Friday, January 18, 2013

WSJ: EDF Turns to Chinese Partner for UK Nuclear Plants

Friday Jan 11 2013 p. B5 by S. Williams and G. Amiel

[paraphrasing] Electricite de France is discussing building nuclear power plants in the UK with China Guandong Nuclear Power.

[Excepted] The arrival if the well-financed Chinese company could ease fears about the future of nuclear energy in Britain. Plans for a fleet of new reactors have been beset by delays...

A deal would give the Chinese utility, which already collaborates with EDF on new reactors in China, a foothold on a new market.

The British government meanwhile would get a boost for its plans to use nuclear power to keep the lights on while reducing carbon emissions.... [end expert]

Majia here: Everything about this story illustrates the blatant greed and lies that undergird the current energy paradigm.

First, nuclear does not reduce carbon emissions when one considers the carbon involved in extracting, processing, and storing nuclear fuel and waste. The carbon involved in the (faux) clean up of nuclear disasters such as Sellefield and Fukushima is incalculable as no end for decontamination exists.

Second, this story points to the mercantile nature of nuclear power. Countries such as the US, China, and France actively promote their nuclear industries abroad and extensively subsidize nuclear operations, thereby hiding the true financial costs for building, operating, and decommissioning nuclear power plants. 

After Fukushima China temporarily suspended nuclear power development. In October that suspension was ended:

China to resume nuclear power plant projects
[Excerpted] China is ending a freeze on nuclear power projects, triggered by last year's Fukushima disaster... The Chinese cabinet approved the new safety rules, and mid- and long-term plans to build new nuclear plants on Wednesday....

Majia here: Designing and building nuclear power plants brings big money and government subsidies mean that true costs are shifted to tax payers.

Perhaps the greatest costs that go uncalculated are long-term health effects for workers and everyone downwind of nuclear power plants during their "routine" operations.

Nuclear power plants in the US and Japan are plagued with whistle blower stories of unethical behavior and safety short cuts as operators attempt to push aging plants even harder, with little regard for health and safety:

Nuclear power plants: A hidden world of untruths, unethical behavior

[Excerpted] The long and the short of it is this: Nuclear power plants probably would not operate properly in Japan if workers were not willing to sacrifice their health, and possibly their lives....

How to expand nuclear power without attracting (too much) attention. The Washington Post. By Brad Plumer on July 18, 2012 at 11:49 am

[Excerpt] "Since the 1970s, construction on new nuclear reactors in the United States has largely ground to a halt, thanks to public protests, regulatory obstacles and tight financing. Yet over that same period, U.S. utilities have managed to increase the amount of electricity they get from nuclear power. By quite a lot, in fact.

How is that possible? Through a process known as “uprating.” According to a new analysis by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the operators of 98 of the country’s 104 commercial nuclear reactors have asked regulators for permission to boost capacity from their existing plants. All in all, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved more than 6,500 megawatts worth of uprates since 1977....
....In recent years, however, nuclear operators have started applying for much larger “extended uprates,” which can increase the output of a plant by as much as 20 percent. This process can include big changes to high-pressure turbines and other equipment. Or it can involve using more potent fuel in the reactor core...."
Majia here: Even "safely" operating nuclear power plants are unsafe because of their routine radioactive emissions, particularly of tritium:
Canadian Nuclear Expert: [Gentility] Reactor is releasing 200 trillion becquerels of tritium every year — Becomes a part of your body and all living things — Gives off beta particles which produce damage that can result in cancer 


Majia here: Nearly all nuclear reactors leak tritium

Tritium is very dangerous for human health

It is a myth that nuclear energy is safe, reliable, and clean energy.

The true reasons that governments support nuclear energy are to promote powerful national industries abroad and to ensure on hand the ingredients for making nuclear weapons.

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