Quite a lot happens at the Laka foundation, only it doesn't always show in this English news section. Laka regularly extends its catalogue with publications on nuclear power, publishes analysss and news on nuclear power in the Netherlands, digitizes publcations to make them avalaible online, etc. We are working on a daily base to make Laka.org a tool for everybody who needs of information on nuclear power.
Check for instance our catalogue which includes around eighthousand publcations. It is easy to search with the search tool. Many publications are available online. If not, please aks and we see what we can do.
Nuclear reactors and the fading business case for medical isotope irradiation
Besides nuclear energy, nuclear rectors are also being used for the production of isotopes. In the Netherlands, there is currently a plan to build a new
research reactor, Pallas, as the successor of the aging High Flux Reactor (HFR) in Petten.
There are strong ties between the community operating the reactor for isotope production and the one promoting further developments on nuclear power in general.
Also, radioisotope-production with particle accelerators has important advantages over using reactors - notably less long lived radioactive waste, no need for fission products and a decentralization of
production. Therefore, Laka has been conducting a campaign against the plans for a new reactor, focusing on new means of irradiating/producing medical isotopes, mostly with accelerators.
The operator of the HFR, ECN/NRG, is also in charge of a cleanup operation for legacy nuclear waste at their site. As they claimed that
they couldn't shoulder the financial burden for the legacy waste, in 2016 they threatened with filing for bankrupcy, which would also stop the production of isotopes. So in October ECN/NRG got a quick €40 million subsidy from the Dutch government, to make them continue with waste processing and irradiation activities.
In February, Laka made a transparency request on the documentation provided by ECN/NRG on which the government decided to grant the €40m subsidy.
These documents have now been (partially) released. The assessment
by Strategy&/PWC of the financial forecast for ECN/NRG might have implications on other sites where medical isotopes are being produced (notably IRE/BR-2 in Belgium, the Maria reactor in Poland and overseas).
It is interesting to note that the supply is outpacing the slowly increasing demand. This puts the necessity of a new nuclear reactor in Petten in a dim light. Read our news item on it (in Dutch).
October 30, 2015
Court case against the expansion of COVRA nuclear waste storage
Using Euratom to open the debate on nuclear waste storage
In 2011 the Dutch government granted life time extension to Borssele, the only Dutch nuclear power plant. Where it was initially
supposed to be closed in 2003, the closure was postponed till 2013 and its now set to 2034. Therefore, the plant will be kept on-line
for 60 years.
Borssele's life extension means it will produce more nuclear waste then was initially foreseen, and this is why the Dutch government
also granted an expansion of the COVRA intermediate nuclear waste storage early 2015.
Laka Foundation appealed the expansion of the COVRA nuclear waste storage in February 2015. One of the objections of Laka c.s. is that
the (interim) storage of nuclear waste at Covra is expanded without there being a plan what to do with the nuclear waste after closure of
the Covra. There is a national fund which should collect enough interest to finance eventual construction of a final repository around 2100
and there's a tentative research program which is planned to last until 2100. And that's it.
October 27, 2015
Local Dutch government says "no" to Pallas-reactor
Last weekend, Dutch radio [pressrelease,
in Dutch] revealed a local government decision to stop financing the preparatory phase for Pallas, a proposed
research reactor for medical isotopes. The secret decision is reportedly based on the weak business case which NRG, the initiator
of the new-build project, submitted to the province of Noord-Holland. The members of the local government body are said to have had
little confidence in the business case or the ability of NRG to attract private finance for the Pallas-reactor project
(estimated cost: EUR 600m).
The Province of Noord-Holland and the Dutch State were financing the the initial phase of the Pallas-reactor together on a
50/50 base. This Friday, 30 October, Dutch Minister Kamp (Economic Affairs) will discuss the arisen situation with his colleagues at
the Province in Haarlem.
The financial outlook for the proposed Pallas-reactor is dim because the market for medical isotopes is rapidly changing;
Cyclotrons, cheaper and more environmental friendly means of producing medical isotopes, are quickly emerging.
This is the second time a preparatory phase of the Pallas-reactor is abandoned; In 2010 a tender for the reactor was withdrawn
due to a lack of investors.
Asterix und das Atomkraftwerk
Asterix und das Atomkraftwerk was first created in Austria in 1978 by cutting up existing Asterix comic books, rearranging
selected panels and adding a new narrative into the speech bubbles. The story of the successful resistance of the Gaulish village
that was declared a site for a nuclear power plant resonated with the anti-nuclear movement. Pirated copies were circulation in
various German towns even before the first German edition was stopped through legal action by the copyright owners of the Asterix
brand. Well over 20 German-language print versions have been identified. The volume was translated and adapted to Dutch, French
and various dialects Spanish, incl. Basque. Laka Foundation publishes two studies and compiled an exhibition on the comic.
The exhibition can be seen from 1-30 September
at the International Institute for Social History (IISH) in Amsterdam.
The first publication is a 92-page study from Dirk HR Spennemann: Asterix und das Atomkraftwerk. Bibliographic Forensics of a
German Underground Comic. The report is available only digital for a small fee: Euro 5,00. Please contact Laka
by mail for details.
The second publication is a detailed description of the history of the Dutch edition of the comic: De Avonturen van
Asterix en de kerncentrale (The Adventures of Asterix and the nuclear power station). The Dutch report is available for 5,00 euro for the
digital version and 10 euro for a (full colour) hard copy. Please contact Laka by mail for details
Click here for more information.
New: search catalogue Laka-library
The Laka-library consists of about 8,000 books about nuclear energy.
A new search-programme makes it much easier to find the publications you're looking for. On this page
more information on the Laka-library can be found and the catalogue can be accessed through the subject-list in a dropdown menu.
You can also search the catalogue on specific terms, part of a title or authors here.
More and more of the publications are available as pdf, but still a vast majority of publications are only available on paper.
You can request a copy. This is often possible (for a small fee.)
Speculation with uranium
Recently, the American Senate published a report on Wall Street Bank Involvement with Physical Commodities. It turns out that Goldman Sachs investment bank speculates with 12.8m lbs (5.800 tonnes) of U3O8 and an unkown amount of UF6. The bank doesn't physically move the uranium, but acquires ownership title when uranium is stored at:
The Netherlands has a limited list for which purposes ionising materials can be applied. Amongst those are for example energy production and uranium enrichment. Speculation, and storage and transport for speculation are not allowed. Recently, a permission was issued by Dutch authorities for transporting uranium through the Netherlands to ao. Comurhex France and for UF6 to Urenco, Almelo. Laka has appealed these permissions, as it was likely that uranium to be transported was going to be used for speculation - a non-allowed purpose.
U3O8 uranium products
- Comeko facility in Ontario, Canada;
- Comurhex facility in France;
- Converdyn facility in Illinois;
UF6 uranium products
- an Eurodif facility in France;
- Urenco facility in Germany/UK/Netherlands;
- Louisiana Energy Services facility in New Mexico;
- USEC facility in Paducah, Kentucky.
Read more here.
New publication: The Pallas business case - between dream and reality (in Dutch)
An assessment of the plans for a new research reactor which is said to be necessary for the production of medical isotopes. The reactor should be privately funded (expected costs doubled to 600 million euro in a few years) and should enter operation in 2023. Laka raises serious doubts about the business case and fears that government has to step in at a later stage to save the project with public money. The could be a choice if there were no alternatives for the production of medical isotopes, but there is: See the May 2010 Laka report: Medical Radioisotope Production Without A Nuclear Reactor. Here you can find an English summary of the June 2013 report.
New publication: Responses after Chernobyl and Fukushima. A comparative analyses of Germany and The Netherlands
The worldwide reactions on the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl (Ukraine, 26 April
1986) were quite different in different countries. So were the worldwide reactions on the nuclear disaster at
Fukushima (Japan, 11 March 2011). On both governmental level as well as on a public level. This article is a
comparative overview of the worldwide responses two both disasters, with (West-) Germany and the Netherlands as
It is clear it will take some time to analyze the precise consequences of the Fukushima nuclear disaster
on a political level, as well as for the future of nuclear power in general. Nevertheless, this is a first
attempt, focusing on
the differences compared to Chernobyl in two neighboring countries.
Read the paper (pdf)
Solidarity with struggle against Koodankulam
In the most southern part of India, Tamil Nadu, the local population is fighting the largest nuclear complex
under construction in the world: Koodankulam. The state repression increased over the months and is expecting to
increase further after a large
police force is send to the village of Idinthakarai, ostensibly to ensure restart of construction.
Although the protest originates from the 1980's it intensified dramatically last year after Fukushima and the
announcement by the government that the first of six reactors would enter test-operation late 2011. Many thousands
op people took to the streets and acted continuously against Koodankulam, resulting in postponing operation of the
nuclear reactor. State repression has always been harsh, but is escalating since last year, against the non-violent
activities of the People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)
Read more and show your solidarity
With regurlar updates!
Netherlands: new reactor postponed!
Not completely surprising came the announcement of Dutch utility Delta about postponing plans to build
a second nuclear power plant in the Netherlands because of the poor investment climate and low electricity prices.
Although Delta states it remains committed to the project, not many believe in its resurrection.
Delta had plans to build a nuclear power plant with a maximum capacity of 2,500 megawatts in the
Zeeland province in the southwest of the country, next to an existing plant near the town of Borssele, but said on
January 23, 2012 it was delaying these for two to three years. "The last half-year the investment climate has
worsened due to the financial crisis. In addition, overcapacity of electricity production has increased further
due to the recession," Delta said in a statement.
In December it became clear that French EDF, the preferred partner for the project had decided not to
participate and when the newly appointed CEO of German utility RWE in a January 21, interview stated that RWE
would not invest in a second reactor in Borssele 'under current economical and political circumstances', it was
clear that Delta would postpone or cancel the whole project.
Chernobyl Chronology 1986-2011
RWE owns 30 percent of the existing Borssele plant, while Delta, which is owned by Dutch municipalities and
province of Zeeland, owns the remainder. However there was no agreement on cooperation in the construction of the
second reactor. Both Delta and RWE (the Dutch subsidiary company ERH Essent) had started a procedure in the past
few years to obtain a license for a nuclear power plant.
Delta says it remains 'committed to nuclear power', and stated the decision had nothing to do with the accident
at Fukushima or dwindling support for nuclear in Zeeland province. The decision to put the plan on hold is based
solely on economic grounds (low energy prices, no investors) and uncertainty about carbon dioxide (CO2) prices,
spokeswoman Mirjam van Zuilen said.
On a stakeholders meeting last December, much criticism and skepticism about the project was visible for the
first time. A lot had to do with the passionate but clumsy CEO Boerma, who then left the company. Stakeholders
decided not to invest 100 million in obtaining a licence but only 10 million to increase support for the project
and come up with interested partners in the coming months.
Posters from the global movement against nuclear power
In cooperation with WISE, Laka published a beautiful book with 600 posters
against nuclear power from 45 countries. The book is a compilation of the large cultural heritage of 40 years of
global struggle against nuclear energy. Never before such a rich collection of anti-nuclear
posters was brought together, or, for that matter, of any other societal issue, of so many
countries, cultures and of such a long period.
This book truly is an homage to the richness of the cultural heritage of the antinuclear
power movement and could be a source of inspiration for anyone deciding to design a poster.
The price of the book is 20 euro plus postage. If you order 5 copies or more a
40% discount will be given.
Order your copy by sending a mail to Laka.
22 May 2010
New Laka research report: Medical Radioisotope Production Without A Nuclear Reactor
This report is answering the key question: 'Is it possible to ban the use of research reactors for the production
of medical radioisotopes?'
The answer is 'yes'.
Radioisotopes production with cyclotrons offers many advantages over a nuclear reactor: the
volume of radioactive waste produced by cyclotrons is far less and much less hazardous than
the radioactive waste of research reactors; the production is decentralized and there is no proliferation risk.
Read more and download the report.
13 February 2009
New article published: Medical Isotope Production. Conversion from HEU to LEU based production
and alternative methods
Since 1992 the US restricted its high-enriched uranium (HEU) exports to encourage other countries to
convert civilian facilities to low-enriched uranium (LEU), which can't be used directly to make nuclear
weapons. Instead in mid 2005 Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which includes provisions
relaxing restrictions on HEU exports for medical isotope production. The primary beneficiaries of the
new law are producers of medical radioisotopes.
read more (pdf)
History of nuclear power in The Netherlands (in Dutch)
30 January 2009
The history of nuclear power
Laka Foundation launched a new website on the history of nuclear power in The Netherlands. It is the
result of almost 18 months research in thousands of documents available in the Laka documentationcentre,
but also in many other archives. Thanks to this project, many original documents are now available online
for the first time. For instance all government nuclear energy white papers since 1952. Even all paragraphs
on nuclear energy (related-issues) in the election-programms by the different political parties since the
The site (in Dutch) already turns out to be an important source for journalists, scholars and activists
to either find background information on a special issue, or as a start for historical research.
Report of the Expert Meeting on the Risks of Depleted Uranium Use in Weapon Systems
On February 14, 2008, an Expert Meeting was held on the Risks of Depleted Uranium Use in
Weapon Systems in Amersfoort, the Netherlands. The meeting was organized because of a round
conference (short hearing) organized by the standing committee of Defense from the Dutch Parliament
and held the same day. Presentations were given by Henk van der Keur (Laka Foundation), John LaForge
(Nukewatch), Dr. Avril McDonald (expert on legal issues), Prof. Dr. Keith Baverstock (scientist,
former official and advisor of the WHO) and Krista van Velzen (MP of the Dutch Socialist Party).
The report (pdf, 640kb) includes the discussion of the round table conference
held in the Dutch parliament and is bilingual (partly in Dutch). It is also available on paper (52 pages). If you want
a copy please contact us.
New article published: 'Thorium based nuclear power: an alternative?'
It is said that the global reserves of thorium are considerably larger than natural uranium. Therefore the
call for thorium-based nuclear energy is rising. In the past 50 years basic research and development on the
use of thorium-based fuel cycles has been conducted in Germany, India, Japan, Russia, the UK and the USA.
Test reactor irradiation of thorium fuel to high burn-ups has also been conducted and several test reactors
have either been partially or completely loaded with thorium-based fuel. But is it really an alternative?
read more (pdf)
New article published: 'In time of hype, telling the thruth becomes a revolutionary act'
The war of words over Iran's nuclear ambitions has escalated recently, with the French Foreign Minister
Bernard Kouchner warning the world to "prepare for the worst, and the worst is war" (although later withdrawn)
and especially a spate of articles in the US print media targeting ElBaradei and the IAEA after agreeing on
a time-schedule with Iran to answer outstanding questions about Iran's nuclear program.
This article examines the latest developments and analyses the role of the IAEA and ElBaradei
read more (pdf)
July 14, 2007
New article published: Emerging Nuclear States.
Thailand is one of many countries announcing to go 'the nuclear path'. It almost seems
that every selfrespected government announces such plans, even unlikely candidates as
Nigeria or Morocco or Myanmar. It's very unlikely that even a majority of those plans
will materialise for many reasons. Not the least important reason is that it is obviously
harder to built a countries' first as the second or third nuclear power plant....
read more (pdf)
March 20, 2007
New publication: Monopolizing the fuel supply: The GNEP, GNPI and Fuel Bank initiatives
One of the most urgent problems the nuclear community has to 'solve' before a relapse of nuclear
energy is possible is the proliferation issue. Nuclear energy makes the nuclear bomb possible in
many ways: know-how and skills, materials, technologies, processes and methods. The difference lies
only in the intention.
One of the ways the nuclear society wants to 'solve' this is to monopolize the nuclear
infrastructure and technology and restrict access to nuclear fuel. Internationally several initiatives
are currently being developed.
But all these initiatives are undermining Article IV of the Non proliferation Treaty-- and with
that the entire NPT, because Article IV is the 'carrot' in the NPT-'stick'.
Even if proposals to limit the accessibility of technology and nuclear fuel could somehow be
brought into force, it would still not result in eliminating the proliferation risks associated with
a (foreseen) large expansion of nuclear power.
read more (pdf)