News September 2006

30 September 2006

Egypt

Egypt – along with Turkey – recently announced plans to build nuclear power plants.
BBC 29th Sept 2006

Russia

Britain’s Prince Michael of Kent has opened a new nuclear storage site in northern Russia funded by the UK. The Murmansk region in the Arctic Circle hosts Russia’s nuclear submarine fleet and nuclear ice breakers.
BBC 29th Sept 2006
DTI Press Release 29th Sept 2006

BNG Privatisation

MP Jamie Reed has attacked the sale.
Calisle News and Star 29th September 2006

Sellafield

A NUCLEAR disaster training exercise is about to take place at Sellafield on Tuesday. It will test the off-site emergency procedures. All of the agencies who would be involved in a real emergency response will be examining their readiness. To make the event even more challenging, the plant’s normal emergency control centre — at Summergrove near Whitehaven — will not be used. The exercise, code-named Oscar 8, will work on the basis that Summergrove is out of action. Instead, emergency control rooms at the Civic Centre and Sands Leisure Centre, both Carlisle, will be set up.
Carlisle News and Star 30th sept 2006

Nuclear Free Zones

Letter: In the 1980s we lived in a house with a 30ft rear garden. The property straddled the boundary between the London boroughs of Lewisham and Bromley. Lewisham had declared itself a nuclear-free zone, but Bromley had not. Our survival plan, in the event of a nuclear holocaust, was to flee certain death in the house (the majority of which lay in Bromley) to the security of the garden shed (which lay exclusively in Lewisham).
Times 30th Sept 2006

Iran

Japan will stop financial support for the development of Iran’s largest onshore oil field if the Islamic republic continues to enrich uranium, it said in a statement.
Interactive Investor 29th Sept 2006

Posted: 30 September 2006

29 September 2006

North Korea

A top Chinese nuclear envoy arrived in South Korea on Friday to help spur stalled talks on ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme, with Washington growing weary of Pyongyang’s refusal to return to the table.
Reuters 29th Sept 2006

Terror

AL-QAEDA’S new leader in Iraq has called for nuclear scientists to help him kill Westerners with dirty bombs. Abu Ayyub al-Masri’s chilling appeal was made in a 20-minute audio message posted on a website yesterday. The terror chief said he wants scientists – especially nuclear and explosives experts – to join his “holy war”.
Daily Record 29th Sept 2006
Sky 28th Sept 2006
Guardian 29th Sept 2006

Fusion

CHINA made its first successful test of a thermonuclear fusion reactor yesterday, raising the energy-hungry country’s profile in the new technology that promises clean power.
Scotsman & Telegraph 29th Sept 2006

Iran

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said on Thursday he had failed to reach a deal with Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator on Tehran’s atomic ambitions, but they had paved the way for further talks.
Reuters 28th Sept 2006
Interactive Investor 28th Sept 2006
Middle East Online 28th Sept 2006
FT 29th Sept 2006

Over the past couple of weeks the BBC has been Uncovering Iran, presumably so that we know more about the place before the bombs and missiles start their own series of Burying Iran. And quite the most illuminating programme in the season was last Saturday’s From Tehran with Laughter (Radio 4), in which the cuddly British Iranian stand-up and, more latterly, Hollywood go-to guy when it comes to expendable Middle Eastern character actors, Omid Djalili made the case for not wiping the land of his forefathers off the face of the earth because, well, they enjoy a good laugh as much as the rest of us.
Times 29th Sept 2006

New nukes

Lord Rees of Ludlow, who is president of the Royal Society, said nuclear power would be necessary in the years ahead as Britain tries to cut greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Treaty. And he called for more research into solar power and biofuels.
Manchester Evening News 28th Sept 2006

UN

Ban Ki-Moon, the frontrunner in the race to become the next United Nations secretary general, defended himself yesterday against accusations that he was too weak to hold the post. Mr Ban, promoting his own case, said he had been a diplomat for almost four decades, dealing with many complex issues, the most recent of which had been the North Korea nuclear weapons negotiations, though these, at present, are stalled.
Guardian 29th sept 2006

Renweables

The DIY retailer B&Q is to sell budget-priced wind turbines and solar panels in 300 of its stores from next month because it believes consumers are ready to embrace a low-energy future.
Telegraph 29th Sept 2006

Posted: 29 September 2006

28 September 2006

Iran

Iran’s top nuclear negotiator has begun talks with the European Union’s foreign policy chief on Iran’s controversial nuclear programme.
BBC 27th Sept 2006
Reuters 27th Sept 2006
FT 28th sept 2006

Scotland

MSPs have agreed to press ministers on whether or not the issue of nuclear waste has been resolved. The Scottish Executive has repeatedly stated that new nuclear power stations will not be built until the problem of what to do with the waste has been dealt with.
IC Scotland 27th Sept 2006

New nukes

Letter: Within minutes of viewing the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) website, I unearthed the fact the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is bringing a criminal prosecution against British Nuclear Group Sellafield Ltd (BNGSL), in connection with an incident at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing site.The facts are out there: Nuclear power is dirty, polluting, expensive, wasteful and a potential terrorist target.
Scunthorpe Telegraph 27th September 2006

Dounreay

THE owner of a beach contaminated by radioactive debris from the Dounreay nuclear research facility has given up on government promises to clean it and is planning to hire American scientists to do it instead. Geoffrey Minter, who owns the 10,000-acre Sandside estate in Caithness has accused the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) of dragging its feet over its obligation to clear his land of deadly fragments of the plants fuel rods. Minter has met scientists in Atlanta, Georgia, who have worked closely with the US energy department to clear up contaminated sites.
Sunday Times 24th September 2006

Opinion poll

Support among MPs for new nuclear power stations has increased significantly over the last year, a survey published today suggests. The Mori poll for the Nuclear Industry Association found Labour backbenchers appeared markedly less hostile to nuclear, following the governments decision in this years energy review to replace the UKs ageing fleet of stations. The survey of 108 MPs, including 63 Labour and 29 Tories, found 61 per cent backed new build, up 16 points from last year. The proportion of Labour MPs supporting new nuclear was 60 per cent, compared with 35 per cent last year.
FT 25th Sept 2006

Renewables

A wood-fuelled station is planned for lland near at Fort William A £30m biomass energy scheme with the potential to heat thousands of homes is being proposed in Lochaber. Tanaris Ltd has signed a deal with aluminium manufacturer Alcan to build a biomass combined heat and power station on land it owns at Fort William.
BBC 23rd Sept 2006
Scotsman 23rd Sept 2006

Wind and water turbines could be built across Derby under new proposals. The move has been prompted by Derby City Council’s escalating fuel bills, which rose to £5.15m during the past financial year. Now the council’s environment commission is set to present the cabinet with a list of recommendations over energy use and conservation.
Derby Evening Telegraph 25th Sept 2006

Submarines

Small amounts of radiation have been detected near a US nuclear submarine off the coast of Japan. The radioactive material, including substances such as cobalt 60, was detected in waters off Yokosuka, near Tokyo, as the submarine left port on September 14, according to the Kyodo news agency. The report, citing Japanese government officials, said the radiation posed no danger to surrounding residents or the environment.
Sky News 27th Sept 2006

CND

A 62-year-old woman was arrested and cautioned for common assault yesterday, after a Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament protest involving 70 people was broken up by mounted police and officers with dogs. Kate Hudson, the CND chairperson, complained the response was heavy-handed. Greater Manchester Police said last night that a Section 14 order, compelling the protesters to disperse, was served after they “refused to co-operate”.
Independent 28th Sept 2006

Trident

Jon Cruddas launched his bid for the deputy leadership last night with a sideswipe at Gordon Brown for pre-empting the party’s debate about the replacement of the Trident nuclear weapon system. Mr Cruddas, 44, said the Chancellor’s decision to commit himself to a full replacement for Trident before the party or the Cabinet had properly discussed it symbolised the authoritarian leadership that his campaign is designed to challenge.
Independent 28th Sept 2006

Posted: 28 September 2006

27 September 2006

Scotland

Scotland can meet its future energy requirements without the need for nuclear power, MSPs are due to be told. Campaigner Colin Anderson is urging the Scottish Parliament to debate the nuclear issue even though energy is a reserved matter dealt with at Westminster. But Mr Anderson, from Perth, believes the country’s future energy policy is so important that Scotland must have a say in determining it.
IC Scotland 27th Sept 2006

Russia

Representatives from General Electric have revealed that the company is interested in cooperating with Russia’s Rosenergoatom in the nuclear energy sector.
Energy Business Review 27th Sept 2006

Companies

International Nuclear Solutions PLC, the AIM-listed nuclear engineering company said that pretax profit for the first half of the yaer was 192,000 stg against 1.12 mln stg in the same period the previous year.
Interactive Investor 26th Sept 2006

E.ON raised its offer for the Spanish energy group Endesa to €37bn (£25bn) last night, just hours after the European Commission ordered Madrid to dismantle a series of measures designed to block the bid from the German utility.
Independent 27th Sept 2006

Politics

Michael Meacher says: Above all, we should be leading the world in energy conservation and switching from fossil fuels to renewables, rather than reverting to nuclear power with all its risks and downsides.
Guardian 27th Sept 2006

Blair’s speech: 10 years ago I parked the issue of nuclear power. Today, I believe without it, we are going to face an energy crisis and we can’t let that happen. Global warming is the greatest long-term threat to our planet’s environment. Scarce energy resources mean rising prices and will threaten our country’s economy. In 15 years we will go from 80% self-sufficient in oil and gas to 80% imported. We need therefore the most radical overhaul of energy policy since the War. We will increase the amount of energy from renewable sources fivefold; ensure every major business in the country has a responsibility for greenhouse gas reduction; treble investment in clean technology, including clean coal; and make sure every new home is at least 40% more energy efficient. We will meet our Kyoto targets by double the amount; and we will take the necessary measures, step by step by step, to meet one of the most ambitious targets on the environment set anywhere in the world – a 60% reduction in emissions by 2050.
Guardian 27th Sept 2006

Posted: 27 September 2006

26 September 2006

North Korea

The United States is willing to hold a bilateral meeting with North Korea even before six-nation nuclear disarmament talks resume, in a concession aimed at restarting the stalled dialogue, US ambassador to South Korea Alexander Vershbow said.
Interactive Investor 26th Sept 2006

North Korea will probably test a nuclear weapon, with an even chance of doing so this year, as Kim Jong-il’s regime tries to assert its defiance in the face of increasing international pressure, said Richard Armitage, former US deputy secretary of state.
FT 26th Sept 2006

Hinkley

An inspection of nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point B power station in Somerset has been brought forward amid new safety fears. It follows checks on reactors at Scotland’s Hunterston plant, which showed problems with cracked pipes. British Energy said it did not believe the position at Hinkley B – which has identical reactors – was as serious. But as a prudent measure, the date of the station’s three-yearly statutory inspection has been brought forward.
BBC 26th Sept 2006

Iran

Iran is close to a deal that would include a temporary suspension of uranium enrichment and clear the way for nuclear talks but Tehran wants to keep the agreement secret, The Washington Times reported on Tuesday.
Interactive Investor 26th Sept 2006

The head of Iran’s nuclear energy agency has met with Russian officials to hammer out a schedule for startup of the Bushehr nuclear power station, long delayed by political and technical problems.
Interactive Investor 25th Sept 2006

US

France’s Areva, along with Washington Group International and BWX Technologies, has submitted an expression of interest to the US Department of Energy for both the development and deployment of a consolidated fuel treatment center and an advanced burner reactor. The consolidated fuel treatment center will be capable of processing used nuclear fuel into recyclable, energy-producing components and final waste materials. It will serve also as a fuel manufacturing plant.
Energy Business Review 26th Sept 2006

Trident

The government has failed to make the case for renewing Britain’s nuclear deterrent, the former cabinet minister Charles Clarke said yesterday. Speaking at a Guardian debate at the conference, Mr Clarke, who was sacked as home secretary in May, fuelled the argument about Trident which some members have accused the party leadership of trying to curb.
Guardian 26th Sept 2006

Egypt

The sudden revival of Egypt’s plans to develop nuclear power have prompted speculation that President Hosni Mubarak may have more than just future energy supplies in mind. Both Mr Mubarak and his 42-year old son Gamal argued in speeches at the ruling National Democratic Party’s annual conference last week that nuclear power could help Egypt to manage its energy resources more efficiently. But experts and analysts point to the timing of the announcements – coinciding with western concerns that Iran’s nuclear programme may prompt an arms race in the Middle East – as a sign of their potentially broader regional significance.
FT 26th Sept 2006

Israel

In October 1973, with its forces battling to repel invasions by Egypt and Syria, Israel did what had previously been unthinkable: It briefly wheeled its nuclear-capable Jericho-1 missiles out of their secret silos. That, historians believe, was picked up by U.S. spy satellites and stirred up fears in Washington of a catastrophic flare-up between the Jewish state and the Soviet-backed Arabs. Message received, an urgent American shipment of conventional arms to Israel was quick to follow, and helped turn the war. With Israel’s current arch-foe Iran seen gaining the ability to produce nuclear weapons within a few years, and preventive military options limited, some experts now anticipate another “lifting of the veil” on the assumed Israeli atomic arsenal. Were that to happen, experts say, the objective would be to establish a more open military deterrence vis-a-vis Iran and perhaps win Israel’s nuclear option formal legitimacy abroad.
Reuters 25th Sept 2006

Argentina

Argentina’s President Nestor Kirchner and planning minister Julio De Vido have announced plans to revive the country’s nuclear programme after a twelve year moratorium on nuclear development.
Nuclear Engineering International 25th Sept 2006

Posted: 26 September 2006

25 September 2006

Middle East

EGYPT and Turkey are pressing ahead with plans to join the nuclear club, amid fears that Iran’s atomic programme could trigger a nuclear race across the Middle East. After the failure of the United Nations to curb Iran’s nuclear development, including the enrichment of uranium, experts fear that other powers in the region may feel forced to build their own deterrent.
Times 25th Sept 2006

Egypt is to revive the civilian nuclear power programme it froze 20 years ago following the accident at the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine. Egypt’s energy minister told the state-owned al-Ahram newspaper of plans to build a nuclear power station. The plant will be constructed at El-Dabaa, on the Mediterranean coast, within the next 10 years.
BBC 25th Sept 2006

Trident

The conference arrangements committee ruled that motions on the leadership of the party – the principal topic of conversation among those attending the conference – and on the replacement of Trident were both out of order. Delegates complained that they were being “gagged” and that it would be the party’s only opportunity for a full public discussion before a decision is made on the £25bn weapons system by the end of the year.
Independent 25th Sept 2006
FT 25th Sept 2006

Cabinet ministers yesterday urged the Labour leadership to open up the debate on renewing Britain’s nuclear deterrent as delegates protested that they were being denied a vote on the issue.
Guardian 25th Sept 2006

Pleas for party unity from Labour’s high command were shattered yesterday as Peter Hain, Hilary Benn and Harriet Harman demanded a full debate on plans to replace Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent.
Telegraph 25th Sept 2006
Mirror 25th Sept 2006

Posted: 25 September 2006

24 September 2006

Trident

Thousands of anti-war activists joined a huge rally calling on the government to bring British troops home from Iraq and arguing the public does not want a new generation of nuclear weapons.
Guardian website 23rd Sept 2006
Ananova 23rd Sept 2006

While there will be a showdown with the unions on NHS privatisation and pensions, grassroots motions on many contentious issues – Iraq or Trident – were ruled out of order at last week’s meeting of National Executive Committee.
Observer 24th Sept 2006
Express on Sunday 24th Sept 2006

Iran

France, Britain and Germany would be willing to begin talks with Iran even if it has not suspended its nuclear enrichment programme first, but Washington would not take part, a German magazine reported on Saturday.
Reuters 23rd Sept 2006

North Korea

A North Korean official said his country will soon unload fuel rods from a nuclear reactor to make plutonium for weapons, seeking to pressure Washington into direct talks, a visiting U.S. scholar said on Saturday.
Reuters 23rd Sept 2006

British Energy

THIS weekend British Energy, the nuclear-power producer, will close down its Hinkley Point B station to check if it has similar cracks in its pipes to those discovered at its sister plant at Hunterston B. Such is the heat generated in these pipes that it will take at least 10 days to cool down before the inspection can start. Last week, British Energy warned that cracks in one of its boiler tubes at Hunterston will hit this year’s output and the shares fell 67p on the week to close at 568p. Whatever the outcome it is becoming increasingly unlikely that the government will proceed with the sale of a 20% to 30% stake in British Energy until January.
Sunday Times 24th Sept 2006

Posted: 24 September 2006

23 September 2006

Sellafield MoX Plant

A British nuclear plant recently constructed to make plutonium fuel for power reactors in Japan and Europe has been plagued with so many breakdowns that it may have to be shut down. A technical review for the government’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) reveals that the plant at Sellafield in Cumbria has suffered 37,000 minor and 100 major equipment failures in a year. These have prevented production for about 70% of the time.
New Scientist 22nd Sept 2006
Rob Edwards’ website 22nd Sept 2006

Trident

At least 25,000 anti-war protesters are expected in Manchester tomorrow for a march to coincide with the start of the Labour conference. The Iraq march is also in protest at the Israeli bombing of Lebanon and the government’s plans to replace Trident.
Guardian 23rd September 2006
Independent 23rd Sept 2006

Peter Hain favours “libertarian socialism” over “state socialism”. MPs and the grassroots, he argues, should have far more say over policy. The decision about whether the Trident nuclear missile system should be replaced “should not be taken behind closed doors with a couple of senior members of the Government, but in a more open way,”.
Telegraph 23rd Sept 2006

Iran

Mr Ahmadinejad, who is engaged in a perilous stand-off with Europe and the US over his country’s nuclear ambitions, used his time in New York to articulate his Holocaust doubts again while repeatedly assailing the “hegemonic powers” for imposing “their exclusionist policies on international decision-making mechanisms, including the Security Council”.
Independent 23rd Sept 2006

Scotland

SCOTLAND could meet its future energy needs without having to build new nuclear power stations, Jack McConnell said yesterday. In his boldest statement on the subject to date, the First Minister said he felt a “massive” increase in renewable energy could replace nuclear entirely. However, given the importance of a secure electricity supply to homes and business, he said it would be foolish to rule out the nuclear option permanently. Mr McConnell’s remarks came as the SNP again put him under pressure to give a definitive view on whether he wanted to see new nuclear power plants in Scotland.
Herald 22nd Sept 2006

Posted: 23 September 2006

22 September 2006

Torness

AN EMERGENCY shutdown of the Torness reactors caused by a seaweed blockage has led a Borders councillor to question the value of nuclear power. John Elliot represents Scottish Borders Council on the east coast power station’s liaison committee. He was speaking to TheSouthern after confirmation from station owners British Energy that engineers had been forced into shutting down both power-producing reactors at the 18-year-old station.
Borders Today 21st Sept 2006

Scotland

JACK McConnell declared his support for a nuclear-free Scotland for the first time yesterday, when he said he did not believe the country needed any new nuclear power stations. The First Minister told MSPs: “I suspect that we have the capacity in Scotland to deliver the energy needs that we have from a massive increase in renewable sources. “I don’t suspect that new [nuclear] stations will be required in Scotland.”
Scotsman 22nd Sept 2006
Dundee Courier 22nd Sept 2006
BBC 21st Sept 2006
IC Scotland 21st Sept 2006

Iran

Iran believes that nuclear negotiations with Europe are making progress, President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad said on Thursday, leaving open the possibility that talks “under fair conditions” could include discussion of suspension of Iran’s uranium enrichment programme.
FT 22nd Sept 2006
Reuters 22nd Sept 2006

The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, today insisted that his country did not need nuclear weapons and had no plans to develop them.
Guardian website 21st Sept 2006

Israel

Arab nations asked the UN’s atomic energy watchdog, the IAEA, to adopt a resolution condemning Israel’s nuclear activities — even as the UN pressured Iran on the same issue in New York.
Interactive Investor 21st Sept 2006

North Korea

Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi – who dismantled his own country’s nuclear programme in 2003 – has tried in vain to persuade North Korea to do likewise, South Korean officials said.
Middle East Online 21st Sept 2006

Egypt

The US is ready to supply technology to Egypt if it develops a peaceful nuclear program.
Independent 22nd July 2006

Posted: 22 September 2006

21 September 2006

British Energy

ENVIRONMENT campaigners today used a 14ft inflatable white elephant to highlight their opposition to nuclear power. The blow-up animal was part of a demonstration outside Murrayfield Stadium, in Roseburn Street this morning. Protesters wrote the slogans “Nuclear power, no thanks. It’s a white elephant” and “Say no to nuclear power. It’s a white elephant” on it. The protest was timed to co-incide with a BE AGM.
Edinburgh Evening News 20th Sept 2006

Nuclear power generator British Energy yesterday lost nearly £300m from its stock market worth as investors were spooked over delays in repairs to two of its power stations. The company issued a late statement after the market had closed on Monday evening revealing the fresh blow in its battle to improve output at Hunterston B in Ayrshire and Hinkley Point B in Somerset.
Herald 20th Sept 2006
Scotsman 20th Sept 2006
Western Daily Press 20th Sept 2006

Hunterston

POLICE have urged power bosses to let workers picket at the entrance to a nuclear plant. British Energy ordered strikers off its land at the Hunterston power station in Ayrshire after a mass picket last week. But Divisional Commander Hamish Cormack has ruled an alternative demo site on public land is too dangerous because it’s just yards from a busy trunk road.
Glasgow Evening Times 19th Sept 2006

Nuclear Testing

More than 50 nations issued a plea on Wednesday for 10 more countries to ratify a 10-year old treaty banning nuclear tests, a step that would transform an informal moratorium into a binding commitment. Under the treaty’s terms, it will come into force only after it is ratified by the 44 states deemed capable of producing nuclear weapons. To date just 34 of those states have done so. The 10 that have not are the United States, China, Colombia, North Korea, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel and Pakistan.
Reuters 20th Sept 2006

THORP

Britain’s nuclear industry has been hit by further setbacks with the re-opening of the 1.8bn fuel reprocessing plant at Sellafield facing more delays and British Energy warning of difficulties with two reactors. Shares in British Energy slumped 8% to 587p after the company, which produces almost a quarter of the UK’s electricity, said the nuclear stations Hunterston B, in Ayrshire, and Hinkley Point B, Somerset, could need repairs to mend boiler cracks. The Thorp plant has been closed for 17 months following a leak of 83,000 litres of radioactive liquid, which led to BNG being fined 2m for safety lapses. BNG and the Nuclear installations Inspectorate are seeking to complete this [repair] work as quickly as possible but it is likely this will run until the end of December, leading to a restart early 2007.
Guardian 20th September 2006

Iran

Iran has called the West’s bluff on the nuclear stand-off.
Guardian 21st Sept 2006

Wales

Lembit Opik, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, told the Lib Dem conference at Brighton that Wales should have the right to say no to Tony Blair’s nuclear plans. “We now have at least 470,000m3 of hazardous nuclear waste in this country for which we have no disposal plans, enough to fill the Brighton Conference Hall 22 times,” said Mr Opik.
News Wales 20th Sept 2006

Trident

The true cost of replacing and operating the Trident nuclear missile system would be at least £76bn, according to estimates revealed today. Based on official figures, they take into account the initial cost of acquiring new Trident missiles and replacing Britain’s existing nuclear submarines, and the annual running costs of maintaining the system and nuclear warheads over its 30-year life.

Guardian 21st Sept 2006

Climate Change

George Monbiot: Almost everywhere, climate change denial now looks as stupid and as unacceptable as Holocaust denial. But I’m not celebrating yet. The danger is not that we will stop talking about climate change, or recognising that it presents an existential threat to humankind. The danger is that we will talk ourselves to kingdom come.
Guardian 21st Sept 2006

Posted: 21 September 2006