News August 2007

31 August 2007

Chief Scientist

John Beddington, Professor of Applied Population Biology at Imperial College, London, will succeed Professor Sir David King as the Chief Scientific Adviser when he steps down at the end of the year. Professor Beddington will be responsible for advising the Prime Minister and the Cabinet on a broad range of scientific issues. Early areas for his input are likely to include international climate change negotiations and decisions on a national nuclear waste dump and a new generation of nuclear power stations.

Times 31st August 2007 more >>

Iran

Iran appears to be making slower than expected progress in its uranium-enrichment programme – a development that could complicate US efforts to impose more sanctions on Tehran. A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations watchdog, appears to raise doubts over Iran’s claim in April that its enrichment programme had reached “industrial” capacity.

FT 31st August 2007 more >>

The UN nuclear watchdog says Iran has agreed to a plan aimed at clearing up questions about its controversial nuclear activities. The IAEA says the development is “significant”, but adds that for the plan to work, it is essential to get full and active co-operation from Iran.

BBC 30th August 2007 more >>

ABC Money 31st August 2007 more >>

Asia

Russia has expressed its readiness to co-operate with the Association of South East Asian Nations on an international atomic energy partnership model, the Vietnam News Agency reported, quoting a report by Voice of Russia.

Energy Business Review 29th August 2007 more >>

Dounreay

STRIKE action scheduled to hit the Dounreay plant last Wednesday has been shelved. It follows a breakthrough in the national pay dispute involving the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s workforce.

John O’ Groat Journal 29th August 2007 more >>

A 97th radioactive particle from Dounreay was yesterday detected and recovered from the nearby public beach at Sandside.

John O’ Groat Journal 29th August 2007 more >>

Sellafield

Former Copeland MP, Jack Cunningham has quit his lobbying post at Sovereign Strategy. Sovereign’s clients did include Fluor, but the company says it has not worked with them since May.

Whitehaven News 30th August 2007 more >>

Wastwater could be drained if new reactors are built at Sellafield according to South Lakeland Friends of the Earth.

Whitehaven News 30th August 2007 more >>

Serco

The Company’s shares drifted down since May on a mixture of profit-taking, disappointment over a troubled rail franchise contract, and delays in a UK nuclear decommissioning contract. The latter project looks to be back on track.

Telegraph 31st August 2007 more >>

Serco is part of a consortium which is bidding for the contract to decommission Sellafield nuclear plant and, along with Lockheed Martin, is seeking to buy BNFL’s stake in the joint venture which operates the Atomic Weapons Establishment.

Guardian 31st August 2007 more >>

Coal

Letter: New near-zero-emissions clean coal power stations gasify the coal. This process, which turns coal into hydrogen, can provide a clean, reliable and local source of power and can also improve our negotiating position with imported gas producers, and could thereby possibly cap the price of gas. Indigenous coal gasification at new plants can help limit Britain’s perilous overdependence on imported gas and support a balanced energy mix which should also include nuclear. Only this approach can plug the UK’s expected 20GW energy shortfall by 2020.

Guardian 31st August 2007 more >>

Nuclear Waste

Notices are warning that an “abnormal load” of nuclear waste will pass through two Notts villages tomorrow. British Nuclear Fuels has posted the signs in Cropwell Butler and Tithby. They say the tall load of waste must pass through the villages because it cannot travel under a low bridge near the Saxondale Island on the A46. The notices apologise to residents for any electrical interference that may be caused by the load. The load is expected to pass through the two villages during the early hours of tomorrow.

Nottingham Evening Post 28th August 2007 more >>

Nuclear Spin

When the Nuclear Energy Institute — with help from its PR firm, Hill & Knowlton — launched the “Clean and Safe Energy Coalition” in April 2006, Christie Whitman was named its co-chair, a paid position. Since then, the industry-funded campaign to re-brand nuclear power as clean, green and safe has benefited from Whitman’s communications skills, political connections and environmentalist image.

PR Watch 27th August 2007 more >>

Two lobbyists with lengthy resumes in New Jersey government set up a conference call with the media last week to announce the formation of the New Jersey Affordable, Clean, Reliable Energy Coalition (NJ ACRE), notes an Asbury Park Press editorial. The coalition will “advocate for nuclear energy and, more specifically, a 20-year license extension for the aging Oyster Creek plant” in Lacey, N.J. However, “the lobbyists neglected to point out they are being paid by Exelon Corp., Oyster Creek’s owner.

PR Watch 27th August 2007 more >>

During an August 15 news segment on nuclear power, why did National Public Radio’s John Ydstie say “many environmentalists … who began their careers opposed to nuclear power … are now reconsidering nuclear power in the face of global warming”? In an alert, the media watchdog group FAIR notes that Ydstie only mentioned one by name: Stewart Brand. But Brand — like fellow nuclear boosters Patrick Moore and Christine Todd Whitman, who consult for the Nuclear Energy Institute — has financial ties to the nuclear industry.

PR Watch 23rd August 2007 more >>

Posted: 31 August 2007

30 August 2007

Uranium

As oil has been the “black gold” which has made many fortunes, some have started to call uranium “hot gold”. The market for the dense, metallic element which fuels nuclear power stations has exploded over the past few years. Having languished at less than $10 (£5) a pound for much of the 1990s – which saw the closure of many uranium mines – its price shot up by 900pc between 2001 and 2006. But now investors’ appetite is cooling rapidly. After four years of non-stop rises, uranium hit $135 in June and then began to fall. In the past few weeks, it has slumped to $90.

Telegraph 30th August 2007 more >>

The government’s efforts to sell its stake in Urenco, the uranium-enrichment company, have become deadlocked, according to industry insiders, possibly delaying a disposal by several years. Urenco is thriving thanks to the revival of interest in nuclear power and the rise in popularity of its centrifugal enrichment technology, which uses less energy than rival gas diffusion techniques. But political sensitivities over the issue of technology transfer have dogged efforts to secure a buyer.

FT 30th August 2007 more >>

Iran

Yesterday’s skirmish, in which the US arrested eight Iranians in Baghdad and then let them go after consulting the Iraqi Government, was trivial and irrelevant to the broader clash between the two countries. There is no reason – although Tehran may not need one – to connect the incident with President Bush’s speech the previous night, in which he declared that Iran’s nuclear ambitions put the region “under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust”.

Times 30th August 2007 more >>

Climate

This week the Liberal Democrats unveiled plans to eliminate our greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050. Leo Hickman considers the implications.

Guardian 30th August 2007 more >>

Nuclear accidents

Two of the UK’s most serious nuclear weapons accidents in the 1980s were caused by long term lapses in safety procedures, according to newly declassified government reports released to New Scientist under freedom of information laws. The accidents look more serious than previously admitted by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The first accident happened on 2 May 1984 at RAF Bruggen in Germany. A nuclear warhead was damaged in transit when its container slid off a wet trailer as it turned a corner. The warhead rolled onto the tarmac and was dented within its container.

New Scientist, 30 August 2007 (subscription required) more >>

Rob Edwards.com 30th August 2007 (with links to declassified reports) more >>

Times 30th August 2007 more >>

Coal

What may soon be known as the new coal rush, and developments so at odds with the imperatives of climate change that they suggest a fast track towards irreversible disaster. The ubiquitous reduction of green politics to ethical consumerism means we’d probably rather carry on talking about cars, thermostats and lightbulbs. Faced with a resurgence that spans most of the planet, even the most righteous green activist could be forgiven for feeling powerless. No matter; what with skyrocketing gas prices and the fractious state of geopolitics, the stuff responsible for a quarter of the world’s CO2 emissions is on a roll, which surely represents our biggest environmental headache of all.

Guardian 30th August 2007 more >>

 

Posted: 30 August 2007

29 August 2007

Climate

Dramatic proposals to combat global warming became a key political battleground as details emerged of far-reaching plans by the two main opposition parties to slash carbon emissions. A leak of transport proposals likely to form part of a major Conservative policy review included a moratorium on airport expansion and a crackdown on domestic air travel, while the Liberal Democrats published detailed plans to transform Britain into a zero-carbon economy by 2050, and phase out nuclear power.

Independent 29th August 2007 more >>

Guardian 29th August 2007 more >>

Telegraph 29th August 2007 more >>

Public Opinion

An overwhelming majority of people believe that nuclear power will have a role to play in meeting Britain’s future energy needs, despite continued opposition from environmental campaigners. The latest in a monthly series of ethical reports compiled for The Times describes a growing groundswell of support for a new generation of nuclear power plants. Nearly two thirds of those surveyed by Populus said they believed that nuclear power will form part of an overall energy mix in the future, alongside coal, gas and “green” energy. More than one in five argued that it was the best way of tackling climate change. Only 20 per cent said that they remained opposed to the idea of nuclear power “under any circumstance”.

Times 29th August 2007 more >>

Utilities

Enel, Italy’s biggest power utility, plans to resume talks on nuclear energy co-operation with EDF, the French power giant, in the next couple of months, Fulvio Conti, the Enel chief executive, said. In 2005 Enel and EDF signed a preliminary agreement on a big energy deal that included Enel’s participation in EDF’s Flamanville-3 nuclear plant in Normandy.

Times 29th August 2007 more >>

Torness

HE MAY be the industry’s most famous boss, but The Simpsons’ Montgomery Burns couldn’t be more unlike his real-life counterpart at East Lothian’s Torness power station. Brian Cowell, who is set to celebrate a year in his post at the helm of the nuclear plant in just a few weeks time, is the antithesis of the emaciated, miserable, money-grabbing Mr Burns.

Scotsman 28th August 2007 more >>

Terror

Fifteen years ago, a worker at the Russian nuclear research center in Podolsk smuggled more than three pounds of weapons-grade uranium out the doors over a period of weeks, determined to sell the material on the black market. Police arrested the thief with the uranium on a railway platform in the city, about 35 miles south of the Russian capital, as he waited for a train to Moscow. But the incident was one of several in the former Soviet Union that set off alarm bells across the globe, warning that a new era in the annals of terrorism might soon begin.

Guardian website 29th August 2007 more >>

Indonesia

A memorandum of understanding for nuclear power business development in Indonesia has been signed by Jon-Sin Kim, the president of Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co (KHNP).

Modern Power Systems 29th August 2007 more >>

Finland

Finnish nuclear power company Fennovoima has said that, following its evaluation of the suitability of a number of nuclear power plant site alternatives in Finland, it will continue co-operations for the potential scheme with five municipalities. According to Reuters, the power firm is hoping to build a 1,000MW to 1,800MW station.

Energy Business Review 28th August 2007 more >>

India

The Indian prime minister’s office has announced that work is to begin on the construction of eight pressurised heavy water nuclear reactors. The 700 MW units, which can be fuelled by natural uranium, are scheduled to be completed by 2012. The total additional power output of 5600 MW would more than double the country’s current nuclear power capacity of 3580 MW.

Modern Power Systems 29th August 2007 more >>

Dounreay

STRIKE action by staff at a nuclear plant has been suspended to allow fresh peace talks in a row over pay, it was announced yesterday.

Scotsman 29th August 2007 more >>

Iran

President Bush gave warning last night that Iran’s pursuit of the atomic bomb could lead to a nuclear holocaust in the Middle East, and promised to confront Tehran “before it is too late”.

Times 29th August 2007 more >>

Posted: 29 August 2007

28 August 2007

New Nukes

Giant US engineering group Fluor is teaming up with Japan’s Toshiba to build the first new nuclear power stations in the US in two decades. The agreement could cement the relationship between Fluor and Toshiba in the UK, where the two are bidding for the multi-billion-pound contract to clean up the Sellafield nuclear site in West Cumbria. Toshiba and Fluor are also in talks about teaming up to bid for contracts to build nuclear power stations in Britain.

Telegraph 28th August 2007 more >>

WHEREVER you stand on the issue of nuclear power, Hugh Richards of the Welsh Anti Nuclear Alliance is right to raise financial concerns about the nuclear programme, which it is very likely that the UK Government will endorse. Despite assurances that no public money will be involved in funding any future nuclear power stations, it is clear from evidence elsewhere in the world that such projects have a tendency to cost far more than original estimates. It is therefore understandable that questions will be raised about the financial viability of any future power station projects in Britain.

Western Mail 27th August 2007 more >>

Iran

Nicolas Sarkozy gave warning yesterday that unless the West redoubled its efforts to curb Teheran’s nuclear ambitions it could lead to “an Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran”.

Telegraph 28th August 2007 more >>

Times 28th August 2007 more >>

Iran on Monday offered some cooperation with an International Atomic Energy Agency probe of an alleged secret uranium processing project linked by U.S. intelligence to a nuclear arms program.

Guardian website 28th August 2007 more >>

Iran has resolved U.N. questions about tests with plutonium, a key fuel for atomic bombs, and the International Atomic Energy Agency considers the matter closed, according to the text of an IAEA-Iran accord released on Monday.

FT website 27th August 2007 more >>

Africasia 27th August 2007 more >>

Australia

Australia and the US will sign a joint pact on nuclear power agreeing to share research and expertise.

Mathaba 28th August 2007 more >>

Russia

RUSSIAN bombers which have resumed their Soviet-era practice of flying long-range patrols near NATO airspace are not carrying nuclear weapons, a senior air force chief in Moscow said yesterday.

Scotsman 28th August 2007 more >>

Chernobyl

ON APRIL 26, 1986, reactor number four exploded at Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine. It was to become the worst disaster in the history of nuclear power, as the explosion and resultant fire scattered radioactively-contaminated fallout over a wide area.

Newcastle Evening Chronicle 27th August 2007 more >>

Jordan

King Abdallah II yesterday called on Jordan to accelerate the launch of a civil nuclear programme, with the aim of ending energy imports, according to a government statement.

Interactive Investor 27th August 2007 more >>

Uranium

Niger Uranium, a mining business spun off from Uramin, which has been taken over by Areva, the French state-owned nuclear group, will unveil plans to float on Aim this week. Uramin management is running Niger Uranium, formed as a joint venture between Uramin and Northwestern Mineral Ventures of Canada to develop uranium projects in Niger.

FT 28th August 2007 more >>

Non-nuclear industry

A NEW radioactive waste dump to store deadly polonium-210 – the isotope used to murder former Russian security agent Alexander Litvinenko – is being planned in Scotland. The offshore oil industry wants to bury hundreds of tonnes of toxic drilling waste on the mainland. But critics claim the plan poses a serious health hazard to members of the public. Polonium-210 is already a major contributor to critical public doses of radiation from shellfish such as mussels and whelks. In its pure form, it is more than a million times more toxic than hydrogen cyanide, the poison once used to execute prisoners in gas chambers, and can cause fatal internal injuries or cancer. Polonium-210 is one of several radioactive isotopes in the oil waste.

Sunday Herald 26th August 2007 more >>

Consultation

The way government consults with the public has significantly changed since a high court decision by Mr Justice Sullivan ruled that the 2006 Energy Review consultation was “misleading”, “seriously flawed”, and “manifestly inadequate and unfair. A new web-site will try to provide clear and independent information and analysis of nuclear part of the new Energy Review public consultation, and ask the kinds of questions that may need to be answered, including: how will significant “what if” issues – such as nuclear fuel supply and manufacture, vulnerability to attack, waste, radiation risk, decommissioning, reactor siting, costs of electricity-generating technologies, true renewable and energy efficiency modelling – be taken into account during the consultation? Will the consultation be directed by the government, and how will information about these issues be presented?

Nuclear Consult website 27th August 2007 more >>

Posted: 28 August 2007

27 August 2007

New nukes

Opponent says public cash could be needed to underwrite scheme. A LEADING opponent of nuclear power has claimed that billions of pounds of public money could be needed to underwrite future nuclear power stations in the UK. Hugh Richards, of the Welsh Anti-Nuclear Alliance, says that, despite UK Government assurances to the contrary, there are strong grounds for believing that new nuclear power stations may prove financially unviable.

Western Mail 27th August 2007 more >>

India

The United States gave India nearly everything it wanted in a landmark nuclear energy deal, but that may not be enough for a vocal chorus of Indian critics. A wave of opposition has left India’s government reeling and raised serious doubts about the deal’s future. Critics argue the agreement could undermine India’s cherished nuclear weapons program and allow the U.S. to dictate Indian foreign policy.

Guardian website 26th August 2007 more >>

Libya

Libya should be “allowed” access to nuclear energy, French president Nicolas Sarkozy said on Friday.
“The greatest risk to the world today is the clash between western and eastern civilisations. When the east no longer has gas and petrol, it must have development. If they are destitute, there will be terrorism,” said Sarkozy.

Interactive Investor 26th August 2007 more >>

Iran

Iran said Sunday its nuclear activities have not halted or slowed down, rejecting reports that it has not significantly expanded its uranium enrichment program this summer as planned.

Guardian website 26th August 2007 more >>

Japan

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, is scheduled to make an official visit to Japan on Wednesday. Topics during talks with senior political leaders are likely to include climate protection, the dialogue with emerging countries such as China, nuclear issues, investment freedom and co-operation with Africa.

FT 27th August 2007 more >>

Posted: 27 August 2007

26 August 2007

Freedom of Information

THE RISK of a terrorist attack was wrongly used by the Scottish Executive as an excuse to keep information about radioactive contamination of drinking water secret. The Scottish information commissioner, Kevin Dunion, has found the Executive guilty of breaching freedom of information legislation by failing to provide documents from a file entitled “Release of radionuclides in drinking water systems”. The Sunday Herald originally requested the documents in December 2005, and appealed to Dunion after they were withheld by the Executive.The verdict of his investigation, received on Friday,is a damning indictment of the official secrecy that persists in the Scottish civil service.

Sunday Herald 26th August 2007 more >>

Aldermaston

The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) is among the bidders for the Government’s one-third stake in the company responsible for running the Trident submarine nuclear missile programme at Aldermaston. First-round bids for the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) stake, belonging to state -owned British Nuclear Group (BNG), are due in this week. Industry sources said it could fetch between £100m and £200m. American nuclear group CH2M Hill, which has formed a joint clean-up venture with UKAEA, is also understood to have submitted a bid and could link up with the UK company.

Independent on Sunday 26th August 2007 more >>

China

WEIR PUMPS has brought in £20 million worth of new orders for pumps to be used in Chinese nuclear plants since its acquisition by Jim McColl, chairman and chief executive of Clyde Blowers. These latest deals take the value of forward orders to £110million. McColl, who has confirmed that he is bidding for a new acquisition in the sector, has also added 50 new jobs to Glasgow-based Weir Pumps since he acquired the threatened business from its parent Weir Group.

Sunday Herald 26th August 2007 more >>

India

India’s ruling Congress party said its government would not collapse over a nuclear deal with the United States, despite warnings by its communist allies of “serious consequences” if it did not put the pact on hold.

Reuters 25th August 2007 more >>

Hinkley

A NUCLEAR power station is to sponsor Bridgwater and Albion Rugby Football Club’s first home match of the season. For the third consecutive year Hinkley Point B has pledged its support to the game against Mount’s Bay on September 8, as part of its community relations activities.

Bridgwater Mercury 25th August 2007 more >>

Posted: 26 August 2007

25 August 2007

US

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is considering the reversal of a three-year secrecy policy that could make public thousands of documents involving the troubled operations of a Tennessee nuclear fuel processing plant.

Guardian website 25th August 2007 more >>

China

French construction firm Alstom has been awarded a contract worth E135 million by Chinese industrial group Dong Fang to supply four 1000MW-class steam turbine-generator packages for the conventional island of a new nuclear power plant to be built at Hong Yan He, in Liaoning province, northern China.

Energy Business Review 25th August 2007 more >>

Interactive Investor 24th August 2007 more >>

Brazil

The Brazilian Government will decide in 2008 where to build new nuclear plants.

World Nuclear News 24th August 2007 more >>

Oldbury

A nuclear power station shut down in July has started generating power again. One reactor is back online at Oldbury Power Station in South Gloucestershire, supplying power to the national grid. When the power station closed it was revealed that it had only been open for eight days since last August.

BBC 24th August 2007 more >>

ASEAN

Bad news from Singapore yesterday. Reneging on commitments to strengthen renewable energy development given at last year’s meeting, this year’s Association of South East Nations (ASEAN) energy ministers’ conference ended in a colossal cop-out when they announced plans to develop both new nuclear and ‘clean coal’ power plants.

Greenpeace UK website 24th August 2007 more >>

Proliferation

IF THE predictions of the nuclear industry prove correct, and concerns about carbon emissions and climate change drive more governments to start investing in nuclear power to keep the lights on, how will the world protect itself from the technology’s inherent dangers? It is not just the risk of accidents that keeps people awake at night. Some materials and technologies used to generate electricity can, without a lot of extra effort, be abused for bomb-making. And with more and more nuclear material being processed and reprocessed—as mostly uranium-laden reactor fuel-rods turn into mostly plutonium-laden spent fuel—the possibilities for theft or diversion can only grow. A crude nuclear device, or a dirty bomb that spews radioactive debris about, is everyone’s nightmare.

Economist 23rd August 2007 more >>

New nukes

Article about the three main reactors designs likely to be in contention if new reactors are built in the UK.

The Engineer 2nd July 2007 more >>

Letter about the ACR1000, which is not mentioned in the above article, from AECL.

Engineer 17th July 2007 more >>

Useful round-up of recent events from the August issue of Nuclear Engineering International. Once a pioneer in fuel cycle technologies and advanced reactor design, the UK is now doing everything it can to bury its indigenous nuclear history. But as it does so, England looks set to embark on a programme of nuclear new build.

Nuclear Engineering International 24th July 2007 more >>

Posted: 25 August 2007

24 August 2007

New nukes

Citing higher costs, UK environmental think-tank the New Economics Foundation has reportedly said that building more nuclear power plants is not a viable option to cut carbon emissions from power generation and minimize the use of imported fossil fuels. The New Economics Foundation (NEF) has said that building more nuclear power plants is too slow, costly and risky and will not help prevent climate change and ensure energy security.

Energy Business Review 23rd August 2007 more >>

Energy Minister, Malcolm Wicks, has given a strong hint that Sellafield could be a candidate for new reactors.

Whitehaven News 23rd August 2007 more >>

Copeland MP, Jamie Reed was planning to write to every Tory MP outlining the importance of nuclear power, hours after a top Tory gave support to new reactors.

Whitehaven News 23rd August 2007 more >>

The decommissioning and waste disposal costs for all new nuclear power stations in the UK will be met by the private sector, UK energy minister Malcolm Wicks has told the Financial Times.

Energy Business Review 23rd August 2007 more >>

India

India’s main communist party has warned the government against implementing a controversial civilian nuclear agreement with the United States.

BBC 23rd August 2007 more >>

The Bush administration argues it is better to bring India in from the cold and have it take on similar responsibilities to the treaty’s five recognised nuclear powers: America, Britain, France, Russia and China. That, say the Americans, would be a net gain for non-proliferation. This newspaper has long disputed that. Among other dangerous loopholes, some of which have widened since Congress gave its conditional go-ahead to the deal in December, India is pointedly not taking on the obligations and practices of the official five. Unlike them, it has refused to sign the test-ban treaty. Unlike them, it declines to end the production of fissile material—uranium and plutonium—for bombs.

The Economist 23rd August 2007 more >>

Iran

US intelligence agencies expect the Iranian administration to press ahead with its nuclear programme and continue its alleged interference in Iraq, officials said today.

Guardian website 23rd August 2007 more >>

Uranium

AS THE west African country of Niger prepares for the uranium mineral-rush its leaders hope will lift the nation out of dire poverty, Tuareg-led rebels are waging a guerrilla war to demand a larger share of reserves, believed to be the among the largest in the world. In the latest round of fighting, the rebel group this week killed 17 government soldiers in the remote north, where uranium is mined. It has killed at least 44 troops since February.

Scotsman 23rd August 2007 more >>

Japan

Japan faces electricity shortages as a heatwave pushes demand to record levels and strains a supply grid already compromised by the forced shutdown of the world’s largest nuclear plant.

FT 23rd August 2007 more >>

Low carbon

Scotland, north-east England and the Midlands have been selected as the shortlisted bidders vying to win the headquarters of the government’s proposed £1bn Energy Technologies Institute. The ETI, announced in the last Budget by the then chancellor, Gordon Brown, has aroused keen interest from competing potential locations as it is expected to act as the focus of the UK’s low carbon energy research and development.

FT 23rd August 2007 more >>

Guinea

The west African state of Guinea is the latest country in Africa to announce that it is seeking nuclear power. It follows the discovery of significant deposits of the nuclear fuel uranium earlier this month.

BBC 23rd August 2007 more >>

US

The Department of Energy has approved designing a new uranium processing center at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Tennessee, carrying a potential price tag of up to $3.5 billion.

Manufacturing.net 23rd August 2007 more >>

Germany

Federal Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said electricity company managers have rejected the idea of early closures of ageing nuclear reactors, parts of which are over 30 years old, and would be willing to take legal action to stop that happening. In their meeting with Gabriel today, E.ON AG, RWE AG, Energie Baden-Wurttemberg AG (EnBW) and Vattenfall Europe AG managers said they are sticking to their applications to extend the lives of older reactors and are willing to enforce them in court, he said. They told Gabriel they would guarantee the safety of all their plants, regardless of their ages. Gabriel insisted that some older plants need attention. To improve their safety, he said it is necessary to transfer capacity to newer atomic reactors.

Interactive Investor 23rd August 2007 more >>

Posted: 24 August 2007

23 August 2007

Iran

The US and Iran on Wednesday geared up for the next stage in the dispute over Tehran’s nuclear programme, when Washington criticised a deal under which the Islamic Republic has offered to reveal more information about its activities. According to the deal, struck with the United Nations nuclear watchdog, Iran will provide more information in coming months about a series of issues that the west believes cast doubt on the nature of what Iran insists is a peaceful nuclear programme.

FT 23rd August 2007 more >>

Iran is trying to avoid sanctions and divide the American-led coalition assembled against its nuclear ambitions by signing a new deal with United Nations inspectors, Washington has claimed.

Telegraph 23rd August 2007 more >>

Channel 4 News 22nd August 2007 more >>

India

Domestic resistance to the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement, sealed last month in Washington after two years of gruelling negotiations, has suddenly hardened, exposing the extent to which India’s technocratic prime minister has underestimated the visceral anti-Americanism of the government’s communist allies and the opportunism of the Hindu nationalist opposition.

FT 23rd August 2007 more >>

Indian communists sought to forge a consensus on Wednesday over whether to end support to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s coalition government over a controversial nuclear deal with the United States. The issue is the main item on the agenda of the central committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPI(M), which began a two-day meeting to chart its strategy over its opposition to the civilian nuclear energy deal.

Reuters 22nd August 2007 more >>

Dounreay

Decommissioning at a nuclear site in Caithness looks set to be disrupted after union members among the workforce voted to strike next Wednesday.

BBC 22nd August 2007 more >>

THE Pentland Firth could become the new Dounreay, according to Highlands and Islands Enterprise chief executive Sandy Cumming. In a newly-published report, he acknowledges that Caithness and north Sutherland face “challenging times” because of the decommissioning of the former fast-reactor site but he is “very optimistic” about the future. Mr Cumming says there are great opportunities for the Far North in the energy sector, particularly marine renewables.

John O’ Groat Journal 22nd August 2007 more >>

SPECULATION is growing that the Ministry of Defence reactor base in Caithness is being lined up for a new use beyond its current scheduled wind-up date of 2014. The site at Vulcan is operated for the MOD by Rolls-Royce as part of a £360 million contract to support the UK’s flotilla of nuclear submarines. Suggestions that the tie-up will be extended have been fuelled by comments made by a senior Royal Navy officer in an article in an in-house magazine. Writing in Preview, Rear Admiral Andrew Mathews says the £1.8 billion submarine programme includes the need to design a new generation of nuclear plant. It is the first confirmation of the desire to replace the existing pressurised-water reactor at Vulcan, which is the test-bed for the propulsion system deployed in the UK’s current Vanguard and Astute class subs.

John O’ Groat Journal 22nd August 2007 more >>

Nuclear Waste

Opponents of the £6m decontamination centre at Lillyhall near Workington are taking the case to the Local Government Ombudsman.

Carlisle News and Star 22nd August 2007 more >>

Uranium

BHP has 33 projects in development, including plans to extend its Olympic Dam operation in Australia, reputed to be the largest uranium and base-metals resource in the world. Production at the site was reduced earlier in the year due to a smelter meltdown.

Independent 23rd August 2007 more >>

Decommissioning

The principle that the nuclear industry should pay the full costs of nuclear power generation is rarely disputed. In fact the current ministerial push for nukes has been accompanied by the constant refrain that taxpayers won’t be paying for it. Energy minister Malcolm Wicks reiterated in an interview recently that the nuclear industry must foot the entire bill. As always, this promise should not be taken at face value. The costs of nuclear waste disposal and the decommissioning of nuclear power stations are likely to be huge and occur after operating companies have made their money and even vacated the industry. Certainly it’s the case that governments have taken liabilities off the nuclear private sector before – and the Energy Act 2004 contains powers which allow the secretary of state to direct the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency to take over financing of nuclear waste liabilities for private nuclear companies in the future should they be unable to meet their obligations. In other words, if companies manage to direct profits to shareholders, or simply don’t make much money, the taxpayer can be made to pick up the bill at the stroke of a Whitehall pen.

Guardian website 21st August 2007 more >>

Green America

America’s politicians are waking up to the moneymaking and job creation possibilities of combating global warming and challenging the Bush administration to invest in a new generation of “green-collar” jobs. The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives wants to spend almost $7bn (£3.5bn) in the coming year to reduce the nation’s enormous carbon footprint. This has put it on a collision course with the White House, which remains in denial about the dangers of global warming. A major clash is expected between the White House and Congress in the autumn, with President George Bush sceptical of the Democrats’ newfound enthusiasm for the environment. The best way to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil is to drill for more, he believes. The oil industry is keen to open up vast new areas off Alaska’s coast for drilling. The rising temperatures, brought on by global warming, have made this a possibility, which the industry wants to exploit.

Independent 22nd August 2007 more >>

Posted: 23 August 2007

22 August 2007

Uranium

Toshiba is set to buy mining rights in Kazakhstan in an effort to secure a stable supply of uranium that will bolster its nuclear power business. The Japanese electronics and energy conglomerate will buy 22.5 per cent of rights in the Kharassan mine, which gives it access to a maximum of 600 tonnes of uranium a year. Analysts said a deal could be worth tens of billions of yen.

FT 21st August 2007 more >>

India

The storm over India’s new nuclear pact with the US, which now threatens to bring down the Indian Government, illustrates the only good thing about the deal – it is an antidote to anti-Western reflexes in the country that still run deep. Other than that, the deal is a worry, for all the reasons that the US Congress has asserted: it is an extravagant breach of the spirit of non-proliferation treaties, showering the benefits of US nuclear help on India even though it acquired nuclear weapons.

Times 22nd August 2007 more >>

Critics of the deal accused President Bush of driving a coach and horses through the non-proliferation regime by making an exception for India, even as sabres were rattled at two other non-signatories of the treaty, Iran and North Korea. To the critics, these looked like dangerously double standards. However, on one thing it seemed everyone could agree – the deal was a breathtaking diplomatic coup for India, a nation which, less than a decade earlier, had been put under economic sanctions by the Clinton White House, following its test of a nuclear device in 1998. But not everyone in India has seen the deal in such glowing terms; this week, the Communist bloc that props up the Congress-led coalition threatened to pull the plug on the government if the deal was allowed to progress.

Telegraph 22nd August 2007 more >>

New nukes

COPELAND MP Jamie Reed is preparing to woo the Tories over nuclear power — hours after a top Tory voiced his support for the industry’s future. Senior Conservative John Redwood had said he would detail his support for a new host of nuclear power plants as he unveiled his economy policy review. But the admission is not official Conservative policy and Mr Reed believes now is the time to once again push for cross-party consensus.

North West Evening Mail 21st August 2007 more >>

Building more nuclear power plants is too slow, costly and risky to help the fight against climate change and energy security, a UK environmental think-tank the New Economics Foundation said on Wednesday. According to a report published by the foundation on Wednesday, the costs involved in building new reactors is up to three times higher than supporters of such plants say.

Reuters 22nd August 2007 more >>

Wastwater lake could eventually be drained dry if a new nuclear plant is built in Cumbria, an environmental group has claimed.
South Lakeland Friends of the Earth said the lake will disappear “drop by drop” because the nuclear industry uses huge amounts of fresh water in its cooling processes. The pressure group has launched an online petition objecting to plans to build a new reactor to replace Sellafield. Sellafield has a licence to draw four million gallons of water a day from the lake, but typically uses only about 3.25 million.

Nelson Leader 21st August 2007 more >>

The energy minister has suggested that Gordon Brown’s government could abandon Tony Blair’s idea of increasing the UK’s dependency on nuclear power and building new power stations. He even revealed that civil servants are currently looking at alternative strategies if the nuclear option was dropped (Gordon Brown is to decide by the end of 2007 whether to push on with private investment in nuclear energy).
Public Servant Daily 21st August 2007
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Nuclear power is the only realistic option to meet future energy needs, according to a new body representing business interests in Derbyshire. Derbyshire Members’ Council of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber believes it is right to identify nuclear energy as an important part of the UK’s energy provision.

Derbyshire Evening Telegraph 21st August 2007 more >>

Iran

The White House judged ‘encouraging’ but ‘not sufficient’ an agreement yesterday by Iran and the United Nations atomic authority on a timetable for Tehran to answer concerns about its nuclear program.

Forbes 22nd August 2007 more >>

Iranian and IAEA officials did not elaborate or provide more details on the timetable. But the agreement was expected to provide for easier inspection of Iran’s nuclear facilities by the IAEA and urge Tehran to provide detailed answers on remaining questions over its nuclear activities.

Guardian website 21st August 2007 more >>

BBC 21st August 2007 more >>

Interactive Investor 21st August 2007 more >>

France has threatened Iran with “substantial” UN Security Council sanctions if it persists in refusing to suspend its uranium enrichment activities, a foreign affairs ministry spokesman said. Diplomats in New York said France would join the US and Great Britain in pushing for the Security Council to adopt the sanctions next month.

Interactive Investor 21st August 2007 more >>

Scotland

Letter: an independent Scotland can make its own decisions about whether we have a new generation of nuclear generation – but the implication frequently is that we can keep free of the perceived dangerous option. That is so but we shall have no say in the nearness of nuclear installations operated by others. We should always remember that distance is no safeguard against unsafe nuclear reactors – Chernobyl was felt worldwide. We have large installations in our near neighbour, France.

Herald 22nd August 2007 more >>

UKAEA

The UK Atomic Energy Authority faces industrial action after workers at Windscale in Cumbria voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike and an overtime ban in a row over pay.

Nelson Leader 21st August 2007 more >>

US

82% of people living near a US nuclear plant are in favour of nuclear power and 71% would be willing to see a new reactor according to an opinion poll.

World Nuclear News 21st August 2007 more >>

Energy Efficiency

Persimmon, Britain’s second largest housebuilder, yesterday pledged to support the government’s ambitious house-building programme and plans to create a new generation of carbon-neutral homes.

Guardian 22nd August 2007 more >>

Politics

An almighty battle is shaping up in the Conservative party. Just as former environment secretary John Gummer and the party’s green guru Zac Goldsmith polish their plans to green up Britain, John Redwood, leader of the Conservative policy group on economic competitiveness, rides in with his suggestions – advised by roadbuilders, aviation lobbyists and nuclear power companies.

Guardian 22nd August 2007 more >>

Japan

A nuclear plant in northern Japan, the world’s biggest, that leaked radiation after being damaged by an earthquake last month is unsafe and should be shut down permanently, a group of scientists said. “It will be impossible to prove empirically that all of the plant’s damage has been repaired,” the group, headed by Kobe University Professor of Seismology Katsuhiko Ishibashi and Hiromitsu Ino, an emeritus professor of metallurgy at Tokyo University, said in a statement yesterday.

Bloomberg 22nd August 2007 more >>

Posted: 22 August 2007