[ RadSafe ] [Nuclear News] Why going nuclear won't solve energy crisis

Sandy Perle sandyfl at cox.net
Fri Jan 25 10:47:20 CST 2008


Why going nuclear won't solve energy crisis
NRC fines NYC-area nuclear plant for alert system
Energy Department Eases Nuclear Power Path for Iraq, Libya
India, France to boost civil nuclear cooperation
Turkey to go nuclear as Bush pushes Turkish-US nuclear cooperation
The arguments for nuclear don´t add up

Why going nuclear won't solve energy crisis

(Belfast Telegraph) Jan 25 - t's good to know that there is healthy 
opposition to the idea of a nuclear power station in the North West.

Nevertheless, I want to emphasise some points to ponder.

According to Greenpeace, nuclear power could supply only 4% of our 
electrical energy from the year 2020, when fossil fuels will already 
be in dwindling supply.

Nuclear fission is CO2 neutral, but extracting uranium out of Africa 
and Australia involves machinery for mining and transportation, all 
of which is CO2 positive. Who pays for nuclear accidents? Remember 
Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and the Sellafield fire?

Insurance companies consider them too risky for business. Who in the 
emergency services will volunteer to tackle a nuclear fire, because 
each firefighter would need to know if it would be his or her last 
job before a painful cancerous death?

Each nuclear reactor produces 500 pounds of nuclear waste (plutonium) 
yearly, enough for governments or terrorists to make thousands of 
atomic bombs.

Plutonium, the most toxic, longlife substance on earth, needs to be 
stored in cooled containers and guarded by armed security for 250,000 
years. The containers corrode, so they need to be changed every 50 
years, 5,000 times into the future.

If we dare to spend billions of pounds on an irreversible nuclear 
future, our children's descendants will curse us forever.

We should all shout NO together.

Philip Allen, Belfast 

NRC fines NYC-area nuclear plant for alert system

LOS ANGELES, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Entergy Corp (ETR.N: Quote, Profile, 
Research) was fined $650,000 for failure to put in place and operate 
a new emergency notification system with backup power at the Indian 
Point nuclear power plant near New York City, the U.S. Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission said on Thursday.

This is a backup for the alarm system that would alert people in a 10-
mile radius of a radiation accident at Indian Point. The two-reactor 
plant is on the Hudson River in Westchester County, about 35 miles 
north of Times Square in midtown Manhattan.

The plant already has a working siren system -- which will remain in 
place once the new one begins operation -- but this one is required 
by the NRC because Indian Point is in such a big metropolitan area. 
About 20 million people live within 50 miles of the plant.

The lack of a secondary siren system has not endangered the public, 
said Neil Sheehan, NRC spokesman, who pointed out the primary system 
is operating.

The fine is 10 times what the NRC normally would assess for such a 
relatively low-level violation, but the NRC penalized Entergy, the 
second-largest U.S. nuclear power generator, because it failed to 
comply with previous NRC orders.

Luis Reyes, NRC executive director for operations, said, "We are 
taking this situation very seriously and will not ease up on our 
scrutiny in this important matter."

Entergy spokeswoman Robyn Bentley said Entergy will respond to the 
NRC notice within a month. She said the cost of adding the backup 
alert system with batteries stands at $20 million.

Entergy has installed sirens at 155 locations in Westchester, 
Rockland, Putnam and Orange counties in New York. Bentley said 
Entergy may add a dozen more to ensure the sirens can be heard 
clearly throughout the 10-mile radius of the reactors on the Hudson 

As part of the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005, Entergy was 
required to install the system, at the urging of New York Sen. 
Hillary Clinton. It is the only plant in the country required to do 
so, due to the high population near the plant.

 Some nuclear power plant operators have installed such a backup 
system without being required to do so, Sheehan said.

Entergy was told by the NRC in January 2006 that it had a year to 
install the new backup system at Indian Point. In January 2007, 
Entergy asked and was given an extension by the NRC but missed a new 
deadline of April 2007. The NRC fined Entergy $130,000 for missing 
that April 2007 deadline.

In July 2007, the NRC gave Entergy until August 24, 2007 to have the 
new alert scheme in place, and to have approval from the Federal 
Emergency Management Agency.

Bentley said Entergy has worked with agencies from FEMA to local 
ones. Sheehan of the NRC said that Entergy should have anticipated 
some of the hurdles it has encountered getting the siren system 
working to acceptable levels.

Last month, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo urged the NRC not 
to grant 20-year extensions to the licenses to operate Unit 2 (to 
2033) and Unit 3 (to 2035).

Indian Point is one of five nuclear power plants that Entergy plants 
to spin off into a new company during the third quarter of this year.

Indian Point opened in 1962 with a reactor that shut in 1974. The 
1,035-megawatt Unit 2 opened in 1973 and the 1,036-megawatt Unit 3 
opened in 1976.

Energy Department Eases Nuclear Power Path for Iraq, Libya

WASHINGTON, DC, January 24, 2008 (ENS) - The Department of Energy has 
"overstated accomplishments" of a program designed to employ nuclear 
scientists from the former Soviet Union who might otherwise pose a 
nuclear proliferation risk, the investigative branch of the U.S. 
Congress has found.

In addition, the program has recently targeted Iraq and Libya to help 
these countries develop projects to expand the use of civilian 
nuclear power by becoming client states for sales of U.S. nuclear 
fuel and reprocessing services.

This activity is outside the original scope of the Initiatives for 
Proliferation Prevention program, according to testimony Wednesday 
before a congressional subcommittee by Robert Robinson, managing 
director natural resources and environment, with the Government 
Accountability Office, GAO.

Robinson said the Department of Energy, DOE, "overstated 
accomplishments on the number of scientists receiving DOE support and 
the number of long-term, private sector jobs created."

Although DOE claims to have engaged over 16,770 scientists in Russia 
and other countries, this total includes both scientists with and 
without weapons-related experience, Robinson said.

GAO's analysis of 97 projects involving about 6,450 scientists showed 
that more than half did not claim to possess any weapons-related 

Furthermore, officials from 10 Russian and Ukrainian weapons 
institutes told GAO investigators that the program helps them 
attract, recruit, and retain younger scientists and contributes to 
the continued operation of their facilities.

"This is contrary to the original intent of the program, which was to 
reduce the proliferation risk posed by Soviet-era weapons 
scientists," Robinson said.

While the Energy Department says the program created 2,790 long-term, 
private sector jobs for former weapons scientists, the credibility of 
this number is "uncertain," said Robinson, because DOE relies on 
"good-faith" reporting from U.S. industry partners and foreign 
institutes and does not independently verify the number of jobs 
reported to have been created.

In addition, Robinson told the House Subcommittee on Oversight and 
Investigations, the DOE has recently expanded the program to new 

"Specifically, DOE recently began providing assistance to scientists 
in Iraq and Libya and, through the IPP program, is working to develop 
projects that support the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership - a DOE-
led international effort to expand the use of civilian nuclear 

"DOE expanded the program's efforts without a clear mandate from the 
Congress and suspended parts of its IPP program guidance for projects 
in these new areas," Robinson said.

Part of President George W. Bush's Advanced Energy Initiative, the 
Global Nuclear Energy Partnership would have "nations with secure, 
advanced nuclear capabilities provide fuel services - fresh fuel and 
recovery of used fuel - to other nations who agree to employ nuclear 
energy for power generation purposes only," the Energy Department 
explains on its website.

The closed fuel cycle model envisioned by this partnership requires 
development and deployment of technologies that enable recycling and 
consumption of long-lived radioactive waste.

It was "at the State Department's request" that the IPP program moved 
into Libya after the country decided in 2004 to abandon all weapons 
of mass destruction, a senior official of the National Nuclear 
Security Administration told the subcommittee.

Adam Scheinman said, "We also partner with the State Department in 
Iraq, and are prepared to engage elsewhere, including in North Korea 
if circumstances warrant it."

Agreeing with Robinson that the IPP program requires "recalibration" 
because "Russia's economy is stable and conditions in the closed 
cities are much improved," still Scheinman said most of the program's 
work remains in Russia.

"The absence of a high risk of scientist migration does not imply 
zero risk or that the job is done," Scheinman said. "To the contrary, 
as long as proliferation demand exists, we have a requirement to 
cooperate with others to impede supply, whether that involves 
improved export controls, better border security, or scientist 

As to the overstatement of accomplishments, Scheinman said the 
program has engaged "many thousands of WMD [weapons of mass 
destruction] scientists and experts - an impressive achievement that 
serves our nonproliferation objectives and our nation's security."

The GAO recommends, among other things, that the Energy Department 
conduct a fundamental reassessment of the IPP program, including the 
development of a prioritization plan and exit strategy. The federal 
agency "generally concurred" with GAO's findings, but does not 
believe that the IPP program needs to be reassessed. 

India, France to boost civil nuclear cooperation

New Delhi, Jan 25 (ANI): France and India today decided to give a new 
impetus to their cooperation for the development of nuclear energy 
for peaceful purposes as an expression of their strategic 
The joint statement issued after discussions that President Nicholas 
Sarkozy had in Delhi said that both sides look forward to the 
finalisation of India-specific safeguards agreement with the 
International Atomic Energy Commission (IAEA) and the adjustment of 
international civil nuclear cooperation framework. France expressed 
its support for the same.
"Both sides recognise that as a reliable source of sustainable and 
non-polluting energy, it (nuclear energy) could make a significant 
contribution to meeting the global challenge of achieving energy 
security, sustainable development, economic growth and limiting 
climate change," the statement said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has expressed hope that 
a safeguard agreement with the IAEA will be concluded successfully 
without any loss of time.
Replying to questions during a joint press conference with President 
Sarkozy, Dr. Singh said that international negotiations too take 
time, but he said that talks are moving forward in right direction.
France and India have also finalised negotiation in regard to 
reaching a bilateral agreement for civil nuclear cooperation. This 
agreement will form the basis of wide ranging bilateral cooperation 
from basic and applied research to full civil nuclear cooperation 
including reactors, fuel supply and management.

Another agreement was signed today in the field of nuclear research, 
which is key for preparing for the future.
It relates to the participation of the Indian Department of Atomic 
Energy (DAE) in the research project, the Jules Horowitz Reactor, 
which will be built by the Commissariat a l´energie atomique (French 
Atomic Energy Commission) at Cadarache, France.
An MOU that establishes cooperation between the Bhabha Atomic 
Research Centre and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research on the 
one hand, and the Grand Accelerateur National d´Ions Lourds (GANIL) 
on the other on the use of Spiral 2 high intensity beam production 
system at Caen, France will be signed in Mumbai.
GANIL is a heavy ion accelerator based at Caen.
India and France also agreed to intensify exchanges between the 
scientists of both countries in the nuclear field, establish 
structures for training, and undertake nuclear safety research.
In addition, the existing dialogue between respective nuclear safety 
authorities will also be reinforced, especially in the context of 
future industrial cooperation. 

Turkey to go nuclear as Bush pushes Turkish-US nuclear cooperation 

(The New Anatolian) ANKARA - U.S. President George W. Bush on 
Wednesday submitted a cooperation agreement between the United States 
and Turkey concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy to the U.S. 
Congress, saying that private-sector proliferation worries have been 

The July 2000 agreement, signed by then-US president Bill Clinton, is 
expected to clear the way for transfers of nuclear know-how to 
Turkey's planned civilian atomic sector.

According to a statement released by the White House, Bush said in 
his message to lawmakers, "In my judgment, entry into force of the 
Agreement will serve as a strong incentive for Turkey to continue its 
support for nonproliferation objectives and enact future sound 
nonproliferation policies and practices."

"It will also promote closer political and economic ties with a NATO 
ally, and provide the necessary legal framework for US industry to 
make nuclear exports to Turkey's planned civil nuclear sector," he 

Last week Turkish Energy & Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler 
said that the government was resolute to go ahead with its nuclear 
energy project. The Turkish Energy Ministry is expected to publish 
the tender for the construction of the country's first nuclear power 
plant on January 21. Companies interested in the tender, which have 
already taken part in a series of informative meetings and whose 
number was 18 at the last meeting, will have to confirm their 
participation within this date. According to Turkish dailies, the 
Turkish Atomic Energy Agency (TAEK) has so far approved companies 
from the United States, Japan, Canada, South Korea, France and 
Russia. The tender should be closed by next June. 

The arguments for nuclear don´t add up

(Workers Liberty) UK - Jan 25 - Having already announced his plans to 
build a new generation of nuclear power stations in November 2007, 
Gordon Brown has just completed a "consultation" on the issue and 
officially announced the "new" energy policy! A policy which, 
surprise, surprise, proposes up to twenty nuclear power stations, 
which will start coming on line around 2017.

The government plan is for the power stations to be financed through 
private enterprise but there will be plenty of public money to bail 
out the companies if they get into difficulty. While New Labour tries 
to make a business case for nuclear, they are finding it hard. In 
reality there is not a single nuclear power station in the world run 
by a private company.

In his announcement to the Commons, John Hutton, argued that public 
money had to be available to nuclear providers in order to create a 
"level fiscal playing field" with other energy providers in the 
fossil fuels and renewable sectors. Not for the first time, public 
money will top up the profit margins of private shareholders.

Why is the government so keen on nuclear? According to Hutton, 
nuclear power is the key to staving off climate change: "The entire 
lifecycle emissions of nuclear - that´s from uranium mining through 
to waste management - are only between 2% and 6% of those from gas 
for every unit of electricity generated," he says. Apparently we also 
need "energy security" to reduce our dependence on Islamist or 
Russian regimes. And we also need to plug the "energy gap" that is 
likely to occur with the decommissioning of several power stations.

Leaving the specific problems of nuclear aside (see Solidarity 3/119) 
these arguments do not really add up. While the "energy gap", "energy 
security" and "climate change" are like noble causes, the planned 
proposals do little or nothing to solve them.

Even the most optimistic of guesses have the first of the new nuclear 
power plants coming online in 2017. The only comparable example this 
decade, Finland's Olkiluoto 3 reactor, is already two years behind 
schedule. By the time we get a lightbulb´s worth of electricity out 
of these reactors we would be in the middle of the energy gap and all 
things being equal more dependent on all sorts of fascistic regimes, 
with fossil fuel prices escalating.      

By 2017 there should already have been massive cuts in our carbon 
emissions if the planet is to avoid irreversible climate change.

That has to mean a massive investment in renewables, energy storage 
and carbon capture technology. For this technology to be effective we 
would need a giant international supergrid spreading throughout 
Europe and North Africa, to offset fluctuations that occur with 
weather changes and which would cause a smaller grid to collapse.

The current nuclear policy runs very much against the 
internationalist logic. If everyone followed Britain´s lead and went 
nuclear, global uranium deposits would run out in less than 10 years. 
Sadly, the climate change issue is being used to shore up narrow 
nationalistic sentiments at the expense of an international solution.

The nationalism inherent in the nuclear policy is further revealed 
when we focus on the maniacal element of Brown´s nuclear programme - 
the £70 billion Trident replacement project. Remind ourselves of the 
family connections involved - Brown´s brother is a major lobbyist for 
the French nuclear company, EDF - and we see public policy guided by 
self-interest, short-sidedness and nepotism.

Unfortunately the leaders of Britain´s largest trade union, Unite, 
has welcomed the energy plan in a statement echoing Brown´s "British 
jobs for British workers" TUC speech.

Now more than ever we need a rank-and-file movement to wrest control 
of the unions and the labour movement away from the short-sighted 
demagogues playing dangerous political games with the future of the 

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

Tel: (949) 296-2306 / (888) 437-1714  Extension 2306
Fax:(949) 296-1144

E-Mail: sperle at dosimetry.com
E-Mail: sandyfl at cox.net 

Global Dosimetry: http://www.dosimetry.com/
Mirion Technologies: http://www.mirion.com/

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