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THIS JOURNAL WILL "TELL IT LIKE IT IS" REGARDING DIFFERENT FORMS OF ENERGY AND THEIR GLOBAL IMPLICATIONS/PROBLEMS

GERMANS ANGRY TO HAVE “FRENCH NUCLEAR-WASTE” TRAINS ON THEIR RAILS TO DUMP THERE

26 Nov 2011

HOT CARGO ENTERS GERMANY A French train loaded with 150 tons (in several white colored sealed (still hot) containers)of “reprocessed” nuclear waste crossed the border into Germany on 24 Nov 2011, heading for its usual destination 1,100 kilometers away:  the small far N.E. German town of Gorleben, a small municipality (Gemeinde) in the Gartow region of the Lüchow-Dannenberg District in Lower Saxony, to a highly controversial radioactive waste storage facility. This was the last of 12 shipments of nuclear waste from French nuclear reactors to Gorleben in recent years, in accordance with a contract between the two Countries, and expected to expire in 2011.

THE HIGHLY CONTROVERSIAL 1,100 KM. TRAIN JOURNEY from France to Gorleben has always met with both French and German public opposition. Thousands of protesters in both countries have tried removing stones under the railways, and often clashed with police who came to protect the train, by sitting on the train’s path. German protest organizers said that they are prepared to “welcome” the train.  A demonstrations by tens of thousands people are expected at places near Gorleben.

ACTIVISTS WILL CERTAINLY TAKE ACTIONS.  Jochen Stay, a spokesman for the anti-nuclear group “Ausgestrahlt (Irradiated)”, said that protesters and activist would “certainly take action to disturb the trains and roads, but they do not want to escalate the situation…We hope the police can act sensibly and appropriately with people”;  However, it always has been hard for both sides to keep calm. On 23 Nov 2011, one day after the train began its journey, police used water cannon, and tear gas against a few hundred protesters near the French border, as some demonstrators threw stones and smoke bombs at officers. There were several arrests afterwards.

FEWER ACTIVISTS EXPECTED THIS TIME In Germany, both organizers and police, predicted the number of protesters would be fewer than last year when nearly 40,000 people turned out against the shipment.  Their reasoning is based on the “changed political situation.”  Only last June 2011, German parliament approved bills submitted by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to close all of its 17 nuclear plants by 2022, thus making Germany the first major industrial power abandoning atomic plants.

Thanks to Xinhua, Berlin, 25 Nov 2011

SO THE STORY GOES…

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MY TAKE:

GERMAN (AND FRENCH) FOLKS’ ANGER IS EASY TO UNDERSTAND.  Nuclear waste must be the most undesirable of “imports” into Germany (or any country).  One wonders how France worked out the agreement with past German Governmental officials.  I guess the usual way: By greasing palms with money – Lots of money!

PERMIT ME A HOME -SPUN ANALOGY:   I believe I have a genuine grievance when my neighbors bring their dogs on a leash to doodo  (defecate)on my front lawn.  They say their dogs want to ” do their thing” on someone else’s yard…but, must they leave their turds on mine? – Damn!  At least they are not radioactive turds, or long-term toxic; Still, one must watch where to step. – NO FAIR!

SIMILARLY, THOSE WHO INSIST ON CREATING NUCLEAR WASTE (FRANCE STILL DOES! – BIG TIME) SHOULD FEEL A RESPONSIBILITY TO DEAL WITH THEIR OWN MESS!

One’s national grounds MUST BE defended against all enemies, foreign, and domestic;  Radioactivity is the worst, and most implacable of enemies!  Just ask the Japanese!

gonzedo

P.S. No wonder we have so many readers in Germany ! France too!

 

November 26, 2011 at 1:57 AM Comments (37)

INDIA’S “JAITAPUR” NUCLEAR PLANT PLACED ON-HOLD DUE TO PUBLIC OPPOSITION

24 Nov 2011
INDIA’S STATE RUN “NUCLEAR POWER CORP. LTD (NPCIL)” said on 23 Nov 2011, that it would postpone its decision to build a planned 9,900 mega-watt (Mw) Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Jaitapur, located on the western coast of India, at Madban village of Ratnagiri District  in Maharashtra.  NPCIL, and its French partner Areva, have recently reached an impasse on the project.  Opposition to the huge NPP Jaitapur  project began on 04 Dec 2010, when protests became violent, resulting in over 1,500 people detained, a few injuries and one death, from among thousands of protesters, who included environmentalists, and local villagers;  Opposition to the project is ongoing on various levels. Environmental poisoning, and geological issues have been raised.  Currently, popular opposition has been exacerbated by the aftermath of the Fukushima Dai No.1 triple meltdown.

FRENCH DESIGNED “AREVA” –  “GEN III+ NPP” CONTEMPLATED FOR JAITAPUR. NPCIL Technical Director S.A. Bhardwaj told reporters at an industry event held by “India Energy Forum”: “We are hopeful that Areva experts will submit the report on Jaitapur in Dec 2011 and so, talks will begin in Jan 2012…We will discuss technical and commercial aspects of the project”  France is also reviewing all the NPP joint ventures its companies are engaged in;   On February 4, 2009 a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between NPCIL and Areva regarding long-term ? supply of the first twin set of “European Pressurized Reactors (EPR)s’. The Areva EPR reactor will be the first of the “Gen III+ reactors” ever built in the world. They are generically referred to as: Economical, Simplified Boiling Water Reactors (ESBWR)s;  These normally incorporate modular architecture and construction, should be more economical and faster(to assemble), plus more reliable, and safer, because they incorporate passive cooling systems, and as bonus require much less cooling water.  NPP PROPONENTS ALWAYS PROMISE THE BEST, BUT DO NOT ALWAYS DELIVER. WE MUST REMEMBER FRANCE HAS YET TO BUILD/LICENCE A GEN III+ ESBWR.      

INDIA’S NPCIL HAS AN AGGRESSIVE NPP PLAN TO BE A POWER HUB by building and commissioning 20,000Mw capacity by 2020 and 63,000Mw by 2032 to make India an “NPP power hub” for both domestic and international players. Few state-run companies such as IOC, NTPC and Nalco have inked joint venture partnerships with NPCIL to invest in nuclear power generation.

NPCIL CURRENTLY GENERATES 4,780Mw WITH NPPs. NPCIL Technical Director S.A. Bhardwaj said it is setting up additional capacity of 5,300 Mw; Out of this, 2,000Mw now at Kudankulam NPP is nearing completion (wa’na bet ?), and the rest will be commissioned by 2016. Currently, NPCIL has nuclear fuel demand of 450 tons of uranium every year to run its power stations in six(6) different states and is also in talks with ONGC for investing in nuclear power project. The state-run enterprise has long term contracts to source uranium from Russia (2,000 tons), Kazakhstan (2,100 tons) and other mines operated by Areva (300 tons)  State-owned India “Oil and Natural Gas Corp” (ONGC) plans to take up to 49 % stake in one of the five proposed nuclear power plants of Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL). “We are in discussions with NPCIL for incorporating a joint venture for setting up a nuclear power plant”.  NPCIL will have a minimum of 51 % stake in the joint venture while ONGC would have a maximum of 49 %” a company official said. The joint venture would build, own and operate nuclear power plants for energy generation at mutually agreed locations. It would be managed by a Board of Directors made up of nominees from both companies.

Thanks to : Siddhartha P Saikia, 23 Nov 2011, New Delhi
And re-written and expanded for clarity to Western readers.

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MY TAKE…

This article is a follow-up to: INDIA – A NEW COLONY OF RUSSIA? ITS THIRST FOR ENERGY COULD MAKE IT SO – PART 2; Dated 21 Nov 2011,  Published here, and in larger text at: http://forums.mysanantonio.com/forums/ub…n_Pl#Post169424

NPCIL WANTS TO BE A BIG “JOINT VENTURE” NPP UTILITIES CORP;  If it could, it  would like to set up five(5) ‘Nuclear energy parks’, each with a total capacity of up to 10,000MW at a single location. The sites identified for these energy parks are 1. Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, 2. Jaitapur in Maharashtra, 3. Mithi Virdi in Gujarat, 4. Kowada in Andhra Pradesh, and 5. Haripur in West Bengal, all with imported(French or Russian) reactors. The Chairman of the company would be selected among NPCIL Directors.  FROM WHERE I STAND, THEIR PLANS ARE ASKEW ALREADY in kundankulam  KKNPP.  Big talk for big plans!

FOR THE “JAITAPUR NPP PROJECT”, French  AREVA and  NPCIL signed an agreement for about $9.3 billion, with a provision for AREVA to provide India with Nuclear fuel for 25 years. NPCIL, Technical Director Bhardwaj added, “as our demand increases with commissioning of new plants, we would renew our fuel supply contracts, and tie-up new sources”…This is a general framework agreement, along with agreement on “Protection of Confidentiality of Technical Data and Information Relating to Nuclear Power Corporation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy” was also signed.  No details were given regarding technical and logistical support issues; That, is always a problem! The rate paying public is never privy to their corporate “understandings”.  Even when such understandings and undisclosed agreements impinge on National sovereignty and independence! QUESTION IS:  WHAT DOES “GOVERNMENT SPONSORED” MEAN ?  ONE HOPES IT MEANS “GOVERNMENT LICENSED TO OPERATE”, AND SUBJECT TO REVOCATION, SUSPENSION, OR CANCELLATION. 

It will be interesting to see what happens to the $9.3 Billion “agreement” Who looses & who gains?

I SAY AGAIN, TODAY NPP OPERATIONAL SAFETY IS NO LONGER THE MAIN ISSUE. The real problem is the huge worldwide accumulation of “Spent Fuel”(Transuranics) – highly toxic nuclear waste with very long decay rates, and NO PLACE TO SAFELY STORE THEM FOR ETERNITY. That problem has multiplied all over the world with  every new NPP to aggravate the problem.

IT SEEMS TO ME THAT DESPITE SOME PROTEST INCIDENTS, THE INDIAN DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT IS ACTING IN A “RESPONSIVE AND RESPONSIBLE” WAY TOWARDS THEIR ELECTORATE.  POLITICIANS FIND THEMSELVES IN THE VORTEX OF A VERY RAPIDLY CHANGING WORLD – WHERE ENERGY IS CRUCIAL.

gonzedo

 

November 24, 2011 at 12:31 AM Comments (3)

INDIA – A NEW COLONY OF RUSSIA? ITS THIRST FOR ENERGY COULD MAKE IT SO – PART 2

21 Nov 2011

FUKUSHIMA-LIKE INCIDENT “NOT CONCEIVABLE” HERE, so says a 15 member “Central Experts Panel”(The Panel) which constitutes the “Center to interact with the local people in and around the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project(KKNPP)”, has released its findings regarding design safety aspects of the Kudankulam NPPs, during a  presentation before the Nominees ? of the State government, and the concerned Tirunelvely local representatives, at the office of the Tirunelveli Collectorate on 18 Nov 2011. The Panel has concluded that a Fukushima-type accident, is not conceivable at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (NPP).  The 39 page text of the presentation was released to the media on 19 Nov 2011.

IN RESPONSE TO CONCERNS OF RESIDENTS The Panel referred to the reports of concerns/apprehensions among the local residents on the safety of the plant in the wake of the Fukushima Dai No.1 incident in Japan on 12 Mar 2011. The Panel noted that preparatory work for an off-site emergency exercise(a safety requirement per the regulations of the Indian Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) prior to loading nuclear fuel, seemed to have further aggravated the concerns /apprehensions of the local, and nearby people. The Panel report stated:

CAUSE OF FUKUSHIMA’S FAILURES. A spokesman for The Panel, said that the root cause of the accident at Fukushima was complete loss of power supply to units 1 to 4 as a result of flooding at the site caused by the tsunami. While units 1, 2 and 3 were shut down automatically (unit 4 was already in shutdown state, but with its fuel unloaded in the Spent Fuel Pool). The cooling of their core could not be maintained in the absence of power supply, resulting in three reactor meltdowns.

TSUNAMI RULED-OUT AS A CONCERN The Panel examined the design of the KKNPP in this respect and found “all safety related structures, systems and components of KKNPP are located well above the maximum flooding that can cover the site from all possible causes including tsunami; therefore, a total loss of power supply at KKNPP, was not possible”.

ISSUES /CONCERNS ADDRESSED BY THE PANEL REPORT:

1. The global trend on the use of nuclear energy for power generation (everybody else is doing it, (WAS – IS MORE LIKE IT!)

2. Safety features of the KKNPP,

3. Environmental impact assessment has been done in all plants in the country, and it is safe.

4. Local employment opportunities (to “sweeten the pot for local people)

5. Nuclear waste management. A KEY ISSUE WITHOUT AN ANSWER 

6. Tsunami warning systems available, emergency preparedness.

7. Noise pollution.

8. PASSIVE HEAT REMOVAL AT THE KKNPP was provided which  could effectively cool a reactor under the condition of “total loss of electric power” – NOT LIKELY

FIVE(5) MAIN CONCERNS WERE NOT ADDRESSED by The Panel. Five(5) issues mentioned in the memorandum submitted by two Official Representatives of the protesting Tirunelvely region people (where the Kundankulam NPPs are) at the previous meeting on 08 Nov 2011, were not addressed by the report; they are:

1. Terms of the Inter-governmental agreement between Russia and India

2. impact on bilateral relations between Indian and Russian governments

3. Russian versus Indian liability in the event of NPP malfunction or worse.

4. Nuclear Suppliers Group-related issues.

5. Possibility of the intention to set-up a nuclear weapon facility at the Kudankulam NPP

EVIDENTLY THE POWERS OF “B” ARE ALL SATISFIED: They have been for nearly 10 years right up to the highest Indian governmental levels; After Fukushima however, they find themselves defending their policies to the people India;  Accordingly,  The Panel “hung their hat” on the Indian Atomic Energy Review Board, which supposedly gave an in-depth review of the KKNPP.  The “commissioning program” was also progressively reviewed by the board.  That is the final AERB o.k. to “go critical” – UGH!

Note: Above article was printed by:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2642959.ece

And re-written for clarity to Western readers.

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MY TAKE…

This article is a follow-up to: INDIA – A NEW COLONY OF RUSSIA? ITS THIRST FOR ENERGY COULD MAKE IT SO. –  Dated 21 Oct 2011  Published here.

SUPPOSEDLY THE INDIAN AERBs (Indian Version of the American NRC) gave the issue an extensive review which supposedly provided assurance of the ROBUSTNESS of the DESIGN SAFETY, and construction of KKNPP. (THOSE ARE CAREFULLY CHOSEN WORDS USED BY ALL NPP PROPONENTS…UNTIL THE STUFF HITS THE FAN!); Then, they say: “who could have imagined that ? !” – THAT IS A PROBLEM!  

ANOTHER PROBLEM IS NPP BUILDERS LIE A LOT!, and there is no reason to believe Russia is different.  I have had NPP proponents lie to me in public, and tell fiction, rather than truth to assuage the innocent public (Here, in San Antonio, Texas-USA, we stopped them cold in 2010). They will stop at nothing to get a “piece of the pie” (Billion of money).  Thus is their corrupt and corrupting influence.  When confronted with specific concerns/issues (as they were at Tirunelvely) they give “non-answers”( non-sequitur) as if unfazed.

NO RESPONSE GIVEN TO INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS. To the concern/chagrin of the Indian Central Government, the people of Tirunelvely, and many others all over India, are also concerned with “intellectual property rights”; Rightly so, these are the key to “Follow-on Procurement” of spare parts and Refueling of the power plants for life (40 to 60 years); As such, they are the key to long term satisfaction, and denote honesty in negotiation; THOSE COUNTRIES NOT WILLING TO GRANT THEM, HAVE LONG TERM AMBITIONS TO GET YOU BY THE PARTS! You know what I mean, don‘t you? DO YOU THINK RUSSIA WILL GRANT THEM FREELY?  I don’t think so. 

PASSIVE REACTOR COOLING SYSTEMS – A LIE ?  Since the Fukushima triple NPP meltdowns, NPP  proponents try to defend their plants, and plans for new ones, by talking about futuristic, supposedly new/great passive cooling systems; However, that is mostly propaganda aimed at selling the un-sellable to a now knowledgeable public. In the case of Kundankulum, Russian NPPs designed about 10 years ago(or more) are highly unlikely to incorporate “passive cooling systems”. Such futuristic systems are a selling point for Gen III+ reactors;  However, to my knowledge these are not yet in use anywhere in the world. “We are go’ana” incorporate them is not good enough! Check them out!

TODAY, NPP OPERATIONAL SAFETY IS NO LONGER THE MAIN ISSUE. The real problem is the huge worldwide accumulation of “Spent Fuel”(Transuranics) – highly toxic nuclear waste with very long decay rates, and NO PLACE TO SAFELY STORE THEM FOR ETERNITY.  Kundankulum(and every other NPP) in the world will only serve to aggravate the problem.  Again no answers provided by The Panel.

gonzedo

 

November 21, 2011 at 12:36 AM Comments (38)

PAKISTAN PLANS TO PURCHASE TWO NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS FROM CHINA

15 Nov 2011

AS A PILOT PROJECT WITH CHINA Pakistan has planned to purchase two(2) Nuclear Power Plants(NPPs) with a combined capacity of 2,000 megawatts (Mw) from China, which will be utilized for setting up Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) Kanupp-2 and Kanupp-3 NPPs

PAKISTAN HAS PLANS TO ADD 8,800 Megawats (Mw) with NPPs by 2030 according to a “Pakistan Energy Security Action Plan”. The import of NPPs should lead to electricity generation at cheaper rates compared to the thermal source and contribute to abating the current electrical power shortage. About a month ago(Oct 2011), power shortages reached their peak at around 8,000 to 8,500 Mw, forcing long hours of outages across the country. The power outages disrupted industrial activity, and diminished economic growth of the country (2.4 % last fiscal year).

PAKISTAN AND CHINA CONSIDERING OTHER JOINT NPP PROJECTS. According to The Express Tribune, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission are likely to enter into an agreement to conduct a joint-study to finalize design modifications which would enable Pakistan to acquire two(2) nuclear power plants, each having power generation capacity of 1,000 Mw. After completion of this project, a contract for establishing Kanupp-2 and Kanupp-3 would be negotiated.  The Pakistani Planning Commission says CNNC may be asked to grant intellectual property rights for the existing 1,000 Mw plant, and suggest steps which could help Pakistan avoid violation of property rights.

CHINA HAS THREE(3) STATE-OWNED CORPORATIONS, licensed to own and operate nuclear power plants: 1. China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC),  2. China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Company (CGNPC) and, 3. China Power Investment Corporation (CPIC).

CHINESE FIRM CGNPC currently operates four(4) NPPs generating 3,758 Mw in China, and is also involved in the construction of 16 other projects, with a total generating capacity of 25,000Mw. The company’s focus has been on “three-loop”(very modern cooling design) – 1,000 Mw Nuclear Power Plants.

PAKISTAN WANTS COMPETITIVE CONTRACTS The Pakistani Planning Commission has  inquired whether PAEC had approached all three(3) nuclear power plant developers to ensure fair competition in awarding the NPP contracts; “Moreover comparison of intellectual property rights of other nuclear power plant vendors may also be brought out,” the Planning Commission said.

Thanks to The Express Tribune, 11 Nov 2011, Islamabad Pakistan.

SO THE STORY GOES…

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BACKGROUND

PAKISTAN IS A VERY OLD CIVILIZATION  “The Indus Valley civilization”, one of the oldest in the world, dates back at least 5,000 years, spread over much of what is presently Pakistan. The political separation in 1947 of British India into the “Muslim state of Pakistan” (with West and East sections) and largely Hindu India was never satisfactorily resolved. India and Pakistan fought two wars (1947-48 and 1965) – over the disputed Kashmir territory.  They have outstanding metal craftsmen (old fashioned kind) who are the envy of the world, and an unemployment rate below 8%.

PAKISTANI PEOPLE TODAY

1. Races: Punjabi 44.68%, Pashtun (Pathan) 15.42%, Sindhi 14.1%, Sariaki 8.38%, Muhajirs 7.57%, Balochi 3.57%, other 6.28%

2. Religion: Muslim 95% (Sunni 75%, Shia 20%), other (includes Christian and Hindu) 5%

3. Population: 188 million (2011)

4. Languages:  Punjabi 48%, Sindhi 12%, Saraiki (a Punjabi variant) 10%, Pashtu 8%, Urdu (official) 8%, Balochi 3%, Hindko 2%, Brahui 1%, English (official; lingua franca of Pakistani elite and most government ministries), Burushaski, and other 8% (NINE LANGUAGES- A REAL PROBLEM.)

5. Literacy Rate: Male: 63% , Female: 36% (SURPRISING – GIVEN NINE LANGUAGES).

6. Physicians: Less than one per 1,000 population & General Life expectancy: about 65 years.

7. Potable Water availability: Urban: 95% of population – Rural: 87% (Very Good!)

8. Fossil Fuels availability:  Extensive natural gas reserves, limited petroleum, poor quality coal.

GEOGRAPHICALLY: Pakistan is located between the “rock and the hard place”: Afghanistan to its N.W., India to its S.E., China to its North. The River Hindus “runs through it” (north to south). It has three important ports in the south into the Arabian Sea – Karachi is one of them.

PAKISTAN HAS NUKES – To the concern of its neighbors and world, they have both nukes (thermo-nuclear devices), and delivery means.  These are supposedly zealously guarded by its Military.

CIA Data source:

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pk.html

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MY TAKE ON THE STORY

One has to recognize that some countries have harbored Nuclear Power Plant ambitions for many years.  Many had even viewed “going Nuclear” as the road to modernity and true economic progress.  THEN ON 12 MARCH 2011, FUKUSHIMA BLEW UP ON THE FACE OF JAPAN, AND THE WORLD.  THE DAI No.1 TRAGEDY AFTERMATH HAS CHANGED EVERYTHING!!, and made the world keenly aware of NPPs inherent creation of highly toxic “Transuranics”, with extremely long decay life, and nowhere to store them.  Witness Japan today! People must now daily “tip-toe through the tulips” of radiation, with their back to the sea.  A hell of a price to pay!

NOW CHINA WANS TO HELP PAKISTAN BUILD NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS, WHEN IN CHINA ITSELF, SUCH INITIATIVES ARE MOSTLY “ON HOLD” BY GOVERNMENT ORDER.  PAKISTAN IS FOLLOWING A PLANNED APPROACH OVER THE NEXT 30 YEARS.

PAKISTAN WANTS COMPETITIVE CONTRACTS The Pakistani Planning Commission has  inquired whether PAEC had approached all three(3) nuclear power plant developers to ensure fair competition in awarding the NPP contracts; “Moreover comparison of intellectual property rights of other nuclear power plant vendors may also be brought out,” the Planning Commission said.

Aha!  – HAPPY TO SEE! Pakistan is proceeding cautiously, and with all due concern for such vital aspects of Governmental buying anything as COMPETITIVE PROCUREMENT. This almost always lowers the asking price by at least 25% (my experience).  That is the reason “sole-source contracts” are awarded by corrupt government officials everywhere.

Aha! – Pakistanis are also concerned with “intellectual property rights”; Rightly so, these are the key to “Follow-on Procurement” of spare parts and Refueling of the power plants for life (40 to 60 years).  As such “intellectual property rights” are the key to long term satisfaction, and denote honesty in negotiation.  THOSE COUNTRIES NOT WILLING TO GRANT THEM, HAVE LONG TERM AMBITION TO GET YOU BY THE PARTS!   You know what I mean, don‘t you?  PAKISTAN IS FOLLOWING A GOOD PLAN – SUCH AS IT IS.  OTHER NATIONS CONSIDERING NUCLEAR SHOULD FOLLOW SUIT.

WILL CHINA ACCEPT ? We will see!  I think not.  That is where you find out who your friends are.  Truth be told, most Nuclear purveyors are just after the money – Lots of it!, now and for the next 60 years.

 PAKISTAN HAS UNDEVELOPED NATURAL GAS RESOURCES; Pakistan is no doubt among many nations not knowing where to look for safe, abundant energy.  In my view, they might do better to develop their Nat Gas resources.  Many other countries of the world are doing so because Nat Gas burns much cleaner than Coal.  One hopes this will give our world the time it needs to develop our “green energy” as best can.

gonzedo

 

November 15, 2011 at 1:07 AM Comments (23)

BELGIUM READY TO ABANDON NUCLEAR POWER ? – NOT LIKELY!

08 NOV 2011
BELGIUM PLANS TO REACH A “CONDITIONAL AGREEMENT”  to join the list of countries abandoning nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima DaiNo.1 tragedy, and has announced it will aim for a two-step phase-out approach, closing its oldest reactors by 2015 and the remainder by 2025 – if it can find alternatives to replace its reactors.   Belgium has seven(7) reactors at two(2) nuclear power stations, at DOEL the north and TIHANGE in the south: They are operated by Electrabel, which is part of GDF-Suez. – GDF Suez S.A. is a French multinational energy company which operates in the fields of electricity generation and distribution, natural gas, and renewable energy.

BELGIUM SETTING-UP A NEW COALITION GOVERNMENT (ABOUT TIME), and the nuclear plan shutdown will be on its agenda.  According to an unnamed Belgian government official: “There is a confirmation that the plants will close, and nuclear will become a transition energy in Belgium…The government will set out a plan for the move to alternative power sources in the six months following its installation…the 2015 and 2025 dates would be ‘flexible’ as the new government talks with energy companies and investors and implements plans to make the energy market more competitive…Also on the new government’s agenda,  would be a higher nuclear tax, which would be slapped on nuclear power producers. The proceeds would reportedly be spent on renewable energy sources in the North Sea”  Belgium (about the size of Texas), is home to 11 million people, and currently relies on nuclear power for 50% of its electricity

THE BIG “IF” IS: “if alternative energy sources are found to fill the gap”; Then. Belgium’s three(3) oldest reactors would be shut down in 2015.  Natural gas and coal, along with some renewable sources would provide the remainder of Belgium’s power.  According to Reuters, the ambitious nuclear shutdown is dependent on finding a reasonable source of power as a replacement;  but that, is far from guaranteed.

BELGIAN WIND-FARMS GROWING The country will more than quadruple its wind power installations by 2020, but this will still only provide 10 % of the total power needs, according to IEEE.

BELGIUM PLANNED A NUCLEAR EXIT IN 2003; However, in 2009 Belgium agreed to extend reactors’ engineered operational life-spans by 10 years;  However, this change never came into became law because the government lost power.  After the most recent decision, the shutdown will be re-accelerated dependent on finding alternative energy sources. “If it turns out we won’t face shortages, and prices would not skyrocket, we intend to stick to the nuclear exit law of 2003,” an unidentified spokeswoman for Belgium’s energy and climate Ministry said Belgium will now negotiate with investors to see how it can find new capacity to replace the 5,860 MW that would be lost if the two(2) nuclear sites at “Doel” and “Tihange” are shut.  “The government will actively look for new investors, and sites that are still unused to see what can be done”.

WHO/WHERE IS BELLONA? “The Bellona Foundation” is an international environmental Non Governmental Organization (NGO)based in Norway.  Founded in 1986 as a “direct action protest group”, Bellona has become a recognized technology and solution-oriented organization with offices in Oslo, BRUSSELS BELGIUM, Washington D.C., St. Petersburg and Murmansk. Altogether, some 75 engineers, ecologists, nuclear physicists, economists, lawyers, political scientists, and journalists work at Bellona.  NOW THEN, Bellona’s executive director, and nuclear physicist Nils Bøhmer said: “This is could indeed be good news…First of all this is a “conditional closure”, meaning that Belgium will need to invest substantially in developing renewable energy sources…However, Belgium must take care not to go the way of Sweden, which as the result of a 1980 referendum instituted a nuclear phase out by 2010. That was dashed in 2009, when the Swedish government agreed to allow old nuclear power reactors to be replaced, ending the “phase-out” policy. Chief among the motivating factors behind this, was that Sweden had not sufficiently developed its renewable energy capacity”,  Bøhmer advocates that if fossil fuels should replace nuclear energy in Belgium, “carbon capture and storage” technology (NON-EXISTENT YET) be deployed so that a nuclear shutdown does not lead to increased emissions of carbon dioxide.  SOUNDS LIKE WISHFUL THINKING.

SO THE STORY GOES…

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MY TAKE

BELGIUM WAS DIVIDED BEFORE, AND AFTER WWII.  Belgium is very strategically located in Europe. France to its south, Netherlands to the north, and Germany to the east.  It was mostly on its soil that the WWII  “Battle of the Bulge” was fought (mainly by American troops) during Dec 1944.  It main port city of Antwerp was the objective of the German Nazi troops.  They lost their last conquest gambit there; That, is probably why Belgium conjures famous battle names like Liege, and Bastogne.  After WWII (1945), Antwerp with its undamaged port, became the preferred port of entry for European reconstruction goods; so, Belgium recuperated economically very quickly: However, soon, its deeply-rooted North( Nationalistic Flanders), and South( Pro-Monarchic Wallonia) CULTURAL AND LINGUISTIC SEPARATISM began to affect the well-being of the common. Perhaps because of that separatism, Belgium has repeatedly proven itself to be among the MOST UNRELIABLE OF ALLIES. Unfortunately Belgium is still deeply divided, along the same lines, and has been without a government for over a year.  Many Belgians brag: “we do better without a government”  It is true there are many dysfunctional governments all over the world – but that is another story.

BLOOD DIAMONDS – A BELGIAN SHAME-  In 2001 the Belgian mining marketing town of Antwerp had continued to buy diamonds from the “rebel National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA)”, according to a secret report released by the General Intelligence Service, the sale had continued despite the institution of a certificate of origin for diamonds originating from the civil war torn Angola. Over 90 % of the raw diamonds extracted in various parts of the world are sold in Antwerp, while over 50 % of the world’s cut diamonds pass through the Antwerp market.  Strange how that in the Netherlands, as in Belgium, the notion persists that: “ what is good for commerce, is good for the people”.  Such thinking has been proven globally to be socially and morally circumspect and reprehensible.

BELGIUM – A COUNTRY “WITHOUT A GOVERNMENT” Now for over a year; so King Albert had to appoint and accept the resignation of one go-between after another, as the major parties refused to move far from their pre-election position. It is a process which continues to this day. The chances of success for the current negotiator, caretaker Finance Minister Didier Reynders, are seen as slim as the specter of new elections to break the deadlock are looming.  AND NOW, THE COALITION GOVERNMENT WANTS TO ABANDON NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS – FAT CHANCE!  THAT, IS THE REASON THE INITIATIVE IS CALLED A “CONDITIONAL AGREEMENT” BURDENED WITH  CONDITIONS THAT CANNOT MET WITH THEIR DEMONSTRATED HISTORICAL FRAME OF MIND.    

EUROPEAN ANTI-NUCLEAR “DOMINO EFFECT” IS EVIDENT Germany will shut down its nuclear power stations (now proving 28 % of the country’s power) by 2022.  Switzerland has said it will follow suit in 2035, shutting down its five(5) nuclear power plants which contribute to 40 % of the countries electricity.  Now Italy, which never had a nuclear program, turned out in force this summer(2011) for a referendum declaring that the country will never pursue a nuclear power.  Unfortunately Belgium will not, in my opinion, follow suit.  They never seem to. 

gonzedo

P.S. There is a significant number of reads in Great Britain, and in Denmark.  Wonder why?

 

November 8, 2011 at 12:26 AM Comments (30)

MEXICO CANCELS PLANS TO BUILD 10 NEW NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS

Thanks to Bloomberg, 02 Nov. 2011.
03 Nov 2011

MEXICO RETHINKS ITS ENERGY STRATEGY Mexico (one of three (3) Latin American nations that uses nuclear power), is abandoning plans to build as many as 10 new Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs), and will shift its plans to greater reliance on Natural gas(nat gas)-fired thermoelectric power plants after large, new discoveries of nat gas in Mexican territories.  Mexico’s State-owned Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) has found evidence of trillions of cubic feet of gas in the past year; So, its Energy Minister, Jordy Herrera said on 01 Nov 2011: “Mexico is changing all its decisions, amid the very abundant existence of natural-gas deposits…and now prefers gas for cost reasons… will seek private investment of about $10 billion during five(5) years to expand its natural gas pipeline network”

HERRERA’S  ENERGY STRATEGY PLAN RELIES ON NAT-GAS.  Mexico’s Energy Ministry plans to update the nation’s long-term strategic plan to reflect the increased importance of natural gas.  Minister Herrera said in a report due in the first quarter of 2012: “Until we find a model to make renewable energy more profitable, gas is more convenient” Herrera who was appointed energy minister on  09 Sep 2011 added: “The country (Mexico) has very high potential to develop renewable energy…But the renewable energy world is hurt by the cheap gas prices, and the government has to consider how much it can spend to promote alternative energy sources”.

FORMER MINISTER WANTED NUCLEAR POWER DEVELOPMENT Herrera’s comments are a vast departure from former Energy Minister Georgina Kessel, who had said nuclear energy would help achieve President Felipe Calderon’s pledge to generate at least 35 % of the country’s energy from so-called “clean sources” had said only last year: “I’m convinced that in the medium, and long-term, increasing nuclear capacity is the path that should be followed”  NOW, SHE HAS BEEN REPLACED;  SUCH IS LIFE, SHE WAS GASSED-OUT.

VAST NEW NAT GAS RESERVES FOUND. Mexico is boosting its estimated nat gas reserves after PEMEX discovered new deposits in deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and also in shale deposits in the state of Coahuila (border with the USA).  Estimates in Coahuila alone, are as much as 300 trillion cubic feet of  nat gas according to Carlos Morales last 27 Oct 2011.

MEXICO’S STATE-OWNED POWER UTILITY also had been considering nuclear power as part of plans to boost generating capacity from 50 Gigawatts (Gw) to 86 Gw within 15 years, but will now will need to change its plans. Mexico’s State-ownedComision Federal de Electricidad (CFE)”, is Latin America’s largest utility (by revenue), plans to invest $66.3 billion Pesos (US $4.9 billion) in 2011, and $90.4 billion Pesos in 201; mainly in plant generation, according to the company’s website.  CFE, is investing in the construction of six(6) new plants using fossil fuels (we assume nat-gas burners) to improve capacity and efficiency, and is reconfiguring other facilities to replace the use of other (dirtier) fuels with nat-gas. While nat gas produces roughly half the amount carbon dioxide produced by coal.  Nuclear Power plants, of course, do not produce carbon dioxide, soot, mercury, etc, but have other long-lived Transuranics to poison entire regions.  Remember Fukushima? – As if anyone could forget!

AMERICAN ECONOMIST APPLAUDS MEXICO’S DECISION.  James Williams, an American economist at “WTRG Economics” an energy research firm in Arkansas said: “This is a very good decision by the Mexican government…With a power generation project based on gas…you can build multiple plants at a much lower cost, and much faster pace, than a nuclear facility”  THAT IS IT IN A NUT SHELL!

USA SHALE NAT-GAS PROMISES MUCH LOWER ENERGY COSTS.  Shale gas production has increased by an average of 48 % per year from 2006 to 2010, according to the Energy Department in Washington. Output will rise almost threefold from 2009 to 2035, the department predicted in its Annual Energy Outlook release on April 26.  Much greater nat gas availability  has meant much lower prices.  Gas futures, which traded as high as $13.69 per million British thermal units(BTUs) in July 2008, dropped to as low as $3.48 in Oct 2011.

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We exhort you to read our article listed under RECENT ARTICLES column, and titled: IS DRILL, BABY DRILL, THE ANSWER??…. PERHAPS FOR A WHILE.

MY TAKE

MEXICO’S PLANS ARE NOT A “SLAM-DUNK” at least financially. They are doing the “unthinkable” since the petroleum industry was “nationalized” in 1936; that is, “seeking private investment”  Mexico appears to be soliciting foreign venture capital to carry out their new gas infrastructure development(pipelines), as well as to build the power plants; PROBLEM IS: MEXICO IS GLOBALLY SEEN AS A HIGH RISK VENTURE FOR MANY REASONS, AND THE MONEY BOYS ARE VERY ADVERSE TO HIGH RISK PROPOSITIONS.

NATURAL GAS OVERLOOKED TODAY.  It is bothersome, that despite all the immediate advantages offered by nat gas as a generating fuel, and its new found abundance, it is not given the consideration it deserves as a “cleaner fuel” to serve humanity, at least while better, affordable “clean energy sources” are developed.  Nat gas burns much more cleanly than any kind of coal, and retrofitting older plants to burn nat gas, is much quicker, and costs less, than many other alternatives.  That is why San Antonio used it for nearly 100 years.

LOCALLY, IN SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS,  I have once and again urged our San Antonio Public Service (CPS) Energy to consider retrofitting our Dirty Dilley power plants to burn nat gas. These very old plants continue to be extremely “Dirty” in Mercury and other airborne contaminants.  It is a as though our CPS Board of Trustees hears from the CPS Energy Gen Mgr/CEO, Mr. Doyle Beneby only what it wants to hear.  Problem is Beneby has shown no corporate vision, and no real sense of leadership, at this time of fast global change. WE HAVE THE BLIND, LEADING THE BLIND AND AS HAPPY AS CAN BE!  THIS IS NO BOARD!- IT IS A CLUB.  Someday the people of San Antonio, Texas will have to face the results of their lack of strategic planning, and managerial ineptitude.  Yes, that includes Mayor Castro who is a member of the board.  GENERATING CAPACITY DOES NOT HAPPEN OVERNIGHT.  IT MUST BE PLANNED WAY IN ADVANCE OF NEED.

gonzedo

 

November 3, 2011 at 1:05 AM Comments (0)