Full details of the UK coalition government’s policy program have been released but there were no surprises for the nuclear power industry. The agreement between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties notes the Lib Dems’ opposition to new nuclear construction in contrast with the Conservatives’ commitment to allow the replacement of existing nuclear plants, provided they are not publicly subsidised. The policy sees the abolition of the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC). The policy also includes a commitment to introduce a floor price for carbon.
World Nuclear News 20th May 2010 more >>
Scotsman 21st May 2010 more >>
The announcement by the UK communities minister Greg Clark that the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) will be disbanded has cast doubts over plans to build more than ten new nuclear power plants in the country.
New Statesman 20th May 2010 more >>
Nuclear has survived, which is essential if the energy deficit is to be met long term. But yesterday’s document also contained one ludicrous sop to the Lib Dems, whose energy minister Chris Huhne is dead against nuclear, which is to seek to increase the target for energy from renewable sources, meaning wind. The target is already an extra 30 gigawatts (equivalent to half the nation’s winter demand) over 10 years. To set it even higher is laughable and starts to make a mockery of what is otherwise a deadly serious policy issue.
Telegraph 21st May 2010 more >>
The growth of nuclear energy in the United States depends on if or how Congress will regulate carbon emissions, said Chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Gregory B. Jaczko in a talk to energy students at Stanford on Tuesday. With the construction cost of one new reactor ranging from $6 billion to $10 billion (the U.S. Department of Energy has $18 billion in loan guarantees set aside for all construction), few now are willing to finance nuclear projects, Jaczko said. “It’s not the kind of money that anybody on Wall Street is willing to lend to a utility, and it’s not the kind of money that a lot of utilities right now are willing to put up on their own,” he said.
Stanford Daily 19th May 2010 more >>
Letter from Martin Hewes: On the same day that your editorial, “No time to dump nuclear energy” argues in favour of a new generation of UK nuclear power stations, you also ran an article, “US nuclear power drive checked by argument over waste”, which reports that because of doubts over the ability of the US to store nuclear waste, Exelon, the largest US nuclear power company, will not construct any new plants until the issue is resolved. The US has invested $9bn in its only and now closed prospective nuclear repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Given that the UK is even further removed from a solution to store nuclear waste than the US, one wonders how much thought has gone into the UKs current nuclear plans.
FT 20th May 2010 more >>
A shipment of 16 radioactive steam generators, each as big as a school bus, is scheduled to be transported from a facility on Lake Huron, through the Great Lakes, down the St. Lawrence River and across the ocean to Sweden for processing. The convoy is half of 32 that are being refurbished at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station on Owen Sound, a peninsula that juts out into the lake. The other 16 are expected to make the same trip a few years later. Opposition is mounting in a petition circulating from the Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility and the Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes.
Indian Country May 2010 more >>
This fall, Bruce Power plans to truck 16 100-ton radioactive steam generators from Bruce units 1 and 2 near Kincardine, Ontario, to Owen Sound on Georgian Bay. From there, they plan to ship them through the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway to Studsvik, a company located on the Baltic Sea in Sweden. Studsvik would process them in its melter, releasing 90% of the metals (with what is considered “allowable” radioactive contamination) to global markets for unrestricted use.
Times Herald 20th May 2010 more >>
An essay, entitled Security is More than Onions, explores aspects of nuclear security beyond the conventional wisdom of defence-in-depth usually illustrated by the layers of an onion. It identified practical ways to raise standards in the professional nuclear security industry worldwide through greater collaboration and sharing of information between members of the World Institute of Nuclear Security.
DSRL 17th May 2010 more >>
The Engineer 20th May 2010 more >>
A PIPELINE of power would cost £1.2 billion, National Grid claim, making pylons from Hinkley Point their preferred option. More information came out of a meeting with the power giant in Bridgwater on Tuesday, with the decision-making Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) acting as peacekeeper. Peter Bryant, senior project manager of National Grid, admitted “something had been missed down the line” during the first phase of public consultation on connecting the proposed Hinkley Point C power station to Seabank in Avonmouth, Bristol. He expected planning permission to be sought from the IPC in 2012 at the earliest. But the audience challenged the claim that four undersea cables to bridge the 37-mile gap would cost £1.2 billion, compared to 47-metre high pylons costing £190 million.
This is Somerset 20th May 2010 more >>
Hinkley & Oldbury
Debate about the likelihood of new nuclear in the West Country. Tessa Munt, MP for Wells & Burnham quoted as being against nuclear. Bookies give 2 to 1 odds on favourite for new build somewhere in the West Country. Video Clip is 4.25 ‘ into the programme:
BBC Points West 19th May 2010 more >>
New nuclear power stations like the proposed Wylfa B on Anglesey will still be possible – Liberal Democrats will maintain opposition to but abstain on a vote.
BBC 20th May 2010 more >>
When the PFR mission was completed and the UK fast reactor programme was shelved, PFR was de-fuelled and achieved a nuclear clean-up world-record for the destruction of its 1,500 tonnes of sodium liquid metal that once flowed through the bowels of the reactor. The radioactive components left over from the reactor are safely stored in water which provides shielding from the radiation. Work has now started to remove this material using a remote handling machine known as a transporter. This is the first time components of the reactor sub-assembly have been removed since reprocessing ended over ten years ago.
DSRL 13th May 2010 more >>
Engineering company AMEC has launched a bid to take over the running of Dounreay. The international engineering and project management company has joined forces with American firm EnergySolutions. The joint venture, which will be called Caithness Solutions Limited, is aiming to become the parent body organisation (PBO) at Dounreay Site Restoration Limited.
John O Groat Journal 19th May 2010 more >>
In the past three years, as China embarked on its new thrust into Africa, relations between Niamey and Paris plunged. The award of uranium concessions to China’s Sino-U and other prospectors broke the de facto 40-year monopoly of Areva, France’s state-controlled nuclear group. The competition has seen work start on Niger’s first refinery and a $700m hydroelectric barrage, not to mention hundreds of millions of dollars in “signature bonuses”, courtesy of Beijing. It helped the country wring tougher terms from France before granting permission for Areva’s vast new mine, which will make the country the world’s second-biggest uranium producer after Kazakhstan.
FT 21st May 2010 more >>
National Grid revealed today that new investment in a greener energy infrastructure will cost the average UK household an extra £4 a year on energy bills.The shift to a low-carbon energy system “requires much greater investment in the electricity and gas transmission networks to deal with a very different flow of energy on the networks,” said analysts at Morgan Stanley. “We believe the broad principles set out in the Con-Lib coalition agreement are supportive of this evolution, and therefore are supportive of the need to invest materially in transmission networks.” About £2.8bn has been earmarked for nine major projects to link up nuclear power and offshore wind farms in Suffolk, Somerset and Wales.
Guardian 21st May 2010 more >>
Times 21st May 2010 more >>
An oxygen meter at the Monju fast-breeder reactor here has triggered another false alarm, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency said. The meter, installed in one of the three large containers used in the event of a pipe rupture, set off the alarm at around 11 a.m. Wednesday, but the oxygen level inside the container was within the normal range. The containers atop a reactor auxiliary building are filled with nitrogen gas to prevent sodium coolant, which is inflammable in the air, from reacting chemically with oxygen, the agency said. The reactor has been hampered by a series of problems since May 6, when test operations were started following a shutdown lasting more than 14 years.
Japan Times 21st May 2010 more >>
So Poland has declared its intention to launch a nuclear ‘renaissance’ of its very own. They’ve appointed analysis teams and signed ‘memoranda of cooperation’ with nuclear reactor builders. It’s a very serious business. The Polish Energy Group (PGE) wants to build two new nuclear reactors. Which designs are they considering? Oh dear. AREVA’s EPR, Westinghouse’s AP1000 and GE Hitachi’s ABWR and ESBWR. For evaluation of these designs they should come to see us and we can save them a lot of time and money.
Greenpeace Nuclear Reaction 20th May 2010 more >>
The U.S. Department of Energy has approved a $2 billion loan guarantee for French nuclear power developer Areva to build a nuclear enrichment facility in Idaho, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. Areva’s $3.3 billion nuclear enrichment facility, planned for Idaho Falls, Idaho, will use advanced centrifuge technology instead of gaseous diffusion technology that is more common in the United States but uses more energy.
Reuters 20th May 2010 more >>
It now seems likely that Canada’s federal government will sell its entire stake in the Candu reactor division of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd, a move first flagged up last summer when the government that it planned to split AECL and sell off the Candu division. The sale could have profound implications for Canada’s nuclear industry and billions of dollars in plant refurbishments across the country.
Modern Power Systems 19th May 2010 more >>
Tensions between North and South Korea escalated dramatically today following the publication of an international report which concluded that a South Korean warship was sunk by a torpedo from a North Korean submarine in March.
Guardian 21st May 2010 more >>
North Korea has a million-strong army and enough plutonium for six to eight nuclear weapons, according to US experts. It says it is now enriching uranium, an alternative ingredient for nuclear bombs. However, it has yet to develop the technology to place a nuclear weapon on a missile and, so far, its nuclear programme and missile tests are motivated by a policy of intimidation and defiance, analysts believe. North Korea last year test-fired a series of at least four surface-to-ship cruise missiles and Scud-type ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan.
Guardian 21st May 2010 more >>
Continuous-at-sea nuclear deployment – known as CASD – could be downgraded to ‘reduced readiness’ extending the life span of Britain’s Trident nuclear submarines and reducing overall costs according to an article in the latest Journal of the Royal United Services Institute.
‘A Progressive Nuclear Policy’, authored by Nick Ritchie and Paul Ingram, challenge the current rationale behind the CASD posture suggesting that the need for total invulnerability to surprise attack is out of date. They argue that the UK has not faced a major nuclear threat for the last decade, and that the cost of maintaining a deterrent designed within a Cold War context, is difficult to justify in a modern world.
Royal United Services Institute 20th May 2010 more >>
Reuters 21st May 2010 more >>
At any moment, one of Britain’s four Trident submarines is out there, somewhere, patrolling a continent-sized patch of the Atlantic. When the 160-strong crew slip beneath the waves off Scotland’s west coast, that’s the last anyone sees of them for three months. Powered by a nuclear reactor, the submarines are almost silent and virtually undetectable. While on patrol, direct communication with navy bosses back home ceases, so potential enemies cannot intercept any signals. The crew are almost completely cut off from the outside world.
Guardian 20th May 2010 more >>
North Africa expected to become major producer of concentrated solar power (CSP), more than half of which would be exported to meet European electricity demands. Solar electricity should be able to meet 20 to 25 per cent of global electricity production by 2050, according to analysis by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Ecologist 14th May 2010 more >>