French Nuclear Testing
in Algeria: The Follow-Up? --posted Dec. 3, 2007
A Reality Check on the Nuclear Industry
industry is on its way out rather than experiencing a renaissance, the World
Nuclear Industry Status Report 2007 demonstrates. The report,
released November 21, was commissioned by the Greens-European Free
Alliance group in the European Parliament and written by Mycle Schneider
with the assistance of Antony Froggatt. Currently 339 reactors are in
operation worldwide, five fewer than five years ago. The total
capacity of the 339 is 371,000 MW. They thus furnish 16% of the
electricity, 6% of the commercial primary energy, and 2-3% of the final
energy in the world, less than hydropower. If a lifetime of 40
years per reactor is assumed (a generous assumption given that the 117
reactors that have been shut down operated for an average of only about
22 years each), 261 new reactors would have to go into operation between
now and 2025, in addition to the 32 reactors already under construction,
just to replace the units that would be shut down in that period.
This would mean one new reactor going online every month and a half to
2015 and one every 18 days for the following ten years. Given the length
of time necessary to license and construct a reactor, such a schedule
would be virtually impossible to implement. The situation is
exacerbated by "lack of a trained workforce, massive loss of
competence, severe manufacturing bottlenecks (a single facility in the
world, Japan Steel Works, can cast large forgings for reactor pressure
vessels), lack of confidence of international finance
institutions," and strong competition from natural gas and
renewable energy systems. Schneider also wrote Industry Status
Reports in 1992 and 2004 and cites figures from them to show trends.
The complete report is available online at http://www.greens-efa.org
. (Click on English at the bottom of the first page to enter the site.)
--posted November 25, 2007
NBC Nightly News Incorrect on
French Nuclear Industry--posted
November 9, 2007
The Risk Posed by a European Pressurized Water
In Risks and Hazards of
the Proposed and Existing EPR/PWR Nuclear Power Plants
in France, John
H. Large argues that operating a 1600 MWe
European Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR) at Flamanville
as planned would place the public at tremendous risk.
The EPR can be fueled entirely with mixed oxide fuel containing
plutonium (MOX). Large
compares the results in terms of human health of an accident or
terrorist attack resulting in a containment bypass or failure at the
EPR when using entirely MOX fuel, entirely low-enriched uranium fuel (LEU),
or a mixture of 30% MOX and 70% LEU. He
the results of such a severe accident for certain smaller, currently
operating plants, including a 1330 MWe
reactor with an LEU core at Flamanville.
Large states that a loss of containment at the EPR with a 100%
MOX core could result in a maximum 650 early deaths, 60,760 late fatal
cancers, and 1,307 thyroid cancer deaths.
The maximum land area that should be evacuated would total
44,810 sq kilometers and the number of people that should be
evacuated, 3,319,000. The
EPR with all LEU or with 30% MOX, and the
other reactors would cause fewer deaths of the various types.
With an LEU core, the EPR, for example, would cause a maximum
of 381 early deaths and 26,430 late fatal cancers.
Reasons for the high figures even with LEU fuel include the
higher levels of fuel irradiation (burn-up) planned for the EPR as
compared with operating reactors. Highly irradiated fuel contains a
larger inventory of fission products than fuel that has been in a
reactor for a short time. With MOX fuel, the presence of greater
quantities of plutonium and other actinides,
increases the health risk.
For the calculations Large uses European Community Standard
modeling software (COSYMA). Using
the same methods, Electricité de France (EDF)
produced different figures. The
worst case scenario that EDF has made public concerns the EPR with
100% LEU fuel. The maximum early deaths would be 0, late fatal
cancers, 11; and thyroid cancer deaths 1.
The land area that should be evacuated is 123 sq km, and the
number of people 2,952.
The basic reason
for the discrepancy between the results of Large and those of EDF is
that EDF does not believe that there are any foreseeable circumstances
in which the EPR would experience a catastrophic release of
radioactivity. The plant
is capable of resisting even a terrorist attack from the air, EDF
holds. Large argues that, like all high-technology systems, the EPR is
at risk of catastrophic failure due to circumstances that cannot be
The report was commissioned by Greenpeace
. A summary of the report
in English and the report itself can be accessed on the
Web site of Large and Associates, www.largeassociates.com/PapersReports.htm
--posted February 25, 2007
Enrichment Sites in Running for
The US DOE has selected the three sites of former or operating
enrichment plants as possible host facilities for the Global Nuclear
Energy Partnership (GNEP). Along
with eight other sites,
, and Piketon will share up to $16 million in grants from DOE for
detailed site studies for a
and/or an Advanced Burner Reactor.
will receive, store, and reprocess irradiated fuel, i.e. chemically
treat irradiated fuel to extract uranium, plutonium, and other
substances. The Advanced Reactor is a fast reactor intended to reuse
and consume materials extracted from the fuel.
The Applications for the grants were made by the Community
Reuse Organization of East Tennessee, Paducah Uranium Plant Asset
Utilization, Inc., and the Piketon Initiative for Nuclear
Independence, LLC. Fourteen
applications for the grants were submitted; twelve made the cut but
two of them decided to work together.
Therefore, eleven sites will now compete for the facilities.
US Department of
Energy, Press Announcement, November 29, 2006
--posted December 28, 2006
Joint Agreement on Enrichment
July 3, Areva and Urenco
signed an agreement establishing the joint venture ETC (Enrichment
Technology Company), which will own all of the uranium enrichment
technology developed by Urenco.. The technology will be used by
Areva for the Georges Besse II centrifuge plant it will build at
Tricastin in France and by Urenco for the plant that it is planning for
New Mexico. Areva and Urenco will continue to compete in the
provision and marketing of uranium enrichment services.
News releases from Areva and jointly from Urenco and Areva, July 3,
Go to updates
the Primal Nature web site.
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