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National engineering association calls for federal investigation into canceled S.C. nuclear reactors

Source: Post and Courier

A national association that represents professional engineers across the country is calling for a federal investigation into the cancellation of two nuclear reactors in South Carolina.

The National Society of Professional Engineers sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Thursday asking the agency to investigate the nuclear construction effort at V.C. Summer Nuclear Station that was abandoned in July.

The push to have the country's nuclear regulators open an investigation comes more than a month after The Post and Courier uncovered the use of unlicensed construction designs for the $9 billion project in Fairfield County.

The newspaper's investigation — Stamped for Failure — highlighted a decision by Westinghouse to disregard state laws that require professional engineers to oversee and approve the blueprints for construction projects. Over the past decade, the Pennsylvania-based company was responsible for designing and constructing four new nuclear power plants at V.C. Summer and the Vogtle plant near Augusta.


An environmental group also has requested an investigation from the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, which is responsible for enforcing South Carolina's engineering laws, but state officials have yet to take any action.


Read more: http://www.postandcourier.com/business/national-engineering-association-calls-for-federal-investigation-into-canceled-s/article_644f1a34-ba78-11e7-87bb-a346f8ff1a22.html

Japan Nuclear Fuel skipped safety checks at Rokkasho plant for 14 years

Source: Kyodo

Nuclear regulators concluded Wednesday that Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. violated legally binding safety rules by failing to conduct necessary checks for over a decade at its uncompleted spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in the country’s northeast.

The failure of checks at an underground portion of the plant in the village of Rokkasho in Aomori Prefecture for about 14 years eventually resulted in about 800 liters of rainwater flowing into a building housing an emergency diesel generator in August this year. The generator is a crucial device in times of crisis such as the loss of external power.


But the Rokkasho plant has been inundated with problems, with its completion date postponed 23 times since 1997, its initial target. It also had to meet new, tougher safety standards made in the wake of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power complex, triggered by the powerful March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of the Tohoku region.

The authority also said holes and cracks at exhaust pipes found at Japan Nuclear Fuel’s uranium enrichment plant in September also violated safety rules. The defects had been undetected due to a lack of inspections.


Read more: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/10/12/national/japan-nuclear-fuel-skipped-safety-checks-rokkasho-plant-14-years/

U.S. energy head: Nuclear power rescue helps national security

Source: Reuters

The U.S. energy secretary defended his plan to reward nuclear plants with incentives against criticism it would manipulate markets by telling a congressional hearing on Thursday that a strong domestic nuclear industry boosted national security.


One lawmaker pointed to a study by ICF Consulting that said power bills could rise $800 million to $3.2 billion annually if FERC issued Perry’s plan.

But Perry said the federal government had disregarded nuclear power for decades at a risk to national security.

“If we lose our supply chain, if we lose our intellectual chain of supply of bright scientists because we basically pushed the nuclear industry back, then we’re going to lose our role as a leader when it comes to nuclear energy in the world,” Perry said. That in turn could hurt the country’s ability to address nuclear nonproliferation, Perry said.


Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-energy-perry/u-s-energy-head-nuclear-power-rescue-helps-national-security-idUSKBN1CH2W4

Electricity consumers 'to fund nuclear weapons through Hinkley Point C'

Source: The Guardian

The government is using the “extremely expensive” Hinkley Point C nuclear power station to cross-subsidise Britain’s nuclear weapon arsenal, according to senior scientists.

In evidence submitted to the influential public accounts committee (PAC), which is currently investigating the nuclear plant deal, scientists from Sussex University state that the costs of the Trident programme could be “unsupportable” without “an effective subsidy from electricity consumers to military nuclear infrastructure”.


“What our research suggests is that British low-carbon energy strategies are more expensive than they need to be, in order to maintain UK military nuclear infrastructures,” said Stirling.

“And without assuming the continuation of an extremely expensive UK civil nuclear industry, it is likely that the costs of Trident would be significantly greater.”


Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/oct/12/electricity-consumers-to-fund-nuclear-weapons-through-hinkley-point-c
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