Nuclear: Mickey Mouse energy solutionToday's big stories from the nuclear industry:

Life in a radiation zone

‘The recent incident involving a large number of workers at the Kaiga Atomic Power Station in Karnataka receiving substantial radiation doses due to drinking from a cooler contaminated with tritiated water (containing a radioactive isotope of hydrogen) is disturbing for a number of reasons. The nuclear establishment has tried to trivialize the import of this event. It has even impressed on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that it was only a "small matter of contamination". In turn, Singh has tried to mollify public fears by declaring there was "nothing to worry". However, what happened at Kaiga should be viewed in light of the catastrophic potential of nuclear technology highlighted by many accidents and incidents of safety lapses at

facilities run by India's Department of Atomic Energy (dae) and its sister institutes.’

Entergy files plan to catch up on nuclear decommissioning funds

‘Entergy Corp. is $236 million behind in its investments to pay for the eventual shutdown of its two nuclear plants in Louisiana, and the company has asked the Louisiana Public Service Commission for permission to increase rates so that customers can make up the shortfall. Last year, Entergy reported to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it had fallen behind on its funds to decommission the Waterford 3 Electric Station in Taft and the River Bend Station near St. Francisville when investment markets imploded in 2008. But in a filing to the Louisiana Public Service Commission, Entergy says that's not the only reason investments aren't where they need to be. Although the Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires companies to make sure they have enough money to close down and clean up plants at the end of their 40-year licenses, the Louisiana Public Service Commission has allowed Entergy to assume that the licenses for Waterford 3 and River Bend will be extended for another 20 years in figuring the rates that customers pay.’

US nuclear umbrella and the GCC

‘We are now in the beginning of 2010. The deadline set for Iran to agree to the international community's demands regarding opening its nuclear programme to inspections and embracing transparency measures, including complete cooperation with the IAEA, is approaching fast. If we are to believe the Obama administration's repeated statements that the final days of 2009 are the last deadline, then we are only a few days away from the introduction of a new US policy toward Iran. So far, there has been no signal from the Iranian government side to encourage the belief that Iran's leadership will offer, in the final hours of this year, a meaningful concession to help defuse the crisis. On the contrary, Iran has been showing defiance and behaving in a manner that indicates its indifference and lack of concern about the issue. Despite its claims that 'all options are on the table,' we in the Gulf region believe with reasonable certainty that the Obama administration has 'No option on the table' or at least no option strong enough or effective enough to force major Iranian concessions or a drastic change of mind in Tehran.’

Who says nuclear energy is more effective: Experts

‘Mumbai: The debate over the proposed nuclear power plant at Madban, near Jaitapur, has heated up with environmentalists claiming that renewable sources of energy are more effective and economical. "The government is trying to impose nuclear power plants on people under pressure from multinational companies. But the fact is that in 2009, energy generated from renewable resources was at 13,242 MW, as against 4,120 MW of nuclear power," said Girish Raut, an environmentalist.Also, nuclear power plants involve high risk of disasters if the radiations are not controlled, Kale added. If a similar disaster happens here, the radiations would destroy entire Goa and Mumbai, Raut said. He also pointed out that since the supplier of the nuclear reactor is liable for risk covering, Areva, the French company supplying the reactor, has pressurised the government to cap the maximum limit of insurance cover in case of such incidents. "While the maximum limit in the USA is Rs48,000 crore, it is Rs1,700 crore in India," Raut said.’

GdF-Suez to fight nuclear levy

The GdF-Suez group has confirmed it will take the Belgian government to court to try to get the annual 'contribution' levied against the country's nuclear operators annulled. GdF-Suez said in a statement that it had paid its €213 million ($307 million) 'contribution' for 2008 on 31 December 2009 as required by Belgian law. The sum for 2009 has now been set at €250 million ($361 million). The company said the charge would be contestable in court particularly because it is "discriminatory", hitting only the three nuclear power producers in Belgium. "The group explicitly confirms its intention to apply to the Constitutional Court with a request for nullification," GdF-Suez concluded.'

Kazakhstan takes top spot in 2009

‘Kazakhstan has laid claim to being the world's top uranium producing country in 2009. Provisional figures show that its uranium output leapt over 60% last year to reach some 13,900 tonnes, surpassing both Canada's and Australia's forecast production. State-owned nuclear energy company KazAtomProm reported that by 21 December its Mining Company subsidiary had reached its annual target of producing 13,500 tonnes of uranium. It added that at least a further 400 tonnes would be produced by the end of the year. The total output of some 13,900 tonnes represents a 63% increase from the 8521 tonnes it produced in 2008, the company said. Such a growth in output, KazAtomProm said, made the company the leading producer in 2009. Ux Consulting had forecast that Canada, previously the world's biggest uranium producer, would produce just less than 10,000 tonnes in 2009, while Australia would produce almost 8000 tonnes.’

World giants eye $20 bln nuclear energy market in Turkey

‘Turkey is preparing to hold another tender for the construction and operation of the country’s first nuclear power plant after canceling the last one. Several corporations from the United States, South Korea, France and China as well as Canada, Russia and Japan are showing keen interest in the new tender. The Turkish Electricity Trading and Contracting Company (TETAÅž) held the tender for the construction and first 15 years of operation of the nuclear power plant on Sept. 24, 2008, which a consortium composed of Russian companies Atomstroyexport and Inter RAO UES and the Ciner Group’s Park Teknik won as the sole bidder. The Turkish Atomic Energy Agency (TAEK) approved the technical aspects of the consortium’s bid and sent the bid for the Cabinet’s evaluation. The Cabinet sent its opinion to TETAÅž, which

announced that it canceled the tender on Nov. 20.’