[ RadSafe ] Nuclear News - No need for nuclear, Aussie Government

Perle, Sandy sperle at mirion.com
Wed Aug 20 16:42:52 CDT 2008


No need for nuclear, Aussie Government
Quebec opts to renovate lone nuclear power plant at cost of $2
NRC meets with public on nuclear reactor process
Malaysia looking at nuclear energy use: minister Tue Aug 19, 2:42 AM ET
Fire shuts down Diablo nuclear plant
Water deal for proposed nuclear plant in SJ Valley
Repairs not complete at S.C. nuclear plant
Top nuclear regulator tours mine industry out West
Iran to build more nuclear power plants
NRC grants help Clemson prepare workers for nuclear industry
Feds OK increased generation at Millstone nuclear plant
Two Rivers City Council supports expanded role of nuclear power
Finnish nuclear watchdog approves welding work at nuclear plant  

No need for nuclear, Aussie Government 

NUCLEAR power is important for other countries, but not for energy rich
Australia, Resources Minister Martin Ferguson says.

Encouraging the development of geothermal energy, however, was
exceptionally important, he said. 

The federal Opposition has reignited the nuclear energy debate, with
frontbencher Ian McFarlane saying Australia must have nuclear power if
it is to slash greenhouse gas emissions. 

"The position of the Government is very clear, we will not support
nuclear power in Australia because we don't need to,'' Mr Ferguson said
to ABC Radio. 

"As a person who actually encouraged the development of our uranium
mining industry, I understand the importance of nuclear power beyond

"But unlike Australia, a lot of those countries are not energy rich.'' 

Geothermal energy - pumping water below the earth's surface so it passes
through molten hot rocks to produce steam for electricity - had huge
potential for Australia, Mr Ferguson said. 

"For example just 1 per cent of Australia's geothermal energy could
equate to 26,000 times Australia's total energy consumption at any one

"So from the Australian Government's point of view, encouragement of
geothermal activity is exceptionally important. 

"I would have thought that given our renewable energy target of 20 per
cent by 2020 ... we could see a significant contribution of that 20 per
cent from the geothermal industry.'' 

While geothermal, solar, wind and wave power needed to be looked at,
carbon emissions was still a problem, Mr Ferguson said. 

"We've got to work with the business sector to try and get carbon
capture and storage in place because 80 per cent of our electricity in
Australia, at the moment is currently by coal fired power stations,'' he

Quebec opts to renovate lone nuclear power plant at cost of $2 billion 

MONTREAL - Quebec will spend nearly $2 billion to maintain its bit-part
in the nuclear industry by sprucing up a power plant some charge is too
old, too small and too dangerous to merit a new lease on life on life. 

The province's energy utility announced on Tuesday that Gentilly-2,
Quebec's only nuclear power plant, will get a major retrofit aimed at
increasing its lifespan to 2040. 

"It's a good project that will allow us to continue to operate for many
more years a plant that is safe . . . a plant that will produce
electricity at a competitive price," Hydro-Quebec president Thierry
Vandal told a news conference in Becancour, Que. 

Located on the shores of the St-Lawrence River, about halfway between
Montreal and Quebec City, Gentilly-2 only produces three per cent of the
province's energy output. 

Most of province's electricity needs are met by hydroelectric power
production. Hydro-Quebec claims the nuclear plant plays an important
stabilizing role for the province's power grid. 

However with nearby Trois-Rivieres hit hard by slowdowns in the
manufacturing and forestry sector, economic benefits were also a
deciding factor. 

The renovations will result in about $600 million in spinoffs for Quebec
and will create about 800 jobs over a 20-month period, in addition to
the station's current staff. 

Engineering and procurement are slated to begin this year, with
construction to start in 2011 and wrap by 2013. 

"It's a good business decision for the regional economy as well as for
the rest of Quebec," said provincial Transportation Minister Julie
Boulet, who also represents the central Quebec region. 

The $1.9 billion price tag cited Tuesday is $400 million higher than
estimates made earlier this year. Original estimates had been as low as
$800 million. 

The Point Lepreau nuclear power plant in New Brunswick - considered
Gentilly-2's twin as both use CANDU-6 reactors - is currently being
refurbished at a cost of $1.4 billion to add another 25 years of
operating life. 

Dismantling Gentilly-2 was pegged at $1.6 billion. 

Vandal stressed the utility is working to ensure there will be no cost
overruns, including fixing prices with some suppliers. 

"Our estimate derives from eight years of feasibility studies,
evaluation, preparatory work and inspections," he said. 

But environmental groups question whether Hydro-Quebec has been seduced
by the so-called "nuclear renaissance" and its characterization of
nuclear energy as safe and green. 

"Generally in the nuclear world, a lot of it doesn't have to do with
economics and more to with the prestige of having a nuclear facility,"
said Greenpeace energy campaigner Shawn-Patrick Stensil. 

"Frankly, $2 billion for 600 megawatts is quite a lot." 

Stensil acknowledged that while nuclear plants don't produce carbon
emissions, there is little consensus about what to do with the nuclear
and other types of waste they produce. 

Public hearings held in 2004-2005 on the future of Gentilly-2 concluded
that the Quebec government should articulate a long-term plan for
dealing with radioactive waste before extending the plant's lifespan. 

"(The government) has had a policy that won't accept a used-fuel waste
site in Quebec," said Stensil. 

"Today, however, they have given the OK to producing more radioactive
waste. That's hypocritical." 

Others wondered if renovating the 25-year-old plant was possible without
putting workers at risk. Hydro-Quebec's plans essentially call for the
reactor's key parts to be rebuilt. 

"It usually takes 40 years for the radiation to subside enough to get
near it," said Marcel Jette, a former Gentilly-2 worker who heads a
group of employees making health claims against Hydro-Quebec. 

"They're going to stop the reactor and send the workers in right after.
They say there is no danger, but that's completely false." 

Between 2002 and 2005, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission repeatedly
found radiation protection at Gentilly-2 to be "below requirements." 

Security guards blocked Jette, who believes he contracted cancer from
his years at the plant, from entering Tuesday's news conference. 

The nuclear refurbishment in Quebec comes at a time of growth for
Canada's nuclear industry as governments expand their power grids with
nuclear energy, avoiding polluting coal-fired plants. 

In Ontario, the province is expanding its nuclear network, already the
most extensive in Canada, with new reactors to be built at the
Darlington nuclear generating station east of Toronto by 2018. 

The province has asked three companies - Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.,
Areva NP of France, and Westinghouse, a U.S.-Japanese joint venture - to
submit bids to build the reactors by the end of the year. 

In Alberta, the Bruce Power partnership, which already operates a
nuclear plant in southwestern Ontario, is proposing to build a nuclear
generating station in the Peace River region. 

If the project is approved, it would be the first nuclear power station
in Western Canada, a region of the country where hydroelectric,
coal-fired and gas-fired stations produce most of the electricity. 

Bruce Power is a partnership owned by TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP),
uranium miner Cameco Corp. (TSX:CCO) and a unit of the Ontario Municipal
Employees Retirement System, one of Canada's largest pension funds. 

NRC meets with public on nuclear reactor process

As PPL Electric Utilities prepares plans to construct its third nuclear
power plant near Berwick, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is
reaching out to the public to explain the permit application process and
offer opportunities for public comment on the proposal.

The NRC held the first of many public meetings Tuesday at the Kehr Union
Ballroom on the campus of Bloomsburg University. Approximately 50 area
residents attended.

In the fourth quarter of 2008, PPL and UniStar Nuclear Energy plan to
submit an application to the NRC for a COL, or combined license, to
construct and operate an "AREVA U.S. Evolutionary Power Reactor" near
PPL's Susquehanna nuclear power plant at Berwick.

By submitting the application in late 2008, the proposed plant could
qualify for production tax credits under the U.S. Energy Policy Act of

According to Michael Canova, combined license project manager for the
NRC, Tuesday's public meeting was an informal session designed to give
the public an overview of the nuclear power plant permitting process, to
explain what the NRC does during the COL application, and to describe
how the public can participate in the NRC review process.

Canova was assisted in the presentation by NRC personnel including
Environmental Projects Manager Irene Yu, EPR Projects Chief Joseph
Colaccino, Environmental Projects Chief William Burton, and Reactor
Operations Engineer Jason Jennings.

According to Canova, after the PPL application is submitted, it is
scrutinized to determine whether the data is adequate and sufficient for
docketing. If approved, two separate investigations on the application
begin simultaneously: a safety review, and an environmental review.

Once complete, reports on the environmental and safety reviews are made
public and public hearings are scheduled. Following the public hearings,
the NRC prepares final environmental impact studies and safety
evaluation reports, and another public hearing is scheduled. The final
step is announcement of the NRC's decision on the application.

The entire process - from application submission to commission decision
- could take three to four years, Canova said.

Some citizens attending Tuesday's informal session voiced concerns that
no national plan currently exists for the disposal of nuclear waste.
Others voiced general fears concerning the safety of nuclear energy.

A few expressed support for the application as part of national
development of alternative energy sources.

Some on both sides of fence - those in favor of and those opposed to
nuclear energy - expressed a desire for a stronger national push for
clean alternative energy sources such as wind and solar.

Canova said the NRC welcomes all comments regarding PPL's Bell Bend
proposal, and provided information on contacting the NRC offices.

The proposed Evolutionary Power Reactor is different than the two
nuclear reactors currently in operation at the Susquehanna Steam
Electric Station, located about 7 miles southeast of Berwick at Bell
Bend. The current units are boiling water reactors. The new EPR unit
would be a more powerful pressurized water reactor, which would utilize
steam to turn its electricity-producing turbines.

The EPR unit is expected to provide 1,600 megawatts of electricity. The
existing Unit 1 produces 1,135 megawatts; Unit 2 produces 1,140

If PPL moves forward with its plan to submit application to construct
the EPR at Bell Bend, it would be the first application for a new
reactor since Three Mile Island near Harrisburg.

More information about the application process is available through
www.nrc.gov or project manager Canova at 301-415-0737.

Malaysia looking at nuclear energy use: minister Tue Aug 19, 2:42 AM ET

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Malaysia's cabinet will deliberate next month on
whether to adopt nuclear energy to combat high global oil prices, a
minister said Tuesday. 

Last month, state utility Tenaga said it could construct the country's
first 1,000 MW nuclear power plant at a cost of 3.1 billion dollars
after being asked by the government to look at the option.

"After it is tabled to the cabinet, an announcement will be made on our
commitment to further preparations," Science, Technology and Innovation
minister Maximus Ongkili told state news agency Bernama.

"This nuclear energy is vital following the increase in the world fuel
price and our limited oil reserve. Moreover, nuclear energy is cheap and
clean," he added.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said in June that Malaysia may
consider adopting nuclear power to meet its long-term energy needs amid
surging global oil prices.

Currently, half of Malaysia's power plants run on gas. Other sources
include coal and hydropower.

Last year, the government said it would build Southeast Asia's first
nuclear monitoring laboratory to allow scientists to check the safety of
atomic energy programmes in the region.

Fire shuts down Diablo nuclear plant

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA -- The Unit 2 reactor at the Diablo Canyon Nuclear
Power Plant has been shut down because of a transformer fire at the San
Luis Obispo County coastal facility. 
Diablo Canyon spokeswoman Sharon Gavin says Sunday's 12:12 a.m.
transformer fire was extinguished in about 14 minutes. She says there
was no threat to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company plant's nuclear
Investigators say the fire appears to have been caused by a transformer
failure in an area east of the plant's turbine building. 
The Unit 2 reactor was shut down because of the blaze.

Water deal for proposed nuclear plant in SJ Valley

Fresno, CA (AP) -- Promoters of a proposed nuclear power plant on the
west side of Fresno County have signed a letter of intent with the
Westlands Water District, which would provide water for reactor cooling
and to produce steam.

Officials of Nuclear Energy Group LLC said Tuesday that their proposal
includes a desalinization facility to remove boron and selenium from

The two 1,600-megawatt generators would sit on 500 acres that the
district would help the company locate.

Two nuclear plants operate in California, but state law bars new
construction until the federal government agrees on disposal issues
involving radioactive spent fuel. The Fresno-based group says it is
considering a ballot initiative to overturn the law.

Repairs not complete at S.C. nuclear plant

RALEIGH, N.C., Aug. 20 (UPI) -- The Shearon Harris nuclear plant in Wake
County, S.C., is still under repair after reported operational
malfunctions, a company spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Progress Energy (NYSE:PGN) spokeswoman Julia Milstead said a water leak
was discovered Aug. 11 at the nuclear reactor, prompting an emergency
shutdown of the energy facility and an investigation of the related
malfunctions, The News (NYSE:NWS) and Observer newspaper in Raleigh,
N.C., said.

The inspection of the reactor's 115-foot-long rubber seal found a
2-foot-long tear that had caused the sudden loss of cooling water.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said the emergency shutdown didn't
pose a safety risk nor did a second shutdown Tuesday after another
malfunction was found.

Milstead told The News and Observer that the rubber seal had last been
replaced nearly a decade ago and that replacement process had taken two
weeks to complete. 

Top nuclear regulator tours mine industry out West

DENVER (AP) -- Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Dale Klein, in
Colorado and Wyoming to meet with uranium industry representatives and
tour a mine, said it's a busy time at his agency.
Rising uranium prices and demand for energy worldwide have led to a
resurgence of the industry that had dropped off in the 1990s. The price
of uranium has shot up as high as $100 per pound after plummeting to
about $10 per pound in 2002.

"What we're seeing in terms of the world demand for uranium is that it's
really shooting up," Klein said Tuesday. "China wants to build 40 new
reactors by 2050."

India and Japan continue expanding their nuclear-power programs.

Klein said the NRC expects to receive more than 20 applications for
uranium mines. Some states, including Colorado and Utah, have their own
oversight agencies.

As a regulator, Klein said his job isn't to promote the industry.
"That's the Department of Energy's job."

The commission's job is to ensure public safety and security and protect
the environment, Klein said.

One of the concerns due to the upsurge in the industry is making sure
there are enough qualified employees. While in Denver, Klein handed out
$515,000 in grants to the Colorado School of Mines in Golden for
education related to the nuclear industry to try to expand the work

Klein also met with members of the International Forum on Sustainable
Options for Uranium Production, a nonprofit group promoting the
industry. He planned to tour a Wyoming uranium mine Wednesday. The
Smith-Highland Ranch in-situ mine north of Douglas is owned by the
Canadian-based Cameco Corp.

In-situ leach mining involves injecting substances underground to
extract the uranium. Critics have warned that proposed uranium mine near
Nunn in northeast Colorado could contaminate groundwater.

Klein said companies need to educate the public about the process and do
the monitoring required to ensure safety.

Nuclear agency OKs new bids for KC weapons parts plantKansas City
Business Journal - by Rob Roberts Staff Writer
Print Email Reprints RSS Feeds Add to Del.icio.us Digg This CommentsThe
National Nuclear Security Administration bolstered Kansas City's hopes
of retaining 2,100 high-paying jobs by authorizing resolicitation of
bids for a new $500 million nuclear weapons parts plant in south Kansas

The General Services Administration, the federal government's landlord,
had hoped to choose a developer for the 1 million- to 1.5
million-square-foot facility on Thursday and break ground for it at
Missouri Highway 150 and Botts Road in October. But Brad Scott, the
GSA's regional administrator, reported a "bid bust" last month after all
four short-listed developers submitted bids in excess of a limit set by

Congress has established a lease cap of $38 a square foot for the
project, which GSA wants a private developer to build and lease to the
National Nuclear Security Administration for 20 years.

The NNSA, a branch of the U.S. Department of Energy, oversees a 3.1
million-square-foot plant at the Bannister Federal Complex, where
non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons are assembled. The plant,
operated by contractor Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies,
employed 9,000 during the Cold War. Downsizing at a new facility could
save the federal government $100 million a year in operating costs, Mark
Holecek, a deputy manager for the NNSA's Kansas City Site Office, said

Congress approved the GSA's lease-back plan for a new facility in
December, paving the way for the plant to pay property taxes for the
first time. But the GSA plan, which called for 50 percent of the plant's
annual $5.2 million property tax payment to be diverted to two new M-150
interchanges and other infrastructure improvements, was threatened by
last month's bid bust.

In July 2005, the Kansas City Business Journal cited a report by the
Nuclear Weapons Complex Task Force that recommended moving the Kansas
City plant operations to another DOE site, such as the Sandia National
Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M. But the bid resolicitation announced
by the GSA on Tuesday could keep the plant in Kansas City.

"So long as you don't change the scope of the project, you're OK to move
forward on a resolicitation," Scott said, adding that "scope" was
defined as the purpose, mission and size of the structure being bid on.

According to information that's been posted on the Federal Business
Opportunities Web site, the GSA is seeking expressions of interest in
developing a manufacturing facility of about 1.035 million square feet
of rentable space with 2,100 parking spaces. In addition, the site
reports, the GSA is seeking options for expansion space of as much as
517,500 square feet of rentable space with 2,500 parking spaces. About
25 percent of the space will be used for offices, and 75 percent will be
used for electrical assembly, laboratory and light and heavy

To help developers submit new bids under the lease cap, Scott said, the
GSA went through a "very serious and very thorough value-engineering
process." As a result, developers will be given more latitude in
determining building materials, and the NNSA may buy some of the plant's
equipment directly rather than incurring the developer's 20-year
amortization costs. In addition, the GSA will lobby Missouri for
additional financing for the M-150 interchanges, allowing some of the
plant's diverted property taxes to be used to defray plant-development

To increase competition for the project, Scott said, the federal
government will pay $125,000 stipends to as many as four developers that
make it to the second phase of the two-phase bidding process. For the
first-phase evaluation, developers will be asked to submit data on their
past performance on comparable projects and preliminary plans detailing
their intended means of financing the project.

The deadline for prospective bids is Sept. 17. The GSA plans to announce
a short list of developers for further evaluation in late September and
make a final selection in time for an early spring 2009 groundbreaking,
Scott said.

Iran to build more nuclear power plants

Tehran, Aug 19 (Xinhua) Iran has asked its energy companies to look for
potential sites to set up more nuclear power plants in the country, a
senior official said.

Ahmad Fayyazbakhsh, deputy chief of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation
and head of a state-owned nuclear energy production company, said that
his company has signed an agreement with six local companies to set up
nuclear power plants.

These companies were asked to look for potential sites within a year for
setting up new nuclear power plants, Iran's state run IRNA news agency
Tuesday quoted the official as saying.

The construction of the power plants would begin after finalising the
sites, Fayyazbakhsh said.

Earlier, 62 foreign and 58 Iranian companies had applied for the work,
but the six Iranian companies won the bid, he added.

Russia is helping Iran to build its first nuclear power plant in the
country's southern port of Bushehr. The plant was expected to start its
operation early this year, but was postponed due to disputes over

The US and its Western allies fear that Iran's nuclear programme is to
make weapons. Iran insists that its programme is for peaceful purposes

NRC grants help Clemson prepare workers for nuclear industry

CLEMSON - More than $500,000 from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to
Clemson University's environmental engineering and earth sciences
department will help prepare workers for tomorrow's nuclear industry.

A $398,932 Nuclear Education Fellowship Grant to scientists Timothy
DeVol, Robert Fjeld and Brian Powell will fund graduate students
studying radioactive waste disposal, radiochemistry and the
environmental aspects of nuclear power generation, said DeVol.

"Expertise in these areas is a critical issue because of attrition as
well as possible expansion of the nuclear power industry. Nuclear power
is one part of an integrated approach to reduce our greenhouse gas
emissions and strive toward energy security," DeVol said.

A second grant of $125,151 for nuclear education and curriculum
development will be focused on protecting the public and the environment
from the harmful effects of radiation.

Feds OK increased generation at Millstone nuclear plant 

WATERFORD (AP) - The Millstone nuclear power complex in Waterford has
won federal approval to increase the generating capacity at one of its
reactors by 7 percent.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the plan Tuesday. Millstone's
owner, Virginia-based Dominion, plans to increase the Unit 3 reactor's
capacity from 1,150 megawatts to 1,230 megawatts in the fall.

The NRC says it determined that Dominion could safety increase the
reactor's output by upgrading turbines, transformers and other major
plant components.

Millstone says its two operational units now generate more than 2,000
megawatts of electricity, enough to power 500,000 homes.

Two Rivers City Council supports expanded role of nuclear power
TWO RIVERS - The City Council has adopted a resolution supporting a
recommendation by Wisconsin's Global Warming Task Force that the state
"modify the current moratorium on the construction of new nuclear
generating facilities in Wisconsin," thereby allowing utilities in
Wisconsin to construct nuclear facilities.

The resolution, which the council voted on Monday evening, passed 7-1
with Jay Orvis voting no and Mark Matthews absent.

Orvis said he was opposed to any resolution promoting only one type of
energy production.

Citing his work as an industrial electrician and maintenance supervisor,
Orvis said he believes up to half of all energy produced is wasted.

"We should really be looking into increasing our efficiency," he said.
"Let's pass a resolution encouraging conservation and energy

The resolution says meeting the nation's growing energy needs cannot be
accomplished through fossil fuels alone because of concern about the
resulting greenhouse gases and the role they play in global warming.

"America's energy future lies in the deployment of a diverse portfolio
of energy sources, including oil, coal, natural gas, wind, solar and
nuclear," the resolution states.

Many people in Two Rivers work at the Point Beach and Kewaunee nuclear
power plants, and "our residents are pretty comfortable living next to
these plants," said city Manager Greg Buckley.

The city will send the resolution to Gov. Jim Doyle and area legislators
to show its support and to the Manitowoc County Board, the Manitowoc
Common Council and the Board of Directors of the Economic Development
Corp. of Manitowoc County to urge them to take similar action to show
their support.

Finnish nuclear watchdog approves welding work at nuclear plant  
Helsinki - Claims of poor quality welding work at a Finnish nuclear
reactor under construction were rejected Wednesday by the Finnish
nuclear watchdog. The Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority
(STUK) said allegations of "faulty" checks of the welding work being
built at Olkiluoto, south-western Finland were "false."

A week ago, environmental group Greenpeace cited "confidential
documents" for its call to halt work on the reactor. 

STUK said it had monitored welding "of importance for security" and had
not found reason to question how the work was planned or conducted,
noting that it had approved the welding procedures used. 

The Ministry of Employment and the Economy commissioned the report from
STUK after the claims of poor work, which also were reported in a
television documentary. 

The reactor at Olkiluoto is being built by France's Areva. Construction
began in 2005 but has suffered from several delays and is behind

Finland currently operates four reactors, of which two are located at
Olkliuoto, and two at Loviisa east of the capital Helsinki. 

Energy group Fortum and power company Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) were
among the companies that have started to investigate the feasibility of
building a sixth reactor. 

Sander C. Perle 
Mirion Technologies
Dosimetry Services Division 
2652 McGaw Avenue
Irvine, CA 92614

+1 (949) 296-2306 (Office)
+1 (949) 296-1144 (Fax)

Mirion Technologies: http://www.mirion.com/ 

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