Daily News Roundup

28 May 2015


Austria will take legal action to block any subsidized nuclear power plants in an effort to discourage use of the technology in Europe and scare off investors, the country’s environment minister, Andrae Rupprechter, said in a newspaper interview. Rupprechter’s comments to business daily Wirtschaftsblatt reflect non-nuclear Austria’s tough stance, as evidenced by its intent to take the European Commission to court over approval of Britain’s plans for the Hinkley Point nuclear plant.Neighboring Czech Republic also plans to extend its nuclear …

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27 May 2015

Nuclear Supplies

It’s odd how often the contribution of nuclear energy is overstated, writes Neil Crumpton, by mixing up ‘energy’ and ‘electricity’, while a similar trick to understates the importance of renewables like wind and solar. Even odder is how the mistake always seems to go the same way, to make nuclear look bigger than it really is, and renewables smaller. Welcome to the nuclear ‘X factor’! In April the proposers of a new nuclear power station at Moorside near Sellafield, …

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26 May 2015


Areva, the French firm charged with designing Britain’s Hinkley Point, has received a €2bn approach for its reactor business from EDF. The proposal is expected to open negotiations between the two companies and the French government, which controls stakes in both businesses. “We have received an indicative offer from EDF”, a spokesman for Areva confirmed. The French government owns 84pc of EDF and 87 per cent of Areva and will have the final say on whether any deal will pass. …

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25 May 2015


Following a public consultation, we have taken the decision to adopt a policy for the geological disposal of higher activity radioactive waste. We consider that geological disposal can only be delivered in Wales on the basis of voluntary partnership with a community or communities willing to enter discussions about potentially hosting a geological disposal facility and for those discussions to be successfully concluded; a process which may take over a decade. This consultation seeks views on the processes by which …

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24 May 2015


An inherent flaw in Trident missiles could lead to fires, explosions and widespread radioactive contamination, according to a top-secret safety manual leaked by the naval whistleblower, William McNeilly. The Royal Navy’s official instructions on how to take care of nuclear weapons reveal that the “chief potential hazard” from a live missile is the “accidental ignition” of solid rocket fuel. This could cause the warheads’ conventional high explosives to detonate and scatter plutonium and other toxic materials “over a wide area”, …

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23 May 2015


DECC has engaged external support by convening a Community Representation Working Group (CRWG) to help develop practical processes for how community representation, the test of public support, and community investment will operate throughout the siting process for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF). The UK government’s commitment in the White Paper includes taking a voluntarist approach based on working with communities that are willing to participate in the siting process.

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22 May 2015


Magnox has said it plans to cut up to 1,600 jobs across 12 of its nuclear power sites by September 2016. The company says the cuts will include staff, agency and contract roles. Magnox said: “The mission to safely decommission the Magnox sites has always predicted reducing staff numbers over the coming years.” The Unite trade union said the news was “shocking” and the move would lead to “a loss of vital skills and expertise in the nuclear industry”.

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100% Renewables in the South-West is Possible

Former advisor to Gordon Brown at the Treasury and No.10, Damian McBride, revealed that Ed Balls, having been warned by Treasury officials that the costs for Hinkley Point C are frighteningly out of control,  would have reviewed the spiralling costs with a view to scrapping the project if Labour had won the election and he had become Chancellor. (1)

Perhaps the new Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, and the Tory Chancellor George Osborne won’t want to …

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21 May 2015


Tom Burke: Amber Rudd’s appointment as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate has been welcomed by environmentalists. This is partly out of relief. There was a real risk that DECC would be abolished by an incoming Conservative Government. Taking away DECC would have weakened the Climate Change Committee and undermined the Climate Act. That would have pleased a significant faction of Tory MPs. Instead, it was the environmentalists who were pleased at DECC’s reprieve. To succeed, Rudd will have …

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20 May 2015

New Nuclear

Nuclear advocates must be admired for their optimism if nothing else, writes Mark Diesendorf. Disregarding over half a century of evidence that nuclear power is dangerous, expensive, enables the spread of nuclear weapons, and produces wastes we still don’t know what to do with. Nuclear advocates are fond of claiming that nuclear energy has negligible greenhouse gas emissions and hence must play an important role in mitigating climate change. However, the greenhouse case for new nuclear power stations is …

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