News June 2007

30 June 2007

Nuclear Waste

Article by Gordon MacKerron: THIS week The Scotsman reported that the Scottish Executive would refuse to support a consultation on the geological disposal of radioactive waste. For over 50 years the UK has been creating radioactive waste and hitherto has stored this waste in a variety of ways, none of which represents an acceptable long-term strategy.

Scotsman 30th June 2007 more >>

North Korea

U.N. nuclear watchdog officials reached an “understanding” with North Korea on verification of the shutdown and sealing of the North’s Yongbyon reactor, Kyodo news agency said on Friday. The head of the U.N. delegation said it was “satisfied” with their tour of a North Korean reactor complex that the secretive state has promised to scrap under an aid-for-disarmament deal, it said.

Reuters 29th June 2007 more >>

North Korea moved a step closer to fulfilling a promise to shutter its main nuclear reactor after agreeing with international monitors Friday on how to verify a shutdown.

Guardian website 29th June 2007 more >>

BBC 29th June 2007 more >>

FT 29th June 2007 more >>

Iran

The U.S. and fellow permanent U.N. Security Council members have told Iran they will hold off on new sanctions if it stops expanding its uranium enrichment activities as they seek to restart talks over Tehran’s nuclear program, diplomats said Friday.

Guardian website 29th June 2007 more >>

Czech Republic

A Czech advocacy group has started a campaign to start Zwentendorf in Austria as a parody of the Austrian campaign to Stop Temelin.

World Nuclear News 29th June 2007 more >>

Disarmament

Comment by John Gittings: Was Margaret Beckett’s remarkable speech on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament earlier this week just the swansong of an ex-CND supporter and an about-to-become-ex-foreign secretary, or does it indicate a new approach by Gordon Brown? Or is it a bit of both?

Guardian 29th June 2007 more >>

Germany

From a distance, the Lubmin nuclear power station looks like any other industrial relic from Soviet-era East Germany. Its reactors have gone cold and its gutted buildings flake in the sun. Frenzied activity inside its kilometre-long turbine hall tells a different story, however. Under a ballet of cranes, scores of workers are assembling steel hulls for the nearby shipyards. Lubmin’s rehabilitation is an example of the quiet investment boom spreading through Germany’s former communist east. If all goes according to plan it is Lubmin that will get the biggest investment of all – a €5bn ($6.7bn, £3.4bn) gas pipeline planned by Gazprom of Russia and Germany’s Eon and BASF. The link, scheduled for completion in 2011, will bring gas directly from Siberia’s gas fields to the former power station. Behind the projects, which include two gas and one coal power stations, are investors such as Dong Energy of Denmark, EnBW, part-owned by EDF of France, and Wingas, a joint venture between Gazprom and BASF.

FT 29th June 2007 more >>

France

France’s antitrust watchdog on Thursday gave a big boost to prospects for real competition in the country’s energy market by ordering state-controlled monopoly EDF to cut its wholesale electricity prices.

FT 29th June 2007 more >>

Politics

Letter from David Lowry: The elevation of David Miliband to foreign secretary seems to have been received by politicians and commentators with unnalloyed praise. But there is one area of Miliband’s political beliefs that could create a significant security problem: his support for nuclear power.

Guardian 29th June 2007 more >>

The prime minister suggested Shirley Williams could advise the government on combating the dangers of unsecured nuclear materials and nuclear proliferation, citing her work as the sole British board member of the US-based Nuclear Threat Initiative. It is understood he had a specific task in mind, rather than a role as an ad hoc adviser, but details were still unclear.

Guardian 29th June 2007 more >>

Poly Toynbee: an invitation to Shirley Williams to take some role in nuclear non-proliferation.

Guardian 29th June 2007 more >>

 

Posted: 30 June 2007

29 June 2007

Nuclear Waste

Letter from Richard Lochhead, Scottish Secretary for Environment: Contrary to your leader (26 June), the new Scottish government remains fully committed to working closely with the UK government in important aspects of radioactive waste policy and to supporting recommendations of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management on interim storage and further joint research on other management options. What we do not agree on is the long-term geological disposal of such waste. While other countries have opted for geological disposal, few have made any significant progress. We believe this out-of-sight, out-of-mind policy should not extend to Scotland. In the meantime, we will support “near site, near surface” storage designed to the highest safety standards. This minimises transport of nuclear waste across the country and is the safe and sensible option for Scotland.

Scotsman 29th June 2007 more >>

Communities will be able to volunteer to host a nuclear waste dump, but not just yet.

Whitehaven News 28th June 2007 more >>

NDA

A white powder sent to a nuclear agency in Cumbria sparking an alert has turned out to be harmless, police said. The suspect package was found by mailroom workers at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) in Whitehaven on Wednesday.

BBC 28th June 2007 more >>

Whitehaven News 29th June 2007 more >>

Whitehaven News 28th June 2007 more >>

Nuclear weapons

Russia successfully tested its newest Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile on Thursday, sending it thousands of km (miles) away from the White Sea to the Kamchatka peninsula in the Far East, Russian agencies said.

Reuters 28th June 2007 more >>

North Korea

Hopes of a deal to end North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme were raised yesterday as UN inspectors returned to the state’s plutonium reprocessing plant for the first time in four years.

Telegraph 29th June 2007 more >>

International Atomic Energy Agency officials on Friday said they had toured all key parts of North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear reactor in their first visit in almost five years and confirmed that the plant was still in operation. The inspectors’ visit will bolster hopes that Pyongyang will make good on its pledge to shut down the 5 megawatt reactor and reprocessing plant at Yongbyon, the source of the plutonium used for last year’s nuclear test.

FT 29th June 2007 more >>

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday she hoped for a swift shutdown of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs now that U.N. inspectors are in the country.

Guardian website 28th June 2007 more >>

UN inspectors were today visiting a nuclear plant in North Korea for the first time since they were expelled from the country in 2002.

Guardian website 28th June 2007 more >>

Venezuala

President Hugo Chávez yesterday hinted that Venezuela could try to become a nuclear power, during a visit to Russia apparently timed to antagonise the White House. Mr Chávez defended Iran’s right to pursue a nuclear programme and said it might be a good idea if Venezuela eventually did the same thing. Speaking before an audience of communists and other elements hostile to America, Mr Chávez said: “Iran has a right to have a peaceful atomic energy industry, as it is a sovereign country.

Guardian 29th June 2007 more >>

Germany

FIRE broke out in a transformer at a nuclear plant near Hamburg yesterday, but it was brought under control with no injuries and no damage to the reactor itself. The fire in a transformer building at the Kruemmel site burned for two hours and the plant was taken off-line as a precaution.

Scotsman 29th June 2007 more >>

Interactive Investor 28th June 2007 more >>

BBC 28th June 2007 more >>

The closure of two northern German nuclear power stations after problems on Thursday could not have come at a worse time for German operators who seek to extend the lifetime of some plants. Firefighters were still putting out a fire in a transformer substation on the site of the Kruemmel nuclear power generation block some 20 km (12 miles) south-east of Hamburg on Friday. Also on Thursday, a short-circuit at the nearby Brunsbuettel nuclear plant which was built in 1977 switched off that unit, leaving both plants out of action for the time being.

Reuters 29h June 2007 more >>

US

US Deputy Energy Secretary, Clay Sell, says you can’t be serious about climate change without being serious about nuclear power.

World Nuclear News 28th June 2007 more >>

Space

Nuclear-powered rockets could save NASA billions of dollars in launch costs for its planned return to the Moon, a top nuclear scientist says. He argues that the higher efficiency of nuclear propulsion would reduce the number of launches needed to build a lunar base.

New Scientist 28th June 2007 more >>

New nukes

Areva has signed up six companies as possible users of its EPR design: RWE, Eon, Suez, Iberdrola and British Energy.

Whitehaven News 28th June 2007 more >>

 

Posted: 29 June 2007

28 June 2007

Nuclear Waste

Letter from Chris McDonald: As the lead inspector (now retired) of the 1995-96 public inquiry into the proposed nuclear waste facility in west Cumbria, I was concerned by a couple of points in your piece on the new site search (Report, June 26). The relevant geology in west Cumbria is apparently now claimed to be “stable, although imperfect”. But 10 years ago the nuclear industry had not found a way of maintaining the stability of that geology when physically exploring the underground site. This difficulty was linked to the second issue of “imperfection”, because the imperfection consists of simply failing to meet the internationally agreed criteria on the suitability of rocks for nuclear waste deposit. The site should be in a region of low groundwater flow, and the geology should be readily characterisable and predictable, whereas the rocks there are actually of a complex volcanic nature, with significant faulting! Also, the industry was relying on an overlying layer of sedimentary strata to dilute and disperse any groundwater leakage, when the international criteria require such a layer to act instead as a barrier. The comprehensive assessment that reports the deficiencies in detail is available on the internet. The site is not suitable and investigations should be moved elsewhere. The site selection process was flawed, not treating safety as the most important factor, and irrationally affected by a strong desire to locate close to Sellafield. A final point – the sketch design for the repository has not been newly revealed. It was submitted to the 1995-96 inquiry, and has subsequently been discussed in technical journals.

Guardian 28th June 2007 more >>

Finland

THE much-touted resurgence of the European nuclear industry, promoted as a local solution to climate change, is already running into trouble. Construction of Europe’s first new nuclear power station since 1991 – the European Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR) at Olkiluoto, Finland – started in August 2005. Now the Finnish nuclear regulator, STUK, has uncovered a series of safety “deficiencies” in the new-style plant’s manufacture and design. This setback has already caused it to fall 18 months behind schedule and about €700 million over budget.

New Scientist 30th June 2007 more >>

RobEdwards.com 28th June 2007 more >>

New nukes

The world must start building nuclear power plants at the unprecedented rate of four a month from now on if nuclear energy is to play a serious part in fighting global warming, a leading think-tank said on Wednesday. Not only is this impossible for logistical reasons, but it has major implications for world security because of nuclear weapons proliferation, the Oxford Research Group said in its report “Too Hot To Handle – The future of civil nuclear power”. The report fired a series of broadsides against the growing momentum for more nuclear-generated electricity to help cut climate-warming carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels.

Reuters 27th June 2007 more >>

Energy companies should have the option of investing in new nuclear power stations, a prominent government figure said yesterday.Speaking at the Nuclear New Build Second Annual Summit in London on Tuesday, Parliamentary under secretary for energy Lord Truscott said that nuclear power played a central role in the government’s strategy for securing UK energy supply and fighting climate change.

New Civil Engineer 27th June 2007 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

As prime minister, with ultimate responsibility for Britain’s nuclear deterrent, Mr Brown has to write a letter, in his own hand, giving instructions detailing what the UK’s response should be in the event of a pre-emptive nuclear attack.

Guardian 28th June 2007 more >>

Companies

Mr Clarke was all revved up to talk about the 18pc growth in design and engineering solutions, where Atkins is well-placed for the UK’s next wave of nuclear power stations. Or the 61pc jump in sales from the Middle East and China to £108m, boosted by the Dubai Metro contract. Or the 20pc hike in the full-year dividend. Anything, in fact, except flaming Metronet, the Tube refurbishment company in which Atkins has a 20pc stake.

Telegraph 27th June 2007 more >>

Climate Change

Jonathan Porritt: So what is the UK government actually doing to make the most of this changing mood in business? The energy white paper is the latest in a long line of government strategies seeking to shed light on the direction of travel. This one is a pretty mixed bag, with quite a bit of old stuff refreshed or accelerated (for instance, a revised banding system to spread support for renewable energy more equitably), a little bit of fresh stuff (new commitments on energy efficiency), and a lot of stuff about nuclear power (further indications that the government wants the private sector to make proposals for a new generation of nuclear reactors, but should not expect any public funding even to deal with waste disposal or decommissioning), all underpinned by a growing note of urgency regarding climate change.

Guardian 27th June 2007 more >>

Carbon Capture

Some environmentalists see CCS as preferable to going down the “new nuclear” road. Friends of the Earth “would like to see some carbon capture and storage demonstration schemes in the UK”, says energy campaigner Neil Crumpton, preferably on industrial sites near the coast where sub-sea burial won’t require long overland pipelines. But critics see CCS as a red herring, diverting both focus and funding from better solutions, and fraught with shortcomings. “CCS should be way down anybody’s list of priorities,” says Greenpeace UK’s climate campaign manager Charlie Kronick. “CCS wastes even more energy than our current incredibly wasteful centralised electricity, adds around 50% to the retail cost of electricity and is still at demonstration stage.”

Guardian 27th June 2007 more >>

Iran

Comment by AF Alhajji – an energy economist and professor at Ohio Northern University. Iran will continue to enrich uranium regardless of whether a Republican or a Democrat is America’s president. At the same time, the United States will oppose any Iranian nuclear program – even a civilian program – because this will contribute to the stability of the regime in Tehran. As a result, nuclear tensions are likely to bedevil US-Iranian relations for years to come.

Guardian 27th June 2007 more >>

North Korea

U.N. nuclear watchdog officials visiting North Korea travelled on Thursday to a reactor complex that the secretive state has promised to mothball under an aid-for-disarmament deal, Kyodo news agency reported.

Reuters 28th June 2007 more >>

Terror

OWNERS of Felixstowe port have given their backing to a worldwide project to combat nuclear terrorism. Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) says it wants to do all it can by working with other port operators and government to deter the shipment of nuclear materials and weapons through the global transportation supply chain, especially the maritime shipping network. It has signed up to the new Global Initiative, co-chaired by the governments of the United States and Russia.

Suffolk Evening Star 27th June 2007 more >>

A security alert was sparked at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) headquarters in Cumbria with the discovery of a suspect package. Three mailroom workers at the West Lakes Business Park site in Whitehaven were isolated when unidentified grains were found in a package on Wednesday. A cordon was set up by the emergency services while police officers took the substance away for laboratory tests.

BBC 27th June 2007 more >>

Whitehaven News 27th June 2007 more >>

Proliferation

Illegal networks selling nuclear technology to the highest bidder on the black market are posing a greater threat than ever, an expert has warned. A speaker at non-proliferation talks in Washington said technology essential for enriching uranium was now freely available on the black market.

BBC 27th June 2007 more >>

South Korea

A memorandum of understanding dealing with issues related to nuclear power and uranium mining has been signed by South Korea and Ukraine.

World Nuclear News 27th June 2007 more >>

France

After raising €2.65bn (£1.8bn) by selling off a further 5% chunk of France Télécom, Sarko is s now looking to dispose of a sizeable slice of Areva, the nuclear plant manufacturer. Executives at the group, applying to build a next-generation evolutionary power reactor (EPR) in Britain, expect the former finance minister to revive his 2004 plans to dispose of 35-40% of the state’s holding (now 87%). His scheme, offering some shares to employees, was scuppered by arch-enemy Dominique de Villepin, ex-premier now gone back to writing poetry.

Guardian 27th June 2007 more >>

Emergency Planning

A massive nuclear safety exercise to test the city’s response in the event of a reactor accident at Devonport Dockyard is planned for October.Exercise Short Sermon will simulate a nuclear meltdown to test how the armed forces, emergency services and other key agencies in Plymouth would tackle a disaster at the Naval Base.

Plymouth Evening Herald 27th June 2007 more >>

Dounreay

SCIENTISTS at Dounreay are working overtime following the discovery of plutonium in the manhole of a groundwater drain at the site. The UK Atomic Energy Authority has been wrong-footed by the chance find during a routine scan of the lowest-lying part of the former fast-reactor complex. It is the first discovery of plutonium outwith the controlled area of the plant, where special measures are taken to protect workers. Three of the survey team and seven other workers are undergoing biological checks to establish if they accidentally absorbed any of the potentially lethal substance. Scientists have still to establish how much plutonium was present down the manhole, which has been cordoned off.

John O Groat Journal 27th June 2007 more >>

Tidal Power

TIDAL energy in the Pentland Firth could be converted to supply Scotland’s power needs twice over, according to a leading scientist. Professor Stephen Salter, of Edinburgh University, claims tidal energy potential in the Far North may have been significantly underestimated and has urged the new Scottish government and industry leaders to invest more resources in research.

John O Groat Journal 27th June 2007 more >>

Posted: 28 June 2007

27 June 2007

Nuclear Waste

MINISTERS in Cardiff Bay are to go ahead with a joint consultation on the burial of nuclear waste – despite the Scottish Executive pulling out of the process.

Western Mail 26th June 2007 http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0200wales/tm_headline=talks-on-nuclear-waste-disposal&method=full&objectid=19357057&siteid=50082-name_page.html

Letter from Pete Roche: At last someone has stood up to Westminster’s pretence at consultation on nuclear issues (Editorial, 26 June). Following fast on the heels of its new reactor consultation, ordered after the High Court declared the previous one to be “seriously flawed” and “misleading”, we now have a consultation on nuclear waste which, according to the House of Lords is “incoherent and opaque”.

Scotsman 27th June 2007 http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/letters.cfm?id=1001962007

Posted: 27 June 2007

26 June 2007

Nuclear Waste

Proposals for the way in which a site will be chosen for the long-term disposal of higher activity radioactive waste were today published for public consultation by the UK Government and the devolved administrations in Wales and Northern Ireland.

DEFRA Press Release 25th June 2007 http://www.gnn.gov.uk/Content/Detail.asp?ReleaseID=294304&NewsAreaID=2

Wanted: communities to volunteer to host a giant underground nuclear bunker. Guaranteed jobs for thousands of years; attractive annual payment package; should be in geologically stable area.

Guardian 25th June 2007 http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2111332,00.html

The UK’s long-term waste management process took a major divergent step today as England, Wales and Northern Ireland began a deep repository consultation while Scotland stated it would continue with surface storage. The Westminster government, along with the governments of Wales and Northern Ireland, launched the consultation on how a repository site will be chosen for “higher activity” waste. It seeks views on repository design and build, as well as the process and criteria to be used in deciding where a repository would be located. UK environment minister Ian Pearson claimed the repository process is “an entirely new approach” based on communities volunteering. But the Scottish government ruled out deep disposal, saying it would not endorse the consultation process and allow deep disposal in Scotland.

Nuclear Engineering International 25th June 2007 http://www.neimagazine.com/story.asp?sectioncode=132&storyCode=2045263

THE Scottish Executive yesterday broke ranks with Westminster and refused to take part in a consultation on burying nuclear waste. UK ministers are to gather opinions on the controversial method of storing radioactive material underground. But Richard Lochhead, the environment secretary, said Scotland will not take part because nuclear waste will not be buried north of the Border. Environmental groups, who fear burying radioactive waste could be dangerous, welcomed the decision. But scientists questioned the early dismissal of the method, which could prove to be the best way to deal with radioactive waste in the future. And opposition politicians hit out at the Executive for “again causing unnecessary conflict” with Westminster.

Scotsman 26th June 2007 http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/politics.cfm?id=994422007

Posted: 26 June 2007

25 June 2007

Oldbury

CAMPAIGNERS fear a nuclear power station located on the Welsh border could suffer a Chernobyl-style meltdown because it has not been fitted with an important safety system. Censored documents released under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act to the Stop Oldbury campaign, reveal a one-in-1,000 risk of a fire at Oldbury nuclear power station, located around five miles from Chepstow.

Western Mail 25th June 2007 http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0200wales/tm_headline=row-over-oldbury-nuclear-safety%26method=full%26objectid=19350287%26siteid=50082-name_page.html

Disarmament

Gordon Brown, the incoming British prime minister, is to put a new focus on the need to secure global nuclear disarmament, amid signs that he is determined to make the issue a strong foreign policy priority. In a speech in Washington, Margaret Beckett, the UK foreign secretary, will on Monday spell out details of how Britain wants to become a “disarmament laboratory”, unveiling concrete steps to champion multilateral nuclear reductions.

FT 25th June 2007 http://www.ft.com/cms/s/cd5fa1c0-227a-11dc-ac53-000b5df10621,_i_rssPage=34c8a8a6-2f7b-11da-8b51-00000e2511c8.html

North Korea

North Korea said on Monday that the standoff over frozen funds had been resolved and it would now start implementing a nuclear disarmament deal struck in February.

Reuters 25th June 2007 http://africa.reuters.com/world/news/usnL2486596.html

North Korea has confirmed it has received some $25m (£12.5m) of its funds following a row that had hindered progress on a nuclear disarmament deal.

BBC 25th June 2007 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6236026.stm

US

President Bush said as many as 30 new reactors could be built in the US with construction starting around 2010.

Mathaba 25th June 2007 http://mathaba.net/rss/?x=556351

IAEA

The United Nations nuclear watchdog is so poorly financed that it might be unable to deal with an atomic accident and no longer has top-grade equipment to detect secret weapons programmes, its director has warned. “If an accident were to happen tomorrow, we would be hard-pressed to carry out core functions. This is a reality,” Mohamed ElBaradei told a meeting of the governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Telegraph 25th June 2007 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/06/25/wiaea125.xml

Companies

CLYDE Pumps, the former Weir Pumps which was bought by Jim McColl’s Clyde Blowers group just six weeks ago, has won a £19.5m contract to supply two Chinese nuclear power stations and had Weir’s Chinese contracts “novated” in record time.

Herald 25th June 2007 http://www.theherald.co.uk/business/news/display.var.1494738.0.0.php

Energy

The world is blinding itself to the reality of its energy problems, ignoring the scale of growth in demand from developing countries and placing too much faith in renewable sources of power, according to two leaders of the global energy industry. The chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell today calls for a “reality check”. Writing in The Times, Jeroen van der Veer takes issue with the widespread public opinion that green energy can replace fossil fuels. Shell’s chief gives warning that supplies of conventional oil and gas will struggle to keep pace with rising energy demand and he calls for greater investment in energy efficiency. Instead of a great conversion to wind power and solar power, Mr van der Veer predicts, the world will be forced into greater use of coal and much higher CO2 emissions, “possibly to levels we deem unacceptable”.

Times 25th June 2007 http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/natural_resources/article1980407.ece

Article by Jeroen van der Veer. When it comes to the future of energy, the world needs a reality check. Contrary to public perceptions, renewable energy is not the silver bullet that will soon solve all our problems. Indeed, in the decades ahead, three hard truths will generate turbulence in the global energy system.

Times 25th June 2007 http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/natural_resources/article1980585.ece

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Posted: 25 June 2007

24 June 2007

North Korea

With a banking debacle to be resolved this week, the US is trying to revive diplomatic attempts to convince North Korea to take steps down the road to denuclearisation. But just as the first part of the schedule for moving towards denuclearisation was fraught with unexpected problems, the next stage – invigorated by the surprise visit by Christopher Hill, the US nuclear envoy, to Pyongyang last week – will not be a smooth process.

FT 24th June 2007 http://www.ft.com/cms/s/cb4e518a-2269-11dc-ac53-000b5df10621,_i_rssPage=7f5f6b12-2f66-11da-8b51-00000e2511c8.html

A senior official from the UN nuclear watchdog has left for North Korea to discuss how the agency’s inspectors will monitor and verify the shutdown of the Yongbyon nuclear reactor.

Channel 4 News 24th June 2007 http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/world/un+nuclear+envoy+heads+for+n+korea/573957

New nukes

This week, Canadian nuclear company AECL will pledge to employ over 10,000 UK workers if it wins the contract to build a new generation of nuclear reactors. AECL will sign a joint agreement with the Unite union on Tuesday to use mostly UK workers, companies and suppliers if it leads the rebuilding programme in the UK. It submitted its Candu reactor design on Friday to the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate. Areva of France and General Electric and Westinghouse of the US have also submitted designs.

Independent on Sunday 24th June 2007 http://news.independent.co.uk/business/news/article2699101.ece

Dounreay

TAXPAYERS face a £3million bill in a bungled nuclear deal, which will see radioactive waste shipped back to Scotland. Bosses at the Dounreay plant sold almost three tonnes of heavy-metal thorium to South America in a secret deal almost 10 years ago. But they are now making high security arrangements to bring it back to Caithness after their Peruvian clients discovered it was contaminated with potentially deadly uranium.

Sunday Express 24th June 2007 http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/11052

Iran

A senior Iranian official warned Saturday that further U.N. sanctions over Tehran’s contentious nuclear program could derail ongoing negotiations toward a settlement.

Guardian website 24th June 2007 http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-6732050,00.html

Sellafield

Staff at the nuclear complex at Oskarshamn, southern Sweden, held an unusual birthday party last week. Passing slices of cake around the office, they celebrated the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Sigyn, the specially constructed ship that every week transports the country’s spent nuclear fuel to the Clab temporary storage facility. However you look at it, Sweden is at least cleaning up its nuclear legacy. The British Government, which this week launches (another) consultation on its nuclear waste policy, could learn a thing or two. There are currently 470,000 cubic metres of nuclear waste scattered around the UK on 30 temporary sites. The Government and the industry body charged with responsibility for the waste (the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority) need to decide soon what to do with it. Otherwise, public support for plans to build new nuclear reactors could be undermined.

Independent on Sunday 24th June 2007 http://news.independent.co.uk/business/analysis_and_features/article2699080.ece

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Posted: 24 June 2007

23 June 2007

North Korea

The United States may consider offering to buy nuclear weapons-related equipment from North Korea, as it did with the former Soviet Union, if Pyongyang gives up its atomic program, U.S. officials said on Friday.

Reuters 22nd June 2007 http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N22160607.htm

North Korea is to close one of its largest nuclear reactors – within three weeks.

Sky News 23rd June 2007 http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30200-1271926,00.html?f=rss

View London 23rd June 2007 http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30200-1271926,00.html?f=rss

Scotsman 23rd June 2007 http://news.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=983162007

Posted: 23 June 2007

22 June 2007

New nukes

The government will not subsidise new nuclear power plants, so if the private sector does not provide the huge investments needed, the country will have to do without, the minister responsible for energy said on Thursday. The Labour government sees nuclear power as one of the most effective weapons in the fight against climate change and in efforts to reduce the country’s growing dependence on imported fossil fuels. But that does not mean it will pay for or build nuclear plants. “The government is not going to build a single nuclear power station,” Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling told a committee of members of parliament.

Reuters 21st June 2007 http://uk.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUKL2179895320070621?rpc=401&

GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy, a joint venture between General Electric Co and Hitachi Ltd, said it has submitted its ESBWR reactor design for assessment by UK regulators.

Interactive Investor 21st June 2007 http://www.iii.co.uk/news/?type=afxnews&articleid=6156996&subject=companies&action=article

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, confirming a report in the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, said it will bid jointly with Areva for a multi-million-dollar research and development contract for a US nuclear fuel cycle program.

ABC Money 22nd June 2007 http://www.abcmoney.co.uk/news/22200791930.htm

The United States should start building new nuclear power plants by the end of the decade to help cut oil imports and greenhouse gas emissions, President George W Bush said Thursday.

Monsters and Critics 21st June 2007 http://news.monstersandcritics.com/energywatch/nuclear/news/article_1320889.php/Bush_US_needs_more_nuclear_power

The Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change says he cannot see a credible scenario without nuclear energy.

World Nuclear News 21st June 2007 http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/energyEnvironment/No_credible_scenario_without_nuclear_-_climate_chief-210607.shtml

A huge shift in thinking is shifting world utility companies towards nuclear power, energy efficiency and cleaner fuels according to Price Waterhouse Coopers.

World Nuclear News 21st June 2007 http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/energyEnvironment/Winds_of_change_blow_utilities_towards_nuclear.shtml

France

WORK on building the controversial new EPR nuclear power station at Flamanville on the Normandy coast is now going ahead in earnest.

Jersey Evening Post 21st June 2007 http://www.thisisjersey.com/news/news5.html

A delegation from the French government is in Jersey to answer concerns about safety at a proposed nuclear power plant on the coast near the island.

BBC 21st June 2007 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/jersey/6225850.stm

Oldbury

NEW fears have emerged over the safety of an ageing nuclear reactor at Oldbury Power Station following the publication of a “shocking” report. A top nuclear expert has warned that the decision to allow the reactor to re-start after two years of tests, even though an extra safety system had not been fitted, was “deeply alarming”. It comes after an internal report was made public under the Freedom of Information Act, which stated that the reactor was not safe enough to operate for the next 18 months but allowed it to carry on operating on a temporary basis until November.

Gloucestershire Gazette 21st June 2007 http://gazetteseries.co.uk/display.var.1486172.0.new_safety_fears_over_nuclear_reactor.php

North Korea

Christopher Hill, the US assistant secretary of state, yesterday paid a surprise visit to Pyongyang to try to revive the stop-start multilateral talks aimed at convincing North Korea to relinquish its nuclear ambitions.

FT 22nd June 2007 http://www.ft.com/cms/s/663f88a2-205e-11dc-9eb1-000b5df10621,_i_rssPage=7f5f6b12-2f66-11da-8b51-00000e2511c8.html

The United States is insisting that multiple facilities at North Korea’s Yongbyon complex be shut down, American officials said on Thursday, and these demands could pose new pitfalls for the February 13 nuclear agreement.

Reuters 22nd June 2007 http://uk.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUKN2141028120070621?rpc=401&

Iran

Iran’s nuclear negotiator will meet EU foreign policy chief on Saturday in Portugal.

EU Business 21st June 2007 http://www.eubusiness.com/news_live/1182423602.17

France has expelled an Iranian student over alleged links to Iran’s nuclear programme and he now seeks to clear his name so he can resume studies at a top Paris institute, the student’s lawyer said on Thursday.

Reuters 21st June 2007 http://uk.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUKL2146684120070621?rpc=401&

Proliferation

The head of the world’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has warned that the organisation is so under-funded that it would have difficulty responding to a nuclear accident. In an unusual and angry appeal, Mohamed ElBaradei also claimed that the IAEA no longer had reliable equipment to detect covert nuclear activity, nor did it have consistent funding for its efforts to combat nuclear smuggling.

Guardian 22nd June 2007 http://www.guardian.co.uk/korea/article/0,,2108867,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=12

Companies

The promise of a nuclear energy renaissance drove EDF to record highs on the Paris stock exchange yesterday, making it France’s biggest listed company. EDF, which has 5.5 million customers in Britain and has teamed up with Areva in bidding for a licence to build a third-generation European pressurised reactor (EPR) in the UK, overtook the French oil company Total on the CAC-40. The group, 86% owned by the French state, soared more than 6% to be worth €141.7bn (£95.3bn).

Guardian 22nd June 2007 http://business.guardian.co.uk/story/0,,2108809,00.html

Dounreay

An investigation has been launched into the discovery of suspected plutonium during checks of contaminated ground at Dounreay. The ground around the old effluent collection tanks is known to have been contaminated by historical leakage, and staff have been carrying out checks of the area to finalise plans for a £4 million clean-up. Higher than expected levels of radioactivity were detected during inspection of a manhole.

UKAEA Dounreay Bulletin http://www.ukaea.org.uk/downloads/dounreay/bulletins/Dounreay_Bulletin_20th_June.pdf

ICScotland 21st June 2007 http://icscotland.icnetwork.co.uk/news/scottish/tm_headline=plutonium-found-at-nuclear-plant%26method=full%26objectid=19335519%26siteid=50141-name_page.html

Scotsman 22nd June 2007 http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=976682007

Herald 22nd June 2007 http://www.theherald.co.uk/search/display.var.1490706.0.plutonium_found_in_contaminated_ground_at_dounreay.php

China

China and the West are both under pressure to change economic course after a new study showed Asia’s rising power had become the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, the key greenhouse gas. China had been expected to remain behind the United States in the emissions table until 2010, but its booming economy and surging demand for electricity have sent releases soaring from its cement works and power stations. China is planning a major expansion in renewable resources and is also planning to increase the number of nuclear power stations from 10 to 40 or 50 by 2020.

Telegraph 21st June 2007 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2007/06/20/eaclim120.xml

Spain

For most Spaniards March 20 was a windy Tuesday that has already faded from memory. But for the country’s renewable energy sector it became an unforgettable day when, at 5.40pm, favourable gusts from the Atlantic increased wind energy production to a record high. At this historic moment, thousands of 100-metre-high wind turbines towering over Spanish hillsides produced 8,375 megawatts of power, representing 27 per cent of Spain’s total electricity supply; more than nuclear, coal or any other single energy source. Just over 72 per cent of the country’s total installed wind capacity of 11,500MW was pumping power into the national grid. Savings in terms of lower imported oil costs and CO2 emissions would also have been at a maximum.

FT 21st June 2007 http://search.ft.com/ftArticle?queryText=Revolutions&y=11&aje=true&x=12&id=070621000705

Uranium

A recent political decision to lift long-standing curbs on uranium mining in Australia has triggered a rally in the share price of small uranium explorers, amid expectations that the country will be better able to exploit its resources of the metal. However, a senior executive from BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining company and owner of the biggest uranium deposit, has struck a note of caution by underlining the difficulties that lie ahead for companies hoping to develop projects in Australia.

FT 21st June 2007 http://www.ft.com/cms/s/1800bdf8-1f93-11dc-ac86-000b5df10621.html

Energy Efficiency

The average British household has three low-energy lightbulbs and 22 incandescent bulbs. The energy saved by changing all the bulbs would be enough to render two nuclear power stations redundant, according to MEA. (Marches Energy Agency – Shrewsbury) Unfortunately, the Government has not done enough to communicate this message.

Independent 21st June 2007 http://environment.independent.co.uk/lifestyle/article2688326.ece

Nuclear Waste

WE just happened to be watching events inside the House of Commons when the ghost of Nirex seemed to enter the chamber. For, in answer to a question, secretary of state for Trade and Industry and friend of a certain Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling made the following statement: “The nation’s nuclear waste is almost certain to be stored in an underground repository.” Well we all knew the dig-a-deep-hole-and-bury-it option was the most likely… now it’s official. The only question now is will it be, as most expect, beneath the green pastures of Gosforth?

Whitehaven News 21st June 2007 http://www.whitehaven-news.co.uk/news/viewarticle.aspx?id=511990

LILLYHALL businessmen were picketing the site of a proposed nuclear decontamination facility last Friday. They were also urging the 5,000 people likely to be affected by the plant to join them in showing the strength of opposition to the siting of the factory in Lillyhall to councillors on a site visit at Joseph Noble Road. Protestors say it is ridiculous to transport contaminated material from Sellafield to Lillyhall, only to transport it back again at the end of the process. Mark Lyons, president of Studsvik UK Ltd, said: “Studsvik is a responsible, respected company with a proven track record in the safe and efficient treatment of metal contaminated with very low-level radiation.

Whitehaven News 21st June 2007 http://www.whitehaven-news.co.uk/news/viewarticle.aspx?id=512033

Scotland

SCOTLAND is to lead the world in action to combat climate change, cutting carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. John Swinney, the Cabinet secretary for finance and sustainable growth, told the Scottish Parliament he was committed to an ambitious programme of cuts that would be an inspiration to the world and help to turn this country into “the green energy capital of Europe”.

However, he was accused of performing a “major U-turn” by dropping an SNP manifesto commitment to mandatory annual emissions reductions of 3 per cent.

Scotsman 22nd June 2007 http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=976742007

Posted: 22 June 2007

21 June 2007

New nukes

French state-owned nuclear energy group Areva has applied to UK regulators for its EPR nuclear reactor design to be considered for the forthcoming Generic Design Assessment process. The application is accompanied by letters of support from British Energy, EDF, E.ON UK, Iberdrola, RWE npower and Suez, which all consider EPR to be a potential design for new build nuclear in UK, Areva revealed.

Energy Business Review 20th June 2007 http://www.energy-business-review.com/article_news.asp?guid=13440D0E-AB4A-4479-91ED-9BDED47A9908

World Nuclear News 20th June 2007 http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/newNuclear/Areva_British_Energy_move_for_new_UK_nuclear_200607.shtml

Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of the UK’s EdF Energy has said that the UK could have new nuclear capacity in operation by the end of 2017. Speaking at the Adam Smith Institute Nuclear Energy Forum de Rivaz added that the company was considering the possibility of taking part, most likely with partners, in building four new nuclear units in the UK in the years up to 2025. “I see no reason to believe that with focus and resolve we cannot achieve our goal by 2017,” he added.

Modern Power Systems 20th June 2007 http://www.modernpowersystems.com/story.asp?sectionCode=131&storyCode=2045196

Iberdrola

IGNACIO Galán, the chairman of new ScottishPower owner Iberdrola, said in London last night that the new acquisition would play a key part in the Spanish parent’s expansion globally. Opening the Global Energy Leaders’ Summit, Galán said that with the successful completion of the ScottishPower deal, the group would “continue to expand globally where their presence and opportunities of growth are most significant”.

Scotsman 20th June 2007 http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/business.cfm?id=962882007

Australia

The Howard government will consider a revived proposal to build an Australian nuclear enrichment plant, twenty years after the Hawke Labor government ended a similar program over fears of provoking a regional arms race. A report recently aired on Australian television revealed how the Australian government is revisiting the controversial dream of a nuclear-powered future for the country.

Monsters and Critics 20th June 2007 http://news.monstersandcritics.com/asiapacific/features/article_1320027.php/Australia_goes_back_to_the_future_over_nuclear_energy

Korea

The top U.S. envoy to disarmament talks with North Korea arrived in the communist country Thursday in the first high-level visit by a U.S. official there in more than 4 years. The surprise trip by nuclear negotiator Christopher Hill followed the resolution this week of a banking dispute that had held up progress toward disarmament for more than a year, and the announcement that U.N. nuclear monitors would visit the communist nation next week.

Guardian website 21st June 2007 http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-6725021,00.html

Reuters 21st June 2007 http://investing.reuters.co.uk/news/articlenews.aspx?rpc=401&type=worldNews&storyID=2007-06-21T053130Z_01_SEO214603_RTRUKOC_0_UK-KOREA-NORTH.xml

Chronology of previous milestones.

Reuters 21st June 2007 http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/CrisesArticle.aspx?rpc=401&storyId=SP134753

NDA

Legal firm, Burges Salmon, has secured a place on the NDA’s projects panel

Legal Week 21st June 2007 http://legalweek.madgex.com/Articles/1033701/Energy+body+calls+in+Burges+Salmon+on+nuclear+clean-up.html

China

Korean engineering major Doosan Heavy has confirmed that it has signed a letter of intent with Westinghouse to supply steam generators and nuclear reactors as well as nuclear reactor vessel heads for Units 1 and 2 of the first order to have been placed by China for third-generation nuclear reactors. The plants will be located in Sanmen and Haiyang, China.

Modern Power Systems 20th June 2007 http://www.modernpowersystems.com/story.asp?sectionCode=131&storyCode=2045194

France

Work on building the controversial new nuclear power station at Flamanville on the Normandy coast has started. The third reactor, about 30 miles (48km) from the Channel Islands, is due to begin producing power in 2012.

BBC 20th June 2007 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/jersey/6223064.stm

UKAEA

THE chief executive of the UK Atomic Energy Authority has given his backing to a move to relocate the new privatised arm of the agency to Caithness. Norman Harrison says that, assuming UKAEA Ltd wins the new contract to run the Caithness site, he will support its head office being moved to the Far North.

John O’Groat Journal 20th June 2007 http://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/2462/Harrison_backs_head_office_relocation.html

Tritium

EPA is considering a substantial increase in its estimates of the risks posed by human exposure to tritium, a controversial byproduct of nuclear power generation, in a move that could prompt nuclear regulatory agencies to tighten their risk-based approaches for regulating radiological releases from nuclear power plants.

Energy Washington Week, Vol. 4, No. 25, 20 June 2007

Renewables

A gold rush of new investment into renewable power over the past 18 months has led the United Nations to conclude that clean energy could provide almost a quarter of the world’s electricity by 2030. More than £35bn was injected into wind and solar power and biofuels in 2006, 43% more than the preceding year. Sustainable energy accounts for only 2% of the world’s total but the UN says 18% of all power plants under construction are in this sector.

Guardian 21st June 2007 http://environment.guardian.co.uk/energy/story/0,,2107846,00.html

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Posted: 21 June 2007