Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Why Lovelock is wrong about nuclear power

Lovelock announced in The Independent on May 24th, 2004 that “Nuclear Power is the only green solution”, adding in a somewhat derisory tone “We have no time to experiment with visionary energy sources” because “civilisation is in imminent danger.”

Wave and tidal power may still be at the design stage in Britain, due to lack of investment on the part of the government, which has chosen to put most of its eggs into one nuclear basket, but photovoltaics and wind power were already well established when Lovelock wrote this. In 2010, the European Photovoltaic Industry Association expects to be able to provide 12% of Europe’s electricity needs just from solar PV. Similarly, the Chief Executive of the British National Grid, Steve Holliday, says that 15% of the country’s electricity production could come from so called “embedded generation” in homes and offices by 2020 as micro-generation becomes increasingly viable after the £9 billion rollout of “smart meters” for every home in Britain. (1)

Lovelock said “we can not continue drawing energy from fossil fuels and there is no chance that the renewables, wind, tide and water power can provide enough energy and in time. If we had 50 years or more we might make these our main sources”.

This assertion is quite untrue and is an indication of the depths of Lovelock’s nuclear obsession. We simply do not need 50 years to develop wind, tide and water power. Huge steps are already being taken in almost all European countries and in the US and Canada: unfortunately Britain lags behind but this is often due to renewable doom-mongers like Lovelock.

With adequate investment in research and development, these sources, together with solar and geothermal, could provide us with all the energy we need within the next few years, especially if insulation were installed in Britain’s unsatisfactory housing stock in order to reduce our energy requirements.

Lovelock says that “only one immediately available source does not cause global warming and that is nuclear energy”.

Oh dear, wrong again. Sometimes one wonders which planet Lovelock is on. Let’s look at the reality of the matter, rather than Lovelock’s imagination.

First, nuclear energy is not “immediately available”. Indeed it’s the other way round: nuclear has by far the longest lead time of any energy option. It takes ages to consult, draw up safety plans, get them approved, build and test nuclear power stations, as consistently seen in the past. The few nuclear power stations being constructed at present amply demonstrate this. Olkiluoto in Finland, under construction for four years, is now nearly four years behind schedule! Similar construction problems beset the Flammanville reactor being built in France.

Second, nuclear power stations costs billions and its predicted costs are always under-estimated. Olkiluoto in Finland and Flammanville in France are both currently running $4 billion over budget. Money thrown into nuclear’s black hole starves finance for alternative energy strategies.

Third, replacing the UK’s old nuclear reactors would only save between 4% and 8% of the UK’s carbon emissions, depending on one’s assumptions, because most carbon emissions emanate from transport and industrial/domestic heating.

Lovelock says that “Opposition to nuclear energy is based on irrational fear fed by Hollywood-style fiction, the Green lobbies and the media. These fears are unjustified, and nuclear energy from its start in 1952 has proved to be the safest of all energy sources.”

This is simply gobbledy-gook.

The respected New York Academy of Sciences has recently published a major study “Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment” in which the authors (Alexey Yablokov, Vassily and Alexey Nesterenko) estimate that nearly a million people around the world died from exposure to radiation released by the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in 1986.

Unlike Lovelock, who clearly has not studied the safety of nuclear power in any detail, these scientists examined more than 5,000 published articles and studies, mostly in Russian and Ukrainian, previously unread in the West. They concluded that "No citizen of any country can be assured that he or she can be protected from radioactive contamination. One nuclear reactor can pollute half the globe. Chernobyl fallout covered the entire Northern Hemisphere." They added "For the past 23 years, it has been clear that there is a danger greater than nuclear weapons concealed within nuclear power. Emissions from this one reactor exceeded by a hundred-fold the radioactive contamination of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

But according to Lovelock “We must stop fretting over the minute statistical risks of cancer from chemicals or radiation.” Does he consider the deaths of nearly one million people a minute statistical risk?

Nuclear industry apologists counter that Chernobyl was in the former USSR and nuclear reactors in the West are safer. But what about the nuclear disasters at Windscale in Britain in 1957 where a fire similar to Chernobyl resulted in very large releases of radioactivity? And what about Three Mile Island in the US in 1978, where the reactor underwent a partial meltdown? Human error can occur at any time at any nuclear power station, anywhere in the world.

Lovelock says “(nuclear power’s) worldwide use as our main source of energy would pose an insignificant threat”

Wrong again.

Nuclear reactors are the only source of the fissile material plutonium-239 used in nuclear weapons. Stringent precautions have to be taken to ensure that spent nuclear fuel from commercial reactors does not fall into terrorist hands. Nuclear proliferation is a serious threat to world peace and security (witness the struggle between the West and Iran over the production of another fissile material uranium-235). Is Lovelock unaware of the dangers of nuclear proliferation?

James Lovelock is an independent scientist, the creator of the Gaia hypothesis which considers the Earth as a self-regulating organism, and a member of EFN - the association of Environmentalists For Nuclear Energy -

(1) Times 4th December 2009

Pickets against new nuclear power plants were held in Vilnius.

Three pickets were held simultaneously in Vilnius on 26 April 2010, the day of the 24-th anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster. These events were organized to protest against the plans to build new nuclear power plants in Astravec(Belarus), in Visaginas(Lithuania) and in Baltic, Kaliningrad region(Russia). The pickets were held near the Embassy of Belarus, the Embassy of Russia and House of Lithuanian Government. Activists handed their petitions to the officials. Major aim of these public protests is to stop the plans to build the nuclear power plants and to call for the development of the new nuclear free strategies of energy development within the the above mentioned countries .

Participants of the events were members of civil society organizations and activists from Lithuania, Belarus and Russia, namely Atgaja, Ecohome, Anti-nuclear coalition, Green Party of Lithuania and EcoDefense.

The Head of the Lithuanian environmental organization Atgaja, Saulius Pikshris said: “We wish people understood what nuclear energy really is – it is very dangerous and doesn’t provide energy independence, despite what people from the government say. While authorities declare that nuclear energy is safety, we, environmentalists, are sure that every nuclear power station pose hazard to life. And our primary goal is to stop them progressing with the plans for three nuclear power plants. We are for nuclear free future and for renewable energy development.”

Belarusian and Lithuanian public activists were in a picket near the Embassy of Belarus in Vilnius. Gintaras Songajla, deputy assistant at Lithuanian Seimas, was accompanied by the picketers who held 10-meter-long banner that said: “Nuclear power plant in Astravec – thanks, we don’t need it”. They also declared their demands to Belarusian government and President Lukashenka: to keep in mind the aftermath of Chernobyl disaster, to dismiss the plans to build the nuclear power plant and to make progress with a strategy of sustainable non-nuclear energy development.

Members of Ecohome Irina Sukhy, Tatiana Novikova and Irina Kapariha were grateful to environmental activists from Lithuania for being invited to join the picket, since all efforts from nuclear energy opponents’ side to obtain permission for a picket in Belarus were disregarded by authorities.

During the picket a Petition was given to ambassador of Belarus.

The picket near the Embassy of Russian Federation was aimed against building the nuclear power station in Kaliningrad region just 12 km away from the Lithuanian border.

Photos from the pickets can be found on the web page of antinuclear campaign in Belarus


Powered by ENERCOOP the only French green energy supplier

guaranteed to be Nuclear Free

Live for today, dream of tomorrow and learn from yesterday

New Nuclear – The Economics Say No

UK Green Lights New Nuclear – Or Does It?

 Green lighting new nuclear? — The UK government today announced a fast-track planning process for new nuclear power stations. 10 sites have been approved for possible development. The government is presenting today’s announcement as providing the green light for a major new nuclear programme, which it says is needed to meet climate change and security of supply targets.

 But no financial support has been offered — The government has not announced any direct financial support for new nuclear. The government still seems to expect the private sector to take an unacceptable level of risk, in our view.

 The five big risks — Nuclear power station developers face five big risks:

Planning, Construction, Power Price, Operational, and Decommissioning. The government today has sought to limit the Planning risk. While important for encouraging developers to bring forward projects, this is the least important risk financially.

 The three Corporate Killers — Three of the risks faced by developers —

Construction, Power Price, and Operational — are so large and variable that individually they could each bring even the largest utility company to its knees financially. This makes new nuclear a unique investment proposition for utility companies.

 No where else in the world — Government policy remains that the private sector takes full exposure to the three main risks; Construction, Power Price and Operational. Nowhere in the world have nuclear power stations been built on this basis.

 Nor will they be built in the UK — We see little if any prospect that new nuclear stations will be built in the UK by the private sector unless developers can lay off substantial elements of the three major risks. Financing guarantees, minimum power prices, and / or government-backed power off-take agreements may all be needed if stations are to be built.
9 November 2009  14 pages

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Sizewell Campers Mark Anniversary of Chernobyl Disaster

Monday, 26 April 2010

Around twenty activists from the Stop Nuclear Power Network [1] have held a ceremony on the beach in front of Sizewell nuclear power station in Suffolk (England) this afternoon to mark the 24th anniversary of the world's worst ever civil nuclear disaster, at Chernobyl (Ukraine). [2] They are looking to highlight the risk of a similar catastrophe happening in Suffolk, due to a reactor meltdown [3,4] or major radioactive waste incident.

A silent procession was led by people in white coats with their faces painted yellow and black with radiation symbols who banged a large “nuclear waste” drum and carried another containing pebbles of “radioactive waste”. The participants then formed a circle and individually deposited pebbles with messages and symbols into a pile to form a cairn in memory of the victims of Chernobyl and the nuclear industry. A banner was held that read “CHERNOBYL – 26 April 1986 – NEVER AGAIN”

A protest camp has been taking place on Sizewell beach since Friday as part of an international weekend of action to remember Chernobyl and oppose expansion of nuclear power. [5] On Saturday, a demonstration was held at the entrance to the power station. Over the weekend, campers have also hosted a public meeting in nearby Leiston, held information and campaigning skills workshops on the beach and toured the flood-prone site where EDF, the owners of British Energy, plan to build Sizewell C.

The UK government is pushing ahead with its plans for ten new nuclear power stations across the country, with Sizewell planned to host one of the first new reactors. This despite the fact even after 50 years, the nuclear industry has failed to come up with a permanent solution for its radioactive waste, which will remain dangerous for tens of thousands of years. [6] With current facilities at Sizewell B nearly full, plans are in place to build another temporary store where waste from the reactor would remain indefinitely in the absence of a permanent solution. This is before even considering the waste from any new reactor(s), which would be even more radioactive and too hot to transport for up to 160 years or longer.

Campaigner Mell Harrison from the Stop Nuclear Power Network, who lives in Beccles, Suffolk said: “We have left a cairn of stones on the beach to remember the many thousands of victims of Chernobyl and the nuclear industry. We hope this will remain as a permanent memorial and invite local people to add their own stones of remembrance. Marking this sad anniversary reminds us of the toxic legacy of our consumerist generation. With the nuclear industry unable to come up with a permanent solution to nuclear waste even after 50 years, we must stop producing any more waste and work within our communities to start living in more sustainable ways.”

2. Total deaths and predicted deaths from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster range from 4000 to half a million. Doctors in the Ukraine and Belarus are seeing “highly unusual” rates of cancers, mutations and blood disease, which are thought to be linked to Chernobyl.

3. EDF nuclear reactor carries 'Chernobyl-size' explosion risk - Guardian, 7 March 2010

4. Academics demand independent inquiry into new nuclear reactors – Guardian, 11 March 2010

5. Chernobyl International Days of Action – 24-26 April 2010

6. Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's Oxide Fuel Topic Strategy (2010) indicates that serious questions remain within the nuclear industry itself over whether any solution for permanent disposal of radioactive waste will ever be found.

Chernobyl Radiation Killed Nearly One Million People: New Book

NEW YORK, New York, April 26, 2010 (ENS) - Nearly one million people around the world died from exposure to radiation released by the 1986 nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl reactor, finds a new book from the New York Academy of Sciences published today on the 24th anniversary of the meltdown at the Soviet facility.

The book, "Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment," was compiled by authors Alexey Yablokov of the Center for Russian Environmental Policy in Moscow, and Vassily Nesterenko and Alexey Nesterenko of the Institute of Radiation Safety, in Minsk, Belarus.

The authors examined more than 5,000 published articles and studies, most written in Slavic languages and never before available in English.

The authors said, "For the past 23 years, it has been clear that there is a danger greater than nuclear weapons concealed within nuclear power. Emissions from this one reactor exceeded a hundred-fold the radioactive contamination of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

"No citizen of any country can be assured that he or she can be protected from radioactive contamination. One nuclear reactor can pollute half the globe," they said. "Chernobyl fallout covers the entire Northern Hemisphere."

The Chernobyl nuclear reactor was destroyed by an explosion and fire April 26, 1986. (Photo issued by Soviet authorities)

Their findings are in contrast to estimates by the World Health Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency that initially said only 31 people had died among the "liquidators," those approximately 830,000 people who were in charge of extinguishing the fire at the Chernobyl reactor and deactivation and cleanup of the site.

The book finds that by 2005, between 112,000 and 125,000 liquidators had died.

"On this 24th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, we now realize that the consequences were far worse than many researchers had believed," says Janette Sherman, MD, the physician and toxicologist who edited the book.

Drawing upon extensive data, the authors estimate the number of deaths worldwide due to Chernobyl fallout from 1986 through 2004 was 985,000, a number that has since increased.

By contrast, WHO and the IAEA estimated 9,000 deaths and some 200,000 people sickened in 2005.

On April 26, 1986, two explosions occured at reactor number four at the Chernobyl plant which tore the top from the reactor and its building and exposed the reactor core. The resulting fire sent a plume of radioactive fallout into the atmosphere and over large parts of the western Soviet Union, Europe and across the Northern Hemisphere. Large areas in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia had to be evacuated.

Yablokov and his co-authors find that radioactive emissions from the stricken reactor, once believed to be 50 million curies, may have been as great as 10 billion curies, or 200 times greater than the initial estimate, and hundreds of times larger than the fallout from the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Nations outside the former Soviet Union received high doses of radioactive fallout, most notably Norway, Sweden, Finland, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Austria, Romania, Greece, and parts of the United Kingdom and Germany.

Disabled children from Belarus visiting the UK during Easter 2010 sponsored by the charity Medicine Chernobyl Belarus Special Aid Group. (Photo by Matthew and Heather)

About 550 million Europeans, and 150 to 230 million others in the Northern Hemisphere received notable contamination. Fallout reached the United States and Canada nine days after the disaster.

The proportion of children considered healthy born to irradiated parents in Belarus, the Ukraine, and European Russia considered healthy fell from about 80 percent to less than 20 percent since 1986.

Numerous reports reviewed for this book document elevated disease rates in the Chernobyl area. These include increased fetal and infant deaths, birth defects, and diseases of the respiratory, digestive, musculoskeletal, nervous, endocrine, reproductive, hematological, urological, cardiovascular, genetic, immune, and other systems, as well as cancers and non-cancerous tumors.

In addition to adverse effects in humans, numerous other species have been contaminated, based upon studies of livestock, voles, birds, fish, plants, trees, bacteria, viruses, and other species.

Foods produced in highly contaminated areas in the former Soviet Union were shipped, and consumed worldwide, affecting persons in many other nations. Some, but not all, contamination was detected and contaminated foods not shipped.

The authors warn that the soil, foliage, and water in highly contaminated areas still contain substantial levels of radioactive chemicals, and will continue to harm humans for decades to come.

The book explores effects of Chernobyl fallout that arrived above the United States nine days after the disaster. Fallout entered the U.S. environment and food chain through rainfall. Levels of iodine-131 in milk, for example, were seven to 28 times above normal in May and June 1986. The authors found that the highest U.S. radiation levels were recorded in the Pacific Northwest.

Americans also consumed contaminated food imported from nations affected by the disaster. Four years later, 25 percent of imported food was found to be still contaminated.

Little research on Chernobyl health effects in the United States has been conducted, the authors found, but one study by the Radiation and Public Health Project found that in the early 1990s, a few years after the meltdown, thyroid cancer in Connecticut children had nearly doubled.

This occurred at the same time that childhood thyroid cancer rates in the former Soviet Union were surging, as the thyroid gland is highly sensitive to radioactive iodine exposures.

The world now has 435 nuclear reactors and of these, 104 are in the United States.

The New York Academy of Sciences says not enough attention has been paid to Eastern European research studies on the effects of Chernobyl at a time when corporations in several nations, including the United States, are attempting to build more nuclear reactors and to extend the years of operation of aging reactors.

The academy said in a statement, "Official discussions from the International Atomic Energy Agency and associated United Nations' agencies (e.g. the Chernobyl Forum reports) have largely downplayed or ignored many of the findings reported in the Eastern European scientific literature and consequently have erred by not including these assessments."

To obtain the book from the New York Academy of Sciences, click here.

Monday, 26 April 2010

New nuclear power station in Finland is further delayed

The Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat ran a story (Helsingin Sanomat, 20th of April 2010: "Olkiluodon kolmosreaktori viiv?stynee edelleen reippaasti") today that the start of the commercial operation the Okiluoto3 plant will be delayed even further than 2012.

Originally the plant was supposed to be up and running by 2009. The construction company Areva still claims to make it operational by 2012 but their Finnish customer TVO is no longer as positive. TVO project director Jouni Silvennoinen refuses to give his own estimation on the timetable.

Our estimation is that very optimistically it might start operating in 2014, five years late and 13 years after the parliamentary decision.

However before even testing the plant can be started, Areva still needs to set up the reactor itself. The Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) has had to interfere in many previous construction phases and it's quite possible that the delay will be even longer.

Greenpeace Nordic, Helsinki

Powered by ENERCOOP the only French green energy supplier guaranteed to be Nuclear Free

Live for today, dream of tomorrow and learn from yesterday

20 April 2010 12:22, Jehki Harkonen wrote:

Anti Nuclear tour round the Baltic

From June 22 to August 21 - anti-nuclear activists from (estimated) about ten countries will travel around the Baltic Sea and make 13 stops to inform about the threats of nuclear power. At each city information events and street actions will take place. The netschedule of the infotour and more information are available online:

The Baltic Sea is according to official data the most radioactively polluted water body in the world. The most important polluters are the Chernobyl fallout, the emissions of the nuclear facility in Sellafield and the NPPs in Sweden, Finland and Russia. The current proposals of governments and nuclear companies to construct several new NPPs (Sweden, Finland, Belarus + Russia), to establish final disposal sites for high level nuclear waste underneath the Baltic Sea (Sweden + Finland) and to operate uranium mines (Sweden + Finland) will increase the radioactive contamination und the risk of accidents.

Besides that the use of the power-technology nuclear power means also the establishment and the expansion of a logic that necessarily brings along military securing, police state-like combat against protests and the extreme limitation of possibilities of self-determination.

There are printed posters, flyers and postcards to advertise the infotour. More support is needed with the organizing, and more people are needed to accompany the group or who want to join the local events and actions.
Order materials (or download them from the website) to spread the word about the anti-nuclear infotour.




Orders are free - but donations are welcome

Infant leukaemias near nuclear power stations By Dr Ian Fairlie


Although the government is apparently committed to building new nuclear reactors, a recent powerful study has indicated a serious health problem, in fact a possible show-stopper, over its nuclear proposals.

In 2008, a major 4-year health study found large increases in infant cancers near all German nuclear power stations. The study had been confidently commissioned to show no such health problems, instead it revealed the opposite. The study (called KiKK, the German acronym for child leukaemias near nuclear reactors – Kinderkrebs in der Umgebung von KernKraftwerken) reported a 2.2-fold increase in leukaemia risks and a 1.6-fold increase in embryonal cancer risks among children under five living within 5km of all German nuclear power stations. KiKK found the cancer increases were firmly linked to proximity to nuclear power plants. Its report sparked off a major furore in Germany, but the study has been little reported on here. KiKK is significant for the UK because the radionuclide emissions from UK reactors (both existing and proposed) are practically the same as those from German reactors.

Scientifically speaking, the KiKK study commands attention for a number of reasons. First is its large size and case-control format: it examined all cancers at all 16 nuclear reactor locations in Germany between 1980 and 2003, including 1,592 under-fives with cancer and 4,735 controls, with 593 under-fives with leukaemia and 1,766 controls. This means the study is very strong and its findings statistically significant: small numbers and weak statistical significance often limit the usefulness of smaller epidemiological studies, for example those commissioned by the UK government.

Second is its authority: it was commissioned in 2003 by the German Government’s Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz (Federal Office for Radiation Protection) after requests by German citizen groups.

The study was carried out by epidemiology teams from the University of Mainz who, ironically, were in
favour of nuclear power. Third is the validity of its results. These were confirmed by the German government’s nuclear regulator, Bundesamt für Strahlenshutz. A later report by the Germany’s more senior radiation health commission (Strahlenshutzkommission) stated the cancer increases existed but the reasons remained unknown. It is now officially accepted in Germany that children living near nuclear power plants develop cancer and leukaemia more frequently than those living further away.

The findings were a shock for the German nuclear industry. KiKK’s findings are partly the reason why
Germany is not building new reactors, with the result that German nuclear operators (E.ON and RWE) are now proposing them not in Germany, but in the UK instead – and with our government’s strong encouragement. Shouldn’t we be more concerned about this?

Possible causes
We are unsure of the reasons or mechanisms for the cancer increases near NPPs, and governmentsponsored
studies in several European countries are searching for an explanation. Here in the UK, at least three studies are underway, but their results are not expected until the spring of 2010 at the earliest.

Some independent scientists think that high radiation doses to the embryos and fetuses of pregnant women
near the reactors may have caused the increased cancers among their subsequent babies. This is because embryos and fetuses are extremely radiosensitive – sufficiently so to be damaged by the relatively small radiation doses from the radioactive discharges at nuclear power stations. But whatever the reason, the new evidence shows that living near nuclear reactors carries serious health risks for babies and infants – more than doubling their risk of leukaemia. If the nuclear industry and the government ignore this evidence, they could find themselves being sued by parents of leukaemic children.

UK reaction

In the UK, the Chairman of the government’s Committee on the Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) initially denied the KiKK findings, stating in a letter to nuclear site stakeholder groups that recent UK and French studies did not support the KiKK results. However this letter was officially withdrawn following criticisms and at present COMARE has no policy on the KiKK report. For almost two years COMARE largely ignored the KiKK findings, but finally in October 2009, the Department of Health instructed COMARE to look into the KiKK study. Reluctantly, COMARE set up a subcommittee to do this: its report is not expected until April 2010.

The above criticisms stated that the UK and French studies had incorrectly concluded there was ‘no evidence’ of increased cancers, but the correct UK conclusion should have been they found an increase of 24%, which was not statistically significant at the 5% level, (contrary to what many people think, lack of statistical significance does NOT mean lack of association, merely that the study was too small for statistically-significant results). Leukaemia is a rare disease and you need large studies to pick up increases –
hence the importance of the huge KiKK study which did pick them up. Equally important, KiKK is a case-control study – far more dependable than simple observed/expected ratios used in the UK and French studies. The point here is that COMARE should have been guided by a large study using a dependable format and not the small unreliable French and UK ones. In fact, some scientists suspect the French and UK studies were rushed out in 2008 in panic attempts to deflect and discredit the KiKK report.

Any other evidence?

Have the German findings been supported by other studies? In one word, yes. In 2008, French scientists carried out a literature review of 26 multi-site studies of childhood cancer near nuclear facilities throughout the world. This followed an earlier study in 1999 which listed another 50 studies (36 single-site and 14 multisite).

In other words, over 60 studies have examined this matter and over 70% of them revealed pronounced cancer increases. I can think of no other instance – with chemical or biological toxins for example – where such a large number of studies have investigated a specific health effect near establishments emitting a specific hazard – in this case radionuclides.

In addition, researchers in South Carolina in 2007carried out a large meta-analysis (ie a combined study which improves statistical strength) of 136 nuclear sites in the UK, Canada, France, US, Germany, Japan and Spain. The study strongly supported the KiKK results, finding increased incidences of child leukaemia
and raised child cancer death rates, depending on the proximity to nuclear facilities.

Most independent scientists consider the above to be convincing, if not overwhelming, evidence of an association between nuclear power plants and infant cancers, but unfortunately many nuclear scientists remain in denial and disagree with this conclusion.


As stated above, many scientists are continuing to discuss the likely causes of the KiKK cancer increases, and here in the UK there are at least three on-going studies into cancers near UK nuclear facilities. Unfortunately, the government, which is strongly committed to building more nuclear power stations, is doing
everything it can to ignore or deny these findings and new studies.

For example, in November 2009, it initiated a Consultation on its proposals to ‘justify’ radiation exposures from proposed new nuclear power stations, (justification requires those who propose nuclear power stations to balance their health risks versus their putative economic benefits. It is a legal obligation forced on the
government, much against its wishes, under a little-known EC Directive). Clearly, evidence of infant cancers near UK nuclear power stations is extremely relevant in any ‘justification’. But the closing date for comments on this Consultation is 22 February 2010, well before the results of the above three studies will be available. And the government has point blank refused official requests by NGOs to extend the comments deadline.


As scientists discuss the likely reasons, this new powerful evidence of a direct link between child cancer and proximity to nuclear facilities raises difficult questions. Should pregnant women and women with young babies be advised to move away from existing nuclear power stations? Should local residents be advised not to eat fruit or vegetables from their gardens? But most important, shouldn’t the UK government be rethinking its nuclear policies?

Dr Ian Fairlie is an independent consultant on radioactivity in the environment.
Between 2000 and 2004 he was Secretariat to the Government’s CERRIE Committee on internal radiation risks.

January 2010. Many thanks to Ex-Services CND for funding the printing of this report.
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament • Mordechai Vanunu House

162 Holloway Rd • London N7 8DQ • 020 7700 2393 •

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Nuclear Power Conferences

3)   Nuclear power uprate conference   21-22 June 2010 , Washington DC.   Sponsor(s): Bechtel

4)   Platts 5th annual european nuclear power: prices, policy and projects.   29-30 June 2010 , London, UK
Sponsor(s): Capgemini, Tractebel, Gowlings, Westinghouse, Bureau Veritas

5)   C5’s 2nd annual nuclear decommissioning & legacy waste.   30 June 2010-01 July 2010 , Manchester, UK.   Sponsor(s): C5

6)   Plim & plex us.   28-29 September 2010 , Chicago, USA.   Sponsor(s): Areva, GE Hitachi

7)   Nuclear materials 2010.   04-07 October 2010 , Karlsruhe, Germany.   Sponsor(s): Journal of Nuclear Materials

People All over Europe Remembering Chernobyl Day


Barack Obama on Nuclear Energy

Look what Chomsky has to say about nuclear power

Crumbling Nuclear Power station at Sizewell is proving difficult to repair

Our nuclear power stations in Britain are so old that they are wearing out. Since they are highly radioactive, they are very difficult to repair.

On the 9th of April, the people trying to repair Sizewell B (Lake Acquisitions) said it was going to take longer than they had expected.

The power station had to be shut down on the 17th March because there were higher than normal moisture levels inside the containment building. Lake Acquisitions - a wholly-owned subsidiary of EDF - said the problem related to one of the heaters associated with the pressuriser. The component is not part of the reactor pressure vessel but is connected to the cooling circuit.
At first they thought that they could repair it quite quickly in the same way that they had done in similar power stations. But when they looked at the damage in more detail they found that they would have to develop existing repair techniques further before being able to start work. So they are still studying how to carry out the repairs and have no idea when the nuclear power station can start up again
Lake Acquisitions said they expected to lose about  2TWh to 3TWh worth of electricity.

Story provided by Business Financial Newswire


Nuclear protesters in Germany form 120-kilometer human chain

Opponents of nuclear power joined hands to form a 120-kilometer human chain across northern Germany. They were protesting Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to revoke a law that would shut down nuclear plants by 2020.

Tens of thousands of people attended demonstrations on Saturday aimed at protesting the German government's plans to extend the lives of its nuclear power plants.

Demonstrators formed a 120-kilometer (74-mile) human chain that stretched from a nuclear power plant in Brunsbuettel, near the city of Koblenz, through Hamburg along the Elbe River to another plant in Kruemmel, on the North Sea.

Kruemmel was the site of two minor nuclear accidents in 2007 and 2009.

Police in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein told the AFP news agency that there were "clearly more than 100,000 participants." Organizers estimated the total number at about 120,000.
"Today over 120,000 people have signaled to the government: You must change your pro-nuclear position," event spokesman Thorben Becker told the DPA news agency.

Demonstrations also took place at an atomic waste storage site in the town of Ahaus in North Rhine-Westphalia and at a nuclear plant in the state of Hessen.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that her center-right coalition wants to revoke a law passed under Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's center-left coalition that promised to shut down all nuclear power plants in Germany by 2020.

Merkel's government has called nuclear energy a "bridge technology" that helps the country keep its commitments to lowering carbon dioxide emissions.

The protests come just days before Monday's 24th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

 Deutsche Welle - 24.04.2010

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Have the Finns gone completely mad?

Press Release - for immediate publication Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Finnish Governments Proposal for Two New Reactors: Crazy and Irresponsible Infotour will educate citizens about the nuclear threats around the Baltic Sea

On Wednesday the Finnish government announced that they will put a proposal to build two new nuclear reactors in Finland to the Finnish parliament: an additional plant at Olkiluoto in the Eurajoki region and a NPP for "Fennovoima", the German joint venture with several Finnish companies to establish a third nuclear site in Finland in addition to Olkiluoto and Loviisa. No-one but the nuclear industry needs more nuclear power plants in Finland. It's a shame that the Finnish authorities seem to be in bed with the nuclear companies.

Helsinki The Finnish government's incomprehensible decision to support further new reactors has met with harsh criticism from anti-nuclear activists across Europe and beyond. The government is obviously willing to sacrifice people's health and the environment to the nuclear industry's profits. Anti-nuclear groups around the Baltic Sea plan an information tour in the summer, to educate about the impacts of nuclear facilities on the environment and people living in the region and to raise the awareness of the dangers associated with nuclear power.

Campaigner and activist Falk Beyer: "It's a crazy and irresponsible position to ask for more nuclear power plants increasing the radioactive releases to the Baltic Sea and the risk of serious accidents. These reactors would also produce large quantities of nuclear waste - even though no safe solution for the long-term storage
of this waste is possible. The Scandinavian concept of final disposal is scandalous - to dump the toxic and radioactive waste by the sea, hoping that their artificial measurements could prevent the release of these dangerous materials is a gamble with the entire region's future."

An information tour about the affects of the nuclear power plants, waste repositories and uranium sites around the Baltic Sea will visit 13 cities in eight countries between June 22nd and August 21st. The tour will provide information about the radioactive contamination of the Baltic Sea in public information events, draw public attention to the dangers of nuclear power with street actions and strengthen the networks of anti-nuclear organizations and activists around the Baltic Sea through regional network gatherings.

The infotour "Stop Nuclear Power - Baltic Sea Info Tour 2010" will start on the Åland islands in Finland to emphasize the international awareness about the nuclear developments in this country. It will support the local anti-nuclear movements in their fight against a powerful global nuclear industry that attempt to push a so-called "Nuclear Renaissance" on the world by using Finland as an example. The anti-nuclear movements will make plain to the Finnish government that they have to expect strong resistance against their nuclear expansion.

"We will start the infotour in Finland at the end of the parliamentary season, before the politicians begin their summer break. And we will be back in Finland at the end of the 'Stop Nuclear Power - Baltic Sea

Info Tour' in late August to make sure that the anti-nuclear resistance is on the spot when the parliament starts working again. We won't let them have a break to force the nuclear threat on Finland."

The Baltic Sea is - according to the experts of the countries around it - the most radioactively polluted water body in the world. Besides the Chernobyl fallout and the releases from the Sellafield nuclear facility in the UK the nuclear power plants in Sweden, Finland and Russia are the most responsible polluters. The proposed new NPPs, uranium mining and final disposal sites will increase the radioactivity released to the Baltic Sea irresponsibly.

Details about the "Stop Nuclear Power - Baltic Sea Info Tour" are available at . Background information about nuclear issues and resistance in several countries around the world is available on the website:
Dear editor:

Contact us at media[AT] or call Falk Beyer at +358 41 7243254.

Nuclear Heritage Network Am Baerental 6

D-04720 Ebersbach   GERMANY


E-Mail: contact[AT]

This media release is provided by the "Nuclear Heritage Network". It is an international network of anti-nuclear activists. This informal alliance supports the worldwide anti-nuclear work. The Nuclear Heritage Network is no label, has no standard opinion and no representatives. All activists of the network speak for themselves or for the groups they represent.

New Nuclear – The Economics Say No

UK Green Lights New Nuclear – Or Does It?

 Green lighting new nuclear? — The UK government today announced a fast-track planning process for new nuclear power stations. 10 sites have been approved for possible development. The government is presenting today’s announcement as providing the green light for a major new nuclear programme, which it says is needed to meet climate change and security of supply targets.

 But no financial support has been offered — The government has not announced any direct financial support for new nuclear. The government still seems to expect the private sector to take an unacceptable level of risk, in our view.

 The five big risks — Nuclear power station developers face five big risks:

Planning, Construction, Power Price, Operational, and Decommissioning. The government today has sought to limit the Planning risk. While important for encouraging developers to bring forward projects, this is the least important risk financially.

 The three Corporate Killers — Three of the risks faced by developers — Construction, Power Price, and Operational — are so large and variable that individually they could each bring even the largest utility company to its knees financially. This makes new nuclear a unique investment proposition for utility companies.

 No where else in the world — Government policy remains that the private sector takes full exposure to the three main risks; Construction, Power Price and Operational. Nowhere in the world have nuclear power stations been built on this basis.

 Nor will they be built in the UK — We see little if any prospect that new nuclear stations will be built in the UK by the private sector unless developers can lay off substantial elements of the three major risks. Financing guarantees, minimum power prices, and / or government-backed power off-take agreements may all be needed if stations are to be built.
2 Citigroup Global Markets

The UK government today (9 Nov 2009) launched a fast-track planning process for a new generation of nuclear power plants in the UK. The government has selected 10 sites that will be taken forward by the new Infrastructure Planning Commission for approval. Planning inquiries will still be required but will deal with local issues only.

The UK government has presented this today as effectively “green lighting” the build of new nuclear stations. However, this is in fact far from the case.

The Five Risks

There are five substantial areas of risk faced by developers of new nuclear power stations. Three of those risk areas are so big and significant that if they go wrong, the developer (even the biggest utilities) could be financially damaged beyond repair. These risks can be classed as Corporate Killers. The government today announced measures to limit Planning risk, which while important in encouraging developers to bring forward projects, is actually the least significant risk financially. The government is still asking the utility companies to take on the three major risks — Construction, Power Price, and Operational. Indeed, at no time, anywhere in the world, has a utility built a new nuclear power station and taken the full Construction, Power Price, and
Operational Risk.

The five risk areas are:

1. Planning: Nuclear power remains controversial and opposition to new developments often results in extended planning procedures. In a lot of countries, planning can take five years or more. The UK government’s action today is designed to limit this time frame, reducing the risk faced by developers. However, while an expiated  planning process is essential in encouraging developers to bring forward projects, it is in fact the least risky element in the development process from a financial perspective. Developers will have spent some money acquiring a site (which could probably be used to build a
conventional power station if planning consent for a new nuclear plant is refused) and will commit time and a few £10m’s to the planning process. While annoying for the developers if this turns out to be wasted time and money, in no way would a failed planning application threaten the financial integrity of a utility company.

2. Construction: Below we give the latest data on the current and future costs of building a new nuclear power station. The latest evidence suggests a cost range of €2,500/kW to €3,500/Kw. For a 1,600MW
unit, that means a construction cost of up to €5.6bn. We see very little prospect of these costs falling and every likelihood of them rising further. The cost of the TVO plant in Finland has increased from €3.0bn to €5.3bn since construction started. It has also proven to be very difficult to predict how long a new plant will take to build. The TVO plant is also running three years late. Cost overruns and time slippages of even a fraction seen by TVO would be more than enough to destroy the equity value (and more) of a developer’s investment unless these costs can be passed through somehow. Given the scale of these costs, a construction programme that goes badly wrong could seriously damage the finances of even the largest utility companies.

New Nuclear Development – Corporate Risks

Planning is the least risky element from a financial perspective. We see very little prospect of construction
costs falling and every likelihood of them rising further.

3. Power Price: Nuclear power stations have very high fixed costs and relatively low variable costs. Their cash flows and profitability are therefore particularly sensitive to the price that they sell their power. As we show later, even at the low end of the build cost estimates, we calculate that a new nuclear station will require €65/MWh (£58.5/MWh) in real terms year in/year out to hit its breakeven hurdle rate. As we show in Figure 5, the UK has only seen prices at that level on a sustained basis for 20 months of the last 115 months. It was a sudden drop in power prices that drove British Energy to the brink of bankruptcy in 2003. No nuclear power station has ever been built to our knowledge where the developer takes the power price risk.

4. Operational: Because of their high fixed cost base, nuclear stations are also very vulnerable to shortfalls in output due to operational unreliability. A six-month breakdown can cost £100m’s in direct costs and lost output, particularly if the output has been pre-sold. This risk is too great for a single project to bear, in our view, and at the very  least needs to be spread across a portfolio of assets.

5. Decommissioning / Waste: Nuclear plant operators set aside money in order to pay for decommissioning and the disposal of waste. Estimates of these costs can jump around by many £bn’s depending on what
discount rates are used, etc. The UK government is proposing adopting the “pay as you go” approach used successfully in the USA amongst other countries. Basically a tax will be paid on each MWh produced (probably as little as £1/MWh). This would effectively limit the risk faced by the developers. In our view, it is extremely unlikely that private sector developers will be willing or able to take on the Construction, Power Price, and Operational risks of new nuclear stations. The returns would need to be underpinned by the government and the risks shared with the taxpayer / consumer. Minimum power prices (perhaps through capacity payments), support for financing, and governmentbacked off-take agreements may all be needed to make new nuclear viable.

Update on Cost Estimates

Construction costs are very difficult to quantify, but are a key factor in new nuclear affordability economics. Third-generation plants are meant to provide better performance with lower initial capital costs. However, as we noted in our previous note on European Nuclear Generation (see ttps://, we believe that construction delays and cost overruns could sharply increase the quoted capital costs for new nuclear and lead to value destruction and lower returns to equity investors.

Both Westinghouse and Areva claim to be able to construct a new thirdgeneration plant (AP-1000 and EPR, respectively) in 3 years from first pouring of concrete. However, evidence to date suggests this is not necessarily the case, as Olkiluoto and Flamanville projects have both suffered delays, while the first AP-1000 unit under construction, in SanMen China, is running significantly over its $1,000/KW construction cost target and is expected to be over $3,500/KW target on current estimates.

We calculate that a new nuclear station will require €65/MWh (£58.5/MWh) in real terms year in year out to hit its breakeven hurdle rate. The returns for new nuclear development will need to be underpinned by the
government and the risks shared with the taxpayer / consumer.

Evidence to date suggests time delays in new nuclear construction can be significant. Georgia Power stated in mid 2008 that two 1100MW reactors would cost up to $14 billion, depending on financing terms. This gives significantly high cost assumptions of $6,360 per kilowatt.

In November 2008, Tennessee Valley Authority updated its estimates for Bellefonte units 3 & 4 relating to two AP1000 reactors of 2234MW combined. It said that overnight capital cost estimates ranged from $2,516 to $4,649/kW for a combined construction cost of $5.6 to $10.4 billion.

Towards the end of 2008, at its investor day, EdF increased its cost assumptions for the Flamanville 3 EPR, raising them to €4 billion/$5.6 billion or €2,434/kW or $3,400/kW in real money terms. These costs were confirmed in mid 2009, when EdF had already spent nearly €2billion. Another estimate from Nuclear Innovation North America, in June 2009, said that the cost of two 1350 MW GE ABWR units at the South Texas Project near Houston would be about $10 billion, including financing costs. This would be a merchant plant, not a regulated one, operating on cost plus basis with the first unit expected on line in 2016. This equates to $3,700/KW.

The Finnish EPR at Olkiluoto has been plagued by many delays during construction and is currently 3 years behind schedule, having originally targeted commissioning in 2009. The original cost estimate for Olkiluoto was €3bn. However, due to delays, planning problems (construction started in 2005), and issues with materials, Areva’s latest estimate (August 2009) is that costs have risen by €2.3bn and could increase further depending on the outcome of negotiations between the owner, TVO, and Areva on the timeline for completion. Therefore at a running total of €5.3bn, costs stand at €3,300/kw ($4,785/KW) and although this is the first EPR project, and teething troubles ought to be expected, it is still indicative of the risks that we think equity investors should be concerned about.

Also, in May 2009, MIT published an update of its 2003 study into construction costs of large-scale engineering projects. The report stated that "since 2003 construction costs for all types of large-scale engineered projects have escalated dramatically.” In addition, according to the report, the estimated cost
of constructing a nuclear power plant has increased at a rate of 15% per year heading into the current economic downturn. This is based both on the cost of actual builds in Japan and Korea and on the projected cost of new plants planned for in the United States. The overnight capital cost was given as $4,000/kW, in 2007 money.

This vast range of figures for new nuclear construction costs suggests that there is a high degree of uncertainty and therefore risk in this part of the project. In a regulated framework this is less of an issue for economic viability (but still a political and social issue) as construction costs can be recovered through higher regulated tariffs. However, in a purely merchant market (such as the UK) where wholesale power prices need to cover construction costs over the life of the project, there is no active way for a developer to recover cost
overruns. It is this scenario that we believe threatens value and returns to equity investors.

As we have stated previously, there is a possibility that governments intervene in the wholesale markets to ensure power prices remain sufficient to reward new investment, but at this stage it is unclear whether this would be the case and how such intervention would work.

Construction delays and planning problems have led to a 77% increase in construction costs at the Olkiluoto site. In a purely merchant market (such as the UK) where wholesale power prices need to cover construction costs over the life of the project, there is no active way for a developer to recover cost overruns.

The Energy Bill recently passed by the US Congress recognises such risks and provides production credits of 1.8 cents per KWh for the first 3 years of operation, equivalent to the subsidy provided to the wind generation segment.

Debt & Equity Financing Environment Improving

The recent stabilisation in economic data and recovery in the equity and debt markets has had a positive effect on the financing environment, as CDS have contracted and appetite for corporate debt has increased, bringing yields down.

Figure 1 shows the IBOXX Utilities Bond price index since 2004. Although still some way below the peak in late 2005, the recovery over the past year shows that credit costs for utilities should have eased, although we would point out that the high capital risks associated with new nuclear construction may lead to higher cost of debt than other conventional power plant projects.

The risks are significantly higher for equity rather than debt investors, with leverage likely in these projects at least 50:50%.

Figure 2 shows the trend in overall market equity risk premium (ERP) over the past 5 years. Although off its highs, the ERP is still high compared to 2006-7 and contributes significantly to higher WACC in new projects. Due to the uncertainties on timing and cost, we believe nuclear projects should have a higher ERP than the overall market.

Due to the uncertainties on timing and cost, we believe nuclear projects should have a higher ERP than the overall market.

On the back of our observations on the trading levels of the debt and equity markets and our assessment of the risks involved, we believe a 4.5% post-tax cost of debt and a 12.5% cost of equity on a 50:50% gearing are appropriate, which provide an 8.5% post-tax WACC for the project.

Moody’s has recently issued a statement saying that it is considering taking a more cautious view toward issuers that are actively pursuing new nuclear generation, as history gives reason to be concerned about possible balance sheet challenges and the substantial execution risk. “In order to defend existing ratings, or to limit negative rating actions, we will look for investorowned utilities to create strategic partnerships, to share costs and risks, and to increase reliance on equity as a component to financing plans. We would also expect them to moderate their dividend policies to retain cash flows”.

We believe new nuclear is a classic example of divergent interests between credit and equity investors that also create a vicious circle. The inherent risk causes credit investors to seek increased funding from the equity side. However, with cost of capital the major determinant of break-even prices, an increased equity injection increases the power price required, therefore increasing the risk of failure, hence increasing the credit market’s aversion for such projects. We expect utilities to try to seek support and assurances from involved governments, however we continue to argue that the risk/reward without such explicit support is skewed against equity investors.

Load Factors Not To Be Taken For Granted

A key aspect of the economics of new nuclear plants is the assumed and achieved load factors that a plant is expected to reach. EDF is targeting an availability factor of 85% for its existing operational nuclear plants.

In Figure 3, we show EDF’s reported operational factors and our estimates to 2012E. We note that EDF in the past 5 years has consistently reported load factors below 80%.

Moody’s has issued a statement saying that it is considering taking a more cautious view toward issuers that are actively pursuing new nuclear generation.

Inherent risk in new nuclear development causes credit investors to seek increased funding from the equity side

In the US in the 1970s and 1980s, when previous generations of nuclear plants were built, load factors were consistently below 70%. This perhaps reflects the inexperience of dealing with new nuclear reactor technology at that time, a factor that could well impact new third-generation plants in future years.

Figure 4 shows the load factors of the US reactors between 1973 and 2008 and the increasing trend towards 90%. The main reason for this is that the US utilities recognised that the plants were not economically viable without increasing the load factors and therefore undertook programs to boost
utilisation. However, a plant built in 1990, with a useful life of 40 years, would have been operating at below 80% load factor for the first 8 years of its life, a scenario that threatens the economic viability of new nuclear plants.

With the recent experiences of the UK nuclear plants as well, we do not believe equity investors should take design specifications as 100%-proof, at least from year 1.US utilities recognised that the plants were not economically viable without increasing the load factors and therefore undertook programs to boost utilisation

Bottlenecks in Construction a Rising Obstacle

India and China are both targeting huge increases in nuclear generation over the next couple of decades.
On 7th September, Japan Steel Works, the sole maker of certain atomic reactor parts, more than doubled its forecasts for China’s nuclear plant construction. It now sees scope for China to have built 22 reactors by end 2010 and 132 reactors thereafter, compared to an original estimate from last year for a total of 60 reactors. We remind readers that the Chinese government has given approval for 25.4GW of new nuclear capacity, with 9.1GW currently on operation. Japan Steel Works is in the process of expanding its capacity from 5.5 units equivalent p.a. to 12 by March 2012 at a cost of ~$900m. This expected growth in China is very important for the ambitions of utilities on new nuclear in Europe. China’s central planning of the projects, government support and rising GDP are likely to make this a priority market for constructors.

Later in September, the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, predicted that India could produce 470 gigawatts of nuclear power, making India the largest nuclear energy producer in the world. India's 17 reactors currently produce 3.8 gigawatts of power and while the contribution of nuclear energy is expected to rise from just 3 percent to 6 percent of India's total needs over the next decade, it is expected to increase to between a third and a half of the country's energy needs by 2050, according to the new forecast announced by Singh. The ability to execute this will be highly dependent on the availability of nuclear developers, materials and experienced labour, and could create bottlenecks in construction, pushing back development timelines by several years, a factor that would severely hinder the prospect of a new nuclear project providing adequate returns to equity holders.

With significant bottlenecks, not least because of Japan Steel Works’ paramount position in the parts chain, European plants could well fall behind. We continue to argue that unless we see strong government commitment on new nuclear projects in Europe, they are unlikely to come on line according to existing timetables.


The new nuclear program in the UK is likely to be delayed as the UK Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) published a statement (April 2009) saying it has serious reservations about the safety of Areva’s EPR reactor design. The NII has written to EDF and Areva highlighting concerns around the control and
instrumentation systems in the design. The NII said the EPR technology was compromised due to interconnections between systems that should be independent.

Neither the UK nor the US have yet approved any designs and although it will be a lengthy process anyway, amendments and additional configurations for each country's demands could be highly problematic.

Neither the UK nor the US have yet approved any designs and although it will be a lengthy process anyway, amendments and additional configurations for each country's demands could be highly problematic. This also remains an issue for other regions where each individual government may request additional design modifications to grant the licence, something that would greatly add to cost and remove one of the supposed construction efficiency advantages of having a standardised design across territories. Additionally, even with government intervention on power pricing, we would be surprised if governments allow a return to be made not only on the theoretical investment but also on the budget and time overruns, effectively burdening the consumer with the cost of any inefficiencies in the planning system or actual execution by the utilities

The NII called on the companies to submit an initial response by May 22, and then a full answer by the end of August 2009, although the HSE has not yet published a statement saying it has received the necessary responses. The recent HSE update report states that the target for completion of design assessment is 2Q 2011, in line with previous estimates. We do see scope, though, that due to licensing issues and regionally-customised design specifications, new nuclear power plants could take longer to be built than the timeframe planned and therefore cost more.

Grid and Back-up Capacity Costs

Taking the UK as an example of commitment to new nuclear generation, we look at the ability of the grid system to cope with such increases in generation from single sources. With the potential for 4-8 new plants to be built in the UK over the next 20 years, the current maximum grid connection of 1320MW and in the absence of simultaneous switch off of existing nuclear facilities, significant grid upgrades may be required to avoid overload in the event of the Areva EPR becoming the chosen standard for new nuclear build in the UK. The only reactor in the UK currently in operation with a power rating over 1000MW is Sizewell B with a power rating of c. 1250MW. The Areva EPR and other advanced PWRs have power ratings in the region of 1000-1700MW. Similar issues would be faced in other countries and anecdotal evidence has suggested that the preference of the smaller reactors over the EPR in China related partly to the reduced impact on the network.

The UK has already provided some cost budgeting work, with National Grid estimating that, should all existing nuclear power plants be replaced, an extra £1.4bn of spend would be required to reinforce the transmission network.

Additional spinning reserve costs would have to be considered ,with PB Power quoted as saying that for every new EPR build in the UK, an additional 260MW of spinning reserve would be required at £1.3-2.1/MWh.

This also raises issues in the areas of planning for new substations, overhead power lines, site connection and gaining public approval for this infrastructure. In some cases, public opposition is significantly higher in regards to highvoltage power lines than for the nuclear plants that generate the electricity.

Dale Klein, chairman of the US NRC, has stated previously that necessary grid extensions and upgrades could lead to further delays of nuclear projects and indicated that he was surprised to learn that "it may take as long to site, permit, and build a transmission line for a new plant as to site, license, and build the plant itself."

The UK has already provided some cost budgeting work, with National Grid estimating that should all existing nuclear power plants be replaced an extra £1.4b of spend would be required to reinforce the transmission network.

Land Costs

The auction for three UK sites for possible development for new nuclear is reported to have netted the UK government £387m.
The RWE / E.ON consortium acquired two sites, Wlyfa in North Wales and Oldbury in South West England. Edf acquired the third site, Bradwell in England. No breakdown of the prices paid for the three sites has been released yet, so is it unclear whether or not the payments will be made immediately or at least partly deferred to when construction begins. The RWE / E.ON consortium confirmed that is intends to
build up to 6,000MW of new nuclear in the UK.

What it all means for shareholders

Scenario 1: Plant built on time and on budget

On the assumption that the total cost, inclusive of construction, financing, development and land purchase, of a 1600MW nuclear plant will be at €5bn, i.e. €3,125/KW, and that within 5 years the nuclear plants reach their maximum availability potential, we estimate that power prices need to be at €65/MWh for investors to earn a reasonable positive return (100bps over cost of capital).

Scenario 2: Plant built with delays

On the assumption of a 20% cost overrun (i.e. €3,580/KW) and 2-year time delay in construction and achievement of peak load factors, we estimate that power prices need to be at €70/MWh for investors to earn a similarly competitive positive return.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

From Russia with Love

Construction of the Russia’s first floating nuclear power plant continues. The vessel is designed to provide nuclear power in remote regions of the Arctic and should according to plan be completed in 2011.

The floating power plant “Akademik Lomonosov”, named after the famous Arkhangelsk scientist Mikhail Lomonosov, is being constructed at the Baltiysky Zavod yard in St Petersburg. At the moment, the vessel is being protected against hull corrosion, web site writes.

Construction of the vessel began at the Sevmash yard in Severodvinsk in April 2007, but in August 2008 Rosatom transferred the assignment to the Baltiysky Zavod in Sankt Petersburg. Construction is planned to be completed in 2011, and the vessel will then be towed to a position off the coast at Vilyuchinsk, a town in the Kamchatka region in the far east of Russia, according to Wikipedia.

Russia plans to build five such floating nuclear plants. Construction of the second vessel has been announced to start in autumn 2010. In February 2009 Rosatom and the Republic of Yakutia signed an agreement for implementing investments to build four floating nuclear power plants for use in the northern coastal areas of the Siberian Republic.

A floating nuclear power plant can operate for 40 years and need refueling only once in 10 years.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Fasting-and-Action, Paris, April 26 to May 7, 2010 for the abolition of nuclear weapons

We need you ! We need your support, and more : for you to come to our Fasting-and-Action in Paris !

From all over the world, activists will travel to New York for the Review Conference of the Non Proliferation Treaty ! Some will come to Paris. Because France opposes nuclear disarmament !

A Convention for Elimination of Nuclear Weapons has to be agreed. We want France to support it.


This action is planned to be in Paris on the initiative of the Maison de Vigilance Taverny and in partnership with Réseau Sortir du Nucléaire, the collective Armes Nucleaires STOP, and the 2nd City district of Paris. It involves a number of anti-nuclear organizations including ICAN-France and linked Nuclear Disarmament campaigns.


The Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) will take place in New York in May 2010. The international community has expressed its readiness to engage in a nuclear disarmament process following the policy statements of Barack Obama. Only France has expressed opposition to its participation in this process. Moreover, the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2007 supported the principle of a Convention to eliminate nuclear weapons, the Parliament of the European Union made a similar recommendation in April 2009, and many groups and public figures have underlined its urgency, but countries with nuclear weapons are all reluctant to consider it ... except for China. The possibility of nuclear disarmament is good news but, paradoxically, decisions that might lead to its implementation are far from being taken.

250 French citizens will be present at the UN in New York during the opening of the NPT Conference, May 3, 2010.


This "Fasting-and-Action" aims to put pressure on politicians by French media and public opinion so that France is persuaded to announce its decision to accept the idea of a nuclear weapons convention during the NPT Review Conference.

Housing : Mongolian yurts, the town hall courtyard of the 2nd arrondissement of Paris, 24 rue de la Banque

Program (in progress)

Monday, April 26, 19:30: Town Hall 2nd, roundtable "Nuclear disarmament and France" with Christiane Taubira (tbc), Dominique Lalanne, General Bernard Norlain, member of Global Zero, a signatory of the Nuclear disarmament appeal with Michel Rocard, Alain Juppé and Alain Richard

Tuesday, April 27: Beginning of the Fasting in Mongolian yurts in the courtyard of City Hall. Personalities are expected (tbc): José Bové, MEP, Yves Cochet, MP, Michele Demessine, Senator Hélène Luc, Honorary Senator, Jacques Muller, Senator Marc Stenger, Bishop of Troyes, Christiane Taubira, MP.

Thursday, April 29: interview request to the Town of Paris for the fasters and their supporters

Friday, April 30: presence at the nuclear Air force Base of Taverny

Saturday 1st May: Participation in the demonstration on May 1st with entertainment giant puppet

Sunday, May 2: Roundtable : public hall of the 2nd district, 18:30-21:30: "The great religions and nuclear disarmament". With (tbc) Bishop Marc Stenger, president of Pax Christi France, the rector of the Paris Mosque, the Grand Rabbi of France, a representative of the Buddhist Union of France.

Monday, May 3: Fontaine Saint Michel ceremony of the Flame of the abolition of nuclear weapons for the opening of the Review Conference of NPT

Tuesday, May 4: duplex with New York events at the beginning of the NPT Conference

Wednesday, May 5: Screening of "The Bomb": 19:00, in a Mongolian yurt, City Hall of the 2nd

Friday, May 7: interview request to the Ministry of Defense and the presence before the Department of Defense as does Maison de Vigilance once per month for demanding the abolition of nuclear weapons. Meal breaking the Fasting at 14:00 offered by Mayor of the 2nd.

Daily: presence in front of the Fountain Saint Michel for the abolition of nuclear weapons, from 14:00 to 18:00

Contact: web site : / projets.htm

Saturday, 17 April 2010

What ate we going to do with our nuclear waste?

EU adviser on nuclear policy Jan Haverkamp said: “The only way to address the problem of nuclear waste is to not produce it in the first place. Despite the decline of nuclear power over the last decade, the industry still creates more radioactive waste than it can deal with. It has tried dumping it in the sea, attempted storage in geological formations, and in copper and clay containers, but nothing has worked. It’s time to put an end to this madness.”

The European Commission is currently preparing a directive on nuclear waste that could make

European countries think twice before they add to the problem by building new nuclear power

plants. However, the legislation could also be exploited by the nuclear industry to attempt to

overcome the stumbling block of public opposition and give politicians a false sense of security

that could open the door to new projects. This briefing illustrates why for now – and for the next

hundreds of thousands of years – the nuclear waste problem is here to stay and why we should

stop wasting our time with nuclear power.


April-May: public consultation on the nuclear waste directive:

July: Commission publishes draft proposal

Summer: first reading by the European Parliament

Autumn: Council debate

End of 2010 / early 2011: adoption of the directive

For over 50 years the nuclear industry has produced large volumes of hazardous radioactive

waste, not just from the operation and decommissioning of nuclear power plants, but also from

uranium mining and enrichment. Today, nuclear energy is being sold to politicians and

consumers as one of the solutions to climate change that will also deliver energy security for

Europe. However, nuclear energy is a dangerous obstacle on the road to a clean energy future.1

On top of other substantial problems related to safety and costs, nuclear waste remains a

major flaw of nuclear energy.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) estimates that the industry annually produces

one million barrels (200 000 m3) of what it considers ‘low and intermediate-level waste’ and

about 50 000 barrels (10 000 m3) of the even more dangerous ‘high-level waste’.2 These

numbers do not include spent nuclear fuel, which is also high-level waste.

It takes 240 000 years for radioactive plutonium to decay to a level that is safe for human

exposure, which is longer than modern humans have been on the Earth (200 000 years). There

is no way to guarantee to keep these substances safe for this long. It does not make sense to

allow the nuclear industry to continue producing more nuclear waste.

1 In its ‘Energy [R]evolution’ scenario, Greenpeace shows that renewables (like wind, solar, biomass, geo-thermal, tidal and

wave energy) and energy efficiency deliver faster, cheaper and cleaner solutions. Sven Teske, e.a., Energy [R]evolution –

A Sustainable Global Energy Outlook, Amsterdam (2008), Greenpeace/EREC,

2 IAEA Factsheet: Managing Radioactive Waste, 1998,

Greenpeace European Unit, vzw-asbl

Belliardstraat 199 Rue Belliard, 1040 Brussels, Belgium

Tel.: +32 2 274 1900 Fax: +32 2 274 1910

Ond.Nr./Num. D’entreprise: 0457563648


Billions of euros have been spent over the past half-century on finding a solution to the nuclear

waste problem. Without success.

Russia, USA, France, UK, Netherlands, Japan and others – waste dumping at sea banned

For years, low level radioactive waste was dumped at sea, 'out of sight and out of mind'.

Disintegrating barrels brought the waste back into the environment, and dangerous substances

accumulated in the bodies of animals. After 15 years of campaigning by Greenpeace, in 1993 an

international treaty was signed banning all dumping of radioactive waste at sea.

USA – seismic fault line compromises bedrock storage

Construction of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site in Nevada, USA, began in 1982. The US

Geological Survey has found a seismic fault line under the site and there are serious doubts about

the long-term movements of underground water that can transport deadly contamination into the

environment. As a result of these problems, the US government stopped funding the project in

early 2010.

Germany – Water floods salt layers solution

In Asse, Germany, an experimental radioactive waste dump was set up in the 1960s in salt

formations deep underground. It started leaking water in 1988 and is currently flooding with

12 000 litres of water per day. As a result, all 126 000 barrels of waste already placed in the dump

now need to be cleared out. Asse was meant as a pilot project for a final storage solution in the

salt layers under Gorleben, but there is now serious doubt in Germany about the viability of salt

layers as storage for nuclear waste.

France – Waste inventory unknown

One of the largest nuclear dumps in the world, the Centre de Stockage de La Manche (CSM) in

northern France, was opened in 1969 to store low level waste. It was closed in 1994. It currently

stores 520 000 m3 of radioactive materials from waste reprocessing (see below) and French

nuclear reactors. A 1996 commission set up by the French government concluded that the site

also contained long-living waste and higher level waste, and that the true inventory was effectively

unknown. In 2006 it was found that contaminated water from the site had been leaking into an

underground aquifer, threatening contamination of the surrounding agricultural land.


Forsmark, Sweden – Olkiluoto, Finland: copper corrosion

Sweden is developing a system that places nuclear waste in a copper container surrounded by

clay. Water is expected to help the copper container harden when it is stored in rock like granite,

deep underground. Finland adopted the same system and Switzerland and the UK are considering

this option. But problems have already begun to appear. The copper canisters were expected to

survive corrosion for 3 000 years, but recent research shows that they might fail in 300 years.3

There are furthermore concerns about the build-up of hydrogen produced as a result. High

temperatures from the canisters could also affect the clay covering, while groundwater flows could

bring contaminants from any compromised containers into the Baltic Sea. Furthermore, studies

predict that Nordic countries are likely to face at least one ice age in the coming 100 000 years,4

which could change the pattern of the underground and ground water streams.

Bure, France – Dessel, Belgium: uncertainties of clay as a natural barrier

Unlike Sweden and Finland, that rely on man-made barriers to prevent leakage, France and

Belgium are exploring clay as a natural barrier. The waste is to be contained in simple stainless

steel canisters, which can corrode even more easily than the Swedish copper ones, and rely on

the natural clay formation to keep in radioactivity. The crucial question is whether it can be

guaranteed – for hundreds of thousands of years – that no cracks or channels will form in the clay

layers, which would cause water to leak in and out and poison nearby aquifers.

3 Hultquist, G. et al. (2009). Water Corrodes Copper. Catalysis Letters, Volume 132, Numbers 3-4.

4 Matti Saarnisto, Evaluation report on the Posiva report 2006-5 (2008), STUK (Finland's nuclear regulating agency).

Available on demand.


Human interference

Once placed into final storage, nuclear waste needs to be monitored and not only secured from

natural events, but also from human interference. Stored civilian and military nuclear waste, such

as plutonium or uranium, are the most accessible sources of radioactive material that can be used

for the production of nuclear bombs. A few kilograms of these substances would be sufficient to

make bombs similar to the ones used on Japan by the US military during World War II. Even a very

modest amount of radioactive material from these sites (around 20 grams) would be sufficient to

make a 'dirty bomb’, which could contaminate several square kilometers. To deal with the

problem, the nuclear industry proposes to guard storage sites for 300 years. But there is no

proposal to ensure security for the other 239,700 years.

Interim storage: leakage and terrorist risk

Some countries, like the Netherlands, have set up interim storage for 100 years, effectively shifting

the problem of final storage to our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In the meantime,

leakages and accidents need to be prevented. An additional risk is terrorism: an attack on an

interim nuclear waste storage site would be a relatively soft target for terrorists.

Reprocessing – the myths of the ‘nuclear cycle’

The nuclear industry talks about the 'nuclear fuel cycle' and claims that after use, nuclear fuel is

recycled. In reality, with reprocessing, as this process is called, only a very small part of the spent

nuclear fuel is actually re-used: 99% of the radioactivity and 90% of the waste volume are left at

the end of the process. The process also produces large volumes of different types of radioactive

waste that are difficult to store. Liquid waste pumped into the sea from reprocessing plants in

Sellafield, in the United Kingdom, and la Hague, in France, can be traced as far as the Arctic.5 And

numerous cases of nuclear poisoning have been detected in areas surrounding the reprocessing

plant in Mayak, Russia.

Transport of nuclear waste

Nuclear waste, such as spent nuclear fuel, plutonium and other highly radioactive material, is

transported all over the planet, often passing through large inhabited areas. These deadly convoys

pose a serious risk to populations and ecosystems along the routes. If an accident were to occur,

radioactivity could contaminate several square kilometres or more. The convoys are also at risk of

terrorist attack. The annual transport of nuclear waste from France to Gorleben in Germany

therefore draws tens of thousands of demonstrators. Tons of plutonium resulting from

reprocessing are also regularly shipped from France and the UK to Japan,6 crossing the territorial

waters of many countries on the way, as well as important marine ecosystems. Depleted uranium

from France is transported to Russia, where thousands of barrels are dumped in large open-air

storage sites in the Urals.

The cost of nuclear waste

Because it is as yet unclear how nuclear waste can safely be stored for the amount of time

necessary, it is very difficult to make a full projection of costs. Nuclear energy companies in the EU

are required to reserve money for waste processing and storage in the future. But in several

countries these waste funds appear to be far too small and have in the past been used for new

risky investment. When the UK privatised nuclear utility British Energy, the State had to spend £5.3

billion (€6.6 billion) of taxpayers’ money to fill a hole in the company’s reserves for

decommissioning and waste. But British Energy’s fund would only cover a fraction of the total cost

for decommissioning and waste for all 45 existing British nuclear reactors, so far estimated to be

around £70 billion (€88 billion), the equivalent of almost €2 billion per reactor.

5 See among others: AMAP, 2002. Arctic Pollution 2002: Persistent Organic Polluatants, Heavy Metals, Radioactivity,

Human Health, Changing Pathways. Arctic monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), Oslo, Norway. xii+112 pp.

6 The most recent plutonium shipment from France to Japan took place in February 2009 and contained 1,800 kg of

plutonium. Over 20 000 kg are still stored in France and the UK awaiting shipment to Japan.


A nuclear phase-out – In order to manage the existing nuclear waste crisis we should first of all

stop producing more waste and develop clean energy production and energy efficiency. There

should be a ban on all new nuclear power reactors and an immediate end to all


Storage for existing radioactive waste must use the best available technology to prevent

radioactivity from leaking into the environment and to protect human health. Storage should be

managed, monitored and retrievable for an indefinite time period into the future.

No export of nuclear waste – Countries should be responsible for the safe management of the

nuclear waste that they have created and transport of nuclear materials (including spent

nuclear fuel) should be avoided.

Full transparency – Some countries have chosen nuclear waste sites without consulting the local

population and without exploring alternatives. All information relevant to decisions on the

management of nuclear waste should be fully transparent and made available for public


Radioactive material from decommissioned nuclear weapons should be treated in order

to minimise the possibility of it being used to make a ‘dirty’ or a nuclear bomb.


Jan Haverkamp – Greenpeace EU nuclear energy policy adviser:

+32 (0)477 790 416 (mobile),

Mark Breddy – Greenpeace EU communications manager:

+32 (0)496 156229 (mobile),

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Dinner welcome for nuclear enthusiasts

French activists block train with radioactive waste for Russia


Greenpeace activists tore up the train track near the Tricastin Nuclear Power Center in southeast France on Monday to stop a shipment of nuclear waste to Russia, the organization said.  Depleted uranium hexafluoride was due to be transported via rail to the port of Le Havre and on to St. Petersburg.

Activists say that shipments of nuclear waste to Russia violate French law and an EU directive banning the import and export of dangerous waste. In February, activists held several protests against nuclear waste transportation to Russia and its storage in the country.

"Today we held a protest to prevent the shipment of French spent nuclear fuel to Russia and to make officials stop trading in nuclear waste," Greenpeace France anti-nuclear program coordinator, Yannick Rousselet said.  "The French side sells this allegedly valuable material to Rosatom for a symbolic price while the real uranium costs 150 times as much," Greenpeace Russia energy program chief, Vladimir Tchouprov said.

"Formally, Rosatom sends this raw material for recycling, but after such recycling 90% of the initial volume remains in Russia forever. It is a hidden trade in nuclear waste. We want this stopped," he said.  However, he said that Greenpeace had no plans to hold similar protests in Russia.  "In Russia, taking apart rails is fraught with serious consequences," Tchouprov said referring to routinely tough response by Russian authorities to any action they deem as a security threat.

"Yet another Greenpeace protest is a clear manipulation of public consciousness. They [Greenpeace activists] demanding the halt of shipments while it was widely known in 2006 that deliveries of uranium hexafluoride expire in 2010. Each time a shipment occurs, they chain themselves to the train tracks and put their heads on the tracks pretending to fight against further deliveries which will not take place after 2010," Rosatom spokesman Sergei Novikov said, adding that the protestors are "drawing attention to an issue that doesn't exist."

Earlier in March, Greenpeace activists called on French company Areva to cease nuclear waste exports to Russia. Protestors rallied outside Areva's Moscow office and displayed a banner reading "Russia is not a dump".

Monday, 12 April 2010

Revelations of someone who works for EDF: The EPR nuclear reactor is not safe

The French protest organisation "Sortir du nucléaire" has had access to confidential documents. These documents demonstrate that the EPR design (which they want to build in the UK) is at risk of a serious nuclear accident - a risk that EDF are prepared to take as part of their economic calculations.

We held a press conference on the 8th March 2010 in Paris.

The reactor can be run at different rates according to the demand for electricity. But the part of the reactor that controls the rate is defective. EDF and Areva have tried to modifiy this part of the reactor without success. If this reactor design is allowed to go ahead there will be the risk of a Chernobyl-type accident.
On the 8th and 9th March 2010 there was a Nuclear Technology international conference in Paris, that representatives from 65 countries attended. Sarkozy opened the conference, which was chaired by the director of the AIEA. It is scandalous that France is continuing to promote nuclear power in general and the EPR in particular, when these reactors are so dangerous.

We must abandon the construction of the EPR in Finland and in China and put a stop to the project at Penly. The best way to avoid a nuclear accident is to get out of nuclear technology altogether.

The accident scenario in detail
(sorry if anyone else wants to continue translating this they are welcome)

Selon les calculs d’EDF et d’Areva, le pilotage du réacteur en mode RIP (retour instantané en puissance) et la disposition des grappes de commande du réacteur peuvent provoquer un accident d’éjection des grappes de commande à faible puissance et entraîner la rupture de l’enveloppe du mécanisme de commande de la grappe (i). Cette rupture provoquerait le passage du réfrigérant en-dehors de la cuve du réacteur nucléaire. La perte de réfrigérant (un type d'accident nucléaire très grave) entraînerait la rupture d’un nombre important de crayons par échauffement du combustible et des gaines (ii) et donc le relâchement de vapeur extrêmement radioactive dans l’enceinte de confinement. Il y a alors un risque important d’excursion critique qui résulterait en une explosion (iii), la puissance du réacteur EPR étant démultipliée de façon extrêmement brutale. Suite aux éjections des grappes de commande à faible puissance (EDG), le réacteur EPR pourrait ne pas se mettre en arrêt automatique (iv). Quelle que soit la configuration des grappes de commande, l’accident d’éjection de grappe de commande entraîne un taux important de rupture du combustible (NCE) et donc un risque élevé d’excursion critique (v).

Pour plus de détails, consultez les documents confidentiels que nous révélons, divulgués par une source anonyme interne à EDF (notamment le document n°1), téléchargeables sur le site :

Contacts presse :

Marc Saint-Aroman : 05 61 35 11 06

Charlotte Mijeon - 06 75 36 20 20

Monique et Raymond Sené (physiciens nucléaires) - 01 60 10 03 49

Médias anglophones > Steven Mitchell : 09 52 49 50 22

Médias germanophones > Jean-Yvon Landrac - 06 87 30 41 10

Documents confidentiels à télécharger :

1 - Synthèse - Une technologie explosive : l'EPR (non daté non signé)

2 - Bilan de la phase préliminaire de l'étude d'EDG FA3 et perspectives (EDF SEPTEN 05.05.2009)

3 - EPR - Gestion combustible - Lot 1 - Revue de conception du schéma de grappes FA3 du 25/10/2007

4 - EPR FA3 Synthèse de l’étude de faisabilité de l’accident d’éjection de grappe (EDF SEPTEN 09.02.07)

5 - EPR FA3 Synthèse des voies de sortie de la problématique éjection de grappe (EDF SEPTEN 07.05.07)

6 - Note d’étude : Présentation synthétique de l’EPR (EDF SEPTEN 04.05.04)

7 - Note de présentation de la deuxième revue de projet radioprotection EPR (EDF, printemps 2004)

8 - Marges disponibles pour les activités d'exploitation du REP par rapport aux risques de criticité (Hourtoulle Francis. Le 7 décembre 1999)

Notes :

i cf. paragraphe 6.1.6 du document n°4

ii cf. tableau 3, document n°4

iii cf. document n°4, document n°5 partie 2, Rapport Préliminaire de Sûreté EPR 15.2.4.e

iv cf. document n°2, note 9

v cf. document n°2, note 8.2.1