Taishan

CGN Power Co said on Tuesday it has replaced a component at the under-construction Taishan nuclear plant after finding the cracked part during tests of a deaerator. The company is a subsidiary of state-owned nuclear giant China General Nuclear Power Corp (IPO-CGNP.HK). The company’s statement came after media reports that the company had spotted flaws in the deaerator before tests. The deaerator, which removes dissolved oxygen by heating water, was built by Harbin Electric.

Reuters 13th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 15 December 2017

Fukushima

Boris Johnson was filmed drinking a can of peach juice from Fukushima, an area of Japan which has suffered a triple nuclear meltdown. He was swigging from the can, which Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Tarō Kōno brought to London in a visit to the Foreign Office this week. Appearing to enjoy the drink, the Foreign Secretary said: “Very good … Mmm.” Tarō Kōno tweeted: “British FM Boris Johnson drinking peach juice from Fukushima, showing the products from Fukushima are safe.” The two met in London to discuss security and defence and were joined in talks by their countries’ respective defence ministers, Itsunori Onodera and Gavin Williamson Some countries have imposed restrictions on imports from the area, which is a prominent producer of peaches, due to fears about the safety of the produce but the EU has said it would ease restrictions on imports of agricultural items and seafood introduced to the area after the 2011 meltdown.

Telegraph 15th Dec 2017 read more »

Nearly seven years after the triple reactor meltdown, this unique nuclear crisis is still underway. Of the many complex issues resulting from the disaster, one in particular may have become routine but is anything but normal: the vast amounts of nuclear waste, stored and being transported across Fukushima prefecture. As we conducted our radiation survey work across Fukushima in September and October 2017, it was impossible not to witness the vast scale of both the waste storage areas and the volume of nuclear transports that are now underway. Again the numbers are numbing. In the space of one hour standing in a main street of Iitate village, six nuclear waste trucks passed us by. Not really surprising since in the year to October over 34,000 trucks moved nuclear waste across Fukushima to Okuma and Futaba. The target volume of waste to be moved to these sites in 2017 is 500,000 m³. And this is only the beginning. By 2020, the Government is planning for as much as 6.5 million m³ of nuclear waste to be transported to the Futaba and Okuma sites – a rough estimate would mean over one million nuclear transports in 2020. On any measure this is insanity – and yet the thousands of citizens who formally lived in Namie and Iitate are expected and pressurized by the Japanese government to return to live amidst this nuclear disaster zone. Perhaps one of the most shocking experience in our visit to Fukushima was to witness a vast incineration complex hidden deep in the woods of southern Iitate and a nearby vast storage area with tens of thousands of waste bags surrounded on all sides by thick forests. The tragic irony of a multi-billion dollar and ultimately failed policy of decontamination that has unnecessarily exposed thousands of poorly protected and desperate workers to radiation – but which leads to a vast nuclear dump surrounded by a radioactive forest which that can never be decontaminated. There is no logic to this, unless you are a trucking and incineration business and of course the Japanese government, desperate to create the myth of recovery after Fukushima. On this evidence there is no ‘after’, only ‘forever’. The nuclear waste crisis underway in Fukushima is only one of the many reasons why the Japanese government was under scrutiny at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva last month. Recommendations were submitted to the United Nations by the governments of Austria, Mexico, Portugal and Germany at the calling on the Japanese government to take further measures to support the evacuees of Fukushima, in particular women and children. The Government in Tokyo is to announce its decision on whether it accepts or rejects these recommendations at the United Nations in March 2018. Greenpeace, together with other human rights groups and civil society in Japan are calling on the government to accept that it has failed to defend the rights of its citizens and to agree to implement corrective measures immediately.

Greenpeace 15th Dec 2017 read more »

Contaminated water, bill of astronomical work, leaks … Despite the progress made since the disaster six and a half years ago on the Japanese site, the urgency remains.

Liberation 14th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 15 December 2017

Saudi Arabia

Russia and Saudi Arabia have signed a roadmap for cooperation in the atomic energy sector, Russian state nuclear company Rosatom said on Thursday. The roadmap comprises a number of steps needed to implement a cooperation programme that was signed by the two nations during Saudi King Salman’s visit to Russia in October. Saudi Arabia, which wants to reduce oil consumption at home, is considering building 17.6 gigawatts of nuclear-powered electricity generating capacity by 2032 and has sent a request for information to international suppliers to build two reactors in the kingdom. Last month Rosatom said it hoped to win the Saudi tender.

Reuters 14th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 15 December 2017

France

France’s nuclear regulator ASN has asked state-controlled nuclear operator EDF to strengthen technical controls at the four-unit Cruas nuclear station following a series of “significant events” in controlling the nuclear chain reaction in both double-units in the second half of 2016.

Nucnet 12th Dec 2017 read more »

[Machine Translation] Tricastin nuclear power plant: evacuation of a building after an increase of radioactivity in the air. Around 11:30 Wednesday, a rise in radioactivity was detected in the air of an auxiliary nuclear building on the Tricastin power station (Drôme). A hundred employees had to be evacuated and had to pass an exam to make sure they had not been contaminated.

France Bleu 13th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 15 December 2017

EPRs

A French-designed nuclear reactor ordered by Britain is facing further scrutiny after the disclosure that defects were detected in one of the same models under construction in China. The revelation adds to the string of setbacks that have hit the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) designed by Areva, the French nuclear group. Britain has ordered two of those reactors for Hinkley Point C. They are being built by EDF, the French state energy giant, and China General Nuclear Power Corporation at a cost of £19.5 billion. China General Nuclear Power Corporation, which is building two reactors in a joint venture with EDF near Macau in southern China, said it had found “local defects” in the Taishan 1 reactor. It said that welding in the deaerator, which is used to remove oxygen from water circuits, was defective. The parts had been replaced, it said. Taishan 1 is due to come on stream this month to become the world’s first functioning example of the European reactor. The second Chinese reactor, Taishan 2, is due to come online next year. The $8.7 billion project was initially due to be completed last year, but was delayed by safety concerns. The problems in China pale by comparison with those affecting other projects. Work on a similar reactor at Olkiluoto in Finland began in 2005 and was supposed to finish in 2009. It is now expected to be in action from 2019. EDF is also building a reactor at Flamanville in Normandy which was due to begin operating in 2012, but won’t be working until the end of next year. The reactors at Hinkley Point were originally due to be operational in 2025 but EDF said this summer that they were likely to be 15 months late.

Times 14th Dec 2017 read more »

Daily Mail 13th Dec 2017 read more »

Welding defects in deaerator at Taishan nuclear plant known to manufacturer in production stage, documents show. Documents show that defects with a deaerator in the generating unit 1 of Taishan nuclear power plant were known as early as 2012, following FactWire’s revelation on Tuesday that the key component cracked during performance tests. Harbin Boiler, the manufacturer, apparently has faced technical challenges since the early stages of production, causing oversized gaps between parts of the deaerator which made it necessary to remold their shapes on site before assembly, according to a technical report written by an engineer at the manufacturer. FactWire also found previous incidents involving deaerators at Daya Bay and Ling Ao nuclear power plants, both of which sit about 50km from Hong Kong. Changes in water levels inside the deaerators affected the cooling capacity of the nuclear reactor cores.

Factwire 14th Dec 2017 read more »

Hong Kong Free Press 14th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 14 December 2017

France

France faces a decade-long struggle to upgrade its nuclear power plants, but for Natacha Piot, whose firm makes metal pipe supports for reactors, there’s little visibility beyond Christmas. She’s chief executive officer of one of the dozens of subcontractors engaged in a 48 billion-euro ($56.4 billion) project to extend the life of Electricite de France SA’s aging atomic plants. Like several of her peers, Piot is critical of how the state-run utility is managing the process. “I can’t afford to hire because we don’t know what we’ll have to do in a month,” said Piot, CEO of CITA Production, based near the Saone River, north of the vineyards of Burgundy. “We’re overloaded until Christmas, but it’s a total haze for 2018. We’re in a permanent fog.” EDF has cut earnings forecasts as longer-than-planned maintenance and refueling halts at its 58 reactors were compounded by safety checks demanded by the nation’s nuclear watchdog. That means the utility expects nuclear-power generation to barely rebound this year, after a shortage of skilled workers at its contractors cut output by 7.9 percent to 384 terawatt-hours in 2016. EDF will probably miss its nuclear output goals in 2017 and 2018, lowering earnings to the bottom of the company’s latest forecasts, Olly Jeffery, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, wrote in a Dec. 6 note. “Delays could slip into 2019 as well,” he said. As EDF wrestles to prolong the lifespan of reactors by at least an extra decade, CITA Production, the firm founded by Piot’s father in 1964, isn’t the only subcontractor struggling to keep up with the utility’s fast-changing requirements.

Bloomberg 13th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 14 December 2017

Japan

A Japanese court on Wednesday ordered Shikoku Electric Power Co not to restart one of its reactors, overturning a lower court decision and throwing into turmoil Japan’s protracted return to nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster.

Reuters 13th Dec 2017 read more »

NHK 13th Dec 2017 read more »

Mainichi 13th Dec 2017 read more »

Energy Voice 14th Dec 2017 read more »

Mirror 13th Dec 2017 read more »

Wednesday’s ruling by the Hiroshima High Court halting the planned restart of a nuclear reactor in Ehime Prefecture has cast doubt on the judgment of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority — which had approved the restart under stricter post-Fukushima guidelines — shocking the government and utilities across the nation. The ruling deals a heavy blow to a plan by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration to bring more reactors back online, and is sure to prompt the government and utilities to keep a closer eye on similar cases continuing across the country.

Japan Times 14th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 14 December 2017

US

The Havasupai Tribe and a coalition of conservation groups praised the decision Tuesday by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the Department of the Interior’s 20-year ban on new uranium mining claims across 1 million acres of public lands adjacent to the Grand Canyon.

Ecowatch13th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 14 December 2017

Belgium

When an astronaut took nighttime pictures of Europe from the International Space Station this year, one nation stood out far below on the twinkling surface of the earth: Belgium. It is the only country in Europe to keep nearly all of its 2.2 million streetlights on through the night, making it a world leader in light pollution, and easily identifiable even from space. The phenomenon has been a source of ridicule and humor in Belgium for decades. But since the images were published in May, some have also begun to ask a simple but tough question: Why? The official explanation is that it helps road safety and provides security. But critics doubt this and say the phenomenon sheds light not only on Belgium’s roads but also on a mutually profitable relationship among its politicians, electricity distributors and main energy supplier, Electrabel. Belgium’s share of energy from renewables is around 7.8 percent, about half the European Union-wide average, while the government has extended until at least 2025 Electrabel’s permits for seven nuclear reactors that date from the ’70s.

New York Times 12th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 14 December 2017

Russia

A senior executive at the Russian nuclear processing plant suspected of being behind a spike of radioactivity over Europe this autumn has admitted that the isotope recorded does emerge as part of the plant’s production cycle but said its levels are negligible. Russian officials last month reported high levels of Ruthenium-106 in areas close to the Mayak nuclear plant in the Ural Mountains. The environmental group Greenpeace alleged Mayak could have been the source of a Ruthenium-106 leak, but the plant said it has not extracted the isotope or conducted any other operations that may lead to its release “for many years”.

Energy Voice 14th Dec 2017 read more »

Posted: 14 December 2017