In the News (20 to 26 July 2013)

Nuclear Energy – Nuclear Safety

The story “Who Could Trust Such A Company? – The Big Fat Lies About Radiation Exposure Of Workers At Fukushima” is just another compilation of TEPCO’s failures and bad calls during and in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster. The interesting thing though is that this comes from Peak Oil, an outlet dedicated on news from the oil industry.

Question:  How does the oil industry view the recent maladies of the nuclear industry really?  Would it be in their interest to affront the nuclear energy sector in the eyes of public opinion and policy makers? 

More, much more in the news this week on TEPCO:

TEPCO admitted that water contaminated with radiation has been leaking into the ocean. It was everywhere in Japanese and international media this last week. I.e. see reports by Tsuyoshi Inajima and Jacob Adelman for BloombergJapan Today carrying an AFP report and The Mainichi carrying the story from Kyodo News.

Lucas Hixson of Enformable Nuclear News reports here that TEPCO workers used an infrared-thermographic camera over the weekend to capture images of the top floor of the Unit 3 reactor building. This was to detect the causes of the water vapor detected in the facility last week, on 18 July, as reported here by Hiroko Tabuchi of the New York Times.

Mari Fujisaki reported on 20 July for the Asahi Shimbun that morale is low among TEPCO’s managers causing some to resign and look for other jobs. In an effort to boost morale and stop the brain-drain TEPCO announced it will make a one-time payment of 100,000 yen ($997) to each of the company’s managers with approximately 5,000 people being eligible. See the news report here.

Iran: New President Rohani set to appoint new negotiator

A view from Iran on the new Iranian President’s possible picks for his team of nuclear negotiators. See here an analysis by Nader Bagherzadeh on the Iranian news outlet Payvand. See also a news report here by the pan-Arab news outlet Asharq Al-Awsat.

Question: Any insights on the names discussed in the articles? Any ideas of other hopefuls?   [Remember, you can add your comments here.]

Further coverage: There were many articles and even more op-eds this week on where the new Iranian President might go with nuclear negotiations and how the United States and the P5+1 should seize the opportunity to achieve some sort of a breakthrough. Iran’s Ambassador in Algeria Mahmoud Mohamamdi wrote this op-ed here. Cliff Kupchan, director for the Middle East at Eurasia Group and a former U.S. State Department official, wrote this op-ed for the New York Times. An op-ed from the BBC here and another one from Pakistan’s The News International here.

US – India civil nuclear cooperation

U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden visited India this week and met with PM Manmohan Singh. High on the agenda according to this report here by the Times of India: “Ways to take forward the commercial aspects of the civil nuclear agreement between the US and India.”

And all this just one month after US Secretary of State John Kerry was there to discuss the same issue.

Quote: “The reactors that India has authorized its nuclear company to purchase in — I hope I pronounce it right — Gujarat would generate as much as 6,000 megawatts of power.  To put that number in perspective: that would be enough energy to power two cities the size of Mumbai.” – Joe Biden in his remarks at the Bombay Stock Exchange

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Question: So we know the megawatts. How much is that in megadollars?  (BTW Are 6,000 megawatts really what it takes to power two cities the size of Mumbai?)

United Kingdom: ‘Trident’ replacement debate continues

It seems now this debate has been dragging on for ever and everybody who’s anybody in British politics have made their views public. Two more pieces from this week:

Trident: MPs want replacement deal signed soon, by David Maddox (The Scotsman)

The UK’s Trident Program: Sink or Swim? By Sam Kane (Nukes of Hazard)

Question: Where exactly does the buck stop with the Trident case? And when? And of course, the $1,000,000 question, how much pressure is the U.S. applying on the U.K
. on Trident?

See also:

Praful Bidwai is getting all philosophical but right on the point on India and Pakistan in his piece “The dangers of nuclear hubris

For the techy, and rather futuristic, article of the week, Power Engineering International reports on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in this article entitled “The most difficult project on earth.”