Today's big stories from the nuclear industry:
AFP: Merkel slams Swedish nuclear operator
’BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel hit out at Swedish nuclear operator Vattenfall on Sunday over a series of problems at an ageing reactor near Hamburg. "I am very, very unhappy with what Vattenfall has done and the way that they have acted," Merkel said in an interview on public television. "It is possible to get angry thinking about what has happened and how it has been managed." The Kruemmel reactor near Hamburg, one of Germany's oldest, underwent earlier this month what Vattenfall called an "emergency shutdown" after a short circuit in one of its transformers. It was the second such incident in several days at the plant, which had only just re-opened after two years of repairs following a malfunction in a transformer that had caused a fire and a shutdown. Embarrassingly, Vattenfall has since admitted that it failed to install a vital safety sensor, and it then said most of Kruemmel's 80,000 fuel rods had to be checked. One has since found to be damaged.’
DNA India: Manmohan under pressure not to yield to US pressure
New Delhi: With the Bhopal gas tragedy in mind, the anti-nuclear coalition in India has written to prime minister (PM) Manmohan Singh not to yield to US pressure and make sure in case of a nuclear accident, companies responsible have to pay full compensation to victims. The letter was written ahead of US secretary of state Hillary Clinton's official talks with the PM and other Indian leaders on Monday. A copy of the letter was also forwarded to Clinton to remind her of corporate responsibility of US firms wanting to sell nuclear reactors to and building power plants in India. New Delhi is expected to say 'thank you' to Washington for bringing India out of its nuclear isolation by giving US firms a share of the estimated $50 billion nuclear pie. India is likely to announce two sites in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh for nuclear power stations to be palmed off to US companies. But before US firms get to work, India needs to bring in fresh legislation to amend laws which do not allow private companies in the nuclear field. Washington has been pushing for a limited liability law to be passed in parliament which protects US companies from major financial damage in case of a nuclear accident.’
Mohamed ElBaradei: Taking control of nuclear
’Barack Obama has injected fresh momentum into efforts - stalled for a decade - to bring about nuclear disarmament. He has committed himself to the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons and acknowledges the link between nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament by the nuclear-weapon states. Obama has pledged to revitalise the 1970 nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), which aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. The non-proliferation regime, of which the NPT is the cornerstone, is in disarray. The main problems are easily identified. First, the five main nuclear-weapon states have not taken seriously their NPT obligation to work for nuclear disarmament. Instead, they have insisted that nuclear weapons are essential for their security and continued to modernise their nuclear arsenals. This naturally robs them of the moral authority to persuade others not to acquire nuclear weapons, which continue to be perceived as a source of power and influence, and an insurance policy against attack.’
Reuters: French state says EDF price hike will be limited
’PARIS, July 19 (Reuters) - The French state wants future increases in electricity prices to be "extremely limited" and is opposed to EDF's proposal to raise them by 20 percent over 3-4 years, the president's chief of staff said on Sunday. The French state still owns 85 percent of the energy giant and decides tariffs. But EDF, which floated on the Paris stock exchange in 2005, wants to raise prices to help finance planned investments. "I have found it regrettable that the president of EDF worries French people with prospects of increases he knows well the government... will not support," Claude Gueant, Chief of staff of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, told French radio Europe 1 on Sunday.’
Planetsave: French Elite Leads the World in Pushing Nuclear Technology: Having Technical Hiccups or Fatal Flaws?
’There is a controversial decision to be made in Maryland soon regarding a nuclear reactor that might be built there. Similar to reactors being built in Finland that British and Finnish regulators are finding problems with, this reactor would be built largely by a French nuclear technocratic elite who are operating in a questionable and risky way. The project in Maryland is a 4.5 billion dollar deal that is trying to skirt public service regulation. Thanks in part to a regional coalition, the Chesapeake Safe Energy Coalition (CSEC), and their ability to get 650 petition signatures sent to the Public Service Commission (PSC), the nuclear business elite are running into responsible and practical decision-making that will give more public accountability.’
AP: Interior department to halt new uranium mining claims near Grand Canyon
’WASHINGTON - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will announce Monday that his department is temporarily barring the filing of new uranium miningclaims on about 1 million acres near the Grand Canyon, an Obama administration official said. The land is being "segregated" for two years so that the department can study whether it should be permanently withdrawn from mining activity, said the official, who requested anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly on the matter. The announcement comes ahead of Tuesday's congressional hearing on a bill to set aside more than 1 million acres of federal lands north and south of the canyon. The bill's sponsor, Democratic U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, and environmental groups had been looking to Salazar for temporary protections at the Grand Canyon while the legislation is pending.’
Live PR: New Report Just Published Nuclear Energy Technologies Worldwide: Components and Manufacturing
’Manufacturers of nuclear reactor components are entering a pivotal period as the new global landscape of global nuclear energy production takes shape. Nations committed to constructing next-generation nuclear facilities that leverage the latest technology will depend on manufacturers to provide high quality products that foster a safe, secure, and enduring environment for nuclear energy production. Governments, meanwhile, are challenged by the weak global economy that has tightened credit needed to fund some of their long-term nuclear energy initiatives. Suppliers to the nuclear energy construction market are also attempting to keep pace with increased demand as they struggle to stay afloat with a reduced labor force. The companies, which include Areva and Mitsubishi, are leveraging their economies of scale in energy markets by collaborating and aligning with competitors to gain market share and increase their installed base of customers.