MOX nuclear fuel containing plutonium left Wednesday around 4:15 p.m. Cherbourg to Japan after being transported safely and under surveillance during the night the 20 km from the Areva plant in Beaumont-Hague to port. According to Greenpeace, it is a little more than 10 tonnes of MOX fuel, or 650 to 800 kg of plutonium, “the greatest radiotoxic” that can be used to make bombs. Areva was to publish a statement today. According to the company it is “almost impossible” to build a bomb with this plutonium. The controversial transportation takes about 65 days according to Greenpeace.
Liberation 17th April 2013 read more »
A cargo of radioactive fuel was ready to leave France for Japan on Wednesday after arriving in the Channel port of Cherbourg overnight. Anti-nuclear campaigners claim the Mixed oxide fuel (MOX), produced by French nuclear giant Areva, is the “most radiotoxic in the world”. A group of about 30 Greenpeace activists protested at the convoy of three lorries’ arrival, guarded by about 1,000 police officers, in Cherbourg before loading started on the British shop Pacific Egret at about 5.30am.
RFI 17th April 2013 read more »
A project to turn weapons-grade plutonium into commercial nuclear reactor fuel is making good progress — despite being billions of dollars over its original projected price tag — but shrinking funding might mean fewer inspections, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials said Wednesday. “We will still come out and do inspections, but they may be stretched out over a longer period of time,” Deb Seymour of the NRC said during a public meeting about the mixed-oxide fuel plant. “It’ll just make a difference in how many of the specialist inspectors show up.” The General Accountability Office says the project is more than three years behind its 2016 completion deadline and is also now expected to cost $3 billion more than expected. The GAO said the project’s price tag had ballooned to $7.7 billion, citing design problems and issues with U.S. Department of Energy oversight as reasons for the increase. The Obama administration slowed down funding on the project, asking Congress last week for $320 million in its 2014 budget — down more than 25 percent from 2012. In its budget request, the administration wrote that its high costs “may make the project unaffordable” and pledged to look for different ways to dispose of plutonium. “While we understand that there are decisions to be made in Washington, we are going to continue to proceed with construction at the MOX facility,” Marr said. “We will continue building this important non-proliferation facility, with quality, safety and security as our top priorities.”
San Francisco Chronicle 17th April 2013 read more »
Improvements have allowed plant operators to achieve higher burn-up levels, so US invests US$16m in nuclear storage research and DoE looks to deal with high-burn fuels. The US Department of Energy (DoE) is spending US$15.8m on research into new technology for safely storing spent nuclear fuel. The project will be led by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and will focus on designing dry storage cask technology for ‘high burn-up’ spent nuclear fuels. It will last five years, and at least 20% of its funding will be contributed by private industry.
Chemical Engineer 17th April 2013 read more »
Energy Live News 17th April 2013 read more »
A UN nuclear watchdog team has begun inspecting Japan’s crippled nuclear plant, which has been plagued with radioactive water leaks and other glitches more than two years after it was struck by a tsunami.
Economic Times 17th April 2013 read more »
Iran is increasing the number of advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges installed at its Natanz underground plant, despite tightening international sanctions aimed at stopping Tehran’s nuclear progress, diplomats said on Wednesday.
Reuters 17th April 2013 read more »
North Korea is open to talks, but not while the US is “brandishing a nuclear stick”, its state news agency has said.
Guardian 17th April 2013 read more »
As debate continues about the replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system, many just assume that the United States automatically supports a new generation of British nuclear weapons – or even that they may not “let us” disarm. Those backing the retention and replacement of Britain’s nuclear arsenal often cite our obligations as part of NATO – a US-led nuclear alliance – and of our commitment to our allies in “an uncertain world”. Indeed some even see nuclear cooperation with the US as the keystone in our “special relationship”. So it was interesting to read the following passage in the International Herald Tribune last week – “NATO at a turning point” (12 April) – under the heading “Sharing Capabilities”: As for Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron is insisting on keeping a nuclear deterrent on a new generation of submarines, even as U.S. officials are pushing London to consider abandoning the idea. As one U.S. official said privately, “They can’t afford Trident, and they need to confront the choice: either they can be a nuclear power and nothing else or a real military partner.”
New Statesman 17th April 2013 read more »
A SUNDERLAND priest joined campaigners as they chained themselves to the gates of a naval base in a protest against nuclear weapons. Reverend Chris Howson, Sunderland University chaplain, was at Faslane naval base, Argyll – home to a nuclear submarine – as part of a global day of action against military spending. The Scrap Trident coalition is calling on the Government to spend cash on welfare, education and health, instead of nuclear weapons.
Sunderland Echo 17th April 2013 read more »
Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) Policy Briefing provides an overview of an incident involving the British nuclear powered submarine HMS Tireless. This incident raises a number of concerns for coastal local authorities in Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Wales and England and should be of interest to national and devolved Governments, councillors, emergency planning officers, public health and environmental health officers.
Nuclear Free Local Authorities 17th April 2013 read more »
Amory Lovins: While the examples of Japan, China, and India show the promise of rapidly emerging energy economies built on efficiency and renewables, Germany—the world’s number four economy and Europe’s number one—has lately provided an impressive model of what a well-organized industrial society can achieve. To be sure, it’s not yet the world champion among countries with limited hydroelectricity: Denmark passed 40% renewable electricity in 2011 en route to a target of 100% by 2050, and Portugal, albeit with more hydropower, raised its renewable electricity fraction from 17% to 45% just during 2005–10 (while the U.S., though backed by a legacy of big hydro, crawled from 9% to 10%), reaching 70% in the rainy and windy first quarter of 2013. But these economies are not industrial giants like Germany, which remains the best disproof of claims that highly industrialized countries, let alone cold and cloudy ones, can do little with renewables.
Renew Economy 18th April 2013 read more »
The Danish capital is moving rapidly toward a zero-carbon future, as it erects windfarms, transforms its citywide heating systems, promotes energy efficiency, and lures more people out of their cars and onto public transportation and bikes.
Guardian 12th April 2013 read more »
The National Trust has revealed a plan to generate half of its power from renewable sources by 2020. The trust already has 150 individual renewables schemes, but the new document projects how fossil fuel will be reduced across its properties. It aspires to set an example to others by integrating renewable energy into sensitive landscapes. The organisation has been criticised for its chairman’s vociferous campaign against wind power. This is considered as the renewable source with most potential in the UK. Under its new plan, the trust’s main renewables by 2020 will be hydro (27%) and biomass (21%); augmented by heat pumps (1%) and solar (0.5%).
BBC 18th April 2013 read more »
Despite all the mounting scientific concern, the political rhetoric and the clean technology of the past decade, the growth rate in global carbon emissions has not reduced at all. Why? Because we continue to extract and burn fossil fuels more than ever before. We have far more oil, coal and gas than we can safely burn. For all the millions of words written about climate change, the challenge really comes down to this: fuel is enormously useful, massively valuable and hugely important geopolitically, but tackling climate change means leaving most of it in the ground – by choice. Although we often hear more about green technology, consumption levels or population growth, leaving fuel in the ground is what it all boils down to. After all, the climate doesn’t know or care how much renewable or nuclear energy we’ve got, how efficient our cars and homes are, how many people there are, or even how we run the economy. It only cares how much globe-warming pollution we emit – and that may be curiously immune to the measures we usually assume will help.
Guardian 17th April 2013 read more »