tidbits #20

So what news did I come across recently?

  • The pillars of EU’s forthcoming (in December) circular economy package:

    consists of six bills on waste, packaging, landfill, end of life vehicles, batteries and accumulators, and waste electronic equipment…
    developing product requirements under the Eco-design directive
    focus on energy efficiency and resource efficiency (such as reparability, durability, and recyclability)
    Extended Producer Responsibility schemes that mandate producers to pay for the recycling of their products
    “long-term” recycling targets for paper, glass, plastics, metal and wood packaging

  • Ukraine is unfortunately well-known for the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl in 1986. Currently its 15 nuclear plants produce 50% of its electricity needs. 12 of the 15 nuclear plants now come close to their maximum lifetime (for the other 3 the lifetime was already extended) but the government wants to extend their lifetimes in order to be further able to face the electricity demands. The government is currently facing claims that it suppresses public debate on the country’s ageing nuclear fleet. This is an issue since

    Ukraine’s ageing nuclear fleet receive EUR 600 million in loans from the EU’s nuclear energy body Euratom and from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for safety upgrades.

    If the information policy is lacking, then these loans should not be distributed so easily. For example, in this case the Euratom and EBRD should consider tying the loans to a fully transparent information policy. Mind you – though everyone is concerned about the age and safety of Ukraine’s nuclear fleet, the nuclear plants that one finds there are not as old as e.g. the French plants. Also, the disastrous RBMK reactors that were also in Chernobyl have all been shut down – at least in the Ukraine. However, there are still nine RBMK reactors active, all in Russia, so it may be a good idea to turn the all-seeing eye towards these more hazardous reactors.

  • It is now official that the Hinkley Point C deal with the Chinese will lead to further Chinese investments into UK’s nuclear power plant fleet. There are serious safety questions arising.

    As ludicrous as it might seem, control of our domestic nuclear power stations is being handed over to foreign governments and companies, putting our safety and very survival as a nation at risk.

    Mostly the question should be one of safety. Running a nuclear power plant in another country will always lead to strategically lower safety investments in that nuclear power plant than at home. I have already extensively discussed this point HERE. This should be figured into any Cost-Benefit Assessment that the UK government carries out – well, that is if they carry out any assessment at all. It is a bit surprising that the UK population is quietly accepting these Osborne deals… But one question definitely needs to be asked: If you are a government running on a tight budget, and both HPC and the potentially forthcoming Chinese nuclear plants will be run by governmentally-owned companies, and you need to decide whether to invest in the safety of your nuclear power plants at home or abroad – where would you invest your limited money? I guess everyone would agree that these safetly investments will be predominently carried out at home.

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