While the nation debates the wisdom of restarting its nuclear power plants, the energy source remains central to some nations’ investments for tomorrow. The process to construct a new two-reactor facility in Wales has been going as planned, the British province’s economy minister said. “There’s a confidence that the plant will be delivered, that it will work well, and that it will do good for the local community in terms of employment opportunities,” said Edwina Hart, economy minister of the National Assembly for Wales. She was speaking to The Japan Times last week during a working visit to Japan.
Japan Times 5th Nov 2014 read more »
The full scale of how much radioactive waste has been dumped in Scotland’s seas can today be revealed for the first time. A Sunday Post investigation has uncovered documents which show more than 75,000 luminised dials coated with radium were tipped into the Tay Estuary after the Second World War. Archive files from the 1950s also reveal how radioactive waste from a Dundee radio valve plant was secretly dropped into the waters below the Forth Bridge, less than a mile from a radium-contaminated beach at Dalgety Bay in Fife. The archive files also show other dump sites around Scotland and how waste and sludge from nuclear submarines based at Rosyth Dockyard was regularly being deposited in the Firth of Forth during the 1960s. Green MSP Alison Johnstone said: “Scotland’s environment has for too long been treated as expendable rather than as a precious resource. These historic incidents must be properly investigated by regulators so we know the extent of the damage. Documents at the National Records of Scotland show the now-defunct electronics firm Ferranti Ltd dumped scrap from its Dundee radio valve manufacturing plant in the Firth of Forth, by the rail bridge in North Queensferry, every three or four months between 1954 and 1956 without permission.Minutes from a Government meeting in 1957 show how national chief chemical inspector Eric Birse concluded Ferranti “had simply decided on their own that it would be a good place for dumping”.
Sunday Post 9th Nov 2014 read more »
The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) is committed to being open and transparent about the impacts of energy and climate change policies on energy costs for households and businesses. The prices and bills report reflects this commitment. It updates the analysis published in March 2013, and incorporates the impact of policy announcements made since then.
DECC 6th Nov 2014 read more »
ED MILIBAND’S promise to freeze gas and electricity bills would cost families £376 a year, according to government analysis. The Tory energy minister Matt Hancock last night accused the Labour leader of “a short-term political gimmick” which could cost families more than £1,000 over the next three years. In a highly publicised announcement at last year’s party conference, Miliband promised the next Labour government would freeze gas and electricity prices until 2017. Three of the biggest energy companies reacted by freezing their bills until January 2017. The price of wholesale energy has since fallen by 40%, however, prompting several suppliers to slash energy prices which has led to cheaper bills for customers. Those whose bills were frozen after the Miliband announcement now stand, according to Hancock, to lose about £1,000 over the next three years.
Sunday Times 9th Nov 2014 read more »
A study to be published in the coming weeks has questioned whether the introduction of smart energy meters to households across the UK will result in the 3% reduction in energy consumption that the ¬Government claims will be achieved by 2030. The study, compiled by economists at Strathclyde University, said that the total reduction in energy consumption could be up to two-thirds lower.
Sunday Herald 9th Nov 2014 read more »
POWER supplier SSE is due to publish analysis tomorrow showing the group has contributed £27 billion to the British economy over the past three years – a move likely to be seen as a bid to overcome criticism of the utility giants. The report, produced by “big four” accountant PwC, comes ahead of this week’s first-half results and will show that the Perth-based firm supports 111,900 jobs and generates the equivalent of 0.6 per cent of UK GDP. Chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said: “SSE is proud to have contributed £27bn to the UK economy in the past three years. It shows the scale of our commitment to UK plc and measures the economic benefit that our investment brings.
Scotland on Sunday 9th Nov 2014 read more »
France – Drones
French parliament will hold hearings this month on the threat posed by drones to nuclear installations even as the mystery of who is behind a series of flights over more than a dozen sites remains unsolved. Reactor builder Areva SA (AREVA) confirmed today a drone had been spotted over one of its sites while two more plants operated byElectricite de France SA were visited by the remote-controlled flying objects this week. Over a little more than a month, drones have been seen at 14 of EDF’s 19 plants, according to a person familiar with the events.
Bloomberg 7th Nov 2014 read more »
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif began talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and European Union envoy Catherine Ashton in Oman on Sunday to try to advance efforts to end a standoff over Tehran’s nuclear programme, a witness said. The discussions, aimed at curbing Iran’s sensitive uranium enrichment work in return for a gradual lifting of sanctions, are taking place just two weeks before a self-imposed Nov. 24 deadline for reaching a comprehensive deal. Iranian official media also reported the start of the Muscat talks.
Reuters 9th Nov 2014 read more »
Letter Dr David Lowry: Dr Kate Hudson, CND general secretary (“Secretive nuclear deal needs public scrutiny, M.Star 3 Nov.) and Jeremy Corbyn MP, chairperson of Parliamentary CND (“Secrets, lies and the bomb,” 6 Nov.) , excellently described the reasons why the proposed amendment to the US-UK Mutual Defense Agreement MDA (defence is spelled with an ‘s’ even in the UK version giving a hint to its origin) should be blocked. Jeremy Corbyn admirably argued the case against the MDA being extended in a debate- the first in nearly 20 years on the issue – in Parliament on Thursday (6 Nov.) But the failure of the fanatically pro-nuclear WMD Coalition government – and also sadly the ill-informed and misguided Labour front bench opposition- to grasp the implications were evidenced in their pathetic and inaccurate responses. One assertion made by Government foreign affairs minister, David Lidington, was particularly egregious and dangerously misguided. In a feeble attempt to justify Coalition policy, he asserted that: “The Government regard the MDA as compliant with our obligations under article I of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT)… [which] refers in particular to transfers from the recognised nuclear weapons states to non-nuclear weapons states.” For M.Star readers who may not have read this Article 1, and Mr Lidington, who clearly has not, it NPT states in full: “Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; and not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any non-nuclear-weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive devices.” (my emphasis) The MDA is thus a clear violation of this obligation, as each of the mutual exchanges it promotes is at least an“indirect transfer“, but in several instances, as a “direct transfer” of a nuclear explosive device/ nuclear weapon.Ie that means nuclear weapons states are prohibited in providing each other such nuclear weapons assistance. As former Labour MP and leadingactor in Labour Against the War, Alan Simpson, toldParliament 20 years ago, when he initiated the previous Parliamentary debate on the MDA :”Yet that is precisely what the agreement sets out to do”. (Hansard, 15 December 1994, c1236 onwards ) Just why are Coalition ministers so keen to extend a deal that promotes nuclear proliferation? Just why is the Labour opposition collaborating on this unique Pro-Proliferation Treaty? What kind of message does that send the increasingly insecure world?
Morning Star 8th Nov 2014 read more »
Nuclear Weapons Convoy
Trucks should have been retired in 2003. Trucks transporting nuclear materials through Scotland have suffered a series of breakdowns and faults since 2010, it has been revealed. A freedom of information request by monitoring body Nukewatch uncovered a number of incidents when convoys have been delayed or forced to turn back because of faults including fuel leaks, mechanical breakdowns and flat batteries. The aging vehicles used to transport warheads and other nuclear material to RNAD Coulport in Argyll were originally supposed to have been taken out of service in 2003, with an MoD assessment stating they would become “increasingly unsupportable” by 2009. Jane Tallents of Nukewatch said: “It’s very clear that, as a result of bureaucracy and incompetence in the Ministry of Defence, deadly cargoes of highly radioactive materials are being driven round the country in unreliable, antiquated vehicles which cannot be guaranteed to deliver them safely to their destination. “The military regularly tell the public that their nuclear programmes operate to the highest safety standards, but the evidence here shows that this is far from being the case.”
STV 8th Nov 2014 read more »
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has welcomed the United States’ decision to join the majority of the world’s states at a landmark conference on nuclear weapons, taking place in Austria next month. CND has urged the UK Government– which has still not responded – to do the same, and participate in this crucial process.
Ekklesia 8th Nov 2014 read more »
CND 8th Nov 2014 read more »
The foundation of America’s nuclear arsenal is fractured, and the government has no clear plan to repair it. The cracks appear not just in the military forces equipped with nuclear weapons but also in the civilian bureaucracy that controls them, justifies their cost, plans their future and is responsible for explaining a defense policy that says nuclear weapons are at once essential and excessive.
Huffington Post 8th Nov 2014 read more »
Christopher Booker: Alarmists from the Climate Change panel have wheeled out familiar scare stories. Ploughing through the new “Synthesis Report” put out by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we may be reminded of one of those old gramophone records, when the needle got horribly stuck in a groove. Compiled by many of the IPCC’s veteran alarmists, in yet another bid to get that “global climate treaty” that isn’t going to happen in Paris next year, it wheels on all the familiar scare stories. Melting polar ice, rising sea levels, floods, droughts and hurricanes are all in there – even though these are largely contradicted not just by the actual evidence, but even by the much more cautious contents of the vast technical reports they were meant to be “synthesising”.
Telegraph 8th Nov 2014 read more »
Shale gas extraction revenues could be held in a “sovereign wealth fund” for the north of England, the chancellor has said. George Osborne told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the fund would be a way of “making sure money is not squandered on day-to-day spending”. Friends of the Earth’s Helen Rimmer said it was “a desperate attempt to win over communities”. The idea will be discussed in the House of Lords on Monday. Possible sites for the extraction of shale gas have been identified across the north of England, with test drilling licences granted in Lancashire, Cheshire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester.
BBC 8th Nov 2014 read more »