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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board warns about Hanford nuclear site

Nuclear safety board warns of trouble ahead at Hanford, but could lose role under Trump, Seattle Times Nuclear safety board report finds serious problems persist with a massive facility to help treat Hanford’s chemical and radioactive wastes. The report comes as the Trump administration considers a proposal to downsize or do away with the independent oversight board. By Hal Bernton Seattle Times staff reporter An unfinished $16.8 billion complex to treat chemical and radioactive waste at the Hanford site in Central Washington continues to suffer design problems that risk explosions and radioactive releases from unintended nuclear reactions, according to a Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board report.

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November 17, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Hanford board says billions more needed for nuke cleanup

, by Associated Press http://keprtv.com/news/local/hanford-board-says-billions-more-needed-for-nuke-cleanup  14 Nov 17RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) – The Hanford Advisory Board says more money is needed to clean up the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

The board says Congress needs to give Hanford some $4 billion per year to reach cleanup deadlines.

The Tri-City Herald reports Hanford currently receives $2.2 billion to $2.5 billion per year.

The board is composed of people from the Tri-Cities and the Northwest who have an interest in cleaning up the site.

The board at a meeting last week said the current funding level is “dangerous and destructive.”

Hanford is located near the Tri-Cities and for decades made plutonium for nuclear weapons. The site is now engaged in cleaning up the resulting radioactive wastes.

November 15, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Drop in EDF share price as Hinkley nuclear saga drags on

FT 13th Nov 2017, Shares in French energy company EDF dropped more than 10 per cent on Monday
after it cut its profit and cash flow targets because of falling demand and
delays in restarting some of its nuclear reactors. The state-backed company
said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for 2018
were now expected to be between €14.6bn and €15.3bn, compared with its
earlier assumption of at least €15.2bn. It also said it was less confident

about achieving positive cash flow, saying it will be “slightly
positive or close to balance”. It had previously said it would return to
positive cash flow, after dividend payments, in 2018.

EDF, which is in charge of the controversial new nuclear power development at Hinkley Point
in the UK, blamed lower electricity consumption in France, lower
availability of some of its nuclear reactors in France and the risk that it
might sell less energy in the UK and at a lower price. “Basically, this
is the market taking into account the series of bad news that has been
coming,” said one sector specialist.

“It’s Hinkley Point, it’s the
number of plants that have had to be stopped due to the regulator and
fundamentally a Nicolas Hulot climate that is not very positive.” Mr
Hulot is a climate campaigner and strident critic of nuclear power who is
now France’s energy minister. Morgan Stanley suggested that additional
risks included “possible delays in the delivery of nuclear plants”,
while Mr Jeffery said there is “a strong risk the issue caused by the
nuclear regulator’s ongoing investigation into EDF’s existing nuclear
plants could roll on beyond early 2018 as anticipated by EDF”.

November 15, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Unwise to subsidise failing energy technologies, as wind ans solar now beat coal and nuclear

Don’t subsidize under-performing technologies http://www.news-leader.com/story/opinion/readers/2017/11/11/dont-subsidize-underperforming-technologies/853397001/

November 13, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Leukaemia High Court Case Transcripts from 1992.

CORE 11th Nov 2017

http://corecumbria.co.uk/leukaemia-high-court-transcripts/

November 13, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Rick Perry’s strange point of view, North West Arkansas

 Democrat GazetteBy GAIL COLLINS New York Times News Service,  November 12, 2017 Oh, that Rick Perry.

Our secretary of energy was in South Africa recently for Africa Oil Week. Whenever the word “oil” is mentioned, Perry responds like a dog on the scent of a hamburger. So no surprise there. We wouldn’t even have noticed he was gone, except for the part where he suggested that fossil fuels would protect women from sexual assault………

Rick Perry is an absolutely terrible secretary of energy. We all remember that he took the job without realizing that his central responsibility would be overseeing the safe handling of nuclear materials, a topic he knew nothing whatsoever about. Interested bystanders recalled sadly that Barack Obama’s first secretary was a Nobel Prize-winning scientist and the second a nuclear physicist.

On the other hand, Rick Perry once shot a coyote while jogging.

He claims.

Anyhow, Perry and Donald Trump are of one mind about the Department of Energy’s new mission, which is making our nation “energy dominant.” Once it was all about energy independence, and that’s going pretty well, thanks to solar and wind power and natural gas. Now, the administration’s obsession is to find new ways to market our fossil fuels, including an increasingly large amount of excess oil……….

…….a little village girl could put a solar cell on the roof and power a battery for her reading light. And no pollution. That’s exactly the kind of thinking that drives Perry nuts. So there he was in Cape Town, spreading the faith and urging his audience to break the “culture of shame” around oil and coal.

Africa was actually the worst place possible for a U.S. official to be waving the fossil fuel flag. Climate scientists expect it to be particularly hard hit by global warming, with expanding droughts on one hand and flooding on the other……….http://www.nwaonline.com/news/2017/nov/12/rick-perry-s-strange-point-of-view-2017/?opinion

November 13, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

11 November – film examining nuclear industry – “Power Struggle”

Nuclear Power Documentary Film and Panel Discussion Coming to Chatham https://www.capecod.com/newscenter/documentary-film-and-panel-discussion-coming-to-chatham/  November 3, 2017 CHATHAM –The documentary “Power Struggle” will be screened at the Chatham Orpheum Theater on Saturday November 11th,followed by a panel discussion.

The film chronicles the heated political battle to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

It shows how a nuclear engineer turned whistle blower, a 93-year-old grandmother, and a scrappy new governor, join forces with a wide array of activists to score a major environmental victory by shutting down the aging atomic plant.

The film’s Director will be part of the post film discussion. The documentary, which is at times humorous and frightening, captures the views of people on both sides of the issue.

Producers said one fact in the film that can’t be ignored is that high-level radioactive waste will remain at every nuclear power plant around the world indefinitely.

The film’s world premiere was at The Provincetown International Film Festival. Tickets for this special premier are just $12.

November 4, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

British navy has to take parts from some vessels to maintain others, especially submarines

Scotsman 1st Nov 2017, The Royal Navy is increasingly forced to strip parts from its vessels in
order to maintain other ships and submarines in the fleet, an investigation
has found. Equipment “cannibalisation” increased 49% from 2012 to 2017
and spending watchdog the National Audit Office (NAO) said budget cuts in
the last two years could have increased the need to move parts between
vessels and naval helicopters.

Nuclear-powered Astute-class hunter-killer
submarines, some of the most modern and advanced vessels in the Royal Navy,
experienced the highest level of cannibalisation in the fleet with 59
instances per boat on average.
http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/britain-s-nuclear-submarines-reliant-on-spare-parts-1-4601926

November 3, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

North Korea: How to start a nuclear war without even trying

Interpreter,  https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/north-korea-how-start-nuclear-war-without-even-trying   Van Jackson, 1 Nov 17, If effective strategy requires realistic aims, then America is in trouble. US officials have shown themselves to be pathologically overconfident in their ability to achieve political outcomes with military signals, and the outcome they’re trying to achieve is utterly unrealistic.

Imagine if the US flew what North Korea thought were nuclear-capable bombers up near its border, sporadically at first, then once per month. Then twice per month. In parallel, the US starts sending nuclear-capable submarines to port in South Korea. Then it issues warning orders to US Navy surface ships armed with Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles (the kind used against Syria in April) to program North Korean targets while patrolling in waters off North Korea’s eastern coast. Then it deploys fifth-generation stealth fighters to Japan in conjunction with the arrival of three aircraft carriers to the Pacific.

What do these military preparations look like?  

Now imagine that the political rhetoric coinciding with all these military moves aims for nothing short of convincing a nuclear North Korea to unilaterally disarm itself. Imagine President Trump says Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is ‘wasting his time’ with diplomacy. Then the National Security Adviser says the US cannot ‘accept and deter’ a nuclear North Korea because North Korea is ‘undeterrable’. President Trump, he says, will not accept North Korea having the capability to threaten the US with nuclear weapons. Consequently, he claims the US is ‘in a race to resolve this short of military action.’

How might you characterise this US policy? If effective strategy requires realistic aims, then America is in trouble. US officials have shown themselves to be pathologically overconfident in their ability to achieve political outcomes with military signals, and the outcome they’re trying to achieve is utterly unrealistic.

Imagine if the US flew what North Korea thought were nuclear-capable bombers up near its border, sporadically at first, then once per month. Then twice per month. In parallel, the US starts sending nuclear-capable submarines to port in South Korea. Then it issues warning orders to US Navy surface ships armed with Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles (the kind used against Syria in April) to program North Korean targets while patrolling in waters off North Korea’s eastern coast. Then it deploys fifth-generation stealth fighters to Japan in conjunction with the arrival of three aircraft carriers to the Pacific.

How might you characterise this US policy?

Then imagine that Trump takes occasion to not only threaten North Korea, but to insult Kim Jong Un. Oh yes, and that South Korea leaks that it is preparing for ‘decapitation’ operations to eliminate Kim Jong Un. To top it all off, North Korea obtains US plans for fighting a war with the North, making it fully aware of how the US might preposition and deploy various forces in the region prior to conflict.

Taken together, how might all this appear to Kim Jong Un and his regime?

I’ve just described a situation of immense pressure and narrow (if any) maneuverability if either side misperceives the actions or statements of the other. What worries me, and most experts watching the situation, is that every single word and deed described above is real.

After a North Korea policy review earlier this year, the Trump Administration settled on an approach of ‘maximum pressure’ in pursuit of North Korean denuclearisation. Notwithstanding occasional mixed messaging, what I have just described above is what maximum pressure looks like. As it turns out, it’s basically the Obama Administration’s quixotic North Korea policy with an overlay of escalating threat-making.

That’s a problem. By 2016, virtually nobody in the community of experts thought North Korean denuclearisation was possible short of regime change in the North. The Trump Administration has loudly declared it won’t accept a nuclear North Korea, but has been quiet on how it plans to convince North Korea to give up a nuclear arsenal it has suffered decades of sanctions and pressure to obtain. And in recent remarks at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies Summit, HR McMaster made clear that US policy still holds to the maximalist goal of North Korean unilateral disarmament, and nothing less.

The risks in this approach are apparent even to its advocates. But what of the benefits? What is the Trump Administration’s theory of the case here? There isn’t one, at least not one with merit. It doesn’t matter whether one bases policy on insights from coercion theory or Korean history; there’s no reason to believe that going on the offensive with North Korea will lead to any favorable outcomes for the US.

One of the most common lessons from studies of Cold War competition is that coercion is difficult, and nuclear coercion even more so. As Robert Jervis, a godfather of security studies, observedlong ago, military signals are likely to be dismissed as cheap talk if there isn’t something that imbues them with credibility. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Twitter can signal hostility, but not resolve. In general, the idea that military signals will convince a nuclear state to disarm — or even show up at the negotiating table to disarm — commits the grievous sin of assuming you can buy deterrence on the cheap.

But even if the Trump Administration ignores theory to justify its pressure campaign in terms of Korea’s historical circumstances, there’s a major problem: the most relevant insight from Korean history is that North Korea already fears the US. Fear is why it went to such great lengths to get nuclear weapons in the first place. The Trump Administration doesn’t need to do anything out of the ordinary to make Kim Jong Un believe the US is willing to wage a war. This is a context in which US military signaling is like pouring extra water on a wet sponge; the threat environment is already so saturated that no good can come of more gratuitous US threats, even if the threats were in service of an achievable goal (and denuclearisation is not that).

Some of my colleagues close to the Administration have told me that escalating military pressure is really aimed at getting China to do more, rather than North Korea. But to what end? This is no more thoughtful than applying pressure directly on North Korea. Even if China becomes convinced that the US could attack North Korea and cause a regional catastrophe, it is irrational to expect that China would induce the catastrophe itself by bringing overwhelming pressure to bear on North Korea. And even if China did decide to coerce North Korea into denuclearisation, there’s no reason to believe it would be successful; except for one notable instance in the 1970s, North Korea’s entire history has been one of responding to pressure with pressure. So again, the Administration and its surrogates in the think-tank world have a broken theory of coercion.

It’s true that the likelihood of war is relatively low because, well, war is inherently far less common than non-war. As quantitative political scientists are fond of saying, ‘war is in the error term’. But taking solace in statistics misses the point.

War has antecedent conditions, and its indicators are alight in Korea. The Trump Administration’s maximum-pressure policy generates risks of miscalculation and an obvious impression that the US is positioning itself for war without any prospect of upside for the effort. Flirting with the possibility of inadvertent war needs to have payoffs for the nation. We should all be concerned about the lack of a positive rationale supporting America’s risk-taking approach to a quixotic goal.

November 2, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Australian-managed private equity fund helped Chinese involvement in coal mine plan for Cumbria

Scisco Media 27th Oct 2017, Back in 2015 the Champagne glasses were clinking in The Four Seasons, a Chinese restaurant in Whitehaven, Cumbria. West Cumbria Mining was
“happily toasting the recent visit to the UK of Chinese premier Xi
Jinping.” As well they might. Over £14m of funding for the development
has come from EMR Capital Resources Fund, an Australian-managed private
equity fund. Managed by Owen Hegarty and Jason Chang, pride of place in the
head office is a photo of “an Australian politician at the signing of an
agreement between EMR and a bank in China”.
https://sciscomedia.co.uk/cumbrian-coal-mine-china-connection/

October 29, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Complicated world of nuclear nations: Pakistan and India especially concerning

Nuclear club’s rival weapons and agendas pushing us into uncertain new world, SMH, David Wroe , 28 Oct 17   For all the heartburn about North Korea, many experts feel the greatest danger of nuclear war remains one between India and Pakistan.

Why? Their nuclear doctrines are downright hot-headed. Pakistan, intimidated by the much larger conventional forces of its neighbour and arch-rival, states that if Indian forces charge over the border, it would launch a nuclear strike on its own soil against the invaders.

Pakistan argues this would be self-defence, not a nuclear attack on India.

India of course sees it differently and vows it would retaliate with nuclear counter-strikes.

India moreover says it might retaliate with nuclear weapons if Pakistani terrorists – regarded as proxies for their country’s intelligence agencies – ever carried out another Mumbai-style massacre. That is more than a remote possibility.

“It’s scary. The last time there was a conflict, Pakistan devolved launch authority down to the field commander,” said John Carlson, an Australian former nuclear negotiator now serving as a counsellor to the Washington-based Nuclear Threat Initiative, a group that works to reduce the risks posed by weapons of mass destruction.

India moreover says it might retaliate with nuclear weapons if Pakistani terrorists – regarded as proxies for their country’s intelligence agencies – ever carried out another Mumbai-style massacre. That is more than a remote possibility.

“It’s scary. The last time there was a conflict, Pakistan devolved launch authority down to the field commander,” said John Carlson, an Australian former nuclear negotiator now serving as a counsellor to the Washington-based Nuclear Threat Initiative, a group that works to reduce the risks posed by weapons of mass destruction. “They say they’ve got better command and control now but I don’t know how much confidence you can have in that.”

If that’s not enough, India’s real nuclear rivalry is not even with Pakistan. It is with fellow rising power China. China in turn has nuclear deterrence strategies against the two established Cold War giants, the US and Russia.

The world, in short, is getting more complicated.

Nuclear weapons have been part of the strategic landscape for more than 70 years. But for most of this time, the standoff was between two superpowers, the US and the Soviet Union. Then for a while there was one, the US.

That’s now changing to a world strategic boffins call “multipolar”, where power is fragmenting and redistributing. And some experts are wondering why this isn’t prompting a more urgent conversation about what it means for nuclear weapons and their proliferation.

David Cooper, a long-serving former Pentagon official who is now a professor of National Security Affairs at the US Naval War College, calls it “trans-regional nuclear arms racing”, something he says “we have never seen before in the relatively brief history of the nuclear age”.

“And we don’t know what deterrence or arms control would look like in this new context of potential nuclear multipolarity, which could involve simultaneous, and interconnecting, nuclear arms races within and across regions, because we have never been in a multipolar world since the dawn of the nuclear age,” Cooper said.

“This would be completely new if it comes to pass. That’s something we need to start thinking about.”

The world’s estimated 15,000 fusion and fission bombs remain the only weapons stockpile that poses a truly existential threat to humanity. The most powerful nuclear weapon ever tested, the Soviet “Tsar” bomb detonated in 1961, had nearly 5 million times the yield of the most powerful conventional bomb, the US-made MOAB.

The current crisis of Kim Jong-un’s nuclear program, and the postponed problem of Iran, are symptoms more than drivers of the fears of a more nuclear-armed world……http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/nuclear-clubs-rival-weapons-and-agendas-pushing-us-into-uncertain-new-world-20171027-gz9jkq.html

October 28, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

UK government obfuscated on costs of energy, and uncertainties about Hinkley Nuclear power

Sky News 25th Oct 2017, The Government has been accused of getting its sums “spectacularly” wrong
on the energy market and locking customers into excessive prices for years
to come, in an independent review commissioned by ministers. Professor
Dieter Helm, who was asked in the summer to carry out the review, said
prices had gone up for many households and businesses despite lower
wholesale costs and greater efficiencies. He also warned of a “cliff edge”
for electricity capacity leading up to 2025 amid uncertainty about when the
much-delayed new nuclear reactor at Hinkley comes online. The report said
that Government models of energy costs in the first half of the current
decade had at times been “spectacularly bad”, as they predicted surging
fossil fuel prices.
http://news.sky.com/story/government-made-spectacularly-bad-call-on-energy-prices-report-11098293

October 28, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

President Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) should focus on safety and security, not deterrence

The Hill 20th Oct 2017, President Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) is likely to be released
in January 2018. Given the President’s reported remarks about increasing
the U.S. nuclear arsenal tenfold, the focal point of the review will
undoubtedly be on deterrence, not nuclear security.

Regardless of decisionsrelated to the size of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, preventing nuclear
terrorism — an integral part of nuclear security — should still be a
top priority. After all, terrorists, by their very nature, cannot be
deterred in the same way that states can. Nuclear, fissile and radioactive
materials — ingredients for a nuclear weapon, crude weapon or dirty bomb
— are quite literally all around us.

They are stored in thousands of universities, hospitals and laboratories across the world because of their
applications in medicine and research. Preventing these materials from
ending up in the wrong hands keeps the world safe from a nuclear attack.

The dangers are not as distant as you might think. Security breaches have
already happened. In 2012, an unarmed 82-year-old nun broke into the Y-12
maximum security nuclear facility in Tennessee, the “Fort Knox of
uranium,” to protest.

It is not hard to imagine that criminals bent onacquiring nuclear material could have similar success.

The consequences of a nuclear terrorist event in any U.S. city are terrifying. Even a small
nuclear detonation could cause immediate casualties from the blast, as well
as panic, economic disruption, long-term evacuations, exorbitant
decontamination costs, casualties from cancer and overwhelming
psychological damage. Regardless of views on broader nuclear policy
choices, the reason to maintain focus on nuclear security is clear.
http://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/356439-preventing-nuclear-terrorism-should-remain-a-top-us-priority

October 23, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

South Korea will continue phasing out nuclear power

South Korea’s president says will continue phasing out nuclear power, Christine Kim, SEOUL (Reuters) 22 Oct 17, – South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said on Sunday the government will continue to phase out nuclear-generated electricity, following a public opinion survey that dealt a blow to his plans to do so.

“We will completely stop all plans for the construction of new nuclear reactors like the government previously stated,” Moon said in a statement distributed to reporters by his office.

 “The government will also step up usage of natural gas and renewables in order to maintain its stance of phasing out nuclear-generated power.”

Moon’s statement came after a public opinion survey on Friday found a majority of almost 60 percent in favor of resuming the stalled construction of two reactors.

The president asked his supporters on Sunday to respect the outcome of the survey, which he called a “wise and intelligent” response….

With the two reactors set to be completed in October 2021 and October 2022, according to state-run nuclear operator Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, Moon said safety standards for nuclear plants would be ramped up.

Moon also reiterated his plan to shut down the Wolsong No. 1 nuclear reactor, the nation’s second-oldest, once the government confirms stability in energy supplies……https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-nuclear-moon/south-koreas-president-says-will-continue-phasing-out-nuclear-power-idUSKBN1CR04U

October 23, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

UK ‘should fund green heat over nuclear’ 

http://www.energylivenews.com/2017/10/20/uk-should-fund-green-heat-over-nuclear/

That’s according to former Energy Secretary Sir Ed Davey MP, who told ELN although nuclear power should be “kept on the table because it’s low carbon and may be needed in the future”, the energy source is still expensive and inflexible.

He added spending money on renewable heat would be much better for people’s bills.

Sir Davey said: “If we can get cheap green heat, as we’ve managed to achieve cheap green power, that’s going to make everyone happy because they’ll be paying a lot less for their energy”.

He also suggested Brexit could result in UK energy prices rising as fewer interconnectors to trade gas and electricity  will reduce supply.

October 23, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment