31 May 2015

Energy Supplies

Natural gas can only be a worthwhile bridge to a low carbon future if a series of tough conditions are met, according to a working paper from the influential New Climate Economy initiative. The paper says the climate benefits of gas, including shale gas, could in theory be significant. It suggests a 10% increase in global gas supplies could prevent 500 gigawatts (GW) of new coal capacity being added by 2035, avoiding 1.3 billion tonnes of annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. But it warns that any theoretical benefits could easily be wiped out without controls on methane leakage, limits on total energy use and targets to ensure low-carbon energy sources are not displaced.

Carbon Brief 29th June 2015 read more »

Wylfa

Campaigners are opposing plans to erect a new overhead power line to link the Wylfa Newydd nuclear plant with the main network.

Daily Post 29th May 2015 read more »

Scotland

THE Scottish Government faces “international disrepute” if it continues to miss its own tough targets for reducing carbon emissions, according to damning internal report. A secret civil servant review also claimed that hitting the annual climate change target will continue to elude Ministers and called for legislative changes to give the Government more “flexibility”. In 2009, MSPs passed groundbreaking legislation requiring Scotland to make big emissions reductions. The Government is committed to an 80% fall by 2050 and a 42% decrease by 2020, compared to 1990 levels. Fixed statutory annual targets were also set. A Climate Change Delivery Board was established by Ministers to oversee delivery of the targets and the legislation attracted plaudits across the world. However, the annual targets for 2010, 2011 and 2012 were all missed, fuelling criticism that Ministers are not doing enough to reduce the country’s carbon footprint. If the 2020 target is to be met, major cuts in pollution from farming, housing and transport will have to be achieved. The Sunday Herald can reveal that a Government audit into Ministerial climate change initiatives was completed in November. The review predicted that the failure to meet the annual targets was likely to be repeated: “While the longer term targets remain achievable, because of the high bar set in the primary legislation, it would appear that with the current trajectory, in the short term at least, Scotland will continue to miss its annual target.”

Herald 31st May 2015 read more »

Terror

India is concerned that extremist groups such as Islamic State may get their hands on nuclear arms from Pakistan, Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh said.

Bloomberg 30th May 2015 read more »

France

On Thursday, May 28th, 2015 at 14:15, the Tricastin nuclear plant in South France carried out an emergency stop (scram) on reactor No. 4 after abnormal overheating was detected by the control room. This emergency scram is the second in five months atthe same reactor. There is a strong presumption of iodine 131 release.

Co-ordination Anti-Nucleaire Sud-Est 29th May 2015 read more »

India

India is the latest in a string of markets to witness a solar energy boom. Solar power currently accounts for just over one percent of India’s total installed power capacity of 261 gigawatts (GW) and the government’s new target is to add a staggering 100 GW of solar capacity by 2022. Traditional markets for solar, like Europe, don’t offer the same growth prospects making India one of the next big stories for the global solar industry. It has already come a long way from just under 12 megawatts (MW) of installed solar capacity at the end of 2010, to 3,743 MW as of March 2015. This has largely been achieved through federal reverse auctions, with the first tranche of the next round eagerly awaited later this year; a significant 1000MW will be up for grabs. The latest industry analysis indicates that solar power will soon become the cheapest source of electricity in many regions of the world. The reduction of cost is enabling India to diversify away from reliance on large-scale hydro and unabated coal without saddling the economy with unsustainably high energy costs.

FT 30th May 2015 read more »

Japan – Reactor Restarts

Japan’s NRA has given the go ahead to restart two reactors at the Sendai nuclear plant. A recent court decision rejected the concerns of the public related to the safety of the plant. The needed local approvals are expected to permit the plant to restart even though public opinion is about two to one against restarts. The first reactor could restart as early as July. One volcano 64km from the nuclear plant erupted last October. Now one 160km south of the plant is actively erupting. Residents of that island are being evacuated. Even a distant volcano can cause serious problems for a nuclear plant. The ash released in an eruption can take out power lines and cause equipment such as diesel generators to fail. We also found other risks that are unaddressed with the Sendai plant related to any disaster response.

Simply Info 29th May 2015 read more »

China

China Power Investment Corporation and State Nuclear Power Technology Corp have officially announced their merger, as Beijing moves to consolidate its nuclear power sector, aiming eventually to export reactors. China Power producer currently controls about a tenth of China’s nuclear power market, while the State Nuclear was formed in 2007 to handle nuclear technology transferred from U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric Co. The new company, State Power Investment Corporation, is expected to own assets over 700 billion yuan ($112.94 billion) and to post revenue of over 200 billion yuan annually, state news agency Xinhua said on Saturday, citing Wang Binghua, the chairman and party secretary of State Power Investment Corporation.

Reuters 30th May 2015 read more »

North Korea

A precision digital weapon reportedly created by the US and Israel to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program had a fraternal twin that was designed to attack North Korea’s nuclear program as well, according to a new report. The second weapon was crafted at the same time Stuxnet was created and was designed to activate once it encountered Korean-language settings on machines with the right configuration, according to Reuters. But the operation ultimately failed because the attackers were unable to get the weapon onto machines that were running Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

Wired 29th May 2015 read more »

Iran

Top US and Iranian diplomats gathered in Geneva in an effort to bridge differences over how quickly to ease economic sanctions on Tehran, following April’s interim nuclear deal. Talks will cover how significantly the Iranians must open up military facilities to international inspection. Discussions between the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, and Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, were likely to extend into 31 May, a negotiating round that officials described as the most substantive since world powers and Iran clinched a framework pact in April. That agreement, however, left big questions unanswered, which weeks of subsequent technical discussions have done little to resolve.

Independent 30th May 2015 read more »

Guardian 30th May 2015 read more »

NPT

The five-yearly review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty ended without any agreed commitments, unbalanced as ever between the nuclear-armed states and the rest. Time to change the agenda. At the conclusion of the NPT review conference, 107 countries had endorsed the Humanitarian Pledge, which commits them to take action to “fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons”. It features a commitment to join other states, international organisations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and civil society in efforts to “stigmatise, prohibit and eliminate”nuclear weapons, based on their unacceptable humanitarian consequences. Though it refers to the need for new legal measures to support NPT obligations to develop effective measures on disarmament, its implications go beyond the treaty.

Open Democracy 30th May 2015 read more »

Nuclear Weapons

A SCOTS academic has uncovered previously secret government files which show how the BBC collaborated with Whitehall officials in the 1960s to block a controversial film about a nuclear attack on Britain. BBC drama documentary The War Game, directed by Peter Watkins, which shows shocking scenes of radiation sickness, firestorms and widespread panic following a nuclear attack on Britain, was infamously pulled from broadcast at the 11th hour in 1965. The corporation insisted it was its own decision to implement the ban as the footage was “too horrifying for the medium of broadcasting”. However the move has been mired in controversy ever since, as it was known the drama had been viewed by Whitehall officials in the weeks beforehand. Now fifty years on, John Cook, professor of media at Glasgow Caledonian University, has uncovered previously secret Cabinet Office files which show how civil servants influenced the banning of the film. His findings will be discussed as part of a BBC Radio 4 programme ‘The War Game Files’, which will be broadcast on Saturday 6th June at 8pm.

Herald 31st May 2015 read more »

Trident

The UK giving up nuclear weapons seems to be off the mainstream political agenda for now and some would argue that, while the nuclear club exists, we cannot quit unless we work collaboratively with other nuclear states. But we do deserve a serious debate about the renewal of Trident and whether this is the best use of our resources to keep ourselves safe. Despite repeated surveys showing majorities of British voters against renewing Trident, all three main parties exclude the examination of other options. Procuring a replacement for Trident’s nuclear missiles and submarines will cost estimated £18bn-£26bn in the period 2016 to 2033. Running costs over the envisaged lifespan of the system will add another £70bn-£90bn at current prices. That is £2.2bn-£3bn every year – about twice what we currently spend on the Foreign Office. The money saved by downsizing Trident could be redirected into ensuring the UK’s reputation was not based on the threat of nuclear weapons but on our special skills in promoting peace. We could commit ourselves to become the world’s leading specialist in conflict prevention and resolution. Teams of highly trained mediators could work quietly behind the scenes talking to “terrorists”, exploring opportunities for ceasefires and potential peace negotiations. Of course, this would involve working closely with other countries, as in many situations the UK could not act alone – but we could take a leadership role.

Independent 31st May 2015 read more »

Test Veterans

Campaigners for Britain’s nuclear test veterans hope to have funds to help with their care this year. The heroes, exposed to nuclear bombs in the 1950s and 1960s, will be able to apply to the £25million Aged Veterans’ Fund and raising awareness as they get older. The money was promised in the March budget, and campaigners met with Ministry of Defence officials this week to hear plans were still on track. Supporters met with MoD officials this week to hear the plans.

Mirror 30th May 2015 read more »

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Published: 31 May 2015