20 February 2012

New Nukes

It is just David Cameron’s bad luck to have chosen to back a nuclear future for Britain at a moment when it is becoming increasingly unlikely that it will happen. And it is entirely appropriate that he should find himself doing so in Paris since that is where the fate of DECC’s nuclear policy will be determined. The idea of replacing Britain’s aging AGRs with Areva’s EPR was always inspired by a French government seeking to close an emerging decades long gap in domestic nuclear orders. The justification for British homeowners and businesses being forced to pay for a French industrial policy was a supposed electricity generation gap. Without French nuclear power stations, Britons would be freezing in the dark by 2015 according to energy ministers. This was always nonsense but has been made totally ridiculous by several recent developments. EDF has now announced that it is going to extend the life of the AGRs. There are 30GW of new gas planned or under construction and the world is experiencing a ‘glut’ of gas according to the IEA. So long generation gap.

Tom Burke 17th Feb 2012 more >>

In the UK it’s as if Fukushima never happened. The Government has too much invested to turn back now. Whether or not the nuclear power stations counted on to ensure a secure supply of low-carbon electricity get built depends entirely on decisions made by foreign-owned utilities. If they decide not to go ahead, DECC’s current low-carbon energy policy collapses.

ENDS Report February 2012 more >>


Energy supplier EDF has served notice to anti-nuclear protesters who have set up camp on the site of the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. A group of about seven people have been occupying an old farm building. They are angry that EDF has been allowed to carry out preparatory work before planning permission was granted.

BBC 19th Feb 2012 more >>

Morning Star 19th Feb 2012 more >>

THE South Somerset Peace Group will be holding a public discussion on Tuesday, February 28, about Nuclear Power Generation: It is a Threat to Peace? The discussion will be led by Nikki Clark, of the Stop New Nuclear, Stop Hinkley group and a founder of South West Against Nuclear, and SSPG member Robert Shearer.

This is the West Country 19th Feb 2012 more >>

A Kier joint venture with BAM Nuttall has been given the task by energy company EDF Energy of doing site preparation work for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset.

Share Cast 20th Feb 2012 more >>

British construction group Kier has won a 100 million pound ($158 million) contract from France’s EDF to prepare the ground for construction of a new nuclear power station in the west of England.

Reuters 20th Feb 2012 more >>

A local council in Somerset is taking on the mighty EDF Energy in a row over the cost of a planning application for a £10bn nuclear power station. It puts into doubt David Cameron’s promise at the weekend that Britain and France will co-operate to build new power plants in the UK. In Paris, Mr Cameron said deals between British and French companies – worth more than £500m – will allow work to start on new facilities, creating more than 1,500 jobs. But such Anglo-French co-operation is missing in Somerset where councillors at Sedgemoor District Council have accused the energy giant of using bully-boy tactics in pushing through plans for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. Kerry Rickards, pictured, the council’s chief executive, said: “EDF has put us in a very difficult position.” Last week the council was forced to adjourn the setting of its annual council tax because of arguments over an estimated £2m legal bill. The row centres on the cost of employing specialist lawyers to scrutinise EDF Energy’s application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission for its new nuclear power station. The Council is refusing to use local council taxpayers’ money to carry out the work, as it says the project is of national benefit and is being built by a commercial, profit-making company.

Independent 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Developing World

There are already some large-scale solar projects underway or planned for example in Morocco, Algeria, and Egypt, as well as in Jordon and the UAE. Interestingly, Kuwait has now indicated that it no longer wanted to develop nuclear power. Qatar similarly. Steve Kidd from the World Nuclear Association, writing in Nuclear Engineering International’s Newsletter suggested that nuclear ‘may not for some years be suitable for many countries that do not have the developed institutional framework to cope with it. Such a description must apply to most of the Middle Eastern countries currently looking at nuclear power. Maybe it would be far better for them to specialise in developing solar power and other renewable solutions, combined with developing their power grids to cope with diffuse and sometimes intermittent technologies.’ It is hard not to agree.

Environmental Research Web 18th Feb 2012 more >>


Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan has admitted that Japan was woefully unprepared for last year’s nuclear disaster and suggested that the crippled Fukushima No. 1 plant should not have been built so close to a tsunami-prone coastline. But he said the disaster — the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986 — laid bare a host of even bigger vulnerabilities in the nuclear power industry and its regulations, ranging from inadequate safety guidelines to crisis management, all of which he said need to be overhauled.

Japan Times 19th Feb 2012 more >>

Greenpeace today launched ‘Shadowlands’, a presentation of haunting photographs depicting the impacts of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the plight of people displaced by the crisis, and a warning to others that a serious nuclear accident can happen everywhere there are reactors.

Greenpeace International 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Nearly a year after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, it’s time to take a look at its legacy and take an opportunity to stand in solidarity with the people who continue to suffer the impacts. We’re calling for a nuclear free, renewable future and asking you to join us in sending messages of support and hope to Japan. The silence and contamination left behind by the Fukushima disaster have been captured in the online photographic exhibit Shadowlands by photographer Robert Knoth. Robert’s haunting photographs of empty villages, deserted schoolyards, and abandoned farmlands not only act as a chilling reminder to us of the costs of nuclear energy, but an impetus to continue demanding a future free from nuclear risk. We also bring the stories of several people whose lives have been seriously disrupted, some of whom live with constant worry about how their children’s health has been affected by radiation.

Greenpeace International 19th Feb 2012 more >>


Why should Iran or North Korea respect the principle of non-proliferation when the most powerful states lecturing them possess such enormous arsenals?’ Why indeed.

Daily Mail 20th Feb 2012 more >>

A team of UN inspectors has arrived in Tehran for talks on Iran’s disputed nuclear programme, a day after Iran ordered a halt to its oil sales to Britain and France in apparent retaliation for tightening EU sanctions.

Guardian 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Some analysts believe the actual killings themselves were carried out by a little known outfit called the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK or The People’s Mujahedin of Iran). The MEK is a group of Iranian exiles listed as a terrorist organisation by both Tehran and Washington. It’s estimated to have around 3,000 members, with a high proportion of them female. Recently, anonymous US officials told NBC news that the MEK, backed by Israel’s Mossad espionage service, was involved in the killings of the scientists and also insisted the US hadn’t played a role.

Scotsman 20th Feb 2012 more >>

The concerns that Iran is secretly building nuclear weapons are bad enough. Iranian promises that it is merely pursuing peaceful research and development for domestic energy needs are clearly not worth the paper they are written on. Why else would they refuse UN inspectors access to various facilities if there was nothing to conceal? But the evidence now seems to be mounting that Iran is building the capacity to produce enriched uranium for which there is no other use than in a nuclear weapon.

Scotsman 20th Feb 2012 more >>

The foreign secretary said economic sanctions and talks were the best way to convince the Iranians to ditch theirA nuclear ambitions. Israel is widely believed to be planning an air strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities if sanctions fail. But Mr Hague said: ‘I think Israel, like everyone else in the world, should give a real chance to the approach we have adopted on very serious economic sanctions and economic pressure.’

Metro 19th Feb 2012 more >>

In an interview with BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show, the Foreign Secretary repeated his warning that a nuclear-armed Iran would result in another cold war, this time between states in the Middle East.

Telegraph 19th Feb 2012 more >>

Some, including the New America Foundation’s Steve Clemons, talk about Mr Obama’s impending “Cuban missile crisis”. Much as Nikita Khrushchev misread John F. Kennedy as a pushover, and then tested his brinkmanship over Cuba, so Mr Obama is perceived by Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, to be susceptible to intimidation. Mr Netanyahu – Mr Obama’s least favourite foreign leader – visits Washington in two weeks. The build-up to his March 6 speech to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee has brought a flurry of leaks that Israel’s fuse is shortening by the day. The zone of impunity is looming, people say. “Everything, from Iran’s nuclear timetable to Israel’s red lines, points to some kind of Iran reckoning before November,”

FT 19th Feb 2012 more >>


Prime minister Vladimir Putin says Russia must replace its Soviet-built arsenals with modern weapons to counter new evolving threats. Mr Putin, who is running to reclaim the presidency in a March 4 election, laid out his vision of military modernisation in an article published today in the government daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Independent 20th Feb 2012 more >>


The Herald’s star Environment Editor, Rob Edwards, holds the Ministry of Defence (MoD) regularly to account for issues across the spectrum of safety standards at its nuclear bases of Faslane and Coulport in Argyll. Edwards today published, in The Herald on Sunday (19th February), the shock revelation obtained under Freedom of Information (FoI) legislation, that the two nuclear bases on Argyll’s Clyde coast, Faslane and Coulport have been reported as failing the numbing total of 11 out of 13 nuclear safety tests. Worse, one of the two ares ‘passed’ actually throws up a situation potentially worse than failure.

For Argyll 19th Feb 2012 more >>


Published: 20 February 2012
Last updated: 18 October 2012