Britain’s aim to expand its fleet of nuclear plants by 2025 will take place only if the taxpayer absorbs the burden of spiralling construction costs, allowing private companies to invest in the sector, a senior analyst said. Nuclear energy policy in Britain faces major setbacks following reports that the cost of replacing ageing reactors increased dramatically in the past year, making power produced from new plants not affordable without government help. A report from the Times newspaper on Monday said French nuclear developer EDF had raised the cost of building a nuclear power plant to 7 billion pounds from 4.5 billion pounds last year. “If the latest cost figures are true, new nuclear power plants in the UK are not commercially viable,” Citi analyst Peter Atherton told Reuters. Ministers will struggle to justify such inflated costs both politically and economically, he added. Factoring in the new 7 billion pound construction cost and a standard 15 percent return on investment, EDF would charge about 166 pounds per megawatt hour of electricity produced from its proposed atomic plants – requiring a government handout of 115 pounds per megawatt hour, he said.
Reuters 8th May 2012 more >>
The UK Environment Agency chairman has voiced support for shale gas extraction and government plans to expand nuclear power generation. Smith said that Britain needed nuclear power to combat climate change, although he doubted that the technology would play as great a role as the government wants it to. “Building nuclear power stations is a long and difficult process and that means that 40 per cent (of the power generation mix) is probably going to be difficult, but I would say that nuclear has to be part of the overall landscape,” he said.
Engineering & Technology 8th May 2012 more >>
Click Green 8th May 2012 more >>
Ecologist 8th May 2012 more >>
China is looking to step into the UKs increasingly beleaguered nuclear sector with the possible purchase of the Horizon joint venture between E.ON and RWE, according to media reports.
Energy Efficiency News 8th May 2012 more >>
Two Chinese consortia are considering investing in the UKs nuclear build programme, according to press reports. The Financial Times reports that both Chinas State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) and China Guangdong Nuclear Power (CGNP) are interested in partnering with Japanese firm Toshiba to buy the Horizon Nuclear Power project, which was put up for sale by its German owners in March.
Building 4th May 2012 more >>
A NEW nuclear power station at Hinkley Point could lead to increased traffic and hit tourism in the area, according to a report released by supporters of the plans. The Local Impact Report says the development’s economic benefits could leak out of the county and result in limited job opportunities for residents. The concerns were raised jointly by the Somerset County Council, Sedgemoor District Council and West Somerset Council, who say they support the plans in principle but feel more needs to be done to mitigate the negative effects.
This is the West Country 8th May 2012 more >>
Communities close to the proposed Hinkley C nuclear power station will make their representations to planning commissioners at four open floor hearings starting tomorrow. The first is in Cannington, which fought off developer EDF Energys initial plans for a construction workers accommodation campus but which still has serious concerns about the impact of the ten-year building programme. The one-day hearing will be at Bridgwater Colleges Cannington Campus. The Nuclear Free Local Authorities organisation and the Stop Hinkley campaign have submitted a joint detailed response to the application and warned that, if successful, Somerset will host a highly radioactive waste store following a fundamentally undemocratic planning process.
Western Daily Press 8th May 2012 more >>
Sellafield Ltd said May 8 it has now completed a complex engineering task that was a necessary precondition to moving forward with the decommissioning of the First Generation Magnox Storage Pond. The First Generation Magnox Storage Pond contains used nuclear fuel, sludge, intermediate level waste and pond water, each of which needs to be safely removed and processed through separate routes. The 1950s building was never designed with decommissioning in mind, Sellafield Ltd. said. Moreover, due to operational problems over the course of its history, magnox fuel was stored in the ponds for longer periods of time than planned, leading to fuel corrosion and higher radioactive contamination. Sellafield intends to progressively retrieve and treat the radiological inventory residing in the facility. However, first, Sellafield had to engineer the means to remotely isolate and remove redundant pipework in a high radiation area and clean and seal a contaminated pond wall. This is the work just completed, Sellafield said.
i-Nuclear 8th May 2012 more >>
Low Level Waste
Cumbria County Council voted unanimously this morning opposing the plan to dump nuclear wastes at Keekle Head. I spoke on behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland along with 3 other objectors. There would have been many more objectors speaking had the Council given more than 3 days notice to register to speak I wonder why the lack of notification when this has been in the offing since 2010! Keeping it low-key because of the implications for the proposed high level geological dump?
Radiation Free Lakeland 8th May 2012 more >>
Carlisle News and Star 8th May 2012 more >>
Fuel bills in Britain will rise this winter because of last year’s devastating earthquake in Japan, experts warned yesterday. Supplies of liquefied natural gas are being diverted east after the tsunami shut its nuclear power reactors. It could push the wholesale price of gas up by as much as 28 per cent, energy market analysts claim.
This is Money 8th May 2012 more >>
Nuclear Clean Up
A previously undiscovered butterfly uranium molecule could inform clean-up operations of nuclear waste, say scientists at the University of Edinburgh, UK. Weve made a molecule that shouldnt really exist, says Dr Jason Love, Reader in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh. Loves team has discovered a new reaction between the uranyl ion (the most common form of uranium in the environment) and an organic framework capable of holding uranium, which causes the compound to change its structure.
Materials World 7th May 2012 more >>
The government plans to decide within several years whether to continue processing spent nuclear fuel to extract plutonium, government officials said Monday. Japan has for years adopted a policy to reprocess all spent nuclear fuel for the sake of energy security. But maintaining that policy is increasing difficult, a senior official said. So the government plans to study the feasibility of burying spent nuclear fuel underground as an option, the officials said.
Kyodo News 7th May 2012 more >>
Fierce public opposition to the restart of halted atomic reactors because of the nation’s worst nuclear plant crisis has effectively led to the indefinite shutdown of all commercial reactors. Ruling party lawmakers have even joined the chorus, with some noting it may no longer be possible to restart the Oi reactors. This leaves Japan facing the prospect of a summer with no nuclear reactors in operation.
Japan Times 8th May 2012 more >>
Fukushima Update 4th to 7th May
Greenpeace 8th May 2012 more >>
Iran may have carried out a clean-up operation at a building suspected of being used for nuclear weapons experiments within a key military facility, experts warned last night.
Telegraph 8th May 2012 more >>
A South Korean inspector working for the International Atomic Energy Agency has been killed and his colleague injured in a car accident in the Iranian central province of Markazi, according to the country’s nuclear energy agency.
Guardian 8th May 2012 more >>
The Western official tasked with preparing for a conference this year on ridding the Middle East of nuclear weapons said on Tuesday he had yet to secure the needed participation of all the region’s states, leaving it unclear when the event will be held.
Trust.org 8th May 2012 more >>
The government has approved plans for the largest onshore windfarm in England and Wales. With 76 turbines, the Pen Y Cymoedd development is expected to produce 299 megawatts (MW) of energy by 2016.
Guardian 8th May 2012 more >>
The ITER project, an acronym for International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, seeks to do the possible with impractical tools. There is no doubt that humanity can accomplish fusion in a quick and dirty way by making a bomb, or run reactions that dont produce useful amounts of energy outputs, but unlike fission the ability to run a steady state reaction that produces more energy than it takes to drive the reaction eludes us.
Oil Price 9th May 2012 more >>