Nuclear safety authorities in four countries are preparing a joint statement cautioning against the use of piping elements fabricated by French pipemaker Fives Nordon in EPR nuclear power plants, Marie-Pierre Comets, a commissioner of French nuclear safety authority ASN. It would be the second such joint statement on an issue of safety of the “next-generation” EPR reactors, after a tripartite French-Finnish-British statement last November on the instrumentation and control system architecture proposed for the EPR in those three countries. Areva’s 1,600- to 1,700 MW-class EPR reactor is under construction at Olkiluoto-3 in Finland and Flamanville-3 in France, and the design is under regulatory review in the UK and the US. Comets, speaking at a French parliamentary group’s hearing on ASN’s activities in 2009, said the Nordon piping being installed at Olkiluoto-3 had shown quality problems and that the Finnish regulator STUK had alerted its counterparts in the other countries to the anomaly. She didn’t specify what piping was involved.
Platts 8th Apr 2010 more >>
NUCLEAR police got a great reaction as they went on the beat as part of a community initiative. Hartlepool Police and officers of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC), who protect the town’s nuclear power station, joined forces to further improve policing in the area. Three CNC officers spent a week working alongside Hartlepool officers to improve relations, increase their knowledge and share their experiences.
Hartlepool Mail 7th Apr 2010 more >>
Protecting Lancashire’s nuclear industry and pumping cash into the county’s rail network must be the top priorities of the next Government, a leading group of North West businesses have said. The North West Business Leadership Team (NWLBT) has vowed to lobby all parliamentary candidates across the region for commitments on the issues ahead of next month’s general election.
Lancashire Evening Post 8th Apr 2010 more >>
Sizewell B carried out a controlled manual shutdown last month when higher than normal moisture levels were detected in a containment building. It remains shut down but EDF Energy, which runs the facility, said they are pleased with the progress so far. The fault related to an electrical heater in the pressuriser for the reactor coolant circuit. The reactor will return to service once the repair has been completed and when the regulator – the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate – has been satisfied by the activities carried out. EDF has declined to give an exact date for when the power station will be back on line because of the commercially sensitive nature of the electricity market in which it operates.
East Anglian Daily Times 8th Apr 2010 more >>
SEVEN staff have been made redundant and a further five posts axed in Caithness by the new owners of the UKAEA’s commercial arm. A handful of other jobs are also being reviewed by Babcock International at its base in the business park at Forss. The losses have been mainly in the engineering support team of UKAEA Ltd, which Babcock took over in a £50 million deal in September. The jobs are among the 30 or so which have gone at Forss and its two sister sites at Harwell in Oxfordshire and Winfrith in Dorset.
John O Groat Journal 7th Apr 2010 more >>
The U.S. and Russian governments have reached a breakthrough in a long-stalled agreement to dispose of huge amounts of their plutonium from nuclear weapons. The new protocol amends an agreement signed by then-Vice President Al Gore and the Russian leadership in 2000 under which the two countries pledged to get rid of 34 tons of plutonium each. The material came from weapons that had been decommissioned. The 2000 agreement stalled over Moscow’s unhappiness with the process by which the material was to be turned into fuel for civilian power plants. In addition, the world’s leading industrialized countries never came up with the $2 billion they had promised Russia to convert the plutonium. Under the amended Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement, Russia will dispose of the plutonium in two fast-neutron reactors, said the officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the protocol is not yet public. The agreement will include conditions on safeguarding the material, officials said. Russia will pay most of the costs, but the U.S. government will chip in $400 million, officials said.
Washington Post 9th Apr 2010 more >>
Radiation and Health
A new study by the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on cancer risk for people living close to nuclear power plants is likely to begin this summer, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has announced.
World Nuclear News 8th Apr 2010 more >>
After repeated delays, the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review – just the third such effort since the end of the Cold War–is finished. This document has been by far the most anticipated of its kind. Judging by occasional reports, it has been extensively coordinated and worked over–the hallmarks of a high-priority policy document. The report is a genuine accomplishment, bringing the threats of proliferation and terrorism into the foreground of nuclear policy. Arriving shortly before the signing ceremony for START follow-on in Prague and the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, the posture review builds momentum toward the consequential 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference.
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 7th Apr 2010 more >>
Ireland must consider the nuclear power route – that’s according to Dr Bertrand Barr , scientific advisor to the French energy company, Areva Group, who was speaking at the announcement of the Engineers Ireland Annual Conference 2010. Barr says the depletion of oil and gas reserves, concerns about energy security and the environmental threat of greenhouse gases all point to how Ireland must consider nuclear power.
Silicon Republic 8th Apr 2010 more >>
Business World 8th Apr 2010 more >>
Nuclear Engineering International 8th Apr 2010 more >>
Israel’s prime minister has called off a trip to Washington next week to attend a conference on nuclear non-proliferation, deepening tensions with Barack Obama and threatening to overshadow an event the US president views as crucial to his global agenda.
Telegraph 9th Apr 2010 more >>
ITN 9th Apr 2010 more >>
BBC 9th Apr 2010 more >>
Independent 9th Apr 2010 more >>
France’s nuclear industry champions will today unveil agreements with Italian companies aimed at strengthening the French hand when Italy relaunches nuclear power from 2013. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s prime minister, will preside over an extension of Franco-Italian nuclear co-operation at their bilateral summit in Paris. They will also attempt to bury the hatchet on a feud over liberalisation of France’s rail sector.
FT 9th Apr 2010 more >>
Letter from Rae Street: it is technically Nato which holds the tactical nuclear weapons at bases in Europe, from Belgium to Turkey. Moreover it was the five states themselves, led by Germany, which made the move to have the weapons removed. Still, if the US is still lagging behind on that issue, the UK government lags even further behind. Where is the Trident strategic nuclear weapon system and its replacement in the election debates? Kate Hudson adds: Your editorial (7 April) correctly diagnoses the weaknesses of Obama’s timid shift in US nuclear policy, yet even such modest advances would be welcome if repeated in the UK. The main party leaders frequently talk of their belief in multilateral disarmament. But if we are to believe this is anything more than an attempt to avoid any meaningful action, they should take this opportunity to respond to and go beyond Obama’s pledge – promising never to use Trident against non-nuclear threats and to rule out the first use of nuclear weapons.
Guardian 9th Apr 2010 more >>
Dodgy new counting rules mean that the real reductions in deployed nuclear weapons could turn out to be far less than the 30% advertised. Indeed, they could add up to nothing at all. The treaty sets a new ceiling for deployed strategic warheads at 1550 on each side. That is indeed down about 30% from the ceilings established in the Moscow Treaty in 2002. But Article III, paragraph 2 of the new Start reveals a catch, explaining how the warheads will be counted.
Guardian blog 9th Apr 2010 more >>
The biggest nuclear disarmament pact in a generation was signed by presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev today, as they warned of sanctions for Iran.
Metro 8th Apr 2010 more >>
Guardian 9th Apr 2010 more >>
Daily Mail 9th Apr 2010 more >>
Morning Star 9th Apr 2010 more >>
Telegraph 9th Apr 2010 more >>
When it comes to recasting America’s own nuclear-weapons policy to deal more efficiently with the same threats, Mr Obama may have a battle ahead. In many ways, this week’s delayed nuclear posture review simply brings America’s official nuclear thinking into line with long-standing practice, including that of his more warlike predecessor, George Bush. With the demise of the old Soviet threat, nuclear weapons play a diminishing role in America’s defences. Like Mr Bush, Mr Obama plans instead to rely more on America’s array of powerful conventional weapons to deter future adversaries in a crisis.
Economist 8th Apr 2010 more >>
Nato Watch have produced a good briefing today which points out that “Mutual destruction is still assured but it’s a START”. You can read it here:
Nato Watch 8th Apr 2010 more >>