MURKLE beach was yesterday confirmed as the latest area to have been contaminated by past sloppy waste practices at Dounreay. A grain-sized fragment of reprocessed nuclear fuel was found washed ashore on the beach on Monday afternoon. The discovery adds to the knowledge about where the pool of hundreds of thousands of radioactive particles released in rogue historic discharges from the nuclear plant have ended up. The site contractor UKAEA has no plans to erect public warning signs at the beach. Any such move would be initiated by the off-site pollution watchdog, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. Monday’s particle was unearthed during a radiation scan at Murkle by site-based contractor Nukem Ltd using special tracked detection vehicles. Murkle was first checked last year following the shock discovery of a particle at Dunnet beach in March 2005. That sweep proved clear. The particle was picked up and returned to the site for analysis.
John O Groat Journal 18th April 2007
Sandside Estate, as owners of Reay Golf Course has required UKAEA to conduct a thorough survey of its course which it has previously called for but which UKAEA has failed to do. UKAEA has now undertaken to do this imminently. The famous undulating 18 hole course which is the Scottish mainland’s most northerly links course, created by the Estate in 1893, immediately adjoins Sandside Bay from where 95 radioactive items have been collected in the form of live nuclear fuel fragments and a 20 cubic inch radioactive chunk of incinerated man-made material containing a so far unidentified small but contaminated bottle.
Sandside Estate Press Release 17th April 2007
EDF Energy Plc, the U.K.’s fifth- largest energy supplier, and Areva SA are preparing to seek U.K. licenses for the technology they plan to use at a new nuclear reactor in France. The pre-licensing process hasn’t begun yet for either company, as they’re waiting for the U.K. government to release more details on a program for new reactors, officials at both companies said separately this week. The government may publish the information next month. “EDF Energy is preparing to put forward the EPR model used at Flamanville 3 for pre-licensing in the U.K.,” Andrew Brown, the London-based spokesman for EDF said today in an e-mail. He reiterated that Paris-based EDF is interested in investing in a new generation of nuclear plants in the U.K.
Bloomberg 17th April 2007
Copeland MP, Jamie Reed, has challenged David Cameron on his lukewarm approach to nuclear power.
Whitehaven News 19th April 2007
The lawyer who probed the issue of children’s body parts being used without parents consent is to probe the issue of nuclear workers body parts being used at Sellafield.
Whitehaven News 19th April 2007
It was said yesterday that the workforce at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in Cumbria is the most studied in the world. Given the work employees are engaged in – reprocessing highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel – being scrutinised by an open and accountable regime operating with the best interests of staff and their families is positive and should be encouraged. Without rigorous medical scrutiny, how can the workforce be certain that the levels of radiation to which they are exposed are within safe limits to minimise the risk of cancer?
Herald 19th April 2007
The daughter of a former Sellafield worker wept yesterday after learning that organs and bones were removed from her father’s body and taken away for testing after his death at the age of 36. Angela Christie, 47, is hoping that the inquiry announced by Alistair Darling, the Trade and Industry Secretary, will establish what happened to her father’s lungs, liver and vertebrae. She fears that they have been incinerated and the ash stored with radioactive waste at Drigg complex, near Sellafield, on the Cumbrian coast.
Times 20th April 2007
SELLAFIELD is still waiting to get the final clearance for Thorp to re-start full operations. And it may not get the thumbs up for reprocessing until mid-summer, which will be a full three years since the leak of radioactive material which forced the plant’s shutdown. Since The Nuclear Installations Inspectorate gave Thorp consent to re-start, four months ago, some operations, have begun, allowing liquors, held in the plant since the shutdown, to be dealt with. But this week Thorp’s boss Martin Leafe said: “We’ve yet to receive formal permission from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (Sellafield’s owners) to fully re-start the plant.” The hold up is due to checks being carried out on a reprocessing evaporator, a precautionary measure due to problems on similar equipment which stopped reprocessing for a time in the Magnox plant. Once the evaporator checks get the all-clear Thorp should be able to process all the liquor which was recovered from the leak. This is when the NDA will be required to give final approval. Meanwhile, BNG has welcomed news that uranium prices have jumped to their highest levels for 40 years. Sellafield spokeswoman Ali McKibbin said: “Any uranium price hike reinforces the importance of reprocessing spent nuclear fuel and the benefit of recycling uranium into new fuel. “ Since 2001 five shipments involving over 400 tonnes of uranium trioxide have been shipped from Thorp and manufactured into new fuel for use in customers’ reactors,” she added.
Whitehaven News 19th April 2007
A FORMER worker at Fylde’s Springfield nuclear facility will become part of an investigation into the removal of organs without consent. An urgent inquiry is being mounted into the removal of body parts from nuclear workers who died between 1962 and 1991, apparently without the consent of their families. The Government announced the investigation after 65 cases where tissue was taken to analyse for radioactivity were revealed. Most of the workers were employed at Sellafield in Cumbria but there was also data relating to one employee at the Springfield uranium processing plant at Salwick, as well as an individual at Capenhurst in Cheshire who moved from Sellafield and six at Aldermaston.
Blackpool Gazette 19th April 2007
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have pledged to oppose Labour’s plans to introduce a new generation of nuclear power stations. Cardiff North’s Lib Dem Assembly candidate, Cllr. Ed Bridges, said: “We’re serious about making Wales greener. We start that by saying ‘no’ to new nuclear power in Wales.”
Welsh Liberal Democrats 12th April 2007
Nuclear Power is unlikely to play a major role in countering climate change or in strengthening US energy security, according to a Council on Foreign Relations special report released April 18. CFR, an independent, non-partisan Washington think-tank says the supply of materials and labour would be a problem for a rapid expansion of nuclear power. The US now has 103 operating power reactors. According to the report, a reactor would have to be built in the US every four to five months over the next 40 years just to replace the existing fleet. For that reason alone, it said, nuclear power won’t be a major part of the solution for at least the next 50 years.
Nuclear Energy: Balancing Benefits and Risks by Charles Ferguson. Council on Foreign Relations April 2007
Limited supplies of fuel for nuclear power plants may thwart the renewed and growing interest in nuclear energy in the United States and other nations, says an MIT expert on the industry. Over the past 20 years, nuclear reactors were fuelled from government stocks, which are now nearly gone. But worldwide, current uranium production meets only about 65 per cent of today’s reactor requirements, says Thomas Neff, a research affiliate at MIT’s Centre for International Studies.
Engineer Live 20th April 2007
President George W. Bush said on Thursday he was concerned that Iran’s nuclear ambitions would trigger an atomic arms race in the Middle East.
Reuters 19th April 2007
Iran is a “matter of months” away from completing the next phase of its nuclear programme, diplomats said on Thursday, in response to a leaked letter from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear watchdog. The letter, written by Olli Heinonen, IAEA deputy director general, indicates that Iran has installed up to 1,312 centrifuges at a facility in Natanz and is using them to enrich uranium – a process that could produce both nuclear fuel and weapons grade material.
FT 20th April 2007
The Middle East is looking to nuclear energy as the only way to power booming economies short of burning precious oil and gas reserves. “They argue that they need oil and gas for foreign currency and they don’t want to squander it, but nuclear inevitably produces plutonium that can be used in nuclear weapons. You have to suspect that a number of countries want nuclear weapons,” said Frank Barnaby of the Oxford Research Centre. He also disputed nuclear power’s green credentials.
Reuters 19th April 2007
On Monday medical professionals in 60 countries will launch the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican). Landmines and chemical and biological weapons have already been outlawed through treaties. Nuclear weapons can be similarly abolished through a nuclear-weapons convention. At a review of the non-proliferation treaty in 2000, the five original nuclear weapon states made an “unequivocal undertaking” to “accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals, leading to nuclear disarmament”. Despite this, the UK parliament has voted to replace the Trident submarine-based nuclear-weapon system after announcing its intention in 2006 to spend just over £1bn over the next three years on refurbishing key facilities at its nuclear-weapons complex at Aldermaston.
Guardian 20th April 2007