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No apologies from France, over nuclear bomb tests’ pollution in Algeria

The New Arab 12th Feb 2021, President Emmanuel Macron’s recent statement that a “memories and truth” commission will be established to look into the history of the French colonisation of Algeria, has led to much public discussion over this bloody legacy.

And in this context, the absence of apologies or offers of reparations by the French state has not gone unnoticed. One area of particular contention in this process is the ongoing and detrimental effects of France’s nuclear testing in Algeria, conducted throughout the
1960s. France conducted its first nuclear test known as the “Gerboise Bleue” in February 1960 in the Sahara Desert – an atomic bomb that was four times the strength of Hiroshima. A total of 17 tests were carried out, four of them atmospheric detonations, and 13 underground.

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/english/comment/2021/2/12/frances-nuclear-colonial-legacy-in-algeria

February 15, 2021 Posted by | AFRICA, Religion and ethics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Koeberg Nuclear Power Station containment buildings damaged by prolonged exposure to sea air

Koeberg Nuclear Power Station containment buildings suffer damage, ESI Africa, Feb 12, 2021   A recently released Eskom document has revealed that 40 years of exposure to sea air at Koeberg Nuclear Power Station has damaged the concrete of the containment buildings, according to Koeberg Alert Alliance.

At one stage the concrete containment dome was found to have cracked around the entire 110-meter circumference, states the Koeberg Alert Alliance.

“The containment buildings are the outer shells of the reactor buildings, built as pressure vessels to withstand the pressure if the reactors inside them ever malfunction and therefore prevent harmful radiation being leaked into the environment,” says DR, a member of Koeberg Alert Alliance and a retired analytical chemist.

“Where the chloride salts have entered, they have caused corrosion of the reinforcing steel bars, resulting in spalling and delamination of the concrete – it is even more alarming than I thought,” he says. Spalling results from water entering concrete which forces the surface to peel, pop out, or flake off. ……..

According to the Koeberg Alert Alliance, the provided 31-page report which refers to repairs done up until 2018, has eleven pages entirely blacked out and various other sections, photos and tables redacted with the reason given as “sensitive technical information”.

“The interesting parts are clearly those that have been redacted,” says University of Johannesburg Physics Professor, Hartmut Winkler. “The first big redact is titled History/Background and presumably describes past failures and recent damage that Koeberg Alert Alliance’s PAIA was interrogating. Why should the ‘History’ be sensitive due to technical information when the less redacted sections are full of technical details.

“The most puzzling redact to me are the references which are supposed to be publicly available documents, so why are they all being hidden? Do they expose some entities that Eskom does not want anyone to know have been involved with Koeberg and why? I would also query why the financial information would be redacted. Surely the public has a right to know how much money certain components cost, and what Eskom paid for them?” says Winkler.

This is a developing story, ESI Africa will do a follow up to give Eskom an opportunity to respond to the claims. https://www.esi-africa.com/industry-sectors/generation/koeberg-nuclear-power-station-containment-buildings-suffer-damage/

February 13, 2021 Posted by | incidents, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa’s new nuclear power plan would be a costly mistake

 

February 5, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, South Africa | Leave a comment

All-Africa Conference of Churches welcomes Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty

All-Africa Conference of Churches welcomes Nuclear Prohibition Treaty https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2021-01/aacc-treaty-nuclear-weapon-proliferation-africa-church.htmlThe All-Africa Conference of Churches salutes the recent coming into force of the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), hailing it as further inspiration to work for a nuclear-weapons-free world.

By Fr. Benedict Mayaki, SJ  The first-ever Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) came into force on 22 January 2021 after years of negotiations. The Treaty, welcomed by many as a step towards ridding the world of nuclear weapons, was signed four years after it was adopted by the UN in 2017.

Hailing this recent development, the All-Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), in a statement on Tuesday, expressed its support, together with the rest of the ecumenical community, for the Treaty which now becomes international law.

The ecumenical body said that the Treaty “ushers in the possibilities of heralding a new world free of the threats and tensions that have been characterized by the battle to develop and hold nuclear weapons.”

No safe hands for nuclear weapons

In the Tuesday statement, AACC stated its belief “that the very holding and potential threat of use of nuclear weapons is immoral,” adding that it looks forward to the day “when the world will be freed of these weapons permanently.”

“There are no safe hands for these weapons,” added AACC. “The accidental or deliberate detonation of a nuclear weapon would cause severe, long-lasting and far-reaching harm on all aspects of our lives and our environment throughout the world.”

At the same time, these technologies are “part of structures and systems that bring about great suffering and destruction” and have been the cause of “major tensions and threats of widespread devastation.”

TPNW: inspiration for a nuclear-weapon-free world

In the wake of the entry into force of the Treaty, AACC said that at a time when the world desperately needs fresh hope, the TPNW inspires us to work towards fully eliminating “the threat of nuclear weapons, and to create conditions for peace, justice and well-being.”

AACC also pointed out that the treaty addresses the disproportionate impact of nuclear weapons on women and indigenous peoples, as well as the “importance of victim assistance and healing environmental harms in a groundbreaking way.”

Citing the example of the hibakusha – survivors of the two nuclear attacks launched at Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II – AACC noted that their courage and perseverance serve as “the inspiration, guidance and moral foundation” in the quest for a world without nuclear weapons.

Appeal to States

Highlighting that none of the nine nuclear global powers, and many countries with defense pacts with them have signed or ratified the Treaty, AACC pointed out that a lot of work still remains to be done.  As at its entry into force, the TPNW was signed by 86 countries and ratified by 51.

n this regard, AACC appealed to the ecumenical global community to make its contribution, in whichever way possible, to participate in the global work for peace, justice and respect for life.

Concretely, the ecumenical body is urging all States to sign and ratify the TPNW, as well as join the first meeting of the State parties scheduled for next year. AACC further calls for decisive action “to strengthen the power of the TPNW upon its entry into force, and to work for peace, cooperation and common security.”

“We must not be discouraged at the slow pace, but become even more determined to push for a better world,” AACC said. “This is part of our mission and we know God is on our side.”

AACC

Founded in Kampala, Uganda, in 1963, the AAAC is an ecumenical association that today has 173 member churches present in 40 African countries, representing over 120 million Christians on the continent. Its headquarters is in Nairobi, Kenya.

January 30, 2021 Posted by | AFRICA, politics international, Religion and ethics, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Investigation of Algerians affected by France’s nuclear bomb tests

Le Monde 20th Jan 2021, At the heart of Franco-Algerian memory: the fight against those irradiated from the Sahara. This January 20, historian Benjamin Stora submits to the
President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, his report on Franco-Algerian memory. The nuclear tests carried out until 1966 in the Sahara are one of the disputes between the two countries. Investigation.

https://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2021/01/20/au-c-ur-de-la-memoire-franco-algerienne-le-combat-des-irradies-du-sahara_6066872_3212.html

January 21, 2021 Posted by | AFRICA, France, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Africa the only country to have nuclear weapons, then abandon them

January 21, 2021 Posted by | Reference, South Africa, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Another bit of boring nuclear propaganda – from Morocco this time

 

A straight handout from the nuclear lobby? Of course! Not a word about the costs. Not a word

Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

about safety, environmental issues. Not a word about the problem of radioactive trash produced. And, of course – no mention that medical radioisotopes can now be made safely and efficiently in non nuclear cyclotrons  

Morocco, Hungary Sign Agreement On Nuclear Energy Cooperation.     The agreement boosts bilateral cooperation in scientific and academic research.    By Sanae Alouazen, Jan 20, 2021  Rabat- Morocco’s National Center for Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology (CNESTEN) and the Hungarian Center for Energy Research signed a cooperation agreement on Tuesday.  The agreement aims to strengthen cooperation between the two research centers in the field of nuclear energy……. https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/01/332545/morocco-hungary-sign-agreement-on-nuclear-energy-cooperation/

January 21, 2021 Posted by | AFRICA, marketing | Leave a comment

Ten compelling reasons to stay away from nuclear power 

January 9, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, South Africa | Leave a comment

Growing opposition to nuclear power in Rwanda

November 29, 2020 Posted by | AFRICA, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

NuScam pushing to sell its ”small” nuclear reactors to South Africa

S. Africa Regulator to Consider Approving Nuclear Power Plan,  Bloomberg, By Antony Sguazzin,10 November 2020,
    •  Program envisages addition of 2,500 megawatts of atomic power
    •  Country’s renewable-energy lobby opposes expansion of industry

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa will on Nov. 11 consider approving the procurement of 2,500 megawatts of nuclear power, marking another step toward the expansion of the industry.

The regulator will consider approving a so-called section 34 determination for the program, which enables the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy to undertake a bidding process for private producers to build nuclear-power facilities, it said in a Twitter posting outlining the agenda for the meeting.

South Africa, which destroyed its atomic weapons prior to the end of apartheid, already operates Africa’s only nuclear-power plant, the 1,800 megawatt Koeberg facility in Cape Town, as well as the Pelindaba research facility north of Johannesburg.

While the expansion of nuclear power has the support of the ministry and labor unions, it’s opposed by environmentalists and backers of the country’s expanding renewable-energy program.

NuScale Power LLC, a U.S. nuclear-energy firm, has said it will propose small, modular reactors for installation in South Africa. The U.S. International Development Finance Corp. has announced that it will support a bid by NuScale, approving the procurement of 2,500 megawatts of nuclear power, marking another step toward the expansion of the industry.

The regulator will consider approving a so-called section 34 determination for the program, which enables the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy to undertake a bidding process for private producers to build nuclear-power facilities, it said in a Twitter posting outlining the agenda for the meeting.

South Africa, which destroyed its atomic weapons prior to the end of apartheid, already operates Africa’s only nuclear-power plant, the 1,800 megawatt Koeberg facility in Cape Town, as well as the Pelindaba research facility north of Johannesburg.

While the expansion of nuclear power has the support of the ministry and labor unions, it’s opposed by environmentalists and backers of the country’s expanding renewable-energy program.  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-11-09/south-african-regulator-to-consider-approving-nuclear-power-plan

November 10, 2020 Posted by | marketing, South Africa | Leave a comment

The tragic nuclear history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Six Million dead, The Congo Holocaust has its origins in minerals plunder and colonialism  https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/3011373848, By Linda Pentz Gunter, 8 Nov 20, 

When you’ve lost family members to the Nazi death camps, it’s a pain that never goes away. Six of my relatives were killed there, four more shot in Polish ghettos and at Forlì. They died long before I was born and were people I never knew. But we have their photographs. Their pain stares out from those images, a perpetual ache.

But what use is endless mourning if no lessons are learned? The most important one surely is that no such Holocaust must ever be allowed to happen again? And yet it has. To almost universal silence. No one speaks of today’s six million dead. They lie beneath the mineral-rich soil of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), invisible and unmourned by the world beyond their country’s borders.

“The Holocaust continues in DRC with the complicity of the international community,” Rodrigue Muganwa Lubulu wrote to me in an email exchange. “Women and girls are raped every day and the dead are counted by tens each day.” He is the program director for CRISPAL Afrique and gave a zoom talk recently hosted by ICAN Germany.

The tragedy of the DRC, the second largest country in Africa, began with the discovery in 1915 of the Shinkolobwe uranium deposit, the richest ever discovered at the time. Its plunder, from 1921 until its closure in 2004, “has been a curse for the powerless community” around the mine, said Lubulu, “because not only have they been forced to abandon their lands, houses and fields in favor of uranium mining, but also all the men were forced to dig out those extremely radioactive materials without protective equipment.”

The cancers and other illnesses that killed those uranium workers are still harming the community today, Lubulu says, even though the mine is now shut down.

The DRC was first colonized by Belgium in 1908 and known as the Belgian Congo until it gained independence in 1960. (It was known as Zaire between 1971 and 1997.) It rapidly became a country of great interest, especially to the United State and the then Soviet Union, engaged in a growing Cold War arms race. Then, as now, the country promised riches to its White pillagers. In the Eastern part of the country, wrote Armin Rosen, in a June 26, 2013 article in The Atlantic, “just feet beneath the surface of the earth are enough minerals to keep the global technology and defense industries humming.”

But during World War II, the uranium mined from Shinkolobwe went to the American Manhattan Project. “More than 70 percent of the uranium in the Hiroshima bomb came from Shinkolobwe,” says Lubulu, whose organization is holding workshops and other events in an effort to persuade the government of the DNC to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

He is haunted by what might have been if the “ore of death” as he calls uranium, had instead been left where it belongs; in the ground. “Without the uranium of Shinkolobwe, the 5th of August 1945 would have been a perfect and productive day in Hiroshima,” he said during his ICAN presentation.

This is supported by a recollection from the Manhattan Project’s Colonel Ken Nichols, who wrote: “Without Sengier’s foresight in stockpiling ore in the United States and aboveground in Africa, we simply would not have had the amounts of uranium needed to justify building the large separation plants and the plutonium reactors.” Edgar Sengier was the then director of Union Minière du Haut Katanga, and had stockpiled 1,200 tonnes of uranium ore in a warehouse in New York. This ore and an additional 3,000 tonnes of ore stored above-ground at the mine was purchased by Nichols for use in the Manhattan Project.

That connection between his homeland and Hiroshima, and the haunting reminders of its outcome so movingly expressed by Japan’s Hibakusha, as the atomic bomb survivors are known, is what spurs Lubulu and CRISPAL to urge on the ratification and implementation of the TPNW.

“You cannot separate nuclear weapons from uranium,” Lubulu said. “Once you have one, you get the other. Once you dig it out, it becomes a monster and you can’t control it anymore.”

Tragically, that monster could be unleashed again at Shinkolobwe. Both France and China are interested in mineral rights there. CRISPAL needs to move fast to educate people about these renewed dangers. But they face dangers of their own in doing so.

Since 1997, when internal and cross-border strife took hold in the DRC, at least six million people have died. Trying to leaflet or hold meetings in such communities, especially if it is in opposition to uranium mining, is fraught with danger. No one involved has forgotten the brutal treatment of Congolese anti-uranium mining activist, Golden Misabiko, who was arrested, imprisoned twice, poisoned by his own government in an apparent, and mercifully unsuccessful, assassination attempt, separated from his family and forced into exile.

Despite this, Lubulu believes that, above all, love will find a way. “There is no door that enough love cannot open,” he said in concluding his presentation. Hopefully, the rest of the world will start sending some love in Congo’s direction.

November 9, 2020 Posted by | AFRICA, history, indigenous issues, Uranium | Leave a comment

Covid-19 divides and weakens the nuclear sector in South Africa

November 7, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, health, politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Trump’s USA is pushing NuScale’s small nuclear reactors for South Africa

The US nuclear company with an eye on South Africa  just got a R23 billion boost, courtesy of Donald Trump, https://www.businessinsider.co.za/nuscale-nuclear-which-has-plans-for-sa-gets-a-big-us-subsidy-to-test-its-design-2020-10    Phillip de Wet , Business Insider SA Oct 22, 2020, 

  • American nuclear energy company NuScale has been citing Cape Town as an example of an ideal customer for its still-theoretical generators.
  • It has now received in-principle financial support from the American government to build a nuclear power station in South Africa.
  • NuScale’s pathfinder project for its new technology, in Idaho, just got a promise of an infusion of US government cash worth some R23 billion.
  • While South Africa abandoned plans to create next-generation PBMR systems, the administration of Donald Trump has pushed small-scale nuclear development.

NuScale, a company with roots in US-funded research, this week received assurances that the American government will provide up to $1.4 billion (around R23 billion) in subsidies for a 12-module reactor it hopes to start building in Idaho by 2025.

The project is a commercial one, with municipal buyers lined up for the electricity, but the cash from the US department of energy is intended to bring the cost of that electricity down to $55 per MWh on a levelised cost of energy (LCOE) basis, making the project at least vaguely competitive with other forms of power generation.

Without the subsidies, the supposedly once-off cost of building a first-of-its kind power station would make the NuScale project commercially unviable, its planned customers say.

Just how once-off such costs are, and how much money the US government ends up actually spending on the project, will be closely watched in South Africa

Last week the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) announced it had signed a letter of intent to support NuScale “to develop 2,500 MW of nuclear energy in South Africa”.

NuScale has cited Cape Town as a purely theoretical customer for a 12-module version of its nuclear energy system, saying that such an installation could desalinate enough water to keep the entire city going.

But the 2,500MW number cited by the DFC suggests its South African ambitions are substantial. That is the full generating capability the South African government now envisages adding to the national grid from nuclear stations – but the government plan calls for a mixture of the conventional pressurised water reactors (PWRs) such as Russia’s Rosatom sells, and the type of small modular reactors (SMRs) NuScale is developing.

By seeking development finance for the full 2,500MW, NuScale appears to be signalling a plan to bid for the whole thing, rather than seeking to build only part of a new set of nuclear generators in SA alongside companies from China or elsewhere.

That matches the aggressive posture of the US government under the administration of Donald Trump. The DFC letter of intent is the first time the organisation has supported any nuclear project; a ban on its involvement in nuclear energy was lifted on the recommendation of a working group formed by the White House.

The state funding for the NuScale project in the US, meanwhile, comes after consistent and determined efforts under Trump’s presidency to “revitalise” nuclear energy in America, both in production and through research and development on next-generation systems.

South Africa, though determined to buy new nuclear power stations, has not had a similar political appetite to invest in research. In 2010 it mothballed work on the pebble bed modular reactor, a project launched in the late 1990s to create a safe, small, modular reactor system for both domestic use and sale abroad.

Russia once thought it had a done deal to build new nuclear reactors in South Africa. Half a decade later, thanks to its sheer political weight, China seems to be a serious contender for the job. Both France and South Korea have, at various points, been in the running too.

But as of this week, an American company with no track record of actually building commerical nuclear reactors yet is lining up the kind of money from the US government that could make its plans for South Africa viable – replacing a dream of home-grown next-generation nuclear with an imported version.

As of this year there are still vague plans to revive the project, in one form or another, but even if those were to succeed, the pace of development would have to be improbably fast for it to have any place in South Africa’s current round of explorations.

October 24, 2020 Posted by | marketing, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, South Africa | Leave a comment

Hypocrisy prize to U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), for pretending that NuScam’s Small Nuclear Reactors are ”foreign aid”

October 19, 2020 Posted by | AFRICA, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

South Africa the first sucker to get American experimental nuclear reactor + $billions in bribes?

October 19, 2020 Posted by | marketing, South Africa, technology, USA | Leave a comment