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New Finnish nuclear plant raises hopes and fears


New Finnish nuclear plant raises hopes and fears

Sino-French nuclear power pact not a sure thing

Nuclear Convoy Reaches French Recycling Plant Safely

Accident-hit Kansai Electric completes checks on all nuke reactors

Czech power plant unit reconnected to grid

Test nuke reactor stops automatically, no radiation leak

Reprocessing all spent nuke fuel costs 840 yen extra per household

EU Commission recommends nuclear deal with Japan


New Finnish nuclear plant raises hopes and fears

OLKILUOTO, Finland, Oct 7 (Reuters) - One of the world's largest 

nuclear power plants is under construction in Finland, raising the 

long dormant atomic power industry's hopes for a revival but evoking 

fears among opponents of lethal accidents and waste.

The 3-billion-euro ($3.7 billion) project is the only new nuclear 

reactor being built in western Europe where nations such as Germany 

and Finland's neighbour Sweden have decided to phase out their 

existing atomic power stations.

If the 1,600 megawatt Olkiluoto-3 reactor comes on stream in 2009 as 

planned, it could herald a new dawn for nuclear power, supporters 

say. They argue that Europe can't meet its pledge to reduce 

greenhouse gas emissions without more nuclear energy.

"The world needs more and more energy. If you must reduce the use of 

fossil fuels, nuclear power must be given a prominent role," said 

Sven Kullander, a professor of high energy physics at Sweden's 

Uppsala University.

Anti-nuclear campaigners -- ever fewer in recent years after a heyday 

in the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl reactor meltdown that contaminated 

150,000 square km (57,920 square miles) in Ukraine, Belarus and 

Russia -- oppose Finland's fifth reactor.

"I try to believe that we could stop it," said Annaliisa Mattsoff of 

Finnish Women Against Nuclear Power.

Last month activists from environment lobby Greenpeace and other anti-

nuclear groups demonstrated near Olkiluoto, carrying banners warning 

the area is "infected by nuclear disease."


The opponents say every new nuclear reactor increases the risk of 

terrorists getting hold of plutonium, the deadly radioactive material 

used in nuclear bombs.

Anti-nuclear activist Pirkko Lindberg described the Olkiluoto-3 

project as "megalomania." She has written a book about the Pacific 

state of Tuvalu which is at risk of being submerged if oceans rise as 

a result of global warming.

"Nuclear power has no effect on the climate," said Stockholm 

University Meteorology Professor Bert Bolin, who led the United 

Nations climate change panel during the birth of the Kyoto protocol.

The international treaty, which is yet to come into force, commits 

industrialised nations to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.

Bolin said 10,000 big nuclear reactors would be needed to produce 

enough electricity to offset a meaningful cutback in fossil fuel use. 

"Do we want to have that many?"

Nuclear plants heat up water to steam, which drives a turbine 

generating electricity. The uranium fuel is extracted from abundant 

ore deposits mined in several countries.

Enriched uranium used in atomic reactors is highly radioactive and 

spent fuel remains hazardous for 100,000 years.


Sino-French nuclear power pact not a sure thing

PARIS, Oct 8 (Reuters) - France is leading the international race to 

get a slice of China's multi-billion-dollar nuclear power industry in 

terms of technology and experience but industry experts say that does 

not guarantee it will win.

Lured by China's focus on nuclear generation to power its insatiabale 

energy needs, French President Jacques Chirac is visiting Beijing on 

Saturday with the heads of the world's top nuclear power producer 

Electricite de France and nuclear reactor maker Areva.

China already uses French, Russian and Canadian atomic technology but 

the competitors and latecomers from the United States are beating a 

path to the world's most populous nation as it seeks to accelerate 

construction of nuclear power plants.

"China cannot allow France to think that they are 'engaged', 

otherwise other suitors will not continue to court China. All France 

can hope for is to be 'going steady' with China," said Geoffrey 

Rothwell at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research in 


"China is pragmatic. It doesn't care where the technology comes from. 

It will play off the various national groups against each other, for 

example, who can offer the best financing package," Rothwell added.

China, which suffered from its worst power crunch in 20 years this 

summer due to a galloping economy and a coal squeeze, plans by 2020 

to quadruple its nuclear power capacity to 36,000 megawatts, or the 

equivalent of 27 new reactors, each with a billion-dollar price tag.

For the first time in more than five years, China approved in July 

two new 1,000 MW reactors, with another two waiting for the go-ahead.

Foreign firms will be invited to tender to build two of the four 

plants, while the other two would rely mainly on China's own 



Industry experts say the French design is the front runner in China 

in terms of international technology, with the most integrated 

nuclear energy system from fuel fabrication through to reprocessing. 

But the French model might be too expensive, which gives Russia some 


"Geopolitics is certain to play some role too. As one of the most 

friendly western nations to China, France has its advantage," said 

Hawaii-based East-West Center fellow Wu Kang, a long-time China 

energy market analyst.

Chirac declared 2004 the "Year of China," lighting up the Eiffel 

Tower in red when Chinese President Hu Jintao visited in January and 

staging lavish Chinese New Year celebrations on the Champs Elysees.

"The strongest groups are those with the closest ties with industry 

and government. These ties diversify the risks associated with 

technology development and marketing in the nuclear power industry," 

said Stanford's Rothwell.

Paris and Beijing share a vision of a multi-polar world in which the 

U.S. would not be the sole superpower, and are united in opposition 

to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq last year.

But political contacts have developed faster than economic ties and 

France wants to press home its efforts to gain more access before the 

United Sates enters China's huge market.

U.S. reactor makers General Electric Co. and Westinghouse Electric, 

the U.S. unit of state-run British Nuclear Fuels, are only runners up 

due to trade restrictions on exporting nuclear technology to China, 

analysts say.

"China may indeed wish to see the U.S. companies involved. The U.S. 

can provide a full range of advanced technologies if they are allowed 

to do so," said Wu.

Westinghouse says it expects a decision by the U.S. government by 

early 2005 on its application to build nuclear reactors in China, but 

the U.S.-UK group may be too fragmented and GE is present in China's 

arch foe Taiwan, analysts say.


For the French firms, tapping into the world's fastest growing power 

market will safeguard their leading industrial positions as 

opportunities to build nuclear plants in the West are drying up amid 

health and security concerns since the Chernobyl accident in 1986.

"Our presence in China is a vital question to maintain our industrial 

approach .... and our industrial mastery which is the prerequisite 

for our economic performance," Herve Machenaud, EDF head of Asia-

Pacific, told Reuters.

"For EDF to keep in touch, to have relationships with industry 

implies that it is obliged to be present in Chinese projects in the 

realisation, conception and operation of reactors in nuclear, coal 

and hydro," Machenaud said.

EDF has been in China's power industry for 20 years, investing in 

three generators and providing technical management and help for the 

Daya Bay and Ling Ao nuclear plants.

Building on its involvement in the technology and design of six of 

China's eight nuclear reactors, Areva Vice President, International 

and Marketing, Arthur de Montalembert said the firm was confident of 

winning contracts for the additional reactors.

"The confirmation by China to include nuclear in their energy 

development plan is a major development for us. It reinforces the 

role that Asia is playing on the nuclear energy market," said de 


But French strategy needs to take into account China's desire for 

industrial independence and eventual international competition as it 

is interested in developing a cheap, exportable design, possibly to 

sell to Pakistan.

"The Chinese are more interested in reverse engineering than in 

letting any international firm get the lion's share of the Chinese 

nuclear power market," said Rothwell.


Nuclear Convoy Reaches French Recycling Plant Safely

CARADACHE, France (Reuters) - A convoy believed to be carrying a 

large shipment of U.S. weapons-grade plutonium arrived safely at a 

recycling plant in southeastern France on Friday after a long journey 

across the country.

The heavily guarded convoy, which anti-nuclear campaigners had said 

was vulnerable to a terrorist attack, rolled into the Cadarache 

recycling plant with lights flashing in the early hours of the 


About 100 people protested near the plant behind a large banner 

declaring "Stop plutonium." But they kept their distance, as did 

other protesters during the 1,000-km (660-mile) trip from northern 

France where the shipment arrived Wednesday.

Helicopters circled over the trucks as it made its way from a nuclear 

reprocessing plant in La Hague in northern France and armed guards 

were placed on crossroads and bridges.

French state-owned nuclear energy firm Areva, whose Cogema unit will 

recycle the plutonium into nuclear fuel, declined to confirm the 

content of the convoy although a Reuters photographer saw it leave 

the La Hague plant early Thursday.

Environmental activists said the shipment, which also made a more 

than two-week journey by sea from Charleston in the United States, 

was unsafe.

After several days of demonstrations before the shipment arrived, 

they staged only low-key protests after a court barred protesters 

from going within 100 meters (328 feet) of the shipment.

U.S. and French nuclear energy officials said security was tight and 

that all safety precautions had been taken.

Cogema will recycle the plutonium into nuclear fuel which will then 

be shipped back to the United States for use in an electricity-

generating reactor.

It is part of the U.S. Department of Energy's international non-

proliferation program to turn plutonium from "excess" nuclear 

warheads into mixed-oxide (MOX) plutonium-uranium enriched fuel.

Greenpeace says the shipment is of 308 pounds of plutonium. A 

spokesman for the U.S. Security Administration said the amount being 

transported is 125 kg.

The delivery is part of a post-Cold War agreement between the United 

States and Russia to get rid of plutonium from excess nuclear 



Accident-hit Kansai Electric completes checks on all nuke reactors

FUKUI, Japan, Oct. 8 (Kyodo) - Kansai Electric Power Co., operator of 

the accident-hit Mihama nuclear power plant, on Friday reported to a 

panel of safety experts in Fukui Prefecture that it had completed 

inspections of all its nuclear reactors that were shut down following 

a fatal accident in August.

The panel plans to approve the resumption of operations at the Oi 

nuclear plant's No. 1 reactor and Mihama's No. 1 and No. 2 reactors. 

The power company said it has completed replacing eroded water piping 

at the three reactors, all in Fukui Prefecture.

Kansai Electric shut down all its nuclear reactors for inspections 

after a badly corroded coolant pipe in the No. 3 reactor at Mihama 

ruptured in August, spilling out superheated steam that killed four 

workers and injured seven others, one of whom died later.


Czech power plant unit reconnected to grid

PRAGUE, Czech Republic (AP) - Technicians at the Temelin nuclear 

plant reconnected its first unit to the power grid following a two-

week shutdown, officials said Friday

The first of Temelin's two 1,000-megawatt units was shut down on 

Sept. 20 due to a malfunction of the cooling system, leaving only the 

second unit in full operation.

"We have reconnected the first unit back to the grid at 9 p.m. (1900 

GMT) last night," plant spokesman Milan Nebesar said.

Construction of the plant's two 1,000-megawatt units, which were 

based on Russian design, started in the 1980s. The reactors later 

were upgraded with U.S. technology, but they have remained 

controversial because of frequent malfunctions.

The Temelin power station, 60 kilometers (35 miles) north of the 

Austrian border, has been a source of friction between the two 

countries. Environmentalists in Austria demand its closure, while 

Czech authorities insist it is safe.


Test nuke reactor stops automatically, no radiation leak

MITO, Japan, Oct. 7 (Kyodo) - A materials-testing nuclear reactor in 

Ibaraki Prefecture shut down automatically Thursday morning due to an 

operational error, but no one was exposed to radiation and no 

environmental impact was reported, the reactor's operator said.

The Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute, which runs the Japan 

Materials Testing Reactor in the town of Oarai, said the automatic 

shutdown occurred while the JMTR's nuclear fuel rods were being 

replaced as part of regular inspections.

The shutdown at around 10:55 a.m. took place after the institute 

staff stationed at the nuclear reactor control room unintentionally 

activated a protection circuit which led to the automatic shutdown of 

the reactor, according to the institute.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology 

said earlier that the reactor stopped a test run just after its 29 

nuclear fuel rods were replaced in a regular inspection.

The JMTR is designed to expose materials and fuel that will be used 

at the reactor to strong radiation to examine their durability and 

other features. The reactor carries a thermal output of 50,000 



Reprocessing all spent nuke fuel costs 840 yen extra per household

TOKYO, Oct. 7 (Kyodo) - Reprocessing spent nuclear fuel costs about 

1.8 times more than simply burying it, increasing electricity bills 

of the average household by up to 840 yen a year if Japan were to 

reprocess all spent nuclear fuel, a government panel said Thursday.

A subcommittee of the Atomic Energy Commission of Japan reported its 

findings at a meeting of the commission, which has been debating 

Japan's nuclear waste disposal policy.

The commission plans to finalize its decision, possibly by the end of 

next month, on what to do with spent nuclear fuel.

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper reported Thursday the commission 

has decided to continue the recycling policy, given a possible 

disruption of energy supplies and rising stockpile of spent fuels at 

nuclear power plants.

The subcommittee calculated the cost of nuclear waste disposal from 

fiscal 2002 through fiscal 2060 under four scenarios -- complete 

reprocessing all spent fuels, partial reprocessing, burying spent 

fuels, and storing spent fuel above ground.

The subcommittee concluded reprocessing all spent fuel would be the 

most expensive, costing 1.6 yen to generate 1 kilowatt of 

electricity. It would be 1.8-1.5 times more, compared with 0.9-1.1 

yen for burying -- the least expensive method.

Burying part of the fuel would cost 1.4-1.5 yen, while storing spent 

fuel above ground would require 1.1-1.2 yen.

For an ordinary household consuming 300 kilowatt-hours per month, 

reprocessing all spent fuels would increase the annual electricity 

bill by 600-840 yen.

The subcommittee's findings generally match unofficial studies 

conducted by the government and the electric power industry.

Still, the subcommittee's projection is much higher than that of the 

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which said 

reprocessing all spent fuel would be 1.1 times more costly than 


The subcommittee also noted, however, it would be costly for Japan to 

shift to the burial option. Nuclear power plants, already loaded with 

high levels of spent fuel stockpiles, would have to be shut down 

until burial sites are ready.

Such a move would make it more costly for Japan to secure alternative 

power supplies, for example, by increasing thermal power production, 

it said.

The subcommittee said the cost of shifting to the burial plan would 

total 15 trillion-26 trillion yen during the 59-year period.


EU Commission recommends nuclear deal with Japan

BRUSSELS, Oct 6 (Reuters) - The European Union should conclude a 

cooperation agreement with Japan over the peaceful use of nuclear 

energy, the European Commission recommended on Wednesday.

The wish to conclude the agreement, which provides a framework for EU-

Japan nuclear trade and research, was already affirmed by the 

EU/Japan summit as far back as 1998.

Japan is one of the main clients of the European nuclear industry, 

which reprocesses spent Japanese nuclear fuel.

"This agreement completes the series of agreements existing between 

the three main users of nuclear energy, namely Europe, the USA and 

Japan," the EU executive said in a statement.

"The agreement will provide a stable framework for the development of 

nuclear trade between the two parties and for reinforced cooperation 

in other areas of common interest, such as research into nuclear 

fission and radioprotection."

The pact provides "the basis for a strong commercial relationship 

between the parties," which it estimated was worth tens of billions 

of euros over the pact's lifetime.

The agreement is to run for 30 years, with the option to be extended 

automatically for five-year periods.

The Commission recommended that EU ministers finalise the pact.


Sandy Perle

Senior Vice President, Technical Operations

Global Dosimetry Solutions, Inc.

2652 McGaw Avenue

Irvine, CA 92614 

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

Fax:(949) 296-1902 

E-Mail: sperle@dosimetry.com

E-Mail: sandyfl@earthlink.net 

Global Dosimetry Website: http://www.dosimetry.com/ 

Personal Website: http://sandy-travels.com/ 


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