Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

To promote mining (especially uranium) Australian government trashed the reputation of Aboriginal people

Government had made it clear that it wished to re-engage itself more directly in the control of community land through leasing options as well as to open up Aboriginal land for development and mining purposes.

The plan was to empty the homelands, and this has not changed. However, it was recognised that achieving this would be politically fraught – it would need to be accomplished in a manner that would not off-side mainstream Australia. Removing Aboriginal people from their land and taking control over their communities would need to be presented in a way that Australians would believe it to be to Aboriginal advantage, whatever the tactics.

So began the campaign to discredit the people and to publicly stigmatise Aboriginal men of the Northern Territory

And even in 2009 when the CEO of the Australian Crime Commission, John Lawler, reported that his investigation had shown there were no organised paedophile rings operating in the NT, no formal apology was ever made to the Aboriginal men and their families who were brutally shamed by the false claims.

text-from-the-archivesSixth Anniversary of the Northern Territory Intervention – Striking the Wrong Note Lateral Love Australia‘concerned Australians’ Michele Harris, 21 June 13 Aboriginal advocate Olga Havnen, in her Lowitja O’Donoghue oration has asked a critical question. She asks what has been the psychological impact of the Intervention on Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory. It is surprising that so little attention has been given to this critical, yet in some ways tenuous, link before now.

Even before the Intervention began in June 2007, government had long planned a new approach to the ‘management’ of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory. It was no longer part of government thinking that self-determination and Aboriginal control over land could be allowed to continue. These were the Whitlam notions of 1975 and they were no longer acceptable.

Early inklings of change occurred in 2004 with the management of grants being transferred from communities to Government’s newly established Indigenous Co-ordination Centres. More ominous were the Amendments of 2006 to the Aboriginal Land Rights Act and the memoranda of agreements that followed. Government had made it clear that it wished to re-engage itself more directly in the control of community land through leasing options as well as to open up Aboriginal land for development and mining purposes.

The plan was to empty the homelands, and this has not changed. However, it was recognised that achieving this would be politically fraught – it would need to be accomplished in a manner that would not off-side mainstream Australia. Removing Aboriginal people from their land and taking control over their communities would need to be presented in a way that Australians would believe it to be to Aboriginal advantage, whatever the tactics.

So began the campaign to discredit the people and to publicly stigmatise Aboriginal men of the Northern Territory. Continue reading

December 2, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, history | Leave a comment

Schoolteacher calls Fukushima evacuee pupil ‘germ’

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

15241936_373374809680438_8486718446533198066_n.jpgNIIGATA, Japan (Kyodo) — An elementary school pupil who evacuated from Fukushima in the wake of the 2011 nuclear disaster has skipped school for more than a week since a male teacher added “germ” to his name when addressing him in late November, a local education board said Friday.

The fourth-grade pupil told the teacher, in his 40s, before the summer holidays that he was distressed as other pupils were addressing him by adding “germ” to his name.

According to the education board, the teacher then added “germ” while addressing the boy in a classroom on Nov. 22, just five days after the boy approached the teacher again about his treatment by fellow pupils.

Nov. 22 was also the day of a strong earthquake off Fukushima in the early morning, reminding many of the massive March 2011 quake and tsunami that triggered the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear…

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December 2, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The week that has been in climate and nuclear news

a-cat-CANMedia attention continues to focus on Donald Trump. He seems happy in the spotlight, even if the revelations are about his conflicts of interest, and the unsuitability of officials that he’s appointing. Trump himself hardly matters, really, as the Republicans will be in charge in the White House, Congress and Senate, and are dominated by anti-science, climate deniers, and hawkish militarists.

Meanwhile the impacts of climate change continue, and their repercussions for society, and world security are becoming realised. Uncontrollable climate change could be triggered by Arctic ice melt.  Military experts warn on refugee crises and need to combat climate change. With Temperatures Hitting 1.2 C Hotter than Pre-Industrial, Drought Now Spans the Globe. Biggest-Ever Coral Die-Off Reported on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Pope Francis urges national leaders not to wreck the climate change pact.

People power, not Trump, has killed the Trans Pacific Partnership.

NUCLEAR. As I write, South Australians are organising for  a demonstration outside Parliamant House for a rather joyful requiem for the Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission’s plan to turn that State into the world’s nuclear toilet. The Dump is Dumped – for now, anyway. Citizens demand action to enforce South Australian Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000.

But then, there’s the Federal government’s plan for a nuclear waste at outback Barndioota. They duplicitously claim that this is for “medical” wastes, but it is in fact for the intermediate and high level processed wastes returning to Lucas Heights from France and UK.  Kimba, South Australia, may rejoin the discussion on hosting a federal nuclear waste dumpTiny outback town divided over plan for federal nuclear waste dump.

Liberal and Labor quietly pass law to protect uranium industry from legal challenges. Australian govt ignores UN request to review its failing uranium industry.

CLIMATE and RENEWABLE ENERGY . No real action from Federal govt in its new “response plan” on the Barrier Reef. Firefighters Alliance calls for action on climate change. Prime Minister Turnbull out of step with Australian public on environment. Smart planning now will enable reliable renewable electricity.  Australian solar power technology sold to China, by CSIRO.

United Nations uphold their ruling in favour of Julian Assange.

Queensland. Traditional Aboriginal owners will fight on against Adani coal mine. Adani Carmichael coal mine faces many more questions and legal hurdles.

Northern Territory. Yingiya Mark Guyula is Confirmed as the Member for Nhulunbuy.

Victoria. Need to examine Australia’s electricity system – Victorian network fault.

Western Australia. Western Australian town to host large renewable energy grid.

December 2, 2016 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

The Dump is Dumped! – for now

text don't nuclear waste AustraliaMembers and supporters of the Anti-Nuclear Coalition will gather on Parliament House steps this evening at 6pm for a last farewell to the Premier’s international nuclear waste dump proposal. We will ceremonially, with all pomp and circumstance, consign it to the bin!*

Spokesperson Anne McMenamin said, “We are pleased that the Premier has decided not to proceed with changes to legislation and policy, at this stage, but we are aware that the push towards the dump will continue behind the scenes.

“We want to tell Jay, in no uncertain terms, that ‘No’ means ‘No – not now, not ever.’ The message from the Citizens’ Jury was loud and clear, despite all the efforts to corral them toward a Proceed with Caution finding – the amber light.

“However, we are aware that the Government has given the go-ahead for increased exploration and mining of uranium. We are also aware that the Federal Government’s proposed national dump is still on the agenda.

“These two issues are very much on the minds of the Traditional Owners of the land in which the dump and the mining will occur. The current site for the dump is Barndioota, in the Flinders Ranges, land of the Adnyamathanha people “Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners, Regina McKenzie and Tony Clark, will convey the strong opposition of their people. Regina has just this week been announced as the joint winner of the Australian Conservation Foundation’s 2016 Rawlinson Award for out-standing leadership in her efforts for Indigenous and environmental justice in her region. “The Anti-Nuclear Coalition is extremely concerned that waste for this dump is described as ‘low and intermediate level’ giving the impression that it’s not really dangerous. By international standards, the ‘intermediate level’ waste is really ‘high level’. Further, there is considerable controversy amongst scientists as to the safety of even ‘low level’ ionising radiation.

*We’d like to burn copies of the Royal Commission Report and the Government’s Know Nuclear propaganda, but doubt that would be appreciated on Parliament House steps, so we will chuck it in a big yellow-cake drum, with a humorous oration, a great new song, and a salute to the valiant members of the Citizens’ Jury.

December 2, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

ANZAC Sermon – To Right the Wrongs – April 1919

text-from-the-archivesLibrary of Victoria  1919 –  ANZAC Sermon – To Right the Wrongs …
 H.M.T. Orsova, nearing Suez, 28th April 1919
Vida Goldstein:

‘The Anzac sermon was preached by an army chaplain; it was a glorification of the Australians, with some humorous sidelights.

It had none of the dignity and impressiveness that one would have thought the occasion demanded, and offered no comfort to those present who had lost relatives at Gallipoli and on other battlefields.

He denied absolutely the oft-repeated statement that the Australian soldiers were undisciplined. They were splendidly disciplined, he said, but their disciplined conduct had no trace of servility.

He spoke feelingly of the social conditions that had killed soldiers before they entered the trenches.

The evidence in the trenches of the terrible results of those social conditions had roused many men to the sense of their duty to their fellows, and made them resolve that when they returned to civil life they would do all in their power to right the wrongs under which their comrades had lived.’

Woman Voter 7 August 1919 State Library of Victoria

First World War Women working for peace 1914-1919
womensweb.com.au

“History is not dead and gone, it lives on in us in the way it shapes our thought, especially our thought about what is possible.”
Daphne Marlatt 2001

December 2, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Canada leads in making medical radioisotopes without need of a nuclear reactor

Canadian technology to address the global medical isotope supply challenge

Medical isotope production

antnuke-relevant14 September 2016. A consortium of institutions led by TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics and accelerator-based science, is granting sole rights for its proprietary technetium-99m (Tc-99m) production technology to ARTMS™ Products, Inc (ARTMS). Technetium-99m is used in over 80% of all nuclear medicine imaging procedures and is vital to patient care in areas such as cardiology, oncology, and neurology. …

Typically sourced from an ageing global reactor fleet, Tc-99m has been subject to significant supply disruptions in recent years. ARTMS’ production technology promises to provide a reliable, cost effective, and safe supply of this critical medical isotope. The license includes all the required products and procedures for the production of Tc-99m using common hospital-based and commercial cyclotrons, through the bombardment of a high-energy proton beam against specific chemical ‘targets’. ….

“The ARTMS production technology offers many advantages, and that is why we believe our technology is truly disruptive and that it will gain widespread adoption,” Dr. Schaffer added. “Not only does the ARTMS production technology provide regional supply security of Tc-99m, it also offers favourable economics, and aids to eliminate the need for highly-enriched uranium, which is currently used by nuclear reactors to produce this isotope.”

“This agreement represents the culmination of six years of hard work by a dedicated team from across Canada, including TRIUMF, the BC Cancer Agency, Lawson Health Research Institute, and the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization,” said Dr. Jonathan Bagger, Director of TRIUMF. “Today marks the completion of a major milestone as we move to commercialize a decentralized, green, and Canadian-made, technology that can produce Tc-99m daily at hundreds of hospital-based cyclotrons around the world. This licensing agreement marks the beginning of a new era in Tc-99m production and supply security.”

More information on the recent global isotope shortages, Tc-99m, and the story of ARTMS can be found in this media backgrounder and more information on medical isotopes and cyclotrons can be found in this FAQ.    http://www.triumf.ca/current-events/artms%E2%84%A2-products-inc-licenses-canadian-technology-address-global-medical-isotope

December 2, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Illnesses of workers at Hanford nuclear waste site – new investigation

Former nuclear site in Washington state is ‘causing workers to develop terminal illnesses’ – and it won’t be cleaned up for another 50 more years (photos) 

  • The Hanford Site in Washington state was used to produce plutonium from 1943 through the end of the Cold War
  • Washington River Protection Solutions is now cleaning up the site 
  • Workers at the site say they are being exposed to radioactive fumes 
  • A watchdog group says that three workers have died as a result of exposure to nuclear waste on the job  
  • Just this year, 61 workers have allegedly been exposed to toxic materials
  • But the government contractor says that everyone who has been checked out for possible exposure has been cleared to return to work 

A former nuclear site in Washington state is poisoning workers and threatening the health of those who live around it, according to a new investigation.

Some experts have called the former Hanford nuclear plant ‘the most toxic place in America’ and ‘an underground Chernobyl waiting to happen’.

The site, located in a rural area along the Columbia River, was commissioned by the Manhattan Project to produce plutonium for the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.  

It remained an active nuclear site until the end of the Cold War, when it was decommissioned and the Department of Energy subcontracted Washington River Protection Solutions to start the clean-up.

But current and former workers at the site have told NBC that the underground containers holding the site’s nuclear waste are leaking, and that they have been exposed to the toxic fumes because the company has not given them the right safety equipment.

Their health issues include dementia, nerve damage, memory loss and respiratory problems.

Watchdog group Hanford Challenge says that at least three workers’ deaths have been linked to exposure at the site, but officials with Washington River Protection Solutions have refused to admit they are putting their workers in danger. Those workers are Gary Sall, Deb Fish and Dan Golden.

But several studies show that’s not the case and just this year, 61 workers have allegedly been exposed to toxic materials.

For their story, NBC spoke to DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary Mark Whitney, who said that all workers who have been evaluated for possible exposure have been cleared to return to work. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3986750/Former-nuclear-site-Washington-state-causing-workers-develop-terminal-illnesses-won-t-cleaned-50-years.html#ixzz4RctEncj2

December 2, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How one USA President slowed down the nuclear war danger

Carter entered office and promptly pushed through Congress the 1978 Non-Proliferation Act

Carter’s U.S. nuclear doctrine was enormously unpopular among America’s nuclear science elite

To the chagrin of the powerful nuclear weapons and nuclear power lobbies, Carter abandoned the idea of a new nuclear renaissance.

 Jimmy Carter’s re-election defeat brought the nuclear establishment another opportunity.

text-from-the-archivesUnited States Circumvented Laws To Help Japan Accumulate Tons of Plutonium, DC Bureau By Joseph Trento,  April 9th, 2012 “….Stopping the Spread of Fissile Material After Jimmy Carter won the presidency in 1976, he instituted an aggressive policy to control the spread of fissile materials. As a former nuclear reactor engineer on a Navy submarine, Carter knew better than any other world leader the immense power locked up in plutonium and highly enriched uranium. He was determined to keep it out of the hands of even our closest non-nuclear allies – including Japan.
Carter had good reason for this policy. Despite Japan’s ratification of the NPT in 1976, a study conducted for the CIA the following year named Japan as one of the three countries most able to go nuclear before 1980. Only the Japanese people’s historic opposition to nuclear weapons argued against Japanese deployment. Every other factor argued for a Japanese nuclear capability. Continue reading

December 2, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Donald Trump’s staffers come from climate denialists, industry front groups

I could fill this newspaper with the names of Trump staffers who have emerged from such groups:

spin-global.nukeFrightened by Donald Trump? You don’t know the half of it, Guardian, George Monbiot, 1 Dec 16 Many of his staffers are from an opaque corporate misinformation network. We must understand this if we are to have any hope of fighting back against them. Yes, Donald Trump’s politics are incoherent. But those who surround him know just what they want, and his lack of clarity enhances their power. To understand what is coming, we need to understand who they are. I know all too well, because I have spent the past 15 years fighting them.

Over this time, I have watched as tobacco, coal, oil, chemicals and biotech companies have poured billions of dollars into an international misinformation machine composed of thinktanks, bloggers and fake citizens’ groups. Its purpose is to portray the interests of billionaires as the interests of the common people, to wage war against trade unions and beat down attempts to regulate business and tax the very rich. Now the people who helped run this machine are shaping the government.

I first encountered the machine when writing about climate change. The fury and loathing directed at climate scientists and campaigners seemed incomprehensible until I realised they were fake: the hatred had been paid for. The bloggers and institutes whipping up this anger were funded by oil and coal companies. Continue reading

December 2, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Military experts warn on refugee crises and need to combat climate change

global-warming1Climate change will stir ‘unimaginable’ refugee crisis, says military Unchecked global warming is greatest threat to 21st-century security where mass migration could be ‘new normal’, say senior military, Guardian, , 1 Dec 16Climate change is set to cause a refugee crisis of “unimaginable scale”, according to senior military figures, who warn that global warming is the greatest security threat of the 21st century and that mass migration will become the “new normal”.

The generals said the impacts of climate change were already factors in the conflicts driving a current crisis of migration into Europe, having been linked to the Arab Spring, the war in Syria and the Boko Haram terrorist insurgency.

Military leaders have long warned that global warming could multiply and accelerate security threats around the world by provoking conflicts and migration. They are now warning that immediate action is required.

“Climate change is the greatest security threat of the 21st century,” said Maj Gen Munir Muniruzzaman, chairman of the Global Military Advisory Council on climate change and a former military adviser to the president of Bangladesh. He said one metre of sea level rise will flood 20% of his nation. “We’re going to see refugee problems on an unimaginable scale, potentially above 30 million people.”

Previously, Bangladesh’s finance minister, Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, called on Britain and other wealthy countries to accept millions of displaced people.

Brig Gen Stephen Cheney, a member of the US Department of State’s foreign affairs policy board and CEO of the American Security Project, said: “Climate change could lead to a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. We’re already seeing migration of large numbers of people around the world because of food scarcity, water insecurity and extreme weather, and this is set to become the new normal.

“Climate change impacts are also acting as an accelerant of instability in parts of the world on Europe’s doorstep, including the Middle East and Africa,” Cheney said. “There are direct links to climate change in the Arab Spring, the war in Syria, and the Boko Haram terrorist insurgency in sub-Saharan Africa.”……https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/dec/01/climate-change-trigger-unimaginable-refugee-crisis-senior-military

December 2, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

United Nations uphold their ruling in favour of Julian Assange

flag-UN.UN rejects UK appeal on Assange, Justice for Assange On 30 November 2016, the United Nations rejected the United Kingdom’s attempt to appeal the UN’s February ruling in favour of Julian Assange.

The decision therefore stands and the UK and Sweden are once again required to immediately put an end to Mr. Assange’s arbitrary detention and afford him monetary compensation.

Earlier this year the United Nations concluded the 16 month long case to which the UK was a party. The UK lost, appealed, and today – lost again. The UN instructed the UK and Sweden to take immediate steps to ensure Mr. Assange’s liberty, protection, and enjoyment of fundamental human rights. No steps have been taken, jeopardising Mr. Assange’s life, health and physical integrity, and undermining the UN system of human rights protection.

Now, the United Nations has found that the United Kingdom’s request for review of this decision (filed on March 24) was inadmissible; the United Kingdom has now reached the end of the road in its attempt to overturn the ruling. As a member of the Security Council and the United Nations Human Rights Council, the United Kingdom must respect its commitment to the United Nations, and release Mr. Assange immediately. Now, more than ever, moral leadership is required; maintaining Mr. Assange’s effective detention (which stands at six years as of 7 December, 2016) will only serve to green light future abuses against defenders of free speech and human rights.

Mr. Assange stated “Now that all appeals are exhausted I expect that the UK and Sweden will comply with their international obligations and set me free. It is an obvious and grotesque injustice to detain someone for six years who hasn’t even been charged with an offence.”….. https://justice4assange.com/?rejects

December 2, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, politics international | Leave a comment

Yingiya Mark Guyula is Confirmed as the Member for Nhulunbuy

text politicsCourt of Disputed Returns Dismissed, Yingiya Mark Guyula  is Confirmed as  the Member for Nhulunbuy
http://www.yingiya.net/news/court-of-disputed-returns-dismissed-yingiya-mark-guyula-is-confirmed-as-the-member-for-nhulunbuy  1 December 2016:

MLA for Nhulunbuy Yingiya Guyula has expressed relief and satisfaction at the dismissal of the Electoral Commissioner’s challenge to his election to the NT Legislative Assembly
by consent orders sought by both parties and made by Justice Southwood today in the Court of Disputed Returns.

““From the moment it was suggested that I might be disqualified from nominating for Parliament
because of my claimed membership of a local government advisory body called the Milingimbi Local Authority,
I have said that I was never a member of that body,” Mr Guyula explained.
“I did not nominate to be a member, I did not consent to being appointed to the Authority by the East Arnhem Regional Council (“EARC”), and I did not even know it had passed a resolution to appoint me.
In fact when I was asked whether I wanted to be nominated and appointed I said no because I was too busy working in remote homeland schools and would not be able to attend regular meetings.”

Mr Guyula’s lawyer Ken Parish explained that his evidence was not disputed, and
was corroborated by evidence from other Milingimbi community members.
Moreover, the Electoral Commission accepted in submissions to Justice Southwood that Mr Guyula had attended a handful of Authority meetings not as a member of that body but as a djirrikaymirri or senior elder of the Guyula Djambarrbuyngu tribe. …

“Mr Guyula said that the most pleasing aspect of today’s result was that he would now be
free to focus completely on providing effective representation for the people of Nhulunbuy
and North East Arnhem Land in Parliament over the next 4 years.
“I stood for Parliament with the aim of helping to create harmony, understanding and mutual respect between Yolngu and Balanda people, laws and institutions.
Today’s Court decision is one small but important step on the road to achieving that aim,” Mr Guyula said.”

December 2, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory, politics | Leave a comment

Giant steel-covered tomb finally sealed off over Chernobyl’s nuclear wreck

Chernobyl reactor entombed in giant steel shield 30 years after worst nuclear disaster in history [Excellent photos] Mirror, 1 Dec 16 Thirty years after an explosion ripped apart the Chernobyl power plant and spewed radioactive dust across Europe, the devastated reactor number four has finally been sealed off.  Built with bolts from Wrexham and overseen by a man from Bury, this gigantic steel shield encases the reactor responsible for the worst nuclear disaster in history.

diagram-Chernobyl-sarcophag

Thirty years after an explosion ripped apart the Chernobyl power plant and spewed radioactive dust across Europe, the devastated reactor number four has finally been sealed off. Six years in the making, the 108-metre-high arch is the largest moveable land structure ever built. Its completion brings an end to a nightmare that has scarred two generations.

At a ceremony inside the radiation exclusion zone in Ukraine, British engineer David Driscoll, 66, told of his vital role as health and safety manager overseeing one of the most daunting construction projects ever undertaken….

The shimmering steel structure looms large over the frozen wasteland rendered uninhabitable by the catastrophe on 26 April, 1986.

More than 200,000 people were evacuated from their homes in the weeks afterwards as the then Soviet Union government slowly reacted to the poisoned legacy of the leak.

Deserted houses by the roadside in the exclusion zone have been slowly devoured by the forest.

In Pripyat, the Soviet city next to Chernobyl, the shells of deserted apartment blocks serve as a permanent reminder of the scale of the catastrophe.

At the top of one tower block is a faded Communist hammer and sickle………

Waterproof and temperature-controlled, the structure is fitted with an overhead crane to allow for the future dismantling of the previous, crumbling Soviet-era shelter and the remains of reactor four.

Igor Gramotkin, director-general of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, said: “We were not building this arch for ourselves.

“We were building it for our children, our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren.

“This is our contribution to the future, in line with our responsibility for those who will come after us.”

Ostap Semerak, Ukraine’s Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources, said of the completion of the project: “The sliding of the arch over reactor four at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is the beginning of the end of a 30-year long fight with the consequences of the 1986 accident.” http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/chernobyl-reactor-entombed-giant-steel-9360959

December 1, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ireland could be bankrupted by a nuclear incident off the coast

safety-symbolNuclear incident off our coast has potential to bankrupt Ireland, Irish Times, 2 Dec 16 Expert model shows best-case consequence of minor episode implies €4bn cost to State Dick Ahlstrom 

December 1, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

French nuclear companies EDF and AREVA in a deepening safety and cost mess

AREVA EDF crumblingFrance’s nuclear-energy champion is in turmoil  http://www.economist.com/news/business/21711087-electricit-de-france-has-had-shut-down-18-its-58-nuclear-reactors-frances-nuclear-energy   Electricité de France has had to shut down 18 of its 58 nuclear reactors  THESE are difficult times for Electricité de France (EDF), the country’s quasi-monopolistic electricity provider, serving 88% of homes. Outages at no fewer than 18 of the 58 EDF-owned nuclear reactors that provide three-quarters of France’s electricity have meant a slump in production: the company says annual nuclear output could fall to 378 terawatt hours (TWH), from 417 TWH last year. Eight reactors are currently lying idle and several may not restart for weeks or months. Power stations are burning coal at a rate not seen since the 1980s. As electricity imports and prices soar, officials are having to deny that a cold snap could bring blackouts.

The cause of the crisis—possibly faulty reactor parts throughout EDF’s fleet—suggests it may not be easily contained. France’s nuclear regulator, the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN), this summer ordered urgent tests of reactor parts, mostly bases of cylindrical steam generators. Inspectors are worried about high carbon levels found in steel forged by Creusot Forge, which is owned by Areva, another French firm, and by Japan Casting & Forging Corporation, a Japanese supplier. In some pieces carbon deposits are over 50% above permitted levels, risking fracture in case of a sudden change in the temperature of the steel.

The extent of faulty forge work is as yet unknown, as is whether Areva employees falsified data. ASN is clearly surprised that Areva failed to spot the problem. It is now auditing thousands of files stretching back over decades. More faults are likely to emerge, the regulator reckons. Continue reading

December 1, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment