New York officials claim power plant is killing endangered fish
New York’s largest power provider may be shut down amidst concerns endangered fish species are threatened by the plant. The Indian Point Energy Center provides energy for roughly 18 to 38 percent of the New York metropolitan area. To cool the plant’s reactors, up to 2.5 billion gallons of water from the Hudson River are used each day. Under the plant’s controversial "once-through" water process, almost a billion organisms, including endangered shortnose sturgeon eggs, are sucked into the facility’s system and killed each year, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. In April, the DEC refused to grant the plant's owner, Entergy Nuclear, a water quality permit. The agency said it is illegal to kill any shortnose sturgeon, and it would allow the plant to operate only if a greener ‘closed-cycle’ water collection system was used, according to The Associated Press. More than 30 percent of power plants nationwide have been ordered to phase out ‘once-through’ systems, in favor of more eco-friendly devices to reduce the number of fish killed.’

Nuclear industry presses sceptical Huhne over backing new reactors
‘Leaders of the nuclear industry have sought urgent meetings with the new energy secretary, Chris Huhne, amid concern that he will not provide the support needed for their £30bn investment programme in a new generation of reactors. Sam Laidlaw, Centrica's chief executive, and Paul Golby, head of E.ON UK, have scheduled talks in the coming days with Huhne, who has strongly indicated that his primary focus is renewable power. Ian Marchant, boss of Scottish and Southern Energy, said today he had spoken by phone to Huhne this week when the minister outlined his views on the commercial viability of atomic plants. "He was sceptical on the economics of nuclear but made it clear he would allow people to make their own decisions on this and would not stand in their way if they can do it without subsidies," said Marchant, whose company is considering a new reactor in Cumbria but is far less committed to nuclear than either Centrica or E.ON. "I think being sceptical is no bad thing. The worst thing you can have is a situation where the state bends over backwards to [financially] support nuclear. Look where that got us," he added.’

Brazil-Turkey Deal with Iran Undermines Big Power Politics
‘UNITED NATIONS, May 19, 2010 (IPS) - When Brazil and Turkey clinched a deal with Iran over its disputed nuclear programme last weekend, the two non-permanent members of the Security Council not only challenged the unbridled political power exercised by the five big powers but also jeopardised U.S. plans for a unanimous resolution imposing sanctions against Tehran. As a result, the 15-member Security Council now remains split, with at least two countries - and possibly more - lined up against a U.S.-inspired resolution against Iran. The Brazil-Turkey initiative, which has undermined the upcoming resolution likely to be adopted next month, has also triggered implicit political threats against the two "renegade" countries. According to unnamed government sources both in Europe and Washington, Turkey's longstanding attempts to join the European Union (EU) are likely to be derailed further. And so would Brazil's plans to join as a permanent member of the Security Council (along with Japan, Germany and India). Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism Project at the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies, told IPS the U.S. crusade for new U.N. sanctions against Iran has been underway for a long time.’
Safety chief says nuclear power growth depends on Congress
‘The growth of nuclear energy in the United States depends on if or how Congress will regulate carbon emissions, said Chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Gregory B. Jaczko in a talk to energy students at Stanford on Tuesday. The commission, of which Jaczko was named chair by President Obama last year, is charged with regulating the civilian use of nuclear material. Jaczko was speaking as part of the Stanford Energy Seminar series. Chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Gregory B. Jaczko drew parallels between commercial nuclear energy oversight and oil drilling regulations on Tuesday. ‘If we don’t ensure that the current fleet of operating reactors is safe...then there will be no nuclear expansion in this country,’ he said. ‘The future of nuclear power in this country will probably hinge more than anything else on what Congress decides to do about climate change and about regulating carbon,’ Jaczko said. With the construction cost of one new reactor ranging from $6 billion to $10 billion (the U.S. Department of Energy has $18 billion in loan guarantees set aside for all construction), few now are willing to finance nuclear projects, Jaczko said. ‘It’s not the kind of money that anybody on Wall Street is willing to lend to a utility, and it’s not the kind of money that a lot of utilities right now are willing to put up on their own,’ he said. But Congress, to whom the commission reports, could change that.’

Poland’s PGE to pick one out of three nuclear technologies
‘Polish Energy Group (PGE), the largest electricity supplier in Poland, appointed three teams to analyse technologies used in nuclear reactors possibly to be applied in nuclear power plants to be built in Poland in the future. Technologies developed by Areva, Westinghouse and GE Hitachi are under PGE’s scrutiny. Analysts study the EPR reactor offered by Areva; AP 1000 reactor from Westinghouse as well as ABWR and ESBWR reactors provided by GE Hitachi, reports. PGE president, Marcin CiepliÅ„ski, declares that if another new technology is developed and there is a rational reason to be interested in it, PGE will look into it as well. PGE has 3-4 years to select a technology for Poland’s first nuclear power plant. PGE has already signed several memoranda of cooperation with nuclear power plant reactor suppliers. One was signed with Westinghouse Electric Company LLC, the supplier of AP 1000 reactors, in April. AP1000 PWR is a passive pressurised water reactor of Generation III+. PGE signed a similar agreement with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas in March. The memorandum mentions a feasibility study of ABWR and ESBWR reactors. PGE also signed a memorandum of cooperation with EdF last November to study the Generation III+ EPR (European Pressurized Reactor) reactor produced by Areva.’

The Chinese road to Pyongyang
Kim Jong-il’s visit to China early this month was a gentle reminder that the road to Pyongyang leads through Beijing. China is the only power that has remained engaged with North Korea, through many ups and downs, whereas Russia, Japan, the US and South Korea have all come and gone. By keeping a door open to North Korea’s leaders, China is making a substantial contribution to regional peace. This is bold diplomacy - for which China is given little credit - at a highly sensitive moment. Nevertheless, China’s ‘leverage’ over North Korea is in part illusory. Kim’s visit should be evaluated in terms of Chinese-North Korean relations as they are, rather than as others might wish them to be. Doing so reveals the role left to the US and South Korea to engage the North in order to revive the denuclearization process and repair inter-Korean relations. Rather than criticize China, US President Barack Obama and Lee should now reach out to the Chinese for thorough debriefings about what was learned from Kim’s visit - on security as well as economic issues. China should continue to lead the effort to encourage reform and opening of the North Korean economy, with help from international financial institutions.’

Critics of nuclear energy in Parliament call for more clarity on waste problem
‘Members of Parliament of the Green League and other MPs who take a sceptical view of nuclear energy are urging Fennovoima, which hopes to build one of two new nuclear reactors endorsed by the government, to report on how it plans to dispose of its nuclear waste. Fennovoima, which is owned jointly by the German E.On and a number of Finnish companies, had not yet revealed any waste disposal plans when it applied for a licence to build a new nuclear reactor. Parliament resumed debate on the nuclear issue on Tuesday, after it had been interrupted by the discussion of the Greek economic crisis. Critics of nuclear energy drew attention to the fact that the increased capacity of nuclear generation would make Finland an exporter of nuclear-generated electricity.’

Nuclear fuel recycling could take 20-30 years: US DOE official
‘The US would be able to implement a nuclear fuel recycling program in the next 20 to 30 years if it committed to such a program now, Warren Miller, the Department of Energy's assistant secretary for nuclear energy, said Wednesday. Speaking at a hearing before the US House of Representatives' Committee on Science and Technology, Miller said DOE would look at advanced recycling technologies that are more resistant to proliferation than the Purex approach used internationally that separates plutonium and uranium from used nuclear fuel. Many nonproliferation advocates see the production of plutonium as a risk because it could be stolen and used to manufacture a nuclear weapon. Illinois Republican Representative Judy Biggert expressed frustration during Miller's testimony that the US has not moved faster to implement programs to recycle used nuclear fuel.’