News January 2007

31 January 2007

New nukes

British Energy plans to solicit proposals for the construction of new nuclear power plants in the U.K. The move may signal the start of a race among other power producers, including E.ON AG, RWE AG and Electricite de France SA, to replace aged power stations with more efficient ones that emit less carbon dioxide. Britain’s government is preparing an energy bill that it hopes will help secure supplies and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. “All of our existing sites are strong contenders for new nuclear build,” said British Energy. British Energy’s existing nuclear sites benefit from advantages such as existing links with the electricity grid and a good relationship with local communities, the company said in the statement. “These benefits are recognized by all the major players who might wish to get involved,” it said. Areva is preparing to apply to U.K. regulators for approval of its design for nuclear power plants. The country’s health and safety regulatory body on Jan. 11 published on its Web site guidance on arrangements for assessing the design of plants that may potentially be built in the U.K. So-called “pre- licensing” could speed up the construction process for nuclear power plants. General Electric Co., the world’s largest provider of power- plant equipment, said in September it was in talks with British Energy to build nuclear reactors in the U.K. The company’s nuclear energy unit also held talks with E.ON, RWE and Electricite de France. E.ON, Germany’s biggest utility, will join the planning and licensing processes for new nuclear power stations in the U.K. to increase the company’s electricity production. Electricite de France has said it’s interested in new sites in the U.K. RWE’s U.K. unit hasn’t made up its mind on whether to invest in new reactors in the U.K.
Bloomberg 30th Jan 2007

Brief mentions.
Daily Mail 31st Jan 2007
Daily Telegraph 31st Jan 2007

On the domestic side there are five key areas in which Blair is closely involved: academies and trust schools; welfare reform (on both of which he had meetings yesterday morning); civil nuclear power; reform of the NHS; and Northern Ireland. Decisions have just been taken on the licensing system for a new generation of civil nuclear power stations, again a Blair priority.
Times 31st Jan 2007

Iran

Senior European policy-makers are increasingly worried that the US administration will resort to air strikes against Iran to try to destroy its suspect nuclear programme.
Guardian 31st July 2007

The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog fears Iran may be days away from ramping up its nuclear programme, a worry that has led to new efforts for a deal between Tehran and the west.
FT 31st July 2007

US President George W. Bush said Monday Iran’s people would face “deprivation” over their leaders’ nuclear ambitions and firmly warned Tehran against sowing “discord and harm” in Iraq.
Middle East Online 30th Jan 2007

United States

America’s President Bush has delivered the latest State of the Union address calling for a shift away from oil imports and towards energy independence through technology-led development, including new nuclear.
Nuclear Engineering International 30th Jan 2007

New nukes

Alistair Darling, the UK trade and industry secretary, has announced the appointment of Dr Tim Stone as senior advisor to lead the development of arrangements for the costs associated with potential nuclear new build decommissioning and waste management. The appointment fulfils a commitment set out in the recent Energy Review.
Nuclear Engineering International 30th Jan 2007

Bulgaria

The EU Energy Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, has ruled out re-opening the Bulgarian reactors.
EU Business 30th Jan 2007

South Korea

SOUTH Korean and US defence officials are to meet in Washington in February to continue discussions concerning a possible ‘nuclear umbrella’ over Seoul.
Jane’s Information Group 30th Jan 2007

Forsmark

Sweden’s Forsmark nuclear power plant fails to meet standard safety requirements, according to a critical internal report made public six months after a serious incident at the plant. The internal report, written by Forsmark technicians and released late on Monday, cites ‘a degradation of the company’s security culture over a long period of time’.
ABC Money 30th Jan 2007

Oldbury

Most people want to see the Oldbury site returned to nature. Plans to reuse the site as a power station using fossil fuels, or even as one of the next generation of nuclear plants, were rejected by the 1,000 people interviewed.
Bristol Evening Post 30th Jan 2007
Gloucester Citizen 30th Jan 2007

Posted: 31 January 2007

30 January 2007

South Korea

South Korea has announced plans to spend 2.44 trln won over five years to build homegrown light-water nuclear reactors and develop fuel technology.
ABC Money 30th Jan 2007

North Korea

Six-nation talks on tackling North Korea’s nuclear ambitions will resume on 8 February, hosts China announced.
BBC 30th Jan 2007
Sky 30th Jan 2007

Sweden

Sweden’s nuclear authority on Monday asked prosecutors to investigate whether the operator of a nuclear power plant broke the law in its response to a malfunction last year. Two reactors at the Forsmark plant, 60 miles north of Stockholm, were shut down in July after two backup generators malfunctioned during a power failure. They went back on the grid two months later after security upgrades.
ABC Money 30th Jan 2007

Russia

A reactor at Russia’s Balakovskaya atomic power plant was automatically stopped because of a technical problem, media reported on Tuesday. Interfax news agency quoted emergency officials as saying that radiation levels at the plant were normal and that officials were investigating the matter.
Reuters 30th Jan 2007

New nukes

Nuclear companies are positioning themselves to win lucrative contracts to build new nuclear reactors ahead of the government’s energy white paper in March. Mike Graham, national secretary of trade union Prospect, which represents nuclear engineers, said there was “a lot of interest” in the possible revival of the UK nuclear industry from suppliers. “Everything seems to have been speeding up within the last month.” Although deal-making cannot go ahead until a formal decision from government to give the green light to new nuclear reactors, companies that make nuclear reactor technology as well as those that build nuclear plants have started positioning themselves.
FT 30th Jan 2007

Iran

The US has rejected a call from the head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog for a “timeout” in the showdown with Iran over its nuclear programme. The US ambassador to the UN said the sanctions already being applied against Iran were not open to reinterpretation.
BBC 30th Jan 2007

Bulgaria

The Albanian Prime Minister has urged Brussels to reconsider the closure of the two Bulgarian reactors saying the region needs electricity.
EU Business 29th Jan 2007

Oldbury

Residents near Oldbury Nuclear Power station in south Gloucestershire want the site left to nature when it is closed down next year. Over 1,000 people who live within a five mile radius of the plant responded to a public consultation on what should happen to the site.
BBC 29th Jan 2007

Terror

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Monday that nuclear power plant operators should not be expected to stop terrorists from crashing an airliner into a reactor, saying that responsibility lies elsewhere. Plant operators instead should focus on limiting radioactive releases and public exposure from any such airborne attack, the agency said in a revised defense plan for America’s nuclear plants.
Guardian website 29th Jan 2007

Renewables

IT is an island divided. The increasingly bitter debate over the giant Lewis wind farm will be rekindled this week as islanders wrestle again with the issue of whether an environmental price is worth paying for much needed jobs and local investment. Some are already looking to Shetland, where the council is progressing its own £1bn wind farm which could provide power for a quarter of Scotland’s homes and which, as one of the largest community power projects in the world, could generate £20m a year. The Lewis and Shetland projects depend on getting an interconnector to the mainland, and there are doubts that ministers would support both. It would be a bitter blow to Western Isles councillors if they were to lose out to Shetland. There are three major wind farm developments proposed for Lewis, but the one by Amec and British Energy, in the name of Lewis Windpower (LWP), for the north and west, is generating most heat. Calum Macdonald, the former Labour MP, has even identified his support for it as one of the main reasons for him losing the Westminster seat, and the issue will doubtless feature in the forthcoming Holyrood election.
Herald 29th Jan 2007

Turbine sites
The Herald 29th Jan 2007

Scotland

LONGANNET power station is to be converted to burn gas as a temporary measure to secure electricity supply. The coal-burning plant in Fife, on the banks of the Forth, was closed last week after a coal-bearing conveyor belt collapsed. That could take up to two months to repair and, to ensure continuity of supply, the turbines are being switched to gas as early as this week. Generating capacity is now “tighter than normal”, while Hunterston nuclear plant in Ayrshire is also closed for repairs.
Herald 29th Jan 2007

Torness

TORNESS nuclear power station may escape the worst of the rising seas caused by global warming, a Met Office report says. The report looked at the effects of climate change on sea levels and how it would affect British Energy’s nuclear sites across the UK.
Edinburgh Evening News 26th Jan 2007

Posted: 30 January 2007

29 January 2007

THORP

British Nuclear Group has run into new safety problems at the controversial Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (Thorp) which have delayed its restart. The move threatens to undermine the precarious finances of the government’s clean-up organisation, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), which relies on Thorp for its income. Faults have been discovered on evaporators necessary for drying radioactive liquid produced by Thorp and the plant cannot operate until these are fixed. The NDA said it was not prepared to give a date now for Thorp being brought back on stream.
Guardian 29th Jan 2007

Iran

Iran is installing 3,000 centrifuges, a top governor said, in an announcement underlining that the country will continue its nuclear programme despite United Nations sanctions.
IC Wales 28th Jan 2007

Igor Ivanov, head of Russia’s security council, said Moscow was committed to launching Iran’s nuclear power plant in September. He is expected to hold a press conference with his Iranian counterpart. Russia supports Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear technology.
Times 29th Jan 2007

Scotland

SCOTLAND is on the brink of a power crisis after an accident at one of the country’s biggest electricity plants massively reduced supplies to the national grid. Emergency legislation will be rushed through the Scottish Parliament early this week to allow Longannet power station, Fife, to burn gas as well as coal in a bid to stave off potential blackouts. The Longannet shutdown has triggered the nightmare scenario which energy chiefs have long feared. It comes with another of Scotland’s power stations, the nuclear-powered Hunterston B, also shut down, following safety concerns.
Scotland on Sunday 28th Jan 2007

Posted: 29 January 2007

28 January 2007

Iran

Iran’s efforts to produce highly enriched uranium, the material used to make nuclear bombs, are in chaos and the country is still years from mastering the required technology. Iran’s uranium enrichment programme has been plagued by constant technical problems, lack of access to outside technology and knowhow, and a failure to master the complex production-engineering processes involved. The country denies developing weapons, saying its pursuit of uranium enrichment is for energy purposes.
Observer 28th Jan 2007

IRAN is installing 3,000 centrifuges at a uranium enrichment plant, which will stabilise its “capability in the field of nuclear technology”. Large-scale use of centrifuges is necessary to enrich enough uranium for use in a nuclear reactor. Highly- enriched uranium is required to make nuclear weapons.
Scotland on Sunday 28th Jan 2007
Sunday Times 28th Jan 2007
Reuters 27th Jan 2007

Iran’s nuclear body has denied claims by a senior MP that it has begun installing 3,000 nuclear centrifuges to boost its uranium enrichment.
BBC 27th Jan 2007

New nukes

THE government has started planning in earnest for new nuclear power stations by hiring a top corporate-finance adviser from KPMG. Tim Stone, chairman of KPMG’s global infrastructure and projects group, has been seconded part-time to work for the DTI and Treasury. Stone declined to comment on his appointment, but it is understood that he has been asked to tackle two big questions — how industry will pay to deal with the waste and decomissioning costs associated with the new reactors, and whether government action to set a price for carbon could make nuclear power price- competitive against fossil fuels.
Sunday Times 28th Jan 2007

Dounreay

THE DOUNREAY nuclear complex is facing legal action for failing to store radioactive waste safely after an incident in which a worker was contaminated with plutonium. The government’s Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII)has served two improvement notices on the plant’s operator, the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), obliging it to remedy the problem. Inspectors are also considering sending a report to the procurator fiscal. A worker was found to have accidentally inhaled plutonium while decommissioning an old fuel-processing laboratory on January 12 last year. Subsequent investigations uncovered half a dozen contaminated lead bricks left on a shelf nearby. According to one of the notices issued by the NII, the bricks were stored “without adequate levels of containment”. They also lacked “adequate means of physical protection”and”any identification by means of marking or labelling”.
Sunday Herald 28th Jan 2007
RobEdwards.info 28th Jan 2007

Trident

A crucial vote to keep the UK’s nuclear deterrent will influence the decision on the future of Plymouth’s naval base ministers have confirmed.
Plymouth Herald 27th Jan 2007

SHOULD Armageddon come, its heralding scripture will not appear in any holy book. It will appear on a screen in front of two officers in the small communications room of HMS Vengeance, one of Britain’s four nuclear submarines – launch orders; blood and rubble.
Scotsman 27th Jan 2007

THE village of Garelochhead sits at the centre of a giant red bull’s-eye. During the Cold War the local school, the stone gable of the kirk and the pub bar stools could have been annihilated in a few minutes by missiles from Soviet silos, permanently targeted on this small corner of Scotland.
Scotsman 27th Jan 2007

Dungeness

Drastic efforts are being made to save Dungeness nuclear site from advancing waves on Britain’s most threatened coastline.
Sunday Express 28th Jan 2007

Posted: 28 January 2007

27 January 2007

Iran

Iran’s former president Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani on Friday called on officials to adopt a ‘wiser rhetoric’ in the course of the nuclear dispute.
Monsters and Critics 26th Jan 2007

Iran has demanded the removal of the UN official overseeing nuclear inspections in the country, accusing him of breach of trust.
Daily Mail 26th Jan 2007

North Korea

North Korea on Saturday dismissed speculation it was helping Iran develop its atomic programmes, insisting it was behaving as a responsible nuclear state.
Reuters 27th Jan 2007

South Korea’s foreign minister says the next round of international talks on North Korea’s nuclear program should resume early next month
Guardian website 26th Jan 2007

New nukes

New nuclear build in the UK will be subject to exactly the same factors that have made existing capacity such a colossal waste of money, with the added risk from the use of relatively new technology (EPR reactors), and the decreasing availability over time of high grade uranium ore. Current experience with the only new nuclear power scheme under construction in Europe (the Olkiluoto 3 reactor in Finland) shows no improvement against a history which has seen NO nuclear power station built anywhere, ever, come in on budget or to deadline. As of December 2006, construction of Olkiluoto 3 was reported to be 18-24 months behind schedule, and this isn’t even 18 months into the work, originally scheduled to take around four years.
Wikipedia 26 Jan 2007

Renewables

Half of the world’s energy needs in 2050 could be met by renewables and improved efficiency, a study claims. It said alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar, could provide nearly 70% of the world’s electricity and 65% of global heat demand. Following a “business as usual” scenario would see demand for energy double by 2050, the authors warned. The study, by the German Aerospace Center, was commissioned by Greenpeace and Europe’s Renewable Energy Council.
BBC 25th Jan 2007

China

Construction of China’s first high temperature gas-cooled reactor has begun at Rongcheng, in East China’s Shandong Province, local media reports.
Nuclear Engineeering International 26th Jan 2007

Russia

Russia’s lower house, the Duma, has passed a presidential reform bill covering the nuclear power sector and its development at the second reading. The bill aims to establish a state-controlled holding company, Atomenergoprom, which would hold existing civil nuclear assets. In addition the measures would allow other Russian corporate entities to possess nuclear installations, storage facilities and related materials, bringing to an end exclusive federal ownership of the sector.
Nuclear Engineeering International 26th Jan 2007

Mitsubishi

A 2002 deal with Westinghouse Electric Co to participate in its AP1000 advanced pressurised water reactor (APWR) development programme has been abandoned by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI). The original agreement saw MHI involved in the development and design of the reactor core, system and equipment of the AP1000 reactor.
Nuclear Engineeering International 26th Jan 2007

Nuclear Skills

MP Jamie Reed has vowed to keep the pressure up to ensure everything is on schedule for the National Nuclear Academy.
North West Evening Mail 26th Jan 2007

Plans for the Academy are being unveiled.
Whitehaven News 26th Jan 2007
BBC 26th Jan 2007

Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s economy and energy minister said he will ask EU energy ministers in February to consider restarting two recently closed reactors at the country’s only nuclear plant.
Interactive Investor 26th Jan 2007

Amec

NUCLEAR Project management business AMEC is investing around £500,000 in an extension to a nuclear science laboratory at Birchwood, Warrington, in a move which will create about a dozen jobs over the next 18 months as well as safeguarding the positions of 80 existing staff.
Manchester Evening News 26th Jan 2007

Trident

The MP for Elmet, Colin Burgon, wants to get our views on the future of Trident, and whether the UK should continue to possess nuclear weapons.
Nidderdale Herald 26th Jan 2007

Dounreay

A DOUNREAY trade union official is claiming the Far North is “dying on its feet” as a result of a failure to address uncertainties about the timetable for the site’s clean-up programme. John Deighan fears a further round of job losses caused by funding cuts will lead to more workers voting with their feet and joining the growing number leaving the area to join the oil industry.
John O’ Groat Journal 26th Jan 2007

DOUNREAY’S operators have been charged after a marathon probe into past waste management practices at the site. The UK Atomic Energy Authority is facing four charges under the Radioactive Substances Act 1960. The indictment follows a report submitted to Far North area fiscal Alasdair MacDonald by the off-site regulator, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. It covers the alleged disposal of radioactive waste at a landfill dump on the Caithness site between 1963 and 1975. The UKAEA is also in the dock over nuclear fuel particles it is accused of releasing from the site into the surrounding environment between 1963 and 1984. The case is due to call at Wick Sheriff Court on February 6.
John O’ Groat Journal 26th Jan 2007

Posted: 27 January 2007

26 January 2007

Iran

The Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, dramatically raised the stakes in the international showdown with Iran last night, with a clear warning that his country was prepared to use military force to prevent Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Belfast Telegraph 25th Jan 2007

The US is up to its old, aggressive tricks again, pushing its European allies to take a hard line on Iran. But this time, Washington looks like it is at least half-right. The course the Bush administration is advocating on Tehran’s nuclear programme – tougher sanctions – may not be to the liking of European ears. But, since the alternative option of military action could ignite the region as a whole, the European Union should listen to what Washington has to say.
FT 26th Jan 2007

Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami on Thursday called for calm heads to reduce building tensions between the United States and his country over its nuclear programme.
Reuters 25th Jan 2007

Israel is launching a campaign to isolate Iran economically and to soften up world opinion for the option of a military strike aimed at crippling or delaying Tehran’s uranium enrichment programme.
Guardian 26th Jan 2007

Dounreay

CLEANING up the notorious waste shaft at the Dounreay nuclear station could be delayed by more than a decade due to a funding gap, it emerged yesterday. The UK Atomic Energy Authority ( UKAEA) has started drilling up to 400 boreholes to isolate the site’s shaft and allow a cocktail of radioactive and chemical materials to be removed. If all goes according to plan, the project could be completed within 20 years. But there is uncertainty over the future timetable due to doubts over funding from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which has an estimated £160 million shortfall in its £2.2 billion annual budget. Cuts or delays in NDA funding could push the completion date at Dounreay back to the 2040s. However Simon Middlemass, Dounreay’s acting site director, said he did not expect any delay.
Scotsman 25th Jan 2007

THE operators of the Dounreay nuclear plant have been charged over alleged radioactive offences stretching back more than 40 years. An investigation by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency has resulted in four charges under the Radioactive Substances Act 1960. They relate to the alleged disposal of radioactive waste at a landfill dump on the site between 1963 and 1975. The UKAE are also accused of releasing nuclear fuel particles from the site into the surrounding area between 1963 and 1984. The case will be called at Wick Sheriff Court next month.
Daily Record 26th Jan 2007

Officials at Dounreay yesterday admitted they do not know what is in the Caithness plant’s notorious waste shaft. With decommissioning work on the shaft now under way, one of the problems facing those charged with isolating and retrieving 20 years’ worth of nuclear and chemical waste there is a number of small drums at the bottom. The drums, containing sodium, were dumped there in 1959 but nobody knows whether they are intact or not. There was unsupervised fly-tipping into the shaft and workers firing rifles into it to sink polythene bags floating on water, with no regard to the shaft’s hazardous contents.
Herald 25th Jan 2007

THE UK Atomic Energy Authority has been charged under the Radioactive Substances Act over the alleged disposal of radioactive waste at a landfill dump at Dounreay nuclear plant between 1963 and 1975. The case is due at Wick Sheriff Court on 6 February.
Scotsman 26th Jan 2007

Trident

Britain appears to have changed its nuclear doctrine and narrowed the set of circumstances under which it would contemplate using nuclear weapons. Des Browne, defence secretary, said yesterday that Britain’s nuclear arms “should not be used for anything other than deterring extreme threats to our national security”.
FT 26th Jan 2007

Nuclear weapons are not inherently evil, the defence secretary, Des Browne, insisted today as he set out the arguments for upgrading Trident in the face of mounting criticism of the policy.
Guardian 26th Jan 2007
Scotsman 26th Jan 2007
Times 26th Jan 2007
Politics.co.uk 25th Jan 2007
BBC 25th Jan 2007

India

Russia will build four nuclear power reactors in India under a draft deal signed by their two leaders in the Indian capital, Delhi.
BBC 25th Jan 2007
ABC Money 25th Jan 2007
Times 26th Jan 2007
FT 26th Jan 2007

New nukes

Tim Stone, the chairman of KPMG’s global infrastructure and projects group who is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of the private finance initiative, has been appointed senior government advisor on nuclear power. “Tim Stone will put in place the right arrangements for any new nuclear build that might come forward,” said Alistair Darling, the secretary of state for trade and industry. “This will ensure the private sector meets the full decommissioning costs and their share of long-term waste management costs.”
Public Private Finance 25th Jan 2007

Hinkley Point power station in Somerset will experience increasingly large storm surges by the end of the century, a study has predicted.The Met Office at Exeter produced the study looking at the predicted effects of climate change and sea level rises at British Energy’s nuclear sites across the UK, which are all on the coast. The Met Office study used its regional climate models and builds on previous work completed in 2004 for a smaller range of sites.
Western Morning News 25th Jan 2007
Western Daily Press 25th Jan 2007

Terror

Georgian authorities revealed that last year they arrested a Russian man trying to sell 100 grams of weapons-grade uranium. Oleg Khiltsagov was caught in a sting operation, said to have been conducted with the CIA, and jailed for eight years. It was unclear where the uranium came from.
Times 26th Jan 2007
Independent 26th Jan 2007

Posted: 26 January 2007

25 January 2007

Iran

The Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, dramatically raised the stakes in the international showdown with Iran last night, with a clear warning that his country was prepared to use military force to prevent Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Independent 25th Jan 2007

Internal pressure on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran to abandon his confrontational policies with the West has intensified after Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s supreme spiritual leader, snubbed a request for a meeting on the country’s controversial nuclear programme.
Telegraph 25th Jan 2007

The US government put more pressure on Europe this week to extend financial sanctions to punish Iran for stepping up its nuclear programme – but it is meeting European resistance. The effort comes amid indications that US-only financial sanctions are having a bigger economic impact than expected.
FT 25th Jan 2007

Posted: 25 January 2007

24 January 2007

Iran

North Korea is helping Iran to prepare an underground nuclear test similar to the one Pyongyang carried out last year. Under the terms of a new understanding between the two countries, the North Koreans have agreed to share all the data and information they received from their successful test last October with Teheran’s nuclear scientists.
Telegraph 24th Jan 2007

North Korea

North Korea is showing “flexibility” to a “proactive” offer by the US and South Korea that could lead to the scrapping of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme, South Korea’s foreign minister said on Wednesday, raising hopes for progress in the next round of multilateral talks.
FT 24th Jan 2007
Reuters 24th Jan 2007

France

Areva has won an order for a nuclear steam generator from Electricite de France for use in EDF’s future nuclear power plant at Flamanville.
ABCMoney 24th Jan 2007

New Nukes

Rising sea-levels, increased wave height and increased storm surge height must all be considered in the planning of the UK’s future nuclear stations. Specialists from the Met Office make the recommendations in a report that assesses the likely risks to the industry from climate change. It was commissioned by the nuclear power company British Energy. All the current stations are on the coast, chosen for remoteness and guaranteed access to cooling water. The study concludes future power plants will need to be further inland and may need added protection. The government is likely to release its criteria for possible sites in March.
BBC 24th Jan 2007

Nuclear power stations on the British coast will experience storm surges up to 1.7 metres (5½ft) higher by 2080 because of global warming, a study suggests. The research, commissioned by British Energy, the nuclear plant operator, suggests that new coastal defence strategies may be needed to protect sites from a combination of more extreme weather and higher sea levels. All of Britain’s 15 nuclear plants are near the coast, and the prospect of rising sea levels has raised questions about whether the sites will be suitable if a new generation of reactors is built.
Times 24th Jan 2007

Dr Tim Stone, chairman of KPMG’s Global Infrastructure and Projects group, has won the prestigious role of the senior costs advisor on a multibilllion-pound government nuclear waste programme. The GIP group specialises in advising asset owners, government bodies, contractors and infrastructure funds on the financing of major projects worldwide across a wide range of sectors.
Finance Director 23rd Jan 2007

Trident

THE government’s decision to replace Britain’s nuclear submarine fleet is “highly premature”, an expert from the United States told MPs yesterday. Richard Garwin, an architect of the first hydrogen bomb, questioned a claim by the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, that work must start soon on replacing the ageing Vanguard-class subs which are based on the Clyde.
Scotsman 24th Jan 2007
Guardian 24th Jan 2007
BBC 23rd Jan 2007

The government has “stack-ed the deck” in favour ofan immediate decision to replace the Trident submarine fleet that carries Britain’s nuclear deterrent, according to one of the US’s most eminent physicists. Richard Garwin, principal architect of the first US hydrogen bomb design and a long-standing consultant to successive US administrations on security matters, says the decision announced by the government in December to build three or four submarines to replace the existing Vanguard-class ships is “highly premature”. Mr Garwin, an expert on submarine design, will give evidence today to the House of Commons defence select committee and present a paper by him and the three scientists: Philip Coyle, Theodore Postol and Frank von Hippel. Parliament is due to discuss the issue in March.
FT 23rd Jan 2007

A REITIRED GP from Taunton is today (Thursday) joining a health professionals blockade of the Faslane Trident Submarine Base in Scotland.
NewsQuest South West 23rd Jan 2007

Nuclear testing

From 1949 until 1990, the Soviet Union used the Semipalatinsk region of East Kazakhstan as a nuclear testing site.
Scotsman 24th Jan 2007

Lithuania

General Electric Co has expressed an interest in a project to build a new nuclear power plant in Lithuania, officials said.
ABC Money 23rd Jan 2007

Israel

Israeli Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer hinted that his country should consider producing nuclear power for civilian purposes.
ABC Money 23rd Jan 2007

Aldermaston

Eight people were arrested after they chained themselves together as part of a protest at a nuclear weapons factory.
BBC 23rd Jan 2007

Nuclear Waste

Letter from Gordon MacKerron: As chair of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management, I reject any suggestion of political manipulation (“Blair accused of nuclear waste ‘cover-up’ “, 19 January). CoRWM is an independent advisory body which has operated without preconceptions or undue influence from external bodies. All of our meetings have been held in public and our decisions subject to peer review and the widest possible scrutiny.
Independent 24th Jan 2007

Dounreay

The UK Atomic Energy Authority yesterday won permission to construct a £100m plant to deal with the most hazardous radioactive waste at Dounreay, but financial shortfalls could delay the work. The Caithness area committee of Highland Council gave outline permission for the construction of three buildings, covering an area the size of a football pitch, that are key to decommissioning the Dounreay site. The largest is the intermediate level waste cementation plant and store, designed to immobilise and encapsulate more than 30 years’ worth of
intermediate level liquid waste from fast reactor reprocessing and provide for its secure storage until a national repository is available. Construction is due to begin in 2008 and 120 jobs should be created. It is expected to take four years to build and commission, allowing the waste to be treated by 2017. It is also planned to take parts of reactor components and subject them to cementation. However, the development comes at a time of uncertainty for Dounreay as the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency (NDA), the body which finances the decommissioning programme, tries to make up a deficit of £200m. It is believed that Dounreay’s grant for 2007/08 could be cut back by £57m, around a quarter of this year’s budget of £277m, and may mean the shedding of up to 500 jobs.
Herald 23rd Jan 2007
Scotsman 23rd Jan 2007

Iberdrola

A consortium of Alstom and Spanish utility Iberdrola is a strong contender to win a modernisation contract for Mexico’s Laguna Verde nuclear power station, les Echos said, without citing sources. The project will involve the modernisation of the power station and expansion of its capacity from 1,365 to 1,500 megawatts. Alstom and Iberdrola submitted an offer worth 606 mln usd, undercutting its two rivals in the contest. Ibderdrola is waiting to hear from the EC if its bid for Scottish Power will be allowed.
Forbes 22nd Jan 2007

Posted: 24 January 2007

23 January 2007

New nukes

The government has chosen one of the UK’s top public and private finance experts, KPMG director Dr Tim Stone, as a senior advisor to lead on a new generation of nuclear power stations. The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Alistair Darling, today announced the appointment of Stone to a role some have termed the government’s “nuclear tsar”, leading the development of arrangements for the costs associated with potential nuclear new build decommissioning and waste management.
Interactive Investor 22nd Jan 2007
New Civil Engineer 22nd Jan 2007
DTI Press Release 22nd Jan 2007

Areva

French energy group Areva, the world’s biggest builder of nuclear power stations, yesterday signalled an expansion drive in renewable energy by offering to buy German wind-turbine maker REpower in a deal valuing it at €850m (£560m).
Guardian 23rd Jan 2007
BBC 22nd Jan 2007

North Korea

Hopes were rising yesterday that North Korea would return to the negotiating table next month to discuss its nuclear programme, but the US maintained a tough line, accusing the Pyongyang government of siphoning off millions from UN development aid.
Guardian 23rd Jan 2007
Sky 22nd Jan 2007

Germany

Germany will miss its CO2 emission targets, face rising electricity prices and become “dramatically” more reliant on Russian gas if it keeps to its policy of phasing out nuclear energy, a new study warns. The 60-page paper by Deutsche Bank will add to the pressure on Angela Merkel, chancellor, to renegotiate the phase-out deal agreed by the previous government in 2000, despite her pledge not to reopen the controversial debate.
FT 23rd Jan 2007

Europe

The High Level Liaison Committee, which is designed to ensure the implementation of nuclear safeguards between the European Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency, has been re-launched at a meeting in Vienna. The meeting reviewed principal matters in relation to the implementation of safeguards in the EU, and, according to the European Commission (EC), the involved parties agreed to strengthen their cooperation on the basis of their respective roles, reinforcing the effectiveness of mutual action.
Energy Business Review Online 22nd Jan 2007

Iran

IRAN has barred 38 inspectors from the UN nuclear watchdog from entering the country, it was announced yesterday. The move was a “first step” in limiting co-operation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in line with a demand made by Iran’s parliament after UN sanctions were imposed a month ago over its disputed nuclear programme.
Scotsman 23rd Jan 2007
Reuters 22nd Jan 2007
Sky 22nd Jan 2007
Interactive Investor 22nd Jan 2007

Terror

On a recent episode of 24 – something troubles me about the fictional deployment of nukes for the sake of mass entertainment.
Times 23rd Jan 2007

Dounreay

WORKERS at Dounreay are bracing themselves for a fresh round of job losses if feared cutbacks from the site’s paymasters are realised. Up to five hundred posts could go in the worst-case scenario which would involve the brakes being applied on a number of high-profile jobs in the decommissioning of the UKAEA site. Contractors are concerned that promised work will not come on stream if the UKAEA fails to get the funding to underwrite its planned programme for the next financial year.
John O’Groat Journal 19th Jan 2007

SCIENTISTS at Dounreay say they cannot yet tell whether the latest radioactive hot-spot to wash up on the nearby public beach at Sandside came from the site. Unlike the 74 grain-sized fragments of used fuel elements previously to come ashore, this find comprised an inch-thick piece of dark-coloured plastic tangled up in seaweed.
Caithness Courier 17th Jan 2007

United States

Buoyed by billions of dollars in subsidies pushed through Congress by the Bush administration, the U.S. nuclear power industry says 2007 is the year its plans for a “renaissance” will reach critical mass. “If this were a renaissance, you wouldn’t need to be enticing giant corporations with subsidies in order to get them to build reactors they claim are economically viable,” said Jim Riccio, nuclear policy analyst for the environmental group Greenpeace.
MSNBC 22nd Jan 2007

Trident

More than 200 people heard a powerful debate about the future of nuclear weapons in the UK.A panel of experts entertained the audience at Gambier Parry Hall in Highnam with arguments on either side of the debate on whether Britain should keep the Trident weapons system. Bruce Kent, vice-president of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) spoke against Trident, supported by former Government minister Michael Meacher. Forest of Dean MP Mark Harper, Conservative shadow Minister for defence, was the lead speaker in favour of the UK keeping its nuclear deterrent.
Gloucester Citizen 22nd Jan 2007

Posted: 23 January 2007

22 January 2007

Russia

The Russian Parliament has approved a new Bill to consolidate all of Russia’s nuclear fuel production and export companies into a single state-owned holding company, called Atomprom.
Times 22nd Jan 2007

China

There is one obvious point to make about China shooting down a satellite. It might have been a shock. It should not have been a surprise. A few weeks ago, the US and India signed a deal on nuclear technology. Commentators interpreted this as American acknowledgement that China was not the only regional superpower in East Asia. A weapons test of this nature will have been planned long in advance. To put it mildly, however, the India-US agreement would not have encouraged the Chinese to hesitate for fear of upsetting their neighbours. They were happy to remind the world who they were.
Independent 22nd Jan 2007

Iran

The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, defied his domestic critics yesterday by vowing not to retreat from his nuclear and economic policies despite growing pressure.
Guardian 22nd Jan 2007

Czech Republic

New coalition government includes the Greens who oppose nuclear power.
FT 22nd Jan 2007

Emergency Planning

Letter from Prof Edward: Protection from radiation is a major problem, and in any case it would be better if exposure was restricted to volunteers among retired police, who are less likely to breed or to survive long enough to develop cancer. They should be equipped with basic devices to record dosage. The use of young recruits was a major and inexcusable error after Chernobyl.
Telegraph 22nd Jan 2007

Posted: 22 January 2007