— France: Nuclear reactors restarted to the detriment of safety; “a Fukushima-type accident is possible”

From Reporterre

Translated using Google

Les réacteurs nucléaires ont redémarré au détriment de la sûreté
by Marie Astier (Reporterre),
January 18, 2017

Due to the cold spell, demand for electricity is at its maximum, justifying according to EDF, the re-start without delay of reactors inspected by the Nuclear Safety Authority. The association Nuclear Observatory is worried about this speed, according to it to the detriment of safety. It appealed to the courts to invalidate three restarts.
Update: The Council of State, by a decision of 18 January 2017, rejected the applications of the Nuclear Observatory Association, which challenged the legality of the authorizations for restarting the nuclear reactors Dampierre 3, Gravelines 2 and Tricastin 3, Nuclear Safety Authority at EDF. The Nuclear Observatory contested the re-launch of these reactors, which were found to be faulty (see article below). In its decision, the judge hearing the application for interim measures considers that EDF has taken the necessary precautions and in particular “precautionary measures of exploitation intended to reduce the risk of sudden rupture by making changes to the reactor operation”.
Reporterre updated his map of the nuclear fleet, detailing the central situation by power station.

To cope with the cold spell, have we rebooted some nuclear reactors too quickly, ignoring safety? Météo France announces – 6.4 ° C on average this Wednesday in metropolitan France, and the peak of 7 pm should require the call of a power of 95,000 megawatts.

Demand for electricity is at its peak, while five nuclear reactors are still stationary, compared with just one last year at the same time. Already in November, Electricity Transmission System (TEN), which is responsible for supplying energy to France, warned that the peak would be “more delicate to insure than in previous winters, by reason of unavailability of several production sites “.

Indeed, multiple stops of nuclear reactors had to be programmed during the year 2016, after the revelation in April and then in July, dozens of anomalies in the design of the parts equipping the nuclear reactors. Reporter told you in detail the whole matter. After checking, the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) authorizes EDF to restart the reactors one after another.

“A Fukushima-type accident is possible”

“But there was pressure on the ASN. Seeing the cold spell come, EDF has done everything possible to restart its reactors as soon as possible, “says Stéphane Lhomme, director of the association Nuclear Observatory. For him, the safety conditions are not met and “a Fukushima-type accident is possible”.

That is why his association has asked the courts to suspend three of ASN’s restarting authorizations for the Dampierre 3, Gravelines 2 and Tricastin 3 reactors. Why these three? “Because they were the first ones who were allowed to restart,” explains Stéphane Lhomme. The suspension and suspension were examined by the Council of State on Friday 13 January, which should give its decision no later than Wednesday.

The parts on which defects were discovered are the steam generators located in the reactor building. For these documents, the IRSN (the Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety) explains that there is “exclusion of rupture”: that is, the consequences of their failure would be so great that Is not even taken into account in nuclear safety scenarios.

“In particular, the steel of the parts near the reactor must be able to withstand violent thermal shocks. At any time, it may be necessary to pour cold water onto the steam generators, “explains Stéphane Lhomme. Abnormal carbon concentrations have been identified in the steel tanks of the generators, making them potentially more fragile than expected. The maximum recommended concentration by the ASN is 0.22%, while the controls have shown that some zones in the tanks have a concentration of up to 0.39%. For the Nuclear Observatory, ASN’s authorizations to restart reactors do not comply with its own regulations and violate the precautionary principle. These are the reasons that were invoked before the Council of State.
In their defense, ASN and EDF recall that the 0.22% recommended is not included in the law, which is therefore not infringed. Especially, according to them the risk is not so high that feared the Nuclear Observatory. “The sudden rupture [of the steel] occurs in the event of the simultaneous appearance of three parameters”, indicates the ASN in its brief, which Reporterre consulted, to the Council of State: a material of “insufficient toughness” , A crack in this material and a thermal shock. The fragility of steel tanks is therefore not dangerous on its own, says the ASN.

“It’s DIY!”

And then, restarting the reactors is allowed with some precautions, called “compensatory measures”. Everything is done now to avoid thermal shocks, the authority reassures us. The operation of the pumps capable of pouring water abruptly onto the reactor is, for example, modified, the temperature variations during starting and stopping of the reactor are limited, etc.

“It’s DIY!” Worries Stéphane Lhomme. Initially, it is known that emergency water can be needed at any time, so a steel is resistant to thermal shocks. Henceforth, as it is no longer certain that it resists, we reverse and we do everything to avoid them. It is as if one noticed that the brakes of the car are worn, and that it was decided that now it will be the other drivers to be careful to avoid having to brake brutally! “
Another concern, as ASN indicated in its brief, is that these “compensatory measures” have become “operational measures in their own right”. In other words, “they want to continue like that for years,” Stéphane Lhomme translated. However, the resistance of these parts will continue to degrade because they are continuously subjected to radiation and thermal shocks. “
That is why, according to Stéphane Lhomme, the decision to restart the reactors would at least have been “a national debate to ask the question: are nuclear safety measures optional when it is cold? “
In its memorandum, which Reporterre consulted, in court, EDF acknowledges having already given its answer: stopping reactors with poor workmanship “in cold winter, where electricity needs are increased, would pose serious problems for the security of energy supply ‘.
Source : Marie Astier for Reporterre



Ukraine’s grid and nuclear reactors again in peril as coal shipments stop

Ukraine might face a winter with the most severe energy crisis in its modern history
— Oleg Makarenko, PolitRussia

None of the three articles below mention Ukraine’s nuclear reactors, but they explain aspects of Ukraine’s energy situation.I have posted articles before about this situation.

Ukraine-backed nationalists just blew up transmission towers in Crimea, cutting off electricity. Coal and natural gas to Ukraine have been stopped. Coal provides 40% of Ukraine’s electricity, while nuclear reactors supply 50% .

Ukraine officials warn about power outages, due to the lack of coal and natural gas. Ukraine’s 15 nuclear reactors are again in the balance.

The country is in a terrible economic condition. Not only are Ukrainians are at a severe risk this winter of freezing; they and we are at terrible risk if the reactors fail.

This situation is the fault of the United States and NATO allies, contrary to what the mainstream news reports. Global Research has extensive articles and documentation on the situation in Ukraine — http://www.globalresearch.ca/indepthreport/ukraine-report

This is a critical situation in terms of peace as well as the nuclear danger. I think most people would be appalled at the reality in Ukraine, a country that the United States has been working to destabilize and control since the end of World War II.

Posted on Fort Russ:

November 30, 2015- RusVesna
Translated for Fort Russ by J. Arnoldski

“Yatsenyuk: Ukraine doesn’t have enough coal for the winter, extraordinary measures are needed”

The Prime Minister of Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, has stated that Ukraine does not have enough stockpiles of coal for the winter. He demanded that an emergency plan of measures be worked out to solve the problem.

“According to the date which I have, it is clear that, as I warned three months ago, there is not a sufficient supply of coal. In order to avoid power outages as last year, I urgently demand an extraordinary plan of measures in order to pass the winter with a stable energy system in the country. This is now the topic of discussion,” Yatsenyuk stated during a meeting with the anti-crisis energy headquarters.

According to him, the state has allocated necessary resources, and now needs to get down to business.

The head of the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine, Vladimir Demchishin, said earlier on Friday that the coal reserves of Ukraine are sufficient for at least one month, “but in the longer term problems will arise.”

According to Demchishin, at the present moment supplies of coal from Russia and Donbass to Ukraine are restricted.

This week, the Donetsk People’s Republic suspended deliveries of coal to Kiev-controlled territories and has stated that it will not resume deliveries until Ukraine restores the power supply to Crimea.



Posted on 21st Century Wire

Counterpunch reports on the western media and government collusion in recent attacks on Crimea:

“Ever since the Maidan coup of February 2014, Western media and governments have all but incited violent actions by extremists against the Crimean people. Unknown to people in the West is the aforementioned, food transport blockade, ongoing since September 20. Western media has self-censored reports of that, including the central role played by the neo-Nazi Right Sector group.”

That’s not all…

Ever since then, Crimea has been the focal point of the NATO strategic offensive against Russia in the region. Most disturbingly recently, a GLADIO-style terror campaign seems to have targeted Crimea, and like clock-work, western media outlets in the process of inventing a tidy narrative in order to package what is clearly new campaign of terror that’s currently being unleashed in the region.

WASHINGTON’S PROXY: US planners would refer to working with Ukraine’s Nazis as a ‘necessary evil’ in order to achieve geopolitical objectives in the region.

After putting NeoNazi paramilitary groups to work terrorizing the Russian-speaking population in eastern Ukraine, even Kiev struggled to get them back under control. It seems someone has decided to put them to work doing another ‘off-the-books’ operation which requires a lot of deniability – terrorizing the population of newly independent Crimea peninsula.

On Monday, the Crimea government declared a “State of Emergency” this week when Kiev-backed ‘nationalists’ blew up the country’s electrical infrastructure causing mass blackouts, with “Crimea is completely cut off,” says Director of Crimea Energy, Viktor Plakida, .

In what appears to be a true-to-form, classic false flag attack – a ‘Crimean Tatar’ flag was placed at the site of explosion. It’s more likely that the guiding hand of NATO Intelligence is active behind the scenes to intensify the situation.

Naturally, western media outlets are trying to frame the narrative as a ‘internal dispute’ between ethnic Tartars and ‘Russian speakers in Crimea’ (as part of the western media’s ongoing effort to isolate and demonize Russia at every turn). Still, a number of likely CIA-run editorial desks, and Mockingbird-type media outlets still refer to the Crimean referendum in winter of 2014 as “Russia’s bloodless invasion in February and March 2014”.

The reality on the ground is everyone’s worst nightmare come true: fighting has now begun between US-backed proxy militants and ethnic Russian and Russian-speaking forces as Washington and NATO continues to arm-up a flagging Ukrainian military, and supply their new ‘deniability brigades’, NeoNazis paramilitary platoons, Right Sector and Tatar militias, some of whom have been implicated in terrorist attacks in recent months.

CIA-NATO Dream Team: Nazis and ISIS Fighting Side-By-Side in Ukraine

Other US State Department-aligned foreign policy blogs have even admitted that US military Special Forces have been training new Ukrainian special forces, and seem to be ramping-up the rhetoric in the hopes of trigger more instability in the region.

Another disturbing development which has been all but blacked-out by US TV media, is that either CIA or NATO Intelligence (or both) appear to have drafted in Islamic Battalions, stocked with militant Chechens (likely many of the same fighters rotating through Syria fighting for ISIS), to help the US-backed regime in Kiev defeat Russian-speaking Rebels in eastern Ukraine.

So it’s another US-NATO proxy war beginning in Crimea.



Posted on Fort Russ

November 26, 2015 – Oleg Makarenko, PolitRussia – Translated for Fort Russ by J. Arnoldski

‘10 considerations on the Crimea blockade”

#7 Will Russia come to aid our misguided Ukrainian brothers? I think not this time. Although we would look at the collapse of the energy system of Ukraine with great sadness, the blockade of Crimea leaves us with no other choice than responding symmetrically.

Russian customs no longer allow coal to be delivered to Ukraine. The DPR has also stopped shipments of coal in the direction of Kiev. Gazprom, meanwhile, has cut off the supply of gas to Ukraine until it receives new payments. I’ll also remind everyone that two weeks ago Ukraine temporarily stopped buying electricity from Russia. It is quite obvious that prior to the lifting of the blockade of Crimea there will be no new deliveries of energy from Russia.

If one considers that the Americans are still more than unwilling to pay 3 billion dollars of Ukrainian debt by the end of December then the “Ukraine is not Russia” project will have the chance to end ahead of time. If nothing changes, then there will be no money and no electricity in the new year in Ukraine.

#8 Do they understand the depth of the problem in Kiev? I have no doubt that they understand. Actually, this is why Kiev’s promises to restore the supply of electricity to Crimea can be heard daily.

I’ll repeat: this indicates that Kiev wanted to bargain with us. However, this time, it is possible that we will not talk with Kiev and that it will have to untangle energy problems on its own.

Is Ukraine worried about winter? From a purely technical point of view, probably yes due to the complete stalling of the energy supply industry and other emergency measures. But, as you know, transitioning Ukraine’s economy into such a regime does not increase chances of survival.

#9 Many hot heads propose that Ukraine be dealt with as harshly as possible and that Ukraine should not be allowed to be supplied with coal or electricity even after the blockade of Crimea will be lifted.

These hotheads forget that Ukraine is now under the direct control of the US and that its elites will remain warm in their offices anyway. It’s not Mr. Yatsenyuk or Mr. Saakashvili who will “freeze solid,” but those who are held hostage by the Americans – Ukrainians.

Such a scenario does not categorically suit us, but organizing a “Holodomor” in Ukraine might bring some political points to our American friends and partners.

Ask Crimeans if they’ve begun to love Ukraine after the electricity blockade by Kiev. They’ll reply that they have not. And rest assured: If Russia were to follow the pseudo-patriots and attempted to freeze Ukraine, then Russophobic moods in Ukraine would only be strengthened by this.

Now it is already clear that the “Ukraine is not Russia” project has failed. It’s already necessary to think about the future, about how Russia will build relations with Ukraine after an adequate change of government in Kiev.

#10 Finally, I suggest that we pay attention to Europe’s reaction. The German foreign ministry directly called the disabling of electricity to Crimea a crime. Why? Because the Germans are not fools and they perfectly understand that if Ukraine is given a free hand, then next time it will blow up transmission line towers along the European Union pipeline.


Kiev’s attempt to blackmail Russia with Crimea has failed. Presumably, Kiev will now try to rewind and quickly fix the power line to Crimea. If for some reason Kiev can’t do this, then Crimea will remain without electricity anyway, but Ukraine might face a winter with the most severe energy crisis in its modern history.