An analysis of the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident reveals no fundamental safety weaknesses in the UKs nuclear industry but concludes that by learning lessons it can be made even safer.
HSE 11th Oct 2011 more >>
Video of Mike Weightman.
HSE 11th Oct 2011 more >>
A review of nuclear safety in the UK has found 38 areas where safety could be improved, in lessons drawn from the Fukushima incident in Japan early this year. The review pinpointed critical areas for concern, including risks associated with flooding, the layout of plants, and the state of preparedness for emergencies. Ministers and the relevant regulators will be asked to look at these as a matter of urgency. However, the review published on Tuesday also concluded that the UK’s nuclear industry is broadly safe, with “no fundamental safety weaknesses”. If the areas of concern raised in the light of the Fukushima are addressed, the industry will be “even safer”, the report said. John Large said the review was a “whitewash”. “I see the hidden hand of the industry being very influential. There is nothing here to counter the gung-ho contention that everything is fine. Everyone acknowledges the severe failures in the way that the Japanese reported Fukushima. If the UK regulators have depended on the Japanese they have not taken good advice.” Large questioned why aircraft crashes had not been considered and said that security issues had been glossed over. “Fukushima was a gift to terrorists. They now know how vulnerable these reactors are. The real gap [in the report] is that UK reactors would not survive more than an hour without power. They have not released the reports done under stress testing. I fear the regulators has just fallen into line with government. This is a ‘let’s not rock-the-boat response’.” Louise Hutchins, energy campaigner at Greenpeace, said: “This looks like a rushed report, before the full implications are known about Fukushima. It’s designed with one objective – to give the green light to a new generation of nuclear power stations, irrespective of the safety, environmental or rising financial costs of those nuclear stations. This is government complacency.”
Guardian 11th Oct 2011 more >>
UK nuclear plants are safe and government strategy for new plants is adequate according to Britain’s chief nuclear inspector.
Reuters 11 Oct 2011 more >>
The U.K.s nuclear inspector said theres no need to scale back operations at existing atomic plants or change the licensing process for new reactors in the aftermath of Japans Fukushima disaster.
Bloomberg 11th Oct 2011 more >>
Engineering & Technology 11th Oct 2011 more >>
The Engineer 11th Oct 2011 more >>
Business Green 11th Oct 2011 more >>
The Manufacturer 11th Oct 2011 more >>
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Construction Index 12th Oct 2011 more >>
Times 11th Oct 2011 more >>
There are no fundamental safety weaknesses in the UKs nuclear industry but lessons can nevertheless be learnt from the Fukushima disaster to make it even safer.
Safety & Health Practioner 11th Oct 2011 more >>
NFLA extremely disappointed with the complacency of Mike Weightmans final nuclear safety review report. NFLA tables formal complaint as its submissions fail to be put on ONR website, and get mixed up with EDFs response.
NFLA Press Release 11th Oct 2011 more >>
Energy companies with plans to build £5bn nuclear stations breathed a sigh of relief after the regulator said there were “no fundamental safety weaknesses” in the design of UK reactors. The Government had commissioned a review of nuclear safety in the UK, after Japan’s Fukushima accident. The first new nuclear power stations are likely to have been delayed by six months to a year by the safety review and an overhaul of the planning regimes.
Telegraph 12th Oct 2011 more >>
The country’s chief inspector of nuclear installations, Mike Weightman, announced that there was no need to interfere with development of new nuclear power stations in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan. His review in the wake of those events was the right course of action and is an important piece of work. But it’s what it doesn’t say which is significant as well. Weightman does not recommend that the country’s existing fleet of nuclear power stations are stopped from having life extensions. It means a lovely big windfall for our main nuclear players, EDF Energy and its junior partner Centrica. By keeping the old stations going, they will be a main beneficiary under George Osborne’s carbon tax designed to hit high carbon emitter. But at £5bn per new nuclear station, there are still other sources of uncertainty, especially for the investors expected to foot the bill. Principal among these is what the long-term contracts for low carbon energy prices will be, so called contracts for difference. Again EDF is on the box seat. A technical paper on the subject is due out in January, with a bill expected to begin its Parliamentary process in May next year with the hope of reaching the statute book by spring 2013. Waiting that long for work to begin on new stations will push them even further back and make it unlikely the first will come on stream until 2021-22 at the earliest, heightening fears of an energy shortage in years to come. But why would the French commit investment when price contracts are still uncertain?
Telegraph 12th Oct 2011 more >>
In a statement, Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said:The report makes clear that the UK has one of the best nuclear safety regimes in the world, and that nuclear power can go on powering homes and businesses across the UK, as well as supporting jobs. We must, however, continue to improve where we can, not just with operating power stations and new sites, but by dealing with our nuclear legacy in a robust and efficient manner. The final review confirmed interim findings by Dr Weightman, which offered reassurance that new nuclear could be a part of the low-carbon energy mix in the UK. The coalition had signalled it would be pushing ahead with new nuclear power plants after the interim findings were published in May.
Scotsman 12th Oct 2011 more >>
Metro 11th Oct 2011 more >>
Morning Star 11th Oct 2011 more >>
Chris Huhne came to the Commons to answer an urgent question from Labour MP Paul Flynn about the Weightman report. In April the Fukushima nuclear station became the site of a level 7 nuclear event, the most serious level, after earthquakes and a tsunami hit Japan. Huhne put on hold plans for new nuclear power stations in the UK while a report on the implications of Fukushima was compiled by the country’s chief nuclear inspector Dr Mike Weightman. The report was presented to parliament today. Flynn, Labour MP for Newport West, accused the government of “scandalous collusion” with companies who have commercial interests in developing new civil nuclear schemes. “The country needs advice on the way forward,” he said. “They need consideration of the full implications, principally the cost that is making nuclear power unaffordable and uninsurable throughout the planet.” Huhne told Flynn that what he lacks in facts “he makes up for with poetry and rhetoric”. Shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint, at the dispatch box for the first time in her new role, strongly backed Huhne and the Weightman report. “In our view there is nothing that calls into question the importance of a continued role for nuclear power as part of a more sustainable future energy mix,” she told the House. Green MP Caroline Lucas raised concerns that flooding might affect new nuclear facilities.
ePolitix 11th Oct 2011 more >>
Caroline Flint MP, Labours Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, responding to the publication of the final Weightman Report on the implications of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami for the UK’s nuclear industry, said: The safety of the UKs nuclear industry is of paramount importance. As this report highlights, the Government should always ensure that our regulatory and safety regimes are as robust as possible. Nothing in the Weightman Report calls into question a continued role for nuclear power in the UK as part of a more sustainable and balanced future energy mix. Now the Tory-led Government needs to give investors the support and confidence they need to deliver the construction of new capacity in the nuclear industry.
Labour Party 11th Oct 2011 more >>
Paul Dorfman of Warwick University and a member of the academic group NuclearConsult, said that many of Britain’s nuclear facilities are built near the coast and are vulnerable to flooding. Dr Dorfman said the chief inspector’s statement saying that are no fundamental safety weaknesses in UK nuclear facilities is a “clear abrogation of regulatory responsibility”.
Independent 12th Oct 2011 more >>
Responding to Weightman’s final review, Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) director general Tom Foulkes welcomed the report, saying industry can now move forward with the planned new build programme with renewed confidence.
Low Carbon Economy 11th Oct 2011 more >>
The government has been urged to review the adequacy of planning controls over homes and businesses in the vicinity of nuclear power stations to safeguard them against accidents. The final report says that the Nuclear Emergency Planning Liaison Group, which brings together bodies responsible for off-site civil nuclear emergency planning, should look beyond the detailed emergency planning zones (DEPZs) designated immediately around nuclear sites to “improve resilience” in the face of more serious accidents. It comments: “A site that was acceptable for emergency planning purposes when it was first established may not continue to be acceptable unless planning controls limit population growth in the sites locality, or action can be taken to ensure that off-site emergency countermeasures can cope with the changed demographic. “In making decisions on planning consent for developments near to nuclear sites, it is therefore vital that the Office for Nuclear Regulations expert advice on these matters continues to be given full consideration by the relevant planning authorities.
Planning 11th Oct 2011 more >>
STORAGE PONDS for nuclear waste at Sellafield, some up to 50 years old, can never be brought up to modern standards, but Sellafield Ltd, the company which runs the site, is making acceptable progress in removing the radioactive waste, Britains top nuclear inspector has declared. After an inquiry prompted by the Fukushima disaster in Japan, Dr Mike Weightman said he found no reason to block the British governments desire to build eight nuclear stations to replace those closing over the next decade.
Irish Times 12th Oct 2011 more >>
A new Mox facility for Sellafield which will secure thousands of jobs is expected to be confirmed soon. Copeland MP Jamie Reed will tonight lead a Commons debate calling for the decision expected last year to be hurried up to ensure the new multi-billion pound fuel plant gets the go-ahead and creates jobs following the closure of the current Mox facility.
Carlisle News & Star 11th Oct 2011 more >>
Last week’s Guardian revelation that Horizon Nuclear is thinking of pulling out of its bid to build atomic power stations at Wylfa and Oldbury is a bit embarrassing for both Tory energy minister Charles Hendry and his Labour predecessor John Hutton. Hendry and Hutton spoke at the Conservative conference last week at a meeting on “Nuclear New Build” paid for by Horizon Nuclear. Horizon’s chief operating officer, Alan Raymant, opened the meeting with a speech promising “patience and stamina” in building new power stations. Yet RWE, which together with the energy firm E.ON forms Horizon Nuclear, seems to be running out of both. Mind you, Raymant didn’t totally inspire confidence: he talked about the need to double-check on safety after the Fukushima disaster, describing these kinds of disasters as “high probability sorry, low probability, high impact events”. Next time, he might want to double-check the script.
Guardian 10th Oct 2011 more >>
Jacobs Engineering Group has secured a contract from Horizon Nuclear Power in support of the company’s new build nuclear power station development at Wylfa, Anglesey in the UK. The new contract is an extension to Jacobs’ current marine environmental services. Under the contract, Jacobs delivers a baseline marine ecology survey program covering fisheries, benthos, marine birds, plankton and water quality; environmental impact assessments; option appraisals.Jacobs will also oversee habitat regulations assessments for the new power station and its associated infrastructure.
Energy Business Review 11th Oct 2011 more >>
Market Watch 11th Oct 2011 more >>
ENERGY bosses have today reiterated their commitment to building a new nuclear power station in Suffolk after a report on the Fukushima disaster found no reason to curb the use of reactors.
East Anglian Daily Times 11th Oct 2011 more >>
THE Fukushima disaster should not halt the development of Wylfa B but lessons must be prevent a similar nuclear crisis in the UK, an expert has said.
Daily Post 11th Oct 2011 more >>
In response to the news of the Radioactive leak at Dounreay, Louise Hutchins, Greenpeace Energy campaigner said: “This is a chilling reminder that Britain’s nuclear industry, despite all it’s assurances, is not able to keep its plants secure. Even as they are decommissioned and even after billions in tax payers’ money has been thrown at them. Instead of colluding with the industry to race ahead with a new generation of reactors, and before we can learn the lessons from the Fukushima disaster, the government should back clean, safe renewable energy alternatives and boost jobs and growth with it.”
Greenpeace 10th Oct 2011 more >>
No possible underground repository site can be found within the area of Allerdale and Copeland district councils, that would be geologically safe. In addition to the insurmountable geological problems, the NDA (Nuclear Decommissioning Authority) is misleading the elected officials and the general public of West Cumbria as to the scale of environmental blight to be caused, were such a repository to be excavated. The MRWS: (Managing Radioactive Waste Safely) partners need to ask some searching questions of the NDA; in particular, why the figures from the NDAs own environmental assessment, used herein, have not been presented in a more honest and transparent way. Professor David Smythe. Tim Farron MP has agreed to ask some PQs including: Has the NDA seriously miscalculated the amount of rock spoil from excavation of a geological nuclear dump up to 1000 metre deep and 10 kilometres square?
Radiation Free Lakeland 11th Oct 2011 more >>
BIRKENHEAD shipyard Cammell Laird plans to bid for contracts worth up to £50bn to construct Britains next generation of nuclear power plants. The plan could create up to 3,000 local jobs over 25 years. It follows the completion of a deal that sees a subsidiary of Italys Finmeccanica sign up to take part in a three-way joint venture that also includes Lairds existing partner, Warrington-based Nuvia. The news comes hard on the heels of a separate £5m deal announced last week that will see the shipyard provide services to RWEs new Irish Sea wind farm.
Liverpool Daily Post 12th Oct 2011 more >>
Ansaldo Nucleare has signed an agreement with Nuvia and Cammell Laird to design and build heavy modules and components for the UKs civil nuclear programme.
The Engineer 12th Oct 2011 more >>
National Grid expects colder weather and higher gas prices this winter, even though UK demand is not likely to be high. It believes international factors are likely to be behind higher prices and lower availability of gas. Germany has switched from nuclear power to more gas-fired stations, meaning supply is likely to flow from the UK to Europe via pipeline.
Telegraph 12th Oct 2011 more >>
Scottish and Southern Energy is shaking up Britain’s energy market by auctioning all its electricity on the open market. SSE announced last night that it will break ranks with its fellow Big Six power suppliers by letting domestic suppliers bid for its entire energy supply. The company will also buy all its own electricity from the same “day-ahead” wholesale market. “By selling its total supply of electricity and buying its total electricity demand simultaneously in the day-ahead auction, SSE will significantly improve the liquidity, depth and credibility of the market, and assist in the creation of a robust and tangible pricing index,” said a company statement.
Guardian 12th Oct 2011 more >>
Times 12th Oct 2011 more >>
The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) has recommended a tripling of the fee paid by the country’s nuclear power industry towards paying for management of the country’s nuclear waste. SSM has been tasked with assessing what level of fee Sweden’s nuclear generators should be required to pay into the country’s Nuclear Waste Fund for the next three years. Basing its assessment on information gathered from the relevant organisations – including cost estimates from the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Co (SKB) – SSM has recommended to the government that the fee should be set at 3 öre per kWh of nuclear electricity produced. The current level is 1 öre per kWh. (1 öre is worth approximately $0.001.) According to SSM, much of the increase is down to new estimates from SKB indicating that the remaining costs of the country’s planned final repository for used nuclear fuel have grown by about SEK 18 billion ($2.7 billion) from previous estimates made in 2008. SSM also says it believes that SKB has underestimated future costs, and it has adjusted the proposed fee increase to reflect this.
World Nuclear News 10th Oct 2011 more >>
Fukushima Crisis Update 7th to 10th October.
Greenpeace International 11th Oct 2011 more >>
Indian activists are seeking the closure of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant. Tamil Nadu politicians are merely seeking to halt work on the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, which is scheduled to come online later this year, until local concerns are addressed. People’s Movement against Atomic Power representative S.P. Udhaya commented, “Is an Indian life cheaper than the profits you will get from the Russians, or the Americans or the French?”
Oil Price 11th Oct 2011 more >>
Following hot on the heels of a similar court ruling in Hamburg, a tax court in Munich recently raised considerable doubts as to the constitutionality of the German governments nuclear fuel tax law.
Low Tax 12th Oct 2011 more >>
Floods or earthquakes could cause radioactivity to leak into the environment from Britains nuclear bomb factories, the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) has admitted. In a submission to the Fukushima safety review led by the governments chief nuclear inspector, Dr Mike Weightman, published today, AWE said that some of the sensitive operations carried out at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire were vulnerable to flooding or seismic damage.
Guardian 11th Oct 2011 more >>
NFLA Scotland report endorses positive moves towards renewables but urges the Scottish Government to develop consistent policies towards energy efficiency, district heating schemes & microgeneration.
NFLA Press Release 11th Oct 2011 more >>
NEW wave farms for Scotland were announced yesterday but there were concerns that the Treasury will receive a significant slice of future profits. The Crown Estates announced it is to lease six offshore areas it owns around the country and its islands, but it sparked debate about the money received by the organisation after it emerged it would take a cut in the profits related to how much energy they generate per hour. The latest twist comes amid a difficult relationship between the Crown Estates and Scotland as the Scottish Government strives ahead with what have been described as world-leading projects. At present, money from the activities undertaken by the Crown Estate, one of the largest landowners in the UK, is paid direct to the Treasury, but the Scottish Government has argued Scotland could receive more benefit from the profits.
Herald 12th Oct 2011 more >>
We could save the consumer £16 billion if we embrace a smarter network future. That was the message from Steve Johnson CEO of Electricity North West in his first speech as new Chairman of Energy Networks Association (ENA). He was speaking at an ENA Well Connected event in Westminster last night which was attended by Energy Minister Charles Hendry as well a large gathering of the energy industry, Ofgem and Parliamentarians. The figure came from a Report commissioned from ENA by Imperial College. Steve Johnson told the large gathering that the relationship between the networks and the consumer is going through a profound change. He went on to say that this would mean network companies engaging with consumers to ensure that the full benefits of a smarter network were realised.
ENA 11th Oct 2011 more >>
There is a genuine debate to be had about how to cut emissions in ways which can be afforded. This is not to pander to those who deny the scientific consensus that climate change is happening and presents dangerous risks. But a sober discussion of how we meet our carbon targets as cheaply as possible should be central to policymaking. The only target that matters is reducing carbon emissions. On latest figures, UK-produced emissions are down 27% since 1990 (slightly more than ultra-Green Germany). This is mainly due to replacing coal plants with gas ones in the 1990s. Like installing insulation and improving industrial processes, such measures do not have the sexiness of a new windfarm or solar array. But they are likely the cheapest way to cut carbon in the short-term, while we deliver cheaper zero carbon technologies.
Guardian 12th Oct 2011 more >>