SwedenSweden phases out fossil fuels in attempt to run completely off renewable energy Sweden’s prime minister announced his country will work towards becoming ‘one of the first fossil fuel-free welfare states of the world’, Independent, 25 May 16  Samuel Osborne  @SamuelOsborne93  Renewables account for over half of Sweden’s energy, while the UK has one of the lowest renewable energy shares in Europe.

In 2015, Sweden’s prime minister announced his country will work towards becoming “one of the first fossil fuel-free welfare states of the world,” in a speech to the UN General Assembly.

Between 2013 and 2014, 51.1 per cent of Sweden’s energy needs were met by renewables, according to data from Eurostat and the Renewable Energy Directive.

As the chart by Statista shows, [on original] Sweden’s renewable energy share (RES) was larger than that of many other European nations. ……http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/sweden-phases-out-fossil-fuels-in-attempt-to-run-completely-off-renewable-energy-a7047306.html?utm_content=bufferb00d8&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

May 25, 2016 Posted by | renewable, Sweden | Leave a comment

Vattenhall nuclear corporation in financial trouble, opposes nuclear risk premium, seeks to abolish Swedish tax

radiation-sign-sadflag-SwedenVattenfall CEO says Germany’s proposed nuclear risk premium ‘too high’ Stockholm (Platts)–28 Apr 2016

* Plan ‘disproportionate’ to utilities’ economic strength
* Nuclear, hydro taxes in Sweden should be abolished

The CEO of Swedish utility Vattenfall, which has large stakes in Germany’s Brunsbuttel and Krummel nuclear plants, said the additional amount German nuclear power producers would have to pay for decommissioning and spent fuel storage under a proposed plan is “disproportionate to the economic strength of the utilities.”

The German Commission on the Review of the Financing of the Nuclear Phaseout, or KFK, recommended to the German government that nuclear utilities pay a so-called risk premium of Eur23.3 billion ($26.4 billion) into a fund for decommissioning reactors and final storage of spent fuel, which would be administered by the state.

That payment would be on top of the almost Eur40 billion in provisions that utilities have set aside to finance decommissioning and storage.

……NUCLEAR TAX  Turning to its Swedish nuclear operations, Hall again called on the government to abolish the capacity tax on nuclear power. The tax is based on the amount of electricity reactors can generate, not on actual generation.
Hall and other Swedish nuclear utility executives have said that the tax, coupled with low electricity prices, is making nuclear power unprofitable. As a result, Vattenfall plans to shut two reactors ahead of the end of their technical lifetimes………http://www.platts.com/latest-news/electric-power/stockholm/vattenfall-ceo-says-germanys-proposed-nuclear-26430524

April 29, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, politics, politics international, Sweden | Leave a comment