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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 01:20 AM
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Deconstructing the nuclear industry

(Independent) World Nuclear Industry Status Report
Full report here: http://www.worldnuclearreport.org/The-World-Nuclear-Industry-Status-Report-2015.html

Author's Overview published in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Deconstructing the nuclear industry
Mycle Schneider, Antony Froggatt

Released on July 15, the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2015 (WNISR 2015) is the latest independent assessment of nuclear energy trends in a series first published in 1992. This year’s report comes at a time when most energy and environmental experts shy away from the words “nuclear renaissance” but some view nuclear power as an indispensable substitute for fossil fuels in global efforts to combat climate change. Current trends, however, suggest that a rapid ramp-up of nuclear power is unlikely, and that renewable energy is surging past nuclear power in many countries. Here are a few of the report’s key findings:

Nuclear electricity generation. By mid-2015, 30 countries were generating electricity from nuclear power. Nuclear plants generated 2,410 net terawatt-hours of electricity last year, a 2.2 percent increase over the previous year but close to 10 percent below the 2006 historic peak—by comparison, solar power surged by 38 percent and wind by 10 percent. A surprising eight countries (China, Hungary, India, Russia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, and Taiwan) achieved their greatest nuclear production in 2014, but of these countries only China and Russia started up new reactors during the year. The gains in other countries were essentially a result of uprating or better management at existing power plants.

Although nuclear electricity generation increased last year, nuclear energy’s share of global commercial electricity generation has changed little over the past three years. In 2014, nuclear power was 10.8 percent of the global mix. As in previous years, the “big five” countries—the United States, France, Russia, South Korea, and China—generated more than two-thirds of all nuclear electricity in the world. The United States and France accounted for half of all global nuclear production, and France alone generated half of the European Union's nuclear power.

Construction starts and delays. WNISR 2015 goes further and deeper than previous reports in analyzing the pace of nuclear power plant construction: the length of the process, the reasons for delays, the number of projects that have been cancelled or suspended, and how construction trends vary from country to country. These are limiting factors in any plan for a global scale-up of nuclear power.

The average construction time of the 40 units that started up in nine countries since 2005—all but one (in Argentina) in Asia or Eastern Europe—was 9.4 years, with a large range from 4 to 36 years. Construction starts plunged from 15 in 2010 to three in 2014. There are currently 62 reactors under construction, five fewer than a year ago, and at least three-quarters of these projects are facing delays. In 10 of 14 countries that are building new reactors, all projects are delayed, many by years. Five reactors that are “under construction” are projects that began more than 30 years ago.

For the first time, this year’s report devotes a full chapter to Generation III+ reactors ...



(APN) ATLANTA — Plant Vogtle’s proposed nuclear expansion with new units 3 and 4 will cost an estimated 65 billion dollars, former Georgia Public Service (PSC) Commissioner Bobbie Baker says, based on his analysis of information he received when cross-examining the PSC staff witness at the June 23, 2015 PSC hearing.


Baker wrote that the current “total revenue” requirement for the Project is approximately 65 billion dollars.


The total revenue number will increase as the two million dollar a day delays continue to add up. Unless the PSC or Legislature changes course, Georgia Power’s share of the 65 billion cost will come out of the ratepayers’, not stockholders’, pockets.


Hayet testified that the 39 month delay in construction would add 319 dollars or $6.26 per month to the average (1,000 kilowatts hours per month) residential ratepayer bill. The increase will be greater for business owners and customers who use more electricity....


World's Fastest Charging Electric Bus Takes 10 seconds to Charge

World's Fastest Charging Electric Bus Takes 10 seconds to Charge

The world's fastest charging electric busses, that takes just 10 seconds to be fully charged, were put into operation for the first time in Ningbo on Tuesday.


The bus recharges while stationary or while passengers get on or off, and each charge enables the bus to run for least five kilometers, according to Zhou Qinghe, president of Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive, a subsidiary of high-speed train maker CRRC.

In addition, the bus, which rolled off production line in April, consumes 30 to 50 percent less energy than other electric vehicles.

The capacitor can be charged one million times and has a 10-year life cycle. The bus has one-tenth the energy cost of a diesel bus with lifetime fuel savings of $200,000.


3 Former TEPCO Executives to Be Prosecuted in Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

3 Former Executives to Be Prosecuted in Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

TOKYO — In the first criminal prosecutions of officials connected to the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster of 2011, the Japanese authorities said Friday that they would move forward with cases against three former executives of the Tokyo Electric Power Company, the owner of the plant where reactors melted down after a tsunami.

The move was a victory for citizens’ groups that have been pursuing charges against dozens of officials at Tokyo Electric Power, known as Tepco, and the government, with no success until now. Prosecutors had twice rejected requests to indict the three former Tepco executives, but a review board overruled their decision on Friday and ordered that charges be brought.

“We had given up hope that there would be a criminal trial,” said Ruiko Muto, an opponent of nuclear power who leads the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Plaintiffs Group, an umbrella organization representing about 15,000 people, including residents displaced by the accident and their supporters. “We’ve finally gotten this far.”

Tsunehisa Katsumata, the chairman of Tepco at the time of the accident. Credit Franck Robichon/European Pressphoto Agency

Tens of thousands of people who lived near the Fukushima Daiichi power plant have been separated from their homes since the meltdowns at three of the facility’s reactors, which spread radiation across a wide area. Evacuation orders have been lifted in some parts of the affected zone, but many former residents are still reluctant to return because they fear for their health or because they no longer have jobs to support them there.

It is rare for prosecutors’ discretion over indictments to be challenged in Japan....

It's a start...

Glare of Video Is Shifting Public’s View of Police

Glare of Video Is Shifting Public’s View of Police

They began as workaday interactions between the police and the public, often involving minor traffic stops in places like Cincinnati; North Charleston, S.C.; and Waller County, Tex. But they swiftly escalated into violent encounters. And all were captured on video.

Those videos, all involving white officers and black civilians, have become ingrained in the nation’s consciousness — to many people, as evidence of bad police conduct. And while they represent just a tiny fraction of police behavior — those that show respectful, peaceful interactions do not make the 24-hour cable news — they have begun to alter public views of police use of force and race relations, experts and police officials say.

Videos have provided “corroboration of what African-Americans have been saying for years,” said Paul Butler, a professor at Georgetown University Law School and a former prosecutor, who called them “the C-Span of the streets.” On Thursday, the family of Samuel DuBose, an unarmed black man who was shot to death by a University of Cincinnati police officer on July 19, said the officer would never have been prosecuted if his actions had not been captured by the body camera the officer was wearing.

Ray Tensing was fired as a University of Cincinnati police officer and charged, while two others were placed on leave after video contradicted their account of an encounter with a black man. Credit John Minchillo/Associated Press

To the police, that poses a new challenge in trying to regain public confidence. “Every time I think maybe we’re past this and we can start rebuilding, it seems another incident occurs that inflames public outrage,” said James Pasco, the executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police. “Police officers literally have millions of contacts with citizens every day, and in the vast majority of those interactions, there is no claim of wrongdoing, but that’s not news.”

Some polling bolsters such concerns....

Oooops. Who eats the $7.5B loss on California nuclear plant?

U.S. nuke plant operator files $7.57 billion case against MHI
July 29, 2015

A U.S. nuclear plant operator has demanded that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. pay $7.57 billion (930 billion yen) in compensation for the failure of a steam generator that resulted in the decommissioning of reactors, The Asahi Shimbun learned.

Southern California Edison Co. (SCE), operator of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in San Diego County, asked the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce’s International Court of Arbitration on July 27 to mediate a settlement with MHI.

MHI described SCE’s demand as “unreasonable” and its claim as “gratuitous” on the grounds that the ceiling of compensation is set at $137 million in their contract. The company said it will contest that point in court.

The San Onofre nuclear plant suspended operations after water leaks were detected in steam generator pipes that were manufactured by MHI in January 2012. Pipes of another steam generator under regular maintenance were also found to be worn.

SCE had to decommission the reactors...

Former Exelon CEO says Exelon should shut those reactors

Extended excerpt by permission

Former Exelon CEO says Exelon should shut those reactors

Former Exelon CEO John Rowe says things current Exelon executives would rather not hear.
Current Exelon executives put their fingers in their ears when former Exelon CEO John Rowe (above) speaks.

Exelon executives must feel like former Exelon CEO John Rowe is kind of like the crazy uncle who has to be invited to the party even though whenever he opens his mouth to speak the entire room will cringe.

The problem for Exelon is that Rowe isn’t crazy, and he has been speaking out a lot, especially in the past week.

Last Friday, we linked to one interview he gave recently where he said he would have been quicker to close Exelon’s uneconomic reactors than the current Exelon regime–which still hasn’t closed them and is still floundering around trying to get someone, anyone, to order ratepayers to bail them out. So far, unsuccessfully.

Yesterday, E&E Publishing ran another interview with Rowe, which expands on his thoughts and surely caused unpleasant abdominal pains and teeth-gnashing in Exelon’s executive suite and boardroom. You see, Rowe is one of those retired execs whose stature has only grown since he left the company and his thoughts carry weight, especially in Illinois. And he’s still got some clout, perhaps more than Exelon itself these days: for example, he’s actually friends with Chicago Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, unlike the current Exelon suits.

So here’s what Rowe said about Exelon’s uneconomic reactors:

I’m living in a fairy world because I don’t have the numbers and I’m not responsible for them anymore. But in my opinion, you shut those three plants down. You say they have become uneconomic just like some old coal plants are uneconomic. And in a world that’s driven by unfriendly market prices and unfriendly public policy, you shut them down.

He went on to say that his former colleagues at Exelon “have to figure this out for themselves,” adding:

I love nuclear power plants. For Chris Crane, it’s his life. He would probably go further to keep a plant running than I would go. I don’t believe there’s anything divine about markets, but I believe they’re pretty important….

In some ways, I believe the only way a utility has credibility in saying that something isn’t making any money is if it’s actually willing to shut it down. If I were there, I think I’d have shut the New Jersey plant down first. It’s the oldest, it’s the smallest, and it would have given credibility to what Exelon is saying about the other four. Nuclear power plants have been shut down before around the country.

As for the idea that EPA’s Clean Power Plan should encourage nuclear power:

…I don’t think it’s EPA’s job to encourage a new nuclear world. I think that would be one of the most expensive solutions it could pursue.

Now, before you get the idea that Rowe has become some kind of green or anti-nuclear crusader...

Nuclear a 'technology of the past'

I perceive that a lot of nuclear supporters are enamored with Russia. They might want to cast a more critical eye on the reality of Russia's situation.

Nuclear a 'technology of the past'
A Russian nuclear activist has labelled South Africa's pursuit of new nuclear capacity – with Russian support – as "naive" and advised against it.

27 JUL 2015 20:26

“Nuclear is not technology of the future. This is technology of the past, of the Cold War.” This is the conclusion Vladimir Slivyak, of the Russian environmental group Ecodefense, reaches when talking about nuclear technology.


In the six decades where nuclear has been used to create energy, he says there have been numerous incidents. Chernobyl was the only one that caused waves because it affected so many other countries that it could not be hidden – 60% of the radioactive dust released landed outside territories belonging to the Soviet Union. Even now there are forests in Germany where people cannot hunt animals because of their contamination, he says.

The state nuclear regulator – Rostekhnadzor – said last year that 39 incidents had occurred in 2013. The main reasons were “mismanagement, defects in equipment and design errors”. The country’s fleet of 34 reactors has had much of its life extended by 15 years, despite being built to operate for about 30 years.

...Russia itself has stopped investing heavily in nuclear power for its own economy...
...in the coming decade nuclear will only make up about 3% of the total energy mix, Slivyak says. This is because plants will retire without new ones being built.

...Steve Thomas, a professor of energy policy at the University of Greenwich, said, “It was always extremely doubtful whether Russia could provide the finance for all the nuclear power projects it claimed to be close to winning well before the oil price collapse.”

With the number of nuclear plants decreasing each year – there are now 388 in operation around the world – the energy source now accounts for around 4% of the global energy mix. According to the International Energy Agency three-quarters of these will be reaching the end of their operational life in the next decade.


Much more at:http://mg.co.za/article/2015-07-27-nuclear-too-old-too-complicated-too-uneconomic

“Something Dreadful Happened in the Past”: War Stories for Children in Japanese Popular Culture

“Something Dreadful Happened in the Past”: War Stories for Children in Japanese Popular Culture

The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 30, No. 1, July 27, 2015

Akiko Hashimoto

Reflecting on the 70th anniversary of the end of Japan's War, it is worth noting that teaching the history of World War II to Japanese children has always been difficult at best. As a subject fraught with contentions over textbook content and conflict between teachers and state bureaucracy, teaching war history has long been “a dreaded subject” for many school teachers. Japanese history education has been criticized for not going far and deeply enough to describe perpetrator history – especially the injury and death inflicted on tens of millions of Asian victims. At the same time, it has been admonished for the opposite: that it goes too far in promoting Japan's negative self-identity. This contest to shape hearts and minds of future citizens has long burdened Japan's history education in schools, and has yielded mixed results.

Flawed as the school instruction of war history is in many respects, however, what is easily overlooked in the focus on the shortcomings of formal history education is the significant impact of informal education about the Asia-Pacific War. What can deeply influence the hearts and minds of the next generation – perhaps more than textbooks – is the power of popular war stories accessible to children in the commercial media and libraries. This “pop” war history is readily available in children’s everyday life, mostly unmediated by teachers and unfiltered by state authorities.

War stories for children in Japan's popular culture have been influential carriers of war memory for many decades. Famous stories created by celebrated manga and anime artists like Barefoot Gen, Grave of the Fireflies, and To All Corners of the World have successfully exposed young readers to the destructive aspects of the Asia-Pacific War and influenced them to feel the horror of death. Others like Mother’s Trees, Glass Rabbit, and Poor Elephants have been equally successful in shaping young children’s antipathy toward lethal violence, exposing them to the sheer meaninglessness and horror of mass death. The cumulative effect of these cultural materials – produced, reproduced, and revised over many years in multiple editions and in diverse media – is to nurture negative emotions about the Asia-Pacific War and war in general that have become powerful motivators of moral conduct. The discussion that follows draws from my book, The Long Defeat: Cultural Trauma, Memory, and Identity in Japan, where the topic of children’s education about the war appears in the larger context of Japan's collective memory of colonialism and war, the national fall, and its pathways toward moral recovery.

Collections of Study Manga: History from Below
In a country where the popular cultural media are ubiquitous, it is not surprising that material on Japanese history is abundant in the commercial media. In Japan 40% of all books and magazines are manga (comic art) publications. It stands to reason that manga has been a popular vehicle for supplemental instruction and education. Indeed, this genre called “study manga,” or “education manga” (gakushū manga), is found readily in school libraries, local public libraries and bookstores. As informal tools of cultural learning they are on a par with television and animation films in how they bring cognitive comprehension to children, influencing their perceptions as memory carriers of the next generation. They are entirely distinct from young boys’ entertainment comics, not discussed in this essay, that valorize heroic fighters, fictive or otherwise, in throwaway paper format. Of the public media that transmit and translate war memory – from newspapers, magazines, books, and novels to television documentaries and films – study manga merit special attention as a vehicle that exclusively targets children at a formative age, when their ethical judgment and moral dispositions are formed.1

The moral evaluation of war and peace in pop history study manga comes into clear focus ...


There’s a trend here.

Extended excerpt used with permission

"... the trend away from nuclear power and fossil fuels and toward clean energy is only accelerating, all across the world."

There’s a trend here.

This trend is clear: Solar and wind are already cheaper than coal and will become more so; and will beat out natural gas as well. Nuclear is so expensive it’s off the chart. Chart from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Every day I take an hour or two to scan dozens of articles from across the globe on nuclear power and clean energy issues; I select a handful of the best to post on NIRS’ Twitter and Facebook feeds as well as the COP 21 organizing page on Facebook, along with some Twitter-enforced pithy commentary.

Today I found myself using the word “trend” twice in a half-dozen post comments. Accurately.

Because the trend away from nuclear power and fossil fuels and toward clean energy is only accelerating, all across the world. Given how low we began, with clean energy even a few years ago providing only a microscopic amount of our electricity supply, rapid and accelerating growth is absolutely necessary. But the pace of the growth still is stunning. The dinosaurs’ day is coming, and the trend shows that it’s coming sooner than expected.

A few examples:

*The upcoming release of the annual and invaluable World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2015 indicates that 45% of the world’s people live in countries that now generate more electricity from non-hydro renewables than from their nuclear power. These include four of the world’s five largest economies: China, India, Japan and Germany, along with Brazil, Mexico, Spain and the Netherlands.

When hydro is included, the United Kingdom can be added to the list. The outlier on the list is obvious: the U.S. Although at least the U.S. is growing too, from 8.5 percent renewable (including hydro) in 2007 to 13 percent in 2014. All of that growth comes from non-hydro renewables.

Note that these statistics are not based on capacity (all of these nations have far more nameplate capacity of renewables than nuclear) but on actual generation, where until recently nuclear has been the leader.

*In a story titled The Latest Sign that Coal is Getting Killed, Bloomberg reported Monday that coal companies are finding it increasingly difficult to find needed financing from Wall Street; investors believe–with good reason–that coal is on the way out and they don’t want to risk their good money on it. That they are backing off financing for coal-related projects will only hasten the industry’s demise.

Bloomberg’s clients aren’t motivated by the environment, they’re motivated by profit. And they see solar and wind power–as the chart at the top of the page indicates–as already being more cost-effective than coal and becoming only more so. Nuclear, which is even more expensive than coal, doesn’t even enter the equation....

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