News February 2007

28 February 2007


Oil prices reached their highest level for the year on Tuesday as they brushed aside an early knock following a heavy sell-off in global equities. The political standoff between Iran and the United Nations about the nuclear ambitions of the Islamic republic helped boost oil prices. Iran is the world’s fourth largest producer. Oil prices were also supported by a cold snap in the key winter fuel consuming regions of the US.
FT 27th February 2007

Iran has vowed never to yield to the key Western demands on its nuclear programme after world powers agreed to work on a new resolution that could lead to further UN sanctions against Tehran.
Interactive Investor 27th February 2007
Daily Mail 27th Feb 2007
Middle East Online 27th Feb 2007


Conservative controlled West Somerset District Council has set out its opposition to nuclear power in its local development plan. The council has said it will “resist the development of further nuclear power generation capacity at Hinkley Point”. The move is said to reflect scepticism in some quarters of Conservative Central Office about the role of nuclear power in meeting future energy needs and cutting carbon emissions. The decision is expected to be a set back to British Energy which is now in talks with EoN (PowerGen), RWE (nPower) and EDF Energy about sharing the £2bn construction cost for a new nuclear station at Hinkley Point on the north Somerset coast.
Public Servant Daily 27th Feb 2007

North Korea

North Korea’s chief nuclear envoy embarked on a rare trip to the United States on Tuesday while South Korea sent a top official to Pyongyang to persuade the North to quickly start scrapping its nuclear arms programme.
Reuters 27th Feb 2007


In the past 18 months, the European utilities industry has witnessed a wave of large, transformational deals, in contrast to the preceding years when change happened at a snail’s pace. The deals are remarkable because of their large size – Eon of Germany is paying €41bn to buy Endesa of Spain – but also because several of the deals are cross-border. Until recently, the UK had seen large foreign takeovers of some of its energy and water suppliers, but few cross-border deals had happened in continental Europe.
FT 28th Feb 2007


British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) has already been fined £500,000 for the serious leak of radioactive liquid inside the Thorp reprocessing plant at Sellafield, Cumbria, but late on Friday the government slipped out the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate report into how the accident happened. It is shocking. The first indication of a leak was on August 24 2004, when 50g of uranium was detected following a sample test, but the full extent was only uncovered eight months later. The report also found there was a lack of a “challenge culture” at the company; the plant “condoned the ignoring of alarms”; safety equipment was not kept in effective working order “and this became the norm”. Thorp remains closed and its management is said to be contemplating the 55 recommendations the inspectors made.
Guardian 28th Feb 2007

Posted: 28 February 2007

27 February 2007


In a bid to establish a stronger fundamental culture for safety in the process of generating nuclear power, the International Expert Commission of the EU has meet with Russian atomic power experts.
Energy Business Review 27th Feb 2007


Scandinavian energy provider Vattenfall has released a statement and held a press conference reassuring interested parties that its fleet of nuclear power plants is safe, despite recently calling on the UN to send an inspectorate team to test the sites.
Energy Business Review 26th Feb 2007


Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, came under fire from domestic critics yesterday for his uncompromising stance on the nuclear issue as the US and Britain launched a new diplomatic effort to agree harsher UN sanctions they hope will force Tehran to halt uranium enrichment.
Guardian 27th Feb 2007

A new resolution aimed at turning Iran from its course of uranium enrichment is to be drawn up by the UN security council following discussions between senior officials in London. Representatives from the council’s permanent members of Britain, France, US, Russia and China, as well as Germany, are meeting in the capital after Iran missed a further deadline to stall its nuclear activities last week.
View London 26th Feb 2007

Top diplomats from six key nations have ended discussions in London on further moves to make Iran comply with demands to end its nuclear programme.
BBC 26th Feb 2007

Supporters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) have claimed that the mullahs’ nuclear advancement was a direct result of appeasement towards Iran by the West. They rallied opposite the Foreign Office in London and called on the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany to stand firm against the Iran regime and adopt a more forceful resolution imposing comprehensive sanctions including arms, technological, diplomatic and an oil embargo against them.
Ananova 26th Feb 2007

Iran should not doubt the unity of the international community over its demands that Iran should stop its nuclear programme, said Prime Minister Tony Blair’s spokesman.
Interactive Investor 26th Feb 2007
Daily Mail 26th Feb 2007

Nuclear Waste Transport

The track where a 100mph express train derailed is also used for transporting radioactive nuclear waste, it was revealed today. The news raises the horrifying scenario of carriages packed with toxic waste plunging down the same embankment as the Virgin Trains Pendolino service from Euston, which crashed off the track on Friday — killing 84-year-old passenger Margaret Masson and injuring several dozen more.
Daily Mail 26th Feb 2007


Trade union members at the Clyde Naval Base fear that additional cuts in funding may lead to a nuclear incident. Members at the Faslane and Coulport naval facilities on the Clyde are starting a campaign against plans to cut the running costs of the Clyde Naval Base by a further £30m per year.
TUC Hazards Magazine 26th Feb 2007

Energy Efficiency

A detailed plan to slash London’s carbon emissions by 60% within 20 years and place the city at the forefront of the battle against climate change will be announced today by Ken Livingstone. The mayor will appeal to Londoners to stop using energy wastefully and will urge businesses to embrace green technology to heat and light offices and workplaces. Mr Livingstone wants a quarter of London’s electricity supply to be shifted from the national grid to local combined heat-and-power systems by 2025.
Guardian 27th Feb 2007

Posted: 27 February 2007

26 February 2007


The dollar retreated to a two-month low against the euro on Monday as the U.S. currency came under pressure on renewed worries about Iran’s nuclear programme.
Reuters 26th Feb 2007

Iran’s refusal to suspend uranium enrichment will be discussed at the UN Security Council today.
Sky 26th Feb 2007

Iran has no brake on its nuclear programme and is prepared for any eventuality – “even for war” – one of its deputy foreign ministers warned yesterday.
Herald 26th Feb 2007
Guardian 26th Feb 2007
FT 26th Feb 2007
BBC 25th Feb 2007
Middle East Online 25th Feb 2007

Diplomats embark on a fresh round of talks today aimed at halting Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which the country’s president described yesterday as “like a train which has no brake and no reverse gear”. Measures being discussed include imposing travel bans on a dozen named Iranians involved in the nuclear programme and tighter restrictions on the trade of arms and technology, as well as an attempt to block investment and export credits.
Times 26th Feb 2007

President George Bush has charged the Pentagon with devising an expanded bombing plan for Iran that can be carried out at 24 hours’ notice, it was reported yesterday. An extensive article in the New Yorker magazine by the investigative journalist Seymour Hersh describes the contingency bombing plan as part of a general overhaul by the Bush administration of its policy towards Iran.
Guardian 26th Feb 2007

Seymour Hersh’s reputation as an investigative journalist means his latest report on US policy in the Middle East will fuel worries that despite Washington’s insistence on using diplomatic means to end the nuclear crisis with Iran, confrontation is still on the cards.
Guardian 26th Feb 2007


Claims that Britain cannot expect other countries to refrain from developing nuclear weapons if it upgrades its Trident missile system have been dismissed by the Government. Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram said claims by Mohammed El Baradei, who leads the International Atomic Energy Agency, that the West risked losing its moral authority when criticising states such as Iran were “wrong.”
Guardian website 26th Feb 2007

LABOUR MPs will today be urged to vote against the Trident nuclear missile system. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament will hand over a dossier rejecting Government arguments for the multibillion pound weapon.
Mirror 26th Feb 2007


Posted: 26 February 2007

25 February 2007


Iran is ready for anything the United States does to stop its nuclear programme, Tehran’s foreign minister said on Saturday after the United States maintained it was keeping “all options on the table”.
Reuters 24th Feb 2007

US Vice-President Dick Cheney renewed Washington’s criticism of Iran yesterday, warning the Islamic state it would be a “serious mistake” if it continued to develop nuclear technology.
Scotland on Sunday 25th Feb 2007

AN AMERICAN carrier battle group led by the USS Dwight D Eisenhowerheads towards the Persian Gulf to reinforce the naval assets already in place. A third is due to follow shortly. In Bulgaria, the newly opened strategic US Air Force bases start receiving squadrons of B-2 Stealth bombers. For all that the administration of president George W Bush has denied it is targeting Iran – according to vice-president Dick Cheney yesterday on a visit to Australia, “all options are still on the table” – it is hard to avoid the impression that the US is sending a not-so-subtle message to the regime in Tehran to call a halt to its nuclear programme, or else.
Sunday Herald 25th Feb 2007

Tensions were rising between Iran and the West this weekend as Britain prepares to push for tough new UN sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear enrichment programme.
Observer 25th Feb 2007


URANIUM prices rocketed to their highest-ever levels last week as hedge funds plunged into the market and took big bets on prices rising even further.
Sunday Times 25th Feb 2007


POLITICAL, church and union leaders joined forces yesterday at a rally to put pressure on the government to ditch the Trident nuclear weapons system. Around 1,000 protesters joined the demonstration in Glasgow calling for plans to update the submarine-based system to be abandoned.
Scotland on Sunday 25th Feb 2007

Why can’t MPs see the folly of Trident? Britain can have no moral authority over Iran’s nuclear crusade while we are hellbent on upgrading our fleet.
Observer 25th Feb 2007


MORE THAN 20 years have passed since Zoya Klimakina, an engineer, was sent to Chernobyl to help clean up after the world’s worst nuclear accident. She was exposed to radiation for weeks, has suffered from breathing difficulties since and receives a disability pension of just £100 a month. Klimakina has now found a champion in 19-year-old Maria Sharapova, the tennis star, whose family lived in Gomel, 80 miles north of the stricken nuclear power station. Since her appointment as a United Nations goodwill ambassador this month, Sharapova, who won Wimbledon in 2004, has donated £50,000 to projects aimed at helping victims of the disaster and has promised to publicise their largely forgotten cause.
Sunday Times 25th Feb 2007


ABOUT 100 jobs are to go this year at the Dounreay nuclear plant – not such bad news as was expected. Managers and unions had feared up to 500 posts could go from the 2,200-strong workforce this year due to lack of funding from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) .
Scotsman 24th Feb 2007

Posted: 25 February 2007

24 February 2007


Forty-five people have been arrested after a blockade of Britain’s nuclear submarine base.
Seven Greenpeace vessels, including the 164ft former icebreaker Arctic Sunrise, attempted to gain entry to Faslane Naval Base on the Clyde as part of an anti-nuclear protest.
Northampton Evening Telegraph 23rd Feb 2007
Yorkshire Post 24th Feb 2007
Times 24th Feb 2007

Ministry of Defence police stormed a Greenpeace vessel blockading the nuclear base at Faslane in the Firth of Clyde last night. Around 20 officers with battering rams clambered aboard the Arctic Sunrise at about 5.15pm while it was anchored outside the naval base, protesters on board the vessel said. Around 20 activists on Arctic Sunrise refused a series of requests by Ministry of Defence police to move the vessel – 300 metres from the Trident nuclear submarines – stating they had no intention of leaving.
The Herald 24th Feb 2007
Scotsman 24th Feb 2007
BBC 23rd Feb 2007
See Video Footage or hear podcasts of the action at

Protests against a replacement of the Trident nuclear deterrent scheme are expected to bring tens of thousands of campaigners to London and Glasgow today.
View London 24th Feb 2007

Greenpeace campaigners are stepping up their campaign against nuclear power. The Brighton and Hove branch of the lobby group plan to hand signed posters to the city’s MPs asking them to vote against the Prime Minister’s plans to renew Britain’s nuclear deterrent, Trident.
Sussex Argus 23rd Feb 2007

Around 1,000 protesters gathered in Glasgow calling for the Trident nuclear weapon system to be ditched. Political, church and union leaders joined the crowds at the Bin The Bomb rally, which was loosely tied in with an anti-war and anti-nuclear rally in London. SNP leader Alex Salmond joined Solidarity MSP Tommy Sheridan and CND vice-president Bruce Kent in speaking in Glasgow’s George Square after an hour-long march through the streets. Mr Salmond told people they had a choice at this May’s Holyrood elections to vote for a “nuclear-free Scotland”. He said there was a choice between a “continuation down the route of wasting billions on a Trident replacement and ignoring international commitments to rid the world of nuclear weapons; or choosing to take the path of peace and prosperity. The rally came as a poll showed that 76% of Scots would rather see money for Trident spent on public services.
Sky 24th Feb 2007
BBC 24th Feb 2007

North Korea

THE head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog will meet the North Korean government next month to discuss the shutdown of the secretive communist state’s nuclear programme and bring the country back under UN supervision.
Scotsman 24th Feb 2007
Independent 24th Feb 2007
Telegraph 24th Feb 2007
Guardian 24th Feb 2007
BBC 23rd Feb 2007


A NEW report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is hardly news to most Iran-watchers. It confirms that Iran has continued to make progress in its nuclear programme, for example in setting up a thousand gas centrifuges at a huge facility in Natanz. Iran has also continued building a heavy-water nuclear reactor, the kind that might indirectly be useful for putting together nuclear weapons.
The Economist 24th Feb 2007

Iran faces further international sanctions after the UN nuclear agency reported that Tehran had expanded sensitive nuclear activities – in defiance of UN demands that it halt work related to the possible production of an atomic bomb.
Belfast Telegraoh 23rd Feb 2007

US Vice President Dick Cheney today renewed Washington’s warning to Iran that “all options” open if the country continued to defy UN-led efforts to get it to abandon its nuclear programme.
Edinburgh Evening News 24th Feb 2007

President Ahmadinejad vowed yesterday to resist pressure from “bullies and corrupt powers” on Iran to abandon its nuclear programme, which he described as a potential “role model” for other countries.
Times 24th Feb 2007
BBC 23rd Feb 2007
Daily Mail 23rd Feb 2007
Middle East Online 23rd Feb 2007

There may not yet be gas masks in the street in Tel Aviv but no one should underestimate Israel’s determination to prevent a nuclear Iran.
Telegraph 24th Feb 2007


A report into a radioactive leak at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in Cumbria criticised management after “serious” breaches in regulations. The plant’s Thorp facility was shut down in April 2005, after 83,000 litres of acid containing uranium and plutonium escaped from a broken pipe. No-one was injured in the leak and no radiation escaped from the plant. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said significant failings at the plant included staff ignoring alarms. Operator British Nuclear Group was fined £500,000 last year after it pleaded guilty to breaching aspects of the Nuclear Installations Act 1965. In a 28-page report, the HSE made a total of 55 recommendations and actions for company improvements. The report said a number of failures in management meant the leak remained undetected for eight months. It highlighted a lack of a “questioning attitude” or “challenge culture” at the company.
BBC 24th Feb 2007
Newcastle Journal 24th Feb 2007
Times 24th Feb 2007


Russia has offered to build a nuclear power plant in Namibia as Moscow seeks to break into the African nuclear market, Russia’s nuclear chief Sergei Kiriyenko said on Friday, Interfax news agency.
Reuters 23rd Feb 2007


UK decommissioning costs will rocket due to rapidly rising salaries for skilled engineers, experts warned this week. The nuclear industry will be forced to pay engineers 20% to 25% more than they earn in other sectors if it is to attract staff with the skills needed to tackle decommissioning and possible nuclear new build, predicted chief executive of specialist recruitment firm EPC Global, Tobias Read.
New Civil Engineer 23rd Feb 2007

Star Wars

Once again, the United States has plans to site missile silos in Europe. Once again, a British Prime Minister is all in favour.
Independent 24th Feb 2007

Downing Street yesterday confirmed it had asked the US to consider Britain as a possible launching pad for US missile interceptors as part of the Bush administration’s proposed “son of Star Wars” anti-ballistic defence scheme.
Guardian 24th Feb 2007

Energy Efficiency

Iain Smith MSP for North East Fife, tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament which included the entreaty to “encourage all those who use incandescent light bulbs to switch to fluorescent energy-saving bulbs as part of the fight against climate change, and call on the Executive to consider further ways to accelerate the full uptake of energy-saving light bulbs in Scotland.”
Scotsman 24th Feb 2007

Posted: 24 February 2007

23 February 2007


Q&A: What next in Iran nuclear row? The Times, looks at what happens next after the IAEA’s report on Iran’s nuclear programme.
Times 22nd February 2007

Iran has ignored a U.N. Security Council ultimatum to freeze uranium enrichment – a possible pathway to nuclear arms – and has instead expanded its program by setting up hundreds of centrifuges, the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency said Thursday. The finding paves the way for new U.N. sanctions.
Guardian website 23rd Feb 2007
FT 23rd Feb 2007
Times 23rd Feb 2007
Scotsman 23rd Feb 2007
Independent 23rd Feb 2007

IRAN was last night condemned worldwide after ignoring orders to halt its nuclear bomb programme.
The Sun 23rd Feb 2007
Telegraph 23rd Feb 2007

New nukes

The government yesterday postponed next month’s energy white paper after admitting it failed to consult properly over the future development of nuclear power. The move follows last week’s court victory by Greenpeace over lack of consultation. Alistair Darling, the trade and industry secretary, told parliament he would not appeal the ruling by Mr Justice Sullivan, who condemned the consultation process as “misleading” and “seriously flawed”. The white paper has been postponed until May and a decision on whether to build a new generation of nuclear power stations put back from July until the autumn.
Guardian 23rd February 2007
Independent 23rd Feb 2007
BBC 22nd Feb 2007

Ministers have confirmed that the government’s plans for new nuclear power stations are to be delayed after a High Court judge last week ordered Tony Blair to rethink his flagship energy reform. Alistair Darling, trade and industry secretary, told MPs on Thursday that the energy white paper, which had been planned for the end of March, was now likely to be published in early May, though it could come out earlier. It would at the same time ssue a new consultation document “endeavouring to meet the court’s requirements”.
FT 22nd Feb 2007

EDF Energy, the French-owned company that expects to be the first to build a new nuclear power station in Britain, yesterday welcomed a government statement that “subject to consultation, there is a case for having nuclear power stations as one of the options companies should consider”. EDF Energy, the UK subsidiary of Electricité de France, which is 87 per cent owned by the French government, drew encouragement from Mr Darling’s continued support for new nuclear power, and his reiteration yesterday of the government’s argument that it could make a “potentially significant contribution to security of supply and reducing carbon emissions”.
FT 23rd Feb 2007

Ministers will plough ahead with plans for a new generation of nuclear power stations, despite a court ruling that the public has been misled. Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Department of Trade and Industry want nuclear generators to provide around 20% of the UK’s electricity.
Public Finance 22nd Feb 2007

The former environment minister Michael Meacher has launched a challenge to Gordon Brown for the Labour leadership and called on the Chancellor to take tougher action on climate change. He said the Government’s defeat in the courts by Greenpeace over its failure to consult properly on a new generation of nuclear power stations showed that it was not prepared to listen. “I happen to agree with the Prime Minister on road pricing but the way it’s been treated is like consulting until we get the right answer, and if we don’t… stuff it. I think this is bringing the Government into disrepute.”
Independent 23rd Feb 2007


Pakistan successfully test-fired a new version of its long-range nuclear-capable missile today, the military said.
Belfast Telegraph 23rd Feb 2007

North Korea

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney on Friday expressed concerns about China’s military build-up and also questioned whether North Korea would follow through on its commitments in a recent nuclear deal.
FT website 23rd Feb 2007

The breakthrough nuclear agreement with North Korea could pay wide-ranging dividends for all sides, especially in the area of already improving U.S. relations with China and America’s allies, chief U.S. negotiator Christopher Hill said Thursday.
Guardian website 23rd Feb 2007


The constituents of both the Chancellor and Scotland Secretary are heavily opposed to renewal of Britain’s nuclear deterrent, according to a poll. The survey of people in Kirkcaldy and Paisley, represented at Westminster by Gordon Brown and Douglas Alexander, was carried out for environment pressure group Greenpeace, which this month stepped up its campaign against the renewal. It was designed as a warning to Mr Brown in particular that his party faces internal opposition to the scheme for new submarines and a new generation of missiles.
Herald 23rd Feb 2007

Britain on Thursday defended plans to renew its nuclear arsenal, saying the submarine-based Trident was a strategic deterrent it would only consider using in extreme cases of self-defence. Kim Howells, the foreign office minister responsible for disarmament issues, said current circumstances did not permit the country to unilaterally renounce its nuclear weapons, which he said accounted for less than one percent of global stocks. Prime Minister Tony Blair — invoking new threats from Iran, North Korea or terrorists — pledged last December to buy up to four new nuclear submarines at a cost of up to 20 billion pounds. A final parliamentary vote is due in March.
Reuters 22nd Feb 2007

The BBC is given a glimpse inside a Trident submarine ahead of the future of the fleet being put to the vote in Westminster.
BBC 22nd Feb 2007

United States

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Thursday downgraded the safety rating of the nation’s largest nuclear plant, subjecting it to more inspectors and a level of scrutiny shared by just one other plant in the nation. The NRC made the announcement following three years of problems in various safety systems at the Palo Verde nuclear plant west of Phoenix. Inspectors in September found that one of its emergency diesel generators had been broken for 18 days. Emergency generators are critically important at nuclear reactors, providing electricity to pumps, valves and control rooms if the main electrical supply fails.
Guardian website 23rd Feb 2007

South Africa

Russia and South Africa are to cooperate more closely on mining and nuclear energy generation, South African foreign minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma told reporters following a trade meeting between the two countries.
Interactive Investor 22nd Feb 2007


“Following discussions with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority I have settled the Authority’s budget for 2007/08. The settlement will enable the Authority to operate a programme budget of some £2.47 billion. The Authority believes that this settlement will give it and its contractors the certainty they need without impacting on the planned programme of nuclear clean up work. The settlement strikes a proper balance between what is desirable and what is affordable, and it ensures that safety remains the paramount concern.”
DTI Press Release 22nd Feb 2007

Posted: 23 February 2007

22 February 2007

New nukes

EON AND RWE, the German power giants, are on the point of striking a deal with Westinghouse, to work together on Britain’s next generation of nuclear power stations. According to internal documents seen by The Business, the three companies are pushing to finalise an agreement before the publication of the Government’s energy white paper. This is expected either at the end of March or when Parliament returns from its Easter recess on 16 April. The combined approach will be the first time all three power companies have come together to work on a project and is an indication of the role consortia could play in the construction of the next generation of power stations. As part of the agreement, the companies will submit a joint application for a licence for Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactor design, which will cost as much as £2bn ($3.9bn, E3bn) each to build. The deal could then be extended to include joint applications for a licence for a particular site and eventually stretch to constructing a new power plant in a consortium. The white paper is expected to trigger licence applications from the world’s leading nuclear power plant designers: France’s Areva, which designs the European pressurised reactor; Westinghouse; GE Energy; and Atomic Energy of Canada. The talks between Westinghouse and the German companies are forging ahead despite last Friday’s shock victory for Greenpeace, in the High Court which is not expected to delay the licence application process, known as pre-licensing. It will, though, mean another, more thorough, public consultation. And it will prevent the Government from including a nuclear “statement of need” in the white paper.
The Business 21st Feb 2007

CONSULTANTS working for the UK Government have earmarked Aberthaw in the Vale of Glamorgan as a potential site for a new nuclear power station, according to an industry source. The Department of Trade and Industry said there were no plans to build any new nuclear power stations. “We are conducting an energy review. The review is to see whether there should be a nuclear element to Britain’s energy plan, and it would be a bit odd to identify sites for nuclear power stations at this time.” But the industry source told the Western Mail, “There is a document in existence which identifies Aberthaw as a suitable location for a nuclear power station. It’s an academic exercise which looks purely at the technical case, without considering the political impact.
Western Mail 20th February 2007

SCOTTISH Nationalists today called on Labour to rule out the construction of any new nuclear power stations. The party claims Scotland can instead become a world leader in green technologies. Speaking ahead of an SNP-led Holyrood debate on the environment, the party’s environment spokesman Richard Lochhead said: “It’s time for parliament to take a stand on this issue by supporting the SNP’s motion in favour of developing our nation’s enormous renewables and clean energy potential, and rejecting the case for costly, unneeded and unwanted new nuclear power stations in Scotland.”
Edinburgh Evening News 21st Feb 2007
ICScotland 21st Feb 2007


Iran will press ahead with its nuclear programme even at the price of closing down every other government activity “for 10 years”, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared yesterday. As the deadline given by the UN Security Council for Iran to stop enriching uranium expired, the president remained defiant. However, for the first time, a small reformist party inside Iran called on Mr Ahmadinejad to accept the West’s terms and serve the “national interest” by stopping the drive towards nuclear power.
Telegraph 22nd Feb 2007
Times 22nd Feb 2007
Daily Mirror 22nd Feb 2007
Reuters 21st Feb 2007

Indian officials say exports to Iran that could be used in the country’s nuclear programme have been banned.
BBC 22nd Feb 2007

Despite the domestic popularity of Iran’s nuclear programme, more Iranians are voicing disquiet about the costs of pursuing it so defiantly at the risk of provoking an American attack or tougher sanctions. Washington sees Iran’s troubled economy, which is dominated by a sprawling and inefficient state sector, as Mr Ahmadinejad’s Achilles’ heel. The UN Security Council, which two months ago banned transfers of nuclear technology and expertise to Iran, is now set to consider wider sanctions after the expiry of yesterday’s deadline. Russia and China are likely to resist but if the council is divided, the US and Britain may attempt to form a coalition outside the UN to press for sanctions.
Scotsman 22nd Feb 2007

Yesterday a major new parliamentary initiative was launched, aimed at galvanising opposition within the Commons against any form of military intervention against Iran.
Guardian 22nd Feb 2007

Tony Blair today threatened Iran with political and economic isolation unless it embraces democratic progress in the Middle East, as Teheran ignores the passing of an international deadline for it to stop enriching uranium.
Telegraph 22nd Feb 2007

Four Iranians inside Iran respond to questions about their country’s nuclear programme – and their president’s handling of international concern surrounding it.
BBC 21st Feb 2007

North Korea

North Korea can make a nuclear warhead that can be mounted on missiles capable of hitting all of South Korea and most of Japan, U.S. nuclear experts said in a report obtained on Wednesday. Two U.S. nuclear experts who recently visited North Korea’s atomic facilities north of Pyongyang said the secretive and impoverished state had separated enough plutonium for five to 12 nuclear weapons.
Reuters 21st Feb 2007


Letter from CND: A Parliamentary vote on a decision to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system should, at the very least, be delayed (“Not in our name”, 15 February). The Government’s White Paper on defence fails to make a case for it, lacking in analysis of the international situation.
Independent 22nd Feb 2007

With a critical UK parliamentary vote due in March 2007 on the issue of the replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system, Christians marked Ash Wednesday by gathering in Central London today to make known their opposition to Britain’s possession of weapons of mass destruction.
Ekklesia 21st Feb 2007

South Asia

India and Pakistan have signed an agreement to reduce the risk of an accidental nuclear war following a train bomb attack apparently designed to distrupt their fragile three-year peace process.
Times 22nd Feb 2007
Belfast Telegraph 21st Feb 2007


Gazprom, the Russian state- controlled gas group, poured scorn yesterday on a -proposal by Brussels to break up some of the European Union’s biggest energycompanies. Alexander Medvedev, the deputy chairman of the leading gas supplier to the EU, said of the European Commission’s call: “I believe it is the most absurd idea in the history of the worldeconomy.”
FT 22nd Feb 2007

Energy Efficiency

Australia is to ban incandescent lightbulbs in an effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions, with the government saying yesterday they would be phased out within three years.
Guardian 21st Feb 2007

Wave Power

Minister announces £13 million boost to kick-start marine power projects. WAVE and tidal power could be as significant to Scotland as the discovery of North Sea oil, Nicol Stephen, the Deputy First Minister, confirmed yesterday as he announced more than £13 million of funding for nine different projects.
Scotsman 21st Feb 2007
Times 21st Feb 2007
Dundee Courier 21st Feb 2007
Scottish Executive Press Release 20th Feb 2007

Posted: 22 February 2007

21 February 2007


Iran was last night struggling to stave off further international censure as controversy over its nuclear programme continued to mount. In Vienna, Ali Larijani, the Islamic Republic’s top nuclear negotiator, met Mohamed ElBaradei, the United Nations’ chief nuclear inspector, who will pronounce on Tehran’s nuclear activities today.
FT 21st Feb 2007

Iran’s president has rejected international calls for Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment in the face of a UN compliance deadline. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Iran will only do so if countries seeking the suspension stopped producing nuclear fuel themselves.
Reuters 21st Feb 2007
Reuters 21st Feb 2007
Telegraph 21st Feb 2007
Independent 21st Feb 2007

BBC 20th Feb 2007
IRAN last night dismissed threats of force to make it back down over its nuclear programme and Ali Larijani, Tehran’s chief negotiator said only negotiations – without the precondition that it stop enriching uranium – could resolve the dispute.
Scotsman 21st Feb 2007

Iran will today be declared in violation of a UN resolution calling for a halt to its enrichment of uranium, after last-minute negotiations in Vienna failed to reach a compromise in the nuclear stand-off.
Guardian 21st Feb 2007

The White House on Tuesday brushed off Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s offer to close down nuclear fuel production facilities if the United States and its allies do the same.
Daily Mail 21st Feb 2007

Iran’s president says he wants talks on his country’s nuclear programme – but only if there are no pre-conditions. The comments by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad comes a day before a UN Security Council deadline for Tehran to stop its uranium enrichment or face sanctions. Iran insists the programme is for civilian use only.
Belfast Telegraph 20th Feb 2007

Iran may be able to enrich uranium on a mass scale in just six months, but it could still be 10 years away from the capacity to build a nuclear bomb, the chief UN monitor said in remarks published Monday.
Middle East Online 20th Feb 2007


Following a recent meeting with the National Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate and representatives of the Swedish nuclear power industry, it has been decided to request that the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear power authority, carry out an inspection at the Forsmark nuclear facility.
Energy Business Review 20th Feb 2007

New nukes

Article by Frank Tombs (previous CEO of the SSEB) The past 20 years have seen reliance by UK governments on market forces to provide an energy strategy. The only power stations built during this period have been gas-fired, taking advantage of cheap gas and short construction periods. There has been a government-sponsored programme of wind power, the subsidy for which until 2020 will total £30bn – for energy that is intermittent. As a result, we face some decades of growing reliance on imports of gas, much of it from politically unstable regions of the world. This brings serious risk of interruptions in supply and volatile, probably rising, costs. To build new plant to replace ageing coal and nuclear power stations will take years.
FT 21st Feb 2007

As a result of the High Court ruling, a new and fuller review will now have to be conducted, a move which is expected to take up to three months and which will probably delay a proposed energy White Paper, which had been anticipated to set out a detailed energy strategy including new nuclear plants in late March.
Modern Power Systems 20th Feb 2007

Another opinion piece by Patrick Moore.
Daily Express 21st Feb 2007


Snow Patrol, Thom Yorke and Razorlight are among more than 50 British artists opposing plans to modernise the country’s nuclear weapons system. The musicians have signed a statement released by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) that urges “peace and justice, not nuclear weapons and war”.
BBC 20th Feb 2007


RADIOACTIVE contamination from Sellafield has been detected on Braystones beach following recently improved monitoring. British Nuclear Group has reported in the Sellafield newsletter that “a week of radiological monitoring was carried out at Braystones beach between Monday January 29 and Friday 2. “The monitoring was in line with an Environment Agency statutory requirement. “As a result of the monitoring we have removed three contaminated items from the beach. These are being fully analysed to determine their source.
Whitehaven News 9th Feb 2007

Posted: 21 February 2007

20 February 2007


The IAEA is gloomy about the prospects for an agreement with Iran.
FT 20th Feb 2007

Iran could be just six months away from acquiring the ability to enrich industrial-scale uranium – a key step in building a nuclear bomb – the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog warned.
Metro 19th Feb 2007

Iran’s key nuclear sites.
BBC 16th Feb 2007

Iran has rejected claims by Russian officials that it has failed to meet payments for work on the Bushehr nuclear plant in southern Iran.
BBC 19th Feb 2007
View London 19th Feb 2007
Reuters 19th Feb 2007

IRAN’S military launched its largest war games in almost a year today, just two days ahead of a UN Security Council deadline for Iran to halt uranium enrichment or face further economic sanctions.
Edinburgh Evening News 19th Feb 2007


CLYDE Naval Base, which houses the UK’s Trident nuclear arsenal and fleet of nuclear submarines, has been ordered to make £30 million of cuts, sparking fears of massive job losses and reduced safety.
Scotsman 20th Feb 2007

PEACE campaigners will be taking their anti-nuclear message around the country in a camper van, setting off from the Scottish Parliament today. Green MSP Robin Harper was set to see off the colourful Bin The Bomb Roadshow from Holyrood at noon.
Edinburgh Evening News 19th Feb 2007

New nukes

Where it had been stated in a government White Paper that there would be the fullest public consultation before making a decision on a matter of substantial public policy but information as to major relevant issues had emerged only after consultation had closed, then the decision-making process was fatally flawed.
Times 20th Feb 2007


IF THE government was actually trying to create a climate of suspicion about nuclear power it couldn’t do much better. Last week, the high court in London condemned its public consultation on nuclear power as “misleading” and “seriously flawed”. It provided virtually no information about the real costs and risks. In fact,it wasn’t really a consultation at all, but a public relations exercise. Tony Blair had already decided what he wanted to do, and the consultation – like the dodgy dossiers on Iraq – were created to fit the policy. We have been here before. The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CORWM) held a similarly empty consultation on nuclear waste before it reported in July last year. It was supposed to find a solution to the most intractable problem of this form of energy. But it rapidly became clear that this three-year inquiry was essentially a PR exercise designed to persuade the public that there was no alternative to deep geological storage of nuclear waste. Which isn’t actually a solution at all. We are supposed to be completing another consultation right now on a new generation of Trident nuclear submarines, though there has been precious little sign of it.
Sunday Herald 18th Feb 2007

Nicol Stephen also told his party’s Scottish conference in Aviemore that he wanted to turn Scotland into the renewable energy powerhouse of Europe. A Scottish energy bill would be published in September containing plans for 100% of electricity to be generated from renewables by 2050.
BBC 17th Feb 2007

I am determined to deliver wave power in Scotland creating millions of pounds of new investment and thousands of jobs. Last year I set up a new fund to support marine energy in Scotland. I was told we would be lucky to get even one or two applications. Next week I will be announcing support for the first projects from the marine energy support fund. Next week I will be announcing nine successful applications, all determined to build a world class wave and tidal industry here in Scotland. Make no mistake, I want to see Scotland become the renewable energy powerhouse of Europe. I am determined to deliver more decentralised energy, with microrenewables in every new development. Let’s see wind turbines and solar panels and biomass boilers in our homes and our schools and our hospitals. And I am determined to set a big and deliberately bold target on all of this. By 2050 the Liberal Democrats want all of Scotland’s electricity to be generated from renewable sources – 100% clean electricity in the lifetime of our children. That is the sort of policy to inspire young people in Scotland.
Speech by Nicol Stephen MSP 17th Feb 2007

Scottish ministers are set to announce funding for what has been described as the world’s biggest wave farm. Leith-based company Ocean Power Delivery has been testing the Pelamis device at the European Marine Energy Centre on Orkney. Scottish Power wants to commission four more at the same site. Deputy First Minister Nicol Stephen is set to announce a 13m funding package that will also allow a number of other marine energy devices to be tested. Ocean Power Delivery has already exported the Pelamis for use in a commercial wave farm.
BBC 20th Feb 2007

Posted: 20 February 2007

19 February 2007


A GROUP of campaigning Vikings will represent York as part of a year-long blockade of a nuclear base in Scotland.
York Press 19th Feb 2007

Letter from Pugwash: It was heartening to read your front-page article (“Not in our name’, 15 February) showing the breadth of support that exists in this country for a postponement of the looming Parliamentary vote on replacing Trident submarines. Recent evidence by Richard Garwin, a scientific adviser to the United States government on nuclear technology, demonstrated that there is no technical reason for making this decision now, prior to full consultation.
Independent 19th Feb 2007

Letter: Your report (February 17) of Admiral Sir Jonathon Band ‘s threat to quit if the Royal Navy is reduced much further notes that all three service chiefs have warned the Government of their misgivings over the continued cuts in conventional forces. The fat, greedy cuckoo in the nest is the nuclear deterrent.
Telegraph 19th Feb 2007

Christian peace-campaigners have held a protest in Bristol against government plans to spend £20bn upgrading the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent.
BBC 18th Feb 2007

North Korea

Letter: You award the North Korean nuclear agreement a cautious welcome (reports and editorial, February 14 and 15), rightly noting the major obstacles that remain. A frank assessment can only conclude that these obstacles are very likely to prove insurmountable. It is easy to criticise an agreement that was never going to be more than a tentative first step, but the fiction that this is a “breakthrough” raises expectations which this deal will not fulfil.
FT 19th Feb 2007


Iran’s foreign ministry on Sunday dismissed talk of immediate suspension of uranium enrichment ahead of this week’s UN Security Council deadline despite a recent flurry of Iranian diplomacy that had raised hopes of a compromise.
FT 19th Feb 2007

Middle East

Greenpeace calls for a nuclear free Middle East.
Greenpeace Press Release 18th Feb 2007


THE European Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of ScottishPower by Iberdrola, the Spanish energy company, after concluding that the takeover presented no competition problems, either in Europe or in the UK. The EU also said it had found no evidence that the agreed £11.6 billion deal, to create Europe’s third-biggest utility, was advantaged by any Spanish tax breaks.
Scotsman 16th Feb 2007


An industry lobbyist advising Andris Piebalgs, the energy commissioner, had his contract terminated after failing to clarify there was no conflict of interest between the roles. Rolf Linkohr, a German former MEP who runs a Brussels-based consultancy and is on the board of two power companies, had been working for Mr Piebalgs for two years. While in parliament he chaired the European Energy Forum, a club for MEPs funded by the industry, and he recently hosted a conference in Berlin lauding nuclear energy.
FT 19th Feb 2007

Posted: 19 February 2007