In mid-October nuclear safety experts concluded a 10-day mission to peer-review the UK Nuclear Regulator: Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Nuclear Directorate (ND). The IAEA commended some of HSE/NDs practices and identified further areas where they feel ND can improve its regulatory effectiveness.
Nuclear Engineering International 16th Oct 2009 more >>
Swedish utility Vattenfall said it had not made a decision regarding investment in new nuclear plants in the UK after a report said it was mulling investment in an EDF project.
Reuters 15th Oct 2009 more >>
A leading energy policy professor claimed companies that wanted to build a new generation of nuclear power stations would need help from the Government if the plants were to be provided. Despite assurances from ministers that they could be built without subsidy, Professor Stephen Thomas predicted that would not be the case when the time came for decisions to be made. The professor of energy policy at Greenwich University made his forecast in Oldbury-on-Severn, near Thornbury, in the shadow of the atomic plant that has operated for 40 years, and close to the site in Shepperdine where one of the new stations could be built. Professor Thomas was the first lecturer to be invited to talk to people by campaigners opposed to the new plant.
Bristol Evening Post 16th Oct 2009 more >>
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is raising safety concerns with the design of a proposed new reactor to be built by Westinghouse, saying a key part of the reactor may not withstand a tornado, earthquake or even high winds. The NRC staff has directed Westinghouse to make changes in the reactor design so that its outer shell, which is supposed to protect the reactor’s containment structure, is strengthened. The staff concluded the steel and concrete structure does not meet the design requirements for safety. The reactor, called the AP-1000, is the choice of seven utilities that have filed applications to build a new nuclear power plant. NRC officials said it is now up Westinghouse to figure out how the design problem will be resolved.
AP 15th Oct 2009 more >>
New York Times 16th Oct 2009 more >>
A union that represents engineers and scientists at Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. is warning that the sale of AECL’s reactor unit to a foreign buyer could spell the end of the country’s CANDU technology.
Ottawa Citizen 14th Oct 2009 more >>
A UK study provides the first contemporary investigation of public perceptions of nuclear power among residents living close to existing nuclear plants. It indicates that responses are not simply ‘for’ or ‘against’, but a complex ‘landscape of beliefs’ that will need complex communication from authorities about plans for new plants.
Environmental Expert 15th Oct 2009 more >>
Amory Lovins: Today, most dispassionate analysts think new nuclear power plants’ deepest flaw is their economics. They cost too much to build and incur too much financial risk. My writings show why nuclear expansion therefore can’t deliver on its claims: it would reduce and retard climate protection, because it saves between two and 20 times less carbon per dollar, 20 to 40 times slower, than investing in efficiency and micropower.
Grist 14th Oct 2009 more >>
Letters: Margaret Penn: With reference to the proposed nuclear waste site at Keekle Head do the public realise that this French company called Endecom intends to make money at the expense of the local community? We must rely on our local councillors to refuse planning permission for this site otherwise our children’s futures will be affected by a 50-year site. Marianne Birkby: Radiation Free Lakeland would like to thank the 150 people who signed letters to the new Bishop of Carlisle on Saturday. Many people came along specially, knowing that there was going to be an anti-nuclear presence outside Carlisle Cathedral and wanting to voice their concerns about Bishop James Newcome’s pro-nuclear build stance.
Whitehaven News 14th Oct 2009 more >>
New fuelling ropes supplied to Wylfa power station in Anglesey, North Wales last around three times as long as the old ones. Staff at the site – operated by Magnox North on behalf of the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority – are now looking to utilise the ropes elsewhere.
Nuclear Engineering International 15th Oct 2009 more >>
A campaign group are making a last ditch attempt to save two towers at the old Trawsfynydd nuclear power station in Snowdonia National Park.
BBC 15th Oct 2009 more >>
Dounreay entered into contracts in the early 1990s with overseas customers to recycle their spent fuel. This work ceased following a breakdown in one of the chemical plants in 1996. All contracts required the waste generated during reprocessing to be returned to the customer, along with the recovered nuclear material. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority inherited these contracts from the UK Atomic Energy Authority, the former site operator, in 2005. The total amount of waste arising from these old commercial contracts at Dounreay is about two per cent of the total amount of waste that needs to be managed as part of the clean-up and demolition of the site. Concluding these historical contracts is a small but important part of the overall site closure programme. None of the foreign waste has been returned so far. One of the customers has asked NDA to return their waste in a glass mix, known as vitrified waste, instead of the cement used at Dounreay. Dounreay does not work with glass but another NDA site, Sellafield in Cumbria, does produce vitrified waste. This proposal to mix and match different types of waste of equivalent radioactivity is known as “waste substitution”. Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd understands the Scottish Government intends to consult the public on the acceptability of waste substitution.
DSRL Ltd 11th Oct 2009 more >>
New webpage on Dounreay’s historic overseas fuel contracts more >>
Dounreay has published details of £114m worth of contracts to be placed during the next three years. The procurement plan lists 261 contracts which will go to tender between October 2009 and October 2012. Tom Cummings, DSRL’s head of commercial services, said that the plan was the site’s way of helping its supply chain to understand DSRL’s business needs over the next three year business cycle.
DSRL 15th Oct 2009 more >>
Low Level Waste
A petition has been launched against controversial plans for a waste repository at Keekle Head.
Carlisle News and Star 16th Oct 2009 more >>
RUTLAND County Council has called for more information about plans to dump radioactive waste in a village landfill site in Northamptonshire. The council is being consulted by neighbouring Northamptonshire County Council which will have the final say on whether the development at King’s Cliffe can go-ahead.
Rutland Times 15th Oct 2009 more >>
WILLIE Rennie MP has reacted angrily to the news that Rosyth has been short-listed as a possible “nuclear waste dump” for old radioactive submarines. He vowed it should “never be allowed to happen” after receiving a letter confirming that the town is being considered as part of the Submarine Dismantling Project.
Dunfermline Press 15th Oct 2009 more >>
HSBC Private Bank is recommending weightings of 1-5 percent in nuclear power to clients without ethical objections, as subsidy-dependent renewable energy stocks are too exposed to political risk.
Reuters 15th Oct 2009 more >>
The executives of electric utilities worldwide are dreaming of a renaissance in nuclear power. But problems with a new, state-of-the-art reactor in Finland suggest that this is unlikely to happen. The industry’s alternative strategy is to modernize older plants to drastically extend reactor lifetimes. TVO and the two manufacturing companies are involved in a heated dispute, as they battle over billions in out-of-court settlements. Costs have exploded, and the project is already several years behind schedule. Critics accuse the consortium of having made dangerous mistakes. The concrete, they say, is porous, the steel is brittle and some of the design principles seem so risky that experts from the Finnish nuclear regulatory agency can only shake their heads in wonder.
Der Spiegel 15th Oct 2009 more >>
Finnish electric firm TVO said Thursday that the opening of a reactor being built for the company by French nuclear giant Areva and Germany’s Siemens could face further delay. The plant in Olkiluoto, western Finland, has fallen more than three years behind its original schedule and the parties have blamed each other for delays and ballooning costs. “According to the latest progress report published by suppliers Areva-Siemens, TVO estimates that the reactor’s opening could be pushed back beyond June 2012, which is the current delay confirmed by the suppliers,” said TVO in a statement.
Terra Daily 15th Oct 2009 more >>
The Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) said it had found shortcomings in security and would not permit welding of the plant’s cooling system to continue before TVO and Areva-Siemens presented remedies. ‘TVO should now clarify to STUK why regulations have not been followed in welding and why surveillance of the subcontractor, supplier and TVO have not noted the shortcomings,’ the watchdog said in a statement.
Yahoo 15th Oct 2009 more >>
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives have agreed with the Free Democrats (FDP) on extending the life of nuclear plants deemed safe but the timing is unclear, FDP and conservative politicians said on Thursday.
Reuters 15th Oct 2009 more >>
Work to dismantle a nuclear plant in France has been suspended after unexpectedly high levels of plutonium were discovered. The incident has raised concerns about safety and security at the country’s nuclear sites. Around 22 kilograms of plutonium were found three times more than expected. Greenpeace says the plant was in breach of international rules. A spokeswoman said every gram of plutonium had to be strictly controlled and that it was clear that, Areva, the company running the site was incapable of doing that. France’s nuclear watchdog is also angry that it was only informed of the discovery last week, three months after it was made. But it says there was no risk of a major nuclear accident at the Cadarache plant near Marseille.
Euro News 15th Oct 2009 more >>
Anything that hops, burrows, buzzes, crawls or grazes near a nuclear weapons plant may be capable of setting off a Geiger counter. And at the Hanford nuclear reservation, one of the dirtiest of them all, its droppings alone might be enough to trigger alarms.
New York Times 15th Oct 2009 more >>
Belgium’s government has agreed to delay the start of a progressive phase-out of nuclear power by ten years but will charge the country’s nuclear producers an annual levy.
Utility Week 15th Oct 2009 more >>
Letter from Pugwash: The world is slowly moving in the right direction. Le Monde (Oct 15) carries a call for global nuclear disarmament from two former French Prime Ministers (Jupp and Rochard), a former Defence Minister (Richard), and a former Air Force General (Norlain). This will be welcomed all over the world by everyone who has paused to think about the effects of nuclear weapons.
Times 16th Oct 2009 more >>