News November 2006

30 November 2006

Russian Spy

The investigation into the death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko gathered pace dramatically yesterday as it emerged that a number of British Airways aircraft that fly between Moscow and London have been contaminated with radioactive material.
Guardian 30th Nov 2006
Times 30th Nov 2006
Independent 30th Nov 2006

The radioactive poison used to kill the former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko is being offered for sale over the internet for less than £40. A company in the US claims to supply polonium-210 to anyone for just $69 plus postage and packing. A three-pack set of “alpha, beta, gamma” radioactive isotopes also includes polonium-210.
Times 30th Nov 2006

John Urquhart, a statistician at Newcastle University, reckons the cloud of radioactive fallout from the 1957 Windscale Fire contained enough polonium to kill 1,000 people, and even the regulatory body that advised the government on nuclear safety and radiation limits conceded in the 1980s that there would be at least 32 deaths from the Windscale disaster – half of them directly attributable to polonium 210. Who needs the KGB?
Guardian 30th Nov 2006

North Korea

The United States urged reclusive North Korea on Thursday to get out of the nuclear business and rejoin a treaty that aims to curb the spread of nuclear weapons.
Reuters 30th Nov 2006

North Korea said on Thursday it was ready to implement an international agreement made last year but would not unilaterally give up nuclear weapons, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported.
Reuters 30th Nov 2006

HOW do you get the attention of North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong Il? Stop him getting hold of iPods, plasma televisions and Harley Davidson motorbikes, it would appear.
Scotsman 30th Nov 2006

Japan

Japan has the technological know-how to produce a nuclear weapon but has no immediate plans to do so, the foreign minister said Thursday, several weeks after communist North Korea carried out a nuclear test.
Guardian website 30th Nov 2006

Emergency Planning

Three journalism students from the Scottish Centre for Journalism Studies have been singled out for praise after helping an energy company practice its emergency procedures. Students from the centre, based at the University of Strathclyde, took part in mock press conferences with staff from British Energy and a range of emergency services spokespeople. The simulated exercise followed a ‘nuclear leak’ at Torness Power Station, which would have been Scotland’s worst nuclear disaster.
Hold the Front Page 29th Nov 2006

Climate

Uttlesford councillors have voted against allowing expansion od Stanstead Airport. No small council has ever tackled a decision as big as this with such ingenuity. It launched a website on the issue to inform and mobilise residents and cleverly turned local objections into a national issue by pointing out the gap between government rhetoric on the environment and its support for bigger and busier airports. It even has had the cheek to ask ministers to consider whether the recent Stern report on climate change means they should think again about the rise in air passenger numbers.
Guardian 30th Nov 2006

Trident

Charles Clarke, the former cabinet minister, has put himself at the head of the Labour rebellion against plans to replace Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system. In a speech last night, Mr Clarke said the Government was in danger of equipping the nation to “fight the last war” and the Cold War rather than the threats facing it in the 21st century.
Independent 30th Nov 2006

Posted: 30 November 2006

29 November 2006

Nuclear Finance

The ownership and operation of nuclear power plants can have a significant effect on the risk profile and credit ratings of US utilities, a new report from credit ratings agency Fitch says. Fitch suggests that while nuclear ownership can accrue benefits, including low and stable production costs and low carbon emissions, the high cost of construction and the potentially severe financial effect of an extended outage warrant a careful inspection of a company’s financial flexibility, liquidity resources and nuclear operating performance. A combination of volatile energy markets, potentially stricter environmental regulations and global warming concerns have revived interest in nuclear construction. However, Fitch does not anticipate that the construction of a new nuclear plant in the United States will begin for at least 4-5 years, at the earliest. In the mean time, credit concerns centre on operating and regulatory risks, rather than construction and financing risks. “The potential for an extended unplanned outage is the primary credit risk of nuclear ownership,” said Robert Hornick, senior director at Fitch.
The full report can be found at www.fitchratings.com.
Modern Power Systems 29th Nov 2006

Trident

Article by Greenpeace lawyer, Kate Harrison. After months of uncertainty about the process for deciding on the future of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system, it was good to learn that there will be a three-month consultation period prior to a vote in parliament. But it is disappointing to hear that the government will make its decision before the consultation and vote takes place. It was equally disappointing to learn in the article that, according to Jack Straw, “only a simpleton could think replacing Trident would breach the nuclear non-proliferation treaty”. In fact, the view that there is a legal problem with replacing Trident is widely held, and not only by anti-nuclear activists but by many top legal minds.
Guardian 29th Nov 2006

Letter: Trident missiles are weapons of mass destruction, something we condemn other countries for having.
Scotsman 29th Nov 2006

North Korea

North Korea wants sanctions dropped and the United States to free its overseas bank accounts as preconditions for dismantling its nuclear programme, Yonhap news agency said on Wednesday, terms likely to become a sticking point in negotiations.
Reuters 29th Nov 2006

North Korea was building nuclear weapons for political blackmail, the head of U.S. forces in South Korea said on Wednesday, adding he was not overly worried about the military threat they posed.
Reuters 29th Nov 2006

Proliferation

“Mutually assured paralysis” has replaced “mutually assured destruction” as the greatest nuclear threat as world leaders fail to act decisively to promote disarmament and stem proliferation, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned on Tuesday.
Reuters 28th Nov 2006

Russian Spy

Alexander Litvinenko, the poisoned former Russian agent, told the Italian academic he met on the day he fell ill that he had organised the smuggling of nuclear material out of Russia for his security service employers.
Independent 29th Nov 2006

New nukes

Innaugural Franco-British nuclear forum to share long term energy visions will take place in Paris, on Wednesday 29 November 2006. It will be co-chaired by Mr. Francois Loos, French Industry Minister, responsible for Energy, and Lord Truscott, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy, UK Department of Trade and Industry.
DTI Press Release 29th Nov 2006

Utilities

There may be higher bills in store for customers if ScottishPower is taken over. Spanish firm Iberdrola’s bid has been ‘accepted in principle’.
Scotsman 29th Nov 2006

Posted: 29 November 2006

28 November 2006

North Korea

North Korea is ready to return to talks on ending its nuclear weapons programme but still had difficult issues to iron out with the United States, Pyongyang’s top envoy said on Tuesday.
Reuters 28th Nov 2006
Reuters 27th Nov 2006

New nukes

EDF Energy PLC, owned by France’s EDF SA, is considering plans to invest in nuclear energy projects in the UK, said chief executive Vincent de Rivaz.
Forbes 27th Nov 2006

Trident

More than 100 protesters have gathered at an atomic research base claiming any plans to update the UK’s nuclear defences are unlawful. Greenpeace campaigners gathered at Berkshire’s Aldermaston atomic weapons establishment (AWE), to voice anger at renewal of the Trident system.
BBC 27th Nov 2006
Greenpeace International Press Release 27th Nov 2006

Dr Hans Blix, the former UN weapons inspector, will launch a new attack on Tony Blair today, warning that the decision to press ahead with a full replacement for Trident will make it more difficult to stop Iran acquiring the bomb.
Independent 27th Nov 2006

Nuclear Waste

The amount of nuclear waste piling up around the UK has soared by 50pc in the past decade with Britain’s radioactive refuse heap already big enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall. Figures produced by the Government have confirmed that, with the majority of nuclear power stations yet to be decommissioned, the amount of radioactive waste has jumped to 105,190 cubic metres.
Telegraph 28th Nov 2006

Utilities

The board of Scottish Power is on the verge of recommending a £12bn bid from Spanish utility Iberdrola.
Telegraph 28th Nov 2006

Freedom of Information

Interview with Richard Thomas, Britain’s Information Commissioner.
Times website 28th Nov 2006

Russian Spy

Detectives investigating the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko found traces of a radioactive poison at the offices of the billionaire and fellow exile Boris Berezovsky last night. Police sealed off the Mayfair office after finding evidence of polonium 210, a “significant quantity” of which was found in Mr Litvinenko’s urine. The discovery at 7 Down Street forms part of a radioactive trail left around London by Mr Litvinenko, 43, as police try to discover where the former KGB spy was poisoned.
Times 28th Nov 2006
Telegraph 28th Nov 2006

Solar Power

In the desert, just across the Mediterranean sea, is a vast source of energy that holds the promise of a carbon-free, nuclear-free electrical future for the whole of Europe, if not the world. According to two reports prepared for the German government, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa should be building vast solar farms in North Africa’s deserts using a simple technology that more resembles using a magnifying glass to burn a hole in a piece of paper than any space age technology.
Guardian 27th Nov 2006

Posted: 28 November 2006

27 November 2006

Trident

Letter from various academics (Plus two other letters incl one from Rae Street): Jack Straw states “only a simpleton could think replacing Trident would breach the nuclear non-proliferation treaty”, (Report, November 24). We would remind Mr Straw of the United Kingdom’s obligations under article VI of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), which states: “Each of the parties to the treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective control.”
Guardian 27th Nov 2006

Decommissioning

Nuclear power stations could be given the same degree of protection as castles and archaeological sites under plans being drawn up by heritage bodies.
Telegraph 27th Nov 2006

Posted: 27 November 2006

26 November 2006

Dounreay

Radioactive particles from the Dounreay nuclear plant will keep polluting public beaches for decades to come, and the environment will never be completely cleaned up. These are the conclusions of the latest expert study of the hundreds of thousands of fragments of nuclear fuel known to have leaked into the sea from the Caithness plant since the 1950s. The revelations have sparked anger from environmentalists, who say that nuclear power has left Scotland with a “terrible legacy”. Dounreay’s operator, the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), admits that the behaviour that led to the leaks was “just not acceptable”.
Sunday Herald 26th Nov 2006
RobEdwards.com 26th Nov 2006

British Energy

The Government is set to delay the planned multi-billion-pound sale of its stake in British Energy until 2008 at the earliest. The recent slump in British Energy’s share price, caused mainly by problems with its ageing nuclear reactors, has led to the Government’s decision to postpone the sale of part of its 65 per cent stake.
Independent on Sunday 26th Nov 2006

Hinkley

HINKLEY Point B has “no restart date”, according to its parent company British Energy this week, in response to criticism levelled at the plant. The firm spoke out to deny claims made by an anti-nuclear group that it had made promises on operation expectations to “sweeten investors”. Protest group Stop Hinkley released a statement on Monday commenting on the announcement made by British Energy about when it hoped the station would be up and running again.
Somerset County Gazette 24th Nov 2006

Trident

Chancellor Gordon Brown warned against unilateral disarmament in a world where rogue states may acquire nuclear weapons. His remarks came as the debate over replacing Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system intensified, with a White Paper expected to be published in December on the Government’s preferred option.
Guardian website 25th Nov 2006
This is London 25th Nov 2006
Daily Mail website 25th Nov 2006

Australia

A recent draft report released by the Australian government’s nuclear taskforce giving the green light to a nuclear powered future for the country, has drawn criticism from significant sectors of the community concerned that the report fails to address the issue of the safety of nuclear power plants.
Monsters and Critics 25th Nov 2006

Russian Spy

An investigation was under way last night into Russia’s black market trade in radioactive materials amid concern that significant quantities of polonium 210, the substance that killed former spy Alexander Litvinenko, are being stolen from poorly protected Russian nuclear sites.
Observer 26th Nov 2006

The killing of Alexander Litvinenko with polonium 210 created headlines around the world. It also raised disturbing questions about Russian secret agents and a lethal and growing black market in radioactive waste.
Observer 26th Nov 2006
Independent 26th Nov 2006
Sunday Times 26th Nov 2006
Sunday Telegraph 26th Nov 2006

The last person to meet Alexander Litvinenko before he succumbed to the agonising effects of radioactive poisoning is a self-professed expert in nuclear materials.
Mail on Sunday 26th Nov 2006

POLICE revealed yesterday that several rooms in the London hotel where Alexander Litvinenko met two Russian businessmen had been contaminated with polonium-210, the substance that killed him.
Sunday Times 26th Nov 2006

KREMLIN sources said they did not rule out the possibility that Boris Berezovsky, the exiled Russian oligarch living in London, may have been behind the death of Alexander Litvinenko. The source was angered by accusations in the press — and in the deathbed statement of the former spy — that Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, or the FSB, the country’s security service, had been behind the poisoning.
Sunday Times 26th Nov 2006

Posted: 26 November 2006

25 November 2006

Scotland

As the Scottish Labour Party gathered in Oban for the first day of their party conference, green groups were there to urge First Minister Jack McConnell to come clean on his plans for nuclear power. With Tony Blair’s decision to build a new generation of nuclear power stations, Scotland almost certainly faces the threat of new nuclear power stations and a new nuclear waste dump site being built on Scottish soil. But the vast majority of Scots – and the three main Scottish political parties other than Labour – oppose nuclear power. The Scottish Labour party though, doesn’t seem to have a clear position at all on nuclear. Under pressure from English Labour and Tony Blair, the First Minister and Scottish Labour leader Jack McConnell has desperately tried to avoid making any commitment one way or the other. We think it’s time for him to come clean.
Greenpeace Press Release 25th Nov 2006

CONFERENCE DIARY; ENVIRONMENTALISTS decided to take their message to Labour’s Scottish conference by driving a hired van round the Oban conference centre with big posters on the back opposing nuclear power. The only problem was that, by driving round and round the conference hall all day, they were producing more greenhouse gases than anything else in Oban – including the Labour conference.
Scotsman 25th Nov 2006

Iran

Iran has agreed to hand over records of its uranium enrichment work in a boost to UN efforts to determine whether Tehran seeks nuclear weapons, but diplomats and analysts said more cooperation is needed.
Middle East Online 24th Nov 2006

Iran has begun reinforcing its nuclear facility defences with Russian missile systems designed to thwart missile attacks, it was confirmed yesterday.
Telegraph 25th Nov 2006

Decommissioning

THE firm with the largest share of the nuclear clean-up market in America has opened an office in west Cumbria. Washington Group International was the main contractor at the low level waste repository at Drigg for six years until 2005. Now the firm is looking to re-establish itself in the area by opening up at the Westlakes Science & Technology Park.
Carlisle News and Star 24th Nov 2006

Pakistan

China’s president signed a five-year trade pact with Pakistan today, promising to continue joint development of nuclear energy and pledging to play a “constructive” role in resolving disputes between Pakistan and its next-door rival India.
ICWales 24th Nov 2006

Chinese president Hu Jintao yesterday promised support for Pakistan’s nuclear energy programme but stopped short of announcing plans to supply its longstanding strategic ally with further reactors. A senior Pakistani official claimed Mr Hu’s remarks provided tacit confirmation of China’s agreement to help build the nuclear reactors required to achieve the planned tenfold increase in Pakistan’s civil nuclear capacity to about 8,800 megawatts by 2030.
FT 25th Nov 2006

Russian Spy

A radiation alert was declared by the Government last night as it was disclosed that a former KGB colonel who died in London had been poisoned by a rare and deadly substance – polonium-210.
Telegraph 25th Nov 2006
Guardian 25th Nov 2006

What is polonium-210?
Telegraph 25th Nov 2006
Times 25th Nov 2006

Posted: 25 November 2006

24 November 2006

New nukes

EDF Energy, the French power giant, will seek a licence to build a new £2.5bn (E4bn, $5bn) nuclear power station in Britain early next year, its British chief executive, Vincent de Rivaz, has revealed. EdF will make its British application public shortly after the NII publishes guidelines on the licensing process in January. The initial stage of licensing will involve gaining British regulatory approval for one of the handful of modern nuclear reactor designs to be built on existing sites. De Rivaz said he believed that once its application was made, EdF could obtain a licence by the end of the decade, and have its new nuclear power station generating electricity by 2017.
The Business 22nd Nov 2006

Chernobyl

It starts off as a small blob over Ukraine, but then spreads. Constantly changing shape and colour, it curls its way round most of Europe. Sometimes it looks like an ink blot, sometimes like a demented bird and sometimes, even, like an angel of death. The French government’s Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) has posted on its website a graphic animation of the plume of radioactive caesium-137 from the world’s worst nuclear accident at Chernobyl in April and May 1986. It is, as one radiation scientist told me, an extraordinary tour de force.
New Scientist 23rd Nov 2006
RobEdwards.com 23rd Nov 2006

Trident

Steve Bell, Guardian 24th Nov 2006

The government launched what is sure to be a heated debate on the future of its nuclear arsenal on Thursday and promised a parliamentary vote on the issue early next year. Cabinet member Jack Straw, a former foreign minister, said there had been “very substantial consensus” in the cabinet’s initial discussion on Thursday on whether or how to replace Britain’s nuclear defence system.
Reuters 23rd Nov 2006
Scotsman 24th Nov 2006
Guardian 24th Nov 2006

Labour MPs will be ordered to back the Government when replacement of the Trident nuclear deterrent comes before the Commons early in the New Year. The announcement that backbenchers will be “whipped” sets the scene for an acrimonious debate over an issue that still divides the Labour Party.
Telegraph 24th Nov 2006

There is a dreary sense of inevitability about the whole process. On the face of it, the government is offering a wider discussion than has any government before. But underneath the promise of a debate looks like nothing more than window dressing.
Guardian Leader 24th Nov 2006

Britain is to maintain its nuclear defence with a straight submarine-based replacement for the Trident missile system, The Times has learnt.
Times 24th Nov 2006

Yesterday’s meeting of the Cabinet marked the start of a process that will decide whether Britain replaces its independent nuclear deterrent when the current system comes to the end of its life. A White Paper on the options for replacing the Trident nuclear missile system will be published before Christmas, and MPs will have the chance to debate and vote on the Government’s favoured option after a “period of debate” in the new year.
Independent 24th Nov 2006

FIRST MINISTER Jack McConnell yesterday again ducked the question of where he stands on Britain’s nuclear deterrent. At First Minister’s Question Time, SNP deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon pressed him to say whether he favoured replacing the Trident submarine nuclear missile system. Yesterday it emerged that MPs at Westminster will vote on the possibility of a replacement next year. Ms Sturgeon reminded MSPs that in September Mr McConnell said he would “come to a view and make that view very clear indeed.”
Dundee Courier 24th Nov 2006

Nuclear Convoys

Nuclear warheads on their way to and from Scotland have stopped off at Fulwood Barracks, nuclear watchers claim.
Lancashire Evening Post 23rd Nov 2006

Fusion

A TEENAGER has created a working nuclear reactor in the basement of his family home. Thiago Olson, 17, bought spare parts on eBay and persuaded manufacturers to give him discounts to create the machine. The schoolboy took 1,000 hours over two years to build the fusion reactor, which creates energy by combining atoms.
Daily Mirror 24th Nov 2006

Iran

Iran will give inspectors access to records and equipment from two of its nuclear sites, the head of the UN’s atomic agency, the IAEA, has said. Mohamed ElBaradei said he hoped Iran’s move would begin a series of measures that would clear suspicions over its nuclear programme.
BBC 23rd Nov 2006

Iran vowed yesterday to press ahead with the construction of a heavy water reactor which could arm two atomic bombs each year, despite condemnation of its plans by the United Nations. The announcement came after the UN’s atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, refused to provide safety assistance with the reactor being built at Arak, 120 miles south of Teheran.
Telegraph 24th Nov 2006

India

Companies with nuclear energy interests are eagerly queuing to enter India a week after the US Senate approved the US-India civil nuclear agreement. The bill, if finalised, would pave the way for the US to sell nuclear resources, equipment and technology to India.
FT 23rd Nov 2006

Dounreay

Plans to send underwater robots beneath the Pentland Firth to remove radioactive particles from the seabed off Dounreay were revealed yesterday. The UK Atomic Energy Authority, Dounreay’s operator, is to undertake trials of remotely operated technology next summer to see if it is up to the task and can save divers from having to do the job. Dounreay’s announcement followed the publication yesterday of a report by the Dounreay Particles Advisory Group (Dpag), which recommended “serious consideration be given to the targeted removal of significant particles in the marine environment”.
Herald 22nd Nov 2006

It is thought that retrieval might reduce the number of particles that could be transported on to beaches. However, it is also recognised that disturbance of the seabed may lead to a short-term increase in the number of particles on the Dounreay foreshore and on the beach at Sandside, which is open to the public and where 74 particles have been found. Radioactivity has led to a fishing ban within a 2km radius of the old effluent discharge point at Dounreay.
Scotsman 22nd Nov 2006

Australia

Australia, the world’s biggest coal exporter, should consider developing a nuclear power industry as part of its response to climate change, an independent report concluded yesterday. Although Australia is home to almost 40 per cent of the world’s uranium deposits, it has no nuclear power plants and only a single research reactor, relying instead on its plentiful and cheaper coal reserves.
FT 22nd Nov 2006

Bulgaria

Bulgaria is to slash electricity exports to neighbouring countries from January after shutting two more units at the Kozloduy nuclear power plant on the Danube as a condition for European Union entry. Albania and Montenegro, which suffer chronic electricity shortages caused by rising demand and lack of investment in new generating capacity, are likely to be worst hit. Greece and Serbia could also face power cuts at times of peak demand. Despite the Kozloduy closures, Bulgaria is committed to a nuclear future. Bulgaria last month selected an international consortium led by Atomstroyexport, the Russian nuclear power utility 45 per cent owned by Gazprom, to build a $4bn nuclear plant at Belene, an island on the river Danube. The other consortium partners are Siemens of Germany and Areva of France. The project includes two 1,000 megawatt units with a 60-year lifespan. The European Commission has not raised objections, although Sofia’s choice of partner does not fit with its policy of reducing dependence on Russian energy suppliers.
FT 22nd Nov 2006

British Energy

British Energy’s first half results show improved financial performance despite a drop in output. Meanwhile, boiler tube cracking at Hunterston B and Hinkley Point B have led to the decision to run those stations at 70%.
Nuclear Engineering International 22nd Nov 2006

Posted: 24 November 2006

23 November 2006

Trident

The foreign secretary, Margaret Beckett, said yesterday she would support the retention of a British independent nuclear deterrent, as the cabinet prepares to discuss a white paper backing a retention.
Guardian 23rd Nov 2006

Ministers are expected to discuss the future of Britain’s nuclear weapons system for the first time at the weekly meeting of the Cabinet.
BBC 23rd Nov 2006

MPs will be given a vote on whether or not to replace Britain’s Trident nuclear missile deterrent, said Prime Minister Tony Blair. Confirming that a White Paper would be published by the end of the year, Blair said he believed “it is important that we maintain an independent nuclear deterrent”.
Interactive Investor 22nd Nov 2006

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has called upon the government to set an example to the international community by decommissioning its nuclear weapons. The call came one day before Prime Minister Tony Blair announced that a white paper on the issue will be published before Christmas.
Christian Today 22nd Nov 2006
Portsmouth Today 22nd Nov 2006

THE Prime Minster has insisted Britain should keep its independent nuclear deterrent. Challenged by Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell during Prime Ministers Questions, Mr Blair confirmed a white paper on the future of Trident will be published before the end of the year.
The Sun 22nd Nov 2006
BBC 22nd Nov 2006

Gordon Brown is backing the most expensive option for a new British nuclear deterrent – a “top end” fleet of ballistic missile-firing submarines costing tens of billions of pounds. Despite the Chancellor’s traditional caution over spending, sources say he has no intention of compromising on a replacement for the current Trident submarine force.Telegraph 23rd Nov 2006

India

US companies are clamouring to break into India’s nuclear energy market – forecast to be worth $100bn (£53bn) – as lawmakers race to finalise the US-India civilian nuclear agreement cleared last week by the US Senate.
FT 23rd Nov 2006

Congo

Missing keys, holes in fence and a single padlock: welcome to Congo’s nuclear plant. The IAEA is worried that lax security could lead to enriched uranium falling into the wrong hands.
Guardian 23rd Nov 2006

North Korea

It is less than two months since the North Korean government of Kim Jong-il – a notoriously secretive and unstable regime dangerous to its neighbours as well as its own people – detonated a nuclear device in an underground test and celebrated its emergence as the world’s ninth nuclear power.
FT 23rd Nov 2006

A senior North Korean official has said the North does not intend to abandon its nuclear programme when it returns to talks on the subject, reports say.
BBC 22nd Nov 2006

Australia

Nuclear power is a viable option for meeting Australia’s future energy needs, a new government report says.
BBC 22nd Nov 2006

Posted: 23 November 2006

22 November 2006

Fusion

A ground-breaking effort to change the way in which nuclear energy is commercially produced by copying the power of the Sun and the stars won international agreement yesterday. A multinational programme to develop nuclear fusion, which involves fusing together atomic nuclei as opposed to the present practice of splitting atoms, was formally approved by the European Union, the United States, China, India, Japan, Russia and South Korea.
Times 22nd Nov 2006
FT 22nd Nov 2006
The Sun 22nd Nov 2006
Telegraph 22nd Nov 2006
Daily Mail 22nd Nov 2006

Trident

Beckett is leading a Cabinet split on the replacement of Trident.
Times 22nd Nov 2006

Amid growing scepticism about the genuineness of the British government’s ‘review’ of the Trident nuclear submarine replacement options (the PM and senior cabinet figures have already made it clear they favour replacement), the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales issued a statement yesterday calling for total nuclear disarmament.
Ekklesia 22nd Nov 2006

The future of Britain’s nuclear deterrent will be discussed for the first time by the Cabinet tomorrow after the Defence Secretary, Des Brown, outlines the threat posed by the spread of the weapons. Ministers will decide in the next few weeks whether they should agree to a new nuclear submarine ballistic missile system needed to replace the ageing Trident by 2024. A replacement could cost as much as £40 billion and a decision in favour will be bitterly opposed by a substantial number of Labour MPs as well as thousands of party supporters.
Telegraph 22nd Nov 2006

Britain’s head of military procurement said on Tuesday the ministry would issue a white paper by the end of the year detailing the government’s thoughts on whether it should replace its nuclear armed submarines with new ones. “If we want to replace that deterrent at the end of its life, we have to take decisions now,” Minister for Defence Procurement Lord Drayson told a hearing of the House of Commons’ Defence Committee.
Reuters 21st Nov 2006

Government plans to upgrade or replace the Trident nuclear missile system are in breach of Britain’s obligations under international law, disarmament campaigners said yesterday. As ministers prepare to put the final touches to a white paper on Trident’s future, Greenpeace, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and the Acronym Institute, an independent thinktank, demanded a full debate on the legality of the plans, and on alternative defence policies, before the promised Commons vote on the issue.
Guardian 22nd Nov 2006

Nuclear Waste

Community leaders move to reassure residents that nuclear waste will not be dumped in Lincolnshire.
Lincolnshire Echo 22nd Nov 2006
Lincolnshire Echo 21st Nov 2006
Louth Leader 21st Nov 2006

Conservative leader says the Government has not approached Lincolnshire, and we have no plans to apply for a waste dump.
Lincolnshire Echo 21st Nov 2006

New nukes

According to a new survey from the Financial Times, the British people are evenly divided between the yes, no, and don’t know categories when it comes to the issue of building new nuclear power facilities.
Energy Business Review 22nd Nov 2006

EDF’s response to the DTI’s Nuclear Policy Framework Consultation has been published.
EDF Press Release 21st Nov 2006

Australia

Nuclear power is a viable option for meeting Australia’s future energy needs, a new government report says. The report, ordered by PM John Howard in June, said Australia could have a nuclear enrichment and power industry within 10 to 15 years.
BBC 21st Nov 2006

THE draft report on uranium mining processing and nuclear energy is an exercise in “greenwash” for a dirty and dangerous industry. It skates over the serious risks of proliferation of nuclear weapons, nuclear terrorism and nuclear waste management, misrepresents the carbon dioxide emissions from the nuclear fuel chain, and presents a highly selective and excessively optimistic choice of numbers for the cost of nuclear electricity.
Sydney Morning Herald 22nd Nov 2006

Dounreay

Remote controlled underwater vehicles – ROVs – could be used to clear radioactive particles from the seabed near the Dounreay nuclear complex. The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), which is cleaning up the site, said it hopes to test the technology’s suitability for the task. UKAEA also said it would step up monitoring of Sandside Beach, near the plant in Caithness, for particles. Seventy-four rogue particles have been found on the beach.
BBC 21st Nov 2006

Posted: 22 November 2006

21 November 2006

New nukes

An opinion poll published today suggests that only a third of the British public supports the building of a new generation of nuclear power stations.
RTE 20th Nov 2006

Blair – Who says I’m not Green? Despite fully sharing their belief in the seriousness of the climate threat, Mr Blair parts company with the likes of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth over what he sees as a key part of the solution, and they do not – nuclear power. Asked if he accepted that there were public fears about nuclear power, he said: “Yes, there are public fears, but they’re often generated less by knowledge than by people saying well, if something has got the word ‘nuclear’ in it, then there must be a problem.” On the issue of nuclear waste he was equally unapologetic. (The Government has announced that Britain’s long-term nuclear waste store will be deep underground, but only located in a community that volunteers to take it. It may yet be decades away.) He was asked: “What do you say to people who say, you’re creating more nuclear waste with a new generation of nuclear power stations, when we still don’t have a site for disposal of the waste that’s been created over the last 50 years?” Mr Blair replied: “Well, we’re going to have to get that site, in any event, and we said that’s best done by people volunteering. And the new nuclear power stations generate about a tenth of the waste [of the old ones] – but in any event we’re going to have to find storage for that. “But when you actually go into the details of the science of that storage, some of the fears that are raised seem to me at any rate to be completely exaggerated.”
Independent 18th Nov 2006

Blair has failed to make the case for new nuclear power stations.
Green Party Press Release 20th Nov 2006

Asked, following a poll in the Financial Times which showed an even split between pro, against and unsure supporters for nuclear power, what the Prime Minister would say on the matter in the coming week, the PMOS said that the energy white paper had been produced and put forward the arguments why we needed to have a mixed energy supply of renewable energy, conventional energy, and nuclear energy. This argument is one that is designed to meet the energy needs of the country, but also to meet the demands of the environment, this is why the White Paper suggests the mix it does.
Downing Street 20th Nov 2006

Their construction is by no means assured, but suddenly a career behind lead walls looks more attractive. Or does it?
Guardian 21st Nov 2006

Dounreay

Another radioactive particle from the Dounreay nuclear complex in Caithness has been found washed up at nearby Sandside Beach. It brings to 74 the number of hotspots which radiation surveyors have recovered from the area. Three radioactive hotspots were found at the public beach earlier this month. The metallic fragments of reprocessed reactor fuel are linked to a rogue historic discharge from the plant, which is being decommissioned.
BBC 15th Nov 2006

Japan

The Japanese government vowed yesterday not to acquire nuclear weapons in the wake of the North Korean A-bomb test nor open the issue to public debate, despite mounting pressure for it to do so.
FT 21st Nov 2006

Trident

Letters: in the lowest cost scenario, a like-for-like Trident replacement would cost £43.4bn over 30 years, rising to £76bn if the current higher annual costs are maintained. Greenpeace says: Your article doesn’t mention the fifth option the government must consider: to abandon plans for Trident replacement, to take Trident off patrol and confine warheads to an internationally monitored site in the UK. The UK could then credibly lead efforts to strengthen international disarmament negotiations.
Guardian 21st Nov 2006

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain warned against any “bouncing from on high” of the public or MPs over replacing Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent.
Yorkshire Post 21st Nov 2006

Fusion

World governments are about to sign off on the biggest and most expensive scientific experiment since the space station: a project to build an experimental nuclear fusion reactor. In this week’s Green Room, the Iter programme’s Director-General Nominee, Kaname Ikeda, argues that the considerable sums of money involved are a very worthwhile investment for the world.
BBC 17th Nov 2006

Iran

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has not found conclusive evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons.
BBC 20th Nov 2006

Iranian President says his country intends to have 60,000 centrifuges to meet its nuclear fuel needs by 2007.
Middle East Online 20th Nov 2006

Nuclear Waste

Community leaders in North East Lincolnshire have hit out at suggestions nuclear waste could be stored in the area.
Grimsby Telegraph 20th Nov 2006

Energy Gap

The gap between energy supply and demand could cost companies £108 billion by 2015, according to Logica-CMG, which provides IT and other business services. The Government’s recent Energy White Paper forecast that energy demand may be 30 per cent greater than supply by 2025 if no action is taken. LogicaCMG predicts that the energy gap could be 23 per cent at peak times by 2015. Within four years, the consultancy expects the gap to be 5 per cent and cost business £7.9 billion a year if energy-intensive companies are forced to shut down at regular intervals.
Times 21st Nov 2006

Westinghouse

The public sector posted a net cash repayment of £8.4bn, well above forecast and the best for an October since 1999. But it was flattered by the sale of British Nuclear Fuel’s Westinghouse subsidiary.
Independent 21st Nov 2006

Posted: 21 November 2006