Nuclear Days 2019: some pictures about a successful two-day event

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On November 15th, a group of 26 people visited the Slovenian Nuclear Power Plant, located in Krško, about 100 km from Ljubljana. People had the opportunity to visit the non-radiologically controlled areas of the plant, such as generators and transformers, turbine hall and secondary circuit, control room and tertiary cooling circuit. It was also possible to have a first hand experience of the control room simulator, in which crews that operate power plants are trained.
In the afternoon,
people visited the World of Energy Exhibition. In addition to a model of the nuclear power plant with digital information panels, the exhibition shows several installations on the various forms of energy production, on radioactivity and nuclear fuel cycle, interactive activities to simulate the electricity Slovenian daily load curve with different energy mixes, and experiments on electricity and magnetism.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 15th 2019
VISIT TO KRSKO NPP AND TO THE WORLD OF ENERGY EXHIBITION

 

On November 16th the conference “Nuclear for Climate: opportunities and challenges took place at Istituto Tecnico Statale “Alessandro Volta”, in Trieste. The conference was structured in a morning and an afternoon session, with speakers from Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Croatia, Poland and France, and the special participation of Michael Shellenberger in video-conference from California. The morning session focused on current state and future perspectives of nuclear technology, while the afternoon session focused on public acceptance and policy.

Parallel to the afternoon session took place the “Nuclear Science and Technology exhibition”, with informative desks and interactive experiments about radiation physics and energy production.

A special thanks to our partners and sponsors and to all the participants, we look forward to see you again in 2020!

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16th 2019
CONFERENCE @ ISTITUTO TECNICO A.VOLTA, TRIESTE

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16th 2019
NUCLEAR SCIENCE&TECHNOLOGY EXHIBITION
@ ISTITUTO TECNICO A.VOLTA, TRIESTE

Locandina Nuclear Days poster

The Nuclear Pride Fest in Brussels will be a groundbreaking event for Belgium

[Original post, by Paul Bossens, published here.]

nuclear_pride_festOur Belgian team, Henri Marenne, Jacques Marlot and me, Paul Bossens, are convinced the Nuclear Pride Fest in Brussels on April 28th is very important and will be a success.

Why?

  • Nuclear is a  hot issue in Belgium today as the government decided to phase out nuclear power in 2025. This is the law.
  • However, as up to 70% of our electricity is coming from nuclear, phasing out in just five years is technically almost unfeasible. Belgium does not have any specific alternative power production in construction or at least planned. You can imagine that this creates a lot of tensions and discussions. This makes Belgium one of the most critical countries now, concerning the future of nuclear energy.
  • Only one political party, NVA, dares to say that we need to keep at least a few nuclear reactors running to avoid blackouts. However, they have no support from the other parties.

Energy is a hot topic in Belgium

A few weeks ago, Michael Shellenberger of Environmental Progress was speaking pro-nuclear in an ecology event of this party, NVA. The days after, the media went crazy about his story.

Therefore, we are convinced that our Nuclear Pride Fest will make a major contribution to the debate on nuclear energy in Belgium.

The venue of our event, Carrefour de l’Europe in Brussels, also has a symbolic value:  It is the place of the students on school strike, asking the government for more action to safe the climate. We’ll present them a solution in the very same place.

Most political parties in Belgium are against nuclear power. However, those people seem to be at least willing to listen to pro nuclear arguments.

On May 26th, there will be general elections. Most political parties avoid any discussion on nuclear now to not disturb their elections campaigns. We expect that they want to start the real discussion on security of power supply after the elections. So the timing of the Nuclear Pride Fest is perfect.

Come and celebrate the Nuclear Pride Fest together with us!

So, were are we in the preparations for the Nuclear Pride Fest?

  • We have got the permission of the authorities.
  • Tents will be hired.
  • We will not be allowed to use music instruments or amplifiers, but we can sing  loud.
  • People from Belgium are already enthusiastic to come. By the way, the place is easy to reach by train. Carrefour de l’Europe is in front of the Brussels Central Station (not to be confused with the long-distance station Bruxelles-Midi, though). The famous Brussels Grand Place is 500 m away.
  • Some politicians indicated they would come to visit our event.

So, please come to Brussels and show Belgium and Europe that we want more nuclear energy, because it is the best thing for the environment and for humanity!

What we need now, is your participation, expressing your nuclear pride: singing our songs, showing posters and signs, explaining what we are doing, just like we did in Munich last year. Oh, and of course we need our polar bear mascot Melty!

Nuclear Pride dates 2019

Nuclear Pride Fest 06

PRESS RELEASE

Nuclear power enthusiasts in Europe should book two important dates this year:

  • Sunday, April 28th, 2019 in Brussels, Belgium
  • Sunday, October 20th, 2019 in Paris, France

These events will build on the success of the Nuclear Pride Fest in Munich in October 2018. In Paris, in particular, we will again have a Nuclear Pride Fest, which will offer a colorful program of different actions around nuclear energy.

Our aim, as ever, is to convey the importance of this clean, stable, cost-effective and practically CO2-free form of power generation. We are proud to support and promote it – for the benefit of people and the environment.

Detailed planning of both events will take place in the coming weeks and months.

 

For more information about the Nuclear Pride Coalition: here.
The report of the 2018 edition of the Nuclear Pride Fest (in Italian): here

 

Letter to Spanish Leaders

Idom_Nuclear_Services_ANAV_CNAT_NUCLENOR_Lifetime_Management_projects_Asco_Vandellos_Almaraz_Trillo_Garo_a_nuclear_power_plants_Gestion_Vida_AlfonsoCalza.jpg


This open letter was originally published on Environmentalprogess.org


June 20, 2018

Dear Sr. Sánchez,

We are writing as environmentalists, conservationists and climate scientists to applaud your country’s commitment to fighting climate change through energy policy. Spain has been at the forefront of generations of low-carbon energy technologies, from nuclear plants in the 1960s to the world’s most advanced and ambitious solar energy plants in the 1990s and 2000s.

In light of these achievements, we are also writing to express our alarm at your decision to close a nuclear plant and to urge you to keep and expand your remaining nuclear plants.

The Spanish nuclear program was once rapidly displacing fossil fuels in the country’s energy mix. Spain demonstrated in the 1970s and 80s that decarbonization with growth is possible. However, the nuclear moratorium enacted in 1983 halted the creation of enough nuclear power to replace all of the coal it now burns for electricity.

Few nations have done more than Spain to explore the possibilities and limitations of various types of low-carbon energy. Spain boasts an unusually mixed set of technologies supplying its electricity, with more than 10 percent of its electricity coming from low-carbon wind, hydro, and nuclear. Solar contributes another 5 percent. However, over 40 percent of Spain’s electricity last year was provided by coal and natural gas.

The loss of the Santa Maria de Garoña nuclear plant was a significant step backwards for Spain’s climate goals. The fossil fuels used to replace the plant’s power will put about 2 million tonnes of carbon emissions into the atmosphere each year, the carbon equivalent of almost a million new cars on the road in Spain. Despite former minister Álvaro Nadal’s claim that closing the plant would have no effect on the nation’s power grid, closing the plant eliminates clean power that could have fueled 1.8 million electric vehicles.

Any further reduction in Spain’s nuclear generation will likewise increase fossil fuel generation and pollution given the low capacity factors and intermittency of solar and wind. Germany is a case in point: its emissions have been largely unchanged since 2009 due to nuclear plant closures, with increases in 2015, 2016, and 2017. If the electricity from Spain’s surviving nuclear fleet is replaced by its abundant natural gas and coal plant capacity, carbon emissions will increase by about 32 million tonnes CO₂ per year, or the equivalent of adding 14.5 million new cars to Spanish roads.

In addition to making its emissions reduction goals more difficult to meet, Spain also risks further increasing its electricity prices as nuclear closes. Though Spain’s electricity costs are now among the highest in Europe, they were below average before 2009. The need to pay for tens of billions of dollars for renewable energy caused this rapid rise in cost. This experience is shared by other countries in Europe that are eliminating nuclear. For example, Germany spent 24.3 billion euros above market price in 2017 for its renewable energy feed-in tariffs yet will widely miss its 2020 emission reduction goals. Spain can learn from Germany’s failure to keep nuclear plants in operation.

For Spain’s future, the next step to combat climate change and improve air quality is to increase clean electricity from non-fossil sources and massively reduce fossil fuels used in heating and the transportation sector. If Spain is to achieve these goals, nuclear power must play a central role once again.

Signed,

James Hansen, Climate Science, Awareness, and Solutions Program, Columbia University, Earth Institute, Columbia University

Kerry Emanuel, Professor of Atmospheric Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Steven Pinker, Harvard University, Better Angels of Our Nature

Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize recipient, author of Nuclear Renewal and The Making of the Atomic Bomb

Michael Shellenberger, President of Environmental Progress, Time Magazine’s “Hero of the Environment”

Peter H. Raven, President Emeritus, Missouri Botanical Garden. Winner of the National Medal of Science, 2001

John Lavine, Professor and Medill Dean Emeritus, Northwestern University

Erle C. Ellis, Ph.D, Professor, Geography & Environmental Systems, University of Maryland

Richard Muller, Professor of Physics, UC Berkeley, Co-Founder, Berkeley Earth

Tom Wigley, Climate and Energy Scientist, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

David W. Lea, Professor of Earth Science, University of California Santa Barbara

Joe Lassiter, Professor, Harvard Business School

Gwyneth Cravens, author of Power to Save the World

Mark Lynas, author, The God Species, Six Degrees

Martin Lewis, Department of History, Stanford University

Michelle Marvier, Santa Clara University

Steve Kirsch,  CEO, Token

Norris McDonald, President, Environmental Hope and Justice

Kirsty Gogan, Executive Director, Energy for Humanity

Alan Medsker, Coordinator, Environmental Progress – Illinois

Praise be to Coal

[The dark side of Energiewende: St. Lambert church in Immerath the last victim offered to Mammon*]

In AD 2018, coal (or better lignite) keeps causing “casualties” [1] even in the heart of Europe. The small village of Immerath, suburb of Erkelenz, municipality in the German region of North Rheine-Westphalia, was the last to be grounded by Garzweiler II. Garzweiler II is not a mutant monster from Japanese manga, but an equally dangerous open-cast lignite mine, expansion of Garzweiler I.

garzweilerII
Fig. 1 Garzweiler II mine (source RWE)

It happens again and again in this tormented land, whose rich subsoil – that made it contended during the past century world wars – represents its very own damnation: environmental and historical-cultural devastation and depopulation.

First mines were opened in the early 1900 and they move to the north as new reservoirs are discovered. They devour houses, churches and personal histories on their path. Now, in the 21st century, fostered by Energiewende – the political reform that should turn German energy system green – they find new impulse.

Ongoing nuclear phase-out and massive – as well as expensive and intermittent – use of renewables make lignite an abundant, reliable and cheap source to balance the grid.

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Fig. 2 The empty tabernacle in St. lambert church, after deconsecration Mass held on 13th October 2013 (source Gerzweiler.com, ©Arne Müseler –  arne-mueseler.com)

Nor public protests nor religious authorities [2] or environmentalist concerns succeeded to stop the mine. Villages are evacuated and off-limited. Thousands of people fled, alive and dead, no exceptions. Then everything is grounded.

Ten days ago the Immerath “Cathedral”, actually a simple parish church although dating back to the 12th century [3], but so called since it was way too big for the number of parishioners, recently reduced to few tens. Communities receive money compensation and new infrastructures where to settle, maybe not of comparable aesthetic value.

demolition Immerath_(neu)_Kapelle_St._Lambertus,_Ansicht

Fig. 3 Left: the grounding of St Lambert church, 8th January 2018 (photo ©Arne Müseler –  arne-mueseler.com). Right: the New Immerath church (photo: Käthe und Bernd Limburg)

Once completed, Garzweiler II mine will cover 70 square kilometres (27 square miles) and through 1.3 billion tons of estimated lignite reserves (40% of the Rheine region resources) will provide fuel to the power plants till 2045, when it will be covered again.

Lignite directly supplies numerous local plants, casting another dark shadow on the life – or at least on the lungs – of local communities.

Epprath Tollhaus, Morken-Harff, Königs-Hoven, Reisdorf, Belmen, Elfegen, Garzweiler, Stolzen-berg, Prieste-rath, Pesh, Otzenrath/Spenrath, Holz, Immerath have been already devoured. Next towns to fall will be Lützerath, Holzweiler, Keyen-berg, Berverath, Westrich, Kuckum – unless something changes. Finally, the monster will stop at the doors of New Immerath.

Rheinisches_Braunkohlerevier_DE
Fig. 4 Coal reservoirs in the region (source Wikipedia)

We have already and extensively written, with facts and numbers, about the failure of Energiewende and about the nonsense of nuclear phase out in the context of fighting carbon emissions [4].

The facts that we are reporting now, reveal more than any number the fool injustice and the blind gluttony unveiled of any hypocritical good intention.

Let’s just think for a moment to how that cultural heritage (like it or not, de gustibus…) could have been promoted in ecological and sustainable ways, if just Germany were not phasing out nuclear to rely on … coal!

paesino
Fig. 5 View of Keyenberg, one of the next towns to be grounded (source Facebook)

At least oblivion will not cover these villages and their communities. They will survive thanks to a nice project by Arne Müseler, a photographer from Salzburg, who created a virtual community where St Lambert bells will keep sounding, as a reminder to humanity, who never learns from past mistakes.

Notes:

* Mammon is a New Testament term to personify money and material wealth

[1] Coal and lignite are the deadliest energy sources: 0.24 deaths/TWh for accidents and 57.1 deaths/TWh for pollution. Considering that combined total production from these sources in 2016 was 44000 TWh, we obtain an estimate of 2.5 millions fatalities per year. (Sources: Markandya, A., & Wilkinson, P. (2007). Electricity generation and health. The Lancet370(9591), 979-990; Vaclav Smil (2017). Energy Transitions: Global and National Perspectives. & BP Statistical Review of World Energy)

[2] The Roman-Catholic Bishop of Aachen, Heinrich Mussinghoff, before Pope Francis Laudato si’ encyclical letter on the environment stewardship, criticized the project for being ecologically and socially incompatible.

(http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/gesellschaft/braunkohle-warum-der-immerather-dom-abgerissen-wird-a-916853.html)

[3] Probably the first church was a Romanesque complex dating back to the 12th century. (“Die wahrscheinlich erste Kirche war eine einschiffige romanische Anlage aus dem 12. Jahrhundert”, source: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Lambertus_(Immerath)

A renovation followed in the 14th century and the church was totally rebuilt in the 19th century.

http://www.erkelenz.de/pdf/Tourismus/Stadtportrait/Bau-_und_Kunstwerke/17_-_St__Lambertus_Immerath.pdf

[4] Our articles on Energiewende (in Italian):

07/11/2016 La lignite del vicino è sempre più verde

20/12/2016 La vittoria di Pirro delle rinnovabili tedesche

23/02/2017 Energiewende dove vai?

Recent news reports that new government coalition in Germany will scrap the 2020 emission reduction goals.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-politics/german-coalition-negotiators-agree-to-scrap-2020-climate-target-sources-idUSKBN1EX0OU

Evacuating a nuclear disaster areas is (usually) a waste of time and money, says study

In the aftermath of the Fukushima accident (rated 7 on the INES scale) Japanese authorities issued an evacuation order involving tens of thousands of people. Subsequently the Government’s nervousness delayed the return of many.

In the meanwhile the World Health Organisation found that the Fukushima evacuation increased mortality among elderly people who were put in temporary housing.

In addition the local government launched an extensive health survey to reach evacuees at risk of health problems and to monitor their health status. And later investigations on psychological distress assessed the association with perceived risks of radiation exposure and disaster-related stressors in people who were evacuated from their homes because of the disaster. 

In particular, the Fukushima Health Management Survey’s Mental Health and Lifestyle Survey shows associated psychological problems in some vulnerable groups of the affected population, such as increases in anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders.

Official figures show that there have been hundreds of deaths from maintaining the evacuation, in contrast to little risk from radioactive contamination if early return had been allowed. In fact, it’s worth highlighting that according to the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation no discernible increased incidence of radiation-related health effects are expected among exposed members of the public or their descendants.

With the progress of analysis it is increasingly clear that the most important health effect from the Fukushima accident is on mental and social well-being. This is due to the combined impacts of an earthquake, a tsunami and a nuclear accident, but also to the fear and stigma related to the perceived risk of exposure to ionizing radiation [1]. 

In the light of these facts, we believe that it is urgent to have greater understanding of the costs and benefits of prolonged evacuation of areas affected by natural or industrial disasters. For this reason, we gladly republish here the article by Prof Philip Thomas, published on November 20 on theconveration.com [2].

 

Evacuating a nuclear disaster areas is (usually) a waste of time and money, says study

Philip Thomas, University of Bristol

More than 110,000 people were moved from their homes following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in March 2011. Another 50,000 left of their own will, and 85,000 had still not returned four-and-a-half years later.

While this might seem like an obvious way of keeping people safe, my colleagues and I have just completed research that shows this kind of mass evacuation is unnecessary, and can even do more harm than good. We calculated that the Fukushima evacuation extended the population’s average life expectancy by less than three months.

To do this, we had to estimate how such a nuclear meltdown could affect the average remaining life expectancy of a population from the date of the event. The radiation would cause some people to get cancer and so die younger than they otherwise would have (other health effects are very unlikely because the radiation exposure is so limited). This brings down the average life expectancy of the whole group.

But the average radiation cancer victim will still live into their 60s or 70s. The loss of life expectancy from a radiation cancer will always be less than from an immediately fatal accident such as a train or car crash. These victims have their lives cut short by an average of 40 years, double the 20 years that the average sufferer of cancer caused by radiation exposure. So if you could choose your way of dying from the two, radiation exposure and cancer would on average leave you with a much longer lifespan.

How do you know if evacuation is worthwhile?

To work out how much a specific nuclear accident will affect life expectancy, we can use something called the CLEARE (Change of life expectancy from averting a radiation exposure) Programme. This tells us how much a specific dose of radiation will shorten your remaining lifespan by on average.

Yet knowing how a nuclear meltdown will affect average life expectancy isn’t enough to work out whether it is worth evacuating people. You also need to measure it against the costs of the evacuation. To do this, we have developed a method known as the judgement or J-value. This can effectively tell us how much quality of life people are willing to sacrifice to increase their remaining life expectancy, and at what point they are no longer willing to pay.

You can work out the J-value for a specific country using a measure of the average amount of money people in that country have (GDP per head) and a measure of how averse to risk they are, based on data about their work-life balance. When you put this data through the J-value model, you can effectively find the maximum amount people will on average be willing to pay for longer life expectancy.

After applying the J-value to the Fukushima scenario, we found that the amount of life expectancy preserved by moving people away was too low to justify it. If no one had been evacuated, the local population’s average life expectancy would have fallen by less than three months. The J-value data tells us that three months isn’t enough of a gain for people to be willing to sacrifice the quality of life lost through paying their share of the cost of an evacuation, which can run into billions of dollars (although the bill would actually be settled by the power company or government).

Japanese evacuation centre. Dai Kurokawa/EPA

The three month average loss suggests the number of people who will actually die from radiation-induced cancer is very small. Compare it to the average of 20 years lost when you look at all radiation cancer sufferers. In another comparison, the average inhabitant of London loses 4.5 months of life expectancy because of the city’s air pollution. Yet no one has suggested evacuating that city.

We also used the J-value to examine the decisions made after the world’s worst nuclear accident, which occurred 25 years before Fukushima at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. In that case, 116,000 people were moved out in 1986, never to return, and a further 220,000 followed in 1990.

By calculating the J-value using data on people in Ukraine and Belarus in the late 1980s and early 1990s, we can work out the minimum amount of life expectancy people would have been willing to evacuate for. In this instance, people should only have been moved if their lifetime radiation exposure would have reduced their life expectancy by nine months or more.

This appbilllied to just 31,000 people. If we took a more cautious approach and said that if one in 20 of a town’s inhabitants lost this much life expectancy, then the whole settlement should be moved, it would still only mean the evacuation of 72,500 people. The 220,000 people in the second relocation lost at most three months’ life expectancy and so none of them should have been moved. In total, only between 10% and 20% of the number relocated needed to move away.

To support our research, colleagues at the University of Manchester analysed hundreds of possible large nuclear reactor accidents across the world. They found relocation was not a sensible policy in any of the expected case scenarios they examined.

More harm than good

Some might argue that people have the right to be evacuated if their life expectancy is threatened at all. But overspending on extremely expensive evacuation can actually harm the people it is supposed to help. For example, the World Heath Organisation has documented the psychological damage done to the Chernobyl evacuees, including their conviction that they are doomed to die young.

From their perspective, this belief is entirely logical. Nuclear refugees can’t be expected to understand exactly how radiation works, but they know when huge amounts of money are being spent. These payments can come to be seen as compensation, suggesting the radiation must have left them in an awful state of health. Their governments have never lavished such amounts of money on them before, so they believe their situation must be dire.they

The ConversationBut the reality is that, in most cases, the risk from radiation exposure if they stay in their homes is minimal. It is important that the precedents of Chernobyl and Fukushima do not establish mass relocation as the prime policy choice in the future, because this will benefit nobody.

Philip Thomas, Professor of Risk Management, University of Bristol

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

 


Notes
[1] For further and updated details:
http://www.who.int/ionizing_radiation/pub_meet/fukushima_risk_assessment_2013/en/
http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/Pub1710-ReportByTheDG-Web.pdf
http://www.jaif.or.jp/en/unscear-white-paper-reiterates-findings-that-fukushima-risks-are-low/

http://www.unscear.org/unscear/en/publications/Fukushima_WP2017.html
[2] The article is republished under Creative Commons licence.
Here the article URL:
https://theconversation.com/evacuating-a-nuclear-disaster-areas-is-usually-a-waste-of-time-and-money-says-study-87697
Disclosure statement:
P
hilip Thomas is Professor of Risk Management at the University of Bristol and is director of Michaelmas Consulting Ltd. The work reported on was carried out as part of the NREFS project, Management of Nuclear Risk Issues: Environmental, Financial and Safety, led by Philip Thomas while he was at City, University of London and carried out in collaboration with Manchester, Warwick and Open Universities and with the support of the Atomic Energy Commission of India as part of the UK-India Civil Nuclear Power Collaboration. The author acknowledges the support of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) under grant reference number EP/K007580/1. The views expressed in the paper are those of the author and not necessarily those of the NREFS project.