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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
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Nuclear Regulators Feigning Ignorance on Potentially Defective Parts in US Reactors?

US NRC on Areva-Le Creusot Potentially Defective Parts in US Reactors – Feigning Ignorance?
22 Jun 2016

From an NRC Report, October 6 – 8, 2009, by Kerri Kavanagh

In the US, nuclear reactors having potentially defective Le Creusot-Areva parts include (but are not necessarily limited to): Nuclear Reactor Pressure Vessels at Prairie Island 1 and 2;
Replacement Reactor Pressure Vessel Closure Heads (replacement lids) at North Anna, Surry, Three Mile Island, Crystal River 3, Arkansas One, Turkey Point, Salem, St Lucie, DC Cook);
(Replacement) Steam Generators at Prairie Island 1, Callaway, Arkansas One, Salem, St Lucie, Three Mile Island and
(Replacement) Pressurizers at St Lucie, Millstone
(See Greenpeace France, Briefing http://grnpc.org/IgNdG and “AREVA – Société Générale / Investor day Burgundy – April 9, 2009“)

Kerri Kavanagh, on behalf of the US NRC, belatedly issued a statement on June 20th entitled: “Quality Assurance Issues in France: Implications for U.S. Plants?” Kerri Kavanagh pretends to not know what parts or types of parts are involved, nor their ages. And yet, the NRC’s own documentation states:
“The designer/manufacturer of the reactor vessels for Prairie Island is Creusot-Loire (formerly called SFAC)… The replacement reactor vessel closure heads and CRDM pressure housings were manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd (MHI) in Futami, Japan under their ASME Section III code program.” http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML0712/ML071290663.pdf
Thus, at least for this example Kerri should know the age, and the catastrophic consequences of a ruptured nuclear reactor pressure vessel. It also appears that the initial reactor vessel closure heads, almost surely Creusot made, had to be replaced.

Prairie Island Nuclear Power Station was built within a few years of the Swiss Beznau Nuclear Power Station, which also has Le Creusot (at the time called Schneider Forge) reactor pressure vessels. And, in fact, Beznau 1 has been offline for almost a year due to almost 1000 defects in its reactor pressure vessel. Last weekend 6,000 people walked in mud, in the rain, demanding the prompt closure of Beznau nuclear power station. The Swiss regulator claims that the reactor pressure vessel for Beznau 2 is ok. Prairie Island is located on the extreme upper Mississippi River, and Beznau on the Aare River shortly before it feeds into the upper Rhine. Both of these rivers are essential economically and environmentally.

The US NRC had concerns over Areva testing and documentation at least as early as 2009, and the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) was aware of these concerns. In fact...

See also:
Shortcomings identified in Le Creusot quality checks
04 May 2016
An ongoing quality audit at the Le Creusot forge has identified "irregularities" in paperwork on some 400 plant components produced there since 1965. The issues "comprise inconsistencies, modifications or omissions in the production files, concerning manufacturing parameters and test results...

Updates on Japanese man that killed 19 disabled people

Massacre suspect bound some night shift workers with cable ties

Satoshi Uematsu is seen in Yokohama on July 27, 2016. (Mainichi)
SAGAMIHARA, Kanagawa -- Some workers at a care home for the disabled where a massacre took place in the wee hours of July 26 had been bound by the suspect with cable ties, while one worker who managed to hide contacted colleagues on his mobile phone, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned from sources close to the facility....


Mass killing suspect said 'Hitler's ideas' came to him in February
SAGAMIHARA, Kanagawa -- Suspected care home mass murderer Satoshi Uematsu told staff at a hospital in February that he agreed with the ideas of Adolf Hitler, city officials here have told the Mainichi Shimbun....

Stabbing rampage suspect suddenly changed behavior in February
The suspect in a deadly stabbing rampage at a care facility for the disabled here suddenly changed his language and behavior in February this year -- around the time when he suggested that he would commit mass murder, sources at the facility said...


Nuclear Power Advocates Now Complain Renewables Are Too Cheap

Nuclear Power Advocates Now Complain Renewables Are Too Cheap
BY JOE ROMM JUL 28, 2016 12:05 PM

In this photo taken Oct. 12, 2012, the sun rises behind electricity poles and wind turbines in Nauen, near Berlin, Germany.

Nuclear power advocates are trying a new line of attack on solar and wind energy — it’s too darn cheap!

In the real world, however, the unexpectedly rapid drop in the price of cleantech, especially renewable power and batteries, is a doubly miraculous game-changer that is already cutting greenhouse gas emissions globally and dramatically increasing the chances we can avoid catastrophic climate change.

As I detailed on Monday, the New York Times in particular keeps running slanted articles talking up nuclear and talking down renewables — articles that totally miss the forest for the trees. That culminated in a truly absurd piece last week, “How Renewable Energy Is Blowing Climate Change Efforts Off Course,” which is the exact opposite of reality, as Goldman Sachs has detailed in its recent reports on “The Low Carbon Economy.”


This post will focus primarily on the big picture, the forest. I will deal in later posts with a few of the more interesting trees, such as whether, the U.S. should consider give existing nukes some sort of short-term carbon credit so they are not shut down prematurely and replaced by natural gas.

The big picture reality of the clean energy revolution
The big picture reality is this: The world is finally starting to take some serious action to avoid catastrophic climate change...

Mercedes-Benz unveil all-electric 26 Ton heavy-duty Urban eTruck

Mercedes-Benz unveil all-electric 26 Ton heavy-duty Urban eTruck

Daimler Trucks presented the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck in Stuttgart today, as the first fully electric truck with an admissible total weight of up to 26 tonnes. This means that in the future, heavy trucks will take part in urban distribution operations with zero local emissions and hardly a whisper.

The market launch of this technology is conceivable for Daimler Trucks at the beginning of the next decade. In the light distribution sector, Daimler Trucks has already been impressively demonstrating the day-to-day suitability of the fully electric truck in customer trials with the Fuso Canter E-Cell since 2014. The development of electric trucks and series production maturity are fixed parts of the strategy of Daimler Trucks to build on our technological leadership. For this purpose a considerable part of the future investments by the truck division in the fields of research and development flow in the further development of the full electric drive.

"Electric drive systems previously only saw extremely limited use in trucks. Nowadays costs, performance and charging times develop further so rapidly that now there is a trend reversal in the distribution sector: the time is ripe for the electric truck. In light distribution trucks, our Fuso Canter E-Cell has already been undergoing intensive customer trials since 2014. And with the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck, we are now electrifying the heavy distribution segment up to 26 tonnes. We intend to establish electric driving as systematically as autonomous and connected driving," says Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, responsible for Daimler Trucks & Buses at the Board of Management.

Growing urbanisation requires fully electric trucks

Better air quality, lower noise and restricted-access zones are now important keywords in large metropolises worldwide, because more and more people worldwide are moving to cities. 2008 was the first year in which more people lived in cities than in the countryside. The trend is continuing: The UN predicts a global population of nine billion people by 2050, with approximately 70 percent of them living in cities. In future, it will be necessary to transport goods in urban environments for increasing numbers of people – and with the lowest possible emissions and noise. By now large cities such as London or Paris are considering a ban on internal combustion engines in city centres in the future. That means: there will be fully electric trucks ensuring the supply of humas with food or other goods of daily needs.

Fast enhancement of battery capacity while significantly lower costs

Until quite recently, the use of fully electric drives systems in trucks seemed to be unimaginable – especially because of the high costs of the batteries coupled with a low range. The technology has now become much more mature. In particular battery cells rapidly developing further. Daimler Trucks expects the costs of batteries to lower by the factor 2.5 between 1997 and 2025 – from 500 Euro/kWh down to 200 Euro/kWh. At the same time, performance will improve by the same factor over the same period – from 80 Wh/kg up to 200 Wh/kg.

Stefan Buchner, Head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks...

National Park Service Performs Major Disservice for Anti-Wind Power Activists

National Park Service Performs Major Disservice for Anti-Wind Power Activists

The National Park Service just did a major disservice to anti-wind energy activists.

NPS recently published a new map showing the estimated sound levels for the entire country. NPS developed the map as part of its efforts to protect natural sounds for both ecosystem health, as well as visitor experience. Overall, NPS’s map shows that significant portions of the country fall within 40-45 decibel sound levels.

That’s bad news for anti-wind energy activists.

Local and even state-level wind energy regulations have been enacted regarding wind farm sound levels. Anti-wind energy activists have repeatedly used sound level regulations as a means to halt wind farm development. For example, a bill was introduced in North Carolina that would have prohibited wind farms that “create an ambient noise measurement exceeding 35 decibels”. That sound level is lower than the wind itself, or a bird chirping.

Thanks to NPS’s new sound level mapping, it is fairly clear that a 35 decibel sound limit isn’t just discriminatory to wind farms, it’s likely impossible to achieve under already-existing conditions in significant portions of the country. By enacting sound level regulations that are below existing, ambient sound levels, anti-wind energy activists are obviously attempting to ban wind farms.

In 1972, President Nixon gave the Environmental Protection Agency a...

As Corn Devours U.S. Prairies, Greens Reconsider Biofuel Mandate

As Corn Devours U.S. Prairies, Greens Reconsider Biofuel Mandate
Groups now seek overhaul of U.S. renewable fuel quota
Program blamed for boosting corn crops at prairie’s expense

Jennifer A Dlouhy
July 27, 2016 — 5:00 AM EDT

Environmentalists who once championed biofuels as a way to cut pollution are now turning against a U.S. program that puts renewable fuels in cars, citing higher-than-expected carbon dioxide emissions and reduced wildlife habitat.

More than a decade after conservationists helped persuade Congress to require adding corn-based ethanol and other biofuels to gasoline, some groups regret the resulting agricultural runoff in waterways and conversion of prairies to cropland -- improving the odds that lawmakers might seek changes to the program next year.

"The big green groups that got invested in biofuels are tacitly realizing the blunder," said John DeCicco, a research professor at the University of Michigan Energy Institute who previously focused on automotive strategies at the Environmental Defense Fund. "It’s really hard for the people who really -- shall we say -- hate oil viscerally, to think that this alternative that we’ve been promoting is today worse than oil."

The green backlash could give a boost to long-stalled congressional efforts to overhaul the Renewable Fuel Standard, including proposals to limit the amount of traditional, corn-based ethanol that counts toward the mandate, as environmentalists side with anti-hunger groups and even the oil industry in calling for change. The RFS forces refiners to blend steadily escalating amounts of biofuel into the gas supply. Most of the mandate is currently fulfilled by corn-based ethanol, which makes up nearly 10 percent of U.S. gasoline and provides oxygen that helps the fuel burn cleaner.

Broken Promise
The Natural Resources Defense Council ...


It has been evident for about 8 years that progress on advanced biofuels was stalled, and that the mandate program supporting ethanol blended gasoline was a political boondoggle feeding the agricultural industry. It's time for it to go.

New York Times Shills For Moribund Nuclear Power, Disses Renewables Revolution

”Guard dog theory predicts that proponents of social change (scientists, environmental groups, politicians) will have an uphill battle — both with the dominant power structure and with the media — if the desired change differs from the status quo.” It is time for the NY Times to move beyond its defense of the nuclear industry.

New York Times Shills For Moribund Nuclear Power, Disses Renewables Revolution
By Joe Romm

Why does The New York Times keep pushing nuclear power, whose prices keep rising even as demand has collapsed in every market economy? And why do they keep dissing renewables, whose prices have dropped precipitously while demand has grown beyond expectation here and around the world?

This month alone, the Times managed to publish two pieces whining that the poor, neglected nuclear power industry is having trouble competing with renewables because solar and wind have become … so darn cheap.


The fact is that on a purely economic basis, nuclear power has to a great extent priced itself out of the market for new power, even for new carbon-free power. Heck, even the French can’t build an affordable, on-schedule next generation nuclear plant in their own nuclear-friendly country!!

But rather than report accurately on the renewable energy miracle, as, say, the International Energy Agency (IEA) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) have, the Times manages to publish articles in its business section headlined, “How Renewable Energy Is Blowing Climate Change Efforts Off Course.” Seriously.


In its latest report on the subject, “The Low Carbon Economy: Our Thesis In 60 CHARTS,” Goldman Sachs has several charts on “Emissions: How low carbon technologies begin to bend the curve.” ...

Chapter IX: The Economy Called Political Economy

Sample of extended discussion on what is being discussed when the topic is economics.

No term is of importance if we rightly understand what it means. But, both in the term "political economy," and in that of "national economy," as well as in the phrase "wealth of nations," lurk suggestions which may and in fact often do interfere with a clear apprehension of the ground they properly cover.

The use of the term "political economy" began at a time when the distinction between natural law and human law was not clearly made, when what I have called the body economic was largely confounded with what is properly the body politic, and when it was the common opinion in Europe, even of thoughtful men, that the production and distribution of wealth were to be regulated by the legislative action of the sovereign or state.

Sticker Shock: The Soaring Costs Of Germany’s Nuclear Shutdown

25 JUL 2016: REPORT

Sticker Shock: The Soaring Costs
Of Germany’s Nuclear Shutdown
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 2011 decision to rapidly phase out the country’s 17 nuclear power reactors has left the government and utilities with a massive problem: How to clean up and store large amounts of nuclear waste and other radioactive material.

by joel stoning ton

The cavern of the salt mine is 2,159 feet beneath the surface of central Germany. Stepping out of a dust-covered Jeep on an underground road, we enter the grotto and are met by the sound of running water — a steady flow that adds up to 3,302 gallons per day.

"This is the biggest problem," Ina Stelljes, spokesperson for the Federal Office for Radiation Protection, tells me, gesturing to a massive tank in the middle of the room where water waits to be pumped to the surface.

The leaking water wouldn't be an issue if it weren't for the 125,000 barrels of low- and medium-level nuclear waste stored a few hundred feet below. Most of the material originated from 14 nuclear power plants, and the German government secretly moved it to the mine from 1967 until 1978. For now, the water leaking into the mine is believed to be contained, although it remains unclear if water has seeped into areas with waste and rusted the barrels inside.

The mine — Asse II — has become a touchstone in the debate about nuclear waste in the wake of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's 2011 decision to end the use of nuclear power following Japan’s Fukushima disaster. The ongoing closures have created a new urgency to clean up these nuclear facilities and, most importantly, to find a way to safely store the additional radioactive waste from newly decommissioned nuclear reactors. Nine of the country's 17 nuclear power reactors have been shut down and all are expected to be phased out by 2022.

In addition to Asse II, two other ...

“There are currently no technical plans available for the envisaged waste recovery project which would allow a reliable estimate of the costs.”

Japan’s Center-Right Goes Green

Japan’s Center-Right Goes Green
July 19, 2016
ByAndrew DeWit

In an era of Brexit, negative interest rates, and Trump, we are getting used to the emergence and endurance of the unreal. But for something completely different, consider the strong signals of a sea change on energy policy coming from Japan’s business community. A lot of business elites have clearly thrown in the towel on nuclear and are instead openly lobbying to have Japan vault to global leadership in renewables, efficiency and smart infrastructure.

One telling piece of evidence is a June 28 report and list of policy recommendations from the influential Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives (KD)). The KD report is titled (in Japanese) “Towards the World’s Leading Zero-Emissions Society: Measures for an Increased Deployment of Renewable Energy.” The KD is not anti-nuclear per se; indeed, the report’s signatories include representatives from nuclear-owning Kansai Electric and Kyushu Electric. All the same, the KD declares that regulatory, legal and other hurdles mean nuclear power will likely not reach the 20-22 percent of electricity generation targeted by the country’s Basic Energy Plan. The KD therefore argues for an all-out effort on renewables and energy efficiency, rather than continuing to fill the gap with natural gas, coal and oil. It points to last December’s COP21 agreement on climate change, and subsequent developments, and is adamant that Japan reduce its reliance on fossil fuels as much and as soon as possible. Moreover, the KD insists on this approach for environmental reasons as well as to make Japan a leader, rather than a laggard, in the race to zero-emissions energy.

The KD is a powerful organization, one of Japan’s three top national business councils. Its roughly 1,400 members come from about 950 corporations, including Nissan, Mitsubishi, Marubeni and other household names, but they join as individuals....

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