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.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Positive thinking in Italy, Canada and Poland

Recent opinion surveys have found broad support for new nuclear power plants amongst Italians, Poles, and residents of the Canadian province of Saskatchewan - all areas currently without nuclear power but looking into nuclear new-build projects.

A survey carried out on behalf of leading Italian business organization Confesercenti found a total of 54% of respondents in favour of new nuclear power plants being built in Italy, with 17% strongly in favour. Overall, 36% were against a new Italian nuclear plant, with 21% strongly opposing the idea. The primary reason given for opposition to a new nuclear plant was the availability of "cleaner" sources of energy, cited by 70% of "no" voters, rather than safety fears (58%) or concerns about radioactive waste (51%).

Surprisingly, despite supporting the idea of nuclear power, the Italian population would appear to prefer to keep it local. A large majority (82%) of the 800 respondents opposed the idea of Italy importing energy from newly built nuclear plants in neighbouring countries. Only 11% were in favour of such an idea. The respondents to the survey were selected to be representative of the whole country in terms of gender, age and domicile.

Italy was an early nuclear energy pioneer and has operated nuclear plants in the past, but decided to close them down following a referendum in the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl accident. Now, as well as being the only country ever to have abandoned an operating nuclear power programme, it is the world's largest net importer of electricity. It is also the only G8 country without operating nuclear power plants. The Italian government has said it plans to start building new reactors within five years to reduce the county's dependence on oil, gas and imported power.

Saskatchewan says "maybe"

A poll carried out on behalf of Bruce Power in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan found support for nuclear power from a majority of the residents of the province. The level of support, at 55%, was second only to that found in Ontario, the only Canadian province that currently has operating nuclear power plants. Over 800 residents were questioned.

The survey was carried out as part of Bruce Power's Saskatchewan 2020 initiative, launched in July. The initiative, due to be completed by the end of 2008, includes a study on the feasibility of bringing nuclear energy to the province as part of a wider look at clean energy technologies.

According to Bruce Power, the top five reasons given for opposing nuclear included safety, environmental impacts, health, waste and a general opposition to the technology. On the other hand, the survey found three main driving factors for supporting nuclear energy: its lack of greenhouse gases emissions; the presence of uranium in the province; and economic considerations. The company, which operates the Bruce A and Bruce B nuclear power plants in Ontario, is keen to point out that it has not yet made any decision on whether to progress a nuclear option for Saskatchewan.

Record support from Poles

Support for the construction of a nuclear power plant in Poland is reported to have reached a "record high" of 38% in a July survey of over 1000 people carried out by the Centre for Public Research. A similar poll carried out in June 2006 found only 25% in favour.

Poland is heavily dependent on coal for its energy. It has the largest reserves of coal in the EU (14 billion tonnes), generating 93% of its electricity from coal, but also has very high CO2 emissions. The Polish government decided in 2005 that the country should pursue nuclear power in order to diversify energy supply and reduce emissions. As well as the possibility of building its own nuclear plants in the future, Poland is participating in plans to build a new nuclear power plant in partnership with Lithuania and Estonia.

Meanwhile, Polish copper giant KGHM has said it would like to build a nuclear power plant too. According to press reports, the company, whose largest shareholder is by the Polish treasury, has said it would like to build a nuclear plant and form an investment fund as a way of diversifying its business.

(Source: World Nuclear News)


Anonymous said...

Saskatchewan is a province in central Canada. In the nuclear age it will basically be the Saudi Arabia of uranium. The province has huge developed mines that were shut down decades ago because of lack of demand.


Anonymous said...

Eg.. this town in North Saskatchewan, Uranium City..


"With the boom of uranium mining, Uranium City was a thriving town up to the year 1982, with its population approaching the 5,000 threshold required to achieve city status in the province. The closure of the mines in 1983 led to economic collapse, with most residents of the town leaving. It was later designated as a northern settlement with about 300 people remaining."

Anonymous said...

Canada is a broad energy power.. we have huge hydroelectric the 2nd biggest producer in the world, 3rd largest natural gas production, rising oil production with tar sands with gargantuan reserves, 23% of world uranium prodction.

Btw check out this pie chart of uranium mining by nation.



Blue Northern Music said...

Why is everyone so quick to jump on the money wagon and ignorethe trail of waste left in the swath of the nuke industry. Uranium City? Town of Widows!

Terry Tufts
Robertsville, Ontario

From a Canadian perspective of one fighting development of an open pit down the road from us, please read the following:


-It takes 10 square metres of mine site and causes approximately 500 litres of mine effluent.

-It creates 2 tonnes of radioactive tailing with a volume of approx. 1.3 cubic meters. (Mining machinery is run with CO2 producing diesel fuel)

-The new fuel bundle weighs approx. 20kg. produces about 1,000 MWh of electricity over its useful life of 12-18 months.

-It uses 180 million litres of cooling water.

-Emits 36,000,000,000 Bq (Becquerels=Rate of radioactive decay per second) Tritium oxide, 28,000,000,000 Bq.MeV noble gasses, 29,000 Bq particulates 2,400 Bq Iodine-131 into the air.

-Emits 80,000,000,000 Bq Tritium, 1,600,000 Bq gross beta into the water? (Reactor emissions are based on annual emissions, normalized per MWh.)

-Creates 7.6 kg of Low and Intermediate level waste.

-After its useful life still weighs approx. 19 kg and contains Plutomium as well as highly lethal fission products.

-One third of the power contained in the nuclear fuel is used in the plant to generate the electricity.

-One additional third is wasted in the form of excess heat contained in the cooling water and in the removed nuclear fuel.

-Only less than one third of the power is the nuclear fuel makes it it the end user because of losses in the high-voltage long distance transmission.

-Nuclear reactors cannot run when the hydro grid goes down?

-Reactors need large diesel generators as back-up power which have to be test-run every 60 days? (CO2-Greenhouse gas emissions)

-Reactors need large battery banks as secondary back-up power and if only one cell in a battery fails, the whole battery bank must be replaced.

-Reactors have to be taken off-line at least once every 2 years for a 3-month maintenance outage.

-Pickering A reactors are 35 years old, 2 of those were refurbished at the total cost of 2.25 billion dollars and need continuous maintenance.

-In case of a serious accident the 30-year-old Nuclear Liability Act compensates victims with a measly 75 million dollars on both sides of the border.

-No home insurance policy compensates for loss or damage caused by a nuclear incident or caused by contamination from radioactive material.

-The Committee on Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation in their BEIR VII Report (June 2005) states that…"each unit of radiation-no matter how small-still is assumed to cause cancer."

And, of course, then there are approx 2,000,000 used fuel bundles (2005 estimate) that are highly radioactive and need to be isolated from humans and the environment indefinitely. A team of scientists retained by the Nuclear Waste Management Organizations (NWMO) has come to the conclusion that containment and isolation of used nuclear fuel can not be guaranteed for an indefinite period. (Page 345, NWMO final Study Report, November, 2005)


Complied by Ziggy Kleinau and taken from Citizens for Renewable Energy's fact sheet on nuclear power. All information taken from official sources and can be certified.
CFRE is a non-profit information sharing and advocacy organization, incorporated in 1996. The Coordinator, Ziggy Kleinau, has spent years informing the public of alternatives to fossil fuels and nuclear energy.

For more information go to their website, http://www.cfre.ca. Email cfre@web.ca.