— France: Forced closures of nuclear plants cause soaring energy prices

From Zero Hedge

French ‘Shocked’ As Power Prices Spike To 8-Year Highs On Nuclear Reactor Probe Shutdown

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— France’s nuclear power stations ‘at risk of catastrophic failure’ — Sizewell B and 27 other EDF nuclear plants

Global Research, October 01, 2016
The Ecologist 29 September 2016
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A new review of the safety of France’s nuclear power stations has found that at least 18 of EDF’s units are are ”operating at risk of major accident due to carbon anomalies.”

The review was carried out at the request of Greenpeace France following the discovery of serious metallurgical flaws by French regulators in a reactor vessel at Flamanville, where an EPR plant is under construction.

The problem is that parts of the vessel and its cap contain high levels of carbon, making the metal brittle and potentially subject to catastrophic failure. These key components were provided by French nuclear engineering firm Areva, and forged at its Le Creusot.

“The nature of the flaw in the steel, an excess of carbon, reduces steel toughness and renders the components vulnerable to fast fracture and catastrophic failure putting the NPP at risk of a major radioactive release to the environment”, says nuclear safety expert John Large, whose consultancy Large Associates (LA) carried out the Review.

His report examines how the defects in the Flamanville EPR reactor pressure vessel came about during the manufacturing process, and escaped detection for years after forging. It then goes on to investigate what other safety-critical nuclear components might be suffering from the same defects.

Steam generators at 28 EDF nuclear sites at risk

After several months of investigation LA found that critical components of a further 28 nuclear plants were forged by Le Creusot using the same process. These are found in the steam generators – large, pod-like boilers – that have been installed at operational EDF nuclear power stations across France.

The conclusion is based on documents provided by IRSN (the independent French Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire) that reject assurances given by both EDF and Areva that there is no safety risk from steam generators containing the excess carbon flaw.

In August 2016, IRSN warned the French nuclear safety regulator Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN) that:

  • EdF’s submission was incomplete;
  • there is a risk of abrupt rupture which could lead to a reactor core fuel melt; and
  • immediate “compensatory” measures need to be put in place to safeguard the operational NPPs involved.

“As a result of Areva’s failures, a significant share of the French nuclear reactor fleet is at increased risk of severe radiological accident, including fuel core meltdown”, said Large. ”However, there is no simple or quick fix to this problem.

“The testing and inspection regime currently underway by Areva and EDF is incapable of detecting the extent and severity of the carbon problem and, moreover, it cannot ensure against the risk of rapid component failure. It is most certain that the IRSN finding will equally applies to replacement steam generators exported by Areva to overseas nuclear power plants around the world.”

EDF reactors face protracted closure, credit rating falls

EDF stated yesterday that it will carry out further tests on 12 nuclear reactors during their planned outages in the coming months – and that extended periods of outage are to be expected. “There are outages that could take longer than planned”, an EDF spokesman told Reuters.

“In 2015, we discovered the phenomenon of carbon segregation in the Flammanville EPR reactor. We decided to verify other equipments in the French nuclear park to make sure that other components are not impacted by the phenomenon.”

In anticipation of the nuclear closures, year-ahead electricity prices rose in the French wholesale power market, forcing power rises across Europe up to a one-year high.

Meanwhile Moody’s has downgraded EDF credit ratings across a spectrum of credit instruments. EDF’s long-term issuer and senior unsecured ratings fell from A2 to A3 while perpetual junior subordinated debt ratings fell to Baa3 from Baa2. Moody’s also  downgraded the group’s short-term ratings to Prime-2 from Prime-1.

According to Moody’s,

“the rating downgrade reflects its view that the action plan announced by EDF in April 2016, which includes government support, will not be sufficient to fully offset the adverse impact of the incremental risks associated the Hinkley Point C (HPC) project on the group’s credit profile.

“Moody’s believes that the significant scale and complexity of the HPC project will affect the group’s business and financial risk profiles. This is because the HPC project will expose EDF and its partner China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN, A3 negative) to significant construction risk as the plant will use the same European Pressurised reactor (EPR) technology that has been linked with material cost overruns and delays at Flamanville in France and Olkiluoto 3 in Finland. In addition, none of the four plants using the EPR technology currently constructed globally is operational yet.”

Once rating agencies have had time to evaluate the seriousness of EDF’s current problems with reactors packed with unsafe crirical components, further downgrades may follow. “The ratings could be downgraded if (1) credit metrics fall below Moody’s guidance for the A3 rating; or (2) EDF were to be significantly exposed to AREVA NP’s liabilities”, the agency warns.

Flamanville EPR heading for the scrapheap

The Review also shows that the reactor pressure vessel of the Flamanville EPR, which is already installed, does not have a Certificate of Conformity issued by ASN. This means that it does not comply with the European Directive on Pressure Equipment, nor does it meet the mandatory requirement of the ASN, which since 2008, stipulates that any new nuclear reactor coolant circuit component has to have a Certificate of Conformity before its production commences.

“Without a Certificate of Conformity the reactor pressure vessel and steam generators currently installed in Flamanville 3 will almost certainly have to be scrapped”, said Roger Spautz, responsible for nuclear campaign at Greenpeace France.

The review, he added, ”reveals evidence that at the Creusot Forge plant, Areva did not have the technical qualifications required to meet exacting nuclear safety standards. The plant was not under effective control and therefore had not mastered the necessary procedures for maintaining the exacting standards for quality control in the manufacture of safety-critical nuclear components.”

Areva has now acknowledged that ineffective quality controls at le Creusot Forge were mainly responsible not only for the flaws in the Flamanvile 3 EPR, but across other operational nuclear power plans – and that the technical failures date back to 1965.

Moreover, ASN has indicated that in the nuclear components supply chain three examples of Counterfeit, Fraudulent and Substandard Items (CFSI) have occurred in the year ending 2015.

The recent ASN publication (24th September 2016) of a list of the NPPs affected by the AREVA anomalies and irregularities demonstrates that the phenomenon not only has reached alarming proportions but is continuing to grow under scrutiny.

The number of components affected by irregularities and installed in NPPs in operation increased by 50 in April 2016 from 33 to 83 by 24th September this year. Irregularities affecting the Flamanville EPR increased from two to 20 over the same period.

Also at risk: Sizewell B, Hinkley C finance, Taishan EPRs

LA’s Review also relates these developments in France to the UK, specifically: the currently operating Sizewell B NPP in Suffolk; and the now contracted construction programme for the Hinkley Point C NPP.

Sizewell B which includes a number of components sourced from Le Creusot which need urgent examination and / or replacement in order to prevent unsafe operation. The fact that this could escape the UK’s nuclear regulators also indicates, says Large, that “the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) did not delve deep enough into the situation as now revealed by ASN.”

As for For Hinkley Point C, it now appears inevitable that the Flamanville reactor will not be completeted by its target date of the end of 2020, indeed it may very well never be completed at all. Under the terms of agreement for the plant’s construction accepted by the European Commission, this would render the UK government unable to extend promised credit guarantees to HPC’s financial backers.

“Now that ASN has deprioritized efforts on the under-construction Flamanville 3 NPP because of its pressing urgency to evaluate the risk situation for the operating NPPs”, says Large, ”there is a greater likelihood that Flamanville 3 will not reach the deadline for operation and validation of its technology by the UK Credit Guarantee cut-off date of December 2020.”

Also at risk are the two EPRs that Areva and EDF are currently constructing at Taishan in China. These are now at the most advanced stage of any EPR projects in the world, however there are increasing fears that they contain faulty components.

The vessels and domes at Taishan were also supplied by Areva, and manufactured by the same process as that utilised by Le Creusot. It is suspected that Chinese nuclear regulators may have decided to overlook this problem and hope for the best. However if they discover that the steam generators, which along with the reactor vessels have already been installed, are also at risk of catastrophic failure, that might prove a risk too far – even for China.

The danger for EDF and Areva is that the massive commercial liabilities they may be accruing for faulty reactors supplied to third parties, together with the tens of billions of euros of capital write-downs for projects they have to abandon, and the loss of generation revenues due to plant outages, could easily exceed their entire market capitalisation.

In other words: for EDF, Areva, their shareholders and the entire French nuclear industry, the end really could be nigh.

Oliver Tickell is contributing editor at The Ecologist.

— France’s nuclear giant Areva admits to ‘400 irregularities’ in power plant parts; will the UK govt finalize HInkley Point contract with Areva?

Areva is partner in the Hanford nuclear site.

Documents on 400 Areva nuclear reactor parts were “modified’ — falsified — to rubberstamp their quality because those 400 parts failed the tests.


From the Telegraph

The British government is poised to finalise a multi-billion pound contract to build reactors at Hinkley Point designed by Areva CREDIT:  EDF ENERGY/PA

France’s ailing nuclear giant, Areva, faced a major scandal on Tuesday after the country’s nuclear watchdog confirmed there have been “irregularities” in 400 parts produced in its reactors since 1965, and that “around 50 are currently in service in France’s nuclear power plant fleet”.

France’s independent Nuclear Safety Authority, ASN, said the “irregularities” were listed in an audit it had ordered from Areva after it detected a “very serious anomaly” in a reactor vessel in the country’s Flamanville EPR nuclear plant, the same model Britain plans to use for two new plants at Hinkley Point. 

The fault in the vessel destined to house the plant’s nuclear fuel and confine its radioactivity was detected last year.

“These irregularities consist in incoherencies, modifications or omissions in manufacturing dossiers,” ASN said in a statement.

The revelation came hours after Areva’s director general admitted that 400 documents assessing whether parts of nuclear plants met required standards may have been “falsified”.

The doubts over documents supposed to rubber-stamp the quality of parts destined for new-generation nuclear power reactors will be a cause for serious concern for the British government as it is poised to finalise a controversial, multi-billion pound contract to build reactors at Hinkley Point designed by Areva.

Areva launched an audit late 2015 into anomalies at the Le Creusot Forge site, which  specialises in highly complex moulded parts for new-generation nuclear reactors.

According to Les Echos, an operator conducted tests on metal parts then wrote down his findings on a host of parameters.

“When a value was obtained at the upper end of the required norm, the written reports of certain manufacturing reports were allegedly modified,” it wrote.

This was the case for around 400 parts, it wrote.

ASN said it has asked Areva to transmit as soon as possible the list of parts concerned and its analysis of the consequences on the safety of installations”.

The explosive revelations came just hours after Emmanuel Macron, the French economy minister, visited the site.

During the visit, Mr Macron reiterated the French government’s support for the Hinkley Point project, which unions at EDF have argued is too expensive for the cash-strapped French electricity utility due to manage it.

“Hinkley Point is an essential project for this factory and I have come to restate the government’s commitment to the project without which there would be hundreds of job losses at the Le Creusot site,” he told unions.

“I believe in the need to undertake big export projects for the French nuclear industry and in particular Hinkley Point,” he went on.

“It will enable us to continue to strengthen our skills, to make us even stronger and to conquer new markets.”

His words came days after Mr Macron confirmed that the final decision on whether to go ahead with the project would be delayed until at least September, casting fresh doubt over the likelihood of the plant starting up in 2025 as planned.

Mr Macron issued the latest delayed timescale after announcing thata financial bailout for developer EDF had been agreed with the French state, its majority shareholder, but that the company would embark on a 60-day consultation with unions hostile to the project.

Hinkley Point:

£18 billionEDF estimate of construction cost
3.2 GWCapacity of plant
5.8 millionNumber of homes it could power
5,600People to be employed on site at peak construction
25,000Total number of jobs that could be created
£92.50Price to be paid (in 2012 money) for each MWh unit of electricity – more than double the current market price of power
35 yearsDuration of subsidy contract agreed by ministers
2025Earliest expected date for first power to be generated

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/03/frances-nuclear-giant-areva-admits-to-400-irregularities-in-nucl/

FINAL NOTE:

“Jobs” is the banner waved by the French government to promote their nuclear maladventures.

If France would quit bombing Syria and Libya and other countries and quit subsidizing NATO, there would be plenty of money in the federal budget for creating a strong living economy.

— French government/AREVA is partner in Hanford waste consortium

A highlight from this article on Hanford.

From Mining Awareness, April 19, 2016

The current Hanford contractor, WRPS, LLC, for the leaky Hanford radioactive waste tanks is a consortium comprised of AECOM (due to recent purchase of URS), EnergySolutions (owned by Energy Capital Partners – mostly former Goldman Sachs investment bankers led by Doug Kimmelman), and French Government owned AREVA, which would be bankrupt if it weren’t French State owned. If AREVA knows so much then why did the US take French HEU (highly enriched uranium) or HEU waste off the hands of the French? Why didn’t the French take Swiss HEU waste or Swiss plutonium? Why, instead, was it dumped on America? [1]

Why is France co-managing nuclear waste facilities in the U.S.?

Is AREVA dumping nuclear waste in the U.S.?

AREVA dumps nuclear waste at sea in France. It used to dump drums of waste at sea. These are AREVA’s environmental credentials. It cares nothing for the environment.

The beautiful Columbia River. Salmon. The ocean.

Not important to AREVA or the French government or WRPS.

 

[1]

https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/04/19/nuclear-waste-contractors-under-us-gov-investigation-given-13-7-million-bonus-for-very-good-ops-excellent-tank-management-but-alarm-just-went-off-indicating-increased-tank-seepage-of-rad-wa/

http://enenews.com/tv-plutonium-being-pumped-ocean-miles-underwater-pipes-nuclear-waste-left-lying-beach-kids-playing-sand-machines-scoop-plutonium-day-video-photos

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) – ultimate weapon of mass destruction

By Nina Beety
Posted on Global Research, April 10, 2015
http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-large-hadron-collider-ultimate-weapon-of-mass-destruction/5442232

Why the LHC must be shut down

What would you have done to stop catastrophic events if you knew in advance what you know now?

We have the moral obligation to take action.

The future is in our hands. The stakes are the highest they have ever been. The Large Hadron Collider developed by the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) is a dangerous instrument. The start-up April 5 has initiated a more reckless use of LHC’s capabilities. 

This is the situation.

The Large Hadron Collider – the rationale

The world’s largest supercollider is located at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) in a 17-mile-long tunnel built in a giant circle, buried 330 feet underground. It is beneath the French-Swiss border near Geneva. Total cost: over $9 billion (as of January 2010). It’s been funded by European governments and $542 million from the United States. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was restarted April 5, after a two-year shutdown and a $150 million upgrade.

Inside the LHC, two beams of protons are forced to smash into each other at high speed. The initial goal was to create the so-called “God” particle – Higgs boson — achieved in 2012. Now they hope to recreate the Big Bang, discover dark matter, expose other dimensions and more. To do that, scientists are nearly doubling the power level so the two beams of particles will collide much more violently.

“…Over $9 billion cathedral of science that is apparently, in any practical sense, useless… So many years, so much effort, so much money and material, so much energy and cutting-edge ingenuity. And yet the wizards at the controls aren’t really out to produce anything practical, or solve any urgent human problem…”

“…The physicists at cern have their generous patrons in governments all over the world.

… L.H.C. is a 21st-century cathedral of science, where thousands of passionately devoted, hardworking physicists—monks by any other name—have gathered to experience epiphany and revelation, and continue writing Genesis 2.0….”[1]

Genesis 2.0 is true. The rest are whitewash and lies.

This is the largest and most elaborate scientific enterprise ever built. Governments don’t invest billions and tremendous amounts of time and energy in “useless” theoretical projects unless there’s a very practical reason, a very specific useful intention and goal.

“The goal…is to achieve a deeper, better, truer understanding of the fundamental structure and nature of existence.[2]

The project objectives have been clear all along, including calling Higgs boson the “God” particle and calling one experiment Genesis 2.0. The Large Hadron Collider is about creating life and controlling realities.

The Associated Press reported on April 6 that dark matter is being pursued at CERN, at the international space station, and in an undisclosed underground mine. There seems to be a rush to capture dark matter, implying it is very important.

Governments hope to gain

1)              something that can be monetized and sold to us, making money for the already wealthy and powerful

2)              power and control — being able to control primal forces and unleash those forces at will

3)              weapons, including weapons of mass destruction, that can annihilate with precision

4)              assets, resources, property, real estate, land — creating new life, new planets, new universes, with assets and property to strip and plunder, worlds to conquer, own, rule,  enslave, as well as to escape to after Earth’s demise

History shows that this will be for private and government benefit only.

An LHC sponsor, the United States itself is responsible for more death, destruction, and permanent environmental damage than any other country on Earth. Its objectives are “command and control” and “full spectrum dominance”. That’s how the U.S. uses technologies and knowledge gained. What about the other sponsors?

Alarm bells should be going off everywhere.

Can scientists be trusted?

The popular myth is that science and scientists are objective and neutral, but science is fiercely competitive, even cutthroat. “Science” is often not a pursuit of truth, but a pursuit to be first, to win the biggest grants, to get the best speaking invitations and honors.

Many scientists and their professional organizations cling to “consensus” beliefs in the face of contrary evidence. New evidence-based theories are fought off as fiercely as if they were marauding pirates. Jealous of their rank, privileges, lab space, accolades, benefits, and titles, men and women of science can stoop to petty and even criminal acts to retain their power and position. Watching a colleague fail can be a cause for celebration.

Funding usually comes from the federal government or from industry. Rarely is this about “pure” science. There are objectives. The public welfare is far down the list as a consideration. With the government, science becomes an extension, just as with LHC, to advance national military and security objectives. If scientists stray outside accepted study subjects or find information inconvenient to the sponsors, they can be penalized, sometimes severely. “Publish or perish” means going where the funding is, and staying away from controversy. “Let’s leave it to the scientists” is not a good idea.

LHC construction and operating hazards

The reality of life is that the Earth and the universe are nesting, interconnected, intimate ecosystems. What happens in one place effects everything, because everything is unified together.

First, here are some facts and questions about the Large Hadron Collider regarding its construction:

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