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Naoto Kan gets a closeup view of nuclear France

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The former Japanese PM visits Flamanville and La Hague, and draws 400 locals to an inspiring evening event in Normandy, France
April 8, 2018 By Linda Pentz Gunter
Most of the time you don’t see former leaders of major world powers trudging along windy clifftops as they listen to anti-nuclear activists hold forth. That is why I find the odyssey of former Japanese Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, ever more extraordinary. For a handful of years now he has been traveling around the world speaking out in favor of an end to the use of nuclear power. And he has been talking to us.
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Naoto Kan visits a windswept Normandy beach from which you can see the Flamanville nuclear site as well as the La Hague reprocessing facility.
Kan of course was the Prime Minister in power at the time of the Fukushima nuclear disaster which struck on March 11, 2011. For all the mistakes and naiveté swirling at the time, Kan made one monumentally important decision. He picked up the phone and countermanded Tepco’s decision to pull its workforce out of the stricken Fukushim-Daiichi nuclear site.
 
That saved countless lives and likely the entire country. Untended, the reactors would have melted down and released a radioactive inventory that would have forced the abandonment of the neighboring Fukushima-Daiini nuclear plant. That in turn would have melted and the resulting cascading accident could have led to the evacuation of Tokyo. As Kan says in every speech, losing Tokyo would have been the end of Japan.
 
Unlike many such statesmen, however, Kan does not limit his addresses to august institutions. He gets down in the weeds with the grassroots. And perhaps never before as much so as during his mid-March visit to France.
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Naoto Kan is interviewed during his visit with anti-nuclear activists in Flamanville, France.
Kan was in Normandy, France at the same time that its president, Emmanuel Macron, was promoting his country’s deeply flawed EPR reactors in India, an irony that was not lost on his audience. His visit was hosted by two of the leading anti-nuclear organizations in the region — CRILAN and Collectif anti-nucléaire Ouest.
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Naoto Kan with CRILAN’s Didier Anger, one of France’s best known anti-nuclear activists.
Kan came right to Flamanville, the site of the French “flagship” EPR, the very one Macron was flogging in India. Flamanville 3, now fast approaching hot testing, has become a disaster of epic proportions in which nothing has gone right, from a faulty concrete pour for the foundation to the flawed forging of essential safety components. It is massively over-budget and years behind schedule.
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At least 400 people packed an evening event featuring Naoto Kan.
Kan’s Normandy itinerary included a public event that drew 400 people along with a press conference. But he also walked the talk, literally, visiting the beach where the first occupations occurred against the first two Flamanville reactors; a site where activists planted granite headstones in memory of the “unknown irradiated”; and the La Hague reprocessing site. After learning about the latter, Kan vowed to campaign to stop the opening of the long in the works Rokkasho reprocessing facility in Japan.
 
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April 9, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima rice to be exported to France

 

March 21, 2018
The governor of nuclear disaster-hit Fukushima Prefecture appears likely to soon reach an agreement with a French trading house to export rice to France.
 
Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori is starting his 4-day visit to France and Britain on Thursday to promote local produce, including rice, beef, and processed fruit.
 
He seeks to dispel concern about the safety of food products from Fukushima following the nuclear accident in 2011 and expand its sales channels.
 
Prefectural sources say Uchibori is likely to reach an agreement to ship to France a locally produced rice variety called Tennotsubu . Rice from Fukushima will be exported to France for the first time.
 
Sources say the governor is also likely to cement a plan to increase Fukushima’s shipments of rice to Britain.
 
The prefecture exported 19 tons of rice to the country in the fiscal year ending in March 2017.
 
An official involved in Fukushima trade affairs says the exports will have a significant impact as Britain and France play a central role in passing on information in Europe.

March 22, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

Sixth MOX nuclear shipment leaves France for Japan

protesterssaProtesters say the nuclear shipment is too dangerous

 

A cargo of reprocessed nuclear fuel containing highly radioactive plutonium left the French port of Cherbourg for Japan under heavy security on Wednesday as demonstrators protested against the transport.

The controversial shipment from a plant of the French nuclear group Areva located some 20 kilometres (12 miles) away arrived at the port before dawn aboard two trucks escorted by dozens of security vehicles as a helicopter flew overhead.

Around 20 Greenpeace activists carried protest banners and threw smoke bombs at the convoy shortly before it arrived at the port.

It is the sixth shipment of mixed oxide (MOX), a blend of plutonium and uranium, from France to Japan since 1999.

“We are warning of how dangerous this shipment is and especially the risk of nuclear proliferation and the possible diversion for military purposes,” Greenpeace France activist Yannick Rousselet told AFP.

Areva spokesman Alexandre Marinot described the cargo as being of “a maximum safety level.”

Uranium reactors produce a mixture of depleted uranium and plutonium as a by-product of fission. These can be re-processed into MOX fuel, which can then be used in other reactors to generate more power.

Japan has few energy resources of its own and relied on nuclear power for nearly one-third of its domestic electricity needs until the 2011 meltdowns at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima plant.

On Tuesday, the Reseau Sortir du Nucleaire (Nuclear Phase-Out) said in a statement: “Areva profits from selling this dangerous fuel to a country devastated by a nuclear accident to supply reactors whose resumption the Japanese people reject.”

There are currently five reactors in operation in Japan compared with 54 before the Fukushima accident.

https://m.phys.org/news/2017-07-sixth-mox-nuclear-shipment-france.html?utm_source=nwletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily-nwletter

 

 

July 6, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Japan, France confirm nuclear and security cooperation

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PARIS (Kyodo) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and French President Francois Hollande on Monday confirmed bilateral cooperation in the research of the commercial use of nuclear power as well as in security.

The two countries agreed on joint research on a French-led fast reactor development project called ASTRID, an acronym for Advanced Sodium Technological Reactor for Industrial Demonstration.

As the leaders met, Japanese industry minister Hiroshige Seko, who is accompanying Abe, and French environment minister Segolene Royal signed a nuclear power cooperation agreement, stating that they will work together on nuclear fuel cycle and fast reactor development.

France aims to start the operation of ASTRID in the 2030s.

Abe and Hollande also attended a signing ceremony on a deal in which Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. will each acquire a 5 percent stake in a nuclear fuel reprocessing joint venture to be established by French atomic energy company Areva.

In the sphere of security, Abe revealed to reporters after the talks with Hollande that Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Forces will jointly conduct naval exercises with France, the United States and Britain.

The Japanese premier welcomed the “significant” agreement on the exercises to be held in the Asia-Pacific region, including off Guam in the Western Pacific, apparently in view of China’s expansionary maritime activities.

The Japanese leader said he and Hollande shared a view that the Indian and Pacific oceans are international public goods and need to be maintained as free and open areas.

Abe said a French training squadron, including a helicopter carrier, will visit Japan in late April.

On regional issues, Abe strongly condemned North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, while Hollande expressed Paris’ support for Tokyo on the matter.

It was the 10th and final meeting between Abe and Hollande as the latter is not running in France’s upcoming presidential election. The first round of the election is in April followed by a potential runoff vote in May.

As for economic issues, Abe and Hollande agreed on the importance of promoting free trade amid the threat of rising protectionism across the world following the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

They affirmed cooperation for the early signing of the free trade agreement between Japan and the European Union.

Abe expressed Japan’s support for “a strong Europe” to be maintained even after Britain’s forthcoming exit from the bloc.

“Japan and Europe must fly the flag of free trade high, together with the United States,” Abe said.

Hollande said the Japan-France relationship can be further strengthened.

France’s election is one of a series in Europe this year in which public unease about immigration and the functions of the European Union have fuelled speculation voters could pick populist candidates over the current political establishment.

Abe arrived in Paris on Monday after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Hanover. He is scheduled to meet European Council President Donald Tusk and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni before returning to Japan on Wednesday.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170321/p2g/00m/0dm/030000c

 

March 26, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Five French nuclear reactors with Japan-made parts ordered to undergo safety tests ahead of schedule

Some Japanese reactors also used steel from JCFC, according to statements from the companies:

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France’s Nuclear Safety Authority has ordered the country’s EDF utility to conduct checkups at five nuclear reactors ahead of their scheduled maintenance tests, citing potential weakness in critical parts manufactured by a Japanese company, French media reported Tuesday.

All five nuclear reactors are using parts made by Kitakyushu-based Japan Casting & Forging Corp. (JCFC), which is now under scrutiny by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority.

The NRA discussed the matter at its regular meeting on Wednesday as it has also found the company manufactured reactor pressure vessels in 13 Japanese nuclear reactors including the Sendai Nos. 1 and 2 reactors operated by Kyushu Electric Power Co. in Kagoshima Prefecture.

The Sendai No. 1 reactor is undergoing a regular checkup while the No. 2 reactor is in operation.

In addition, the NRA said JCFC had been manufacturing important components at the No. 2 unit at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Mihama plant in Fukui Prefecture and No. 1 unit at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Genkai nuclear plant in Saga Prefecture, which have already been decommissioned.

The French nuclear watchdog ASN said earlier in June that parts manufactured by JCFC using a method called “forging,” in which metals are hammered and extended, contained a high carbon concentration that could lead to lower-than-expected mechanical strength.

In the documents submitted to the NRA meeting, JCFC admitted there is a possibility that the parts used in nuclear power plants in France contain carbon higher than the regulated limits, but parts used in Japan are manufactured after removing high-carbon concentration from steel.

According to the media reports, safety tests have already been carried out at seven of a total of 12 reactors in France that used parts manufactured by JCFC. Parts at four of the seven reactors are believed to contain a higher carbon concentration than permitted by standards.

Following these findings, ASN told EDF to test the remaining five reactors within three months.

France has 58 commercial nuclear reactors. At the No. 3 reactor at Flamanville nuclear plant, which is under construction, parts made in 2014 by Creusot Forge, a subsidiary of France’s Areva SA, were found to be lacking in strength. ASN later discovered that the parts manufactured by JCFC also had problems.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/10/19/national/five-french-nuclear-reactors-japan-made-parts-ordered-undergo-safety-tests/#.WAendSTKO-d

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2016/10/439407.html

Read also the related articles from September 3 & 5, 2016 :

https://dunrenard.wordpress.com/2016/09/03/steel-in-troubled-french-nuclear-reactor-used-in-13-japanese-reactors/

https://dunrenard.wordpress.com/2016/09/05/jcfc-steel-in-troubled-french-reactor-also-used-in-13-japanese-nuclear-power-plants/

 

October 19, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ministries spar as Japan focuses on fast reactor project in France

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The industry and science ministries were at odds over Japan’s shift toward France for nuclear fuel recycling efforts after Tokyo decided to scrap a “made-in-Japan” pillar of its energy policy.

The industry and science ministries were at odds over Japan’s shift toward France for nuclear fuel recycling efforts after Tokyo decided to scrap a “made-in-Japan” pillar of its energy policy.

Hiroshige Seko, minister of economy, trade and industry, stressed the significance of working with France, a global leader in fast reactor technology, after a Sept. 21 meeting of Cabinet members agreed to terminate the problem-stricken Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor project.

Seko told reporters that his ministry, which is in charge of the nation’ s energy policy, is pinning its hopes on joint research, including France’s ASTRID (Advanced Sodium Technological Reactor for Industrial Demonstration) fast reactor.

ASTRID is a crucial project for both Japan and France,” Seko said. “Japan has already participated in the project and has obtained various insights.”

The Monju fast-breeder reactor and the ASTRID fast reactor use similar technologies but are different.

Monju was designed to use plutonium as fuel for electricity generation and to produce more plutonium in the process.

ASTRID is centered on generating energy by consuming plutonium.

In addition, ASTRID is at a more advanced development stage than Monju.

There are four stages in the development of a nuclear reactor: experimental, prototype, demonstration and commercial.

ASTRID is in the demonstration stage while Monju is a prototype reactor.

Japan and France are already cooperating in the field of nuclear energy.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed that Japan would cooperate with France on preparations for a fast reactor project when he met with French President Francois Hollande in June 2013.

The two countries also concluded a tie-up in technological development and cooperation for fast reactors, including ASTRID, in May 2014.

Prospects are brighter than Monju, and France is a reliable partner,” said an industry ministry official.

But the science ministry, which has clashed with the industry ministry over the fate of Monju, is skeptical.

It says the France-led project does not necessarily promise success, citing Super-Phenix, France’s demonstrator fast-breeder reactor that was forced to shut down after a series of accidents, including a sodium leak, like Monju.

The science ministry has oversight in the first two stages of reactor development, while the industry ministry takes over for the two more advanced stages.

ASTRID is expected to go into operation in the 2030s, but the science ministry said that schedule could face delays.

Sources familiar with the project also say ASTRID will likely cost more than initially expected.

Japan could end up serving as a cash cow,” a senior science ministry official said.

However, the industry ministry is not budging on its stance.

What matters is that Japan keeps alive its research on a fast reactor,” a high-ranking ministry official said. “Japan should not dwell on a home-grown project.”

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609220057.html

September 25, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , , | Leave a comment

Nuclear Repression, not Nuclear Renaissance, in Jaitapur, India

Jaitapur’s people are more concerned about being treated as sub-humans by the state, which has unleashed savage repression, including hundreds of arrests, illegal detentions and orders prohibiting peaceful assemblies. Eminent citizens keen to express solidarity with protesters were banned, including a former supreme court judge, the Communist party’s secretary and a former Navy chief. Gadgil too was prevented. A former high court judge was detained illegally for five days. Worse, a Maharashtra minister recently threatened that “outsiders” who visit Jaitapur wouldn’t be “allowed to come out” (alive).

This hasn’t broken the people’s resolve or resistance.

The truth behind India’s nuclear renaissance Jaitapur’s French-built nuclear plant is a disaster in waiting, jeopardising biodiversity and local livelihoods   Praful Bidwai  guardian.co.uk,  8 February 2011 The global “nuclear renaissance” touted a decade ago has not materialised. Continue reading

February 10, 2011 Posted by | civil liberties, environment, India | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

AREVA nuclear company doesn’t like India’s Nuclear Liability Law

Areva will await clarifications on Indian nuclear liability law, The Hindu, 26 Nov 10, The French nuclear company Areva declined from clarifying its position on the issue of supplier’s liability in the Indian civil nuclear liability law at a press briefing here on Thursday. Continue reading

November 26, 2010 Posted by | France, politics international | , , , , | Leave a comment

Nuclear company AREVA hits a snag in expansion – short of money

In case of a new delay, the capital increase, aimed at helping Areva fund its international expansion, could be postponed to next spring,

Areva’s planned capital hike could stall-reportsMon Nov 22, 2010  PARIS  (Reuters) – French nuclear reactor maker (CEPFi.PA: Quote) may have to postpone a supervisory board meeting on its planned capital increase, threatening to stall the process, Continue reading

November 23, 2010 Posted by | business and costs, France | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

French nuclear company dreams of empire, as nuclear industry slumps in France

numerous problems…….. from industrial action to the company’s growing debt and a fall in nuclear output and capacity usage in France…..

EDF Looks To Build Nuclear Empire Outside U.S.  WSJ.com By GéRALDINE AMIEL, NOVEMBER 21, 2010,

PARIS—The future of Électricité de France SA lies primarily in nuclear energy, but probably not in the U.S.—at least according to Henri Proglio, the French power group’s chairman and chief executive……. Continue reading

November 22, 2010 Posted by | business and costs, France | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pre NATO summit squabbles over nuclear arms reduction

The French are also dismissive of Obama’s vision of a nuclear-free world, laid out last year in Prague, while the Germans view it enthusiastically as the trigger for a new age of arms reduction and non-proliferation.

Germany and France in nuclear weapons dispute ahead of Nato summit Merkel and Sarkozy set to meet on fringes of Lisbon meeting to try to hammer out deal and rescue summit from failure  Ian Traynor in Brussels * guardian.co.uk,  18 November 2010 Germany and France are at odds over how strongly Nato should push nuclear disarmament, casting a cloud over an alliance summit tomorrow in Lisbon being billed as the most important since 2002. Continue reading

November 19, 2010 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | , , , | Leave a comment

French nuclear firm stuck, unable to sell nuclear reactors in USA

EDF Puts U.S. Nuclear Expansion Plans on Hold,  BloombergBy Tara Patel – Nov 16, 2010 Electricite de France the biggest operator of nuclear reactors, put on hold a plan to develop atomic plants in the U.S…. EDF is reviewing its business in the U.S. and supply contracts for developing a reactor, Thomas Piquemal, chief financial officer, said today on a conference call. “When we have a better visibility on the regulatory environment and price evolution, we will be in a better position to see whether we go ahead with U.S. projects.”

EDF agreed last month to pay about $249 million partly to buy out Constellation Energy Group Inc. from a venture to develop EPR reactors in the U.S., including one in Maryland. Slumping power prices has cut the value of three U.S. atomic plants that the two utilities own together and forecasts of sustained low prices prompted Constellation to withdraw from talks on a government loan guarantee for the Maryland reactor…..

November 17, 2010 Posted by | business and costs, France | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dirty tricks in the nuclear industry, using Stuxnet computer worm?

if Areva wanted to harm Siemens reputation or make it less attractive to Rosatom, what better way than to demonstrate the unreliability of its control system software?

British Nuclear Power Plant Goes Dark. Stuxnet Worm To Blame?, Forbes, The Firewall , Nov. 1 2010 by Jeffrey Carr,  British Energy, owned by France’s EDF Energy PLC, has reported an “unplanned outage” at its Heysham 1 nuclear power plant yesterday. A company spokesperson told the Associated Press that repairs to one of the reactors are ongoing but didn’t say when the plant was expected to resume operations.
According to Siemens’ website, EDF Energy is a customer of the German technology giant, whose infrastructure software has suffered from a global infection of the sophisticated Stuxnet worm……. Continue reading

November 4, 2010 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Britain and France get together on nuclear weapons

Britain, France sign military co-operation pact – The Globe and Mail, 2 Nov 10, In French military circles they are known as the “crown jewels,” the fleet of Mirage fighter jets kept in the sky and devoted to delivering a nuclear strike. In Britain, the four Scottish-based submarines armed with 200 Trident nuclear warheads are considered untouchable……
The agreement was nonetheless signed on Tuesday by President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister David Cameron, both of whom are struggling with deep budget cuts and sagging economies. It will place British and French special forces together in a joint force of 10,000 troops and permit the sharing of aircraft carriers, unmanned drone aircraft and other military hardware. Most controversially, it will combine the testing and oversight of the two countries’ nuclear arsenals at a joint facility near Dijon, France…… Britain, France sign military co-operation pact – The Globe and Mail

November 3, 2010 Posted by | France, UK, weapons and war | , , , , | Leave a comment

Even top nuclear officials now doubt the future of nuclear energy

Says Claude Mandil, head of atomic energy for the French ministry of industry, “If France is unable to solve this [nuclear waste] issue, I do not see how we can continue the nuclear program.”…The bottom line: Even some of its biggest users are now doubting the wisdom of continuing dependence on nuclear energy, while claims that the atom is one answer to global warming don’t hold water.

Thomas D. Elias: Pro-nuke arguments deeply flawed Colusa Sun-Herald, 22 Oct 10, “………despite its dependence on the atom, France has no more solved the problem of nuclear waste disposal than we have. Continue reading

October 22, 2010 Posted by | France, politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment