In their rush to approve a newly designed nuclear reactor slated for proposed power plants throughout the southeastern United States, federal regulators are ignoring safety issues raised by a pattern of containment failures in reactors. That’s the urgent message at the center of two recent reports examining the design of the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor, which the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is in the process of certifying. Both reports were written by Arnold Gundersen, a former senior nuclear industry official and chief engineer of Fairewinds Associates, Inc., an independent research firm.
In These Times 18th Feb 2011 more >>
A report published today by CORE [Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment] exposes Sellafield’s plans for substantial increases in radioactive discharges to the Irish Sea over the coming decade. The rate of discharge from planned reprocessing operations, and subsequent concentrations of radioactivity in the marine environment, will breach international commitments and targets agreed by the UK Government in 1998 at an OSPAR (Oslo-Paris) Convention meeting in Portugal. As a contracting party, the Government committed to the ‘progressive and substantial reduction in radioactive discharges so that by the year 2020, concentrations of (man-made) radioactivity in the marine environment, above historic levels, were ‘close to zero’.
CORE Press Release 17th February 2011 more >>
A PRACTICE emergency evacuation of Anglesey in case of a nuclear catastrophe at Wylfa, has been called for. County councillors quizzed Horizon executives, the company who want to develop a ‘Wylfa B’, at a meeting of the full council last week. The main concern was where spent fuel will be kept.
Holyhead and Anglesey Mail 16th Feb 2011 more >>
THOUSANDS of job hunters in the Burnham and Highbridge area are expected to find work during the building of a third nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. EDF Energy is about to embark on the next stage of consultation into its proposals for Hinkley Point C. The energy firm says its project remains fundamentally the same but it has developed the details after considering feedback from the previous stage of its consultation.
This is the West Country 18th Feb 2011 more >>
Electricite de France SA said the halt of its 550-megawatt Dungeness B22 reactor in southeast England was unplanned.
Generation stopped at about 5 a.m. local time today, according to a website run by National Grid, the network operator. The reactor had been running below full capacity since Dec. 6, data on Bloomberg show. “It was unplanned and we are currently assessing the situation,” Marjorie Barnes, a company spokeswoman, said today in an e-mailed statement. EDF decided to switch the unit off, she said.
Bloomberg 18th Feb 2011 more >>
BOTH reactors at Oldbury Power Station will keep generating electricity until the summer. Magnox, which runs the 40-year-old station, has announced that industry regulators have approved an application for Reactor 2 to keep going until June this year, in line with Reactor 1 Reactor 2 was supposed to shut down this month but the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII), which monitors the site, has decided it is safe enough for the reactor to keep going that bit longer. Oldbury Power Station was due to shut down completely in late 2008 but Magnox has been able to extend its lifetime for more than two years, maintaining the 460 jobs on site.
Gloucestershire Gazette 18th Feb 2011 more >>
French authorities said Thursday they are replacing faulty metal bearings in the emergency power systems of eight nuclear plants because they showed signs of wear. At the Tricastin complex in southern France, all three emergency diesel generators used as backups for two reactors were equipped with the faulty bearings. State-owned utility EDF said they have been replaced. That incident was classified as a level 2 incident, on a scale of zero to seven, with seven being a major disaster. At the other plants the problem was classified at level 1. Officials are continuing to install new bearings there, EDF and the French Nuclear Safety Authority said.
Business Week 17th Feb 2011 more >>
Dutch lawmakers have outlined the requirements for any new nuclear plants with the goal of approving one before 2015. The move by the coalition government should increase clarity for the two companies planning new nuclear as well as for local people, governments and businesses.
World Nuclear News 18th Feb 2011 more >>
China has told UN security council members it plans to block publication of the organisation’s special report that accuses North Korea of violating sanctions on its nuclear programme.
Guardian 18th Feb 2011 more >>
This week’s Micro Power News is dominated by anger from solar supporters about the suddent, unexpected decision to review feed-in tariffs. Some solar companies are considering legal action. A new report from the New Local Government Network says councils make greater use of green energy subsidies – with an estimated pot available of up to £12 billion over the next two decades.
Microgen Scotland 18th Feb 2011 more >>