Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

Major News and Commentary Military and Civilian Nuclear Activities

Monday, January 26, 2015

"Exciting times for nuclear power," IAEA Director General Says

"Exciting times for nuclear power," IAEA Director General Says

Nuclear power is enjoying a period of revival worldwide, particularly in Asia, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in Singapore earlier today.
A growing number of countries are considering building nuclear power plants to meet increasing energy needs of their growing economies while decreasing their greenhouse gas emissions, Mr Amano said at Singapore's Energy Market Authority, where he gave a public lecture as part of the agency's Distinguished Visitor Programme.
Nuclear power "can help to improve energy security, reduce the impact of volatile fossil fuel prices, mitigate the effects of climate change, and make economies more competitive," he said. "Nuclear can deliver the steady supply of baseload electricity needed to power a modern economy."
Mr Amano said that in the five years since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in Japan, huge improvements have been made to nuclear safety all over the world, and there has also been significant progress in treating and disposing nuclear waste. Furthermore, he said, "remarkable research is being done on new generations of reactors which will be safer and generate less waste."
Two thirds of the 69 nuclear reactors under construction are in Asia, reflecting the growing economic clout of the continent.
Options for smaller countries
Thanks to recent advances in the research and development of small and medium-sized reactors, smaller countries such as Singapore may be able to take advantage of nuclear power in the future as well, Mr. Amano said. "There is also great potential for smaller countries to cooperate regionally on nuclear power projects," he added, emphasizing that the IAEA does not influence the sovereign decisions of its Member States whether to use nuclear power. The IAEA's role is to advise those countries that choose to include nuclear power in their energy mix, he said.
Mr Amano concluded by thanking Singapore for its cooperation with the IAEA and for its advanced use of nuclear applications. "I wish Singapore continued success in the coming decades in using nuclear science and technology for the health and well-being of its people," he said.
During his three-day visit to the city state, Mr Amano signed the IAEA-Singapore Third Country Training Programme and held talks with Grace Fu Hai Yien, Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, and visited the country's National Cancer Centre.https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/exciting-times-nuclear-power-iaea-director-general-says

Energy Transfer Partners to buy sister company in $11.2 billion deal

Energy Transfer Partners to buy sister company in $11.2 billion deal



http://fuelfix.com/blog/2015/01/26/energy-transfer-partners-to-buy-sister-company-in-11-2-billion-deal/?newsletter_signup=1

NRC Blog Update: Nuclear Power Plants Ready For Major Winter Storm

Nuclear Power Plants Ready For Major Winter Storm

Neil Sheehan
Public Affairs Officer
Region I
winterstormThe atmospheric stars have aligned once again to produce a powerful mid-winter storm aimed squarely at coastal areas in the Northeastern United States. Officials in a broad swath stretching from New Jersey to Maine have been warning residents to prepare for a blizzard that could produce prodigious amounts of snow, hurricane-force winds and dangerous travel conditions.
There are several nuclear power plants in the storm’s path and the personnel at those facilities will not be sitting back and simply awaiting its arrival. Plant procedures call for multiple checks and preparations in advance of such a winter blast.
Among other things, plant personnel will ensure that doors designed to prevent flooding are ready to perform their task; fuel oil tanks for emergency generators are appropriately filled; and the site grounds do not have loose objects which could become airborne amid strong winds and cause damage.
On a related note, the NRC will be monitoring those preparations and stationing inspectors to keep watch on the plants as they weather the storm. An inspection procedure and checklist dealing with adverse weather protections will guide the inspectors as they conduct those assessments.
It’s important to note that all nuclear power plants have technical specifications that dictate how they have to respond to a significant storm. As an example, if wind speeds are in excess of specified limits, a plant would have to shut down.
Safety at nuclear power plants is never taken for granted, and that is certainly true when storms can present additional challenges for operators. The NRC will be keeping watch until the most potent storm of the winter of 2014-15 to hit the Northeast thus far has headed out to sea.

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Should NRC Spend Time and Money Simplifying Transition to Decommissioning?


Should NRC Spend Time and Money Simplifying Transition to Decommissioning?

http://theenergycollective.com/rodadams/2186831/should-nrc-spend-time-and-money-simplifying-transition-decommissioning

The New Republic: President Obama, Cut Dirty Nuclear Power From Your Climate-Change Talks

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120843/obama-must-cut-dirty-nuclear-power-climate-change-talks

Fukushima Update 1/26/15

Fukushima Update 1/26/15

Tepco has moved the target date for full wastewater decontamination to May… Another large sum of money is sent to Tepco for evacuee compensation… The labor ministry told Tepco to upgrade safety measures to prevent any future fatalities… Muon tomography equipment is being installed for Unit #1… The restart of Sendai station’s nukes is further delayed… Chubu Electric Co. has applied to the NRA for permission to use dry cask storage for used nuclear fuel… Japan’s 2014 trade deficit hit an all-time high.

http://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/fukushima-accident-updates.html

Fukushima operator to miss deadline on decontaminating water

Fukushima operator to miss deadline on decontaminating water


http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL4N0V222S20150123

Oyster Creek’s safety challenged

Oyster Creek’s safety challenged


http://www.app.com/story/news/local/southern-ocean-county/lacey/2015/01/23/oyster-creeks-safety-challenged/22229311/

Amano wants development recognition

Amano wants development recognition


http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NP-Amano-wants-development-recognition-2301152.html

Deal close for Indian reactor imports

Deal close for Indian reactor imports
India and America are close to a deal that would resolve liability issues and enable the long-awaited import of US-built reactors. Other nations, too, stand to benefit from India's plan to import up to 26 large nuclear reactors.http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NP-Deal-close-for-Indian-reactor-imports-2601151.html

Iran lawmakers drafting law on nuclear enrichment hike

Iran lawmakers drafting law on nuclear enrichment hike
Tehran (AFP) Jan 24, 2015 - Iran's parliament has started to draft a law that would allow the country's nuclear scientists to intensify their uranium enrichment, a step that could complicate ongoing talks with world powers. The move, announced Saturday by parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, comes after US lawmakers said they were planning legislation that could place new sanctions on Iran. ... morehttp://www.spacewar.com/reports/Iran_lawmakers_drafting_law_on_nuclear_enrichment_hike_999.html

Obama, Modi break nuclear impasse, hail new 'friendship'


Obama, Modi break nuclear impasse, hail new 'friendship'
New Delhi (AFP) Jan 25, 2015 - US President Barack Obama and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke the deadlock on a long-stalled nuclear pact Sunday as they hailed a new era of friendship between the world's two largest democracies. After greeting Obama with a bear hug as he stepped off Air Force One, Modi then trumpeted the "chemistry" with his fellow leader on the first of a three-day visit to the Indian capital. ... morehttp://www.spacewar.com/reports/Obama_Modi_break_nuclear_impasse_hail_new_friendship_999.html

Britain to take nuclear plant share for national security

Britain to take nuclear plant share for national security
London (AFP) Jan 23, 2015 - Britain will have a "special share" in the French-led new Hinkley Point nuclear power plant consortium to safeguard national security, British energy officials told a parliamentary hearing this week. "The UK will have a special share in the consortium," energy minister Ed Davey said on Wednesday when asked about safeguards for the project, which is led by French giant EDF and should include ... morehttp://www.nuclearpowerdaily.com/reports/Britain_to_take_nuclear_plant_share_for_national_security_999.html

Protection against radiation exposure

Protection against radiation exposure
Memphis TN (SPX) Jan 26, 2015 - The 2011 Fukushima disaster was a stark reminder of the continuing dangers posed by nuclear fallout, highlighting the need for an approved drug that can be taken after radiation exposure to protect against organ injury and death. A study published by Cell Press in Chemistry and Biology identifies a drug candidate called DBIBB that increases the survival of mice suffering from radiation syn ... morehttp://www.terradaily.com/reports/Promising_drug_candidate_protects_against_radiation_exposure_from_nuclear_fallout_999.html

Resurrecting a Meltdown-Proof Reactor Design


Resurrecting a Meltdown-Proof Reactor Design

A new molten salt nuclear reactor design could make nuclear power safer and more economical.
http://www.technologyreview.com/news/534366/resurrecting-a-meltdown-proof-reactor-design/?utm_campaign=newsletters&utm_source=newsletter-weekly-energy&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20150126

US nuclear plants posted record high efficiency in 2014

US nuclear plants posted record high efficiency in 2014

$subtitles.get($x) U.S. nuclear energy facilities generated electricity at a record high level of efficiency in 2014, based on preliminary 2014 data compiled by the Nuclear Energy Institute … Continue Reading http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2015/01/us-nuclear-power-plants-posted-record-high-efficiency-in-2014.html

Editorial: Zion’s nuclear problem will last 160 million years

Editorial: Zion’s nuclear problem will last 160 million years


http://newssun.chicagotribune.com/2015/01/24/editorial-zion-160-million-year-nuclear-problem/

Suppressing Differing Opinions to Promote “No Safe Dose” Mantra

 

Suppressing Differing Opinions to Promote “No Safe Dose” Mantra

http://atomicinsights.com/suppressing-differing-opinions-promote-no-safe-dose-mantra/

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Llewellyn King: The Uber Effect on Electricity


Llewellyn King: The Uber Effect on Electricity


http://www.nucleartownhall.com/blog/llewellyn-king-the-uber-effect-on-electricity/

Nuclear News Roundup for 01/25/15

Nuclear News Roundup for 01/25/15


http://nuclearstreet.com/pro_nuclear_power_blogs/b/neutron-bytes/archive/2015/01/25/nuclear-news-roundup-for-01-25-15.aspx

The electrification of Earth and Thorium

The electrification of Earth and Thorium


http://nucleargreen.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-electrification-of-earth-and-thorium.html

These Shale Companies Will File For Bankruptcy First: Goldman's "Best And Worst" Shale Matrix

 

These Shale Companies Will File For Bankruptcy First: Goldman's "Best And Worst" Shale Matrix

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-23/these-shale-companies-will-file-bankruptcy-first-goldmans-best-and-worst-shale-matri

No Prospect of Relief From Constant Nuclear Headache

No Prospect of Relief From Constant Nuclear Headache


http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/no_prospect_of_relief_from_constant_nuclear_headache_20150124

"Oil Drillers Are Going To Die" In Q2, Conway Mackenzie Warns "Expect Outright Liquidations"


"Oil Drillers Are Going To Die" In Q2, Conway Mackenzie Warns "Expect Outright Liquidations"

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-24/oil-drillers-are-going-die-q2-conway-mackenzie-warns-expect-outright-liquidations

Obama, Modi announce nuclear power deal


Obama, Modi announce nuclear power deal

http://www.dw.de/obama-modi-announce-nuclear-power-deal/a-18213608

Exelon Corporation: Nuclear Power Isn't Going Anywhere

Exelon Corporation: Nuclear Power Isn't Going Anywhere


http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2015/01/25/exelon-corporation-nuclear-power-isnt-going-anywhe.aspx

How a nuclear near-miss in ’95 would be a disaster today

 

The Boston Globe

How a nuclear near-miss in ’95 would be a disaster today

Twenty years ago, a string of coincidences nearly set off a US-Russia nuclear crisis, but calmer heads prevailed. The risk is much higher today

By Theodore Postol  January 25, 2015  |  http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2015/01/25/how-nuclear-near-miss-would-disaster-today/TG4nhiUzPyFtcV0QGybj6J/story.html

Water Crises rises to the #1 Global Risk in 2015

 

Water Crises rises to the #1 Global Risk in 2015

http://bindslev.com/2015/01/22/water-crises-rises-to-the-1-global-risk-in-2015/

American Nuclear Society /ANS Nuclear Cafe "Reflections on Vermont Yankee" series

American Nuclear Society /ANS Nuclear Cafe

"Reflections on Vermont Yankee" series

This week ANS Nuclear Cafe posted a series of three articles in which a variety of authors addressed the shutdown of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant from a number of angles and with a wide range of considerations.  Links to the three parts are included below.



http://ansnuclearcafe.org/2015/01/21/reflections-on-vermont-yankee-3/

Saturday, January 24, 2015

This Week In Energy: New Saudi King Can't Save Oil Prices


This Week In Energy: New Saudi King Can't Save Oil Prices

http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/This-Week-In-Energy-New-Saudi-King-Cant-Save-Oil-Prices.html

FirstEnergy rate plan pummeled during PUCO hearing as 80 demand to testify

FirstEnergy rate plan pummeled during PUCO hearing as 80 demand to testify


http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2015/01/firstenergy_rate_plan_pummeled.html

US-India Nuclear Agreement: Deal Or No Deal – OpEd


US-India Nuclear Agreement: Deal Or No Deal – OpEd


http://www.eurasiareview.com/23012015-us-india-nuclear-agreement-deal-no-deal-oped/

Energy Rhetoric vs. Action

Energy Rhetoric vs. Action

By Energy Tomorrow Blog
US President Barack Obama receives appla
In a State of the Union address that mostly skimmed over energy issues – remarkable, given the generational opportunities stemming from America’s ongoing energy revolution – President Obama still underscored the yawning disconnect between his all-of-the-above energy rhetoric and his administration’s failure to put that rhetoric into action. Talking about the need for infrastructure investment,

Falling Oil Prices Ignite Concern Over Bakken Crude

Falling Oil Prices Ignite Concern Over Bakken Crude

By Joseph McGovern | Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP
Oil Boom Shifts The Landscape Of Rural North Dakota
Gasoline prices have been falling steadily for months. Now a gallon may be purchased for substantially less than three dollars in many regions of the country. That’s welcome news for consumers, but environmentalists, regulators and first responders have been asking whether there are risks associated with this happy development that may not be obvious and which should be addressed.http://breakingenergy.com/2015/01/23/falling-oil-prices-ignite-concern-over-bakken-crude/?utm_source=Breaking+Energy&utm_campaign=3cd5157781-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f852427a4b-3cd5157781-407304281

Energy Quote of the Day: ‘Grid Operators are Now Seeing Overgeneration’

Energy Quote of the Day: ‘Grid Operators are Now Seeing Overgeneration’

By Edward Dodge
California Continues To Lead U.S. In Green Technology
Gov. Jerry Brown of California has proposed ambitious new targets for increasing the quantity of renewable energy in state’s electric grid to 50% by 2030 from the current target of 33% by 2020. California is a leader in renewable power production and is already running into technical challenges managing the overproduction of renewable power. Four

Friday, January 23, 2015

EEI Leader Says Nuclear Necessary to Provide Reliability, Emissions Benefits

EEI Leader Says Nuclear Necessary to Provide Reliability, Emissions Benefits


http://www.nei.org/News-Media/News/News-Archives/EEI-Leader-Says-Nuclear-Necessary-to-Provide-Relia

NRC: We're Keeping Fukushima-Style Nuclear Reactors Going


NRC: We're Keeping Fukushima-Style Nuclear Reactors Going

Federal agency rejects appeal by watchdog group to suspend operations at reactors identical to those at disaster-stricken reactors in Japan.
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/01/23/nrc-were-keeping-fukushima-style-nuclear-reactors-going

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-01-23/pdf/2015-01197.pdf


Four years later, NRC rejects Beyond Nuclear and 10,000+ co-petitioners' call to close Fukushima-style reactors

After nearly four years of behind closed doors deliberations, on January 15, 2015, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued its “Final Director’s Decision” rejecting the April 13, 2011 emergency enforcement petition filed by Beyond Nuclear along with more than 10,000 co-petitioners from around the country. The public emergency enforcement petition called for the immediate suspension of the continued operation of the General Electric Mark I boiling water reactors in the U.S. that are identical to Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors units 1, 2 and 3 that exploded and melted down following the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
http://www.beyondnuclear.org/freeze-our-fukushimas/2015/1/21/four-years-later-nrc-rejects-beyond-nuclear-and-10000-co-pet.html

Keystone XL Pipeline May Force Republicans to Embrace Climate Change

Keystone XL Pipeline May Force Republicans to Embrace Climate Change


http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/keystone-xl-pipeline-may-force-republicans-to-embrace-climate-change/

IAEA: Experts: Ocean Acidification Should Be Included in the Climate Change Discussions

Experts: Ocean Acidification Should Be Included in the Climate Change Discussions

Monaco – Actions to mitigate and adapt to ocean acidification in a future global climate deal could make the agreement stronger and facilitate its implementation. That was one of the conclusions from last week’s international workshop on ocean acidification organised by the IAEA in Monaco.
Scientists aren’t alone in raising the threat from ocean acidification; many world leaders are also being alerted to the importance of the ocean’s health for our planet. “Ocean acidification is, I believe, one of the greatest scourges resulting from the considerable development of anthropic greenhouse gas emissions, to have both concrete and global impact,” said H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco. His address to the workshop described how scientific, political, and economic approaches need to be considered in unison to tackle ocean acidification.
Recognising that billions of people are dependent on a healthy ocean for their well-being and economic development is the first step.
— Alexandre Magnan, Research Fellow at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations in Paris
Some 60 international experts discussed the challenges of ocean acidification for coastal communities and how those challenges can be addressed in this year’s upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. Organised in collaboration with the Scientific Centre of Monaco, the workshop considered the links between environmental change and economic development, as well as how the meeting’s recommendations could be incorporated in the forthcoming Paris Conference.
The December 2014 Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held in Lima, Peru, made significant progress towards a new multilateral agreement, but the challenges facing the ocean and the coastal communities dependent on marine ecosystem services remained essentially absent, experts said. “All nations, from the world’s very richest to the very poorest, are and will be affected by ocean acidification,” said David Osborn, Director of IAEA’s Environment Laboratories. “Acting quickly to address this issue is in everyone’s interest.”
Ocean acidification is a direct result of increasing amounts of CO2 in our atmosphere. Ocean chemistry is changing rapidly and impacts are already being felt in some regions, Osborne said.
Governance, governments, and legislation
“Recognising that billions of people are dependent on a healthy ocean for their well-being and economic development is the first step,” explained Alexandre Magnan of the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations in Paris. Acknowledging in a climate deal’s legal text the threats facing the ocean could enable coastal communities affected by ocean acidification to benefit from climate financing, he said.  This will enable them to improve their understanding of the ecological and biophysical changes expected in their region, adapt to the changing social and economic balance in their region, and pressure further concrete actions by governments, he said.
Participants called for stronger emphasis on ocean acidification observations within the framework of the UNFCCC and to develop advance warnings and forecasts.
Kieran Kelleher, a fisheries and ocean specialist formerly with the World Bank, highlighted the impact of ocean acidification on species and how their decline may impact societies, including a fall in employment opportunities for women who depend on the fishing industry. “In rural coastal communities many women are employed in the fishing industry — not necessarily on boats and out at sea, but in processing, marketing, and accounting,” Kelleher said.
Coral reefs and tourism revenues under threat
Coral reefs are particularly vulnerable to environmental change. With the combination of ocean acidification, global warming, increased storm events, droughts, sediment run-off, and overfishing, enormous pressure is placed on these ecosystems. Coral reefs have more than just an environmental or scientific value; they also have a vital economic one.
Hong Kong based environmental economist, Luke Brander, explained that in 2010 coral reef tourism was valued at US$ 11.5 billion. “More than 100 countries benefit from reef related tourism — many of them small island developing states. As the reefs decline so will their profits in tourism,” he said.
“The biggest losers of coral reef loss won’t be large hotel chains or million dollar resorts; it will be local restaurants and taxi drivers,” explained Linwood Pendleton of Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. The group recommended that through innovative financing, reef-dependent countries could develop alternative tourism attractions.
Addressing this issue, the meeting recommended that developed countries should assist less developed countries in gaining expertise and experience on the protection of coral reefs from damage and loss.
Modelling the biological, economic, and sociological impacts
The workshop recommended that food-web models be developed for species of interest and that demonstration programmes be established to assess the models. Protocols of communication between those that make models and those that use them also need to be developed.
David Yoskowitz of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, explained. “Models require a transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach, “We need to prioritise building on what’s already been done. We need dynamic eco-models that include fishing pressures and cover socio-economic impacts. Open ocean models are not applicable to coastal communities.”
The Environment Laboratories of the IAEA use nuclear and isotopic techniques to understand processes and changes in the marine environment, while the IAEA’s Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre (OA-ICC) promotes and facilitates key overarching international activities in the areas of science, capacity building and communication in order to make the most effective use of available science.

Energy Security, Geopolitics and the China-Russia Gas Deals

Energy Security, Geopolitics and the China-Russia Gas Deals
By Wenran Jiang
During the November 2014 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, Beijing was not only an impressive host, but also a generous financial supporter of a number of China-centered initiatives. The largest economic package during the APEC summit went to the second China-Russia mega deal of the year: Moscow and Beijing reached a non-binding memorandum that will see top Russian gas producer Gazprom ship 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas annually to China over 30 years. This is just slightly less than the $400 billion accord the two countries signed in May 2014 for Russia to supply China with 38 bcm a year by 2018. The two gas deals, sealed only six months apart, have profound implications on China’s quest for energy security, the volatile global energy market, China-Russia relations and broader geopolitical movements worldwide.

Some un-frozen thoughts on humanity, progress, and the dangers of pretending we can run an electricity grid with power that can’t prevent water from freezing

Some un-frozen thoughts on humanity, progress, and the dangers of pretending we can run an electricity grid with power that can’t prevent water from freezing



http://canadianenergyissues.com/2015/01/23/some-un-frozen-thoughts-on-humanity-progress-and-the-dangers-of-pretending-we-can-run-an-electricity-grid-with-power-that-cant-prevent-water-from-freezing/

Bloggers Analyze Vermont Yankee Closure: Series Starting at American Nuclear Society Blog


Bloggers Analyze Vermont Yankee Closure: Series Starting at American Nuclear Society Blog

http://yesvy.blogspot.com/2015/01/bloggers-analyze-vermont-yankee-closure.html#.VMK4rMaKI--

Russia pulls out of two-decade deal to co-operate with U.S. on safeguarding its nuclear stockpile?


Russia pulls out of two-decade deal to co-operate with U.S. on safeguarding its nuclear stockpile

http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/01/23/russia-pulls-out-of-two-decade-deal-to-co-operate-with-u-s-on-safeguarding-its-nuclear-stockpile/

Relations with Russia chill, and nuclear security cooperation gets put on ice

http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-01-22/relations-russia-chill-and-nuclear-security-cooperation-gets-put-ice

NNSA claims Russia, USA to continue nuclear security cooperation
http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/179052/nnsa-claims-russia-usa-to-continue-nuclear-security-cooperation.html

Russia Denies Ending Nuclear Cooperation With US, Joint Effort To Continue In 2015

http://www.ibtimes.com/russia-denies-ending-nuclear-cooperation-us-joint-effort-continue-2015-1792404

NNSA Claims Russia, USA to Continue Nuclear Security Cooperation

http://sputniknews.com/us/20150123/1017254553.html

Toshiba negotiating nuclear power deals with China, Kazakhstan

Toshiba negotiating nuclear power deals with China, Kazakhstan


http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/22/toshiba-nuclear-davos-idUSL6N0V11PP20150122

Karen A. Holbrook, Raymond Orbach, Richard A. Meserve Named to CRDF Global Board of Directors

Karen A. Holbrook, Raymond Orbach, Richard A. Meserve Named to CRDF Global Board of Directors

CRDF Global announced today that Dr. Karen A. Holbrook, Dr. Raymond Orbach and Dr. Richard A. Meserve have joined its board of directors. Each new board member brings extensive experience in CRDF Global program initiatives and many of the more than 40 countries where it works.



http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/01/prweb12461829.htm

NRC issues two yellow findings to Arkansas Nuclear One

NRC issues two yellow findings to Arkansas Nuclear One


http://www.couriernews.com/view/full_story/26402823/article-NRC-issues-two-yellow-findings-to-Arkansas-Nuclear-One

New NRC Chairman Identifies Priorities and Challenges

New NRC Chairman Identifies Priorities and Challenges


http://www.powermag.com/new-nrc-chairman-identifies-priorities-and-challenges/

The Trans-Pacific Partnership won't deliver jobs or curb China's power

Op-Ed The Los Angeles Times | http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-prestowitz-tpp-trade-pact-20150123-story.html

The Trans-Pacific Partnership won't deliver jobs or curb China's power

By Clyde Prestowitz
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade pact we don't need
Rising U.S. income inequality is being driven in part by international trade

Guest Post by Ambassador Chas Freeman: China as a Diplomatic Actor Remarks to the American Academy of Diplomacy

Of possible interest (text at http://chasfreeman.net/china-as-a-diplomatic-actor/)


China as a Diplomatic Actor
Remarks to the American Academy of Diplomacy

Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr.  (USFS, Ret.)    
DACOR Bacon House,
Washington, DC, 23 January 2015


I became interested in China a bit over five decades ago.  Back then, with the notable exception of Zhou Enlai and a few people he’d mentored, China’s diplomacy was all revolutionary bluster and bellyaching with no bottom line.  Since then the country has changed so often and so much that our view of it has always lagged behind its realities.  Frequently it's had more to do with our own head trips than with China itself.  When China didn’t make much difference in world affairs, imputing politically correct but factually dubious characteristics to it and its diplomacy didn’t make much difference.  Now it does.  So I’d like to spend a few minutes talking about the remarkable evolution of China as a diplomatic actor.

When I first encountered it, China’s diplomacy reminded me of the “forlorn hope.”  The forlorn hope is a military maneuver in which a group of soldiers, usually volunteers, is assigned to sacrifice themselves in an almost certainly fatal assault on a heavily defended position so that a larger battle plan can go forward.  As a diplomatic version of it, consider Sino-British interactions in August 1967. 

Beijing was then in the midst of the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.”  The office of the British chargé there had just been sacked and its staff beaten by a mob of Red Guards.  Her Majesty’s Government responded by imposing restrictions on the movement of China’s diplomats in London.  China’s diplomats there naturally reacted to this by taking up baseball bats and having at the police outside their embassy.

In the ensuing scuffle, at least one Chinese official – along with a bobby or two – was injured.  True to the revolutionary spirit of the times, Beijing immediately instructed its chargé in London to lodge a fiery protest against British policy brutality.  He was sent an eight-page screed and told to declaim it in its entirety, come hell or high water.  Both his instructions and the text were transmitted to him en clair, enabling the Brits to read them in advance.

And so it was that China’s Chargé and an interpreter-colleague went to call on the Foreign Office’s Far Eastern Department.  In a change from usual practice, they were not greeted as they arrived.  Instead, a building guard ushered them to an office from which all furniture other than a desk and chair had been removed.  A relatively junior British official sat behind the desk as the two Chinese diplomats stood before it to make their démarche. 

After listening impassively for a few minutes, the Brit got up, ducked through a door behind him, and disappeared into a private office, leaving the Chinese chargé to read his script to an empty chair – which he did without missing an ideogram as his colleague put his rant into English.  When they’d got through about three-fifths of their text, a janitor with a bucket and mop entered the room and began to mop the floor around them.  As they finished, he suggested to the Chinese that they leave and, bucket in hand and mop over shoulder, escorted them out of the building.

Diplomacy is, of course, a political  performing art.  In this farce, both parties played their parts  with consummate skill.  By doing so, they accomplished what is so often the real rather than the ostensible purpose of diplomatic démarches – staging a show of resolve to impress domestic politicians and pundits.  British and Chinese decision-makers and opinion-molders are not alone in their overriding interest in convincing their compatriots of their toughness.  Nor are they in any respect unique in their lack of concern about the equally tough reactions their posturing is bound to evoke from the foreigners against whom it is directed.
                                                           
A dozen years after the face-off I just described, I spoke separately with British and Chinese participants in it – both diplomatic professionals I had come to know well.  Each confessed that he had seen both his own and his counterpart’s behavior as a waste of time.  But the Brit confided that he’d been impressed by the imperturbable discipline with which the Chinese had executed their idiotic instructions.  And, for their part, the Chinese said they’d secretly admired the exquisite one-upmanship with which the Brits had greeted them on a mission whose absurdity and futility they fully appreciated.

Chinese diplomats have not lost their self-possession, but they are now well-trained professionals who represent a country that is very different from the China of the 1960s.  That China was isolated, angry, poor, and weak.  Despite its impotence – or perhaps because of it – it was vociferously determined to overthrow the liberal international order we Americans had created.  Ironically, of course, American-sponsored admission to that order proved to be the key to the rapid restoration of China’s wealth and power.  China today is globally engaged, self-satisfied, prosperous, and regionally powerful.  It has become an anything-but-revolutionary and increasingly influential participant in the institutions of global and regional governance.  It is now the world’s biggest industrial power and, by some measures, already its largest overall economy.  And, while its growth is slowing, it’s living standards are still rising at rates the whole world envies.

As it grows, China continues to change.  It is becoming notably less passive in the face of regional challenges to its territorial integrity and security.  China’s neighbors have reacted to this with legitimate alarm.  Still, a bit of perspective seems in order.  So far, Chinese have been considerably more deferential to international law and opinion than we Americans were at a similar stage of national development.

Around 1875, the United States passed the U.K. to became the world’s biggest economy.  Soon thereafter, we pressed the ethnic cleansing of our country to a conclusion, engineered regime change in Hawaii and annexed it, seized the Philippines and Puerto Rico from the Spanish Empire, forced Cuba to grant us Guantánamo in perpetuity, detached Panama from Colombia, and launched repeated military interventions in Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.  To date, by contrast, China has leveraged the upsurge in its power to step up its contributions to U.N. peacekeeping and use its coast guard, construction companies, and other nonlethal means to buttress century-old claims to islands, rocks, and reefs in its near seas against more recent counterclaims by neighbors.

It says more about us than about China that we have chosen to treat its rise almost entirely as a military challenge and that we have made countering Chinese power and perpetuating our quasi-imperial, post-1945 dominance of the Western Pacific the organizing principles of our Asia policy.  China’s capacity to defend its periphery is indeed growing apace with its economy.  The military balance off the China coast is therefore inevitably shifting against us.  This is certainly a threat to our long-established dominance of China’s periphery.  It promises to deprive us of the ability to attack the Chinese homeland from there at will, as Air-Sea Battle envisages.  But greater security from foreign attack for China does not imply a greater risk of Chinese or other foreign attack on the United States.

Even more important, the notion that Americans can indefinitely sustain military supremacy along the frontiers of a steadily modernizing and strengthening China is a bad bet no sober analyst would accept.  Extrapolating policy from that bet, as we do in the so-called “pivot to Asia,” just invites China to call or raise it.  We would be wiser and on safer ground, I think, to study how Britain finessed the challenge of America’s emergence as a counter to its global hegemony.  It viewed us with realistic apprehension but accepted, accommodated, and co-opted us.

There may be more to the analogy between China and the United States as rising powers than is immediately apparent.  Post-Maoist China, like pre-World War II America, avoids entangling alliances.  Like the United States then, it is unresponsive to demands that it exercise global leadership commensurate with its economic heft or that it join in foreign wars.  And, like Americans then, Chinese do not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.  They do so to make money or for purposes of tourism. 

Like the United States, China refuses to compromise its sovereignty or sacrifice its ideological identity.  Unlike us, however, the Chinese still insist on the strict respect for the sovereignty of other states enshrined in the U.N. Charter.  Like most non-Americans, they are intrigued by democracy but do not see history as driven by a struggle between it and autocracy.  They are not into armed evangelism or regime change.  Chinese find foreigners peculiar but are content to let them remain unChinese.  They are notoriously indifferent to their foreign partners’ ideologies, politics, and social systems.  A world in which the United States shares influence with China, India, and other great civilization-states is likely to be safer for political diversity because it should be less roiled by moral supremacism, ideological expansionism, and cultural imperialism.  

China is finally becoming more active in global governance but it still shows no desire to displace American leadership.   Quite the contrary.  It says it’s ready to follow our lead in global governance.  Just five weeks ago, Vice Premier Wang Yang declared that "China and the United States are global economic partners, but America is the guide of the world. America already has the leading system and its rules; China is willing to join the system and respect those rules and hopes to play a constructive role."  This remarkable declaration by Beijing deserves to be tested.  So far, however, there has been no audible response to it from Washington.

Perhaps that’s because to be followed the United States must be prepared to lead.  That means reforming existing institutions and providing funding that can meet the very real needs of the day.  American domestic dysfunction continues to prevent us from doing this and leaves others no choice but to step forward where we cannot.  China has the money and is building the self-confidence to do this.  It has recently begun to sponsor new multilateral arrangements to fund infrastructure projects and currency swaps that are beyond the current capacity of the World Bank, the IMF, the Asian Development Bank, and other legacy institutions.
 
Sadly, instead of treating these initiatives as a compelling reason to get our own act together and reassert international leadership, we have reacted to them peevishly, with carping comments and attempts to persuade others to boycott them because they don’t enforce the kinds of conditionalities we have traditionally favored.  But staying outside these Chinese-sponsored institutions will reduce rather than reinforce our role in global governance and erode, not promote, the prevalence of our values internationally.  As all in this room know, Americans are not universally admired these days.  And if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.

Our dilemma is a reminder of the purpose of politics, including diplomacy.  As every diplomat knows, this is to add the power of others to one’s own to promote shared interests – or at least interests you’ve persuaded others are shared.  To get others to see their interests the way you want them to, you must understand their world view.  For this to happen, empathy must at least temporarily eclipse egotism while realism prevails over the prescriptions of political correctness.  It’s pointless to try to enlist others in support of projects whose premises contradict their fundamental conceptions of what’s right.

Chinese do not share the interest of Americans in promoting multiparty democracy, Wall Street financial practices, regime change in autocracies, church attendance, post-pious sexual freedoms, or uncensored access to dissident perspectives on the news, among other things.  China rejects the concept of humanitarian intervention.  It disapproves of our frequent resort to punitive diplomacy through sanctions, drone warfare, and military interventions, all of which it considers both inappropriate and counterproductive.  It is privately aghast at the amateurism of many of our decision-makers and diplomats and our lack of institutional memory.

But China does share our interest in preserving and enhancing effective global governance; in promoting worldwide economic prosperity through liberalized terms of trade and investment; in retarding and ultimately reversing climate change, nuclear proliferation, and the spread of Islamist extremism; in combating terrorism and piracy; and in assuring a peaceful international environment in which to enjoy domestic tranquility and pursue national reconstruction.  And Chinese are coming to agree with us about a growing list of other matters, including the need to safeguard intellectual property, manage rather than deny the military rivalry between us, develop non-polluting sources of energy, and save the whales.  Like Americans, Chinese want relations between our two countries to embody peaceful cooperation and competition rather than antagonism and military hostility.  Given serious and skillful diplomacy by both sides, that should be doable.

But a constantly changing China will continue to affront American complacency in many ways.  It defies our doctrinaire denigration of industrial policy by outperforming us economically.  Despite multiple problems and a system of government that is a big turn-off to foreigners, China belies our disdain for autocracy with a government that enjoys very much higher levels of approval from those it governs than ours does.  (65 percent of Americans are now dissatisfied with our system of government.  70 percent of Chinese express satisfaction with theirs, with approval of the Chinese central government at much higher levels than that.)  Contrary to our orthodoxy, despite restrictions on freedom of speech, China’s huge private sector is becoming increasingly innovative.  In a challenge to our self-image, China now seems in many ways much more devoted to the United Nations and the rules of international law we helped craft than we are.  Far from the monolith we imagine, China encompasses exceptional diversity within its borders.  It includes the spectacularly futuristic city of Shanghai and the gambling paradise of Macau – now with the world’s highest GDP per capita (according to the World Bank).  But it also embraces many backward and impoverished areas, like Tibet, where GDP per capita is still on a par with that in Congo-Brazzaville. 

China’s rise is an unprecedented challenge to our country.  It should provoke us to get our act together at home, ramp up our competitiveness, make common cause with Europeans and others who share our values, live up to our libertarian ideals, strive once again to be an inspiring example to other societies, and address the many deficiencies of our diplomacy.  All this could yet happen.  If it does, China will inadvertently have done us and the world a great service.

Obama Visit to Ignite India’s Nuclear Accident Liability Debate

Obama Visit to Ignite India’s Nuclear Accident Liability Debate


http://www.businessweek.com/news/2015-01-22/obama-visit-to-ignite-india-s-nuclear-accident-liability-debate

Hackers in China Leak South Korean Nuclear Power Blueprints


Hackers in China Leak South Korean Nuclear Power Blueprints

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/1215234-hackers-in-china-leak-south-korean-nuclear-power-blueprints/

Hanoi hosts 3rd Asian Nuclear Power Briefing


Hanoi hosts 3rd Asian Nuclear Power Briefing

http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/science-it/121841/hanoi-hosts-3rd-asian-nuclear-power-briefing.html

Japan: Government mulls 15%-20% target for nuclear power output by 2030

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/01/23/national/government-mulls-15-20-target-nuclear-power-output-2030/#.VMKtysaKI-8

New Webcast: When Grid Optimization is Not Enough:

New Webcast:
When Grid Optimization is Not Enough:
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Electric utilities today face unprecedented volatility and business challenges. To stay competitive and ensure a managed transition to a sustainable future, electric utilities must ensure grid reliability, grid modernization and provide higher value energy services. Join a panel of experts to understand how to protect your existing investment while designing an integrated technology business transformation.
Why Business Transformation? The threat of distributed technologies and innovative business models
Why Now? Risks and Industry/business transformation
What is involved in a Business Transformation? The logical steps of business transformation and new business models, and pitfalls to avoid
How does Business Transformation differ from Smart Grid? The relationship between technology, business processes, and business models
What does the future hold for utilities? Long-term sustainability by way of a more open relationship with external and internal stakeholders
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Presenters:
John Cooper
Electricity and Business Innovator, Siemens Power Technologies Consulting Group
Thomas Zimmermann
CEO, Siemens Smart Grid Solutions and Services
Ron Dizy
Managing Director, Advanced Energy Centre at MaRS
Keith Cronkhite
Vice President, Generation & Business Development, NB Power 

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US NRC Blog Update: NRC Finalizes Violations for Arkansas Nuclear One

NRC Finalizes Violations for Arkansas Nuclear One

Victor Dricks
Senior Public Affairs Officer
Region IV
The Arkansas Nuclear One power plant, in Russellville, Ark., is coming under increased NRC focus as a result of flood protection problems.
anoBeginning in 2013, Entergy Operations officials and the NRC began extensive inspections of the flood protection program at ANO. Many problems were discovered and are described in a Sept. 9, 2014, NRC inspection report.
All told, more than 100 previously unknown flood barrier deficiencies creating flooding pathways into the site’s two auxiliary buildings were found. These included defective floor seals, flooding barriers that were designed, but never installed, and seals that had deteriorated over time. In one case, a special hatch that was supposed to be close a ventilation duct in the Unit 1 auxiliary building in the event of flooding had never been installed.
In the unlikely event of extreme flooding – a kind not seen since weather records have been kept for the area – significant amounts of water could have entered the auxiliary buildings. This could have submerged vital plant equipment, as well as the emergency diesel generator fuel vaults. The licensee has replaced degraded seals, installed new flood barriers and adopted new measures to better protect the site from flooding.
NRC held a regulatory conference with Entergy officials on Oct. 28, 2014. After considering information provided by the company, NRC determined violations related to flood protection have substantial safety significance, or are “yellow.” (The NRC evaluates regulatory performance at nuclear plants with a color coded process that classifies inspection findings as green, white, yellow or red, in order of increasing safety significance.)
The NRC divides plants into five performance categories, or columns on its Action Matrix. ANO Units 1 and 2 received yellow violations in June 2014 because electrical equipment damaged during an industrial incident increased risk to the plant. Workers were moving a 525-ton component out of the plant’s turbine building when a temporary lifting rig collapsed on March 13, 2013, damaging plant equipment. Those violations moved both units from Column 1 to Column 3 of the NRC’s Action Matrix. The agency increases its oversight of plants as performance declines.
The new violations will lead NRC to reassess whether even more inspection resources need to be focused on ANO. The NRC will determine the appropriate level of agency oversight and notify Entergy officials of that decision in a separate letter.