The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

South Africa nuclear electricity company non compliant with govt rules on advertising

flag-S.AfricaEskom may re-advertise nuclear notices after noncomplaint E Cape notice 26TH AUGUST 2016  BY: TERENCE CREAMER CREAMER MEDIA EDITOR State-owned electricity utility Eskom may re-advertise notices relating to its NuclearInstallation Site Licence (NISL) applications for Thyspunt, in the Eastern Cape, and Duynefontyn, in the Western Cape, having acknowledged that a notice published in the Eastern Cape Provincial Gazette on August 8, failed to comply with the 30-day comment period prescribed in the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) Act.

Earlier Eskom had insisted that it had complied with the NNR’s prescribed processes, after Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) alleged that it was attempting to side-step public participation processes by publishing notices in provincial gazettes rather than the National Gazette, which had shortened the comment deadline to below the 30 days.

In a statement released on Friday, Eskom said it published NISL notices in ten newspapers in and around the two sites on July 29, as well as in the Western Cape Provincial Gazette.

However, the notice in Eastern Cape Provincial Gazette had been published on only August 8, which meant it failed to comply with the NNR Act’s prescribed 30 days for public comment.

Outa slammed the publication of the notice in the Eastern Cape Provincial Gazette and said the shortened comment period negated the “spirit and constitutional rights for the public to participate in decisions that affect them”.

Eskom said it was in discussions with the NNR to extend the comment period for interested and affected parties and indicated that it might re-advertise the notice in the Eastern Cape Provincial Gazette, as well as in the National Gazette to give more time for public comment.

“Eskom will communicate once the NNR has given a response,” Eskom said in a statement

August 27, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Nuclear is not the cheapest source of electricity for South Africa

flag-S.AfricaAfrica Check: Is nuclear energy really the ‘cheapest source of electricity’? AFRICA CHECK 26 AUG 2016   (SOUTH AFRICA) 

The South African government’s nuclear ambitions are controversial. But are they likely to provide the country with the “cheapest source of electricity”, as claimed by the national power utility’s CEO? Researched by Vinayak Bhardwaj for AFRICA CHECK.

The South African government’s nuclear ambitions have been dogged by controversy with questions about the secrecy surrounding procurement discussions and the potential costs involved. But Brian Molefe, the group chief executive of Eskom – the country’s power utility – maintains that nuclear energy will be the “cheapest source of electricity for the country”.

In a statement issued earlier this month, Eskom stated that “South Africa is on the correct path with its nuclear aspirations” and “has committed to building new nuclear power plants in its bid to increasingly diversify its energy mix to lower carbon emissions”. Molefe has claimed that nuclear energy is cheaper than other sources of electricity supply. “Once the [nuclear] assets have been deployed… they are the cheapest source of electricity,” he said in a recent interview. Elsewhere he was quoted saying: “[Renewable energy sources] are the most expensive… the cheapest source is nuclear.”

Is he correct and is there evidence to support his claim? Molefe isn’t saying. Questions sent by Africa Check to his office over the past three weeks have gone unanswered.

To understand the costs of producing electricity using different energy sources, you need to look closely at how the cost of electricity generation is calculated and how those costs can be compared from one energy source to another.

Levelised cost of electricity……

Comparing costs of different sources of energy…… [chart on original] 

From this analysis of levelised cost alone, it is clear that nuclear is not the cheapest form of energy for electricity.

Hidden costs of nuclear power

There are many hidden costs in nuclear power generation, says Bruno Merven, a senior researcher at the University of Cape Town’s Energy Research Centre. The risk of lengthy construction delays which result in additional costs must also be calculated. According to the 2015 World Nuclear Status report, an annual overview of the nuclear energy industry produced by independent analysts, there were 62 reactors at various stages of completion around the world in July 2015. Most had been under construction for an average of seven-and-a-half years. But in more extreme cases in Russia and Ukraine, construction on some nuclear plants had lurched along for 30 years or more.

Also not typically included in levelised cost of electricity assessments is the cost of decommissioning a reactor and disposing nuclear waste, says Roula Inglesi-Lotz, an energy economist and associate professor at the University of Pretoria. This would further increase the price of nuclear energy. Even when these costs are not included in calculations, the cost of nuclear investment remains high.

The Energy Research Centre at the University of Cape Town published a study last year analysing the potential socioeconomic risks of South Africa’s nuclear proposals.

The study used computer models to work out how the country’s proposed nuclear strategy would affect job growth, GDP per capita and electricity prices. It found that there was a 94% chance that electricity prices would be higher in 2030 as a result of the commitment to nuclear power, negatively impacting on the country’s economic growth and employment levels. It concluded that there was no economic case to be made for a firm commitment to a nuclear solution to the country’s electricity demands.

Capital costs for nuclear remain high The Department of Energy’s Intergrated Resource Plan includes a comparison of the costs of creating the capacity to produce energy from different energy sources, including nuclear.

Building a nuclear plant is the second most capital-intensive way to produce electricity after centralised solar power, as shown on the graph. The capital cost for a solar plant is R19,250 per kilowatt of installed capacity, compared to R46,841 for nuclear energy. Nuclear power is, therefore, more than double the cost of a solar plant and nearly three times the cost of a wind farm.

However, while nuclear energy is available 90% of the time in a 12-month cycle, solar energy is available during the daytime, approximately only 30% of the time, as energy analysts Mahmood Sonday and ZB Kotze of Top Quartiles, a South Africa-based energy consulting firm, point out.

Kotze says Molefe’s claim that nuclear energy is a cheaper option once the assets have been deployed” is “misleading”. Given that the IRP cost estimates show that nuclear plants are nearly double the cost of other sources of electricity – this cost should not be overlooked.

According to energy analyst Chris Yelland, any capital cost overruns for renewable energy sources (solar and wind) are typically carried by the power plant owners themselves, but the cost of nuclear plants will be borne by paying consumers.

Mix of renewables and gas offer equally cheap source of electricity to nuclear

The Integrated Resource Plan also shows that the price of solar cells is expected to decrease by 44% of their current cost by 2030. For nuclear energy, the cost is expected to decrease by just 4%. By this measure, a nuclear power plant will be nearly five times more expensive than a solar plant.

According to recent presentation by Dr Tobias Bischof-Niemz, who heads up the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s Energy Centre and helped develop the IRP, producing electricity through a mix of renewable energy and natural gas will allow production of uninterrupted electricity to supply 82% of South Africa’s needs. It is also projected to cost roughly the same as nuclear energy sourced electricity for consumers, without the construction costs that a building a nuclear plant will entail.

The presentation – based on an unpublished study – looked at whether a mixture of renewable energy using solar panels and wind, providing intermittent power generation, could be mixed with natural gas technology to provide 8 gigawatts of electricity on an uninterrupted basis. (The current projected output of the nuclear stations will be about 9.6 gigawatts.)

Bischof-Niemz’s study concludes that the cost of energy to consumers would be R1.00 per kilowatt-hour using renewables and natural gas. In the case of nuclear energy, it would be R1.10 per kilowatt-hour.

separate calculation by Chris Yelland, using the current costs of electricity from the the Koeberg nuclear plant near Cape Town, arrived at an estimated R1.52 per kilowatt-hour. According to Yelland’s calculations (based on the levelised cost of electricity), the cost of coal would be R1.19 per kilowatt-hour and for wind and solar would be R0.69 per kilowatt-hour and R0.87 kilowatt-hour respectively.

Conclusion: Nuclear is not the cheapest source of electricity………

a hasty decision to spend vast amounts of money on nuclear plants is “too expensive a bet to get wrong”, argues ZB Kotze of Top Quartiles, especially when there are cheaper alternatives available. Expected energy demands are lower than previously thought, due to lower economic growth and the decline of energy-demanding sectors like mining. South Africa does not need to rush its nuclear ambitions and can afford to “proceed slowly” in deciding whether to expand the country’s nuclear energy capacity, says Yelland. DM

Edited by Julian Rademeyer

August 27, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Kazakhstan- 25th anniversary of closure of world’s largest nuclear test site: time to act

25th anniversary of closure of world’s largest nuclear test site: time to act, The Hill, By Erlan world-disarmament-1Idrissov, August 26, 2016, It may seem strange that the closing of a nuclear test site 25 years text-relevantago should play such a prominent role in defining a country’s history and global purpose. But these doubts – and the reasons for the solemn celebration of this anniversary – fade when the impact of the Semipalatinsk site on Kazakhstan is fully understood.

The huge site, in the east of our country, was the center of the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapon testing program. Its first ever nuclear test took place there on Aug. 29, 1949. Over the next 40 years, it was followed by 455 additional nuclear explosions.

When those first nuclear devices were exploded, the potential effects of radiation or contamination, even when known, were seen as far less important than the arms race. Elderly residents tell of being encouraged out of their homes to witness the first explosions and mushroom clouds.

As a result of this ignorance and failure, the UN estimates that up to 1.5 million people in Kazakhstan were exposed to high radiation levels. It was not long before many began to suffer from ill health, early deaths and birth defects.

This terrible impact remained hidden for many years from the wider public. But as the health and environmental damage became better known, it fueled fierce opposition at every level across the country to nuclear testing.

It led to the decision by President Nursultan Nazarbayev to shut down the Semipalatinsk site exactly 42 years after the first test took place even before we became a fully-independent country. This move, made against the interests of the Soviet military authorities, also set the scene for Kazakhstan to renounce voluntarily the world’s fourth biggest nuclear arsenal which we inherited on the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Deciding to close a testing site and rid your country of nuclear weapons, however, is only a first step. Any responsible nation must also ensure the safe disposal of the weapons and materials. The urgent need to prevent nuclear material from falling into the wrong hands led to unprecedented – and at the time secret – co-operation between Kazakhstan, Russia and the United States, as well as other countries and organizations, over many years.

This stress on peace, dialogue and international co-operation has defined our foreign policy and place in the world ever since. We have been in the forefront of the global campaign to end nuclear testing and to warn against the dangers of nuclear weapons…….

It would be comforting to believe that the years which have followed Kazakhstan’s decisions have seen a reduction in the global threat to all our lives from nuclear weapons. But sadly this is not the case…….

Still, there has been progress. The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was agreed in 1996. We have seen the growth of nuclear weapons-free zones as we now have in Central Asia. The number of weapons, too, has been reduced.

But there are still 16,000 in existence – enough to destroy humanity many times over. Too many countries have still to ratify or sign the test ban treaty. And while the prospect of nuclear war between the main powers remains, thankfully, remote, we face a new and terrifying threat which hardly existed 25 years ago.

Violent extremists groups are actively trying to get their hands on nuclear weapons and technology. If they succeed, they would not hesitate to use them. For these terrorists, the greater the loss of life and destruction the better. The threat from nuclear weapons has scarcely ever been as great.

It is why President Nazarbayev has called for the mankind to set, as its main goal for this century, ridding our world of nuclear weapons by 2045, the centenary of the United Nations. Through his Manifesto, “The World. The 21st Century,” he has produced a blueprint to show how this goal could be reached.

Kazakhstan is also using the 25th anniversary of Semipalatinsk site’s closure to remind the world, from our own unique experience, of the human and environmental cost of nuclear weapons. This legacy will also form part of discussions at a high-level international conference in Astana on Aug. 29 – now the UN’s International Day against Nuclear Tests – on how to create the climate where nuclear weapons can be removed entirely from our world and how to build momentum towards reaching this goal.

The last 25 years have shown this won’t be easy. But we must step up our efforts to rebuild the trust needed. The example of Kazakhstan shows both the price to be paid if we fail and also what can be achieved with vision.

The author is Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan.

August 27, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Exhibition opens to mark 25th anniversary of Semipalatinsk nuclear test site closure

see-this.way   26.08.2016 12:28 Exhibition dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site closure opened in Almaty. It features previously unpublished documents of independent Kazakhstan in the struggle for a nuclear-free world. Among the exhibits there are letters from citizens asking for the termination of tests in the country, as well as rare photos of the first tests, which took place on August 29 in 1949. In just over 40 years, there were about 450 nuclear tests on the site. After its closure on August 29, 1991 Kazakhstan voluntarily renounced nuclear weapons.

August 27, 2016 Posted by | Resources -audiovicual | Leave a comment

Preparing for hurricane risk to Turkey Point nuclear reactor

nuke-&-seaLTurkey Point workers prepare nuclear power plant for possible rough weather Tropical wave weakening, but still could impact South Florida By Ben Kennedy – Reporter, August 26, 2016 “Should a storm come like the one that is approaching now, we make sure the site is ready,” emergency preparedness manager Kevin O’Hare said. In the event of a power outage, the twin reactor nuclear power station has a backup system called the Flex Building — a 60-by 150-foot-long structure.

“As a result of Fukushima, (we) needed another level of protection,” Sergio Chaviano, project manager of the Flex Building, said.

Inside a box are backup systems that can deliver power to the entire plant. We have a pump here to the right, a smaller pump to the left. We have trailers that can carry hoses throughout the plant,” Chaviano said.

The hoses can carry water to cool reactors in the event of an emergency, but crews said they’ve been preparing for hurricane season since March.

“Our philosophy is to prevent problems so that by June 1 we are ready for hurricane season and whatever might come our way,” O’Hare said.

August 27, 2016 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Global nuclear industry ponders ways to get taxpayers to pay up for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)



Doncha love the way they leave the word “nuclear” out of “SMRs”, hoping that people somehow won’t notice that SMRs are nuclear reactors?

Can SMRs unlock financing? World Nuclear news,  24 August 2016 Whilst a project of the size and complexity
of Hinkley Point C faces a range of challenges which lessen the availability of limited-recourse financing, it is clear that nuclear plant construction violates the basic precepts of project finance due to the unpredictability of project costs and schedule, write Rory Connor and Ken Culotta of law firm King & Spalding…..

For the industry to flourish, even in the presence of strong government policy support, the ability to finance is critical. There is the possibility though that new technology and new construction techniques, in the form of small modular reactors (SMRs), may hold the key to overcoming such issues……..

……..a long-term, minimum-price, power purchase agreement (or equivalent) a fundamental bankability requirement.


The UK government’s Electricity Market Reform initiatives, including the flagship contract-for-difference, have shored up the bankability of nuclear power projects. However, in a controversial field like nuclear power, there remains a risk that political or public sentiment could change during the life a project; as happened in Germany, which effectively ended its nuclear power industry in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. Lenders will require assurances that changes in policy will not adversely affect their exposure. For Hinkley Point C, the UK government agreed to enter into a so-called Secretary of State Agreement with the project sponsors, which grants the sponsors a put-option against the government in the event of a political shutdown of the project, effectively requiring the government to compensate the sponsors for their loss of investment – project lenders would no doubt expect similar protection to cover the cost of repayment of all outstanding project debt.

Nevertheless, not even the package of the Hinkley Point C contract-for-difference (which guarantees a power price of more than double the prevailing market price over a 35-year term) and the Secretary of State Agreement was enough to satisfy prospective lenders or bond underwriters that the project represented a bankable proposal. The problem lurked elsewhere – construction risk……..

The first SMRs to be installed will doubtless surface interesting risk issues, particularly the perceived ‘new technology’ risk which would likely see lenders requiring extended warranties from SMR technology providers. …..

construction risk alone is not the only issue that makes project financing a challenge for nuclear projects – the highly regulated nature of nuclear power does not sit easily with many standard project financing instruments and techniques. In any event, the developer(s) of the first commercially deployed SMRs may decide to finance on-balance sheet or by other means.

But the fact is that SMRs are no longer just ‘pie in the sky’ – billions of dollars of investment has been committed to the development of this technology (including more than $200 million by the US Department of Energy and up to £250 million by the UK government) and, in the UK at least, the possibility of contracts-for-difference, and other government-backed credit enhancements, create an attractive framework for investment and financing.

August 27, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, politics, technology | Leave a comment

USA pushes India and Pakistan to join nuclear testy ban treaty



Is this because USA wants nuclear disarmament, or because USA wants to sell nuclear materials to the sub continent?

US urges India and Pakistan to sign and ratify nuclear test ban treaty Washington has welcomed text-relevantPakistan’s recent proposal to India for a bilateral agreement on nuclear weapons test ban, IBT  By  August 24, 2016 The US has asked arch-rivals India and Pakistan to set aside their differences and sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Welcoming Pakistan’s recent proposal to India for a bilateral agreement on nuclear weapons test ban, Washington has urged the two countries to hold talks.

Mark Toner, the State Department deputy spokesperson, said: “We welcome this high-level dialogue between India and Pakistan, encourage both countries to engage in the dialogue and exercise restraint aimed at improving strategic stability.”……..

On Tuesday (23 August), Pakistan announced a fresh move to seek support for its NSGmembership bid. Syed Tariq Fatemi, special assistant to the prime minister on foreign affairs, embarked on a visit to Belarus and Kazakhstan to win their backing, The Hindu reported.

While India was kept out, Pakistan’s membership was not discussed during the plenary meeting of the NSG in Seoul in June. Although it has China on its side, it failed to get the backing of the US.

August 27, 2016 Posted by | India, Pakistan, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Again this year, Indonesia’s blanket of smoke is back

climate-changeSmoke from Indonesian fires hits ‘unhealthy’ levels in Singapore as authorities push to hunt offenders pollution in Singapore has risen to the “unhealthy” level as acrid smoke drifted over the island from fires on Indonesia’s Sumatra island, the city-state’s National Environment Agency (NEA) said, in a repeat of an annual crisis.

Every dry season, smoke from fires set to clear land for palm oil and pulp and paper plantations in Indonesia clouds the skies over much of the region, raising concern about public health and worrying tourist operators and airlines.

The 24-hour Pollution Standards Index (PSI), which the NEA uses as a benchmark, rose as high as 105 in the afternoon — a level above 100 is considered “unhealthy”.

The NEA said it planned a “daily haze advisory” as “a burning smell and slight haze were experienced over many areas” in Singapore.

Indonesia repeatedly vows to stop the fires but each year they return.

This year, Indonesia has arrested 454 people in connection with the smoke pollution.  When heavy, the choking smog closes airports and schools and prompts warnings to residents to stay indoors.

smoke from Indonesia, in Singapore

Pollution levels in neighbouring Malaysia were normal on Friday.

Singapore has pushed Indonesia for information on companies suspected of causing pollution, some of which are listed on Singapore’s stock exchange.

A forest campaigner for the environmental group Greenpeace Indonesia, Yuyun Indradi, said the Government was struggling to enforce laws to prevent the drainage of peatland for plantations and the setting of fires to clear land.

“It has become a challenge for the Government to enforce accountability among concession holders, to enforce its directives on blocking canals, and push companies to take part in efforts to restore peatland and prevent fires,” Mr Indradi said. “Now is the time for the Government to answer this challenge. It is in the law.” Greenpeace said, according to its satellite information, there were 138 fires across Indonesia on Friday.

August 27, 2016 Posted by | climate change, Indonesia | Leave a comment

Inside Fukushima’s Time Bomb



Five years after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster many residents are still living in a radioactive nightmare.

Bubbling streams, lush forests, cherry blossoms in full bloom – Japan’s north is stunningly picturesque.

But nature’s beauty hides a lethal secret – dangerous levels of radiation contaminate this area, fall-out from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Five years after the twin catastrophes of the tsunami and nuclear meltdown, villages sit silent and empty.

Thousands of workers still toil to clean up the radioactive material but it could be decades before their work is finished.

As Japan continues to suffer the toxic aftermath of one of its worst ever disasters, 101 East reveals that the countryside may never again be safe.


August 26, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

Anti-nuclear governor in Japan asks Kyushu Electric to suspend nuke plant


An aerial view shows the No.1 (L) and No.2 reactor buildings at Kyushu Electric Power’s Sendai nuclear power station in Satsumasendai, Kagoshima prefecture, Japan, August 11, 2015

A local Japanese governor on Friday asked Kyushu Electric Power to temporarily suspend the Sendai nuclear plant, one of two operating in the nation, further clouding efforts by the government and utilities to restart more idled reactors.

Anti-nuclear advocate Satoshi Mitazono, who was elected governor of Kagoshima prefecture last month, called on Kyushu Electric to re-examine safety and safety measures at its facility in southwestern Japan, raising concerns about a series of strong quakes that struck neighboring Kumamoto in April.

The request was expected as Mitazono, a former journalist, had said he wanted the temporary shutdown amid heightened concerns from local residents about safety and evacuation plans.

Mitazono’s pledges to suspend operations at the Sendai plant are credited with helping him beat in a July election incumbent Yuichiro Ito, who had agreed to the resumption of Sendai’s reactors.

“As an operator of nuclear power plants, the company has a duty to sincerely listen and response to the concerns of local residents. The company should temporarily suspend the nuclear plant and re-examine safety,” Mitazono said in a statement that was handed to Kyushu Electric President Michiaki Uriu at the prefectural government offices.

Mitazono has no legal power to shut down operating reactors.

“We will give the matter serious consideration,” Kyushu Electric said in a subsequent statement.

Only three reactors are online in Japan: two at Kyushu Electric’s Sendai plant and one at Shikoku Electric Power’s Ikata station. Utilities have struggled to get nuclear units running again in the face of a skeptical public after shutting them all down following the Fukushima disaster of 2011.

Sendai’s reactors are already schedule to be stopped for maintenance this year, one in October and one in December. Reactors in Japan are required to be shut for servicing after 13 months of commercial operation.

August 26, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

President of Fukushima Pediatric Association recently hand delivered the Association’s requests to Fukushima Prefecture to “scale down” thyroid exams for children in Fukushima



Does Fukushima Prefecture need to scale down or expand its existing thyroid exams provided to Fukushima children who were 18 years of younger at the time of Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011?

President of Fukushima Pediatric Association recently hand delivered the Association’s requests to Fukushima Prefecture to “scale down” thyroid exams for children in Fukushima.

Fukushima Pediatric Association claims that identifying many children with thyroid cancer through Prefecture’s thyroid exams is causing anxiety among children, their guardians, and citizens in the prefecture, and requests that a partial re-consideration of the thyroid exam is necessary.

(By the way, can you tell which one is Dr. Kazuhiro Ohga of Fukushima Pediatric Association and which one is an official of Fukushima Prefecture, just by looking at the photo of the article? I initially thought the man on the right is an official from the Fukushima Prefecture, because the man on left is bowing deeper, as if he is asking a favor by delivering a request. I was wrong. Dr. Ohga is on the right.)




On the other hand, a citizens’ group with parents of children whose thyroid cancers were detected because of Prefecture’s thyroid exams requests Fukushima Prefecture to expand the exams.

Credit to Mari Inoue

August 26, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

Population Reference Bureau Issues 2016 World Population Data Sheet

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

GR:  Our current population of 7.4+ billion is expected to reach 10 billion by 2053.  Economists generally do not recognize what this means.  On the Dianne Ream show this morning, they were discussing the negative economic consequences of aging populations and slowing births.  None of them mentioned the benefits of slowing population growth.  They did not discuss societal changes needed to encourage and live with even slower birth rates. It’s like they live in a cake bell aware only of a future that their teachers painted on the walls.

Joe Bish, Population Media Center:  “Population Reference Bureau (PRB) has just released their 2016 World Population Data Sheet. In what is news to me, they have also created a dedicated website to help users get access to the data in various forms (maps, data visualizations, graphs, etc.).

“Navigate to to explore.

“PRB sees global population exceeding the…

View original post 193 more words

August 26, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Two Tepco Kashiwazaki-Kariwa reactors may pass geared-up safety checks by March



Nuclear regulators have decided to gear up the safety assessment of two reactors operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. in central Japan, raising the possibility of finishing the process by next March, sources said Tuesday.

Reactor Nos. 6 and 7 at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture are boiling water reactors, the same type as the ones that suffered core meltdowns in 2011 at Tepco’s Fukushima No. 1 complex.

All reactors in Japan — either BWRs or pressurized water reactors — are required to meet tougher safety criteria imposed after the Fukushima crisis, but the BWR assessment has been delayed due to the need to install safety equipment that involves extensive work.

If reactors 6 and 7 clear the assessment, they will become the first BWRs technically qualified to resume operation under the post-Fukushima rules.

Facing massive decommissioning costs and compensation payments after the Fukushima disaster, Tepco applied for the safety assessment of the two reactors in September 2013, hoping that restarting the units will help turn around its business.

But it is unclear whether the development will lead to their swift restart because Niigata Gov. Hirohiko Izumida has said he will “not talk about restarting” the reactors unless a study on the Fukushima calamity is sufficiently carried out.

The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa complex on the Sea of Japan coast is one of the world’s largest nuclear power plants in capacity if all of its seven reactors were in operation.

Allowing Tepco to reactivate its reactors can be controversial, as the utility is still struggling to scrap the crippled reactors at the Fukushima plant. Tens of thousands of people who lived nearby also remain displaced evacuees.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority decided last August to prioritize checking the two Kashiwazaki-Kariwa reactors, hoping to make them a model case of the BWR assessment process. But it retracted the decision in March after Tepco failed to offer sufficient explanation on questions raised by the regulators.

But Tepco has come up with the necessary documents and the NRA decided to reinstate the priority status of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa reactors at least until mid-September. The NRA has conveyed its plan to other utilities whose BWRs are being checked, the sources said.

Under the new safety requirements, BWRs must be equipped with filtered venting systems so that radioactive substances will be reduced when gas and steam need to be released to prevent damage to containment vessels.

The venting facilities are not an immediate requirement for PWRs as they are housed in containers larger than those of BWRs, allowing more time until pressure rises inside the containers.

Currently, two reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai plant and another reactor at Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata plant are operating in Japan after passing the safety checks. They are all BWRs.

August 26, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Majority of governments at UN vote for 2017 conference on banning nuclear weapons

world-nuclear-weapons-freeflag-UN-SmOverwhelming Majority: Ban The Bomb In
Huffington Post, Susi Snyder Nuclear Disarmament Programme Manager for Pax in the Netherlands 08/19/2016 A nuclear working group at text-relevantthe UN concluded its work in Geneva today and the majority of governments voted to recommended that the UN General Assembly set up a conference in 2017 to negotiate a new treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons.

Nuclear weapons are the only weapon of mass destruction that are not outlawed by international treaty. But that is about to change.

2017 Conference
After more than twenty years of nothing, this working group just had a breakthrough. 107 governments said they support:

“The convening by the General Assembly of a conference in 2017 open to all states, international organisations, and civil society, to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons leading towards their total elimination”

It was a group of Pacific Island countries that said these exact words first. Diplomats who have personal connections with nuclear weapons- relatives who remember seeing the bombs explode in the distance. Friends that can never go home to what were once islands of paradise, and are now radioactive wastelands.

The 54 member African Group, the 33 member Community of Latin America and Caribbean countries (33) also voiced their support for a conference in 2017. For the first time, the ASEAN grouping (11) added their collective voice to this call for negotiations next year on a new nuclear weapons treaty.

It is now up to the October meeting of the UN General Assembly First Committee to take up this recommendation, and set up a meeting next year to negotiate a new treaty to finally make nuclear weapons illegal.

Putting people first
This breakthrough is result of the new global discourse on nuclear weapons. Since Norway hosted the first conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in 2013, the effect of the weapons on humans and the environment has taken center stage……

August 26, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Kazakhstan to Host Major Nuclear Disarmament Conference

world-nuclear-weapons-freeAstana to Host Major Nuclear Disarmament Conference BY AIMAN text-relevantTUREBEKOVA  24 AUGUST 2016

ASTANA – The Kazakh capital will host the international conference “Building a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World,” dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site and commemorating UN International Day against Nuclear Tests at the Palace of Independence Aug. 29, the Senate of the Parliament announced.

The Kazakh Senate, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) have co-organised the conference.

It will be addressed by President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev and will bring together parliamentarians, representatives of international organisations, civil activists, scholars, mayors and media from around the world.

The event will include a plenary session and four panel sessions: “Security without nuclear weapons or war: Manifesto “The World. The 21st Century”; “A nuclear test ban and the role of the UN in achieving nuclear disarmament;” “National prohibition and nuclear-weapons-free zones. Geography of a sustainable world;” “Initiatives and campaigns – legislators, religious leaders and civil society”.

Conference participants will commemorate victims of nuclear tests, consider current disarmament  issues and make proposals on how to strengthen international security.

According to Speaker of the Kazakh Senate Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the 25th anniversary since the closure of the Semipalatinsk Test Site is a date of global significance.

“President Nursultan Nazarbayev is recognised as a leader of the global antinuclear movement. His decision on the full closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site is the first and the only such case in the disarmament history of the world. The idea of complete nuclear disarmament underpins the Manifesto, “The World. The 21st Century.” The anniversary of the closure of the Semipalatinsk Test Site is the best opportunity for the entire world community to consider the paramount importance of establishing sustainable peace on the planet and to propose new common solutions to security problems,” he said on the eve of the event.

On Dec. 2, 2009, at Kazakhstan’s initiative, the UN unanimously declared Aug. 29 the International Day against Nuclear Tests. “For nearly a decade as UN Secretary-General, I have witnessed many of the worst problems in the world, as well as our collective ability to respond in ways that at times seemed impossible. Our ambitious new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change have demonstrated the power of political will to break long-standing deadlocks. On this International Day against Nuclear Tests, I call on the world to summon a sense of solidarity commensurate with the urgent need to end the dangerous impasse on this issue,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a special message on this year’s International Day against Nuclear Tests.

In his message, made public by the UN shortly prior to the date, Ban Ki-moon said, “Today marks a quarter of a century since the closure of the Semipalatinsk test site in Kazakhstan, ground zero for more than 450 nuclear tests. The victims there are joined by others scattered across Central Asia, North Africa, North America and the South Pacific.”

He continued, “A prohibition on all nuclear testing will end this poisonous legacy. It will boost momentum for other disarmament measures by showing that multilateral cooperation is possible, and it will build confidence for other regional security measures, including a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction. When I visited Semipalatinsk in 2010, I saw the toxic damage – but I also witnessed the resolve of the victims and survivors. I share their determination to strive for a world free of nuclear weapons.”

The UN Secretary General went on to urge Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation member states to act now.

“Those states whose ratification is required to bring the treaty into force should not wait for others. Even one ratification can act as a circuit breaker. All states that have not done so should sign and ratify because every ratification strengthens the norm of universality and shines a harsher spotlight on the countries that fail to act,” he said.

Kazakhstan knows well those catastrophic human consequences. The Soviet nuclear weapons tests at the Semipalatinsk site, caused illnesses and premature death to an estimated 1.5 million people and contaminated a huge area.

The Manifesto “The World. The 21st Century,” which was released by Nazarbayev earlier this year, is another contribution to the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world and to an end to war. The main idea of the manifesto is to prevent war by utilising common security and international law approaches such as diplomacy, negotiation, mediation, arbitration and adjudication.

August 26, 2016 Posted by | Kazakhstan, weapons and war | Leave a comment


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