News February 2008

29 February 2008

New nukes

Government guidelines for any new nuclear power stations have ruled out reprocessing. The consultation on clean up and decommissioning issued to nuclear companies says spent fuel will be encapsulated and “disposed” of in a deep underground repository.

Whitehaven News 28th February 2008 more >>

The Government has given the nod to new atomic power stations in the UK, and the big players are rubbing their hands at the prospect of lucrative contracts up for grabs. But will it be enough to help us meet the climate-change challenge?

Management Today 29th Feb 2008 more >>

Nuclear Skills

Work is to start building the new nuclear academy at Lillyhall in Cumbria.

North West Evening Mail 28th Feb 2008 more >>

Nuclear Scare

A REMNANT of past science lessons, the boxes had lain undisturbed in a school cupboard for more than a decade. Until last night that is when the principal of the Regent Language Training School stumbled across them as he sorted out IT equipment – and noticed they were marked as “radioactive material”. Rupert Lezemore, 37, wasted no time in raising the alarm. Within minutes of the 999 call at 7.02pm, the emergency services descended on the West End in droves and a national security operation was under way.

Edinburgh Evening News 28th Feb 2008 more >>

Iran

SO IS Iran trying to build the bomb or not? Iran says it is not. Israel says it is. America’s intelligence people say it was trying to until 2003 but probably stopped—and is still keeping its options open. Wouldn’t it be splendid if an independent referee, with full access to the evidence, could rule for sure one way or another?

The Economist 28th Feb 2008 more >>

World powers will not prevent Iran from pursuing its nuclear ambitions, the Iranian president warned today.

Daily Mail 29th Feb 2008 more >>

US

Wisconsin lawmakers are debating whether to lift the state’s 25-year moratorium on new nuclear power plants, with backers arguing it will shore up the energy supply and combat global warming.

AFX 29th Feb 2008 more >>

Entergy and NuStart Energy Development have submitted a combined construction and operating license application to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a potential new nuclear unit in Port Gibson, Mississippi.

Energy Business Review 28th Feb 2008 more >>

India

Ever since India and the United States declared their intention to resume bilateral cooperation in civilian uses of nuclear energy on July 18, 2005, there has been a national debate on India’s place in the nuclear domain, both civilian and strategic. This debate is welcome. It enables public opinion to be educated on what has hitherto remained a relatively esoteric field.

eGov Monitor 28th Feb 2008 more >>

Indonesia

About 3,000 villagers protested against a plan to build Indonesia’s first nuclear plant, saying Thursday they feared it would be dangerous. Some demonstrators built a concrete wall in front of the National Nuclear Energy Agency, symbolically shutting the office, which is close to the proposed site of the plant on the main island of Java.

IHT 28th Feb 2008 more >>

Companies

Eon, Germany’s largest electricity and gas group, yesterday agreed in effect to break itself up following pressure from the European Commission. Such a step could fundamentally change the continent’s energy industry. Eon is offering to sell its entire electricity grid in a move that will put an end to its business model of combining both energy production and distribution. It is also planning to sell or swap with a foreign competitor about 20 per cent of its power plant capacity in Germany. The twin disposals are designed to settle the Commission’s two antitrust investigations into Eon and are worth a combined €5bn-€10bn ($7.6bn-$15.2bn), according to analysts.

FT 29th Feb 2008 more >>

The British Gas owner Centrica was said to be on the hunt, while the electricity company British Energy and Drax, which owns and operates the largest coal-fired power station in the UK, were cast as the likely prey.

Independent 29th Feb 2008 more >>

Posted: 29 February 2008

28 February 2008

New nukes

Nuclear power may face supply problems as worries over the safety of radioactive material limit its movement around the globe. The nuclear industry relies on ships to get its uranium fuel around the globe and shipping companies and ports face tight regulations over the handling of radioactive goods.

Guardian website 27th Feb 2008 more >>

Iran

World powers are considering reformulating an offer to Iran to persuade it to give up uranium enrichment.

EU Business 27th Feb 2008 more >>

The U.N. Security Council will likely delay a vote on a third round of sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, as Western countries lobby for a big vote in favour, diplomats said on Wednesday.

Reuters 27th Feb 2008 more >>

India

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has repeated American warnings to India that time is running out for an oft-delayed nuclear accord.

BBC 27th Feb 2008 more >>

Korea

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday hinted at progress toward ending North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and left a senior aide in Beijing to discuss the matter with Chinese officials.

Reuters 27th Feb 2008 more >>

Nuclear Tests

France has handed Algeria details of radioactive leaks from nuclear tests in the Algerian desert in the 1960s and should have acted earlier to clean up the damage, France’s ambassador in its former colony said.

Reuters 27th Feb 2008 more >>

Hinkley

A GROUP of anti-nuclear campaigners from Burnham have lashed out against an MP’s public support for a third nuclear plant at Hinkley. In an open letter to the Bridgwater MP, Ian Liddell-Grainger, Parents Concerned About Hinkley argued that any money used for the site would be better spent on alternative power sources, that it is anti-community and that nuclear power brings great health problems.

This is the West Country 27th Feb 2008 more >>

Torness

British Energy’s Torness 2 nuclear reactor was producing power again early on Thursday, after an unexpected shutdown which started on Feb. 21, a National Grid website showed.

Reuters 27th Feb 2008 more >>

Companies

Anne Lauvergeon, feisty chief executive of Areva, threw down a gauntlet to the French government by announcing better than expected full year results and predicting continued strong growth, as she reiterated opposition to the idea of merging her nuclear energy group with Alstom. The government, which holds around 85 pct, is still considering whether to force through a merger with the engineering company or to do as Lauvergeon wants and allow Areva to carry out a capital increase to raise the funding it needs.

Interactive Investor 27th Feb 2008 more >>

Posted: 28 February 2008

27 February 2008

New nukes

One of the loudest arguments of those who profess that traditional energy is needed even if renewables markets grow large is that modern nations cannot be powered properly without it. In particular, they say, renewables cannot meet baseload demand. Late last year, a German economics ministry experiment showed that distributed power can indeed produce reliable baseload in a secure and reliable manner. Thirty-six decentralised renewable plants – a mix of biogas, wind, solar (photovoltaics, or PV) and hydropower – were linked by three companies and a university in a nationwide network controlled by a central computer.

Guardian website 26th Feb 2008 more >>

Sellafield

The complex job of cleaning up Britain’s dirtiest nuclear site is drawing some of the world’s biggest engineering companies to the poorest corner of north-west England, but local companies are wondering how they will fare in the fight for lucrative contracts.

FT 25th Feb 2008 more >>

NDA

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has lost its grasp on the cost of handling nuclear waste produced by the latest series of power plants planned by the government, according to the Public Accounts Committee. PAC chairman Edward Leigh told NDA chief executive Ian Roxburgh that he thought he had lost control of the amount that will have to be spent. There is no guarantee that the latest figure of £73bn will not go up like all previous estimates have. Leigh said: “[This] leads me to think you are not in control of what is going on. There is no credence to be given to any of these figures.”

Public Servant Daily 26th Feb 2008 more >>

Proliferation

The government has signed up to a U.S.-sponsored club of countries that want to see more nuclear power plants built globally while keeping atomic weapons in the hands of a few. Britain became the 21st member of the Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), which aims to keep a firm grip on technologies that can be used to make nuclear weapons, when UK industry minister John Hutton signed up on Tuesday.

Reuters 26th Feb 2008 more >>

eGov Monitor 26th Feb 2008 more >>

Korea

As the New York Philharmonic played The Star-Spangled Banner in a North Korean concert hall, Condoleezza Rice struck a conciliatory note in Beijing, expressing hope that China could persuade its recalcitrant communist neighbour to resume nuclear disarmament talks.

Times 27th Feb 2008 more >>

Iran

The senior US official responsible for handling the dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme has admitted that the Bush administration is unlikely to resolve the issue, which until recently was seen as a possible cause of military confrontation between Washington and Tehran.

FT 27th Feb 2008 more >>

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has hailed Iran’s “great victory” over its nuclear programme.

BBC 26th Feb 2008 more >>

The point that Mr ElBaradei’s critics miss is that he is judiciously achieving the goals that they seemingly desire – the disarmament of the Islamic Republic. The IAEA process, particularly the adoption last year of a “work plan” to investigate suspect activities, has been criticised by many Americans. The latest report shows, however, that process is working. The investigation and inspections – even the limited ones the IAEA is currently able to conduct – have, in effect, shut down direct weapons work and resolved many of the outstanding historical questions.

FT 27th Feb 2008 more >>

Disarmament

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, has urged the US and Russia to reduce their nuclear arsenals drastically. “There is no reason why the two largest nuclear-weapon states cannot slash the number of warheads they hold, without diminishing their security or that of their allies,” the director general of the UN atomic watchdog told a nuclear disarmament conference in Oslo.

Interactive Investor 26th Feb 2008 more >>

Obituary

Sir John Hill, who has died aged 86, was the leader of the British nuclear industry as chairman of the UK Atomic Energy Authority and of two of its commercial offshoots, British Nuclear Fuels and Amersham International.

Telegraph 27th Feb 2008 more >>

Posted: 27 February 2008

26 February 2008

New nukes

THE public will get the chance to hear the outline proposals for new nuclear power stations at Sizewell and Bradwell next month. British Energy is arranging public meetings “to keep people informed on the decision-making process and to hear views on the impact this may have on the area”. People will also be able to learn about the four different reactor designs being considered.

The Advertiser 25th Feb 2008 more >>

The UK will help develop international policy on the use of nuclear power by joining the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, Business Secretary John Hutton said. The GNEP is part of US president George Bush’s “advanced energy initiative” and seeks to develop a worldwide consensus on enabling expanded use of economical, carbon-free nuclear energy to meet growing electricity demand. Mr Hutton, who will sign the agreement during a two-day visit to Washington, will also meet with US energy companies to discuss potential investment in new nuclear build in the UK.

Channel 4 News 26th Feb 2008 more >>

GNN 26th Feb 2008 more >>

View London 26th Feb 2008 more >>

AFX 26th Feb 2008 more >>

Ultra Electronics has begun talks with British Energy to secure a potentially lucrative foothold in the civil nuclear energy market. The company provides control systems to Rolls-Royce for the UK’s nuclear-powered submarines and believes there is an opportunity to develop similar systems for the civil market.

FT 26th Feb 2008 more >>

One of the UK’s largest power stations, the Teesside power station near Middlesbrough, has been purchased by French energy companies Gaz de France and Suez in a deal thought to be worth £200m-£300m. The deal comes at a time of strong investor interest in UK power stations, reflecting high electricity prices and the attractive profit margins available in the market. Suez has expressed an interest in building up its electricity generation business in the UK and is understood to be one of the 10 groups talking to British Energy about building a new generation of nuclear reactors.

FT 26th Feb 2008 more >>

NDA

The government agency in charge of nuclear clean-up was accused by politicians yesterday of letting its budget soar “out of control” – making it impossible to estimate the cost of atomic waste that would be created by any new generation of power plants. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority fought back against a barrage of criticism at the Commons public accounts committee by saying it was bringing modern management methods to bear on an issue over which the country had for 50 years “looked the other way”.

Guardian 26th Feb 2008 more >>

Denton Wilde Sapte, Hammonds, Linklaters and Pinsent Masons are advising the four bidding consortia on the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) £17bn winding-down of the nuclear plant at Sellafield – the UK’s largest non-military procurement in the market.

The Lawyer 25th Feb 2008 more >>

A Millom graduate is set to become a key figure in devising decommissioning plans for Sellafield.

North West Evening Mail 25th Feb 2006 more >>

Nuclear Skills

Manchester University is to create a £25m centre to train people to work and carry out research in the nuclear industry. The university aims to take advantage of the government’s plan, published in a white paper in January, to build a new wave of nuclear energy plants over the next 12 years. Billions of pounds are now estimated to be up for grabs for new buildings in the nuclear industry.

Guardian 25th Feb 2008 more >>

Nuclear Trafficking

Nuclear forensics needs an urgent shot in the arm if it is to keep track of the growing black market in radioactive materials. That’s the conclusion of a new report by the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which warns of a shrinking pool of expertise and resources. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, more than 1000 cases of illegal nuclear trafficking were discovered between 1993 and 2007.

New Scientist 25th Feb 2008 more >>

India

Nuclear negotiators from India resumed talks with officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna Monday, discussing India-specific nuclear safeguards, IAEA officials said. The talks, that had been going on since November have so far failed to reach agreement, adding pressure on the US-Indo nuclear deal. A key point was a failure to agree on a guarantee for uninterrupted fuel supply by the IAEA and giving India the right for corrective measures in case of disruption.

Earth Times 25th Feb 2008 more >>

America has already agreed to help India develop civilian-use nuclear power despite New Delhi’s failure to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and its insistence on retaining its nuclear weapons arsenal.

Telegraph 26th Feb 2008 more >>

Submarines

The UK and Norway will join forces once again under the Global Threat Reduction Programme to ensure another aging Russian nuclear submarine is successfully dismantled, Energy Minister, Malcolm Wicks announced today. The UK and Norway will share the £3.9 million cost to dismantle the decommissioned November Class submarine No291, which will be de-fuelled and then towed to Nerpa Shipyard for dismantling.

GNN 25th Feb 2008 more >>

Iran

Britain’s envoy to the United Nations nuclear watchdog contradicted the findings of US intelligence officials who said Iran stopped developing a nuclear weapon in 2003.

Telegraph 26th Feb 2008 more >>

Time is working against the United States in its dispute with Iran over Tehran’s nuclear programme, Washington’s ambassador to the United Nations said in an interview published on Monday.

Reuters 25th Feb 2008 more >>

Posted: 26 February 2008

25 February 2008

Scotland

The row over constitutional reforms deepened yesterday with Labour calls to remove Holyrood’s veto on nuclear power plants and a LibDem warning that Labour must not use the devolution review to return powers to Westminster.

Herald 25th Feb 2008 more >>

Decommissioning

Two government agencies at the heart of the nuclear industry are at war over safety concerns at some of the country’s most sensitive sites. The Environment Agency believes insufficient funds have been made available by ministers for the clean-up of some sites, and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is accused of making things worse by deciding to concentrate on especially toxic waste at sites such as Sellafield in Cumbria. This prioritisation will delay clean-up elsewhere, “prolonging and potentially increasing risk to the environment that they pose and the costs necessary for their maintenance”, the Environment Agency argues in a strongly worded response to the NDA’s draft business plan covering the years 2008-11.

Guardian 25th Feb 2008 more >>

Nuclear Skills

THE University of Manchester will be at the forefront of training the next generation of nuclear experts. A £25m facility is being launched to gear up science, engineering and technology graduates for work in forthcoming nuclear power plants.

Manchester Evening News 25th Feb 2008 more >>

FT 25th Feb 2008 more >>

South America

Brazil and Argentina, South America’s two largest economies, have agreed to develop a nuclear reactor and enrich uranium together to address booming energy demand and looming shortages.

FT 25th Feb 2008 more >>

Companies

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond faces accusations of economic protectionism after issuing a statement effectively warning off foreign energy companies rumoured to be making a bid for Scottish Power. In comments released yesterday, Mr Salmond set out “concerns” he had should such a bid be made by rivals – rumoured to be E.On and EdF. His concerns focused on the possibility of job losses and the future of the green energy plans of Scottish Power, which was recently bought by Spanish power giant Iberdrola.

Telegraph 25th Feb 2008 more >>

Renewables

Feed-in tariffs: Generators of electricity from renewable sources are paid generously for extra power they feed to the grid. Electricity companies have to buy this energy and share the higher cost among all their customers. It is supposed to kick-start investment in greener energy, and it works: Germany’s adoption of the programme has helped it develop 200 times the solar power capacity of Britain and 10 times the wind energy, despite Britain being a much windier place.

Guardian 25th Feb 2008 more >>

Posted: 25 February 2008

24 February 2008

Decommissioning

Directors of nuclear power plant operators will face indefinite jail terms if they fail to keep up-to-date records of their clean-up programmes. The threat is buried in last week’s consultation paper on the establishment of funds to cover decommissioning costs in the Government new-build plan. The document states that where a person in breach of stated programme regulations does not comply with a Government “direction”, the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform can apply to the High Court.

Independent on Sunday 24th Feb 2008 more >>

Renewables

Plans to cut climate pollution by boosting the use of renewable energy in new building developments are being thwarted because most local authorities are failing to follow government planning guidelines. A survey has revealed that 60% of Scottish councils have no policy to encourage solar, wind and other clean technologies in new homes and offices – despite being asked a year ago by ministers to introduce one. This could mean that major flagship developments in the pipeline could be deprived of vital energy-saving measures. They include the Commonwealth games village in Glasgow, as well as new towns planned
for Ravenscraig and near Inverness.

Sunday Herald, 24th February 2008 more >>

With map.

robedwards.com 24th Feb 2008 more >>

Almost everyone involved in the “poisonous guddle” that is Scotland’s renewable energy policy has come under blistering attack from a leading Scottish Nationalist, who is calling on the government to draw up a new national energy plan. Alyn Smith MEP, the SNP’s spokesman on Europe, has launched a fierce assault on developers, environmental groups, government agencies and politicians for the way they have dealt with wind farm applications. As a result, he warned, Scotland is at risk of losing the “glittering prize” of becoming Europe’s green powerhouse. He put the blame for the mess firmly on the previous Labour and LibDem government. “We inherited a poisonous guddle that puts an intolerable strain on a planning system not designed to cope with it, and leaves nobody satisfied and everybody angry,” he said.

Sunday Herald, 24th February 2008 more >>

robedwards.com 24th Feb 2008 more >>

Almost two years ago, cranes loaded three red ‘Pelamis’ wave machines – named after a species of sea snake – on to container ships in the Orkneys. Their destination: the coast of Portugal. Nothing could be more symbolic of how the UK has fallen behind in the race to embrace renewable energy.

Observer 24th Feb 2008 more >>

A record number of wind farm projects were refused planning permission in Britain last year, according to new figures seen by The Observer. The average amount of time taken to decide whether to approve a project – 24 months – is also at a record high. The figures will be published by the British Wind Energy Association later this month.

Observer 24th Feb 2008 more >>

Money is pouring into the clean energy sector, which includes renewable forms of electricity generation such as wind, biomass and solar as well as companies involved in energy efficiency and waste treatment. According to research firm New Energy Finance, investment in the sector increased globally by 41 per cent last year to $117bn (£59bn), just over half of which went on new projects.

Observer 24th Feb 2008 more >>

Fuel Poverty

Friends of the Earth has told the government to come up with a plan to tackle fuel poverty by Friday or face a judicial review. It has also emerged that the government has proposed cutting the funding for the UK’s only fuel poverty charity by a quarter. Yet it is estimated more than 4.5 million households now fall into this category, the highest since Labour has been in power. The number of households affected keeps rising each time suppliers raise utility bills. The government committed itself to the legally binding target of eradicating fuel poverty among vulnerable households in England by 2010, and across the UK entirely by 2018.Last week, lawyers for Friends of the Earth wrote to the secretaries of state for the departments responsible – John Hutton and Hilary Benn – urging them to come up with a concrete plan to meet the target. If the ministers refuse to reply, or do not come up with a convincing policy by the end of the week, the campaign group will start legal proceedings to secure a judicial review to force the government into action.

Observer 24th Feb 2008 more >>

Energy Efficiency

Every new building put up in Britain will have to be zero carbon, emitting none of the pollution that is the main cause of global warming, the Government will announce this week. Caroline Flint, the new housing minister, will commit herself on Wednesday to setting an “ambitious target” for eliminating carbon dioxide emissions from “non-domestic” buildings, ranging from schools to supermarkets, health centres to hotels, and from libraries to light manufacturing industry. Taken with a year-old government commitment to make all new housing zero carbon by 2016 – the most exacting target anywhere in the world – the move will set Britain on the road to a new energy age, with conservation measures and renewable sources replacing the wasteful burning of fossil fuels. She will announce “a full consultation” on what the target date should be, expected to begin in April, insisting that “tackling climate change will be one of my central priorities as housing minister”.

Independent on Sunday 24th Feb 2008 more >>

A growing number of politicians are embracing the eco-home movement, using their houses to bolster their green credentials.

Independent on Sunday 24th Feb 2008 more >>

This week Scottish MSPs will hear plans from Hamilton-based property developer Banks Developments, who want to undertake a major regeneration project where 5000 new eco-homes will be built. The proposed carbon neutral community will include 1250 designated affordable homes, new schools, transport links, public parks and a cemetery.

Sunday Herald 24th Feb 2008 more >>

Iran

World powers can pass U.N. sanctions resolutions for 100 years without deterring Iran from its nuclear ambitions, Iran’s president said on Saturday.

Reuters 23rd Feb 2008 more >>

Posted: 24 February 2008

23 February 2008

New nukes

New nuclear power station operators will be required by law to set aside money from day one of generating electricity for their eventual decommissioning and waste costs, Business Secretary John Hutton made clear today. Draft guidance published today sets out how clauses in the Energy Bill requiring operators of new nuclear power stations to meet the full cost of decommissioning and their full share of waste management costs would work.

GNN 22nd Feb 2008 more >>

Builder & Engineer 22nd Feb 2008 more >>

ePolitix 22nd Feb 2008 more >>

Forbes 22nd Feb 2008 more >>

Platts 22nd Feb 2008 more >>

Britain has started consulting on the best way for nuclear operators to handle costs from disposing of radioactive waste from a new generation of reactors and from breaking them up at the end of their lives.

Reuters 22nd Feb 2008 more >>

Power companies who want to build new nuclear plants in the UK will have to pick up the bill for decommissioning and storage of any waste they produce, the Government has announced.

Telegraph 22nd Feb 2008 more >>

Iran

Iran has supplied new data about its nuclear programme but not enough to prove it is not building a bomb, says the International Atomic Energy Agency.

BBC 22nd Feb 2008 more >>

Iran expects a positive report on Friday from the U.N. nuclear watchdog showing its peaceful aims because of Tehran’s cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, a senior Iranian official said

Daily Mirror 22nd Feb 2008 more >>

Reuters 22nd Feb 2008 more >>

Diplomatic pressure is again increasing on Iran, as a new report says the country has failed to explain documentation suggesting that it’s trying to ‘weaponise’ nuclear materials.

Sky News 23rd Feb 2008 more >>

Six major powers are to meet on Monday in Washington for fresh talks on how to make Iran give up its contested uranium enrichment activities, a senior State Department official said.

AFX 22nd Feb 2008 more >>

Iran on Thursday hailed the latest UN nuclear watchdog report into its atomic programme as a “success,” saying it proved that Western accusations that it wanted nuclear weapons were baseless.

Middle East Online 22nd Feb 2008 more >>

Solar China

Experts project that by 2010 the number of solar water heaters installed in China will equal the thermal equivalent of the electrical capacity of 40 large nuclear power plants. Globally, solar water heaters have the capacity to produce as much energy as more than 140 nukes.

Environmental Graffiti 22nd Feb 2008 more >>

Companies

Germany’s second-largest utility, posted its first quarterly loss since at least 2000 after unplanned shutdowns at nuclear plants capped revenue and the company revalued its American Water unit.

Bloomberg 22nd Feb 2008 more >>

WAKEFIELD-based Redhall said today that it had pre-qualified for two projects totalling approximately £200m within the reprocessing and operations programme at the Sellafield nuclear power plant.

Yorkshire Evening Post 21st Feb 2008 more >>

Europe

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs met with the first chairman of the European High Level Group (HLG) on Nuclear Safety and Waste Management, Mr Andrej Stritar, in Brussels today. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss nuclear safety and waste management issues, particularly the establishment of common European rules in the field, ahead of the HLG’s third meeting in April.

eGov Monitor 21st Feb 2008 more >>

Freiburg

The citizens of Freiburg were protesting a nuclear plant in their neighbourhood with “widespread civil disobedience, and in 1975 the plans were defeated.” Instead, Frieburg decided to go another direction, and the results have been nothing short of remarkable. Freiburg passed energy efficiency standards that result in new houses costing 3% more to build – and that use 30% less energy and CO2. There are solar photovoltaic panels everywhere, solar hot water heaters, and a solar module factory that produces zero net emissions. And the latest generation of houses uses only 15% of the energy used by the houses that were already 30% under the conventional building standards.

Environmental Graffiti 21st Feb 2008 more >>

NDA

The National Nuclear Archive will go to Dounreay rather than Sellafield

Whitehaven News 21st Feb 2008 more >>

Unions have rejected a zero per cent pay offer from Sellafield Ltd.

Whitehaven News 21st Feb 2008 more >>

Stephen Henwood has been named as the new NDA Chairman

Whitehaven News 21st Feb 2008 more >>

The NDA Business Plan is both unsatisfactory and misleading according to the Unions.

Whitehaven News 21st Feb 2008 more >>

Suspended de-fuelling at Sellafield’s Calder Hall nuclear plant is not likely to be resumed until 2012.
Site manager Phil Campbell revealed the “significant delay” at a meeting of the West Cumbria Sites Stakeholder Group’s Calder Hall Sub-Committee in the Ennerdale Country House Hotel, Cleator. He said there is still a lot of fuel in the reprocessing plant’s fuel pond as a result of problems encountered with the Magnox reprocessing process.

Pendle Today 22nd Feb 2008 more >>

South America

Brazil and Argentina on Friday agreed to develop a nuclear reactor jointly and enrich uranium together to address booming energy demand and looming shortages.

Guardian website 22nd Feb 2008 more >>

BBC 23rd Feb 2008 more >>

US

Would-be developers of the next round of nuclear power plants who want to build reactors in eight Southern U.S. states are ignoring a surplus of idle generation and the region’s history of nuclear cost overruns. This week, North Carolina-based Progress Energy became the fifth company since last fall to submit a license application with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Progress wants to build two reactors at a site near Raleigh which is already home to one reactor.

Reuters 22nd Feb 2008 more >>

Spain

Spain’s opposition Popular Party, narrowly trailing the ruling Socialists before March elections, would prolong the working life of existing nuclear power stations but build no new ones, a spokesman said. Although nuclear power is back on the table in many countries after years of unpopularity, neither of Spain’s major parties is calling for new plants ahead of March 9 elections.

Guardian website 22nd Feb 2008 more >>

Posted: 23 February 2008

22 February 2008

New nukes

Companies building nuclear reactors in the UK will have to meet the full cost of their future closure and clean-up, setting money aside from day one, the government will say on Friday. Following on from last month¹s white paper on nuclear power, the government will on Friday set out the draft framework for how the decommissioning of new nuclear reactors would be paid for. It will be a criminal offence not to comply with the approved arrangements and the Government is taking powers to guard against unforeseen shortfalls. Under the new guidance, companies must produce a detailed funded
decommissioning programme before they get approval to build nuclear reactors. This will include a commitment to pay into a secure and independently managed fund to cover all the costs of closing down the power stations and rehabilitating the sites, as well as the cost of disposing of the nuclear waste. The government will appoint a number of experts from the nuclear, insurance and banking industries to sit on a Nuclear Liabilities Financing Assurance Board, which will monitor the companies decommissioning funds.

FT 22nd Feb 2008 more >>

The Government is concerned that a lack of competition in the UK nuclear industry threatens to distort decision-making in the race to build a new generation of nuclear power plants. In an interview with The Times, Malcolm Wicks, the Energy Minister, said the Government would look critically at British Energy’s ownership of eight of the most attractive UK sites for new reactors. “We want to see proper competition here,” he said. “We don’t want to see some sort of cagey deal between one company and another company . . . We have got to facilitate proper competition.” Mr Wicks’s comments come amid rising concern that British Energy, which generates a sixth of Britain’s electricity, could have undue influence over where new plants are built. There is a limited number of UK sites where nuclear plants could be built and local people would be supportive. These include the sites owned by British Energy, a company in which the Government has a near40 per cent stake, and those owned by the Government through the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Times 22nd Feb 2008 more >>

THE OWNER of British Gas hopes to invest more than £3billion in nuclear power as part of plans to pump its burgeoning profits into propping up Britain’s dwindling energy supplies. Centrica chief executive Sam Laidlaw said the move would be part of a £1billion-a-year investment programme to develop new energy sources.

Daily Express 22nd Feb 2008 more >>

Malcolm Wicks

The minister says that new entrants to electricity supply will be increasingly important if the Government is to achieve its aim of fostering more localised energy production including “microgeneration” from small solar, wind and hydropower schemes. “As we develop new forms of supply let’s just make sure there are no unnecessary barriers to entry,” he says, adding that the Government is considering introduction of a German-style subsidy regime known as a “feed-in tariff” to encourage such projects.

Times 22nd Feb 2008 more >>

Iran

For the second time in recent weeks, Washington has given the U.N. nuclear watchdog information on what it says were Tehran’s attempts to make atomic weapons, but much of it is of doubtful value, diplomats said Thursday. The diplomats also told The Associated Press that, after handing over a large file last week to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.S. agreed to let the Iranians look at some of the material so they could respond, but Tehran has shown no interest.

Guardian website 21st Feb 2008 more >>

Posted: 22 February 2008

21 February 2008

NDA

Business Secretary John Hutton today announced the appointment of Stephen Henwood as the new Chair of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The appointment will take effect from 1 March 2008. Stephen Henwood was Group Managing Director of International Partnerships, BAE Systems until 2006.

BERR Press Release 20th Feb 2008 more >>

Reuters 20th Feb 2008 more >>

AFX 20th Feb 2008 more >>

FT 21st Feb 2008 more >>

Companies

The chairman of Iberdrola, yesterday took a swipe at economic nationalism in France, and warned against any takeover approach by state-controlled EDF to Spain’s biggest electricity utility. Assuming his most combative stance since EDF confirmed its interest in the Spanish group, Mr Galán said it had been made “patently clear in recent days that EDF is not welcome”.

FT 21st Feb 2008 more >>

US

Progress Energy, has announced that it will file a combined operating license application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for two possible new reactors at the existing Harris nuclear plant site near New Hill, North Carolina.

Energy Business Review 20th Feb 2008 more >>

India

A US delegation has warned India it must finalise a nuclear deal by July if Congress in Washington is to ratify it before presidential polls. The civilian nuclear energy deal between the two countries has been delayed because of opposition from India’s communist parties.

BBC 20th Feb 2008 more >>

Posted: 21 February 2008

20 February 2008

New nukes

SCORES of North East companies are preparing to bid for work on the proposed new generation of nuclear power stations. A survey of its 200 members by Wearside’s NOF Energy revealed more than half see the nuclear sector as a high priority. This follows a Government announcement late last year that it is in favour of a new generation of nuclear power stations, possibly including one at Hartlepool.

Newcastle Journal 19th Feb 2008 more >>

Iran

In the international arena, Iran’s nuclear ambitions are a pressing political concern, the subject of intense dis cussion in western capitals and heated diplomatic exchanges. In the domestic sphere, however, the situation could hardly be more different. Not only is Iran’s pursuit of nuclear technology not being questioned, it is not even up for discussion in the run up to next month’s parliamentary elections.

FT 20th Feb 2008 more >>

Iran’s former top security official has said the United Nations watchdog investigating Tehran’s nuclear plans now has all the information it needs to establish that the programme is of a peaceful nature. Ali Larijani was one of the architects of the so-called “work plan” agreed with the International Atomic Energy Agency in August. It was designed to answer all outstanding questions about Iran’s covert nuclear programme dating from the 1980s but was opposed by those, including the US, who saw it as a diversion from attempts to stop Iran’s uranium enrichment.

FT 20th Feb 2008 more >>

North Korea

Diplomats are this week again making new efforts to breathe some life into the roller-coaster six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme. It is a year ago this month since the six parties agreed a deal that was supposed to pave the way to denuclearisation – an agreement under which Pyongyang pledged to provide a complete list of its nuclear programmes within 60 days of the agreement.

FT 20th Feb 2008 more >>

NDA

A council is proposing to offer land it owns for the site of a £20m National Nuclear Archive on the condition that the building showcases local history. Highland Council has suggested integrating a North Highland Archive with the nuclear one in Caithness.

BBC 20th Feb 2008 more >>

Dounreay

GONE in 90 seconds. The Dounreay nuclear plant all but disappears from the north coast in a minute and a half in a new animation showing how the plant will be dismantled over the next 25 years. The animated flyover shows how the Caithness complex will change from an industrialised landscape to a near greenfield site with just a few scattered buildings by 2032 when decommissioning is complete. The timescale for cleaning up and knocking down the landmark site, which has been built up over more than 50 years, has been cut from 100 years to the present quarter of a century. The cost will be about £2.9 billion.

Scotsman 19th Feb 2008 more >>

Nuclear Security

The government has expanded its efforts to enhance nuclear security both at home and abroad in order to build upon its Global Threat Reduction Programme. A new agreement between the US and Britain will help to further expand the security of nuclear and radiological infrastructure. The government has committed over £2m to securing high risk sites containing nuclear and radiological material and also to combat the illegal trafficking of such materials. The two countries will immediately address the long term security of highly active spent radiological material in Ukraine according to Energy minister Malcom Wicks.

Public Servant daily 19th Feb 2008 more >>

Posted: 20 February 2008