28 April 2011

Nuclear Subsidy

Letter Yousaf Mahmood Butt, Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics: You advocate reviving nuclear power in the radioactive shadow of the Fukushima disaster in Japan. I would, perhaps, support your viewpoint if the nuclear industry could revive itself without massive government subsidies. In the US – the biggest user of nuclear power – the industry receives huge ongoing insurance bail-outs under the 1957 Price-Anderson Act. This outdated legislation limits the liability of the nuclear industry in the event of a major nuclear accident and artificially cheapens the price it pays for insurance. As a result, nuclear-derived power itself is artificially cheap, one reason that it continues to displace renewables in the not-so-free-market. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reports that many nuclear suppliers have said that “without Price-Anderson coverage, they would not participate in the nuclear industry”. If an industry that has benefited from massive government research and development and other subsidies for more than five decades, and which creates staggering unresolved waste disposal problems, raises proliferation issues, and poses serious risks to human health, cannot survive without government support then, perhaps, it ought not to survive.

FT 28th April 2011 more >>

Nuclear Safety

Letter: Gordon Murray uses the report of the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate to imply that nuclear installations are not safe. But some of the figures he quotes do not agree with those of other experts in the field and are therefore misleading. In fact, the 500 or so nuclear stations around the world have an outstanding safety record. The International Energy Agency gives the number of deaths per 10 billion kWh generated as 0.2 for nuclear compared with 0.3 for gas (its nearest neighbour) and a huge 2.8 for coal – and this is after taking into account Chernobyl.

Herald 28th April 2011 more >>

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday he plans to convene a summit meeting in September to discuss nuclear safety following the crisis at Japan’s earthquake-damaged Fukushima plant. Ban told reporters after briefing the U.N. Security Council that he had used the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear accident at the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine to call for improvements in nuclear safety worldwide.

STV 26th April 2011 more >>

Supply Chain

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills has given the go-ahead to the Manufacturing Advisory Service North West (MAS-NW) to continue to co-ordinate the national MAS civil nuclear supply chain activity through until 31st December, under the current MAS contract terms.

Process & Control Technology 27th Apriol 2011 more >>

Oldbury

A warning has been issued to Oldbury power station after oil used for cooling leaked into the River Severn. Managers at the plant near Bristol said the leak on 6 and 7 February had “no measurable environmental impact”. But the Environment Agency said the discharge contravened regulations by “causing polluting matter to enter the Severn estuary”.

BBC 27th April 2011 more >>

OLDBURY Power Station looks set to keep powering the nation until December 2012. Operators at the 42-year-old nuclear plant are hoping to extend its life for a further 18 months. Phil Sprague, site director, said his team was currently working on a safety case to extend its life span until the end of next year. Both reactors one and two at the site were due to shut down on June 30 this year. However, Magnox, which runs Oldbury, hopes to transfer all remaining fuel that is available into reactor one and continue producing electric.

Gloucestershire Gazette 27th April 2011 more >>

Hinkley

EDF Energy says most people surveyed in a new poll think its £100million investment as part of its plans for Hinkley Point C will have a positive impact on the area. According to the survey, 75% believe the cash will have an impact with 53% saying it will have a big impact. The same survey suggests nearly two-thirds consider EDF’s investment offer to be about right and 17% say it is not enough.

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly 27th April 2011 more >>

Protest

Nuclear white elephant blown up outside Parliament.

Stop Nuclear Power 27th April 2011 more >>

Twitpic 27th April 2011 more >>

A SOUTH Lakeland-based campaign group is challenging the Bishop of Carlisle to abandon his support for nuclear power. Radiation Free Lakeland (RFL) will make its demand today as members lay three crosses outside Carlisle Cathedral to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. They will also deliver a letter to Bishop James Newcome urging him to reconsider his position on new-build nuclear power.

Westmorland Gazette 26th April 2011 more >>

CAMPAIGNERS walked through Bridgwater last night to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Anti-nuclear group Stop Hinkley along with the Sedgemoor and West Somerset Green Party and the Bridgwater Peace Group organised the commemorative walk from the bandstand in Blake Gardens at 7.30pm to the Blake statue in Cornhill.

Bridgwater Mercury 27th April 2011 more >>

London CND and Medact staged a vigil and parliamentary meeting at Portcullis House in Westminster to mark the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl, the world’s worst ever civil nuclear disaster.

London Indymedia 27th April 2011 more >>

Scotland

SNP plans to generate 100 per cent of Scotland’s power from renewable sources by 2020 have been endorsed by seven leading industry figures. The proposals have been dismissed as “cuckoo” by business leaders, while Labour leader insisted this week that no serious engineer or scientist thought the plans were credible. But, in an open letter, seven executives say that it is vital that Scotland builds on its current low-carbon industry in order to attract investment in the sector. Meanwhile, Ignacio Galn, chairman and chief executive of ScottishPower Renewables’ parent company, Iberdrola, has described the renewables goal as “entirely credible”. The endorsement have been welcomed by First Minister Alex Salmond, who was campaigning at Nigg Yard in Easter Ross yesterday. “Our goal of generating 100 per cent of Scotland’s own electricity demand from renewable sources by 2020 is ambitious but achievable,” Mr Salmond said.

Scotsman 27th April 2011 more >>

Letter: NO developed economy can function without a reliable and economic supply of electricity but with present UK policies we have been warned that within a few years there will be a risk of power failures while increases in prices to consumers will rise by more than 50 per cent by 2025. On a standalone basis the situation in Scotland would be even more disastrous. The huge investment required to remedy the neglect and wishful thinking of recent years will require two decades or more to take effect and in the run up to the May elections we urge all political parties in Scotland to put the future of our electricity supplies at the top of their agendas. The pretence that our electricity can in future be supplied from renewables, mainly wind and marine, has gone on too long. These matters are not a question of opinion; they are answerable to the laws of physics and are readily analysed using normal engineering methods. All of these energy sources are of very low concentrations and intermittent; they are and will remain inherently expensive and no amount of development will have more than a marginal effect on this conclusion.

Scotsman 27th April 2011 more >>

Japan

Gundersen Postulates Unit 3 Explosion May Have Been Prompt Criticality in Fuel Pool,

Vimeo 26th April 2011 more >>

Tokyo Electric Power Co said Wednesday that one of its female employees was exposed to radiation doses far above the legal limit at the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant—the latest revelation of lax radiation management by the plant operator since the crisis erupted last month.As a key step to bringing an end to the ongoing crisis, the utility said, meanwhile, it will seek to start in June decontamination of highly radioactive water accumulating in the plant’s premises, which has prevented restoration work as a side effect of the emergency water injection into troubled reactors from outside in place of their lost cooling functions. TEPCO also started to increase the amount of water injected into the damaged No. 1 reactor core in preparation to flood the reactor’s primary containment vessel to cool the fuel inside in a stable manner. In the latest sign of tough working conditions at the radiation-leaking plant, the firm said it found earlier in the day that one of its 19 female employees working at the plant when the March 11 quake and tsunami crippled it had been exposed to 17.55 millisieverts of radiation by March 23, against the legal limit of 5 millisieverts over a three-month period.The woman, who is in her 50s, has no health problems, but two more female workers may also have been exposed to radiation in excess of the limit before all the female employees left the plant on March 23, the utility and the government’s nuclear safety agency said.

Japan Today 28th April 2011 more >>

Design techniques were used to create the rover currently examining the inside of Japan’s nuclear reactors, in areas not yet deemed safe for human crews, which before were honed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., for Mars rovers.

IB Times 27th April 2011 more >>

Japanese engineers are struggling to gain control of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, which was seriously damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Two of the six reactors at the plant, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), are considered stable but the other four are volatile. Following are some questions and answers about efforts to end the world’s worst nuclear crisis since the 1986 Chernobyl accident.

Reuters 27th April 2011 more >>

Japan, stung by international criticism of its handling of a nuclear crisis, will likely include foreign experts in a review of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, an aide to the prime minister said on Wednesday. Prime Minister Naoto Kan has promised an eventual review of the crisis, in which cooling functions at the nuclear power plant in northeast Japan were knocked out by a 15 meter (49 foot) tsunami on March 11, leading to leaks of radiation into the air and sea.

STV 27th April 2011 more >>

US

A team with radiation monitoring equipment highlight the threat to millions of people from New York’s Indian Point nuclear plant. 17 million people live within 50 miles of Indian Point, an old nuclear plant in an active seismic zone just north of New York City. If an accident or terrorist attack led to a catastrophic release of radiation, evacuation would be impossible. Nationwide, 1 in 3 Americans live within 50 miles of a nuclear plant. Greenpeace is calling for the shut-down of the Indian Point nuclear plant, and the replacement of dangerous nuclear power with safe solutions like renewable energy and energy efficiency.

You Tube 25th April 2011 more >>

Blaming uncertainties arising from the nuclear crisis in Japan, NRG Energy says it will write down its $481 million investment in two planned new nuclear reactors in South Texas.

Climate Progress 26th April 2011 more >>

Germany

Germany must speed up its transition to renewable energy in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident, writes Norbert Röttgen, the German environment minister, in an opinion piece. He says Germany can lead the way with a successful shift into green power that will boost its economy.

Der Spiegel 27th April 2011 more >>

India

India is planning an overhaul of its insular nuclear establishment as it gears up for a big expansion of its nuclear energy capacity in the aftermath of the disaster at Japans Fukushima reactor. The Congress-led government said it planned to introduce legislation in the coming session of parliament that will create an independent and autonomous nuclear power regulator, the Nuclear Regulatory Authority of India, to oversee the expanding nuclear energy industry. The decision comes as the administration of Manmohan Singh, prime minister, affirmed its determination to go ahead with plans for Frances Areva to build two 1,650MW European pressurised water reactors, for $9.6bn, on Indias west coast, in spite of fierce local resistance.

FT 28th April 2011 more >>

Thailand

BANGKOKThailand will delay the commercial startup of five planned nuclear-power plants by three years because of safety concerns following the nuclear crisis in Japan. Energy Minister Wannarat Charnnukul said Thailand will instead build three 800-megawatt combined-cycle power plants to offset the deferral of the nuclear plants under the country’s long-term energy development plan. Thailand had planned to start commercial operations of the first nuclear-power plant in 2020.

Wall Street Journal 28th April 2011 more >>

Low Carbon Investment

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) published a report yesterday expressing its concern that the UK’s transition to a low-carbon economy needs boosting, echoing that of the British Chambers of Commerce last week. The CBI commissioned Accenture to interview businesses about planning and investment. They concluded that the money is there to invest, but investment is not sufficient because: pensions funds, who have the money, invest indirectly through utility companies; banks are unwilling to lend money for the 6-7 years required; and low-carbon technology is seen as a risky investment, partly due to unpredictable policy-making. The government’s current consultation on reducing feed-in subsidies for larger solar projects, currently being challenged in the courts by a consortium of solar power companies, is given as an example of the perception of policy being unstable.

Bircham Dyson Bell 27th April 2011 more >>

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Published: 28 April 2011
Last updated: 17 October 2012