Once a reactor has reached the end of its lifetime, the cost for decommissioning and storing nuclear waste for hundreds to thousands of years have to be borne. Utilities have a mandate to make provisions for this, but whether the funds will actually suffice remains to be seen.
While the level of feed-in tariffs has been reduced for wind and solar in countries like Germany and Switzerland to reflect technology learning curves, the [UK’s] price guarantee for nuclear locks in the opposite trend.
The positive business case for non-renewable energies seems to come to an end. Thirty years after Chernobyl and five years after Fukushima, the economic meltdown of nuclear power should be a wake-up call for investors and governments
Nuclear power’s economic meltdown 30 years after Chernobyl http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/energy-rethink_nuclear-power-s-economic-meltdown-30-years-after-chernobyl/42109822 By Rolf Wüstenhagen 25 Apr 16 Thirty years later, the nuclear industry is facing a meltdown of a different kind: an economic meltdown.“New nuclear – the economics say no” was the headline of a 2009 analyst report published by Citigroup. The bankers had taken a closer look at the financial viability of the proposed construction of nuclear power plants in the UK and concluded that five risks make it very difficult to invest profitably in nuclear: planning, construction, power price, operational and decommissioning risk.
They went on to conclude that each of the middle three of these risks alone would be enough to “bring even the largest utility company to its knees financially”.
Two years after the report was published, Citi’s claim was empirically validated. The meltdown in three reactors of the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant in Japan led to widespread contamination.
The event marked a human and environmental tragedy, but the magnitude of the financial loss – estimates of which range from $250 billion (CHF242 billion) to $500 billion – also forced the operating company, Tepco, into the largest government bail-out in Japanese economic history.
Sharp rethink Continue reading
Geneva sues France over ‘dangerous’ nuclear plant, The Local, 03 Mar 2016 Geneva is taking legal action over a French nuclear reactor for “endangering lives and polluting water”. Some 70 kilometres from Geneva as the crow flies, Bugey, in the Ain department, is one of France’s oldest nuclear power plants, having come into service in 1972.
The site creates about 4.5 percent of France’s electricity using pressurized water reactors that harness water from the nearby Rhône River.
It has been the subject of controversy before, notably in 2013 when Greenpeace activists broke in to the plant to highlight alleged security weaknesses at the facility.
The current Swiss legal action is a joint initiative by Geneva’s city and cantonal authorities, which have teamed up on an issue that has preoccupied the region for some time, reports Swiss daily 24 Heures.
Back in 2012, the canton placed an official objection to French energy company EDF’s authorization to create a nuclear waste depot at the Bugey site, but the complaint was rejected by the French government. In March 2015 the city council engaged Corinne Lepage, environmental law specialist and a former French minister, to devise a legal strategy calling for the plant to be shut down.
This fresh Swiss campaign against Bugey, led by Lepage, comes as Switzerland decides to shut down one of its own nuclear plants, at Mühleberg.
The reactor in the canton of Bern will be disconnected from the Swiss electricity grid in 2019 and will be finally put out of service by September 2020 at the latest, its owner BKW Energy announced to the press on Wednesday.
Like Bugey, Mühleberg also dates from 1972, making it one of the oldest nuclear plants in the world.
No age limits
However, despite the old age of some of Switzerland’s nuclear installations, their lifespan should not be limited by law, the federal government said on Wednesday.
On Wednesday the Swiss parliament voted against a motion to set an age limit for nuclear plants………
Worse than before Fukushima’
Quashing the proposal angered some on the political left, however, including president of the Greens, Adèle Thorens.
Speaking to Le Matin, she said: “Instead of moving away from nuclear power it’s been decided to prolong the life of nuclear plants instead.”
Worse, she said, was the fact that parliament “had refused the recommendations of our own monitoring organization!”
“We are now in a security situation worse than before Fukushima,” she added. “That’s the incredible paradox of our energy strategy.” http://www.thelocal.ch/20160303/geneva-sues-france-over-dangerous-nuclear-plant
Westinghouse Electric to dismantle Barsebäck nuclear power plant http://cphpost.dk/news/westinghouse-electric-to-dismantle-barseback-nuclear-power-plant.html Located just 20 kilometers from Copenhagen, the plant ceased operation already in 2005 November 6th, 2015 12:10 pm| by Lucie Rychla
According to Westinghouse, the company will dismantle, segment and package the reactor pressure vessel internals for final disposal – a process that significantly reduces the radioactivity remaining in the plant since it was shut down.
No more nuclear energy
Barsebäck is a boiling water nuclear power plant with two units, which began commercial operation in May 1975 and June 1977. Barsebäck Unit One was shut down in 1999, 17 years before its planned life expectancy, and Barsebäck Unit Two ceased operation in May 2005.
In 1980, the Swedish parliament decided not to build any new nuclear power plants in the country and to phase out existing plants by 2010, following a referendum that took place after the Three Mile Island incident in Pennsylvania.
«The World Health Organisation (WHO) is failing in its duty to protect those populations who are victims of radioactive contamination.»
The Vigil is held in front of the World Health Organisation (WHO) headquarters. It has been maintained every working day since the 26th April 2007 to remind this United Nations body of its duties as defined in its constitution.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, whose mandate is the promotion of everything nuclear, has – for the last 55 years – prevented the WHO from carrying out its public health mandate in a world ever more exposed to the lethal effects of ionizing radiation.
For 55 years, as of May 29, 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been under the heel of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in matters regarding ionizing radiation and health. The IAEA, whose mandate is the promotion of everything nuclear, has thus prevented the WHO from carrying out its public health mandate in a world more and more exposed to the lethal effects of ionizing radiation.
The Vigil for August 2015 – Geneva and Paris
Since April 26, 2007, the Hippocratic Vigil has been held outside the WHO headquarters in Geneva, which now makes a total of 436 weeks without interruption. The vigil consists of a silent presence that aims to remind the World Health Organization of its obligations as set out in its constitution. We have added the name of Hippocrates to our description because of the ethical rules he instituted for health practitioners. As far as the protection of the health of people affected by the consequences of the nuclear industry is concerned, the World Health Organization ignores these rules. The Vigil takes place outside the WHO headquarters in Geneva every working day from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
Week 432 – Geneva – 03 to 07 August 2015
François Fresneau (Pruigné l’Eguillé – 72 – France) – Michel Monod (Geneva – Switzerland)
Martine Cuennet (Avully – Switzerland) – David Shipley (Geneva – Switzerland)
François Rittmeyer (Vevey – Switzerland)
Michel Monod (Geneva – Switzerland)
François Fresneau (Pruigné l’Eguillé – 72 – France) – Robert Parsons (Geneva – Switzerland)
Martine Cuennet (Avully – Switzerland) – François Rittmeyer (Vevey – Switzerland)
Marcelin et Jocelyne Grousselas (St Cyr la Rosière – 61 -France)
Martine Cuennet (Avully – Switzerland) – Mireille Jubert (Grenoble – 38 – France)
Guy Chatelan (Gex – 01 – France) – David Shipley (Geneva – Switzerland)
Alison Katz (Geneva – Switzerland) – Hannelore Schmid (Onex – Switzerland)
Michel Monod (Geneva – Switzerland) – Caroline Mercier (Geneva – Switzerland)
Véronique Marcot (Rochejean – 25 – France) – Roland Essayan (Fontaine les Dijon – 21 – France)
Week 435 – Geneva – 24 to 28 August 2015
Monique Guittenit (Lusignan Petit – 47 – France) – Martine Cuennet (Avully – Switzerland)
Françoise Bloch (Geneva – Switzerland) – Annick Steiner (Geneva – Switzerland)
Alison Katz (Geneva – Switzerland)
Week 436 – Geneva – 31 August 2015
Lamamo (Aix les Bains – 73 – France) – Isabelle Perrey (Aix les Bains – 73 – France)
We believe it is important to address ourselves to those who are partly responsible for deciding WHO policy. It is for this reason that, on 9th November 2012, we began a Vigil outside the Ministry of Health in Paris. The Ministers of Health are the representatives of the member countries of WHO, and they are involved in deciding the policies and actions that this institution pursues in the area of radioprotection. We will maintain this silent and peaceful vigil every Friday from 9am to 5pm outside the Ministry of Health in Paris, until France takes the necessary steps to ensure that WHO fulfils its mission to protect the population from radioactive pollution, and that a programme of independent research is put in place on a national and / or European level, on the theme of “Health and nuclear power”.
Taking part in the Vigil outside the Ministry of Health during July 2015 :
Midori Amo – Philippe Clavière – Hervé Courtois – Marie Magdeleine Fratoni – Etsuko Furukata – Martine Laroche – Dominique Maddaléna – Keiko Negtshi – Christian Roy – Nadine Ruelland – Ryota Sono – Yuki Takahata – Jean Pierre Triger
Source : IndependentWHO
The IndependentWHO collective believes that, in the area of radioprotection, WHO should, as a matter of urgency, put in place the following 6 points :
1.To reinstate the Health and Radiation Department and recruit independent and internationally recognised experts to lead and coordinate responses to public health disasters such as Chernobyl and Fukushima and also to investigate the health consequences of nuclear-related activities in general .
2. To take immediate action, in collaboration with appropriately qualified partners including the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), to ensure that medical care, treatment and adequate radioprotection are provided to populations in the affected areas.
3. As a priority, to coordinate with appropriately qualified partners, the importation of uncontaminated food to meet all the nutritional needs of the populations living in the affected areas and the implementation of medical interventions (such as the daily administration of apple pectin) which are known to facilitate the elimination of radionuclides and significantly reduce the radioactive dose delivered to sensitive cells and organs.
4. To establish a Commission on Radiation and Health made up of independent experts to undertake a scientific study of the health consequences of the accident at Chernobyl, including all studies undertaken by independent researchers, having no connections, financial or otherwise, to the nuclear industry or associated bodies, and to report their findings to the World Health Assembly organised by WHO.
5.Within the Commission, to establish working groups to examine and report on the available evidence, the gaps in research in relation to different aspects of radioprotection, and as a priority, establish a working group on the health consequences of chronic, low dose, internal radiation and a working group on damage to the human genome from both external and internal sources of radiation.
6. To publish and make available in full, the proceedings of the Geneva 1995 and Kiev 2001 conferences on the health consequences of Chernobyl.
Source : IndependentWHO
The Hippocratic Vigil
The aim of the silent vigil is to remind the World Health Organisation of its duties. It was Hippocrates who formulated the ethical rules for health practitioners. The World Health Organisation ignores these rules, when it comes to protecting the health of the victims of the consequences of the nuclear industry.
Since the 26th April 2007, the Hippocratic Vigil has been held in front of the WHO headquarters in Geneva. It has been maintained, each working day between 8am and 6pm, to remind this United Nations body of its duties as they are defined in its Constitution.
Placards display the messages that the Vigil seeks to convey to WHO
Up to now, 300 people have participated in the Vigil in front of the WHO headquarters. They come from several European countries, as well as some from America. About 40 of them are either Swiss or French living within a radius of about 50km from Geneva. These are the people who relieve others for lunch breaks or for “anti-freeze” breaks in the middle of winter. We are able to call upon a group of “stalwarts” in unforeseen circumstances, such as health problems, last-minutes cancellations.
The vigil is maintained by individuals on their own or in groups up to a maximum of three. People sign up for half a day, a full day, a few days or the whole week. Those who come to do the Vigil are offered accommodation by a network of “hosts” (numbering 20). The people taking part in the vigil have to pay for their travel to Geneva and for their food themselves.
For additional information, or to sign up for the vigil, write to Paul Roullaud
or telephone him on +33 (0)240 87 60 47
Source : Independent WHO
After the disaster at Fukushima, Japan, in March 2011, the government demanded Axpo, the Beznau plant operator, and other nuclear companies to step up their safety margins to make sure they were adequately flood and earthquake-proof. ………
Four of the country’s five reactors are temporarily offline for different reasons. Since August 14 block 2 at the nuclear power plant Beznau in canton Aargau has been offline. It will be out of service for four months while maintenance is carried out. Among the planned tasks is the replacement of the reactor pressure vessel cover. Block 1 at the plant has been out of service since March due to irregularities in the pressure vessel. Weak spots were found in the 15cm steel covering of the vessel.
Nuclear power plants in Leibstadt and Mühleberg are also currently not producing any energy due to annual maintenance service.
After the Fukushima disaster, the Swiss government decided to decommission all five of Switzerland’s nuclear power plants, starting in 2019 and ending by 2034. However, no exact dates were given for the individual reactors to be shut down. http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/nuclear-power_nuclear-critics-threaten-legal-action-over-beznau-plant/41614406
It is a simple statement of fact that Germany today produces more solar and wind power than the entire projected electricity demand for Switzerland in 2050. What is possible in Germany should be manageable in Switzerland too. ………Conservation, greater efficiencies, alternative energy sources, the smart grid, and the introduction of new technologies mean that Switzerland should be readily able to find ways to replace the energy lost by the closing of its existing nuclear power plants.
Small country, big challenge: Switzerland’s upcoming transition to sustainable energy,Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 25 July 15 Dominic A. Notter
Switzerland has long met a good portion of its energy needs by using nuclear power. But in the wake of the accident at Fukushima, the country will have to turn elsewhere—while still remaining true to its history of self-sufficiency and energy independence. This effort is made more complicated by fears that one of its traditional energy sources, hydropower, may no longer be as reliable as in the past. But with a combination of energy conservation, greater efficiencies, alternative energy sources, the “smart grid,” and the introduction of new technologies currently on the drawing board, the country may readily be able to replace the energy lost by the closing of its existing nuclear power plants. And the loss of the snowpack and glaciers (due to climate change) may not be as dire for Switzerland’s hydropower as first anticipated……. Continue reading
- Switzerland has a long history of trying to be as self-sufficient and energy independent as possible. Although its energy supply system has served it well in the past, the country is now looking to turn away from its reliance on nuclear power and seeks to compensate for the energy lost from hydropower as a result of climate change……
In the latest issue of theBulletin of the Atomic Scientists, published by SAGE, Dominic Notter of Empa discusses how the country aims to address this transition, finding a new supply mix that combines energy conservation, greater efficiencies, alternative energy sources, the “smart grid,” and the introduction of new technologies, so that Switzerland can secure its energy independence for the future……..
“The goal is to gradually phase out of nuclear power and into renewables by 2034, and to be largely independent of fossil fuels. Reaching it is based upon the idea of combining highly efficient energy production processes with substantial reductions in energy consumption.”Notter concludes: “Over the next four decades Switzerland faces a restructuring of its entire energy supply system. The new supply mix will be free from nuclear power, rather low in carbon intensity, and resting upon much higher efficiencies based on the newest and the most energy- efficient technologies- along with the developments of smart grids, decentralized power suppliers, hydropower, wind power, photovoltaics, biomass, wood, and the rigorous use of burning waste to generate energy whenever materials cannot be recycled […] A single “magic bullet” suitable for every purpose is not available. Switzerland most likely has to find its own energy supply mix, with the biggest sustainability potential.” Story Source:
The above post is reprinted from materials provided by SAGE Publications. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150707102025.htm
Swiss, Austrian Officials Probe Iran Nuclear Talks Cyberspying VOA News, Reuters June 11, 2015 GENEVA/VIENNA — Swiss authorities have searched a house in Geneva and seized computer material in connection with a possible cyberattack on nuclear negotiations between Iran and major powers in the city, Switzerland’s attorney-general said on Thursday.
A computer virus was used to hack into locations including three luxury hotels that have hosted negotiations between Iran and six world powers, the Russian computer security company Kaspersky Lab said on Wednesday.
“On 12 May 2015, a house search took place in Geneva and IT hardware as well as software was seized. The aim of the aforementioned house search was to seize respective information as well as the malware; it was of particular interest to investigate whether the malware infected the respective IT systems,” the Swiss attorney-general’s office in Berne said in a statement.
Criminal proceedings have been opened against unknown persons “on suspicion of political espionage”, it added without elaborating. A spokesman declined to give any further information on the investigation.
Meanwhile, Austrian authorities are investigating reported cyberattacks on venues linked to international talks on Iran’s nuclear program, the government said on Thursday……..
srael, Iran’s arch-enemy and a strong critic of the big powers’ diplomacy with Tehran, on Thursday dismissed as baseless reports that it may have had a connection to the computer virus.
Both Kaspersky and U.S. security company Symantec said the virus shared some programming with previously discovered espionage software called Duqu, which security experts believe to have been developed by Israelis.
Israel, widely believed to be the Middle East’s only nuclear power, has denounced the negotiations with Iran, saying it doubts any agreement arising from the talks will sufficiently restrain the Islamic Republic’s atomic program. http://www.voanews.com/content/austria-investigating-possible-cyberattack-on-iran-nuclear-talks/2816943.html
Switzerland revises nuclear liability law World Nuclear News, 30 Mar 15 Switzerland’s government has adopted a total revision of the federal ordinance on civil nuclear liability. The ordinance governs the enforcement of the country’s new civil nuclear liability law, which was passed by parliament in 2008 but has yet to come into force.
The Federal Council adopted a revision of the ordinance on 25 March, the Swiss Federal Energy Office (SFOE) announced. Under the revision, the minimum coverage to be provided at the national level increased from CHF 1 billion ($1 billion) to €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion), which corresponds to provisions of international civil liability……
SFOE said the revision also simplifies the compensation procedure, improving the protection of Swiss victims in the event of a nuclear incident occurring abroad. It said that in such cases, the conditions for compensation and procedural provisions that would apply to Switzerland would be the same as for all other signatory states to the Paris Convention on Third Party Liability and the Brussels Supplementary Convention……
the revised ordinance “burdens the owners of nuclear facilities by the end of the term with unnecessary additional premium costs.”
The organization claims the revision means that operators of nuclear facilities will not only have to pay for insurance cover for their plants, but also separate coverage for each transportation of even low-level material. This, it says, “reduces the international competitiveness of the Swiss electricity industry once more.” http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NP-Switzerland-revises-nuclear-liability-law-3003154.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
Switzerland becomes first country to submit Paris climate deal pledge, Guardian, Ed King, 27 Feb 15 Swiss government says it will cut greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030 as part of a UN deal on global warming later this year, reports RTCC Switzerland has become the first country to formally communicate its contribution to a UN climate change deal: 50% greenhouse gas cuts on 1990 levels by 2030.
Released on Friday, the Swiss government says 30% of those cuts will be achieved within the country, with the remaining 20% through carbon markets or other forms of offsets.
“This objective of a 50% reduction in emissions reflects Switzerland’s responsibility for climate warming and the potential cost of emissions reduction measures in Switzerland and abroad over the 2020-2030 period,” says the Swiss communication.
“Switzerland, which is responsible for 0.1% of today’s global greenhouse gas emissions and, based on the structure of its economy, has a low level of emissions (6.4 tonnes per capita per year), will use emissions reduction measures abroad to reduce the cost of emissions reduction measures during the period 2020-2030.”……..
All major economies have been asked to submit their ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ before 1 October this year, after which the UN will assess whether the world is on course to avoid dangerous levels of warming. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/feb/27/switzerland-becomes-first-country-to-submit-paris-climate-deal-pledge
‘Radioactivity found in Swiss lake’ near nuclear plant : http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/07/14/radioactivity-found-in-swiss-lake-near-nuclear-plant/#ixzz2Z9ZJtrGX July 14, 2013GENEVA (AFP) – Scientists have discovered a radioactive substance in sediment under a Swiss lake used for drinking water and situated near a nuclear plant, the Le Matin Dimanche weekly reported Sunday.
While scientists cited in the report stressed there was no danger to human health, the discovery raises concerns about safety practices and a lack of transparency at the Muehleberg nuclear plant in northwestern Switzerland.
The plant is believed to have caused a spike in cesium 137 found in the sediment of Lake Biel and dating back to 2000 through the discharge of contaminated waste water into the Aar river that feeds into the lake, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) downstream, the weekly reported.
Geologists from Geneva University happened upon the spike while working on an unrelated research project in 2010, and chemists in the northern canton of Basel recently verified the findings, it said.
The Muehleberg plant is permitted to discharge water with very low levels of radioactivity subject to strict controls several times a year, according to Le Matin Dimanche.
Politicians and environmentalists however expressed outrage Sunday that the plant and nuclear inspectors had provided no information about the higher levels of cesium 137 released more than a decade ago into a lake that provides 68 percent of the drinking water to the nearby town of Biel.
“No one ever told me that there were abnormally high concentrations in the lake,” Hans Stoekli, who served as Biel mayor from 1990 to 2010, told the paper, insisting that in light of the use of the lake for drinking water “the plant should have alerted us even in the case of minimal risk.”
Environmental group Greenpeace voiced dismay at the news, urging the public prosecutor in the canton of Bern, where Biel and the Muehleberg plant are located, to investigate.
The group, which has long called for the plant’s closure, also questioned in a statement how the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate could have either missed the higher radioactive levels or decided not to inform decision makers or the public about them.
The Muehleberg plant, which came online in 1972, is 17 kilometres (11 miles) west of the Swiss capital Bern.
In the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, the Swiss parliament approved a phase-out for the country’s five atomic power plants by 2034.
Swiss to vote on new proposal for phase out
18 January 2013
A Green-led initiative to phase out the use of nuclear energy in
Switzerland by 2029 has secured enough support for a national
referendum on the issue to be held. A date for the vote has yet to be
announced. Continue reading
Public set to vote on phasing out nuclear power, SwissInfo.ch, 16 Nov 12, Members of the Green Party deliver signatures for the initiative to phase out atomic energy (Keystone) The Green Party has collected 109,000 signatures in support of a people’s initiative that would require caps on the lifetimes of existing nuclear power plants in Switzerland and a ban on the construction of new ones. Continue reading
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