News June 2006

30 June 2006

New nukes

The Sustainable Development Commission said the nuclear option “won’t get us anywhere near tackling the UK’s energy and climate change crisis”. Its chairman called for more efficient homes and less wasted power. “The government has been so busy trying to make the case for nuclear power it risks overlooking the much bigger challenges facing the UK today,” Jonathan Porritt said.
BBC 30th June 2006

Letters: Tony Juniper says: The trade and industry secretary, Alistair Darling, is misleading the public by suggesting that the lights could go out unless new nuclear power plants are built (Report, June 28). Earlier this year the Sustainable Development Commission concluded that “it is indeed possible to meet the UK’s energy needs without nuclear power” and “there is no justification for bringing forward a new nuclear power programme at present”.

Henry Oliver of CPRE says: Alistair Darling shouldn’t talk rubbish about the planning system. In targeting “the problems of drawn-out planning inquiries”, Darling is parroting a familiar mantra of No 10 and the Treasury, one driven by their well-known dislike of the accountable way we make decisions. There are few facts, however, to support this obsession with planning delays. Between 1984 and 2002 fewer than a dozen public inquiries into national-scale construction projects lasted more than three months.

PT Sherwoos says: Alistair Darling is in favour of nuclear power because he claims that “if you want to be frightened about anything you want to be frightened about the impact of climate change”. Is he, by any chance, the same Alistair Darling who, as minister for transport, was in favour of the unrestricted growth of air travel?
Guardian 30th June 2006

THE public will have to support new power projects, including rebuilding nuclear plants, or face a “serious risk” that lights will go out, Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling has warned.
Blackpool Today 29th June 2006

The consultation period for the Government’s much talked about Energy Review closed in April and the response is due in the next few weeks. The media coverage of the review and statements from Tony Blair on this matter so far have not provided much hope for increasing amounts of anti-nuclear activists around the country.
North Devon Journal 29th June 2006

Nuclear Weapons

Britain could scale back its nuclear arsenal now that the Cold War is over, MPs concluded on Friday in a report that will set the tone for months of debate over the fate of the country’s nuclear weapons.
Reuters 30th June 2006
Independent 30th June 2006

There needs to be a “genuine and meaningful” public debate on whether the UK should keep its nuclear weapons, the Commons defence committee has said.
BBC 30th June 2006

The government must explain the purpose of a British nuclear deterrent, something it has failed to do so far, a cross-party committee of MPs says in a hard-hitting report on the future of the Trident missile system published today.
Guardian 30th June 2006

The Ministry of Defence will today come under fire from a parliamentary watchdog for refusing to take part in an inquiry into the future of Britain’s nuclear deterrent.
Herald 30th June 2006

MPs URGED the Government yesterday to consider scrapping the policy of having a nuclear ballistic missile submarine on patrol 24 hours a day to maintain a continuous independent deterrent.
Times 30th June 2006

The determination of Britain’s political elite to maintain the country as a nuclear-weapons state is rooted in a half-century of military planning to which the possibility of tactical and first use of nuclear weapons is central.
Open Democracy 29th June 2006

Comment from Kate Hudson: Parliament must decide.
Guardian 30th June 2006

Britain considered nuclear strikes on China in 1961 to defend Hong Kong, secret government documents have confirmed.
Ananova 30th June 2006
Scotsman 30th June 2006
Independent 30th June 2006
BBC 30th June 2006

Russia

Russia yesterday unveiled details of a plan to reorganize the country’s nuclear power plants, agencies, institutes and departments into a single state company modeled on the gas and oil giant, Gazprom, the New York Times reported.
AFX 29th June 2006

Iran

Iran insists it needs until August to assess an international offer of incentives to get it to halt its controversial nuclear programme.
BBC 30th June 2006
Times 30th June 2006

Emergency Planning

PEOPLE living in a small north Cumbrian village are now ready to cope with any disaster – natural or man-made. Crosby-on-Eden, which was badly hit by last year’s floods, now has an emergency plan, thought to be the first of its type in Cumbria. The plan contains advice on preparing for and dealing with scenarios including radiation leaks, plane crashes and flooding.
Cumberland News 30th June 2006

France

Anne Lauvergeon yesterday won her battle to stay on as chief executive at Areva and at the same time put paid to back-door attempts to force a break-up of the French state-owned nuclear group ahead of a merger with turbine manufacturer Alstom.
FT 30th June 2006

Posted: 30 June 2006

29 June 2006

New nukes

PLANNING laws and energy market rules will be changed to help the nuclear industry build new plants, the government signalled yesterday. Alistair Darling, the Trade and Industry Secretary, also began preparing public opinion for a new wave of nuclear power stations, warning that, without them, Britain could be at risk of power shortages or blackouts.
Scotsman 29th June 2006
Edinburgh Evening News 28th June 2006
ePolitix 28th June 2006

The government has its heart set on going nuclear, but making it happen is another matter. Professor Jim Skea of the UK Energy Research Centre puts the chances of our seeing new reactors at 50/50 – but mainly because of the practical, rather than the political, issues: “There is a lot of work that still needs to be done.” Top of the agenda is money: how to finance the new build and how this will affect energy prices overall. Other issues include safety and the attitude of regulators; whether ways can be found round the challenges and delaying tactics of protesters; and, of course, site location.
Guardian 28th June 2006

E.ON AG’s Energie unit plans to build nuclear plants outside Germany, the unit’s head Johannes Teyssen said at a press conference in Munich.
Interactive Investor 28th June 2006

HSE has published its report in response to a request from Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks for an expert report to the Government’s energy review, 2006. The report covers health and safety issues associated with a range of energy developments, and looks at the potential role of pre-licensing assessments of nuclear reactor designs should the Government decide to look further into new nuclear electricity generation.
HSE 28th June 2006

Nuclear Weapons

Chancellor Gordon Brown has defended his decision to back the renewal of Britain’s nuclear weapons system.
Guardian website 28th June 2006
Sky News 28th June 2006

Israel

Iran’s foreign minister used a speech to a U.N. conference on the illegal trade in small arms on Wednesday to take a slap at Israel and the threat he said was posed by its presumed nuclear arsenal.
Reuters 28th June 2006

Nuclear testing

Already victims of one nuclear experiment, the people of Bikini Atoll are understandably reluctant to get involved in another. The islanders are sceptical of the latest plans to reduce the dangers of a homeland beset with radioactive contamination.
New Scientist 1st July 2006
RobEdwards.com

Sellafield

Pipelines laid more than 50 years ago to carry treated nuclear waste from the Sellafield plant in Cumbria into the Irish Sea have been removed.
BBC 28th June 2006

CONCERNS over the impact of nuclear decommissioning at Sellafield and its impacts on South Lakeland were raised by district councillors.
Westmorland Gazette 28th June 2006

Iran

Iran should be allowed to enrich uranium for power generation provided there is close monitoring by U.N. inspectors to ensure that it is not trying to develop atomic weapons, Germany’s defence minister said.
Reuters 28th June 2006

Posted: 29 June 2006

28 June 2006

New nukes

A new generation of nuclear reactors could receive approval in about half the time it took to gain consent for Sizewell B, the last nuclear station to be built in Britain, according to government safety experts. In a submission to the energy review to be published today, the Health & Safety Executive said that the process of licensing a new series of nuclear stations could take three to four years. This compares with the six and a half years it took to gain a licence for Sizewell B, the pressurised water reactor on the Suffolk coast which opened in 1995 after a mammoth public inquiry.
Independent 28th June 2006
Financial Times 28th June 2006
Times 28th June 2006

Letter from Terrence Price: David Howarth’s letter on nuclear power (June 23) should not go unanswered. He asserts that nuclear power could not be built up quickly. History tells a different story. In 1974, France was dependent on oil and gas for 46 per cent of its electricity. At the time, nuclear contributed only 8 per cent.
Financial Times 28th June 2006

Letter From Mr Ian Hore-Lacy of the World Nuclear Association. David Howarth is indeed suffering some illusions which pose a real danger for UK energy policy. Nuclear energy’s carbon output from the full fuel cycle is not a matter for conjecture; audited figures are published, and are very much the same as the best figures for renewables. In particular, they are typically about 2 per cent of what you would get from using coal, and if one goes to very low-grade uranium ores, that figure could rise to 3 per cent. Hardly a big deal, and it certainly shows that greenhouse-friendliness is significant.
Financial Times 28th June 2006

Alistair Darling has thrown his weight behind rebuilding the nuclear power industry and plans to use the energy review to push a fast-track planning process for atomic plants, wind farms and even transport schemes. In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, the new trade and industry secretary gave a blunt warning to householders and local councils that they had to support new power projects in Britain – or the lights would go out.
Guardian 28th June 2006

Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Tuesday he would need a lot of convincing that the country’s future energy needs could be met without nuclear power, signalling his support for a new generation of reactors. Blair said it would be a “dangerous gamble” to put complete faith in renewable energy to meet the country’s requirements, exposing it to dependency on imports of oil and gas from abroad. He also rejected the idea of offering government subsidies to developers of new nuclear plants.
Reuters 27th June 2006
Daily Mirror 28th June 2006

Scotland

Fancy a nuclear dump in your back yard? It seems the latest solution to the problem of storing radioactive waste is to find a community that really wants it, with accompanying jobs. This, after all, is an industry with a future – a 24,000-year future. At a press conference repeated questions about the prospects for replacing Scotland’s nuclear power plants saw the First Minister move on from the old coalition mantra about postponing decisions until storage issues are resolved and shifting the emphasis on to renewable energy. Scotland can wait, at least until the battle for public opinion is won in the south, until next year’s election is out the way, and until private companies are willing to risk the Scottish political minefield.
Herald 28th June 2006

JACK McConnell believes Scotland can avoid building new nuclear power stations by becoming the “world leader” in renewable energy.
Scotsman 28th June 2006

Iran

SUPREME leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran does “not need” talks with the US over its nuclear programme because nothing would be gained.
Scotsman 28th June 2006
Independent 28th June 2006

Iran’s supreme leader said yesterday “the ground was prepared” for negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear programme but he reiterated that Iran would not negotiate over its “right” to obtain and use nuclear technology.
Financial Times 28th June 2006

Nuclear Weapons

There is nothing new and something depressing in Gordon Brown’s public commitment to replace Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system. The UK chancellor of the exchequer’s political positioning is transparent enough. So, too, is the absence of strategic thinking. The global landscape is being remade by huge shifts in relative power. Yet the prevailing presumption is that the past is permanent.
FT 28th June 2006

Letter: Whether the statement by the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, in support of a renewed nuclear arsenal will prompt a 1980s-style debate about disarmament remains to be seen (your report, 22 June). But the arguments about the costs and the danger of proliferation certainly remind me of Labour’s agony over the issue in the past.
Scotsman 28th June 2006

BNFL

Britain’s most notorious nuclear company is in its death throes. British Nuclear Fuels, known for decades as BNFL, is to be terminated, according to one of its veteran managers. Roger Coates, former head of health and safety at BNFL, predicts that the state-owned company will be wound up as a result of a major government reorganisation. This will be “the end of an era”, he says.”
Rob Edwards.com 28th June 2006

CoRWM

After three years of deliberation, CoRWM has concluded what should have been blindingly obvious from the start – namely that nuclear waste should be buried in a deep underground repository. It does have sensible things to say about the importance of consulting the public over nuclear waste, but it falls short on technical recommendations. Having wasted much valuable time debating – and then dismissing – exotic solutions such as firing the waste into space, the committee has given no clear view on what kind of repository should be built or even what kind of geology would be most suitable for such a site. These decisions still need to be made, which will only delay construction of a repository still further. Blair’s apparent enthusiasm for nuclear power is to be welcomed, but a clear long-term plan on what to do with the waste needs to be in place before the construction of any new stations begins.
Physics World June 2006

India

The Bush administration scored a key victory in securing congressional support for its historic agreement to allow civil nuclear co-operation with India when the House foreign relations committee voted 37 to five on Tuesday to allow it to proceed with legislation.
Financial Times 28th June 2006
BBC 28th June 2006

United States

The government would store nuclear waste for up to 25 years on federal land under a proposal offered Tuesday to deal with growing volumes of used reactor fuel at nuclear power plants. The waste sites could be built to accommodate a region or individual state, said aides to Sen. Pete Domenici as they prepared to put the proposal up for a vote by a Senate subcommittee that he leads. The proposal is aimed at addressing growing concern about the thousands of tons of used reactor fuel accumulating at power plants, waiting to be shipped to an oft-delayed central government repository in Nevada. The proposed Yucca Mountain waste site – which would bury the used fuel deep beneath the Earth – has yet to receive a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. It is not expected to open – even if a license is approved – before 2018, Energy Department officials have told Domenici’s staff.
Guardian website 27th June 2006

Decommissioning

Wire impregnated with diamonds has been used to decommission concrete used to sheild nuclear material based in a difficult to access area of Harwell, Oxfordshire – the birthplace of the UK’s nuclear industry.
Environment Times 27th June 2006

Posted: 28 June 2006

27 June 2006

New nukes

Labour MPs vowed last night to make nuclear energy an issue in the forthcoming leadership election after the Cabinet gave the go-ahead for a new generation of nuclear power stations. The cabinet committee overseeing the issue approved the inclusion of nuclear power in the energy White Paper to be published this month. The review under Malcolm Wicks, the Energy minister, is also expected to recommend streamlining the planning system to enable the power stations to be built on existing sites more quickly.
Independent 27th June 2006

Tony Blair may have acted precipitately in endorsing new nuclear power by ignoring the “joker in the pack” possibility that the life of the existing stations could be extended, the energy regulator has suggested. Critics of nuclear power have questioned the speed at which Mr Blair is driving the review. They argue that deferring a decision on nuclear power would allow future developments in technology – in particular for renewable sources of energy – to be considered before committing to new plants. Alistair Buchanan, chief executive of the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, has now given such critics more ammunition. The government’s analysis “has not been broad enough and it has not been forward looking enough to come to a sensible view, looking at the range of scenarios as to what is likely to happen in the next 10 to 20 years”, he told the Commons trade and industry select committee earlier this month.
FT 27th June 2006

Letter on the problems with nuclear power.
Scotsman 27th June 2006

Scotland

Scottish Labour leaders are becoming increasingly confident that no new nuclear power stations will have to be built north of the border. A UK energy review is expected to say that Britain needs new nuclear plants. But First Minister Jack McConnell is understood to be working on an energy strategy which would avoid the need for any to be constructed in Scotland. Instead, there would be a large rise in the generation of renewable energy such as offshore wind and marine.
BBC 27th June 2006

Decommissioning

The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, the government-owned nuclear decommissioning company, has struck a deal with South Korea’s nuclear monopoly to work together on clean-up contracts round the world. Although it is likely that UKAEA and Amec, its private sector partner, will in the short term be concentrating on contracts in South Korea, in time the deal could allow Korea Power Engineering Company to participate in the potentially lucrative UK nuclear market.
FT 27th June 2006

Dounreay

Dounreay’s operators are inviting outside interest in taking over administrative buildings on the nuclear site which will otherwise be demolished.
Aberdeen Press & Journal 27th June 2006

North Korea

During President George W. Bush’s administration, North Korea has gone from having enough plutonium for one or two nuclear weapons to having enough for as many as 13, a study released on Monday said.
Reuters 27th June 2006

Iran

Iran said Monday that it would only use its vast oil resources as a weapon of last resort in the international dispute over its nuclear programme.
Middle East Online 26th June 2006

Nuclear weapons

Sir Jonathon Porritt has accused the Labour Party of stifling debate on nuclear weapons. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions, the former chairman of Friends of the Earth said it was “absolutely astonishing” that chancellor Gordon Brown said he would spend £25 billion updating weapons system Trident.
Gloucestershire Echo 26th June 2006

FOUR of the five candidates in Thursday’s Blaenau Gwent parliamentary by-election would vote against spending £25bn on a new generation of Trident nuclear weapons. Labour candidate Owen Smith, the favourite to replace the late Independent MP and AM Peter Law said, “If there were a vote in the House of Commons tomorrow to replace Trident, I would vote against it.
Western Mail 26th June 2006

Letter from Nicola Butler: If the Government is really committed to a proper debate on whether to replace the UK’s aging nuclear weapon system, Trident, it should publish a consultative Green Paper setting out costs and opportunity costs for all the options, including the option of non-replacement.
Independent 27th June 2006

Posted: 27 June 2006

26 June 2006

New nukes

Ministers are today expected to give approval to a new generation of nuclear power stations for Britain.
Reports suggested yesterday that the cabinet’s Energy and Environment Committee – chaired by Tony Blair and attended by senior ministers including Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling, the Industry Secretary, and Douglas Alexander, the Scottish Secretary – will put the final touches to the government’s recommendations in its energy review. Last week in Dumfries Mr McConnell appeared if anything to strengthen his position, against new reactors in Scotland, saying: “I am not in favour of new nuclear generation in Scotland until the issue of waste is satisfactorily resolved. Nuclear waste is virtually permanent and potentially very, very lethal.”
Scottish Herald 26th June 2006
Daily Mail 26th June 2006
Telegraph 26th June 2006

Sellafield

If nuclear energy is, as Tony Blair has said, back on the agenda with a vengeance, nowhere will feel its impact more acutely than west Cumbria – one of the poorest and most isolated regions that for more than 50 years has borne the brunt of Britain’s muddled advances in atomic technology. It is virtually certain that Sellafield, the UK’s largest nuclear site and the biggest employer in west Cumbria, would play an important part in any revival, either as a site to build a power station or as a place to store nuclear waste. Much of the country’s research capability is also at Sellafield.
FT 26th June 2006

Nuclear Skills

A national nuclear laboratory should be set up to safeguard skills vital to the industry, according to the head of British Nuclear Fuels’ research and development subsidiary.
FT 26th June 2006

Trident

Defence Secretary Des Browne held out the possibility of a vote in Parliament over whether Britain should renew its independent nuclear deterrent.
Guardian website 25th June 2006

Letters, including from Prof Shaun Gregory: As one of those who gave evidence to the Defence Select Committee against the replacement of Trident, I find it regrettable that Gordon Brown has signalled his intention to replace Britain’s dependent deterrent without taking time either to reflect on the committee hearings or to debate the issue within the Labour Party.
Times 26th June 2006

So Gordon Brown has announced the recommissioning of Trident – the delivery system for our very own Weapons of Mass Destruction – and without a pause the debate has immediately sunk into the incessant babble about the Labour leadership. But this decision is far too important to be left to Westminster Village trivia. It affects the single greatest threat to the future of the human species, along with global warming – the spread of nuclear weapons. It is only four years now since India and Pakistan were so close to nuclear war that Britain had to order its citizens to evacuate the sub-continent. We are about to see a nuclear standoff between Israel and Iran in the heart of the most volatile region in the world. This is the reality of the Second Nuclear Age, a time when mini-cold wars are proliferating across the world’s hot spots, each offering its own protracted Cuban Missile Crises.
Independent 26th June 2006

Quite how a fleet of vastly expensive submarines patrolling the oceans with the power of hundreds of Hiroshimas on board is supposed to protect us from Muslim lads in the suburbs, or rogue tyrannies abroad, is never quite spelled out. Can anyone explain why a new generation of post-Trident nuclear ballistic missiles with the power to immolate Asia help winkle out al-Qaida in the rocky badlands of northern Pakistan?
Guardian 26th June 2006

China

One sinister aspect of the US Defence Department’s 2006 report on the Chinese military released last month is its discussion of nuclear weapons policy.
World Socialist Web Site 26th June 2006

Nuclear Weapons

Letter: R D DON states that he believes that “our deterrent has protected us and kept the peace for the past 50 years” (June 24). Why? This is not a belief I share, for the simple reason that he can offer no proof of this. The theory of deterrence is essentially flawed because there is no way of demonstrating that it has worked.
Scottish Herald 26th June 2006

Iran

The debate over Iran has come to focus almost exclusively on negotiations and diplomacy, and the effort to persuade that country to give up aspects of its nuclear enrichment activity and reopen itself to United Nations inspections. Whether or not such agreement is reached, the real issue is not what Iran agrees to but how determined it is to pursue a nuclear weapons programme.
FT 26th June 2006

Posted: 26 June 2006

25 June 2006

New nukes

Britain will enter a new nuclear age this week as ministers approve the latest generation of atomic power plants and MPs clear the way for a replacement for Trident. The Independent on Sunday can reveal that tomorrow the Cabinet’s Energy and Environment Committee will take the crucial decision to build new nuclear power stations for the first time in 20 years. This will be followed on Friday by a meeting of the influential Defence Committee, which will demand that ministers start preparing immediately to replace the nuclear deterrent.
Independent on Sunday 25th June 2006

The Prime Minister’s energy review increasingly looks like a transparent device to marshal the arguments behind a decision already made. We are familiar with this style of politics. Tony Blair once said (about plans to reorganise Scottish regiments): “We will have an opportunity to have a proper debate once the decision is made.”
Independent on Sunday 25th June 2006

COPELAND MP Jamie Reed and union officials from Sellafield are in Whitehaven today gathering support for the nuclear industry. They will be collecting signatures in the Market Place for petitions supporting calls for a new generation of nuclear power stations under the Government’s energy review.
Carlisle News and Star 24th June 2006

Britain’s plans to build new reactors could pose a security threat according to the Office of Civil Nuclear Security. Because of a skills shortage there will be an influx of foreign experts.
Mail on Sunday 25th June 2006

NDA

DAYS after it emerged that the government had secretly given one of America’s most powerful corporate figures a CBE, it is now known that Whitehall has lifted a ban that had barred his construction firm from a lucrative nuclear waste contract in Britain. The giant Bechtel Corporation is being allowed to bid to clean up the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant — the first of a series of contracts that will eventually be worth £70 billion.
Sunday Times 25th June 2006

BNG

British Nuclear Group has secured a contract to oversee security at nuclear sites in the former Soviet Union.
Sunday Express 25th June 2006

Iran

IRANIAN foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki said yesterday that Iran saw “positive points” but also had “questions” about a package of incentives offered to Tehran in a bid to persuade it to give up enriching uranium.
Scotland on Sunday 25th June 2006

Why is CND doing everything it can to cheer on a reactionary regime – Iran – that wants to go nuclear?
Observer 25th June 2006

Nuclear Weapons

NEVER will insults have sounded sweeter to a politician’s ears. Gordon Brown would have welcomed every brickbat thrown at him last Wednesday night after he declared to a businessmen’s dinner that he favours keeping Britain’s nuclear weapons. The CND denounced him as a hypocrite, Clare Short declared herself his sworn enemy and other left-wing Labour MPs declared him a capitalist brute. There could be no better character reference for a Chancellor who is about to sell himself to Middle England.
Scotland on Sunday 25th June 2006
Observer 25th June 2006

Scottish church leaders denonouce Trident.
Ekklesia 25th June 2006

THE government will be criticised this week by an influential Commons committee over its refusal to discuss details of a secret programme to build a new nuclear weapons system. Members of the defence select committee are angry that ministers would not allow officials to give evidence to their inquiry into the replacement of Britain’s Trident missiles.
Sunday Times 25th June 2006

SNP leader Alex Salmond has accused Gordon Brown of “selling his Scottish soul” in his determination to become the next Prime Minister.
ICScotland 24th June 2006

Ernest Bevin, the Labour Foreign Secretary between 1945 and 1951, insisted that Britain must become a nuclear power because he wanted a “big bomb with a Union Jack on top of it”. Now current Chancellor Gordon Brown has, in effect, come to a similar conclusion.
Lincolnshire Echo 24th June 2006

The Campaign Group has split into two factions over who should challenge Gordon Brown for the leadership. One is led by Alan Simpson, the MP for Nottingham South, and backs Michael Meacher, the former environment secretary, as its Left-wing challenger. The other group of “ultra Left-wingers” is backing John McDonnell, the MP for Hayes and Harlington and the campaign chairman. Mr McDonnell, who said the Chancellor’s Trident announcement was a “slap in the face for the Labour and trades union movement”, believes that Mr Meacher lacks Left-wing credibility because he failed to resign his government post over Iraq.
Sunday Telegraph 25th June 2006

Britain needs a nuclear deterrent more than ever.
Sunday Telegraph 25th June 2006

Nuclear Transport

The supermarket giant Tesco is using a rail firm set up to transport highly radioactive nuclear waste as part of its £100m bid to become the “greenest” retailer in Britain. The chain boasted last month that it was the first major food retailer to shift large amounts of freight from Britain’s roads back on to the railways, using specially imported “green” trains and carriages. But these trains are run by a company set up by Sellafield’s owner, British Nuclear Fuels Ltd, to move used nuclear fuel around the country.
Independent on Sunday 25th June 2006

Posted: 25 June 2006

24 June 2006

London

Londoners are becoming more concerned about the dangers of climate change – but most don’t believe nuclear power is the answer.
The Londoner July 2006

It’s crazy to consider building new reactors – they are expensive and dangerous, says, Professor Barnham, emeritus professor in physics at Imperial College, at the University of London, who has spent the last 30 years developing solar power technology. And he says he is deeply concerned that nuclear power has come back on the national agenda and that a new generation of nuclear power stations may be built in Britain.
The Londoner July 2006

New Nukes

BRITISH Energy claims that new nuclear power stations could be economic without direct government subsidies. “I don’t believe that nuclear power requires any subsidy to make it viable in the marketplace,” it said yesterday. Greenpeace, on the other hand, is convinced that nuclear is economically unfeasible without financial help from the State.
Times 21st June 2006

Iran

Iran is not considering a halt to its nuclear fuel programme even after any negotiations with major powers, a senior Iranian official said on Friday. The Iranian Embassy in Vienna said Tehran’s deputy nuclear negotiator had been misquoted in a German translation of a speech he gave on Thursday that raised the possibility of Iran stopping uranium enrichment as a result of negotiations.
Reuters 23rd June 2006

Nuclear Weapons

Former Cabinet minister Peter Mandelson indicated that he believes Tony Blair should give MPs a vote on whether Britain’s Trident nuclear missiles ought to be replaced.
Guardian website 23rd June 2006

Letter from David Lowry: What is it about nuclear policy that seems to make it antithetical to democratic decision-making? Gordon Brown’s pledge to replace Trident with another nuclear WMD system follows soon after his announcement in The Times (“Business leaders must now make positive case for globalisation”) that he was following the Prime Minister in supporting new nuclear power plants.
Times 24th June 2006

The Mayor of Stroud is to meet the mayor of Hiroshima. Local Green Party councillor Kevin Cranston will meet Dr Akiba, who is also president of International Mayors for Peace, at the Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Research Establishment.
Gloucestershire Citizen 23rd June 2006

CHANCELLOR Gordon Brown was yesterday hit by a left-wing backlash after saying he wanted to secure “for the long term” Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent.
Daily Post 23rd June 2006

Proliferation

AT CHAPELCROSS, near Dumfries, the British Nuclear Group is in the process of decommissioning the four nuclear reactors that have operated on the site since the Fifties. The BNG’s website disingenuously refers to Chapelcross as “Scotland’s first commercial nuclear power station”. In fact, it was a military establishment.
Scotsman 24th June 2006

HANS Blix, the former UN chief weapons inspector, yesterday warned that North Korea represented the most urgent threat to global nuclear security. He also called on the United States to show more patience with Iran.
Scotsman 24th June 2006

Posted: 24 June 2006

23 June 2006

Nuclear Weapons

Holyrood Sketch: The author of The Red Book on Scotland, the chosen one, favours a new generation of nukes? He will happily spend £25bn (and then some) just to lease the latest in American missiles? You could almost picture the Labour thought-bubbles: voters aren’t going to like this.
Herald 23rd June 2006

Pressure was mounting at Westminster last night for MPs to have the final say over whether Britain should have a new generation of nuclear weapons.
Herald 23rd June 2006

Article By David Tate attacking CND: Kate Hudson, the chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is implacably opposed to the retention of a modern nuclear deterrent for Britain, arguing that it sends the worst possible signal. I’m not sure what sort of “signals” Kate Hudson favours. For example, in February of this year, Kate Hudson signed a letter, which was published in the Guardian, expressing her “deepest concern” at the news that the UK, France, Germany, the US, Russia and China were to report Iran to the UN security council, as part of the Anti-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty enforcement procedures. So, clearly, such multilaterial processes are also unacceptable to CND. While we’re on the subject, it is worth mentioning that CND is also opposed to Britain developing its civil nuclear power industry.
Guardian 23rd June 2006

WELSH Secretary Peter Hain last night gave his backing to Gordon Brown after the Chancellor said he wanted to keep Britain’s controversial and expensive nuclear deterrent.
Western Mail 23rd June 2006

While Gordon Brown’s commitment to replace Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent has sparked predicatable anger among some Labour MPs, the next step for any Brown-led government is perhaps also equally easy to anticipate. For although the Treasury has insisted a range of options will be examined when the current system is replaced, the inescapable fact is that nuclear deterrence – at an estimated cost of up to £25bn – is one of those bits of government spending where you can’t shop around.
Guardian 22nd June

Various letters on Brown’s announcement including one from Edward Pearce: Resistance to spending a wilderness of money which might be spent on useful things requires the marshalling of a campaign distinguishable from CND. The new campaign which this letter exists to demand, would attack top-tableism, waste, futility and motives of puerile swagger. Such purposes define Blair’s priorities, to which the chancellor, cashing in such respect as he still enjoyed, has surrendered.
Guardian 23rd June 2006

GORDON Brown was last night reeling from a left-wing backlash over his support for retaining Britain’s nuclear weapons in “the long term” as MPs demanded a parliamentary vote on whether to replace the ageing Trident system. Clare Short, the former international development secretary, said his remarks were part of a “desperate” attempt to succeed Tony Blair and made clear she could no longer support him in his bid to be the next prime minister.
Herald 23rd June 2006
Times 23rd June 2006

Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were accused of ‘disrespecting democracy’ last night after signalling their support for a new generation of nuclear weapons without bothering to consult Parliament.
Daily Mail 23rd June 2006
Scotland Today 22nd June 2006

Times Editorial: Brown is right to challenge the left on nuclear weapons.
Times 23rd June 2006

Andrew Carver in the Daily Mail argues against replacing Trident.
Daily Mail 23rd June 2006

Posted: 23 June 2006

22 June 2006

Trident

Gordon Brown yesterday sprung a surprise – and asserted his growing authority as prime minister-in-waiting – by unexpectedly announcing that he is committed to ensuring Britain retains its independent nuclear deterrent, a move that could cost the taxpayer between £13bn and £25bn.
Guardian 22nd June 2006
Times 22nd June 2006
Independent 22nd June 2006
Daily Mail 22nd June 2006
FT 22nd June 2006
Scotsman BBC, 22nd June 2006
Herald 22nd June 2006
BBC 22nd June 2006

On the face of it, Gordon Brown said little more about the replacement of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system yesterday than the Labour party said in its 2005 manifesto. But the buzz and bustle surrounding the speech tells the real story. The annual Mansion House speech is an intensely political event for any chancellor, never mind for one who hopes to move shortly to higher things. And Mr Brown’s people were crystal clear last night that their man was making a significant statement. In a few apparently innocuous words, they said, the man who wants to be Labour’s next leader was committing himself to the long-term replacement of the current submarines.
Guardian Leader 22nd June 2006
Herald Leader 22nd June 2006

Gordon Brown’s declaration on Wednesday night that he backs renewal of Britain’s nuclear deterrent will be welcome news for BAE Systems, Britain’s biggest arms manufacturer and builder of the current fleet of four Trident submarines. But questions remain as to how the long-term commitment will be paid for.
FT 22nd June 2006

Proliferation

KOFI Annan, the United Nations secretary general, yesterday warned the world was “sleepwalking” towards nuclear proliferation and must urgently revive efforts to halt the spread of nuclear weapons.
Scotsman 22nd June 2006

New nukes

Next month, Prime Minister Tony Blair is expected to make public Britain’s intention to invite the private sector to build a series of new nuclear power plants. As part of a UK strategy aimed at ensuring energy security while at the same time meeting international commitments to protect the environment, Mr Blair is widely expected to argue that nuclear power is not only cleaner than fossil fuels, but also a commercially attractive alternative.
BBC 21st June 2006

Scotland

TONY Blair yesterday stepped up pressure on the Scottish Executive to accept new nuclear power stations, claiming that the UK “depends” on the energy generated by Scotland’s existing reactors. The Executive has the legal power to block any new power stations north of the Border. Ministers are committed to that veto until questions over waste are resolved, though many expect Scottish Labour to drop its objections under Downing Street pressure. The Liberal Democrats’ Scottish spokeswoman, Jo Swinson, yesterday challenged Mr Blair about the effective Scottish veto. Blair gave a clear signal that he expected Jack McConnell, the First Minister, to remember Scotland’s role in the UK electricity grid. “Scotland has nuclear power stations and a large part of the electricity of the whole country depends on that,” the Prime minister said.
Scotsman 22nd June 2006

India

Efforts by the US and India to negotiate a civilian nuclear assistance agreement have run into significant difficulties that experts say could complicate the Bush administration’s drive to secure approval from a sceptical Congress. The administration wants Congress to move fast to approve the plan, which would reopen the door for US nuclear exports to India, even before crucial details of the agreement are hammered out. The House international relations committee is due to vote on a draft bill on June 27.
FT 22nd June 2006

Pakistan

Pakistan’s financial constraints mean it can only maintain a strategy of “minimum deterrence” in its nuclear weapons and missile programmes and will not enter an arms race with India or any other country, senior defence planners said.
FT 22nd June 2006

North Korea

How concerned should we be about North Korea’s nuclear weaponry? Satellite pictures shared by the US with its ally South Korea are believed to show that North Korea is about to carry out its first long-range missile test since 1998, when it fired a missile across Japanese territory.
Independent 22nd June 2006

NDA

The government has kicked off a multi-billion pound programme of handing over nuclear sites to the private sector with offers to bid for the Drigg low-level waste repository. The National Decommissioning Authority has asked companies to fill in a pre-qualification questionnaire which will determine whether they are eligible to make a formal offer to manage the facility in Cumbria. British engineer Amec and US project manager Washington are among those likely to bid. The NDA is expected to choose a private sector operator for what used to be a top-secret location by October next year.
Guardian 22nd June 2006

Energy Security

Chris Murray, a senior executive with National Grid, has told MPs that the UK faces a power supply crunch as any new build of civil reactors are unlikely to be ready in time to immediately replace the existing fleet as it is wound down for decommissioning over the next decade or so.
Energy Business Review 22nd June 2006
http://www.energy-business-review.com/article_news.asp?guid=C60BD4ED-487D-45EE-AEC4-9157BF3C4C1F

Iran

An angry George Bush rounded on the two remaining members of Washington’s “axis of evil” yesterday, as he dismissed “absurd” suggestions that the US presents the greatest threat to world stability.
Guardian 22nd June 2006

Bulgaria

NUCLEAR power is bringing communities in Copeland and Bulgaria together as part of a newly-formed partnership. A delegation from the town of Kozloduy, which is home to one Europe’s largest nuclear power facilities, are in west Cumbria this week. As part of the tour representatives will visit the Sellafield Visitors’ Centre to learn more about the site. They will also tour the borough looking at examples of urban regeneration, including Whitehaven Harbour and Cleator Moor town centre. The visit, supported by the Department of Trade and Industry, Cumbria County Council and Copeland Council, aims to create stronger ties between the two areas.
Carlisle News and Star 21st June 2006

Dounreay

Contractors have completed a project to remove contaminated concrete as part of a £2.9bn clear-up of the Dounreay nuclear plant in Caithness.
BBC 21st June 2006

Posted: 22 June 2006

21 June 2006

New nukes

NUCLEAR power stations are economically viable without government guarantee or subsidy, the chief executive of British Energy claimed yesterday. The head of the company that supplies a fifth of Britain’s electricity said that the cost of replacing ageing nuclear generators was highly competitive compared with funding new gas powered stations, lean coal stations and other technologies, including some sources of renewable power.
Times 21st June 2006

As the government moves towards its expected formal pronouncement next month in favour of resuming the building of new nuclear power reactors, Sir Menzies Campbell, leader of the Liberal Democrats, yesterday stepped up his party’s opposition to this move. This is predictable, and nothing like as important as which side of the nuclear fence the Tory party will eventually come down on. However, in spite of coming to the wrong conclusion, Sir Menzies raised the legitimate doubt of whether new reactors could be built “without massive state subsidies” or “rigging the market” to guarantee future prices.
FT Editorial 21st June 2006

The UK’s third largest political party, the Liberal Democrats, has echoed the recent warnings of the former Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev that nuclear power is not economically viable.
Energy Business Review 21st June 2006

British Energy yesterday became the latest voice to insist that a new generation of nukes could be privately financed without subsidy. This is an almost laughably optimistic claim, the sort of triumph of hope over experience which has long been the hallmark of this extraordinarily costly form of power generation. A number of recent studies have pointed to favourable cost comparisons with other forms of “clean” energy – renewables and clean coal – and even some forms of carbon emitting power generation, but these are in the main just self-serving assertions which would never pass muster once the City began to run its slide rule over the assumptions on which they are based. The industry’s intention is to get a clear-cut commitment to nuclear out of ministers first. Costs can be debated later. It wouldn’t pay to frighten the horses by admitting the industry will in fact need very substantial Government support before they even get to the starting gates. British Energy insists that the only support that would be necessary would be decent long-term contracts with retail suppliers. These could be commercially negotiated. Oh really? Why would Centrica and other retailers want to sign up to such sources of supply when there is no way of knowing that nuclear would be, and would remain, price competitive with other forms of power generation? For obvious reasons, the industry refuses to admit that there is really only one way of ensuring a new generation of privately financed nuclear plants, and that is to place a nuclear obligation on suppliers, similar to the existing renewables obligation, which would force them to source a proportion of their power from nuclear. This, of course, would be a nuclear tax in all but name, tantamount to a Government guarantee. Certainly it would be a profound interference in the market. But please let’s not call a spade a spade when we don’t have to.
Independent 21st June 2006

The government intends to fund a new generation of nuclear power station through massive hidden subsidies, Sir Menzies Campbell has said. The Liberal Democrats leader made the comments as his party published a document arguing that nuclear power is unaffordable and unnecessary.
Telegraph 21st June 2006
ePolitix 20th June 2006
Manchester Evening News 20th June 2006
BBC 20th June 2006

Predicting the direction of government policy over a few weeks is hard enough these days. Guessing what the regulatory landscape might look like three decades from now is best left to the brave or the foolhardy. For this reason alone, Labour’s latest conversion to nuclear energy is unlikely to attract private sector investors prepared to put up the necessary billions of pounds without a serious change of style.
FT 21st June 2006

Posted: 21 June 2006