Britain is in talks with the Russian state nuclear company about building a nuclear power station in the UK, an official said on Tuesday. Hergen Haye, head of new nuclear development at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), told students at Edinburgh University that active discussions were taking place in London after a memorandum of understanding had been signed with Russia. “I can tell you that, behind closed doors and with microphones switched off, there are interesting debates happening in Whitehall,” he said. “Russia wants to build a nuclear power station in the UK.” Haye chairs a UK-Russian working group on nuclear power, and was in Russia recently for discussions. Haye regards the Russian VVER reactor proposed for the UK as “perfectly safe”, but he cautioned that there would be problems convincing the public that a deal with Russia was acceptable, especially given the current crisis in the Crimea. “It’s a long road, a very long road,” he said. According to Haye, securing money from the Chinese was one of the remaining barriers to actually starting work on the Hinkley station. Another was winning agreement from the European Commission that the strike price deal didn’t breach state aid rules. The commission has announced that it is investigating the funding arrangements for Hinkley. Hay said he was about to embark upon a tour of European capitals to try and win backing for the UK’s position.
Guardian 11th March 2014 read more »
Rob Edwards 11th March 2014 read more »
New Nuclear Monitor provides the joint NFLA / CNFE / Stop Hinkley submission to the European Commission on a key element of UK new nuclear build policy. It considers whether the agreement between the UK Government and EDF for a 35 year contract and a strike price of £92.50/MWh to construct and generate the first new nuclear reactor(s) in a generation, at Hinkley Point in Somerset, is in line with EU state aid rules. The submission has been developed by the NFLA Steering Committee / NFLA Scotland Policy Advisor Pete Roche under the direction of the NFLA Secretary, and the request of the NFLA Steering Committee.
NFLA 11th March 2014 read more »
The Scottish government is to end the Ministry of Defence’s historic protection from regulation and prosecution for radioactive pollution, the environment minister, Richard Lochhead, announced today. In the wake of growing concern over the MoD’s failure to inform official watchdogs, the Scottish government or the local community about a mishap at the Vulcan naval reactor in Caithness in January 2012, ministers have moved to close the MoD’s ‘Crown immunity’ loophole. Under current law, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) can only regulate plants like Vulcan under a “flawed gentlemen’s agreement” with the MoD, the Scottish government said. This means that Sepa has no legal authority within the Vulcan site, and no power to force the MoD to take action if there are concerns. Lochhead argued that the exemption for the MoD under the 1993 Radioactive Substances Act was an anomaly. “There is no good reason that radioactive substances should be treated any differently from other risks to the environment,” he said.
Rob Edwards 11th March 2014 read more »
BBC 11th March 2014 read more »
Herald 11th March 2014 read more »
STV 11th March 2014 read more »
Dundee Courier 11th March 2014 read more »
Press and Journal 12th March 2014 read more »
Concerns about the imminent discharge of radioactivity from Bradwell first raised by BANNG last summer have escalated in recent weeks in a concerted effort to put pressure on the authorities to halt the process. And there have also been calls to stop the proposed import of intermediate level wastes from Dungeness.As BANNG’s Chair Andy Blowers says, ‘There is a palpable and widespread sense of frustration at the lack of consultation, information and openness shown by the operators of Bradwell and the authorities that regulate their activities.
BANNG 7th March 2014 read more »
More than 60 people held a vigil at Heysham Nuclear Power station to mark the third anniversary of the nuclear disaster at Fukishima. Protestors called on EDF to publicly answer questions relating to safety of the reactors in the face of climate change, and the ongoing problem of nuclear waste storage.
Morecambe Visitor 11th March 2014 read more »
Anti nuclear campaigners have staged a protest on the Menai Suspension bridge this morning to mark three years since the explosion at a nuclear power station at Fukushima in Japan. PAWB (People against Wylfa B) staged their peaceful protest during the morning rush hour. Some were dressed in white anti-radiation suits. They held a banner calling for a nuclear free world.
Daily Post 11th March 2014 read more »
Sellafield Ltd removes 100 tonnes of contaminated equipment from world’s biggest open-air nuclear store. Nuclear experts at Sellafield in the UK have successfully removed one hundred tonnes of contaminated redundant equipment from the oldest fuel storage pond at Europe’s oldest and most complex nuclear site.
Engineer Live 11th March 2014 read more »
A group of green Liberal Democrats today staked their claim to get the green vote in a new publication. So how does their ‘ Green Manifesto’ compare to other parties’ stances on climate change ahead of the election? On the face of it, the cross-party consensus that saw binding climate goals introduced still stands. But parties’ views on how to meet them have evolved since the last election. A split has emerged between Conservatives who still seem torn between economic recovery and the emerging view that decarbonisation can boost the economy. The conversation is broadening beyond the rhetoric of affordability, however. Climate change is also appearing in political discourse as a direct threat to the UK’s security, for example. And if the Lib Dems’ green proposals are anything to go by, it’s possible green considerations could start to appear in a much wider range of policy proposals.
Carbon Brief 11th March 2014 read more »
A generation after Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, the world is rediscovering the attractions of nuclear power to curb the warming pollution of carbon fuels. And so a new industry focused on plutonium-based nuclear fuel has begun to take shape in the far reaches of Asia, with ambitions to spread elsewhere — and some frightening implications, if Thomas Cochran is correct. A Washington-based physicist and nuclear contrarian, Cochran helped kill a vast plutonium-based nuclear industrial complex back in the 1970s, and now he’s at it again — lecturing at symposia, standing up at official meetings, and confronting nuclear industry representatives with warnings about how commercializing plutonium will put the public at enormous risk.
Public Integrity 10th March 2014 read more »
The debate over a possible underground nuclear dump in Cumbria has been reignited after evidence emerged of strong public opposition to the notion of district councils ever being given the final say. The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) last year published a proposal that district rather than county councils should have the final say on continuing the search for a site but public consultation has shown that most of those who responded support the original approach, leaving county councils in the driving seat. That response has been seized upon by Cumbrians campaigning against by dump – and also drew a strong response from Cumbria County Council leader Stewart Young. Along with others in the county, he fears that the Department for Energy and Climate Change may still have its sights set on Cumbria as a possible home for the dump – despite last year’s decision to end the search.
Carlisle News and Star 11th March 2014 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
The nuclear industry and its media cheerleaders have raised a chorus of misinformation over Fukushima, writes Karl Grossman. But their attempts to suppress the truth are ultimately doomed to failure.
Ecologist 8th March 2014 read more »
“Forgetting Fukushima makes it more likely that such a nuclear disaster could happen elsewhere,” said Mrs Tatsuko Okawara, one of the hundreds of thousands of victims of the Fukushima accident that began on 11 March 2011. Though she is right, the world still seems to forget. The nuclear industry is trying its hardest to make us forget by downplaying the impacts of the accident, ignoring the fact that the Fukushima reactors are still not under control and claiming that lessons have been learned. Nothing is further from the truth.
Greenpeace 11th March 2014 read more »
Three years on since the nuclear disaster at Fukushima: 160,000 people may never return home. The area remains a “post-apocalyptic landscape” in the words of Miles O’Brien, PBS News’ science correspondent, who recently visited the site. He reported that “Each and every day, 100,000 gallons of fresh groundwater seeps into the basements of the plant, where it becomes contaminated with a witch’s brew of radionuclide.” The site’s operator Tepco is furiously trying to contain this water in huge holding tanks. But they know they’re running out of storage space: the problem is not going away and there’s not a Plan B.
Huffington Post 11th March 2014 read more »
Japan – Plutonium
No nation has suffered more in the nuclear age than Japan, where atomic bombs flattened two cities in World War II and three reactors melted down at Fukushima just three years ago. But government officials and proliferation experts say Japan is happy to let neighbors like China and North Korea believe it is part of the nuclear club, because it has a “bomb in the basement” -– the material and the means to produce nuclear weapons within six months, according to some estimates. And with tensions rising in the region, China’s belief in the “bomb in the basement” is strong enough that it has demanded Japan get rid of its massive stockpile of plutonium and drop plans to open a new breeder reactor this fall.
NBC News 11th March 2014 read more »
HUNDREDS of workers at the Faslane nuclear base have gone on strike today after rejecting a “derisory” pay offer. Unite suspended a planned stoppage last month at the site on the Clyde in Scotland but has revived action after most of its members turned down a 2% offer.
Daily Record 11th March 2014 read more »
Renewables – solar
By the time the election comes about in May 2015, the UK solar PV industry could have a cumulative PV install base of more than 7GW. This would correspond to 35% of the 20GW by 2020 aspiration of Greg Barker. A further five years at 2.5GW per year gets the industry to the 20GW mark, something that was unthinkable a few years ago but is quickly becoming a figure that may need to be upgraded to reflect the changing status of solar PV within the overall energy mix of the UK.
Solar Portal 11th March 2014 read more »
The UK’s first council-run energy company will be set up next year by Nottingham City Council. According to media reports, Nottingham City Council said it will set up the £1m project to do battle with “the big six” energy firms. It will run it on a non-profit making basis. More than 177,000 households across Nottingham could soon benefit from cheaper energy bills – saving up to £120 a year, it is claimed – when the new firm is set up by Nottingham City Council. The current plan is to launch the scheme next year – with a high-street shop, call centre and other staff leading to the project becoming a potential “million pounds plus” scheme.
Edie 12th March 2014 read more »
Deal to cut energy bills ‘will cause 20,000 job losses and 50,000 homes to go uninsulated’. Labour and the IPPR criticise government over consequences of deal with energy companies to cut £50 from bills by reducing insulation targets.
Telegraph 12th March 2014 read more »
The expansion in volumes of oil and gas produced by hydraulic fracturing is taking experts and politicians by surprise, with profound consequences for US geopolitics, and even Europe’s reliance on Russian gas.
Independent 11th March 2014 read more »
The struggle to curb global warming is becoming increasingly fraught and costly, the head of the world’s leading climate science authority has warned. “We will have to work much harder to win this battle now than we would have been required to do 10 or 15 years ago,” Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, told the FT in an interview. Speaking in London, Dr Pachauri said he was still optimistic the world would find a way of curbing the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are warming the planet to potentially dangerous levels.
FT 11th March 2014 read more »
The idea that the benefits of climate change will outweigh any risks is “completely wrong”, according to the government scientist who advises the cabinet on the latest state of knowledge on global warming. “Whilst there may be trivial benefits in some parts of the world for some of the time, the long-term direction for all of us is a negative direction,” said Sir Mark Walport, the UK’s chief scientific adviser. Sir Mark was responding to MPs’ questions in a Commons committee about claims by the peer and science journalist, Matt Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist, that climate change is likely to do more good than harm for most of this century. “I understand the point he’s making but I think he’s completely wrong, unfortunately,” said Sir Mark, adding brusquely: “He describes himself as a rational optimist. I’m not s ure about the rational bit.”
FT 11th March 2014 read more »
No “serious voice” in government questions climate change or Britain’s stringent green targets, climate change minister Greg Barker has said. The Conservative minister acknowledged “lively debate” over the best ways of tackling climate change but insisted there was consensus in government over the causes of global warming – despite accusations that some of his Conservative colleagues are climate sceptics. Appearing before the MPs on the energy and climate change select committee, Mr Barker said: “I don’t know any serious voice in government that is questioning the Climate Change Act or the overall science of climate change.”
Telegraph 11th March 2014 read more »
CND’s General Secretary Kate Hudson has issued the following statement: ‘It was with shock and sadness that all of us here at CND heard the news of Bob Crow’s passing. We offer our sincere condolences to Bob’s family, friends and colleagues.’ ‘Bob was a passionate trade unionist who fought tirelessly for his members: a man of courage and conviction. There are too few of his kind in British politics.’ ‘He was also a great and principled friend of the anti-nuclear movement, and fought alongside CND to oppose replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system. His RMT anti-Trident resolution to the TUC Congress in 2006 began to turn the tide against replacement which rapidly reached majority proportions across the country.
CND 11th March 2014 read more »