News 2009

31 December 2009

Hinkley

A pressure group has been formed to lobby for changes to plans to build a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset. Save Cannington Action Group said it was concerned about the impact the plant’s construction would have on the village, which is seven miles away.

BBC 30th Dec 2009 more >>

BURNHAM MP David Heathcoat-Amory has thrown his backing behind a new campaign opposed to plans for a corridor of pylons in the area. The Pylon Moor Pressure group has been set up by villagers living near one of the two proposed routes for the pylons, which would link the new Hinkley Point development to the electricity transmission system in Avonmouth.

This is the West Country 30th Dec 2009 more >>

Dungeness

Nick Perry, the Lib Dem parliamentary campaigner for Hastings & Rye, is pressing the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Miliband MP, to prioritise our area for new renewable energy projects. This follows the Government’s decision to take Dungeness off the list for new nuclear power stations.

Nick Perry Blog 30th Dec 2009 more >>

Wylfa

There was better news for the island’s battered economy when power companies E.on and RWE firmed up plans for a replacement Wylfa nuclear power station to replace the current plant due for closure in a year or two.

Daily Post 30th Dec 2009 more >>

3,000 jobs for Anglesey depend on permission being granted to build an £8bn second nuclear power station, Wylfa B, at Cemaes.

Daily Post 30th Dec 2009 more >>

Low Carbon Economy

Alistair Darling: The threat of climate change to a strong and stable economy in the future cannot be exaggerated. But the low-carbon sector offers an opportunity to secure this growth. By addressing investment barriers we’ve released billions of pounds for offshore wind, ultra-low carbon vehicles, marine energy, and low-carbon aerospace. Green industries alone could support a further half a million jobs over the next decade. None of this would happen without our support.

Guardian 31st Dec 2009 more >>

Nicolas Sarkozy’s dreams of putting France on the frontline of the fight against global warming were in disarray today, after his flagship carbon tax was ruled unconstitutional two days before it was due to come into effect.

Guardian 31st Dec 2009 more >>

Politics

John Gummer, who had advised the Tory leader on green issues, is to quit the House of Commons. He said he wanted to take up a full-time role fighting for tougher anti-climate change measures after the “deeply disappointing” failure of the recent summit in Copenhagen to reach a legally binding agreement. He said his new role would not leave him enough time to perform his duties as a constituency MP.

Independent 31st Dec 2009 more >>

Times 31st Dec 2009 more >>

Lithuania

Lithuania is to shut down its one and only nuclear power station in Visaginas on 31 December. One hour before midnight, staff at the Ignalina plant will flick the switches, shutting down the only nuclear reactor in the Baltic states.

BBC 31st Dec 2009 more >>

EU Business 31st Dec 2009 more >>

Belarus

Belarus is planning to build a nuclear power plant that will weaken its reliance on energy imports from Russia and the European Union, Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Wednesday.

EU Business 30th Dec 2009 more >>

South Korea

IT IS usually the northerly of the two Koreas that attracts attention for its nuclear prowess. But on December 27th a South Korean consortium seized the limelight by winning a $20 billion contract to build four nuclear reactors in the United Arab Emirates. The consortium, led by Korea Electric Power (KEPCO), a state-controlled utility, could earn another $20 billion running the plants over their projected lifespan of 60 years.

Economist 30th Dec 2009 more >>

US

A project to develop new-generation nuclear reactors in Central Valley, California, will be carried out by Areva and the Fresno Nuclear Energy Group (FNEG). French nuclear engineering firm Areva announced the plans to build either one or two reactors, and added that FNEG is aiming to acquire the European Pressurised Reactor technology (EPR).

New Civil Engineer 30th Dec 2009 more >>

Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan said yesterday it had overtaken Canada and Australia to become the world’s biggest uranium miner, as nations rich in the resource raise production to meet demand from a resurgent nuclear power industry. The announcement was made a day after allegations that Kazakhstan was close to clinching a $450m (£280m) deal to sell 1,350 tons of uranium to Tehran. Exports to Iran of purified uranium would breach United Nations sanctions imposed on Tehran for refusing to freeze uranium enrichment activities.

FT 31st Dec 2009 more >>

Posted: 31 December 2009

30 December 2009

New Nukes

The French nuclear power sector is to re-focus its strategy, notably in Britain and the United States, after losing out to a South Korean consortium on a 20.4-billion-dollar project in the United Arab Emirates.

Middle East Online 29th Dec 2009 more >>

Hinkley

HUNDREDS of people from Nailsea, Backwell and Wraxall are expected to take part in a walk to demonstrate against plans for a huge power line in the area. Members of two campaign groups set up to battle against the proposals put forward by National Grid will join forces for the walk on Saturday.

Weston & Somerset Mercury 29th Dec 2009 more >>

Iran

William Hague: We in the West cannot determine the outcome of Iran’s internal power struggle. But we must do our utmost in 2010 to deal with the fact that Iran’s leaders are not only the cause of potential upheaval in their own country: they are also pursuing a nuclear programme that presents one of the greatest threats to the peace of the wider world.

Telegraph 30th Dec 2009 more >>

PRESIDENT OBAMA should not lament but sigh in relief that Iran has rejected his nuclear deal, which was ill conceived from the start. Under the deal, which was formally offered through the United Nations, Iran was to surrender some 2,600 pounds of lightly enriched uranium (some three-quarters of its known stockpile) to Russia, and the next year get back a supply of uranium fuel sufficient to run its Tehran research reactor for three decades. The proposal did not require Iran to halt its enrichment program, despite several United Nations Security Council resolutions demanding such a moratorium.

New York Times 23rd Dec 2009 more >>

The document we published has been independently translated by native Farsi speakers and exhaustively checked. It came from inside a military command structure and it reveals a programme that has no possible application for generating electricity. The Times, like all other newspapers, takes editorial positions; part of my job is to write editorials in which we express those positions. But the notion that we report news on Israel, let alone Iran, “with an aggressively pro-Israel slant” is plain ignorant.

Times 30th Dec 2009 more >>

Iran is said to be close to an agreement to buy more than 1,300 tons of uranium ore from Kazakhstan, a move that would allow the country to pursue its nuclear programme without conditions imposed in a UN-brokered uranium-for-fuel swap.

Guardian 30th Dec 2009 more >>

Israel

Israel is conducting nuclear blackmail against the US and Europe according to Vanunu.

Mathaba 30th Dec 2009 more >>

Nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu has been arrested for violating a ban on contact with foreigners. His lawyer said he was detained over a romance with a Norwegian woman rather than for revealing nuclear secrets.

Belfast Telegraph 30th Dec 2009 more >>

Times 30th Dec 2009 more >>

Daily Mail 30th Dec 2009 more >>

Guardian 30th Dec 2009 more >>

Telegraph 30th Dec 2009 more >>

UAE

South Korean firms are to lead the construction of nuclear power plants in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), after the nation concluded its long-awaited nuclear tender.

World Nuclear News 29th Dec 2009 more >>

Building 29th Dec 2009 more >>

India

A fire at an Indian nuclear research facility has killed two people. But a spokesman for the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, on the outskirts of Mumbai, said that the accident had not led to any leakage of radiation.

BBC 29th Dec 2009 more >>

Africa and Middle East

Many countries in Africa and the Middle East have said they want to develop civilian nuclear programmes to meet rising power demand. This Reuters Factbox details the nuclear aspirations of countries across Africa and the Middle East.

Reuters 29th Dec 2009 more >>

Lithuania

Lithuanians are braced for a devastating increase in energy prices when the struggling Baltic nation shuts down its main nuclear power station to comply with EU demands on New Years Eve.

Telegraph 30th Dec 2009 more >>

Uranium

Kazakhstan will produce 13,900 tonnes of uranium this year and 18,000 tonnes in 2010, state nuclear company Kazatomprom said on Wednesday, raising earlier forecasts. The Central Asian state became the world’s largest uranium producer this year and has been responsible for the bulk of global output growth in the last few years.

Reuters 30th Dec 2009 more >>

Disarmament

President Barack Obama’s drive for the US and Russia to agree cuts in nuclear weapons is under threat after Vladimir Putin insisted the US abandons its missile shield before a final deal can be reached.

Telegraph 30th Dec 2009 more >>

Daily Mail 30th Dec 2009 more >>

The United States has rejected fresh concerns raised by Moscow about its planned missile defence system.

BBC 29th Dec 2009 more >>

Energy Efficiency

Light-emitting wallpaper may begin to replace light bulbs from 2012, according to a government body that supports low-carbon technology. A chemical coating on the walls will illuminate all parts of the room with an even glow, which mimics sunlight and avoids the shadows and glare of conventional bulbs.

Times 30th Dec 2009 more >>

Posted: 30 December 2009

29 December 2009

New Nukes

Letter from Gerry Wolff: Although the failure at Copenhagen may have raised questions about nuclear power, there is huge potential in renewables. Research reviewed in the November issue of Scientific American shows renewables can meet 100 per cent of the world’s energy needs (not just electricity) and that it is technically feasible to do it by 2030. This is in line with other reports showing how to decarbonise the world’s economies via renewables and improvements in efficiency. For example, the US National Academy of Sciences reported this year that wind power could supply more than 40 times present worldwide consumption of electricity and more than five times total global use of energy in all forms.

Independent 28th Dec 2009 more >>

Radiation and Health

John Mclevy alleges that the German study on infant leukemias near all German power stations is an example of bad science being used for political purposes. However he fails to back this claim with any evidence from the study itself. It is doubtful whether he has read the study. In fact, the German study is extremely robust: it was commissioned by the German Government and carried out by a expert team of epidemiologists at the University of Mainz. These scientists actually supported nuclear power, so there was no “political purpose” as he falsely alleges. The reality is that the German study is thoroughly competent and its findings are scientifically valid, as vouchsafed by the German Government itself.

Stop Oldbury 28th Dec 2009 more >>

Carbon Costs

Had a pretty good response from the carbon post and I am glad so many decided to visit the link to learn more! The text of the post has even ended up on an anti nuke site from Oldbury. Glad to see all sides interested in the facts on this one because, as I said, the decision to build new nuclear will be an economic one, not based on out of date, polarised 20th Century views of what nuclear is or could be.

The Nuke Guy 28th Dec 2009 more >>

Oldbury

Staff at Oldbury nuclear power station are celebrating a generating landmark after the plant produced enough electricity during 2009 to power half a million homes. The station, near Thornbury, achieved the feat despite having both its reactors out of use for a period during the year for statutory maintenance and routine checks. It was the first time in the site’s 42-year history that the so-called outages were carried out in the same year.

Bristol Evening Post 29th Dec 2009 more >>

South Korea

Shares in South Korean state utility KEPCO hit a near two-year high and other nuclear power-related stocks jumped on Monday, boosted by a $20 billion (12.5 billion pounds) contract signed over the weekend with the United Arab Emirates.

Exec Digital 28th Dec 2009 more >>

China

China has started the construction of Shandong Haiyang Nuclear Power Station, one of the biggest in the country. The first phase of two power generating units, each with a capacity of 1.25 gigawatts (GW), will be brought online in 2014. China has 11 working reactors with 9.07 gigawatts of total capacity and wants to raise its capacity to 60 GW by 2020, over 5 percent of its total installed capacity, or enough to power Spain. Officials said China is considering raising the already ambitious goal to 70 GW by 2020. This article lists China’s nuclear power plants already operating, under construction, approved by the government or planned.

Reuters 29th Dec 2009 more >>

Disarmament

Vladimir Putin has claimed American plans for a missile defence system were hindering talks on a new nuclear arms reduction treaty. Speaking to reporters in the Russian Far Eastern city of Vladivostok, Putin said U.S. plans for the missile shield in Europe would destroy the strategic balance between the United States and Russia.

Herald 29th Dec 2009 more >>

Energy Efficiency

We all have a part to play, not only in reducing our emissions, but also in “keeping the lights on”. The move towards zero carbon homes has been a leading topic of policy in the UK for the last few years. New builds are adding just a tiny percentage towards the target less than 1 per cent a year. That means we need to look at retro-fitting existing properties and convincing people to pay for expensive energy-saving solutions.

Scotsman 29th Dec 2009 more >>

Posted: 29 December 2009

28 December 2009

Terror

Police are trying to determine whether five Americans detained in Pakistan had planned to attack a complex that houses nuclear power facilities. The young Muslim men, who are from the Washington DC area, were arrested in Pakistan earlier this month. Pakistani police and government officials have made a series of escalating and, at times, seemingly contradictory claims about the men’s intentions. US officials have been far more cautious, but they, too, are looking at charging the men.

Guardian 28th Dec 2009 more >>

Press and Journal 28th Dec 2009 more >>

Wales Online 27th Dec 2009 more >>

Low Level Waste

Radiation Free Lakeland has blasted the BBC over it’s recent reporting of plans for a radioactive waste dump in old mines at Keekle Head. Members take particular exception to the BBC’s slant that plans on Keekle Head (artist’s impression alongside) have been getting a ‘positive public response’ and it ‘would be a good thing.’ In their this week on the submission of plans by Endecom UK the BBC puts forward the ‘rose tinted view’ of the nuclear industry – “We feel the geological conditions of the site, along with its location just 17 miles from Sellafield, make it ideal for purpose-built disposal facilities.” But RFL point out that this does not mention the strong public opposition and the resolution from Cumbria County Council in August to oppose the re-branding of low level waste so that it can be buried in ordinary landfill resulting in the distribution of radioactive waste away from Sellafield into previously nuclear free areas of Cumbria.

Get Noticed Online 24th Dec 2009 more >>

EDF

The auction for EDF Energy’s electrical distribution business is expected to heat up after news emerged that Abu Dhabi, which has run the slide rule over the asset in the past, has held talks over a potential £5bn joint bid.

Independent 28th Dec 2009 more >>

UAE

Korea Electric Power Corp., Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co. and other South Korean builders jumped the most in a year after winning a $20 billion nuclear-plant contract from the United Arab Emirates, the first such order awarded by a Gulf Arab nation.

Business Week 27th Dec 2009 more >>

BBC 27th Dec 2009 more >>

Reuters 27th Dec 2009 more >>

FT 28th Dec 2009 more >>

Scotsman 28th Dec 2009 more >>

Italy

Italian regional utility A2A SpA will present its plans to develop nuclear power at the start of 2010, a company executive told a newspaper, adding he believes at least two Italian consortia should operate in the sector.

Reuters 27th Dec 2009 more >>

Fuel Poverty

More than seven million households struggle to pay their fuel bills, almost double the official estimate, according to new research published today. In an opinion poll for the National Housing Federation, two-thirds of people in “fuel poverty” said they heated their homes less than would like because they could not afford the high prices of gas and electricity.

Independent 28th Dec 2009 more >>

Posted: 28 December 2009

27 December 2009

Terror

FEARS of a terrorist strike on a nuclear power plant in Pakistan were raised yesterday when police revealed they were detaining five Americans. The young Muslim men, who are from the Washington DC area, were arrested in Pakistan earlier this month in a case that has spurred fears that westerners may be travelling to Pakistan to join militant groups.

Scotland on Sunday 27th Dec 2009 more >>

EDF

Sources have revealed that the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) is working with the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) to submit a joint offer for EDF’s electricity distribution network.

Sunday Telegraph 27th Dec 2009 more >>

Centrica

The acquisition of a 20 per cent stake in British Energy, the nuclear power generator, takes a company that was entrenched in fossil fuels into a fast-growing and exciting sector that is at the very heart of plans to provide the UK with cleaner energy in future. That process was also under way with a number of investments in renewables that continued, at the end of October, with an announcement that the company was investing £725 million some of which will come from government subsidies in building an offshore wind farm off the East Coast of England. But the nuclear investment is far bigger and places Centrica and British Energy’s majority shareholder EDF, of France as the leading players in the push to “decarbonise” the UK’s power generation by 2030.

Times 26th Dec 2009 more >>

Dounreay

AN ARCHITECTURE firm in Edinburgh has won a contract to design the new national nuclear archive in the north of Scotland. Reiach and Hall will start work on the £15 million Wick facility in January, with work due to be completed in 2013.

Edinburgh Evening News 26th Dec 2009 more >>

Iran

These are worrying times for Iran. In addition to the internal strife which shows no sign of abating, the question of its nuclear capability remains unanswered. It has until the end of the year to agree to a UN plan to exchange enriched uranium for supplies of nuclear fuel but so far Ahmadinejad has shown no sign of agreeing to the offer. Last week the release of intelligence documents seemed to show Iran was embarking on the production of a nuclear trigger and that it could have a weapon ready by 2011. Although Mr Ahmadinejad claimed the report was “fundamentally untrue” and US concerns had become “a repetitive and tasteless joke”, senior Pentagon commanders have admitted a pre-emptive strike remains an option if diplomacy fails.

Sunday Herald 27th Dec 2009 more >>

UAE

A South Korean consortium has won a $40-billion (25 billion pound) contract to build several nuclear reactors for the United Arab Emirates, industry sources said on Sunday.

Reuters 27th Dec 2009 more >>

Posted: 27 December 2009

26 December 2009

A Nuclear Christmas Tale

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the land

Not a creature was stirring, ‘cept Atomic Anne.

Her stocking was hung by the cooling towers with care,

In hopes that St Nicholas (Sarkozy) soon would be there.

(Links to story about uranium mining in Lapaland)

Greenpeace Nuclear Reaction 26th Dec 2009 more >>

Dungeness

The estate agent’s blurb about an ‘exceptional detached fisherman’s cottage’ and accompanying photo showing beautiful windswept coastline gave the impression of a rural idyll. So most prospective purchasers were horrified to find the whitewashed bungalow situated in the shadow of Dungeness nuclear power station. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder and for one couple it felt like home as soon as they set eyes on it.

Daily Mail 26th Dec 2009 more >>

Areva

French nuclear corporation AREVA is launching what it calls a ‘Community Advisory Council’ (CAC). The Council will apparently ‘raise greater awareness of the benefits of clean energy technology, including nuclear energy and renewables’ and ‘build a working group of representatives from influential organizations who will informally advise the company on energy and sustainability issues’. It says there must be no taboo subjects. If this is the case then why, in the month since Greenpeace announced it had found radioactive contamination on the streets of a village close to AREVA’s uranium mines in Niger, has there not been a single word on the subject from AREVA?

Greenpeace Nuclear Reaction 24th Dec 2009 more >>

Iran

Iran’s foreign minister says Turkey could be a venue for Tehran to exchange nuclear material with the West. The statement is another of several offers Tehran has recently made without formally responding to a UN-drafted proposal that would reduce Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium and ease Western concerns over Tehran’s nuclear intentions.

Belfast Telegraph 26th Dec 2009 more >>

Armenia

Armenia has cleared the way for a new nuclear power plant, despite green groups’ objections that its location could put capital at risk. Earlier this month, the government approved the creation of Atomstroyexport, a joint Russian-Armenian company that will own the station.

Institute for War and Peace Reporting 24th Dec 2009 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Russia will work on a new generation of atomic weapons to strengthen its nuclear deterrent, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday, just hours after Moscow test-fired one of its most feared missiles. Mr Medvedev said that Russia and the United States were close to a landmark deal on cutting arsenals of Cold War nuclear weapons, but that Moscow would still push ahead with the development of new strategic offensive weapons.

FT 24th Dec 2009 more >>

BBC 24th Dec 2009 more >>

Posted: 26 December 2009

24 December 2009

New Nukes

Nuclear giant Westinghouse has confirmed that it has selected Shaw Group and Laing O’Rourke as its partners for nuclear work in the UK. Westinghouse had shortlisted two groups to build its nuclear reactors in the UK, the Shaw venture and a rival Fluor bid. It emerged late last month that Westinghouse intended to work with Shaw, amid concerns that the move would mean work moving abroad. The rival Fluor bid – which included Costain, Sir Robert McAlpine and Hochtief – might have seen more components sourced in the UK, some claimed. Westinghouse has insited “up to 80%” of the components would be sourced from the UK.

Construction News 23rd Dec 2009 more >>

New Civil Engineer 23rd Dec 2009 more >>

Nuclear Costs

It is all about CARBON, or to be more precise, making existing pollutors pay for the privelige of producing it. In simple terms, there is a market where carbon intensive industries buy the rights to pollute the environment. It operates like the stock market. At the moment the carbon price is too low to support major nuclear investment, and the forecast for carbon prices going forward is also low. This means that for the foreseeable future it will be cheaper to burn gas than it will be to allocate huge sums of capital for the construction of (business) risk laden nuclear plant which may not be able to compete in commercial terms with this carbon intensive energy source in the future.

The Nuke Guy 23rd dec 2000 more >>

Nuclear Police

Energy and Climate Change Minister Lord Hunt today announced the appointment of Stephen Barrett and Robert Wright as members of the Civil Nuclear Police Authority.

Wired.gov 23rd Dec 2009 more >>

Bristol

Bristol council leaders could oppose the building of new nuclear reactors in South Gloucestershire and Somerset. Cabinet member Dr John Wright said the proposed atomic plant next to the existing Oldbury nuclear site, near Thornbury, was only eight miles from the Bristol boundary yet no public consultation was taking place in the city. Some 20 years ago, people in Bristol were involved in the inquiry for Hinkley C in Somerset yet have not been consulted for the latest proposal for that site either.

Western Daily Press 23rd Dec 2009 more >>

Bristol Evening Post 23rd Dec 2009 more >>

Dounreay

Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd has presented estimates of how much radioactivity it expects to dispose of during the remainder of the site clean-up and closure programme. The forecast levels of discharge until 2025 continue the downward trend evident in recent years since the end of reactor operations and fuel reprocessing.

DSRL 22nd Dec 2009 more >>

A LEADING Scottish architecture firm has been commissioned to design the UK’s first National Nuclear Archive. Reiach and Hall, the award-winning Edinburgh practice, has been given the brief for the new £15 million complex in Wick, Caithness. The building will hold up to 30 million digital records, papers and photos chronicling the history of the UK’s civil nuclear industry since the 1940s.

Scotsman 24th Dec 2009 more >>

BBC 23rd Dec 2009 more >>

Wylfa

Letter: I AM writing on behalf of RWE npower and Horizon Nuclear Power to thank all those local residents and businesses who attended our recent public exhibitions and business drop-in events, which were held during November and December 2009. The purpose of the public exhibitions was to provide local people with an opportunity to view our most up-to-date proposals for a possible new nuclear power station at Wylfa, while the aim of the business drop-in sessions was to set out the potential range of commercial opportunities a new facility at Wylfa could bring for businesses in the area.

Daily Post 23rd Dec 2009 more >>

Scotland

The Scottish government is coming under pressure to commit funds to upgrading old central heating boilers, similar to the scheme announced for England.

BBC 24th Dec 2009 more >>

UAE

The United Arab Emirates set up a body on Wednesday to run its burgeoning nuclear programme to produce electricity, which is expected to award the region’s largest-ever energy deals soon, state media reported.

Reuters 23rd Dec 2009 more >>

Spain

Spain’s Cabinet studied a bill on Wednesday that would allow nuclear power stations to keep running after the 2020s when their 40-year working lives are mostly due to expire.

Reuters 23rd Dec 2009 more >>

World Nuclear take on Copenhagen

The Copehagen COP 15 climate change conference ended without consensus and with much still to do. The Copenhagen Accord set a objective of a maximum 2 C increase in global temperatures, but did not set emissions reductions to enable this objective to be achieved. The accord was not adopted by all countries.

World Nuclear News 21st Dec 2009 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Letter The view that without a nuclear deterrent we are nothing more than a province of Europe comes pretty close to the view, which he dismisses, that nuclear weapons enable us to be part of the big boys’ club. Within Europe, Germany and Italy would contest the view that they are mere provinces, and that their sovereignty is constrained by lack of nuclear weapons. Outside Europe, we should enquire how constrained other countries such as Japan and Brazil feel because of their lack of nuclear weapons.

FT 24th Dec 2009 more >>

Renewables

Less than a year ago Mr Nyirenda’s life was revolutionised by a small solar panel not much bigger than a paperback novel. If it was left in the daylight for five hours or so it would provide enough power through two wires with crocodile clips at the end to light a small LED bulb, charge a mobile phone or two rechargeable batteries that came with the pack. Those batteries could be used in small radios often a rural African community’s only link to the outside world. Such a device would save his family a small fortune by saving what they were spending on kerosene (paraffin) for the rusty, old lamps used to light up his home. A litre of kerosene cost just over £1 and lasted, on average, a week. In Malawi, where only 4 per cent of the population are linked to the national grid, SolarAid is not only lighting up dark homes, but whole lives. SolarAid does not believe in handouts but encourages people to buy the unit, sometimes with the help a micro-loan. That is then paid back with the money saved. Each unit markets at 4,500 Malawian kwatcha (about £19).

Times 24th Dec 2009 more >>

NEARLY a quarter of Scotland’s electricity demand was met by green sources last year, according to figures published yesterday. The figure was hailed by environmental campaigners and by energy minister Jim Mather. They said Scotland is on course to hit or exceed its target of meeting 31 per cent of electricity demand from renewables by 2011.

Scotsman 24th Dec 2009 more >>

Posted: 24 December 2009

23 December 2009

Carbon Price

The failure of the United Nations summit in Copenhagen to produce a firm agreement on climate change has jeopardised plans to build a new generation of nuclear power stations in Britain. Leading energy industry figures said that the meeting’s failure to help to establish a strong international price for carbon dioxide emissions had undermined the economic rationale for developing the new plants, which emit little carbon but are very expensive to build. Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy, the French-owned company that has proposed building four new reactors in Britain, said that there was an “urgent” need for the Government to intervene in support of nuclear investment. It wants a floor price to be set on the carbon credits that companies need to buy to burn fossil fuels.

Times 23rd Dec 2009 more >>

Generators are warning the Government must intervene soon or the nuclear power and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology the UK needs will not get built. New nuclear facilities are eye-wateringly expensive – as much as five times the cost of gas plants and taking twice as long to build. CCS is so new and untried that there are not even any easy comparisons. In both cases, the business case is difficult to make and the commercially sensible decision is to throw up gas plants instead. Carbon trading was supposed to be the answer. As the EU ETS progresses, setting electricity producers ever-lower carbon emissions caps, the cost gap between clean and dirty generation should be narrowed. But Copenhagen has floored hopes of a global market that would push up the price, passing the buck back to the UK Government. Paul Golby, the chief executive of E.ON UK, said: “We cannot simply leave things as they are. We need changes to the market that mean it makes sense to build and operate lower carbon forms of generation.”

Independent 22nd Dec 2009 more >>

Bristol

Anti-nuclear campaigners have welcomed a move by a Liberal Democrat councillor to commit the city to oppose the building of new atomic power stations near Bristol. Cllr Mark Wright has put forward a motion for the full council meeting on January 19 calling on any consultation for the new plants at Hinkley Point and Oldbury to include people within Bristol.

Bristol 24/7 22nd Dec 2009 more >>

Hinkley

David Heathcoat-Amory has backed a new campaign against the Hinkley pylons

Burnham-on-sea 22nd Dec 2009 more >>

Top environmentalist Professor Tom Burke CBE is giving a boost to Stop Hinkley’s campaign to oppose Hinkley C by speaking at a public meeting together with Greenpeace’s Ben Ayliffe. Later Jonathon Porritt will also speak in Taunton on 6th January 2010

Brisol Indymedia 22nd Dec 2009 more >>

Europe

The Council of the European Union adopted today a mandate authorising the Commission to negotiate a partnership agreement for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy between the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and the Russian Federation. Russia is one of the main global suppliers of nuclear materials and equipment. It is also a key supplier of nuclear fuel and related nuclear fuel cycle services to nuclear power plant operators in the EU.

Europa 22nd Dec 2009 more >>

Disarmament

Next year will be crucial for global nuclear non-proliferation efforts and all eyes will be on the United States and Russia to see if the two top atomic powers can reach a deal to reduce their arsenals.

Reuters 23rd Dec 2009 more >>

Russia and the United States plan unprecedented cuts to their Cold War arsenals of nuclear weapons under a new arms reduction deal, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

Reuters 23rd Dec 2009 more >>

Energy Efficiency

The Government is failing to make progress on 75pc of changes needed to “green” Britain’s industry, with a particularly poor record on energy efficiency for businesses, according to the CBI.

Telegraph 23rd Dec 2009 more >>

Posted: 23 December 2009

22 December 2009

Low Level Waste

Proposals for a radioactive waste disposal facility on the site of a former opencast mine in Cumbria have been submitted to planners. Endecom UK wants to build a plant to manage low level nuclear waste at Keekle Head, near Whitehaven. It would mostly store material from buildings demolished as part of the decommissioning process at Sellafield.

BBC 21st Dec 2009 more >>

Bristol

Bristol City Council could oppose the building of new nuclear reactors at nearby Oldbury and Hinkley Point. A motion has been submitted for debate by Liberal Democrat councillor Dr Mark Wright (Cabot ward) that notes the many problems that nuclear power presents and that none of the public consultations on the new reactors have come to Bristol even though Oldbury is just 8 miles from the city boundary. The motion would commit the Council to opposing the building of new reactors, and calls for all future rounds of consultation to come to Bristol so that residents can have their say too.

Charlie Bolton’s Southville Blog 21st Dec 2009 more >>

Lib Dems 21st Dec 2009 more >>

Hinkley

CAMPAIGNERS in Cannington are calling on EDF Energy to scrap its infrastructure plans for the new power plant at Hinkley Point before their village is “destroyed”. The Save Cannington Action Group, headed by nuclear expert and villager Alan Beasley, claims the firm’s proposals are “immature”, and will make the lives of local people a “misery”. EDF plans to build two new bypasses either side of Cannington, as well as a 200-bed campus, a park and ride scheme, freight handling facilities, and a college recreation area in the village.

This is the West Country 21st Dec 2009 more >>

Trawsfynydd

Trawsfynydd, Snowdonia’s Basil Spence-designed energy plant, is a triumph of modernist architecture – we should be celebrating it, not bringing in the bulldozers.

Guardian 22nd Dec 2009 more >>

Decommissioning

Westinghouse Electric Company has become the sixth partner in Cumbria Nuclear Solutions Limited. The partnership of companies has submitted a bid for the second Sellafield Decommissioning Framework Agreement estimated to be worth around GBP30m per year over four years. The other companies are James Fisher Nuclear Ltd, REACT Engineering Ltd, Shepley Engineers Ltd, Stobbarts Ltd and WYG Ltd.

Nuclear Engineering International 21st Dec 2009 more >>

Carbon Prices

Electricity bills could go up as a result of the weekend’s feeble agreement on climate change at Copenhagen, energy suppliers have warned. The price of carbon – paid by heavy polluters such as power plant operators – plummeted yesterday by almost 10% on Europe’s emissions trading market. This was in response to the EU scrapping a planned commitment to cut emissions by 30% by 2020 because other countries failed to show similar ambition. E.ON and Centrica warned that they would not invest the tens of billions of pounds to build expensive new nuclear reactors and clean coal plants at today’s carbon price, which is supposed to penalise dirty coal and gas plants. Some companies including Centrica repeated calls for the UK government to intervene and put a floor – or higher minimum price – on carbon to guarantee them a profit on building the expensive low carbon emitting power plants. The Guardian reported in October that senior government officials had promised the nuclear industry to fix a higher carbon price in the event of a failure at Copenhagen. A spokeswoman for Ed Miliband, the energy and climate change secretary, last night would not comment on his plans.

Guardian 22nd Dec 2009 more >>

Tradable carbon prices fell by 8 per cent on Monday following another 8 per cent drop last week. The European Union’s December 2010 carbon contract now stands at about 12.41 per tonne. Last summer, carbon prices reached a peak of 31.70. That means the cost to any polluter to emit CO2 has halved in less than 18 months. The price drop is not just because world leaders failed to agree binding emissions targets last week. One culprit is the mechanics of the carbon trading system itself. Low carbon prices do little to encourage substitution to other forms of energy generation, such as nuclear (more or less economic at current carbon prices), onshore wind ( 131) or solar ( 572).

FT 22nd Dec 2009 more >>

Climate

Letter: A groundswell of actions by individual communities led by local authorities, supported in turn by national government, is surely the most effective way of creating the climate for change that would tip our leaders into action. One of the few positive notes from Copenhagen was the conference of the elected mayors from the major cities. Over the last decade, in spite of the national politics, American cities such as Boulder, Portland and Santa Monica have been quietly, but effectively, decarbonising their economies. Here, the examples of the Transition towns along with councils such as Kirklees, Stoke, Birmingham and Camden have started to show how fine words can be turned into effective actions.

Guardian 22nd Dec 2009 more >>

Iran

Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator has called for a global nuclear weapons ban and accused rich countries of seeking to “monopolise” atomic energy. Visiting Tokyo to meet senior Japanese officials, Saeed Jalili said: “The crime that was committed in Hiroshima must never be repeated. “A global determination must be made to disarm all nations with these weapons.”

Morning Star 22nd Dec 2009 more >>

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said a document apparently showing that Tehran plans to test a trigger for a nuclear bomb is a US forgery.

BBC 22nd Dec 2009 more >>

Times 22nd Dec 2009 more >>

China

A joint declaration from the French and Chinese governments will allow Areva SA to start talks with its Chinese partners to supply nuclear waste treatment facilities, La Tribune reported, citing Areva Chief Executive Officer Anne Lauvergeon. The market for such facilities in China could be worth 15 billion euros, the newspaper said.

Bloomberg 22nd Dec 2009 more >>

China will start building another “two or three” third-generation Westinghouse nuclear reactors by the end of next year once they have been approved by the government, the China Daily newspaper said on Tuesday.

Reuters 22nd Dec 2009 more >>

South Korea

Seoul shares rose on Tuesday, with Korea Power Engineering and Doosan Heavy Industries rallying on expectations that they would benefit from the government’s plan to boost atomic energy technology. The Ministry of Knowledge Economy said on Monday that it would grow the nuclear power sector as a key strategy industry and bring forward a plan to develop nuclear reactors with South Korea’s technology, outlining its 2010 policy focus.

Interactive Investor 22nd Dec 2009 more >>

India

Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Chairman Srikumar Banerjee has said that the country was firm on securing the right to reprocessing nuclear fuel under the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, the Times of India reported. The deal is in the final stages of getting operationalized.

Energy Business Review 20th Dec 2009 more >>

Posted: 22 December 2009

21 December 2009

New Nukes

Centrica: Building projects such as new nuclear power stations takes years, with investment decisions required by 2011 if the first one is to be completed by 2017. If we are to make the substantial investments required, we need some certainty now over future carbon prices. Yet carbon prices are driven by the lower EU emissions targets rather than the UK’s objectives, and there is very limited liquidity in forward carbon markets. Therefore, while the EU emissions trading scheme should remain the cornerstone of our strategy and will eventually deliver what we need, in the shorter term we may require some underpinning of the UK carbon price while EU policy catches up.

Daily Mail 21st Dec 2009 more >>

The chairwoman of CND (Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament) and an expert from the Nuclear Industry Association will debate the nuclear power issue at a meeting next month. Billed as the Great Nuclear Power Debate, the CND’s Dr Kate Hudson will speak against the Government’s plan to expand its nuclear programme.

Wandsworth Guardian 20th Dec 2009 more >>

Nuclear Desalination

As the global population expands, demand for water for agriculture and personal use will increase dramatically, but there could be a solution that will produce clean drinking water and help reduce carbon emissions as well. That process is nuclear desalination.

Telegraph 21st Dec 2009 more >>

Iran

Giving developing countries access to nuclear power and reallocating some of the defence budget of the US and other major military powers is the best way to avoid a global environmental crisis, according to Iran’s president.

Edie 20th Dec 2009 more >>

Sweden

The Swedish government announced a sudden U-turn in energy policy. Not only should the country’s 10 nuclear power stations stay open, officials said, but the plants should be allowed to buy new reactors to replace the old ones if necessary. Enabling legislation is to be introduced in the Swedish parliament within months, part of a remarkable renaissance underway across Europe for a technology that was unloved and criticized for years.

LA Times 20th Dec 2009 more >>

Climate

Three years ago, eight new coal power stations were being planned, and the third runway at Heathrow was all but inevitable. A few thousand heroic young people took direct action against them. Now all the new coal power stations have been cancelled, and the third runway is dead in the water. Here in the fifth largest economy in the world, they have stopped coal and airport expansion. Politicians felt the heat. That was done by a few thousand people. Imagine what tens or hundreds of thousands could do. There need to be parallel movements to this in every country on earth (and a much bigger one in Britain). Copenhagen had one value, and one value alone. It has shown us that if we don’t act in our own self-defence now, nobody else will.

Independent 21st Dec 2009 more >>

Jonathan Porritt: There is no reassuring “global deal” to provide cover for some of the more controversial and unpopular policies that the Government is now bringing forward on air passenger duty, for instance, or zero-carbon housing. Peter Mandelson’s new-found enthusiasm for a “green industrial revolution” might just slip down that old fixer’s list of things that really matter in a pre-election period. But there’s no political upside in any of that for David Cameron. Indeed, I suspect that the fallout will prove to be more problematic for Mr Cameron than for Mr Brown. It will give succour to that weird bunch of “grandees” (David Davis, Peter Lilley, Lord Lawson of Blaby et al) who have become increasingly critical of Mr Cameron’s intelligent leadership on climate change.

Times 21st Dec 2009 more >>

Renewables

Compared to Denmark, though Wales and the UK has a way to go, despite a relatively flat few years for the Danish wind sector. The real difference between Wales and Denmark though is not the 500 or so turbines on and offshore in Wales, or the 5,000 currently working in Denmark, but who owns them, and who pockets the profit.

BBC 21st Dec 2009 more >>

A rapidly-growing Aberdeen company specialising in the construction of offshore wind farms has secured £42 million of investment to fund more growth, a sign of emerging confidence that they are on the threshold of a boom.

Times 21st Dec 2009 more >>

Posted: 21 December 2009