23 June 2009

Nuclear Safety

Britain’s nuclear power plants have suffered more than 1,750 leaks, breakdowns and safety faults in the seven years to 2008. Secret papers released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that over half “had the potential to challenge systems”. Contamination hit Sizewell A, Suffolk, Dounreay, Caithness, and the largest, Sellafield, in Cumbria. Chief nuclear inspector Mike Weightman’s report coincides with Sellafield saying it has finally halted a leak lasting 50 years.

Daily Mirror 22nd June 2009 more >>

SNP Energy Spokesperson, Mike Weir MP, has expressed disbelief and concern over a secret UK Government report which reveals a woeful safety record inside the UK’s nuclear power stations. The report authored by the UK Government’s chief nuclear inspector Mike Weightman and obtained by the Observer newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act, shows that more than 1750 leaks, breakdowns and other “events” were logged between 2001 and 2008. The reports notes that half of these incidents were deemed “to have the potential to challenge a nuclear safety system” according to inspectors.

SNP Press Release 21st June 2009 more >>

New Nukes

Letter from Steuart Campbell: I DO not know the source of Cllr Euan McLeod’s claim that it costs 9-12 p/kWh (sic) to build a nuclear power plant (Letters, 16 June). He may call this “extremely expensive” but what matters is the actual cost of the electricity produced, allowing for amortisation of the capital cost. Various analyses show that nuclear generation is the cheapest method. In a written answer in the House of Commons on 11November, 2008, various costs (p/kWh) were given as follows: nuclear 3.8, coal 5.1, gas 5.2, onshore wind 7.2, offshore wind 9.2 (these costs are a function of the total generation output of the plant over its whole operational life). I have seen no indication that these data need revision; other estimates of the nuclear cost have ranged from 1.7-2.3 p/kWh.

Scotsman 22nd June 2009 more >>

The government’s ambitious timetable for a new wave of nuclear reactors to begin operation from 2017 could face delays as a result of a shortage of qualified safety inspectors, according to a confidential report from the government’s chief nuclear inspector.

Business Green 22nd June 2009 more >>

Nuclear Supply Chain

Lord Manelson’s speech at the Unite Nuclear Supply Chain Conference: There are a number of things that the government can do in partnership with industry to help ensure that those supply chain jobs come here. And that they power a genuine nuclear renaissance in this country – one that sees us exporting skills and technologies as well as servicing plants in the UK.

Dept for Business Innovation and Skills 22nd June 2009 more >>

THOUSANDS of skilled manufacturing jobs could be created over the next decade with Government support for energy sources such as nuclear and clean coal, the UK’s biggest union will say today. Unite is bringing together some of the major players from the power generation industry and manufacturers of energy components for a conference in London today to explore the ‘‘major opportunities’’ for job creation as well as the potential for exports. Speakers will include Business Secretary Lord Mandelson and officials from Scottish Power, RWE npower, Rolls Royce, Doosan Babcock and Sheffield Forgemasters. Unite’s national officer Dougie Rooney said: ‘‘Nuclear power, clean coal and carbon capture technology are key to meeting our future energy needs while reducing emissions.

Newcastle Evening Gazette 22nd June 2009 more >>


Radiation Free Lakeland have expressed concerns at what they see as the Environment Agency’s apparently biased statement in its briefing paper on Sellafield Ltd’s application to increase Sb-125 emissions. RFL believe this would lead to an inevitable increase in other emissions such as Tritium.

Get Noticed Online 22nd June 2009 more >>

Total called last night for a quick solution to the bitter dispute at its Lindsey oil refinery in Lincolnshire and blamed strikes and poor productivity by contractors’ workforces for delays and cost overruns of more than £100m. The plea by the French oil group came as more than 3,000 construction workers at at least nine petrochemical sites and power stations – including the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria – staged wildcat strikes in support of the Lindsey strikers.

FT 23rd June 2009 more >>

Nuclear Liabilities

The Department of Energy and Climate Change announced the re-appointment of Lady Balfour of Burleigh CBE as Chairman of the Nuclear Liabilities Fund (NLF). The NLF is owned by the Nuclear Trust, which was set up to oversee the management of the Fund established at the time of the privatisation of British Energy (BE) to pay for certain long-term decommissioning and other costs of BE’s nuclear plants. The Chair of the NLF also chairs the Nuclear Trust. Lady Janet Balfour was previously Chair of the NLF from 2003 to 2008 and in November 2008 was appointed Chairman of the Nuclear Liabilities Financing Assurance Board.

Society of Procurement Officers 22nd June 2009 more >>

The NRC has contacted 18 nuclear power plants to clarify how the companies will address the recent economic downturn’s effects on funds to decommission reactors in the future.

Nuclear Engineering International 22nd June 2009 more >>

World Nuclear News 22nd June 2009 more >>

Nuclear Terror

If it were in a position to do so, al-Qa’ida would use Pakistan’s nuclear weapons in its fight against the United States, a top leader of the group said in remarks aired yesterday.

Independent 22nd June 2009 more >>

Murder cases don’t come much more bizarre than the one that preoccupied me during the winter of 2006-07 the slow, agonising death of the Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko.

Times 23rd June 2009 more >>

Nuclear Skills

The training academy for a new generation of nuclear engineers opened last week by energy secretary Ed Milliband.

New Civil Engineer 22nd June 2009 more >>


The Japanese government has said it will need to generate about 40 per cent of its electricity from nuclear power by 2020 if it is to meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Business Green 22nd June 2009 more >>


As interest in nuclear power has escalated worldwide, many countries have looked to France to learn what can be achieved in a substantial, strategic national energy programme. France now derives over three quarters of its electricity from 59 nuclear reactors, thanks to a long-standing energy policy, based on a mixture of economics and energy security. The power utility EDF is also now a substantial net exporter of electricity and has plans to build new reactors both at home and overseas based on the latest technology. France also has capabilities in each area of the fuel cycle through Areva. In particular, reprocessing capacity and technology is a major export earner from these activities. The country is also a leader in advanced nuclear technology, having invested heavily in research and development.

Nuclear Engineering International 22nd June 2009 more >>


Germany’s economy minister has said that nuclear power plants should operate for longer until favoured renewable technologies are ready to deliver.

World Nuclear News 22nd June 2009 more >>

North Korea

North Korea has boasted of being a “proud nuclear power” and warned the US that it will strike back if attacked.

BBC 22nd June 2009 more >>

Glasgow Evening Times 22nd June 2009 more >>


French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde held talks Sunday with Kuwaiti officials over the Gulf state’s plan to set up a civilian nuclear project to produce power.

Middle East Online 22nd June 2009 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

More than 50 years after a 7,600lb (3,500kg) nuclear bomb was dropped in US waters following a mid-air military collision, the question of whether the missing weapon still poses a threat remains.

BBC 22nd June 2009 more >>


In-shore wind farms could on their own supply more than 40 times all the electricity consumed in the world, according to experts.

Telegraph 23rd June 2009 more >>


Published: 23 June 2009
Last updated: 18 October 2012