Welcome to AtomWatch - world nuclear power news and analysis

This blog is aimed at tracing the world news related to nuclear power development internationally and in particular countries. Being an independent resource, we accept all kinds of opinions, positions and comments, and welcome you to discuss the posts and tell us what you think.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Emerging Nuclear Energy Countries

Nuclear programs are about to emerge in at least 20 countries, with totally different level of economy development.
Italy, Portugal, Norway, Poland, Belarus, Ireland, Estonia, Latvia, Turkey, Iran, Gulf states, Yemen, Israel, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, Ghana, Namibia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Chile, Venezuela, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand - here is the list.
Such data might give us a push to think that the tendency of nuclear development is taking place in world economy in general - if we consider that major nuclear actors like the USA and Russia are developing their nuclear capacities as well.

Full story here

Facts on Nuclear power in India

Recently India is on the headlines of nuclear power news discussing the perspectives of future development of its energy system. Here are some facts about what does nuclear power in India look like.
  • India has a flourishing and largely indigenous nuclear power program and expects to have 20,000 MWe nuclear capacity on line by 2020. It aims to supply 25% of electricity from nuclear power by 2050.
  • Because India is outside the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty, due to its weapons program, it is largely excluded from trade in nuclear plant or materials, which has hampered its development of civil nuclear energy.
  • The nuclear weapons capability of India has arisen independently of its civil nuclear fuel cycle and uses indigenous uranium.
  • Because of its relative isolation in international trade and lack of indigenous uranium, India has uniquely been developing a nuclear fuel cycle to exploit its reserves of thorium.

Indian nuclear strategy

Pachauri challenged over Indo-US nuclear dealHindustan Times, 29 Oct

A leading environmental group on Sunday challenged Indian climate change scientist RK Pachauri's assertion that the Indo-US nuclear deal would widen India's fuel choice, saying the risks associated with going nuclear should be considered by policymakers.

Friday, October 26, 2007

News digest

The atom and the windmill
The Economist, UK
Nuclear power draws nearer as renewables retreat
Environmentalists fret that new nuclear plants will come at the expense of eco-friendly technologies such as wind and wave power. On October 23rd those fears seemed to be confirmed. The Guardian newspaper published extracts from a leaked document suggesting that Gordon Brown was trying to wriggle out of a pledge made by Tony Blair, his predecessor as prime minister, that 20% of European energy consumption would be met from renewable sources by 2020. Civil servants described the target as “expensive” and said that it faced “severe practical difficulties”. That was a diplomatic way to speak of a target that Britain, which gets 2% of its energy from renewables now, has little chance of meeting.
Russia has enough uranium for nuclear power plants - minister
RIA Nowosti
Russia's natural resources minister said Thursday Russia will have sufficient uranium reserves for the construction of new nuclear power plants in the country.

Last week Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said the construction of nuclear power plants was one of the top priorities for the Russian nuclear energy system, adding that Russian specialists were currently constructing five nuclear power units in Russia and seven abroad.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Nuclear news - selected

Starting from today I will be posting selected links to several articles from various media related to nuclear issues - for sure those I find worth reading myself, and might advise you who follow the topic to read and be aware as well.

You are welcome to post comments or start a discussion over any article, suggest related ones on some topic etc. or even post your own article if you wish to.

Nuclear power output could double by 2030 - IAEA


The world's output of nuclear power could nearly double by 2030, fuelled by demand from energy-hungry emerging economies and fears about security of supply and climate change, the UN said on Wednesday.

But the share that nuclear energy will contribute to global electricity production is still set to decline over the same period, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in its latest annual projection of growth of nuclear power.

Seven of UK's 19 reactors closed

Nearly a third of Britain's nuclear power reactors have been out of action due to breakdowns and maintenance.

Iranian nuclear negotiators meet with European leaders

International Herald Tribune
The Iranian nuclear negotiators and European leaders met for another round of discussions Wednesday, facing a deadline next month for the delivery of a report on Iran's nuclear development to the Security Council.

After the meeting, the new negotiator, Saeed Jalili, who was appointed over the weekend, attended a news conference but did not speak. His predecessor, Ali Larijani, who joined him for this set of talks, struck an upbeat tone, speaking of a constructive tone at the talks "that might lead to further progress." Larijani did not offer details.

The Nuclear Gambit with Iran

The Moscow Times
When President Vladimir Putin was in Tehran last week, one image from the trip was indelible: Putin meeting with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei while President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sat in the corner of the sofa. Putin apparently made an offer directly to the supreme leader about a way to move forward in the nuclear standoff. According to the proposal, the six parties negotiating with Iran would pause on seeking sanctions in the United Nations Security Council if Iran would pause on its enrichment program. Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad appeared to be sidelined.

Iran stands firm on peaceful nuclear use

Iran will continue to uphold its right to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, the country's chief nuclear negotiator said on Tuesday.

"The nuclear issue is a subject on which there is unity and consensus in Iran. The path that has been taken is supported by our entire nation and all interested parties," Saeed Jalili, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, was quoted by the IRNA news agency as saying.

S. Korea Says North Will Start Dismantling Nuclear Programs Next Month

VOA News
Senior South Korean officials say North Korea is ready to start dismantling key nuclear facilities within weeks. The moves are part of a multinational agreement aimed at ending the North's nuclear weapons programs. VOA Seoul Correspondent Kurt Achin reports.

Russia scraps 9 missile complexes under US-Soviet arms treaty

Zee News
Russia has scrapped nine nuclear strategic missile complexes under the 1991 US-Soviet Arms Reduction Treaty.
Under the strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-I), nine old Topol missile complexes were scrapped between October 8-23, according to a statement issued by the country's strategic missile forces.

Volvo Trucks Nix Nuclear Power

Sveriges Radio International

Sweden’s Volvo, the world’s second largest truck maker, has announced that it will stop buying Swedish electricity generated by nuclear power.

Nuclear power to remain important energy source - IAEA

Nuclear power is to remain a major source of energy around the world in the coming decades, especially given the concerns over climate change and energy security, the UN nuclear watchdog said.

'Nuclear power's prominence as a major energy source will continue over the next several decades,' the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a new report, entitled 'Energy, Electricity and Nuclear Power Estimates for the period up to 2030.'

COST OF THE REVERSE - Not being in the nuclear club will hurt India’s energy supply

The Telegraph - Calcutta, India
Coming now to power, India can build nuclear power plants on its own, as it has; it may also be true that Russia will be prepared to sell it nuclear power plants and uranium enrichment plants. But if India became a member of the nuclear club, it could freely import and export power plants, fissile material, heavy water and other ancillaries. There would be far more suppliers of these things to India, and they would have to compete. India would obtain access to a much wider range of technologies, and be able to buy goods and technologies much cheaper than if it were to go alone.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Kasiwazaki Kariwa - new leakage of radioactive water

A new radioactive water leakage was detected at Kasiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power plant in Japan.

Japanese energy company TEPCO has confirmed the fact of radioactive water leakage in the building of block No. 7 of Kasiwazaki Kariwa plant, recovered after a powerful earthquake in July this year. This is the second leakage case this week.

As the company reports, the leakage was coming from the third floor of the reactor building, and the possible source of it was the exposure pool for spent fuel.

On the 21st of October a leakage was detected on the same block of the plant via a crack in a wall.

Source: www.atominfo.ru

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Rumors about Belarusian nuclear plant

Recently this issue was mentioned in sources of Russian origin - Belarus will build a nuclear plant! It's not any more on stage of a rumor, it is oficially confirmed by president Lukashenko and prime minister Sergey Sidorsky who said that

Belarus will hold a tender next year for a project to build its first nuclear power plant, at which Russian and Western partners are expected to bid
(full text of RIA Novosti article can be found here). Seems as Russia starts to get worried that such a "piece of cake" as Belarusian nuclear power plant will be cinstructed by a Western company in responce to the cool-down of Russia-Belarus relation. Belarus is even compared to second Iran, as a dictatorship regime willing to obtain a nuclear plant as an instrument of showing power on the international arena.
In fact Belarusian project although worth as planned up to 2.8 billion USD, to be first launched in 2017, and will cover as calculated around 15% of Belarus energy needs, total capacity 2 MWatt. On the other hand, Belarusian government is looking up a little West-North to Visaginas in Lithuania, where a new modern nuclear power plant is to be built in place of the existing Ignalina plant (to be closed). This object with capacity 3200-3400 MWatt to be launched in 2015, 4 EU countries are already participating in the project (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland). The plant will be located close to Belarusian border, and no doubt Belarus might get interested in joining it - high voltage connection with Lithuania already existing, so why not offer cheap energy transit and get involved? Again showing Russia that there are other energy options.
In case this plan with new Ignalina works out, Belarus might actually need no nuclear plant of its own, requiring so much investment and efforts, and at the same time creating local tension among the population (still suffering from Chernobyl syndrome).
Turn East or West - where? As usual Belarus is standing between the two forces and on the path of choise.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

European officials resisting nuclear power

At least some kind of activity on a high ranking level which is opposing the "nuclear renessaince", which is being so widely discussed recently as an alternative for fossil fuels and alternativenergy as sources of electricity.
How effective this meeting will be, time will show...

Representatives from Germany, Austria, Ireland, Norway, Italy, Luxembourg, and Latvia started a two-day meeting in Vienna on Sunday, Sept. 30, to forge a joint declaration against nuclear energy. Participating politicians called for more investments in energy-efficiency measures and renewable energies rather than nuclear power.

"We are no anti-nuclear coalition, but we want to show alternatives," said Austrian Environment Minister Josef Pröll. The declaration, focusing on the safety and security risks surrounding nuclear energy, said this form of energy was not the best way to fight climate change.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Nuclear power in Sweden - police VS Greenpeace activists

Recently this story is widely published and discussed in Swedish mass median brief this is what happened: several Greenpeace activists were trying to stop a boat carrying nuclear waste from Sweden to UK, but were blocked by police and coast guard.
Full story can be found here (Swedish):
A boat called Atlantic Osprey left this morning the port of Studsvik just outside the city of Norköping, with the cargo of nuclear waste left from the experimental reactor in Studsvik which was decommisioned by the government in 2005, to Sellafields in Great Britain. The activists of Greenpeace surrounded the vessel in rubber boats, some of them actually went swimming around the vessel. Police and coast guard picked them up and kept the rubber boats on distance so that the vessel could continue its journey on the way to England.
The story is being discussed in mass media in Sweden from the very moment when Greenpeace activists have put up tents near the coast in order to kepp an eye on the vessel when it passes by, and gave interviews to Swedish television. Their main argument is that nuclea waste should not be exported to other countries where it will not be possible to handle it properly. Moreover, the existing EU legislation prohibits export of any type of dangerous waste including nuclear outside EU and also within EU from one country to another without special allowance from the government of accepting country.
So on which side is the law? Police or those whom they fight? I will follow the development of the situation. One positive remark I would like to make regarding the work of Swedish journalists drawing attention to the issue.