New Centralized Nuclear Plants: Still an Investment Worth Making?


LANDSHUT, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 01:  A cooling t...

(Image credit: Getty Images Europe via @daylife)

Just a few years ago, the US nuclear renaissance seemed at hand.  It probably shouldn’t have been.  Cost overruns from Finland to France to the US were already becoming manifest, government guarantees were in doubt, and shale gas drillers were beginning to punch holes into the ground with abandon.

Then came Fukushima.  The latter proved a somewhat astonishing reminder of forgotten lessons about nuclear power risks, unique to that technology:  A failure of one power plant in an isolated location can create a contagion in countries far away, and even where somewhat different variants of that technology are in use. Just as Three Mile Island put the kaibosh on nuclear power in the US for decades, Fukushima appears to have done the same for Japan and Germany, at a minimum.  It certainly did not help public opinion, and at a minimum, the effect of Fukushima will likely be to increase permitting and associated regulatory costs.

By contrast, when a gas-fired plant in Connecticut exploded during construction a few years ago, it didn’t affect the public perception of other gas plants.  But Fukushima and nuclear power is another story.  The stakes are so much bigge

Even without Fukushima, the verdict on large centralized US nukes is probably in, for the following reasons:

1)     They take too long: In the ten years it can take to build a nuclear plant, the world can change considerably (look at what has happened with natural gas prices and the costs of solar since some of these investments were first proposed).  The energy world is changing very quickly, which poses a significant risk for thirty to forty year investments.

2)     They are among the most expensive and capital-intensive investments in the world; they cost many billions of dollars, and they are too frequently prone to crippling multi-billion dollar cost overruns and delays.  In May 2008, the US Congressional Budget Office found that the actual cost of building 75 of America’s earlier nuclear plants involved an average 207% overrun, soaring from $938 to $2,959 per kilowatt.

3)     And once the investments commence, they are all-or-nothing.  You can’t pull out without losing your entire investment.  For those with longer memories, WPPS and Shoreham represent  $2.25 bn (1983)  and $6 bn (1989) wasted investments in which nothing was gained and ratepayers and bondholders lost a good deal.

Some recent investments in centralized nuclear plants in other countries highlight and echo these lessons.

Electricite de France’s Flamanville plant has seen its budget explode from 3.3 to 6 bn (July 2011) to 8 bn Euros ($10.5 bn) as of last December, with a delay of four years over original targets.  EDF in part blames stricter post-Fukushima regulations for part of the overrun).  To the north, Finland’s Olkiluoto – being constructed by Areva – has seen delays of nearly five years, and enormous cost overruns.  The original turnkey cost of 3.0 bn Euros has skyrocketed beyond all fears, increasing at least 250%.  Just last month, Areva’s CEO conceded “We estimate that the costs of Olkiluoto are near those of Flamanville.”

In the US, recent experience doesn’t look much better:  Progress Energy (now Duke) first announced the 2,200 MW Levy nuclear project in 2006, with an estimated price tag of $4 to $6 bn and an online date of 2016.  The cost estimated increased to $17 bn in 2008.  This year, Progress announced the project would cost $24 billion and come online in 2024.  The Levy plant currently has a debt in excess of $1.1 bn for which customers had already paid $545 million through 2011.  As of now, the utility plans to proceed, with the Executive VP for Power Generation stating ”We’ve made a decision to build Levy…I’m confident in the schedule and numbers.”

In Georgia, Vogtle Units 3 and 4 (owned jointly by a number of utilities, including Georgia Power) appear in somewhat better shape, but issues have cropped up there as well.  Customers currently pay $10 per month in advance to cover financing associated with the two 1,117 MW units.  Georgia Power is allowed by legislation to recover $1.7 bn in financing costs of its estimated $6.1 bn portion of the $14 bn plant during the construction period.  However, there have already been some cost problems, and Georgia Power is disputing its responsibility to pay $425 million of overruns resulting from delays in licensing approvals.  Total cost excesses to all partners total $875 mn.  The two units were expected to come online in 2016 and 2017, but in a Georgia PSC meeting in December, an independent monitor noted that expected delays of fifteen months are largely as a result of poor paperwork related to stringent design rules and quality assurance.  Those delays will likely continue to cost more money.

Unfortunately, these experiences are not outliers.  From 2007 to 2010, the NRC received 18 nuclear applications ( of which only twelve are still active).  Of these, the consulting outfit Analysis Group reported that for eight plants where they were able to obtain two or more comparable cost estimate, 7 are over budget (including Levy and Vogtle), with updated numbers “often double or triple initial estimates.”  This is consistent with an MIT study estimating ‘overnight’ costs nearly doubling from 2002 to 2007.   As utilities management consultant Stephen Maloney was quoted in the Analysis Group study “No one has ever built a contemporary reactor to contemporary standards, so no one has the experience to state with confidence what it will cost.  We see cost escalations as companies coming up the learning curve.”

Last August, Exelon abandoned plans to construct two facilities in Texas, blaming low natural gas prices.  Two months later, Dominion Resources announced that it would shut down its existing Kewaunee station in Wisconsin as a consequence of low gas prices and a lack of buyers.  The latter move was particularly eye-opening: building a nuclear plant is supposed to be the expensive part, while operation is expected to be relatively cheap.

So it appears that the nuclear renaissance may be largely over before it started.  And yet, many projects have not yet been canceled, with utilities and ratepayers accepting ever more risk in order to rescue sunk costs. In many cases, these costs have soared or will soar into the billions. As risk management expert Russell Walker of the Kellogg School of Management is quoted as saying in the  Tampa Bay Times “When the stakes get higher, it gets harder for organizations to walk away…this happens a lot.  It’s the same problem a gambler has: If I play a little longer, it’ll come around.

With low natural gas prices, efficient combined cycled turbines, more efficient renewables and a host of more efficient end-use technologies, that’s a bet fewer and fewer seem wiling to take.   Unfortunately for ratepayers at some utilities, they are at the table whether they like it or not…

http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterdetwiler/2013/01/15/new-centralized-nuclear-plants-still-an-investment-worth-making/

 

Committed to Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project, India tells France #Wtfnews


English: Internationally recognized symbol. De...

 

PARIS: India on Thursday assured France of its commitment to the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project in the backdrop of protests being carried out in that area against the atomic plant.
External affairs minister Salman Khurshid, who held bilateral talks with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius here, said both sides are committed to ensuring the highest levels of safety in the project.
“Our government remains committed to the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project. Both sides are committed to ensuring the highest levels of safety in the project,” Khurshid said at a joint press conference.
The remarks of Khurshid, who is here on an official visit, came at a time when protests are going on back in India against the 2,000-MW Kudankulam project in Tamil Nadu over safety concerns.
Protests have also been organised against the Jaitapur project in Maharashtra.
Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project is a proposed 9900 MW power project of Nuclear Power Corporation of India.

During the December 2010 visit of the French President Nicholas Sarkozy to India, framework agreements were signed for the setting up two third-generation EPR reactors of 1650 MW each at Jaitapur by the French company Areva.
The deal caters for the first set of two of six planned reactors and the supply of nuclear fuel for 25 years.

Khurshid’s visit is the first visit by an Indian external affairs minister to this country in a decade. Khurshid said he held a “comprehensive and fruitful” discussions with Fabius.

“We reviewed our cooperation in defence, space and civil nuclear energy and counter terrorism, which are important pillars of our bilateral relations,” he said.

Khrushid said India and France share the same values of liberty, equality and fraternity.

“Our excellent bilateral relations with France are marked by mutual trust. They encompass trade, investment, defence, security, counter terrorism, space, nuclear energy, education, culture, science & technology and people to people contacts,” he said.

The minister stressed that though affected by global economic slowdown, bilateral economic and commercial relations are steadily growing in recent years.

“Yet there remains considerable untapped potential for further growth. We invite French investments in our infrastructure, food processing industries, hi-tech and green technologies,” he said.PARIS: India on Thursday assured France of its commitment to the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project in the backdrop of protests being carried out in that area against the atomic plant.
External affairs minister Salman Khurshid, who held bilateral talks with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius here, said both sides are committed to ensuring the highest levels of safety in the project.
“Our government remains committed to the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project. Both sides are committed to ensuring the highest levels of safety in the project,” Khurshid said at a joint press conference.
The remarks of Khurshid, who is here on an official visit, came at a time when protests are going on back in India against the 2,000-MW Kudankulam project in Tamil Nadu over safety concerns.
Protests have also been organised against the Jaitapur project in Maharashtra.
Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project is a proposed 9900 MW power project of Nuclear Power Corporation of India.

During the December 2010 visit of the French President Nicholas Sarkozy to India, framework agreements were signed for the setting up two third-generation EPR reactors of 1650 MW each at Jaitapur by the French company Areva.
The deal caters for the first set of two of six planned reactors and the supply of nuclear fuel for 25 years.

Khurshid’s visit is the first visit by an Indian external affairs minister to this country in a decade. Khurshid said he held a “comprehensive and fruitful” discussions with Fabius.

“We reviewed our cooperation in defence, space and civil nuclear energy and counter terrorism, which are important pillars of our bilateral relations,” he said.

Khrushid said India and France share the same values of liberty, equality and fraternity.

“Our excellent bilateral relations with France are marked by mutual trust. They encompass trade, investment, defence, security, counter terrorism, space, nuclear energy, education, culture, science & technology and people to people contacts,” he said.

The minister stressed that though affected by global economic slowdown, bilateral economic and commercial relations are steadily growing in recent years.

“Yet there remains considerable untapped potential for further growth. We invite French investments in our infrastructure, food processing industries, hi-tech and green technologies,” he said

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#India-Areva closes in on key agreement for Jaitapur plant #nuclear


Sandeep Dikshit, The Hindu, Dec 18, 2012

A file photo of the site of the proposed Jaitapur nuclear plant in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra.
PTI A file photo of the site of the proposed Jaitapur nuclear plant in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra.

Unperturbed by protests against its proposed nuclear power plant in Jaitapur, Maharashtra, the French civil nuclear energy major Areva is now in the closing stages of striking an “early works agreement” with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited.

This agreement, which is actually a series of studies to ensure that the reactor is in conformity with local conditions, is likely to take nine months. “Areva’s discussions with NPCIL are on. We hope to achieve closure as soon as possible. We are eager to start [on the studies] so as to fully define the project,” said diplomatic sources.

They drew attention to French Ambassador Francois Richier’s observations at a recent Indo-French nuclear seminar. “I hope the discussions will be completed soon,” he had said, which would make the Jaitapur project “the first to come up since the 2008 Nuclear Suppliers Group exemption to India.”

While Kudankulam I and II will be the first mega units to come up in India, the agreement with Russia [then Soviet Union] was signed over two decades ago and negotiations over the next two units are deadlocked over the Nuclear Liability Act. Similarly, the American bid to set up nuclear plants in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh is also held up.

Commenting on the Act, which has been opposed by all companies vying for business in India because of a clause that puts the onus of an accident on suppliers, the sources said Areva’s basic principle was to abide by the law of the land and at the same time ensure that the company’s interests were protected. But as the Rules have not entered into force, there is uncertainty about how it will all end up. In addition, the Supreme Court is hearing a petition on safety in civil nuclear plants. “But this question is not for us to solve,” they said.

Protests

The second issue facing the French company are mass protests in and around Jaitapur that has led to the loss of a life in police firing. Unlike the Russians, who suspected a foreign hand in protests at their site in Kudankulam, the French are taking the protests at Jaitapur in their stride.

“It is the beauty of democracy that all are allowed to demonstrate. France had such demonstrations for long and one good effect was it obliged the industry and the government to take care of safety concerns and also accept transparency. This approach helped the French to accept nuclear energy without fears. Today France has 60 reactors or one reactor for every 10 lakh people. Demonstrations are legitimate and we will try to address their safety related concerns,” the sources said.

The third stumbling block after the Limited Nuclear Liability Act and the protests is the absence of an India-Japan civil nuclear cooperation agreement. This will make it next to impossible to source crucial parts for the reactor vessel made by the Japan Steel Works.

Indian officials expect Areva to approach South Korea with which India has a civil nuclear agreement. According to South Korean diplomats, Areva and Korean Electric Power Company (Kepco) have worked together in the past, but have also competed against each other for a major United Arab Emirates tender, which was won by Seoul.

Kepco’s stand

At the same time, it remains to be seen whether Kepco will be content with supplying a few parts for the reactor, when South Korea feels that after signing the civil nuclear agreement with India [after just three meetings], New Delhi might award it a nuclear reactor park of its own.

Diplomatic sources are confident of surmounting these issues. “This is not the first time France is central to India’s nuclear energy programme. Our cooperation started in 1951 and the long term commitment to work together in nuclear and space segments triggers all kinds of cooperation easily and solves all problems.”

 

Cost of Jaitapur reactors could triple to nearly Rs. 35,500 crore


 

VAIJU NARAVANE, The Hindu, Dec 6,2012

 

English: Internationally recognized symbol. De...

English: Internationally recognized symbol. Deutsch: Gefahrensymbol für Radioaktivität. Image:Radioactive.svg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

EDF, the French electricity giant that has built and operated the country’s 58 nuclear reactors, has announced that the bill for the 1,650-MW, third-generation pressurised reactor known as EPR has now gone up to AFP €8.5 billion. At its inception, the reactor, designed by Areva of France, was expected to cost €3.3 billion.

This is bad news for India which is slated to buy six EPR reactors for a site in Jaitapur, Maharashtra. Initially expected to cost some €20 billion, the six EPRs India intends to buy will now be in the region of €50 billion — nearly Rs. 35,500 crore.

Delays and cost over-runs have marked the construction of the EPR in Flamanville, Manche, France. In the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) carried out an audit of the country’s nuclear installations and asked for several reinforcements and design changes. All these added to the price.

However, work on the reactor had been badly delayed and it is now expected to go on stream in 2016. Industry insiders predict that date will not be respected and there will be further cost overruns.

“The development of the boiler design, additional engineering studies, the integration of new regulatory requirements and everything learnt from Fukushima have also been taken into account,” EDF said in a statement.

There is not a single EPR that is working today. The reactor built in Olkilouto, Finland, by Siemens and Areva is also running four years behind schedule and has yet to begin operating. The reactor may start operating next year.

EDF has been rapped on the knuckles several times by the nuclear watchdog ASN for cutting corners, using shoddy materials, and employing workers who do not know their job. The Flamanville plant is the first reactor being built in France in nearly 20 years.

 

 

Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project- Nuclear Devastation


The Jaitapur Project, dianuke.org

The plan by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) to establish two nuclear reactors in Jaitapur in Maharashtra was first publicly announced in September 2005, just two months after the United StatesIndia nuclear cooperation deal was inked.[i] In 2003, two years before the deal was conceived, NPCIL had commissioned a feasibility study in the Jaitapur region.[ii]

The project, originally for two 1,000 MW reactors, was modified in February 2006, when India and France signed an agreement on nuclear cooperation and declared their intention to establish a “nuclear power park” in Jaitapur, consisting of six units of European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) of 1,650 MW each.[iii]

Jaitapur is planned to be the biggest nuclear power station in the world, even larger than Japan’s Kashiwkazi-Kariwa plant. The reactors are to be designed and built by the largely state-owned French nuclear energy company, Areva. Ever since 2006, Areva has figured in connection with the proposed nuclear park in Jaitapur.

Even before the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers’ Group agreed in September 2008 to make a special exception for India in the global nuclear trade regime in keeping with the US-India deal, New Delhi had started dangling the carrot of lucrative nuclear reactor business worth $270 billion before the international nuclear industry in the form of “nuclear power parks” in coastal areas.[iv] This was done without any clearance from the Reserve Bank of India, without an engineering or technical assessment of the suppliers, and without a transparent, broad-based study of or planning for nuclear expansion on such a massive scale.

There was no evaluation of the relevance of the nuclear reactors for the country’s energy security. NPCIL did not invite global tenders for them. Yet, it short-listed Areva’s EPRs, along with Westinghouse Electric Company’s AP1000 series of reactors, General Electric-Hitachi’s ABWR reactor series, and Russian atomic energy agency Rosatom’s VVER 1,000 reactors.[v]

On its part, France has been more than eager to exploit the lucrative nuclear market emerging in India. Not only it had not condemned India for its nuclear tests of 1998[vi], it promised India access to sensitive enrichment and reprocessing technologies and offered assured fuel supplies.[vii]

In anticipation of the NSG clearance, pre-project activities started by mid-2006 and a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between NPCIL and the Government of Maharashtra in September 2006.[viii]NPCIL’s camp office appeared near Madban village in early 2007.[ix] Within a month of the NSG clearance in September 2008, India and France entered into a framework nuclear agreement.[x] Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was invited as the chief guest at the French National Day in 2009.[xi]

The agreement for the first two of the six EPRs between Areva and NPCIL was signed in December 2010 during French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s India visit.[xii] This event was also marked by a hastily granted clearance for the project by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.[xiii]

Current status:

  • The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board is yet to give clearance to the reactor design
  • Environmental clearance is conditional
  • In the first phase, two reactors are to be built between 2012 and 2018.
  • Union cabinet has to approve financial issues
  • A powerful movement against the project has emerged.
  • Seventy local self-government representatives of 10 villages have resigned en masse
  • Liability remains a concern for Areva[xiv]

 

Courtesy: CNDP Report on Jaitapur: http://www.cndpindia.org/download.php?view.66

Notes:

[i] Meena Menon, “Critical Mass”, Frontline, 27:12 :: Jun. 05-18, 2010   http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl2712/stories/20100618271204100.htm

[ii] “French N-tech firms eyeing India”, Times of India, May 18, 2008,  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1536108.cms

[iii] “Advantage India: French Nuclear Deal”, Times of India, Feb 20, 2006, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Advantage-India-French-nuclear-deal-/articleshow/1421908.cms

[iv] Raman, J Sri, “The US-India Nuclear Deal: on year later”, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, October 1, 2009. http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/features/the-us-india-nuclear-deal-one-year-later

[v] “Nuclear Power short-lists 4 suppliers for Reactor” Business Line, August 18, 2008 http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2008/08/18/stories/2008081851400100.htm

[vi] “Trade, nuclear power tops Sarkozy’s India wish list” France 24, Dec 05, 2010

http://www.france24.com/en/20101204-india-france-trade-nuclear-power-deals-top-india-wish-list-sarkozy

[vii] “France, Russia ensure uninterrupted fuel supply to Indian rectors”, Globalsecurity.org,,Sept 17, 2008

http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/india/2008/india-080917-irna01.htm

[viii] “In India the Nuclear Stampede Begins”, Asia Times Online, Nov 22, 2006. http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/HK22Df01.html

[ix] “Work begins for nuclear plant in Maharashtra”, Earth Times, May 3, 2007 http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/58714.html

[x] “India, France ink landmark agreement”  Rediff News, September 30, 2008. http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/sep/30ndeal3.htm

[xi] “PM Gets rare honour as Chief Guest on French Day” Indian Express, July 14, 2009.  http://www.indianexpress.com/news/PM-gets-rare-honour-as-Chief-Guest-on-French-Day/489092/

[xii] “India to get 2 nuclear reactors” Deccan Herald, Dec 06, 2010.

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/118500/india-get-2-nuclear-reactors.html

[xiii] “Jaitapur power plant gets environmental clearance”, NDTV, Nov 28, 2010

http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/jaitapur-power-plant-gets-environmental-clearance-69147

[xiv] “Jaitapur n-reactors flagged off but liability concerns remain” Indian Express, Dec 7, 2010. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/jaitapur-nreactors-flagged-off-but-liability-concerns-remain/721283/

MUST WATCH VIDEO

 

This renaissance is just a fairy tale


Nuclear power plant symbol

Nityanand Jayaraman

June 15, 2012, The Hindu

The unpredictable financial implications of constructing, running, decommissioning plants and handling risks are causing a global rethink on nuclear energy

For a professed proponent of liberalisation and free trade, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh‘s penchant for a technology that cannot float without subsidies is telling. Nuclear power’s unfavourable economics are not lost on Dr. Singh.

Recently, Westinghouse Electric and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to negotiate the setting up of AP1000 reactors in Gujarat, ending a slump in interest from the Toshiba subsidiary in India’s nuclear market. For Toshiba’s Westinghouse and other nuclear equipment suppliers, the Civil Nuclear Liability Act’s clause on supplier liability was the key hurdle to investing in India. The companies wanted the Indian government to insulate them from the financial fallouts of any potential disaster caused by their technology by spreading that liability among taxpayers. The recent MoU suggests some progress in moving towards this goal.

More obstacles remain, though. Nuclear projects are un-bankable. The government may deploy mental health specialists to deal with the fears of Kudankulam protestors. But those shrinks are unlikely to be able to allay the fears of financiers or nuclear equipment suppliers.

According to nuclear energy expert Peter Bradford, “The most implacable enemy of nuclear power in the past 30 years has been the risk not to public health but to investors’ wallets. No nuclear power project has ever bid successfully in a competitive energy market anywhere in the world.” Mr. Bradford was member of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and chair of the New York and Maine electricity regulatory commissions. He teaches a course on nuclear power at the Vermont Law School.

Second thoughts

Unpredictable financial implications associated with constructing, running, decommissioning plants and handling nuclear risks are causing a rethink on nuclear energy worldwide. But these developments seem to slip by India without so much as causing a ripple.

Germany and Switzerland have decided to phase out nuclear power, despite their substantial dependence on it. Israel abandoned its year-old civilian nuclear programme after Fukushima. Belgium revived a pre-Fukushima decision to phase out nuclear power, using the Japanese disaster as a reminder. Italy and Kuwait gave up their nuclear debut by abandoning plans for 10 and four plants respectively. Mexico dropped plans for constructing 10 plants. All of Japan’s 54 reactors are now closed, and plans for 14 new reactors killed.

The story of nuclear energy’s unviability is told not just by the actions of naysayers, but also by the experiences of those — like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iran, Turkey, Vietnam and South Africa — pursuing nuclear programmes. All of them want the nuclear option, but have no idea how they will finance it.

If the U.S. is Dr. Singh’s inspiration, then the so-called nuclear renaissance’s trajectory in that country gives even more cause for despair. In 2009, the U.S. declared a nuclear revival with promises of more than 30 new reactors. Today, most of these projects are doomed. Even candidates for federal loan guarantees such as the South Texas project, and the Calvert Cliffs-3 project in Maryland, have been mothballed.

State governments in the U.S. do not seem to share the Federal Government‘s enthusiasm for nukes. Bills to reverse moratoria on nuclear plants in Minnesota, Kentucky and Wisconsin failed last year. In Missouri, North Carolina and Iowa, legislators defeated bills to charge electricity consumers in advance to finance reactors.

“At the time of Fukushima, only four countries — China, Russia, India and South Korea — were building more than two reactors. In these four nations, citizens pay for the new reactors the government chooses to build through direct subsidies or energy price hikes,” Bradford notes.

Finland was among the few that reiterated its commitment to nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster. The 1,600 MW Olkiluoto nuclear plant uses French company Areva‘s technology. Areva’s modular design was expected to make it faster and cheaper to build. But 11 years later, the project is behind schedule and its $4.2 billion budget is up now by 50 per cent. After Fukushima, Areva admits that the same plant would cost $8 billion. Even Areva’s home project, in Flamanville, France, has suffered a $4 billion cost overrun and a four year delay. Indeed, 31 out of 45 reactors that were being constructed globally around 2009 were either delayed or did not have official dates for commissioning, says a report for the German Government by consultant Mycle Schneider.

In India

In Kalpakkam, meanwhile, the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor was slotted to contribute to the grid in March 2012. In 2005, Baldev Raj, Director of the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam, boasted that the 500 MW unit will be completed in 2010, 18 months before schedule. Till date, there is no sign of this happening. The Kudankulam plant, which is now 23 years old since conception, lost only eight months due to protestors.

In Jaitapur too, the government has more to worry about than local protestors. Areva, the technology supplier, is in trouble. Last year, it announced losses of €1.6 billion, and the sacking of 1,200 workers in Germany. Last June, it decided to suspend production at a Virginia reactor component plant due to declining market prospects. Its expansion plans in France, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. may never materialise. Areva expected to sell 50 nuclear reactors this decade. It has not received a single order since 2007.

Now, with a socialist president at the helm in France, Areva’s future looks even more uncertain. French President François Hollande had promised voters a reduction in nuclear dependence from 75 to 50 per cent, and shutdown of an aging reactor in Fessenheim. Whether or not he carries through with these promises, it appears certain that no new plants will be built or planned during his term. Both conservative-led Germany and socialist France will make up the shortfall from the nuclear phase-out, by investing in renewables for electricity and new jobs. In replacing nuclear with renewables, these nations are declaring that despite its carbon dividend, nuclear is too risky — financially, politically and environmentally — to pursue.

(Nityanand Jayaraman is an independent writer and volunteer with the Chennai Solidarity Group for Kudankulam Struggle.)

Good news- Bombay High Court issues notice on suit challenging Jaitapur N-plant


By Newzfirst4/13/12

MUMBAI – The Bombay High Court Thursday issued notice to the government, Nuclear Power Corporation of India and others in a public suit challenging the proposed 9,900-MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project coming up in Ratnagiri in Maharashtra.
Justice D. D. Sinha and Justice V. K. Tahilramani issued the notice returnable next week, lawyer R.N. Kachwe for the activist-petitioner Hemant Patil said.

Patil contended that the JNPP could pose severe environmental and radiation hazards to the local population.

“I have demanded an independent commission of experts be constituted to look into all these aspects before the projects is given the go-ahead,” Patil, who is also president of the anti-corruption NGO, Rashtriya Bhrastachar Virodhi Janshakti, told IANS.

He also urged the court appoint a Court Commissioner to verify the actual position of the entire project and its impact on human, wild life, flora and fauna and the sea waters.

The JNPP, planned in Madban-Jaitapur villages, has been facing stiff resistance from the locals and a majority of the state opposition parties since the past one-and-half years after it was cleared by the centre.

“We have prayed for injunction against the NPCIL and Areva of France, restraining them from proceeding ahead with the project till the pendency of the case,” Kachwe said.

French nuclear giant Areva reports $3.2-bn loss


Areva

Areva (Photo credit: ceronne)

PARIS — France‘s state-controlled nuclear giant Areva lost euro2.4 billion ($3.2 billion) in 2011, much of that on the back of a troubled uranium mining venture that has been the subject of investigation.

Thursday’s dismal figures reflect a difficult year for the nuclear plant operator, which is also facing a global rethink of the future of atomic energy in the wake of Japan‘s Fukushima disaster. For instance, Germany has decided to shut down all of its plants by 2022, forcing Areva to lay off staff in that country. It has also instituted a partial hiring freeze in France and suspended projects.

Last year also saw the departure of charismatic chief executive Anne Lauvergeon, known as “Atomic Anne,” after she lost the support of the French government. Her tenure has come under scrutiny because the mining subsidiary, UraMin, was acquired in 2007, while she was in charge.

The company’s internal review of the acquisition found no evidence of fraud, but recommended more oversight for future purchases.

Areva, which reports its annual sales and profit figures separately, had previously said that its revenue fell 2.6 percent to euro8.87 billion last year.

The company’s loss of euro2.42 for last year billion compares with a small profit in 2010 of euro883 million.

The figures were even worse than the company’s own guidance, issued just a few weeks ago. When it announced its revenue numbers, CEO Luc Oursel had said he was anticipating an operating loss of between euro1.4 billion and euro1.6 billion.

The largest hit was seen in the mining group, where it booked a charge of euro1.46 billion for UraMin. But most business groups saw operating losses.

Oursel contended, however, that the worst was behind Areva and that his turnaround plan was already yielding results.

“In a difficult context, the slight decline in revenue in 2011 demonstrates the robustness of Areva’s integrated model,” he said.

Source- CBS NEWS

Jaitapur- No Thank You!


Anny Poursinoff intervened today in the Assembly to oppose the agreement between France and India on civilian nuclear energy and show support to the people of Jaitapur who refuse implantation by two Areva EPR on a seismic zone to 400 miles from Bombay. This text was to pass without discussion, but at the request of environmentalists, the opposition was able to get a debate. The text of the speech is below.

Mr. Speaker,
Sir,
Mr. Rapporteur,
Colleagues,

I thank my colleagues in the opposition who, at our request, have made ​​this debate possible.
Indeed, nothing comes to nuclear is trivial. The Court of Auditors has just recently conceded to environmentalists on the hidden costs of this industry.
We are now proposing to facilitate intellectual exchange on civil nuclear energy between France and India.
In fact, we fear that the agreement is linked to the establishment by Areva EPR nuclear power plant at Jaitapur in a reservoir of biodiversity and an earthquake zone, 400 kilometers from Bombay, the Indian economic metropolis.
A few days after the anniversary of Fukushima, According to the report of the Nuclear Safety Authority showing that plants have nothing infallible, our Indian friends themselves have doubts: they asked Areva to strengthen the security of computer systems.
Indeed, in a country ranked fourth terrorist targets, the risk of attack adds to the risk of accidents.
However EPR is particularly dangerous. It produced plutonium and MOX use, whose radioactivity is multiplied by 5 to 7 times compared to uranium fuel.
Through this agreement, we are asked to take your risk of a new Fukushima and a new Hiroshima.
No, I’m not exaggerating.
You know, India, like Pakistan have developed nuclear weapons. These two rivals have not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
You also know, France is selling weapons to both countries – let us remember the case of Karachi or the recent sale of more than one hundred combat aircraft to India.
Yet the agreement on intellectual property could open the door to the transfer of technology could be used for military purposes, whether reprocessing plants and enrichment uranium or plutonium production.
The Nuclear Suppliers Group, last June, has yet banned the export of sensitive equipment to countries that have not signed the nonproliferation treaty.
We therefore request to take the risk of putting us in breach of international laws.
The French government is desperate to sell plants!
I say here solemnly: I hope that negotiations with India on nuclear power will fail.
Democracy required: the local population is opposed to the positioning of plants Areva.A protester has already paid with his life!
The reason the scientific and economic imposes too.
Five years late for the EPR in Finland! Four years late in Flamanville! An addition that never ceases to grow!
Why offer our Indian friends in such a poisoned chalice?
Our cooperation should deploy around peaceful activities such as the fight against global warming, and not focus on energy death, arms sales and the sale of nuclear!
“We must safeguard the jobs of Areva! “Will protest my fellow pro-nuclear.
But technology transfer, which India does not recognize patents, does nothing to protect employees of French nuclear. The Indians have excellent scientists and excellent engineers!
As for the excuse of economic development, it does not. Local people do not have the jobs generated by the nuclear studies in Tamil Nadu have shown.
Residents of Jaitapur do not allow themselves to take: they refuse to be expropriated, they do not want these plants.
We either!
I’ll try to say in Hindi: dji Jaitapur nahi!
Jaitapur no thank you!
The French government demonstrated a bad faith criminal. On the one hand it ensures that there is no risk with nuclear power, on the other he pressures his Indian counterparts to change their legislation.
India provides that the manufacturer of a central is responsible for disaster.
After Bhopal, we understand the caution of the Indian government vis-à-vis Western industrial partners unscrupulous.
Gold the President of the French Republic himself has asked Prime Minister of India to relax the law . Why? Because Areva does not want to be liable for a nuclear accident at Jaitapur?
Neither do we, we do not bear this responsibility.
But the best way to avoid another Fukushima is to forego building these plants, which are located, I repeat, on a seismic zone … as Fessenheim!
French Environmentalists expressed their solidarity with the opposition of Indian civil society.
I call you, dear colleagues, to do the same, and vote against it.
In France as in India, future generations must be protected from disasters and nuclear waste.

Watch the Video here

‘Areva reactor meets advanced safety requirements’


English: Internationally recognized symbol. De...

Image via Wikipedia

NEW DELHI, February 9, 2012

R. Ramachandran

There will be no additional cost to the EPR 1650 MWe Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR), a Generation III+ nuclear reactor developed by Areva of France, in complying with the additional safety requirements recommended by the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) in its Complementary Safety Assessment (CSA) report submitted in January. This was stated by Dr. Bernard Bigot, Chairman of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), at a press briefing on Wednesday.

The proposed NPP at Jaitapur in Maharashtra will be based on the EPR 1650 MWe nuclear reactor systems. The NPP at Jaitapur will be essentially the same as the EPR being built at Flamanville 3 in France. An application for authorisation of a similar reactor at Penly in France is pending.

These additional safety requirements recommended by ASN were based on the new ‘European Stress Tests’ on French nuclear power plants (NPPs) in the post-Fukushima context. These tests had been recommended by the European Council in March 2011. According to the European Nuclear Safety Regulatory Group (ENSREG), ‘stress test’ is a “targeted reassessment of the safety margins of NPPs in the light of events which occurred at Fukushima: extreme natural events challenging the plant safety functions and leading to a severe accident.”

The briefing by Dr. Bigot was following his presentation of the CSA to the Indian authorities and his interaction with officials of the Indian Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) in New Delhi, including Dr. Srikumar Banerjee, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC).

This CSA report of ASN will be studied by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) before the final contract with Areva is inked by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL), the operator of the NPP.

“The EPR design is well suited to cope with the extra safety requirements and even in the worst case [scenario] the reactor will be safe,” Dr. Bigot said.

“For the Flamanville 3 EPR reactor,” says the CSA report, “ASN considers that the safety objectives and the strengthened design of this type of reactor already offer improved protection against severe accidents. Its design in particular takes account of and incorporates measures to deal with the possibility of accidents with a core melt and combinations of hazards. Furthermore, all the systems necessary for the management of accident situations, even severe, are designed to remain operational for an earthquake or a flood as defined in the baseline safety requirements.”

While submitting its report, ASN proposed a ‘hard-core’ of material and organisational measures for each facility, specifications and procedures, which have to be met by June 30. The ‘hard-core’ will comprise:

— crisis management premises and equipment;

— means of communication and alert;

— technical and environmental monitoring instrumentation;

— operational dosimetry resources for workers;

— strengthened equipment including an electricity generating set and water supply for emergency cooling down of each reactor.

These measures, according to an ASN statement of January 3, “will ensure ultimate protection of the facilities with three objectives:

— prevent a severe accident or limit its progression;

— limit large scale releases in the event of an accident which it was not possible to control;

— enable the licensee to perform its emergency management duties.”

“The design of the EPR reactor,” says the CSA report, “which already offers improved protection against severe accidents, should make it easier to create its ‘hard-core’.” According to the report, the French utility company Électricité de France (EDF) will be identifying the existing or additional systems to be included in the ‘hard-core,’ in particular to control the pressure in the containment in the event of a severe accident.

Towards this, ASN has recommended the creation and deployment of the ‘Nuclear Rapid Response Force (FARN)’, as proposed by EDF, by the end of 2012. FARN will comprise specialist crews and equipment able to take over from the personnel on a site affected by an accident and deploy additional emergency response resources in less than 24 hours, with operations beginning on the site within 12 hours. Dr. Bigot noted that Fukushima was not prepared in this respect and suffered from a lack of trained personnel on site. Finding appropriate workforce for FARN may itself pose a problem, he observed.

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