A parliamentary committee report, published this week, is expected to criticise the consortium running Sellafield, Europe’s largest nuclear site. The public accounts committee’s Progress at Sellafield report blasts the consortium’s management for not disclosing the existence of an audit that tracked their failure to meet performance targets, and highlights lax financial controls that let employees bill the taxpayer for hundreds of thousands of pounds in expenses, including £714 on a chauffeur-driven trip for an executive and his family. Upon reading the KPMG report, Hodge said one of its conclusions was that “taxpayers lost money while your shareholders have, no doubt, made a good buck out of this, and it is not very satisfactory”.
Observer 9th Feb 2014 read more »
A short film about the STAND (Severnside Together Against Nuclear Development) roadshow when they came to Stroud. This film is a glimpse of that evening with particular interest in the alternatives to building three new reactors at Oldury (16 miles from Stroud). STAND wrote: “STAND are specifically campaigning against the proposed nuke at Oldbury. Wrong place, wrong technology etc., there is every chance that it can be seen off, but, of course, we have to keep the door firmly shut. The STAND roadshow on 1st February has 5 speakers each speaking for 10 on health, flooding, latest developments regarding Horizon, alternatives etc and then some music. Plus stalls and more information on Fukushima Day on March 11th.”
Stroud Community TV 8th Feb 2014 read more »
A Ministry of Defence (MoD) plan to start dismantling seven defunct nuclear submarines at Rosyth in Fife has led to fears that hundreds of tonnes of radioactive waste will end up being dumped in Scotland. Babcock, the British multinational engineering group than runs Rosyth Dockyard for the MoD, is to strip down the old reactor-driven submarines that have been berthed near the Firth of Forth since the 1990s. But agreement on where more than 500 tonnes of the most radioactive waste will be stored is years away, prompting accusations that the company has “jumped the gun”. The MoD has been trying to decide for more than a decade what to do with the seven sub marines tied up at Rosyth, as well as others at Devonport on the south coast of England. Its latest plan is to dismantle them at the two dockyards, and then move waste to stores elsewhere. But the MoD has yet to announce the shortlist of potential sites for the most radioactive waste. Due later this month, the list will comprise of five sites, expected to include the nuclear complexes at Sellafield in Cumbria, Aldermaston in Berkshire and possibly Hunterston in North Ayrshire. Despite this, Babcock has launched its bid to start dismantling the submarines by submitting an environmental impact assessment to the UK Government’s Office for Nuclear Regulation. It reveals that the reactor compartment of each submarine will produce 520 tonnes of radioactive waste, making a total of 3640 tonnes for all seven boats. More than 500 tonnes of this total is likely to be defined as “intermediate level” waste, which at the moment has nowhere to go. The rest will be dis posed of as low-level waste to a dump at Drigg in Cumbria, or recycled because its contamination is deemed to fall below the regulatory threshold. This has led independent nuclear consultant John Large to warn that the intermediate waste may never leave Rosyth. “In my opinion the radioactive waste arisings are likely to stay at the site of generation … that is Rosyth,” he told the Sunday Herald.
Herald 9th Feb 2014 read more »
A management plan for a polluted Fife bay in Gordon Brown’s constituency should be in place by the summer. A timetable for dealing with Dalgety Bay had now been agreed between the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the Ministry of Defence. Former prime minister Mr Brown has been calling for a clean-up at the bay after radiation was detected. It is thought to have been caused by the MoD breaking up of hundreds of planes after World War Two. Mr Brown has raised the issue more than any other in his rare Commons appearances since leaving office, with a series of adjournment debates and written questions to ministers. In the latest written answer, Defence Minister Andrew Murrison, said: “I will write to you shortly with the detail of the timelines for the further scientific risk assessment and other work necessary to identify an appropriate long-term solution at Dalgety Bay. “This timetable has been agreed between Sepa and the MoD and should result in identification of the preferred management option for the site by summer 2014.
BBC 7th Feb 2014 read more »
Connie Hedegaard: The European commission outlined its proposals for climate and energy policies up to 2030 recently. These include a binding emissions reduction target of 40% from 1990 levels and an EU-wide binding target of at least 27% of energy coming from renewable sources. And on energy efficiency, the energy commissioner will first review the current legislation before proposing the next steps. But they will come. Overall, these proposals seemed to have had a timid reception here in Europe compared to the more positive comments coming from international leaders. But these give us reasons to believe that the real ambition of our proposals and what they mean to the fight against climate change have been recognised.
Guardian 7th Feb 2014 read more »
Hundreds of technicians and engineers are camped out in Tokyo hotels trying to revive Japan’s nuclear industry, shut down in the wake of the Fukushima disaster almost three years ago. It’s proving a hard slog. A new, more independent regulator is in place, asking difficult questions and seeking to impose tougher safety rules on powerful utilities that were largely their own masters for the past 50 years. The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) was created in 2012 and set new safety guidelines in July last year. It now has four teams vetting reactors at nine nuclear power stations on a list of those seeking to re-start. A deadline to complete the checks has been missed as the NRA is still asking for reams of information. No one is able to predict when the first of 48 reactors will be turned back on. The delays are biting the utilities which are having to spend billions of dollars to import fossil fuels to keep the power on, pushing Japan into a record trade deficit and risking undermining Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s polices to end years of stagnant growth.
Reuters 9th Feb 2014 read more »
Voters in Tokyo went to the polls Sunday to elect a new governor in a race that was being closely watched as a popular verdict on the use of nuclear power. Voting was under way with no major hitches despite being held a day after the heaviest snowfall in 45 years. Observers say it may affect voter turnout in the city of 13 million people.
AFP 9th Feb 2014 read more »
A series of signs that President Hassan Rouhani, who came into office last August, is using the political momentum from a thaw with the West over its nuclear programme to roll back the Guard’s economic influence.
Reuters 9th Feb 2014 read more »
NUCLEAR convoys travelling through the west of Scotland prompted renewed calls for Trident to be abolished.It is understood a vehicle convoy – thought to be carrying nuclear weapons – travelled from the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Berkshire to Coulport on Loch Long by public road, including the M74 at Glasgow on the morning of Wednesday, January 29, Afterwards, Glasgow Anniesland MSP Bill Kidd lodged a motion at the Scottish Parliament condemning the ‘dangerous practice’ of nuclear convoys.
Helensburgh Advertiser 8th Feb 2014 read more »
Renewables – Caribbean
Last week Branson hosted a summit of financiers, politicians, energy companies, lawyers and others on Moskito and Necker to work up a plan to “green” the Caribbean, island by island. Five prime ministers and 12 governments, as well as international bankers and investors, heard renewable energy experts explain how the region’s islands, which currently generate nearly all their electricity from diesel, could save hundreds of millions of dollars a year and reduce emissions by 50% or more.
Observer 8th Feb 2014 read more »
From solar panels on school roofs to wind turbines on farms and hydropower plants on weirs, local communities around Britain are increasingly generating energy from renewable sources. About 5,000 community energy groups have been set up and the Government and environmental campaign groups are pushing renewable energy projects hard to reduce carbon emissions, increase energy security and to bring down prices. With generous subsidies available for selling excess energy into the grid, some groups are coining it in – to the benefit of themselves and those around them.
Independent 9th Feb 2014 read more »
THE financier Edi Truell has lined up international investors to back a 1,000-mile cable under the Atlantic to import electricity from Iceland. Truell, who was appointed late in 2012 to run London’s £4.2bn local authority pension scheme, has set up a company called Atlantic Supergrid to bring the project to fruition. Charles Hendry, the Conservative MP and former energy minister who signed a memorandum of understanding on the project with Iceland two years ago, recently joined the board. The idea of plugging Britain into Iceland, which has a surplus of hydroelectric and geothermal generation, has been around for decades. In the next fortnight the Icelandic parliament is poised to give the go-ahead to start preparations in earnest. Truell believes his scheme would cost households less, on a megawatt hour basis, than the government’s deal to bankroll the first new atomic power plant in 20 years, at Hinkley Point in Somerset. Last month the European Commission issued a 70-page critique of the deal, saying it was “hard to argue” that it did not violate state aid rules.
Times 9th Feb 2014 read more »
Climate change is likely to be a factor in the extreme weather that has hit much of the UK in recent months, the Met Office’s chief scientist has said. Dame Julia Slingo said the variable UK climate meant there was “no definitive answer” to what caused the storms. “But all the evidence suggests there is a link to climate change,” she added. “There is no evidence to counter the basic premise that a warmer world will lead to more intense daily and hourly rain events.”
BBC 9th Feb 2014 read more »