National Policy Statements
Energy secretary Chris Huhne will today confirm that the Government wants to press ahead with new nuclear power stations at eight sites. The Government will also publish a wider national policy statements for nuclear energy. The publication before summer was vital to allow progress on the planned nuclear power station at Hinkley in Somerset where plans to start building are most advanced. Developer EDF intends to submit a planning application in October, but could not do this until the Government announced the sites. The plan can now be be debated and voted on by Parliament, and ministers hope that the programme gets the go-ahead within weeks.
Construction Enquirer 23rd June 2011 more >>
Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary, will confirm that new reactors at sites including Sellafield, Anglesey and Hinkley Point will be built in a multi-billion pound programme to make Britain more self-sufficient in energy. Sources close to Mr Huhne said that the statement would show that Britain is open for business after other European countries scaled back their nuclear plans.
Telegraph 23rd June 2011 more >>
ALL future costs of decommissioning nuclear power stations will have to be met by the industry. The government has accepted an amendment to its Energy Bill put down by anti-nuclear MPs that make it explicit that owners of nuclear power stations would be fully responsible for any changes to clean-up operations or costs following decommissioning. Copeland MP Jamie Reed has welcomed the move, but said the government should subsidise an underground nuclear storage facility. Anti-nuclear campaigners had criticised the governments previous wording of the Energy Bill, as they believed it threw into question who was responsible for additional costs of decommissioning. The critics said that without the clarification, UK taxpayers could have footed the bill.
NW Evening Mail 22nd June 2011 more >>
Do we want Cumbria to be the nations nuclear dump? The issue was debated enthusiastically a public meeting in Whitehaven this week. It was organised by West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership, an advisory body specifically created to investigate whether the plan should be supported in Cumbria. One of the key voices was that of Copeland Council leader Elaine Woodburn. Cherry Wade, from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), told the meeting: We would not want to proceed unless we were confident that a site was safe. For those parts of west Cumbria which are still potentially in consideration for this process the amount of geological information available is highly variable. For most of the region insufficient information exists on which to take a decision on the suitability to host a geological disposal facility. Even for those areas where more information is available it would be necessary to evaluate it further in the light of the advanced knowledge which has taken place since the early stages and make sure the information and the understanding is up to date. Her words gave little reassurance to campaign groups like Greenpeace who regard an underground repository as a gamble with the health of future generations. Dr Ruth Balogh, from the west Cumbria and North Lakes Friends of the Earth, questions the value of this weeks meeting. She says: Hosting a repository in this region would mean keeping people and the environment safe from hazardous radioactive waste for hundreds of thousands of years. An issue of this magnitude deserves more than a biased two-hour seminar.
Carlisle News & Star 22nd June 2011 more >>
The Department of Energy and Climate Change today formally responded to the three recommendations for Government contained in the Chief Nuclear Inspectors interim report on events at the Fukushima nuclear site in Japan. The Government will continue to work with international partners in the G8, G20 and IAEA to ensure that information is shared in a timely and open manner in the event of any future global nuclear event; carry out a review of the Japanese response to the events at Fukushima and identify any lessons for UK emergency planning by the end of 2011; and review the UKs own national nuclear emergency arrangements to ensure that they are as robust as possible and can deal effectively with prolonged nuclear incidents, and update guidance before the Chief Nuclear Inspectors final report.
DECC Press Release 21st June 2011 more >>
Hansard 21st June 2011 more >>
The UK Coalition Government yesterday pledged to meet the recommendations of the Chief Nuclear Inspectors interim report on the safety of the countrys nuclear facilities. In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan, the Government charged Mike Weightman and his team to reassess safety measures at nuclear power stations. His interim report raised no major concerns, but made three recommendations, which Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne has welcomed. He responded officially yesterday, committing the Government to work with international partners to share information in a timely and open manner in the event of any future nuclear event. Huhne added that the Government would carry out its own review of the Japanese response to the events at Fukushima and identify useful lessons for UK emergency planning by the end of the year. The Government also says it will review its own national nuclear emergency arrangements and update guidance on dealing with nuclear incidents before the Inspectors final report.
Energy Efficiency News 22nd June 2011 more >>
Scottish Waste Consultation
The Scottish Government published a series of additional docements when it published its Higher Activity Waste Policy
Scottish Government 20th January 2011 more >>
One document was outstanding – Retrievability and Reversibility. This has now been published.
Scottish Government 17th June 2011 more >>
Caroline Lucas: Since I secured a place on the energy bill committee last month, a sizeable chunk of my parliamentary schedule has been given over to scrutinising and seeking to improve the government’s key proposals on energy policy, including its flagship household energy efficiency programme, the “green deal”. This work will come to a close today when the committee meets for the final time. The energy bill introduces a new provision, the energy company obligation (ECO), which obliges firms to provide energy efficiency measures for the fuel-poor. However, since this obligation is funded by a levy on the fuel bills of everyone, including those who can least afford it, there is a very real risk this mechanism will push more people into fuel poverty than it pulls out. At the energy bill’s second reading, there was a welcome announcement from the secretary of state of the introduction of a minimum standard of efficiency: from 2018, no privately rented property with an energy rating below band E will be allowed to be put on the market. Yet the government has inherited a target of eradicating fuel poverty by 2016, two years earlier. Given the seriousness of the scourge of fuel poverty, which is thought to cause around 40,000 extra winter deaths every year, ministers should be bringing the introduction of its efficiency standards forward to 2016, as well as setting out an ambitious timetable for further improvements. I have tabled amendments to do just that aiming for a phasing out of all of the worst insulated properties. My proposals are that no band F or G properties would be let or marketed to let by 2015; that by 2016 there would be no new lets of band E properties; and that by 2019 band D properties would be outlawed, followed by band C properties in 2022. After this, I want to see the secretary of state bring forward a plan to achieve band A ratings by 2030 at the latest.
Guardian 21st June 2011 more >>
Almost half of the Oldbury nuclear power plant site has been declared free of the need for nuclear regulation. At the same time, Oldbury 1 has been granted approval to generate electricity until 2012 an 18 month extension on earlier plans. Originally scheduled to close in 2008, it has had its operation extended on two occasions. It was due to be shut by the end of June this year but a final extension, announced today, could see unit 1 generate until the end of 2012 allowing it to use up all the remaining fuel. Unit 2 will cease generation on 30 June, in line with the earlier plan.
World Nuclear News 22nd June 2011 more >>
The UK’s 220 megawatt Oldbury 1 nuclear power reactor can produce electricity into 2012, following an extension to its operational license granted by regulators, operator Magnox said on Wednesday. Reactor 2 is due to cease generation on June 30 this year, in line with current plans.
Reuters 22nd June 2011 more >>
BBC 22nd June 2011 more >>
NATIONAL Grid has come under fresh attack over its plans for a massive corridor of pylons across the Somerset Levels. As reported in the Weekly News, National Grid is considering how best to connect the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station to an electricity substation at Avonmouth. Campaigners have pleaded for the firm to choose underground cables instead of overhead pylons, which they say would destroy the landscape, but National Grid fears the underground option would be too expensive.
This is the West Country 22nd June 2011 more >>
The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions are likely to fall and the cost of carbon emissions for industry will rise as a result of Germany’s decision to shut down its nuclear power plants, a new analysis has shown. Germany’s own carbon emissions will rise, because the phase-out of nuclear power between now and 2022 will force an increased reliance on fossil fuels, such as coal and gas. But this in turn is likely to push up the price of carbon permits within the European Union’s emissions trading scheme by about 5 (£4.60) a tonne, according to research to be published on Wednesday by Thomson Reuters Point Carbon, an analyst company. If that happens, generators in many countries will switch from coal-fired power generation to gas, which produces less carbon, predicts Daniel Jefferson, author of the research.
Guardian 22nd June 2011 more >>
Sam Laidlaw (Centrica) Three forces are coming together our growing dependence on an increasingly volatile world market; our commitment to make serious cuts in carbon emissions; and our obligation as a society to ensure that energy remains affordable. It is going to be exceedingly difficult to reconcile these three forces as we build the energy market of the future. Today, we at Centrica have published the results of an opinion poll which shows only 25pc of respondents thought it vital that the Government sticks to its plans for creating a low carbon power industry if it meant higher bills. The Government must also put in place structures and incentives to encourage investment in wind and new nuclear. This has to happen soon. We can’t afford to postpone these choices. If we do, there is a danger of interruptions to supply in the coming decade. New nuclear power stations are an essential part of the energy mix. It’s important not to sacrifice an important element of our futu re energy security. In our poll, 53pc of respondents agreed it was better to have more nuclear power than higher carbon emissions. It is vital to set out the true costs and implications of decarbonisation. Regulator Ofgem believes consumer bills could rise by anything between 250 and 600 over the next decade, largely due to the levels of new investment required and the increasing cost of carbon. Yet it’s clear from our poll the public is totally unprepared for price increases on this scale. We found that while one third of consumers are willing to pay an additional 100 on their bill to ensure decarbonisation and energy security, only 1pc would be prepared to pay an extra 500. There is a dangerous disconnect here between reality and popular understanding.
Telegraph 23rd June 2011 more >>
Britain will have to abandon its ambitious carbon emission reduction targets within a year if the public continues to resist higher bills, according to the chief executive of the British Gas owner Centrica. Sam Laidlaw will say in a speech tonight that there is a disconnect over the publics understanding of the reality of rising costs to keep the lights on and generating electricity from more expensive lower-carbon sources, such as wind and nuclear. Mr Laidlaw believes that the public needs to take ownership of government policy to drastically cut carbon emissions and hit ambitious renewable energy targets, which they are paying for through higher utility bills. He will warn that the UK is rapidly approaching a tipping point and that there is a risk that society is being unrealistic about the scale, and cost, of the energy challenge.
The Times 23rtd June 2011 more >>
Nuclear Industry Association
Lord O’Neill’s time at the NIA has coincided with a dramatic change in the fortunes of nuclear power. Roger Milne talks to him. Lord O’Neill, the outgoing chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), won’t forget Friday 11 March this year in a hurry. That was the day the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan and crippled the nuclear power station at Fukushima. He was in Tokyo with colleagues from the association on a fact-finding mission to investigate Japanese nuclear construction techniques and had been visiting facilities under construction, which were vastly superior in design and safety to the Fukushima nuclear plant. O’Neill accepts that this means the original timescale for new-build will slip. ”Six to nine months would be worth waiting to get it right,” he says.  O’Neill believes the UK should be gearing up to consider new types of reactor technology, which might involve some form of fast reactor. He also believes there should be a discussion about making use of the weapons grade plutonium currently in store at Sellafield for nuclear fuel. But the big one is nuclear waste. He says the 35 to 40-year timescale proposed by the government’s independent advisers for finding a new disposal facility is unduly slow. ”We have yet to show we have a credible strategy for the storage of nuclear waste. We need to inject a sense of urgency into that. We’ve crossed a number of bridges but we’ve yet to convince the public on that,” he says.
Utility Week 22nd June 2011 more >>
Consultant Amec has been awarded a framework contract by Magnox Ltd to provide nuclear consultancy services at their sites across the UK. The two-year contract, the value of which has not been announced, will see Amec provide both specialist nuclear and safety case services across the Nuclear Decommissioning Authoritys (NDA) estate. Magnox Ltd operates 10 sites on behalf of the NDA. The framework contract will give Magnox access to Amecs expertise in a wide range of capabilities in radioactive waste, chemistry, physics, sludge handling, encapsulation of waste, contaminated land studies, characterisation, technical option studies and safety case services.
New Civil Engineer 22nd June 2011 more >>
Yasuteru Yamada, a 72-year-old former anti-nuclear activist, will lead a band of pensioners to the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant early next month to help clean up the site of Japans worst atomic disaster since World War II.
Bloomberg 23rd June 2011 more >>
“Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind,” Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president, told Al Jazeera. Japan’s 9.0 earthquake on March 11 caused a massive tsunami that crippled the cooling systems at the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan. It also led to hydrogen explosions and reactor meltdowns that forced evacuations of those living within a 20km radius of the plant. Gundersen, a licensed reactor operator with 39 years of nuclear power engineering experience, managing and coordinating projects at 70 nuclear power plants around the US, says the Fukushima nuclear plant likely has more exposed reactor cores than commonly believed. “Fukushima has three nuclear reactors exposed and four fuel cores exposed,” he said, “You probably have the equivalent of 20 nuclear reactor cores because of the fuel cores, and they are all in desperate need of being cooled, and there is no means to cool them effectively.”
Aljazeera 16th June 2011 more >>
Germany’s largest power producer RWE is to file an objection against the German government’s nuclear fuel tax on Wednesday, a spokeswoman said. RWE is also poised to divest a 75 percent stake in its high-voltage power grid arm within the next few days, two people familiar with the transaction told Reuters. News of RWE’s legal move comes after peer E.ON late in May said it would sue the government for billions of euros in damages arising from the decision to abandon nuclear power within the next decade.
Reuters 23rd June 2011 more >>
City AM 23rd June 2011 more >>
Vattenfall, the Swedish energy company, has warned that Germanys decision to bring an early end to the countrys nuclear power programme would cause an immediate $1.6bn hit on profits, bolstering its case for compensation from the German government. The Swedish state-controlled company said it would be forced to write down the value of its German nuclear plants and increase provisions for decommissioning, resulting in a SKr10bn ($1.6bn) impact on second-quarter operating profits. The company reported operating profits of SKr29.9bn for the whole of 2010.
FT 22nd June 2011 more >>
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said Wednesday it was closely monitoring conditions along the Missouri River, where floodwaters were rising at Nebraska Public Power District’s Cooper Nuclear Station and Omaha Public Power District’s Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant in Nebraska.
STV 22nd June 2011 more >>
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) routinely fails to detect leaks of radioactive water from power plants and such leaks are likely to continue, a Senate report concluded on Tuesday. The report by Democratic Senators Edward Markey and Peter Welch for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) was a response to an investigation which revealed three-quarters of the country’s 65 nuclear plants have leaked radioactive tritium. In at least three cases the carcinogenic chemical had contaminated drinking water.
Morning Star 22nd June 2011 more >>
The US’s ageing stock of nuclear reactors only grows more unsafe as it gets older. Renewables offer clean, green energy. New details are emerging that indicate the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan is far worse than previously known, with three of the four affected reactors experiencing full meltdowns. Meanwhile, in the US, massive flooding along the Missouri River has put Nebraska’s two nuclear plants, both near Omaha, on alert. The Cooper nuclear station declared a low-level emergency and will have to close down if the river rises another 3in. The Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant has been shut down since 9 April, in part due to flooding. At Prairie Island, Minnesota, extreme heat caused the nuclear plant’s two emergency diesel generators to fail. Emergency generator failure was one of the key problems that led to the meltdowns at Fukushima. In the US, the NRC has provided preliminary approval of the Southern Company’s planned expansion of the Vogtle power plant in Georgia, which would allow the first construction of new nuclear power plants in the US since Three Mile Island. The project got a boost from President Barack Obama, who pledged an $8.3bn federal loan guarantee. Southern plans on using Westinghouse’s new AP1000 reactor. But a coalition of environmental groups has filed to block the permit, noting that the new reactor design is inherently unsafe.
Guardian 22nd June 2011 more >>
An overwhelming 90% of respondents said that the recent events following the Fukushima Daiichi accident in Japan had little to no effect on their concerns over US nuclear energy safety. However, support for building new facilities was only moderate (45% of respondents supported building new facilities), with only 14% strongly opposed future construction.
Nuclear Engineering International 22nd June 2011 more >>
EDF denied Wednesday there had been radioactive leaks at any of its French nuclear plants, after market talk of a possible incident hit its share price. Earlier Wednesday, French investigative website Mediapart reported there had been a series of malfunctions at the Paluel plant in the northern region of Normandy, which it said produces some 8 percent of the country’s nuclear power capacity. The website said the site had suffered from repeated leaks, discharges of radioactive gas, the triggering of alerts and incidents of worker contamination. A union representing workers at the Paluel plant said in a statement last week there had been a leak of radioactive iodine at the plant for a number of months, starting last winter.
Reuters 22nd June 2011 more >>
The project by Areva and Siemens to build the world’s first third-generation European pressurised water reactor on the west coast of Finland has been beset by problems. Yet despite the delays and setbacks to Olkiluoto 3, the Finns have not lost faith in the essential viability of the design. While some European countries – notably Germany – have lost faith in nuclear power altogether in the wake of the disaster at Fukushima in Japan, Finland has no intention of following suit.
Utility Week 22nd June 2011 more >>
Three Christian peace protesters were convicted yesterday (21 June) at Newbury Magistrates Court of Criminal Trespass under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA), and Criminal Damage. The convictions follow a protest at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in September 2010 organised by the Catholic Worker movement. The three, Susan Clarkson (64), Chris Cole (47) both from Oxford, and Fr Martin Newell (42) from London were conditionally discharged for 18 months and ordered to pay £553 each costs and compensation. The three had created a gateway in the outer fence of AWE Aldermaston and attached a sign say Open for Disarmament: All Welcome. In their evidence the protestors described the massive development currently being undertaken at AWE Aldermaston and argued that the developments were in contravention of both the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Ekklesia 22nd June 2011 more >>
Two developments are inching the world towards a nuclear tipping point. The first is the Iranian nuclear programme. Were Iran to reach nuclear status, it would spark a nuclear arms race throughout the Middle East. The second is terrorists efforts to acquire fissile material. Proliferation to non-state actors is now as much of a threat as the spread of nuclear weapons among states. This is particularly worrying because the logic of mutually assured destruction that kept fingers off nuclear but tons during the cold war does not apply to terrorist groups. To head off such threats, nuclear- armed states need to start shedding weapons. Until now, the drive to cut arsenals has centred on the US and Russia. That is understandable, since these two powers own 95 per cent of the worlds nuclear weaponry. But this narrow focus is also a reason that broader disarmament has been conspicuous by its absence. As argued by Global Zero, an anti-nuclear group hosting a conference on disarmament in London this week, what is needed is a more aggressively multilateral approach.
FT 23rd June 2011 more >>
Farmers in the Scottish Borders have been given the opportunity to receive up to 40,000 kilowatt/hours of free electricity every year under a ground-breaking deal between Borders Machinery Ring and ISIS solar. The added attraction of this agreement is that the farmers involved will have no capital outlay in the scheme. Michael Bayne, manager of BMR which has 850 members, said that all the farmers had to do was provide a suitable site. This, he said, could be on the roof of a building or even just along the side of a hedge.
Scotsman 23rd June 2011 more >>