21 April 2011

New Nukes

Nuclear power’s share of the global energy mix will be unchanged in 30 years’ time in spite of the disaster in Japan, according to the chief executive of ExxonMobil.

FT 20th April 2011 more >>

THE head of the International Atomic Energy Agency yesterday said Japan’s nuclear crisis does not undermine the value of nuclear power. Yukiya Amano was speaking at Chernobyl, site of the world’s worst nuclear accident. He was accompanied by UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.

Scotsman 21st April 2011 more >>

SHEFFIELD Forgemasters has put its nuclear expansion plans on hold, blaming industry safety reviews, advances by Chinese rivals and rising costs. Managing director Graham Honeyman told the Yorkshire Post that he has decided to delay the project until next year amid mounting speculation that Forgemasters was targeting the Government’s £1.4bn regional growth fund for support. The privately-owned company became a political cause celebre after the coalition Government cancelled an £80m loan promised by Labour Ministers.

Yorkshire Post 21st April 2011 more >>

Old Nukes

There have been two spillages of radioactive waste and a breakdown in an emergency cooling system at Britain’s nuclear plants in the last three months, according to a report to ministers leaked to the Guardian. A brown puddle containing plutonium five times the legal limit leaked from an old ventilation duct at the Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria. This exposed “a number of shortfalls in the design”, says the report. Groundwater at the Torness nuclear power station near Edinburgh was contaminated with radioactive tritium (an isotope of hydrogen) leaking from two pipelines. At Hartlepool nuclear station on the north-east coast of England, the backup cooling system was put out of action by a faulty valve.

Guardian 20th April 2011 more >>

Nuclear Accidents

The world must prepare for more nuclear accidents on the scale of Chernobyl and Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, the U.N. chief warned Wednesday, saying that grim reality will demand sharp improvements in international cooperation. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and others portrayed the growth of nuclear power plants as inevitable in an energy-hungry world as they spoke at a Kiev conference commemorating the explosion of a reactor at Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear reactor 25 years ago.

MSNBC 20th April 2011 more >>

So just how much of a unique, unrepeatable event is the tsunami-induced nuclear crisis at Fukushima? Not so much as we have all thought, if some geologists and nuclear experts are to be believed. They have worked out that at least 32 atomic power stations already operating, or under construction, in Asia alone are at risk of being hit by a wall of water.

Telegraph 20th April 2011 more >>

Japan

The government has set the permissible hourly radiation dose at schools in Fukushima Prefecture at 3.8 microsieverts — a level that would see students absorb the internationally recognized maximum of 20 millisieverts per year. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology set the hourly allowable dose for kindergartens, nursery, primary and junior high schools in Fukushima Prefecture on April 19. In order to keep students within the new standard maximum dose, the ministry has also called on the schools to limit children’s time outside.

Mainichi Daily 20th April 2011 more >>

IAEA’s latest update on Fukushima.

IB Times 21st April 2011 more >>

An exclusion zone around Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant may be sealed off after residents began returning to check on their homes, Japanese officials have said.

Metro 20th April 2011 more >>

Daily Mail 20th April 2011 more >>

Reuters 21st April 2011 more >>

Scotsman 21st April 2011 more >>

Telegraph 21st April 2011 more >>

The breast milk of four Japanese mothers has been found to contain small quantities of radioactive iodine.

Telegraph 21st April 2011 more >>

Tepco, the villain of Japan’s nuclear crisis, is fighting battles on all fronts – to stop radiation leaking from the crippled Daiichi plant; to remain solvent in the face of mounting compensation and decommissioning costs; and, perhaps most crucially for Japan’s economy, to keep power flowing to Tokyo. All hands are on the pump, the Tepco man said, and happily the news is good so far. The company has managed to purchase power from factories equipped with power generators, and has brought some “grandfather” thermal oil plants back to life. A target of 46.5GW of capacity has been raised to 50GW.

Telegraph 20th April 2011 more >>

Citing safety concerns, Prime Minister Naoto Kan suggested freezing projects to build more than a dozen nuclear reactors by 2030, but he did not offer details on how to do it.”We should not carry out the existing projects without thoroughly examining if (the planned reactors) are safe,” Kan told a session of the Upper House Budget Committee on April 18.

Asahi 20th April 2011 more >>

Japans nuclear safety authorities raised the alert level at the Fukushima plant last week to a maximum seven. This means they consider the emergency to be as serious as the Chernobyl disaster in the Soviet Union. That seems a rather overstated comparison to me. Twenty-five years after the explosion at the Ukrainian facility, I vividly recall every detail of those terrible days of April 1986. I was a 26-year-old foreign correspondent working in Moscow for Reuters news agency. On Friday, April 25, I flew to Kiev to spend a couple of days with Rhona, an ebullient Scottish friend who was teaching at the citys university under a British Council programme. I was the only western journalist in Kiev that weekend. While we caroused the night away, extraordinary events were unfolding 130km to the north. Technicians were conducting experiments that involved the disabling of automatic shutdown mechanisms at th e plants fourth reactor.

FT 20th April 2011 more >>

When an American whistleblower told Japanese nuclear regulators in 2000 that Tokyo Electric Power had been hiding safety violations at its atomic plants, the regulator assigned the task of investigating to the entity that knew the plants best: Tepco itself. Two years later, the utility duly reported that its nuclear facilities were safe only to backtrack within weeks as evidence emerged that it had falsified inspection data. Senior executives resigned over the scandal, and Tepco was forced to shut down all 17 of its nuclear reactors for a comprehensive safety review.The decade-old incident has been recounted often since Tepcos Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility began leaking radiation after Japans tsunami on March 11. The focus has mostly been on Tepco: the company has been harshly criticised over the Fukushima accident, and many say the earlier scandal illustrates a long-held contempt for safety standards. Yet for Japanese critics of nuclear power, it is the role of regulators in the 2000-2002 episode that is most galling.

FT 20th April 2011 more >>

Last June, Japan laid out plans to build nine atomic reactors by 2020 and at least five more the following decade to increase the nation’s portion of nuclear energy to 50 percent of overall power generation by 2030 from 29 percent in 2009. Prime Minister Naoto Kan said March 31 the country needs to revise those policies. That means Japan will probably step up a campaign to encourage the use of solar cells for years at the expense of atomic power, Takashi Watanabe, a Tokyo-based analyst at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., wrote in an April 1 report. Solar may be the strongest option because of restrictions on where wind and thermoelectric power stations can be built, he said.

Bloomberg 21st April 2011 more >>

US

NRG Energy Inc., Toshiba Corp.’s partner in the ongoing nuclear power project in Texas, said Tuesday it has decided not to invest more money in it due to the massive radiation leak at a crippled nuclear power plant in Japan.

Kyodo News 20th April 2011 more >>

U.S. regulators should set a more rigorous standard for allowing aging nuclear power plants to keep operating, demanding they be as capable of withstanding natural disasters as new facilities, a U.S. senator said on Wednesday.

Reuters 20th April 2011 more >>

Italy

Italy said on Wednesday it is looking to the European Union for a decision on the future of nuclear power as the country considers halting its own programme in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan.Rome has proposed a halt to its plans to build nuclear power stations and Economic Development Minister Paolo Romani said that a decision will not be made until the EU takes a “joint decision” on the matter.

EU Business 20th April 2011 more >>

Italy’s government has proposed to shelve its nuclear programme indefinitely following the Japanese nuclear crisis – but critics said the move was simply a bid to derail a planned referendum on the issue which is expected to decisively reject nuclear energy.

Morning Star 20th April 2011 more >>

India

Violent protests at the site of one of India’s most ambitious nuclear installations have thrown into sharp relief the domestic resistance the country faces in achieving its nuclear power ambitions. French group Areva hopes to complete a $10bn deal by mid-year for two third-generation European pressurised water reactors in India, despite increasingly violent local protests against the project.

FT 20th April 2011 more >>

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Published: 21 April 2011
Last updated: 17 October 2012