Massive earthworks needed to prepare the ground for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley in Somerset have been delayed, dealing a further blow to the government’s energy plans. Reports of rising reactor costs and the election of François Hollande as French president, with promises to cut back on nuclear power, have dented confidence. UK energy company bosses have stressed the need for ministers to ensure planned energy market reforms, set out in the Queen’s speech, make building nuclear power stations an attractive investment. Work to move millions of cubic metres of soil and rock at the Hinkley site was due to begin in August, according to West Somerset council’s planning department. But EDF staff have been told the work will now start in 2013. Crispin Aubrey of the Stop Hinkley campaign said: “This is very good news. We’ve always argued that it’s appalling vandalism to destroy more than 400 acres of Somerset countryside before they even have permission to construct the proposed reactors. This is yet another sign that the UK’s dangerous nuclear enterprise is stumbling.” The cost of the two nuclear plants EDF intends to build in Somerset was reported last week to have risen by 40% to £7bn each. Peter Atherton, an influential energy analyst at Citigroup, said in a report: “If construction costs are indeed anything like that, then an already very challenging programme may be reaching the point of impossibility.”
Guardian 14th May 2012 more >>
ONE of two nuclear reactions at the Torness power station has stopped generating electricity. EDF Energy, which runs the plant in East Lothian, said the decision to take the reactor offline on Sunday was unplanned. The company did not release information about why it had halted production, but insisted there was no cause for concern.
Herald 15th May 2012 more >>
Scotsman 15th May 2012 more >>
STV 14th May 2012 more >>
Turbine 1 at EDF Energy’s Sizewell B nuclear plant was producing electricity again on Tuesday, National Grid data showed, after the reactor which feeds two turbines at the plant shut down for maintenance work on Sunday.
Reuters 15th May 2012 more >>
Peter Hain has resigned from his post as shadow Welsh secretary. Mr Hain says he will continue as the MP for Neath but wants to concentrate on a campaign for the construction of a barrage across the Severn Estuary. BBC Wales Parliamentary Correspondent David Cornock asked Mr Hain why he was stepping down from frontline politics.
BBC 14th May 2012 more >>
The MP for Neath hopes to pilot a private bill through parliament, a process which could take years if previous examples are any guide.
FT 14th May 2012 more >>
Lecture by Dr Helen Wallace.
Radiaton Free Lakeland 14th May 2012 more >>
there are three main recognised decommissioning strategies currently in use: immediate decontamination and dismantling (DECON); safe storage (SAFESTOR); and entombment (ENTOMB). Since the last is an emergency measure to encase the whole structure in concrete, it can be discounted for the UK. Under DECON, everything is decontaminated to a level that permits the removal of regulatory control shortly after the shutdown of operations. The advantage is that the site is freed quicker and at least some of the previous workforce can be retrained for decommissioning. However, more waste is produced and workers are exposed to a greater radiation hazard. By contrast, SAFESTOR involves placing the facility in a safe condition and waiting until the radioactive materials have decayed to reduced levels. It leads to easier dismantling and reduced quantities of waste and generally lower overall costs. Government policy in the UK and elsewhere has been to get the job done as quickly as possible, considering both safety and economic considerations. So a combination of DECON and some SAFESTOR is generally deployed.
Engineer May 2012 more >>
THE LOCAL assembly in a Japanese town that hosts a nuclear plant agreed yesterday it was necessary to restart two off-line reactors, its chairman said, the first such nod since all the countrys stations were halted after the Fukushima crisis. But further discussion lies ahead before two reactors at Kansai Electric Power Cos Ohi plant in western Japan can be reconnected to the grid. With power shortages looming in the region when demand peaks this summer, the central government has been trying to win approval from towns and prefectures that host reactors. All 50 reactors have been off-line since the last one shut down for maintenance on 5 May.
City AM 15th May 2012 more >>
High levels of radioactive cesium have been detected in rats caught in forests near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Researchers from the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute analyzed the rat samples collected from remote areas of Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures in October and December last year. The institute says about 3,100 becquerels of cesium per kilogram was detected in rats captured near Kawauchi village, which is 30 kilometers from the plant. About 790 becquerels per kilo was found in rats from around Kita-Ibaraki city, 70 kilometers away.
NHK 14th May 2012 more >>
Kodak may be going under, but apparently they could have started their own nuclear war if they wanted, just six years ago. In a basement in Rochester, NY, they had a nuclear reactor loaded with 3.5 pounds of enriched uraniumthe same kind they use in atomic warheads. But why did Kodak have a hidden nuclear reactor loaded with weapons-grade uranium? And how did they get permission to own it, let alone install it in a basement in the middle of a densely populated city? Nobody really knows. Kodak officials now admit that they never made any public announcement about it. In fact, nobody in the cityofficials, police or firemenor in the state of New York or anywhere else knew about it until it was recently leaked by an ex-employee. Its existence and whereabouts were purposely kept vague and only a few engineers and Federal employees really knew about the project.
eGov Monitor 14th May 2012 more >>
Both Iranian and Israeli governments mutually benefit from the threat of war, as they both use the excuse to polish their propaganda and to silence internal opposition.
Open Democracy 14th May 2012 more >>
The United Nations nuclear watchdog signalled on Monday it would press Iran for access to a military installation where it suspects Iran has built a chamber for high-explosive tests that could serve to develop atomic bombs.
Reuters 14th May 2012 more >>
Iran is set to meet UN nuclear agency officials on Monday for the first time in three months, with world powers watching closely for clues on Tehran’s stance ahead of their forthcoming Baghdad talks.
Telegraph 14th May 2012 more >>