Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, is set to appoint Cambridge University Professor David MacKay as his chief scientific officer this week. The move will be a boon to the British energy sector: industry leaders from Royal Dutch Shell, EDF Energy and QinetiQ have all praised Professor MacKay’s hugely successful book, Sustainable Energy: Without the Hot Air. Companies looking to get involved in the Government’s nuclear roll-out programme will be particularly hopeful that his appointment will quash some of the political arguments against the plans. Although Professor MacKay has said he is not an apologist for the nuclear industry, the book, published in December, argues that there are “mythconceptions” about the renewable energy source. These include suggestions that nuclear power stations cannot be built quickly enough to help tackle climate change and that increased reactor waste would be a huge health problem.
Independent on Sunday 30th Aug 2009 more >>
The Government is set to give its backing to a £140million investment to start building some of the world’s largest steel presses. Sheffield Forgemasters International – embroiled in the ‘supergun’ affair of the early Nineties when there were allegations of arms sales to Iraq – wants to build a 15,000-ton press to make key components for the nuclear industry. At present there is only sufficient capacity in the world to build eight reactors a year.
Mail on Sunday 30th Aug 2009 more >>
The public prosecutor in Paris has decided not to press charges against Stephane Lhomme. He had been under investigation since 2006 for breach of national security in connection with publication of a classified document acknowledging weaknesses in the EPR reactor design’s ability to withstand the crash of a commercial jetliner. The organization for which Lhomme is spokesman, Sortir du Nucleaire, attributed the closing of the case to a petition in his favor signed by 30,000 people, several of them wellknown political figures, intellectuals, writers and artists, and sent to the prosecutor’s office this spring.
Ruscombe Green 28th Aug 2009 more >>
WORK on two powerful new nuclear reactors in China was delayed by wet weather, the French companies building them said on Thursday, as campaigners claimed the project was likely to fall through. A spokesman for French nuclear group Areva said that a ceremony to pour the first concrete in the site of the third-generation European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) had been postponed because of ‘two typhoons in the region’. The French anti-nuclear campaign movement Sortir du Nucleaire said however that Chinese authorities were now likely to cancel the projects. The group cited problems with other EPR reactors and accusations of corruption linked to the China project that have been made against the two French companies.
Straits Times 29th Aug 2009 more >>
A UN report on Iran’s nuclear program has been grasped by the country as a vindication of its goals. The semi-official Iranian news agency Fars has quoted nuclear officials as saying Iran will now resist US and Israeli pressure to give up its nuclear program. The International Atomic Energy Agency released a report Friday saying Iran has allowed its inspectors greater access to its main nuclear complex in the city of Natanz, but did not mention if the program included a military component.
Irish Sun 30th Aug 2009 more >>
Irish Times 29th Aug 2009 more >>
A German nuclear waste dump formerly run by Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen GmbH contains three times as much toxic plutonium as previously reported, the Environment Ministry said. A review of records at Helmholtz’s Munich headquarters shows 28 kilograms (61.7 pounds) of plutonium stored at the underground dump in Lower Saxony, rather than the 9 kilograms previously recorded, the ministry said today in a statement. A reporting error is the likely cause of the discrepancy, it said. The Federal Office for Radiation Protection took over operation of the Asse II dump in January after Helmholtz failed to inform regulators that water was leaking into the site. Unauthorized contaminated material was also found in the shaft, which was opened in 1967 to store low- and medium-radioactive waste from nuclear power plants.
Bloomberg 29th Aug 2009 more >>
A Pakistani judge ruled on Friday that nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan should be allowed freedom of movement more than five years after being put under house arrest for his role in a nuclear proliferation scandal.
FT 28th Aug 2009 more >>
India’s generation of children crippled by uranium waste: Observer investigation uncovers link between dramatic rise in birth defects in Punjab and pollution from coal-fired power stations.
Observer 30th Aug 2009 more >>
A HUGE crane poses the biggest risk of a nuclear disaster at the Faslane naval base on the Clyde, according to newly released safety assessments by the Ministry of Defence. Plutonium from up to 48 nuclear warheads could escape and cause widespread contamination and cancers if there was an accident while a Trident submarine was being moved by the crane – known as a shiplift’ – the reports say. But the MoD has been accused by experts and anti-nuclear campaigners of playing down the real dangers. The amounts and risks of the radioactivity that could be released have been underestimated, they say.
Sunday Herald 30th Aug 2009 more >>