News June 2008

30 June 2008

Nuclear Proliferation

Four former foreign and defence secretaries have appealed to the world’s nuclear states to reduce their stockpiles of weapons in the hope of dissuading other countries from pursuing nuclear ambitions. Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Lord Owen, Lord Hurd of Westwell and Lord Robertson of Port Ellen say that as more nuclear material gets into circulation, the greater the risk that it will fall into the wrong hands. “Some of the new terrorist organisations of today would have little hesitation in using weapons of mass destruction to further their own nihilistic agendas,” they write.

Times 30th June 2008 more >>

During the Cold War nuclear weapons had the perverse effect of making the world a relatively stable place. That is no longer the case. Instead, the world is at the brink of a new and dangerous phase – one that combines widespread proliferation with extremism and geopolitical tension.

Times 30th June 2008 more >>

Michael Meacher: The authoritative International Energy Agency foresees an oil supply crunch within 5 years forcing up prices to unprecedented levels and greatly increasing western dependence on Opec. And the oil industry itself in its own report Facing the Hard Truths about Energy, produced by 175 authorities including all the heads of the world’s big oil companies, for the first time predicted that oil and gas may run short by 2015. The geopolitical implications of this gathering crisis for world oil supply 2010-15 are immense. The risk of further military interventions and conflicts in the Middle East is clearly high. Efforts by the US and China to use imports to meet growing demand “may escalate competition for oil to something as hot and dangerous as the nuclear arms race between the US and the Soviet Union.

Guardian 29th June 2008 more >>

Uranium

Mr Kloppers believes that nuclear power is on the rise, and that BHP can supply the new generation of reactors with fuel from its huge Olympic Dam mine in southern Australia. “The world has forgotten how to build nuclear reactors as it hasn’t built any in the last 20 years.” Mr Kloppers says that China will be at the forefront of the nuclear revival, bringing down the cost of reactor construction in the same way it did with the cost of building steel mills.

FT 30th June 2008 more >>

Iran

The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards warned at the weekend that Iranian retaliation for a strike on its nuclear facilities could include blocking oil routes and striking Israel with long-range missiles. “Any confrontation between Iran and non-regional countries would surely be extended to oil which would definitely lead to a huge increase in prices,” Mohammad-Ali Jafari told the state-owned Jam-e Jam newspaper.

FT 30th June 2008 more >>

The White House has been reported to have secretly stepped up covert operations inside Iran with the aim of destablising its leadership. President George W Bush requested and received funding of $400 million (£200 million) for the plan after he made a secret appeal to Congressional leaders last year.

Telegraph 30th June 2008 more >>

Iran is still reviewing an international package of economic incentives designed to get Tehran to curb its nuclear programme, the country’s official news agency, IRNA, reported.

Express 29th June 2008 more >>

Spain

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez said Saturday he will not extend the life of Spain’s ageing nuclear plants as he repeated his government’s commitment to phasing out nuclear power.

Interactive Investor 29th June 2008 more >>

Renewables

Britons are prepared to back a massive expansion of renewable energy announced by the Prime Minister last week, a startling poll shows. Nearly 60 per cent of respondents told Ipsos Mori that the UK “should invest now in renewable energy even if it increases the price of energy bills”, 19 per cent believing this “strongly”.

Independent on Sunday 29th June 2008 more >>

Every household in the country will face a £213 rise in their annual energy bills if the UK is to meet European Union emissions targets, according to an Ernst & Young report, which also warns that half of all Britons are not prepared to pay.

Independent 30th June 2008 more >>

Posted: 30 June 2008

29 June 2008

Nuclear Waste

Cumbria last week took the first steps towards volunteering to be the site of Britain’s first underground nuclear dump, in return for a hefty government “bribe”. Its county council decided on Thursday to start talks about the implications of the deal with two local borough councils: Copeland, which has already made an “expression of interest” in hosting the dump, and Allerdale, which is expected to follow suit.

Independent on Sunday 29th June 2008 more >>

Dalgety Bay

THE struggle to defeat Hitler took place almost 70 years ago but it has left one Scottish community with a disturbing legacy that could last for centuries. The gardens of six homes in a coastal community have been partially dug up and removed by the Ministry of Defence after traces of radioactive contamination were found. Hazardous particles of radium-226 from a wartime airbase were identified near homes in Dalgety Bay, Fife, by officials working for the Defence Estates organisation.

Scotland on Sunday 29th June 2008 more >>

The Economy

Almost unnoticed, something momentous has happened. It could even turn out to be the most hopeful development for both the economy and the environment in a generation, and set Britain on track for a new industrial revolution, powered by clean energy. Over the past two weeks the Prime Minister, his predecessor and the Leader of the Opposition have all insisted that any future growth must be green – as have world business leaders. Indeed Gordon Brown and David Cameron have gone further, making it clear that otherwise there may well be no growth at all. This is not what is supposed to happen at this ominous stage of the economic cycle. For months the commentariat have been telling us that green concerns will inevitably slip down the agenda as times get tough. But there has been an unexpected, if overdue, paradigm shift: the environment and the economy are now recognised to be interdependent. Most media coverage of the new strategy concentrated on possible increases in fuel bills. But Downing Street has largely shrugged it off on a rare high at having for once initiated something new and important. And who knows? If it happens, and starts a trend of creating real change, it might breathe new life not just into the economy and the environment, but into the increasingly moribund Brown premiership itself.

Independent on Sunday 29th June 2008 more >>

Climate

Tony Blair: The vast majority of new power stations in China and India will be coal-fired. So developing carbon capture and storage technology is not optional; it is of the essence. Without at least some countries engaging in a substantial renaissance of nuclear power, it is hard to see how any global deal could work. For developing countries to grow, they will need funds and technology; otherwise they will not be able to reduce emissions within the necessary time.

Sunday Times 29th June 2008 more >>

Alternatives

Glasgow’s ambitious plans include a new city-wide district heating scheme, more energy-efficient homes, light rail transport and a “state of the art” telecommunications network. These will all, it is hoped, cut the pollution that is warming the globe. A group will investigate the possibility of piping hot water to homes, offices and public buildings across Glasgow as well as how to develop “low-carbon public transport”. It will be co-ordinated by Professor Jim McDonald, deputy principal of the University of Strathclyde. “There are tremendous opportunities for Glasgow in the development of low-carbon energy technologies, efficient homes and the creation of sustainable communities and transport. All of this could help to make Glasgow the most sustainable city in Europe,” he said. “The study will present some ambitious, but achievable, goals which could help to improve Glasgow’s environment as well as provide jobs and develop the city’s clean-energy sector. We hope this feasibility study will be the first step towards making those changes a reality.”

Sunday Herald 29th June 2008 more >>

North Korea

US SECRETARY of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday called on North Korea to fulfil its obligations and accused the secretive state of not answering US suspicions that it is enriching uranium and proliferating technology when it released an inventory of its nuclear plans last week.

Scotland on Sunday 29th June 2008 more >>

BBC 28th June 2008 more >>

Vice President Dick Cheney fought furiously to block efforts by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to strike a controversial US compromise deal with North Korea over the communist state’s nuclear programme.

Telegraph 28th June 2008 more >>

Iran

Iran has moved ballistic missiles into launch positions, with Israel’s Dimona nuclear plant among the possible targets, defence sources said last week.

Sunday Times 29th June 2008 more >>

Coal

Fresh doubts have been raised over plans for new coal-fired power plants after the environment regulator said it expects that those not fitted with expensive carbon capture and storage (CCS) equipment in future will have to close. The government’s leading environment adviser, Jonathon Porritt, has also attacked the plan to build up to eight new coal plants, warning they could ‘destroy the overall credibility of the government’s Climate Change Programme’. In a statement to The Observer, the Environment Agency said that any coal plants built before CCS was available ‘cannot undermine future carbon budgets and targets’. It added: ‘This is likely to mean that the station is forced to fit CCS in the future or close.’ The agency does not specify when companies would have to fit the equipment, but a spokesman said it would have to be ‘technically proven’, and that forecasts for this range from 2020 to 2030.

Observer 29th June 2008 more >>

Posted: 29 June 2008

28 June 2008

New Nukes

Olkiluoto3, which, like its sister construction in France, has been beset with problems. Nonetheless, the pair are being presented as part of a “nuclear renaissance”, driven by the price of fossil fuels, the need to reduce carbon emissions and the perceived impossibility of meeting our energy needs via renewable sources. Encouraged by the UK government, a behind-the-scenes scramble for control of the sites supporting our existing fleet of 19 reactors is under way, on the assumption that these will be the most likely spots for new-build. With up to a third of these old stations due for retirement within 20 years, the UK is being seen as a beachhead from which new fleets might be rolled out across Europe and the world.

Guardian 28th June 2008 more >>

Tony Blair admitted yesterday that he could have done more in his decade as prime minister to tackle the threat posed by climate change. Given that most of the new power stations being built in India and China will be coal-fired, Blair repeated his support for an expansion of nuclear power.

Guardian 28th June 2008 more >>

Letter from Professor David Elliott: It is good to see bold targets being set for renewable energy. But it appears that there could be a conflict with the government’s parallel commitment to greatly expanded nuclear power. UK “baseload” is about 20 gigawatts (GW), nearly a quarter of total UK generating capacity – this is kept available at all times and supplies all the electricity required at periods of low demand, like at night. It is currently proposed that we build perhaps 20GW of new nuclear plant. In addition it is proposed that by 2020 we should have up to 30GW of offshore wind capacity and perhaps an 8.6GW tidal barrage on the Severn Estuary. Nuclear plants can’t easily vary their power output to follow changing consumer demand patterns and are, in any case, usually kept running at full power in order to pay for their significant capital costs. At periods of low demand it would seem therefore that, in the absence of major electricity storage facilities, if wind or tidal energy inputs to the grid are available, the electricity from these, or any other renewables sources, could not actually be used. Put simply, for much of the time, big renewables and big nuclear would be incompatible.

Guardian 28th June 2008 more >>

Climate

Letter from Colin Challen MP: Nicholas Stern’s doubling from 1% to 2% of GDP the amount he thinks needs spending on mitigating climate change is welcome, but why hasn’t he gone the whole hog and trebled it to the 3% identified in his original report, which may give us an evens chance of keeping within a two degrees temperature increase? The fact is, we haven’t even spent anything like 1%, or £14bn per annum, since Stern’s report was published, and every pound we don’t spend in one year is carried forward to the next. Like an unmanageable credit card bill, we will eventually be drowned in interest payments, except in this case the “interest” is the carbon budget which we’re spending like there’s no tomorrow. Well before 2050, that budget will be exhausted.

Guardian 28th June 2008 more >>

Chernobyl

The FSA has published three reports on the monitoring of sheep at farms remaining under post-Chernobyl restrictions. As a result of the surveys: two farms in Scotland have been de-restricted – leaving five under restriction; no farms were recommended for de-restriction in Cumbria – with nine farms remaining under restriction. It was impossible to conduct any surveys in North Wales last year, due to the outbreak of foot and mouth disease. In 1986, almost 9000 farms were under these restrictions in the UK. Since then, the levels of radioactivity have fallen in some of the affected areas. The number of farms still under restriction in Cumbria, Scotland and Wales – the areas covered by the three reports – is now 369.

Food Standards Agency 27th June 2008 more >>

Companies

Ian King will push BAE into alternative businesses such as building nuclear power stations to offset falling defence spending. The new chief executive wants Europe’s largest defence company to expand into the civil sector. Initially, these efforts will focus on the provision of security and antiterrorism equipment in the UK, the United States and South Africa. However, Mr King is also understood to be interested in using BAE’s nuclear submarine capability in the civil market.

Times 28th June 2008 more >>

Sellafield

Workers at the Sellafield nuclear plant are to be balloted over industrial action after pay talks broke down. The union Prospect rejected a 2% offer in May, describing it as the “worst in living memory”.

BBC 27th June 2008 more >>

Decommissioning

Corus Process Engineering has successfully completed the manufacture and assembly of two six metre diameter steel lifting girdles which will be used to remove 400 tonne heat exchangers from Calder Hall.

Engineer 27th June 2007 more >>

North Korea

By blowing up the cooling tower of its Yongbyon nuclear facility yesterday and publishing a report on its nuclear program on June 26, North Korea signaled its willingness to begin a nuclear disarmament program.

World Socialist Web 28th June 2008 more >>

Independent 28th June 2008 more >>

Times 28th June 2008 more >>

ITN 27th June 2008 more >>

Telegraph 27th June 2008 more >>

Aberdeen Press & Journal 28th June 2008 more >>

Daily Mail 27th June 2008 more >>

Guardian 27th June 2008 more >>

Today the ministers from the Group of Eight industrialised countries met in Kyoto, Japan, for a second day of talks expected to focus on nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran, the Middle East peace process, and the furore over Zimbabwe’s presidential election.

Wales Online 27th June 2008 more >>

Posted: 28 June 2008

27 June 2008

New Nukes

In addition to turning to wind power, Labour also plans to revive the flagging nuclear industry. Britain’s ten working nuclear power stations currently produce 20 per cent of the country’s electricity.

Daily Mail 27th June 2008 more >>

France

Twenty Greenpeace activists have successfully stopped construction of a new nuclear reactor being built in Flamanville, France, from restarting, for over 50 hours. Although building was halted because of safety problems, these are still unresolved. The activists have been blocking three quarries that supply the gravel and sand for the concrete needed to build the foundations of the reactor. The peaceful direct action is in response to the French Nuclear Safety Authority’s (ASN) decision to allow construction to resume.

Greenpeace International 26th June 2008 more >>

Low Level Waste

The UK’s first nuclear recycling plant to be based outside an existing atomic facility is being built in Cumbria. The plant, at Lillyhall Industrial Estate near Workington, will handle 3,000 tonnes of scrap metal a year from nuclear sites all over the country.

BBC 26th June 2008 more >>

Sellafield

ANOTHER attempt will be made Friday to settle Sellafield’s long-running pay dispute affecting up to 10,000 nuclear workers. The dispute which could still result in industrial action has dragged on for weeks as negotiations between the unions and Sellafield Ltd have reached deadlock.

Whitehaven News 26th June 2008 more >>

Nuclear Waste

THE people of Copeland will not have the country’s only underground nuclear waste repository “dumped on them” without having any say in the matter. Copeland borough councillors agreed this week to open talks with the government about the area’s potential for a repository – but not accept one at this stage. Council leader Elaine Woodburn said: “It is simply an expression of interest, completely without commitment, it is not saying we want a repository. “At the end of the day that will be up to the people of Copeland.

Whitehaven News 25th June 2008 more >>

Cumbria

PRIME Minister Gordon Brown has been invited to West Cumbria for next month’s launch of Britain’s Energy Coast, a £2 billion 20-year programme of projects to boost the area’s economy.

Whitehaven News 25th June 2008 more >>

Renewables

Household gas bills could rise by up to 37% and electricity costs by 13% as the government lines up consumers to pay for a green revolution that would move Britain from oil dependence to a low carbon economy. A renewable energy strategy outlined by ministers yesterday signalled that energy bills could soar by hundreds of pounds, and could push over 2 million extra people into fuel poverty.

Guardian 27th June 2008 more >>

Scotland is planning a renewable energy revolution that would trump the ambitious strategy announced yesterday in London by Gordon Brown – and without building any nuclear power stations. Brown’s UK-wide strategy sets out how the nation as a whole could reach a target of 30-35% of electricity being generated from renewables by 2020. But ministers in the devolved government in Edinburgh said Scotland will reach this target within three years, and by 2020 would be at 50%. To help achieve this, more than 40 years since the last big hydroelectric dams flooded glens across the Highlands, Scottish ministers, power companies and land owners plan a new wave of hydro schemes, and claim it will provide a rich source of cheap, green power.

Guardian 27th June 2008 more >>

From the prime minister who went to Saudi Arabia at the weekend to ask for more oil? From the energy minister who admitted just a few weeks ago to negotiating with the EU to reduce the UK’s green commitments? Surely it was too good to be true? We shall see. But judging by yesterday’s statements, the government has at last got serious about the need to move the UK from being an economy ever-more hooked on gas and oil from abroad to one that generates its own, cleaner energy. It was not just the promise of 30 times the amount of offshore wind power, 7m solar water-heating systems, reducing energy demand – all by 2020 – it was also the language used. Gordon Brown forecast “the most dramatic change in energy policy since the advent of nuclear power” while admitting it would be a wrench – and an expensive one at that.

Guardian 27th June 2008 more >>

In the next 12 years, 7,000 wind turbines will spring up across the hills and around the coasts of Britain, in a £60bn renewable energy programme outlined by Gordon Brown.

Independent 27th June 2008 more >>

British industry has given a cautious response to the Prime Minister’s alternative energy strategy, which he claimed will create thousands of new business opportunities and 160,000 jobs. Gordon Brown said it would cost companies about £100m over the next 12 years, as Britain moved to clean up the environment and generate more power from renewable energy sources such as wind and power. But the price would be worth it, he said.

Telegraph 27th June 2008 more >>

India

After more than four years of alliance, the Indian government and its communist allies appear closer than ever to a split over a civilian nuclear deal with the United States, which could spark early general elections. If the split happens — and many think it is a matter of weeks — the government will quickly need to find another party to provide it with a parliamentary majority, or face the risk of early elections before scheduled May, 2009 polls.

Reuters 26th June 2008 more >>

US

Republican John McCain on Wednesday held off opponents of a Nevada nuclear waste repository as he outlined ways to resolve the U.S. energy crisis. The presidential candidate reiterated his call for building 45 new nuclear power plants by 2030 – and a total of 100 at some point beyond that – during a speech at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Despite the waste they might generate, McCain said they are part of a comprehensive strategy to wean the United States off dependence on foreign oil.

Daily Mail 26th June 2008 more >>

North Korea

Timeline for the nuclear dispute.

Guardian website 26th June 2008 more >>

BBC 26th June 2008 more >>

The Korean peninsula took a significant step towards being nuclear-free yesterday when North Korea submitted a long-awaited inventory of its atomic activities, prompting the US to initiate steps to remove Pyongyang from its list of states that sponsor terrorism.

Guardian 27th June 2008 more >>

Daily Mail 27th June 2008 more >>

Times 27th June 2008 more >>

BBC 26th June 2008 more >>

Independent 26th June 2008 more >>

Mirror 27th June 2008 more >>

Telegraph 26th June 2008 more >>

Italy

Ansaldo Energia – which is to be spun off through an initial public offering by Finmeccanica, its parent company – is hoping to lead Italy’s nuclear renaissance under the centre-right government of Silvio Berlusconi.

FT 26th June 2008 more >>

Syria

The UN nuclear watchdog’s probe into an alleged covert nuclear facility in the Syrian desert has gotten off to “a good start,” a top official said on Wednesday. “It was a good start, but there’s still work that remains to be done,” Olli Heinonen, deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told reporters on returning from a three-day trip to Syria.

Middle East Online 26th June 2008 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

America has withdrawn the last of its nuclear weapons from military bases in Britain, it was claimed yesterday. The remaining 110 freefall nuclear bombs are understood to have been removed from RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk on President George Bush’s orders. News of the apparent withdrawal emerged in a report by the Federation of American Scientists, a group set up in the Cold War by U.S. physicists.

Daily Mail 27th June 2008 more >>

Scotsman 27th June 2008 more >>

Times 27th June 2008 more >>

East Anglian Daily Press 26th June 2008 more >>

Kate Hudson: Have you ever felt that protest is a waste of time, that “they” don’t listen, and that you may as well go shopping or do DIY instead? Well, think again. Today we heard that the US has secretly withdrawn its 110 free-fall nuclear bombs from an RAF base at Lakenheath in Suffolk.

Guardian 26th June 2008 more >>

Posted: 27 June 2008

26 June 2008

New Nukes

Reforms of Britain’s planning laws to allow new nuclear power stations to be approved and built quickly were necessary to help reduce the country’s dependence on oil and to combat climate change, Prime Minister Gordon Brown will say in a major speech on energy today. Brown’s remarks come a day after the government yesterday defeated an attempt by rebel MPs from the ruling Labour Party to let ministers have the final say on planning decisions instead of an independent unelected commission.

AFX 26th June 2008 more >>

Prime Minister Gordon Brown overcame defections from Labour allies in parliament to defeat an amendment that allowed lawmakers, rather than an independent commission, to approve nuclear power plants and airport runways.

Bloomberg 25th June 2008 more >>

Gordon Brown yesterday saw off a small backbench rebellion over planning law reforms designed to speed up decisions on big infrastructure projects such as airport runways and nuclear power stations. Rebel Labour MPs, backed by Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, sought to ensure that ministers retained political control over any decision taken by the proposed Infrastructure Planning Commission.

Guardian 26th June 2008 more >>

Times 26th June 2008 more >>

Letter from Steuart Campbell: Professor Stephen Salter and I can argue forever about the actual cost of disposing of radioactive waste (Letters, 23 June), yet it remains a fact any operator of new nuclear power stations in this country will include, as British Energy already does, an allowance in its operating cost to build a decommissioning and fuel-disposal fund.

Scotsman 26th June 2008 more >>

Wales

Wales needs to use biofuels such as ryegrass, invest in energy from the sea and produce nuclear fuel to cut its growing carbon emissions. This was the message today in a paper to an Assembly committee looking into ways to stop global warming. The paper, by the Welsh Energy Research Centre to the assembly sustainability committee, was critical of Wales and its approach to carbon reduction.

News Wales 25th June 2008 more >>

Nuclear Waste

The LGA held a web event on 25th June – an opportunity for you to ask questions about how the Government is proposing to find a site for a Geological Disposal Facility for higher activity nuclear waste. High activity nuclear waste includes nuclear waste produced by nuclear power generation, research and military activities. It typically poses a significant risk to human health and the natural environment and can remain hazardous for thousands of years. This is a very important issue. Previous attempts to site geological disposal facilities have been dogged by controversy. The Government has announced its intentions to produce a white paper on these issues setting out a new way forward. On the behalf of the LGA, NuLeAf have prepared to a position statement.

LGA 25th June 2008 more >>

Climate

The author of an influential British government report arguing the world needed to spend just 1% of its wealth tackling climate change has warned that the cost of averting disaster has now doubled. Lord Stern of Brentford made headlines in 2006 with a report that said countries needed to spend 1% of their GDP to stop greenhouse gases rising to dangerous levels. Failure to do this would lead to damage costing much more, the report warned – at least 5% and perhaps more than 20% of global GDP. But speaking yesterday in London, Stern said evidence that climate change was happening faster than had been previously thought meant that emissions needed to be reduced even more sharply.

Guardian 26th June 2008 more >>

Renewables

The government will today take a bold step it believes will remove the biggest single barrier to renewable energy: access to the National Grid. Today, wind farms can wait 10 years or more to supply homes and businesses. To end this, ministers have told the high-voltage network to start building connections before formal financial commitments from users. The operating company, National Grid plc, confirmed it had agreed to start “sharing” of transmission lines so electricity from wind could use them when needed, handing back capacity to conventional power when the blades are not turning. The government also plans to change the remit of the regulator, Ofgem, so it puts more emphasis on low carbon schemes to use the 10GW of green power stuck at various stages of development. The planning process will be also speeded up, and the Ministry of Defence has been told to drop objections over alleged radar interference from turbines.

Guardian 26th June 2008 more >>

Today is the test of whether the Brown tenure is fixable. This morning he will launch his “green revolution”; the most ambitious change in energy policy in 50 years. Wind turbines will become “as familiar as pylons”, according to a No 10 insider. Offshore wind production will increase by 30 times; 35 per cent of UK electricity should come from renewable sources (up from five per cent). New nuclear power stations will be built. Greenhouse gas emissions could be down by nearly 20 per cent within 12 years; oil use should drop by seven per cent.

Telegraph 26th June 2008 more >>

Telegraph 26th June 2008 more >>

Telegraph 26th June 2008 more >>

Householders will be warned today to expect five years of higher home energy bills to pay for a green power revolution. John Hutton, the Business Secretary, will outline plans for a massive shift away from fossil fuels to wind, solar and tidal power, but will add that the change comes at a price. “We think there will be a cost,” he told The Times yesterday. The plan, which he calls the biggest shake-up in Britain’s power generation since the Industrial Revolution, requires £100 billion of new investment but would lead to five years of higher gas and electricity bills from about 2015, he said.

Times 26th June 2008 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

If you thought that the clusters of nuclear bombs carried around the world in submarines were designed to ensure that they could never go off by accident, think again. New Scientist reveals today that more than 1,700 nuclear warheads have design flaws that could conceivably cause multiple warheads to explode one after another. According to a UK Ministry of Defence safety manual, the effect known as “popcorning”.

New Scientist (subscription required) 25th June 2008 more >>

robedwards.com 25th June 2008 more >>

Telegraph 26th June 2008 more >>

Scotsman 26th June 2008 more >>

Herald 26th June 2008 more >>

The US has removed its nuclear weapons from Britain, ending a contentious presence spanning more than half a century, a report will say today. According to the study by the Federation of American Scientists, the last 110 American nuclear weapons on UK soil were withdrawn from RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk on the orders of President George Bush. The report’s author, Hans Kristensen, one of the leading experts on Washington’s nuclear arsenal, said the move had happened in the past few years, but had only come to light yesterday.

Guardian 26th June 2008 more >>

Most American bases in Europe where nuclear weapons are stored have inadequate security, a secret internal US air force review has found. The report, which was ordered after the US air force lost track of six nuclear cruise missiles last August, found that “support buildings, fencing, lighting and security systems” were in need of repair. In some cases, it was found that conscripts with less than nine-months experience were being used to guard the nuclear weapons. Elsewhere private security guards were used to protect the bombs.

Guardian 26th June 2008 more >>

Mayors for Peace

New mayor Boris Johnson has pulled out of a Mayors for Peace, saying the city’s membership was “not a priority”.

Yahoo News 25th June 2008 more >>

North Korea

Attention is focused on North Korea amid reports the communist country could today hand over a long-awaited declaration of its nuclear activities.

BBC 26th June 2008 more >>

Reuters 26th June 2008 more >>

China

China is currently considering raising its nuclear power targets to more than 5 pct of total capacity by 2020, according to Caijing magazine, citing sources in the China Electricity Council. The state planner, the National Development and Reform Commission, had previously aimed to lift nuclear capacity to 4 pct of the total by 2020, amounting to an estimated 40,000 megawatts, but it is now considering changes to an industry development plan released last year, Caijing said. The plan will also be revised to include the construction of nuclear power plants in China’s interior, the report said.

AFX 26th June 2008 more >>

Jordan

Britain and Jordan are likely to enter a nuclear co-operation agreement this week-end.

Mathaba 26th June 2008 more >>

Iran

Efforts to persuade Iran to freeze its programme of uranium enrichment are entering a dangerous new phase. Viewed from Tehran, the west is playing a classic game of good cop, bad cop. The good cop, the EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, tells them that a package of incentives is still on the table if they halt enrichment. The bad cop, Israel, sends 100 fighter planes 870 miles into the eastern Mediterranean (the distance between Israel and Iran’s main enrichment plant at Natanz) for an exercise designed to show military readiness for a long-range attack.

Guardian 26th June 2008 more >>

U.S. President George W. Bush believes the Iran nuclear issue can be solved diplomatically and that U.S. allies including Israel favour the same approach, the White House said on Wednesday. The U.S. position was set out after The New York Times reported last week Israel had practiced a possible military strike against Iran.

Mirror 26th June 2008 more >>

Syria

Syria gave U.N. investigators a good look at the site of what Washington says was a secret nuclear reactor before Israel destroyed it, but initial checks were inconclusive and more are needed, they said on Wednesday.

Reuters 25th June 2008 more >>

Posted: 26 June 2008

25 June 2008

Planning

Gordon Brown has intervened to offer fresh concessions to head off tonight’s expected rebellion by up to 60 Labour MPs over controversial plans to hand over planning decisions for big projects, such as nuclear power stations and runways, to a new, unelected body. His offer to support one detailed rebel amendment, late on Monday night, led to a leading opponent, Clive Betts, Labour MP for Sheffield Attercliffe, deciding to back the government tonight. But other rebels, including John Grogan, MP for Selby, and John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington, are unconvinced. This means the government could face a close shave in the vote tonight.

Guardian 25th June 2008 more >>

Energy Prices

Senior executives from Britain’s leading energy companies yesterday warned householders to prepare for further sharp rises in gas and electricity bills. They told the Commons business and enterprise committee that rising global energy costs were increasing the pressure on companies, and refused to rule out rises of up to 40% in household bills.

Guardian 25th June 2008 more >>

Independent 25th June 2008 more >>

Telegraph 25th June 2008 more >>

Times 25th June 2008 more >>

India

India’s ruling coalition is due to hold key talks with its Communist allies on signing the delayed landmark US-India civil nuclear cooperation deal. The talks come amid reports that the Congress-led coalition could go ahead with deal and risk an early election.

BBC 25th June 2008 more >>

Syria

Israel believes that Syria was planning to supply Iran with spent nuclear fuel for reprocessing into weapons-grade plutonium from the site it bombed last September, and which is currently being inspected by the UN’s nuclear watchdog. The claim from an adviser to Israel’s national security council, came yesterday as speculation mounts about a possible Israeli attack on Iran. The Israeli government officially backs UN sanctions to force Tehran to halt its uranium enrichment but has little faith they will succeed.

Guardian 25th June 2008 more >>

US

When candidates agree, it is not always front-page news. Election coverage hinges on conflict. Effective governance works differently. The next president must work to build consensus to get things done. Nuclear security is an excellent place to start; in fact, a remarkable bipartisan consensus is emerging that can help the 44th president revolutionise America’s policy towards nuclear weapons. In October, Senator Barack Obama said that “America seeks a world in which there are no nuclear weapons”. This month, Senator John McCain gave an important policy address on nuclear non-proliferation, committing America to the same – if less specific – goal. For the first time in history, both main party candidates have agreed to put America on a path towards a world without nuclear weapons and all the risks they bring.

FT 25th June 2008 more >>

Israel

No real media attention was given to a stunning declaration made yesterday by Dalia Itzik, the Knesset Speaker. Greeting the French president Nicola Sarkozy and thanking France for giving Israel nuclear weapons.

Report Iran 24th June 2008 more >>

Posted: 25 June 2008

24 June 2008

New Nukes

More than 60 Labour MPs are threatening to derail plans to weaken people’s long-standing right to oppose the building of new nuclear power stations and airport runways in their own “backyards”.

Independent 24th June 2008 more >>

Q&A What is the Planning Bill

Times 24th June 2008 more >>

Britain will face severe power outages by 2013 and run out of energy altogether two years later if plans to build nuclear and wind energy facilites are delayed, according to business leaders. The Confederation of British Industries (CBI) has warned MPs that any watering down of a new fast-track planning system will have disastrous consequences for the country by slowing down the construction of new power plants and renewable energy sources.

Times 24th June 2008 more >>

For major infrastructure projects, Britain’s planning process desperately needs speeding up. That is the intention of the Government’s Planning Bill, currently going through the Commons (see page 15). The Bill’s proposal to streamline eight different consent regimes into one will cut out a good deal of waste and confusion. Its proposed national policy statements on Britain’s transport, energy, water and waste needs should give greater clarity to developers, and help to circumvent activists who have delighted in delaying inquiries with lengthy debates about the principles of policy, such as nuclear power, before tackling the specifics of the site.

Times 24th June 2008 more >>

The Worldwatch Institute, the D.C.-based environmental think-tank just produced a scorecard on nuclear power’s progress around the world: It’s growing one-tenth as fast as wind power. Last year, just 2 gigawatts of new nuclear power were brought on line, or a 0.5% increase over the world’s existing nuclear capacity. While there are 34 reactors under construction around the world, a dozen of them including one in the U.S. have been in the works for 20 years. Projects from Finland to China are routinely delayed and over-budget.

Wall Street Journal 19th June 2008 more >>

Worldwatch Paper 19th June 2008 more >>

UK generators need “long-term certainty” around the new nuclear framework before the construction of a new generation of reactors can begin, Electricite de France’s UK division EdF Energy said today. “The framework must include a settled planning system, an agreed approach to managing waste and decommissioning costs, a clear licensing regime for nuclear reactor designs and a long-term price for carbon,” the chief operating officer of EdF Energy’s energy branch, Martin Lawrence, said at a nuclear energy conference in London. But EdF Energy welcomed the recently established Office of Nuclear Development, which is designed to draw together the different nuclear policy strands across government. “The new office will be a way of creating a stable long-term framework,” Lawrence said. British Energy (BE)’s chief executive, Bill Coley, speaking at the same conference, identified the difficulty of securing planning permission as the major obstacle to new infrastructure projects in the UK.

Argus Media 23rd June 2008 more >>

Nuclear Waste

British Energy will seek approval to temporarily store all the waste from its Sizewell-B atomic plant on site and wants the government to set a date for building a longer-term repository. The waste will be stored above ground at Sizewell, near Leiston, southeast England, until the station stops producing electricity, Chief Executive Officer Bill Coley told reporters today at a conference in London. The government should set dates for when it wants an underground waste storage site to be ready and a first new nuclear plant to be completed, Coley said. The government plans to develop a site to store radioactive waste as part of plans to encourage the construction of reactors to replace older generators. A deadline is “a signal that the financial community wants to hear,’’ Coley said. “You’d give a sense of urgency and make the process more aggressive and more focused.’’

Bloomberg 23rd June 2008 more >>

Nuclear Skills

Sellafield Limited, the company in charge of decommissioning two of Britain’s nuclear power plants, is to become a sponsor of one of the new quasi-autonomous academies. The company will run the new West Lakes Academy in Cumbria alongside the University of Central Lancashire and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. Sellafield claimed the move would ensure a future generation of nuclear experts by “reinforcing the nuclear skills base” in the country. Unions have opposed the academy programme, arguing it is “inappropriate” for private organisations to have control over issues such as teachers’ pay and the curriculum in state schools.

Public Private Finance 24th June 2008 more >>

BBC 24th June 2008 more >>

Wigan Today 23rd June 2008 more >>

Times 23rd June 2008 more >>

Letter from General Secretary of Prospect: Your article on the risks to timely completion of the generic design assessment process for new nuclear power stations (Report, June 23) comes as no surprise to Prospect. As the union that represents the health and safety specialists on whose skills the GDA depends, we have been warning for years that the government needs both to train more people to do this work and to pay them enough to do it. Those with the necessary expertise can earn far more in the commercial sector and the rigid public-sector pay cap means that the HSE cannot offer comparable rates.

Guardian 24th June 2008 more >>

France

20 Greenpeace activists this morning stopped construction of the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) in Flamanville from restarting today by blocking the entrance to three quarries which supply sand and gravel for the build, as none of the safety problems that shut the construction down in May has been addressed.

Greenpeace International 24th June 2008 more >>

Saudi Arabia

Here’s a quick geopolitical quiz: What country is three times the size of Texas and has more than 300 days of blazing sun a year? What country has the world’s largest oil reserves resting below miles upon miles of sand? And what country is being given nuclear power, not solar, by President George W. Bush, even when the mere assumption of nuclear possession in its region has been known to provoke pre-emptive air strikes, even wars? If you answered Saudi Arabia to all of these questions, you’re right.

Wall Street Journal 10th June 2008 more >>

Iran

John Bolton, the former American ambassador to the United Nations, has predicted that Israel could attack Iran after the November presidential election but before George W Bush’s successor is sworn in.

Telegraph 24th June 2008 more >>

Share prices were lower at lunchtime after hesitant early trading gave way to a sharp fall in response to a fresh spike in oil prices and a rumour — later denied by Iran — of an attack on Iranian nuclear installations.

Interactive Investor 24th June 2008 more >>

Iran on Tuesday condemned the European Union’s adoption of new sanctions over its controversial nuclear drive, warning that the measures could damage fresh diplomatic efforts to solve the crisis. The foreign ministry accused the bloc of “double standards” in imposing the sanctions just over a week after world powers presented Iran with a new package of proposals aimed at ending the standoff.

Middle East Online 24th June 2008 more >>

Reuters 24th June 2008 more >>

Israel is remaining silent on reports it has rehearsed an attack on nuclear sites in Iran.

Sky News 24th June 2008 more >>

Iran says the additional sanctions by the European Union will not affect Tehran’s nuclear programme.

Express 24th June 2008 more >>

Six years ago, President George W. Bush denounced Iran, Iraq and North Korea as founder members of what he memorably labelled the “axis of evil”. Today the two surviving members of that select group enjoy very different fates. US policy on Iran has yet to result in negotiations or a slowdown of Tehran’s nuclear programme. But Washington’s approach on North Korea has led both to talks and to the disabling of the Stalinist state’s Yongbyon reactor, which to date has furnished enough plutonium for several nuclear bombs.

FT 24th June 2008 more >>

Nicolas Sarkozy today overturned more than a dozen years of icy relations between France and Israel when he became the first French President to visit the Jewish State for 12 years, pledging to “block” Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Times Online 23rd June 2008 more >>

Recent reports that blueprints for an advanced nuclear weapon could have been sold to “some of the most treacherous regimes in the world” are pretty frightening. But is there less to the story than meets the eye? It seems the only thing really new is the suggestion that the designs are for a bomb small enough to suit Iran’s requirements – so is the story more about politics than proliferation?

Guardian 23rd June 2008 more >>

Middle East

A comprehensive and well-detailed report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, released last week, sheds a pile of information on the state of nuclear proliferation in one of the world’s most volatile regions – the Middle East.

Washington Times 24th June 2008 more >>

North Korea

US officials have confirmed that Thursday is the target date for North Korea to hand over a long-awaited declaration of its nuclear activities.

BBC 24th June 2008 more >>

India

India’s government is scrambling to shore up political support in a last-ditch effort to save its landmark nuclear energy agreement with the US, even though the deal is already written off as dead by many in Washington. US officials say it is probably impossible for the deal to receive approval in the US Senate before President George W. Bush leaves office in January. They say not enough legislative time is left following the Indian government’s failure so far to reach agreement on the deal with its parliamentary allies.

FT 24th June 2008 more >>

Bulgaria

Belgian utility Electrabel and Germany’s RWE have submitted bids for a 49pc stake in Bulgaria’s 2,000MW Belene nuclear power plant project. A spokesman for Bulgaria’s national electricity company (NEK) described the submissions as “binding preliminary offers” and said that negotiations will follow, with the possibility of further bids from the two companies.

Argus Media 24th June 2008 more >>

Syria

UN nuclear inspectors are reported to have gone to a site in Syria at the centre of allegations that the country has been working on nuclear weapons.

BBC 23rd June 2008 more >>

Proliferation

The Malaysian government says it has released an alleged middleman in the nuclear secrets ring run by disgraced Pakistani scientist AQ Khan.

BBC 23rd June 2008 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Democratic senators yesterday called on Robert Gates, US defence secretary, to explain how the US Air Force lost track of hundreds of sensitive components for nuclear weapons. John Kerry, a senior member of foreign relations committee, responding to a story in the Financial Times, said the “revelation that the administration has reportedly lost track of 1,000 sensitive nuclear missile components is only the latest reminder of how this president has dangerously compromised our nuclear security”.

FT 21st June 2008 more >>

Uranium

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy and uranium producer Cameco have announced that the latter has joined GE and Hitachi as owners of their laser-based nuclear fuel enrichment venture, GE Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment.

Energy Business Review 23rd June 2008 more >>

Posted: 24 June 2008

23 June 2008

Sellafield

The Prime Minister Gordon Brown will talk to his Japanese counterpart, Yasuo Fukuda, at the G8 meeting in Hokkaido next month about a potential £1bn a year deal which would boost the UK’s nuclear industry. Mr Brown and Mr Fukuda will discuss a contract to reprocess fuel at Sellafield in Cumbria to be used in Japan’s nuclear reactors, industry sources said. The deal would provide a welcome new source of revenue for the cash-strapped Treasury and would revive the UK’s declining reprocessing industry.

Telegraph 23rd June 2008 more >>

Sellafield nuclear power station will run a state school under the biggest-ever expansion of the Government’s academy programme. The company responsible for the controversial plant – Sellafield Ltd – is among three organisations behind one of the new schools in Cumbria.

Telegraph 23rd June 2008 more >>

Nuclear Waste

The company behind plans to ship radioactive waste to Scandinavia for decontamination says the scheme meets the government’s guidelines on the transfer of low-level material abroad. Babcock, which owns Rosyth Dockyard in Fife, wants to send waste from decommissioned nuclear-powered submarines to Studsvik in Sweden where it would be smelted. The contaminated slag would then be shipped back to Scotland before being sent on to the permanent low-level waste dump at Drigg, near Sellafield in Cumbria. The proposal has met opposition from some local authorities and environmental groups, but Babcock insists there is no reason why it should not be granted a permit. Officials from the Scottish EnvironmentProtection Agency (SEPA) have already told the Scottish Government they are “minded to grant” the application.

Dundee Courier 23rd June 2008 more >>

Letter from Stephen Salter: It is not perverse to expect the industry to pay for the entire chain from fuel to production to waste disposal rather than just its own reactor sites, as Mr Campbell suggests. In a 2004 report by the US General Accounting Office we read that, over 25 years, disposal costs for low-level nuclear waste have risen from $1 to $400 per cubic foot, with projections to well over $1,000 and one facility now quoting $1,625. I would argue that it is perverse not to ask for a figure for the capped value and not to question how accurate this figure might be by the time our children have to pay for it.

Scotsman 23rd June 2008 more >>

New Nukes

Government plans for a new generation of nuclear power stations risk delays after warnings by its own inspectors that no decision can be made on reactor designs because of a shortage of skilled engineers. Delays in receiving documentation from various parties and the difficulties of talking to overseas regulators and receiving final reactor designs are referred to in a letter from Mike Weightman, chief inspector at the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII), to the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.

Guardian 23rd June 2008 more >>

Here we go again. This week, following closely on the row over 42-day detention, another key argument will be fought out on the floor of the Commons. Its implications could hardly be greater. It is about democracy, climate change and daily life – about roads and nuclear power stations, airports and voting. And, yet again, the government finds itself on the wrong side of the argument, with the Tories standing smugly, arms folded, waiting for another Labour political disaster to begin.

Guardian 23rd June 2008 more >>

Part of the Prime Minister’s plan is to persuade the Opec nations and others to invest some of their vast foreign currency reserves in nuclear and renewable energy technologies in the West.

Independent 23rd June 2008 more >>

Mr Brown revealed that Britain was in talks with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and the Qatari Government to explore investment opportunities in British energy projects.

Times 23rd June 2008 more >>

Opec should invest billions in reducing demand for the cartels’ only product – a proposal tantamount to asking British American Tobacco to invest in nicotine patches.

Times 23rd June 2008 more >>

Renewables

Various letters including Scientists for Global Responsibility: You highlight the problems in meeting the targets for renewable energy in the transport sector while not conflicting with food supply (New study to force ministers to review climate change plan, July 19). Scientists for Global Responsibility has recently made a submission to the House of Lords economic affairs committee inquiry into the economics of renewable energy, highlighting the potential synergy between the renewables in which the UK is well endowed, particularly onshore and offshore wind, and electric vehicles and “plug-in hybrids” (PIHs) – vehicles that can be charged at times when there is a surplus available on the grid – making it easier to integrate variable energy sources such as wind or tidal energy. Such a combination could enhance our energy security as well as enabling us to meet our CO2 reduction targets.

Guardian 23rd June 2008 more >>

Syria

Syria has signalled that it is confident of the outcome of a probe into an alleged nuclear installation begun by the International Atomic Energy Agency yesterday. President Bashar al-Assad promised full co-operation with the IAEA and called American claims that a building was part of a nuclear programme undertaken with North Korean assistance “fabricated 100 per cent”. The building was demolished in an Israeli air strike last September.

FT 23rd June 2008 more >>

Senior UN inspectors arrived in Syria yesterday to investigate US allegations that Damascus was building a clandestine nuclear reactor before an Israel air strike destroyed it in September.

Herald 23rd June 2008 more >>

View London 22nd June 2008 more >>

Reuters 22nd June 2008 more >>

Algeria

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon signed nuclear energy and military agreements with Algeria on Saturday, ahead of talks aimed at persuading Algiers to back French plans for a Mediterranean Union.

AFX 22nd June 2008 more >>

UAE

Engineer and project manager AMEC Plc has been shortlisted to manage a big nuclear programme in the United Arab Emirates. A spokeswoman for AMEC confirmed on Sunday it is one of nine firms on a shortlist to run the project. She said AMEC would have the skills and experience to manage the project, but said the process was at “a very early stage”.

Reuters 22nd June 2008 more >>

US

Week in and week out, Washington gives master classes in making simple questions complicated. It is a bipartisan effort of mutually assured irrelevance. Perfected over years, a combination of tribal ideology, empty posturing and feverish displacement activity generally does the trick. You see it everywhere, but nowhere more than in energy policy. The US constitution makes it difficult for politicians to do much (except fight wars) and this avoids a lot of damage that would otherwise result. But now and then some intelligent policymaking is needed, and energy is again a case in point.

FT 23rd June 2008 more >>

Posted: 23 June 2008

22 June 2008

New Nukes

GORDON Brown will this weekend urge Saudi Arabia to invest some of the trillions of dollars made out of soaring oil prices in nuclear power and renewable energy projects in the UK.

Manchester Evening News 21st June 2008 more >>

Mr Brown’s proposals also include accelerating the switch to alternative sources of energy, including renewables, and persuading producers to diversify into alternative energy projects, particularly those in Britain.

Telegraph 22nd June 2008 more >>

British Energy

Wicks insists that his support for nuclear power – which results in only low-carbon emissions – does not extend to intervening in the stalled £11bn auction of nuclear generator British Energy. The government owns a 35 per cent stake in the company, whose sites are best to build more reactors. French nuclear giant EDF is the only remaining bidder, but the board of British Energy is demanding that EDF pay more for the company.

Observer 22nd June 2008 more >>

The government will not intervene to revive the stalled £11bn auction of nuclear generator British Energy, energy minister Malcolm Wicks has told The Observer. Two weeks ago British Energy, in which the state holds a 35 per cent stake, announced that the takeover proposals it had received did not value the company highly enough. EDF, the only bidder to table a firm offer for British Energy, is considering whether to make an improved bid. A resolution to the takeover saga is expected soon. But it is understood that EDF is frustrated and surprised that the British government has not put pressure on British Energy to strike a deal. EDF still hopes that the government will make a last-ditch intervention to back its bid.

Observer 22nd June 2008 more >>

Syria

UN nuclear inspectors are beginning a visit to Syria to investigate claims that it was building a nuclear reactor. The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) four person team will spend three days examining the al-Kibar site in the desert in northern Syria. The site was bombed by Israeli jets in September 2007. The ruins were bulldozed after the attack.

BBC 22nd June 2008 more >>

Iran

THE UN nuclear watchdog chief warned yesterday that any military strike on Iran could turn the Middle East into a “ball of fire” and lead Iran to a more aggressive stance on its controversial nuclear programme. After US officials said they believed recent large Israeli military exercises may have been meant to show Israel’s ability to hit Iran’s nuclear sites, Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said: “In my opinion, a military strike will be the worst… it will turn the Middle East to a ball of fire.”

Scotland on Sunday 22nd June 2008 more >>

Tehran today denounced Israel as a “threat to global peace” after Israel held a large military exercise in an apparent dress rehearsal for a potential attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. An Iranian government spokesman, Gholam-Hossein Elham, dismissed suggestions of an attack by Israel as “impossible”, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Guardian website 21st June 2008 more >>

A senior Israeli MP has warned that diplomatic measures to halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions are not working and that the world must soon decide on further measures.

Telegraph website 21st June 2008 more >>

UAE

Amec, the British engineering giant run by Samir Brikho, has emerged as a leading contender to manage the £40bn United Arab Emirates nuclear programme. The FTSE-100 company is on a shortlist of nine for the role of managing agent. This would involve overseeing the technical design, construction and operation of around 14 nuclear facilities planned in the Gulf state.

Independent on Sunday 22nd June 2008 more >>

Algeria

France and Algeria have signed an agreement on civil nuclear co-operation during a visit to Algiers by the French Prime Minister, Francois Fillon.

BBC 21st June 2008 more >>

Climate

The majority of the British public is still not convinced that climate change is caused by humans – and many others believe scientists are exaggerating the problem, according to an exclusive poll for The Observer.

Observer 22nd June 2008 more >>

Renewables

The Germans, years ahead of us on renewables, are already enjoying a boom in solar power and exporting their innovations to other countries. This is the future. For those countries that lead us there, it will be a hugely profitable future. It’s been reckoned that the value of the market in new energies is equivalent to all the oil there’s ever been in the North Sea. My guess is that this will ultimately prove to be an underestimate of how much it is worth. The smart politicians will be those who sharpen the incentives to invest in clean energies and increase the penalties on using the dirty stuff that is frying the planet. The clever countries will not be those who resist moving to a low-carbon economy, but those who embrace this revolution and lead it. Green is better than good. It is smart.

Observer 22nd June 2008 more >>

Electric cars could play a major role in the shift to environmentally friendly transport, the government will reveal this week. As part of its long-awaited renewable energy strategy, to be published on Thursday, it will argue that there is massive potential in the UK for plug-in hybrids, for car batteries charged on grid electricity and for vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

Observer 22nd June 2008 more >>

Britain will soon have its first national network of charging bays for electric cars as growing numbers of motorists opt for alternative forms of transport. By the end of next year, about 1,000 of the bays are expected to be installed across the country, with 200 in London and smaller networks in other conurbations.

Sunday Times 22nd June 2008 more >>

Homeowners are to be offered extra financial incentives to fit their properties with solar panels and wind turbines in an ambitious green energy programme to reduce the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels. At the heart of the £100 billion renewable energy strategy, due to be unveiled this week, is a proposal to encourage householders to generate their own power. They will be able to sell back surplus electricity at premium prices to the national grid. At present it can be sold only at market rates.

Sunday Times 22nd June 2008 more >>

Posted: 22 June 2008

21 June 2008

New Nukes

Oil-rich states should use the trillions of dollars they are making from soaring prices to finance new nuclear power plants in Britain, said Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Speaking after a fractious summit of EU leaders in Brussels, the Prime Minister insisted that huge sums of cash needed to be “recycled” from regions such as the Middle East for the sake of the world economy.

Yorkshire Post 21st June 2008 more >>

Aberdeen Press & Journal 21st June 2008 more >>

Telegraph 21st June 2008 more >>

Gordon Brown is firmly rooted in the past. Especially outdated, dangerous and dirty energy production. He’s even thinking about giving the go-ahead to new coal-fired powered stations, the worst thing he could for global warming. Perhaps worse than his aviation expansion plans. Then there’s nuclear power, an old favorite and regularly touted as a solution to global warming. In short, nuclear power will deliver too little too late.

EnoughsEnough.org have partnered with Greenpeace on today’s full-page ad in The Times.

Anita Roddick.com 20th June 2008 more >>

See the Ad: Enough is enough.org 20th June 2008 more >>

British Energy

Shares in British Energy rose yesterday after a report that the Centrica would take a minority stake if the French power company EDF buys the nuclear generator. UK-based Centrica and EDF have reached agreement on BE partly to calm government fears that it would be sold to a single owner, the news agency Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources. EDF and Centrica declined to comment. Industry sources suggested last night that the two are still considering options. Other alternatives are for Centrica, which is known to want to boost its own generating capacity, to strike a long-term deal with EDF to take future BE output, or join a programme to build nuclear plants.

Guardian 21st June 2008 more >>

British Energy saw its share price surge by more than 2% yesterday on speculation that Centrica will take a minority stake in the Scottish-based nuclear generator if it is bought by Electricit de France.

Herald 21st June 2008 more >>

Planning

Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling and other cabinet ministers have been calling wavering MPs as Labour whips prepare for a close vote next week over moves to streamline the planning system. The prime minister and chancellor are concerned about a fresh backbench rebellion just days after the government pushed through its anti-terror bill with a majority of only nine, aided by the Ulster Unionists.

FT 21st June 2008 more >>

Nuclear Waste

YOU may be forgiven for thinking Cheshire is the capital of dumping grounds. There are proposals for three incinerators, three underground gas storage plants and a bio energy plant which has already had the go-ahead. Now communities are being asked to volunteer themselves to host an underground burial site for radioactive waste.

This is Cheshire 20th June 2008 more >>

DOUNREAY’S owners have been accused of paying “sweeteners” to two tenants of land adjoining the site being earmarked for an underground waste dump. According to resident Deirdre Henderson, the payments are out of order given that the £110 million project is still at the planning stage.

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John O Groat 20th June 2008 more >>

BILLIONS of pounds will be pumped into Copeland if the area is eventually chosen to locate the UK’s first underground nuclear waste repository, it has been claimed. Informed sources inside the nuclear industry told The Whitehaven News that the district could expect “an economic bonanza” in return for what the government describes as “a service to the nation.” One source said: “Thorp was a huge development at Sellafield which had knock-on benefits, but only a tea party compared to a repository project.”

Whitehaven News 18th June 2008 more >>

THE first steps on a long road to a future nuclear repository for the UK started last week as environment secretary Hilary Benn announced the government’s White Paper. (with photo)

Whitehaven News 18th June 2008 more >>

Companies

Jacobs Engineering Group could be involved in the plan by nine schools to link up with businesses to run affairs outside local authority control. But trust opponents are furious that the firm is a ‘strategic partner’ at Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), based in Aldermaston, Berkshire, which manufactures atomic warheads for the Ministry of Defence.

Wakefield Express 20th June 2008 more >>

Renewables

One in four British homes could be fitted with solar heating equipment and 3,500 wind turbines could be erected across Britain within 12 years as part of a green energy revolution to be proposed by the government next week. The long-awaited renewable energy strategy, a copy of which has been seen by the Guardian, will say Britain needs to make a £100bn dash to build up its clean power supply if it is to reach its EU-imposed target of producing 15% of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Guardian 21st June 2008 more >>

George Monbiot: The past two years have been thrilling and frustrating in equal measure. We have begun to glimpse the green holy grail: reliable renewable electricity. Studies by people as diverse as the German government and the Centre for Alternative Technology have shown how, by diversifying the sources of green energy, by managing demand and using some cunning methods of storage, renewables could supply 80% or even 100% of our electricity without any loss in the continuity of power supplies. But while this work has been causing ripples among scientists and green campaigners, the government has appeared stuck in the fossil century. As recently as October last year, the business secretary, John Hutton, was secretly lobbying to abandon Britain’s target for renewable power supplies. I have not yet been allowed to see the consultation paper, but the details obtained by the Guardian suggest that the government has at last begun to take renewables seriously. Some of its proposals appear to be radical, innovative and bold. It shows how its target of producing 35% of electricity from green power by 2020 might be met by greatly boosting wind, biomass and solar energy. The document will propose a synergy between large-scale renewables and electric cars, which can be charged at night when wind power might otherwise be wasted.

Guardian 21st June 2008 more >>

The government is considering forcing people to insulate their homes, and fit renewable energy when they build extensions in order to reach its target of producing 15% of all primary energy from renewables by 2020. It is also considering phasing out all high carbon appliances, such as oil-fired central heating boilers, and making councils collect and separate waste food from households and businesses to make biogas.

Guardian 21st June 2008 more >>

Until a few months ago it was thought impossible for Britain to approach generating 15% of its energy from renewables by 2020 as required by the EU. But next week the government will lay out an ambitious blueprint for what it says is an achievable energy revolution. It will affect everyone in Britain and raise electricity costs, the government concedes, but may also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide long-term energy security.

Guardian 21st June 2008 more >>

The lives of Shetland’s inhabitants are inextricably linked to the natural resources on their doorstep, but a groundbreaking new hydrogen power scheme, harnessing the wind, could help provide the solution to the world’s oil crisis.

Telegraph 21st June 2008 more >>

Iran

Iran is pressing on with nuclear enrichment “non-stop,” its envoy to the U.N. nuclear agency was quoted as saying on Saturday, despite a world powers’ offer of economic incentives if it halts such work.

Reuters 21st June 2008 more >>

Israel carried out a large-scale military exercise in the Mediterranean earlier this month as a warning to Iran that it has the capacity to make an air strike on its nuclear facilities, Pentagon sources confirmed yesterday. More than 100 Israeli F-16s and F-15s flew more than 900 miles, roughly the distance from Israel to Iran’s Natanz nuclear plant. They were accompanied by refuelling planes and helicopters for rescuing any downed crews.

Guardian 21st June 2008 more >>

Daily Mail 21st June 2008 more >>

India

The leadership of the Congress Party, the dominant partner in the UPA coalition, or at least a section of the Congress Party leadership gathered around Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has signaled that it is ready to risk losing the government’s parliamentary majority and precipitating early elections to advance the nuclear deal.

World Socialist Web 21st June 2008 more >>

Submarines

The 25-year-old Prince was taking part in a clandestine Royal Navy exercise based on hunting down an enemy submarine and sinking it. He submerged on HMS Talent, a T-Class hunter-killer submarine off the coast near Plymouth, and spent a night on board earlier this week.

Telegraph 20th June 2008 more >>

Posted: 21 June 2008