News November 2008

30 November 2008

New Nukes

Letter from Dr Gerry Wolff: Mike O’Brien is wrong to suggest that Scotland needs nuclear power (‘Stop ducking nuclear issue, Salmond told’, November 23). There are more than enough alternatives that are cheaper, quicker to build and altogether more attractive (see www.mng.org.uk/gh/scenarios.htm and www.mng.org.uk/gh/energy.htm). When environmental and hidden costs are factored in, nuclear power is one of the most expensive ways of generating electricity (see www.mng.org.uk/gh/no_nukes.htm#subsidies). Scotland has huge potential to generate power from the wind, from waves, and from tidal streams, and could export large amounts of that power to the rest of the UK and Europe.

Scotland on Sunday 30th Nov 2008 more >>

Climate

BRITAIN’S roads would become green, clean and silent if the plans to be set out by the government’s Committee on Climate Change tomorrow were realised. It will warn that motorists must get rid of their dependence on the internal combustion engine and switch in large numbers to vehicles powered by electricity, hydrogen and other low or zero-emission fuels. The recommendation will be contained in Building a Low Carbon Economy – the UK’s Contribution to Tackling Climate Change, the inaugural report of the committee, chaired by Lord Adair Turner.

Sunday Times 30th Nov 2008 more >>

Renewables

HOUSEHOLDS are facing large rises in their electricity bills in the coming decade because of the “dash” for renewables, according to an influential House of Lords report. Consumers across Britain face an extra £80 a year on their energy bills as a result of the Government’s commitment to source 15% of the UK’s power from renewables by 2020. In Scotland, the target is higher, with ministers pledging to source 50% of the country’s electricity from renewables by that year.

Scotland on Sunday 30th Nov 2008 more >>

South Asia

FEARS that the carnage in Mumbai could spark a regional conflict between nuclear powers India and Pakistan has led to frantic diplomatic efforts to cool the temperature and ratchet back the rhetoric.

Scotland on Sunday 30th Nov 2008 more >>

Iran

A COMPUTER expert has been executed in Iran after he confessed to working for Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service. This provides a rare insight into the intense espionage activity inside the Islamic republic. “The intelligence war is a crucial part of our efforts to delay Iran’s nuclear programme,” an Israeli defence source said. “I wish our intelligence capabilities were sufficient to set it back, but this is by no means certain.”

Sunday Times 30th Nov 2008 more >>

Posted: 30 November 2008

29 November 2008

New Nukes

Letter: In support of his claim that modern nuclear reactors are safe and environmentally friendly, G I Crawford (Letters, November 27) advises “ask the French”. What a pity he didn’t take his own advice. Briefly, because there is so much damaging information in the public domain, he would have discovered that on the night of July 7 this year, there was a substantial nuclear spillage in the Tricastin wine-producing area, which resulted in an emergency situation where people were advised to avoid contact with any water directly related to the water table, such as drinking from wells, bathing in rivers and so on. In addition to a second incident at this plant on July 23, after which workers were evacuated, there were also reportable events at other plants on July 18 and 19.

Herald 29th Nov 2008 more >>

Supply Chain

A Sheffield company approached the Government yesterday with a formal request for part-funding of a £140m plan to build the biggest steel-forging press in the world and steal a march on the booming nuclear industry. Sheffield Forgemasters wants to construct an open-die press that exerts a massive 15,000 tonnes of pressure and can make components big enough for even the largest modern reactors. There are only four super-presses already, including one – a mere 10,000 tonnes – at Forgemasters. But they are too few to meet ballooning demand for nuclear power stations, and only the biggest, in Japan, can manufacture the giant parts needed for super-size, next-generation reactors.

Independent 29th Nov 2008 more >>

Sellafield

Nuclear Management Partners, flying American, French and British flags, are charged with delivering world-class results in running Sellafield safer and more efficiently than ever before at the same time delivering value for money for the taxpayer.

Whitehaven News 28th Nov 2008 more >>

Sellafield’s new owners have revealed a £2.5 million cash handout for west Cumbria.

Carlisle News and Star 25th Nov 2008 more >>

Nuclear Waste

HIGHLAND Councillors in the Far North will next month make their minds up about a new, low-active nuclear dump planned for Dounreay. The development earmarked for land to the immediate south of the licensed site is being tabled at a meeting in Halkirk on December 17. Planning officials are expected to recommend conditional approval of the £110 million scheme despite fierce opposition from residents of the adjoining small settlement of Buldoo.

John O Groat Journal 28th Nov 2008 more >>

Fuel Poverty

Nearly four out five homes in Scotland are in need of repair, with one in four households in fuel poverty, according to official data. The Scottish House Condition Survey 2007, published by Scotland’s chief

statistician, found 79% of homes should have some work done, with 49% of these in urgent need. Elizabeth Leighton, of environmental group WWF Scotland, called for urgent action and greater investment to tackle fuel poverty, saying it “is unacceptable in our modern society”.

Herald 28th Nov 2008 more >>

Tens of thousands of pensioners could die this winter because they cannot afford to heat their home, charities for the elderly said today. The warning came as official figures show that the number of “excess winter deaths” in England and Wales increased by 7 per cent between December 2007 and March 2008, compared with the same period the year before. Excess winter deaths record how many more deaths there are during winter compared to the other months of the year. The figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that 25,300 more people died last winter, up from 23,740 the year before. The vast majority of these, 23,200, were aged over 65.

Times 27th Nov 2008 more >>

Climate

Hydrogen cars, better insulated homes and solar panels will be recommended as part of costly plans being brought forward by the Government to cut carbon emissions, despite the recession. Next week, Lord Turner will set out how the Government is expected to cut greenhouse gases by 80 per cent by 2050 on 1990 levels.

Telegraph 29th Nov 2008 more >>

Attempts to force countries to reduce their carbon emissions per head of population are to be put forward next week at a United Nations climate change conference. The plan, which is being drawn up by Brazil, is designed to put pressure on other nations to agree how targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions should be shared. The revised per capita scheme is thought to go some way towards easing resentment in developing nations that they are being asked to take on an unfair burden on climate change.

Times 29th Nov 2008 more >>

Trident

Deep beneath the surface of the Atlantic, HMS Vanguard one of four identical Royal Navy submarines carrying Trident nuclear missiles is on patrol. Moving at a fast-walking pace, she is out there right now; undetectable, untouchable and armed with more explosive power than was unleashed by all sides in the duration of World War II.

Daily Mail 29th Nov 2008 more >>

Britain’s retention of a nuclear deterrent would be ridiculous if we were all lighting our cigars with tenners. As we enter an immeasurable recession it is full-blown insanity.

Guardian 29th Nov 2008 more >>

Syria

The United States expressed concern here Friday that Syria had cleaned up sites that a UN watchdog had asked to see as part of its probe into alleged illicit nuclear work by Damascus. At a closed-door briefing by International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors last week, “we saw dramatic evidence that Syria took immediate steps to sanitize the three sites after the IAEA requested access,” US envoy Gregory Schulte told the agency’s 35-member board of governors on Friday.

Middle East Online 28th Nov 2008 more >>

Reuters 28th Nov 2008 more >>

The chief United Nations nuclear inspector said his agency’s Syria probe had been hampered because key satellite images of an alleged nuclear reactor bombed by Israel were inexplicably unavailable on the market.

Glasgow Evening Times 28th Nov 2008 more >>

France

A nuclear company will be the first beneficiary of France’s first sovereign wealth fund, its president Nicolas Sarkozy has announced. Paris will sink 20 billion ($25.5 billion) into this strategic investment account, and Sarkozy has announced the fund’s first 80 million ($102 million) investment will go to nuclear industrial equipment and services supplier Daher. It makes nuclear fuel and waste containers, offering related logistics services, including transport and loading.

Nuclear Engineering International 28th Nov 2008 more >>

Posted: 29 November 2008

28 November 2008

Nuclear Waste

A PROPOSAL to build a deep nuclear waste dump near Sellafield has been dealt a blow. Cumbria County Council failed to “express an interest” in the government plans at a meeting last month. A decision is now set to be made on December 9 after the matter has been brought before the full council.

Whitehaven News 27th Nov 2008 more >>

Letter: Even the UK government’s Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) believes that “ if nuclear waste storage is to address the need to protect humans and the environment for hundreds of thousands of years, while long-lived radionuclides decay to safe levels, then stores will have to be actively managed over these long timescales”.

Herald 28th Nov 2008 more >>

Sellafield

This week Britain’s largest nuclear facility, Sellafield, was privatised under a deal in which the government has waived a £140m indemnity (to cover compensation for serious accidents) and exempted the company from the Freedom of Information Act. The way the government handled this and the way ministers rode roughshod over parliament has already been extensively covered.

Guardian 27th Nov 2008 more >>

Electricity Supplies

Lack of capacity in the nuclear construction industry means that Britain will have to rely on imported natural gas to meet an emerging shortfall in power generation over the next decade, according to a senior executive of EDF, the French utility that has agreed to acquire British Energy, the nuclear power generator.

Times 28th Nov 2008 more >>

New Nukes

Barely a few days before the collapse of Lehman Brothers, EDF finally clinched its multibillion-pound acquisition of British Energy. At about the same time, it failed to counter veteran investor Warren Buffett’s bid for control of a US electricity utility, Constellation Energy. The moves seemed logical for a French champion of nuclear energy. With oil prices hitting record highs of nearly $150 a barrel and climate change pushing governments to promote investments in clean and renewable energy, the nuclear lobby felt confident the industry was about to enjoy a renaissance. The US and the UK, countries that have committed themselves to expand significantly their nuclear power generating capacities, seemed the new promised lands of the nuclear revival.

FT 28th Nov 2008 more >>

Scotland

Scotland will miss out on a nuclear revival, French energy experts have warned.

Contract Journal 27th Nov 2008 more >>

Companies

One of the world’s biggest nuclear firms has opened its new UK business in Preston, Lancashire.

Westinghouse Electric Company has created its head office on the city’s former docklands. From there the firm will co-ordinate its efforts to cash in on a programme of new build reactors across the country.

Lancashire Evening Post 26th Nov 2008 more >>

Oldbury

German energy group E.ON confirmed that it has been buying farmland in south Gloucestershire as it pursues its plans to build a £4bn nuclear power station beside the River Severn.

Farmers Weekly 27th Nov 2008 more >>

US

Nuclear contractors and vendors, hoping to jump-start construction of the first new US nuclear plants in 30 years, are offering financial support and pledging to assume a larger share of the completion risks. Public concern over the safety of nuclear power has effectively shut down new plant construction for decades. But the US government has been offering incentives to spur development. And now groups that supply equipment to the industry are also moving to offset some of the enormous costs of new construction. The US government has offered $18.5bn in loan guarantees to encourage the construction of 14 nuclear power plants. Last month, it said it had received 19 applications from 17 electric power companies for $122bn in loan guarantees. “The aggregate estimated construction cost of these 14 projects is $188bn,” Standard & Poor’s said in a recent report.

FT 27th Nov 2008 more >>

India

The purpose of terrorist attacks is often to provoke an extreme response. The danger here is that India and Pakistan could find themselves once again at loggerheads. A terrifying prospect because both countries are nuclear powers – but an outcome that the terrorists would relish.

Daily Mail 28th Nov 2008 more >>

Iran

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has summoned the British ambassador over comments made by David Miliband on its nuclear ambitions, state media said.

BBC 27th Nov 2008 more >>

Syria

The International Atomic Energy Agency has decided to grant nuclear aid to Syria, despite US claims that Damascus is pursuing a covert nuclear program that could be used to make weapons.

Middle East Online 27th Nov 2008 more >>

Venezuela

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev agreed to help Venezuela start a nuclear energy programme as President Hugo Chavez hailed Moscow’s deepening ties in Latin America as a reflection of declining US influence.

Wales Online 27th Nov 2008 more >>

Disarmament

Britain must use its status as a permanent member of the UN security council to push for greater progress on nuclear non-proliferation, former Nato secretary general George Robertson has said.

View London 28th Nov 2008 more >>

Green New Deal

Colin Hines: As Alistair Darling’s efforts to bribe us back to declining shopping malls are seen to fail, more attention will shift to President-elect Obama’s promised emphasis on funding millions of new “green collar” jobs and the need for the UK to allocate adequate funds to do likewise.

Guardian 28th Nov 2008 more >>

Posted: 28 November 2008

27 November 2008

Scotland

FRENCH utility giant EDF has revealed that it has not given up hope of building a second nuclear reactor at Torness within the next 20 years, despite the Scottish Government’s fierce opposition to nuclear power. Bernard Dupraz , director general of production and engineering at EDF – which recently bought nuclear operator British Energy in a £12 billion deal – said that he believed the current anti-nuclear position could change by 2030.

Scotsman 27th Nov 2008 more >>

New Nukes

A series of sites in England and Wales that could be used to build nuclear power stations were put up for sale yesterday. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), the organisation given the job of decommissioning and cleaning up Britian’s civil nuclear sites, is selling land at Bradwell in Essex, Oldbury in Gloucester and Wylfa in Anglesey, close to existing Magnox reactors. Part of the land at Wylfa belongs to EDF, the state-owned French company that is bidding for Britain’s nuclear generator, British Energy.

Guardian 27th Nov 2008 more >>

Reuters 26th Nov 2008 more >>

Wales Online 26th Nov 2008 more >>

Ed Miliband will launch a new industrial strategy next spring to make sure British companies take advantage of new nuclear build.

Contract Journal 26th Nov 2008 more >>

Letter: Richard Shearer makes various criticisms of nuclear power as a choice of generating system (Letters, November 26). But nowhere does he justify his assertion that new nuclear plants will fail to reduce carbon emissions. OK, replacing one nuclear station which has reached the end of its useful life with another will make no difference. But replacing a coal, oil or gas-fired station with nuclear certainly will. He also produces the old red herring, that nuclear waste needs “secure, supervised storage for around 20,000 years”. “Secure” – sure, and no problem. “Supervised” – why? “20,000 years” – no! Has no-one told him that the radioactivity in the waste has reduced to a level below that of the original uranium ore which was used to make the fuel in fewer than 1000 years?

Herald 27th Nov 2008 more >>

Europe

Today the Commission adopted a revised proposal for a Directive setting up a Community framework for nuclear safety. The new Directive responds to EU citizens’ concerns for Europe-wide binding safety legislation for the operation of nuclear power plants. It defines basic obligations and general principles for the safety of nuclear installations in the EU while enhancing the role of national regulatory bodies.

Europa Press Release 26th Nov 2008 more >>

Sellafield

Nuclear Management Partners, the joint venture comprising URS Washington Division, Amec and Areva, has signed a contract for the management and operations of the Sellafield nuclear complex, located in West Cumbria, with the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Energy Business Review 25th Nov 2008 more >>

SELLAFIELD’S 12,000 workers will be told to be more efficient to improve and secure a brighter future. Nuclear Management Partners laid it on the line for the workforce when it took over running of Sellafield from BNFL this week. The American, French and UK giants said it was committed to having a good relationship with the workforce and the unions to secure a strong future under private sector operation. The consortium has also ruled out any fears of job losses in the foreseeable future.

Whitehaven News 26th Nov 2008 more >>

SELLAFIELD, the nuclear industry and West Cumbria can prosper together, predict the site’s new overlords.

Whitehaven News 26th Nov 2008 more >>

Test Veterans

Yesterday the French defence minister finally broke the taboo, saying a law would be introduced in January to compensate those suffering illnesses among the 150,000 army and civilians who worked on the tests in Algeria and French-owned Polynesian atolls.

Guardian 27th Nov 2008 more >>

Climate

The UK was set to make history last night when the climate change bill received royal assent and brought into law the world’s first legally-binding targets for a nation to cut its greenhouse gas emissions. This and future governments will be committed to cutting emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050. Progress towards this target will be laid out and monitored by a new independent climate change committee, which on Monday will recommend the first three five-year “budgets”.

Guardian 27th Nov 2008 more >>

Venezuela

Russia and Venezuela have signed an agreement to promote the development of nuclear energy for civilian use.

BBC 27th Nov 2008 more >>

Iran

Iran is now running 5,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges, a senior official said on Wednesday, signalling an expansion of work the West fears is aimed at making nuclear weapons. The comments by the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, spelled out once again that the Islamic Republic has no intention of bowing to Western pressure to halt or freeze its disputed nuclear programme.

Reuters 26th Nov 2008 more >>

US

Nevada was one of the states Obama fought hard to win, and he wooed its voters partly by coming out against opening Yucca Mountain.

Newsweek 22nd Nov 2008 more >>

Posted: 27 November 2008

26 November 2008

New Nukes

The nuclear industry has been hailed the UK’s answer for revitalising career opportunities in manufacturing. David Powell, regional vice-president for the UK at Westinghouse, which provides equipment to the nuclear electric power industry, said at a time when mass job cuts and factory closures were dominating the headlines, the development of nuclear technology in the UK provided valuable career opportunities for workers.

Personnel Today 26th Nov 2008 more >>

Reviving industry does not mean propping up the ailing coal, car and textile industries, but instead creating a centre of expertise for high-tech manufacturing industries such as nuclear power and other low-carbon technologies, business secretary Peter Mandelson told delegates at the conference.

Business Green 25th Nov 2008 more >>

Scotland

Letter from Allan Wilson: The main obstacle to attracting the necessary investment is not the safe disposal of nuclear waste, it is the SNP. Despite Scotland’s leading position in developing the skills and technology vital to the future of the nuclear industry, the SNP Government is jeopardising future energy supplies, raising carbon emissions and denying local people employment opportunities by exporting jobs to England.

Herald 25th Nov 2008 more >>

Letter: I find the assertion by Bill Goodall (Letters, 24 November) that the SNP’s renewable energy policy is some kind of a “gamble” very odd. This is to turn the truth on its head. The only way to address the current environmental crisis is to plan for the progressive abandonment of the combustion of finite resources of fossil fuels as a major energy source leading to further massive carbon dioxide emission. The “gamble” would be to construct nuclear power stations as a short-term energy source.

Scotsman 25th Nov 2008 more >>

SCOTLAND will miss out on a global “nuclear renaissance” which will create tens of thousands of jobs worldwide, if the SNP government continues its anti-nuclear stance, French energy experts have warned. Industry leaders yesterday predicted that the world was on the brink of a significant return to nuclear power, but claimed that the economic and environmental benefits would be lost to Scotland.

Scotsman 26th Nov 2008 more >>

Letter: It is no surprise that Gordon Brown supports nuclear power – it is the ultimate buy-now, pay-forever solution. To put it in some context, it is as though a discredited toxic invention predating ancient Egypt by 12,000 years still requires active management and still incurs costs today. Money can only be spent once, and nuclear power starves the rest of the energy sector – every pound spent on development, running, decommissioning and 20,000 years of secure, supervised storage is a pound that cannot be spent on alternatives.

Herald 26th Nov 2008 more >>

Electricity Supplies

Families face regular blackouts within three years because Britain has not built enough new power stations, it has been claimed. Consumers will be hit by an ‘energy gap’ when a number of existing stations are shut down, a study suggests. Nine oil and coal-fired power plants are to close by 2015 because of an EU directive designed to limit pollution and associated acid rain. At the same time, four ageing nuclear power plants will be shut, further reducing the electricity available to homes and businesses.

Daily Mail 25th Nov 2008 more >>

The credit crunch is forcing Britain’s power companies to pay high prices for their borrowing and could have a long term impact on supply, according to the UK’s top energy regulator. Alistair Buchanan, chief executive of Ofgem, said the global financial crisis was making it harder for companies to borrow and, when they could, the terms were increasingly expensive. His warning came as a House of Lords committee attacked the government’s renewables policies, saying the “dash” for wind and other clean power sources risked undermining the UK’s overall energy security and would cost the average household £80 a year more than necessary.

Guardian 26th Nov 2008 more >>

Households have been warned to expect “very, very frightening” gas and electricity bills in two years’ time, according to the industry regulator.

Telegraph 26th Nov 2008 more >>

Bradwell

THE proposal for a new nuclear power station at Bradwell-on-Sea has been criticised by residents at a series of public meetings. British Energy, joint owners of the site, led the consultation at Tollesbury last Thursday as residents expressed fears over health, transport links, evacuation procedures and flood risks – and dismissed the prospect of 500 jobs.

Total Essex 19th Nov 2008 more >>

Renewables

Ed Miliband has used his first speech as climate change and energy secretary to call on prisons, schools and hospitals to generate more renewable energy. Speaking to the Environment Agency yesterday, Miliband said the public sector, which accounts for 10% of land in the UK, should be contributing more than the 1% of renewable energy it now generates.

Guardian 26th Nov 2008 more >>

While local authorities are experimenting with a number of different options for diverting food from the waste stream, it’s the potential for extracting usable methane energy, via anaerobic digestion, that currently dominates the debate. This is a waste disposal system that uses micro-organisms to convert organic waste into methane-rich biogas that can replace fossil fuels. The small amount of waste residue from the process can be used as fertiliser.

Guardian 26th Nov 2008 more >>

Meeting targets on renewable energy will add about £80 ($123) to households’ annual fuel bills, peers said on Tuesday. The planned expansion of wind energy would be “costly” and “risky”, said the Lords economic affairs committee, favouring more nuclear power stations, which would be cheaper.

FT 26th Nov 2008 more >>

Energy Efficiency

There’s some capital spending on energy efficiency – but here the striking thing is just how unimaginative and anaemic the current targets are. An enormous 60,000 houses will get better insulation. We need to be talking levels of ambition two orders of magnitude greater than this – with 24m households in the UK, the government is only going to be making 0.25% of them more efficient. I doubt the penguins will notice.

Guardian 25th Nov 2008 more >>

Coal

All eyes are on the government’s new climate change committee, which on Monday will release its first report on the UK’s allowed carbon expenditure if it is to meet its global warming goals. Having already used the committee to free themselves from an awkward hole about whether the 2050 target should be 60% or 80%, are ministers poised to repeat the trick on coal? Senior figures inside the new Department of Energy and Climate Change say they could do “whatever the committee says” when it comes to approving, or not, the new coal station at Kingsnorth, Kent.

Guardian 26th Nov 2008 more >>

Syria

IAEA chief says no basis for denying Syria help on nuclear plant while US seeks to prevent aid.

Middle East Online 25th Nov 2008 more >>

Posted: 26 November 2008

25 November 2008

Sellafield

An international consortium is signing a multi-billion pound contract to clean up the Sellafield nuclear plant. Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) is taking over the shares in Sellafield Ltd formerly held by BNFL.

BBC 24th Nov 2008 more >>

Interactive Investor 24th Nov 2008 more >>

Business Wire 24th Nov 2008 more >>

London Stock Exchange 24th Nov 2008 more >>

Nuclear Skills

The nuclear decommissioning and new build sectors are facing a massive skills shortage and it will take a combination of strong graduate training and the upskilling of engineers from other sectors to meet the demand, a top nuclear engineer said yesterday.

New Civil Engineer 21st Nov 2008 more >>

Green New Deal

The chairman of the environment agency yesterday called on the government to follow US president-elect Barack Obama and launch a multibillion pound “green New Deal” to boost clean energy and create jobs. Speaking hours before the government announced its tax cutting and public spending package, Lord Smith, the former culture secretary, called for a comprehensive long-term strategy to cover investments in renewable energy, green technology, energy efficiency and developing new technologies such as carbon capture and storage.

Guardian 25th Nov 2008 more >>

Climate

The trajectory both Barack Obama and Gordon Brown have proposed – an 80% cut by 2050 – means reducing emissions by an average of 2% a year. This programme, the figures in the Tyndall paper suggest, is likely to commit the world to at least four or five degrees of warming, which means the likely collapse of human civilisation across much of the planet. Is this acceptable?

Guardian 25th Nov 2008 more >>

US

Exelon Corp,, the country’s largest operator of nuclear plants, on Monday said it may drop a promising General Electric nuclear technology for a better-known design that might help its proposed Texas nuclear project attract federal financing.

Money AM 24th Nov 2008 more >>

Reuters 24th Nov 2008 more >>

North Korea

The United States has said it expects North Korea to formally agree to let inspectors take samples from weapons-grade nuclear sites during a high-level international meeting next month in Beijing.

Telegraph 25th Nov 2008 more >>

Jordan

China on Monday signed a protocol with Jordan to help the tiny desert kingdom produce nuclear power to meet its growing energy needs and desalinate water, a senior official said.

Yahoo 24th Nov 2008 more >>

Iran

Iran has accused David Miliband of having Zionist ties after the British foreign secretary warned that the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran is “the most immediate threat” to Middle East stability.

Daily Mail 24th Nov 2008 more >>

Posted: 25 November 2008

24 November 2008

New Nukes

Ministers are close to giving the green light to a financial package of up to £30m ($45m) which would enable a Sheffield manufacturer to build a giant machine vital to the construction of a new series of nuclear reactors. The machine that Forgemasters wants to build is called an open-die press, capable of pressing down on metal with a force of about 15,000 tonnes, making it among the most powerful machines of this type ever built.

FT 24th Nov 2008 more >>

Letter: Your article “Lawyers caution on nuclear plan row” (November 18) is incorrect in that we are not commissioned by the government in respect of nuclear matters. Nor was the report you refer to commissioned by Tim Stone, the government’s nuclear adviser. It was in fact a note written for a conference organised by Cityforum.

FT 24th Nov 2008 more >>

Electricity Supplies

The UK is at “real risk” of imminent power shortages as a result of attempts to shift to more environmentally friendly methods of electrictity production, a report has warned. In 2005, the UK became a net importer of gas. By 2010, imports could account for 40 per cent of British gas needs; by 2020, 80 per cent to 90 per cent. Nuclear reactors currently account for about 20 per cent of Britain’s electricity, but this will shrink to 6 per cent in 20 years as ageing plants are closed down. A spokesman for Capgemini said that unless new power stations are built “the lights will go out”. He added: “Last year the system very nearly ran out of power and situation is still very tight. We have a large number of power stations that are going to close between now and 2015.

Telegraph 24th Nov 2008 more >>

Iran

Britain is to assure Iran that it is “100% committed to diplomacy” to end the impasse over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and is signalling that it expects Barack Obama’s administration to follow the same approach.

Guardian 24th Nov 2008 more >>

David Miliband will today urge Arab leaders to make clear that they do not support Iran’s nuclear ambitions. On a visit to the United Arab Emirates, the Foreign Secretary will say a nuclear-armed Tehran is the “most immediate” threat to stability in the Middle East. He will insist that more pressure needs to be brought to bear on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by Iran’s regional neighbours.

Herald 24th Nov 2008 more >>

Channel 4 News 23rd Nov 2008 more >>

Reuters 23rd Nov 2008 more >>

Disarmament

Ban Ki-moon: Weapons of mass destruction and disarmament form one of the gravest challenges facing the world. One of my priorities as United Nations secretary general is to promote global public goods and remedies to challenges that do not respect borders. A world free of nuclear weapons is a global public good of the highest order.

Guardian 23rd Nov 2008 more >>

Energy Efficiency

A plan to create more than 10,000 jobs in the construction industry by insulating homes in the private and public sectors will be announced by Alistair Darling in today’s pre-budget report. The government will bring forward future capital spending in an attempt to reduce energy bills this winter and to employ some of those laid off during the worst downturn in the property market for two decades.

Guardian 24th Nov 2008 more >>

Renewables

In the desert of southern Spain, 20 miles outside Seville, more than 1,000 mirrors are being carefully positioned. Each is about half the size of a tennis court, so the adjustments will take time. But when they are complete in a few weeks, it will mark a major moment in the quest for renewable energy. The mirrors are part of the world’s biggest solar tower plant, a technology that reflects sunlight to superheat water at a central tower. Once this 80m (£67m) plant is inaugurated in January, it will generate 20MW of electricity, enough to power 11,000 Spanish homes.

Guardian 24th Nov 2008 more >>

Ikea executives have suggested that the company’s skills in designing low-cost products, along with its economies of scale, could halve the cost of solar electricity from its current rate of around 2 (£1.70) per kilowatt hour of generating power to about 1/kWh.

Independent 23rd Nov 2008 more >>

Posted: 24 November 2008

23 November 2008

Scotland

AN INDEPENDENT Scotland without nuclear power would be forced to rely on England to “keep the lights on”, the UK’s energy minister warned last night. Mike O’Brien accused the First Minister, Alex Salmond, of “ducking” the nuclear issue and taking a “punt” on hopes that renewable energy would meet Scotland’s future energy needs.

Scotland on Sunday 23rd Nov 2008 more >>

New Nukes

THE government will launch the auction of land set aside for new nuclear-power stations within two weeks, setting into motion a process that is expected to be hotly contested by Europe’s biggest energy companies. RWE and E.ON of Germany, Swedish giant Vattenfall and Scottish Power owner Iberdrola are all expected to choose investment banks to advise them on the bidding shortly. The auction is expected to net several hundred million pounds for the shareholder executive which represents the government’s holding in the sites. Scottish & Southern is expected to seek a partnership with one of the more established nuclear players.

Sunday Times 23rd Nov 2008 more >>

Nuclear Waste

CUMBRIA County Council has been accused of “negating democracy” by denying councillors a vote on whether Cumbria should take the first step towards having a radioactive waste repository. Cumbria County Council’s cabinet is expected to put forward Copeland as a potential site. But when the full council met yesterday, many councillors were furious that the decision, expected next month, was being taken without them having a vote.

Whitehaven News 21st Nov 2008 more >>

Iran

Mounting fears that the United States will do nothing to prevent Iran becoming a nuclear power will be outlined by Ehud Olmert, Israel’s prime minister, when he meets President George W Bush in Washington tomorrow. Israel is concerned that Bush will pass the Iranian hot potato to Barack Obama, the president-elect, while the last chance of destroying Tehran’s nuclear bomb-making programme may be passing.

Sunday Times 23rd Nov 2008 more >>

Syria

Syria said Friday a building bombed by Israeli planes last year was not a covert nuclear reactor, as Washington stuck to its allegations. “We are talking about military bases, we are talking about military activities,” Ibrahim Othman, the head of Syria’s Atomic Energy Commission, told reporters after IAEA inspectors briefed members about their first visit to the site in June.

Middle East Online 22nd Nov 2008 more >>

Disarmament

Kate Hudson: While we’ve all been cheering for Barack Obama and looking forward to a better world, it looks like business as usual from our own government on nuclear weapons. Obama’s campaign was notable for his commitment to progress on nuclear disarmament. In fact, American opinion has shifted dramatically on the question of nukes. Former cold warriors such as Henry Kissinger and George Shultz are among recent high profile converts to the disarmament cause. Of course, any real progress will be dependent on improved relations with Russia, which means resolving the current tensions around the US missile defence system, but that may yet be possible.

Guardian 22nd Nov 2008 more >>

Trident

The US government has accelerated its programme to replace Trident nuclear missiles to help the UK, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.

Sunday Herald 23rd Nov 2008 more >>

Coal

Britain is poised to expand its coal mining industry, despite fears that the move will lead to a rise in climate change emissions and harm communities and the environment. Freedom of information requests and council records show that in the past 18 months 14 companies have applied to dig nearly 60 million tonnes of coal from 58 new or enlarged opencast mines. At least six coal-fired power stations are planned. If all the applications are approved, the fastest expansion of UK coal mining in 40 years could see southern Scotland and Northumberland become two of the most heavily mined regions in Europe.

Observer 23rd Nov 2008 more >>

Alternatives

The man who compared fear of global warming to a “Stone Age religion”, and poured scorn on renewable energy – Boris Johnson – has decided that he wants to make the capital “the world’s leading city in delivering carbon reductions and capturing the benefits of the new energy economy”. He will stress that the financial crisis provides a crucial opportunity for developing environmentally friendly businesses, and a “green new deal”. Householders will be able to save money by conserving energy and reducing their carbon footprints. Mr Johnson will promise “substantially increased investment” in small-scale exploitation of solar, wind and other forms of renewable energy in homes and communities, and “minimum-hassle, minimum-cost energy efficiency programmes” to insulate homes, offices and other buildings.

Independent on Sunday 23rd Nov 2008 more >>

Posted: 23 November 2008

22 November 2008

Dounreay

MORE radioactive particles are coming ashore at Sandside Beach than previously estimated, according to an independent expert group. It has also revised upward the risk of someone accidentally coming into contact with one of the rogue metallic fragments washed up from historic operations at Dounreay. But Dounreay Particles Advisory Group (DPAG) remains satisfied that the contamination does not pose a significant risk to the public. In its fourth and final report, it also welcomes the launch of a multi-million pound clean-up of the seabed immediately off the plant. The area – which is part of a fishing exclusion zone – contains a cache of 1500 or so potentially lethal particles.

John O Groat Journal 21st Nov 2008 more >>

Hunterston

Letter from Allan Wilson: Obviously his 18 months spent supposedly representing the interests of North Ayrshire have been completely wasted. To claim that a putative project at least 10 years down the line based on an as-yet unlicensed technology already attracting the ire of some environmentalists and conservationists can conceivably render the case for renewing the licence of Hunterson B or building a new Hunterston C redundant, demonstrates a worrying lack of understanding of the energy gap Scotland faces and the environmental challenges posed by climate change.

Herald 22nd Nov 2008 more >>

Oldbury

E.ON has bought farmland near an old nuclear power station at Oldbury in Gloucestershire, a spokesman for the British arm of the German utility said on Friday. But the spokesman denied buying the land at Oldbury meant the company was planning to build a reactor there, adding it could be used for other types of plants or sold on again.

Reuters 21st Nov 2008 more >>

Proliferation

BAN KI-MOON fears that new interest in atomic power will fuel the growing clamour for WMD around the globe WEAPONS of mass destruction and disarmament form one of the gravest challenges facing the world. One of my priorities as United Nations secretary general is to promote global public goods and remedies to challenges that do not respect borders.

Scotsman 22nd Nov 2008 more >>

A recent report, Securing the Bomb 2008, commissioned by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) claims that some stockpiles of potential nuclear-weapons material are “dangerously insecure.” The report by Matthew Bunn of Harvard University said the highest risks of nuclear theft are in Russia, Pakistan, and at highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuelled research reactors around the world.

Nuclear Engineering International 21st Nov 2008 more >>

The world faces the increased threat of nuclear conflict, environmental disaster and global pandemic over the next 20 years, a terrifyingly bleak analysis by U.S. intelligence has warned. In stark language that will make sombre reading for President-elect Barack Obama, the National Intelligence Council says US economic, military and political dominance is set to decline over the next two decades.

Daily Mail 21st Nov 2008 more >>

Mini-nukes

Miniature nuclear reactors that can run without human intervention for up to a decade will be available within five years, according to the company tasked with building them. Each one will be smaller than an average garden shed and will generate power for 200,000 homes.

Times 21st Nov 2008 more >>

Sellafield

HSE slams safety lapse that led to worker’s 95m fall while decommissioning Sellafield chimney.

Building 21st Nov 2008 more >>

Finland

Letter from Greenpeace Finland: there is significant local resistance in Finland to nuclear power. This year, local resistance forced a consortium led by the German power company E.ON to pull out of a planned nuclear reactor site less than 100 miles north of Olkiluoto. Another site on the southern coast was blocked by the regional administration. Resistance to new nuclear power plants in Finland and around the world is more widespread than has been reported. Greenpeace and its grass-roots allies oppose new nuclear power plants because there are safer and more effective ways to cool the planet that don’t leave behind a permanent radioactive waste problem.

New York Times 21st Nov 2008 more >>

Germany

A train holding 23 tonnes of nuclear waste is subverted by a mass demo of 16,000 activists on its 940 mile journey from France to Germany. The demonstration is the largest of its kind for over six years, with an eclectic mix of affinity groups, autonomists, farmers, NGOs, clowns and anti-nuclear bravehearts.

Schnews 21st Nov 2008 more >>

Posted: 22 November 2008

21 November 2008

Nuclear Waste

A PARISH Council wants to see all council tax in Copeland abolished “in perpetuity” if the borough becomes home to the nation’s underground nuclear dump. The proposal from Lamplugh Parish Council is revealed in the consultation responses being considered by Cumbria County Council on Thursday in Kendal. The county council is expected to rubber stamp a recommendation that Cumbria “expresses an interest” in hosting a repository in Copeland. Allerdale has still not decided if it wishes to express an interest in hosting such a nuclear repository.

Whitehaven News 20th Nov 2008 more >>

NATTERJACK toads need not worry over plans to build a big bund to take massive amounts of spoil at the low-level radioactive waste repository near Drigg. The spoil will come from excavation and construction of Vault 9, a huge £20 million project to dispose of future waste arisings.

Whitehaven News 19th Nov 2008 more >>

Oldbury

E.ON, the German energy group, has been buying up farmland in south Gloucestershire as it firms up plans to build a £4 billion nuclear power station beside the River Severn. A spokeswoman for E.ON confirmed that it had acquired several tracts of privately owned land in recent months around an existing nuclear site at Oldbury-on-Severn, north of Bristol, which is owned by the Government through the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The plant, scheduled to stop generating electricity in seven weeks, but could stay in use for another two years.

Times 21st Nov 2008 more >>

Sellafield

The employers of a man who died after plunging 350ft down a radioactive Sellafield chimney have together been fined £250,000 for breaching health and safety practices which led to his death.

Carlisle News & Star 21st Nov 2008 more >>

MINUTES after getting the keys to Sellafield next Monday for a nominal £1 “golden share”, Nuclear Management Partners will say how it aims to open the purse strings to help local communities. A substantial sum will be kept in NMP’s coffers to aid Copeland’s communities and West Cumbria as a whole. No specific figure has been set aside at this stage but money will be made available over a period of time, The Whitehaven News can reveal ahead of Monday’s milestone event when NMP takes over Sellafield from BNFL. Sellafield Ltd’s 10,000 workers were told yesterday they will all receive a £1,500 “golden goodbye” bonus from BNFL for ensuring a smooth handover.

Whitehaven News 19th Nov 2008 more >>

SELLAFIELD Ltd has paid for a union boss to have an away-day in Paris so he could meet and establish links with the left wing CGT trade union in France.

Whitehaven News 19th Nov 2008 more >>

Hunterston

A new coal-burning power plant, which would be the first conventional station to come on stream in Scotland since 1980, is being planned for the Firth of Clyde. Denmark’s state-owned energy company, Dong, has identified Hunterston, North Ayrshire, as the preferred site.

BBC 20th Nov 2008 more >>

Companies

SHEFFIELD Forgemasters has won a contract to make key components for a new generation of nuclear power plants in North America on the back of success in China.

Sheffield Star 20th Nov 2008 more >>

Art

If you go down to Spitalfields (Nicholls and Clarke Building, 3-10 Shoreditch High Street, Spitalfields, London E1) on any remaining weekend in November – see right – you’ll be able to enter the offices of an outfit calling itself the British Atomic Nuclear Group (BANG).

Daily Telegraph 20th Nov 2008 more >>

Nuclear Proliferation

Looking ahead to 2025, the NIC (which coordinates analysis from all the US intelligence agencies), foresees a fragmented world, where conflict over scarce resources is on the rise, poorly contained by “ramshackle” international institutions, while nuclear proliferation, particularly in the Middle East, and even nuclear conflict grow more likely.

Guardian 21st Nov 2008 more >>

British Energy

Pre-tax profits at British Energy fell 86 per cent in the six months ending September 28, reflecting lower power output from the nuclear group’s reactors. Revenues fell from £1.39bn ($2.05bn) to £1.28bn ($1.89bn), on power output that was 26 per cent lower at 22.7 terawatt hours. Pre-tax profits fell from £407m to £58m.

FT 21st Nov 2008 more >>

Iran

President Bush is to hold White House talks with the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday after publication of a nuclear watchdog’s report this week showing that Iran may have stockpiled enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear bomb.

Times 21st Nov 2008 more >>

Romania

Romania has signed a deal to build two more reactors at its only nuclear power station, Cernavoda, on the Danube. The 4bn-euro (£3.4bn; $5bn) deal gave a 49% stake to six European commercial partners – ArcelorMittal, CEZ, GDF Suez, Enel, Iberdrola and RWE Power.

BBC 20th Nov 2008 more >>

Money AM 20th Nov 2008 more >>

Spain

Sixty activists are at the Garo a nuclear power plant in Spain to demand that the Spanish government makes good on its commitment to start phasing out nuclear power plants, starting now with the immediate closure of the Garo a power plant.

Greenpeace 20th Nov 2008 more >>

Yucca Mountain

YUCCA MOUNTAIN, Nevada – Will this barren mountain rising up to 4,950 feet from the Mojave desert look roughly the same in the year 1,002,008? That’s a million years into the future. The question may sound bizarre but its answer is key to the future of a decades-old, controversial project to store America’s nuclear waste in the belly of Yucca Mountain, on the edge of a nuclear test site and 95 miles from Las Vegas.

Reuters 20th Nov 2008 more >>

Posted: 21 November 2008