22 April 2011

New Nukes

Twenty five years on from Chernobyl, the heated debate on nuclear power remains resistant to cold facts: simply too few are known. But making your own judgements on five key questions will lead to your answer.

Guardian Blog 21st April 2011 more >>

George Monbiot, Helen Caldicott and Laurence Williams join host James Randerson to debate the future of the UK’s nuclear programme following Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant disaster.

Guardian Podcast 21st 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 head of the UN has warned.

Express 21st April 2011 more >>

Hinkley

A new emergency shutdown system will be trialled at one of Britain’s oldest nuclear power stations this summer. It will bring Hinkley Point B “towards modern standards,” according to the Office for Nuclear Regulation’s (ONR) site inspector, John Burrows. But anti-nuclear campaigners say the plant’s owners and the regulators have rejected a “fail-safe” solution already installed at other UK power plants. EDF Energy says the power station is well built and rigorously maintained.

BBC 21st April 2011 more >>

Heysham

British Energy, the owner and operator (known as the licensee) of Heysham 1 Power Station, has requested that HSE agree to the use of Robust Fuel at Heysham 1 Power Station. Fuel for advanced gas cooled reactors (AGRs) has been modified slightly to take on board changes to its manufacturing route and to add features that are known to improve fuel performance. The new design, called Robust Fuel, is described and its use justified in a category 1 safety submission. This change has been accepted by an independent nuclear safety assessment and the licensee’s Nuclear Safety Committee (NSC) members. The fuel may not be used in the site’s reactors until amendments are made to some of the Heysham 1 Operating Rules (subject to a separate assessment).

HSE 14th March 2011 more >>

Sellafield

A leak containing plutonium five times the “ministerial reportable level” was discovered at Sellafield in February, it has emerged. A ‘brown puddle’ of liquid was found to have seeped from an old ventilation duct in an empty building at the west Cumbrian nuclear complex during a safety inspection.

Cumberland News 21st April 2011 more >>

EDF

EDF holds its first press conference since the disaster Fukushima? Greenpeace is here! This afternoon, thirty Greenpeace activists were responsible for the welcoming committee, with the front seat of EDF in Paris banners and stickers bearing the message “Nuclear is not safe.”

Greenpeace France 21st April 2011 more >>

France’s EDF will go ahead with atomic projects at home and abroad but will draw all the necessary lessons on safety from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, its top management said on Thursday. In its first press conference in the wake of the world’s biggest nuclear crisis in 25 years, the state-owned utility sought to quell concerns over nuclear safety and called for greater coordination between nuclear operators worldwide. Shortly before the presentation, Greenpeace militants scaled the facade of EDF’s headquarters near the Arc de Triomphe, and were perched above the glass building’s entrance with a banner bearing the slogan, “Safe nuclear power does not exist”.

Reuters 21st April 2011 more >>

Nuclear Liability

From the U.S. to Japan, it’s illegal to drive a car without sufficient insurance, yet governments around the world choose to run over 440 nuclear power plants with hardly any coverage whatsoever. Japan’s Fukushima disaster, which will leave taxpayers there with a massive bill, brings to the fore one of the industry’s key weaknesses that nuclear power is a viable source for cheap energy only if it goes uninsured. Governments that use nuclear energy are torn between the benefit of low-cost electricity and the risk of a nuclear catastrophe, which could total trillions of dollars and even bankrupt a country. The bottom line is that it’s a gamble: Governments are hoping to dodge a one-off disaster while they accumulate small gains over the long-term. The cost of a worst-case nuclear accident at a plant in Germany, for example, has been estimated to total as much as €7.6 trillion ($11 trillion), while the mandatory reactor insurance is only €2.5 billion. “The €2.5 billion will be just enough to buy the stamps for the letters of condolence,” said Olav Hohmeyer, an economist at the University of Flensburg who is also a member of the German government’s environmental advisory body.

Washington Post 21st April 2011 more >>

Old Nukes

Radioactive waste leaked from the Sellafield complex in Cumbria, said the nuclear watchdog. There was also a similar spill at the Torness station near Edinburgh and the breakdown of a cooling system at Hartlepool nuclear plant. Environmental campaigners said the incidents, all in February, made it more important for the government to block plans to build more nuclear plants.

Metro 21st April 2011 more >>

Companies

William Foord has joined consultant Capita Symonds as director of nuclear. Foord joins the company from Babcock International where he was responsible for developing the company’s business across the new nuclear build arena. He has nearly 20 years experience in the energy sector working nationally and internationally with leading power producers and distributors such as National Grid, ABB, EDF, Areva E.On and Scottish Power.

Building 21st April 2011 more >>

Chernobyl

“The ‘liquidators’ have formed a survivors’ organisation. The membership keeps decreasing, not from lack of interest on the part of the members, but because they are dying. To date, approximately 13,000 of these special men have died. Almost 20% of these were suicides. This is 20 times higher than the international average. A further 70,000 are estimated to be permanently disabled” – Adi Roche, ‘Children of Chernobyl, 1996.

No Sweat 21st April 2011 more >>

As the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster is marked this month one Cambridgeshire doctor will be continuing her work to make the lives of those affected just a little bit better. Cambridge First talks to Dr Rachel Furley, the founder of Bridges to Belarus.

Cambridge First 21st April 2011 more >>

Japan

Japan has officially sealed off a wide area around a crippled nuclear power plant to stop tens of thousands of residents from sneaking back to the homes they quickly fled and are enduring a long, uncertain wait before they can officially return. Fearing they might not see their homes and belongings again for at least six months, evacuees raced into the deserted towns yesterday before the ban took effect to grab whatever belongings they could cram into their cars.

Scotsman 22nd April 2011 more >>

Newsround 21st April 2011 more >>

Tens of thousands of people who were evacuated from near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant risk arrest if they return home, after the government declared the area a no-entry zone due to high radiation levels. Under the order, which goes into effect at midnight local time, people living within a 12-mile (20km) radius of the atomic plant will be given up to two hours to enter the area to collect belongings. The move came amid concern over the long-term health risks posed by high levels of accumulated radiation, despite signs of progress in bringing the stricken facility under control. The 245 workers currently battling stabilise Fukushima have fallen ill due to the harsh conditions inside the plant, experts warned.

Guardian 21st April 2011 more >>

After a day of pumping, the level of radioactive water flooding unit 2 of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant dropped 2.3 centimeters – a modest start to pumping efforts expected to take at least five weeks.

Nuclear Street 21st April 2011 more >>

Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) is expected to delay the launch of its Higashidori nuclear plant in Japan. The move has been taken in a bid to equip the plant with new safety measures to protect it against earthquakes and tsunamis in the future. TEPCO had previously planned to launch the 1,385MW No.1 reactor at the plant in March 2017 while the 1,385MW No.2 reactor by 2020. The company said it will revise the design of the No.1 and No.2 reactors at the plant in Aomori prefecture in the north.

Energy Business Review 21st April 2011 more >>

The ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant following the March 11 earthquake that struck north-eastern Japan has produced rising public concern over the risks of nuclear power and indignation at the government’s response to the disaster. These sentiments have been reflected in public opinion polls, but also in small but significant protests.

World Solcialist Web 21st April 2011 more >>

Germany

RWE has warned that the German governments decision to halt two of its nuclear plants will drag down the power companys earnings. Jrgen Grossmann, chief executive, said at the groups annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday that the three-month stoppage of its Biblis A and B reactors would reduce profits by a low three-digit million-euro figure. His warning came after the German government decided last month to idle seven of the countrys oldest reactors to conduct safety checks, in a sudden policy switch in the wake of the Fukushima power plant disaster in Japan.

FT 21st April 2011 more >>

German utility EnBW plans to almost double its renewable power capacity in the next 10 years, requiring an investment of €8 billion ($12 billion).

Environmental Finance 21st April 2011 more >>

US

The U.S. nuclear safety regulator said on Thursday it has renewed the operating licenses for Arizona’s Palo Verde nuclear plant for an additional 20 years after more than two years of reviews.

Reuters 21st April 2011 more >>

US based NRG Energy said it will not invest additional capital in expansion of the South Texas Project Electric Generating Station in Texas, US. The move has been taken due to diminished prospects as a result of the ongoing nuclear incident in Japan.

Energy Business Review 21st April 2011 more >>

Poland

French nuclear reactor maker Areva has signed a letter of intent with Polish builder Polimex MOSD.WA to cooperate on Poland’s first nuclear plant, an Areva official said on Thursday.

Reuters 21st April 2011 more >>

Romania

Romania has unveiled plans to install two reactors at its Cernavoda plant by 2020. Operated by atomic-power company Nuclearelectrica, the plant will see the addition of 4,600MW of nuclear capacity by 2035 to its existing output of 1,400MW. The capacity increase is in line with the nation’s strategy to expand its nuclear power generation within the next 24 years, according to the Romanian economic ministry. The facility is expected to be complete by 2030 and the government is currently seeking investment of $5.8bn for the two nuclear reactors.

Energy Business Review 21st April 2011 more >>

Renewables

If Japan adopted an aggressive renewable energy policy like that of Germany, it could, within 10 years, generate more than four times the electricity lost at the Fukushima 1 nuclear power plant, cutting the country’s reliance on nuclear power by one-half or more.

Renewable Energy Focus (It’s Free to Register) 21st April 2011 more >>

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Published: 22 April 2011
Last updated: 17 October 2012