Newsletter LII 2023

December 24-31

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Current news+ Background knowledge

The PDF file "Nuclear Power Accidents" contains a number of other incidents from various areas of the nuclear industry. Some of the incidents were never published through official channels, so this information could only be made available to the public in a roundabout way. The list of incidents in the PDF file is therefore not 100 % identical with "INES and the disturbances in nuclear facilities", but represents an addition.

2 December 2009 (INES 2) Cruas, FRA

2 December 1949 (INES 4 | NAMS 3,8) Nuclear factory Hanford, USA

5 December 1965 (Broken Arrow) Douglas A-4E Skyhawk, USA

6 December 1972 (INES 3 | NAMS 1,6) Nuclear factory Sellafield, GBR

7 December 1975 (INES 3) NPP Greifswald, GDR

8 December 1955 (INES 3) Nuclear factory Windscale/Sellafield, GBR

10 December 1994 (INES 2 Class.?) NPP Pickering, ON, CAN

12 December 1952 (INES 5) NPP Chalk River, Ontario, CAN

16 December 1987 (INES 1) NPP Biblis A, GER

21 December 1972 (INES ? Class.?) Pawling, NY, USA

27 December 2009 (INES 1) NPP Fessenheim, FRA

27 December 1999 (INES 2) NPP Blayais, FRA

30 December 1958 (INES 4) Los Alamos, NM, USA

31 December 1978 (INES 4) NPP Beloyarsk, USSR, Rus

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We are looking for current information. If you can help, please send a message to: nuclear-world@reaktorpleite.de

 


31. December


 

Greenwashing | carbon neutralCO2 certificate

One, two, climate cheating – offsetting CO2 made easy

The ZDF Frontal editorial team shows how easy it is to greenwash the most climate-damaging product using CO2 certificates.

CO2 credits are intended to compensate for climate-damaging emissions that the manufacturer can no longer limit, even with the greatest effort. At least that's how the legislature sees it. But are they used that way? And do they actually offset climate emissions?

After various revelations and extensive research at the beginning of 2023, there are considerable doubts about this.

The editors of ZDF Frontal tried it out. She founded a fake company and mixed together a climate-damaging cleaning product with green marketing slogans.

The dirty cleaning supplies

“Ecoviel” is “good for people and nature” is what the company “CDF Cleaning Technology” advertises. This may be bold, but legally it's perfectly fine, assures Thomas Fischer from Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH), who helped with the recipe.

[...] Two million bottles of “Ecoviel” emit 2986 tons of CO2 over their lifetime, the Institute for Technical Environmental Protection at the TU Berlin calculates for ZDF Frontal – about as much as 2000 cars emit per year.

For 2400 euros, 3000 tons of CO2 are greenwashed

But compensation is not a problem, the editorial team believes. A climate certificate including a seal is easily available for 2400 euros from the Zurich company Carbon Connect. The dirty cleaner is therefore “climate neutral”, the seal is printed on the bottle...

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United StatesTrumpl | Immunity

Trump's claim to immunity

"The founders of the Constitution would never have approved this"

The prosecution alleges attempted election fraud, but ex-President Trump sees himself protected from criminal prosecution by virtue of his office. Special investigator Jack Smith sees this as endangering the democratic foundation of the USA.

Is Donald Trump protected from prosecution by his presidential immunity? This question is currently before the courts in the USA. Special investigator Jack Smith has now again urged the ex-president's claims to be rejected. The claim that he cannot be held accountable for crimes in office threatens the country's democratic and constitutional foundations, according to a recent filing by the special counsel.

[...] The prosecutor's new brief now states: "A president who unlawfully attempts to remain in power through criminal means, without being checked by possible criminal prosecution, could lose both the presidency itself and the "The foundations of our democratic system of government officials are at risk if he uses fraudulent means to thwart the transfer of power and remain in office."

A broad immunity claim like Trump's could allow US presidents to commit crimes in order to stay in office, they say. “The Founders of the Constitution did not intend such an outcome and would never have approved of it.

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INES Category 4 "Accident"31 December 1978 (INES 4) NPP Beloyarsk, USSR, Rus

Wikipedia

Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Plant#Incidents Unit 2

On 30/31 In December 1978 the temperature in the area fell to −50 °C. On the following New Year's Eve, the low temperatures caused a serious incident that almost turned into a catastrophe. The roof of the turbine hall collapsed due to material fatigue. Parts fell on the generator and a short circuit occurred, which caused a fire in the turbine hall. Measuring lines to the reactor were partially destroyed. Burning oil made it difficult for firefighters to bring the fire under control. In order to prevent a catastrophe, the reactor had to be shut down. Thick smoke entered the control room, so that the operating staff had to leave the control room temporarily and could only re-enter it for a short time in order to carry out some switching operations. In the first few hours, fear of the consequences, efforts were made to evacuate the nearby workers' town of Zarechny. Attempts have already been made to organize many buses and trains for the evacuation in the Sverdlovsk Oblast.

Eight people were severely radioactive, almost two dozen were temporarily unconscious from the smoke gas, but after a few hours the reactors were under control again...

Nuclear power accidents by country#Russia

Translation with https://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
 

AtomkraftwerkePlag

Beloyarsk (Russia) 

From 1964 to 1979 there was a series of events in Beloyarsk-1 in which fuel channels were destroyed and workers were exposed to increased levels of radiation. In 1977, 50% of the fuel assemblies at Beloyarsk-2 melted down; the staff were exposed to high levels of radioactivity. In a fire that broke out on December 31, 1978 due to a falling cover plate, eight people suffered an increased radiation dose.

Various incidents during breeder operation were also reported in the 1990s ...

 


30. December


 

The greenLobby organization

“Center for Liberal Modernity”: Obscure financial practices and questionable contacts – Greens under suspicion

Questionable financial actions and political entanglements: nepotism in a lobby organization? A whistleblower could now put those responsible in distress.

The green lobby organization Center Liberale Moderne (ZLM, proper spelling: LibMod) is once again exposed to serious allegations. The journalist Friedrich Küppersbusch and his team on the YouTube channel Küppersbusch TV Based on our own research and statements from a whistleblower, we point out questionable financial actions by the green organization.

The journalist had previously discussed the close political and financial connections between the ZLM and ministries.

His most recent article sheds light on the financial interconnections of the ZLM and criticizes the fact that the organization continues to be financed to a significant extent from state sources despite a surplus of money - probably also through contacts with Green cabinet members...

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United StatesMcKinsey | Marketing

Pharmaceutical companies supported

McKinsey pays millions of dollars in opioid settlement

Did McKinsey boost sales of painkillers through misleading campaigns, thereby contributing to the opioid crisis in the US? In any case, the consulting firm has already had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to settle lawsuits. A comparison will now also be expensive for McKinsey.

The consulting firm McKinsey has agreed to a settlement with US health insurers and care plans related to opioids. According to the settlement in federal court in San Francisco, the company will pay $78 million to the plaintiffs. This is the latest in a series of settlements that McKinsey has reached to resolve opioid-related lawsuits in the United States.

The plaintiffs had accused the consulting firm of contributing to the opioid crisis by helping pharmaceutical companies like Purdue Pharma plan misleading marketing campaigns and boost sales of painkillers...

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United StatesTrumpl | Misinformation

Trial against Trump

Misinformation generated: Trump's ex-lawyer Cohen admits in court to incorrect use of AI

The new AI programs have immense capabilities - but the way they are programmed makes them susceptible to “hallucinating” supposed facts. Trump's ex-lawyer is also said to have generated false information. Now it remains to be seen whether this will have an impact on a trial currently underway against the former president.

New York. Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen admitted in court that he used artificial intelligence to generate false information and passed it on to his lawyer. The 57-year-old used the Google chatbot Bard to find documents for a court case in New York that the software came up with. This emerges from newly released documents from the federal court in Manhattan in which Cohen justifies his behavior...

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RenewablesBlackout | CO2 prices

One hundred percent renewable on a winter day instead of a blackout

Thanks to high CO2 prices, the use of brown coal is becoming increasingly unprofitable. This means that the share of conventional energy is falling, while the share of renewable energy is increasing - on some days it is already over 100 percent.

A record is clearly emerging for renewable energies. Calculated over the year 2023, the renewable share of electricity from public power plants was almost 60 percent.

Last week it was even around 80 percent. Even the 100 percent mark was broken on Christmas Eve.

There will be more and more phases in which we produce more electricity from renewable energies than we consume. It will therefore become increasingly important that storage is used.

As expected, the energy system coped with the exit from nuclear power without any problems. Everyone who wanted to provoke blackouts was proven wrong...

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Climate protection | AfD | CDUAntifascism

Think climate protection and anti-fascism together

Climate protection measures hit people with low incomes harder than those who are wealthier. Nevertheless, support for the AfD is growing, even though the party's economic policies would primarily benefit higher earners.

It's not exactly a surprise and the topic isn't new either, but this year the enormous increase in poll numbers for the AfD has made it much clearer and more visible: If we want to make further progress in climate protection, we have to give a lot of attention to climate protection and anti-fascism think more together.

State elections will take place in Saxony, Thuringia and Brandenburg next September. If you believe the current polls, the AfD could become the strongest party in all three countries. We don't want to speculate about what will happen at the political level.

In any case, all warning signs for climate protection and for our democracy are red. The AfD, other right-wing libertarian groups and also parts of the CDU have managed to sow deep mistrust of democratic institutions in society. In particular, they have succeeded in linking necessary climate protection measures in the perception of large parts of the population with the increase in social injustice. I just mention the term "heating hammer"...

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Sustainability | Heat pump | sewage

Dutch city planners are diving down the drain in search of warmth

Sustainability While Robert Habeck's heating law is being debated in Germany, the Dutch are getting creative. In their search for heat sources, they have now discovered the sewage system and want to heat millions of households sustainably

I once lived in a house where the double flush of the upstairs neighbor's toilet echoed loudly through our kitchen every morning. Now, however, Dutch sewage is no longer seen as a source of heated neighborly relations, but as a reliable source of heat for millions of households that the government wants to be disconnected from the country's gas network by 2050.

The Amsterdam housing association Lieven de Key is planning what is believed to be the first sewer heat project in which a main sewer pipe will be tapped to heat 1.600 existing social and student apartments.

[...] “The heat comes from the showers, the toilet, the waste water from washing, the dishwasher and the washing machine,” says Postuma. “All this together results in a temperature of between 15 and 18 degrees all year round. We will put a bypass around the main sewer, put a heat exchanger around it and send the water to the houses in insulated pipes. We put it in an electric heat pump and the water is heated to an average temperature of 60 or 70 degrees.”

The heat exchanger transfers the source heat from the drain into a working medium that can be transported to the buildings without the actual wastewater having to circulate. Then the blocks' solar-powered heat pumps can amplify that heat in the opposite way a refrigerator works...

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United States | military-industrial complex

War debacles and lots of money: The secret agenda behind failed US foreign policy

Washington spends around $1,5 trillion on armaments and security every year. The military-industrial complex benefits from this. There is a fraud behind this with potentially serious consequences.

At first glance, US foreign policy appears completely irrational. The United States is plunging into one catastrophic war after another - in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, Ukraine and now Gaza.

In recent days, the United States has been almost completely isolated worldwide for its support of Israel's genocidal actions against the Palestinians. They voted against a UN General Assembly resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, which was supported by 153 countries with 89 percent of the world's population and opposed only by the United States and nine small countries with less than XNUMX percent of the world's population.

Over the past 20 years, all of the United States' major foreign policy goals have failed.

The Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan after 20 years of US occupation.

After the fall of Saddam Hussein, Iraq became dependent on Iran.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remained in power despite the CIA's attempts to overthrow him.

Libya sank into a protracted civil war after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi by a US-led “NATO mission”.

Ukraine was defeated by Russia on the battlefield in 2023, after the US had already secretly prevented a peace agreement between Russia and Ukraine in April 2022...

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INES Category 4 "Accident"30 December 1958 (INES 4) Los Alamos, NM, USA

 Slowly but surely, all relevant information on disruptions in the nuclear industry is being removed from Wikipedia. This INES 4 incident and all other Los Alamos accidents are dealt with in four sentences. 

Wikipedia

Los Alamos National Laboratory

A criticality accident occurred during extraction work with a solution containing plutonium at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in New Mexico. The operator died of acute radiation sickness. After this accident, critical mass work in the United States finally switched to the use of manipulators. Until then, despite the criticality accidents in the 1940s, manual handling of plutonium was common.

 


29. December


 

United States | DemocracyTrumpl

Trump's exclusion from the election:

The wrong way

The legal dispute with the ex-president threatens to overshadow the political one

At first there is joy: Donald Trump is also not allowed to take part in the Republican primaries in the US state of Maine. Maine's Interior Secretary Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, did not allow him to vote: Trump was guilty of insurrection against the USA with his behavior after the 2020 election defeat. According to the US Constitution, he no longer meets the requirements for the office. The decision follows a similar ruling by the Supreme Court in the state of Colorado.

Trump's authoritarian aspirations are real, and he showed his true colors during the storming of the Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021. But the decision from Maine raises questions: a final conviction of Trump for insurrection is still pending. In any other country, the exclusion of the most promising opposition candidate by ministerial decree would be interpreted as a democratic step backwards. This approach to Trump reveals a dilemma for his political opponents: because of his constant border crossings and law-breaking, the discussion of his politics takes a back seat. Trump can score points with vague and implausible promises while the Democrats are working on him...

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Inequality | Justice | Climate protection

Climatologist: “The business model of fossil fuel companies is based on killing people”

Our economy and our society are based on the exploitation of people and the environment, says the renowned German climatologist Friederike Otto. New narratives are needed in the future

The German physicist and climatologist Friederike Otto has been working in so-called attribution research for many years. The aim is to find out how much climate change is responsible for extreme weather events around the world. Otto received the German Environmental Prize this year for her research. What Otto found, among other things: In many cases, it is not primarily climate change, but many other factors that are to blame for an extreme weather event becoming a catastrophe - a lack of warnings, poor preparation or such an unequal society in which some groups are much more affected than others other.

These days Otto is publishing the book “Climate Injustice”. In it she tries to show the connections between climate change, capitalism, sexism and racism. “The more unequal a society is, the less able it is to deal with the effects of climate change,” she says. Technical solutions alone will not be enough to combat climate change. Instead, new narratives are needed in the future: for example, that prosperity and fossil fuels are not necessarily linked and that climate protection must also mean more justice.

STANDARD: Ms. Otto, the 28th UN Climate Change Conference recently ended in Dubai. You were also present at the conference yourself. How did you experience your time there?

Otto: Dubai is a dystopia that has become reality and was therefore a very fitting setting.

STANDARD: What did the climate conference bring to climate protection?

Otto: The short answer: nothing. The longer answer: We have known for more than a century that burning fossil fuels causes global warming and thus the death of people and ecosystems. The only way to stop warming is to stop using fossil fuels. Nevertheless, it took 28 climate conferences before the world's governments recognized this in an official document. In purely factual terms, this is progress and “historic”. The compromise celebrated is not one between states and the different interests of their populations, but between the short-term financial interests of a few and the health and lives of a large part of the world's population...

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Spain | Nuclear phase-out | Renewables | Storage

Spain is phasing out nuclear energy

Madrid - There are still seven nuclear power plants in operation in Spain, but the phase-out of nuclear energy by 2035 has now been confirmed. As the Reuters news agency reports, around 20,2 billion euros are estimated for the disposal of radioactive waste and the dismantling of the nuclear power plants. Spain will rely on renewable energies in the future.

Spain is continuing to drive forward the transformation of the energy industry on the Iberian Peninsula. The Spanish government has now confirmed the phase-out of nuclear energy. From 2027, the operating nuclear power plants will be shut down. Instead, Spain wants to establish an electricity system made up of 2050 percent renewable energy by 100.

Spain still operates seven nuclear power plants – the shutdown plan starts in 2027

The Spanish exit from nuclear energy has been decided and, according to the daily El Pais, will begin with the closure of Unit 1 of the Almaraz nuclear power plant (1.049 MW gross output) in November 2027, with Unit 2 to follow in October 2028. The further closures affect the two nuclear power plants at the Asco site in eastern Spain, each with a gross output of just over 1.000 MW. This is followed by the Cofrentes nuclear power plants (1.100 MW), Unit 2 of the Vandellos nuclear power plant (1.087 MW) and finally the youngest Trillo nuclear power plant (1988) with an output of (1.066 MW) in 2035...

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China | Baerbock

The Chinese simply no longer understand Germany

China is a world power - and doesn't necessarily wait for moral advice made in Germany. The Chinese don't understand how things could get this far in Germany.

Roberto De Lapuente spoke to Guan Xin.

[...] De Lapuente: Has Germany's reputation suffered in China?

Xin: Yes very. It's simply ridiculous if you think that Germany is the moral world champion, because of course you immediately think of the murder of the 6 million Jews. And that just doesn't add up. And the way Germany acted in the past, i.e. under Willy Brandt and Gerhard Schröder, increased Germany's reputation in the world. But now this arrogance: “You have to follow us.” Germany is not a role model in all areas. There are many deficits in Germany. And anyone who always gives advice to others must be perfect themselves.

“The Chinese wouldn’t care how uneducated Baerbock is”

De Lapuente: Ms. Baerbock is noticed in China?

Xin: Your promises will not be ignored in China. But Alice Weidel has become a superstar. Almost all of her speeches are translated into Chinese and can be seen with Chinese subtitles on the Chinese Internet. She also settles mercilessly with Baerbock and Habeck. I mean, if Baerbock wasn't so anti-China, the Chinese wouldn't care how well or how poorly educated she is. But in that context she keeps saying stupid things. For example, she said the UN needs to create a framework to prevent China from attacking Taiwan. How is this suppossed to work? Something like this is widely reported in China. And then come all these promises, the gaps in education or countries that are supposed to be 100.000 kilometers away...

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United States | DemocracyTrumpl

Maine agency decision

Second US state excludes Trump from primary election

After Colorado, now Maine: Trump has been removed from the primary election ballot in a second state - because of his role in the storming of the Capitol in 2021. However, the decision is likely to be appealed.

The top electoral authority in the US state of Maine has excluded Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump from taking part in the primaries for next year's US presidential election. The politician responsible for elections in Maine, Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, removed Trump's name from the ballot, citing his role in the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Trump incited an insurrection when he spread false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election and then urged his supporters to march on the Capitol to stop lawmakers from certifying the vote, Bellows, a Democrat, said in her statement.

Reference to the 14th Amendment to the Federal Constitution

Trump's opponents in several states are citing the 14th Amendment to the Federal Constitution, which dates back to the Civil War. It prohibits people from holding office if they have committed "insurrection or rebellion" after taking an oath to the United States. Trump's critics see his involvement in the storming of the Capitol as proven...

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ThinkFreedom of speechcensorship

From Brecht to Biller: How thinking out loud was banned from the left

Why thinking out loud is a luxury. Why public discourse should be more than whining. And how to cancel rights. An appeal in four parts. (1 - 2 - 3 - Part 4 and conclusion)

In the third part of this series, Telepolis author Marlon Grohn criticized the lack of reflection on the tradition of prohibition and persecution within liberalism. He notes that many who emphasize freedom of expression in a democracy ignore the existing restrictions on opinions.

Our author compares this to the Middle Ages, emphasizing the obstruction of truly progressive ideas by cancel culture and arguing that social pressures hinder independent thought. He points out that public speaking carries social consequences that are borne more heavily by the non-property class. Grohn calls for a critical look at freedom of expression and cancel culture as symptoms of class rule. 

It's not about falling back into idealism and believing that thoughts expressed out loud will change the world. But even if, as is so often the case, they don't - and especially then - it should not only be allowed, but encouraged, to express them - freely, i.e. H. without pressure, without any kind of “structural” threats.

Because the need for loud reflection is not primarily about winning others over to one's own views, educating them or even carrying out propaganda for social changes. This view is itself an element of that identitarian label ideology that wants to see in every word, wherever, only a hint of a political program.

When thinking out loud, it is by no means about what the corresponding ideology calls "intellectual arson" and which is being revived today with the allegation of oh-so-dangerous Internet comments ("hate on the Internet"), because of which citizens are called upon to more direct censorship want to get used to above.

Rather, quite simply, it is first of all about meeting one's own need to think - which is only real thinking when thinking out loud - which does no harm to anyone...

 


28. December


 

Trittin

Jürgen Trittin on the Greens:

“Best sons-in-law in the Republic”

Jürgen Trittin looks back on his political career: A conversation about bans, arrogance and compromises.

taz: Mr. Trittin, you are stepping down after 25 years in the Bundestag. You have been politically active since you came to Göttingen to study in the 70s. Is there a core to your political life, something that has always driven you?

Jürgen Trittin: I once said somewhere that I hate injustice.

But that's not it?

Yes, yes, but that's not from me, it's a quote from the film “For a Fistful of Dollars”. This is said by Clint Eastwood, who is a selfish mercenary, but who does good and frees the village from the gangsters. Of course, I have worked in very different political areas, but I think the fight for something like justice is probably the common thread.

So not environment or climate?

Climate protection, energy transition – it’s all about justice. As a political term, ecology is nothing other than the definition that every person on this globe, including future generations, should have the same life chances. It's about intergenerational, global justice. This is the core of political ecology...

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ExploitationMigrationworking conditions

Hard work: Germany builds on the backs of those without a German passport

Many languages ​​are spoken on construction sites in this country. Especially from Central and Eastern Europe. Why the situation of migrant workers is often precarious.

In Berlin – and certainly elsewhere too – the construction sites are silent between the years.

[...] In December 2023, the Institute for Sustainable Regional Development in Europe (Peco-Institut e.V.) together with the European Association for Migrant Workers' Issues (EVW/EMWU e.V.) published a Study published with the title "Hard Work. Construction workers from Central and Eastern Europe and the work contract system in Germany." 

Migrant construction workers: “Confronted with different realities”

Since 2009, almost the entire increase in employees subject to social security contributions in the construction industry has been achieved by migrants. The number of so-called postings has doubled. The conclusion of the study states:

Migrant workers are often confronted with different realities than domestic construction workers. In particular, employers use false information about the hours actually worked to avoid minimum wages.

In addition, there are usually excessive working hours between 200 and 300 hours per month, only some of which are billed correctly, while the other part is either paid in cash or not paid at all.

Withholding continued payment of wages in the event of illness, withholding vacation pay or deducting wages for alleged poor work are also common violations of minimum working conditions.
Study Hard Work, Peco Institute

Germany is building on the backs of those without a German passport...

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Scheuer | CompensationCar tollMinistry of Transport

CSU car toll:

Scheuer escapes without complaint

The car toll collapsed spectacularly. The state was billed in the millions - the then CSU minister is not threatened with a lawsuit because of this.

BERLIN dpa/taz | The Federal Ministry of Transport is not taking legal action against the former department head Andreas Scheuer (CSU) because of the follow-up costs of the failed car toll. As the ministry announced on Thursday, it is following a report that ultimately advises against filing a lawsuit because of possible liability claims.

The independent experts came to the conclusion that liability arising from an official relationship under public law could be considered, the ministry explained. At the same time, however, they pointed out “the very significant litigation risk and the reasonable doubts about the enforceability of possible claims”. The ministry is following the recommendation to prevent further damage to taxpayers. At the same time it emphasized: “Regardless of this, the undisputed political responsibility of former Federal Minister Scheuer remains.” ...
 

IMHO

"One crow doesn't pluck out another's eye" or "Dog don't eat dog" etc.

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Climate change | Dryness | drought

Increasing water demand

The air in Europe has not been as dry as it is today for 400 years

A research team examined the annual rings of trees: oxygen isotopes showed record dryness in recent years and decades

The air in Europe has become significantly drier in recent decades compared to pre-industrial times. Man-made climate change is once again responsible for this, as an international research team reports in the journal “Nature Geoscience”. The drier atmosphere has clear consequences for European nature and agriculture; it leads to more frequent droughts and increases the risk of forest fires.

The trend continues

Using a novel approach, researchers led by Kerstin Treydte from the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) have reconstructed the so-called vapor pressure deficit since 1600, as well as the isotope ratio of heavy and light oxygen (18O/16O) in tree rings from a European network of forest sites.

The analyzes not only show that the air over large parts of Europe has become drier since the beginning of the 21st century, but also that this trend is continuing. "Given the drought events in many regions of Europe in recent years, this finding is really worrying," said Treydte.

A measure of air dryness is the vapor pressure deficit (VPD for short). This physical quantity describes the difference between the actual and the maximum possible water content of the air, so to speak the "thirst for water" of the air...

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Democracy | AfD | Anti-Semitism

Former constitutional judge Voßkuhle

"It may be that our democracy turns out to be just a phase in history"

The former President of the Federal Constitutional Court, Andreas Voßkuhle, is concerned about growing anti-Semitism and the strengthening of the AfD. The party is striving for a “fundamental change in the system”.

[...] Voßkuhle also warned of the consequences of possible AfD successes in the state elections in Saxony, Thuringia and Brandenburg next year. "The AfD as the strongest faction in one or more state parliaments would transform Germany's political landscape," said Voßkuhle. »The state elections in 2024 must therefore worry us. It won’t be easy to prevent the AfD from becoming the strongest force.”

When asked about an earlier quote that said it was "by no means self-evident" that Western democracy would survive, the ex-constitutional judge reiterated his warnings. “It may well be that our Western democracy will prove to be just a short phase in the history of humanity,” says Voßkuhle. It is possible that "the dark age of totalitarianism will return again." He referred to the Attic democracy in ancient Greece, which also did not last. "If you don't want that, you should get involved in our democracy." ...

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Climate policy | traffic light coalition | CO2 emissions

Climate policy of the traffic light coalition:

Good luck

Political lead casting: How the traffic light plunged climate policy into chaos and lost people's trust.

The tractors, they scare the traffic lights. Since farmers parked their huge tractors in front of the Brandenburg Gate and the president of the agricultural association threatened to ensure a hot winter at the beginning of January, there has been talk about yellow vests again in Germany: Are there a threat of angry protests against a diesel price increase in this country, as was once the case in France?

[...] This government has the best narrator in the country in Robert Habeck. Olaf Scholz is someone who has a lot of experience with government apparatus. And Christian Lindner? Well, Lindner. These days it is easy for many people to blame all the traffic light failures in climate protection on the FDP, the eternal naysayers. Also because it has so obviously deliberately delayed climate policy measures. But that would be too easy. Because the failure of the traffic light in climate policy, and you have to call it a failure, has another reason. It is also due to a bizarre mix of verbal exaggeration of the subject matter, combined with striking craftsmanship errors.

Climate policy is not voodoo. On the contrary, it is almost trivial how one can reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an economy. The state has three levers for this. Firstly, it can subsidize, i.e. subsidize the conversion of factories, infrastructure, the car fleet and houses with a lot of money. That costs a lot of public money.

Secondly, it can ban climate-damaging activities. This always bothers some powerful lobby and therefore requires a lot of backbone. And thirdly, it can use market mechanisms by making CO₂ emissions more expensive and thus reward climate-neutral behavior: either through emissions trading or directly through a CO₂ price. Many economists love the latter, but unfortunately it hits the poor particularly hard unless it is compensated for...

 


27. December


 

Uruguay's Energy transition

90%+ renewables: Uruguay has quietly mastered the energy transition

When it comes to implementing the energy transition, attention is usually directed towards the technologically advanced industrialized countries of the West or China. Under the radar, Uruguay has now almost completely completed its transition away from fossil fuels.

Nuclear physicist relies on wind power

The whole thing started in the South American country around 15 years ago. At that time, oil prices skyrocketed and the state, whose energy supply depended almost entirely on imported crude oil, came under increasing pressure. The then President Tabaré Vázquez then turned to the physicist Ramón Méndez Galain for help, who developed a plan to transform the energy supply.

The British daily newspaper The Guardian now took stock: Today, Uruguay has almost completely eliminated fossil fuels for electricity generation. Depending on the weather, between 90 and 95 percent of the electricity comes from renewable energies. In some years this proportion was as high as 98 percent.

"I had worked abroad for 14 years and when I came back there was this energy crisis, but the only solution people offered was to install a nuclear power plant - that was all," Galain recalls. "I was a nuclear physicist and thought I could understand this problem a little." He himself came to the conclusion that nuclear energy could not be the solution...

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The nuclear industry is bankrupt, military-industrial complex and the Nuclear lobby demand trillions of US dollars.

Global SMR buildout needs a new Marshall Plan

Over the last several years evidence has been mounting that a large expansion of nuclear energy capacity is indispensable for keeping global warning within 1,5°C limits. Multiple studies have confirmed that, contrary to the claims by “all-renewables” zealots, no single group of technologies can enable a timely and cost-efficient energy transition, and a diversified energy mix of low-carbon sources, including both intermittent renewables and nuclear, is needed to achieve net-zero by 2050. The most recent estimates suggest that the global nuclear energy installed capacity needs to increase 2050-2,5 times from the current 3 GW to between 370 GWe and 916 GW by 1.160.

[...] Despite growing interest and burgeoning number of start-ups and initiatives, the actual sector's progress in the past decades has been slower than expected. Russia's Akademik Lomonosov, the world’s first operational SMR-based facility launched in 2019 and stationed in Chukotka, remains the lone commercially-operational project to date. The recent cancellation of NuScale's pilot project in Utah in November 2023 further highlights the challenges SMR vendors face.

[...] The Russian RITM reactor series, benefiting from state backing and an early move into the stage of series manufacturing, is expected to capture the largest share of the global SMR fleet, representing 17-18% of its total capacity. Despite geopolitical challenges, Rosatom is likely to extend its market dominance from the large reactors’ exports segment to that of SMRs, especially in emerging markets. The Chinese Linglong One, NuScale's VOYGR, Hitachi’s BWRX-300, as well as advanced reactors like the XE-100 are projected to secure significant global market shares in the coming decades. Relative latecomers, which are expected to capitalise on substantial private and public backing, like the molten salt reactor Natrium developing by Bill Gates’ TerraPower, the French NUWARD, and Rolls-Royce’s UK-SMR, as well as the group of potential disrupters, such as OKLO’s Aurora, SSR-Wasteburner, and Terrestrial Energy’s IMSR are also expected to survive the competition and win in some significant market niches.

The NNWI estimates that developing 150-160 GWe of SMR capacity will require an investment of approximately US$2050-800 billion worldwide by 900, based on 2023 prices ...

Translation with https://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

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Japan | TEPCO | Kashiwazaki Kariwa

Security breaches eliminated?

Japan lifts operating ban on world's largest nuclear power plant

Kashiwazaki-Kariwa is the world's largest nuclear power plant. After the Fukushima disaster, like many others, it is shut down, but could now come back online. But the approval of local authorities appears to be in doubt after a series of security breaches.

The Japanese government has lifted the operating ban on the world's largest nuclear power plant, thereby removing a hurdle to its commissioning. The safety system at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has been improved, said the responsible nuclear regulatory authority NRA. This means that uranium rods can be delivered again and introduced into the seven reactors of the plant on the Sea of ​​Japan.

This puts the ball in the court of the municipalities, who have to give the green light. However, it is unclear when and whether this will even be the case. TEPCO said the company was working to gain the trust of local authorities...

IMHO

The Nuclear Village is happy, everything is running smoothly.

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Storage | Renewables

Current high for renewables:

It's about the storage

Over Christmas, energy requirements were completely covered by renewables. Now it's time to expand storage capacity.

Complex relationships often produce multiple truths. The Christmas holidays were an excellent example of this. Calculated, Germany covered its hourly electricity needs entirely from renewable energies, primarily wind power. That's something to be really happy about. For years, actors in politics, business and technology had been working towards such moments.

Nevertheless, despite all the euphoria, one should not ignore another truth: As long as storage is not available on a large scale, the further expansion of weather-dependent generation capacities will lead to ever greater disruptions in the electricity industry - associated with high costs and risks...

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INES category 1 "disorder"27 December 2009 (INES 1) NPP Fessenheim, FRA

Plant residue got into the cooling circuit when the reactor was started up... (Costs ?)

Nuclear Power Accidents
 

Wikipedia

Fessenheim nuclear power plant

Operational disruptions

Since the nuclear power plant went into operation, there have been over 1989 incidents between 2008 and 200 that would have had to be reported according to the German Radiation Protection Ordinance...

On December 27, 2009, the second reactor of the nuclear power plant was temporarily shut down because of plant residues in the cooling circuit. The electricity company EDF said it was still unclear when the reactor would be restarted. The French nuclear regulator classified the incident at the plant as INES 1. The reactor, which was taken offline for maintenance work on December 26th, was supposed to have resumed operation at around 27 a.m. on December 6th. According to EDF, plant debris got into the cooling circuit when a water pump was restarted when the reactor was about to be started up. This affected the performance of the system...
 

AtomkraftwerkePlag

Fessenheim (France)

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INES Category 2 "Incident"27 December 1999 (INES 2) NPP Blayais, FRA

 A storm flooded the Blayais-2 nuclear reactor, forcing an emergency shutdown after injection pumps
and safety systems of the containment had failed due to water damage.
(costs approx. 63 million US$)

Nuclear Power Accidents
 

Wikipedia

Blayais Nuclear Power Plant

Security - High water

Hurricane Martin caused severe flooding in the area of ​​the nuclear power plant on the evening of December 27, 1999, resulting in a Category 2 accident on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES 2). At this time, the third reactor unit was shut down for routine maintenance. The storm initially caused disruptions in the 400 kV network, which led to an automatic shutdown of reactor units 2 and 4. The storm then pushed the water from the Gironde over the protective dikes into the site of the nuclear power plant. The water flooded underground areas of the reactor buildings in Units 1 and 2. Parts of the cooling system and emergency cooling system as well as other safety devices were also flooded...
 

AtomkraftwerkePlag

Blayais (France)

Incidents and incidents

On December 27, 1999, a serious accident almost occurred at the facility in the Gironde Delta. The French power grid partially failed after a violent storm. Parts of the nuclear power plant were flooded by a tidal wave that was higher than calculated in the safety analyses. The existing flood protection systems proved to be unreliable. Fortunately, the power supply could be maintained using emergency diesel. Several safety devices and pumps failed after an emergency shutdown. The event was only publicly announced days later and categorized as an INES level 2 incident...

 


26. December


 

United States split, Don Trumpl and his Fascists terrorize the country.

Police investigate threats against judges after Trump ruling

The police in the USA are investigating threats against the responsible judges after an explosive verdict against former US President Donald Trump in the state of Colorado.

“The FBI is aware of the situation and is working with local law enforcement authorities,” CNN quoted a statement from the FBI Federal Police as saying. A Denver police spokesman told Axios that they were investigating incidents targeting Colorado Supreme Court justices. The police are doing “additional patrols around the judges’ residences”.

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled last week that Trump was unfit to serve as president because of his role in the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. That's why his name should not appear on ballot papers in the state. The last word has not yet been spoken here. The case is likely to end up before the Supreme Court in Washington. But for Trump and his supporters the decision was a major defeat...

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IAEA | Iran | enrichment | Frodo and Natanz, uranium enrichment facilities in Iran

Iran has ramped up production of highly enriched uranium

The International Atomic Energy Agency has findings that Iran has expanded production of uranium. It was shut down in mid-2023.

Production of highly enriched uranium has been ramped up in Iran. The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, announced this to the organization's member countries, said a spokesman in Vienna. Production had previously been scaled back in mid-2023.

Iran communicated its production plans at the end of November. IAEA inspectors verified the information during visits on December 19th and 24th, the authority said. It's about the Natans and Fordo production facilities. Since the end of November, around nine kilograms of uranium enriched to a purity of up to 60 percent have been produced there...

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Renewables | Electricity price | Record

Renewable energies break records:

Powerful Christmas time

Renewables covered up to 124 percent of electricity needs over the holidays. In wholesale, you increasingly have to add extra money when selling.

FREIBURG taz | The storm “Zoltan” temporarily gave Germany a large surplus of electricity over the Christmas holidays. In the early hours of December 25th, renewable energies covered up to 124 percent of current demand. Wind power alone generated more electricity than needed at times. Accordingly, it was worthless for many hours on the electricity market: for a total of 52 hours on Christmas Day, the electricity price on the exchange was negative or equal to zero.

Negative electricity prices occur when either wind turbines or photovoltaic systems - sometimes both together - generate so much electricity that it can no longer be used sensibly. Then wholesale electricity buyers are paid for it. Especially when demand for electricity is low on weekends and public holidays, prices can fall far into the red...

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United Nations | nuclear weapons tests | Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty

Ban on nuclear weapons: Germany has to decide now

Civil society has the power to shape the world. This particularly applies to the threatening nuclear rearmament. Thoughts on the UN Future Summit 2024.

The “Future Summit 2024” will take place at the United Nations headquarters in New York in September 2024. The German Ambassador to the United Nations Antje Leendertse and Namibia's Ambassador Neville Gertze are in charge of preparing the summit.

Germany and Namibia are faced with the challenge of developing a sustainable foundation for a United Nations reform process, which will be discussed as a basis at the summit.

[...] It was not the great statesmen/women, but the many actors in civil society who paved the way for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The abolition of all nuclear weapons is the highest priority on the United Nations disarmament agenda, said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

The states that have signed and ratified the treaty predominantly belong to the southern hemisphere of the world. They are exclusively nuclear weapons-free states. They also include the island states of the South Pacific, which have to bear the catastrophic consequences of above-ground nuclear weapons tests...

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Greenwashing | CO2 emissions | emission allowances

CO2 compensation: “I hope that the market will soon end”

Voluntarily support a climate project to compensate for the CO2 emissions of a flight? – “Don’t do it,” advises the expert.

SWI swissinfo.ch: I recently flew from Seville to Geneva and offset the emissions from my flight by supporting a reforestation project in Nicaragua. But is it really possible to offset these emissions by planting trees? Or is this just marketing for those who want to have a clear conscience?

Carsten Warnecke: It is not at all possible to offset emissions in this way. The production of kerosene disrupts the long-term carbon cycle that has been stored underground for thousands of years. Planting trees, on the other hand, means storing carbon in the short term.

No one can guarantee that the tree I plant today to compensate for my flight will still be standing in 20 or 30 years. Climate change itself is a threat to forests, as increasingly frequent fires, droughts and pests show.

In addition, the potential for biological carbon storage is limited: the most nature could do is offset historical emissions and the emissions we consider unavoidable today.

We don't need pretty pictures of green trees and projects that make us think we don't need to change our behavior. We need drastic images like those on cigarette packs that show the real impact of our actions...

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Climate change | Facts | Climate research

What we know about the climate today

Fact paper on the status of climate research updated

Three years ago, klimafakten.de, together with the German Climate Consortium (DKK), the German Weather Service (DWD), the Helmholtz Climate Initiative and other partners, compactly summarized the state of knowledge on the causes and consequences of climate change. The latest version of this fact paper is now available.

It is already foreseeable that 2023 will once again be “the hottest year since records began.” Climate change continues to intensify, often faster than previously thought. The current data and findings have now been incorporated into the Fact paper “What we know about the climate today” incorporated. A separate chapter is dedicated to developments in Germany...

 


25. December


 

EU Parliament | Corruption | Qatargate

Qatargate or Moroccogate? The EU failure in the corruption scandal

A year after large sums of cash were found during raids on Vice President of the European Parliament Eva Kaili, all of the accused are now at large and Kaili has long been back in and out of parliament. Meanwhile, the investigations by the Belgian judiciary appear to be coming to nothing. But a large number of new, overwhelming evidence has just been published, but Parliament is falling on its feet for not having initiated any investigations of its own.

Only recently, many new details about the biggest corruption scandal in the European Parliament in decades were published by a research network that also includes the Belgian newspaper “Le Soir” and “Der Spiegel”. For example, Le Soir reported that the former Vice President of the European Parliament, Eva Kaili, who was at the center of the scandal, and her partner Francesco Giorgi, who has at least partially confessed, bought an apartment in Brussels for 650.000 euros. This purchase also involved 100.000 euros in cash, of which 80.000 euros were found on the seller during a raid. This is also illegal in Belgium.

The Italian friend of the Greek Kaili had long since told the investigators where all the cash that was seized during raids came from. Giorgi was employed as an assistant to the former Italian European Parliamentarian Pier Antonio Panzeri. He confessed and was in the background as a puppet master. Cash amounting to 600.000 euros was seized from him. After his arrest a good year ago, Giorgi, for example, told investigators: "I did everything for money that I didn't need." The Italian newspaper "La Repubblica" quoted him from the investigation documents. Kaili's partner had admitted to being part of a criminal organization. The organization's aim was to interfere in European affairs. Since then, he has also been investigated for membership in a criminal organization, money laundering and corruption...

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Climate protection | Renewables | Storage | Profit

Climate protection profits: Replace coal-fired power plants with 100 percent renewable energy

Energy transition brings in money. Study shows that phasing out coal increases profit margins. Power plants should rely on green electricity returns. A guest post.

Wind and solar energy are the fastest growing energy sources in the world and are expected to together generate twelve percent of global electricity by 2023. The amount of energy generated by wind and solar energy is expected to increase and accelerate.

In 2023, wind power will generate one terawatt (TW) for the first time – almost as much as the total installed energy capacity of the United States (1,2 TW). Solar energy exceeded this threshold in 2022.

[...]

The construction and operation of wind-solar battery parks is cheaper than continuing to operate economically depreciated coal-fired power plants, namely around 90 percent of coal-fired power plants worldwide. A decisive advantage: The operating costs for renewable energies are cheaper than operating existing coal-fired power plants. This results in additional profits.

[...] The operators of coal-fired power plants should immediately begin replacing their coal-fired power plants with reliable electricity from solar and wind energy as well as large batteries by 2030 at the latest. Otherwise, in the coming years they will increasingly and massively lose electricity customers who will be able to supply themselves with cheaper green electricity...

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Mexico | United States | Migration

Thousands of migrants set off for the USA

In southern Mexico, thousands of migrants have set off together towards the USA. The caravan set off from the city of Tapachula in the state of Chiapas under the slogan “Exodus from Poverty.”

Several thousand migrants have formed a caravan in southern Mexico to march north towards the USA.

Around 5000 people set out on Christmas Eve after a prayer in the town of Tapachula in the state of Chiapas on the border with Guatemala, the Mexican newspaper "Milenio" reported, citing local civil defense.

Accusation: Inaction in processing applications

The migrants mainly came from countries such as Venezuela, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Haiti. At the head of the procession, one participant carried a white cross. They accused the Mexican immigration agency INM of inaction in processing their applications in Tapachula...

 


24. December


 

Climate change | Temperatures | Gulf Stream | sea ​​ice

Climate change in extreme: 2023 hottest year ever

2023 as the warmest year on record. Above-average temperature of the seas, sea ice is disappearing. Accelerated changes have consequences.

Climate scientists and meteorologists can look back on another record year. 2023 was the warmest year on record, which, as reported, is also noticeable in the oceans.

Since March, the average surface temperature of the seas between 60 degrees north and 60 degrees south has been well above not only the average for the years 1982 to 2011, but also continuously and very clearly above all temperatures ever measured on the respective days.

This results from the tens of thousands of data measured and processed every day for weather forecasting here can be tracked.

[...] In a large area on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula, the sea ice disappeared very early in October-November 2022, so that the breeding grounds of the penguin colonies there dissolved. It is assumed that in four out of five colonies there, most of the chicks have frozen to death...

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El Salvador | War Crimes | Massacre | Alfredo Cristiani Burkard

Arrest warrant against ex-President Cristiani for massacre of villagers

The El Salvador judiciary has issued an arrest warrant for former President Alfredo Cristiani for the murder of around a thousand villagers in 1981. He is said to have helped the perpetrators avoid punishment.

A court in El Salvador has issued an arrest warrant for former President Alfredo Cristiani. The reason for this is his alleged cover-up of a massacre in 1981. Around a thousand people were murdered in the village of El Mozote.

In the document issued on Friday by a court in San Francisco Gotera, 76-year-old Cristiani is named as one of ten people who campaigned for a general amnesty law passed in 1993 that exonerated those accused of war crimes. With the amnesty, the then president had helped the perpetrators to escape justice ...

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Turkey | airstrikes | Kurds

After attacks on bases:

Türkiye: Air strikes in Syria and Iraq

The Turkish Defense Ministry says it has destroyed 29 "terrorist targets" in Syria and Iraq. Oil sites are also said to have been hit.

Turkey has carried out airstrikes on targets in Iraq and Syria following attacks on two of its bases in northern Iraq that left twelve dead. According to the Turkish Ministry of Defence, 29 targets were destroyed on Saturday evening, including caves, bunkers and oil infrastructure.infrastructure.

The ministry spoke of “terrorist targets in northern Syria and Iraq.” According to a journalist from the AFP news agency and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, two oil sites were attacked in northern Syria near the border with Turkey.

Türkiye: Twelve soldiers killed in northern Iraq

Twelve soldiers were previously killed in two attacks on Turkish bases in northern Iraq on Friday and Saturday. The first attack with six deaths took place on Friday evening, the second attack with six deaths on Saturday...

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Energy transition | Climate protection | Subsidies

Unprofitable nuclear power, socially acceptable climate protection and plenty of reasons for protest

Calendar week 51: Nuclear power plants, which will only come online in many years, cannot contribute to the urgently needed rapid CO2 reduction, says Sebastian Sladek, board member of the Schönau Electricity Works (EWS) and member of the editorial board of Klimareporter°. The 22 countries that want to triple nuclear power by 2050 must have other motives.

Climate reporter°: Mr. Sladek, several green energy companies, including EWS Schönau, recently called for climate protection and energy transition to be firmly and consistently anchored in the federal budget in view of the missing 60 billion euros and to use the necessary adjustment of budget planning as an opportunity to improve ecological, social and... to combine economic sustainability. Finally, the traffic lights frantically stopped the e-car bonus. Did the federal government not listen to you?

Sebastian Sladek: I think our very clear message definitely reached the federal government and was heard there. At least the federal government is now starting to reduce climate-damaging subsidies. This should be seen as a real milestone that political circles did not believe possible for a long time. So far there has simply been a lack of political courage and will.

According to the current status, only around three billion euros in climate-damaging subsidies will be reduced in 2024 - little compared to the around 24 billion euros that would be possible to raise in the short term. But it's a start. Future federal governments will no longer be able to avoid continuing on this path...

 


Current news+  Background knowledge Top

 

Current news+

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WNISR: The nuclear industry makes big announcements and gives untenable promises

Plan for 1000 new nuclear power plants by 2050?

Nuclear power fantasy fails due to desolate industry

At the World Climate Conference, 22 countries declared that they wanted to triple their nuclear capacities by 2050. These include many friendly and experienced nuclear power nations: the USA, France, Finland, Great Britain, Japan, Canada, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, South Korea and Ukraine. But Mycle Schneider shakes his head. "It's not possible," says the editor of the World Nuclear Report (WNISR) in ntv's "Climate Laboratory". Because that would be well over 1000 new nuclear power plants in 27 years. But the nuclear industry is in a desolate state: "These companies are already stretched to the limit with their existing reactor fleets," says Schneider, who points to bankruptcies and mountains of debt of up to $149 billion among Americans, French and South Koreans. Chinese power plant builders are not an alternative because they are on a US blacklist. That leaves only Russia... "I don't have to explain too much why that's problematic," says Schneider.

ntv.de: At the World Climate Conference, 22 countries announced that they wanted to triple their nuclear capacities by 2050. Is this plan feasible?

Mycle Schneider: First of all, it is not a mandatory goal, but a pledge: 22 countries promise to triple global capacity. The World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR) has the characteristic of conducting empirical analysis. We're not part of the crystal ball faction that makes predictions, but if you look at the data from the last 20 years and think: What needs to happen to achieve this goal? The answer is very simple: it doesn't work. This is not a question of good or bad or a little more or a little less. This promise cannot be implemented.

Why?

This announcement completely forgets that a few reactors will be taken offline by 2050. Even in countries like the USA, where the terms of almost the entire fleet have been extended to 60 and in some cases even 80 years. That's not realistic anyway, because no nuclear power plant has run for 60 years. The average retirement age is around 43 years. But even if everyone runs until the last day, 270 nuclear power plants would have to be built just to maintain the current level. If we want to triple capacity, we are talking about well over 1000 new reactors.

You would have to build 270 nuclear power plants in 27 years just to maintain the current level?

Yes. You don't have to be a mathematician, that's ten a year. In the past 20 years - from 2003 to mid-2023 - a total of 103 nuclear power plants went into operation, while 110 were shut down at the same time, a slightly negative result. Of these 103 operational start-ups, 50 are in China; outside of this, there remains a negative balance of 57 nuclear power plants. In the future, the construction rate would have to be doubled from around five nuclear power plants per year to ten per year just to maintain the current level. The average construction time over the past ten years has been just under ten years, and that officially only begins with the cementing of the foundation of the reactor building. Years of preparation are missing from the information!

Is that also a question of space? These nuclear power plants have to be somewhere.

No, an industrial one. The politicians who made this promise at COP28 are not going home and building nuclear power plants. It takes an industry to do this, but you can count on one hand the companies capable of building nuclear power plants. In the USA, Westinghouse had to file for bankruptcy in 2017 after very bad experiences with the construction of two nuclear power plants: The V.C. project. Summer was abandoned. At the Vogtle nuclear power plant, construction times have doubled and costs have exploded. A reactor is still under construction.

The French counterpart Framatome looks similar. The parent EDF has accumulated 65 billion euros in net debt. Who is left? The Koreans, but their national company KEPCO, has a whopping $149 billion in debt. I didn't know that you could survive with such a mountain of debt... Those are not the conditions for building nuclear power plants on a large scale.

All nuclear companies are heavily in debt and, like EDF, had to be taken over and saved by the state?

Things look a little different at Westinghouse. It now belongs to a uranium company and a holding company in Canada that have never built a nuclear power plant. That leaves China and Russia. However, the two large Chinese companies were blacklisted by the US government. It is practically impossible for companies from the Western world to cooperate with them. And Russia? I don't have to explain too much why this is problematic.

Some nuclear power plants are already planned in Europe, for example in Poland. Who should build this?

There is an agreement between the USA and Poland that states that the first nuclear power plant should go into operation in 2033 and Westinghouse is the first candidate for construction. But that's not possible, regardless of whether you like the project or not. It is not industrially feasible.

Because these companies lack the employees to do this?

That's the way it is. These companies are already operating at capacity to the limit with their existing reactor fleets. Look at the example of EDF: the performance of the French power plant fleet was an absolute disaster last year. There were an average of 152 downtime days per reactor, meaning the plants were idle for almost half of the year. Five nuclear power plants produced no electricity at all. Zero kilowatt hours. Repairs, overhauls, modernizations and other problems are so demanding on the workforce in France that welders had to be flown in from the USA and Canada and spare parts manufactured in Italy.

Or take Sweden: The Swedish government has passed a law allowing nuclear power plants to be built again. The public perception is that Sweden is building nuclear power plants. But there is no industry for it in Sweden; the last nuclear power plant there was put into operation in 1985!

Aside from the three German reactors: How many nuclear power plants were taken offline this year?

Five in total. Four nuclear power plants went online in 2023.

In China?

Not only, also in Europe: Slovakia has put a nuclear power plant into operation, construction of which began in 1985.

That's almost 40 years of construction...

The work was temporarily interrupted, but you get an idea of ​​the lead times. In the USA, the Vogtle 3 nuclear power plant also went into operation after ten years of construction. This was originally supposed to be finished after 36 months because they wanted to use a very modern, modular construction method. That's the reality.

What is going wrong that three years turn into ten or that construction drags on for almost 40 years like in Slovakia?

There are several outstanding issues. One thing is that nations used to take care of large-scale projects such as nuclear power plants themselves, but today a globalized industry does this. The first European pressurized water reactor went online in Finland last year. There were over 50 nationalities on the construction site. At the French counterpart in Flamanville, there were situations where the regulator had to intervene because team leaders could not communicate with the people they were responsible for. That sounds banal, but it's not that easy when the Portuguese concrete worker discusses with his Polish colleague what technical specifications are actually used to pour concrete for nuclear power plants.

Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner cites the additional problem that insurers can no longer be found for nuclear power plants.

The Fukushima disaster, which is still not over, is estimated to cost between $250 billion and $700 billion, depending on how certain types of waste are treated, whether tritium is extracted from contaminated water, and other issues. Nobody knows the exact amount, but everyone knows: we're talking hundreds of billions of dollars. This won't shock an insurance company, they are already willing to insure a nuclear power plant, but the insurance costs would be so high that they would no longer be able to sell the kilowatt hour of electricity. The USA has therefore set up a national insurance fund, which currently contains $13 billion. This means that not even a fraction of the damage could be paid for. So if something happens, it's definitely the taxpayer's fault. This also happened in Japan: TEPCO, the operator of Fukushima, is technically bankrupt and has been subsidized by the Japanese government since March 11, 2011.

Is this a cost factor that needs to be taken into account from the outset?

Exactly. The issue of insurance is nothing more than a form of hidden subsidies. It is pretended that this cost factor is taken into account in the kilowatt hour, but in fact we know that it is not. All cost estimates already show that nuclear power has become the most expensive form of electricity generation. For new nuclear power plants you end up with 18 cents per kilowatt hour, which is three to four times what wind and solar cost. We see the result of this: in 2022, almost 500 billion euros flowed into renewable energies worldwide, around 14 times what was invested in nuclear power plants. This even applies to China, the country that has really invested in nuclear power over the past 20 years: China brought around two gigawatts of nuclear power online in 2022, but also 125 gigawatts of solar and wind.

 


Current news+  Background knowledge Top

 

Background knowledge

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The map of the nuclear world

Thanks to the existing infrastructure, old nuclear power plant sites can be used as electricity storage for renewable energies...

The “Internal Search”

with the search terms

nuclear industryNuclear lobby

brought the following results, among others:
 

The THTR-300 reactor failure | Problems | Truth and lie | Communication

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April 1, 2022 - The language of the nuclear lobby or who hid the coconut?

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April 25, 2021 - MiK gears up for important battles to come

 


The search engine Ecosia is planting trees!

Keyword = Westinghouse - EDF - KEPCO - Rosatom

https://www.ecosia.org/search?q=Westinghouse
 

https://www.ecosia.org/search?q=EDF
 

https://www.ecosia.org/search?q=Kepco
 

https://www.ecosia.org/search?q=Rosatom
 

Wikipedia

Westinghouse

In 2016, Westinghouse acquired CB&I Stone & Webster. “Stone & Webster” was a subsidiary of the Chicago Bridge & Iron Company and included the nuclear engineering business of the former engineering company Stone & Webster. “CB&I Stone & Webster” was involved as a subcontractor to Westinghouse in the construction of the Vogtle and VC Summer nuclear power plants, which were heavily affected by cost overruns. At the end of March 2017, WEC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to avoid further impact on the parent company Toshiba. Several rescue plans had previously failed, resulting in the company postponing its balance sheet presentation several times. To compensate for Westinghouse Electric Company's heavy losses in the US, Toshiba is trying to find a buyer for a large part of its profitable semiconductor business in 2017.

As of August 1, 2018, Westinghouse Electric Company was acquired by Brookfield Business Partners L.P. (a subsidiary of the Canadian Brookfield Asset Management) and other partners and the Chapter 11 bankruptcy was lifted.

In October 2022, Brookfield Renewable Partners L.P. (another subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management) together with the Canadian uranium producer Cameco to take over Westinghouse Electric Company from Brookfield Business Partners. A majority stake of 51% in Westinghouse will remain with Brookfield, while Cameco will hold the remaining 49%. The acquisition was completed in November 2023.
 

EDF - Electricity of France

EDF had a debt of more than 2020 billion euros in 41. As a state-owned company, this increases the French national debt ratio. EDF faces further major financial burdens. These include:

  • Acquisition of Areva's power plant construction division (2,5 billion euros)
  • for the EPR Flamanville 3: increased construction costs (from 3 to 10,5 billion euros) and the question of whether the steel used for the reactor pressure vessel can meet the high requirements
  • Maintenance costs for the nuclear reactors in operation (100 billion euros over the next ten years)
  • Loss of income due to the planned reduction of the share of nuclear power in the electricity mix amounting to 5,7 billion euros annually
  • Increased costs of the two planned EPR reactors (Hinkley Point C).

[...] In 2022, numerous nuclear power plants had to be temporarily shut down due to maintenance problems and corrosion damage to 16 reactors; At times almost half of all nuclear power plants were shut down. Due to the outages, nuclear power production was historically low in 2022 and EdF recorded the highest loss in the company's history to date with an annual loss of 17,9 billion euros. In addition, the group's debts rose to 64,5 billion euros.

Due to the drought and heat in Europe in 2022, the output of five of a total of 18 French nuclear power plants had to be reduced. Nuclear power plants require cooling water, for example from rivers, and release heated water again. According to EDF, production losses due to high river water temperatures and low river water volumes have averaged 2000% of the annual production of all French nuclear power plants since 2022 (as of September 0,3).
 

KEPCO - Korea Electric Power Corporation

The Korean government wants (as of 2010) for Korea to become one of the top three nuclear power exporting nations. In January 2010, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy in Seoul said South Korea was aiming for a total export volume of 2030 nuclear reactors worth $80 billion by 400. After the automobile, semiconductor and shipbuilding industries, nuclear power should be expanded into the country's fourth mainstay. By 2030, almost every third nuclear power plant built in the world will come from South Korea...

Rosatom - Federal Agency for Atomic Energy of Russia

The agency had already declared in February 2006 that it wanted to build a total of 2030 new nuclear reactors by 40. This would require investments equivalent to around $60 billion. The aim is to increase the share of nuclear power from the current 17 to 18 percent to around 25 percent in 2030. Kiriyenko said that from 2007 to 2015, Russia plans to build two new reactors a year. From 2012, two reactors are scheduled to start operating each year by 2020. Existing systems should be modernized. Russia is working on the development of new reactors that should be comparable to Western reactors in terms of safety. The Russian Atomic Energy Agency is also betting on the introduction of fast breeder reactors. According to Germany Trade and Invest, the financing of the investments is not yet secured...

 


YouTube

Keyword = nuclear industry

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Atomindustrie
 

Will open in a new window! - YouTube channel "Reaktorpleite" playlist - radioactivity worldwide ... - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJI6AtdHGth3FZbWsyyMMoIw-mT1Psuc5Playlist - radioactivity worldwide ...

This playlist contains over 150 videos on the topic

 


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