nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Electricite de France (EDF) – what a nuclear mess!

AREVA EDF crumblingFrance’s nuclear-energy champion is in turmoil  http://www.economist.com/news/business/21711087-electricit-de-france-has-had-shut-down-18-its-58-nuclear-reactors-frances-nuclear-energy   Electricité de France has had to shut down 18 of its 58 nuclear reactors  THESE are difficult times for Electricité de France (EDF), the country’s quasi-monopolistic electricity provider, serving 88% of homes. Outages at no fewer than 18 of the 58 EDF-owned nuclear reactors that provide three-quarters of France’s electricity have meant a slump in production: the company says annual nuclear output could fall to 378 terawatt hours (TWH), from 417 TWH last year. Eight reactors are currently lying idle and several may not restart for weeks or months. Power stations are burning coal at a rate not seen since the 1980s. As electricity imports and prices soar, officials are having to deny that a cold snap could bring blackouts.

The cause of the crisis—possibly faulty reactor parts throughout EDF’s fleet—suggests it may not be easily contained. France’s nuclear regulator, the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN), this summer ordered urgent tests of reactor parts, mostly bases of cylindrical steam generators. Inspectors are worried about high carbon levels found in steel forged by Creusot Forge, which is owned by Areva, another French firm, and by Japan Casting & Forging Corporation, a Japanese supplier. In some pieces carbon deposits are over 50% above permitted levels, risking fracture in case of a sudden change in the temperature of the steel.

The extent of faulty forge work is as yet unknown, as is whether Areva employees falsified data. ASN is clearly surprised that Areva failed to spot the problem. It is now auditing thousands of files stretching back over decades. More faults are likely to emerge, the regulator reckons.
The cost for EDF is rising. As well as lost earnings from shuttered plants, switching one generator (a reactor can have three) can take six months and cost €150m ($159m). And its decision in November finally to stump up €2.5bn for Areva Nuclear Power (most of Areva, including Creusot Forge) now seems rather like paying to swallow a highly radioactive dinner.The two firms have one important joint project: a new European Pressurised Reactor (EPR), built by Areva and mostly run by EDF. Here too, forging faults are a problem: they were first found last year on the installed reactor vessel at Flamanville 3, a new EPR near Cherbourg. Another serious source of concern is safety-valve design.

The regulator will rule on Flamanville’s future in mid-2017. More tests or design changes may mean putting off its opening far beyond 2018.That would also deliver another blow to France’s reputation in nuclear power. The only other EPR in Europe, that at Olkiluoto, Finland, is years overdue and three times over budget.

Delays might also hinder EDF in its plan to build two EPRs at Hinkley Point, in Britain, for £24.5bn ($30.7bn). British loan guarantees need certain conditions to be met, and these reportedly include seeing Flamanville operate by 2020. Steve Thomas, an energy expert in London, concurs with the opinion of many in the nuclear-power industry when he calls the EPR a dud. EDF is pushing on regardless, but the financial strain is mounting. In March, EDF’s then chief financial officer, Thomas Piquemal, quit, calling Hinkley Point unaffordable.

The sense of crisis looks likely to grow. Yves Marignac, a nuclear-energy expert in Paris, calls EDF “already financially crippled”. Only state backing prevents EDF’s credit rating falling steeply, analysts say. And it is not only the ASN that has EDF in its sights. On November 22nd French competition officials raided its offices, seeking evidence that its dominant position is squeezing rivals and sending prices higher than they should be (even though lower electricity prices in recent years have sapped its revenues). Its share price has halved in two years.

The future looks bleak. Some four-fifths of French nuclear plants were built in a decade from the late 1970s. The plants have a 40-year lifespan, meaning that several a year face retirement over the next decade. Energy planners have assumed there will be extensions to 50 years or more. But the ASN may hesitate after the forging problems, or impose higher costs. Cyrille Cormier, a nuclear engineer who is now at Greenpeace, a campaign group that opposes nuclear power, says a total refit could cost EDF an extra €60bn-200bn.

Closing plants permanently would be extremely costly, too. France has never closed a large one. EDF may be under-provisioning the costs of decommissioning plants. It has set aside €36bn, less than the €45bn that Germany has allowed, even though France’s neighbour has a smaller nuclear fleet. Then there is nuclear waste. The five pools storing spent fuel at La Hague, Areva’s central reprocessing plant, are nearly full, says Mr Marignac. When sorrows come, they come in battalions.

December 2, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

Clearwater takes legal action agasinst New York over subsidy to nuclear power stations

taxpayer bailoutClearwater sues NY over nuclear bailout, Ploughkeepsie Journal , Albany Bureau1 December 1, 2016 ALBANY – A multi-billion-dollar, ratepayer-backed bailout for three upstate nuclear power plants is facing another challenge in the courts.

December 2, 2016 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

New sanctions on North Korea in reaction to its latest nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

Coal sanctions newest move to block North Korean nuclear efforts SBS World News Radio: The United Nations Security Council has imposed new sanctions on North Korea in response to its latest round of nuclear and ballistic missile tests.By Gareth Boreham, 1 Dec 16 

The sanctions on North Korea target what is increasingly being seen as a key means of financing the country’s nuclear build-up — coal exports.

The United Nations is imposing a new binding cap on how much coal can be shipped out of the country.

South Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations, Oh Joon, estimates more than $1.3 billion has already been spent on testing and missile-launching……..

The 15-member Security Council unanimously agreed to the sanctions, which follow North Korea’s fifth — and largest — nuclear test in September.

The resolution cuts coal exports by 60 per cent, with an annual cap of $540 million a year.

Copper, nickel, silver and zinc exports will also be restricted.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon says the sanctions are some of the toughest and most comprehensive ever imposed on North Korea, or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea……..

While opposed to North Korean nuclear testing, China has criticised South Korea and the United States for strengthening their military presence on the Korean Peninsula.

China’s UN ambassador, Liu Jieyi, has told the council the planned US high-altitude anti-missile system would undermine China’s security interests and upset the regional balance.

“As such, it is neither conducive to the realisation of the goal of denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula nor helpful for the maintenance of peace and stability on the peninsula.”

Russia’s UN representative, Vladimir Safrankov, has expressed his country’s reservations about the impact of sanctions on the North Korean population.

“We stress, in particular, this new resolution can in no way be used to smother the North Korean economy and worsen the humanitarian situation and the situation of the people living in that country.”

He has also warned against using the situation on the Korean Peninsula as a pretext for enhancing foreign military capacities. http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/12/01/coal-sanctions-newest-move-block-north-korean-nuclear-efforts

December 2, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

Murky dealings in South Africa’s nuclear procurement

corruptionflag-S.AfricaNuclear vision: New Eskom CEO Koko puts controversial nuclear power plans back on table The nation breathed a collective sigh of relief when the government appeared to back down on plans to build nuclear power plants any time soon. But Eskom’s new acting CEO Matshela Koko has moved quickly to get the build back on the agenda. He would like to start the process to identify project participants before the end of the year, with nuclear power plants up-and-running within the next decade, Fin24 has revealed.

The nuclear power plan has proved controversial for a number of reasons: firstly, the amount of money involved in developing the programme is so huge it could damage the economy; secondly, the plans first came to light after it emerged that President Jacob Zuma had been in secret talks with Russia to do the work. While Russia and its agency Rosatom have denied that there have been any irregularities in their dealings with South Africa about the build programme, it’s hard not to be cynical about what has gone on behind-the-scenes. The state capture report released by former public protector Thuli Madonsela pointed to the widespread abuse of state funds and the involvement of foreign parties in the control of state entities. Power utility Eskom featured prominently in the report.

So far, there has been no concerted action to fully investigate the allegations. Koko replaces Brian Molefe, who resigned after disgracing himself with bizarre statements about a shebeen in Saxonwold in order to deny he was visiting the controversial Gupta family who live in the leafy suburb. But Koko is no saint; he has also had links to an irregular Eskom deal highlighted in the state capture report. The fact that the nuclear build programme is back on the table, and that there is a sense of urgency to get it moving, points to the worrying possibility that state capture doesn’t only extend across the public sector – it runs deep within institutions. – Jackie Cameron

Biz News, By Matthew Le Cordeur, 1 Dec 16 

Cape Town – Despite a draft energy plan that sees nuclear energy being delayed by over a decade, government and its state-owned entities (SOE) are gearing up to release the request for proposal (RFP) for the 9.6 GW nuclear build programme.

Acting Eskom CEO Matshela Koko last month pledged to release the RFPs by the end of the year, and this could happen as soon as next week…….https://www.biznews.com/sa-investing/2016/12/01/nuclear-power-eskom-ceo-koko/

December 2, 2016 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

No need for a nuclear reactor to produce medical isotopes: Canada shows the way.

14 September 2016. A consortium of institutions led by TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics and accelerator-based science, is granting sole rights for its proprietary technetium-99m (Tc-99m) production technology to ARTMS™ Products, Inc (ARTMS). Technetium-99m is used in over 80% of all nuclear medicine imaging procedures and is vital to patient care in areas such as cardiology, oncology, and neurology. …

text Medical isotope production

Typically sourced from an ageing global reactor fleet, Tc-99m has been subject to significant supply disruptions in recent years. ARTMS’ production technology promises to provide a reliable, cost effective, and safe supply of this critical medical isotope. The license includes all the required products and procedures for the production of Tc-99m using common hospital-based and commercial cyclotrons, through the bombardment of a high-energy proton beam against specific chemical ‘targets’. ….

“The ARTMS production technology offers many advantages, and that is why we believe our technology is truly disruptive and that it will gain widespread adoption,” Dr. Schaffer added. “Not only does the ARTMS production technology provide regional supply security of Tc-99m, it also offers favourable economics, and aids to eliminate the need for highly-enriched uranium, which is currently used by nuclear reactors to produce this isotope.”

“This agreement represents the culmination of six years of hard work by a dedicated team from across Canada, including TRIUMF, the BC Cancer Agency, Lawson Health Research Institute, and the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization,” said Dr. Jonathan Bagger, Director of TRIUMF. “Today marks the completion of a major milestone as we move to commercialize a decentralized, green, and Canadian-made, technology that can produce Tc-99m daily at hundreds of hospital-based cyclotrons around the world. This licensing agreement marks the beginning of a new era in Tc-99m production and supply security.”

More information on the recent global isotope shortages, Tc-99m, and the story of ARTMS can be found in this media backgrounder and more information on medical isotopes and cyclotrons can be found in this FAQ.    http://www.triumf.ca/current-events/artms%E2%84%A2-products-inc-licenses-canadian-technology-address-global-medical-isotope

December 2, 2016 Posted by | Canada, health, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Legal ruling to come, on Germany’s nuclear exit

legal actionflag_germanyPreview: Legal or not? German utilities await landmark nuclear exit ruling http://in.reuters.com/article/germany-utilities-nuclear-idINKBN13Q4QD By Christoph Steitz and Tom Käckenhoff | FRANKFURT/DUESSELDORF, 1 Dec 16, 

Germany’s highest court will rule next week on whether the country’s decision to exit nuclear power was legal, helping to determine whether or not three power firms can pursue damage claims of up to 19 billion euros ($20.16 billion).
German utilities are still reeling from the decision made in 2011 after Japan’s Fukushima disaster to shut down all nuclear power plants by 2022. E.ON, RWE and Vattenfall have sued the government over what they say amounts to expropriation.

The three claim the accelerated shutdown robbed them of 1,800 terawatt hours of future production, enough to power Europe’s biggest economy for about three years.The German government has rejected the claims, arguing its decision was in line with constitutional law.

The Constitutional Court will give its verdict on Tuesday, Dec. 6, in the city of Karlsruhe.

“Even if the verdict is partly in favour of utilities, there will be a separate lengthy process for determining the compensation. So it’s not really a bankable outcome,” said Deepa Venkateswaran, senior analyst at Bernstein.

In a two-day hearing in March, the court challenged the expropriation claims brought by power firms, arguing that Germany merely accelerated the shutdown of nuclear plants that was initially agreed on in 2002.

The ruling requires a majority of the eight-judge panel. If the judges are split evenly, the complaints will automatically be rejected.

Legal experts expect the court will throw out the complaint by Sweden’s Vattenfall because it is a state-owned entity, preventing it from lodging a complaint based on Germany’s constitution.

German utility EnBW, which is almost entirely owned by the public, has not lodged a complaint for that reason. According to Peter Rosin, partner and energy specialist at law firm White & Case, the court would not necessarily have to approve the utilities’ expropriation complaint to pave the way for damage claims.

It could also rule that Germany’s decision did not amount to expropriation but merely defined the scope and limitation of property in such a significant way that it required compensation, he said

The court could also throw out all complaints.

“Therefore, there is a range of possibilities regarding the court’s decision and the respective legal consequences. The outcome is open,” Rosin said.

($1 = 0.9427 euros)

(Additional reporting by Ursula Knapp in Karlsruhe)

December 2, 2016 Posted by | Germany, Legal | Leave a comment

It could take just one offshore nuclear incident to bankrupt Ireland

safety-symbol-SmNuclear incident off our coast has potential to bankrupt Ireland, Irish Times, 2 Dec 16 Expert model shows best-case consequence of minor episode implies €4bn cost to State Dick Ahlstrom 

 

December 2, 2016 Posted by | EUROPE, safety | Leave a comment

African states lead in push for international ban on nuclear weapons

world-nuclear-weapons-freeAfrica pushes for a 2017 ban on nuclear weapons https://www.issafrica.org/iss-today/africa-pushes-for-a-2017-ban-on-nuclear-weapons
A new UN resolution might spell an end to decades of paralysis in nuclear disarmament negotiations.
01 DEC 2016  /  BY ANNIE DUPRE AND NOËL STOTT 
On 27 October, the First Committee of the United Nations (UN) passed L.41: ‘Taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations’. The resolution calls for negotiations to take place next year on a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, and lead towards their total elimination. It was passed with 123 votes in favour, 38 against and 16 abstentions.

This initiative has been called historic by analysts such as the former Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament to the UN, civil society groupings and international organisations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross –underscored by the belief that as long as nuclear weapons exist, humankind will risk facing the catastrophic consequences of a nuclear war.

Others, such as France, maintain that such a treaty would be ineffective and could undermine the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The NPT, which entered into force in 1970, prohibits the spread of nuclear weapons.

These differing assessments over the potential impact of a nuclear weapons ban treaty mirror the deep divisions among NPT state parties regarding their disarmament obligations, which has been a source of disagreement since the NPT’s entry-into-force.

The response of African states has been largely positive. Of the 47 African UN member states present at the vote, all but three supported the resolution. From the Africa Group, only Mali, Morocco and Sudan deviating by abstaining – presumably after coming under pressure from some nuclear-weapon states. Benin, Djibouti, Liberia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles and South Sudan were not present for the vote. A number of African states co-sponsored and spearheaded the resolution, including Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa.

If passed by the UN General Assembly in December, negotiations are set to start in early 2017 – a step that would end two decades of paralysis in multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations.

Despite two-thirds of countries present at the vote supporting the resolution, there was significant push-back from virtually all the NPT nuclear-weapon states (the United States, France, Britain, Russia) and most of their allies, such as the 27 North Atlantic Treaty Organization members and Japan and Australia. The Russian representative warned of the damage such a treaty could cause, arguing that the initiative ‘was a destructive and hasty one that undermined and eroded existing disarmament mechanisms [the NPT]’.

His argument was echoed by others, including Morocco – which explained that its abstention was based on how the process and the way it was handled would impact on the NPT review process, and the possibility of all states working together. The Moroccan representative further called for preparatory work to be undertaken before negotiations started.

South Africa, however, expressed the view that the initiative would actually further the goals of the NPT, stating: ‘Such a treaty would also strengthen the NPT and underline the urgency of accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament obligations and related commitments’.

Speakers from non-nuclear-weapon states also argued that the use, or threat of use, of nuclear weapons would constitute a violation of international law and a crime against humanity. Malawi declared that it ‘is in the interest of the very survival of humanity that nuclear weapons are never used again, under any circumstances. The catastrophic effects of a nuclear weapons detonation, whether by accident, miscalculation or design, cannot be adequately addressed’.

In the statement delivered by Nigeria, the African Group affirmed that the total elimination of nuclear weapons is still ‘the only absolute guarantee against their use or threat of use’. Beyond supporting negotiations in 2017 on a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons, Nigeria’s statement also called on all UN members to support ‘a universal, unconditional and legally binding instrument on negative security assurances by nuclear-weapons states to all non-nuclear-weapons states, pending the total elimination of nuclear weapons’.

Some of the states under the US nuclear umbrella that abstained or voted no – like the Netherlands and Japan – have indicated their willingness to participate in the negotiations in 2017. Others, such as Norway, have subsequently indicated that they would not. Still others seem undecided.

It is unlikely that the NPT nuclear-weapon states would participate in such discussions. Mark Toner, US State Department spokesperson, said: ‘Successful nuclear reductions will require participation from all relevant parties, proven verification measures, and security conditions conducive to cooperation …we lack all three factors at this time.’

The United Kingdom (UK) is also clear on the need for its nuclear deterrence to be maintained ‘for the foreseeable future’ – because of the ‘risk that states might use their nuclear capability to threaten us, try to constrain our decision-making in a crisis or sponsor nuclear terrorism’.

Significantly, three nuclear-armed states, namely China, India and Pakistan, abstained, while the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea voted in favour. However, it remains to be seen whether these states would participate in the negotiations.

And this is the crux of the issue. Despite a sizable number of UN members in favour of negotiations, there is significant skepticism of the opportunities these would present, especially if nuclear-weapons states boycott the talks scheduled for March and June next year.

The question is whether it would be better, strategically, for nuclear-armed states and their allies to participate – if only to try guide the negotiations in their favour? However, African states, who make up a significant portion of the UN membership, could also direct the path towards a world free of nuclear weapons.

According to Article 36, a UK-based organisation, the treaty would serve as a necessary and practical next step towards a world in which all weapons of mass destruction are outlawed and are being eliminated: even without the participation of nuclear-armed states.

Historically, all unacceptable weapons have first been subjected to a global prohibition before they were eliminated. For any international instrument to have a true impact, however, acceptance by a large majority of states is needed.

In most of the recent processes towards banning indiscriminate weapons (such as anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions), Africa has played a leading role. It is possible that the African continent, which also hosts the only country to have unilaterally eliminated its own nuclear arsenal, may again play such a role in the banning of probably the most destructive weapons ever to have been developed. While the effectiveness of such an instrument remains to be seen, the decision to commence negotiations on such a treaty is indeed a historic occasion.

Annie DuPre, Research Consultant and Noël Stott, Senior Research Fellow, Transnational Threats and International Crime Division, ISS Pretoria

December 2, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, AFRICA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear fusion project in doubt, because of Britain’s exit from EU

nuclear-fusion-pie-SmBrexit puts Europe’s nuclear fusion future in doubt By Timothy Revell, New Scientist, 1 Dec 16 

Brexit puts the future of the world’s largest nuclear fusion reactor, based in Oxfordshire, in doubt. By leaving the European Union the UK might also exit Euratom, the EU’s framework for safe nuclear energy.

“It would be bizarre and extreme for the UK, which has been at the forefront of fusion research for 50 years, to just leave these projects,” says Ian Chapman, CEO of the UK Atomic Energy Authority. “It would make no sense strategically.”

 The UK government has yet to say what its plans are for cooperating with Euratom, but part of the Brexit negotiations will have to include the nuclear fusion experiment JET. Decommissioning JET is expected to leave around 3000 cubic metres of radioactive waste, which would cost around £289 million to deal with, according to the UKAEA.

At the moment, JET hosts 350 scientists and is funded by 40 different countries. Its aim is to commercialise nuclear fusion, which releases energy by forcing atoms together in the same process that powers the sun.

The energy output should be far greater than that of current nuclear power stations and produce a smaller amount of waste. But making it work effectively has proved incredibly difficult, as reactors require huge amounts of energy to get going and only remain stable for short periods……https://www.newscientist.com/article/2114690-brexit-puts-europes-nuclear-fusion-future-in-doubt/

December 2, 2016 Posted by | EUROPE, technology, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear marketing: sellers keen to finance Kenya ?

marketing-nukes

Who’s Paying For This $5 Billion Nuclear Plant In Kenya?,Daily Caller, ANDREW FOLLETT
Energy and Science Reporter, 1 Dec 16  
Kenya is getting ready to start building a $5 billion dollar nuclear power plant, but its unclear where the money is coming from.

Kenya’s first nuclear reactor is scheduled to be completed by 2027 and will generate an estimated 1,000 megawatts of power. Kenya has signed agreements with China for the larger country to help finance and construct similar reactors. China’s state-controlled nuclear companies have already offered technical assistance in handling the nuclear fuel Kenya will need.

Another potential funding source for the reactor is South Korea, which signed agreements to collaborate on designing, operating and financing Kenyan reactors.

“When we talk of 1,000 megawatts, we are talking half of the capacity we have right now in the country,” Collins Gordon Juma, CEO of Kenya’s Nuclear Electricity Board, told Bloomberg Markets Tuesday. “It is very expensive, so we are looking at several funding options. We are speaking to various governments.”……..

Kenya is one of the most stable countries in East Africa, but the country has a serious problem with Islamic terrorism. In 1998, 200 people were killed when al-Qaida affiliate Egyptian Islamic Jihad bombed the U.S. embassy in the country. Another 13 were killed in an attack on an Israeli-owned Paradise hotel in 2002. More recently, the militant Islamic terror group, Al-Shabaab, killed 67 people in an attack on a shopping mall in 2013.

The country’s new reactor would not produce the weapons-grade plutonium necessary to make a nuclear weapon, but materials from them could be used to create dirty bombs. A dirty bomb combines radioactive material with conventional explosives that could contaminate the local area with high radiation levels for long periods of time and cause mass panic, though it would be millions of times weaker than an actual nuclear device. The Islamic State wants to steal this kind of radioactive material for a dirty bomb.

Other countries with serious Islamic terrorism problems are also constructing nuclear reactors. Saudi Arabia plans to build 16 nuclear power plants from Russia for $100 billion despite terrorism concerns, according to a Monday announcement from a government-controlled nuclear power company. The reactors will be built by the Russian government controlled Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Cooperation……. http://dailycaller.com/2016/11/30/whos-paying-for-this-5-billion-nuclear-plant-in-kenya/#ixzz4RcZVEppY

December 2, 2016 Posted by | Kenya, marketing | Leave a comment

Exelon’s nuclear bailout in trouble

taxpayer-bailout-exelonNew trouble for Exelon nuke bailout as Rauner balks, Chicago Business, By  , 1 Dec 16,  The calendar has turned to December, and a sudden wind has chilled the prospects for Exelon’s nuclear bailout.

The deal Exelon announced yesterday with Gov. Bruce Rauner appears to be teetering today. Rauner’s staff has found problems it didn’t anticipate now that the bill language purporting to carry out the governor’s agreement with the Chicago-based energy company is out.

Among the issues “not agreed to” are “loose cap language” that doesn’t appear to protect business ratepayers the way Rauner envisioned when Exelon announced that businesses would pay no more than 1.3 percent more than the rates they pay today to finance an annual $200 million-plus subsidy to keep open two money-losing nuclear plants Exelon has moved to close, according to a source close to the negotiations.

Rauner also discovered a provision on prevailing wages that he accused archrival House Speaker Michael Madigan of inserting into the bill, this source said.

Madigan’s spokesman, Steve Brown, said the prevailing wage language has been in the legislation for months. “Once again, they’re grasping at straws and they’re not quite getting the grip,” he said.

Rauner’s camp is characterizing the provisions as “poison pills.” But the source said the governor still is committed to the “framework” he negotiated with Exelon.

How this will impact floor votes scheduled for today on what was before now a rapidly moving compromise is unclear.

Crain’s will update with further developments.

The CEO of Illinois’ second largest power generator is fuming over Rauner’s 11th-hour agreement to support Exelon’s nuclear-plant bailout—calling it a “regressive tax on rural America.” ……..http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20161201/NEWS11/161209995/exelon-nuclear-bailout-hits-a-snag-as-illinois-gov-bruce-rauner-balks

 

Illinois Lawmakers and Attorney General Wary Of Nuclear Deal http://northernpublicradio.org/post/illinois-lawmakers-and-attorney-general-wary-nuclear-deal

 Exelon says it finally has a deal to subsidize nuclear power plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities.

On Wednesday afternoon, after weeks of intense negotiating, ComEd and Exelon put out a news release saying they had a deal thanks to Gov. Bruce Rauner.  But the administration didn’t publicly support the bill at a House hearing. And it hasn’t responded to repeated media inquiries about the governor’s stance.

That has some state lawmakers on edge. Linda Chapa LaVia is a Democrat from Aurora and heads the House Energy Committee.

“It has happened in the past where we get to a point where it gets to the governor’s desk, and then we take a wrong direction,” she says. Consumer groups also have reservations about the measure. Susan Satter is with the Illinois Attorney General’s office. Her boss opposed previous versions of the Exelon deal, and Satter says she isn’t ready to weigh in on the latest proposal.

“This is a wildly complicated effort, and we just simply have not had the time to understand how it’s going to work,” Satter said.

Over the decade the plan would be in effect, ComEd says its average residential customers would pay no more than 25 cents a month related to the subsidy.

December 1 is the final day the General Assembly meets this year.  Exelon also claims it’s the last chance to keep the Clinton and Quad Cites plants open.

December 2, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Chernobyl nuclear reactor now encased in steel tomb

Chernobyl reactor entombed in giant steel shield 30 years after worst nuclear disaster in history [Excellent photos] Mirror, 1 Dec 16 Thirty years after an explosion ripped apart the Chernobyl power plant and spewed radioactive dust across Europe, the devastated reactor number four has finally been sealed off.  Built with bolts from Wrexham and overseen by a man from Bury, this gigantic steel shield encases the reactor responsible for the worst nuclear disaster in history.

diagram-Chernobyl-sarcophag

Thirty years after an explosion ripped apart the Chernobyl power plant and spewed radioactive dust across Europe, the devastated reactor number four has finally been sealed off. Six years in the making, the 108-metre-high arch is the largest moveable land structure ever built. Its completion brings an end to a nightmare that has scarred two generations.

At a ceremony inside the radiation exclusion zone in Ukraine, British engineer David Driscoll, 66, told of his vital role as health and safety manager overseeing one of the most daunting construction projects ever undertaken….

The shimmering steel structure looms large over the frozen wasteland rendered uninhabitable by the catastrophe on 26 April, 1986.

More than 200,000 people were evacuated from their homes in the weeks afterwards as the then Soviet Union government slowly reacted to the poisoned legacy of the leak.

Deserted houses by the roadside in the exclusion zone have been slowly devoured by the forest.

In Pripyat, the Soviet city next to Chernobyl, the shells of deserted apartment blocks serve as a permanent reminder of the scale of the catastrophe.

At the top of one tower block is a faded Communist hammer and sickle………

Waterproof and temperature-controlled, the structure is fitted with an overhead crane to allow for the future dismantling of the previous, crumbling Soviet-era shelter and the remains of reactor four.

Igor Gramotkin, director-general of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, said: “We were not building this arch for ourselves.

“We were building it for our children, our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren.

“This is our contribution to the future, in line with our responsibility for those who will come after us.”

Ostap Semerak, Ukraine’s Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources, said of the completion of the project: “The sliding of the arch over reactor four at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is the beginning of the end of a 30-year long fight with the consequences of the 1986 accident.” http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/chernobyl-reactor-entombed-giant-steel-9360959

December 2, 2016 Posted by | Ukraine, wastes | Leave a comment

UK fails in appeal to UN to reverse its ruling in favour of Julian Assange

flag-UN-SmjusticeUN rejects UK appeal on Assange, Justice for Assange On 30 November 2016, the United Nations rejected the United Kingdom’s attempt to appeal the UN’s February ruling in favour of Julian Assange.

The decision therefore stands and the UK and Sweden are once again required to immediately put an end to Mr. Assange’s arbitrary detention and afford him monetary compensation.

Earlier this year the United Nations concluded the 16 month long case to which the UK was a party. The UK lost, appealed, and today – lost again. The UN instructed the UK and Sweden to take immediate steps to ensure Mr. Assange’s liberty, protection, and enjoyment of fundamental human rights. No steps have been taken, jeopardising Mr. Assange’s life, health and physical integrity, and undermining the UN system of human rights protection.

Now, the United Nations has found that the United Kingdom’s request for review of this decision (filed on March 24) was inadmissible; the United Kingdom has now reached the end of the road in its attempt to overturn the ruling. As a member of the Security Council and the United Nations Human Rights Council, the United Kingdom must respect its commitment to the United Nations, and release Mr. Assange immediately. Now, more than ever, moral leadership is required; maintaining Mr. Assange’s effective detention (which stands at six years as of 7 December, 2016) will only serve to green light future abuses against defenders of free speech and human rights.

Mr. Assange stated “Now that all appeals are exhausted I expect that the UK and Sweden will comply with their international obligations and set me free. It is an obvious and grotesque injustice to detain someone for six years who hasn’t even been charged with an offence.”….. https://justice4assange.com/?rejects

December 2, 2016 Posted by | Legal, UK | Leave a comment

NRC fines TVA for Browns Ferry violations

 30 November 2016 The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has been given 30 days to pay a $140,000 civil penalty proposed by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for fire watch violations at the Browns Ferry nuclear power plant in Alabama. The violations relate to “numerous” occasions in May 2015 when five workers contracted to provide fire watch services failed to conduct roving fire watch patrols as required under NRC regulations. The patrols were required to compensate for fire protection equipment that was out of service at the time……..http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/RS-NRC-fines-TVA-for-Browns-Ferry-violations-301

December 2, 2016 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

December 1 Energy News

geoharvey

Science and Technology:

¶ New research from Ohio State University determined that a calving event creating an enormous iceberg in West Antarctica in 2015 was even more notable than first thought. It was the result of a deep, subsurface rift that formed approximately 20 miles inland. This implies that the glacier is deteriorating faster than thought. [CleanTechnica]

Rift in Antarctic glacier Rift in Antarctic glacier

World:

¶ The European Commission unveiled a reform of Europe’s power grid after 2020 on Wednesday. The draft law, which still needs to be approved by member states and the European Parliament, sets a binding target to cut energy use by 30% by 2030 and for renewable energy to make up at least 27% of the bloc’s power mix by 2030. [Zawya]

¶ The recently completed Kamuthi Solar Power Plant in Tamil Nadu is the largest solar power plant in the world. Since Delhi, Mumbai…

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December 1, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment