Kenya & Slovakia to seal nuclear deal by 2013 – Video Clip
Slovakia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs State Secretary Peter Burian told Xinhua that both nations have already exchanged a draft Memorandum of Understanding.
“Kenya’s ministries of energy and higher education will sign an agreement with their Slovakian counterparts on nuclear cooperation by the end of January next year,” Burian said on the sidelines of the Slovak Development Aid Forum.
The two-day forum brought together all Slovakian Non Governmental Organizations working in Kenya in order to discuss ways of increasing their efficiency and coordination in order to meet the needs of the country’s long term development goals.
The deal follows the agreement signed by both nations in December 2011 on increasing cultural exchange cooperation. “Under the agreement, Kenya will receive technical assistance to develop nuclear energy in order to cater for its electricity needs,” he said.
Burian added that by September 2013, the first batch of Kenyans to be trained in nuclear science will arrive in Slovakia. He added Kenya’s nuclear project committee already visited Slovakia two times in the past two months.
“It typically takes a country at least 30 years to develop the capacity to generate nuclear power but with fast tracking it could take Kenya at least 15 years,” he said.
Kenya’s Assistant Minister of Higher Education Dr. Kilema Mwiria said that under the agreement, Slovakia will train up to 10 Kenyans annually on nuclear science.
“This is part of government plans to have a large pool of nuclear scientists who can help develop and manage nuclear power plants,” he said.
He said that currently, Kenya lacks the capacity to train nuclear scientists locally as the country’s universities are not advanced.
Slovakia’s Ambassador to Kenya Michel Mlynar said Kenya is among the priority countries for Slovak’s Official Development Aid (ODA), along with Afghanistan. Mlynar said most of the projects are in the health, education and agricultural sectors.
“Currently, 14 development projects are being supported through small financial grants financed by Slovak Aid with a total value of 3.2 million euros,” he said.
“Even though we are a small donor with fairly limited budgets, we are strongly committed to providing long term assistance to Kenya,” he added.
Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Richard Onyonka said both nations will continue high level exchanges in the future in order to strengthen the strong ties that already exist between the two countries.
He noted five high-ranking government officials visited Slovakia in the past year compared to three visits between 1993 and 2011. He said statistics on economic and trade interactions remain low and in favor of the Slovak republic.
Data from the ministry of foreign affairs indicated Kenya’s exports amounted to 110,000 U.S. dollars to Slovakia in 2011, while imports reached 5.89 million dollars in the same period.
The government records also showed Kenyan exports included ornamental carvings, furniture and textile products while imports consisted of paper products, pharmaceuticals, iron and steel and rubber products.
“However, there exists great potential to improve the volume and value of trade through structured consultations between Slovak and Kenyan entrepreneurs, including engagements with the Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency and the Kenya Investments Agency,” Onyonka said.
“There also exists opportunities for Slovak investors in the areas of information technology, agriculture, automotive assembly, infrastructure development, waste management, agriculture, energy production,” he said.
He called on the Slovaks to consider investing in the Lamu- South Sudan-Ethiopia project. The government official commended Slovakia’s continued support through the European Union to restore stability in Somalia.
Source – Xin News
Africa encouraged to use nuclear technology to eradicate tsetse flies – Video clip
Over half of the African continent has a problem of tsetse fly infection.Tsetse flies cause sleeping sickness in human being and a disease called nagana in livestock. Tsetse fly infection has contributed highly to low agricultural production in the continent.
Source – Youtube
Idaho final port-of-call for spent nuclear fuel from U.S.S. Enterprise
Click on picture for video clip
Used nuclear fuel from the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier will soon be on its way to Idaho.
The vessel will be de-commissioned on December 1st, and now the Naval Reactors Facility at the Idaho National Lab will study the fuel for research purposes.
Nuclear watchdog group Snake River Alliance on Tuesday said more nuclear material coming into Idaho is never a good thing because right now, one of the main objectives at the site is to get waste out of the state.
On the other side of the table, the Partnership for Science and Technology said Idaho has always been the destination for spent fuels, and they help develop new technologies.
“They hate it when you call it waste,” said Partnership for Science and Technology director Lane Allgood.
The partnership is a lobby group for Idaho’s nuclear future. Allgood said the Navy has always sent its spent nuclear fuel here.
“There’s still a lot of valuable properties in that fuel,” he said. They study that and determine how to best develop the next wave of nuclear reactors.”
Allgood said the fuel shouldn’t be looked at as waste.
But on Tuesday, Snake River Alliance nuclear program director Beatrice Brailsford said that’s exactly what it is.
“The commercial industry regards spent nuclear fuel as nuclear waste,” said Brailsford.
She said Idaho’s position as the final port-of-call for spent fuels has been a, “historical accident.”
“No one can be complacent that nuclear navy fuel comes to Idaho,” she said. “But we can also not ever accept the notion that, ‘Oh, we have a little bit of radio active waste here, let’s accept a lot more.'”
Fuel from the Enterprise is set to arrive in Idaho by 2015.
Part of a waste removal timetable allows for the Naval Reactors Facility to keep a limited amount of spent fuel past 2035.
Source – Local News8
Hitachi Buys Newbuild Project in the UK – Video Clip
Britain’s nuclear expansion plans have been boosted after Japan’s Hitachi signed a £700m deal that will enable the UK to start building the next generation of power plants.
The engineering giant is buying Horizon Nuclear Power, which has the rights to build reactors at Wylfa on Anglesey, North Wales, and Oldbury in Gloucestershire, from its German owners E.ON and RWE npower.
In what it described as the start of a 100-year commitment to the UK, Hitachi confirmed that it intends to progress Horizon’s plans to build between two and three new nuclear plants at each site.
The facilities could be feeding electricity into the national grid in the first half of the 2020s and are expected to generate power equivalent to up to 14 million homes over 60 years.
Up to 6,000 jobs are expected to be created during construction at each site, with a further 1,000 permanent jobs at both locations once operational.
Hitachi has also signed supply chain deals with UK engineering firms Rolls-Royce and Babcock International and has pledged to establish a module assembly facility in the UK.
Oldbury nuclear power station Some 1,000 jobs are expected to be created at Oldbury nuclear power station
The Horizon venture, which currently employs around 90 people, was set up in 2009 as part of the drive to meet the UK’s carbon reduction goals.
But RWE and E.ON put the business up for sale in March after Germany’s move to abandon nuclear power in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster.
Since then, doubts have grown about the private sector’s commitment to the UK’s nuclear programme.
Hitachi plans to employ its advanced boiling water technology, which is already in use in four reactors in Japan having been built to time and budget.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey told Sky News the investment was “a huge shot in the arm for the UK economy and a vote of confidence in UK energy policy”.
The Cabinet minister dismissed any concerns over safety, insisting that Britain had the “toughest safety regulatory regime in the world”.
He added that the technology Hitachi was proposing had “a very good track record” and it was different from the reactors used at Fukushima.
Prime Minister David Cameron said Hitachi’s involvement represented a “decades-long, multibillion-pound vote of confidence in the UK”.
Mike Clancy, general secretary-designate of the Prospect union, said: “The Horizon venture is an important milestone in securing future low-carbon energy generation capacity within the UK and its importance to local and national economies cannot be overstated.”
Gary Smith, national officer of the GMB union, added: “This is positive news. However, we should be under no illusions that there are still real concerns with UK energy policy.”
Shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint said Hitachi’s decision to buy Horizon was “welcome news” for the nuclear industry, and underscored how important it was that the Government’s reforms of the electricity market provided certainty and confidence for other investors.
Tatsuro Ishizuka, vice president of Hitachi, told a news conference in London that the company would invest billions of pounds in UK nuclear operations, stressing that it has already built nuclear power plants safely, on time and on budget.
He said: “Our aim is to build safe nuclear power stations, on time and on budget, to provide long-term, affordable energy.”
Source – youtube
China to resume nuclear power expansion – video clip
Chinese authorities announced on Wednesday the country will resume nuclear power plant construction, breaking a self-imposed moratorium.
The partial meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima reactors prompted Chinese authorities to halt plans to expand nuclear energy production. A year later, the same authorities feel they are ready to restart, but have dialled down the expansion plans.
Through a State Council issued white paper, the Chinese regime says it is now looking to produce 40 gigawatts of nuclear power by 2015. That’s less than the original goal of 50 gigawatts set prior to last year.
The country currently has the capacity to produce 12.5 gigawatts through 15 nuclear power generating units. The moratorium after the Fukushima disaster stopped the construction of another 26 units.
Wednesday’s whitepaper sought to ease safety concerns over China’s nuclear ambitions. Even prior to Japan’s nuclear disaster, safety measures and personnel skills were already thought to be inadequate to support the country’s nuclear development ambitions.
Former researcher at the nuclear security center of China’s State Environmental Protection Administration, Professor Li Xutong, says those concerns are still there.
[Professor Li Xutong, Former Nuclear Researcher, SEPA]
“Years of research have found that man-made reasons account for 80% of nuclear incidents. Another 80% of that comes from organizational issues, like management and supervision. We all know that under the Chinese regime, it’s hard to have a comprehensive, effective and transparent nuclear safety system.”
China’s nuclear industry is dominated by state-owned enterprises. Persistent problems including corruption and substandard construction have plagued other state-owned infrastructure sectors like China’s high speed railway. The latest whitepaper says Beijing would encourage more private investment in nuclear energy.
Source – youtube
Replace Uranium with Thorium to produce nuclear power? – Video clip
Professor Jim Al-Khalili, thorium to produce nuclear power – University of Huddersfield
On a visit to the University of Huddersfield, scientist and BBC presenter Professor Jim Al-Khalili explains why thorium is a viable alternative to uranium in the production of nuclear power.
Source – Youtube
Nuclear waste bid poses risks and rewards for Ontario town
Hornepayne one of 21 communities considering storing radioactive fuel rods underground
“We’ve got fresh air, fresh water. We’re kind of on the edge of the wilderness,” says Art Swanson, who headed up the town council from 2000 to 2003.
“We’re in the middle of nowhere,” says Morley Forster, the current mayor of this town of 1,050 people, located about 300 kilometres north of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont,
Those few words aside, there is a wide gulf between the two men — one is pitching hard for his town to become the site of Canada’s first nuclear waste facility, and the other is warning just as strenuously against it.
For Mayor Forster, his town’s isolation is a plus. “What better place place to put a deep geological repository for Canada’s spent nuclear fuel.”
But former mayor Swanson foresees a poisoned inheritance for all who come after. “The risk of ruining that [fresh air, fresh water] to me, it’s something. The problem with this is, this is permanent.”
Hornepayne has another problem, though. Its economy is dying a slow death. Fewer and fewer people are living there and the town’s young residents are moving away.
“Economic opportunities that exist, usually exist in the bright lights of the big city. So they go there and don’t come back,” explains Forster. The chance to host Canada’s deep geological repository for nuclear waste is an opportunity that can’t be ignored, as far as he is concerned.
Choosing a waste site
Hornepayne is one of 21 communities that has approached the Nuclear Waste Management Organization — the group charged with managing Canada’s spent nuclear fuel — and expressed an interest in hosting an underground storage site known as a deep geological repository. That got Hornepayne started on the NWMO’s nine-step process.
Hornpayne and seven other communities are the furthest along that process — at step three, essentially the learning phase. The NWMO is adamant about getting buy-in from the entire community that will eventually be the home of 4 million CANDU nuclear fuel bundles.
NUCLEAR WASTE The final resting place for Canada’s used nuclear fuel
“Our approach is to provide information because we are looking for an informed and willing host community,” says Mahrez Ben Belfadhel, NWMO’s director of geoscientific evaluations.
He explains that the NWMO will provide funds for the towns to hire consultants to examine and explain NWMO’s proposal. The organization holds information seminars and open houses in the communities, all in an effort to ensure NWMO eventually finds a willing town.
“We want to make sure that this project will have positive impacts on the communities. And it is up to the communities to decide that for themselves,” explains Belfadhel.
Debate over benefits and dangers
So what are those benefits? For one, the project will cost anywhere from $16 billion to $24 billion. It will take 10 years to build the repository and that will mean 800 construction jobs. There will be spin-offs from that: cafes, groceries, maybe even a McDonald’s, hopes Forster.
“Schools will be built. Houses will be built. Not an endless supply of things, but everything would be increased,” says Forster.
Once the repository is in place, he says, there will be the people who manage and operate the facility: PhDs.
Forster could imagine a theatre troupe setting up shop in Hornepayne because of them.
Art Swanson doesn’t buy it.
“I see that as a used car salesman trying to sell you a car and he will tell you anything,” Swanson says. “What kind of nuclear scientist is going to be in Hornepayne watching it [nuclear waste] go into the ground?”
Swanson points out that CN Rail runs a train through town but all their managers are in Montreal.
“This nuclear scientist isn’t going to live in Hornepayne. I can almost guarantee you. Why would he?”
Swanson has support for his doubts. It’s from an obvious voice, but a loud and influential one.
“What they [nuclear power generators] really want to do is bury their biggest public relations problem,” says Shawn-Patrick Stensil of Greenpeace. Stensil is not convinced by the science that an underground facility will be safe for the environment and the people living near it.
NUCLEAR WASTE Where nuclear waste is generated and where it could go Towns interested in hosting future nuclear waste repository
“For the betterment of that community, I think it’s best that they be very skeptical. Ask hard questions. And also think of what the political motivations of the industry are in offering them these sites,” advises Stensil.
Mayor Forster points out that Hornepayne is just in the information gathering stage and there’s no harm in investigating.
“So here comes a lot of money and a lot of jobs for a century. We’d be fools and irresponsible not to inquire,” he says.
Julie Roy-Ward, a lifelong Hornepayne resident, echoes that sentiment. “Let’s explore this possibility. We have nothing to lose from joining the process.”
Bonnie-Lee Claveau, who owns a hardware store in the town, goes further. “As a business owner here, I think it [nuclear waste repository] is a fabulous idea. The economies in northern Ontario are mostly in decline.”The NWMO is a long way from building their nuclear waste repository. It will take another seven to 10 years of finding a host community, followed by about three years of regulatory approvals and 10 years of construction. The earliest Canada’s deep geological repository will be up and running is 2035.
In the meantime, two men in Hornepayne, Ont., have their fingers crossed. One hopes they don’t get it, one hopes they do.