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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

The dramatic economic failure of America’s nuclear industry

The controversial future of nuclear power in the U.S. National Geographic, 45 May 21, ”……..debates rage over whether nuclear should be a big part of the climate solution [[the nuclear industry’s confidence trick] in the U.S. The majority of American nuclear plants today are approaching the end of their design life, and only one has been built in the last 20 years. Nuclear proponents are now banking on next-generation designs …….

Yet an expansion of nuclear power faces some serious hurdles, and the perennial concerns about safety and long-lived radioactive waste may not be the biggest: Critics also say nuclear reactors are simply too expensive and take too long to build to be of much help with the climate crisis.

Bombs into plowshares

A test reactor at the Idaho National Laboratory, where Finan now works, produced the first electrical power from nuclear energy in 1951. Its success was soon trumpeted in President Dwight Eisenhower’s famous “atoms for peace” speech to the United Nations in 1953. Arjun Makhijani, a nuclear physicist who runs the non-profit Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, points out that the speech was given shortly after a thermonuclear test blast in the Soviet Union, when atomic fears were at a peak.

The United States, still the world’s largest producer by far of nuclear electricity, currently has 94 reactors in 28 states. But after the Three Mile Island accident in 1979, when a reactor partially melted down near Middletown, Pennsylvania, enthusiasm for nuclear energy dimmed.

The average age of American power plants, which are licensed to run for 40 years, is 39; in the last decade, at least five have been retired early, largely because maintenance costs and cheaper sources of power made them too expensive to operate.

The most recent closure came just last week, on April 30, when the second of two reactors was shut down at the Indian Point power plant, on the Hudson River north of New York City. …

Late and over budget

While environmental opposition may have been the primary force hindering nuclear development in the 1980s and 90s, now the biggest challenge may be costs. Few nuclear plants have been built in the U.S. recently because they are very expensive to build here, which makes the price of their energy high.

Jacopo Buongiorno, a professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT, led a group of scientists who recently completed a two-year study examining the future of nuclear energy in the U.S. and western Europe. They found that “without cost reductions, nuclear energy will not play a significant role” in decarbonizing the power sector.

“In the West, the nuclear industry has substantially lost its ability to build large plants,” Buongiorno says, pointing to Southern Company’s effort to add two new reactors to Plant Vogtle in Waynesboro, Georgia. They have been under construction since 2013, are now billions of dollars over budget—the cost has more than doubled—and years behind schedule. In France, ranked second after the U.S. in nuclear generation, a new reactor in Flamanville is a decade late and more than three times over budget………

May 6, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Biden administration to subsidise nuclear reactors on the pretext of stopping climate change?

An activist group slammed the of tax credits for aging plants saying it would slow deployment of renewable energy like wind and solar power. “A nuclear bailout is wrong for taxpayers, wrong for ratepayers, and wrong for the climate,” said Lukas Ross, program manager at Friends of the Earth.

U.S. eyes nuclear reactor tax credit to meet climate goals -sources, Reuters, Timothy GardnerJarrett Renshaw , 4 May 21,  The White House has signaled privately to lawmakers and stakeholders in recent weeks that it supports taxpayer subsidies to keep nuclear facilities from closing and making it harder to meet U.S. climate goals, three sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters.

New subsidies, in the form of “production tax credits,” would likely be swept into President Joe Biden’s multi-trillion-dollar legislative effort to invest in infrastructure and jobs, the sources said…….

The United States leads the world with more than 90 nuclear reactors, the country’s top source of emissions-free power generation. Yet aging plants have been closing due to rising security costs and competition from plentiful natural gas, wind and solar power, which are becoming less pricey…….

New York state’s Indian Point nuclear power plant, owned by Entergy Corp (ETR.N), closed its last reactor on April 30. In Illinois, Exelon Corp (EXC.O) has said it might close four reactors at two plants by November, if the state does not implement subsidies.

Nuclear plants provide thousands of union jobs that pay some of the highest salaries in the energy business. Biden’s allies in building trades unions have lobbied for the production tax credits.

The credits also have the support of Democratic Senator Joe Manchin from the energy-rich state of West Virginia, two of the sources said.He holds outsized power in the evenly divided Senate because he can block his party’s agenda.

Manchin’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Preliminary plans for a federal nuclear power production tax credit in deregulated markets bar companies from double-dipping in states that offer similar assistance, according to one of the sources. Companies also would have to prove financial hardship, the source said.

While Biden pledged in his campaign to boost spending for research on new generation of advanced nuclear plants, his White House, like the preceding Trump and Obama administrations, has struggled to devise a blueprint to save the existing reactors.

The Biden administration has also supported a Clean Energy Standard (CES) in the infrastructure plan, a mechanism that could support existing nuclear plants.

The production tax credit could be implemented on a faster timetable and could help save even the Illinois plants, some experts say. Exelon, however, believes that the only way they can be saved is by Illinois taking action.

We’re racing to cut emissions, create jobs, and shore up local economies — allowing nuclear plants to close sets us back on all three fronts,” said Ryan Fitzpatrick, director of the climate and energy program at Third Way, a moderate think tank. [moderate – my foot – Third Way is nothing but a pro nuclear front group]

An activist group slammed the of tax credits for aging plants saying it would slow deployment of renewable energy like wind and solar power. “A nuclear bailout is wrong for taxpayers, wrong for ratepayers, and wrong for the climate,” said Lukas Ross, program manager at Friends of the Earth. https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/white-house-eyes-subsidies-nuclear-plants-help-meet-climate-targets-sources-2021-05-05/

May 6, 2021 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Sweden’s nuclear waste problem may mean closure of 5 reactors by 2028

Five Swedish reactors risk closure by 2028 due to tardy nuclear waste decision,  Reuters, 6 May 21Five Swedish nuclear reactors may need to close between 2024 and 2028 because a temporary site for storing spent fuel will soon be full and the government has yet to approve a final waste repository, their operating companies said on Wednesday.

The Forsmark 4 reactor risks closure in 2024, followed in 2025 by Forsmark 3, Ringhals 3 and 4 and finally Forsmark 1 in 2028, the operators said in urgent market messages posted via power exchange Nord Pool.Ringhals is owned by a consortium comprising Vattenfall (VATN.UL) and Uniper (UN01.DE), while Forsmark is owned by the same two companies in addition to Fortum (FORTUM.HE) and Skelleftea Kraft.A Swedish government decision on used nuclear fuel storage must be made no later than Aug. 31 this year to avoid exceeding the permit for the interim storage site a Oskarshamn, the firms added……..  https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/five-swedish-reactors-risk-closure-by-2028-due-tardy-nuclear-waste-decision-2021-05-05/

May 6, 2021 Posted by | Sweden, wastes | Leave a comment

NRC extends lifespans of nuclear reactors (it’s cheaper than closing them down)

NRC approves 80-year lifespans for Surry nuclear units 1 and 2 Power Engineering By Clarion Energy Content Directors -5.4.2021  The Surry Units 1 and 2 nuclear power reactors will operate into the 2050s unless Dominion Energy pulls the plug for other reasons.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced Tuesday it was approving the utility’s application on a 20-year renewal of its operating licenses for the Surry nuclear plant in Virginia. The renewed licenses authorize reactor lifetime operation from 60 to 80 years….

May 6, 2021 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

The Squad and Their Allies Should Unite to Block Biden’s Massive Military Budget,

The Squad and Their Allies Should Unite to Block Biden’s Massive Military Budget,

This is the moment to put a stop to runaway spending on war and the nuclear arsenal. Common Dreams, byMedea BenjaminMarcy Winograd   5 May 21, A month before the vote on the federal budget, progressives in Congress declared, “We’ve studied President Biden’s proposed $753 billion military budget, an increase of $13 billion from Trump’s already inflated budget, and we can’t, in good conscience, support this.”

Now that would be a show stopper, particularly if they added, “So we have decided to stand united, arm in arm, as a block of NO votes on any federal budget resolution that fails to reduce military spending by 10-30 percent. We stand united against a federal budget resolution that includes upwards of $30 billion for new nuclear weapons slated to ultimately cost nearly $2 trillion. We stand united in demanding the $50 billion earmarked to maintain all 800 overseas bases, including the new one under construction in Henoko, Okinawa, be reduced by a third because it’s time we scaled back on plans for global domination.”

“Ditto,” they say, “for the billions the President wants for the arms-escalating US Space Force, one of Trump’s worst ideas, right up there with hydroxychloroquine to cure COVID-19, and, no, we don’t want to escalate our troop deployments for a military confrontation with China in the South China Sea. It’s time to ‘right-size’ the military budget and demilitarize our foreign policy.” 

Progressives uniting as a block to resist out-of-control military spending would be a no-nonsense exercise of raw power reminiscent of how the right-wing Freedom Caucus challenged the traditional Republicans in the House in 2015. Without progressives on board, President Biden may not be able to secure enough votes to pass a federal budget that would then green light the reconciliation process needed for his broad domestic agenda.

For years, progressives in Congress have complained about the bloated military budget. In 2020, 93 members in the House and 23 in the Senate voted to cut the Pentagon budget by 10% and invest those funds instead in critical human needs. A House Spending Reduction Caucus, co-chaired by Representatives Barbara Lee and Mark Pocan, emerged with 22 members on board.

Meet the members of the House Defense Spending Reduction Caucus:

Barbara Lee (CA-13); Mark Pocan (WI-2); Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12); Ilhan Omar (MN-5); Raùl Grijalva (AZ-3); Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11); Jan Schakowsky(IL-9); Pramila Jayapal (WA-7); Jared Huffman (CA-2); Alan Lowenthal (CA-47); James P. McGovern (MA-2); Peter Welch (VT-at large); Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14); Frank Pallone, Jr (NJ-6).;  Rashida Tlaib (MI-13); Ro Khanna (CA-17); Lori Trahan (MA-3); Steve Cohen (TN-9); Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), Anna Eshoo (CA-18).

We also have the Progressive Caucus, the largest Caucus in Congress with almost 100 members in the House and Senate. Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal is all for cutting military spending. “We’re in the midst of a crisis that has left millions of families unable to afford food, rent, and bills. But at the same time, we’re dumping billions of dollars into a bloated Pentagon budget,” she said. “Don’t increase defense spending. Cut it—and invest that money into our communities.”

Now is the time for these congresspeople to turn their talk into action.

Consider the context. President Biden urgently wants to move forward on his American Families Plan rolled out in his recent State of the Union address. The plan would tax the rich to invest $1.8 trillion over the next ten years in universal preschool, two years of tuition-free community college, expanded healthcare coverage and paid family medical leave.

President Biden, in the spirit of FDR, also wants to put America back to work in a $2-trillion infrastructure program that will begin to fix our decades-old broken bridges, crumbling sewer systems and rusting water pipes. This could be his legacy, a light Green New Deal to transition workers out of the dying fossil fuel industry.

But Biden won’t get his infrastructure program and American Families Plan with higher taxes on the rich, almost 40% on income for corporations and those earning $400,000 or more a year, without Congress first passing a budget resolution that includes a top line for military and non-military spending. Both the budget resolution and reconciliation bill that would follow are filibuster proof and only require a simple majority in the House and Senate to pass.

Easy.

Maybe not……… https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/05/03/squad-and-their-allies-should-unite-block-bidens-massive-military-budget?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=twitter

May 6, 2021 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

France’s nuclear output slumped – they had to import power

French nuclear output slumps to 6-month low in April, Power, SOPHIE TETREL, Paris, 04 May 2021   (Montel)

 France’s nuclear power generation slumped to a six-month low at 27.1 TWh in April, making it a net power importer for two weeks when cold weather buoyed demand, national TSO data showed on Tuesday.

Nuclear output last month was just 276 GWh or 1% higher than in April last year when it plunged to a record low during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, and it was 4.6 TWh below the level reached in March this year.

Average power plant availability dropped about 9 percentage points month on month to 37.3 GW or 61% of installed capacity in April, due to maintenance and fail… (subscribers only)  https://www.montelnews.com/en/story/french-nuclear-output-slumps-to-6-month-low-in-april/1218663

May 6, 2021 Posted by | ENERGY, France | Leave a comment

Joining the nuclear weapons ban treaty has never been more urgent — IPPNW peace and health blog

The TPNW, the first new multilateral nuclear disarmament treaty to enter into force in 49 years, is essentially the only positive development in the face of growing danger of nuclear war. The first meeting of states parties will be held on 12-14 January 2022 in Vienna.

Joining the nuclear weapons ban treaty has never been more urgent — IPPNW peace and health blog

May 5, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear weapons have triggered a new geological era

NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN THE ANTHROPOCENE

Nuclear weapons have triggered a new geological era, but what does that really mean ?  Inkstick Media: Peter Waring, 3 May 21, There were a few possible contenders when a working group established by the International Commission on Stratigraphy began searching for a “golden spike” — a geological inflection point marking the end of one era and the beginning of another. ………  

  from a geological perspective, no marker better captures humanity’s impact on the physical environment than the fallout from decades of atmospheric nuclear testing.

In 2019, the Working Group voted overwhelmingly to recommend establishing a new era — the Anthropocene — to record the beginning of the period where humans have drastically altered the planet. The proposed start day was July 16, 1945, the day of the Trinity Test.

The beginning of the nuclear age marks a new stratigraphic boundary in Earth’s history. The “bomb spike,” as it came to be known, represents the level of carbon 14 and plutonium 239 in the atmosphere, both of which peaked in the mid-1960s at the height of the Cold War. And though levels have subsequently reduced — as states limited and finally halted atmospheric testing  — evidence of the spike is now a matter of geological record. In other words, it will exist for as long as the Earth does. But what does this really mean for our security and our environment?

RACING TOWARD CATASTROPHE 

Humanity and the environment are now “mutually transformative — and potentially mutually destructive,” a fact which forces us to confront the possibility that the era of climate stability, known as the Holocene, has ended and that our own collective and individual actions are to blame. Apart from its prominent geological signature, the “bomb spike” is also emblematic of the so-called Great Acceleration, the exponential growth in various metrics of human activity since the mid-twentieth century, which include: population, technology, economic development, industrial output, energy consumption, carbon emissions, and international tourism. These measures have been thrust ever upwards by the spread of extractive capitalism, endless technological innovation, and an underlying assumption that somehow the realm of human activity exists outside and separate from nature. Today, we are not witnessing the failure of this world view. Rather, we are witnessing the consequences of its success.

Nuclear arsenals are regularly justified as a bulwark against threats to the postwar, liberal international order. But it is precisely this global system that has served as the launching pad for the Great Acceleration. And as such, it is difficult to separate our conceptions of wealth, progress, and liberty — the very things nuclear weapons are meant to secure — from the causes of human-induced climate change. We have been led to believe that this skyward trajectory is a good thing, that all of our problems will disappear if only there were more progress, more technology, more freedom. But like Icarus, have we flown too close to the sun?

OUR WORST ENEMY

The Manhattan Project, which developed the first atomic weapons, has been described as a “full stop on modernity” — or in other words, the natural terminus of a worldview that separated humankind from our environment. It is the belief that we can do whatever we want to nature and that the Earth exists to support humanity. The Manhattan Project, which developed the first atomic weapons, has been described as a “full stop on modernity” — or in other words, the natural terminus of a worldview that separated humankind from our environment. It is the belief that we can do whatever we want to nature and that the Earth exists to support humanity. 

Modernity in this sense is not merely technology or our institutions but rather a mode of thought premised on a belief in human supremacy. Nuclear weapons are the apotheosis of modernity. We can take whatever we want from the Earth and we can destroy it too. Here is the intersection some nuclear threat experts have been looking for,  between the environmental movement and the nuclear movement. Between a cause with seemingly endless cultural cachet and one that appears like a mid-century relic.

The nuclear weapons industry is undoubtedly the source of much environmental damage: There are uranium minesplutonium production facilities, and former test sites. But the true impact exists on a different register altogether. It is more than just the material effects, more even than the devastating ecological impact of a nuclear blast. 

 Atomic weapons are the most extreme example of our world-possessing pretensions. Their existence and central role in our security apparatus is representative of a mode of thought that portrays humanity as the chief protagonist in the story of Earth. The Anthropocene is the point at which the plot changes.

It is also clear that on a planet increasingly defined by human activity the old dichotomies of friend and foe — of good and evil — are no longer relevant. But constructing enemies is at the core of nuclear thinking as only the most extreme adversaries can justify the most extreme weapons.  During the Cold War this was a relatively simple task, albeit one pursued with a kind of cartoonish zeal by politicians on both sides. And while there is a worrisome element of deja vu about the rising discord between Russia and NATO, talk of a new Cold War seems oddly out of place in a world of pandemics and catastrophic climate change. Yet it remains an inescapable feature of the Atomic Age that enemies must be suitably evil and suitably different from us. They must “hate freedom” and they must reject the so-called “rules-based” global order. More significantly, the enemies themselves are largely inconsequential: When they crumble or retreat into the background, we create new ones. As long as the weapons exist there will be myths to justify them. Arundhati Roy perhaps said it best:

“Nuclear weapons pervade our thinking. Control our behavior. Administer our societies. Inform our dreams. They bury themselves like meat hooks deep in the base of our brains. They are purveyors of madness.”

The Anthropocene forces us to grapple with this madness and to reconsider our need for enemies. It demands that we confront unsettling truths and come to terms with the prospect that the greatest threat to our security and way of life is our way of life.

ADJUSTING OUR POLITICS

The long half-life of the Atomic Age is as much the product of outdated thinking as it is bureaucratic inertia or military strategy. The scholarship surrounding nuclear weapons is held back — stuck — by a kind of thinking that belongs to a different epoch. International Relations (IR) and its dominant paradigms of realism and liberalism have lost whatever explanatory power they once had. They are no longer fit for purpose as either an academic discipline or a collection of governing institutions. They have become a trap of our own making. In fact, IR fails even to acknowledge the threat posed by the Anthropocene or the consequences of inaction.  The global apparatus constructed to manage twentieth-century challenges, such as genocide, nuclear conflict, and world wars has proved disastrously ill-suited to our new era.

This has been particularly true with regards to the supposed preeminence of the nation-state, which serves as the very basis of world governance. But it is precisely this belief — the privileging of the national above the international, of the human above the planetary — that has drawn attention away from the devastation occurring all around us. 

 Viewed from the perspective of deep geological time, the pantomime of global politics and state rivalry has been little more than a distraction. What good are states if their future consists of flooded cities, devastated ecosystems, and uninhabitable wastelands? And can states defend the interests of future generations, both human and non-human?

If indeed the domain of the human and the natural are now indistinguishable, then it follows that our notions of international security and geopolitics must change. What is needed is not more realism or liberalism or business-as-usual diplomacy but rather an altogether new way of organizing the world — a theory of IR based on the belief that the Earth itself matters. …….   https://inkstickmedia.com/nuclear-weapons-in-the-anthropocene/

May 4, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, environment, weapons and war | 3 Comments

Canada’s push for small nuclear reactors effectively stops real action on climate change.


Small Modular Nuclear Reactors Are Mostly Bad Policy, 
“………So Who Is Advocating For SMRs & Why? Clean Technica, ByMichael Barnard, 3 May 21,

At present we see SMR earmarked funds in both Canadian and US federal budgets, $150 million in Canada and 10 times as much in the US, mostly for research and development with the exception of over a billion to NuScale to, in theory, build something. In Canada, four provinces — Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan — have joined forces in an SMR consortium. Bill Gates’ Terrapower has received another $80 million, as has X-Energy from the US DOE.

The failure conditions of small modular reactors are obvious. The lack of a significant market is obvious. The lack of ability to create a clear winner is obvious. The security costs are obvious. The lack of vertical scaling to thermal efficiency is obvious. The security risks and associated costs are obvious. The liability insurance cap implications are obvious. So why is all of this money and energy being thrown at SMRs? There are two major reasons, and only one of them is at all tenable.

Let’s start with the worst one. The Canadian provinces which are focused on SMRs are claiming that they are doing this as a major part of their climate change solutions. They are all conservative governments. Only one of those provinces has a nuclear fleet, although New Brunswick has one old, expensive, and due-to-retire reactor, as well as a track record of throwing money away on bad energy ideas, like Joi Scientific’s hydrogen perpetual motion machines. One of the provinces, Ontario, has been actively hostile to renewable energy, with the current administration cutting up 758 renewables contracts and legislating a lack of recourse as a very early act after election.

So why are they doing this? Because it allows them to defer governmental climate action while giving the appearance of climate action. They can pander to their least intelligent and wise supporters by asserting that renewables aren’t fit for purpose, while also not doing anything about the real problem because SMRs don’t exist in a modern, deployable, operable form yet.

The other major reason gets back to renewables as well. 15 years ago it was an arguable position to hold that renewables were too expensive, would cause grid reliability issues and that nuclear in large amounts was necessary. That’s been disproven by both 15 years of failures of nuclear deployments, but more importantly plummeting costs and proven grid reliability with renewable generation. Now almost every serious analyst agrees that renewables can economically deliver 80% of required grid energy, but there is still debate from credible analysts about the remaining 20%.

Mark Z. Jacobson and his Stanford team are at the center of this debate. Since the late 2000s, they’ve been publishing regular studies of increasing scope and sophistication on the thesis of 100% renewables by 2050. The 2015 publication saw a lot of pushback. At the time, my assessment of the fundamental disagreement was that the people who published a criticism of it thought the last 20% would be too expensive, and that both nuclear and carbon capture and sequestration would be necessary and scaled components.

Personally, I’ve done various aspects of the math, looked at grid reliability and transformation data from around the world, and looked at ancillary services requirements, and I think Jacobson and team are right. Further, that since we all agree that renewables are fit for purpose for 80% of the problem we should deploy them as rapidly as possible.

However, it’s very reasonable to make a side bet or two to ensure coverage of that last 20%. I don’t mind research dollars spent on SMRs, which is all most of the SMR expenditures amount to, outside of the Nu Scale bailout (which is added to the Ohio $1.3 billion bailout, which is added to the annual $1.7 billion overt federal subsidy, which is added to the annual hidden $4 billion security subsidy which is added to the $70 billion unfunded cleanup subsidy, which is added to the uncosted and unfunded taxpayer liability). Spending a few tens of millions of dollars in rich countries to ensure that we have that last 20% bridged is reasonable.

But the people asserting that SMRs are the primary or only answer to energy generation either don’t know what they are talking about, are actively dissembling or are intentionally delaying climate action.  https://cleantechnica.com/2021/05/03/small-modular-nuclear-reactors-are-mostly-bad-policy/

May 4, 2021 Posted by | Canada, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Iran nuclear talks in Vienna make headway, as USA shows plans for removing sanctions

Independent 3rd May 2021, For months, the United States was humming and hawing about how and on what
terms it would return to the nuclear deal with Iran, as doubts were percolating in world capitals about whether the administration of Joe Biden even wanted to revive the deal.

But during indirect talks between Iran and the US over the last couple weeks in Vienna, Washington startled just about
everyone involved when it suddenly presented plans detailing how it would remove sanctions on Iran if it were to roll back its nuclear programme for both countries to back come into compliance with the Joint Comprehensive
Plan of Action (JCPOA).

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/iran-us-nuclear-deal-headway-vienna-b1840992.html

May 4, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

How Chernobyl’s radioactive dust blanketed Europe in 1986


Radiation high over Europe after Chernobyl disaster – archive, 1986

3 May 1986: Mainland Europe experiences higher than normal radiation, with Poland, East Germany and Sweden bearing the brunt of contamination 
 Michael SimmonsFrom the Guardian archive Mon 3 May 2021 By dusk last night, every country in mainland Europe had experienced higher than normal radiation as a result of the Chernobyl disaster. Only the Iberian peninsula was still clear, as governments in East and West, having recovered from the initial panic, started to count the medium-term costs.

Changes in wind direction from the epicentre at Kiev created fresh uncertainties throughout the day. The consensus among meteorologists was that the south-east wind which had done its worst earlier in the week in parts of Poland and Scandinavia was now veering towards due east, affecting Greece, Yugoslavia, and south-west Germany.
France reported “a minor increase” in atmospheric radioactivity, while Holland reported yesterday that, for the first time since the disaster, radiation levels were markedly higher than normal. In that country, government plans to air details of a proposed shift to nuclear power in the 1990s were shelved indefinitely.

The brunt of the contamination continued to be borne by the countries closest to the disaster area – notably Poland and East Germany – as well as Sweden, which has been seeking to take remedial measures since the beginning of the week.

The Swedish authorities ordered farmers to keep their cattle indoors – possibly for some weeks – and said people should not drink rainwater or eat wild vegetables or mushrooms. One fear in Stockholm is that the wind could veer back towards Sweden early next week……..

The brunt of the contamination continued to be borne by the countries closest to the disaster area – notably Poland and East Germany – as well as Sweden, which has been seeking to take remedial measures since the beginning of the week.

The Swedish authorities ordered farmers to keep their cattle indoors – possibly for some weeks – and said people should not drink rainwater or eat wild vegetables or mushrooms. One fear in Stockholm is that the wind could veer back towards Sweden early next week…….

Italy yesterday prohibited the sale of salad greens and barred a variety of imports from northern Europe. The Health Minister, Mr Costante Degan signed an order that forbade vendors from selling fresh leafy vegetables.  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/may/03/radiation-high-over-europe-after-chernobyl-disaster-1986

May 4, 2021 Posted by | environment, EUROPE, history, wastes | Leave a comment

Misguided funding for small nuclear reactors

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors Are Mostly Bad Policy, Clean Technica  By Michael Barnard 3 May 21,

People asserting that SMRs are the primary or only answer to energy generation either don’t know what they are talking about, are actively dissembling or are intentionally delaying climate action.

Like hydrogen, small modular nuclear reactors have been seeing a resurgence of interest lately. Much of that is driven by governmental policies and investments focusing on the technology. Much of it comes from the nuclear industry. And inevitably, some comes from entrepreneurs attempting to build a technology that they hope will take off in a major way, making them and their investors a lot of money.

Most Of The Attention & Funding Is Misguided At Best, & Actively Hostile To Climate Action At Worst

First, let’s explore briefly the world of small modular nuclear reactors (SMNR) or small and medium reactors (SMR). The most common acronym is SMR, but you’ll see both.

As it says on the box, they are nuclear generation devices, specifically fission nuclear. That means they use radioactively decaying fissile materials, fuels, to heat a liquid which creates steam which drives steam turbines to generate electricity. Technically, they are like a coal generation plant, but with the heat provided by the decay of uranium instead of the burning of long-buried plant matter.

There are a handful of differences between them and traditional nuclear generation reactors. The biggest one is that they are smaller, hence the ‘small’ and ‘medium’ in the names. They range from 0.068 MW to 500 MW in capacity, with the International Atomic Energy Association using small for up to 300 MW and medium for up to 700 MW.

Despite the buzz, this is not new technology. The first nuclear generation plant was a Russian 5 MW device that went live in 1954. Hundreds of small reactors have been built for nuclear powered vessels and as neutron sources. This is well trodden ground. Most of the innovations being touted were considered initially decades ago.

In the seven decades since the first SMR was commissioned, 57 different designs and concepts have been designed, developed and, rarely, built. Most of the ones which are built are doing what nuclear reactors do, getting older without new ones being built to replace them.

The Russian models are far-north icebreaker power plants being considered for land-based deployment in remote northern towns, with the Siberian one at end of life. The Indian ones are 14 small CANDU variants in operation, most decades old now. The Chinese one is coming up to end of its 40-year life span as well.

The Argentinean model has been in construction on and off for over a decade with work stoppages, political grandstanding, and monetary problems. It may never see the light of day.

The Chinese HTR-PM, under construction for the past decade, is the only one with remotely new technology. If commissioned, it is expected to be the first Gen IV reactor in operation.

And to be clear, this isn’t a technology, it’s many technologies. Across the decades, 57 variants of 18 types have been put forward. None of the types can be considered to be dominant.

Claims About SMRs Don’t Withstand Advocates for SMRs typically make some subset of the following claims:

They are saferThey can be manufactured in scaled, centralized manufacturing facilities so they will be cheaperThey can provide clean power for remote facilities or communitiesThey can be deployed onto decommissioned coal generation brownfield sitesThey can be built faster

Safety concerns aren’t why nuclear is failing in the marketplace, economics are why nuclear is failing in the marketplace…….. .  https://cleantechnica.com/2021/05/03/small-modular-nuclear-reactors-are-mostly-bad-policy/

May 4, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Russia’s Rosatom launches the nuclear lobby’s propaganda push for ”climate change credibility” – ”Atoms For Humanity”

Thousands Join Launch Of Rosatom’s Atoms For Humanity Nuclear Awareness Campaign, By India Education Diary Bureau Admin  May 3, 2021  Moscow: On April 30, over 3200 people from some 40 countries watched Rosatom’s Atoms for Humanity new nuclear awareness campaign launch event. The project is aimed at demonstrating the importance of nuclear technologies in achieving the UN Sustainable Goals through human-centered stories.

The project launch event Why Humanity Needs Nuclear brought together Polina Lion, Chief Sustainability Officer at Rosatom, Sama Bilbao y León, Director General of the World Nuclear Association, Dr. Maher Aziz, member of the World Energy Council, Ben Heard, founder of the Bright New World and Sergio Orlandi and Head of Central Engineering and Plant Directorate at ITER. Heroes of Atoms for Humanity joined the event to share their experiences participating in the campaign.

The [?] esteemed speakers discussed social, economic and environmental benefits of nuclear technologies and their invaluable contribution to solving the most urgent challenges of today and tomorrow.

May 4, 2021 Posted by | Russia, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Israel’s ‘shadow war’ and plans to scupper Iran’s nuclear deal

Israel’s ‘shadow war’ and plans to scupper Iran’s nuclear deal

Hawkish elements in Israel will continue to play a leading role moving forward on Tehran’s nuclear programme, analysts say.  Aljazeera, Thomas O Falk, 3 May 2021

US President Joe Biden is pushing to reinstate Iran’s nuclear deal and weeks of talks in Austria appear to be bearing fruit.

Israel, however, continues to see its security jeopardised by a potentially nuclear Iran and is trying to thwart negotiations any way possible.

The Mossad spy agency chief Yossi Cohen – a close confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – met Biden on Friday and, according to one media report, pressed the US president not to sign back on to the nuclear accord unless “improvements” were made.

An unnamed senior Israeli official is quoted as saying Biden responded that the United States “is not close” to returning to the Iran deal, Axios reported.

Israel’s opposition to the nuclear agreement seems to go beyond words, however, with Iran accusing it of assassinating its top nuclear scientist and sabotaging its main nuclear facility Natanz in a series of attacks. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied its involvement.

Benny Gantz, Israel’s defence minister, said in March his country has drawn up plans to strike Iranian targets if Tehran continues its nuclear escalation.

Simon Mabon, a professor of international politics at Lancaster University, told Al Jazeera that within Israel, and particularly in the government, hawkish elements will continue to play a leading role moving forward on Tehran’s nuclear programme.

“Those supporting Netanyahu’s view of the Iranian regime are steadfast in their view that the Islamic Republic cannot be deterred through conventional forms of deterrence and a military strike is needed,” said Mabon.

‘Considerable damage’

Yaniv Voller, senior lecturer in Middle East politics at the University of Kent, said Israel’s efforts against Iran’s nuclear programme – often described as “the shadow war” – are likely to continue given the positive events in Vienna after Tehran’s recent negotiations with world powers on the nuclear accord.

However, Voller said a hot war remains unlikely despite Israel’s best efforts.

“I do not think the shadow war will turn into a full-blown conflict between Israel and Iran. A greater risk is a local conflict between Israel and Iran’s proxies in the region, particularly Hezbollah,” Voller told Al Jazeera.

“This could be reminiscent of summer 2006, but with the potential to being even more devastating. Neither side has an interest in escalating the situation but, naturally, conflicts sometimes do spiral.”

He argued that, as the latest incidents have shown, Israel’s option to target the programme effectively is much broader than a mere preemptive attack.

“In any case, some of the actions that have been related to Israel and the US have already caused considerable damage to the Iranian nuclear programme, so a preemptive strike is not necessarily the only viable option to delay the Iranian nuclear programme.”…………. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/5/3/israels-shadow-war-and-plans-to-scupper-irans-nuclear-deal

May 4, 2021 Posted by | Iran, Israel, politics international | Leave a comment

Steady growth of USA’s nuclear radioactive trash ( they prefer to call it ”spent fuel inventory”)

U.S. spent nuclear fuel inventory steadily increased from 2013 through 2017 https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=47796 Principal contributor: Katherine Antonio, 3 May 21, The volume of spent nuclear fuel produced by nuclear power plants in the United States has steadily increased during the past few decades. The volume of spent nuclear fuel at the end of 2017 was 13.5% metric tons more than at the end of June 2013, according to newly released data from EIA’s Nuclear Fuel Data Survey. The survey data contain information on the quantity and characteristics of spent nuclear fuel at the time when a reactor discharges it.

The Nuclear Fuel Data Survey shows that between 1968 and 2017, more than 276,000 bundles of spent fuel rods (fuel rod assemblies), which contained a little less than 80,000 metric tons of uranium, were stored in the United States. The inventory of spent fuel assemblies has grown by about 13.2% from mid-2013 to the end of 2017.

The nuclear fuel used in nuclear reactors requires concentrated uranium (known as enriched uranium), which is further processed to create nuclear fuel. The enriched uranium is encased in fuel rods that go in a reactor’s fuel assembly to generate electric power. Each fuel assembly is typically used for a cycle of 18 to 24 months.


The discharged spent nuclear fuel rods are stored in one of two ways. The first approach stores spent fuel rods in pools of water that cool them and provide additional shielding from radiation. The pools of water resemble swimming pools. The second approach stores pre-cooled spent fuel rods in a container filled with inert gas. Each container is surrounded by steel, concrete, or other material to provide a stronger shield from radiation. In the United States, nearly all spent nuclear fuel is currently stored onsite at commercial nuclear power plants. A very small amount of spent nuclear fuel, less than 1%, is stored at offsite facilities.

We collect data on spent nuclear fuel from 119 commercial reactors in 33 U.S. states. The oldest reactor, now permanently shut down, is the Dresden 1, which started operating in Illinois in 1959. The newest reactor started operating in Tennessee in 2016. More than 17,500 metric tons of the cumulative spent nuclear fuel by uranium mass in the United States is stored in two states, Illinois and Pennsylvania. New York, North Carolina, and South Carolina have the next highest volumes of spent nuclear fuel in storage at more than 4,000 metric tons of uranium in each state.

We administer the Nuclear Fuel Data Survey for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Standard Contract Management. You can learn more about nuclear energy in the United States on our website.

May 4, 2021 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment