The costs of nuclear power are rising in developed countries, where fossil fuel and renewable energy prices are stable or falling, suggesting present proposals for a major programme of new investment are ill-advised. Overall, the picture is one of uncertainty about nuclear costs, but a clear upward trajectory is evident in developed countries, urging a re-think on construction plans in Britain, the United States, France, Canada, Finland and Poland. The picture is different in India and China where vast plans with economies of scale plus cheaper labour may favour the technology. Capital costs make up the biggest part of nuclear costs and have been rising since lows in the 1970s when massive expansion programmes in the United States, France, Germany, Japan and Britain captured economies of scale.
Reuters 18th May 2012 more >>
Im starting to wonder if we saw a glimpse into the future this week. On Monday nuclear power once again proved itself to be unreliable with news emerging of an unexplained shutdown on Sunday of one of the reactors at EDFs Torness nuclear power station in East Lothian. Thankfully Scotland has grown its renewable energy capacity enough to be able to deal with a nuclear reactor going offline without warning. So, despite all the doom-mongering by those opposed to wind power, no lights went out across the nation. Fancy that! Tuesday didnt bring any better headlines for backers of a nuclear renaissance in the UK with news that massive earthworks needed to prepare the ground for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley in Somerset had been delayed. This along with a new President in France elected on a platform of relying less on nuclear power and an admission by the chief executive of Centrica (which has a 20% stake in EDFs nuclear plans here in the UK) that: the investment case for nuclear has yet to be proven and suddenly the future prospects for new nuclear do not look quite so rosy.
WWF 18th May 2012 more >>
Cllr Philip Booth, Stroud: Britain’s nuclear energy policy is on the verge of meltdown. Most companies seem to have serious concerns about nuclear investment. Estimated costs for the two Somerset reactors have risen by 40 per cent to an astonishing £7 billion. Renewables are easier and quicker to build and far less risky; nuclear disasters have been averaging one every 11 years and new builds have gone stratospherically over budget. Why would anyone take the nuclear road?
Western Daily Press 18th May 2012 more >>
Eversheds and Squire Sanders are among five firms appointed by EDF for a nuclear new build project which will see the energy giant construct two power stations in the UK. Burges Salmon and TLT have also been appointed to the line-up alongside Exeter firm Ashfords. All five firms are members of EDFs wider legal panel, but the new appointments will see them instructed to advise on construction issues in addition to general panel work. Herbert Smith remains the principal adviser on the nuclear new build project, which will see two new plants built at Hinkley Point in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk, while Dundas & Wilson also has an existing relationship with EDF to advise on construction issues. All seven firms sit on EDFs wider legal panel, which is overseen by UK general counsel Guido Santi.
Legal Week 18th May 2012 more >>
Energy giant EDF is delaying its decision on a winner for the massive £1.2bn civils package at Hinkley Point C nuclear power station for at least a few weeks. The Enquirer understands that the two main bidders led by Laing ORourke and Balfour Beatty had the delay confirmed this morning. Both firms were expecting a winner to be chosen next week. But the election of new French President Francois Hollande has prompted a fresh look at the project as he promises to cut back on nuclear power. EDF is 83% owned by the French state.
Construction Enquirer 18th May 2012 more >>
LET’S not sell Romney Marsh short; I believe it has and deserves a better future than being the dumping ground for all of Britain’s high-level nuclear waste. Shepway District Council has started a consultation to ask whether residents want to find out more about building this underground storage facility here and my view, and that of the Marsh’s county councillor Carole Waters, is that the answer should be no. This process is not being driven by the Government or Kent, and we cannot be made to have it if we don’t want it.
Folkestone Herald 18th May 2012 more >>
The sleepy wetland area of Romney Marsh could become the UK’s nuclear dumping ground, with a multi-billion pound disposal facility buried up to a kilometre deep underground.
Wired 18th May 2012 more >>
RAF Kinloss in Moray is to be the focus of a new investigation into radioactive contamination, BBC Scotland has learned. It is linked to the use of “glow in the dark” paint in aircraft from WWII. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has already threatened to designate Dalgety Bay in Fife as radioactive contaminated land. But the site is now just one of nine locations across Scotland which are under scrutiny.
BBC 18th May 2012 more >>
Fukushima Update 15th to 17th May.
Greenpeace 18th May 2012 more >>
The Mayor of Osaka (Japan’s second largest city) Toru Hashimoto, is receiving national attention for his opposition to the restart of Kansai Electric’s nuclear reactors. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said on Thursday that he will shortly make a final decision on whether to restart any or all of the 4 reactors at the Oi plant which previously supplied Osaka. Hashimoto said the national government “is ignoring due process” in nuclear inspections on April 5, working to protect corporate interests as a “rubber stamp” rather than acting to hold the Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency, the country’s nuclear regulator, more accountable.
IB Times 18th May 2012 more >>
Electricite de France SA is CEZ AS (CEZ)s favored candidate for a strategic partner in the construction of two new nuclear reactors at the Temelin power station, E15 reported on its website without citing anyone. Companies from China, Russia and South Korea have also contacted the Czech utility and expressed interest in co-financing the project, daily Hospodarske Noviny said today. CEZ plans to hold a public tender for a strategic partner only after it chooses a supplier next year.
Bloomberg 18th May 2012 more >>
The G8 leaders at Camp David have said Iran urgently needs to take concrete steps to reassure the international community about the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.
ITV 19th May 2012 more >>
The UN nuclear agency chief will visit Tehran tomorrow to sign a deal allowing his organisation to resume probing Iran’s disputed nuclear programme.
Independent 19th May 2012 more >>
Iran is on the verge of agreeing to allow UN nuclear inspectors into its most sensitive military site for the first time in nearly seven years, Western diplomats said on Friday.
Telegraph 18th May 2012 more >>
Guardian 18th May 2012 more >>
BBC 18th May 2012 more >>
Benjamin Netanyahu has again expressed his skepticism about the impact of economic sanctions and diplomacy in stopping Iran from developing its nuclear power program.
IB Times 18th May 2012 more >>
The NPT PrepCom Review in Vienna closed by underlining the majority view that any use or threat of use of nuclear weapons would be inconsistent with fundamental rules of international humanitarian law”. In her final report from the NPT Rebecca Johnson says that the next few years may see some fundamental changes in how nuclear issues are addressed.
Open Democracy 18th May 2012 more >>
ARMED forces minister Nick Harvey is conducting a government review exploring whether Britain could downgrade its nuclear arsenal, it was revealed yesterday. Mr Harveys review will consider whether £20 billion plans to rebuild the Trident-based deterrent at Faslane on the Clyde should be replaced with a cheaper, more flexible nuclear option but one which lacks the same range and firepower. Mr Harvey, a Liberal Democrat, has refused to speak publicly about his review, but yesterday his party colleague Menzies Campbell suggested Lib Dem policy is turning towards abandoning the so-called Moscow Criterion on which UK nuclear weapons policy has been based for the past four decades. The Moscow Criterion is the military doctrine which states that the UK would have the nuclear capability to overwhelm the air defences, government, military command centre and capital city of Britains Cold War opponent.
Scotsman 19th May 2012 more >>
Writing in the Financial Times (£) yesterday, Menzies Campbell called for a re-think on nuclear policy, in particular scrapping the Moscow criterion an archaic detail which gives Trident the power to destroy ballistic missile defenses around Moscow, should the United States not intervene first.
Total Politics 18th May 2012 more >>
Since 2006, the British government has been committed in principle to the full replacement of the countrys independent nuclear deterrent based on the Trident missile system. But the nation has never had a debate about why such an expensive piece of military hardware is vital to our security.
FT 18th May 2012 more >>
Could the solution to the world’s energy problems lie in nuclear power? Yes, if we switch the fuel, argues energy expert Richard Martin in Superfuel. He makes the case that thorium, an abundant, safe element that cannot easily be turned into a weapon, should be fuelling our reactors instead of uranium. And indeed, energy-hungry emerging powers China and India are both now banking on thorium for their nuclear power programmes.
New Scietists 18th May 2012 more >>
Tom Burke’s second video blog with RTCC. He argues that we are not deploying renewables fast enough because of a lack of political will. We must think about renewables as being a package of technologies, not individual technologies.
Vimeo 18th May 2012 more >>
Possible FiT cut delay, talk of Green Deal reviews, industry insists solar is still viable because of lower costs, news of Brighton solar co-operative. This week’s Micro Power News.
Microgen Scotland 18th May 2012 more >>