In Focus: Nuclear Industry – TEPCO consumers criticize rate hike plan – Chubu elaborates on thorium plans – Bangladesh to push for 5,000 MW of nuclear by 2030

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US Navy handout of the USS Miami submarine docked in Portsmouth - The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Miami (SSN 755) enters dry dock to begin an engineered overhaul at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in this U.S. Navy handout photo dated March 15, 2012. Fire broke out on May 23 on the U.S. Navy nuclear-powered submarine, injuring four firefighters, officials said. The cause of the fire is not yet known, but the vessel's nuclear reactor was not involved. There were no weapons aboard the sub, which is at the shipyard for system upgrades and maintenance.

TEPCO Rate Hike Plan Criticized by Users

Users of Tokyo Electric Power Co. criticized the power company’s plan to increase household electricity rates, in a public hearing held by the industry ministry on Thursday.

Many users said TEPCO should cancel its rate increase plan and promote cost cuts.  In an afternoon session, Shinichi Aida, mayor of Moriya, Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, said that users are not convinced by arguments that a rate increase is necessary to cover losses.

Many participants voiced opposition to TEPCO’s plan to reactivate its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture, central Japan, in fiscal 2013 that begins next April.

A representative from a consumer group said that nuclear safety is impossible, adding that restarting nuclear reactors should not be accepted.

Source: JiJi Press

Japanese utility elaborates on thorium plans

Takashi Kamei from the Research Institute for Applied Sciences in Kyoto said that Chubu Electric was starting a research program at its conventional Hamaoka nuclear station to look into deploying thorium in liquid form, in a type of reactor known as a molten salt reactor.

Chubu’s investor relations department said they regard thorium as “one of future possible energy resources.”

“Thank you for contacting us concerning thorium molten salt reactors.

We announced our plan of stepped-up efforts for nuclear R&D on May 31st.

Our plan consists of two parts;

1.We will establish “Nuclear Safety R&D Center” at Hamaoka nuclear power station on July 1st to promote R&D using Nuclear Power plants as R&D fields.

2.Regarding R&D subjects which need broad cooperation between external institutions, we will promote and implement joint research and publicly offered research with institutes and universities.

Subjects of research will include future nuclear energy like thorium rectors. This program will start in 2013. Our main activity will be to support institutions and universities financially.

We consider thorium as one of future possible energy resources, but there are many challenges to be solved toward actual utilization. Therefore we  considered basic studies to be very important from a long-term view point and decided to support institutions’ basic study on thorium utilization.

Regards,

Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc.      June 7 2012″

 

Source: Smart Planet

China Nuclear plans IPO to help fund projects worth $27 billion

China suspended approvals of new nuclear power plants in the wake of Japan’s nuclear crisis in March 2011 following a devastating tsunami, and ordered nationwide safety checks on existing plants and construction sites.

The government has not made any decision on when to start approving new nuclear plant projects but the State Council, China’s Cabinet, last week approved a nuclear safety plan and said its nuclear power plants met the latest international safety standards.

State media have said China will likely scale down its 2020 nuclear power generation capacity target to 60-70 gigawatts (GW) compared with earlier expectations of around 80 GW.

However, China National Nuclear Power Co, the country’s biggest nuclear power developer, plans to raise money to help fund projects worth $27.3 billion via what could be one of China’s biggest initial public offerings.

It did not specify its fundraising target or IPO timing in a statement on the Ministry of Environment Protection’s website, but said the IPO proceeds would go towards five projects with a total investment of 173.5 billion yuan ($27.25 billion).

Source: Reuters

Credible policies needed to back nuclear-plant plans in India

The Atomic Energy Commission of India said there was no reason to worry about the nuclear plants as their safety standards complied to international norms and could also withstand natural calamities.

Problem with nuclear power establishments in India has not started with the Kudankulam protests or in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. In the mid-1990s, a plan to set up a nuclear power plant in the Sunderbans area of West Bengal had to be scrapped in the face of strong protest by environmental scientists and the state unit of the All India People’s Science Congress.

A problem also surfaced over the proposal for setting up a Russia-backed nuclear power plant in Haripur in the East Midnapore district of West Bengal. Although the project was strongly backed by the former Left Front government, the new Trinamool Congress-led government cancelled the project straightaway.

There is a difference between these localised anti-establishment activism over nuclear power plants and the traditional anti-nuclear campaign, which more stresses the moral issues of promoting nuclear weapons and the disastrous fall-outs of a nuclear warfare. The localised activists fighting against the nuclear power plants are more concerned with real issues like loss of livelihood, officials’ indulgence in corrupt practices and apathy to popular sentiment and deprivation of citizens’ rights. The anti-nuclear plant protest that the country has been witnessing at various corners is a revisit to the conflict between government and community/individual rights seen in a neo-liberal society. The problem is, there are too many stakes involved in the issue.

The government’s responsibility does not end with setting up a nuclear project to secure the nation’s future energy demand. It should also look into the immediate concern for popular interest, be it identity (in tribal areas), rights (over resources) or health (exposure to harmful element or radiation).

It can be mentioned here that despite official assurance, three employees working of Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS) at Kalpakkam died of bone cancer caused owing to exposure to radiation. Instances like this reduce the government’s accountability further.

Uranium mining in the West Khasi Hills in Meghalaya and Jadugora in Jharkhand have also caused tremendous grievance among the local tribals, who are fighting for their right to live and right to health, respectively.

Source: One India

Bangladesh to produce 5,000 MW by nuclear by 2030

Bangladesh will produce 5,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity from nuclear energy by 2030, Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith told parliament while presenting the budget for the fiscal year to June 2013.

Source: Reuters

The UK has invested more than £920,000 to expand a skills academy for the nuclear industry.

The expanded academy will collaborate with the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and Semta, the sector skills council for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies

Source: CN Plus

Russian firm Rosatom is keen to upgrade and expand Hungary’s Paks nuclear power plant

An official from Rosatom was quoted by the business daily Napi Gazdasag as saying that the company intended to fully finance the estimated 12.4 billion USD construction cost of the plant, including financing and construction of new power blocks.

Built in the 1980s, the Paks reactors are undergoing life span extension projects and are expected to generate power until 2030.

The new nuclear units are intended to increase Hungary’s reliance on nuclear power to 60% of the electricity mix, and are expected to be operational between 2020 and 2030.

Source: Nuclear Energy Business-Review

USS Miami sub fire estimated $ 440m

The fire on board the nuclear submarine the USS Miami might make it into the Guinness Book of Records as the most expensive caused by a household appliance. A preliminary investigation has found a vacuum cleaner was the cause.

Source: RT News

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