On behalf of Cumbria Trust, director Rod Donington-Smith sent a questionnaire asking for the views of the electoral candidates in Cumbria. Not all of them replied and we will not speculate on the reason for their lack of response, maybe you as a Trust member should ask them personally. However, if yours did and you would like to read what they said, please download the relevant document as a pdf to peruse at your leisure!
Cumbria Trust 3rd May 2015 read more »
The head of a team of federal investigators who spent a year reviewing the Feb. 14, 2014, radiation leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad said Thursday he’s not certain whether more than one drum of nuclear waste contributed to contamination of the underground repository. He also told an audience of about 40 in Los Alamos that he couldn’t offer any assurance that similar incidents won’t happen in the future.
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The final report about the leak, issued last week by the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Accident Investigation Board, spotlighted a series of blunders, lapses in oversight and shortcuts by entities ranging from waste handling subcontractors at Los Alamos National Laboratory to the top levels of the U.S. Department of Energy division responsible for safe handling and disposal of nuclear waste.
Sante Fe New Mexican 24th April 2015 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
A small quantity of radioactive water has leaked from a storage tank at Japan’s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Tokyo daily Asahi Shimbun reported Saturday. A worker at the facility, located in northeastern Japan, found a wet patch measuring 20 sq. centimeters (3 sq. inches) under a storage tank for radiation-contaminated water on Friday morning, Tokyo Electric Power Co. the plant’s operator, said. Seventy microsieverts per hour of beta-ray-emitting radioactivity, far exceeding the recommended maximum exposure of 0.11 microsieverts per hour, were detected on the surface where the water had leaked.
Fox News 2nd May 2015 read more »
Former Tory Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Portillo, has ridiculed plans to renew Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system.
Speaking to Andrew Neil on the BBC’s This Week on Thursday night, Mr Portillo said: “A former defence secretary and some Generals [this week] wrote a letter demanding the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons programme. You’re probably familiar with these men who are worried about their own virility and buy large sports cars, and this I think is a case in point. “I mean, Britain now has a minute army and a microscopic navy. And as these have become smaller so the status symbol of having nuclear weapons becomes more important, at least to some people. “Our independent nuclear deterrent is not independent and doesn’t constitute a deterrent against anybody that we regard as an enemy. It is a waste of money and it is a diversion of funds that might otherwise be spent on perfectly useful and useable weapons and troops. But some people have not caught up with this reality.”
Daily Wales 1st May 2015 read more »
JAMES HARVEY ROSS from Barrow said: “I quite understand those whose livelihoods depend on the building of the Trident submarines, rationalising the need for having it. I was a fitter on Dreadnought so I know. “But the pro -nuclear missile lobby display a flawed logic and a woeful lack of knowledge of the awesome and mutually devastating power of inter-continental nuclear missiles.
“It has been written that it is solely because of Trident nuclear missiles that we have had peace. Come on. What country has rattled its sabres and given the slightest indication of a desire to invade this country? And what country, and I assume the pro-Trident nuclear missile lobby means Russia, would have a reason to invade us? Did Germany possess nuclear weapons to stop Russia from invading it when the Berlin wall collapsed?
NW Evening Mail 1st May 2015 read more »
BRITAIN has just one nuclear-powered submarine on active patrol, after defects and routine repairs left the remainder of the fleet in port.
Express 3rd May 2015 read more »
The security of America’s nuclear arms is… less than perfect. And now, more critics are questioning the outdated policies that regulate them. It’s been almost 25 years since the Cold War ended, but America (and Russia) still keep thousands of nuclear warheads on “high alert,” meaning they can be launched within minutes if a missile launched by an enemy is detected using radar or satellite systems. It’s a policy that might not have attracted much attention, if it wasn’t for General James E. Cartwright and the anti-nuclear weapon organisation Global Zero.
Gizmodo 2nd May 2015 read more »
The mayor of Nagasaki made a strident call here for the creation of more nuclear-free zones that could constitute a “non-nuclear umbrella” of sorts. Tomihisa Taue made the proposal at a conference to review the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty here on May 1. He was joined by Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, who also spoke out against the inhumanity of nuclear weapons. Speeches by the two men came as their cities this August prepare to observe the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings that left more than 200,000 people dead.
Asahi Shimbun 2nd May 2015 read more »
Renewables – solar
Bright future: more solar panels were installed in Britan than any other European country in 2014Bright future: more solar panels were installed in Britain than any other European country in 2014. A RUSH to qualify for dwindling subsidies has rapidly transformed Britain into Europe’s fastest-growing solar market. In the three months to the end of March, developers installed nearly 2 gigawatts (GW) of solar panels, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). The flurry was spurred by a deadline for government subsidieson large projects which expired at midnight on March 31. The rush means Britain now has almost 8GW of installed capacity, according to BNEF. That is equal to twice the capability of Drax, the coal and biomass-fired plant that is the UK’s biggest power station. Comparing the industry’s capacity to traditional power sources is tricky, howev er, because solar’s typical “load factor”, a measure of productivity, is just 10%. Drax, which runs around the clock, has an 80% load factor. Solar is flourishing, with more panels installed in Britain than any other country in Europe in 2014, and the same expected this year, analysts said.
Sunday Times 3rd May 2015 read more »
ROY WITTER was sweating bullets. He and colleagues at Dragon Infrastructure Solutions had been toiling around the clock for days to finish a giant solar farm. At 7.30pm on March 31, just as daylight was fading, they finally connected the site to the national grid through a six-mile cable. “A few minutes later would have been a disaster,” said Witter. The reason for the urgency? A deadline for large solar farms – those bigger than 5 megawatt (MW) capacity, enough to power 1,000 homes – to qualify for 20-year government subsidies. New plants had to be connected and producing at least 20% of their capacity before midnight on March 31. Industry sources said some schemes were so close to the wire that they hauled in floodlight s to light up the panels in case the work finished after sunset. Witter said: “A lot of people celebrated that night, and then took a week off to make up for all the late nights.” The project was one of 10 that Dragon connected in March. There is another important advantage to the technology: it can be built quickly. EDF’s proposed nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point, Somerset, will cost an estimated £24bn, is six years behind schedule and could take another decade to finish. The solar industry threw up nearly 2GW of panels, equal to 60% of Hinkley’s proposed capacity, in under a year. The cost? Less than a tenth of Hinkley’s price tag. The big but, of course, is that solar doesn’t produce energy 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, unlike nuclear reactors. Far from it. Solar “load factors”, a measure of productivity, average about 10%. Nuclear and coal-fired power stations are as high as 90%. Even so, solar has carved out a niche that, not long ago, few thought possible. Richard Nourse of Greencoat Capital, a specialist renewables investment manager, said: “Given the uncertainties around new nuclear and carbon capture and storage, and the huge reduction in the cost of solar, it now seems inevitable that solar will join onshore wind as the principal low-cost enablers of low-carbon electricity. Clearly its time has come.”
Sunday Times 3rd May 2015 read more »
Renewables – offshore wind
A landmark Scottish Government fund intended to boost Scotland’s readiness for offshore energy between 2010 and 2015 remains 80 per cent unspent, in its final year the Sunday Herald has learned. The £70m National Renewables Infrastructure Fund (NRIF) was launched in November 2010 to secure Scotland’s position as a pioneer of offshore renewable energy, by helping develop port and near-port manufacturing locations for marine wind turbines and related industrial development. However apparent lack of industry demand has meant that so far only £14.4m, just over a fifth of the sum earmarked to help attract private sector investment, has been allocated to date. Lindsay Leask, senior policy manager at industry body Scottish Renewables said: “For a variety of different reasons progress of offshore renew ables projects in Scottish waters – which this fund was designed to support – has been slower than originally envisaged.
Sunday Herald 3rd May 2015 read more »
John Sauven: why is social change fundamental to tackling issues, such as climate change? Climate change is not about diplomacy or energy or capital or economics. Climate change, like many other important issues, is about power. A new energy system means new power relations. The resources required to rapidly move away from fossil fuels and prepare for the coming heavy weather could pull huge swathes of humanity out of poverty, providing services now sorely lacking, from clean water to electricity, and with a political model that is more democratic and less centralised than the models of the past. This is a vision of the future that goes beyond just surviving or enduring climate change, beyond ‘mitigating’ and ‘adapting’ to it, in the grim language of the United Nations. It is a vision in which we collectively use the crisis to leap somewhere better than where we are right now.
Guardian 1st May 2015 read more »