22 August 2013

Energy Costs

Letter: The British public should be wary of those who claim that fracking will keep energy costs down. Way back in 1971, newspapers declared that “nuclear energy may soon be so cheap that the power can be virtually given away”. I was not convinced. Years later, in 1987, scientists said: “In the case of Sizewell, the benefits are the likelihood of cheaper electricity.” But electricity prices kept pace with inflation between 1971 and 1987 and have outstripped inflation in recent years. Now I see David Cameron (Comment, August 12) saying that fracking has the “real potential to drive energy bills down”, while yesterday, Derek Lickorish, chairman of the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group, said: “The potential of shale gas to reduce energy bills had been ignored” (report, August 21). We’ve heard it all before.

Telegraph 22nd Aug 2013 read more »


SOMERSET firms hoping to secure lucrative Hinkley Point C business have been warned that being local won’t guarantee them a contract. More than 60 businesses filled the Walnut Tree Hotel in North Petherton this month to hear Hinkley C commercial director Ken Owen outline EDF Energy’s commitment to using the Somerset supply chain. Mr Owen warned that while EDF’s preference is to work with a local supply chain where feasible, before engaging with a UK national or multinational company it would only reward those firms capable of offering value for money.

This is the West Country 20th Aug 2013 read more »


Though much of Kazakhstan’s Cold War-era nuclear detritus — left over from years of Soviet atomic tests — was sealed in a mountain years ago, it theoretically could be removed and used for illicit weapons of mass destruction, according to experts. The hope is, though, that any such move to bore inside well-sealed tunnels for deeply hidden material and attempt to chemically extract fissile material would be so impractical as to offer little temptation to would-be bad actors. Theoretically it is possible to pull high-grade plutonium from tunnels inside the Central Asian nation’s Degelen Mountain, but in real terms it is basically “impossible,” Sergey Lukashenko, director of the Institute of Radiation Safety and Ecology at Kazakhstan’s National Nuclear Center, told a group of visiting U.S. journalists.

National Journal 21st Aug 2013 read more »


PEOPLE in Germany and Luxembourg are campaigning for the closure of the French nuclear plant at Cattenom, which has suffered several accidents in recent months. The latest incident was a release of hydrochloric acid on 23–24 July. Operator EDF Energy estimates that 58,000 l of acid, intended to descale the cooling tanks, seeped from a broken pipe into the ground and into the Mosel river. While the incident itself did not pose any risks to the general public, people in nearby Germany and Luxembourg were outraged at the lack of communication. Neither EDF nor the nuclear safety agency ASN reported the incident till mid-August.

Chemical Engineer 21st Aug 2013 read more »


Until Fukushima, the risk of catastrophic meltdown of the sort that occurred first at Chernobyl was supposed to be one in 100,000. But Fukushima occurred almost exactly 25 years after Chernobyl and that slashes the estimate to one in 5,000. In addition, the kind of cascade of devastating events that hit Fukushima hadn’t previously been factored into risk probability assessments. Now regulatory authorities all over the world have been forced to consider whether, however unlikely, more than one accident could happen in quick succession, and what the consequences would be. The whole risk and safety assessment framework is being redesigned.

Guardian 21st Aug 2013 read more »

The crippled nuclear plant at Fukushima is losing its two-year battle to contain radioactive water leaks and its owner emphasized for the first time it needs overseas expertise to help contain the disaster.

Bloomberg 21st Aug 2013 read more »

Japan has raised the classification of a leak of hundreds of tonnes of radioactive water at the Fukushima nuclear plant to a “serious incident”, the most severe crisis since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Irish Independent 22nd Aug 2013 read more »

JAPAN’S nuclear watchdog plans to upgrade the seriousness of a leakage of highly radioactive water at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant. It proposed raising the rating from “an anomaly” to a “serious incident”. The operator of the plant said about 300 tons of contaminated water has leaked from one of hundreds of steel tanks around the wrecked Fukushima Dai-ichi plant which was crippled by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) has not discovered how or where the water leaked, but suspects it did so through a seam on the tank or a valve connected to a gutter around the tank.

Herald 22nd Aug 2013 read more »

ITV 21st Aug 2013 read more »

Mirror 21st Aug 2013 read more »

Independent 21st Aug 2013 read more »

JAPAN’S nuclear crisis has ¬escalated to its worst level since a massive earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima plant more than two years ago, with the country’s nuclear watchdog saying it feared more storage tanks were leaking contaminated water. The United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency said yesterday it viewed the situation at Fukushima “seriously” and was ready to help if requested, while neighbouring China said it was “shocked” to hear contaminated water was still leaking from the plant.

Scotsman 22nd Aug 2013 read more »

Our environment correspondent Matt McGrath assesses the ongoing efforts to deal with contaminated water at the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. It has been revealed that some of the storage facilities used in the clean-up have been leaking highly radioactive water.

BBC 21st Aug 2013 read more »

Japanese officials warned of a deepening crisis at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant as they raised the severity level of a radioactive water leak at the site to the highest rating issued in two years.

Times 22nd Aug 2013 read more »


Slovakia’s nuclear watchdog violated the law when it issued a building permit for Enel SpA (ENEL)’s 3.7 billion-euro ($5 billion) nuclear project because Greenpeace wasn’t allowed to comment, the Supreme Court ruled. The Italian utility’s local unit, Slovenske Elektrarne AS, in 2009 began building two new reactors at the Mochovce nuclear power plant after receiving a permit by the Office for Nuclear Supervision. The high court asked the regulator to repeat the proceeding and include Greenpeace, according to the June 27ruling posted on the office’s website today.

Bloomberg 21st Aug 2013 read more »


While only a relatively small number of Germans already generate their own electricity, an overwhelming majority would like to – and only around a quarter of Germans think power supply should be left up to utilities.

Renewables International 21st Aug 2013 read more »


Sirens wailed and traffic is halted as South Korean authorities conduct annual nationwide civil defence exercises amid ongoing tension with the neighbouring North.

Telegraph 21st Aug 2013 read more »

Green Deal

New government figures show first Green Deal plan has been completed, with a further 418 in the pipeline.

Business Green 20th Aug 2013 read more »

Fossil Fuels

Matthew Spencer: David Cameron has chosen to become the shale gas industry’s biggest cheerleader. He hasn’t asked us to keep an open mind, he’s been determined to “win the debate” so that the public “get behind fracking”. It reminds me of Tony Blair’s unsuccessful attempt in 1999 to convince the British public to accept GM food, but looking back at his statements they were far more balanced than those Cameron has been making. Prime ministers can lose their healthy scepticism after a few years at the top. Weighed down by the inertia of Whitehall, and isolated from real life they become susceptible to “white heat” visions that appeal to the desire to be remembered as successful reformers.

Guardian 21st Aug 2013 read more »


Published: 22 August 2013