energymaters.com

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

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)

NUKE DECOMMISSIONING (SHUT-DOWN AND REMOVAL) – HIDDEN COST OF NUCLEAR POWER

31 Jan 2012

THE HIDDEN COSTS OF NUCLEAR GENERATION I guess it took the Fukushima Triple Meltdown to awaken the world to the realities of Nuclear Power. There are many nations all over the world today facing the stark reality that “DECOMMISSIONING A NUKE” is not as simple as turning off a switch, or the lights out at each site. Best-laid plans for this expensive, dangerous and fuzzy process exist. It is even difficult to define exactly what it means.  One thing is clear: It is a very expensive process for which few countries(if any) have a Reserve Fund really available – Including the USA.  The $25B Fund supposedly held by the US treasury for that purpose has disappeared, and apparently no one knows where it is.  There is a rumor that it went into our National General fund, but no one will say for sure.  Do you think we borrowed from “Peter to Pay Paul“ ? I hope so! – It could be worse if some one absconded our $25Billion.  It is pitiful!  Nothing shocks me anymore!

MONEY, MONEY, MOONY!! That is the reason most “Nuclear countries” want to “Kick the can down the road” by extending reactor life by at least 20 years. If successful (as Japan and France want), they stand to continue to profit immensely at the world’s public risk of Nuclear Disaster.  Among such countries are France, Sweden, Russia, Japan, Ukraine(site of Chernobyl) an many others. We are waiting for Japan’s official stance on denuclearization soon.

I say: It is time to smell the coffee and begin to plan how, and how soon to address Nuke Decommissioning.  Failure to do so augurs more Chernobyl’s and Fukushima’s throughout the world.  Let us see what the USA-NRC best-laid of plans says:

NUCLEAR POWER PLANT(NPP) DECOMMISSIONING **********************************************************

When a power company decides to close its nuclear power plant permanently, the facility must be decommissioned by safely removing it from service, and reducing residual radioactivity to a level that permits release of the property and termination of the operating license. The USA-Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has strict rules governing nuclear power plant decommissioning, involving cleanup of radioactively contaminated plant systems and structures, and removal of the radioactive fuel. These requirements protect workers and the public during the entire decommissioning process and the public after the “license is terminated” KAPUT!

THREE (3)TYPES OF NPP DECOMMISSIONING:  Nuke owner(licensee) may choose from: DECON, SAFSTOR, or ENTOMB.

1.  DECON (immediate dismantlement), soon after the nuclear facility closes, equipment, structures, and portions of the facility containing radioactive contaminants are removed or decontaminated to a level that permits release of the property and termination of the NRC license.

2. SAFSTOR, often considered “delayed DECON,” a nuclear facility is maintained and monitored in a condition that allows the radioactivity to decay; afterwards, it is dismantled and the property decontaminated.

3. ENTOMB, radioactive contaminants are permanently encased on site in structurally sound material such as concrete and appropriately maintained and monitored until the radioactivity decays to a level permitting restricted release of the property. To date, no NRC-licensed facilities have requested this option.  In the Ukraine, CHERNOBYL was entombed in concrete 25 years ago.  Even so, in 2011 Russia asked the world (and received) one Billion to re-“Entomb” the plant with concrete.  It seems it had began to show serious cracks all over. The Japanese too are beginning to acknowledge that it is near impossible to  keep Godzila underground for long.  Uncontrolled radiation is pure hell! It goes where it wants to go.

4. OPTIONAL COMBO The licensee may also choose to adopt a “combination of “DECON, AND SAFSTOR”  in which some portions of the facility are dismantled or decontaminated while other parts of the facility are left in SAFSTOR. The decision may be based on factors besides radioactive decay such as availability of waste disposal sites. (TO MUDDY-UP THE WATER)

APPLICABLE NRC REGULATIONS (REGS) The requirements for decommissioning a nuclear power plant are set out in NRC Reg (Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 20 Subpart E, and Parts 50.75, 50.82, 51.53, and 51.95). In August 1996, a revised rule went into effect that redefined the decommissioning process and required owners to provide the NRC with “early notification” (HOW SOON IS EARLY ?) of planned decommissioning activities. The rule allows no major decommissioning activities to be undertaken until after certain information has been provided to the NRC and the public.

USA-NRC ESCAPE CLAUSE FOR NUKE OWNERS: To be acceptable, decommissioning must be completed within 60 years of the plant ceasing operations. A time beyond that would be considered only when necessary to protect public health and safety in accordance with NRC regulations.

OPPORTUNITY FOR PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT Several opportunities are provided for public involvement during the decommissioning process. A public meeting is held in the vicinity of the facility after submittal of a “Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR)” to the NRC. Another public meeting is held when NRC receives the License Termination Plan (LTP). 

LTP AMENDMENTS  A public hearing is provided prior to issuance of a license amendment approving the LTP or any other license amendment request. In addition, when NRC holds a meeting with the licensee, members of the public may observe the meeting (except when the discussion involves proprietary, sensitive, safeguards, or classified information); THAT IS THE FLY IN THE OINTMENT!  THE NPP OWNERS GET TO WRITE THEIR OWN TICKET!

PHASES OF DECOMMISSIONING: The requirements for NPP decommissioning activities are:

(1) Initial activities

(2) Major decommissioning and storage

(3) License termination

1. INITIAL ACTIVITIES: When a nuclear power plant licensee shuts down the plant permanently, it must (a) Submit a written certification of permanent cessation of operations to the NRC within 30 days. (b)When radioactive nuclear fuel is permanently removed from the reactor vessel, the owner must submit another written certification to the NRC, surrendering its authority to operate the reactor or load fuel into the reactor vessel. This eliminates the obligation to adhere to certain requirements needed only during reactor operation. (c )Within two(2) years after submitting the certification of permanent closure, the licensee must submit a  “Post-shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR)” to the NRC. This report provides a description of the planned decommissioning activities, along with a schedule for accomplishing them, and an estimate of the expected costs. The PSDAR must discuss the reasons for concluding that environmental impacts associated with the site-specific decommissioning activities have already been addressed in previous environmental analyses. Otherwise, the licensee must request a license amendment for approval of the activities and submit to the NRC a report on the additional impacts of decommissioning on the environment. (d) After receiving a PSDAR, the NRC publishes a notice of receipt in the Federal Register, makes the report available for public review and comment, and holds a public meeting in the vicinity of the plant to discuss the licensee’s intentions.

2. MAJOR DECOMMISSIONING AND STORAGE (ACTUAL BEGINNING OF DISMANTLEMENT) May begin 90 days after the NRC receives the PSDAR.  the NPP owner can begin major decommissioning activities without specific NRC approval. These could include permanent removal of such major components as the reactor vessel, steam generators, large piping systems, pumps, and valves.  However, decommissioning activities conducted without specific prior NRC approval must not prevent release of the site for possible unrestricted use, result in there being no reasonable assurance that adequate funds will be available for decommissioning, or cause any significant environmental impact not previously reviewed.  If any decommissioning activity (Licensee) does not meet these terms, the licensee is required to submit a “License amendment request”, which would provide an opportunity for a public hearing.

3. LICENSE TERMINATION The owner is required to submit a License Termination Plan(LTP) within two(2) years of the anticipated license termination. The plan addresses each of the following: (a) site characterization, (b)identification of remaining site dismantlement activities,  (c)plans for site remediation, (d)detailed plans for final radiation surveys for release of the site, (e)method for demonstrating compliance with the radiological criteria for license termination, (f)updated site-specific estimates of remaining decommissioning costs, and (g)a supplement to the environmental report that describes any new information or significant environmental changes associated with the owner’s proposed termination activities.  Most plans envision releasing the site to the public for unrestricted use, meaning any residual radiation would be below NRC’s limits of 25 millirem annual exposure and there would be no further regulatory controls by the NRC. Any plan proposing release of a site for restricted use must: (a) describe the site’s end use, (b) documentation on public consultation, (c) institutional controls, and financial assurance needed to comply with the requirements for license termination (d) for restricted release, The LTP requires NRC approval of a license amendment. Before approval can be given, an opportunity for hearing is published and a public meeting is held near the NPP plant site. The NRC uses a standard review plan – NUREG-1700, “Standard Review Plan for Evaluating Nuclear Power Reactor License Termination Plans” to ensure high quality and uniformity of LTP reviews. The standard review plan is available to the public, so that NRC’s review process is understood clearly.  IF the remaining dismantlement has been performed in accordance with the approved LTP, and the termination survey demonstrates that the facility, and site are suitable for release, the NRC issues a letter terminating the operating license.

FUNDING OF DECOMMISSIONING EXPENSES Initially, the owner can use up to 3 % of its funds set aside for decommissioning planning.  An additional 20 % can be used 90 days after submittal of the PSDAR. The remaining “decommissioning trust funds” are then available when the owner submits a detailed “site-specific” cost estimate to the NRC. Each nuclear power plant licensee must report to the NRC every two(2) years the status of its decommissioning funding for each reactor, or share of a reactor that it owns. The report must estimate the minimum amount needed for decommissioning by using the formulas found in Reg.10 CFR 50.75(c). Licensees may alternatively determine a “site-specific” funding estimate, provided that amount is greater than the generic decommissioning estimate.

ESTIMATED DECOMMISSIONING COSTS Although there are many factors that affect reactor decommissioning costs, generally range from $300 million to $400 million. (SUCH FIGURES ARE CLEARLY VERY, VERY LOW IN TODAYS WORLD, AND SUBJECT TO REMEDIATION INCREASES ON SPECIFIC SITES) Approximately 70 % of licensees are authorized to accumulate decommissioning funds over the operating life of their plants. EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE : The owners – generally traditional, rate-regulated electric utilities, or indirectly regulated generation companies – are not required today to have all of the funds needed for decommissioning. The remaining licensees must provide financial assurance through other methods such as prepaid decommissioning funds and/or a surety method or guarantee. The staff performs an independent analysis of each of these reports to determine whether licensees are providing reasonable “decommissioning funding assurance” for radiological decommissioning of the reactor at the permanent termination of operation. Before a NPP begins operations, the licensee must establish, or obtain a financial mechanism – such as a trust fund, or a guarantee from its parent company – to ensure that there will be sufficient money to pay for the ultimate decommissioning of the facility.

“SPENT FUEL” DISPOSAL PROVISIONS (ENTER: ISFSI’s).  Several NPPs completed decommissioning in the 1990s, without a viable option for disposing of their spent nuclear fuel, because the federal government did not construct a geologic repository as planned. Accordingly, the NRC implemented regulations allowing licensees to sell off part of their land once it meets NRC release criteria, while maintaining a small parcel under license for storing the spent fuel. These stand-alone facilities, called Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installations(ISFSIs)”, remain under license and NRC regulation. Licensees are responsible for their security, and for maintaining insurance and funding for eventual decommissioning.

CONTAMINATION AND DECOMMISSIONING “LESSONS LEARNED” As more facilities complete decommissioning, the NRC is implementing “lessons learned” in order to improve the program and focus on the prevention of future legacy sites. Applications for new reactors must now describe how design and operations will minimize contamination during the plant’s operating life, and facilitate eventual decommissioning. The agency is developing new regulations that will require plant operators to be more vigilant in preventing contamination during operations, and cleaning-up and monitoring any contamination that does occur.

USA-NRC REPORTS 23 REQUESTS FOR DECOMMISSIONING From Oct 1967 to 2011.  Only three(3) Licensees have obtained an NRC letter terminating the operating license.  “Pathfinder”(1967), Saxton (1972), and “Shoreham” (1989).  Seven (7) NPPs are still in Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installations(ISFSI) You know! – what do we do with this “spent fuel” crap! ).  The remaining 13 NPPs, are in one of the other tree(3) stages of decommissioning.  DECOMMISSIONING IS NOT A PROCESS NPP OWNERS LIKE AT ALL! – Of course not – it costs them money.  This is one well meaning plan by the NRC that will bear questionable fruits in the future given the impasse at the USA-NRC today.  Their source is linked below.

http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/decommissioning.html

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

P.S. Please excuse my extensive use of acronyms on this article.  It would be too long without them.

 

January 31, 2012 at 6:46 PM Comments (57)

NUCLEAR FREE JAPAN BY NEXT SPRING ? NUCLEAR INDUSTRY IS GOING DOWN SHOOTING.

27 Jan 2012

AND THEN THERE WAS ONE (1)…NPP IN JAPAN. Chugoku Electric Power Co.’s,  Shimane Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), in Shimane Prefecture may be THE LAST NUKE STANDING, BUT ONLY UNTIL APR 2012.  At the current attrition rate for reactors; supposedly for safety checks. That was well received by Nuclear Industry opponents still leery about the Mar 2011 Fukushima tragedy, while adding to concern about potential blackouts, factory shutdowns, and economic pandemonium.

TWO MORE REACTORS NOW CLOSED Chugoku Flectric power Co.  shut the No. 2 reactor at its Shimane NPP on 27 Jan 2012.  TEPCO No. 5 reactor unit at its Kashiwazaki Kariwa station was idled on 25 Jan 2012. That leaves only three(3) reactors in operation; and these, are due to go off-line for regular checks during the next three(3) months.

“WE CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT NUCLEAR POWER”  Said Yuji Nishiyama, an analyst with Credit Suisse Group AG. “If we experience a zero-nuclear situation, the argument that we don’t need nuclear power anymore will be stronger…But, at the moment we cannot live without nuclear power. We may not need 50 reactors, but we do need about 10 or 20…Japan’s becoming free of nuclear power within three months would have a psychological effect”.  Yeah! – worldwide,  and for good reason.  They peed in the bathwater!

DE-MOTHBALLING  OIL OR GAS THERMOELECTRIC PLANTS THE ANSWER? Yuji Nishiyama said: We do have a number of mothballed power plants, but it takes time to reactivate those generators – sometimes years…and these plants often have low-utilization rates. Some cannot be used at night.”  Companies including Toyota Motor Corp. and Panasonic Corp. escaped power cuts after they were ordered to cut consumption by 15 % in some areas during last year’s summer when demand peaked. Households were asked to regulate use of air conditioners. The restrictions were lifted as temperatures cooled.

PETROLEUM, OR LIQUEFIED (NAT) GAS are Japan’ proven fuels of choice for thermoelectric generation. However, the cost of burning oil to generate power, is almost twice that of gas. Before the Fukushima tragedy, Japan relied on about 30% NPPs for generation, and had a goal of 50%, but now, as most of its NPPs have been shut down, Utilities have been forced to rely more on oil, or gas-fired power-plants to make up the difference; That change, has added about $34 billion to the country’s import bill.  And then…there is the cost of maintaining, and staffing 50+ idled NPPs.  HMM!- They can’t win for loosing, and abhor long-range planning for their future. Frankly Japan’s Government seems politically sterile and irresolute, and its people in denial.  Wake-up Japan!, destiny waits for no one.  “Kicking the can down the road” is no solution!!.

TEPCO’S FINANCIAL HURDLES  Include three conditions set by its lenders: 1. Reactor restarts, and conditions  2 and 3: TEPCO’s acceptance of a capital injection from a State-run Fund;  However, TEPCO’s management is resisting giving up control to the State Fund even as it faces collapse under the weight of compensation claims, and cleanup costs for the Triple melt-down tragedy which may burden them for 40 years or more.  It is no wonder  TEPCO’s shares fell 1.4 % to 210 yen on 27 Jan 2012. TEPCO’s stock is down about 90 % since 10 Mar 2011 (the day before the tragedy).

TEPCO ALSO THINKS IT IS INDISPENSABLE TO JAPAN.  I have news for them – Neither their Prefecture Governors, or the Japanese people, want them back in operation.  They have said so in no uncertain terms.  TEPCO seems principally worried about loosing the remaining 10% of their financial worth.  This seems incomprehensible when one considers the huge remediation expenses facing them for their Fukushima mess.  Perhaps they are hoping for a miracle, or some of their “friends of old” in government to bail them out still.  No Way!! When you are down (TEPCO really is), no one wants to help, foreign or domestic.  After all, they never shared their profit when they were riding high, and hoping to control a sizable part of the world’s nuclear industry. Their unbridled ambition and arrogance was their undoing.

EVEN SO…JAPANESE GOVERNORS SAY: NO WAY!! Notwithstanding the higher cost to the utilities, local governments that normally had approved NPPs have balked.  Understandably, Yuhei Sato, Governor of Fukushima (where TEPCO has two(2) NPPs, including the wrecked Dai No.1 plant), has vowed to make the region a NUCLEAR-FREE ZONE.  Hirohiko Izumida,  Governor of Niigata (where TEPCO’s Kashiwazaki Kariwa plant is located), said he will “never” negotiate with TEPCO regarding Nuke restarts until all of the deficiencies exposed by the Fukushima accident are explained and corrected”.  I reckon it is going to be a cold day in hell!

AND THEN THERE WERE THREE (3)…With one exception, no reactors taken off-line since the 11 Mar 2011 tragedy have been allowed to restart.  Now they await results of so-called NPP “stress tests”;  However, with public opinion running strongly against restarting NPPs, Pro- Nuke persons in Japan are getting very nervous.. “Trade and Industry” Minister Yukio Edano said Japan may have no nuclear plants operating this summer, and the government is preparing measures (no telling what measures – they plan a lot!) to avoid power shortages.  Minister Edano added: “The safety issue is more important than power supply concerns”.  Do you think he means it?  I do not!

Thanks to Bloomberg for quotations, 27 Jan 2012

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

MY TAKE:

JAPAN’S KANSAI ELECTRIC FEELS INDISPENSABLE. Kansi Electric Power Co. – Main supplier to Japan’s second-largest industrial region, expects a 9.5 % energy shortfall in Feb 2012. Kansai powers Sharp Corp. and Panasonic factories, is asking customers to voluntarily reduce consumption by more than 10 % this winter. Kyushu Electric Power Co. will also be short of capacity after it shutters its last reactor on-line for maintenance.  Nishiyama said; “In Kansai it’s a nightmare…Saving energy is not enough to save the region…We need to think about restarting nuclear power plants more seriously…I think we go to zero before we get restarts, Kansai may have a 19 %  (energy) shortfall…It’s not going to be one switch is flipped and all of them come back on…Still, if you get a certain amount back on-line(NPPs) you’re not going to have a horrible problem. If you have zero, that leads to a significant economic impact.”SEE THERE!, Industry and people can’t do without us.  We’ll see!! – Next March.

TEPCO EXPECTS THE TRADE MINISTRY TO EXTEND REACTOR LIVES, AND ALLOW NUKE RE-STARTS  They are banking on so called: Nuke “Stress-tests” which are NOT YET Industrially standardized, or their real impact on  public safety understood. TEPCO said on 15 Jan 2012 that it has submitted to the government results of its stress tests on  Reactors No. 1 and 7 at the Kashiwazaki plant. The tests set up by the “Trade and Industry Ministry” aim to show how prepared a nuclear plant is to withstand natural or man-made disasters. Kashiwazaki,  was the world’s largest  nuclear station, has yet to restart three(3) of its seven (7) NPPs units since a 2007, when a quake led to a radioactive water spill: Since then, the work to upgrade Kashiwazaki’s earthquake defenses would seem to make it one of the better stations to restart.  Penn Bowers, a utilities analyst with CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets said:  “Kashiwazaki’s units have been retrofitted to a quake prevention standard that’s probably the best out there…If it didn’t have the TEPCO name out there it would probably be on the top of the list for restart”.

KANSAI AND TEPCO HAVE WASTED TIME Looking for alternative energy generation.  It seems Nuclear generation is all they want to know.  If that is so, they will soon be as extinct as dinosaurs.  Those that fail to adapt to change, are doomed to extinction.  And still:  No one in Japan talks about nuclear waste disposal. They are up to their eyebrows in it!

gonzedo

 

January 27, 2012 at 11:29 PM Comments (3)

NUCLEAR CARTEL WIELDS THEIR “PEOPLE PERSUASION MACHINE” TO RE-START JAPAN’S 49 NUKES

(more…)

January 23, 2012 at 8:57 PM Comments (6)

MOST JAPANESE NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS(NPPs) ARE DOWN NOW, BUT NOT FOR LONG

19 Jan 2012

JAPANESE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT PLANS 20 YEAR NPP LIFE EXTENSIONS Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said that while details were still under consideration, lifespan of a reactor would in principle be 40 years, as suggested by “Environment and Nuclear Accident Prevention Minister” Goshi Hosono earlier this month.  Even so, Cabinet Secretary Fujimura said on 18 Jan 2012: “The government will allow plant operators to apply for one extension of up to 20 years for each reactor, in line with U.S. standards….There will be no change in the fact that the number of reactors will decline, as will Japan’s reliance on them. But we’re not talking about the immediate future,” (clearly, Hosono and Fujimora disagree about reactor life).  Under the current system, plant operators can apply for an extension after 30 years, and are usually granted 10-year extensions, with no limit on how often they reapply, as long as the nuclear watchdog approves. (WE KNOW about NISA, AND HOW THEY BUGGED-OUT AT FUKUSHIMA!!)

TODAY ONLY FIVE (5) NPPs REMAIN ON-LINE IN JAPAN;  However, if the Central Government can have their way, that will change soon. They (sorry no names given)said on 18 JAN 2012, that they plan to allow NPPs to operate for up to 60 years in upcoming, revised regulations for power plant operators, even in the wake of the Fukushima triple melt-down tragedy of 12 Mar 2011. Such a decision would mark the first time Japan has set a limit on a reactor’s maximum lifespan, and comes while it debates an energy strategy expected to give a greater role to renewables (not much sign of that yet). At present 49 NPPs are shut-down  for “routine checks”, and only five(5) of the nation’s NPPs remain online, prompting utilities to import more fossil-fuels to replace Nuclear power;  That measure, is not without financial (and other  consequences).  Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) – (owner / operator  of the Fukushima NPPs) has announced a 17% rate increase to commercial users. Given that TEPCO is Japan’s largest provider of electricity to commercial and industrial users, they are peeved!

INCENSED CITIZENS PROTEST AGAINST NUKES AND DELAY A HEARING OF EXPERTS. In a rare protest (for Japan), a group of “citizen observers” delayed a hearing at the Trade Ministry(who naturally want all the cheap power they can get).  Protestor Wako Shichinohe, 59 said“How can you allow the restart of reactors? We should not put people in Fukui in the same situation as those in Fukushima,”. At the hearing, experts (you know – “out of town people”) were expected to approve the nuclear watchdog’s review of stress test results from Fukui Prefecture, “Ohi NPPs” ;  Later, a meeting was held without any observers, and the  Experts made final comments on the draft report for the two(2) Ohi reactors, virtually ending the assessment process. No details were immediately available. Stress tests are now being carried out on idled reactors to reassure the public and persuade local governments to allow them to be restarted.

THE FUKUSHIMA SIX (6) NPPs ARE AMONG THE OLDEST IN JAPAN.The four (4) Nuclear Power Plants at the Dai No.1, and the two(2) NPPs at the Dai No.2 (a few miles sites south of  No. 1) started operation between 1971 and 1979.  Twelve(12) other reactors date back to the 1970s – the two(2) oldest having been operating since 1970. THAT MEANS THAT THEY HAD EXCEEDED THEIR PLANNED LIFE WHEN THE TRAGEDY OCCURRED! The Japanese Central government plans to submit bills extending the life of reactors, as well as on reorganizing their Nuclear Regulators (NISA) – Japan’s now infamous counterpart to the USA-NRC) – Please see JAPAN’S “NUCLEAR INDUSTRIAL AGENCY (NISA)” BLAMED FOR FUKUSHIMA TRAGEDY at:  http://energymaters.com/?p=496:   In a parliament session starting later in Jan 2012,  the Central government appears ready to start paving the legal road to return nearly all their NPPs back on-line.  JAPAN’S NUCLEAR POWER INDUSTRY MAY BE DOWN, BUT IT IS NOT OUT – NO WAY, NO HOW!!

PUBLIC SENTIMENT IS FOR JAPAN TO END THE USE OF NUCLEAR POWER. Hiroshi Takahashi, a research fellow at the “Fujitsu Research Institute” said: “The public wants the country to move away from nuclear power as soon as possible, let alone an extension in the life of nuclear reactors…But, if backed up by safety regulations legally deemed adequate, one has to admit there would be little reason the regulation should not be implemented. What has to be considered is that, unlike Germany which is aiming to shut down all its nuclear plants by 2022, Japan is still discussing the future role of nuclear power, allowing for such logic” (THIS MAN SPEAKS WITH A “FORKED-TONGUE”). He is really saying: Public opposition does not really matter!!  He misjudges the Japanese people’s resolve not to return to Nukes.

Thanks to Reuters for quotations, Tokyo Japan, 18 Jan 2012

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

MY TAKE

THE GLOBAL NUCLEAR CARTEL IS VERY POWERFUL!;  So much so, that they are able to corrupt and control many governments like Japan, France, and the USA to do what they want, and, only what they want, without any remorse, or guilty feelings regarding public feelings or safety.  BIG MONEY is clearly “wagging the dog by the tail” and has been, for at least 50 years or so.

JAPAN’S  NPPs ARE NOW OLD, AND OBSOLESCENT.  In fact they already exceed their planned life of 40 years.  Perhaps that is one reason they are “cracking-up” all over.  Long term radiation exposure has a marked deleterious effect on metal and concrete materials, that is the reason for the reactor’s planned life of 40 years.  One supposses now inspectors may go around NPPs with a small hammer checking for weakened components(if that much), then report everything is still O.K.

THE IMMEDIATE CONCERN OF JAPAN’S CENTRAL GOVERNMENT IS APPROVING NPP LIFE EXTENSIONS. Accordingly they will follow their modus-operandi(MO).

1. The USA is doing it, France is doing it, why should we not do it too?  Its what they say. 

2. Call in the “Experts” and obtain a written “report” saying the plan is fine and good. Notice this time they do not even name the “Experts”; These, are normally well known scientists who sold out long ago to the Cartel. Apparently they would rather not face public scorn and ridicule this time (already done).

3. Call in their USA-NRC equivalent the NISA.  OOPS! Problem is these folks are currently blamed for the Fukushima triple-meltdown tragedy.  Not to worry, NISA will be reorganized.

4. “Stress-tests” will be performed on the reactors, and they will check-out just fine (already in-work).

5. Next the IAEA will be summoned from Vienna once again to whitewash, and bless the plan. That is what they exist to do, and NO! – they are no part of the UN!. Given the Japanese people’s opposition, and to “guild the lily”, they may call on French and USA Nuclear experts to bless their plan (that is optional).

UPDATE NO.1  21 JAN 2012

ON 18 JAN 2012 JAPAN’S “PANEL OF EXPERTS” CONVENED AND WAS MET WITH PROTEST. The “Panel of Experts”, mostly government members and Professors, had to be escorted out of the meeting room and assembled in another building when about 20 well qualified anti-nuke protestors voiced their opposition to the Central government’s hurried initiative to “re-start the nukes”. GREENPEACE AND OTHERS DEMONSTRATED LOUDLY. Ayako Sakine, a Greenpeace member and one of the 20 demonstrators said: “They shut out the citizens…This is unforgivable”.  Another demonstrator, Greg McNevin, said police officers in riot gear were even called in.  Mc Nevin said: “People are saying very clearly what they want when it comes to the future of nuclear energy in Japan…They’re not being heard.”

DISSIDENT “PANEL OF EXPERTS” MEMBER Masahi Goto, a Professor at the Shibaura Institute of Technology, said he boycotted the 18 Jan 2012  session when he learned the public would be shut out.  Prof. Goto said: “I don’t want to join a discussion held in a secret room”

NOW WE KNOW IT WAS THE INFAMOUS NISA – Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), Japan’s counterpart to the USA-NRC (“nuclear watchdog” -Yea! On a leash!), that had the gall to present a “draft report” (seeking approval – of course!) at the meeting. Said report sought approval for the STRESS TESTS RESULTS from “Kansai Electric Power Company” which owns reactors No. 3 and No. 4 NPPs at the “Ohi plant” in Fukui prefecture, western Japan. Predictably, Kansai Electric said the stress tests show the reactors are able to withstand an earthquake 1.8 times stronger than the maximum presumed quake for the region, as well as a tsunami wave up to 11.4 meters high. Oh my! Even Godzilla would not prevail.

ENTER A SECOND JAPANESE “WATCHDOG” Japan’s Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC). Wow!- hard-sell requires more salesmen!  Now NSC must also(first) approve the input from A THIRD AGENCY: Vienna – based “International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA)”; So, IAEA will review and approve – true to form.

THE NEWS UPDATE – 21 JAN 2012: As anticipated, Japanese prime Minister Edano told reporters at a regular news conference that the IAEA-led mission will visit Japan Jan. 23-31, 2012, and use test results for Kansai Electric Power Co’s “Ohi nuclear plant” as an example in the review. The Nuclear Cartel’s MO continues true to form.  Lookout! When Minister Edano says: “As an example” he means: Ditto for all the other NPPs. See there, Bless one NPP, bless them all!  We also anticipate the USA Secretary of Energy will visit, or more likely, send a designee. THIS IS ALL A “PEOPLE PERSUASION PARODY”. It would be funny if not so clearly nefarious!!!
Comment: In the USA, when any branch of government gets in a hurry to approve “anything” it is understood they are trying to “Railroad it” Meaning: Get it approved quickly before anyone knows what the hell happenened!!

NOTICE NO ONE IS WORRIED ABOUT ACCUMULATED NUCLEAR WASTE, OR ITS DISPOSAL.

6. Of course all such governmental overtures will be given the best of beneficial Press Coverage – They own the Press too with heavy adds to launder the money.  Conspiracy theory?? No, it just the Nuclear Cartel MO.  IT IS A DAMN SHAME!!  Just look at the USA-NRC to see the MO in operation.

gonzedo

 

January 19, 2012 at 1:24 AM Comments (0)

USA NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION STILL HOG-TIED AND IMPOTENT – PART 3

13 Jan 2012

THE USA NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION (NRC) HAS SURRENDERED TO THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY, and  is now (still) weighing its rules to improve safety at 104 USA Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) to incorporate the “lessons of Fukushima” on Mar 2011(as best can) by accepting an “Industry plan” to place emergency pumps and generators at Nuclear Power Plants as an “acceptable methodology” which supposedly helped persuade the USA-NRC to speed a safety review according to an unnamed Official.  Recall that at Fukushima Dai No. 1 NPP Complex; on 11 Mar 2011, quake, and tsunami flooding destroyed emergency power supplies, preventing operation of the plant’s cooling systems, and precipitated the tragic human “comedy of errors” culminating in the “triple-meltdowns” that followed.  USA-NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko had said earlier: “all rules resulting from the Japan crisis to be in place by 2016”.   HE SURE IS IN NO HURRY FOR NEW RULES – LET ALONE IMPLEMENTING THE SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS OF THE USA NUCLEAR FLEET, OR HE KNOWS BETTER THAN TO EXPECT ACTION SOONER.

INDUSTRY -BASED GROUP IS NOW CALLING THE SHOTS. The “Nuclear Enegy insitute” (NEI), a “Washington-based industry group”, has said the agency(NRC) shouldn’t move too quickly in implementing rules, because the lessons from Fukushima aren’t fully known.  NEI  had offered a plan in Dec 2011 as a way to ensure that a plant has “back-up” electricity when power is lost;  Accordingly, NPP owners/operators would need to install portable batteries, and pumps at various locations, to ensure a plant has sufficient electricity to keep reactor cooling systems working (“FOR HOW LONG” WAS NOT STATED) during an emergency. IT IS NOT CLEAR IF THE USA NUCLEAR INDUSTRY WOULD GO ALONG WITH EVERYTHING THE NEI SAYS /WANTS EITHER !

USA- NRC DEPUTY-DOG MARTIN VIRGILIO Executive Director for “Reactor and Preparedness Programs”, on 11 Jan 2012;  at of the NRC headquarters in Rockville, Maryland: said: “The(NEI) plan has features that we believe will serve to mitigate damage from unexpected events such as earthquakes and flooding…The agency must ensure it has adequate oversight of the industry’s proposal…The plan, along with recommendations from Congress, helped the NRC staff decide to “accelerate our schedule” of its review of Fukushima-related safety improvements”

PREVENTING REACTOR CORE DAMAGE IS ESSENTIAL. Tony Pietrangelo, NEI’s Senior VP, and chief nuclear officer, said on 13 Jan 2012: “The NEI plan is really focused on the prevention of core damage…With NRC approval, reactor owners could begin to take steps to implement the plan by mid-summer…Plant modifications may take two years or more”.

NEI  SAYS FLOOD PREVENTION IS PARAMOUNT Adrian Heymer, NEI Executive Director of “Strategic Programs”, said on 11 Jan 2012: “The industry plan would focus on flood prevention …The backup power sources at Fukushima were destroyed by the tsunami… The group doesn’t have a cost estimate for the plan because specific plants would need different equipment. Mr. Heymer had said earlier: “The industry group’s (NEI’s) approach is a reasonable starting point, although more work is needed on defining these(MULTIPLE) strategies”.  Now the USA-NRC Staff is ALSO considering a requirement that plant owners evaluate “seismic, as well as flooding risks”.  POINT WELL TAKEN! – BUT BY WHOM ? The press did not raise the question, and NEI naturally did’nt bring it up either.  They have good reasons not to do so, because there are a number of US nukes located where no nukes should be because of, flooding potential, highly populated areas, and or, in now well- known quake prone areas.

Thanks to Bloomberg for their quotations,  Washington, 13 Jan 2012

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-13/nuclear-industry-safety-plan-acceptable-nrc-official-says-1-.html

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

MY TAKE

This article is a sequel to : USA NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION STILL HOG-TIED AND IMPOTENT – PART 2 , dated 11 Dec 2011. http://energymaters.com/?p=458

THE USA NUCLEAR INDUSTRY (JUST LIKE FRANCE’S ) WILL DO ONLY WHAT IT WANTS TO DO.  So what is new ?…Well, that the USA-NRC has now acknowledged that they can take their horses to water, but they can’t make them drink; so, perhaps they can sip a little.  Please take note how the USA-NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko, does not even gets quoted anymore.  He seems to avoid personal embarrassment by having his “Deputy-Dogs” put up a stern face.  I imagine he fells hog-tied and impotent, and we feel sorry for him! He has tried his best !  NRC’s Mr. Virgilio seems to be saying: Well, the plan is better than nothing !

ALLOW ME AN ANECDOTE (PERHAPS A LEGEND)   In an oasis, in a desert far away, several camel keepers were watering their camels, and bragging about how their camels could go the longest without a drink.  One said: “My camel can go up to 18 days without a drink”.  Another said OH! – My male “supercharged” camels can go at least 25 days without a drink”  Oh come on! said the first,  what is this “supercharged”.  Well just you watch: when this camel is just about finished drinking its fill,  I will slam his testicles between these two(2) bricks, and you just watch his last long drink !  His eyes will get crossed, and he will inhale at least 8 more gallons of water!  DO YOU SUPPOSE OUR MERCHANT NPP OWNERS / OPERATORS SHOULD GET “SUPERCHARGED”  TOO ?  PERHAPS THEN THEY WILL TAKE PUBLIC SAFETY TO HEART.

A PATHETIC SURRENDER OF AUTHORITY BY THE USA-NRC.  And yet, the same scenario is taking place in many other Nuclear countries like France, Japan, India, and England.  Yes they all have their NRC Counterpart, for all the good they do !  It seems to me our USA-NRC just wanted to make it clear who is really “running the show”.  BIG MONEY CORRUPTS OUR POLITICAL SYSTEMS OUT OF SHAPE EVERYWHERE !  THE POWERS OF “B” DO ONLY WHAT THEY WANT, AND USE THEIR GLOBAL PROPAGANDA MACHINE  TO “UN-RUFFLE” OUR FEATHERS.

UPDATE 1.  On 06 Jul 2012, Pres. B. Obama designated Dr. Allison Mc Farlane as the 15th USA -NRC Chairperson.  Dr. Mc Farlane will serve a term ending June 2013.  Gregory B. Jaczko former Chairman of the USA Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), resigned his position 21 May 2012.

Edward  Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

 

January 13, 2012 at 6:48 PM Comments (21)

FRANCE WANTS TO EXTEND NUKE LIFE FROM 40 TO 60 YEARS AND PLACE A BAND-AID ON NUKES

04 JAN 2012
THE CONSERVATIVE “UMP” (PARTY) ONLY WANTS A NUKE LIFE EXTENSION France is in the midst of a heated political debate over its dependence on nuclear energy ahead of the 2012 presidential elections. The ruling “Union For a Popular Movement (UMP)”- (center-right)Party is in favor of maintaining the Nuke status quo, while the opposition Socialist (center-left) party has said it wants to close the oldest 24 reactors by 2025.  Even financing the new required safety measures would prove a thorny issue for France’s budget-conscious, and progressively more anti-nuke citizenry and government.

FRANCE’S COUNTERPART TO THE USA NRC – “Nuclear Safety Authority (L’ASN)” said on 03 Jan 2012 that its main utility EDF must enhance NPPs by installing “flood-proof ” emergency diesel generators, and “bunkered remote back-up control rooms” at 19 of its plants across the country, or face having to shut down some of its reactors. The ASN presented the conclusions of its safety assessment of nuclear facilities to the French government nearly 10 months after the still unfolding Fukushima Dai No.1 NPP tragedy.  State-controlled EDF will also have to set up an “Emergency nuclear task force” to intervene on the site of an accident within 24 hours, and do so before the end of 2012.  Nuclear Watchdogs ASN President Andre-Claude Lacoste told a news conference: “We believe that facilities can only continue to operate if investments are made in the timeframe we’re setting, otherwise we may have to suspend some operations…If EDF estimates that what we are asking for is so expensive, that it does no longer make it worth to operate one facility, it can decide to shut that facility  Lacoste added, giving no detailed financial estimate of the works needed. (FIX THEM, OR SHUT THEM DOWN!)

THE EUROPEAN UNION WILL RELEASE ITS FINDINGS IN JUN 2012. The ASN has concluded that the facilities it assessed in France, the “world’s most nuclear-dependent country”,  presented a “sufficient” safety level, but that action needed to be taken to strengthen the operational management of accidents, and to ensure facilities could resist extreme natural events like flooding or quakes.

ELECTRICITE de FRANCE (EDF) WILL NOT SHUT-DOWN ANY OF ITS 58 NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS(NPPs). on 04 Jan 2012, The French state-controlled utility, published that announcement, as they face a bill for an extra  $13 billion dollars to improve their safety.  France has carried out “stress tests” on its nuclear facilities as part of a European Union-wide move to assess the resistance of European nuclear power plants to extreme cases of natural catastrophe or bad weather

MAIN ISSUE IS: FRANCE NEEDS TO EXTEND NUKES LIFE FROM 40 TO 60 YEARS.  EDF estimates that need will now reach the top end of  40-50 billion euro range over the next 30 years.  EDF Chairman and CEO Henri Proglio said: “Coming into an inheritance like that of EDF, we owe it to ourselves to improve it, and make it profitable…Our investment capacity will up to the task…EDF invests more than 11 billion euros a year across the world” When Proglio was asked if it would be better to close old reactors, and build gas plants, or increase renewable energy sources instead…He said: “Depriving ourselves of nuclear would come at a very high cost,” citing investment in new production units, and a network for renewable energy, the risk of increasing CO2 emissions, a loss of independence and higher energy bills”.  EDF shares were down 4.06 % at 18.43 euros recently, after falling as low as 18.31 euros, and is still in decline.

FRENCH INDUSTRY MINISTER ERIC BESSON TRIED TO TEMPER CONCERNS about higher electricity bills, saying nuclear energy would remain the least costly. “What the ASN wants, that’s about 10 billion euros of extra investments. That should be compared to the 4 billion euros a year that EDF invests in maintenance already…That is 10 (billion euros) over 10 years, about one billion per year;  concretely, when you have a bill of 100 in 2012, that would mean a bill of 102 in ten years,” he added.  EDF will need to dig into its pockets. Proglio said it would take on the additional investment, and that production costs would not fundamentally change, increasing to 50 from 46 euros per Mwh.  EDF announced in May 2011, that it would diversify its nuclear-dominated portfolio by building strong businesses in gas and coal, as well as hydropower and renewable sources.  It will also increase the share of its power production capacity abroad, reducing its exposure to government-set power rates on its domestic market. TALK IS CHEAP!

EDF PLANS TO EXPAND ITS WORKFORCE According to CEO Proglio, EDF plans to expand its staff by 5,000 in France (similar to last year’s increase), about equally divided between its nuclear and engineering businesses, as the company seeks to replace retiring staff.

FRENCH NPP PROVIDER TO BENEFIT FROM NEEDED CHANGES AND UPGRADES. French Energy Minister Eric Besson said in a statement he would meet up with EDF, and NPP  reactor maker “Areva” and the CEA nuclear scientific research body, on 09 Jan 2012 to elaborate an agenda for the implementation of these measures.  HOW SWEET IT IS!! – NO COMPETITION THERE.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
MY TAKE,

CHEAP, CLEAN, NUCLEAR ENERGY- OH!-REALLY? France generates nearly 75% of its electricity from nuclear reactors, and French ratepayers have come to love the relatively cheap (and “clean” ?) source of power that has protected them from the oil-driven spikes in energy prices other nations have suffered;  Indeed, the effort to make France less dependent on foreign oil led successive French governments to embrace nuclear in a big way since the early -1970s. That National policy not only made nuclear technology the main source of France’s energy, but also made it central to French National Strategic Planning vision culminating in the 2001 creation of “Areva” as a global nuclear purveyor.  It will be very hard to wean-off these “easy-money” folks.  They have “a bird-nest on the ground”, and like it that way!

AND YET – ALL OF THAT NOW SEEMS A LONG TIME AGO. Actually, most of the world came to a rude awakening to the real, near and long-term perils of uranium power generation on 12 Mar 2011, with the triple reactor melt-downs at Fukushima Dai No.1 NPP Complex in NW Japan.  While that tragedy will very likely continue to drag-down Japan for the next 30 or 40 years,  it has made the world keenly aware about the transformation that uranium fuel suffers while releasing usable energy to create steam in reactors all over the world.

REAL PROBLEM HAS BEEN, AND IS TODAY, THAT SO CALLED “SPENT-FUEL” IS NO LONGER URANIUM AT ALL, but a bevy of highly toxic, long decay rates(persistent) Isotopes, with about 90% of the original energy which must be stored (who know where) for eternity.  Please remember that accumulation of such radiological toxic substances has already been going-on globally for over 50 years; with no end in sight.

FRENCH ELECTRICITY USERS ARE NOW KEENLY AWARE OF NUKE DANGERS, and many would like to see their country in a different energy tack. Like the rest of our world, they were duped long ago about the safety and “cleanliness” of nuclear energy by its lying proponents  (Hmm – I have seen they lie to my face, and I did not like it!); For that reason, the next (upcoming) presidential election will become a referendum on the soundness of France’s Nuclear National Strategic Planning as Nuke Purveyors, and of continued reliance on now aging, old technology reactors for another 20 years. The party in power in France is now under public scrutiny for aligning with the Nuclear Cartel; Accordingly, nuclear supporters have done what they always do: Bring in their heavy Guns such as the L’ANSE (Frances nuclear “watchdogs” – YEAH! Like the USA’s NRC, to unruffled public feathers.  NEXT they will be calling on the IAEA to visit from Vienna and assuage everyone that NUCLEAR IS O.K.! – Just remember, The IAEA organization is financed and operated by Global Energy Barons. A VERITABLE DEN OF THIEVES IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING!

WHEN YOU HEAR “NUCLEAR WATCHDOGS” LIKE  FRANCE’S “ASN” TALK TOUGH, HOLD ON!  One is prone to think: Yeah! – that’s telling them!, but in reality all they are doing is providing a ruse(a distraction if you will) for the real plan/purpose of the Nuclear Cartel in France: to EXTEND THE OPERATIONAL LIFE OF THEIR EXISTING NUCLEAR FLEET, WITH A MINIMUM OF SECURITY ENHANCEMENTS AND UPGRADES.  I believe all countries should look to Germany for a good example of real public responsibility, and substantive planning for their future. 

BON CHANCE – MES AMI!!!

gonzedo  We are very happy to inform you that this Blog had a substantial increase in readership last two(2) months of 2011; Additionally, we were viewed in at least 67 countries (over 200 views in each of several important countries) .

January 4, 2012 at 10:00 PM Comments (11)

PAKISTAN FOREGOES NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS AND PLANS ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES

01 Jan 2012

SYED NAVAEED QAMAR, PAKISTAN’S MINISTER for “Water and Power” said on 30 Dec 2011, that his Ministry has completed a comprehensive plan to enhance power production, in a dramatic effort to overcome the current electricity shortage crisis. The plan includes power importation from Iran and Tajikistan, and construction of many small hydro-electrical generating plants, Solar Farms, and Wind-Farms.

SOME ELECTRICAL POWER WILL COME FROM IRAN Responding to a number of questions in the National Assembly, Naveed Qamar said 35Mw of power from Iran would be added to the system soon ; Further, Iran has agreed to give 100MW more power to Pakistan by Dec. 2012.

WIND-POWER GENERATION IS IN THE WORKS ALREADY Mr. Qamar said 10 projects of wind-power were in different stages of completion in Pakistan. A 50MW wind-energy power production project has been started in Jhampir, Pakistan;  and another eight (8) wind farms  with a total capacity of 550MW power would be initiated by June 2012.  Still another project which will produce 100MW, is expected to come on line by 2013.  More than seven(7) World-Class wind turbine manufacturers including Vestas – Denmark,  Nordex &  Seimens-Germany,  General Electric-USA,  Hyundai-Korea, plus Goldwind  and Sunec of China have offered turbines fully backed by “operation and maintenance period”.  IF THAT MEANS A “WARRANTY PERIOD”, THAT IS GOOD;  However, if that means: “EXCLUSIVE PARTS AND MAINTENANCE CONTRACTS FOR A CONTRACTUALLY SPECIFIED PERIOD OF TIME” – BEWARE!  THAT WOULD BE DISADVANTAGEOUS TO ANY COUNTRY WISHING FOR POLITICAL AND INDUSTRIAL INDEPENDENCE, LIKE PAKISTAN.  HERE IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR COMPETITIVE PROCUREMENT!

HYDRO-POWER GENERATION IN WORKS According to Mr. Qamar, Hydro-power generation projects present and future, include:

1. In Khyber, Pakhtunkhwa, a 56.2MW project is in progress

2. in Punjab, Five(5)  projects with 24.04MW (total ?) capacity.

3.  At Gilgit-Baltistanis, a 30MW project is in different stages of completion; Additionally, 10 small hydro-power production projects having a total capacity to produce 142MW power are also under way.

4. In Chitral 103 micro (small) hydro-power projects having a 15MW power output  are in progress, while 250 more such projects would be launched soon;

5. Additionally, Pakistani experts have pin-pointed 25 hydro-power sites in AJK, Punjab and KPK capable of  producing a total of 284.14MW.

SOLAR-POWER GENERATION PLANNED  Mr. Qamar said the Punjab government would  produce 5MW using solar-energy, and capable of electrifying 300 villages, while 49 villages, (3,000 houses) of Sindh, would also be provided solar-power generated electricity.  IT SHOULD BE POINTED OUT THAT SOLAR-ENERGY IS ONLY AVAILABLE “WHILE THE SUN SHINES”;  AND THAT, MAY NECESSITATE HOUSEHOLDS TO HAVE BATTERIES FOR NIGHTTIME ILLUMINATION.  So far eight(8) letters of interest (Requests for Proposal ?) have been issued to Independent Power Providers (IPPs) for producing 211MW of solar power.

ADDITIONAL ELECTRICAL POWER IMPORTED FROM ABROAD ? Feasibility study of 1,000MW power import from Iran has been completed while.  An additional 1,000MW power may also be imported from Tajikistan through Afghanistan, according to Mr. Qamar.  SORRY! – NO STATUS OF DISCUSSIONS, OR DATES FOR AVAILABILITY GIVEN.  2,000 MW would be equivalent to two (2) Nuclear Power Plants, and highly beneficial to Pakistan’s Industry and people; as soon as possible, if possible.  ONE PROBLEM IS, DEALING WITH IRAN CAN BE VERY DIFFICULT.  

SMALL ENERGY TARIFF INCREASE ANTICIPATED The net monthly increase in monthly energy price adjustment will  remain at Rs 0.14 Kwh, while an average increase in tariff for 2010-11 remained Rs1.07 Kwh in the country. The reasons cited by Minister Qamar was an international increase in oil prices,  and the appreciation of the US dollar, which bumped-up generation cost.

Thanks to: The Express Tribune, Islamabad Pakistan, 01 Jan 2012

http://tribune.com.pk/story/314481/minister-outlines-new-plan-to-tackle-energy-crisis/

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

 MY TAKE:

First, let me congratulate the Pakistan Government for foregoing Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) development.  Recall that on 15 Nov 2011 we wrote an article titled: PAKISTAN PLANS TO PURCHASE TWO NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS FROM CHINA http://energymaters.com/?p=413.

WHILE WE ADMIRED PAKISTANI COMPETITIVE CONTRACTUAL APPROACH to NPP Purveyors (China in particular) we were of the opinion that all NPP Purveyors want to sell not just plans for an NPP, but rather a binding contract for its construction, plus logistical and technical support for the life of the NPP.  Apparently the Pakistani negotiators found China also  insistent on such conditions;  Even so, Something that was evidently not taken into consideration by Pakistani planners last November, was that NPPs take on average 10 years to build, and they need more energy now!

NATURAL GAS A BETTER OPTION We recommended that instead of NPP development, Pakistan consider creating and enhancing their Nat Gas infrastructure as a much cheaper, quicker approach to generating large amounts of energy all over Pakistan.  Many other countries of the world are doing so because Nat Gas burns much cleaner than Coal, and can be used as household fuel, etc.  One hopes this will give our world the time it needs to develop our “green energy” as best can.  Mexico too wanted to build seven (7) NPP, but recently changed its mind and decided to go Nat Gas for many reasons.  See http://energymaters.com/?p=397  Regarding the Mexican decision and reasoning, 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!…Not many countries are blessed with good Nat Gas reserves as Pakistan is;  However, we noticed its well laid out Ministerial plans for more energy does not include Nat Gas….

SYED NAVAEED QAMAR, PAKISTAN’S MINISTER for “Water and Power” said on 30 Dec 2011, that the Pakistani Government has completed a comprehensive plan to enhance power production, in a dramatic effort to overcome the current electricity shortage crisis. The plan includes power importation from Iran and Tajikistan, and construction of many small hydro-electrical generating plants, Solar Farms, and Wind-Farms.

MOST OF PAKISTAN’S PLANED INITIATIVES ARE DO-ABLE, and should be done ASAP;  Unfortunately, they loom insufficient to meet near and long term needs of Pakistan’s industry, and its people.  The bulwark of the planned-for energy (2,000 MW) would be imported from Iran and Tajikistan – both unreliable partners for logistical and political reasons.

Mr. Qamar is to be commended for his effort to date.  We hope for his diligent approach to make his plans a reality…Nor should Pakistan feel alone in their great effort to enhance their energy generation by non-nuclear means.  Several other countries are struggling with the same problem, in their own way.  May our creator bless their, and our own efforts everywhere!!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE…WE LIVE IN VERY INTERESTING TIMES!!!

 ***********2012***********

gonzedo

January 1, 2012 at 1:00 AM Comments (14)

« Older PostsNewer Posts »