Fears that Britain could be plunged into an energy crisis by 2015 will result in the green light being given by Christmas for a new generation of nuclear power stations, senior Whitehall sources are indicating. With more than a fifth of the UK’s electricity generating capacity due to be closed down in the next eight years, ministers are planning to fast-track Labour’s energy strategy with the publication of two white papers this month. Sources said that the government would mount a full public consultation process over the coming months, after which a final decision will be taken. But ministers have been persuaded of the need to act quickly. “We are concerned that unless we act soon, the lights could go out in 2015 in the event of a really hot or really cold spell”, said one Whitehall insider. One of the white papers will argue that Britain needs a balanced energy portfolio, including nuclear, to meet its needs over the coming decade. The other is designed to speed up the planning system, allowing new power stations to be given the go-ahead within two to three years.
Guardian 2nd May 2007
Greenpeace International report released 2nd May on the economics of nuclear power by Anthony Froggatt, Steve Thomas from Greenwich University, Peter Bradford (a former US nuclear regulator) and David Milborrow (a renewable energy expert).
Greenpeace UK 2nd May 2007
Nuclear solution doesn’t add up.
Greenpeace UK article 2nd May 2007
The Economics of Nuclear Power, commissioned by Greenpeace concludes that atomic power has been historically linked with high subsidies, complex technology and safety concerns, leaving it a “dangerous distraction” to finding better ways of tackling global warming. Steve Thomas, professor of energy policy at Greenwich University and an author of the report, said: “The nuclear industry has always made unfulfilled promises; history reveals a damning testament to its failure. Pursuing a new programme of nuclear reactors would deny us the opportunity to make the necessary investment in renewable technologies and energy efficiency to meet future energy needs in a viable and sustainable way.”
Guardian 3rd May 2007
Scotsman 3rd May 2007
Construction News 2nd May 2007
ITN News 2nd May 2007
British Energy is to invest £4.5m to meet safety standards at the Hunterston nuclear power station in Ayrshire, raising hopes that its life will be prolonged when the company reviews the issue next April. The utility yesterday published the findings of the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate’s (NII) Periodic Safety Review (PSR) ahead of the scheduled reopening later this month of the two reactors at Hunterston B, along with two at Hinkley Point B in Somerset. All four reactors have been shut since last autumn because of boiler tube safety concerns. “NII has concluded that the issues arising from its PSR assessment are not immediate concerns for nuclear safety,” the inspectorate says in a letter to the company, “and that it is appropriate that normal station operation should continue whilst a remedial programme of work is progressed”. It goes on to warn, however, that health and safety improvements “cannot be deferred for reasons of affordability, so safety-related work does need to be resourced adequately, notwithstanding its effect on company finances”. While commending much of the safety monitoring work done internally by British Energy, the inspectorate says the company’s submission to the review had “a number of significant shortfalls both in the quality and scope of information that is required by the UK regulatory system”. It mentions that “a specific fire scenario (details withheld) should be investigated with due urgency”. The NII says that, if satisfactorily completed, no further safety review should be needed before January 2017. British Energy said: “The company continues its work on assessing the accounting lives of Hunterston B and Hinkley Point B and expects to make a decision by March 2008 on economic and technical grounds as to whether the stations can be extended beyond their existing accounting lives of 2011.”
Herald 2nd May 2007
Hossein Mousavian, a former security official who played a leading role in Iran’s negotiations with the European Union over its nuclear programme, has been arrested. Mohammad Atrianfar, a prominent journalist close to Mr Mousavian, confirmed he had been taken into custody on Monday from his Tehran home. The semi-official Fars news agency, affiliated to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, yesterday quoted an official as saying Mr Mousavian was charged with espionage for “communicating with foreign agents and exchanging information with them” on the nuclear programme. The official rejected any early release for Mr Mousavian.
FT 3rd May 2007
Guardian website 2nd May 2007
CNN 2nd May 2007
BBC 2nd May 2007
Japan and Egypt have agreed to work together to help end the crisis over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, calling for a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction.
Interactive Investor 2nd May 2007
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed today that Iran would not yield “an inch” on its nuclear programme despite the reopening of talks with the European Union to find a solution to the standoff.
Interactive Investor 2nd May 2007
Iran boasted that it had made further progress in its controversial nuclear enrichment programme. A senior official told an Iranian newspaper that the country was capable of “mass production” of centrifuges used for enriching uranium.
ITV News 2nd May 2007
An unusual tactic is being used in the Scottish election campaign: four parties are pushing an issue over which the partially-devolved parliament in Edinburgh has no control: nuclear weapons.
Peninsula News 2nd May 2007
A meeting of 130 nations on how to shore up the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was suspended on Wednesday for 24 hours so diplomats could try and overcome a stand-off triggered by Iran’s objections to the agenda.
Reuters 3rd May 2007
Russian president Vladimir Putin has reportedly initiated the creation of AtomEnergoProm, also known as the Nuclear Power Industry Complex, which will act as a holding company for Russia’s civil nuclear industry, according to World Nuclear News.
Energy Business Review 2nd May 2007
Letter from David Lowry: Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (News, May 2 – see below) wrote of the French public that “the great majority backs the state’s strategic gamble on nuclear energy – all the more so as alarm grows over global warming”. According to the latest Gallup poll for the EC, 28 per cent of the French think that the share of nuclear power should be increased – that’s even less than the European Union average – while 59 per cent are against. Where’s that great majority? In fact, it has never existed outside the technocrats in Government and the supine Assemblée Nationale, France’s parliament.
Telegraph 3rd May 2007
Ségolène Royal has variously proposed the creation of a vast French energy combine under state control, the renationalisation of Électricité de France (EdF), an assault on nuclear power, and a windfall profits tax on the oil group Total. Whether she actually means to carry out any of these schemes if elected president on Sunday is a question that keeps most of France’s energy bosses awake at night.
Telegraph 2nd May 2007
As the US hands over the $600 million a year it has promised Pakistan, it might ask itself this: was this really not enough to buy a single interview with A. Q. Khan? According to the account which President Musharraf has doggedly peddled, the country’s most famous nuclear scientist not only equipped his own country with its first nuclear weapons, but then – acting alone, Musharraf insists – sold to North Korea, Libya and possibly Iran the starter kits that helped them to win nuclear self-sufficiency. This solitary villain and his “nuclear supermarket” would have been incredible even in a James Bond film. As an account of the spawning of the most serious nuclear threats the world now faces it has always been implausible.
Times 3rd May 2007
Meetings meant to jump-start a US-Indian civilian nuclear co-operation plan ended with the United States saying a final agreement could be settled this month.
Channel 4 News 2nd May 2007
More than 100 scientists, academics and industry leaders attended the opening of a world-class nuclear energy research centre at the University of Bristol yesterday.The Systems Performance Centre (SPC), which has an annual budget of several hundred thousand pounds and 40 researchers, is a research alliance between the university and nuclear power station owner British Energy.
Western Daily Press 3rd May 2007