The government finalised (‘designated’) the first NPSs – a suite of six dealing with various types of energy infrastructure – on 19 July. Under the Planning Act, this kicked off a six-week judicial review period, which therefore ends today, judicial review (JR) being the challenge of a decision by the state on legal grounds. The Act reduces the standard three-month (but promptly) period to six weeks. It seems that Greenpeace lodged a claim for JR of one of the six NPSs – the Nuclear Power NPS (EN-6) – on Friday. The NPS identifies eight sites in England and Wales that the government considers are potentially suitable to host new nuclear power stations. According to their press release, the main ground for this is that the government failed to take properly into account the lessons from March’s earthquake and tsunami on the Fukushima nuclear power station in Japan. It is interesting that the grounds all appear to relate to this issue – does that mean that Greenpeace would have left the NPS alone if Fukushima hadn’t happened? I have asked to see the statement of claim and will report further when I get more information. The government did at least take some steps to take Fukushima into account – it commissioned Mike Weightman, Chief Inspector of the Nuclear Directorate of the Health and Safety Executive, to produce a report on the subject. He produced an interim report in mid May which concluded that the government could carry on with its nuclear programme – or perhaps the alleged point is that ‘concluded’ is the wrong word for an interim report. He is to produce his final report next month. The government took its cue from the interim report and proceeded with the designation of the NPSs.
Bircham Dyson Bell 31st Aug 2011 more >>
THE proposed transport of 44 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel has sparked fears of an accident or terrorist attack. A consultation is under way to transport 44 tonnes of nuclear waste 310 miles from Dounreay in the far north of Scotland to Sellafield. A group of seven Scottish councils, under the name Nuclear-Free Local Authorities, has raised safety concerns about the route. It is believed there will be 50 shipments over a five-year period if the proposals go ahead. The Guardian newspaper reported that the group feared the reprocessing plans could lead to increased radioactive discharges from Sellafield during reprocessing.
NW Evening Mail 31st Aug 2011 more >>
The Highland Council has urged the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to consult widely with communities before deciding to transport spent nuclear fuel stored at the Dounreay to Sellafield in Cumbria by rail. In a response to the NDA, the Councils Director of Planning and Development, Stuart Black, says he is disappointed that the NDA is not consulting with the communities that are likely to be affected on the rail route from Caithness to Sellafield, including several of the main population centres in the Highlands. In the Councils response, Mr Black says: We feel this proposal to transport spent fuel rods from Dounreay to Cumbria will be controversial and therefore there is a need to explain what this will entail at the earliest opportunity. The implication of transferring the spent fuel, he said, was that there will be less need for investment in the Dounreay site than would otherwise be the case if the fuel remained there.
Highland Council 31st Aug 2011 more >>
THE agency in charge of decommissioning the UKs nuclear establishments has been urged to consult more widely before deciding to transport tonnes of spent nuclear fuel from Dounreay to Sellafield. Highland Council has called on the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to talk to the communities along the rail route from the Caithness plant to the Cumbrian facility. It is also urging the body to help fund the regeneration of the north of Scotland to offset the impact of the closure of Dounreay after its £2.6 billion decommissioning. A spokesman for the NDA said that while it had not talked to every local authority on the rail route, it had consulted the public.
Herald 1st Sept 2011 more >>
BBC 31st Aug 2011 more >>
Shetland Islands Council is to write to national and foreign goverments in an attempt to stop nuclear shipments through its territorial waters which are planned to take place soon. Councillors at this weeks environment and transport committee declared themselves wholly opposed to the proposed shipments, which will involve 16 (and eventually 32) redundant radioactive steam generators being taken from Canada to Sweden for decontamination and recycling. The route would take the ships through the Fair Isle Channel. The steam generators would come from Canadas first private nuclear operator Bruce Power and go to the firm of Studsvik in Nykoping, Sweden. The firm would decontaminate around 90 per cent of the materials, sell the scrap metal on the open market and return the remaining waste to Canada.
Shetland Times 31st Aug 2011 more >>
Staff were gathered safely on site as a small fire broke out in a radioactive waste shredder just before 5pm yesterday (Tuesday). The stations trained fire fighting team attended to the blaze, which was contained to a building away from the reactor building. Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service were also called as part of standard procedure and used thermal imagining equipment to confirm the fire had been fully extinguished, shortly before 6pm.
Eastern Daily Press 31st Aug 2011 more >>
RESIDENTS in the Burnham area are being called on to give their views on applications for environmental permits to operate a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. The Environment Agency has received two environmental permit applications from NNBGenCo, a subsidiary of EDF Energy, relating to discharges and disposals of radioactive waste and operation of standby power supply systems.
This is the West Country 31st Aug 2011 more >>
Concerns by the French nuclear safety watchdog over the energy giant EDFs new nuclear power plant in France has fuelled opposition to the firms plans in Somerset. EDF is building a new European Pressurised Water Reactor at Flamanville in France. Its proposed new nuclear power plant at Hinkley will have two of the same reactors. However, the French nuclear safety authority, ASN, has told EDF to fix a series of gaps and weaknesses in its construction. In a 20-page report revealed in the French press, ASN highlights a number of deviations from construction requirements affecting essential parts of the reactor, including the steam generators, water injection filters and batteries used for the cooling system.
Western Daily Press 31st Aug 2011 more >>
EDF is set to spell out to French nuclear watchdog ASN by mid-September the measures it is taking to solve construction issues that have hampered its landmark EPR reactor Flamanville project, the ASN said. The watchdog on Wednesday denied allegations by French investigative newspaper Le Canard Enchaine that the world’s largest nuclear power producer had attempted to hide issues with concrete used in the construction site in Normandy.
Reuters 31st Aug 2011 more >>
Rolls-Royce has bought US civil nuclear reactor services firm R Brooks Associates for an undisclosed sum, in an effort to grow its civil nuclear business.
Share Cast 1st Sept 2011 more >>
Precision engineering specialist Newburgh Engineering has confirmed its faith in the future of the civil nuclear power sector by becoming a member of the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre. Rotherham-based Newburgh specialises in bespoke engineering components and has been supplying the nuclear industry since the 1950s and last year won a multimillion pound, 10-year contract to supply nuclear reactor components to a joint venture involving reactor designer Westinghouse and Toshibas Nuclear Power Division.
Sheffield Star 31st Aug 2011 more >>
The owner of any new nuclear power station built in the UK will have to produce detailed plans for its eventual closure before construction can begin. Lessons learnt from decommissioning reactors and waste disposal at the current plants will provide valuable information for future developments. Peter Mann, formerly head of site for Babcock at Windscale in Cumbria, describes the work undertaken on the Windscale Piles and the Windscale Advanced Gas-Cooled Reactor.
Ingenia 31st Aug 2011 more >>
Nuclear power plants in the US must provide updated estimates on how long it would take to evacuate local communities in new rules approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) yesterday. The new rule requires nuclear power plants to update their evacuation time estimates after every US Census or when changes in population would increase the estimate by either 25% or 30 minutes, whichever is less. The plans are in response to the Fukushima disaster in Japan in March. Other changes include ensuring on site emergency responders are not over-burdened during emergency events and incorporating hostile action based scenarios in the drills and exercise programs.
New Civil Engineer 31st Aug 2011 more >>
Germany’s grid regulator Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA) said Wednesday that it has decided against keeping one idled nuclear reactor on standby as reserve capacity for the coming two winter seasons to ensure power grid stability after the government permanently closed eight older reactors in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in March. “Our investigations have shown that even in exceptional contingencies the transmission system will remain operational without the dispatch of a reserve nuclear power plant,” BNetzA President Matthias Kurth said in a statement.
Platts 31st Aug 2011 more >>
World Nuclear News 31st Aug 2011 more >>
The earthquake that shook the U.S. East Coast last week rattled huge, heavy casks holding radioactive nuclear waste at a Virginia plant, moving them as much as 4.5 inches (11 cm) from their original position, the plant’s operator has said.
Alert.net 1st Sept 2011 more >>
A survey conducted in April 2011, the month after Fukushima, found that 64 percent of Americans opposed the construction of new nuclear reactors. Recent events will undoubtedly increase those numbers. It can be argued that the U.S. was lucky in dodging the twin bullets of the Sterling earthquake and Hurricane Irene. But the question must be asked what if the Sterling earthquake was not 5.8 on the Richter scale, but 9.0, like Fukushima? Sterling is 85 miles south of Washington D.C. Japan now estimates that the radiation spewed from the crippled Fukushima reactor complex affected anywhere from 386 to more than 1,500 square miles. Does the U.S. government really want to put Washington in such arms way? And oh, by the way, the cleanup costs for Fukushima are now estimated at up to $130 billion.
Oil Price 31st Aug 2011 more >>
It has been 20 years since the world’s most infamous nuclear test site was shuttered, but fallout from the Soviet Union’s nuclear program is evident today.
Oil Price 31st Aug 2011 more >>
Things are hard in the heartland. In Kansas City, Missouri people have lost jobs, schools have closed and hospitals have moved away. Now the Kansas City government has subsidised a new federal nuclear weapons production plant with $815 million in municipal bonds. This is the first new nuclear weapons plant being built in the US in 33 years, and two others are proposed. This will enable the US to make new nuclear weapons for decades to come,’ says Ann Suellentrop, co-founder of the Kansas City Peace Planters.
Ecologist 31st Aug 2011 more >>