News January 2008

31 January 2008

New Nukes

The British government must remain resolute in its backing for a new fleet of nuclear power stations despite the likelihood of a fresh legal challenge, the head of power giant E.ON UK said on Wednesday.

Reuters 30th Jan 2008 more >>

Nuclear remains the wrong option according to the Sustainable Development Commission.

SDC Newsletter January 2008 more >>

More than 25 years ago when a group of Welsh women helped make Greenham Common a symbol of global nuclear weapons’ protests every local authority in Wales declared itself opposed to atomic power. But long after the dust has settled in the Berkshire peace camp the nuclear debate rages on following the announcement that a new generation of atomic power plants is to be built in the UK.

Western Mail 30th Jan 2008 more >>

NDA

John Sauven: This week, the National Audit Office released its damning assessment of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) ability to estimate the true financial cost of decommissioning and cleaning up the UK’s fleet of ailing reactors and contaminated facilities. As costs for decommissioning appear to spiral out of control – rising sharply from £56bn to £73bn over just a few years – the burden on the taxpayer grows ever more. And it doesn’t end there. The NDA has also been made responsible for disposing of the UK’s stockpile of legacy wastes which is estimated at an additional £10-20bn. The industry argues these increased costs have arisen in the face of “significant challenges”, but the echoes from this announcement are all too familiar from a sector that has been plagued with industrial and financial incompetence.

Guardian 30th Jan 2008 more >>

Procurement in the nuclear decommissioning sector has been slammed by the National Audit Authority after costs surged by a third over the last four years.

Contract Journal 30th Jan 2008 more >>

e-Politix 30th Jan 2008 more >>

Building & Engineer 30th Jan 2008 more >>

BNFL Privatisation

The man responsible for raising £8.3 billion for the Treasury by selling off some of the country’s most controversial assets is poised to receive a bonus of £766,200 for successfully winding up British Nuclear Fuels. Mike Parker, chief executive of BNFL, which used to own Westinghouse, the nuclear reactor maker, as well as Sellafield, could receive the bonus before the end of the financial year.

Times 31st Jan 2008 more >>

Korea

North Korea has not changed its mind about ending its nuclear programme, leader Kim Jong-il has told a visiting Chinese diplomat. Disagreements over implementing the deal could be overcome, the reclusive leader told top official Wang Jiarui.

BBC 31st Jan 2008 more >>

Proliferation

A post-cold-war US programme that pays nuclear weapons scientists from the former Soviet Union to prevent them working for ‘rogue’ states has come under fire in Congress, after a governmental investigative report questioned its usefulness.

Nature 30th Jan 2008 more >>

Iran

Javier Solana says an international fuel bank should be set up so that countries like Iran don’t have to enrich uranium themselves.

EU Business 30th Jan 2008 more >>

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that Iran is approaching the “summit” of nuclear development. He was speaking in the city of Bushehr two days after Russia completed delivery of nuclear fuel for the Iran’s first nuclear power station.

BBC 30th Jan 2008 more >>

Ireland

The Sustainable Development Council’s chairman, Professor Frank Convery, in a new commentary, Sustainability and the Nuclear Option, spells out the issues, which include clarifying what will happen if the country does not adopt nuclear power, estimating future greenhouse gas emissions with and without nuclear, and analysing options for waste disposal.

Edie 30th Jan 2008 more >>

Companies

Iberdrola yesterday hit out against a possible takeover by EDF of France and ACS, a Spanish construction group, saying it did not think its shareholders would welcome a break-up bid.

FT 31st Jan 2008 more >>

Tokyo Electric Power, Asia’s biggest utility, yesterday widened its loss forecast for the current year by more than 60 per cent to Y155bn ($1.4bn) because of the continued closure of the nuclear station hit by an earthquake last year.

FT 31st Jan 2008 more >>

The prospect of further price rises came as rumours of a proposed merger between EDF, of France, and Iberdrola, of Spain, forced a brief suspension of Iberdrola’s shares. Such a deal would unite the fifth and sixth-ranked energy suppliers in Britain, EDF Energy and ScottishPower, which is owned by Iberdrola. Combining EDF Energy and ScottishPower would create a company with about 10.7 million customer accounts, propelling the new group to second place behind British Gas in the ranking of customer suppliers.

Times 31st Jan 2008 more >>

Times 31st Jan 2008 more >>

E.ON, is also likely to be at the forefront as Britain embraces nuclear power, with a new fleet of stations to be built. Mr Golby has made clear his company’s desire to be involved in the project and its openness to building and running the new power stations. More recently he has also spoken out in support of the Government’s decision to go ahead with the development, despite strong opposition from the likes of Greenpeace. Mr Golby argues that the Government must hold its nerve in order to give Britain the diversity of power generation it needs.

Times 31st Jan 2008 more >>

Posted: 31 January 2008

30 January 2008

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority

The cost of decommissioning ageing nuclear power sites has risen “rapidly” in the past few years by £12bn to £73bn, according to the National Audit Office (NAO) which said costs were rising, even for the most imminent work. It said the industry faced “significant challenges”.

BBC 30th Jan 2008 more >>

National Audit Office Press Release 30th Jan 2008 more >>

Newcastle Evening Chronicle 30th Jan 2008 more >>

Guardian 30th Jan 2008 more >>

Daily Snack 30th Jan 2008 more >>

FT 30th Jan 2008 more >>

Independent 30th Jan 2008 more >>

Bournemouth Echo 30th Jan 2008 more >>

Yorkshire Evening Post 30th Jan 2008 more >>

Pressure on the finances of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the need to sometimes divert funds for unforeseen circumstances had led to significant uncertainty for site operators, the NAO said in its comprehensive report.

Reuters 30th Jan 2008 more >>

Estimated costs of decommissioning “continue to rise rapidly”, says the report, even for the most imminent of work, which might have been expected to have stabilised. The report adds: “Progress at some decommissioning sites has been hampered by changes at short notice to funds available, bringing uncertainty for sites and lessening value for money.

Herald 30th Jan 2008 more >>

A senior director at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has resigned, dealing a fresh blow to the organisation as a report by the Government’s spending watchdog confirmed yesterday that the cost of cleaning up Britain’s nuclear programme had soared by 18 per cent. The departure of Mark Leggett, director of the commercial division, was announced to staff on January 18, The Times has learnt. He was responsible for improving commercial performance and boosting sales.

Times 30th Jan 2008 more >>

Northern Ireland

The Green Party in Northern Ireland has teamed up with its Scottish colleagues to oppose plans to build nuclear power plants here. The party said it regretted that it had become the only Assembly party opposing the controversial energy source. Its only MLA, Brian Wilson, warned nuclear power is not the solution to climate change as he launched his constituency office at the weekend.

Belfast Telegraph 29th Jan 2008 more >>

Sir John Hill

Obituary: John Hill was the dominant figure in the British nuclear industry through the 1970s. His career coincided with the era when Britain, at great cost, tried and ultimately failed to create its own home-grown nuclear power technology. Lauded and vilified in equal measure, Hill came to embody that period.

Independent 30th Jan 2008 more >>

New nukes

Recently Greenpeace encouraged its supporters to put questions to the UK business secretary John Hutton regarding his stance on nuclear power and the future of Britain’s energy and his proposals to build new nuclear and coal-fired power stations. Greenpeace gave some examples of what questions to ask him (as shown below) and we have done our best to answer them in an attempt to persuade Greenpeace that nuclear power is the most viable option for beating climate change.

Uranium Stocks.net 29th Jan 2008 more >>

Companies

EDF, the French electricity group, and ACS, Spain’s largest construction group, have held preliminary talks about a joint bid for Iberdrola, Spain’s
largest utility, politicians and investment bankers said. Iberdrola’s share price has risen 21 per cent in the past week, to €9.23 at Tuesday’s close, on rumours of a possible bid. The company said on Tuesday it had not received any approach. However, Iberdrola has long been viewed as an attractive takeover target. It is the world’s biggest producer of wind energy and it owns Scottish Power in the UK. People familiar with the matter said ACS and EDF would carve up Iberdrola between them. EDF would keep Scottish Power and a 5-10 per cent share of the Spanish electricity market.

FT 30th Jan 2008 more >>

Climate

Ministers have called for public views on their plans to tackle climate change with an 80% cut in emissions by 2050. Finance Secretary John Swinney
said the country had reached a “crossroads” on deciding in what state to leave the planet to future generations. The Scottish government aims to bring forward legislation to parliament on its green proposals before the end of the year. Plans – to be contained in Scotland’s first Climate Change Bill – have been released for public consultation.

BBC 29th Jan 2008 more >>

Scotland can become a world leader in tackling climate change, ministers claimed yesterday as they launched the consultation on which they will base
a bill in September.

Herald 30th Jan 2008 more >>

Scotsman 30th Jan 2008 more >>

Renewable Heat

Jason Ormiston, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables: The EC plans said renewables should account for 15 per cent of the UK’s energy generation by 2020. Scotland, however, can and should aim to achieve at least 20 per cent, and in doing so establish itself as a country committed to a low-carbon economy. To achieve these targets, the UK and Scottish governments need to get green about the way we use and generate heat.

Scotsman 29th Jan 2008 more >>

Iran

Iran is approaching a “peak” in its nuclear programme and will not back down in the face of Western demands to halt its activities, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday.

Reuters 30th Jan 2008 more >>

Canada

The Canadian government ran a risk 1,000 times as great as world standards in ordering the restart of a nuclear reactor which supplied medical isotopes around the world, the dismissed head of the nuclear watchdog said on Tuesday. Linda Keen was fired two weeks ago as president of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for what the government said was a failure to take into account the health of Canadians who needed isotopes for medical tests.

Reuters 29th Jan 2008 more >>

Posted: 30 January 2008

29 January 2008

Uranium

Letter from Stephen Salter: The figure for carbon release from nuclear power quoted by Steuart Campbell (Letters, 24 January) must be based on a very rich ore grade from the early days of the nuclear industry from mines that are now exhausted. They cannot include waste disposal, because it is hard to see how you can spend £70-£90 billion on civil engineering projects without releasing lots of carbon. The release from mining, rock crushing and uranium extraction is strongly dependent on ore quality, and several sources indicate that, with present grades of about 1,500 parts per million, releases are about one-third of those from natural gas burnt to generate the same electrical energy. The break-even point will be reached when ore grades are down to 100 parts per million, which is likely to occur in 50 years at present rates of consumption; earlier, perhaps 25 years, if there is a dash for uranium. He is quite right about the amount of uranium in sea water, but the concentration is only 3.3 parts per billion and the energy required to extract it far exceeds what it could generate.

Scotsman 29th Jan 2008 more >>

Opinion Polls

A new Ipsos MORI survey of public attitudes to the nuclear energy industry on behalf of the Nuclear Industry Association shows the industry to be favourably regarded on balance, a stark contrast with the position just five years ago. Favourable opinion has reached 35% and unfavourable opinion is 26%; a complete reversal of the position in December 2002, when favourable opinion was just 21% and unfavourable opinion 33%.

Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment 28th Jan 2008 more >>

New nukes

CONSTRUCTION students from South Cheshire College have been standing firm in a debate about nuclear power as part of their course. A group of BTEC HNC, Building Studies students were split down the middle in the mock argument which exploded into life last week. Half of the group represented a nuclear power construction company, while the other students acted on behalf of major environment groups such as Greenpeace.

This is Cheshire 28th Jan 2008 more >>

Turkey

Turkish energy-to-construction firm Enka Insaat ENKAI.IS has agreed with Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) to work together on nuclear energy in Turkey, the Turkish firm said on Monday.

Reuters 28th Jan 2008 more >>

Turkey’s Sabanci Holding SAHOL.IS will choose by mid-March from up to six European and Asian companies to partner its bid in a Turkish nuclear power plant tender, the head of Sabanci’s energy group said on Monday.

Reuters 28th Jan 2008 more >>

Asia

Coal prices in Asia jumped to a record high on Monday as the region suffered acute shortages because of disrupted supply in Australia, South Africa and China. The coal market is facing a short-term increase in consumption in Japan, as the country’s power utility, Tepco, relies more heavily on its coal thermal power plants to offset the impact of the closure of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant after an earthquake in July.

FT 29th Jan 2008 more >>

Posted: 29 January 2008

28 January 2008

Nuclear costs

Taxpayers are to be liable for clean-up bills running into many billions of pounds as ministers quietly underwrite the insurance costs of the nuclear industry. Gordon Brown insisted recently that there would be no special subsidies to fund a new generation of power stations and that companies wishing to build them must bear the full costs of dealing with waste. A spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed, however, that the nuclear industry will not be required to foot the bill to restore land polluted by a “nuclear occurrence”. Instead, under the terms of a proposed change to the law, Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, will become liable in the event of such an accident.

Times 28th Jan 2008 more >>

The Government’s nuclear energy policy is fundamentally flawed because it relies on the “fiction” that a new generation of reactors can be built without state support, according to a key government adviser. Dieter Helm, Professor of Energy Policy at New College, Oxford, who has helped to shape energy policy for the past decade, is about to publish a paper in which he will lambast the Government’s new push on nuclear power. He told The Times that no country had developed nuclear power stations in such a way and that he believed that the Government would be forced to rig the market to ensure that new nuclear stations were built.

Times 28th Jan 2008 more >>

Energy Supply

Britain could face a shortage of electricity in five to seven years, causing problems for London’s hosting of the Olympic games in 2012, a report will say this week. Earlier this month, the Government announced it was prepared to approve applications to build new nuclear reactors, saying it would be 10 years before they came on stream. But Inenco, an energy consultancy firm, says that the number of nuclear and coal plants coming out of service during that period makes shortages likely.

Telegraph 28th Jan 2008 more >>

Water Supply

A kilowatt of coal power energy takes 1.6 litres of water (clean coal takes more), and nuclear energy 2.3 litres. As the global demand for goods spreads, so the demand for water will soar. And that is before factoring in the impact of climate change.

Guardian 28th Jan 2008 more >>

India

The head of French nuclear firm Areva said in a newspaper interview that French civil nuclear cooperation with India hinged on an international deal whose finalisation was still unclear.

Reuters 28th Jan 2008 more >>

India and France on Friday signed the framework of an accord paving the way for nuclear power cooperation once New Delhi is able to enter the global atomic energy market, French officials said.

AFX 27th Jan 2008 more >>

Gulf

Plans for nuclear power stations in the Gulf face a lack of infrastructure that the region’s cash-rich states will take time to overcome, an expert at the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog said on Sunday.

Reuters 27th Jan 2008 more >>

Iran

An Iranian official said that the Islamic republic has increased its production to more than 300 tons of a gas used for uranium enrichment, a semi-official news agency reported.

Channel 4 News 27th Jan 2008 more >>

Posted: 28 January 2008

27 January 2008

New nukes

Article by Mark Lynas originally from the New Statesman: the UK is endowed with some of the best renewable resources in the world (particularly wind and wave, as well as tidal) and could become both a technology market leader and a major energy exporter if only the political will and economic muscle could be mobilised to make this happen. The proposal by the Energy Secretary, John Hutton, in December – to open our seas to 33 gigawatts of offshore wind energy (enough to power all the UK’s homes) – is a welcome sign that government thinking is shifting in this direction. The last thing we need now is for this momentum to be lost because of a huge diversion of political energy into justifying new nuclear power stations and battling environmentalists. Nuclear power is fine in principle, but it is not a priority for us.

UKWatch.net 27th Jan 2008 more >>

Letter from Steuart Campbell: even the OECD say nuclear power cheaper than power from coal. As for full-cycle emissions, that studies show that nuclear stations emit 70 times less CO2 on this basis than gas-fired stations and 177 times less than coal-fired stations.

Scotland on Sunday 27th Jan 2008 more >>

Letters from Peter Melchett and others: John Gray thinks only technical fixes can solve global environmental problems. So he attacks ‘the greens’, but grossly distorts what environmentalists and others propose.

Observer 27th Jan 2008 more >>

Proliferation

AN investigation into the illicit sale of American nuclear secrets was compromised by a senior official in the State Department, a former FBI employee has claimed. The official is said to have tipped off a foreign contact about a bogus CIA company used to investigate the sale of nuclear secrets.

Sunday Times 27th Jan 2008 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Letter from Basic: There is no chance Britain would lose its UNSC seat if it renounced or phased out nuclear weapons. Four veteran US cold warriors, including former secretaries of state George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, are now leading the call for the elimination of these weapons. All three Democratic presidential candidates endorse this vision. By doing so and remaining a council member Britain would destroy the myth that nuclear weapons bring status.

Sunday Times 27th Jan 2008 more >>

Pakistan

Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are safe from Taliban and al-Qaida militants because of the military’s stringent security system and a political climate that precludes a takeover by religious extremists, a top official said Saturday.

Guardian website 26th Jan 2008 more >>

BBC 26th Jan 2008 more >>

Reuters 26th Jan 2008 more >>

Canada

How far can a nuclear watchdog’s remit to protect human health extend? That’s the question raised by the sacking last week of Linda Keen, head of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). In November last year, Keen ordered the shutdown of a nuclear reactor at Chalk River, 200 kilometres from Ottawa, after maintenance checks uncovered a safety breach. The reactor is also the world’s largest single supplier of medical isotopes, used in diagnostic tests for conditions such as cancer and heart disease, and the closure caused a worldwide shortage. On 11 December, the government overruled Keen’s decision.

New Scientist 27th Jan 2008 more >>

Scottish Climate Bill

THE SCOTTISH government will face a key test of its environmental commitment this week when it launches a public consultation on plans to cut Scotland’s climate pollution by 80% by 2050. The long-awaited report on proposed climate change legislation is due to be unveiled by Scottish ministers at Edinburgh’s Botanic Gardens on Tuesday. Although it is not expected to contain any major surprises, it will be closely scrutinised to check that the government is serious about reducing emissions. The most hotly contested issue will be how the government proposes to ensure progress towards the 80% target year-on-year. Environmental groups are demanding statutory reduction targets of 3% a year, but this is being resisted by ministers.

Sunday Herald 27th Jan 2008 more >>

Climate

Global warming ranks far down the concerns of the world’s biggest companies, despite world leaders’ hopes that they will pioneer solutions to the impending climate crisis, a startling survey will reveal this week.

Independent on Sunday 27th Jan 2008 more >>

Fuel Poverty

Energy companies such as British Gas which have increased household bills by over 15 per cent should be referred to the Competition Commission, according to consumer watchdog Energywatch. In the past month, British Gas, EDF Energy and Npower have all increased utility bills, hitting more than two-thirds of UK households. The average annual bill is now over £1,000, double that of 2003.

Observer 27th Jan 2008 more >>

Posted: 27 January 2008

26 January 2008

US

SCANA Corp’s South Carolina Electric & Gas utility is stepping back from plans to pursue a new nuclear reactor as costs skyrocket, a spokesman said on Friday. The Columbia, South Carolina-based utility planned to file an application with nuclear regulators last year but delayed that action while it studies costs of alternate generation options, said spokesman Robert Yanity. With material and construction costs rising for all major infrastructure projects, including power plants, “we have to think about our customers,” Yanity said. “We are still supportive of nuclear, but we need to make sure it is the right option.”

Reuters 25th Jan 2008 more >>

Workers at one U.S. nuclear facility have suffered higher-than-average rates of certain cancers, a study shows — suggesting that on-the-job exposures are to blame. The study looked at nearly 19,000 employees of the Savannah River Site, a South Carolina facility that has processed nuclear materials since the 1950s. Researchers found that while death rates from many causes were lower than national rates, workers had higher-than-expected rates of death from certain cancers. Among men, leukemia and cancer of the pleura, the tissue covering the lungs and lining the chest cavity, caused an abnormally high number of deaths, while female workers had elevated rates of kidney and skin cancers.

Reuters 25th Jan 2008 more >>

New nukes

UDM President Mr Greatrex has condemned Government plans to build a new generation of nuclear power stations.

Worksop Guardian 25th Jan 2008 more >>

Michael Meacher: The EU announcement that Britain has to meet a mandatory target to produce at least 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, changes the entire energy equation for the UK. It renders the energy bill, largely obsolete. If we do all these things – and we’ve got to in order to meet the mandatory EU target – then we will not need any nuclear power stations. The government’s case for nuclear was always weak (largely based on the nuclear fixation of Department for Trade and Industry/Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform officials), and now even that weak case will not be necessary. The government’s claim was that nuclear was needed to keep the lights on and to help meet Britain’s climate change commitments, and they also said that there would be no public subsidies and that the nuclear waste problem was perfectly manageable. The evidence is that all four statements are far from true.

Guardian 24th Jan 2008 more >>

A CUMBRIAN politician has attacked the anti-nuclear campaigners for their “pathological hatred” of the energy source. Copeland MP Jamie Reed launched the broadside as he spoke in the House of Commons after Business Secretary and Barrow MP John Hutton announced backing for a new generation of atomic electricity stations. Labour backbencher Mr Reed dismissed many of the arguments of anti-nuclear campaigners as “myths and lies”, angering green campaigners who say nuclear power is an unnecessary evil. The Labour government plans to attract companies to pump nuclear energy back into the national grid by 2020. But green campaigners say that is too late, rendering the project a waste of money that could have been invested in renewable energy sources instead.

North West Evening Mail 24th Jan 2008 more >>

Skills

The Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust (LRET), an independent charity wholly funded by leading international risk management group Lloyd’s Register, last night announced the creation of a nuclear-specialist university Chair, marking the UK’s first response to the regulatory skills gap, currently present in the nuclear industry. The launch of the ‘Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust Chair in Nuclear Engineering and Decommissioning’ at Lancaster University comes only days after the UK Government announced it was giving the go ahead for nuclear power to form part of the UK’s future energy mix.

Lloyd’s Register 25th Jan 2008 more >>

Scotland

Letter from William D Brown in Thurso: I am reluctant to criticise well-meaning environmentalists, but I must. They have their own coded language. Here is a sample: exciting (does not understand the problem); ambitious (unrealistic); affordable (uneconomic); innovative (untried). Electricity generation must be secure, affordable and reliable, and renewables can only be a part of the mix.

Herald 25th Jan 2008 more >>

Companies

Shares in Iberdrola, the Spanish energy giant that owns ScottishPower, rocketed more than 16% yesterday after European newspaper reports claimed
France’s EDF had built a stake of more than 3% and was poised to pounce in a takeover move. However, as EDF denied it held Iberdrola shares, it became clear in the records from Spain’s stock exchange regulator, dated January 22, that it was the French bank Natixis that had built a 3.9% stake in the Spanish utility.

Herald 25th Jan 2008 more >>

Iran

Russia delivered the seventh out of eight consignments of fuel for Iran’s first nuclear power plant in the Gulf port of Bushehr on Saturday, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Middle East Online 26th Jan 2008 more >>

Insurance

The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2008 has suggested a global nuclear insurance scheme.

World Nuclear News 25th Jan 2008 more >>

Dounreay

Operators of the Dounreay nuclear site have had to revise their plans to build a new low-level waste dump after discovering the site lies on top of a geological fault-line. Research has led to the UKAEA moving the location slightly further north and revising the layout of the six underground concrete vaults. The ground remains outwith the licensed nuclear site and close to the neighbouring settlement of Buldoo, where residents remain opposed to the proposed £110million complex.

Aberdeen Press and Journal 25th Jan 2008 more >>

Renewables

Britain will miss its target of generating 15% of all its energy from renewables by 2020 unless it acts quickly, invests billions and changes its attitude to energy, industry figures said yesterday. The draft target, set this week by the EU, will challenge the government and industry because it means not just vastly increasing the amount of renewable electricity the UK generates, but also changing how we heat homes, power factories and drive vehicles and trains. Yesterday the British Wind Energy Association said industry could build the necessary wind farms within a decade, but this would require speed of political action by the government. “By just completing projects already being constructed and clearing the planning backlog the target of 35% electricity from renewables would be 50% met,” said a spokesman. Philip Wolfe, director of the Renewable Energy Association, called for a revolution in electricity micro-generation and in heating and a national “feed-in” tariff, which would guarantee anyone who generated electricity a reasonable return on investment.

Guardian 26th Jan 2008 more >>

Posted: 26 January 2008

25 January 2008

THORP-2

Sellafield trade unions have published a new document which outlines plans for the future of Sellafield as Britain’s premier nuclear installation, entitled “FIGHTING FOR A FUTURE FOR SELLAFIELD”. The unions are campaigning for spent nuclear fuel from the proposed new reactors to be reprocessed; for the possibility of securing reprocessing contracts from abroad to be kept open; and for existing stocks of UK plutonium at Sellafield to be converted into MoX fuel for use in new reactors.

The GMB Press Release (18th Jan 2008) more >>

A new THORP could be on the cards if the unions get their way.Sellafield Union representatives are already in the US campaigning with American companies which may get contracts to operate Sellafield. The Unions are concerned that THORP will complete its existing contracts around 2018; Magnox reprocessing will end around 2016, so 10,000 jobs will disappear in Cumbria. Sellafield GMB Convenor, Peter Kane, says he knows the Irish, Scandinavians and anti-nukes “will go berserk”.

Whitehaven News 24th Jan 2008 more >>

Whitehaven News 24th Jan 2008 more >>

The Sellafield – Copeland Alliance has applauded the Government’s decision on new reactors.

North West Evening Mail 24th Jan 2008 more >>

Interest from EDF could improve Sellafield’s chances of getting a new reactor.

Whitehaven News 24th Jan 2008 more >>

Fluor – one of the companies bidding for the Sellafield contract – has won a $4bn contract at Savannah River.

Whitehaven News 24th Jan 2008 more >>

Drigg

Cumbria County Council has given planning permissio for a new vault at Drigg unlocking millions of pounds for Copeland.

Whitehaven News 24th Jan 2008 more >>

Dounreay

Dounreay’s operators have had to revise their plans to build a new low-level waste dump after discovering their preferred site lies on top of a geological fault-line. They had been working on flawed information provided by the Nirex agency that drilled a series of boreholes in the early 1990s when Dounreay was being considered as the site for a national intermediate-level nuclear waste dump. New research has led to the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) moving the location of the dump further north and revising the layout of the six underground concrete vaults. The ground remains outwith the licensed nuclear site and close to the neighbouring settlement of Buldoo, whose residents remain opposed to the proposed £110m complex.

Herald 25th Jan 2008 more >>

Terror

US researchers are developing technology to power a network of mobile phones that could find and track radiation sources. It is hoped that the system could prevent terrorist attacks using nuclear ‘dirty bombs’.

Personal Computer World 24th Jan 2008 more >>

Vnunet 24th Jan 2008 more >>

New nukes

Letter from Steuart Campbell: Do opponents of nuclear power ignore the facts, or are they just ignorant? An analysis of the full cycle, shows that the overall emission per kilowatt-hour (about 5g) of nuclear power is much lower than that from stations burning fossil fuels (about 70 times less than for gas and 177 times less than for coal). It is about the same amount as from wind generation.

Scotsman 25th Jan 2008 more >>

Insurers may be unwilling to provide third party liability cover for damage caused by a new generation of nuclear power stations, lawyers warned this week.

New Civil Engineer 24th Jan 2008 more >>

NPT

Letter from Helen John and Georgina Smith: We are in prison (your report, 10 January) because the government refuses to obey Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and reduce its nuclear arsenal. All nuclear powers are breaching this resolution.

Scotsman 24th Jan 2008 more >>

Heysham

PLANS for a new generation of nuclear power stations across the UK will not affect operations at Heysham Power Station. British Energy, which operates eight power stations including the Heysham plant, has welcomed the news but says any new plants are likely to be built at its stations in the south of England. However, Heysham could be included in a second phase at a later stage.

Lancaster Guardian 24th Jan 2008 more >>

Torness

British Energy’s Torness-2 nuclear reactor restarted early on Thursday after tripping on Tuesday due to a faulty reading.

Reuters 24th Jan 2008 more >>

Peak Oil

World demand for oil and gas will outstrip supply within seven years, according to Royal Dutch Shell. The oil multinational is predicting that conventional supplies will not keep pace with soaring population growth and the rapid pace of economic development. Jeroen van der Veer, Shell’s chief executive, said in an e-mail to the company’s staff this week that output of conventional oil and gas was close to peaking. He wrote: “Shell estimates that after 2015 supplies of easy-to-access oil and gas will no longer keep up with demand.” The boss of the world’s second-largest oil company forecast that, regardless of government policy initiatives and investment in renewables, the world would need more nuclear power and unconventional fossil fuels, such as oil sands.

Times 25th Jan 2008 more >>

Posted: 25 January 2008

24 January 2008

New nukes

Paul Golby said Eon was interested in participating in “more than one” new nuclear power station in Britain, while wind power would be the main focus of a 1 billion pound investment programme in low-carbon energy over the next five years.

MSN 22nd Jan 2008 more >>

The British government’s recent decision to encourage new nuclear power plants has attracted much scrutiny. Andy Rowell and Richard Cookson report that “the Government held at least nine secret meetings at Downing Street with the bosses of nuclear energy companies while it formulated controversial plans for a new generation of the power plants.”

PR Watch 16th Jan 2008 more >>

Contractors are already in talks with potential partners to consider creating PFI-style consortia to deliver the next generation of nuclear plants. Balfour Beatty civil engineering managing director Andrew McNaughton said: “Banks will be nervous about funding a power station because of the construction risks, but a consortium that has a contractor on board putting in equity and a commitment to deliver the construction phase on time and to budget makes this a much more attractive proposition.”

Contract Journal 23rd Jan 2008 more >>

Proliferation

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett put US$50 million on the table in 2006 and challenged the world to raise another $100 million for an international nuclear fuel bank. He called it “an investment in a safer world” — a world that will soon host an expanding group of nuclear power reactors. The idea was developed by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a charity based in Washington DC that works to reduce the dangers of nuclear technology, and the proposal has met with enthusiasm from politicians, think-tanks and bureaucrats.

Nature 23rd Jan 2008 more >>

Torness

The unexpected shutdown of British Energy’s Torness-2 nuclear plant on Tuesday was caused by a common reactor trip and not due to a boiler problem at another company atomic plant, a company spokeswoman said.

Reuters 23rd Jan 2008 more >>

Bradwell

Residents have been urged to object to any future plans for a new nuclear build on the Bradwell site. A packed meeting of West Mersea residents heard that the future of the plant, once it is decommissioned, would be out of the hands of current managers Magnox South.

Essex Gazette 23rd Jan 2008 more >>

Carbon Capture

The SNP has attacked UK ministers for failing to act quickly to secure the project for Scotland. Mr Hosie said: “Instead of supporting a project to develop potentially planet- saving technology in Scotland, the UK government is prepared to squander vast resources on nuclear power, which the government’s own figures show will have a negligible impact on carbon abatement.”

Scotsman 23rd Jan 2008 more >>

Pakistan

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has dismissed fears that his country’s nuclear weapons could be acquired by Islamist militants.

BBC 23rd Jan 2008 more >>

Iran

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband hailed a new agreement between world powers on Iran’s nuclear programme and urged Tehran to shun the path of confrontation. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — plus Germany have agreed a new Security Council resolution against Iran over its disputed nuclear programme.

Interactive Investor 23rd Jan 2008 more >>

Europe

A blueprint for tackling global warming was put on the table yesterday by the EU, which challenged the US and other big polluters worldwide to join the battle against climate change. Setting out plans for the world’s first significant low-carbon economy, the EU ordered swingeing cuts in greenhouse gas emissions which included challenging targets for Britain. Under draft legislation unveiled by the European commission, 20% of Europe’s energy mix is to come from renewable sources by 2020, while Europe’s biggest polluting industries must slash their emissions by 21% against 2005 levels by the same deadline.

Guardian 24th Jan 2008 more >>

FT 24th Jan 2008 more >>

Promising a 20% cut in carbon emissions by 2020, the EU now claims to be the world leader in tackling climate change. But dig a little deeper, and the whole project starts to look like a smoke-and-mirrors trick to allow European industry to carry on polluting.

Guardian 24th Jan 2008 more >>

The government was putting a cheery smile on today’s European Union’s energy package which slaps on Britain a target of ensuring 15% of our energy comes from renewable sources by 2020.

Guardian 23rd Jan 2008 more >>

A rapid and vast expansion of renewable energy is on the way in Britain to help with the fight against climate change, it was revealed yesterday. In a mere dozen years, the amount of UK electricity generated by renewable technologies such as wind, wave and tidal power will have to reach nearly half the national total, under ambitious plans put forward by the European Commission in Brussels.

Independent 24th Jan 2008 more >>

The cost of household electricity bills is expected to rise by up to 15 per cent if Britain is to meet compulsory climate change targets announced yesterday. Under the European Commission’s proposed measures for renewable energy supplies and lower carbon dioxide emissions, Britain will be required to increase its proportion of renewable energy from 1.3 per cent in 2005 to 15 per cent in 2020 – the equivalent of 20,000 wind turbines being erected in the countryside and offshore if Britain is to meet the target.

Times 24th Jan 2008 more >>

Telegraph 24th Jan 2008 more >>

Under the European Commission’s proposals, each European Union state has its own legally binding target for increasing the share of renewables, such as wind and solar power, in its energy mix. At the top of the scale, Sweden, which already generates most of its electricity from nuclear and hydro-electric power, is being asked to raise renewables to 49 per cent of the country’s overall energy use. At the lower end of the scale, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic and Hungary are each being asked to meet a 13 per cent target.

FT 24th Jan 2008 more >>

Posted: 24 January 2008

23 January 2008

Europe

Britain may face a bill of more than £6 billion a year to meet tough new emissions targets due to be published today by the European Commission. To try to tackle global warming, all 27 European Union countries will be set targets for renewable energy use to ensure that 20 per cent of EU energy comes from renewables by 2020. The UK’s renewables target is expected to be set at about 15 per cent by 2020. British households face a long-term rise in energy bills to cover the cost of cutting carbon emissions, Paul Golby, chief executive of E.ON UK, said. E.ON was interested in participating in “more than one” new nuclear power station, while windpower would be the main focus of a £1 billion investment programme in low-carbon energy over the next five years, he said.

Times 23rd Jan 2008 more >>

Baltic

The Baltic states and Poland are struggling to settle the political, commercial and environmental problems involved in their joint plan for a €7bn ($10.2bn, £5.2bn) nuclear power station aimed at easing to ease expected regional electricity shortages and reducing dependence on Russian energy. The 3,200-megawatt plant would be built at the site of an ageing Soviet-era nuclear power station at Ignalina, Lithuania, which is to close in 2009 in line with European Union requirements. The partners plan for the plant to start operating in 2015, but industry executives say the deadline is tight. Lithuanian officials, who – with Ignalina’s looming closure – have the strongest interest in pressing ahead, say they expect the scheme to be agreed no later than this autumn.

FT 23rd Jan 2008 more >>

Sweden

Public opinion in Sweden has shifted in favor of more nuclear power in the country’s energy matrix, according to AP, which cited a poll by market research firm Synovate Temo.

Energy Business Review 23rd Jan 2008 more >>

World Nuclear News 22nd Jan 2008 more >>

Hinkley

MARK Formosa, who hopes to stand for the Conservatives at the next General Election in Taunton, has called for one or two new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point. He claims it would help cut energy bills in the area and warned that thousands of people are likely to die in the UK this winter because they cannot afford heating bills.

Somerset County Gazette 22nd Jan 2008 more >>

Torness

British Energy’s Torness-2 nuclear reactor in Scotland unexpectedly shutdown at 1329 GMT on Tuesday because of a boiler issue. Engineers were looking into why a boiler unit tripped, causing the reactor to stop.

Reuters 22nd Jan 2008 more >>

British Energy

British Energy are to sponsor the UK’s leading Climate Change Summit set to take place on the 12-13 February at the Regents Park Marriott Hotel in London. Speakers from Lehman Brothers, The Co-operative Group, Cadbury Schweppes, ASDA, British Gas, Tesco, Timberland, and AXA Insurance among many others will discuss how to approach climate change as a business opportunity and merge environmental responsibility and financial objectives by acting now.

Ethical Corporation 22nd Jan 2008 more >>

Skills

Engineering and science skills shortages need to be addressed before a new generation of nuclear power stations can be built, according to the newly appointed nuclear skills director of the industry’s sector skills council, Cogent.

People Management 24th Jan 2008 more >>

South Africa

Areva is to propose the sale of two of its third generation EPR European pressurised water nuclear reactors to South Africa through a consortium including EDF and Bouygues, the French nuclear engineering group told journalists. Areva will head the consortium which will also comprise South African engineering company Aveng, a spokesman said, adding that it will submit its offer at the end of January

Interactive Investor 22nd Jan 2008 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

As a US diplomat who has worked for every president from John F Kennedy to Bill Clinton, I did not believe that nuclear disarmament was practical or necessary. I have changed my mind, because like other cold war veterans, I believe nuclear weapons will be used in my children’s lifetime, and nuclear deterrence will not prevent this. It is fear, not hope, that motivates me.

Guardian 22nd Jan 2008 more >>

Nuclear Waste

Nuclear power’s credentials as a carbon-free energy source have helped to calm fears about its safety, but scientists have yet to solve the problem of the hundreds of thousands of years of toxic waste it generates. Most countries’ nuclear waste is stored in steel and concrete containers kept in indoor cold water ponds over ground or ventilated shafts. Ideally, scientists say, it should be placed in deep, underground repositories. That technology is not yet proven. But the government, which earlier this month backed a new generation of nuclear power plants, said it believed deep geological waste reserves would be viable and some scientists agree.

Christian Today 22nd Jan 2008 more >>

Reuters 22nd Jan 2008 more >>

A Nuclear expert from the University of Nottingham says the Government must build its first underground facility for nuclear waste. Radio-ecologist Professor George Shaw, from the School of Biosciences, admits choosing a location will be a controversial decision.

Nottingham Evening Post 22nd Jan 2008 more >>

Companies

Babcock International Group PLC and International Nuclear Solutions PLC (INS) said they have agreed for Babcock to buy INS Innovation Ltd for 39.8 mln stg in cash plus certain debts.

AFX 22nd Jan 2008 more >>

Scotland

East Lothian’s Labour MSP Iain Gray and Labour MP Anne Moffat have welcomed the green light from the UK Government for firms to begin planning for new nuclear power stations as part of a balanced energy policy including cleaner coal and renewable methods of electricity generation. Commenting on opposition to new nuclear power stations in Scotland by the SNP-led Scottish Government, Mr Gray commented: “Nuclear energy provides up to 40 per cent of our electricity at the moment and it is consistent baseload power. “It cannot be substituted by more intermittent sources like wind and new technologies like tidal, wave and carbon capture are not yet proven.

East Lothian News 18th Jan 2008 more >>

New Nukes

Letter from Jack Harris: Groups like Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the Green Party have demonised nuclear power for many years. However, 13 learned societies with scientific expertise have publicly endorsed the proposals.

South Wales Echo 22nd Jan 2008 more >>

Nuclear Terror

This is a world in which non-conventional weapons technologies – particularly of nuclear weapons – have already spread beyond the elite club of recognised nuclear states to other countries. States such as Pakistan and North Korea already possess nuclear capabilities, and Pakistan has been responsible for spreading them further, including to Iran. The most potent threat in a proliferated world may come from a non-state entity.

FT 23rd Jan 2008 more >>

Severn Barrage

Ministers argue that green groups cannot sensibly reject both nuclear power and big renewable energy projects.

Daily Mail 23rd Jan 2008 more >>

Posted: 23 January 2008

22 January 2008

Cornwall

Cornwall Friends of the Earth (CFoE) have sent a nearly 900 strong petition to Cornwall county council calling for it to work towards a nuclear free and non non-nuclear dependent Cornwall by becoming a member of the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) network .

This is the West Country 21st Jan 2008 more >>

Europe

The European Commission will on Wednesday unveil detailed plans to slash greenhouse gases by 2020, with the focus on renewable fuels and emissions trading, despite French attempts to push the nuclear option. France has recently been joined by Britain at the forefront of the pro-nuclear lobby, extolling it as a more reliable, less polluting fuel supply which cuts down on Europe’s huge dependence on Russia and the Middle East for increasingly scarce and expensive fossil fuels.

World Business Council on Sustainable Development 21st Jan 2008 more >>

Asia

Leading the way in the new nuclear resurgence in Asia are Indonesia and Thailand, while Vietnam is also planning to build its first nuclear power plant. As with the West, the governments of Indonesia and Thailand are both starting to face the backlash from environmentalists that has been all too common in Europe. Indonesia is also facing opposition from the powerful Muslim clerics.

Modern Power Systems 21st Jan 2008 more >>

India

Britain said on Monday it supported granting a waiver to India from a 45-nation group which polices exports of nuclear technology, a key step in finalising a nuclear energy deal with the United States.

Reuters 21st Jan 2008 more >>

Middle East

Oil near $100 and rapid economic growth are giving growing momentum to Middle East plans to develop nuclear energy to help meet escalating power demand. Record oil revenues have driven an economic boom that is straining the region’s power grids. To keep the export cash coming in, some of the largest oil and gas producers are looking at nuclear energy to minimise burning fuel for power at home.

Reuters 21st Jan 2008 more >>

Nuclear Testing

At the height of the Cold War in 1956, Plymouth sailor Doug Atkinson was one of hundreds of servicemen callously exposed to fallout from atomic weapons in Britain’s battle to stay ahead in the arms race.

Plymouth Herald 22nd Jan 2008 more >>

Nuclear War

Nato must prepare to launch pre-emptive nuclear attacks to ward off the use of weapons of mass destruction by its enemies, a group of former senior military officials has warned. Calling for a major change to Nato’s approach to defending its members and their interests, the authors of the report, which has been handed to Nato and Pentagon chiefs, said the first-strike use of nuclear weapons was a “indespensible instrument”.

Telegraph 22nd Jan 2008 more >>

Guardian 22 Jan 2008 more >>

Kate Hudson: Last month, the US Congress voted to eliminate all funding for a new US nuclear warhead, saying that the US needs to rethink its nuclear strategy in the changed world context. Last week Henry Kissinger and George Schultz called for concrete steps on nuclear disarmament. They were backed by a range of former US officials.

Guardian 21st Jan 2008 more >>

Sweden

Swedes are warming up to nuclear power becoming a bigger part of the country’s energy mix, according to a poll released Monday. The Scandinavian country is currently phasing out its nuclear reactors, but a poll by Synovate Temo suggested public opinion has shifted in favor of atomic energy. Forty-eight percent of the 1,026 respondents favored building new nuclear power stations, while 39 percent were against it and 13 percent were undecided.

IHT 21st Jan 2008 more >>

US

Concern is growing that the US could face electricity capacity shortages as utility companies delay much-needed new power plants, fearing restrictive carbon emissions laws under the next administration. Without additional capacity, some areas are projected to fall below their target capacity margins within two or three years.

FT 22nd Jan 2008 more >>

Posted: 22 January 2008