Fukushima

Talk given at the Remember Fukushima parliamentary meeting, House of Commons committee room 9, London, 15 March 2017.

Lis Fields (accessed) 17th Aug 2017 read more »

A subterranean ice wall surrounding the nuclear reactors at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant to block groundwater from flowing in and out of the plant buildings has approached completion. Initially, the ice wall was lauded as a trump card in controlling radioactively contaminated water at the plant in Fukushima Prefecture, which was crippled by meltdowns in the wake of the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. But while 34.5 billion yen from government coffers has already been invested in the wall, doubts remain about its effectiveness. Meanwhile, the issue of water contamination looms over decommissioning work. Maintaining the ice wall will cost over a billion yen a year, and the radiation exposure of workers involved in its maintenance is high. Meanwhile, there are no immediate prospects of being able to repair the basement damage in the reactor buildings at the crippled nuclear plant. In the meantime, TEPCO continues to be plagued over what to do with treated water at the plant. Tainted water is treated using TEPCO’s multi-nuclide removal equipment to remove 62 types of radioactive substances, but in principle, tritium cannot be removed during this process. In mid-July, TEPCO Chairman Takashi Kawamura said in an interview with several news organizations that a decision to release the treated water into the sea had “already been made.”

Mainichi 17th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 18 August 2017

US

The first steam generator has been placed in the containment of Vogtle unit 3, the first major lift carried out since Southern Nuclear took charge of oversight activities at the AP1000 construction site in Georgia.

World Nuclear News 17th Aug 2017 read more »

Energy Business Review 17th Aug 2017 read more »

Three Mile Island is one of several nuclear plants in danger of closing ahead of schedule because it can’t compete with natural gas and renewables. Some states have begun offering credits to keep nuclear plants generating zero-emissions power as climate change concerns grow. Critics say the credits distort energy price formation and lead to uncertainty in wholesale markets.

CNBC 17th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 18 August 2017

Taiwan

A massive blackout prompts questions about Taiwan’s energy policy. Can it really phase out nuclear power?

Economist 17th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 18 August 2017

France

France’s nuclear safety regulator has opened a public consultation on a draft decision governing the review of manufacturing files at Areva NP’s Le Creusot forge. This draft decision requires EDF to examine the manufacturing records of all components produced by the facility that are in use at its operating nuclear power plants.

World Nuclear News 17th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 18 August 2017

France

Utility EDF must review all components of its nuclear reactors that were made by Areva’s foundry Creusot Forge by the end of 2018, French nuclear regulator ASN said in a statement on Wednesday. The ASN did not say that EDF would have to halt its reactors for the review, but the company would have to provide the required documentation for each reactor two months before it could restart the reactors following refueling. A spokeswoman for EDF told Reuters the company does not expect any impact on power generation and that the ASN’s timing had been integrated in its reactor maintenance schedule.

Times of India 16th Aug 2017 read more »

Romandie 16th Aug 2017 read more »

ASN opens a public consultation on a draft decision governing the review of the manufacturing files of the Creusot Forge factory. ASN opens a public consultation on a draft decision governing the review of the manufacturing files of the Creusot Forge plant in Areva NP. This draft decision requires EDF to examine all of these equipment manufacturing files installed on its operating reactors originating from this plant. EDF must send the ASN the balance sheet of this review not later than two months before the restart of each of its reactors following a shutdown for renewal of the fuel. This review will extend until the end of 2018.

ASN 16th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 August 2017

CHP

Organisations and professionals with an interest in deploying combined heat & power (CHP) systems to reduce emissions and save on energy costs now have access to a free ‘edie explains’ guide which answers all of the key questions surrounding the technology. The 11-page edie explains business guide, produced in association with E.ON, provides an in-depth summary of the different ways to install CHP systems, and the various benefits the technology can offer. It is the latest in an ongoing series of edie explains guides, which provide readers with an end-to-end overview of the key technologies and frameworks that can be utilised on the journey to doing business better.

Edie 16th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 August 2017

France

TRACES of radioactive material have been unearthed by construction workers at the Flamanville nuclear site – less than 30 miles from Jersey’s coast. The incident has been reported to the French nuclear regulator ASN – the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire – and has been classed as a ‘Significant Environmental Event’. Employees were said to have been in the process of clearing 8,700 tons of non-nuclear waste as part of a larger project to build a car park, when they came across nearly 100 suits used by technicians working in zones exposed to nuclear activities. A spokesman for the plant said that the construction had been stopped following the incident and that some of the waste had been in the ground since 1989.

Jersey Evening Post 15th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 16 August 2017

North Korea

In an honest, if careless, moment, former US president Bill Clinton declared in July 1993: “It is pointless for [North Korea] to develop nuclear weapons. Because if they ever use them it would be the end of their country.” But the aggressor could be the US. Cheerleader for Western imperialism, war and Trump, the historian of a sort Niall Ferguson wrote in the Sunday Times on July 9: “Military action is always risky… The right question is whether or not the risk of inaction would be greater. Three presidents in succession decided that it would not be — and here we are. Is Donald Trump capable of breaking the sequence? I’d say so.”

Morning Star 15th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 16 August 2017

US

Before 2005, US carbon emissions were marching upwards year after year, with little sign of slowing down. After this point, they fell quickly, declining 14% from their peak by the end of 2016. Researchers have given a number of different reasons for this marked turnaround. Some have argued that it was mainly due to natural gas and, to a lesser extent, wind both replacing coal for generating electricity. Others have suggested that the declines were driven by the financial crisis and its lasting effects on the economy. Here Carbon Brief presents an analysis of the causes of the decline in US CO2 since 2005. There is no single cause of reductions. Rather, they were driven by a number of factors, including a large-scale transition from coal to gas, a large increase in wind power, a reduction in industrial energy use and changes in transport patterns. Declines in US CO2 have persisted despite an economic recovery from the financial crisis. While the pace of reductions may slow, many of these factors will continue to push down emissions, notwithstanding the inclinations of the current administration.

Carbon Brief 15th Aug 2017 read more »

The US government should hold “a structured conversation” with the country’s nuclear industry on ways to restore and develop the sector, according to an essay from Mark Hibbs, senior fellow of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s nuclear policy program. “The pending bankruptcy of Westinghouse, announced five months ago, could have far-reaching strategic impact on US exports and on the economic viability, safety, and security of nuclear power installations in the United States and beyond,” Hibbs says. However, he notes that the Chinese and Russian nuclear industries “appear immune to and poised to capitalise on the problems that have beset Western firms”. Both countries have ambitious plans to export their nuclear power technology around the world.

World Nuclear News 15th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 16 August 2017

Japan

The industry ministry has opened discussions for reviewing Japan’s Strategic Energy Plan, which defines a grand framework for how the country will consume, and cover the demand for, electric power, heat and other forms of energy. Industry minister Hiroshige Seko has said the core part of the plan will remain basically unchanged. Minor adjustments alone, however, would simply not suffice under current circumstances. The ongoing edition of the plan is questionable in many respects, including in the way it defines nuclear energy as a mainstay power source despite broad public opposition to restarts of nuclear reactors. A big wave of change is occurring on a global scale. For example, there are moves, mostly in advanced industrialized nations, for pulling the plug on nuclear power. There is also a trend for moving from coal-fired thermal power generation, given that the Paris Agreement has now taken effect for fighting global warming. Renewable energy options, such as wind and solar power, are spreading rapidly. Japan should also redraw the image of its future self. First and foremost, a phase-out of nuclear power should define the foundation of the country’s new future perspective. While combining a nuclear phase-out with a fight against global warming won’t be an easy task, advances in energy-saving technologies and in renewable energy options have lowered the hurdles for pursuing both. There is a need to seek pathways for doing so, with due consideration given to cost performance and the stability of the energy supply.

Asahi Shimbun 14th Aug 2017 read more »

Posted: 16 August 2017