energymaters.com

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

KUWAIT ABANDONS PLANS FOR FOUR NUKES, OTHER ARAB COUNTRIES DO NOT – YET

24 Feb 2012

KUWAIT CITY – KUWAIT ABANDONS PLANS TO BUILD FOUR (4) NUKES BY 2022.  Officials of the Kuwaiti government at the Kuwaiti “Institute for Scientific Research” made the announcement on 22 Feb 2012.  Institute’s scientist Osama al-Sayegh, and two colleagues, said the Fukushima incident resulted in the public questioning the necessity of building Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) in oil-rich Kuwait.  There was also the question of where Kuwait would store the radioactive waste generated by the NPPs. THOSE ARE THE QUESTIONS EVERY COUNTRY WITH NPP BUILDING INTENTIONS NEEDS TO ANSWER.  WE ARE HAPPY TO SEE TO SEE KUWAITI LEADERS HAVE SHOWN A “POST FUKUSHIMA” WISDOM.  PERHAPS OTHER ARAB COUNTRIES WILL ALSO “SEE THE BLINKING RED LIGHT”.  

KUWAIT’S INTEREST IN NPPs BEGAN ABOUT  2009, when the country announced plans to invest in NPPs to preserve its oil reserves. At that time Kuwaiti officials signed agreements with the USA, France and Russia, to boost bilateral cooperation in developing an “indigenous civilian atomic energy infrastructure”.  Kuwait’s interest in NPPs peaked in September 2010, when “Kuwait’s National Nuclear Energy Committee” announced that it was considering options for four(4) planned 1,000 megawatt(Mw) NPPs, and would release a national “road map” (A WELL-THOUGHT OUT PLAN)for developing civilian nuclear electrical power generation in Jan 2011;  Then…

ON 12 MAR 2011,  the  Fukushima Tragic Triple-Meltdown occurred. The political and socio-economic fallout caused Kuwaiti Emir Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, to order that the Kuwaiti “National Nuclear Energy Committee” be dissolved for months.  Kuwait’s decision to abandon nuclear power has not surprised local analyst Robin Mills, an energy researcher in Dubai, said: “A couple of months ago there was an announcement that Kuwait was rethinking its nuclear plans…But I wouldn’t draw wider implications into the (Persian) Gulf’s nuclear policy”.

OTHER ARAB COUNTRIES ARE STILL”GO” NUCLEAR  Kuwait’s non-nuclear intentions have not kept Kuwait’s Persian Gulf neighbor, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), from pressing forward with its plans to construct four(4) NPPs in a remote area outside Abu Dhabi.  The UAE program is going ahead, and seems to be on schedule- construction has started; Other Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia planning to build six(6) NPPs  during the next 20 years, and Jordan which appears to be behind NPP plans, but is zig-zaging on the issue.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez(gonzedo)

Note: All caps are my comment(s)

 

February 24, 2012 at 11:33 PM Comments (3)

THORIUM “THE OTHER NUCLEAR ENERGY” RECONSIDERED AS URANIUM GAINS DETRACTORS

21 Feb 2012

UP WITH THORIUM, DOWN WITH URANIUM AS NUCLEAR FUEL say those who see  the post-Fukushima era as the perfect opportunity to get the USA to re-consider a proposal they have made without success for many years: “What about trying a new fuel? and maybe a new kind of reactor?”  The proposed fuel is Thorium, an abundant silver-gray element named for the Norse God of Thunder. It is less radioactive than the uranium that has powered USA Utilities, and advocates say that Thorium not only produces far less nuclear waste, it is also is more difficult to turn into nuclear weapons. Accordingly they’re pushing the idea of adapting plants to use Thorium as a fuel, or replacing them with a completely new kind of reactor called a Liquid-Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) – pronounced “lifter”. The LFTR would use a mixture of molten chemical salts to cool the reactor and to transfer energy from the fission reaction to a turbine.  Proponents say such a system would be more efficient and safer than existing pressurized Boiling Water Reactors (BWRs) commonly in use today, which use pressurized water to cool uranium fuel rods, to produce  superheated steam to drive generating turbines.  The idea of Thorium-fueled nuclear power has been around for nearly 50 years, and some countries are even now planning to build Thorium-powered plants;  However, the concept has not resonated with the USA companies that design and build nuclear plants, or with the national research labs charged with investigating future energy sources. (IT APPEARS IMPOSSIBLE TO CHANGE THE DIRECTION OF A 104 NUKE FLEET, BUT CHANGE IS INEVITABLE, HERE, THERE, AND EVERYWHERE).

DESCRIPTION OF THE ELEMENT THORIUM: An abundant silver-gray element named for the Norse god of thunder.  It exists naturally in the ground as Thorium oxide, and is three(3) to four(4) times as abundant worldwide as Uranium. Although Thorium is less radioactive than Uranium, it emits “alpha particles”, which are biologically less harmful than uranium’s “gamma particles”; That, makes Thorium far easier to store safely. It has an extremely high melting point (over 6,000 F.), and has been used in portable gas lanterns, high-temperature ceramic products and aerospace applications but, the development of alternative materials, most of its uses have diminished.  It’s use as a “nuclear-fuel” is not new…

USA EXPERIMENTED WITH THORIUM AS A NUCLEAR FUEL FROM 1965 to 1969 at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) located in Tenn. -USA in a “molten-salt reactor” that GOVERNMENT SCIENTISTS BUILT and operated successfully;  However, during the cold-war years, the growing need for weapon-grade Plutonium – a transuranic by-product of Uranium-fueled reactors, drove the USA Utilities to use Uranium as a fuel; hence, the Thorium-fuel project was mostly forgotten, and all subsequent nuclear plants were designed to use Uranium.

THORIUM-FUELED REACTORS HAVE FEW ADVOCATES AT PRESENT; One such, is Kirk Sorensen, a former NASA engineer, now CEO of Huntsville, Ala.-based “Flibe Energy”.  Flibe, is derived from the mixture of Fluoride, Lithium and Beryllium salts and Thorium used as fuel (instead of Uranium) in a LFTR.  Sorensen said: “We recognize this is a new and different technology, and that developing it, is significantly different from the existing Uranium-fueled Boiling Water Reactors(BWRs) common in industry…Part of the problem is that “nuclear” means only one thing in the public and  even the USA  government’s mind…We can look back to Oak Ridge Tennessee to rebuild the capability that existed in 1974…a LFTR, using a mixture of Thorium as a fuel plus either Uranium or Plutonium to kick-start the reaction, could produce higher core temperatures; at lower pressures than Boiling Water Reactors, meaning it would not need as many safety and cooling systems”;  Even better, Sorensen says, LFTRs could be configured to consume the spent fuel that is sitting around the country (At Spent-Fuel Pools) at nuclear sites.  Sorensen has been trying to convince Uranium fuel advocates to build LFTRs instead. He posted technical documents from the Oak Ridge Thorium reactor on his blog last year.

ANOTHER STRONG THORIUM NUCLEAR FUEL ADVOCATE,  John Kutsch, director of the “Thorium Energy Alliance”, a trade group based in Harvard, Ill. Said: (A Thorium -fueled reactor)“doesn’t use water for cooling, so you don’t have the possibility of a hydrogen explosion, as you did in Fukushima.”  Kutsch argues that the United States could be losing out on developing an important technology. He has been lobbying members of Congress to introduce legislation that would reclassify Thorium as a special industrial material, rather than a nuclear material. “Our legislation would say Thorium is not like uranium and plutonium… It can be safely stored and handled like ammonia or fertilizer.” He is also pushing for another bill that would direct the USA-NRC to develop rules for the use of Thorium. That would give USA companies an opening to start using Thorium in existing reactors.  (ME THINKS HE EXPECTS TOO MUCH FROM PRESENT USA LEGISLATORS AND THE NRC – NOW SHOWN AS IMPOTENT). 

PRO – THORIUM POLITICAL ACTION STARTING (AGAIN): Rep. John Shimkus (R- Illinois) who chairs a subcommittee that oversees nuclear waste disposal, says he will be introducing Thorium legislation this year(2012). Shimkus said in a phone interview, “Thorium is a great response.” HE WOULD DO WELL TO REVIEW USA-  SENATE SPEAKER REED’S FAILED EFFORT TO DO JUST THAT IN 2008.  THE URANIUM NUCLEAR CARTEL IS STOUT! WITH A CAPITAL “S” – THEY DEFEND THEIR HUGE CAPITAL INVESTMENTS NOW GOING AWRY POST FUKUSHIMA; THAT IS WHY, THEY ARE TRYING TO RESURRECT A “URANIUM-FUELED NUCLEAR RENAISSANCE”

URANIUM-FUELED REACTORS HAVE MANY ADVOCATES STILL, and in unlikely places.  For instance: Dan Ingersoll, senior project manager for nuclear technology at the “Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)” in Tennessee: said:  “There are small boatloads of fanatics on Thorium that don’t see the downsides…For one thing, it would be too expensive to replace or convert the nuclear power plants already running in this country…A Thorium-based fuel cycle has some advantages, but it’s not compelling for infrastructure and investments…I’m looking for something compelling enough to trash billions of dollars of infrastructure that we have already, and I don’t see that.” Ingersoll also pointed out that” Thorium would still have some radioactive by-products…just not as much as uranium and not as long-lived, and also that there is no ready stockpile of Thorium in the United States. It would have to be mined.  Overall, the benefits don’t outweigh the huge costs of switching technologies…Thorium is still a radioactive material…It doesn’t eliminate the nuclear waste product. It’s just not as bad…Thorium-powered reactors make more sense for countries that don’t have access to the plentiful reserves of uranium that exist in the United States”  HOW QUICKLY HE FORGETS THE HISTORY AND LESSONS OF HIS ORGANIZATION(ORNL) AS A THORIUM-FUELED REACTOR PIONEER!  HE IS MAINLY CONCERNED ABOUT MONEY! – MONEY TALKS!, AND MAKES LIARS AND MUTES OF MANY OTHERS;  EVEN SO…

NOW WITH AN ACCUMULATION OF NUCLEAR WASTE, the USA Federal government is unable to come up with a permanent waste disposal site, spent fuel rods (which remain radioactive for thousands of years) are piling up at each reactor’s “Spent-Fuel Pools”;  Even so, many worldwide Utilities are aiming to replace old Uranium-fueled NPPs with more modern versions of the old ones, and to hell with the Nuclear-waste accumulation. To the chagrin of  anti-nuke people all over the world, the USA- NRC very recently approved Atlanta-based Southern Co.’s proposal to build two(2) AP1000 reactors in Georgia (The two articles preceding this one, deal with that event).

MIDDLE OF THE ROAD-ER McLean-based “Lightbridge” wants to mix Thorium and Uranium to slightly boost the output of existing nuclear plants. Seth Grae, Pres. & CEO of  Lightbridge is helping the Russian government to build such a program;  However,  most U.S. nuclear energy industry executives are wary of both approaches to Thorium, saying that neither utilities nor investors are eager to gamble on an unfamiliar technology.  Chris Mowry, Pres & CEO of “Babcock & Wilcox“, a Lynchburg-based firm, that is building smaller reactors fueled by uranium said: “We view Thorium as something that’s down the road. It’s more of the science-project phase.”  (ANOTHER ENTREPRENEUR “DRIVING BY THE REAR-VIEW MIRROR”… REMEMBER T. A. EDISON? – HE WANTED ONLY DIRECT(DC) CURRENT – BOY WAS HE WRONG!  AND HE NEVER ADMITTED IT EITHER).

USA- MILITARY USE OF THORIUM CONSIDERATIONS: While seeking alternative energy sources the, Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced in 2010 that it was proposing a plan to make both jet fuel and electricity from small mobile nuclear plants.  Thorium proponent Sorensen says he has talked with DARPA officials about using Thorium for such reactors in hostile areas; He argued that since Thorium is less adaptable for weapons purposes, the reactor would be safe enough to leave behind for civilian use when USA troops pull out.  Sorensen said: “Thorium potentially would offer some way to mitigate that challenge of security and safety if we do convince ourselves to put nuclear plants in these locations”;  However, Col. Paul E. Roege, chief of the Army’s operational energy cell at the Pentagon, said the Pentagon is leery of Thorium for military purposes: “engineers aren’t familiar with it…We have lots of uranium reactors, people are comfortable with them, and we have a mature technology…That’s not the case with Thorium reactors.” ( IN OUR OPINION COL ROEGE IS MUCH LIKE CHRIS MOWRY OF “BABCOCK AND WILCOX” – SEE ABOVE).

CHINA AND INDIA ARE DEVELOPING THORIUM FUEL REACTORS. Chinese government officials announced in Feb 2011, that they are developing a Thorium-based reactor, and will have it operating within the next 15 or 20 years. India also has plans to use Thorium in some of its existing reactors.  John Kutsch argues correctly that the USA could be (IS) missing out on developing an important technology while developing countries are not.

Thanks to The Washington Post 20 Feb 201 article: Please note we provided heavy editing and comment mostly in parenthesis, or all-caps.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/nuclear-power-entrepreneurs-push-Thorium-as-a-fuel/2011/12/15/gIQALTinPR_story_2.html

RELATED POSTS/ARTICLES:

IT IS HIGH TIME TO RE-THINK THORIUM AS THE NUCLEAR FUEL OF THE FUTURE

http://energymaters.com/?page_id=31 20 Jun 2011

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

 

February 21, 2012 at 8:26 PM Comments (31)

THIRTY-EIGHT ANTI-NUKE GROUPS FORMALLY PETITION THE USA-NRC FOR NEW REGS.

19 FEB 2012

TAKOMA PARK, MD USA – Thirty-eight (38) Clean Energy groups, on 15 Feb 2012,  submitted a “Formal Petition for Rulemaking” to the USA Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USA-NRC), seeking adoption of new regulations to: 1. expand emergency evacuation zones and, 2. improve emergency response planning around USA Nuclear Power Plants(NPPs) – normally referred to as: “Nukes”

INITIAL CO-PETITIONERS ARE:  Nuclear Information and Resource Service (national and lead author), Bellefonte Efficiency and Sustainability Team (TN), Beyond Nuclear (national), Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (Southeast), Citizens Action Coalition (IN), Citizen Power (PA), Citizens Awareness Network (Northeast), Citizens Within a 10-Mile Radius (MA), Citizens Environmental Coalition (NY), Coalition for a Nuclear Free Great Lakes (Great Lakes), Concerned Citizens of Shell Bluff (GA), Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone, Council on Intelligent Energy and Conservation Policy (NY), Don’t Waste Arizona, Don’t Waste Michigan, The Ecology Party of Florida, Empire State Consumer Project Inc. (NY), Grandmothers, Mothers, and More for Energy Safety (GRAMMES) (NJ), Greenpeace (national), Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition (NY), Jersey Shore Nuclear Watch (NJ), Missourians for Safe Energy, New England Coalition, Nuclear Energy Information Service (IL), NC WARN, (NC), Northwest Environmental Advocates (OR), Not On Our Fault Line (VA), People’s Alliance for Clean Energy (VA), Promoting Health and Sustainable Energy (PHASE) (NY), Public Citizen Energy Program (national), San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (CA), SEED Coalition (TX), Sierra Club of South Carolina, Three Mile Island Alert (PA), Tri-Valley CARE (CA), Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah (HEAL Utah), Vermont Public Interest Research Group, We The People Inc. (TN).
The full text of the petition link is: http://www.nirs.org/reactorwatch/emergency/petitionforrulemaking22012.pdf  PETITION FOR RULEMAKING TO IMPROVE EMERGENCY PLANNING REGULATIONS (10 C.F.R. 50.47)

THE WELL FORMULATED PETITION,  A 35 page legal-like document, addresses many key concerns of 38 prominent Green Energy groups regarding USA Nukes, and their ramifications. The petition is a well coordinated request intended to force governmental oversight action upon the USA NRC; Unfortunately, we know the NRC is controlled by “a gang of four” sold-out Commissioners whom we think are intractable in their favoritism for the USA Nuclear Industry(and beyond, because of its global importance).  Please see: USA NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION STILL HOG-TIED AND IMPOTENT – PART 4.  http://energymaters.com/?p=584.

 We wish this Clean Energy Coalition the best of luck, and may their intentions reward us all with much needed safety improvement in the USA Nuclear Industry.
gonzedo

 

February 19, 2012 at 11:56 AM Comment (1)

USA NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION STILL HOG-TIED AND IMPOTENT – PART 4.

09 Feb 2012

For Part 3 see:  http://energymaters.com/?p=522  Dated 13 Jan 2012.

USA NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION APPROVES NEW NUKES IN USA Rockville, Maryland – USA Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), on 09 Feb 2012 approved plans to build the first two (2) new Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) in the USA in more than 30 years;  That, in spite of objections of the panel’s Chairman Gregory Jaczko who cited safety concerns stemming from Japan’s disastrous 2011 Fukushima disaster which have not yet been addressed the NRC;  Even so, The USA-NRC voted 4-1 to allow Atlanta-based “Southern Co” to build and operate two(2) new Nukes at its existing twin-Nuke site.

NRC CHAIRMAN CAST ONLY DISSENTING VOTE  Chairman Gregory Jaczko cast an extraordinary dissenting vote, citing the Fukushima triple meltdown on March 2011. That incident spurred the NRC to review whether “existing and new U.S. reactors” could withstand natural disasters like earthquakes floods, and even new seismic concerns, and to incorporate the “Fukushima lessons learned” to the NRC Regulations – No success in doing that reported to date.  Jaczko said: “I cannot support issuing this license as if Fukushima never happened…I believe it requires some type of binding commitment that the Fukushima enhancements that are currently projected and currently planned to be made, would be made before the operation of the facility.”  HE DID ALL HE COULD!   USA Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass),  Senior Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee said: “The NRC abdicated its duty to protect public health and safety just to make construction faster and cheaper for the nuclear industry…Rather than ushering in the so-called nuclear renaissance, today’s vote demonstrates that the NRC is still stuck in the nuclear safety Dark Ages.” PRETTY HARSH, BUT  REALISTIC ASSESMENT.

VOGTLE NPP is located in Burke County, near Waynesboro, in the State of Georgia. The twin Nukes will cost Southern (and partners) about $14 billion, and are expected to enter service as soon as 2016 and 2017. The US Secretary of Energy (DOE), Dr. Steven Chu had promised  Southern and its partners $8.3 billion in federal loan guarantees as incentives;  However, times have changed greatly in governmental spending – Chu could change his mind, but that is unlikely).  One reason for the rapid building projection timing (4 to 5 years)is supposed to be the “Modular Construction” of the new generation ESBWRs.

ENTER THE NEW GENERATION ESBWRs  The two (2)new NPPs  plan to use AP1000 (GEN III+ ?) reactors built by Westinghouse Electric, referred to as “ Economical Simplified Boiling Water Reactors (ESBWRs)”- a standardized design approved by the NRC in December 2011, that will be the foundation for several other proposed nuclear plants. Westinghouse however, is just a business front for (majority owned by) Japanese Multinational Toshiba Corp. (THAT IS THE KICKER!! – THESE FOLKS NORMALLY WANT A LIFETIME SERVICE CONTRACT )

THREE MILE ISLAND INCIDENT IN 1979 STOPPED NEW NUCLEAR CONSTRUCTION. There have been no new NPPs built in the United States since the partial meltdown of the reactor core of the “Three Mile Island” plant in Pennsylvania in 1979; That, caused construction costs for NPPs to skyrocket, and stopped dozens of planned plants in their tracks. Currently nuclear generation accounts for about 20% of total USA electrical generation.  Southern’s Vogtle project is the first in a queue of permits filed by U.S. utilities before the USA-NRC, such as: Scana Corp,

NATURAL GAS MAKES MUCH MORE SENSE NOW Than new Nukes. Interest in new NPPs had risen about a decade ago (before “Fracking“) when natural gas prices were soaring, and experts thought the U.S. Congress would place limits on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DECADE MAKES! Now the case for new Nukes has eroded due the lessons of the Fukushima Dai No.1. Triple meltdown, and to the abundance and low cost Nat gas supplies in the USA. Natural gas is about one half as polluting as coal for electrical generation. Michael Golay, a professor at the USA Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) said: “New nuclear plants are more questionable because there are economic factors right now which favor gas-fueled power plants and the fact that the economy is only growing slowly means that nationally the need for new generation is lower than people were expecting in 2007,” He added that  a 1,000-megawatt(Mw) natural gas plant takes a few years to permit and build, and costs up to $1 billion for the most efficient, combined-cycle model. A similar-sized nuclear reactor however could take five to 10 years to develop and build, and cost well in excess of $5 billion.  Golay’s rationale also led Mexico to scrap plans for 10 new Nukes, and use their new found abundance of Nat gas instead.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

 

February 9, 2012 at 3:43 PM Comments (3)

FUKUSHIMA DAI NO.1 OPENED A “ PANDORA’S BOX” OF NUCLEAR PERDITION

08 Feb 2012

This article is a sequel to JAPAN’S GOV. AND TEPCO ARE LYING AGAIN ABOUT A “COLD-SHUTDOWN” AT FUKUSHIMA NPPs      http://energymaters.com/?p=480

SEE THERE! WE TOLD YOU THEY WERE LYING – THEN, AND THEY ARE LYING STILL.  A former special adviser to Naoto Kan, who was prime minister when the crisis started, warned that the situation is far from resolved and said Fukushima has exposed a multitude of serious nuclear problems that Japan will have to confront for years. Dr. Hiroshi Tasaka (who has a doctorate in nuclear engineering) and is now a professor at Tama University, said in a recent interview with The Japan Times: “I would say (the crisis) just opened Pandora’s box”

DR. TASAKA SAW THE SECRET DOCUMENT. He recalled viewing the government’s FUKUSHIMA DAI NO.1 “WORST CASE SCENARIO” late March 2011, When he was officially appointed “special advisor to the prime minister” on March 29.  The document detailed a hypothetical Fukushima crisis worst case scenario: 1. Eventual contamination from the plant would require the government to assist residents in the Tokyo area to evacuate if they wanted to voluntarily “migrate,” based on the same evacuation protocols adopted for the 1986 Chernobyl accident. 2. The scenario assumed another hydrogen explosion would occur in the reactor #1 building, and radiation would force all of the workers at the plant to evacuate.  3. All of the pools storing hundreds of nuclear fuel assemblies would eventually lose their cooling ability, and the assemblies would melt down and breach the pools (spill on the ground, and most probably initiate an uncontrollable chain reaction of unimaginable magnitude).  SCARY, IS IT NOT!

“SPENT FUEL POOLS” STILL THE BIGGEST DANGER according to Dr. Hiroshi Tasaka who was one of a select group allowed to glimpse the secret “WORST CASE SCENARIO” document written up by the Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC).  According to the scenario, the biggest risk during the meltdown crisis wasn’t the reactors themselves, but the spent fuel pools sitting atop them, particularly the one above reactor 4, which still contains about 1,500 nuclear fuel assemblies.  Unlike reactors 1, 2 and 3, the No. 4 unit was “offline for regular checks” when disaster struck on 11 Mar 2011, and thus the reactor (NUKE) didn’t suffer a meltdown. But its fuel rods were in the pool outside the reactor, and the pool’s coolant water fell dangerously low. Adding to that danger, the fuel pool was (is) now directly exposed to the outside environment after a hydrogen explosion blew off the upper part of the reactor building on 15 Mar 2011. The Spent Fuel Pool still appears to be dangling over the edge of the reactor building.  Dr. Tasaka added ominously: “The potential heat from the pool was also much higher than other pools because 204 of the 1,535 assemblies were still “new ones” that had been temporarily removed from reactor 4 for regular checks”

IT’S THE POOLS – FOOLS! The Fukushima No.1 Triple meltdown has highlighted the dangers of spent fuel pools, which are outside the robust primary containment vessels of the reactors themselves. Dr. Tasaka said: “Under the current circumstances, the nation has no prospect of starting up the experimental high-level nuclear waste processing facility in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, because of both technical difficulties and the sentiments of antinuclear activists: This means utilities must (continue to) store their spent fuel assemblies in cooling pools at their respective reactor sites as a “temporary measure…That situation greatly increased the danger at Fukushima No. 1 on March 11…The storage capacities of the spent fuel pools at the nation’s nuclear power plants are reaching their limits”. According to Dr. Tasaka: “The utilities’ fuel pools were about 70 % full on average in 2010, but the figure was 80 % at Fukushima No. 1. The makeshift cooling systems set up at Fukushima No. 1 to stabilize the stricken reactors and fuel pools have greatly reduced the possibility of another catastrophe; Even so, the improvised system for decontaminating the coolant water, is nevertheless generating large amounts of highly contaminated waste every day… Making matters worse, the government (OR INDUSTRY ?) doesn’t have any place to permanently store it”.

WORST CASE SCENARIO “SO SHOCKING” IT NEEDED SECRECY. The simulation was “so shocking” that top government officials decided to keep the paper secret by treating it as a “mere personal document” of JAEC Chairman Shunsuke Kondo, who compiled the simulation. The government only gave it official recognition at the end of Dec 2011 – More than 10 months after Tasaka saw the worst-case scenario paper.  Dr. Tasaka is still not sure if such scary information should immediately be made public during a nuclear plant crisis; He said: “The assumed worst case was extreme and people did not need to immediately flee the Tokyo area even in March or April” Dr. Tasaka added that disclosing the simulation could have caused panic in the capital”  Dr. Tasaka was obliged to keep secret the “worse case scenario” learned at the prime minister’s office, and did not feel in a position to decide “what information” was to be made public during the crisis.

“GROUNDLESS OPTIMISM” – A SOURCE OF CONCERN Dr. Tasaka is also deeply concerned about the “groundless optimism” displayed by bureaucrats and business leaders as they rush to restart dozens of reactors that remain halted for safety checks since March 11. He said: “I understand quite well the intentions of the government, which now wants to send out a message of hope. But at this stage, all the risks should be put on the table…The nation’s nuclear regulators must carry out drastic reforms to regain the people’s trust. This is an imperative for the government if it wants to keep pushing nuclear power”.

WHAT INFORMATION SHOULD BE RELEASED TO THE PUBLIC ?. That is still an unanswered question that crosses moral, ethical, and “salvation of the many” grounds not yet broached satisfactorily by “nuclear” countries.  Dr. Tasaka said he decided to start talking about the “worse-case scenario” only after Prime Minister Kan mentioned some of its highlights during an interview with the media in Sep 2011. Dr. Tasaka recently wrote in a new book, “Kantei Kara Mita Genpatsu Jiko No Shinjitu” (The Truth About the Nuclear Accident as Viewed From the Prime Minister’s Office). Dr. Tasaka now believes the media and government should lay some ground rules in advance, on what sensitive information should be made clear in a nuclear crisis.  A TOUGH NUT TO CRACK!  BUT CRACK IT WE MUST – IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST !

Thanks to The Japan Times (online) for quotations,  08 Feb 2012  http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120208f1.html

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

MY TAKE:

IT’S THE POOLS – FOOLS!!!  Even though this article is self-explanatory, the concerns expressed herein bear careful scrutiny, and the realization that Japan is not alone in its plight with “Nuclear waste” produced by Nukes, and with nowhere to go.  There are literally thousands of Nukes worldwide (mostly old ones) with “Spent Fuel Pools” being used as  “Nuclear Waste Repositories”;  Unfortunately, most spent fuel pools are located on the same building with the Nukes, and above the Nuke itself to facilitate spent fuel removal, and re-installation by the use of remotely controlled davit/cranes.  Convenient location, but potentially deadly, because ” SPENT FUEL POOLS” MAKE POOR “NUCLEAR WASTE REPOSITORIES ” FOR MANY REASONS TO BE EXPLORED LATER.

WHO ME ? ? We noticed Dr. Tasaka too(also) avoids responsibility for the “release of information question” “He was just an advisor” THEY ALL SAY THAT! Even so, the IAEA could perform a useful function (for once) in writing proposals regarding the release of information, critical to the survival of potentially thousands of innocent victims of nuclear catastrophes; Unfortunately they, and most of the Nuclear Regulatory Agencies of the world, consider it their primary duty to hide such information to protect powerful financial interests. – Yes, here, there, and everywhere!  IT IS A HELL OF A WAY TO RUN A RAILROAD!!!   

Edward Oliver Gonzalez(gonzedo)

 

 

 

February 8, 2012 at 6:34 PM Comments (15)

BULGARIA TO “BITE THE BULLET” AND TELL RUSSIA “THANKS, BUT NO THANKS”- PART 2

05 Feb 2012

THIS IS A SEQUEL TO PART 1, dated 27 Oct 2011. http://energymaters.com/?p=388

BULGARIA JUST CAN’T AFFORD IT!  Recall that Bulgaria, the European Union (EU)’s poorest member, faces a seemingly impossible task to finish the 2,000 Megawatt (twin reactor), Russian-designed Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), in Belene, Bulgaria. The lessons of the Fukushima Dai No.1 triple meltdown on 12 Mar 2011, have caused Bulgarians to reassess the 30 year-old Russian NPP design planned there. Russia’s Rosatom wants an extra $2.1 billion Euros now, for a total of 6.1 Billion Euros, that they say would be needed for improved safety measures, and insurance.  NO WAY JOSE! (OR IS IT VLADIMIR ?)

MOST BULGARIANS OPPOSE THE BELENE NPP PROJECT. Prominent Mr. Minchev opposes the project because the government chose the Russian supplier in 2005 without any regard for fair competition.” The reactor design is obsolete, the costs are running out of control, and the project is making Bulgaria even more dependent on Russia for energy supplies “ HE IS A MAN WHO “ TELLS IT LIKE IT IS” Minchev adds: “This project was developed without any consideration for our national interest, or the broader political and strategic interests of our European allies…The nuclear reactors proposed were developed 30 years ago (old technology). Why are we buying them?”. GOOD QUESTION! – ANSWER: JUST BECAUSE!  Mark Hibbs, an analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Berlin, said on 22 Oct 2011: “Some observers in the nuclear financing and nuclear project management field believe that the present Bulgarian government would prefer to walk away from this project.” IF ONLY THEY COULD DO SO GRACEFULLY.

NPPs WERE FAST-TRACKED BY RUSSIA’S VLADIMIR PUTIN TROUGH THE CREATION OF NOW STATE-OWNED ROSATOM (MinAtom)  Min-Atom was reorganized as the “Russian Federal Agency on Atomic Energy” on 09 Mar 2004, and transformed to a State corporation; Passed into the law, by the Russian Parliament on Nov 2007; and signed by President Putin in early Dec, 2007. Rosatom, currently sells nuclear fuel for Bulgaria’s only existing atomic plant at Kozloduy. SEE THERE, RUSSIANS DON’T JUST BUILD NPPs, THEY WANT A CONTRACT TO BUILD AND MAINTAIN THE NPP’s FOR LIFE. They evidently also want a piece of the global “NPP And Maintenance” action sought by France’s Areva, Japanese, and now Chinese nuclear Purveyors.

FAST – FORWARD TO 04 FEB 2012 …U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has arrived in Bulgaria for talks that are expected to focus on energy security.  Clinton flew to Bulgaria from the German city of Munich, where she attended an international Security Conference on 04 Feb 2012.  It seems that energy scarcity on Eastern European Countries has given the Term: “Cold-War” a new meaning.  There are hundreds of deaths reported this winter, and blamed on energy shortfalls. We feel certain she was invited there by the Bulgarian government.  

CLINTON’S BRIEF VISIT TO SOFIA , BULGARIA. During her brief visit on Sunday, 05 Feb 2012, Clinton is scheduled to meet with Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev and Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. Ms. Clinton is expected to urge the Eastern European country of Bulgaria to develop new energy sources, and break its dependence on Russia for its nuclear, oil and gas supplies.  Even though NPPs were not mentioned , we must remember they are a long standing “bone of contention” between Russia’s Rosatom, and Bulgaria.

BULGARIANS “WANT OUT” OF THEIR OLD DEALS WITH RUSSIA Bulgarian study centers may give the Bulgarian government the arguments it needs to “bite the bullet”, and cancel the Belene NPP without upsetting Russia, its chief supplier of oil and natural gas. Their concern appears to be how to say: Sorry, but we just don’t want these NPPs anymore; without upsetting their political relations with their longtime ally, Russia; To that end, Bulgaria appears ready to “bite the bullet” and write-off 2.1 Billion Euros to the Belene experience.  Mark Hibbs, an analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Berlin, said on 22 Oct 2011: “Some observers in the nuclear financing and nuclear project management field believe that the present Bulgarian government would prefer to walk away from this project.” – IF ONLY THEY COULD DO SO GRACEFULLY.  Perhaps that is the reason Bulgaria called on “Big-Sister” Hillary Clinton to provide moral(and perhaps other) support.  This winter may be Bulgaria’s “winter of their discontent” as Russia has significantly reduced their Nat-gas supply – A squeeze play?  Only Russia knows for sure. TRUTHFULLY: RELIANCE ON ONE’S NEIGHBORS FOR ANYTHING, CAN HAVE DIRE CONSEQUENCES.  IT IS NO WONDER THEY CALL IT “ENERGY SECURITY” – SOUNDS GOOD! , EVEN IF EPHEMERAL.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez

This is also published in larger text at: http://forums.mysanantonio.com/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/179623#Post179623

February 5, 2012 at 5:08 PM Comments (0)