THOUSANDS of radioactive particles from the seabed near Dounreay nuclear plant may need to be collected by divers. Scientists believe it could take three years to recover the leaked deposits, each no bigger than a grain of sand but capable of burning a hole in skin, causing ulcers and tissue damage. The task is so risky that lives could be lost, but if they are not
retrieved it will take 100 years for the particles to naturally decay. In a report to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) on the extent of pollution around the nuclear research facility in Caithness, scientists propose to send divers more than 100ft down with radiation detectors to retrieve particles that have leaked from the plant during the course of the last 40 years. Remote-controlled underwater vehicles could be used but Dounreay Particles Advisory Group (DPAG), which compiled the report, said that although using
divers would be risky, it was the most effective way to solve the problem.
Sunday Times 10th September 2006
It is as far out of sight, and as far out of mind, as any place on the British mainland could be. From the point of view of our political leaders, this is just as well. If the perennial farce at the Dounreay nuclear site, on the north coast of Scotland, were any closer to the surface of public consciousness, we would be hounding and haranguing them wherever they go. A report in this weekend’s Sunday Times suggests that the agencies charged with cleaning the site up have, in effect, conceded defeat. Dounreay – or the area surrounding it – cannot be wholly decontaminated. Nuclear pollution from the site will last for as long as the fissile metals remain radioactive.
Guardian 12th Sept 2006
Costain has been awarded the contract for the provision of the Sellafield Additional HA (Highly Active) Evaporator Project for British Nuclear Group Sellafield Limited.The indicative value of the contract at £90m will be one of the largest contracts to be placed so far under the guidance of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, NDA, the Government body set up to oversee the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Activities. Stage 1 of the project, lasting approximately 13 months, will develop and define the design of the facilities that will be used to expand Sellafield’s ability to process nuclear waste material and ultimately reduce inventories at the site.
London Stock Exchange 12th Sept 2006
The US might join talks if Iran temporarily suspends it uranium enrichment programme.
Sky 12th Sept 2006
FORTY electricians at one of Scotland’s nuclear power plants were due to go on strike today in a row over pay. The workers, most of whom are contracted to decommission Hunterston B in Ayrshire, claim a deal to give them 50p an hour extra for being based at the nuclear site has been scrapped after 30 years.
Scotsman 12th Sept 2006
For most of the last quarter century, the nuclear industry was on the wane, eroded by appalling accidents, the huge costs of dealing with its lethal waste and cheaper competition. Now, with global demand for electric power set to double in 30 years, nuclear ‘build’ is rising sharply. The world has 441 reactors, with another 178 proposed or under way – mainly in India, China, Japan and Russia. Not all these may be built – many people still oppose nuclear power fiercely. But demand for uranium is growing, while supplies are limited because 25 years of stagnation choked off the development of new mines. Last year, working mines supplied only about 60% of global demand for uranium oxide. Russia helped make up the shortfall by releasing old nuclear warheads, but this source of supply will run out. As a result, the price has rocketed – from $7 per pound in 2000 to $16 in 2004 and, a record $52 this week.
Daily Mail 11th Sept 2006
A senior US diplomat has warned North Korea against a nuclear test, saying that it would be a provocative act.
BBC 11th Sept 2006