The Forum on Energy weekly news roundup brings together a mix of global energy stories from around the web. It is published every Thursday morning on Forum on Energy and is available on Twitter via @forumonenergy.
San Diego Hosts Nuclear Skeptics
Friends of the Earth, an anti-nuclear activist group that has opposed the restart of the San Onofre power plant, organized a public event last week to discuss the safety of nuclear power. The event, called “Fukushima Daiichi accident: Lessons for California,” featured prominent nuclear skeptics Gregory Jaczko, Naoto Kan and Peter Bradford. The discussion takes place as Southern California struggles to manage its low energy supply. San Onofre power plant was taken offline last year amid safety concerns. In his remarks, Jaczko expressed doubt that San Onofre could be safely restarted at 70 percent power, as Edison, the operator, has proposed. “When you operate at reduced power, it indicates a lack of confidence,” he said. Referring to the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, he said “we need a different risk analysis. The low probability scenario could happen.”
Sources: Southern California Public Radio, UT San Diego
Nuclear Accidents are Not Deadly
At the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation in Vienna last week, UN experts announced that none of the Japanese public is likely to get radiation sickness from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant meltdown. “It is unlikely to be able to attribute any health effects in the future among the general public and the vast majority of workers,” UNSCEAR it said. “No radiation-related deaths or acute effects have been observed among nearly 25,000 workers…It is unlikely that excess cases of thyroid cancer due to radiation exposure would be detectable.” Another recent study released in the International Journal of Low Radiation found that the health impact of the Chernobyl accident was also overestimated.
Sources: Home Security News Wire, News.com.au, Peak Oil, UNSCEAR
Rosatom Invites France to Assist on Turkish Reactor
Russian state corporation Rosatom has invited Électricité de France S.A.to assist with construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant in Akkuyu. According to Vladislav Bochkov, a spokesman for Rosatom, “Rosatom is ready for a strategic partnership with all major energy companies, including EDF.” Pursuant to the agreement, Rosatom will not decrease its share below 51 percent ownership. Turkey picked Russia’s Rosatom and its engineering company, ZAO Atomstroyexport, for its first facility at a cost of $20 billion in 2010.
Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters
Japan, India Agree to Major Bilateral Deal on Nuclear
As the relationships between South and Southeast Asian states continue to evolve in parallel with China’s rise, Japan and India agreed to a landmark major bilateral cooperation deal on nuclear energy collaboration. The deal will spur economic opportunity and promote national security safeguards. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: “Our discussions were guided by the fundamental belief that at the time of global uncertainties, change and challenges, India and Japan are natural and indispensable partners.” Meanwhile, China declared at the IAEA in Vienna that nuclear power is a key factor in its future energy mix.
Sources: Reuters, TwoCircles
Iran Nuclear Power Plant Suffers Earthquake Damage
The complexities surrounding Iran’s nuclear program took on a new dimension last week, as sources from several countries monitoring its nuclear program confirmed that the country’s only power-producing nuclear reactor, Bushehr, was damaged by several recent earthquakes in the region, with long cracks appearing in at least one section of the structure. While not a proliferation threat, the plant has suffered from a dubious maintenance record, including various shutdowns by the government. Despite Iran’s insistence that the plant is built to withstand the strongest of tremors, several neighboring countries have objected both privately and publicly about Bushehr’s instability as a clear and present risk to the region. This is further compounded by Iran’s geographical location over several volatile tectonic plates, as more than 90 percent of the country is crisscrossed by seismic fault lines.
Source: Associated Press