Western giants of the power industry – Westinghouse, the French nuclear group Areva and General Electric – are anxiously awaiting an energy White Paper due by April, which is expected to give the go ahead to a new generation of nuclear power plants in Britain. The Blair government, which put up an anti-nuclear front before the last election, has moved full circle and is anxious to get the process under way. The nuclear industry is confident that the new plants can be self-financing and unlike the wind farms bespoiling the coastline and the countryside will not need a government subvention. Oddly, enough the quoted nuclear generator British Energy, currently in the doldrums because of two crippled reactors, could prove to be a major beneficiary from any go ahead. It is too poor to find the £2bn or so to invest in a new nuclear reactor but has the valuable sites on which plants would be built, namely at Sizewell and Hinckley Point. It is thought that both the big German power companies RWE and EDF (sic), with hefty stakes in power generation in Britain, are keen to add nuclear reactors to their armoury. When it comes to bidding for the contracts the same players likely will be involved. It may be that Areva has the edge because of its European experience in both its native France and more recently in Finland.
This is Money 19th Dec 2006
British Energy started Unit 2 at its Hartlepool plant after maintenance lasting almost three months. The unit, which has a capacity of 605 megawatts, started production at about 11:30 p.m. local time on Dec. 18. It halted production on Sept. 21. British Energy spokeswoman Sue Fletcher declined to comment on a start date for the other unit at the Hartlepool plant, located on the northeastern coast of England. Unit 1 at the plant was halted on Sept. 23. Production at both units was stopped to repair leaking cast-iron underground pipes that carry the plant’s cooling water, Fletcher said.
Bloomberg 19th Dec 2006
Philip Dewhurst seems to like being a cheerleader for unpopular organisations. The veteran PR man was head of corporate affairs at Railtrack at the time of the Paddington rail disaster, and until recently had the job of promoting the UK’s nuclear industry as corporate affairs director for British Nuclear Fuels and chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association. BNFL is being broken up by the government and the old team is going its separate ways. True to form, Mr Dewhurst has decided to move to another challenging PR role – head of UK corporate communications for Russian gas giant Gazprom.
FT 20th Dec 2006
The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, today said UN sanctions would not stop Iran from enriching uranium.
Guardian website 19th Dec 2006
Iran, whose president said last week that Israel’s days were numbered, called on the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday to compel the Jewish state to give up its nuclear weapons.
Reuters 20th Dec 2006
The Bush administration is weighing options for a naval build-up in the Gulf as a show of force and a warning to Iran on its nuclear programme and its support for Shia militias in Iraq, it emerged yesterday.
Guardian 20th Dec 2006
The United States and North Korea held “lengthy and substantive” talks on Tuesday, offering a glimmer of hope that six-party negotiations aimed at dismantling the North’s nuclear programmes may yield progress.
Reuters 19th Dec 2006
Britain’s ability to build an independent nuclear deterrent is being threatened by a “critical shortage” of skilled craftsmen to make submarines, MPs say in a report published today. The Commons Defence Committee said the skills base in Britain had fallen to the “minimum level” necessary to maintain a submarine industry. It also expressed concern that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) lacked the capacity to effectively manage a large and complex project.
Telegraph 20th Dec 2006
Police have arrested 30 anti-nuclear weapons campaigners from Leicestershire during a demonstration outside a Scottish naval base.
Leicester Mercury 19th Dec 2006
An anti-nuclear protestor has been found guilty of obstruction after she lay down in front of what she claimed was a convoy carrying nuclear warheads.
Lancashire Evening Post 19th Dec 2006