As four former Directors of Friends of the Earth, we wrote to the Prime Minster this week setting out eight major economic and political problems facing a new build nuclear programme in the UK. We have engaged in the nuclear debate for forty years. On the basis of our experience and the evidence, we concluded that the government’s policy will fail.Sadly, this prompted an intemperate attack by George Monbiot. We respect Monbiot’s commitment to the environment as a campaigning journalist. We share his deep desire to tackle climate change and have dedicated our working lives to addressing it and other environmental problems. What we don’t understand is why Monbiot nowhere tells us how he thinks the government can overcome a single one of the problems we set out. There is a lot in his article about what he thinks about us, as he reaffirms his belief in the nuclear dream. But he doesn’t show how nuclear can go ahead without huge public subsidies, which may well be illegal under EU law. He doesn’t dispute the track-record of nuclear build running many years late and way over budget. He doesn’t argue about the consequent rise in already excessive energy bills to pay for nuclear electricity. Monbiot vigorously asserts what the government should do to meet our energy and climate security needs. But he doesn’t deal with our central point: the Government’s nuclear plans will fail to do what he and it want.
Guardian 16th Mar 2012 more >>
It would be a serious environmental mistake to abandon new nuclear power in the UK, five British journalists, science writers and environmentalists said in a March 15 open letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron. In their March 15 letter, the signatories George Monbiot, Stephen Tindale, Fred Pearce, Michael Hanlon and Mark Lynas took issue with a separate March 13 open letter to Cameron from four other leading environmentalists urging the government to abandon plans for new nuclear power. In their March 13 letter, Jonathon Porritt, Charles Secrett, Tom Burke and Tony Juniper, all ex-directors of Friends of the Earth, said the government was in danger of turning UK energy and climate change policy over to the French because of the governments deep reliance on French companies EDF and Areva for its new nuclear build program. The four said that because of government policy EDF had the government over a barrel in negotiations for public subsidies for new nuclear. In their rebuttal letter, Monboit et al, accused the authors of the March 13 letter of jingoism and reflexive ideological opposition to nuclear power.
i-Nuclear 16th Mar 2012 more >>
What I’m sure some will find an entertaining row and others an annoying one has broken out this week between scions of the green movement over nuclear power. It’s largely a UK-focused argument, but many of the points being raised are cogent for the rest of the world too.
BBC 16th Mar 2012 more >>
Global use of nuclear energy could increase by as much as 100% in the next two decades on the back of growth in Asia, despite a slump in the construction of new reactors after the Fukushima disaster. A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has not yet been made public but has been seen by Reuters, said a slower capacity expansion than previously forecast is likely after the world’s worst nuclear accident in a quarter-of-a-century.
But it said: “Significant growth in the use of nuclear energy worldwide is still anticipated between 35 and 100% by 2030.”
Herald 17th Mar 2012 more >>
Engineering & Technology Mag 16th Mar 2012 more >>
Dr Tim Fox, Head of Energy at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers said in response to the recent nuclear power deal between the UK and France: Although it is welcome news that the UK is pressing ahead with the development of new nuclear reactors to secure affordable low-carbon electricity generation, this is not necessarily the best deal for securing UK jobs and skills. Although some relatively small contracts are to be awarded to Rolls Royce and BAM Kier, it looks increasingly likely that the vast majority of the contracts involved in the manufacture and construction of the new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point and Sizewell will go to France rather than the UK. An outcome the Institution predicted in it Nuclear New Build report two years ago.
Plant & Works Engineering 16th Mar 2012 more >>
Plans for a multi-billion pound reprocessing plant in west Cumbria that could create 6,000 jobs will be discussed at a conference next month. GE Hitachi will meet with nuclear industry chiefs in Workington to present proposals for its PRISM reactor, which it wants to build in the county. The firm is offering the reactor as a cost-effective solution to deal with Britains stockpile of plutonium, which is stored at Sellafield. Although the Government has not yet decided what to do with the material, ministers announced in January that they now favour re-use of the spent fuel as the best option. That has opened the door to a potential new £3.5bn reprocessing plant in west Cumbria.
Cumberland News 16th Mar 2012 more >>
EDF Energy stopped its 660-megawatt unit 7 at Heysham 2 nuclear power plant on Friday for planned maintenance, a spokeswoman said.
Reuters 16th Mar 2012 more >>
Platts 16th Mar 2012 more >>
Cardiff has announced that it expects to power Wales’ future with a diverse range of low carbon technologies, including nuclear power, just as news emerges that EDF has cancelled plans for a new nuclear power station at Heysham, Lancashire. The French company has annulled an agreement with the National Grid to set up any new connection to the grid from Heysham; all its plans for new stations are now focused on their sites at Sizewell and Hinkley Point.
Low Carbon Kid 16th Mar 2012 more >>
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency hindered plans in 2006 to adopt international standards on establishing evacuation zones in the event of a nuclear accident. NISA said the new guidelines could cause confusion among the public and spread fears about nuclear power. Under the IAEAs revised standards, finalized in 2007, an Urgent Protective Action Planning Zone (UPZ) would be immediately established within a 30-kilometer radius of a damaged nuclear power plant. The IAEA also recommended designating a Precautionary Action Zone (PAZ) up to 5 km from the plant. All residents would be immediately evacuated from the PAZ–without exception–in the event of a nuclear accident.
Asahi 15th Mar 2012 more >>
What would happen if a nuclear bomb hit Washington D.C.? The terrifying report that predicts damage a terror attack would wreak on the nation’s capital
Daily Mail 17t Mar 2012 more >>
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov says the country will abandon plans to build a 2,000 megawatt nuclear plant on the Danube River if it cannot attract sufficient Western funding for the 8 billion euros project.
Engineering & Technology Magazine 16th Mar 2012 more >>
Netanyahu says Israel won’t have to ask America for permisssion before launching a nuclear strike on Iran.
Daily Mail 16th Mar 2012 more >>
A top adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader has insisted the Islamic republic does not want to wipe Israel off the map and said nuclear weapons would be more of a nuisance than an asset.
IB Times 16th Mar 2012 more >>
The government set out proposals for a new “dash for gas” on Saturday, as campaigners prepared for the biggest meeting on fracking for shale gas to be held in the UK. The chancellor, George Osborne, and the energy secretary, Ed Davey, announced plans to clear the way for a new generation of gas-fired power stations across the UK. They said this would not hamper the fight against climate change. Green groups, however, fear that supporting an expansion of fossil fuel would put carbon-cutting targets at risk and lead to higher energy prices. They argue that this, in turn, would push thousands more people into fuel poverty. Most of the recent rises in electricity prices have been down to the soaring wholesale cost of gas, according to the government’s own analysis.
Guardian 17th Mar 2012 more >>
One of Britains biggest energy suppliers is abandoning its trial of smart meters in protest at government delays over the £11.7 billion nationwide programme. RWE npower is telling customers that their devices are being disconnected, The Times has learnt. The move is the latest blow to the programme, which aims to have a smart meter installed in every home and business by the end of the decade. The meters give suppliers and users real-time information so that electricity and gas consumption can be measured without the need for a meter reader to visit.
Times 17th Mar 2012 more >>
This week’s Micro Power News: Brixton Solar Co-op launched; solar farms still going ahead; Carlisle MP calls for compulsory solar panels on new houses; Over 100 tenants in Clydebank get solar panels; East Lindsey District Council installs solar on five of its buildings.
Microgen Scotland 16th Mar 2012 more >>