The INES Global Responsibility Newsletter reports and comments – from a global perspective – on political, technical and societal developments and comprises of regular internal news sections.
Feed-in Tariffs can unlock Africa’s untapped renewable energy potential
World Future Council, Heinrich Böll Foundation and Friends of the Earth UK launch comprehensive policy guide for African decision makers
A new report for policy makers launched on November 30, 2012 at the UN climate summit COP 18 in Doha, Qatar shows that Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff policies (REFiT) are a promising mechanism to unlock the renewable energy development in Africa. REFiTs encourage investment in renewable energy generation – from individual home owners and communities to big companies – by guaranteeing to buy and pay for all the electricity produced. When tailored to the local context, such a policy can successfully increase overall energy production in both on and off-grid areas. Moreover, the decentralized nature of REFiTs allows for alternative ownership and governance models and provides the opportunity to empower communities as well as revitalising local democracy and self-governance. Read on here: www.worldfuturecouncil.org/pr_refit_africa_study.html
15. November 2012
Energy from the ocean: the UK dimension
Prof AbuBakr Bahaj, University of Southampton, outlines the recent positive progress in generating electricity from offshore wind, wave and tidal current resources in the UK. He also assesses the future challenges in a sector in which the UK is a global leader.
ADEREE and DESERTEC work together for a green Morocco
The Moroccan Agency for the Development of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ADEREE) and the DESERTEC Foundation have signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency. It focuses on the exchange of expertise and know-how in developing energy policy and regulation, and support for ADEREE’s communication and public relations strategy. Read on.
24. September 2012
International Symposium on the role of the IAEA
The documentation of the International Symposium on the role of the IAEA in Vienna from May 3, 2012 is now available online: www.inesglobal.com/download.php
Japan Will Try to Halt Nuclear Power by the End of the 2030s
Japan seeks to phase out nuclear power by 2039. This energy strategy represents a historic shift away from nuclear power usage which has been prevalent in Japan. However, with the Minister of State for National Policy- Motohisa Furukawa, suggesting that the announcement represented loose guidelines and was open to revision, the critics have blasted this strategy as being vague and long-term. Additionally, lobbyists like Keidenren which represent big businesses in Japan are claiming that if the country moves away from nuclear power, then it will result in higher energy costs and energy shortages. As Japan redrafts its energy policy, it also risks enlarging its carbon footprint. Therefore, the government must use its new energy strategy as a starting point for an ambitious renewable energy policy which would ensure energy efficiency and sustainable green economy. Read the story by Hiroko Tabuchi Japan Sets Policy to Phase Out Nuclear Power Plants by 2040 in the NYT of September 14th, here: www.nytimes.com/2012/09/15/world/asia/japan-will-try-to-halt-nuclear-power-by-the-end-of-the-2030s.html
IALANA demands comprehensive reform of the IAEA
Protest at the 56th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from September 17.-21. in Vienna, Austria
To read the IALANA press release (in German) please click here.
3. September 2012
Local sustainable energy projects: learning the practical lessons
Dr Philip Webber, SGR, assesses the lessons for UK energy policy from a series of award-winning programmes using micro-renewable energy technologies and domestic energy conservation measures in West Yorkshire, and from new academic research on city-level sustainable energy programmes.
IAEA Chief Urges States' Vigorous Action in Implementing Nuclear Safety Action Plan
The 75 States that are party to the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) are gathered at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria, from 27 to 31 August 2012. About 700 participants are attending the CNS' Second Extraordinary Meeting and the Organizational Meeting for the Sixth Review Meeting to analyse the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident's aftermath.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and the Meeting President, Li Ganjie of China's National Nuclear Safety Administration, addressed the opening session on Moday, 27 August 2012. The full text the Director General's remarks are available here.
9. August 2012
Nagasaki vows to help Fukushima victims, urges end to nukes
The first Nagasaki mayor to call on Japan to move away from nuclear energy: Mayor Tomihisa Taue
Taue called on the central government to seek "a society free from the fear of radioactivity"and to promote new energy sources in place of nuclear power.
Amid growing aversion to the use of nuclear energy in Japan, officials calling for the elimination of nuclear arms at anniversary rites in Hiroshima have been obliged to also call for a safer energy policy for the country.
The city was devastated by a US atomic bomb on Aug 6, 1945, in the final days of World War II, with Nagasaki the second city to be hit three days later.
The Hiroshima event on August 6th comes nearly 11/2 years after a quake and tsunami triggered a nuclear plant disaster in Fukushima prefecture, releasing massive amounts of radioactive materials.
Speaking at the city’s Peace Memorial Park, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said: “The government will continue to call for the importance of a world free from nuclear weapons and will support activities to hand down the memories of atomic-bomb sufferers beyond borders and generations…” Reat the full story here: www.asianewsnet.net/home/news.php
1. August 2012
Open letter to Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
In an open letter sent to Ed Davey on the Draft Energy Bill and wider UK energy policy on 19 July 2012, Scientists for Global Responsibility states its criticisms:
insufficient curbs on greenhouse gas emissions of fossil fuel plants
favouritism towards the nuclear industry
inadequate support for the renewable energy industry
World Mayors Council on Climate Change and the ICLEI World Congress endorse the Disarmament for Sustainable Development-Campaign
Today the World Mayors Council on Climate Changeand the ICLEI World Congress (Local Governments for Sustainability) have approved unanimously the Rio+20 Appeal on Disarmament for Sustainable Development. Both global networks of local governments add their voice to Mayors for Peace, the leading network of local governments protecting cities of the scourge of war and mass destruction.
The Rio+20 Appeal, tabled today by Mayors for Peace in Belo Horizonte, calls on national governments to redirect 10% of the annual military expenditures to fund initiatives for environmental and social needs. The Mayor of Hiroshima, President of Mayors for Peace, a global network of 5,276 cities in 153 countries and regions [and representing 1 billion people] endorsed the Rio+20 Appeal on June 6th.
Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images
23. May 2012
Busting the carbon and cost myths of Germany's nuclear exit
Critics of the atomic phase-out said energy emissions, costs and imports would all rise. They were wrong.
By Damian Carrington, The guardian, UK
With the UK taking another step towards supporting new nuclear power on May 22nd, – at either no extra cost to the consumer if you believe ministers, or substantial cost if you believe most others – it's worth taking a look at what actually happens when you phase out nuclear power in a large, industrial nation.
That is what Germany chose to do after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, closing eight plants immediately – 7GW - and another nine by 2022. The shrillest critics predicted blackouts, which was always daft and did not happen.
But more serious critics worried that the three things at the heart of the energy and climate change debate - carbon, cost and security of supply – would all head in the wrong direction. Here in Berlin, I have found they were wrong on every count. Read on here: www.guardian.co.uk/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2012/may/23/energy-nuclear-power-germany
Given the inevitable link to nuclear weapons, the risks involved and the obstacle that nuclear energy proves to be for renewable energy systems, we consider nuclear power incompatible with peaceful, just and lasting, i.e. sustainable development. Thus we demand:
much greater expansion of research spending on renewable energy systems, redirecting current funding of nuclear energy research to this end
for the remaining nuclear research (for safety in operation, dismantlement and disposal), make independent reviews and public debate mandatory
enter a transition period of phase out and dismantlement of nuclear plants and development of renewable energy systems and technologies,
initiate and hold debates with civil society, developing concepts and recommendations, for research and policies improving efficiency and enhancing reductions in energy consumption.
Sustainable Energy Roadmaps: Guiding the Global Shift to Domestic Renewables
Worldwatch Institute’s Sustainable Energy Roadmaps provide decision makers with a comprehensive toolkit for transitioning to sustainable energy. Tailored to a region’s unique circumstances, they examine opportunities for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and grid technologies; explore technical barriers and opportunities; and analyze socioeconomic impacts, including job creation. The roadmaps can be applied in a wide variety of locations and at multiple levels of political organization,offeringa long-term vision for energy development as well as specific policy, governance, and financial steps that are critical to making the shift to sustainable energy a reality.
Report by Alexander Ochs and Shakuntala Makhijani
A disaster caused by safety deficits and earthquakes
On March 11 2011 a nuclear catastrophe occured at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant due to severe safety deficits and an earthquake. All over the world countless (relatively vulnerable) nuclear power plants are situated in earthquake-prone regions.
Another nuclear disaster could be caused by an earthquake anywhere in the world – in Asia, America or in Europe. The IPPNW in cooperation with DNR, EUROSOLAR, IALANA, INES and NatWiss published an information leaflet on the tsunami myth.
You can download the pdf here:
The Japan Scientists' Association appeals to the Japanese Government for a basic change of energy and nuclear power policy
At the 42nd General Assembly of the Japan Scientist’ Association (JSA) on 29 May, 2011 this appeal was adopted. The JSA is an INES member organisation representing more than 4500 engineers and scientists.
The JSA appeals:
Never approve a new construction of any nuclear power plant, and decommission not only the Hamaoka plant but plants with the risk of great earthquake and decrepit plants;
Conduct a drastic review of safety standards and make thorough inspections of existing plants considering the actually happened earthquake and tsunami;
To break down the collusion between industry, government, and academia, which has promoted the nuclear policy on the basis of the safety myth of nuclear power generation, and to take top priority to security, establish the regulatory organization for nuclear power plants, which should have personnel, system and authority adequate to perform that rule;
Abolish the previous supplementary reader based on the safety myth under the editorship of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and draw up a new supplementary reader that covers mainly whole damages caused by this accident and its lessons.
People's Movement Against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project
Over 3000 villagers are on the roads, protesting against a nuclear power plant in Koodankulam. Located in Tirunelveli South Tamilnadu, the plant is gearing up to commission its first two reactors. The 1.000 MW VVER type reactors have been announced in the final stages of an ambitious project that has been touted as the answer to the severe power shortage in Tamil Nadu. But villagers in and around the nuclear plant are on an indefinite strike demanding the complete shutdown of the project. About one hundred of them have been fasting since Monday. Women, men and even children say they have seen the haunting images of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. They now fear for their lives and livelihood and are not ready to face a similar disaster. To read on and see CNN video footage click here.
By September 13th 7,000 residents from coastal areas of Idinthakarai and other villages joined the strikers. To read on click here.
The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy produces a field report on the South Asia Citizens Web. To read the field report click here.
We are having a Dharna (sit-in protest) on 27th September 2011 at 3-5 PM in front of the Colachel Municipality to support the agitation going on against Koodamkulam Nuclear Plant, in Idinthakarai.
Multi-billion Euro project “HELIOS”: Can photovoltaic electricity exports solve the Greek debt crisis?
"George Papaconstantinou, Minister for the Environment, Energy and Climate Change of Greece, is planning to turn German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble’s proposal for a multi-billion Euro solar project into reality. Should the “HELIOS” project drive European countries to expand the European power grid and to establish national feed-in tariffs for the import of clean energy, it would also benefit the realization of DESERTEC. However, we must sound a note of caution and stress that photovoltaic (PV) solar power from Greece cannot provide a viable alternative to clean power from deserts.
PV is a sensible option to meet local needs in Southern European countries where, because of air conditioning use during the summer months, electricity demand peaks at noon. However, it is not the first choice to export large amounts of electricity, as the lack of storage capacity means that PV cannot meet the need for energy as and when it arises. In contrast, concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) plants offer the opportunity to store thermal energy and generate electricity even when the sun is not shining. But the potential for CSP plants in mainland Greece is limited compared with the opportunities which could be realized in Spain, North Africa or the Middle East.
Nonetheless we welcome the news of the planned developments in Greece. It is encouraging to see that politicians are realizing that international cooperation offers a faster and more viable way to establish renewable energy as an alternative to nuclear and fossil fuels, than national initiatives because renewable energy investments are most beneficial for energy provision and climate protection when realized in the most suitable locations."
The Federation of German Scientists (VDW) a German INES member organisation is part of a working group on Desertec. See article in the latest INES Global Responsibility Newsletter.
Photograph: Estela Silva/EPA
5. September 2011
Windfarms prevent detection of secret nuclear weapon tests, says UK Ministry of Defence
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is blocking plans for hundreds of wind turbines because it says their "seismic noise" will prevent the detection of nuclear explosions around the world.
The MoD claims that vibrations from new windfarms across a large area of north-west England and south-west Scotland will interfere with the operation of its seismological recording station at Eskdalemuir, near Lockerbie.
To read the article by Rob Edwards of Friday 19 August 2011 please click here.
19. June 2011
IALANA General Assembly issues an urgent call for a world without nuclear weapons and nuclear energy
“Nuclear weapons and nuclear energy are the two sides of a Damoclean sword. We are sharpening the cutting edge to make it even more dangerous through our research and improvement of nuclear weapons. The blunt side of the sword is also being sharpened to a dangerous level through the proliferation and maintenance of nuclear reactors. The fibers of the threat by which the sword is suspended are being cut one by one through the increasing number of nuclear states, the availability on the internet of knowledge regarding nuclear weapons construction, the availability of materials from the waste of nuclear reactors, and the activities of terrorist organizations who would love to acquire a bomb. The sword of Damocles is being made more dangerous every day.” These were the key words of the speech of Judge Christopher Weeramantry, former Vice-President of the International Court of Justice and UNESCO Peace Education Laureate, held on Saturday June 18, 2011 in Szceczin, Poland.
A solar power plant in the Mojave desert.
9. 5. 2011
Renewable energy can power the world, says landmark IPCC study
UN's climate change science body says renewables supply, particularly solar power, can meet global demand.
By Fiona Harvey (The Guardian)
Renewable energy could account for almost 80% of the world's energy supply within four decades - but only if governments pursue the policies needed to promote green power, according to a landmark report published on Monday.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the body of the world's leading climate scientists convened by the United Nations, said that if the full range of renewable technologies were deployed, the world could keep greenhouse gas concentrations to less than 450 parts per million, the level scientists have predicted will be the limit of safety beyond which climate change becomes catastrophic and irreversible.
Visit the website of the Guardian to comment the article.
Read the Summary for Policymakers here:
Nuclear Power is a Science Policy Issue. Stop the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant
By Dr. Dhirendra Sharma
On April 26th as the science community commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 we tried to re-assess the feasibility and sustainability of nuclear power.
The Fukushima nuclear tragedy in Japan also warned the world against the nuclear path. Many anti-nuclear marches took place around the world. In India thousands marched from the disabled Tarapur Nuclear Plant to the proposed Jaitapur opposing the nuclear power project. But the Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh made a highly irresponsible and irrational statement that “the Jaitapur nuclear project was a fait accompli.” As the Man Mohan Singh government had refused to halt the project. Read on
Nuclear energy - uncontrollable in time and space!
This message from Alyn Ware (New Zealand, Right Livelihood Laureate 2009) and Abolition 2000 was released at the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl:
"The lesson of Fukushima is clear: natural disasters and accidents will happen. If it can go wrong sooner or later it will go wrong. Murphy's law and nuclear technology do not mix. Fukushima is not the first – and won’t be the last – nuclear disaster as long as countries continue to operate nuclear power facilities..."
Quarter century retrospective on the Chernobyl nuclear accident
By Peter Custers
The accident could have served as a wake-up call to the whole of humanity. Twenty-five years ago, on April 26th 1986, disaster struck at the fourth reactor of the Chernobyl nuclear complex, in the Ukrainian state of the former Soviet Union. The accident actually started taking shape in the preceding night, when workers undertook a turbine test that had incompletely been carried out before the nuclear plant became operational. When the test was being carried out, the automatic emergency system was shut down, undermining reactor safety. During the test also, fuel elements burst, setting off a chain of events which in no time resulted in two powerful explosions. Soon the reactor’s meltdown was a fact, and a huge radioactive cloud spread its contaminating effects over a vast area of the Soviet Union and beyond.
Thousands of Japanese took to the streets of Tokyo to protest the country's nuclear-power plants. The rally occured as engineers continue to work on bringing the Fukushima Daiichi plant under control, after it was smashed by last month's earthquake and tsunami.
Around 3,000 people marched through central Tokyo, a large demonstration by Japanese standards. See:
Alliance of Right Livelihood Award Laureates Demands Global Nuclear Phase Out
Joint International Statement of Laureates of the “Alternative Nobel Prize” and Members of the World Future Council on Japanese Nuclear Disaster
“Nuclear power is neither the answer to modern energy problems nor a panacea for climate change challenges. There is no solution of problems by creating more problems,” states the declaration issued by experts, activists, politicians, clergy, entrepreneurs and scientists from 26 countries.
Click here to read the full statement and to see the list of signees.
After the Japanese Tsunami: Industrial society, resilience, and the nuclear question
Stuart Parkinson, Executive Director of Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR), takes an initial look at the lessons from the Japanese tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear emergency. He argues that if societies are to be more ‘resilient’ to environmental risks, then major socio-economic and technological changes are critical.
The earthquake and tsunami in Japan have demonstrated that even the most industrially advanced nations can be very vulnerable to major environmental hazards. These events show that poor choices about which infrastructure to build can have catastrophic consequences – what some academics refer to as a lack of ‘resilience’. There are lessons here for Japan, the UK and beyond – in terms of how environmental risks can best be managed, including the question of whether nuclear power should continue to be part of the energy mix.
Japan’s unprecedented nuclear disaster refuels long standing controversy in Europe.
Comment by Peter Custers
The nuclear disaster which is unwinding in Japan has quickly refueled debate in Europe over the risks associated with production of nuclear energy. Immediately after the disaster in the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear complex along Japan’s east coast began, Western nuclear experts still tried to pacify public worries. It was for instance argued that the accident involving failures of the cooling systems in several of Fukushima’s nuclear reactors, could in no way be compared with the disaster that took place in Chernobyl in 1986, in the former Soviet Union. The explosion and meltdown of one of Chernobyl’s nuclear reactors admittedly engendered worldwide opposition against civilian nuclear production. But there was no question of a repeat. Instead, the experts argued - the Fukushima-Daiichi accidents could at most be compared with the 1979 accident on Three Mile Island in the US. The latter was a case of a partial meltdown, with largely localized consequences. Yet as events have rapidly unfolded in Japan, the debate over the wisdom of reliance on the nuclear sector has been resumed all over (Western) Europe. Even before high levels of radioactivity were registered outside the Fukushima nuclear complex, above the permitted maximum, - politicians both at the European and at national levels had already started drawing concrete consequences. Read on
A Final Wakeup Call?
By David Krieger
Our hearts go out to the people of Japan who are suffering the devastating effects of one of the most powerful earthquakes in the past one hundred years, followed by a devastating tsunami. Thousands are dead, injured and missing, and hundreds of thousands have been left homeless, many with limited food and water.
The greatest danger to the people of Japan, however, may lie ahead in the unfolding disaster of the damaged nuclear power plants at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station located 130 miles north of Tokyo. Already, substantial radiation has been released from the fires, explosions and partial meltdowns of the radioactive fuel rods in these plants, brought about by loss of coolant in the reactor cores and the spent fuel pools. The containment shells surrounding several of the reactors have been breached, allowing for the release of radiation into the environment.
Open letter to the world's environmental ministers on the nuclear reactor catastrophe in Japan.
By Judge Christopher Weeramantry, Former Vice President, International Court of Justice, The Hague
"In a supposedly enlightened age, we are, with total disregard of any sense of responsibility, proceeding to build more reactors, pursuing short term advantages while being fully aware of the long term perils we are inflicting on our own posterity. Solar and other renewable energy sources provide all the energy the world needs but we neglect them, for there are great profits for those few who are engaged in the nuclear energy enterprise, whatever the costs to the vast majority and the generations yet to come."
The ‘renaissance’ of nuclear power in other western countries is also proving problematic, especially where it involves the EPR plant*.
In France, a new EPR is being built at Flamanville. Construction began in December 2007, and is currently running at least two years – and perhaps as much as three – behind schedule. Costs have grown substantially, with the latest estimate being 5 billion – 50% higher than that originally quoted. Similar to the Finnish experience, problems have been encountered with the quality of concrete and welding.
In the USA, the programme intended to have new nuclear reactors online by 2010 is running at least eight years behind schedule, despite offers of government subsidies. The latest problem is that the partnership between French utility, EDF and US utility, constellation to build EPRs has been dissolved due to concerns over high costs.
In the UK, the safety assessment of designs of two new reactor types – the EPR and the American AP1000 – encountered delays due to concerns about the lack of independence of the main control systems. The government is proposing that various ‘financial support mechanisms’ be introduced to enable new nuclear build to take place**. It claims these would not technically be subsidies (a claim disputed) – which would be contrary to government policy.
But in China, nuclear build is proceeding more swiftly. One reason is that the reactor designs under construction would not have passed the more stringent safety assessments required in western countries.
*Thomas S (2010). The EPR in Crisis. University of Greenwich.November. 18.104.22.168/EPRreport.html
**Crooks et al (2010). Carbon-price boost for green energy.Financial Times, November 28. www.ft.com/
Nuclear adventures in Finland
By Claus Montonen
Prof. Montonen reveals disturbing evidence of shortcuts, overspending and commercial infighting during the construction of Olkiluoto 3 – the first of a planned new generation of nuclear power stations in Europe.
Read the article published in the SGR Newsletter No. 39, Winter 2011.
U.S. Energy Policy Creating a New Generation of Dr. Strangeloves
By Alice Slater, June 8, 2010
President Eisenhower is well-remembered for warning the public in his final address to the nation to “guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence . . . by the military-industrial complex.” But it is little known that Eisenhower, in that same speech further cautioned that “we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”
In May, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steve Chu announced that 42 university-led nuclear research and development projects would receive $38 million through the Department of Energy’s “Nuclear Energy University Program” designed to help advance nuclear education and develop the next generations of nuclear technologies. "We are taking action to restart the nuclear industry as part of a broad approach to cut carbon pollution and create new clean energy jobs," said Secretary Chu. "These projects will help us develop the nuclear technologies of the future and move our domestic nuclear industry forward."
Growth, development and climate change: Mitigation alternatives in Mexico
By Alberto Salazar August 2009
The entire region of Central America is highly vulnerable to Climate Change due to its varied geographical conditions, great biodiversity and poverty. Besides, the lack of promotion of clean energy technology in this region is likely to cause a dramatic jump in the total emissions for the decades to come. In countries like Cuba, Nicaragua or the Dominican Republic, the energy services are behind population growth and to date they represent a promising market to many potential providers. The case of Mexico is particularly important in the region, due to the size of its economy, its stage of development and the size of its population (109 million). Several mitigation studies have appeared recently, showing that the mitigation potential of the country is high. The German Federal Environment Agency presented a proposal in which Mexico could reduce 39% its GHG emissions from energy, transport and industry, with respect to the "business as usual" scenario, by 2020; the Energy Revolution scenario for Mexico (Greenpeace) states that, by 2050, it could lower its level of energy emissions to 60% less than the level of 2005.
Sustainable Energy: Shifting the Paradigm - by Alice Slater
Today's dominant world energy systems, relying on fossil, nuclear and biofuels, endanger the very existence of humanity. The world is faced with a crisis that requires a total transformation in the way we create energy, shifting to sustainable energy that flows freely from the sun, the wind, the tides, and the center of the earth. Accelerating weather catastrophes - tsunamis, hurricanes, drought, the melting of the polar ice caps - underline the urgency to heed the scientific consensus that we are endangering our very survival on the planet with the continued use of carbon-based fuels …