As ministers prepare to vote on financial backing for nuclear power, a poll reveals the Lib Dems could face increased anger from voters. The Lib Dems, also ready hit with a voter backlash after dropping their opposition to student fee increases, could face increased voter anger over new nuclear subsidies. MPs are due to vote later today (June 7) on subsidies for nuclear power, but an exclusive poll commissioned by Greenpeace shows Lib Dem MPs could face voter anger if they break their election promise and vote in support of tax payer hand outs for the nuclear industry. The vote, part of the Finance Bill debate, will if it goes the Conservatives way according to Greenpeace give a £1billion windfall to existing nuclear power operators.
Edie 7th June 2011 more >>
IB Times 7th June 2011 more >>
The president of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has warned the UK government not to follow Germany and shut down its entire nuclear industry. The UK has 19 reactors at nine locations producing an average of just less than 1.2GW per location. Prof David Phillips said if the UK was to replace its nuclear power stations with either offshore or onshore wind turbines, a huge number of turbines would have to be built.
The Engineer 7th June 2011 more >>
NORTH-EAST energy chiefs have urged the Government to safeguard hundreds of jobs across the region by keeping faith with nuclear power, following the announcement that Germany is closing all of its plants. Hartlepool power station brings an estimated £30m into the local economy and employs 535 full-time staff, with about 150 contract workers and firms in the local supply chain also dependant on the site. The plant operator, EDF, is considering a new nuclear power station for Hartlepool that would create 3,000 temporary posts during the five-year building programme.
Northern Echo 7th June 2011 more >>
PLANS for a new nuclear power station on Anglesey will be shaped by studies into the impact of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, an AM said yesterday. North Wales AM Mark Isherwood said Horizon, the company behind proposals for Wylfa B, had started a new series of on-shore and off-shore studies to help them to understand the geology of the area. Tory AM Mr Isherwood who attended the Wylfa new build project liaison group said: Responding to the impact of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant, they emphasised that the geology on Anglesey and the technologies being considered for Wylfa differ significantly. Nevertheless they will look at the incident in detail to understand what happened and what lessons can be learned, said Mr Isherwood.
Daily Post 7th June 2011 more >>
HAZARDOUS waste group Augean has hailed Government approval of its plans to handle low-level nuclear waste as a significant milestone for the group. Despite fierce local opposition to its scheme to store radioactive material at its East Northants Resource Management Facility in Northamptonshire, the Wetherby-based companys appeal was last month upheld by Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Addressing the groups annual shareholder meeting yesterday, chairman Roger McDowell said: This is a significant milestone for Augean and we expect that the site will be able to start receiving low level waste from the fourth quarter of 2011 and into 2012.
Yorkshire Post 8th June 2011 more >>
Areva is currently in talks with several utilities to form an alliance as it plans to build a reprocessing plant in the US.
Energy Business Review 7th June 2011 more >>
One of the world’s largest suppliers of nuclear fuel, Areva, has said that a facility to recycle nuclear waste could be ready in the U.S. by 2025. Speaking to journalists at a press breakfast in Washington, Jacques Besnainou, chief executive officer of the firm, reportedly said: “We’re hoping that we can start planning for such a facility by 2015.” While the company, headquartered in Paris, already recycles nuclear waste across Europe, there has been ongoing controversy over the proposed site in the U.S. Plans to revive an abandoned facility at the Yucca Mountain in Nevada had funding withdrawn in 2009 by President Barak Obama, who instead commissioned the 15 member Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future to conduct a review of policies in the country and recommend a new plan. At the end of May the committee released its draft report, which said “decades of failed policies, missed deadlines and a climate of distrust have seriously eroded confidence in the nation’s ability to manage these materials responsibly”. The report outlined reasons for establishing consolidated interim storage on a regional and national basis, which it said could “reduce the cost and security burdens associated with storing nuclear fuel with high-level wastes at numerous dispersed sites”. However, Besnainou reportedly said that the proposed recycling plant – which Bloomberg reported could cost $20 billion to $30 billion – would postpone debate over reviving the abandoned Yucca Mountain facility.
Waste Management World 7th June 2011 more >>
Molten nuclear fuel in three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant is likely to have burned through pressure vessels, not just the cores, Japan has said in a report in which it also acknowledges it was unprepared for an accident of the severity of Fukushima. It is the first time Japanese authorities have admitted the possibility that the fuel suffered “melt-through” a more serious scenario than a core meltdown. The report, which is to be submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said fuel rods in reactors No 1, 2 and 3 had probably not only melted, but also breached their inner containment vessels and accumulated in the outer steel containment vessels.
Guardian 8th June 2011 more >>
The amount of radiation released by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in the days after the 11 March tsunami could have been more than double that originally estimated by its operator, Japan’s nuclear safety agency has said. The revelation has raised fears that the situation at the plant, where fuel in three reactors suffered meltdown, was more serious than government officials have acknowledged. In another development that is expected to add to criticism of Japan’s handling of the crisis, the agency said molten nuclear fuel dropped to the bottom of the pressure vessel in the No 1 reactor within five hours of the accident, 10 hours earlier than previously thought. In a possible sign that the contamination is more widespread than previously thought, a university researcher said at the weekend a small amount of plutonium had been identified a mile from the front gate of the Fukushima plant. It is the first time plutonium thought to have originated from the complex has been detected in soil outside its grounds.
Guardian 7th June 2011 more >>
Telegraph 7th June 2011 more >>
Japan admitted Tuesday it was unprepared for a severe nuclear accident like the tsunami-caused Fukushima disaster and said damage to the reactors and radiation leakage were worse than it previously thought. In a report being submitted to the U.N. nuclear agency, the government also acknowledged reactor design inadequacies and a need for greater independence for the countrys nuclear regulators. The report said the nuclear fuel in three reactors likely melted through the inner containment vessels, not just the core, after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plants power and cooling systems. Fuel in the Unit 1 reactor started melting hours earlier than previously estimated.
Japan Today 8th June 2011 more >>
BBC 7th June 2011 more >>
Japan’s government said on Tuesday that it would create an independent nuclear power regulator in the wake of the crisis at the Fukushima atomic plant.
Reuters 7th June 2011 more >>
John Large has written a critical review of the IAEAs expert mission to Japan findings for Greenpeace France. Large concludes that the IAEA Preliminary Summary is disappointing, overly cautious and not at all informative. The truth is the Japanese nuclear regulatory system failed, and permitted an ill-prepared NPP to operate in an unsafe way.
Review of preliminary summary of the IAEA expert mission to Japan, Large Associates, 1st June 2011 more >>
THE Japanese government said yesterday that it will set up an independent nuclear regulatory agency, breaking the widely criticised ties between the Japanese utility industry and officials overseeing its safety. In a report that will be presented to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the government calls for overhauls in how Japan operates its nuclear plants. Japan has also been criticised for not disclosing key information about the plant and the amount of radiation that successive explosions produced. The report said that there is a possibility that melted fuel has penetrated the reactor pressure vessels in three units and dropped into the primary containment vessel, after the nuclear safety agency said its estimate of the radiation released so far during the crisis was double its earlier estimate.
City AM 8th June 2011 more >>
An independent panel of experts launched a probe Tuesday into the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant amid strong domestic and international criticism that the government and Tepco have bungled their response.
Japan Times 7th June 2011 more >>
Japan hasnt built a major industrial geothermal facility since the 1990s. But as the country looks beyond nuclear power after the Fukashima disaster, utilizing abundant geothermal resources is the perfect way to make up for a lagging supply of baseload electricity.
Climate Progress 7th June 2011 more >>
Government ministers and officials from nearly 30 nuclear energy producing countries called on Tuesday for safety tests on all reactors, after the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima plant sparked concern over standards. A majority of delegates at talks hosted under France’s G20 chairmanship supported stress tests that would determine how well nuclear plants could withstand major disasters, like the earthquake and tsunami that rocked Fukushima in March.
Reuters 7th June 2011 more >>
Irish Times 8th June 2011 more >>
Tony Lodge: In an uncharacteristic, politically motivated short term gesture, the Iron Lady of Germany and continental politics, Angela Merkel, has suddenly chosen to ignore the lesson of Germanys post-war success. Where western Europe once envied Germanys long term and strategic infrastructure planning, political horse-trading over the nuclear issue and her decision to dump atomic power sets a dangerous precedent for Europes largest economy. Chancellor Merkels decision to abandon support for civilian nuclear power and close all reactors by 2022 will damage her countrys future economic competitiveness as energy prices rise alongside an inability to meet strict emissions targets. This will also significantly weaken German energy security and affect future economic growth across Europe. If the UK misses this opportunity and allows delays and other factors to hold up progress, then the implications for UK consumers and industry will be huge. The Prime Minister must ensure his Energy Secretary makes the case and takes the lead.
Yorkshire Post 8th June 2011 more >>
Vattenfall, the Swedish utility, has demanded compensation from the German government for its decision to bring an early end to the countrys nuclear power programme. The Swedish state-controlled company is the second utility to publicly state its intention to challenge Berlin for a damages payment following a similar move by Eon, the German utility.
FT 7th June 2011 more >>
Germany’s four nuclear generators are considering their legal options a day after the government passed drafts laws to phase out nuclear power within a decade. Sweden’s-state-owned Vattenfall said it will be substantially financially affected by the government’s decision to retire eight reactors immediately and shut down the last reactor by 2022. We expect fair treatment and compensation for our financial losses owing to the German decision,” the company’s chief executive Oystein Loseth said. Vattenfall operates two reactors in Germany the 1,346MW Krummel and 771MW Brunsbuttel plant which have been off line for a prolonged period after a string of technical difficulties. The company has invested around 700mn ($1bn) to bring the plants back to service.
Argus Media 7th June 2011 more >>
Greenpeace activists chained themselves to rails and parked a lorry across tracks on Tuesday to delay a train carrying nuclear waste from a Dutch power station to a reprocessing plant in France. Laura Westendorp, a spokeswoman for the environmental group, said the protest ended after police cut free the activists and hauled away the truck. The protesters were attempting to halt a train taking waste from Borssele nuclear power station in the Dutch province of Zeeland through Belgium to La Hague in Normandy. “The train just got through,” Westendorp said. “Our activists have been arrested.”
Guardian 7th June 2011 more >>
AFP 7th June 2011 more >>
BBC 7th June 2011 more >>
It was late on Sunday afternoon when 16 Israeli fighter jets swept into Iraq to make a covert strike on a nuclear facility 18 miles outside of Baghdad. The Osirak reactor, which was being constructed by French workers, was destroyed in the hit and the Israeli planes flew home unharmed. It came after diplomatic efforts to prevail on France to stop supporting the project failed.
Jewish Chronicle 7th June 2011 more >>
A LABORATORY spillage sparked a nuclear alert at Devonport Dockyard’s Submarine Refit Complex yesterday. Staff arriving at the complex yesterday morning discovered that a sink in the Radiochemistry Laboratory had flooded and that drainage pumps had discharged potentially contaminated water into Number 5 Basin.
Plymouth Herald 7th June 2011 more >>
On Tuesday, June 21, Countdown To Zero, directed by Lucy Walker and produced by the Academy Award-winning producers of An Inconvenient Truth, Lawrence Bender and Participant Media, will be screened simultaneously across the country at 6.30pm, followed by a live interactive web chat. The movie is a fascinating and frightening exploration of the danger of nuclear weapons, exposing a variety of present day threats and featuring insights from a host of international experts and world leaders who advocate the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Countdown To Zero is a chilling wake-up call about the urgency of the nuclear threat. It tells the striking story of uncertainty, exposing the real possibility of nuclear disaster and revealing the truth behind an issue on which survival itself hangs.
Grimsby Telegraph 7th June 2011 more >>
More than 5,000 nuclear weapons are deployed around the world and nuclear powers continue investing in new weapon systems, making meaningful disarmament in the near future unlikely, a report published Tuesday said.
Middle East Online 7th June 2011 more >>
Nearly a million extra households face the prospect of being plunged into fuel poverty within months after one of Britains largest energy companies raised gas prices by almost a fifth and electricity prices by a quarter. Analysts said that the rise by Scottish Power, which is much higher and has come much sooner than expected, will make it easier for the other big suppliers to follow suit. Utility bills are now at an all-time high, averaging 1,162 per year for a household on a dual electricity and gas tariff. The increases are expected to add an extra 173. An extra 100,000 households will move into fuel poverty as a result of yesterdays move, according to the campaign group National Energy Action (NEA). Once the other big suppliers have also raised their prices as expected, 900,000 more households will become fuel-poor, wit h more than one in six falling into the category, which is defined according to the proportion of income spent on fuel.
Times 8th June 2011 more >>
Chris Huhne, said the latest price hike “underlies why the government is building an escape route from a high fossil fuel culture. “We need to get off the oil price hook and on to clean, green growth.”
Guardian 8th June 2011 more >>
Experts said that the rise had been driven by increased demand for gas from Japan after the nuclear crisis in March. However, they pointed out that wholesale prices were still lower than three years ago during the financial crisis.
Telegraph 8th June 2011 more >>