Sunday 31st of August 2014

a "bad bank" to transfer the biggest risk: nuclear power plants...


nuclear waste

From Der Speigel

Fearing astronomical cost overruns, German utility companies want to shift responsibility for dismantling nuclear power plants to the government. Despite the billions of euros in risks it entails, the proposal could still prove attractive for Berlin.


Germany's latest problem weighs 275,000 tons. That's the cumulative weight of the steel and cement scrap that will come out of the dismantling of the Obrigheim nuclear power plant, which is located in the town of the same name in the southern German state of Baden-Württemberg. That scrap includes pipelines, plant sections, turbines, generators and the reactor pressure vessel. It also includes 10,000 tons of potentially radioactive material that will have to be submerged in an ultrasonic bath or processed with a sandblaster to reduce its radioactivity. The most dangerous work will be conducted by remote-controlled robots.

The demolition of a nuclear power plant is a technically complicated undertaking that can take between 15 and 20 years to complete. In the case of Obrigheim, dismantling the power plant will cost energy utility company EnBW, which owns the facility, an estimated €500 million ($684 million). Compared to other plants in Germany, this pressurized-water reactor is relatively small. The dismantling of larger plants like Gundremmingen B or Isar 2 in the state of Bavaria are estimated to cost as much as €1 billion each.

Most Germans have assumed that these costs will be picked up by the energy utility companies, which have gleaned billions of euros in profits from these plants. Besides, why should different rules apply to nuclear plant operators than to normal car owners, who have to pay to scrap their car when it's no longer fit for the road?But the heads of Germany's three major electric utility companies -- E.On CEO Johannes Teyssen, RWE chief Peter Terium and EnBW head Frank Mastiaux -- have come up with what they think is a brilliant plan to transfer the billions in risks related to dismantling nuclear plants. They want to punt responsibility to the state and taxpayers.

Public Trust

The energy executives are proposing the energy industry equivalent of a "bad bank" to transfer their biggest risk: nuclear power plants.

Following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011, German Chancellor Angela Merkel introduced her Energiewende, or energy turn-around, policy of phasing out all nuclear energy and shifting largely to renewable energies by 2022. After closing the plants, the next step is for them to be dismantled. Fearing significant risks inherent to that task, industry executives would like to transfer ownership of existing nuclear plants into a public trust that would operate the plants until their closure around eight years from now. The trust would be responsible for dismantling the plants, which is estimated to cost billions, and also for storing radioactive waste.


uranium mining in greenland... from perth.

By Anthony Loewenstein

Aleqa Hammond, the prime minister of Greenland, is the first woman to lead this autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark. She also welcomes the financial opportunities from climate change and a melting Arctic Circle.

“I simply refuse to be the victimised people of climate change”, she told Business Week this month. “This time we have other options than just hunting. We have the right now to our own underground.”

In October last year, Hammond pushed legislation through Greenland's parliament to overturn a 25 year old ban on the extraction of radioactive materials, including uranium, despite countless leading environmental NGOs urging otherwise. It attracted global interest from the rare earth and uranium industries, including from China. Concerns were also raised about Greenland's ability to manage a toxic substance in the wake of Fukushima and Chernobyl.

The company Greenland Minerals and Energy Limited (GMEL) is based in Perth, Western Australia. This year GMEL announced a major step forward in their plan to open one of the world’s largest uranium mines in southern Greenland, at Kvanefjeld. The mine will also produce fluoride, thorium and other rare earths.

There is still significant opposition to the Kvanefjeld project. The Ecological Council, a Danish NGO, organised a conference to discuss the potential contamination risks in March, noting that the mine poses serious risks for the inhabitants of the nearby village, Narsaq. Many locals told the BBC that they worried about pollution and challenges to traditional ways of life if GMEL moved ahead with its plans. Unsurprisingly, Danish green groups have pushed for a continued ban on uranium mining. They claim that rare earth elements can be extracted without uranium mining in Greenland

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I think fear for nuclear

I think fear for nuclear power emerges from the perception that if something goes wrong it has all the potential to be fatal and catastrophic while other means of generation it will not affect nearby population. Meanwhile, it was reported that a nuclear waste spot found in southern France was rocked by a blast that killed one and injured 4 others. Regulatory authorities say that the incident brought on no radiation leaks. France relies on nuclear power more than any other country in the world. Resource for this article: Explosion in French nuclear facility kills one, injures four

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the nuclear madness...


Japan's prime minister during the Fukushima disaster says Australia should be trying to wean other countries away from nuclear power, not increase exports of uranium.

Naoto Kan, who was prime minister from June 2010 to August 2011, is in Australia to lobby for a greater use of renewable energy sources.

He said the world was moving away from nuclear power and Australia should not get in the way of that.

"Rather than looking at making contributions through exporting and making it more possible for more countries to be relying on nuclear power, all countries including Australia should be making efforts to do what can be done to reduce such dependence on nuclear power," Mr Kan said.

"I hope that Australia can be exporting not uranium or coal for example, but electricity created through renewable sources," he said.

When he was Japanese PM, representing the Democratic Party of Japan, a tsunami caused a nuclear incident in which three nuclear reactors melted down at the Fukushima nuclear power plant and forced widespread evacuations.


Please note, RAM92x, that in France the rate of suicide amongst workers in the nuclear industry is about 3 times the national average... I have discussed the nuclear industry many times over on this site, including that NO NUCLEAR POWER STATION anywhere in the world is profitable — most are subsidised by whatever concessions and including the government buying weapon grade plutonium for defence. The cost of dismantling any nuclear power station is prohibitive and all in the same proportion as the necessary clean up in Fukushima...