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

FRANCE PLAYS A CENTRAL ROLE IN THE NUCLEAR WASTE DILEMMA

23 July 2015

BELOW IS A REPRINT OF A STILL VERY TIMELY AND PERTINENT POST

FRANCE SENDS ITS “MIXED OXIDE (MOX)” HOT NUCLEAR WASTE TO JAPAN

Filed under Nuclear Energy by gonzedo

21 Apr 2013

AREVA- S.A. said on 18 Apr 2013 that it has engaged two (2) British ships to transport Mixed Oxide (MOX) hot nuclear waste to Japan.  The MOX shipment will go round the Cape of Good Hope (So Africa – long regarded by sailors as the world’s most treacherous waters), to the SW Pacific Ocean, and on to Japan’s Takahama Nuclear Power Plant (NPP).  Looks like AREVA S.A. (little Sister to Electricite de France – EDF),  gets to do its “dirty-work” to protect the reputation of the French State-Owned Corporation with 58 NPPs– games politicians play!

“AREVA- S.A.”  IS A FRENCH BASED WORLD-CLASS CORPORATION, headquartered in Paris, France. It is essentially a NPP, and nuclear fuel purveyor.  In a broader sense, it represents the political will of France to colonize the world by meeting their energy needs, and imposing their technology and logistical support for many years.  Japan had similar ambitions until the dream blew up at Fukushima, Dai No.1 NPP about two years ago.  On 28 Jan 2010, AREVA S.A. announced a major re-organization of its nuclear and renewable operations.  Its activities are now divided into four (4) Business Groups:

  1. Mining-Front End: combines operations related to uranium exploration and mining, uranium conversion,  enrichment, and the design, and fabrication of uranium fuel for nuclear reactors.
  1. Reactors and Services: designs and builds NPPs, naval propulsion reactors, research reactors, and manufactures/sells related  equipment.
  2. Back End: manages all operations in the back-end of the nuclear cycle, from used nuclear fuel recycling, to the dismantling and value development of nuclear facilities.
  3. Renewable Energies: Including  four (4) renewable energies: wind energy, bio-energy, solar power, and  hydrogen/ energy storage.

For a comprehensive article about France’s nuclear politics/national policy, etc. read:  http://energymaters.com/?m=20120104

FRANCE SUFFERED A MOX PROCESSING PLANT FIRE OF UNTOLD CONSEQUENCES NEAR NIMES on 12 Sep 2011.  For a good description of “MOX Processing” see:  http://energymaters.com/?m=20110912.  Evidently, their “lesson learned” was: Don’t! – Ship it elsewhere.

Recall the French hot-nuclear waste shipments by rail to Germany?  See: http://energymaters.com/?m=201111 dated 26 Nov 2011.  Germany finally said: Halt! -Verboten and won’t have any more of it. 

THIS TIME THE MOX SHIPMENT IS BOUND FOR JAPAN BY SEA to Kansai Electric Power Co. -“Takahama” NPP)west of Tokyo).   AREVA- S.A.  said in a statement on 18 Apr 2013,  that the HMS Pacific Heron and the HMS Pacific Egret (both of British Nuclear Shipping Co. PNTL) had left the port of Cherbourg (in Northern France) loaded with highly radioactive MOX  nuclear fuel, and plans to reach Japanese waters after 15 Jun 2013.

WE CONTINUE TO BELIEVE THAT: THOSE WHO INSIST ON CREATING NUCLEAR WASTE (FRANCE STILL DOES! – BIG TIME) SHOULD FEEL A RESPONSIBILITY TO DEAL WITH THEIR OWN MESS, RATHER THAN SHIPPING IT ELSEWHERE

PROBLEM IS: MOX CONTAINS ABOUT 6% – 10% PLUTONIUM, and it is perceived as a national security threat, so “special precautions” will be taken taken during transportation (go figure what those will be). The shipment is certain to be controversial in Japan, where public opposition to nuclear power, and reactor restarts, remains strong two (2) years after the Fukushima tragedy which prompted the shutdown of all Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors until there were none left operating by May 2012, thus leaving the country without atomic power for the first time since 1970; As a result, Japan has had to import fossil fuels to run power stations, pushing it into a record trade deficit; But…

ALAS ! “BACK TO THE FUTURE” IN JAPANESE POLITICS. In 2013, the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, returned to power and has said it will “reassess the previous government’s decision to abandon atomic power”.  For now, only two (2) NPPs at Kansai Electric’s Ohi plant (near Takahama) are the only ones operating in Japan, naturally…

JAPAN’S BUSINESS LOBBY WAS SUPPORTIVE OF OF THE RE-START DECISION. Last 16 Jun 2012, Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of Keidanren’s said: “We welcome this decision, which was based on the government’s efforts to ensure safety and the understanding of local authorities toward restarts. The restart of nuclear power plants will contribute to the stable supply of electricity and help control the risk of rising prices. We hope other nuclear plants will restart as well, premised on the assurance of safety and understanding of local communities.” Perhaps the re-processing and or use of MOX in their reactors was the real intention for the Ohi-NPP re-start.

BAD DECISION! – For the people of Japan.  Any reactor using MOX as fuel incurs the risk that in a catastrophic “blowup” (such as the one that occurred in Fukushima), Plutonium in granular or powder form will become airborne, become a true people killer, and remain so for millennia. See:  http://energymaters.com/?p=876 , But then, Kansai considers its Ohi NPP indispensable – see: http://energymaters.com/?p=552The rub is that the Ohi NPP has not even instituted the Fukushima safety improvements!  Japanese Nuclear Industry, and its powerful Business Lobby are heartless, and in our opinion, very penny-wise, and pound foolish.

WHY DO BRITISH SHIPS TRANSPORT THE FRENCH MOX NUCLEAR WASTE?  Because that is one of their businesses.  Pacific Nuclear Transport Limited (PNTL) is controlled by International Nuclear Services (INS), a United Kingdom company involved in the management and transportation of nuclear fuels, and based in Rinsley, UK.  It is a wholly owned subsidiary of the UKGovernment.  “Oh!- what a tangled web we weave: When first we practise to deceive!” now if  one of their transport ships loaded with nuclear waste, were stranded on your shores, “who you going to call?- Ghostbusters!”  Seriously, who are you going to file legal suit against, and where? Remember the British Petroleum (BP) humongous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico some 3 years ago?  Well…it is still being litigated while all the protagonists point fingers at one another.  SEE! It’s madness with a method, contrived by very skillful merchants of death, in a very litigious country still controlled by the Uranium and Oil Cartel Lobby.  Notice that after having been denied approval by Parliament on the building of eight (8) NPPs in the UK, they have returned to the PR charge again- big-time! We have no choice but to build NPPs” (They all say that!). Like hell they don’t!  But they just want to keep on doing what is highly profitable for a very few, and to hell with humanity.

GREAT BRITAIN ALSO HAD A BAD MOX EXPERIENCE AT SELLAFIELD on the NW English coast (Border with Ireland), and decided to close the facility on Aug 2011.  Yeah!  The British NDA was managing that too.  It is evident that MOX fuel reprocessing is both dangerous, and a “nasty” job whose time (technically speaking) may not be here yet.  Both France and GB tried, and failed. Now it will be up to Japan, and they are a four-time looser.  Ref: http://energymaters.com/?m=20110807

THIS IS AN IMPORTANT STORY BECAUSE IT DEMONSTRATES THAT THE ACHILLES HEEL OF THE URANIUM NUKE INDUSTRY IS STILL: HOW TO DISPOSE OF ALL THE PERSISTENT POISONS (Transuranics) THEY PRODUCE.  IF THEY KNEW HOW, THEY WOULD.

REMEMBER: We “Tell it like it is” and connect the points. That is why we keep this journal.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

#12-2013

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UPDATE 23 Jul 2015 WITH PERTINENT COMMENTS

P.S.  TWO SHIPS LEFT FRANCE destined for Japan, but ONLY ONE ARRIVED.  What happened to the second one?. Reportedly  both ships took a very dangerous and circuitous route to Japan that took them nearly three months; and navigating through the Marianas trench (the deepest point of the ocean in the world). WAS THE SECOND SHIP WHICH DID NOT REACH JAPAN, SCUTTLED IN THE DEEP? , or it, and its contents  dumped slowly into the sea? If that took place, it would  mark a devious and low decision of unfathomable consequences; orchestrated by France, and executed by HMS (UK) naval vessels with UK governmental consent. We remember the arrival of the larger ship to the Japanese coast was a very guarded affair. Why was such secrecy necessary? Then again, Japan continues to unabashedly dump nuclear perdition into the sea at Fukushima Dai no.1 NPP. Folks, We are just connecting the dots. …Many would say: they just don’t care!, in Texas we would say: they just don’t give a shit!

MORE RECENTLY

On (or about) 21 July 2015, France announced its government had passed a law to reduce their nuclear dependency. Why? The French Government owns both Areva and Electricitie de France (EDF); so, why is a new law required? Perhaps in France Areva/EDF, are the“tail that wags the dog”. The same thing happened in GB, where parliament had vetoed further NPP construction in the UK; yet they went ahead with eight more NPPs.  YES! HUGE NUCLEAR AND OTHER ENERGY CARTELS ARE THAT POWERFUL! In our opinion the time is ripe for France, UK, Finland, China, and other nations to recognize the folly of their EPR enterprise (it appears China did so long ago), and cut their losses, while investing in green energy generation as the most long term lucrative way to remedy the worlds’ energy problems without further poisoning of our seas, air, and land, and creating new industries. Most of the rest of our world is transitioning to green energy very successfully; and so could they.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

#4-2015

 

 

July 23, 2015 at 1:38 PM Comments (0)

NUCLEAR RENAISSANCE? – NOT IN FRANCE, ENGLAND, FINLAND, OR CHINA

9 Jul 2015

On 9 Jul 2015 BBC announced that a fatal flaw has been discovered in a twin reactor, large Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) designed by Areva / Eletricite de France (EDF) currently under construction at Hinkley in the UK, and in Flamaville Normandy.; Pierre-Franck Chevet, President of the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN- counterpart to the USA ‘s NRC) told the BBC that: “ the flaw in the steel housing the reactor core at the nuclear plant being built in Normandy is serious. Chevet added that unless he was satisfied with the plans to put it right (replace the steel containment pressure vessel?), he could stop the project (of course he could, but would he?). EDFs, PR campaign is already saying that the fault in the reactor is thought to be a construction fault, not an inherent weakness in the design. Oh really? Fortunately, or unfortunately for the world, the troubled European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) under construction in France England are the the standard bearers for the next generation of Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs). Note: In our opinion the EPR is already an obsolete, common Light Water Pressurized Water Reactor with a few more bells and whistles, but with fatal metal flaws.

ASN PRES. CHEVET ADDED: It is a serious anomaly affecting a crucial component of the NPP …We have observed a bad chemical and mechanical characteristic.” ASN has ordered the French state owned reactor manufacturer Areva (Little sister to EDF)to conduct a further round of destructive testing on a similar component which will see the 116 ton pressure vessel head or lid once earmarked for the planned reactor at Hinkley C, destroyed in the process. Clearly authorities are beginning to look for the least expensive way to “certify” the operability of the steel pressure vessel despite Chevet’s assessment that “We have observed a bad chemical and mechanical characteristic.”Fatal flaw is more like it! But Pierre-Franck Chevet says the tests revealed the resilience of the steel used was “far below the proscribed value”.

FRENCH STATE-OWNED “EDF GROUP”, Plays a central role in four (4) countries that are way behind in similar NPP projects, has issued a statement that new tests are planned intended to: “provide the safety authority (ASN) with all the necessary information to demonstrate the safety and quality of the corresponding equipment” . However, ASN’ Pres Chevet says Chemical and mechanical tests on the steel completed in late 2014 found “high carbon concentration, leading to lower than expected mechanical toughnessOn this characteristic (of the steel) we have 50% of (the desired) what we want.”.For comparative purposes, imagine a solid steel thermos bottle with the following particulars: The 12.7 meter high pressure vessel weighs 410 tons Plus a 116 ton pressure vessel head (or lid if you will), is designed to contain huge mechanical and thermal shocks. Current French standards require the vessel to withstand shocks of 60 joules, but ASN found actual values as low as 30 joules,-is in parts, about ½ as strong as it needs to be.

ASNs PIERRE-FRANCK CHEVET SOUNDS TOUGH, BUT in the end, he blinked when he said: Though there are aspects of the material which were good. ASN will not give its verdict (?) until early next year (2016), but EDF maintains work will continue for now. Mr Chevet told the BBC:.”It could be yes, it could be no it could be yes with certain conditions”. Too bad he did not elaborate. Certain conditions? Payola ?; who knows? . The flagship project for manufacturers Areva and the French state owned utility EDF is already several years behind schedule, and the costs have soared from £2.3billion at the time of purchase, to nearly £6 billion now.

COST CONSIDERATION IS PARAMOUNT IN DECISION MAKING. International nuclear consultant Yves Marignac, Director of “Wise-Paris”, has been critical of the French nuclear program for many years He recently said: “The problem would raise serious issues of profitability…Economic scenario assessments might show that abandoning the project is cheaper than repair or replacement options, when factors such as the financial costs of further delays, or savings on decommissioning costs if the reactor doesn’t go nuclear are included.” In other words, the program does not make money sense. We agree, we saw this in our backyard several years ago.

MEANWHILE IN FLAMANVILLE NORMANDY an identical, EPR NPP has identical problems. Its completion date has shifted from 2012 to 2017, and the latest French ASN pronouncements presage very expensive and time consuming efforts if they have to replace both the base, of the reactor as well as the lid. Steve Thomas, professor of energy policy at Greenwich University; has written extensively about the EPR delays, and said:.”Removing the base would be more time consuming and could be prohibitively expensive.” We think the operative word is “prohibitively”. It could mean abort the project. We hope they will.

MEANWHILE IN THE BRITISH Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) Counterpart to the French ASN, A spokesman said: If we need to fabricate a new (containment vessel) bottom and head, that is not going to be quick…our two organizations are liaisoning closely…ONR expects that any learning that is identified from Flamanville, will apply to the Hinkley Point C project.” The statement said: “If ONR is not convinced that an activity is sufficiently safe, it will not [give] permission for the activity.”

SEA WATER FOR COOLANT SEEMS INCOMPREHENSIBLE. Remember Fukushima 11 Mar 2011. Like Dai No 1, Hinkley’s large twin reactors (1,600 MW ea.) are located close, perhaps too close, and insufficiently high above the sea level. That, they say, is to use sea water as a coolant. Fukushima has demonstrated sea water exacerbates all cooling problems because of its corrosive effect but, sea water is abundant; and besides, if not sea water, what other coolant? TEPCO/Fukushima though they had planned for fresh water, but quickly resorted to sea-water in the emergency when their fresh water pumps failed.

EDF /AREVA SAYS: in an official statement, “there is still plenty of time to learn the lessons.”EDF Energy still has to make its final investment decision regarding the reactors to be built at Hinkley in Somerset the equivalent parts which will be used on Hinkley Point C have not yet been manufactured. The way in which they will be manufactured will ensure they meet all the requirements of the UK regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR)”.

FRANCE’S ASN PLANS CHINA VISIT. In a written technical assessment, France ASN confirms the two EPR reactor vessels being built in Taishan China were cast at the same forge in Le Creusot in eastern France “using a process similar to that used for the Flamanville EPR reactor pressure vessel”. Mr Chevet will fly to China in the coming weeks to speak to his counterpart, the Chinese Nuclear Regulator there. It could be a terse conversation given the growing interdependence of their two nuclear industries. Chevet added: “It is serious enough to put the EPR at risk from a technical point of view, and it raises big questions about the competence and integrity of the NPP industry.” Now he is telling it like it is! The Chinese people are not likely to accept lies or half-truths.

PLEASE NOTE THAT NO MENTION WAS MADE OF NUCLEAR WASTE DISPOSAL. With over 1,000 NPPs in operation today continuing to accumulate “spent” high level nuclear waste in their cooling ponds, the magnitude of the problem of highly persistent radioactive fuel rods with nowhere to go, continues to be one of today’s most serious problems along with climate change and sea-level rise. Please read our next post in that regard.

P.S. Malaysia’s Airasia would sell in a minute to any willing buyer. They continue all forms of commercial zig-zagging, and cheap flight enticements to no avail. Their aircraft maintenance, and piloting skills are no longer trusted by most travelers.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez

July 9, 2015 at 9:45 PM Comments (0)