News May 2007

31 May 2007

British Energy

The Government is selling part of its stake in nuclear power firm British Energy, with proceeds going towards decommissioning costs of the company’s eight nuclear power stations. Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling said 400 million shares would be sold, cutting the Government’s stake in the firm from 64% to 39%.
ICScotland 30th May 2007
BBC 30th May 2007
ICCheshire 30th May 2007
Telegraph 31st May 2007
Daily Express 31st May 2007
Times 31st May 2007
FT 31st May 2007
Evening Standard 30th May 2007

Ben Ayliffe, Greenpeace’s senior climate and energy campaigner, said: “Before making any decision on whether to press ahead with new nuclear power stations the government is legally obliged to consult fully with the public. But if they intend to do this, why are they priming the energy market for nuclear before the consultation has even started?” In a separate development RWE said it was to go ahead with plans to build a £600m gas-fired power station at Staythorpe in Nottinghamshire.
Guardian 31st May 2007

The government is finding its enthusiasm for nuclear power is not widely shared. It is no secret that ministers believe nuclear should account for a significant portion of our future energy. But they want the decision-making on new build to be firmly in the hands of the private sector. If, in the longer term, it reduces the stake to 29.9%, as suggested, British Energy will look much more like a private sector concern than it did yesterday morning. It will be potentially a more attractive partner to those who want to join the nuclear programme. Meanwhile, as a minority shareholder the government will be, if not on the sidelines, at least less in the firing line.
Guardian 31st May 2007

Nuclear skills

Nuclear specialists are warning that a lack of skilled staff could hamper plans to build new power plants in the wake of last week’s Energy White Paper.
Construction News 31st May 2007

New nukes

Herbert Smith’s planning team has received a significant instruction to advise EDF on its plans to enter the UK nuclear power market.
Legal Week 31st May 2007

RWE npower, which owns Didcot Power Station, said it had no intention of going nuclear, or selling its coal-fired Didcot ‘A’ station when it closes in 2015.
Witney Gazette 30th May 2007
Oxford Mail 30th May 2007
Abingdon Herald 30th May 2007

THE leader of South Oxfordshire District Council has vowed to fight any move to site a nuclear power station in Didcot. Ann Ducker’s comments follow a Government-funded report suggesting it could be economic to locate a nuclear station in Didcot after the town’s coal-fired power station closes in 2015. The Conservative leader said: “We’re putting a lot of money into Didcot to improve the whole area and it doesn’t sit very comfortably with our aims for the town. We would fight any idea of a nuclear power station coming to Didcot.
Didcot Herald 30th May 2007

British Energy Group PLC said it is talking to potential partners about building new nuclear power stations after reporting that high electricity prices had helped it boost annual earnings before tax, interest, depreciation and amortisation by 44 pct to 1.22 bln stg. Chief executive Bill Coley said the nuclear power station operator is in negotiations with a number of parties, including some “financial players”, about partnering in a new build programme, although he did not identify them.
Interactive Investor 30th May 2007
Planet Ark 31st May 2007

Sweden

Swedish authorities on Wednesday halted storage of radioactive waste at the Nordic country’s troubled Forsmark nuclear plant. The Swedish Radiation Protection Authority (SSI) said in a statement the company in charge of handling the waste, Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management (SKB), had failed to live up to safety standards at the Forsmark storage site.
Planet Ark 31st May 2007

Finland

On Monday, activists blockaded the entrance to the Olkiluoto nuclear plant construction site – temporarily shutting down a project already massively over budget and plagued by more than one thousand reported breaches of safety standards. Police arrested the activist in the blockade, but six activists went into the site and climbed 80 metres up the highest construction crane. They stayed there over night, through the next day and through a second chilly night with temperatures dropping into the low teens (Centigrade).
Greenpeace International 30th May 2007

Oldbury

A small fire shut a nuclear power plant on Wednesday but posed no danger to the public, firefighters said. A spokesman for Avon Fire and Rescue said firefighters had sent 10 trucks to Oldbury Power Station, near Bristol, after a small explosion in an electricity transformer.
Reuters 30th May 2007
Channel 4 News 30th May 2007
ITN News 30th May 2007
BBC 30th May 2007

Iran

A senior Iranian official has said that direct Iran-US talks about security in Iraq will have an impact on the dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme. Senior nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said the talks on Iraq could not be separated from the nuclear issue. He suggested they were a chance to ease tension in the region.
BBC 30th May 2007

US

Patrick Moore’s presentation isn’t as slick as Al Gore’s. The slides he shows lack a certain visual panache and don’t compare to the ones in An Inconvenient Truth. Moore himself seems a little frumpy, particularly as he peers out across the audience recently gathered in the Warnors Theatre in Fresno. But attendees paid $20 to hear the former Greenpeace leader extol the benefits of nuclear energy as a clean, safe, reliable, economic, and — perhaps most important to the current political and media focus on global warming — emissions-free source of power.
San Francisco Bay Guardian 30th May 2007

India

A senior US official is due in India to hold talks aimed at settling the details of a proposed landmark deal on nuclear co-operation.
BBC 31st May 2007

Energy Efficiency

Scottish and Southern says it is launching a system of ‘energy efficiency credits’ which its 7.7m customers could earn through measures including cutting gas and electricity costs by 10%, buying low-energy appliances and installing loft insulation. Customers will be able to use the credits towards their SSE energy bills or on further energy efficiency measures.
Daily Mail 31st May 2007

Posted: 31 May 2007

30 May 2007

New nukes

Dr Catherine Mitchell, Warwick Business School, and a member of the previous Energy Review Team says: The government has taken a truly depressing step, even by its standards of the past 10 years. By announcing a nuclear future, it has failed to provide adequate and reasoned leadership that its citizens and their future children have a right to expect. This energy white paper has nothing to do with placing the UK on a path for carbon reductions that might meet the challenge of climate change. It has sealed the fate of the UK in not being able to meet its future carbon dioxide reduction targets, and in not being able to take its place in international climate change negotiations. It will also stop UK businesses from benefiting from the enormous opportunities a sustainable non-nuclear future offers.
FT 30th May 2007

Six months ago, it seemed quite possible that government had neutered its leading environmental critics. Ambitious new targets on climate change, the proposed expansion of renewable energy, a promised new waste strategy, and protestations that sustainable development could be embraced with better planning all suggested that it was setting the green pace. Last week, years of ideas, debates, and lobbying were supposed to come together in three interconnected pieces of proposed legislation – planning, energy and waste. This was to be the week Britain acted, rather than talked; when government committed itself to an environmental revolution, with climate change at its centre. But by the end of the week, it was being accused of flunking the issues, getting it hopelessly wrong, and yet again not being ambitious enough. “You wait for years for an environment white paper to come along, and then three come at once,” said one commentator.
Guardian 30th May 2007

Gordon Brown’s government will push ahead with the building of new nuclear power plants. The government’s latest energy white paper claims that the way to reduce carbon emissions is through nuclear power. Alistair Darling, the trade and industry secretary, said it would be a “profound mistake” to rule out building new nuclear power stations. The “profound mistake” would be to invest in the failed and dangerous nuclear energy industry.
Socialist Worker 29th May 2007

British Energy said that it remains on course to find partners to help build Britain’s new nuclear power stations. The company, which is the UK’s biggest electricity generator, has begun looking for partners in new nuclear projects – from utilities, suppliers, customers and financial investors and hopes to cement one new partnership in “due course”. The news comes a week after the Government published its long-awaited White Paper on energy, which companies and environmentalists have 20 weeks to put forward their views on.
Telegraph 30th May 2007

British Energy said on Wednesday it was talking to a broad range of potential partners to help build new nuclear power stations, as it met forecasts with a 44 percent rise in underlying annual earnings.
Reuters 30th May 2007

The UK has to replace 13GW of electricity capacity by 2015. Despite positive signals in the Energy White Paper UBS argues that the nuclear industry has no hope of meeting the gap in time.
Daily Mail 30th May 2007

Fusion

A multinational project led by British researchers aims to use a high-power laser to reproduce the physical reaction that occurs at the heart of the sun and every other star in the universe – nuclear fusion. If the project succeeds it has the potential to solve the world energy crisis without destroying the environment.
Guardian 30th May 2007

Korea

Christopher Hill, the US diplomat charged with the unenviable task of trying to convince North Korea to get rid of its nuclear weapons programme, has likened his challenge to a video game: it gets more difficult as you advance to each next level. Which is why the stubborn deadlock over the $25m frozen in North Korea-related accounts at Banco Delta Asia (BDA) in Macao augurs so badly for the current attempt at denuclearisation, begun with a landmark agreement on February 13. This was supposed to be the easy part.
FT 29th May 2007

The two Koreas tried to mend relations at cabinet-level talks on Tuesday, but the North’s refusal to act on a nuclear disarmament deal could lead Seoul to delay rice aid promised to its impoverished neighbour.
Reuters 29th May 2007

Iran

Iran’s top nuclear negotiator will meet Javier Solana in Spain on Thursday.
EU Business 29th May 2007

Dungeness

The possibility of a new nuclear power station at Dungeness has met with a positive response from Kent residents. A Kent County Council-commissioned residents’ survey shows that 44 per cent would be likely to support a nuclear power station if it were proposed at Dungeness while 40 per cent were unlikely to support it.
The Kent Website 29th May 2007

Sellafield

Cumbria’s nuclear industry came up trumps in awards presented this week by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.
Carlisle News and Star 29th May 2007

Submarines

Britain’s nuclear deterrent rests on a Vanguard class submarine lurking in the depths of the ocean to avoid detection. The Royal Navy has four of these submarines, each armed with 16 missiles carrying multiple nuclear warheads. At all times one boat is on patrol. BBC Radio 4’s File On 4 has heard sailors’ complaints that the condition of these and the rest of the navy’s submarines are being affected by government cost-cutting.
BBC 29th May 2007

BAE is planning to build a £1.2 million nuclear engineering and training centre in Barrow.
North West Evening Mail 30th May 2007

Heysham

British Energy restarted a reactor at its Hinkley Point power station and another at the Heysham plant on Tuesday morning, according to data from network operator National Grid.
Reuters 29th May 2007

Nuclear Testing

Norfolk survivors of Britain’s nuclear tests are celebrating after a new parliamentary inquiry was announced into links between the 1950s trials and health problems suffered by military personnel.
Norwich Evening News 29th May 2007

Planning

After the marathon Heathrow terminal inquiry, the government wants to streamline planning inquires into big infrastructure projects – covering transport, energy, water and waste – with a new independent planning commission. Some of the projects in the pipeline likely to test the government’s green credentials are: Up to 10 nuclear power stations and an underground dump for long-lived nuclear waste
Guardian 29th May 2007

Letters: If the bid for new nuclear build succeeds, we must wait years for the plants to be built, whereas wind farms, solar arrays and other technologies can be erected rapidly, with no long-term damage to the land, and can feed electricity as soon as each unit is up, instead of waiting for the entire site to be completed and tested.
Independent 29th May 2007

It does not need a Machiavellian analysis to work out the correlation between the release last week of the White Paper Planning for a Sustainable Future and the Blair Government’s commitment to further nuclear power stations.
Times 29th May 2007

Winfrith

Scientists at a former nuclear power station have staged a protest against Government plans to slash the budget for the plant’s decommission which they fear will cost up to 100 jobs.More than 200 staff at the site in Winfrith turned out for the lunchtime protest yesterday after it was revealed the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) planned to cut the plant’s funding by 40 per cent.
Western Daily News 26th May 2007

Scotland

Letter from Duncan McLaren Claims that the lights will go out if Scotland does not build new nuclear power stations is ill-informed scaremongering and ignores the reality of our energy systems and markets. Such claims also downplay the success of the Scottish renewables industry, which has, so far, delivered its generation targets ahead of schedule. As it stands, Scotland has no shortage of electricity. Each year we even manage to export almost one-fifth of our output to England and Wales. Using official and industry data, Friends of the Earth Scotland has looked at various scenarios for the future of Scotland’s electricity generation up to 2025 – two years after the scheduled closure of Scotland’s last nuclear station, at Torness. Even making conservative assumptions about future renewables capacity and assuming no change in the poor performance of energy-saving policies, there will be no year in which demand comes even close to exceeding supply. In all the most likely scenarios, in no foreseeable year will the margin fall below the current level of exports.
Herald letters 29th May 2007

Oldbury

British Nuclear Group restarted a reactor that had been halted for almost two years because of safety concerns. Anti-nuclear campaigners said the plant remains dangerous.
Telegraph 30th May 2007

Hinkley and Hunterston

British Energy has restarted one of the reactors at its Hinkley Point B power station in Somerset, eight months after it was closed down because of cracks in its boilers. The Hinkley Point B-7 reactor went online yesterday, but the B-8 reactor on the same site, which was forced to close in October, remains offline. Cracks were also detected last year at British Energy’s Hunterston B plant in Scotland, the sister plant to Hinkley Point B. Hunterston B-8 is now back in use while Hunterston B-7 is still offline. The unexpected and prolonged outages last year damaged British Energy’s share price and forced the company to scale down its electricity output projections.
FT 30th May 2007

British Energy

British Energy on Wednesday said it would resume dividend payments as it turned in an improved financial performance after a year of output problems. Full-year revenue at the nuclear power producer rose 16 per cent to almost £3bn and operating profit was 25 per cent higher at £794m after the government’s cash sweep, the method by which Whitehall recovers funds used to bail out the company.
FT 30th May 2007

Posted: 30 May 2007

29 May 2007

New nukes

A SOUTHAMPTON MP has disputed the Government’s claim that a new generation of nuclear power stations may be necessary to meet the UK’s energy needs. Alan Whitehead, Labour MP for Southampton Test, said: “We must challenge the myths that the lights will go out unless we agree to build new nuclear power stations, and that nuclear power is necessary to allow us to meet climate change goals.”
This is Hampshire 28th May 2007

IF we are not careful, pressure groups like Greenpeace will bankrupt Britain. It has been obvious for decades that we need nuclear power if we are to compete in the world. North Sea oil is running out and we are now net oil importers from an unstable Middle East. Coal is no longer the answer.
Yorkshire Post 28th May 2007

Various letters: Invest all that nuclear money in energy conservation and renewables and we could have immediate reductions in CO2 just in time. In 10 years we’ll see nuclear power as an expensive irrelevance.
Independent 28th May 2007

Japan

Tokyo shares firmed as rises for nuclear-related companies countered falls in some domestically focused stocks amid political worries. For example, Hitachi, the electronics conglomerate whose products include nuclear turbines, climbed 1 per cent to Y890.
FT 29th May 2007

Decommissioning

The government’s timetable for decommissioning Britain’s ageing civil nuclear reactors has been pushed backwards with delays to the clean-up of two sites and the potential redundancy of 200 senior scientists and engineers as a result of cash constraints. The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority says financial cuts will mean that the decommissioning of the nuclear reactors at Harwell in Oxfordshire and Winfrith in Dorset will face delays of up to five years.
Guardian 29th May 2007

THE SCOTTISH Green Party has expressed reservations about plans to ship nuclear waste from Rosyth to Sweden. Rosyth Royal Dockyard Limited (RRDL) has applied to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) for authorisation to dispose of radioactive material from its Rosyth Business Park site. Despite the disposal of nuclear waste carrying risks, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) Scotland and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have confirmed to SEPA they are satisfied with the plans.
Dundee Courier 29th May 2007

Sellafield

Beaches between Ravenglass and St Bees are to be monitored by British Nuclear Group after the Environment Agency placed a statutory notice on the company.
Carlisle News and Star 28th May 2007

Korea

THE two Koreas are set to hold a new round of high-level reconciliation talks this week, overshadowed by the North’s refusal to start dismantling its nuclear programme and the South’s decision to hold back food aid to its impoverished neighbour.
IC Wales 28th May 2007

Clean coal

With energy at the top of the political agenda and the Scottish Executive opposed to any new nuclear power stations, Mr Salmond believes a new generation of coal mines could help meet Scotland’s energy needs.
Scotsman 28th May 2007

“COAL is king,” says Alex Salmond, as he suggests that Scotland should shed its nuclear power plants in favour of new coal-fired ones. The First Minister is correct that, with new technology to remove emissions, coal has a healthy future. Yet Mr Salmond underestimates the practicalities of introducing clean coal, and he is certainly being optimistic if he thinks that sinking new deep mines in Scotland is economically viable.
Scotsman opinion 28th May 2007

Scotland

WHAT is Scotland’s energy policy now? The SNP’s decision to scrap new nuclear has formalised Scottish Labour’s carefully scripted policy of nuclear reluctance. And though some Labour MSPs may want to overrule Alex Salmond’s planning veto, the Scottish public (and many Labour MSPs in private) have given the unambiguous anti-nuclear stance a cautious thumbs-up. The renewable energy industry doesn’t need random, instant change. It needs a workable strategy. And that’s what the Scottish public need the SNP to deliver.
Scotsman 28th May 2007

For the past two decades Scotland has had an excess of electrical generation capacity and has been annually exporting a great deal of electricity to England. Strangely, no-one ever asks why this is the case. Just why did Scotland emerge with such a massive excess of generating capacity in the early 1980s? Who sanctioned this state of affairs and was it done for the benefit of Scotland? Ironically, we are back to the issue of nuclear power stations. When Mrs Thatcher became Prime Minister, the miners were perceived to have too much power. To dish them, it was decided, inter alia, that we should have a couple more nuclear power stations; and where better to put one than Scotland, where planning permission existed for six reactors at Torness. At that time, Scotland did not need such a station. We were not short of generating capacity and another nuclear power station with a capacity of 1200mW would give us an extraordinary excess. Indeed, the select committee report in 1981 could find no good reason why this power station was being built. Torness was never justified in capacity or economic terms. Indeed, it caused substantial economic damage to Scotland by keeping electricity prices higher than they need have been, since, during the construction phase, the interest on the capital borrowed was charged to the ongoing price of electricity in the SSEB area.
Herald letters 28th May 2007

Radhealth

The longest-running battle since the introduction of Freedom of Information legislation is being taken all the way to the House of Lords, as the NHS in Scotland continues to resist releasing local statistics on childhood leukaemia. The decision by the Common Services Agency of the NHS in the wake of defeat in the Court of Session to continue spending public money to fight the issue all the way to the Lords has outraged Green MSPs, who first asked for the local breakdown of figures in Dumfries and Galloway in 2004.
Herald 28th May 2007

Iran

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana confirmed on Tuesday that he would meet Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani this week for the latest round of talks on Iran’s nuclear programme.
Reuters 29th May 2007

Uranium

Rio Tinto has been forced into an embarrassing retreat on plans to exploit one of the world’s biggest undeveloped uranium deposits after angering the land’s traditional owners. The third-biggest mining company lit the fuse while promoting the expansion potential of its uranium business, telling analysts in London last week that opportunities could result in annual group production almost quadrupling to 20,000 tonnes by 2016. A significant proportion of that growth is reliant on the group securing approval from the Mirarr Gundjeihmi Aboriginal people to develop the Jabiluka deposit in Australia’s Northern Territory, which is worth more than US$40 billion (£20.2 billion) at current prices. The Mirarr responded with a blast of condemnation, saying that they were “extremely distressed” by the interpretation of their relations with ERA, the Rio Tinto subsidiary that owns Jabiluka and the nearby Ranger uranium mine. “Such comments are injurious to that relationship and immediately throw the prospect of future engagement into jeopardy,” they said in a statement.
Times 29th May 2007

Posted: 29 May 2007

28 May 2007

New nukes

The cloud of radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl disaster dissipated fairly quickly, but the cloud of public mistrust that hangs over the nuclear industry has yet to disappear. The British government wants to build new nuclear power stations. That is the right choice but, unless public policy goes hand in hand with some public persuasion, it will not get very far.
FT 28th May 2007

Various letters: We hear constantly of how nuclear power is “clean” but, of course, it is not. Uranium still has to be mined and transported over long distances (often from Australia). Large power stations (likely terrorist targets these days) have to be built and, at the end of the power cycle, the still-dangerous waste is basically “swept under the carpet”. Of course, like all power stations, wind turbines consume energy in their production, but in operation they emit no toxins, acids or greenhouse gases.
Herald 28th May 2007

Letter: Nuclear energy should not even be on the agenda. Not only is it dirty, dangerous and expensive – it doesn’t provide a solution to climate change or the end of oil – but produces a deadly legacy of nuclear waste which we still don’t know how to deal with and creates a devastating target for terrorists.
Leicester Mercury 26th May 2007

Iran

Mr. ElBaradei, in a surprising remark, has invited the international community to accept the fact that Iran has now achieved nuclear know-how and can produce enriched uranium at industrial levels. Such remarks, from someone at ElBaradei’s position, are unconstructive and can not help in any way but to embolden the Iranian regime to continue its defiance.
Stop Fundamentalism Magazine 28th May 2007

Iran’s top nuclear negotiator and the European Union’s foreign policy chief are to meet this week in an effort to explore whether there’s room to resume negotiations over Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme.
Belfast Telegraph 27th May 2007

India

The United States and India plan to resume talks on a much-touted civilian nuclear cooperation agreement this week, the U.S. embassy said Sunday.
Guardian website 28th May 2007

Oldbury

Music fans are being asked to give their views on the future of a nuclear power station which is due to be decommissioned. Staff from Oldbury power station were at the Coleford Music Festival in the Forest of Dean to talk to visitors about what could happen to the site. It is part of a public consultation effort which began earlier this year. The South Gloucestershire installation is due to stop generating electricity at the end of 2008.
BBC 27th May 2007

Submarines

The Duchess of Cornwall is to undertake that perennial royal engagement of launching a new vessel, although in this instance she’ll be plumbing new depths as she oversees the launch of Britain’s latest nuclear submarine at a major event in Cumbria. Camilla will be guest of honour at the famous shipyard in Barrow in the North West of England on June 8th to officially launch and name the 7,800-tonne Astute.
The Royalist 27th May 2007

Sweden

The Swedish Competition Authority has written to the government calling for an end to co-ownership of nuclear stations. Instead, says the Authority, the principal owners should be allowed to operate one facility each. The move follows a study of the competitive situation in the Swedish electricity market and while the agency has found no evidence to suggest that the enterprises currently in joint ownership of Swedish nuclear power – Vattenfall, E.ON and Fortum – have breached competition law, there are risks associated with co-ownership, the agency points out.
Nuclear Engineering International 27th May 2007

Finland

Members of environmental watchdog Greenpeace staged a protest Monday at the building site of Finland’s fifth nuclear reactor, news reports said. The protest was aimed at highlighting alleged security flaws. Six activists chained themselves together overnight in front of the entrance at Olkiluoto, south-western Finland, where a reactor is being built by France’s Areva and Germany’s Siemens.
Earth Times 28th May 2007

Climate

Environmental policy is a hodge-podge of half-policies and will end up in a blind alley if the government does not rethink its response to climate change, a leading environmental campaigner will say today. In a debate at the Guardian Hay festival, Jeremy Leggett, a former Greenpeace campaigner and now chief executive of the environmental group Solar Century, will argue that last week’s energy white paper does not go far enough to tackle climate change because the government has failed to stand up to conservative institutions in Britain. The difference was exemplified last week, he said, in the government’s new energy white paper, which highlighted the need for nuclear power to balance the country’s future energy needs and targets to cut carbon emissions. It was a huge step backwards from the government’s 2003 vision for energy, which had followed intensive consultation with industry, he said. “It’s almost bewildering for someone who saw that process leading up to the 2003 energy white paper. They have managed to disconnect any meaningful policy platform from the rhetorical objectives.”
Guardian 28th May 2007

Scotland

NOWHERE IS the new politics more apparent than in energy policy, but it’s not all sweetness and light. On Wednesday morning industry secretary Alistair Darling warned darkly on BBC radio that the lights would go out if the SNP maintained its antipathy to nuclear power. It was irresponsible, he said, to rule out a new nuclear generation when there was no evidence that renewables could fill the energy gap. But over the next seven hours, the lights went on at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). In interviews that afternoon, Darling discovered that the issue of nuclear generation was academic” as Torness would be around longer than Alex Salmond. So why the change in tone? Well, Scottish Labour decided it could no longer defy Scottish public opinion and the arithmetic of the Scottish parliament by doggedly demanding that there should be more nuclear power stations in Scotland when there is no demand for them. No new nuclear power stations are likely to be required here until at least 2033 if, as even the Greens now accept, the lives of Torness and Hunterston can be extended. That is plenty of time to bring on renewable energy.
Sunday Herald 27th May 2007

Posted: 28 May 2007

27 May 2007

Torness

How does it feel to have a nuclear power plant on your doorstep? Alasdair Reid asks the people of East Lothian who have a 1250 megawatt gas-cooled reactor for a neighbour.
Sunday Herald 27th May 2007

New nukes

BILL Coley listened to Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling deliver the findings of the government’s Energy White Paper knowing the future of his company was at stake. As the head of the UK’s biggest nuclear power generator, British Energy, Coley is acutely aware that nuclear power divides opinion among the British public like no other issue. Speaking after the announcement from BE’s HQ in Livingston, Coley said the White Paper demonstrated a growing acceptance that nuclear is needed to meet rising power demands. But vitally for BE, Darling said a decision on building new nuclear must be taken this year and this was an unexpected fillip for Coley and his team.
Scotland on Sunday 27th May 2007

ALEX Salmond should be stripped of his powers to block nuclear power stations north of the Border, according to Labour MPs who want Scotland’s veto over atomic energy handed back to Westminster. Leading members of the Scottish party are urging Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling to overrule Salmond, who last week said he would prevent the construction of new nuclear stations north of the Border. They claim the nation’s energy supply and thousands of jobs should not be left at the mercy of an “irresponsible and prejudiced” Scottish National Party administration in Holyrood, which took power with a pledge to make Scotland nuclear-free.
Scotland on Sunday 27th May 2007

A clear division has emerged between the Green-backed SNP in Scotland and Labour at Westminster, which insists we must retain at least some nuclear power stations. This newspaper’s view is that nuclear is the most practical way to guarantee power supplies and provide a green alternative to the carbon-emitting burning of oil, coal and gas. Britain has been storing spent nuclear fuel for more than 50 years without serious incident. As technology improves, safe disposal will get easier. Nuclear supplies an estimated 40% of Scotland’s electricity. Wind and wave power cannot quickly take its place: the four Pelamis wave generators planned at Orkney will have a three megawatt output – Hunterston and Torness each produce 400 times that amount.
Scotland on Sunday 27th May 2007

Listening to ministers last week – and reading some newspapers – you’d have concluded that we stand on the threshold of a new atomic age. Gordon Brown has a “vision for a nuclear Britain”, we were assured: “Britain is to become a nuclear nation” through “a nuclear expansion in the teeth of opposition from the green lobby”. All good stirring stuff, gulped down by nuclear supporters and opponents alike. The British Chambers of Commerce hailed “upgrading our nuclear capacity” as the only, environmentally acceptable way “for the UK to secure its energy needs”. The Green Party accused ministers of committing the country to “a dirty, dangerous and expensive future”. They can calm down. Any suggestion that last week’s White Paper presaged even a modest nuclear growth is, as Sir Bernard Ingham, one of the country’s most outspoken atomic advocates, would put it, “bunkum and balderdash”. Despite the hype, the White Paper put far more emphasis on saving energy and on increasing power from renewable sources, while doing almost nothing to increase the prospects for new nuclear power stations. Even under its most optimistic projections, 20 years hence the amount of energy Britain gets from the atom will fall to a fraction of what it is today. Far from the promised “new generation” of nuclear power stations, it is possible that not one will ever be built.
Independent on Sunday 27th May 2007

OPERATORS of Britain’s proposed new nuclear power plants will be required to make regular payments into a fund that will meet future waste-treatment and decommissioning costs. Detailed plans for the fund are being drawn up by the Department of Trade and Industry and its advisers, and are expected to be concluded before the end of the year.
Sunday Times 27th May 2007

Companies

After several false starts, Britain has finally fired the starting gun for its nuclear renaissance. Most of the companies that stand to benefit are international utilities such as EdF of France or RWE of Germany, which are already in talks with British Energy about building new plants. But several British groups are expected to benefit from the revival and investors should take a look at some of the companies involved on the service side, notably Amec (591.5p) and Serco. Both companies have already benefited from the Government’s strategy of asking private companies to build and develop large national infrastructure projects through the private finance initiative.
Telegraph 27th May 2007

Decommissioning

The first significant contract for a lucrative share in the dismantling of Britain’s -ageing nuclear infrastructure is set to be awarded to a US company. Jacobs Engineering and rival Energy Solutions have emerged as the two remaining bidders in the race to win the contract to buy Britain’s 10 Magnox nuclear sites, which include Sizewell in Suffolk and Hinkley Point in Somerset. It is understood that BNFL, which runs the sites, made a recommendation to the Government in the past few days and that an announcement of the winner is imminent. It could come as early as this week.
Telegraph 27th May 2007

Posted: 27 May 2007

26 May 2007

New nukes

Tom Burke gives a provisional list of seven elements of the pro-nuclear case, which can be expected to have a full airing in the weeks ahead, along with their antidote: evidence and argument based on economic, political and environmental reality.
Open Democracy 25th May 2007

Letter from Prof Peter Smith: There are things to be welcomed in the Energy White Paper, notably the recognition that tidal energy has a serious role within the energy mix. An issue that so far seems to have been overlooked concerns the reserves of uranium. At the last count over 170 new reactors are expected by 2020. In September 2006 it was estimated that the 3.3 million tonnes of reserves of high grade uranium ore should last to 2030, provided that suppliers were given sufficient notice to mine it. Since then it is evident that the US regards nuclear power as the means of producing hydrogen to meet its road transport needs, placing even this date in doubt.
Independent 26th May 2007

Various letters including: No new nuclear power stations are likely to be built in Scotland or Wales, largely because of opposition from the devolved administrations there. In which case, shouldn’t we English disconnect them from the national grid?
Telegraph 26th May 2007

UK trade and industry secretary for the UK, Alistair Darling, has released the long-awaited energy white paper – titled Meeting the Energy Challenge – setting out government energy strategy for the coming decades. In a statement to the House of Commons, Darling said: “We face two big challenges – climate change and maintaining stable and affordable energy supply in an increasingly unstable world,” adding that the document sets out a long-term framework for action to address these challenges. The government said it had reached the “preliminary view that it is in the public interest to give private sector energy companies the option of investing in new nuclear power stations.”
Nuclear Engineering International 25th May 2007
Edie 23rd May 2007

THE PROSPECT of a new generation of nuclear power stations has been condemned by Alistair Carmichael. The isles MP was speaking ahead of the launch of the government’s energy white paper which outlines the nuclear plans. Mr Carmichael said: “Nuclear is a tried, tested and failed technology with far higher costs than the renewable alternatives or energy efficiency measures.
Shetland Times 25th May 2007

Radhealth

Letter from Roger Helmer MEP: A J Askew (Your Views, May 18) asks if we remember Chernobyl. Yes, I remember it. And I recall that according to the World Health Organisation, fewer than 100 people died.
Nottingham Evening Post 26th May 2007

Iran

With the threat of new UN sanctions looming over Iran, senior European officials met an envoy from Tehran, in what officials described as an attempt to defuse the crisis over the Islamic republic’s refusal to scrap uranium enrichment.
Channel 4 News 26th May 2007
Guardian website 25th May 2007

Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has today warned that the world will not be able to stop Iran moving forward on its ‘glorious path’ towards nuclear technology.
Channel 4 News 25th May 2007

China

Washington is becoming increasingly concerned about China’s deployment of mobile land-and sea-based intercontinental ballistic nuclear missiles that could hit targets in the US, according to people familiar with an imminent Pentagon report.
FT 26th May 2007

China is modernising and expanding its arsenal of nuclear weapons giving it an enhanced nuclear strike capability, according to a new Pentagon report on the Chinese military.
FT 25th May 2007

An agreement has been signed which would see the first two of four nuclear power reactors built at Bamaoshan, in the Anhui province of China. The development would be the first inland nuclear power project.
World Nuclear News 25th May 2007

Europe

The European Parliament has called for a major review and overhaul of Euratom, asking for a formal role in overseeing and amending the treaty. It backed a parliamentary industry committee report that regretted “the growth in parliament’s powers”, including veto rights on most European Union legislation “has not been taken into account in…Euratom.” It also called for an extension of Euratom to cover nuclear safety research, radioactive waste management and future generations of reactors, including training programmes.
Nuclear Engineering International 25th May 2007

Belgium

Belgium will still have nuclear energy in 2015, despite legislation passed in 2003 calling for its phase-out, according to the country’s prime minister, Guy Verhofstadt. Le Soir newspaper cited Verhofstadt as saying, “To stop (nuclear power generation) from 2015 is not that easy because there is no substitute at the moment for the most powerful reactors to be closed.” He added that the oldest reactors can start to be closed, while investing in renewable energy and taking steps to create a fourth generation nuclear power source. The January 2003 Act prohibited the building of new nuclear power plants and limited the operating lives of existing ones to 40 years. However, this can be overridden by a recommendation from the electricity and gas regulator (CREG) if Belgium’s security of supply is threatened.
World Nuclear News 25th May 2007

Posted: 26 May 2007

25 May 2007

New nukes

French power giant EDF is looking for sites to build four or five nuclear plants in Britain, Chairman and Chief Executive Pierre Gadonneix told the Wall Street Journal Europe in an interview published on Friday. Gadonneix said majority state-owned EDF was ready to consider joint ventures with British energy concerns and other companies but would want operating responsibility for the plants.
Reuters 25th May 2007
Wall Street Journal 25th May 2007
ABC Money 25th May 2007

A series of letters: It is clear that new nuclear power stations cannot fill the energy gap forecast at 2015 – even with expedited planning and restricted public consultation. There are hence two basic questions: first, what alternative energy sources can we plan to use and, second, can the requirements for energy be significantly reduced?
Guardian 25th May 2007

Anti-nuclear campaigners yesterday began mobilising public opposition to any attempt to site new nuclear power stations in the South of England, including Brighton, Oxfordshire and Somerset. A study commissioned by the Government recommended that nuclear generating plants should be “strategically placed” for connection to the transmission grid and to supply electricity to large areas of demand, ruling out more remote locations.
Telegraph 25th May 2007

Few around south Oxfordshire would be sad to see the back of the Didcot power station – recently named by the environmental group WWF as the fourth worst emitter of carbon dioxide in Europe – but the uncertainty surrounding the safety of nuclear power has led to concerns that, in this case, it’s better the devil you know.
Telegraph 25th May 2007

The white paper pays particular attention to the role that new nuclear power stations could play in cutting emissions and diversifying UK energy supply. The government voiced its preliminary view that it is in the public interest to give private sector energy companies the option of investing in new nuclear power stations and is publishing a consultation paper to assess this. This announcement was backed by French utility Electricite de France (EDF), which said that it plans to put its experience in the nuclear sector to use in British nuclear projects. Indeed, in conjunction with French construction group Areva, EDF plans to submit a request for certification of a model of an EPR power station.
Energy Business Review 25th May 2007

WALES is likely to be ruled out of becoming home to a new nuclear power station, according to a government-commissioned report. It lists 14 suitable sites around the UK but says existing nuclear plants in Southern England are the best choice. Wylfa in North Wales is eighth choice out of the list of 14 while Trawsfynydd is at the bottom of the list. Alongside Berkeley near Gloucester and Heysham in Lancashire they are more or less ruled out with “major barriers that would be difficult to overcome”. There is a small chance Wylfa could be developed, but the report says new stations are unlikely to be feasible in Wales or Scotland because of devolution.
IC Wales 25th May 2007

Letter: The future Labour Government led by a Scottish Prime Minister and a Scottish Trade and Industry Secretary will decide that Britain will go nuclear, but not in Scotland or Wales because of opposition from the devolved administration. Will Gordon Brown be Prime Minister of Britain or of England?
Telegraph 25th May 2007

Letter: In all of the discussion on whether or not Britain should invest in nuclear power (report, May 24) I have yet to read about the French, who have invested heavily and it seems, successfully, in nuclear power generation. Indeed, they seem to have enough spare capacity to sell some to us. Surely, they have something to teach us or at least to add to this discussion.
Telegraph 25th May 2007

The prime sites for nuclear power plants the government is keen to see built are on the southern coasts, where the flood risk is higher than elsewhere in the country, a government-commissioned report said. The report by energy analysts Jackson Consulting for the Department of Trade and Industry identified Hinkley Point, together with Sizewell and Dungeness, as the best sites for large nuclear power stations. But it warned that any company planning to build there would probably have to bolster existing flood defences against sea level rises as the effects of climate change take hold.
Oxford Mail 24th May 2007
Didcot Herald 24th May 2007

A dozen existing nuclear power sites would be suitable hosts for new reactors, according to a government-commissioned report. Hinkley Point in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk are the most appropriate nuclear stations, Jackson Consulting said in a report accompanying yesterday’s energy white paper. But the Department of Trade and Industry should also consider building nuclear plants on the sites of current coal or gas-fired generators, the report said, because not all nuclear sites are well connected to the national grid.
Regeneration and Renewal 24th May 2007

More nuclear power stations in Wales and a Severn Barrage, as foreseen in a new Government Energy White Paper, have come under attack from environmental organisations. WWF Cymru says the Government is intent on increasing nuclear power in Britain instead of dealing with the real solutions to climate change which are to provide more clean renewable energy and tackle massive energy wastage through efficiency. And Friends of the Earth Cymru said the Cardiff to Weston Severn Barrage would have a major impact on the ecology of the Severn Estuary and could damage the viability of Severnside ports such as Cardiff, Newport and Avonmouth.
News Wales 24th May 2007

It has been revealed that talks are undreway to build two new reactors at Sellafield.
Carlisle News and Star 24th May 2007

Brighton, Bristol, and picturesque Oxfordshire have topped the list of places most suitable to have new nuclear power stations bestowed upon them, replacing existing coal or gas fired power stations.
The Register 24th May 2007
Building 24th May 2007
BBC 24th May 2007

A FIVE-month consultation on the role new nuclear power stations could play in cutting emissions and diversifying energy supplies has been launched.Ministers have made clear they want new nuclear power stations to be built, sparking a row with environmental campaigners.
Bath Chronicle 24th May 2007
Whitehaven News 24th May 2007
Northern Echo 24th May 2007

YEARS late and accompanied by the inevitable procedural cock-up, the Blair Gover nment has nevertheless taken one of the very few sensible decisions of its 10 years of office. It has over-ridden the squeaks of its own Left-wing eco-screamers and accepted the inevitable. In the future we are going to need new state-of-the-art nuclear reactors to create the vast amount of electricity we require.
Daily Express 24th May 2007

Scotland

From this week I have become a citizen of a nuclear-free nation. While England and Wales set course for a new generation of nuclear power stations to safeguard electricity supplies and reduce carbon emissions, those of us in the happy position of living in Scotland can wash our hands of the moral, ethical and ecological objections to nuclear fission, and watch, with polite but detached interest, as our close, but thankfully not too close, neighbours embark on the rancorous and divisive debate over energy supplies. The SNP’s Energy Policy is untenable.
Times 25th May 2007

First Minister Alex Salmond has dismissed new nuclear power stations in Scotland as “pie in the sky” as the government published its long-awaited Energy White Paper.
ICScotland 24th May 2007

Iran

When tensions are running high throughout the Middle East and between Tehran and Washington, the question of how far forward Iran is with its nuclear programme could barely be more important. The answer depends on who you ask – and what their political agenda is. One group emphasises the speed of Iran’s progress and is unhappy with the current strategy of incremental sanctions to persuade Tehran to rein in its programme. The other plays down Iran’s development, insisting there is plenty of time for the slow-acting sanctions to change Iran’s behaviour.
FT 25th May 2007

Iran’s nuclear work is close to reaching its “peak”, the country’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said.
Channel 4 News 25th May 2007

Iran is between three and eight years away from having an operational nuclear weapons system, the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog said yesterday. Mohammed ElBaradei, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), added, however, that his inspectors were finding it increasingly difficult to monitor Iran’s nuclear programme. In its latest regular report to the Security Council, the IAEA said that Iran was continuing to enrich uranium in breach of three UN resolutions. This highly sensitive process could allow Iran to make weapons-grade uranium – the essential material for a nuclear bomb.
Telegraph 25th May 2007
BBC 24th May 2007
Mirror 24th May 2007
Guardian 24th May 2007

Heysham

British Energy’s Heysham 2-7 nuclear power reactor, which tripped on Wednesday after a feedwater glitch, is to remain closed for short-term maintenance, a spokeswoman for the company said. Although the cause of the trip was quickly resolved and the 625-megawatt unit could have been returned to service on Wednesday, the company has opted to do some “routine maintenance work,” she said.
Reuters 24th May 2007

China

China has surprised the Pentagon with the pace of development of a new class of submarine that threatens the nuclear balance by providing Beijing with a more robust nuclear deterrent. According to the 2007 Pentagon China military power report – details of which were obtained by the FT – the Chinese navy is developing a fleet of five nuclear ballistic missile submarines [SSBNs]. The Jin class submarines would provide a much stronger nuclear deterrent because they would be armed with the new long-range JL-2 missile.
FT 25th May 2007

Carbon capture

A leading academic last night blamed the government for BP’s decision to pull out of a multimillion-pound green energy project in the north-east of Scotland. Professor Stuart Haszeldine, of Edinburgh University’s school of geosciences, said ministers at Westminster had continually “found problems rather than solutions” since the oil giant first announced its intention to go ahead with the Peterhead carbon capture and storage (CCS) scheme.
Herald 25th May 2007
Independent 25th May 2007

Facts about CCS.
Herald 25th May 2007

Carbon capture is a promising way to address climate change. If brought into use right away it could make a significant contribution to meeting targets to cut carbon emissions. So reported the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (Post) at Westminster more than two years ago. Its findings took account of the 2003 energy white paper and many government reports published between then and the Post paper appearing.
Herald editorial 25th May 2007

Energy Efficiency

The Eco-House, the one which doesn’t damage the planet with its profligate energy use, has just got closer. Not as imminent as it needs to be. But after three big sets of government proposals in the space of four days, the road to the energy-saving home which is sustainable as well as comfortable is certainly clearer than it was. White Papers on planning and energy (plus a new strategy for waste disposal) have this week all set out ways of making Britain’s housing stock much more environmentally friendly.
Independent 25th May 2007

Green Tariffs

You don’t have to put up a wind turbine to get clean power – just pick a green tariff.
Independent 24th May 2007

White Paper

A NEW generation of nuclear power stations is the only way to guarantee supplying Britain’s future electricity needs while slashing carbon emissions, Ministers said last night.
Yorkshire Post 24th May 2007

Why is it now back on the agenda as the only way to ensure Britain meets its targets in cutting carbon emissions? For the nuclear lobby the answer is simple – there is no alternative.
Yorkshire Post 24th May 2007

Rows over the future of energy were raging last night as the government came under fierce attack after launching a five-month consultation on the “significant role” new nuclear power stations could play.
Bolton Evening News 24th May 2007

Press round-up
BBC 24th May 2007

TO some, it is seen as a wasteful energy system of the past. To quote John Sauven, the director of the environmental group Greenpeace, for example, putting nuclear power at the centre of Britain’s future energy needs is like “an obese person taking up smoking to lose weight”. Yet, as the Government unveiled its Energy White Paper yesterday, it became clear that nuclear power is still seen as the answer to Britain’s energy needs.
Norhern Echo 24th May 2007

BRITAIN faces blackouts unless it builds new nuclear power stations, MPs were warned yesterday. A secret report released last night identified existing nuclear sites in the South East — Hinkley, Sizewell, Dungeness and Bradwell — as the best places for new reactors. The warning came as ministers revealed plans for tackling the nation’s looming energy crisis. Trade Secretary Alistair Darling forecast there could be “disruption to supply” by 2017 unless something is done now. He added: “I want to make sure that people can rely on getting their heat and light.”
The Sun 24th May 2007

A new generation of nuclear power stations could be built on the sites of any of 60 existing coal or gas-fired power plants, according to a government paper released yesterday. While existing nuclear power stations in the south of England are the favoured locations, consultants have been looking at other potential sites, including civil nuclear establishments and conventional power stations around the country.
Telegraph 24th May 2007

The Government set out its vision for the future of energy supply yesterday and insisted that nuclear must remain part of the mix. The twin threats of power shortages in a decade’s time and climate change mean Britain must embrace the nuclear option, said Alistair Darling, the Trade and Industry Secretary.
Times 24th May 2007

Nuclear reactor designer Westinghouse is plunging into the race to build the next generation of power stations. It will start applying for a licence in the next few days so that its design can be used to build reactors in Britain.
Telegraph 24th May 2007

New nuclear power stations will play a ‘significant role’ in Britain’s energy future, the Government has announced. Tony Blair told MPs: ‘If we want to have secure energy supplies and reduce CO2 emissions, we have got to put the issue of nuclear power on the agenda. We are not going to be able to make up through wind farms all the deficit on nuclear power. We are just not going to be able to do it.’
Metro 24th May 2007

Green groups were united in their criticism of the Government yesterday after it promised nuclear power would be an energy for the future. Campaigners criticised ministers for peddling a ‘failed policy’, questioning where new nuclear power stations would be built.
Metro 23rd May 2007

What has been the reason for this apparently extraordinary change of heart? It could almost be summed up in a single word – Russia. The reason for that, as Mr Blair put it, is that Russia could use its energy supplies to the west as “an instrument of policy”.
BBC 23rd May 2007

Scotland

FIRST MINISTER Alex Salmond yesterday set his government on a course for a massive switch to clean, green energy production—as Westminster called for more nuclear power. In a statement to MSPs on the Executive policy priorities, he said that Scotland already produces almost as much power from green energy sources like wind and hydro power as it does from nuclear. And he ruled out any expansion of nuclear energy.
Dundee Courier 24th May 2007

Decommissioning

Decommissioning ageing nuclear plants, like 40-year-old Oldbury in western England, and storing their toxic waste will cost around 70 billion pounds, according to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. “It will be sad, this will all be buried underground,” said Robin Beeby, defuelling manager, looking out over hundreds of cooling pipes criss-crossing Oldbury’s turbine hall.
Reuters 23rd May 2007

Sellafield

Millions of pounds have been paid out to families of more than a hundred ex-Sellafield workers whose cancer deaths were linked to radiation.
Whitehaven News 24th May 2007

 

Posted: 25 May 2007

24 May 2007

New nukes

David Lowry: While unveiling to MPs in the Commons the consultation paper on The Future of Nuclear Power, trade and industry secretary Alistair Darling, told them that: “It will be for the private sector to initiate, fund, construct and operate new nuclear plants, and to cover the cost of decommissioning and their full share of the costs of long-term waste management costs.” But who is going to pay?
Guardian 23rd May 2007

After many false starts, the Government has fired the starting gun on a process to decide whether Britain will be one of the world’s leading nuclear energy users. The energy White Paper, published yesterday, gives companies, environmentalists and anyone else with a view on nuclear power 20 weeks to put in their submissions to the Department of Trade and Industry.
Telegraph 24th May 2007

That Tony Blair should wait until the dying days of his premiership before grasping the nettle of nuclear expansion has proved dangerously neglectful. Complacency engendered by our North Sea energy reserves has left us exposed. Eighty per cent of our energy is currently home-produced, yet, a dozen years from now, we will be importing almost all our gas and half our oil.
Telegraph 24th May 2007

The government is considering building nuclear power stations on the sites of old coal and gas-fired stations in Oxfordshire and the south-east, according to documents released yesterday as part of a consultation forced on it by the courts. A confidential report, commissioned by the DTI last year from leading energy analysts Jackson Consulting, has recommended a new generation of plants at existing or redundant civil and military nuclear power stations. But it says that many of these will be unavailable for years or will be unsuitable because they have limited connections to the national grid.
Guardian 24th May 2007

The government yesterday renewed its drive for new nuclear power stations but came under fierce attack over the future of energy generation as critics warned that years of delays mean the UK could face potential power shortages from 2015. The industry secretary, Alistair Darling, published a package of proposals to help cut carbon emissions and ensure the UK has secure energy supplies in the future as North Sea oil and gas begin to run out.
Guardian 24th May 2007

Editorial: Opposition was steamrollered in a sham consultation which lost the government a judicial review this year. Ministers will make more efforts to persuade the public this time round and they will have their work cut out. This week’s Guardian/ICM poll shows opponents of nuclear energy still outnumber supporters, by 49% to 44% – a rise in antipathy from the last poll on the issue at the end of 2005.
Guardian 24th May 2007

Letter: The letter on nuclear power from David Howarth MP and others (May 23) demonstrates remarkable complacency in the face of the imminent risks to Britain’s future security of electricity supplies and the longer term threat from climate change. The closure of all but one of Britain’s nuclear power stations over the next 15 years, together with the closure of many coal-fired stations, will create a generating gap as early as 2015.
Guardian 24th May 2007

A blueprint for a new generation of power stations was revealed yesterday as Tony Blair committed Britain to a nuclear component in energy supply. The Government announced a five-month consultation exercise on its plans for new nuclear plants by the private sector but a private consultants’ report for the Department of Trade and Industry raised suspicions that the consultation is a sham. Critics called the consultation a “farce” and nuclear power would be a “dangerous, dirty white elephant”. The report says new nuclear plants should be built predominantly in the South-east where the main demand for energy exists.
Independent 24th May 2007

While the Government’s undisguised enthusiasm for nuclear power took up most of the attention yesterday, the new Energy White Paper also contained new measures designed to bring down Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors. They range from carbon trading for commercial businesses to revised subsidies for renewable energy, from “smart” electricity meters for homes to the possibility of constructing a giant electricity-producing barrage across the estuary of the river Severn.

Independent 24th May 2007

Jeremy Warner: Expensive, dangerous and likely to crowd out investment in renewables – that broadly summarises the view of this newspaper on nuclear energy. My own concerns about the options set out in yesterday’s Energy White Paper and “nuclear consultation” are less to do with the safety of nuclear, or its merits versus renewables, as its financial viability and the Government’s continued lack of urgency in pressing forward with plans to address Britain’s looming energy gap.

Independent 24th May 2007

Editorial: The group given real cause to celebrate yesterday is the nuclear lobby. This will be remembered as the White Paper that proposed to clear the path towards a new generation of nuclear power stations in Britain. The reasons why this is deeply undesirable should be familiar by now. Meanwhile, its advantages are overstated. Perhaps the greatest danger posed by this White Paper is that it would enable nuclear investment to crowd out investment in renewable energy. This focus on nuclear energy also risks undermining efforts to tackle energy efficiency. Mr Darling insists a final decision on nuclear power will not be made until October. But the recent behaviour of the Government gives little cause for optimism. Tony Blair has become a strong nuclear supporter. But the position of his successor, Gordon Brown, is less clear cut. And it is Mr Brown who will be left with the job of paying for these dangerous follies. It is not too late for Britain to switch back to an environmentally friendly – and non-nuclear – energy track.
Independent 24th May 2007

British Energy said it was pleased a date had been set for a decision on new nuclear plants. Bill Coley, the chief executive, has long argued nuclear must be a part of the equation to make the UK a truly low-carbon economy. He said: “We believe our sites will be in a very good position if new build goes ahead. We have access to skills and established links with the local communities which are key factors in siting decisions.”
Independent 24th May 2007

The first of a new generation of nuclear plants should be built in southern England on existing reactor sites, according to a study that also warns ministers that tens of millions of pounds may have to be spent on flood defences and sea walls.
FT 24th May 2007

The British government is proud to announce the creation of Green plan. As our energy policy paper, published yesterday [Wednesday], makes clear, the only way to tackle climate change is central schemes and targets for everything from light bulbs to biomass. We need a Low Carbon Transport Innovation Strategy. We need a succession of five-year plans. We need Greenplan, modelled on the old Soviet economic planners at Gosplan, to take control. Or almost. Wednesday¹s policy paper contained some sensible if rather vague stuff about energy security and a new generation of nuclear power plants. But it also contained plans, some decided by the European Union, to micromanage exactly how and where carbon emissions will be cut.
FT 24th May 2007

Britain on Wednesday gave the green light to a new generation of nuclear power stations, publishing an energy white paper that will pave the way for billions of pounds of private investment in plants.
FT 24th May 2007

There were few surprises in the energy white paper something the industry was thankful for. Energy companies were pleased about the government’s clear support for nuclear power, and its pledge to make a decision on whether to back new reactors by the end of the year. Stephen Hale, director of Green Alliance, said: “Tony Blair’s legacy energy white paper is a millstone for Gordon Brown. Labour is investing political capital in nuclear power, an industry that has never delivered. We need a far stronger policy framework for the transport sector, for heat generation and a long-term carbon price that incentivises a step change in low-carbon investment.”
FT 24th May 2007

Amidst all the palaver over the UK government’s energy policy paper backing a new programme of nuclear power stations on Wednesday, one significant shift has so far been missed. Buried away on page 204 is a change that will give anti-nuclear campaigners some crumbs of comfort. “The Government has concluded,” it says, “that any nuclear power stations that might be built in the UK should proceed on the basis that spent fuel will not be reprocessed.” This is the clearest statement so far of ministers’ intention to abandon the decades-old policy of reprocessing uranium burnt in reactors.
RobEdwars.com 23rd May 2007
New Scientist 23rd May 2007

Darling’s statement Nuclear power is needed to help reduce carbon emissions and to ensure that the UK has secure energy supplies in the future, the prime minister has said. “We are not going to be able to make up through wind farms all the deficit on nuclear power,” Tony Blair told MPs. The government’s Energy White Paper has backed renewable energy and efficiency measures – but said the “preliminary view” supports more nuclear plants.
BBC 23rd May 2007

Is Hinkley Point the most suitable location for a new reactor? Hinkley Point, in Somerset, is the best place to build a new nuclear power station, according to a report commissioned by ministers. It lists 14 suitable sites around the UK but says existing nuclear plants in Southern England are the best choice. It also reveals the first UK nuclear reactor was sited at Harwell, in Oxfordshire in the late 1940s, because it was “a pleasant place to live”.
BBC 23rd May 2007

UK ministers have ended a 20-year standstill on nuclear power by giving the go-ahead to a new generation of reactors to help cut the pollution that is disrupting the climate. And the government has given the first indications of where up to 10 nuclear stations are likely to be built, at a cost of £1.2 billion ($2.4 bn) each. An expert report identifies the best sites as being next to existing reactors around the south coast of England, with Hinkley Point in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk topping the list.
RobEdwards.com 23rd May 2007
New Scientist 23rd May 2007

Scotland

THE SNP Executive yesterday gave the green light for Scotland to have at least one active nuclear plant for another quarter of a century. The signal came even as ministers were vowing to oppose plans from the UK government for a new wave of nuclear plants. Jim Mather, the Scottish energy minister, yesterday signalled that the Executive would not intervene if British Energy chose to extend the life-cycles of the Scottish plants.
Scotsman 24th May 2007

Yesterday’s white paper on energy gave notice that the government sees new nuclear power stations as an essential component of the UK’s future energy strategy. In making the argument in favour of a third generation of nuclear power stations in terms of security of supply and low carbon emissions, Alistair Darling, the Trade and Industry Secretary, recognises that the nuclear option is not the most popular. However, no decision on new nuclear power stations should be made without a clear strategy for the disposal of nuclear waste. With both the SNP and the Green Party, which has backed its minority government against building new nuclear power stations, a very clear strategy for issues within the executive’s control is required urgently. The Hunterston station in Ayrshire is scheduled to be shut down in 2011, while Torness in East Lothian has a licence to operate until 2023, but both could have their lives extended. That prospect (which is backed by the Greens if there is an energy gap) makes it possible to delay a decision about building a new power station in Scotland, but not indefinitely. That allowed both Mr Darling and Mr Mather to sidestep the imminent prospect of a confrontation on nuclear power between Westminster and Holyrood, but the issue cannot continue to be ducked by the SNP if it wants to demonstrate credibility in government. There is much to be welcomed in the white paper, not least the creation of the world’s first mandatory carbon trading scheme for large companies and the redesign of the renewables obligation that should ensure the UK offshore wind resource stands a strong chance of being developed over the next 10 to 15 years.
Herald editorial 24th May 2007

Scotland can still generate around 20% more power than it needs. But the big, unanswered question is whether that apparently comfortable margin could be reversed over the next couple of decades as our two nuclear stations and other established generating plant reach the end of their operational lives. When the new Scottish government says the lights in Scotland will never go out, it risks betting its own long-standing and consistent hostility to any new nuclear capacity ever being built in Scotland against rapid and reliable operational returns from a variety of highly promising, but as yet unproven, alternative technologies.
Herald 24th May 2007

There is much misinformation flying about on Scotland’s future energy supply. Ian Bell’s contribution (May 23) was by no means the worst example. However, he somehow managed to discuss the energy issue without once pointing out it is a reserved matter, and MSPs have no power other than to block at the planning stage. So the onus is very much on Westminster to provide for future needs.
Herald letters 24th May 2007

NUCLEAR power, wind turbines (large and small), carbon-emitting power stations and solar power – if you want an exciting arena, then debating the
merits and problems of energy production is a good place to start. Our new SNP administration has brought the subject to the fore by dismissing nuclear as an energy choice. It seems that, along with the new concerns about generation, there is also the problem of what sources of energy Scotland is going to use in the future. A combination of more efficient use of electricity, by identifying waste, and the use of thermally and mechanically efficient CHP units would solve a lot of the problems of new pylons, wind farms and rising energy costs.
Scotsman 24th May 2007

Torness is expected to run for at least another 10 years The UK Government has played down suggestions of a showdown between Westminster and Holyrood over the generation of nuclear power. First Minister Alex Salmond has said there was “no chance” of any more being nuclear plants being built in Scotland.
BBC 23rd May 2007

Energy Efficiency

An on-line CO2 calculator, smart meters and real-time displays could be introduced to every home in the country under radical government plans to
make energy consumers more efficient.
Herald 24th May 2007

Companies

ScottishPower’s renewable energy division is to be hived off and incorporated into a beefed-up subsidiary of the utility’s new owner, Iberdrola, under funding plans revealed by the Spanish company yesterday. Bilbao-based Iberdrola said it intended to restructure its renewables business, incorporating all its renewable energy-related units in Europe into its Iberenova subsidiary. The plan is then to float up to 20% of the expanded division at some time in the fourth quarter, and use the cash raised to fund additional growth. Industry analysts believe the IPO could raise between E16bn (£10.9bn) and E20bn (£13.6bn).
Herald 23rd May 2007

Europe

The European parliament has urged the EU to pursue a “post-fossil fuel and post-nuclear energy vision” as its “next important project” in a declaration adopted on Monday. It says 33 per cent of electricity and 25 per cent of all energy use should be renewable by 2020. Both aims go beyond a 20 per cent renewables target backed by EU leaders. The declaration also calls for the creation of a decentralised European hydrogen fuel infrastructure by 2025.
EU parliament news 21st May 2007

The declaration

Nuclear Weapons

ICAN is a new campaign for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, launched by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and growing daily. Organisations and individuals are getting involved because nuclear weapons are not like other weapons – there is no other weapon that can kill hundreds of millions of people in a few hours and bring about the end of human civilisation.
A 6 minute ICAN video

 

Posted: 24 May 2007

23 May 2007

New nukes

The government will today reassert its determination to press ahead with a new generation of nuclear power stations despite evidence of Tony Blair’s inability to convince many of his own backbenchers and the public at large that atomic energy holds the key to security of supply and lower carbon emissions. An energy white paper published today will promise further consultation on the issue as demanded by the high court following a challenge by Greenpeace, but industry secretary Alistair Darling will make clear his belief that nuclear is essential if the UK is to meet growing energy demands and meet its Kyoto treaty commitments on C02.
Guardian 23rd May 2007
This is Hampshire 23rd May 2007
Reuters 23rd May 2007
ITN 23rd May 2007
BBC 23rd May 2007
Yorkshire Post 23rd May 2007
Sky News 23rd May 2007
Telegraph 23rd May 2007
Indendent 23rd May 2007
Times 23rd May 2007
ePolitix 23rd May 2007

Tony Blair: How to stop the lights going out.
Times 23rd May 2007

Letter from a group of MPs: The changes in planning rules (Kelly move to cut planning red tape angers greens, May 22) and the imminent energy white paper both raise the issue of nuclear power. We must challenge the myths that the lights will go out unless we agree to build new nuclear power stations, that nuclear power will prevent an increase in dependency on imported gas and that nuclear power is necessary to allow us to meet climate-change goals.
Guardian 23rd May 2007

Following are some facts about nuclear power: Nuclear power supplies 16 percent of the world’s electricity and 34 percent of the European Union’s. 15 of the EU’s 27 members have nuclear power plants, with the percentage of electricity supplied ranging from 78 percent in France to just 3.5 percent in the Netherlands.
Reuters 22nd May 2007
BBC Facts

Green Party Principal Speaker Siân Berry today commented: “If the Government do go down the nuclear route, they will be committing the UK to a dirty, dangerous and astronomically expensive future.
eGov Monitor 23rd May 2007

Nuclear power is not the answer to climate change – and will hasten the chances of devastating nuclear war, terrorist attack or accident, Green Party MEP Caroline Lucas has warned ahead of the publication of the Government’s latest Energy White Paper tomorrow.
eGov Monitor 23rd May 2007

Greenpeace, which obtained a legal victory earlier this year after complaining that the government’s energy review was “seriously flawed”, said policies were needed to “transform” to way energy was consumed and delivered. Executive director John Sauven said: “The government’s current energy strategy simply won’t put us on a path to delivering the kinds of cuts needed to combat climate change.
Guardian website 23rd May 2007
Ananova 23rd May 2007

Paul Dorfman: The public mistrust of policy decision-making on issues involving nuclear risk is a defining issue of the energy white paper that the trade and industry secretary, Alistair Darling, presents to parliament today. This is because the way government consults with the public has significantly changed since a high court decision by Mr Justice Sullivan ruled that the 2006 energy review consultation was “misleading”, “seriously flawed”, and “manifestly inadequate and unfair”. In other words, the consultation had totally failed. It was ill-conceived, carried out over too short a timescale, and did not involve the public in any meaningful way. Although the government had promised “the fullest public consultation”, what it offered was a tick-box exercise that provided limited useful information, and did not allow for full and frank disclosure of all the important issues underpinning energy production and nuclear risk.
Guardian 23rd May 2007

Lib Dem Energy Spokesperson David Howarth: Although today’s White Paper on energy is accompanied by a “consultation” about nuclear power, pronouncements from both of Britain’s prime ministers leave little room for doubt that the British Government believes that the country’s energy problems cannot be solved without recourse to a new generation of nuclear power. Ministers insist that although nuclear power is not a silver bullet, it has to be part of the picture – that without it we can neither reach our goals of reducing carbon emissions nor avoid placing ourselves in the hands of Mr Putin and his successors in title to Russia’s vast reserves of gas. I believe that the Government is profoundly wrong about nuclear power and has allowed itself to be rushed into a bad decision by a clever but deceptive public relations campaign by the nuclear industry.
Independent 23rd May 2007

German utility E.ON said on Tuesday it was keen to help develop the next generation of nuclear power stations in Britain if given the go-ahead by government.
Reuters 23rd May 2007

John Sauven: Following the government’s white paper yesterday on planning that will circumvent the need to consult local people over the siting of nuclear power stations (as well as other large projects like airports) the government will tomorrow seek to overturn the 2003 energy policy and clear the way for a fullscale nuclear renaissance. Expect to see Alistair Darling – Hewitt’s successor who once joined Greenpeace activists in pasting anti-nuclear posters across Edinburgh – stand up in the Commons to warn that without new reactors the lights will go out and our carbon targets will be missed.
Guardian 23rd May 2007

ACROSS Britain, cities are plunged into darkness. In London, the Underground grinds to a halt, leaving panicked commuters stranded in oppressively hot carriages. In office blocks, lifts stop operating and the air-conditioning shuts down. Employees swelter in stifling conditions.
Times 23rd May 2007

Scotland

Ian Bell: A colleague poses a hypothetical question, a good one. Suppose that an SNP administration keeps its nerve and Scotland, unlike England, rejects proposals for more nuclear power stations. Suppose, further, that we wake up in the 2020s to discover that ambitious targets for renewable energy, like most ambitious targets, have not been met. Do we then import English electricity?
Herald 23rd May 2007

THE new SNP Executive’s energy policy was shrouded in confusion last night as ministers were unable to say when Scotland’s nuclear power stations should be shut down. The decision about when to retire Hunterston and Torness – which generate almost 40 per cent of the country’s electricity – is central to deciding Scotland’s energy policy for the next generation. The SNP is committed to using devolved planning powers to block any new nuclear stations in Scotland, hoping that renewable sources like wind and wave power will be able to make up the shortfall. The ousted Labour-Lib Dem coalition had argued that both plants’ operating licences could be extended by as much as ten years to give Scotland’s renewable capacity time to build up in the meantime. But last night, the new Executive appeared unable to say whether it would be willing to grant extensions to operating licences, insisting it was up to British Energy, which runs the plants, to decide when they should close.
Scotsman 22nd May 2007

Letter from Jim Mather – Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism. Let me make it clear that there is no confusion over the new Scottish government’s energy policy (your report, 22 May). Ministers have specifically and consistently stated that nuclear power is neither needed nor wanted in Scotland. It would be difficult to be any clearer than that. We were elected on that pledge and we will stick to it.

Meanwhile, it is clear that Scotland has vast potential to generate electricity from renewable sources. Another important point regularly lost in this debate is that governments do not build nuclear power stations. It is the industry itself that would come forward with any proposals and there is none on the table at the moment. In the coming weeks and months, we will expand further our vision for Scotland as a world leader in green energy production.
Scotsman 23rd May 2007

First Minister Alex Salmond has already declared there is “absolutely no chance” of a new generation of nuclear power stations being “foisted” on Scotland.
ICScotland 22nd May 2007

Oldbury

Campaigners have said they are shocked and astounded that permission has been given to re-start a nuclear reactor at Oldbury on the banks of
the River Severn. Both Stroud District Green Party and the Shut Oldbury group said they were horrified by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate’s (NII) decision to permit the re-start. Oldbury’s reactor two was shut two years ago because of safety concerns over severe corrosion of its graphite reactor core. Reactor one has been shut since August last year for identical problems. Stroud Green Coun Philip Booth said: “Why on earth take the risk? Already an independent nuclear engineer has said that the corrosion could lead to a catastrophic nuclear fuel fire and release of radiation. This is putting profit before safety. I am astounded by this,” Coun Booth said.
Gloucester Citizen 21st May 2007

Planning

Business hailed the government’s proposed planning reforms as vital to improving the UK’s competitiveness yesterday, while some environmental
groups expressed alarm that big infrastructure projects would be bulldozed through. John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace, said: “They [the government] will try to say it’s about renewables, but that is a fig leaf. They could handle renewables much better if they engaged local communities.” Hugh Ellis, planning adviser at Friends of the Earth, said: “You won’t be able to object to a new nuclear power plant in your community, but you may be consulted on what colour gate it has.”
FT 22nd May 2007

A new independent commission, which will replace the government in taking decisions on infrastructure projects such as gas pipelines and nuclear power stations, will cost £4m to set up and £8.8m a year to run, according to official estimates in yesterday’s planning white paper. An unspecified proportion of these costs will be recovered from applicants, who “may pay more in charges than they currently do,” the government said. The current £50,000 maximum fee, which applies to about 3,000 applications a year, will increase to £70,000 or £80,000 under proposals put out for consultation. But the government said the higher fees would be “more than offset” by savings from the speed and reduced bureaucracy of the new approach. The Independent commission will take decisions on “nationally significant infrastructure” projects. The government will produce national policy statements setting framework for infrastructure in areas such as energy and transport.
FT 22nd May 2007

Government moves to liberalise the planning system, from domestic conservatories to nuclear power stations, were hailed by business leaders and excoriated by environmentalists last night. Ruth Kelly, the communities secretary, called the streamlining of the often tortuous procedures which bedevil major infrastructure projects as delivering “a planning system fit for the 21st century”. A new independent planning commission will take charge of the process for all major projects in an effort to end the years of delay at planning inquiries.
Guardian 22nd May 2007

Green campaigners have condemned ministers for “steamrollering” objections to major new schemes for nuclear power stations, airport runways, motorways, waste incinerators and even wind farms. Friends of the Earth led green groups in attacking a White Paper unveiled by Ruth Kelly, the Secretary of State for Communities, which will amount to the biggest shake-up of planning rules in a generation. It proposes replacing lengthy and costly public planning inquiries with an independent commission.
Independent 22nd May 2007

Climate

World energy consumption and consequent carbon dioxide emissions will rise by about 60 per cent between 2004 and 2030 under current policies, according to a US government agency. In its annual International Energy Outlook, the US Energy Information Administration predicts oil consumption will grow by 42 per cent, natural gas consumption by 65 per cent, and coal consumption by 74 per cent.
FT 22nd May 2007

Hunterston

British Energy said it had restarted production from one reactor at the Hunterston B nuclear power station and received permission to restart
another at the Ayrshire plant. The generator confirmed that reactor four at Hunterston B had restarted supplying electricity to the national grid on Sunday. The restart came within a week of British Energy receiving permission from the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate to bring the reactor back on line.
Herald 22nd May 2007

Hinkley

Bosses at Hinkley Point B nuclear power station in Somerset have been given the green light to bring the plant’s second reactor back into service.The site’s two reactors were closed last September amid concerns from industry watchdog the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate about cracks in the boiler tubes.
Western Daily Press 22nd May 2007

Iran

Iran is attempting to draw up plans to strike targets in Europe and has conducted reconnaissance of European nuclear power stations, a security analyst told a parliamentary meeting.
Daily Mail 23rd May 2007
Herald 23rd May 2007

The UN nuclear watchdog is expected to issue a report to the Security Council later today on whether Iran has suspended sensitive nuclear work. The Council imposed a second round of sanctions on Iran in March, for failing to suspend uranium enrichment. It then asked the IAEA to report within 60 days on whether Iran had complied. The Security Council fears Iran is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran continues to insist on its right to enrich uranium.
BBC 23rd May 2007

GNEP

Senior energy officials from some of the world’s leading economies issued a joint statement in support of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) and nuclear energy cooperation. Officials from China, France, Japan, Russia and the USA issued the statement after a ministerial meeting in Washington, DC, on 21 May. The UK and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) participated in the meeting as observers. The statement addresses the prospects for international cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including technical aspects, especially in the framework of GNEP. The statement said: “The participants believe in order to implement the GNEP without prejudice to other corresponding initiatives, a number of near- and long-term technical challenges must be met. They include development of advanced, more proliferation resistant fuel cycle approaches and reactor technologies that will preserve existing international market regulations.”
World Nuclear News 22nd May 2007

Germany

German utility RWE’s application to extend the operating life of block A of its 1,225MW Biblis nuclear power plant in Germany has been rejected by the country’s environment minister, according to reports. Block A of RWE’s Biblis nuclear facility is due to be decommissioned in 2008, but AFX News has reported that the company was hoping to extend the plant’s life to 2011 by transferring the leftover nuclear capacity from its inactive Muehlheim-Kaerlich site.
Energy Business Review 22nd May 2007

US

Water pumps need firewalls too. That’s what operators of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant discovered last August when they were forced to manually shut down one of their plant’s two reactors after networking problems caused two water pumps to fail and threatened the stability of the plant itself.
Computer World 22nd May 2007

Posted: 23 May 2007

22 May 2007

Scotland

Alex Salmond plans to block any new nuclear power stations north of the border as his Scottish National party administration starts to flex its muscles at Holyrood. The move, to be spelt out next week, puts him starkly at odds with the Westminster government as Alistair Darling, the trade and industry secretary, prepares tomorrow to back a new fleet of nuclear plants as essential to meeting the UK’s energy requirements and reducing CO2 emissions.
FT 22nd May 2007
Guardian website 21st May 2007
Edinburgh Evening News 21st May 2007
BBC 21st May 2007

TOMORROW, the government in London will reveal its detailed strategy for building Britain’s next generation of nuclear power stations. At present, one-fifth of UK electricity comes from nuclear sources, but these plants are being phased out. Unless the energy gap is filled soon, the lights will go off – literally.
Scotsman 22nd May 2007

Submarines

Cuban leader Fidel Castro criticised Britain on Monday for building nuclear-powered attack submarines, saying the money would be better spent treating the health of millions of people.
Reuters 22nd May 2007

A dockyard in Cumbria has been awarded a £200m contract to build a further nuclear-powered attack submarine. HMS Audacious is the fourth Astute class vessel planned for construction at BAE Systems in Barrow.
BBC 21st May 2007
Times 22nd May 2007

Planning

Ambitious proposals to fast-track the construction of nuclear plants, airports and motorways and allow the spread of out-of-town shopping centres were outlined yesterday in the biggest reform of planning for 20 years. Environmental groups immediately gave warning that plans to restrict public consultation on projects would lead to civil disobedience and direct action.
Times 22nd May 2007
This is London 21st May 2007

The UK Government has published a new White Paper setting out proposals that will streamline the process for approval of major infrastructure projects including new power stations.
World Nuclear News 21st May 2007

New nukes

Tony Blair once boasted that he has “no reverse gear”. That’s because he achieves the same direction of travel by performing spectacular U-turns. Tomorrow he will accomplish perhaps the most skilful of them all, with the publication of an Energy White Paper which endorses the building of a new generation of nuclear power stations. Remarkably, it is only four years since the previous Energy White Paper, which described the idea of replacing our existing nuclear power stations as “unattractive”. In his speech launching the 2003 White Paper, Mr Blair did not make a single reference to nuclear power.
Independent 22nd May 2007

The need to make a decision over replacing Britain’s nuclear power stations is “urgent”, according to Alistair Darling. The trade and industry secretary was speaking ahead of Wednesday’s white paper, which is widely expected to back a new generation of nuclear plants alongside efforts to tackle climate change.
ePolitix 21st May 2007

France

A rapid sale of one third of the French Government’s stake in Areva, France’s nuclear power engineering and fuel company, may be imminent after Nicolas Sarkozy’s election as the country’s President.
Times 22nd May 2007

Companies

Construction group Vinci said that its Freyssinet unit has acquired Nukem Ltd, the UK’s leading specialist in the decommissioning of nuclear power facilities. The financial terms were not given. Nukem employs 1,000 people and is expecting sales of nearly 120 mln eur this year, Vinci said.
Interactive Investor 21st May 2007

Aker Kvaerner ASA said a joint venture in which it is involved has won a nuclear decomissioning deal in the UK, worth a total 21 mln stg.
Aker Kvaerner said the deal has been won through the ‘ACKtiv Nuclear Joint Venture’, which consists of Aker Kvaerner, Atkins and Carillion. As a 40 pct stakeholder in the partnership, Aker Kvaerner said it will receive 8.4 mln stg of the contract value. The deal itself is a contract to support the decommissioning of the First Generation Magnox Storage Pond, located at the Sellafield nuclear site in the UK.
ABC Money 22nd May 2007

Trident

Kate Hudson: Where will Gordon Brown go on nuclear weapons? Last June, his controversial Mansion House speech was widely interpreted as an endorsement for the replacement of Trident. But could Mr Brown’s commitment to a different type of politics: “more open and frank dialogue … never losing touch with the concerns of people” lead to a new look at Britain’s nuclear weapons?
Guardian 21st May 2007

US

The US House of Representative’s Committee on Homeland Security called this week for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to further investigate the cause of excessive data network traffic that shut down an Alabama nuclear plant.
The Register 21st May 2007

China

China has set up a nuclear power technology company tasked with introducing and developing third-generation nuclear technology, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
ABC Money 22nd May 2007

Posted: 22 May 2007