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Jan-24-2014 17:20printcomments

Reactor Reax: Roundup of Nuclear Articles and Reports

The latest news from Physicians for Social Responsibility.

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Salem-News.com

(WASHINGTON, DC) - In this week's version of Reactor Reax, Nuclear power is set to disappoint, again, Reuters reports; The industry's hoped-for 'nuclear renaissance' has been thwarted by three developments: cheap natural gas from the shale revolution; regulatory delays due to environmental activism; and the disaster at Fukushima.

A Japan Times editorial, "Japan's nuclear waste problem," states: Japan's nuclear power generation has often been likened to a "condominium without a toilet" due to the lack of a final disposal site for radioactive waste that piles up as more fuel is used for power generation at nuclear plants.

Nuclear power is set to disappoint, again, Reuters, January 21, 2014. "The industry's hoped-for 'nuclear renaissance' has been thwarted by three developments: cheap natural gas from the shale revolution; regulatory delays due to environmental activism; and the disaster at Fukushima. Like renewables such as solar and wind, nuclear power plants have very high capital costs but low fuel and other operating costs. In contrast, gas and coal-fired power plants are cheap to build but relatively expensive to run. In the United States, the economics of nuclear power have been fatally disrupted by cheap gas, and in Western Europe as a result of cheap coal. For 60 years, nuclear engineers and operators have been promising safer and cheaper designs. By the early 2000s, the industry had recovered from memories of Chernobyl and was promising a fourth generation of standardised reactor designs with more passive safety features. Then Fukushima revealed a host of design flaws and unsafe operating practices, damaging public confidence."

V.C. Summer a "nuclear debacle", Fierce Energy, January 22, 2014. "South Carolina Electric & Gas' V.C. Summer reactor project is coming under fire as a 'nuclear debacle,' with claims of half a billion dollar cost overruns, pushed-back end dates for project completion and significant construction challenges. According to an analysis of the state review by Friends of the Earth, the report shows a $478 million cost overrun at the V.C. Summer reactor construction site, as well as a significant pushback in the delivery date for the new reactor. Further, the state found that 16 key milestones for the new V.C. Summer reactor have already been delayed by 10 months or more months. Continuing problems with module construction could mean overall delays of 18 months or longer, which must be approved by the South Carolina Public Service Commission. South Carolina Public Service Authority, Santee Cooper, a 45 percent partner in the project that is not regulated by the PSC, wants to divest all or part of its share. The board of Santee Cooper is likely to vote at the board meeting on January 27 to sell a portion of the project to Duke Energy."

In Push For Nuclear Power, Climate Change Concerns Overlooked, SPi World News, January 21, 2014. "The nuclear industry is often portrayed as a climate-neutral alternative to coal and natural gas. An industry-tied movie called Pandora's Promise, recently featured at Sundance and debuted through Netflix and iTunes, has been promoting this very perspective. But nuclear power plants need cooling water, which means they are often situated on shore lines. That makes these plants more vulnerable to the consequences of climate change, such as sea level rise. They are also more at risk of being affected by the ever-growing number and severity of storms tied to climate change, such as Hurricane Sandy. And if the IPCC's newly tripled predictions hold true, the storm surge from hurricanes could prove even more devastating to American nuclear plants."

GE Nuclear Energy Unit to Pay $2.7 Million to Resolve False Statement Claims, Wall Street Journal, January 23, 2014. "General Electric Co.'s nuclear energy unit agreed to pay $2.7 million to settle allegations that it made false statements to regulators over an advanced nuclear reactor design, the Justice Department said Thursday. General Electric Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas LLC, a joint venture formed in 2007 between GE and Hitachi Ltd., allegedly made false statements to the Energy Department and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about a part of its Economic Simplified Boiling-Water Reactor, a steam dryer that removes liquid water droplets from steam produced by nuclear reactions that generate electricity in boiling-water type reactors. The government alleged GE Hitachi concealed known flaws in its steam dryer analysis and falsely represented that it had properly analyzed the dryer in accordance with applicable standards."

Japan's nuclear waste problem, Japan Times (editorial), January 21, 2014. "Japan's nuclear power generation has often been likened to a "condominium without a toilet" due to the lack of a final disposal site for radioactive waste that piles up as more fuel is used for power generation at nuclear plants. The issue is cited by many as one reason for opposing nuclear power. The Abe administration, in its bid to maintain nuclear energy as the nation's key source of energy, apparently hopes to accelerate the process to choosing a disposal location. But the government's push for expediting the process bypasses all the concerns raised over radioactive waste disposal, including a report by the Science Council of Japan in 2012 that called for a thorough review of the disposal method itself."

"Reactor Reax" is featured on www.NuclearBailout.org, a Web site maintained by Physicians for Social Responsibility. For more information, contact reactorreax@nuclearbailout.org.

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