News November 2007

30 November 2007

New nukes

Greenpeace briefing which shows that subsidies are likely to be an essential part of any new-build programme in the UK and it demonstrates that support can be expected via a number of market interventions. Furthermore, it explains how the government has already enacted legislation and is developing further measures that could open the way for the taxpayer to pick up the bill for the liabilities of any private nuclear operator that should fail to provide proper funding for waste and decommissioning.

Greenpeace 29th Nov 2007 more >>

Investing in nuclear power, says Amory Lovins, is the worst thing we can do for climate change. It’s all in the (bad) economics – and the opportunity costs. [This classic article by the Rocky Mountain Green Guru is available on the web once again]

Green Future 8th March 2006 more >>

Nuclear Smuggling

Enriched uranium that could have been made into a “dirty bomb” by terrorists has been seized by Slovakian police after it was allegedly offered for sale for $1m.

Independent 30th Nov 2007 more >>

Telegraph 30th Nov 2007 more >>

Scotsman 30th Nov 2007 more >>

Herald 30th Nov 2007 more >>

Scotland

Scotland does not need nuclear power to secure its energy supply, First Minister Alex Salmond has said. The SNP administration has made clear its opposition to new nuclear power in Scotland in response to the recent Westminster consultation on the issue. During First Minister’s Questions, Mr Salmond said: “We do not believe there’s an energy gap that only nuclear power can fill.”

IC Scotland 29th Nov 2007 more >>

Tritium

Radioactive tritium, commonly discharged in large amounts by civil and military nuclear plants around the world, may be more dangerous than previously thought. The cancer risk for people exposed to tritium could be twice as high as previously assumed, an expert report for the UK government’s Health Protection Agency (HPA) concludes. The report suggests that international safety standards need to be tightened up, which will put pressure on nuclear plants to cut their emissions.

New Scientist, 29 November 2007 more >>

Hinkley

SIGNS another nuclear plant could be powering its way to Hinkley Point were revealed this week – and slammed by protest groups within hours. On Tuesday (November 27) British Energy announced news of how it was continuing preparation of potential sites before the Government’s expected decision on the future of nuclear energy in 2008.

Bridgwater Mercury 28th Nov 2007 more >>

Iran

Talks over 18 months appear to have failed to persuade Iran to suspend uranium enrichment, European officials said Thursday, ahead of a report expected to confirm Tehran’s nuclear defiance that will add to the likelihood of further U.N. sanctions.

Guardian website 30th Nov 2007 more >>

Chances of a breakthrough appear slim when Iran’s main nuclear negotiator meets Europe’s top diplomat on Friday in a last effort to avert tougher sanctions over Tehran’s disputed atomic programme.

Reuters 29th Nov 2007 more >>

Christian Today 29th Nov 2007 more >>

North Korea

Pyongyang will release a list of all its nuclear programmes as soon as next week, Christopher Hill, US assistant secretary of state, said on Thursday as negotiations to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions enter a crucial month.

FT 30th Nov 2007 more >>

Christian Today 29th Nov 2007 more >>

US

The nation’s nuclear weapons laboratories need tougher safety oversight to fix a recent track record that includes dozens of lapses, accidents and near misses, according to a government report released Wednesday.

AFX 29th Nov 2007 more >>

Sellafield

Sellafield, Britain’s biggest nuclear site, has appointed three independent non-executive directors to the board. Lord Clark of Windermere, Sir Paul Lever and Rear Admiral Tim Chittenden will help steer the business through a change of ownership. The new parent body will own the shares for the period of the contract, which is expected to be awarded next summer.

Pendle Today 29th Nov 2007 more >>

A Sellafield worker was taken to hospital after being involved in a potentially serious radiological incident in an old plutonium plant.

Whitehaven News 29th Nov 2007 more >>

Dounreay

THE first visitors have been making their way to Dounreay’s new “front shop” in Thurso. The site’s communications department has relocated to vacant offices in the town centre and converted part of the property to an information centre, making it easier for the public to communicate with the site about its clean-up and closure programme.

John O Groat Journal 28th Nov 2007 more >>

Climate

Sir Nicholas Stern, the government adviser on the economics of climate change and development, has urged nations to agree on ambitious reductions
in greenhouse gas emissions or face the “destructive” consequences of global warming.

Guardian 30th Nov 2007 more >>

Posted: 30 November 2007

29 November 2007

Security

The Russian nuclear agency asked experts at the Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate (SKI) for their insight and experience in assessing the scale of serious security risks in the Kola peninsula, arguably the world’s most radioactive region. The resulting investigation was completed earlier this year, but in keeping with its cloak-and-dagger origin, the Russian authorities are keeping the details secret. However, New Scientist has learned that the report exposes gaping holes in the arrangements meant to prevent the theft of plutonium and highly enriched uranium.

New Scientist 01 December 2007 (subscription required) more >>

Alarms over international nuclear smuggling were raised last night when Slovak police announced that three men had been arrested in Slovakia and Hungary after allegedly trying to sell a kilogram of radioactive material.

Guardian 29th Nov 2007 more >>

BBC 28th Nov 2007 more >>

Channel 4 News 28th Nov 2007 more >>

British Energy

British Energy is looking at building four nuclear power plants at its sites in the south of England. But it admitted flood defences would be needed to protect them from rising sea levels. Sizewell in Suffolk, Dungeness in Kent, Hinkley Point in Somerset and Bradwell in Essex are the preferred sites for the new reactors. British Energy said it had already reached agreement with the National Grid to create extra capacity for up to 10 gigawatts generated at the sites from 2016. Gordon Brown gave broad hints at the CBI conference that new plants were likely. Yesterday the chancellor, Alistair Darling, used the same forum to say: “Our preliminary view is that, subject to the outcome of our consultation, it should be part of future energy mix options.”

Guardian 28th November 2007 more >>

British Energy, the UK’s biggest nuclear operator, has just published a report (pdf) they claim shows that new nuclear reactors in the UK could be protected from flooding and sea-level rise caused by climate change. They concluded “that all our sites can be sustained over the next 100 years.” But their report doesn’t cut the mustard. British Energy themselves admit that “much work remains to be done to confirm the suitability of these sites against modern standards”. All they can suggest that might work is “engineering measures” to protect coast lines and “setting back” new reactors a bit further away from the sea, which is to say the least a bit vague.

Greenpeace website 28th Nov 2007 more >>

British Energy is considering eight of its sites as possible locations for next generation nuclear plants but said flood defences would be needed to protect them.

Building 28th Nov 2007 more >>

British Energy has halved the time required to complete some of its basic training programmes amid an acute shortage of experienced nuclear staff.

Times 29th Nov 2007 more >>

Hartlepool

PLANS to build a second nuclear power plant in the North-East have met opposition from environmentalists. Hartlepool has been chosen as a likely location for a new plant in British Energy’s long-term plans for sustainable fuel. However, both the Lib Dems and environmentalists said the town already had one nuclear power plant and should not have to accept another.

Northern Echo 29th Nov 2007 more >>

THE prospect of a new nuclear power station for Hartlepool moved a step closer yesterday, as British Energy revealed it had commissioned a range of studies at the site. The company was pressing ahead with environmental and technical reports in advance of the government’s anticipated backing for a new generation of generators next year.

Newcastle Evening Gazette 28th Nov 2007 more >>

Sellafield

Three independent non-executive directors have been appointed to the board of Sellafield, Britain’s biggest nuclear site, to help to steer the business through a change of ownership that is due to conclude next summer. Lord Clark of Windermere, Sir Paul Lever and Rear-Admiral Tim Chittenden have been recruited to the company, which employs 2,000 people, The Times has learnt. Sellafield is the subject of a competition, being run by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, in which private sector consortiums are bidding to win a five-year, £5 billion clean-up contract for the business. The new owner, or Parent Body Organisation, will own the shares in Sellafield for the period of the contract, which is expected to be awarded next summer.

Times 29th Nov 2007 more >>

Radiation Monitoring

Recently Corus Northern England adapted its rdiation monitoring equipment so that the FSA could monitor sheep still affected by Chernobyl.

The Engineer 27th Nov 2007 more >>

Nuclear Waste

Nuclear Waste policy incoherent and opaque – guest blog by Pete Roche.

Eco Street 27th November 2007 more >>

Iran

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are set on Thursday to finish sealing uranium fuel that Russia intends to send to Iran’s first atomic power station, a Russian nuclear official said.

Reuters 29th Nov 2007 more >>

Italy

An Italian cross-party parliamentary group has been set up to promote the development of nuclear power and energy independence, opposition members of parliament Marcello De Angelis and Giuseppe Menardi said in a statement.

Interactive Investor 28th Nov 2007 more >>

Europe

The newly created European Nuclear Energy Forum held its first meeting in Bratislava on 26th & 27th Nov.

World Nuclear News 28th Nov 2007 more >>

Turkey

Turkish authorities are expected to invite bids for the construction of the country’s first nuclear power plant in February, Energy Minister Hilmi Guler said.

Interactive Investor 28th Nov 2007 more >>

Posted: 29 November 2007

28 November 2007

Nuclear waste policy “incoherent and opaque”

The Westminster Government completed yet another nuclear consultation on 2nd November 2007.1 This one was not about building new reactors, but how to get rid of the mess they leave behind, so was no less crucial to the nuclear industry’s expansion plans. Called “Managing Radioactive Waste Safely”, the consultation was intended to elicit views on developing a “framework for implementing geological disposal” – in other words how to persuade a community to host a nuclear waste dump.

The “Managing Radioactive Waste Safely” process began in 2001 as a progressive stakeholder consultation exercise, but after a series of misjudgments, not least of which was the proposal to create yet more nuclear waste before deciding what to do with the waste we have already created, the Government appears to be about to pluck defeat from the jaws of victory.

In the first half of 2008 the Government will announce its new policy – most likely based on the idea of offering “community benefit packages” – bribes to you and me – to persuade communities to volunteer to host a nuclear waste dump. Then the search for a site will begin in earnest. A public invitation will be issued for communities to express an interest in taking part in the siting process.

The history of government schemes to deal with this extremely dangerous waste has been a disaster going back as far as 1976 when eight sites were first selected for an underground dump.2 The “Managing Radioactive Waste Safely” process looked as though it might work – having been based for the first time on much more intensive public consultation. But the final stage which began in June 2007 got off to an inauspicious start. The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee called for it to be delayed because the institutional framework being proposed by the Government was “incoherent and opaque”.3 And in an unprecedented move the Scottish Government refused to endorse the process at all saying it ruled out allowing deep disposal in Scotland.4

The Scottish Cabinet Secretary for rural affairs and the environment, Richard Lochhead said dealing with legacy waste is a significant challenge but: “The Scottish Government does not accept that geological disposal is the right way forward. This is a matter of principle for us and I have no doubt that public opinion in Scotland supports our view.” 5

The crux of the problem is that the Government has ignored important recommendations of the Committee it had set up to look into the nuclear waste problem. The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM), established at the start of the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely process (and reconstituted with almost completely new membership in 2007) recommended after three years’ deliberation, that deep disposal of nuclear waste was the best option.6 But it also made other important recommendations which the Government has ignored. Most importantly it recommended that, because of the uncertainties surrounding the implementation of geological disposal, there should be a major R&D programme on both geological disposal and robust interim storage. Former CoRWM chair, Gordon MacKerron, has highlighted the lack of any visible progress in this area.7 Interim storage could be needed for at least 100 years, but there is also a risk of delay or failure of the repository programme. CoRWM also recommended a review to ensure the security of waste stores particularly against terrorist attack.

A year after the CoRWM report, the government is still ignoring its advice. It has eagerly accepted what it sees as the solution of deep geological disposal, but it has done little to address the vital prerequisites.8 Storage has its own significant problems but represents the least worse option as it allows, rather than removes, choice for future generations, rather than subjecting them to a potential long-term radiological risk – a leaking nuclear waste dump.

What is worse is that this most recent consultation has created the confused impression there is a solution to dealing with radioactive waste. It fails to make it clear that CoRWM’s recommendations deal only with legacy waste, and it also creates this misleading impression that other countries have successfully built a repository for this kind of waste. 9 CoRWM said it takes no position on the desirability or otherwise of nuclear new build, and that future decisions on new build should be subjected to their own assessment process. It specifically said it did not want its recommendations seized upon as providing a green light for new build – yet that is exactly what the Government has been doing. CoRWM warns that new build waste would extend the timescales for implementation, possibly for very long but essentially unknowable future periods. Creating new nuclear waste raises completely new political and ethical issues which are quite different from the issues raised by the waste we have already created.

The consultation also fails to point out that the only site in the UK fully investigated for its suitability to host a nuclear waste dump – the Sellafield nuclear facility in West Cumbria- was eventually deemed to be unsuitable. 10 Yet when The Guardian pointed out in June that West Cumbria is still widely seen as the favourite to host a waste dump 11, this prompted Chris McDonald, the lead inspector of the 1995-96 public inquiry into the proposed nuclear waste facility near Sellafield, to write highlighting evidence from the Inquiry showing the safety case was at best marginal. 12 Investigations should be moved elsewhere, he said.

David Smythe, professor of geophysics atGlasgowUniversityhas warned the government that it would be “wrong” and possibly illegal in international law to use Sellafield inWest Cumbria for nuclear waste disposal. He says ministers should have ruled out Sellafield after previous research proved the area was unsuitable because of its rock formations. There is clear evidence that West Cumbria possesses no suitable rocks. 13 Now the Treasury is reported to be resisting plans to invite councils to bid for the right to host a  waste dump because it fears that Copeland Borough Council in West Cumbria may be the only Council which applies. This lack of competition would leave Copeland able to hold the taxpayer to ransom demanding extra funding of perhaps as much as £1bn. 14

CoRWM has been at pains to point out that it has built up a fragile trust after three years of open and transparent dialogue with stakeholders and the public. But now it is “not persuaded” that the re-constituted CoRWM will ensure a continuation of public and that trust. A series of other misjudgments by the Government do not bode well. For example Nirex was killed off without any consultation. Its incorporation into the NDA in what Nuclear Engineering International magazine called a rather “ham-fisted” and secretive way, leaving the process open to legal challenges, and a real danger we will see a “re-run of the last repository failure”. 15

The Government says it anticipates that, in the event that there were new nuclear power stations, waste and spent fuel from those stations could be accommodated in the same geological disposal facility – even though this might increase the total radioactivity by a factor of up to five. 16 CoRWM’s view is that communities are unlikely to express a willingness to participate in a process that might lead to them becoming a host for a nuclear waste dump when it is unclear how much waste the community might be expected to accept.

Gordon Mackerron warned the Scottish Government against cherry picking from CoRWM’s “interdependent and inseparable package of measures” lest the whole ball of string unravels, setting us back to where we were before CoRWM was formed. 17 It now looks as though it is not the Scottish Government threatening the integrity of CoRWM’s recommendations, but the UK Government, which has thrown away the trust CoRWM painstakingly built up in its haste to justify the case for building more nuclear plants.


1. Managing Radioactive Waste Safely: A Framework for Implementing Geological Disposal, DEFRA, 25th June 2007.  

2. See History of Nuclear Waste Disposal Proposals in Britain, by Pete Roche
3. Radioactive Waste Management: An Update, House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, June 2007.
4. Nuclear Engineering International 25th June 2007.
5. Scottish Government Press Release 25th June 2007.
6. Managing our radioactive waste safely: CoRWM’s recommendations to Government, July 2006.
7. Future R&D Needs, by Gordon MacKerron, CoRWM (Doc No.2209) June 2007.
8. Guardian 12th September 2007.
9. Greenpeace Response to the MRWS Consultation 2nd Nov 2007
10.Guardian 25th June 2007
11. Guardian 25th June 2007
12. Guardian letters 28th June 2007
13. Guardian 2nd Nov 2007.
14. FT 24th October 2007
15. Corrina Thomson, Who shot the sheriff? Nuclear Engineering International, July 2007.
16. CoRWM’s Radioactive Waste and Materials Inventory, CoRWM Doc No.1279, July 2005
17. Scotsman 30th June 2007

Posted: 28 November 2007

28 November 2007

New nukes

Letter from Stuart Campbell: It was to be expected that Duncan McLaren of Friends of the Earth Scotland would take the opportunity to accuse the nuclear industry of being untrustworthy and unable to accurately estimate costs.

Scotsman 28th Nov 2007 more >>

David Cameron, the Conservative Party leader, signalled a key change of approach towards nuclear power yesterday by saying that it should be able to compete on a level playing field with other forms of energy. Previously, the Tories had said that they viewed nuclear as a last resort, but Mr Cameron’s more favourable stance came as he also emphasised the need for a push on green energy. He told the CBI conference that Labour had been guilty of doing nothing to decentralise energy generation or to make it easier to open new power stations by changing planning regulations.

Times 28th Nov 2007 more >>

FT 28th Nov 2007 more >>

British Energy

Four sites were earmarked for the new generation of nuclear power stations yesterday as Gordon Brown gave the clearest signal so far that he will give the go-ahead in the New Year for a major expansion of Britain’s nuclear power output.

Independent 28th Nov 2007 more >>

Hinkley

Protest groups have condemned British Energy’s announcement that Hinkley Point power station in Somerset is one of four favoured sites for a new nuclear reactor.Stop Hinkley and Parents Concerned About Hinkley restated their opposition to the plant near Bridgwater when the energy giant’s preferred options were announced yesterday.

Western Daily Press 28th Nov 2007 more >>

Sizewell

SIZEWELL on the Suffolk coast is one of four sites at the top of the list for a new nuclear power station if the government gives the go-ahead for an expansion of the industry next year.

Suffolk Evening Star 28th Nov 2007 more >>

Planning

The Government has backed down on controversial measures in its Planning Reform Bill by giving local people the right to be heard when considering major projects such as runways and nuclear power stations. The concession is that the Independent Planning Commission set up by the Bill and staffed with Government appointees will be able to hold oral hearings into controversial projects. However, conservationists said that this still does not go far enough for them. They want guarantees that developers can be cross-examined at the discretion of the Commission.

Telegraph 28th Nov 2007 more >>

Sleaze

Only last year, Cabinet Minister David Miliband found himself embroiled in controversy. Alan Donnelly, a local Labour bigwig and lobbyist for the nuclear industry, had donated around £75,000 to the Labour Party and paid for work to be carried out at Miliband’s South Shields constituency office. At the time, Miliband was Environment Secretary in charge of nuclear policy.

Daily Mail 28th Nov 2007 more >>

India

India’s parliament holds a long-awaited debate on a controversial nuclear deal with the United States on Wednesday, with critics expected to prove the pact does not enjoy majority support.

Reuters 28th Nov 2007 more >>

Posted: 28 November 2007

27 November 2007

New nukes

All of Britain’s existing nuclear power plants could be shielded from the worst expected effects of climate change for the next 100 years using technology available now, according to research published on Tuesday.

Reuters 27th Nov 2007 more >>

Almost all big British businesses think cutting their carbon emissions is important and that switching to cleaner energy is a good way to do it, a survey showed. But 40 percent of the 500 largest companies in Britain, surveyed over the last month, do not regard nuclear power as low carbon even though some of the biggest have said in a separate report that they wanted more reactors to be built soon.

Reuters 26th Nov 2007 more >>

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has promised that a decision on whether Britain should build new nuclear power stations will be made early next year. Mr Brown told delegates at the Confederation of British Industry’s annual conference in London yesterday that the time for public debate had finished. He said the controversial decision over Britain’s nuclear future must be made to ensure security of energy supplies over the next decades.

Telegraph 27th Nov 2007 more >>

The Business 27th Nov 2007 more >>

GORDON Brown yesterday re-ignited the row over building new nuclear power stations, signalling he believed they had a role to play in tackling climate change. The Prime Minister was speaking to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) ahead of a final decision to be announced early next year after a consultation process. At the CBI’s conference, Mr Brown said: “We must – and will – take the right long-term decisions to invest now for the next generation of sustainable and secure energy supplies. We have said that new nuclear power stations potentially have a role to play in tackling climate change and improving energy security.”

Scotsman 27th Nov 2007 more >>

Sir David King told BBC News that he was disappointed that the UK government had not pushed forward with more power stations in the 2003
Energy White Paper; the government said that it wanted to see if renewables would fill the gap. However, Sir David now says that he knew at the time he did not believe renewables on their own would be enough.

BBC 27th Nov 2007 more >>

e-Politix 27th Nov 2007 more >>

Cameron’s CBI speech 27th Nov 2007: more >>

The CBI has suggested 12 new nuclear reactors as a carbon abatement strategy.

World Nuclear News 27th Nov 2007 more >>

Unite, the UK’s largest trade union and global engineering construction company, Westinghouse, have joined forces to champion British industry. Speaking at a joint event today with Westinghouse and Prospect trade union, Dougie Rooney, Unite National Officer for Energy and Utilities, will say that 10,000 jobs can be created over a period of 10 years, if the UK government ensures that manufacturing and construction industries here get a share of any new nuclear reactor development and build in the UK.

Unite 27th Nov 2007 more >>

A new independent report out today has suggested that plans to build new nuclear power stations here in the UK risk wandering into the realms of fantasy.

Greenpeace website 26th Nov 2007 more >>

British Energy

Plans for a new generation of nuclear power stations will take a significant step forward today when British Energy names four sites in the south of
England as the first it wants to link to the national grid. Sizewell in Suffolk, Dungeness in Kent, Hinkley in Somerset and Bradwell in Essex have been identified as the most likely sites for new nuclear construction. British Energy, the nuclear generator, will say this morning that National Grid, which owns the electricity transmission network, has agreed to put in enough additional capacity to connect up new nuclear power stations if they are built at those locations. Lack of grid capacity has been seen as a significant obstacle to new nuclear investment. The government is expected to give the go-ahead to a new generation of nuclear power stations early next year.

FT 27th Nov 2007 more >>

AFX News 27th Nov 2007 more >>

Bloomberg 27th Nov 2007 more >>

British Energy has named eight of its sites as possible locations for next-generation nuclear plants. The firm earmarked Sizewell in Suffolk, Hinkley in Somerset, Bradwell in Essex and Dungeness in Kent for development. It also named Heysham in Lancashire, Torness in East Lothian, Hunterston in Ayrshire and Hartlepool.

BBC 27th Nov 2007 more >>

Sizewell

The prospect of a new nuclear power station being built in the region came a step closer yesterday, after the prime minister signalled his backing for a new generation of such stations.

East Anglian Daily Press 27th Nov 2007 more >>

Planning

Britain’s green energy companies could be among the biggest winners under new legislation to streamline the planning system, Hazel Blears, communities secretary, claimed yesterday. Ms Blears said the new laws should mean that even the most controversial infrastructure projects, including tidal barrages or big wind farms, could clear the planning system in less than a year. The planning bill, published today, aims to tackle Britain’s glacial planning system – a constant source of frustration for business – under which some key projects can be held up by public inquiries for five years or more.

FT 27th Nov 2007 more >>

China

President Sarkozy helped to clinch the world’s largest commercial nuclear power contract yesterday, winning an agreement to sell French-designed reactors and atomic fuel worth nearly $12 billion to China.

Times 27th Nov 2007 more >>

Energy Business Review 27th Nov 2007 more >>

World Nuclear News 26th Nov 2007 more >>

Nuclear power giant EDF is seeking to pick up a 30% stake in a planned nuclear power joint venture in China.

Energy Business Review 26th Nov 2007 more >>

Energy Efficiency

Saving on the home front Carbon dioxide emissions from UK homes could be cut by up to 80% by 2050, according to a low carbon strategy produced by Oxford University. Financial incentives for home owners and tighter energy efficiency standards were among the study’s recommendations. One technology that could deliver sizeable saving is micro combined heat and power (CHP). Micro CHP systems generate both heat and electricity locally, and reduce
costs and emissions by offsetting energy needs that otherwise would have been drawn from national electricity and gas distribution grids.

BBC 27th Nov 2007 more >>

Emergency Planning

Jersey’s emergency planning officer is in France to see how the French would deal with an accident at the Flamanville nuclear reactor plant.

BBC 27th Nov 2007 more >>

Iran

An Iranian court today acquitted a former nuclear negotiator of spying for the British government but convicted him of acting against the Islamic authorities. The Iranian government charged Hossein Mousavian earlier this month with passing classified information to foreigners, including the British embassy, and the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, called him a “spy” and “traitor”.

Guardian website 27th Nov 2007 more >>

Inspectors from the U.N. atomic watchdog agency on Monday began checking uranium fuel that was produced at a Russian facility for Iran’s first nuclear power plant, officials said.

Guardian website 26th Nov 2007 more >>

Posted: 27 November 2007

26 November 2007

New nukes

Gordon Brown will call for an acceleration of nuclear power today in a speech to business leaders designed to show he is focused on the long term and will not buckle in the face of negative headlines. During his annual address to the Confederation of British Industry, the prime minister will also give his personal endorsement of the third runway project at Heathrow.

Guardian 26th Nov 2007 more >>

Daily Mail 26th Nov 2007 more >>

Germany

German utility RWE’s new chief executive, Juergen Grossmann, said in a newspaper interview the country should rethink its nuclear-exit plan drawn up seven years ago between the government and power producers.

Reuters 25th Nov 2007 more >>

China

Areva SA won an 8 billion euro ($11.9 billion) agreement from China to build nuclear reactors, a record for the French company, as the fastest-growing major economy diversifies energy supplies.

Bloomberg 26th Nov 2007 more >>

Climate

Every household in Britain will have to pay at least £100 a year more for energy within the next two decades if the Government is to meet its failed promises to tackle climate change, a Confederation of British Industry task force warns today.

Telegraph 26th Nov 2007 more >>

Independent 26th Nov 2007 more >>

A report by a CBI taskforce published today and based on research by McKinsey claims the measures needed to address climate change present a huge opportunity for UK businesses to become world leaders in environmental technology, a vast emerging industry which the CBI claims could be worth $1 trillion in the first five years if governments can agree on an international framework to reduce carbon emissions. The taskforce’s report, which aims to build on the work of Sir Nicholas Stern, also said that it would be vital to achieve a high and stable price for carbon in order to stimulate business investment in new technology and energy efficiency. The report says that prices will need to rise from about €24 per tonne at present on the European emissions trading scheme to between €60 and €90 per tonne.

Times 26th Nov 2007 more >>

Posted: 26 November 2007

25 November 2007

Terror

A NUCLEAR attack by terrorists causing widespread panic, chaos and death is inevitable and will happen soon, a senior Scottish police officer has warned. Ian Dickinson, who leads the police response to chemical, biological and nuclear threats in Scotland, has painted the bleakest picture yet of the dangers the world now faces. Efforts to prevent terrorist groups from obtaining materials that could be made into radioactive dirty bombs – or even crude nuclear explosives – are bound to fail, he said. And the result will be horror on an unprecedented scale.

Sunday Herald 25th Nov 2007 more >>

RobEdwards.com 25th Nov 2007 more >>

Iran

The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said Saturday that the country had produced its first nuclear fuel pellets for use in a heavy water reactor, which is still under construction.

Guardian website 24th Nov 2007 more >>

Channel 4 News 24th Nov 2007 more >>

Iran on Saturday rejected the UN atomic watchdog’s demand for more inspections of its nuclear sites after the body urged the country to open up its doors.

Middle East Online 24th Nov 2007 more >>

Renewables

An audacious proposal to build a 5,000-mile electricity supergrid, stretching from Siberia to Morocco and Egypt to Iceland, would slash Europe’s CO2 emissions by a quarter, scientists say.

Independent on Sunday 25th Nov 2007 more >>

Posted: 25 November 2007

24 November 2007

Bulgaria

The new reactor at Belene will be safe against earthquakes according to the National Electricity Company.

EU Business 23rd Nov 2007 more >>

Armenia

The US has signalled its commitment to help Armenia with studies for building a new nuclear power plant.

World Nuclear News 23rd Nov 2007 more >>

Nuclear Skills

The new National Skills Academy for Nuclear has appointed Jean Llewellyn as its chief executive. Llewellyn, in her role as head of Skills Policy for the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), has been involved in the nuclear skills agenda for the past four years.

HRZone 23rd Nov 2007 more >>

Cumberland News 23rd Nov 2007 more >>

Iran

Iran on Friday accused Western nations seeking harsher U.N. sanctions against it of adding “fuel to the flame” and said this could halt its steps to clarify nuclear activity to U.N. inspectors.

Reuters 23rd Nov 2007 more >>

Climate

A group of rich countries including Britain has broken a promise to pay more than a billion dollars to help the developing world cope with the effects of climate change. The group agreed in 2001 to pay $1.2bn (£600m) to help poor and vulnerable countries predict and plan for the effects of global warming, as well as fund flood defences, conservation and thousands of other projects. But new figures show less than £90m of the promised money has been delivered. Britain has so far paid just £10m.

Guardian 24th Nov 2007 more >>

A group set up by the Government to help businesses to reduce their carbon emissions has had only a limited impact and must do far more to meet the scale of the challenge, according to Whitehall’s top spending watchdog. A report on the Carbon Trust by the National Audit Office (NAO) said only 12 per cent of large UK businesses had worked with the group to lower their emissions. What is more, only 40 per cent of the possible savings identified by the trust between 2003 and 2006 had been implemented.

Times 24th Nov 2007 more >>

Radiation and Health

An interactive online map that tells residents and business people if their premises are at risk of exposure to the radiaoctive gas radon has been set up as part of the Government’s attempts to tackle environmental causes of disease.

Times 24th Nov 2007 more >>

Posted: 24 November 2007

23 November 2007

New nukes

Rumours of a nuclear power renaissance have been greatly exaggerated. So says an audit of the nuclear industry released on Wednesday. The report, commissioned by the Greens in the European parliamentary, points out that many ageing reactors are due to close before 2030, and that 338 new ones would have to be built just to replace them. The Paris-based nuclear consultants who compiled the report argue that the industry is growing too slowly to meet this target, and may even be shrinking. The world has five fewer reactors operating today than it did in 2002, they say. Some 32 reactors are under construction, mostly in Asia and Eastern Europe, but 11 of those have been under construction for 20 years or more. Although 91 reactors are being planned, work on them has not yet started.

New Scientist, 22 November 2007 more >>

RobEdwards.com more >>

France

The French Atomic Energy Commission formally denied a report that it is ready to sell a 30 pct stake in nuclear power plant maker Areva. On Thursday, a labour union official said the head of the state agency had told Areva’s works council that it favoured selling the stake, a move that would reduce its holding from 79 pct to 49 pct.

Interactive Investor 23rd Nov 2007 more >>

Syria

A Syrian site bombed by Israel in September was probably a plant for assembling a nuclear bomb, an Israeli nuclear expert said Thursday, challenging other analysts’ conclusions that it housed a North Korean-style nuclear reactor.

AP 22nd Nov 2007 more >>

Iran

The UN atomic watchdog said Thursday it was in the dark about Iran’s disputed nuclear programme, as its 35-member board seemed divided on how to get Tehran to shed more light on its activities. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) “has so far not been able to verify some important aspects of Iran’s nuclear programme,” its director general Mohamed ElBaradei told a board meeting here.

AFP 22nd Nov 2007 more >>

International divisions over Iran’s nuclear ambitions deepened yesterday after the world’s nuclear watchdog pleaded for more time for its inspections regime despite admitting international knowledge of Teheran’s nuclear programme had diminished.

Telegraph 23rd Nov 2007 more >>

Iran warned today that an attack on its nuclear facilities would trigger a “domino” effect across the Middle East as deeply divided world powers met to review Teheran’s co-operation with United Nations resolutions.

Telegraph 23rd Nov 2007 more >>

A senior Iranian envoy called yesterday for the UN Security Council to close the file on his country’s nuclear activities, saying Iran is close to dispelling fears about its intentions. But the US said Tehran only wants to “distract the world” and was using “delay tactics” while moving closer to being able to make atomic bombs.

Scottish Herald 23rd Nov 2007 more >>

Tehran expects the UN Security Council to close the file on its nuclear activities once it has answered all questions about its past atomic programmes, a senior Iranian envoy has said.

Channel 4 News 22nd Nov 2007 more >>

Iran’s track record of hiding nuclear activities means the UN cannot be sure about what Iran is doing now, the head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog has said.

BBC 22nd Nov 2007 more >>

Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan is planning to build two smal VBER-300 reactors.

World Nuclear News 22nd Nov 2007 more >>

Baltic

The construction of a new nuclear power plant in Lithuania does not depend on Poland’s participation, Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus said.

Gas&Oil 22nd Nov 2007 more >>

British Energy

British Energy was among the top performing stocks in London on Thursday as the market’s recent roller-coaster ride continued. Its shares rose 7.1 per cent to 4911⁄2p after ABN Amro said Centrica, up 5.7% to 3551⁄2p, should consider buying the nuclear power producer. Centrica has plans to spend about £2bn in the next three years on upstream gas assets and new power stations to supply its British Gas customers with electricity. However, ABN argued that by acquiring British Energy, Centrica – which it said could afford to pay a 40% takeover premium – would improve its competitive position in the domestic energy market and hedge its exposure to wholesale gas prices.

FT 23rd Nov 2007 more >>

Posted: 23 November 2007

22 November 2007

New nukes

The prospects of a nuclear power renaissance in Britain are zero and the global industry is in steep decline, Green MEPs warned yesterday. An independent consultants’ study, the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2007, casts severe doubts over the government’s expected proposals this year to build up to 10 nuclear power stations to replace a rapidly ageing capacity. Mycle Schneider, the report’s co-author, said the government’s plans were seriously jeopardised by an acute shortage of skilled engineers and manufacturing bottlenecks.

Guardian 22nd Nov 2007 more >>

British Energy

BRITISH Energy shares fell 4 per cent last night after the nuclear generator warned that recent inspections of its Heysham reactors might further dent its output this financial year. Latest inspections have shown a similar problem in the Heysham 1 Reactor 2 as at those discovered in Heysham 1 Reactor 1 and Hartlepool Reactor 1.

Scotsman 22nd Nov 2007 more >>

BILL Coley, chief executive of British Energy, last night issued an impassioned plea to Scotland’s business community to lobby against the Scottish Government’s anti-nuclear power stance. In the keynote speech at the Scottish Chambers of Commerce annual dinner in Glasgow, the South Carolina-born Coley put himself on a collision course with the Scottish Government, claiming that neither the carbon reducing targets, nor the provision of “ample, reliable, affordable” electricity were achievable without a nuclear element in the mix.

Scotsman 22nd Nov 2007 more >>

China

Russia and China have signed four agreements on nuclear energy collaboration at a meeting between the two countries’ prime ministers, the China Daily has reported. The pact, which includes agreements on uranium enrichment and the peaceful use of nuclear energy, is part of a wider Sino-Russian strategic partnership that aims to promote bilateral trade and investment ties.

Modern Power Systems 21st Nov 2007 more >>

Iran

A meeting between Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana is to take place on Nov 30 in London.

Forbes 21st Nov 2007 more >>

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ruled out giving “the slightest concession” in Iran’s atomic standoff, amid doubts over whether new talks with the European Union would go ahead.

Middle East Online 21st Nov 2007 more >>

Armenia

The US is backing Armenian plans to build a new atomic power station by 2016 to replace a Soviet-era nuclear plant that has raised safety concerns.

Interactive Investor 21st Nov 2007 more >>

Times 22nd Nov 2007 more >>

Jordan

The European Commission has signed an energy cooperation deal with Jordan, which will see Brussels giving the Hashemite Kingdom technical assistance to create legislation and regulations that “promote highest standards of nuclear safety.”

Nuclear Engineering International 20th Nov 2007 more >>

Opinion Poll

59% of the UK population believe nuclear power is needed as part of the energy mix according to a YouGov poll for EDF Energy.

The Engineer 21st Nov 2007 more >>

Turkey

Demand for electricity in Turkey is growing at 8 per cent a year. Most estimates predict that the country’s current generating capacity will cease to meet demand in the next two years. The government has also proposed up to three nuclear power plants within the next decade.

FT 21st Nov 2007 more >>

Dounreay

THE cost to taxpayers of cleaning up the Dounreay nuclear plant has soared by more than £600 million and could become even more expensive, it has been revealed. The decommissioning of the Caithness complex and creating a near-greenfield site was due to be completed by 2032 at a cost of £2.9 billion. However, the figure for the latest long-range proposal for the site, known as the Lifetime Plan, has jumped to almost £3.6 billion. The new costs were revealed by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), which now owns the Dounreay site, in its three-year programme which has gone out for consultation. The NDA said the main reasons for the increase were improved estimating of costs in later years and the identification of gaps in previous plans.

Scotsman 21st Nov 2007 more >>

Herald 21st Nov 2007 more >>

DOUNREAY is to open a public information centre to improve its communication about the clean-up and closure of the site. The new facility will give members of the public access to information about the £150-million-a-year decommissioning project and let them talk directly to Dounreay staff.

John O Groat Journal 21st Nov 2007 more >>

Sellafield

The NDA is looking to make money out of completing reprocessing contracts but it is adamant that it is not looking for new contracts.

Whitehaven News 22nd Nov 2007 more >>

Posted: 22 November 2007