Asahi: Delayed nuclear reprocessing project
‘Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. has decided to delay the start of full-scale commercial operations at a spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, by two more years to 2012. This, the 18th postponement of the project, will leave it 15 years behind schedule. The plant was originally slated to begin operating in 1997. The reprocessing plant extracts plutonium from spent nuclear fuel and is designed to play a key role in the nuclear fuel recycling system Japan is trying to establish. Test operations have shown that the process of mixing radioactive liquid waste with glass doesn't work well. The outlook remains unclear for the already enormously delayed efforts to establish a nuclear fuel recycling system. This year, the government is scheduled to revise its Framework for Nuclear Energy Policy, which was drawn up in 2005 by the Atomic Energy Commission. The 2005 outline presented several options for dealing with spent nuclear fuel. In addition to the current approach, which requires reprocessing all spent fuel for use in fast-breeder reactors, the document also cited such alternative solutions as disposing of all or part of spent fuel without reprocessing. The report compared the advantages and disadvantages of these options in terms of economic efficiency and resource conservation.’

WPTZ: Yankee Leak Now At Center Of Gov's Race
‘BURLINGTON, Vt. -- The underground pipes at Vermont's lone nuclear power plant found last winter to be leaking radioactive tritium have been repaired and sealed, but the fallout from that groundwater contamination is again percolating through the state's campaign for governor. Late Friday, state health officials confirmed that a water sample taken from a former drinking water well near the reactor had tested positive for tritium contamination. The levels were far below what the Environmental Protection Agency says is safe for human consumption, but it also confirms the existing plume of tritium is seeping deeper into the earth, and closer to an aquifer that supplies the community. Democratic candidate Sen. Peter Shumlin held a news conference to demand Vermont Yankee owners immediately install four additional pumps to try to extract more contamination from the ground, and away from the aquifer." This will be the biggest man-made environmental disaster in the history of the State of Vermont," Shumlin told reporters. "This is very serious matter. It'll take a very serious, focused governor."’

Bloomberg: EDF Is Said to Support Sale of Constellation Energy as Relationship Sours
‘Electricite de France SA, the largest shareholder in Constellation Energy Group Inc., would support the sale of the company as relations between the partners sour, said a person with knowledge of the matter. EDF, which rejected inquiries about a sale in the past few months, has reversed its thinking amid a dispute over its joint venture with the Baltimore-based company, said the person, who declined to be identified because the talks are private. While EDF would like a change of control or new management at Constellation, it won’t actively pursue a sale, the person said. The shift by Paris-based EDF may prompt takeover interest, and a new owner could salvage the companies’ partnerships, said the person. EDF owns about 8.4 percent of Constellation and holds a board seat after it entered into a $4.5 billion deal two years ago to acquire half of the company’s nuclear assets. The deal prevented an acquisition by MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., a unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’

Greentech Media: How Much Does Nuclear Cost? $6,000 a Kilowatt or More
‘The answer has bedeviled researchers, government officials, academics and others for years. The U.S. hasn't commissioned a new nuclear reactor in years so any baseline data is very old. Reactor designs have changed since the '70s, a move that nuclear advocates say could make nuclear plants cheaper. Critics, on the other hand, have said that rising prices for things like steel combined with the chronic delays and budget overruns that regularly occur make nuclear unaffordable. How much do the answers vary? In 2003, MIT estimated that the "overnight cost," or the cost of a plant without financing, would be $2,000 per kilowatt. In 2009, MIT updated the figure to $4,000 a kilowatt, assuming some of the risk factors could be eliminated. Meanwhile, Mark Cooper, from the University of Vermont Law School, said earlier this year that the overnight cost might be in the $7,000-to-$8,000 per kilowatt range, with the all-in cost of a 2-gigawatt nuclear plant including financing running around $20 billion to $25 billion -- in other words, $10 or more per watt. Financing costs are important to include because plants take years to erect: even a one percent loan on a $8 billion project adds up. As a result, the high price results in nuclear socialism, he argues, because plants will always need state support.’

New York Times: Russia Is Seeking to Build Europe’s Nuclear Plants
‘MOSCOW — The Russian nuclear industry has profited handsomely from building reactors in developing countries, including India, China and Iran. Now it is testing the prospect of becoming a major supplier to the European Union, too. Shrugging off the legacy of Chernobyl, the Russian state nuclear company, Rosatom, is preparing a bid on its second new project in the European Union, at the Temelin station in the Czech Republic, potentially worth $8 billion. Rosatom is already building a smaller unit in Bulgaria. And the Russians, already major suppliers of low-enriched uranium fuel to the European Union under a venture with Areva, the French nuclear group, are planning independently to enter the market of fuel for Western-designed plants. Rosatom now provides 100 percent of the fuel used in Switzerland, for example, and 30 percent of all reactor uranium used in France, the Continent’s biggest consumer. But industry analysts say Rosatom’s Czech bid is a test: Can the strategies that propelled Rosatom to become the world’s largest builder of nuclear plants through sales in emerging markets also succeed in the power-hungry developed world?’

Bellona:  Kola Nuclear power plant billed as safe, clean energy at recent economic forum
‘MURMANSK – That the Kola Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) is a reliable, safe and environmentally clean energy source for the polar region was the thrust of the dubious message delivered by the plant’s chief engineer, Alexander Ionov, at a conference on renewable energy sources at the Murmansk Economic Forum that wrapped up last week. The forum also propelled into the limelight issues surround the building of Kola NPP 2 – a second nuclear power plant for the Murmansk Region – despite the nearly 90 percent opposition of the local population to new nuclear power builds in the Russian far north, according to polls. Talks for including nuclear power in the already environmentally dicey Shtokman gas field project were also renewed. And yet again, the problems of mounting radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel went un-discussed while KNPP’s recent safety issues were also swept under the carpet. The most eye-brow raising assertion made by nuclear industry representatives at the forum, however, was the notion that nuclear power conformed to standards of renewable energy, among other assertions that tried to force the square peg of the nuclear industry into the round hole of truly clean energy.’