The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Britain stuck with Hinkley nuclear plan, as its costs known to be unreasonable

Nuclear is rightly vanishing as an answer to our energy needs  UK consumers face cost of Hinkley Point plant just as the logic for nuclear fades, Inside London , 25 May, by: Neil Collin

“……Nobody outside the industry now thinks the future of electricity generation is nuclear fission. The cost of building the plants to comply with safety and antiterrorism standards is rising all the time, fears of a runaway price for oil and gas now look silly, while advances in wind and solar technology are destroying those projections of ever-dearer energy.
… FT reported the appointment of nuclear critic Nicolas Hulot as France’s new energy minister, sending the shares in EDF down by 7 per cent. 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.
 Hinkley Point was conceived when “peak oil” meant peak supply, and conventional wisdom said that we would start to run out. The term now means the opposite; hydrocarbons are more abundant than we ever dreamt, and peak demand for oil may be less than a decade away. At the same time, the electricity supply market is changing. The assumption that the grid must be capable of supplying whatever is wanted looks increasingly wasteful.
Rather than manage supply, technology allows management of demand. A smart meter would help run the dishwasher or charge your electric car when it detected that the cost of juice was low. Unfortunately today’s so-called smart meters, now being rolled out at a hidden cost to consumers of £11bn, are too stupid to do this, and may be vulnerable to hacking. The UK’s energy market is in an unholy mess, with attention distracted by the vacuous debate about switching electricity suppliers. The real costs lie with the “green initiatives” at the other end of the wires.
 Scrapping Hinkley Point would not solve all of them, but it would be a start. Perhaps best to wait until after June 8 for another U-turn from Mrs May, though.

May 27, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Czech Republic and Slovakia still committed to nuclear power

Sobotka and Fico: Czechs and Slovaks committed to nuclear energy, By Adéla Denková | May 26, 2017, The Czech Republic and Slovakia see nuclear power as key to their future energy mix. But new reactors needed in both states, however, face financing problems due to the low price of electricity.

May 27, 2017 Posted by | EUROPE, politics | Leave a comment

Russia and Philippines – Nuclear Marketing

Philippines, Russia forge nuclear cooperation deal, ABS-CBN News, May 26 2017 MANILA – The Philippines and Russia have agreed to develop cooperation on nuclear energy under an agreement signed in Moscow, Russia’s state nuclear agency said Friday.

Under the memorandum of cooperation, the two nations will pursue the “development of the nuclear infrastructure” in the Philippines, including personnel training and securing public acceptance of nuclear power, Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corp said in a statement……Duterte has approved a study on the feasibility of nuclear power to augment the country’s electricity supply.

The Philippines has a nuclear power plant in Bataan, which has never been used.

May 27, 2017 Posted by | marketing, Philippines, Russia | Leave a comment

Russia and Philippines Military Cooperation Agreement

Russia, Philippines forge Defense Cooperation Agreement, UPDATE PH, May 26, 2017 Caleb Velasquez The defense cooperation will expand exchanges in terms of training, seminars and best practices between the two countries, with the end to develop relations in the field of military education, including military medicine, military history, sports, and culture as well as experiences in consultation, observer participation in military training exercises, and military port calls…..

Memorandum of Agreement between the Department of Science and Technology of the Philippines and the State Atomic Energy Corporation, otherwise known as ROSATOM on Cooperation on the Use of Nuclear Energy for Peaceful Purposes was also forged.

May 27, 2017 Posted by | marketing, Philippines, Russia | Leave a comment

World Nuclear Association looks to big business for Germany, expertise in nuclear waste management

Preserving and developing Germany’s nuclear expertise, World Nuclear News,  26 May 2017

“………The topic of preserving and building up nuclear expertise by shifting operational responsibility to federally-owned companies will gain relevance particularly in the waste management sector. Taking into account all the authorities and public companies that operate in this sector, we could soon be talking about up to 4000 employees. Together with the civil servants and government employees in other areas of nuclear technology, in expert appraisal and in research, it may be assumed that in the future at least a sixth of the more than 30,000 employees in the industry will be assigned to the public sector.”

May 27, 2017 Posted by | general | 2 Comments

China installs giant containment dome on new nuclear reactor

China installs heavy containment dome on nuclear plant, Financial Express  China today successfully installed the heavy containment dome for its first domestically developed third-generation reactor design which may also be used at the Karachi nuclear plant where Beijing is building two 1100 mw reactors. By: PTI | Beijing: May 26, 2017  The hemispherical dome, weighing 340 tonnes and measuring 46.8 metres in diametre, was installed by crane on the No 5 unit of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) in Fuqing City, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. The installation marks the completion of construction work on the pilot project and the beginning of the assembly stage, said Yu Peigen, deputy general manager of CNNC at the site of installation.

The dome will be used for protection against nuclear accidents under extreme conditions, and both its design and installation are very demanding processes, the report said. The design may be replicated in Karachi plant in Pakistan where China is building two 1100 mw reactors at a cost of USD 6.5 billion. “The installation is much more difficult than that of traditional nuclear reactors because the whole weight of the dome and the ropes is more than 500 tonnes,” said Yang Jianguo, the lifting commander at the site.

May 27, 2017 Posted by | China, technology | Leave a comment

UK Labor leader Corbyn will not personally back Trident nuclear missile system

Corbyn declines to back Trident but says he ‘respects’ Labour’s commitment to nuclear deterrent, CHRIS BAYNES , 26 May 17,
Britain’s nuclear weapons will form part of the defence review Labour has promised if it wins power in the June 8 General Election, Jeremy Corbyn has said.The Labour leader declined seven times in a BBC interview with Andrew Neil to say he personally supported the renewal of the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent, replying only that it was party policy.

In the half-hour grilling, Mr Corbyn also defended a speech earlier on Friday in which he linked Britain’s involvement in military engagements in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria with terrorism in the UK.

And promised to be a “committed” member of Nato as prime minister and said he would not talk to the Islamic State terror group.

Mr Corbyn last year voted against the renewal of Trident, despite Labour’s official policy to maintain the weapon system.
Asked repeatedly whether he supported keeping the nuclear deterrent, he said: “I voted against the renewal. Everybody knows that because I wanted to go in a different direction. That is the decision that’s been taken; I respect that decision going ahead.”We’re going ahead with the programme which has been agreed by Parliament and voted on by the Labour Party.”……


May 27, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

“Nuclear Energy Caucus” should not get Pennsylvania residents ripped off for the nuclear industry

Pennsylvania residents shouldn’t bear cost of propping up nuclear industry  MAY 25, 2017 

Add a new name to the list of groups coming hat-in-hand looking for financial help from Harrisburg: the nuclear power industry.

 No bills have been introduced yet, but the industry seems intent on asking for tax breaks or tax credits in Pennsylvania, along the lines of the hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies recently granted in New York state and Illinois.

A leader in the movement is Exelon Corp., which operates three of Pennsylvania’s five nuclear plants. In other states, the industry sought and won “zero-emission credits” arguing, that much like wind and solar power, nuclear plants produce clean, carbon-free energy.

 Recently, a group of state legislators – many with nuclear plants in their districts – formed a Nuclear Energy Caucus to promote the industry’s cause in Harrisburg……

We don’t believe taxpayers should be asked to subsidize industries that can’t compete in the open market.

We realize that subsidies are part of the political landscape, especially in the energy sector. The government has given subsidies and grants to encourage growth of new industries – wind and solar got such subsidies in their early days. But the theory behind those breaks was that once those industries reached a larger scale, they could fend for themselves.

What’s different now is that we have mature industries that are big businesses – and we include coal on this list – that want government to intervene to artificially protect their market share. Even with actions taken by the Trump administration to help the coal industry, most economists believe use of coal will continue to decline because it remains both “dirty” and expensive.

Is the situation in the nuclear industry different? No one is predicting a sudden or even long-term demand for nuclear power in this country. Utilities aren’t building new plants, in the same way they are not building new coal-fired plants. Demand for electricity generally has been flat since the Great Recession.

That means that subsidies given today could end up becoming permanent price supports – for the industry’s bottom line……

May 27, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Georgia Power and parent Southern Company scratching around for nuclear bailout

Atlanta Journal Constitution 25th May 2017, Georgia’s nuclear mess is about to get way messier now that the chief contractor on the Plant Vogtle expansion has fled to bankruptcy court. So a new race is underway to see who can nab enough bubble wrap to insulate themselves from a fresh round of costly shocks.

So far, Georgia Power has sidestepped virtually all of the financial reckoning on its own project. Billions of dollars in past Vogtle overruns and delays will be borne by Georgia consumers or already have been by the contractor, Westinghouse
Electric Company.

I suspect leaders of Georgia Power and parent Southern Company would like to keep dodging on this one. A partial federal bailout from taxpayers perhaps? Southern CEO Tom Fanninghas been spending a lot of time in Washington D.C. talking about continuation of nuclear energy development being in “our national security interest.”

May 27, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Switching on; how renewables will power the UK

Utility Week 26th May 2017, Renewable energy could produce three quarters of the UK’s electricity by 2030 without compromising reliability, Friends of the Earth has claimed. In a report published today (26 May), entitled Switching on; how renewables will power the UK, the environmental group predicts that with falling energy costs and advances in storage technology, renewables could provide 75 per cent of the country’s power by that date.

The report predicts 65 per cent of the UK’s power will come from intermittent sources by 2030, and a further 10 per cent will come from less variable sources, like tidal, hydro and geothermal. And as it points out, the UK has gone from 7 per cent renewable electricity to 25 per cent in six years, without causing blackouts.

May 27, 2017 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

EPA enforcement office to be run in interests of fossil fuel lobby?

DONALD TRUMP’S PICK FOR EPA ENFORCEMENT OFFICE WAS A LOBBYIST FOR SUPERFUND POLLUTERS  Sharon Lerner  May 24 2017,RESIDENTS OF HOOSICK FALLS, New York, recently took comfort in EPA administrator Scott Pruitt’s announcements that the agency will be prioritizing the Superfund program. This small village northeast of Albany is one of eight sites the EPA last year proposed adding to the National Priorities List, as the list of polluted sites covered by the Superfund is known, because the community’s drinking water had elevated levels of PFOA, which has been associated with kidney cancer, testicular cancer, and thyroid disease, among other health problems.

Since the contamination was discovered in 2014, “there’s been a lot of fear,” said Rob Allen, the mayor of Hoosick Falls. Testing has shown many people in Hoosick Falls, including Allen’s four children, have elevated levels of PFOA in their blood. Allen and others in the town are still awaiting the official Superfund designation, which they hope will help speed the process of cleaning up the pollution and securing a new water source. “We need all the help we can get,” he explained.

Since 1980, Superfund has been the federal government’s answer to the worst cases of toxic pollution. The program assesses giant environmental messes, ranks them according to the hazard they pose to the environment or human health, and if they’re dangerous enough, adds them to the list and arranges to clean them up. At its best, Superfund removes environmental pollution so sites can be used again and measurably alleviates health dangers. According to one 2011 study published in the American Economic Review, babies living near Superfund sites that had yet to be remediated had a 20 to 25 percent increased rate of birth defects. After the cleanups, the rates of birth defects dropped.

But Superfund’s progress has slowed to a near halt in recent years, in part due to a lack of funding. A tax on polluting industries originally paid into a fund for the cleanups (hence the name Superfund) expired in 1995, leaving regular taxpayers to pick up the tab when the government can’t identify a polluter — or when a polluter doesn’t have enough money to pay.

Since then, as fewer cleanups have been completed, the number of people exposed to dangerous pollution has climbed. In 2010, there were 75 Superfund sites where the government had yet to bring toxic exposure to humans under control. By last year, that number was up to 121, according to the most recent EPA data.

Pruitt announced his plans to emphasize Superfund on a visit to a lead-contaminated public housing site in Indiana in April. On May 22, he reiterated his commitment to the program by announcing a new Superfund Task Force, which will “provide recommendations on how the EPA can streamline and improve the Superfund program.” In an accompanying memo, the EPA administrator once again promised to restore Superfund and the EPA’s land and water cleanup efforts “to their rightful place at the center of the agency’s core mission.”

But Pruitt’s pledges to protect human health and the environment by focusing on Superfund are belied by his own priorities and personnel choices for the program…..Albert Kelly, whom Pruitt announced May 22 as his choice to chair the Superfund Task Force, is an Oklahoma banker who has no prior experience with the program or with environmental issues at all, according to his résumé. Kelly, who has donated twice to Pruitt’s campaigns in Oklahoma, has spent the past 33 years working at Spiritbank, which is headquartered in Tulsa, and most recently served as its chairman. The “core competencies” listed on his résumé, which The Intercept obtained by FOIA, include motivational speaking, business development, and “political activity.”

Meanwhile, Susan Bodine, whom Trump nominated on May 12 to be assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, does have plenty of experience with environmental issues — though most of it representing polluting industries. According to her LinkedIn account, from 2009 until 2015, Bodine was a partner at Barnes & Thornburg LLP, the same firm that is representing FRRC, the group of industries directly affected by EPA cleanup rules. While at Barnes & Thornburg, Bodine represented the American Forest and Paper Association from 2011 to 2014. Member companies in that industry group have hundreds of EPA enforcement actions against them, including violations of the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act.

Bodine’s close ties to these companies make her a poor choice to lead the enforcement office, according to Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch. “She is the classic revolving door appointment,” said O’Donnell.“The office of enforcement is responsible for everything — clean air, clean water, toxic waste — the core of our environmental protections. Companies will cut corners if they think they won’t get caught.” Bodine’s nomination comes while the Trump administration is blocking efforts to disclose waivers granted to former lobbyists working in federal agencies and the White House.

Because the enforcement office handles negotiations between the companies responsible for the pollution and the EPA, Bodine would be in a position to decide how extensive some cleanups are — and how much polluters have to spend cleaning them.

Bodine’s past lobbying could also compromise her role with the Superfund program. Seven of the companies that belong to the American Forest and Paper Association are named as responsible parties in dozens of Superfund sites, according to the EPA website. International Paper, one member of the group Bodine represented — whose CEO met with Pruitt last week to discuss jobs, according to a tweet from Pruitt — is a responsible party in 12 Superfund sites

May 27, 2017 Posted by | climate change, environment, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Legal action against governments, over climate change

Governments sued over climate change, with banks and firms next  By Alice Klein

If you can’t beat them, sue them. Citizens are increasingly taking governments to court over climate change inaction, with financial lenders – and possibly big firms – next in the firing line.

Some 894 climate change cases have now been filed in 24 countries, according to a report published last week by the United Nations Environment Programme and Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law in New York.

By some distance, most – 654 – have been in the US. Australia sits in second place, with 80 cases, and the UK third, with 49. The number of countries with climate cases has tripled since 2014.

Citizens have filed the vast majority of these cases against governments, with a handful lodged against fossil fuel companies.

Separately, campaign group ClientEarth has written to energy giants BP and Glencore warning them of the risk of investor lawsuits based on over-optimistic statements about future fossil fuel demand in their reporting.

Wins and losses

Recent years have seen significant wins for climate change cases. Environmental group Urgenda, for example, won a landmark case in 2015 that forced the Dutch government to commit to bigger emissions cuts. And in 2015, a Pakistani farmer successfully sued his government for failing to implement adequate climate change action.

Others have not had the same success. Last year, the Australian Conservation Foundation lost a legal battle over the Australian government’s approval of the Adani Carmichael coal megamine. And in the UK, fracking activists recently lost a case against a shale gas operation.

However, the success rate of climate cases is likely to grow following the Paris agreement, says the report. Under the accord, which was ratified late last year, each country is committed to specific emissions targets.

Although these commitments are not legally binding, they make it “possible for constituents to articulate more precisely and forcefully concerns about the gaps between current policy and the policy needed to achieve mitigation and adaptation objectives”, say the authors.

This is already starting to take effect. In March, EarthLife Africa successfully challenged the South African government’s approval of a new coal-fired power station. The high court decision was based partly on the country’s commitment to the Paris agreement.

Getting creative

Legal teams are also finding innovative ways to hold governments to account over climate change, says Brendan Sydes at Environmental Justice Australia. “There’s a whole international effort – a lot of energy and intellect is being poured into developing new legal remedies,” he says.

One example is in the US, where 21 youths have filed a case against the government for failing to safeguard their futures from dangerous climate change. Instead of appealing to environmental laws, the youths have invoked the “public trust doctrine” – an ancient principle holding that certain natural resources belong to everyone and must be protected by the state.

Banks and other financial institutions that lend money to fossil fuel projects may also find themselves the subject of legal action, Sydes says. There is an increasing recognition that directors who fail to consider climate risks could be liable for breaching their duty of due care and diligence, he says.

This is already causing some businesses to distance themselves from carbon-heavy investments, he adds. For example, Australia’s four major banks have all recently ruled out providing loans for construction of the Adani Carmichael mine. And worldwide, almost 700 institutions in 76 countries have committed to ending their investment in fossil fuel companies.

The growth of such litigation worldwide shows that many citizens hope courts can force governments and corporations to act on climate change, says Sydes. “People are increasingly turning to the courts to find duties and obligations of governments and corporations who are currently not acting sufficiently on climate change,” he says. “This trend is likely to continue.”

May 27, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Legal | Leave a comment

Energy tide turning in India, with cheaper renewables, and coal losing favour

Will India Ever Need Another Coal Plant?, The country’s energy infrastructure is changing rapidly as solar prices plummet. , KRUTIKA PATHI@krutikapathi03, May 25, 2017

“…..over the last five months, the price of renewable energy has plummeted so low that analysts have hailed it as both “record-breaking” and “unsustainable” in the same breath. In fact, the pace of change in the country’s energy infrastructure has been so swift that even researchers are scrambling to keep a steady pulse on a constantly developing beat.

As China slowly cut down on its own coal infrastructure, the International Energy Agency in 2015 projected India to be the next coal center in the near future. It stated that “half of the net increase in coal-fired generation capacity worldwide [through 2040] occurs in India.” Nearly a year later, in July 2016, the nonprofit CoalSwarm put out a report that found 370 proposals for coal plants in the works across the country.

The findings revealed a pretty explosive conclusion: that India’s outsized plans for coal energy would wipe out climate goals set out in the Paris Agreement. Merely a few months after the report, the researchers at CoalSwarm were surprised by a new twist.

In December 2016, the Central Authority of India (CAI) laid out an electricity plan that said no new coal plants, beyond those already under construction, are needed for at least the next decade. The CAI also put forth new renewable energy goals—a production of 275 gigawatts (GW) generated from solar, wind, and hydro by 2027.

This means that the majority of the plants that CoalSwarm tracked are now going to be shelved. It’s also a show of India’s push towards reforming its energy infrastructure: the country added more renewable power than thermal in the 2016 fiscal year.“It was hard to keep up,” says Christine Shearer, a senior researcher at CoalSwarm and lead author of the report. “The country is supposed to be at the heart of coal plant growth, but it’s interesting to see the tide go against what we often hear about China and India—that they’re going to keep building coal plants—when actually, they’re both stalling production.”…..

As prospects for India’s coal sector are falling, so is the price of renewable energy. In turn, the country’s future outlook, if all goes accordingly, is pretty good news for the planet. India first set a record-low price in February this year when a kilowatt-hour of solar energy was selling at Rs. 2.97 ($0.046 USD). This month, the country hit another record low—the price of solar dropped 12 percent further, currently selling at Rs. 2.62 ($0.041 USD) per kilowatt-hour. “To spell it out, new solar is 15 percent cheaper than existing domestic coal. No one, anywhere in the world, was expecting solar to get that cheap for at least a decade,” Buckley says, “and India just got there this year.” It’s a marked shift for India—which, in a matter of months, went from potentially thwarting global climate goals to possibly saving them.

The news of falling solar prices in India, and the country’s recent (but significant) efforts to divest from coal as the fundamental energy source, stands in contrast to the current scenario in the U.S. Analysts fear that President Trump’s “America First Energy Plan” will put the country behind China and India in the push to reinvigorate renewable solutions. “What gives me hope is that at a time when Trump is busy trying to destroy the Paris Agreement, the two most important countries in the world for the agreement are China and India,” says Buckley.

According to a study released last week by the Climate Action Tracker, India and China are on pace to “overachieve” their climate goals by 2030. ……

Solutions like off-grid solar panels are one kind of sustainable technology that could address the distribution problem, says Harish Hande, co-founder of SELCO, an enterprise that introduced off-grid solar energy in the Siddhi community in 2010. Within a year, 100 homes in the area were connected to power in the Western Ghats region. SELCO has been nationally awarded for its energy work in under-served households and areas—but, as Hande points out, a long-standing solution has to go beyond the mere mechanics of the supply chain. “It’s much larger than providing electricity,” he says, “and there have to be enough public-private partnerships that cross over education, health, and the bigger ecosystem for sustainable energy services to become more accessible.”

May 27, 2017 Posted by | ENERGY, India | 2 Comments

Planting trees will not slow global warming

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

GR: There’s lots of loose talk going around about “geoengineering” our way out of the climate-change disaster. I say it’s loose talk because there’s been no serious testing of efficacy and long-term consequences. Actually, scientists have analyzed most of the ideas such as blasting sunlight-blocking particles into the atmosphere, converting CO2 to useful materials, and so forth and found that such techniques fall short of what’s needed. The article below describes another debunking, this time the idea that we could clear the air by planting CO2-absorbing forests.

Climatologists have determined that we have already released enough carbon, methane, and other greenhouse gases to cause disastrous climate changes. And so far, the way we might save a fair portion of our civilization is to stop burning coal, oil, gas, and even wood now.

26 May, 2017 – “Humans cannot simply plant their way out of trouble: trees cannot absorb the ever-increasing…

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May 26, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

May 26 Energy News


Science and Technology:

¶ In an article in Science, researchers from Princeton University and the Union of Concerned Scientists found that a reliance on “faulty analysis” by US nuclear experts could result in a catastrophic fire that has the potential to force some 8 million people to relocate, and result in a staggering $2 trillion (£1.5 trillion) in damages. []

Possible contamination pattern from a hypothetical fire in a spent-fuel pool at the Peach Bottom nuclear plant. Red and orange areas would require evacuation. (Image: Michael Schoeppner, Princeton University, Program on Science and Global Security)


¶ Pope Francis put climate change on the agenda of his first meeting with President Trump, and the subject is likely to come up again and again in the president’s encounters with other world leaders in the coming days. Mr Trump told his Vatican hosts that he would make a final…

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May 26, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment