News April 2009

30 April 2009

Nuclear Sites

Successful sites auction brings major new player into new nuclear programme. Total declared plans for new nuclear now exceed current capacity, enough to meet a quarter of UK electricity demand. The UK’s new nuclear power sector gained a serious new player today with the news that a joint venture between RWE npower and EON UK has been successful in purchasing potential sites for new nuclear power stations at Wylfa in Wales and Oldbury in South Gloucestershire. Following the auction run by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), the RWE and E.ON joint venture today set out plans to develop both sites and the aim of delivering at least 6 gigawatts of new nuclear capacity in the UK, with the first station coming online at around the end of the next decade. Added to EDF Energy’s firm plans to build 6.4 gigawatts, this takes the total declared plans for the first phase of new build to 12.4 gigawatts. This would be enough to meet a quarter of UK electricity demand, and would exceed the UK’s existing nuclear fleet, all but one of which will have closed by 2023.

DECC Press Release 29th Apr 2009 more >>

Times 29th Apr 2009 more >>

Utility Week 30th Apr 2009 more >>

Liverpool Daily News 30th Apr 2009 more >>

Telegraph 30th Apr 2009 more >>

FT 30th Apr 2009 more >>

FT 30th Apr 2009 more >>

Guardian 30th Apr 2009 more >>

Reuters 29th Apr 2009 more >>

BBC 29th Apr 2009 more >>

Scottish & Southern Energy and ScottishPower’s Spanish owner, Iberdrola, found competition for the sites so intense it withdrew before the endgame. That grouping, which also includes French utility GDF Suez, claims it remains committed to developing a fleet of new nuclear power stations in the UK. It thinks it can pick up other potential sites from the list of 11 identified by the Department of Energy and Climate Change on April 15. Some have to be sold by their existing owners. But similar restrictions applied to the now-completed auction.

Herald 30th Apr 2009 more >>

Herald 30th Apr 2009 more >>

The NDA will start the process to auction another site, at Sellafield, within weeks. And despite its successes yesterday with Bradwell, EDF may yet put the land back on the market. The French giant is planning to build two nuclear stations by 2025, one at Hinkley Point in Somerset, and one at Sizewell in Suffolk. Bradwell was an insurance policy against hold-ups in the planning process and, if developments progress as planned, it is likely to be sold. EDF is also to put land at either Heysham or Dungeness up for sale.

Independent 30th Apr 2009 more >>

New Nukes

The government has identified 11 potential sites for its new nuclear power stations, which will provide around 20GW of electrical power. This new-build programme will of course create many construction jobs. More importantly, though, the majority of new jobs up to 60 per cent will require skills generic to high value-added manufacturing, such as electro-mechanical design and engineering, systems integration, robotics, materials science and process control. A new round of nuclear power stations is therefore an opportunity to build up this country’s manufacturing skills base

Prospect May 2009 more >>

Companies

Toshiba Corp has agreed to buy a majority stake in a Japanese nuclear fuel producer for about $103 million, as it gears up to tap demand for nuclear power generation worldwide. Toshiba has said it aimed to provide services covering the nuclear power generation cycle from fuel procurement to design, production and maintenance of plant equipment.

Interactive Investor 30th Apr 2009 more >>

Nuclear Waste

Some ten billion dollars and two decades into the project, the proposed US nuclear waste dump at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain has hit a major and possibly decisive stumbling block: President Barack Obama has proposed eliminating all funding for scientific research on the deep-rock repository, 140 kilometres northwest of Las Vegas. As Yucca Mountain has been the United States’ only potential long-term repository since 1987, the decision once again raises the issue of what to do with the country’s high-level nuclear waste.

Nature 29th Apr 2009 more >>

Scotland

Scottish UK Minister Ann McKechin left often the possibility that planning powers could be returned to Westminster in a House of Commons debate. She said the issue was being looked at by the Calman Commission.

Aberdeen Press and Journal 29th Apr 2009 more >>

North Korea

North Korea vowed yesterday to test a nuclear device unless the United Nations Security Council apologised for imposing sanctions, its strongest threat yet in an increasingly tense game of diplomatic brinkmanship. The provocative statement elicited a muted response from the US and its allies in the region, and diplomatic sources suggested they had decided to adopt a strategy of “malign neglect” in the face of North Korean brinkmanship.

FT 30th Apr 2009 more >>

Daily Mail 30th Apr 2009 more >>

Pakistan

Pakistan’s senior civil and military officials are sharing tightly held information about the country’s nuclear arms programme with western countries in an effort to allay fears about the security of weapons in the face of a Taliban advance. The decision highlights global concerns about the safety of up to 100 atom bombs in Pakistan’s possession, as the country tries to repel Taliban militants who advanced last week to within 100km of Islamabad. Pakistan is secretive about its nuclear programme, developed outside the non-proliferation treaty in an arms race with India.

FT 30th Apr 2009 more >>

Bulgaria

Funding for Bulgaria’s planned nuclear power plant at Belene must be secured soon, or the multi-billion euro project will be delayed, a consultant to the scheme said on Wednesday.

Yahoo 29th Apr 2009 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Hirofumi Nakasone, the foreign minister, condemned the most recent action-packed Steven Spielberg movie for its “lack of awareness” of the effects of a nuclear bomb attack.

Telegraph 30th Apr 2009 more >>

Renewables

The American wind energy industry installed over 2,800 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity in the first quarter of 2009, with new projects completed in 15 states and powering the equivalent of 816,000 homes.

Climate Progress 29th Apr 2009 more >>

It is a dazzling vision of a clean energy future. An entire continent powered by solar panels, wind and wave turbines, geothermal and hydroelectric power stations and all stitched together by a European “supergrid” stretching from the sunbaked deserts of the south to the windswept North Sea, from the volcanoes of Iceland to the lakes of Finland. It may sound like the stuff of science fiction but this is a vision that the European Union wants to make a reality. The concept is gaining ground among policymakers, including leaders such as President Sarkozy and Gordon Brown, who are concerned about Europe’s carbon emissions and its steadily growing dependence on Russian gas. Adam Bruce, chairman of the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA), is convinced that a European supergrid that could eventually banish polluting fossil fuels altogether, is only a matter of time.

Times 30th Apr 2009 more >>

Government plans to generate more than a third of Britain’s electricity from green energy sources, such as wind and solar power, by 2020 are doomed to failure without a dramatic increase in state support, according to a leading energy research group. Jim Skea, director of the UK Energy Research Centre says “In none of the scenarios we looked at were renewables picked up nearly fast enough [in the UK] to meet the 2020 targets,” said Professor Skea. “It will be a big struggle. We are not spending nearly enough.”

Times 30th Apr 2009 more >>

Climate

The world has already burned half the fossil fuels necessary to bring about a 2C rise in average global temperature, scientists reveal today. The experts say about half a trillion tonnes of carbon have been consumed since the industrial revolution. To prevent a 2C rise, they say, the total burned must be kept to below a trillion tonnes. On current rates, that figure will be reached in 40 years. The new research is released as a leading adviser to the government on climate policy said that Britain would “struggle” to meet its 2020 target to source 15% of its electricity from renewable sources. Jim Skea, research director of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) and a member of the government’s Advisory Committee on Climate Change, was speaking at the launch of a UKERC report that presents scenarios for how lifestyles and energy generation in Britain would have to change reach the 2050 climate targets.

Guardian 30th Apr 2009 more >>

Times 30th Apr 2009 more >>

At the current rate at which CO2 is emitted globally – which is increasing by 3 per cent a year – countries will have exceeded their total limit of 1,000 billion tons within 20 years, which would be about 20 years earlier than planned under international obligations. “If we continue burning fossil fuels as we do, we will have exhausted the carbon budget in merely 20 years, and global warming will go well beyond 2C,” said Malte Meinshausen of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, who led the study, published in Nature.

Independent 30th Apr 2009 more >>

The UK Energy Research Centre suggests that a carbon price signal of £200 a tonne, 15 times the present level, is needed if we are to reach the Government’s target of an 80 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050. Small wonder, then, that the centre is dismissive of the Government’s aspiration of generating a third of electricity from renewables by 2020. That we have barely started wind accounted for about 1 per cent of power generation last year is reason enough to be sceptical. What is more important, however, is not whether we match some politically inspired timeline (always just beyond a minister’s career horizon) but whether the practical steps that must be taken to get even halfway towards the desired goal are affordable.

Times 30th Apr 2009 more >>

Posted: 30 April 2009

29 April 2009

Nuclear Sites

The UK Government could make more than £400m in the hotly contested auction of NDA sites, as one of the three main bidders was forced out on Tuesday. The consortium of Ibderdrola, SSE and GDF Suez pulled out leaving the RWE and EoN consortium and EDF still in the bid process which has been going on for nearly two months.

FT 29th April 2009 more >>

FT 29th Apr 2009 more >>

The Bradwell site may sell for more than £160m – the reserve price was £40m

Bloomberg 28th Apr 2009 more >>

Why the government’s ‘Have Your Say’ guide to new nuclear plants is seriously misleading, and the steps you can take to contribute to the consultation and effectively register your opposition to new nuclear build in your neighbourhood.

Greenpeace 28th Apr 2009 more >>

British Energy

BILL Coley, the chief executive of British Energy, will step down in July, it was announced last night. Coley will be succeeded by Dr Andrew Spurr, currently chief technical officer at the East Kilbride-based firm. The announcement marks a further stage in the changes wrought by British Energy’s new owner, state controlled French power giant EDF. Last night Vincent de Rivaz, the chief executive of EDF Energy, the UK arm of the French group, said the transition would be completed through a “managed succession process”. Spurr will take the title of “managing director of existing nuclear”, de Rivaz said.

Scotsman 29th Apr 2009 more >>

Millom

OPPONENTS to the planned nuclear power station near Millom are urging an organisation which cares about the countryside to join their campaign. The Lake District National Park Authority – the local government body established to conserve and enhance the Lake District’s natural beauty – has yet to comment on it. So Whicham Action Group, which was set up to fight the proposal, has written to the LDNPA and urged the authority to object to the plan.

NW Evening Mail 27th Apr 2009 more >>

Heysham

THE futures of Heysham Golf Club and Ocean Edge Caravan park could be at risk if the Government approves plans to build a new power station at Heysham. They are in the ‘footprint’ of plans which were nominated to the Government on March 31, which means part of both could be bought and built on. In the worst case scenario, Heysham Golf Club and half of Ocean Edge could be built on.

Morecambe Visitor 28th Apr 2009 more >>

Hartlepool

Shipbreaking firm Able UK has raised fears that it could lose up to 40 acres if plans go ahead at Hartlepool.

Middlesbrough Gazette 28th Apr 2009 more >>

Bradwell

RESIDENTS in Maldon got the chance to hear about a future nuclear power station in Bradwell. Nigel Knee, from EDF Energy, addressed members of the public at a Maldon Town Council meeting. The town had missed out on a round of consultations about the proposals late last year. Fifty people heard Mr Knee and asked questions during the meeting. Mr Knee said Bradwell remained a candidate for a new power station. He said: “When we were talking to local communities, we were saying there were a number of sites available, including Bradwell, and we still think Bradwell is a good idea.

North Essex Gazette 29th Apr 2009 more >>

Scotland

Labour MP Gordon Banks writes for ePolitix.com on the issues raised in his Westminster Hall debate on electricity generation and consumption. Energy security, along with climate change and the fight against terrorism would be at the top of any list of top political issues in the world today. We must have energy that is affordable, secure and sustainable and to do this we need to encourage investment in a diverse range of low carbon energy sources nuclear, renewables and cleaner fossil fuels.

Yahoo 28th Apr 2009 more >>

MPs have clashed in the Commons over whether there should be new nuclear power stations in Scotland. The row came during a parliamentary debate on electricity generation and consumption north of the Border instigated by backbench Labour MP Gordon Banks. He claimed jobs and investment in Scotland would be lost because of the current Scottish government’s opposition to nuclear power. Fellow Labour backbencher and Glasgow MP John Robertson said it was “outrageous” that the Scottish administration was using its planning powers to block nuclear power investment in Scotland. Both MPs claimed Scotland needed new nuclear plant as part of a balanced energy mix. However Mike Weir, the Scottish National Party MP for Angus, insisted: “The Scottish Government are entitled to exercise their power under the electricity and planning legislation”.

Utility Week 29th Apr 2009 more >>

New Nukes

Letter from Steuart Campbell: “high-grade uranium reserves are finite” (on Earth anyway). However, it is not certain they will become depleted any time soon. Even if they were, there are plenty of lower-grade reserves. In 2007, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development estimated that “recoverable reserves” of uranium were about 4.74 million tonnes, well over 100 years’ supply at the current rate of consumption. In fact, uranium is more common than tin and there are ways to exploit it to enable reserves to last 1,000 years.

Scotsman 29th Apr 2009 more >>

US

Forget everything you’ve heard from people like energy secretary Steven Chu and Exxon boss Rex Tillerson about the need for a mix of energy sources this century. The U.S. doesn’t need any new nuclear or coal-fired plants. It can do the job with just renewable energy and natural gas. Yes, that is Greenpeace’s energy blueprint. It’s also the line of Jon Wellinghoff, the new chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the nominal head of the U.S. power system.

Wall Street Journal Blog 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Wall Street Journal Blog 27th Apr 2009 more >>

A list of companies that have announced their intent to submit applications to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for new plant licenses.

AP 28th Apr 2009 more >>

The New York State Public Service Commission has approved the $4.5 billion acquisition of 49.99% of Constellation Nuclear, the indirect owner of three nuclear power plants in upstate New York, to a wholly-owned subsidiary of Electricite de France, the world’s largest nuclear power plant owner. In the USA, EDF Group and Constellation Energy have an existing partnership through their UniStar joint venture to build, own and operate new nuclear generation.

Nuclear Engineering International 28th Apr 2009 more >>

Faslane

New evidence of poor safety standards at the nuclear bomb base at Faslane on the Clyde is revealed in an internal document from the government’s health and safety watchdog. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said it was “extremely disappointed” with the attitude of Faslane supervisors towards protecting their staff from potential accidents. Critics have compared the base’s safety bungles to those of the cartoon character, Homer Simpson. The document released to Channel Four News under freedom of information legislation discloses a series of mishaps which have worried the HSE. In one incident a “spray leak” of radioactivity had caused “potential contamination”. In another incident, ship’s staff were accused of “failing to control a designated area”. According to the HSE, these two events “seemed to point to a lack of understanding” of radiation safety rules. There had been a “recent history of radiological incidents on boats”, the HSE said, and it was “concerned” about staff training and knowledge. Faslane’s radioactive waste disposal building was “in a poor state”.

RobEdwards 28 April 2009 more >>

Well now. Several cats suddenly let out of the same bag. Channel 4 News’s investigation of a deplorable safety record on leakages of radioactive waste into the Clyde estuary at the Faslane nuclear submarine base also sprang another startling piece of news. It seems the Ministry of Defence has plans to rationalise its entire nuclear fleet on the Clyde: the current Vanguards carrying Trident missiles, the seven nuclear-powered Trafalgars based at Devonport and the Astute fleet due to replace the ageing Swiftsures.

Herald 29th Apr 2009 more >>

The Engineer 28th Apr 2009 more >>

Daily Record 28th Apr 2009 more >>

Criminal Justice Forum 28th Apr 2009 more >>

Almost as bad as dropping a luminous watch into the sea.

The Register 28th Apr 2009 more >>

Bulgaria

Russia may give Bulgaria a loan to help build the Belene nuclear power station, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

Yahoo 28th Apr 2009 more >>

Korea

A South Korean pop star is facing a possible seven-year jail sentence after he defended Pyongyang’s attempts to create an atomic arsenal.

Telegraph 28th Apr 2009 more >>

Iran

Israeli Defence Minister wants US to put time limit on any negotiations with Iran over nuclear programme.

Middle East Online 28th Apr 2009 more >>

Zirconium

Zirconium sponge production capacity will be fully used within three years as nuclear power producers, which dominate use of the minor metal, modernise and extend their plants, said Romain Doublet, marketing & business development director of Cezus-Areva. “Investment will be needed. Tension is already there in the market,” he told delegates at the Minor Metals Trade Assn conference in Istanbul.

Metal Bulletin 28th Apr 2009 more >>

Renewables

Britain’s only wind turbine manufacturing plant is to close, dealing a humiliating blow to the government’s promise to support low-carbon industries. Vestas, the world’s biggest wind energy group, said yesterday it would close its Isle of Wight plant, which employs about 600 people and makes blades for windfarms in the US.

Guardian 29th Apr 2009 more >>

BP has reported a slump in sales of solar panels and falling profits at its alternative energy division. Earlier this month the oil group said it was axing 620 jobs at its solar energy division in the US and Spain because of an oversupply of solar equipment in the market and the recession. The job cuts are equivalent to more than a quarter of the workforce. BP said today its solar sales during the quarter would generate 15MW of power, down from 34MW in the same period in 2008. BP said this reflected “ongoing weak demand in the market”.

Guardian 29th Apr 2009 more >>

This year has not been a good one for renewable energy, despite promises by politicians all round the globe to make it the centrepoint of economic recovery. Vestas chief executive Ditlev Engel began 2009 by warning that the economic downturn had left it with a 15% excess in global manufacturing capacity though he was optimistic about Gordon Brown’s promises to create thousands of new jobs in Britain and China’s pledge to invest $70bn (58bn) on electricity grid connections.

Guardian 29th Apr 2009 more >>

Commitments by European governments, including the UK and Germany, to increase the amount of electricity generated by green energy alternatives has not translated into increased demand, the company said.

Telegraph 29th Apr 2009 more >>

Posted: 29 April 2009

28 April 2009

Sizewell

PROTESTERS staged a demonstration at Sizewell power station over the weekend to show their anger at plans to build two new nuclear reactors.

Campaigners against the proposed new development on the Suffolk coast lined the entrance to Sizewell A and B power plants to voice their opposition.

East Anglian Daily Times 27th Apr 2009 more >>

Millom

RWE’s plan for a new nuclear power station at Kirksanton, near Sellafield, would mean the destruction of a community-owned wind farm already producing electricity on the site. The three companies running the Haverigg wind project on the Cumbrian coast only found out that their land was part of the German utility’s plan when the full list of nominated sites was published by the Government earlier this month. Colin Palmer, the founder of Windcluster, one of the companies with turbines at the site, said: “RWE is planning to knock down our windmills to build a nuclear power station but they didn’t even have the decency to contact us.”

Independent 28th Apr 2009 more >>

Guardian 28th Apr 2009 more >>

IAEA

A total of five candidates have put themselves forward to succeed Mohamed ElBaradei as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it was announced Monday, as the deadline for nominations drew to a close. With a deadline of midnight on Monday, diplomats said there was little likelihood of a last-minute sixth candidate coming forward.

Earth Times 27th Apr 2009 more >>

Government

Lord Mandelson has set up an “energy and climate change unit” to lobby Ed Miliband’s new energy and climate change department on behalf of business. Energy insiders said the move was further evidence of the peer encroaching on Ed Miliband’s brief in a bid to water down green policies which may damage business.

Guardian 26th Apr 2009 more >>

Scotland

A SCOTTISH Labour MP is poised to reignite a row over the Scottish Government’s threat to block the construction of any new nuclear power plants north of the border. In a move certain to provoke an SNP response, Ochil and South Perthshire MP Gordon Banks is to question the use of planning law which is devolved to Holyrood to determine energy policy, which is a Westminster responsibility, in a Commons debate tomorrow. He said last night he called a debate in Westminster to discuss the role Scotland should play in meeting UK energy needs and would not be calling for a reduction in the planning powers of the Scottish Parliament, but would ask if the use of planning powers to impose a nuclear ban is appropriate.

Aberdeen Press & Journal 27th Apr 2009 more >>

Sellafield

Cumbria narrowly averted a nuclear disaster “five times worse than Chernobyl”, a county councillor has claimed. Labour’s Wendy Kolbe, who represents Ulverston East, told councillors that a failure in the cooling system at Sellafield on April 1 could have led to a catastrophic explosion. Her comments have been dismissed as alarmist and untrue.

Carlisle News and Star 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Faslane

CONCERNS have been raised about safety at Faslane after it was revealed nuclear waste has leaked into the Clyde. The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) has said that if Faslane was a civilian installation it would consider closing it down. The worst breaches included leaks of radioactive coolants from nuclear subs in 2004, 2007 and 2008, according to documents obtained by Channel 4 under the Freedom of Information.

Scotsman 28th Apr 2009 more >>

Daily Mail 28th Apr 2009 more >>

View London 27th Apr 2009 more >>

FASLANE is set to be the UK’s only submarine base in a move that will boost the economy yet will also be seen as a snub to the Scottish Government’s anti- nuclear stance. Ministry of Defence documents suggest that the seven Trafalgar class submarines currently based in Devon will be relocated to Faslane on the Gare Loch near Glasgow by 2015.

Scotsman 28th Apr 2009 more >>

IF THERE is one part of Scotland which really grates with Alex Salmond, it is Faslane. The nuclear submarine base on the Clyde is not only a perpetual reminder of Britain’s nuclear deterrent, to which the SNP is fundamentally opposed, but it also provides a concrete example of the strict limits of the Scottish Government’s power. The SNP administration does not want nuclear weapons, it does not believe the country needs them and it is irked by the simple fact that the UK’s nuclear deterrent is based in Scotland – against the will of the Scottish Government.

Scotsman 28th Apr 2009 more >>

The Scottish government called for an “immediate and top-level investigation” yesterday into reported radioactive leaks at Faslane, the country’s main nuclear submarine base. The party’s Westminster leader, Angus Robertson, called the disclosures of a series of safety breaches at the base “utterly damning”. He added: “We are not talking about a one-off incident but a whole catalogue of serious and frankly shocking failures.”

Times 27th Apr 2009 more >>

FT 28th Apr 2009 more >>

Faslane Trident base would have been shut down by civilian environmental authorities if the Ministry of Defence did not have immunity, it emerged yesterday. The Clyde facility is also likely to become the UK’s sole nuclear submarine base within six years, according to reports released under

Freedom of Information rules. The MoD described safety failings at Faslane, on the Gare Loch as a “recurring theme” following major leaks of radioactive coolant from nuclear submarines in 2004, 2007 and 2008 into the Firth of Clyde. Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) warned it would consider closing the base if it had the power to do so but civil radioactive safety regulations do not apply to MoD sites, although the department has previously said it would volunteer to uphold them at the base.

Herald 28th Apr 2009 more >>

Trident

BRITAIN must not abandon its independent nuclear deterrent in the face of the current financial and economic crisis, Defence Secretary John Hutton, pictured, warned yesterday. Ministers have faced calls to scrap the £20 billion update of the Trident nuclear deterrent after Chancellor Alistair Darling revealed the dire state of the public finances in the Budget.

Scotsman 28th Apr 2009 more >>

Thailand

Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) has identified four provinces for potential sites for a nuclear power plant. Kamol Takabut, EGAT’s assistant governor for power plant engineering, said that the feasibility study was one-third concluded and was scheduled for the completion in late 2010.

Energy Business Review 28th Apr 2009 more >>

Nuclear Testing

A court in French Polynesia has begun hearing complaints from former workers at France’s nuclear weapons test sites. The cases, being heard for the first time, relate to work in Mururoa and Fangataufa and seek recognition and compensation for ill health.

BBC 28th Apr 2009 more >>

Emergency Planning

Klaus Umminger’s job is to cause havoc. At Europe’s only nuclear power plant simulator, in the Bavarian township of Erlangen, the project manager is preparing a catastrophe: the simulation of a huge leak. The experiment in the grey building near the German headquarters of Areva NP, the Franco-German reactor engineering business, demonstrates that the nuclear chain reaction can be kept under control. “The leakage could cause the water . . . to cool down too rapidly, but our safety technique will prevent that,” Mr Umminger says.

FT 28th Apr 2009 more >>

Pakistan

Pakistan’s president has given assurances his country’s nuclear weapons are not at risk of falling into the hands of the Taliban. As the Taliban extends its influence closer to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington could not contemplate the possibility of a nuclear-armed Taliban.

ITN 27th Apr 2009 more >>

Coal

Growing concerns about Britain’s future energy security are putting coal back on to the centre stage, the boss of Britain’s biggest producer, UK Coal, said yesterday. The company, reporting a loss of £15.6m, said it had signed a contract to supply Scottish and Southern Energy and renewed deals on better terms with E.ON, Drax and EDF over the past 12 months.

Guardian 28th Apr 2009 more >>

Posted: 28 April 2009

27 April 2009

New Nukes

Ed Milliband: There is a temptation for people to justify opposition to each form of low-carbon power, but the truth is that on grounds of energy security and climate change, we cannot afford this luxury. Everything we know suggests that there can be no comfort any more in a high-carbon energy policy. If we pursue this course, we risk finding ourselves unable to meet our climate change commitments and facing a more difficult and painful transition to low carbon in a world where prices have been pushed up, by both global demand and agreements to put a price on carbon. And as if that wasn’t enough, we would also miss the huge low-carbon industrial opportunity for Britain. So as well as improving energy efficiency, we need to pursue the trinity of low-carbon technologies: renewables, nuclear and clean fossil fuels. In Scotland, the Nationalists still repeat “no thanks”, refusing to contemplate nuclear and insisting on a one-club energy policy. They are putting roadblocks up to low carbon, even as Scottish voters appear to support new nuclear power.

Times 27th Apr 2009 more >>

Sizewell

Protesters have held a vigil against nuclear power at a generating station in Suffolk to mark 23 years since the Chernobyl disaster. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), which organised a “peaceful” overnight protest at Sizewell said it wanted to highlight the dangers.

BBC 26th Apr 2009 more >>

Faslane

The country’s main nuclear submarine base has been hit by a series of safety breaches, including leaks of radioactive waste, it is reported. In a confidential report released under the Freedom of Information Act, the Ministry of Defence described safety failings at Faslane, on the Gare Loch near Glasgow, as a “recurring theme”. The worst breaches include three leaks of radioactive coolant from nuclear submarines in 2004, 2007 and 2008 into the Firth of Clyde.

AOL 27th Apr 2009 more >>

Britain’s nuclear submarine base at Faslane has had so many safety breaches – including leaks of radioactive material – that they have become a “recurring theme”, according to a confidential government report. The documents, which were released to Channel 4 News, showed the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) warned it would consider closing the base if it had the power to do so.

Guardian 27th Apr 2009 more >>

SEPA Documents http://www.sepa.org.uk/about_us/access_to_information/access_to_information_files/faslane_and_coulport.aspx

Telegraph 27th Apr 2009 more >>

Yorkshire Post 27th Apr 2009 more >>

BBC 27th Apr 2009 more >>

They are devastating admissions about one of Britain’s most significant nuclear sites, the sprawling and heavily defended base for the UK’s nuclear deterrent at Faslane, which dominates the coastline on a quiet sea loch north-west of Glasgow. Detailed within 400 pages of internal reports, emails and letters released under the Freedom of Information Act are startling admissions of repeated safety breaches and failures of management.

Guardian 27th Apr 2009 more >>

North Korea

THE youngest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has reportedly been named to the powerful National Defence Commission, an appointment analysts said yesterday indicates the 26-year-old is being groomed to take power amid tension over the country’s nuclear programmes.

Scotsman 27th Apr 2009 more >>

North Korea has resumed plutonium extraction.

FT 27th Apr 2009 more >>

Test Veterans

After decades of campaigning by veterans, and shameful prevarication on behalf of successive governments, the nuclear test guinea pigs have made significant progress in recent months towards receiving the compensation and war pensions many argue they deserve.

Times 27th Apr 2009 more >>

Children and grandchildren of servicemen involved in Britain’s nuclear bomb tests are to get medical help for the first time. The families – who have 10 times the normal rate of birth defects – are to take part in a landmark £500,000 study, it was announced last week.

Sunday Mirror 26th Apr 2009 more >>

Disarmament

Russian and American negotiators began work at the weekend on their ambitious plans to rid the world of nuclear weapons. The talks are intended to produce a new agreement to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start) that expires in December. This time, however, both sides are committed to cutting their arsenals well below the current combined total of 5,000 warheads, after the declaration by presidents Obama and Medvedev in London on April 1 that they would work towards the scrapping of all nuclear arms. It is a fraught endeavour, but a very worthwhile one.

Times 27th Apr 2009 more >>

Climate

Climate change needs the same kind of mass support that fired the Make Poverty History campaign, the energy secretary Ed Miliband said yesterday. He is right to try to provoke a sense of obligation in this generation to future generations, but although we can all play our part in reducing demand, only government can deliver the incentives and the structure for clean energy supplies.

Guardian 27th Apr 2009 more >>

Renewables

Construction at Europe’s largest onshore wind farm is on course to be completed ahead of schedule, with the capacity to generate power for every home in Glasgow. ScottishPower Renewables confirmed yesterday that 126 turbines have been built at Whitelee, near Glasgow, and work on the final 14 has begun. All 140 turbines, producing up to 322 MW of electricity, are scheduled to be in place within the next few weeks. The announcement by the energy giant came on the same day that First Minister Alex Salmond called for Scotland to realise its potential as a world leader on green energy projects, as a pioneer of “carbon capture” technologies.

Herald 27th Apr 2009 more >>

Posted: 27 April 2009

26 April 2009

EDF

THE French energy giant EDF hired private investigators to spy on Greenpeace in Britain as the company was seeking to build the next generation of UK nuclear power stations. Inquiries by The Sunday Times have revealed how private detectives hacked into computer systems at a time when the environmental group was planning a legal challenge to EDF’s UK aspirations. It is also claimed that the investigators informally consulted contacts at MI5 about Greenpeace, including the possibility of it being “infiltrated” by eco-terrorists. The spying operation was authorised by senior executives at EDF’s head office in Paris and has sparked a French judicial investigation.

Sunday Times 26th Apr 2009 more >>

Millom

Six of Haverigg’s eight turbines actually fall within the proposed footprint of the Kirksanton nuclear power station, where RWE wants to build up to three reactors. The German energy giant confirms that they would have to be dismantled if the power station were built. The development will delight pro-nuclear anti-wind activists while dismayed environmentalists will see it as an all-too-obvious portent of a switch in government priorities from promoting wind to advancing the atom – and as proof that concentrating on nuclear will cripple renewable energy. “It beggars belief that, at a time when windpower has never been more vital to the UK, a viable wind farm is to be sacrificed on the altar of nuclear power,” said Martin Forwood of the campaign group Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment.

Independent on Sunday 26th Apr 2009 more >>

Dungeness

A campaign group has raised concerns that the expansion of an airport would jeopardise plans for a new nuclear power station at Dungeness. The Lydd Airport Action Group (LAAG) wants to prevent proposals for the extension of the runway and a new terminal at London Ashford Airport on the Romney Marsh from going ahead.

Kent News 25th Apr 2009 more >>

Sizewell

Fifty people have gathered at a nuclear power station in Suffolk to mark 20 years since the Chernobyl disaster. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), which has organised a “peaceful” protest at Sizewell said it wanted to highlight the dangers of nuclear power. The Government said new nuclear power stations could be built at 11 sites in England including Sizewell.

BBC 25th Apr 2009 more >>

Suffolk Evening Star 25th Apr 2009 more >>

East Anglian Daily Times 25th Apr 2009 more >>

Chernobyl

It exploded 23 years ago today more than 1,400 miles away, but it is still contaminating sheep in Scotland. The Chernobyl nuclear reactor near Kiev in Ukraine spewed a huge cloud of radioactivity over Europe, after it overheated and ripped apart on 26 April 1986 because of errors made by control room staff. It was the world’s worst nuclear accident. Now, according to the government’s Food Standards Agency (FSA), some 3,000 sheep are still subject to restrictions because they remain contaminated by Chernobyl in breach of the safety limit. They are at five farms covering about 7,000 hectares in Stirling and Ayrshire.

Sunday Herald 26th Apr 2009 more >>

Test Veterans

The People was the first newspaper to take up the case for compensating the H-bomb veterans whose lives were blighted by nuclear tests. Now, at last, the 8,000 still surviving from the bomb trials of the 1950s are on the brink of getting payouts of £30,000 each. Too little. Too late.

The People 26th Apr 2009 more >>

Trident

He’s not one of the usual suspects, and he didn’t mince his words. “Trident is no bloody use,” he said. “Let’s not waste money on it”. General Sir Hugh Beach, the former deputy Commander-in-Chief of UK Land Forces, was in Glasgow yesterday to talk about Britain’s nuclear bombs. The submarines based on the Clyde and armed with Trident nuclear warheads should not be replaced but immediately scrapped, he argued.

Sunday Herald 26th Apr 2009 more >>

North Korea

North Korea has started to extract plutonium from spent fuel rods at its nuclear arms plant, its foreign ministry admitted. The announcement came hours after a UN Security Council committee placed three North Korean companies on a UN blacklist for aiding Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear programmes.

ITN 26th Apr 2009 more >>

Wales Online 25th Apr 2009 more >>

Activists

A long-running and intricate web of covert police attempts to spy on peaceful activists and infiltrate legitimate protest movements in Scotland has been uncovered by the Sunday Herald. Citizens protesting against nuclear bases on the Clyde have been offered cash for intelligence by Ministry of Defence (MoD) police, it has been claimed, while environmental activists report similar offers from Strathclyde Police. They all back up the revelation made yesterday that Strathclyde police offered to pay Tilly Gifford, an anti-airport protester with Plane Stupid, for inside information. She recorded two police officers making the offer.

Sunday Herald 26th April 2009 more >>

Climate

Ed Milliband warns today that he is “fearful” that the world may miss the opportunity to halt global warming and is calling for a Make Poverty History-style popular movement to push for a breakthrough at this year’s Copenhagen summit. He will travel to Washington this week for preliminary talks, amid concerns that Barack Obama’s ability to back genuinely ambitious cuts in carbon emissions could be hindered by domestic political opposition.

Observer 26th Apr 2009 more >>

Renewables

Scotland risks being left behind in the race for green technology by an epidemic of nimbyism holding up planning applications and threatening to derail government targets for renewable energy. While the UK and Scottish governments argue over the need for nuclear power, experts claim that numerous multi-million-pound projects which could create thousands of jobs and provide cheap and efficient power to millions of homes are being thwarted by a highly vocal opposition.

Observer 26th Apr 2009 more >>

It’s official: it’s getting windier down south. This unexpected quirk of climate change has given a much needed boost to offshore wind-farm developers. For those struggling to make the economics of hugely expensive wind farms work, more wind equals more money. Experts said that the waters off the coast of East Anglia and Essex could host many more wind farms as a result.

Observer 26th Apr 2009 more >>

Coal

Ed Miliband’s announcement on Thursday that, in future, such plants must be fitted with equipment to remove the gas, has laid down a whole

avenue of milestones. It is the single most important green measure yet by this Government. It is the first time that a Secretary of State for Energy has overridden the irredeemably pro-pollution position of his department. And, by establishing what can, and cannot, be built, it marks the end of laissez-faire energy policy in Britain. Not bad for one short lunchtime parliamentary statement. But there is more. The new measures are likely to trigger a rapid increase in the use of the technology cumbersomely entitled “carbon capture and storage” (CCS) in the United States and worldwide. They could give Britain a share of a lucrative market that it seemed determined to forfeit. And they make it much less likely that the energy company E.ON will build its controversial new power station at Kingsnorth in Kent.

Independent on Sunday 26th Apr 2009 more >>

Posted: 26 April 2009

25 April 2009

New Nukes

Factbox: Nuclear plants being built or planned across Europe

Reuters 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Letter: Allan Wilson: Scotland’s future electricity generation needs should be met from a balanced mix of all energy sources, which is why new nuclear stations must be a part of the equation. The exact nature of that mix is a matter of debate but must meet three essential criteria: security of supply, carbon emissions’ reduction and affordability. All of which criteria new nuclear generation complies with. Neil Craig: Bill Robertson quotes figures some 50% greater than the 1.7p a unit for nuclear electricity I gave in my letter (April 20), though he was using the same World Nuclear Association site as I used. The figures given there are in cents and I converted them to pence. Mr Robertson has taken the figure in cents and written it as being in pence.

Herald 25th Apr 2009 more >>

Concerns about security of supply and climate change frame the UK debate, and while the government has concluded that new nuclear build is a major part of any solution, public opinion remains deeply divided – not least because of the legacy of costly and inefficient former UK nuclear projects. This paper explores the status and prospects of the British nuclear industry, including its history, UK energy strategy and the evolving regulatory framework, and discusses the continuing concerns surrounding the prospective new nuclear build in the UK.

Centre for International Governance Innovation Jan 2009 more >>

Millom

ANTI-NUCLEAR campaigners have warned wind turbines could be scrapped should a nuclear power plant be built near Millom. Energy bosses have come under fire from action group Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment over the future of the turbines in Haverigg. RWE npower, which is behind plans to build a plant at Layriggs in Kiksanton, has admitted a nuclear plant and some of the existing wind turbines “would not be able to co-exist”.

NW Evening Mail 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Scotland

BORDERS MSP John Lamont and Conservative Westminster Candidate Chris Walker have expressed disappointment and concern after the Westminster Government last week released a list of 11 sites in England and Wales where new nuclear power stations could be built, but failed to include any options for Scotland. Mr Lamont commented: “This is not the news we wanted to hear, and leaves a cloud of uncertainty hanging over Scotland’s future energy supply and also raises questions over the many jobs dependant on the plant at Torness.

Berwickshire News 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Nuclear Waste

As Sweden debates where to store spent fuel from its nuclear reactors, scientific evidence has emerged to suggest that even if the three protective barriers that surround it are breached, there will be no radioactive contamination of groundwater. Sweden plans to protect its nuclear waste with a shell of copper reinforced with iron encased in clay and buried in surrounded by 500m of granite bedrock.

Edie 24th Apr 2009 more >>

US

Monumental grassroots victory against new reactor in Missouri. Today AmerenUE announced that it has cancelled its plans to build a new 1,600 megawatt-electric French Areva “Evolutionary Power Reactor” at its Callaway nuclear power plant in central Missouri. The project’s biggest stumbling block was Missouri’s anti-CWIP law. “Construction Work in Progress” (CWIP) allows a nuclear utility to recover the construction costs of a reactor before the reactor actually operates. Ratepayers pay this cost through their current electricity bill even though the reactor has not produced any power. Like federal taxpayer loan guarantees, CWIP is a way to overcome private investors’ wise aversion to the large financial risks of new reactor loans. In 1976, Beyond Nuclear board member Kay Drey helped lead a state-wide ballot measure barring CWIP in Missouri which passed by 2 to 1 margin.

Beyond Nuclear 24th Apr 2009 more >>

World’s largest solar power plants with thermal storage to be built in Arizona. What’s the easiest way to deal with the intermittency of many renewable sources of energy? Cheap storage. And what form of storage is much cheaper and has a much higher round-trip efficiency than electric storage? Thermal storage.

Climate Progress 24th Apr 2009 more >>

The chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Jon Wellinghoff, said today of new coal and nuclear plants, “We may not need any, ever.”

Climate Progress 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Protest

Undercover police are running a network of hundreds of informants inside protest organisations who secretly feed them intelligence in return for cash, according to evidence handed to the Guardian. They claim to have infiltrated a number of environmental groups and said they are receiving information about leaders, tactics and plans of future demonstrations. The dramatic disclosures are revealed in almost three hours of secretly recorded discussions between covert officers claiming to be from Strathclyde police, and an activist from the protest group Plane Stupid, whom the officers attempted to recruit as a paid spy after she had been released on bail following a demonstration at Aberdeen airport last month.

Guardian 25th Apr 2009 more >>

Guardian 25th Apr 2009 more >>

Herald 25th Apr 2009 more >>

Independent 25th Apr 2009 more >>

Pakistan

Thousands of Pakistani troops were massing for an assault on Taleban positions 65 miles from the country’s capital last night after giving the insurgents 24 hours to withdraw from their advanced positions or face attack. The threat of force follows a stern warning from American policymakers that Islamabad was doing too little to stem a growing militant insurgency. Washington is worried about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

Times 25th Apr 2009 more >>

North Korea

North Korea said it has begun to reprocess spent fuel rods from its nuclear power plant. The move would allow the communist country to produce weapons-grade plutonium.

Express 25th Apr 2009 more >>

BBC 25th Apr 2009 more >>

THE international crisis surrounding North Korea’s missile programme intensified last night as analysts warned that intelligence agencies have shifted their thinking to acknowledge publicly that the nation has become a nuclear power.

Scotsman 25th Apr 2009 more >>

Times 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Disarmament

Both Washington and Moscow want a new arms reduction treaty, but they want it for rather different reasons to those of the past.

BBC 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Russia and the US began landmark negotiations yesterday to cut their stockpiles of nuclear weapons. Officials opened talks in Rome with the intention of replacing the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start), which expires in December. Both sides cut their nuclear arsenals under that treaty to a maximum of 5,000 weapons each, compared with a peak of 30,000 in the Cold War.

Times 25th Apr 2009 more >>

Guardian 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Posted: 25 April 2009

24 April 2009

Nuclear Sites

Planners have warned of repeated policy revisions and public consultation on nuclear capacity following the announcement of 11 potential sites for development. The public has until 14 May to comment on the proposed locations, which include Dungeness, Hartlepool, Sellafield and Sizewell.

Planning Resource 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Hartlepool

RESIDENTS are being urged not to miss an initial opportunity to comment on whether Hartlepool should have a new nuclear power station.

The Government is currently looking for potential sites for new power stations, and prospective developer EDF Energy has nominated Hartlepool as a location.

Hartlepool Mail 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Sizewell

Sizewell in Suffolk has been pushed to the fore of a UK nuclear power debate that promises to intensify in heat after British Energy named it and Hinkley Point, Somerset, as the the company’s preferred sites for new nuclear build. British Energy’s parent company, EDF, is behind five of the 11 sites to be shortlisted by the UK Government as potential new venues for nuclear power, but wants to build its first four reactors at Sizewell and Hinkley.

Business Weekly 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Scotland

The Scottish Government’s determination to resist pressure from Westminster to build two nuclear reactors has been boosted by an independent report. International think tank The Centre for International Governance Innovation backed the Scottish National Party’s position that more sustainable alternatives should be sought. The report entitled The British Nuclear Industry: Status and Prospects, the CIGI warned that a stronger focus on sustainable energy alternatives would be better and more cost-effective than new nuclear capacity. Report author Ian Davis – former executive director of the British American Security Information Council – said: “The Government’s obsession with nuclear power is undermining and marginalizing more efficient and safer technologies – the real energy solutions. A much more prudent path would see a stronger focus on delivering more sustainable methods of generating electricity and on absolute reductions in UK energy demand, along the lines of what is being proposed in Scotland.”

Construction News 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Northumberland

A Berwick councillor has called for a nuclear plant to be built at a coastal beauty spot.

Newcastle Journal 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Cumbria

LOCAL opposition is growing against siting nuclear reactors at Braystones and Kirksanton. Lowside Quarter parish council, representing Braystones, Coulderton and Nethertown, says it is strongly opposed to a reactor on the coast at Braystones adding: “We are in favour of nuclear power based at Sellafield but are in full support of parishioners both residents and businesses wishing to stop a plant from being built at Braystones.” And Whicham parish council says that following a questionnaire sent to 176 households most people were opposed to the Kirksanton proposal. A Whicham action group has now been set up. More opposition was heard at a Joint Neighbourhood Forum public meeting in Millom on Tuesday night although some Millom residents were in favour of a Kirksanton reactor to bring more jobs. A similar meeting was held in Calderbridge on Wednesday.

Whitehaven News 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

EDF

IN JUNE 2008 French members of Greenpeace, an environmental campaign group, blockaded three quarries supplying sand and gravel to the building site of a new nuclear-power plant at Flamanville in northern France. Greenpeace, a fierce opponent of nuclear power, boasted that it had delayed construction for EDF, which is the world’s largest operator of nuclear reactors. EDF now stands accused of making an illegal intrusion of its own in its struggle to contain Greenpeace.

Economist 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

France’s highest court today rejected arguments by environmental groups against Electricite de France SA’s construction of a new-generation nuclear reactor, allowing EDF to pursue the government-backed plan for the plant. The public was consulted before the 2007 decision allowing the reactor at Flamanville in northwest France, and environmental risks had been “sufficiently studied,” the Conseil d’Etat said in a statement on its Web site. In addition, EDF met its obligations in demonstrating its ability to limit risks tied to the plant, the Conseil said.

Bloomberg 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

NDA

ATOMIC agency workers in Cumbria were paid average bonuses of nearly £12,000 each, it has emerged. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority forked out nearly £3.8m in bonus payments last year. The pay-outs were shared among 315 members of the west Cumbria-based organisation’s staff, who received an average of £11,954.

Carlisle News & Star 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Whitehaven News 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

The NDA organisation charged with distributing millions of pounds in Copeland for having the Drigg low-level waste repository on its patch has been boosted by two new board members with a wealth of business experience. The Copeland Community Fund has appointed business coach and company owner, Michael Shields, of St Bees, and commercial business consultant, Steve McClure.

Whitehaven News 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Sellafield

SELLAFIELD’S old B30 plant – known locally as “Dirty 30” – has been headlined in a Sunday newspaper as potentially the “most dangerous place in Europe”. But operators Sellafield Ltd assured The Whitehaven News yesterday that everything was being done to eliminate B30’s hazards.

Whitehaven News 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Zirconium

The nuclear industry is set to boom and minor metal zirconium, crucial in the energy creation process, will be in big demand so abundant supplies now should not be taken for granted.

Reuters 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Facts about the metal.

Yahoo 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Companies

LDC, the mid-market private equity arm of LloydsTSB, has invested £6.5m ( 7.3m) in Nuclear Engineering Services, a niche engineering solutions group focusing on the nuclear, marine defence and other specialist industrial sectors.

Alt Assets 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

US

Ameren Corp suspended its efforts to build a new nuclear power plant in Missouri due to unfavorable legislation that would not allow for the cost recovery during the construction process, the company said in a release Thursday. In 2008, Ameren filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for permission to build a new reactor at an estimated cost of $6 billion at its existing Callaway nuclear power plant in Missouri.

Interactive Investor 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Spain

Permits to operate seven of Spain’s eight nuclear plants are up for renewal in the next two years, or within the mandate of a government that has vowed to phase them out.

Yahoo 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

North Korea

The world’s intelligence agencies and defence experts are quietly acknowledging that North Korea has become a fully fledged nuclear power with the capacity to wipe out entire cities in Japan and South Korea. The new reality has emerged in off-hand remarks and in single sentences buried in lengthy reports. Increasing numbers of authoritative experts from the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the US Defence Secretary are admitting that North Korea has miniaturised nuclear warheads to the extent that they can be launched on medium-range missiles, according to intelligence briefings.

Times 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Disarmament

Russia and the United States could cut their nuclear arsenals by half under a new deal being negotiated at disarmament talks in Rome on Friday.

Telegraph 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Guardian 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Thinking about Nuclear Weapons by Michael Quinlan – Book Review.

Telegraph 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Coal

Fifteen months ago John Hutton, came within days of giving permission to build the first new coal-fired power station in Britain in more than 30 years, at Kingsnorth, Kent. The move would have delivered a huge blow to the government’s claims to be leading the world in tackling climate change and almost certainly triggered an intensification of the long-running conflict with activists, who had turned it into one of the green movement’s totemic issues. A last-ditch campaign by green cabinet members, including the then environment secretary, David Miliband, and his brother Ed, backed by Greenpeace and other environmentalists, first delayed the Kingsnorth decision and yesterday, having persuaded the Treasury, overturned the old energy department stance. “This is a complete rewrite of UK energy policy. Instead of a laissez-faire system where companies told government what they wanted to build and where, government has decided that reducing climate change emissions cannot be left to the market and it must now tell industry what needs to be built to what pollution standards,” one government source said yesterday. No new coal-fired power station will now get government consent without it having equipment to capture and bury at least 25% of emissions now and 100% by 2025 when the technology is expected to be technically and commercially proven.

Guardian 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Independent 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Times 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Bryony Worthington: The government has finally come up with a clear policy about new power stations. It wants them to use coal and be at least 20% cleaner than they would be otherwise. This won’t be enough for deep green environmentalists but it is nevertheless a significant step forward.

Guardian 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Climate

There was much to welcome in Wednesday’s budget but many more bold steps towards a low-carbon economy need to be taken over the next few years, as part of a coherent, consistent and credible strategy to tackle climate change.

Guardian 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Posted: 24 April 2009

23 April 2009

Nuclear Subsidy

The renewable power industry has been given a shot in the arm after Alistair Darling’s budget announced over £5bn worth of new funding to hasten an offshore wind revolution and kick-start solar. But there are concerns that oil and even nuclear were being given help and the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) warned that other important obstacles, such as electrical grid connections and planning delays, remained for wind schemes. David Lowry, asked whether this was a small but significant breach of its promise not to give any kind of subsidies to the atomic power sector. Doug Parr, the chief scientist at Greenpeace, said: “Nuclear has had 50 years to get its act together. It should not need more money and this is cash that could and should have all all gone to renewables.”

Guardian 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

BERR Press Release 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

New Nukes

Letters: (1) John Bruce Elliot perpetuates the myth that nuclear fuel will be depleted in the near future because reserves of high grade uranium ore are finite. This is akin to the 16th-century fear that England would run out of trees for charcoal to be used in iron production, just before the introduction of coal for smelting. (2) An Energy Secretary who wants to replace ageing nuclear reactors with new ones without a policy for dealing with the waste they produce shouldn’t even get a hearing.

Scotsman 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

The amount of money generated by the nuclear sector in the north west could double in the next 10 years, an expert has said. Professor Paul Howarth, of the Dalton Nuclear Institute at Manchester University, said the industry could grow to be worth an estimated £5 billion a year. West Cumbria will contribute significantly to that figure, particularly if new reactors are built at the area’s three candidate sites: Sellafield, Braystones, near Egremont and Kirksanton, near Millom.

Business Gazette 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

At the risk of embarrassing environmental activists, it seems to me that the greatest scope for creating a large number of well paid, highly skilled green-collar jobs lies in the development of the nuclear power industry. On this front, the Government is doing rather a good job. It has set up an Office of Nuclear Development to encourage the new investment needed to ensure the lights won’t go out as old power stations are closed. And while the UK will have to farm out the construction of new plants to foreign companies, British companies are already world leaders in the nuclear supply chain. The inconvenient truth is that if you are hell-bent on becoming a green-collar worker, your best chance is to join the car or the nuclear industry.

Telegraph 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Millom

Angry residents were out in force last night to quiz representatives from RWE npower, which is planning to build a power station on farmland at Layriggs in Kirksanton, during a public debate at Millom School. Kirksanton business owner Lorraine Wilson attacked the representatives over fears tourism could not be sustained if the plant is given the go-ahead. Ms Wilson joined almost 200 people who crammed into the school’s Alexandra Hall, to have their say before the month-long consultation process ends on May 14.

NW Evening Mail 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Letters about Cumbrian reactor proposals.

Whitehaven News 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

NDA

Nearly £4m worth of bonuses have been paid to public servants working in Britain’s nuclear industry, it has emerged.

Personnel Today 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Accountancy Magazine 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

US

No new nuclear or coal plants may ever be needed in the United States, the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said today. “We may not need any, ever,” Jon Wellinghoff told reporters at a U.S. Energy Association forum. The FERC chairman’s comments go beyond those of other Obama administration officials, who have strongly endorsed greater efficiency and renewables deployment but also say nuclear and fossil energies will continue playing a major role.

Greenwire 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Scientific American 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Three new nuclear power plants in the next ten years, max. That was the consensus among the experts attending Tuesday’s morning session on nuclear power at Fortune’s Brainstorm: Green conference. Maybe five, said one lonely voice. Either way, that’s far from the nuclear renaissance we were reading about just a couple of years ago. What happened? No1 Global recession; No2, sinking natural; gas prices; No. 3, the credit crunch.

Fortune 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Japan

The long-pending issue of selecting candidate sites for constructing a national disposal site for high-level radioactive waste has again been thrown in the air after a mayor suddenly backed out of a plan to allow the disposal facility to be built in his town in Fukushima Prefecture.

Daily Yomiuri 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Trident

A LOCAL environment group has lodged a complaint with West Berkshire Council over the handling of a planning application at AWE in Burghfield. The Nuclear Awareness Group (NAG), based in Reading, have written to the council outlining their concerns about the way plans to build a new nuclear warhead facility were handled.

Newbury News, 22 April 2009 more >>

Reading Evening Post, 21 April 2009 more >>

Green Jobs

As a programme for a green recovery, Alistair Darling’s Budget left a lot to be desired, environmental campaigners chorused yesterday – but it still contained measures that were undeniably significant in environmental terms. They included £525m of new support over the next two years for offshore wind projects, which have languished in the recession; £435m of support to deliver energy efficiency measures to homes and other buildings; and £405m to encourage low-carbon energy and advanced green manufacturing in Britain. Furthermore, the proven energy-saving technology of combined heat and power (CHP) was given a shot in the arm with the announcement that plants using CHP will be exempt from the Climate Change Levy from 2013, while the still-to-be proven technology of carbon capture and storage (CCS) was given new impetus with the announcement that the CCS demonstration plant the Government has been planning will now become two plants, and possibly even four.

Independent 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Telegraph 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Adam Bruce, chairman of the British Wind Energy Association said: “This package of measures deserves a welcome from our industry. It also restates the Government’s long-term commitment to the renewable energy sector, and should enable us to unlock up to £10bn of private-sector investment in wind and marine energy projects over the coming few years.”

Telegraph 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Solar

“This was a good day” for solar power, according to Andrew Lee, general manager of Sharp Solar UK, after the chancellor announced £45m for small-scale renewable energy. Mr Lee had feared the government would leave solar power companies in limbo, because one subsidy system had ended and the new regime will not be introduced until next year.

FT 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Posted: 23 April 2009

22 April 2009

New Nukes

A NUCLEAR power plant near Millom would leave Cumbria open to “catastrophic accident or terrorist attack”, resulting in huge loss of life and leaving large parts of the county uninhabitable, green campaigners have warned. Political group the Green Party has vowed to block plans to build a new plant a Layriggs Farm in Kirksanton. The defiant stand was announced after a list of 11 potential sites across the country was released by the government. The list also includes land at Braystones, near Egremont, and a plot near Sellafield.

NW Evening Mail 21st Apr 2009 more >>

Letters (1) The claim is that nuclear electricity generation is so cheap but not so cheap that it won’t need metering. Neil Craig claims France is producing it at 1.7p a unit. Flamanville in Normandy is nine months behind schedule and is expected to be in operation in May 2012 with electricity costs of about 5.4p a unit. Allan Wilson seems to believe that the Labour Party in Scotland’s policy of no new nuclear power stations until the long-term storage of highly radioactive waste material has been resolved is met by the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) recommendation that this should be a geological “disposal” facility. (2) To quote costs for the wind power industry (which is technically still in its infancy), which include all of the setting up costs, is disingenuous, to say the least. Wind power is expected to provide no more than a fairly modest (but nevertheless significant) proportion of our future power, so I’m getting a little tired of the continuous attempts by the pro-nuclear lobby to imply that our future energy choice is either nuclear or wind power, while hoping we will not notice we are building and putting into operation highly efficient hydro power stations and are just about to embark on a huge programme of developing tidal and wave power generation. In Scotland, we are already producing enough power, even when our remaining nuclear facilities are down.

Herald 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

NDA

Public servants working in Britain’s nuclear industry are being paid millions of pounds of taxpayer-funded bonuses every year. The finding, which emerged from the response to an inquiry under the Freedom of Information Act, has prompted fresh accusations of government waste as the Chancellor prepares the most austere Budget in decades today. The response from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), the agency responsible for the clean-up of Britain’s nuclear sites, shows that the organisation paid nearly £3.8 million in bonuses to its 315 staff last year.

Times 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Submarines

China will unveil its nuclear submarines this week at an international fleet review marking the 60th anniversary of its navy, official media reported yesterday.

Guardian 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Test Veterans

An inquiry is to investigate possible links between severe illnesses suffered by veterans and British nuclear tests. The study comes as the High Court is about to rule on compensation claims made by hundreds of former soldiers. This has led to conjecture that the Ministry of Defence has been forced into action by the possibility of the judgment going against it.

Independent 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

The MOD announced today that it will be conducting an assessment of the health needs of nuclear test veterans and their descendants in a move welcomed by the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association (BNTVA).

MOD Press Release 21st Apr 2009 more >>

NUCLEAR test veteran Louis Holford has died – weeks before discovering if the Government will acknowledge his health problems were caused by atomic fallout. The former RAF clerk, of Oakhill, served on Christmas Island while H-Bomb and A-Bomb tests took place in 1958.

Staffordshire Sentinel 21st Apr 2009 more >>

Iran

Israel has warned Tehran that it is ready to be “the shield” defending Jewish people from a “new Holocaust” threat posed by Iran’s nuclear programme.

Telegraph 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Korea

Political rivals North and South Korea held rare, brief and acrimonious talks on Tuesday over a joint factory park as global powers tried to prevent Pyongyang from restarting its nuclear arms plant.

Interactive Investor 21st Apr 2009 more >>

FT 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Jordan

China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) could join the bidding to build a nuclear power plant in Jordan worth $3.5 billion, Khaled Toukan, chairman of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC), said on Tuesday.

Yahoo 21st Apr 2009 more >>

Green New Deal

Why is green the right path for Labour? Partly because it would tackle the jobs crisis: insulating Britain’s homes alone would employ tens of thousands of people and do so right away. Partly because it would re-tool the economy for the rest of the 21st century, when low-carbon nations will flourish while the fossil-fuel dinosaurs are left behind. But also, as Ed Miliband likes to say, because it’s very Labour. It’s about fairness, ensuring future generations don’t pay for our folly, and about a task too big to be left to markets or individuals – one that has to be tackled by governments, working together internationally, especially in the European Union.

Guardian 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Letter from FoE, Greenpeace and others: Today we face three of the greatest challenges of our time, global recession, energy security and the threat of catastrophic climate change. The only solution to this triple crunch is a low-carbon recovery. Millions of jobs could be created around the world, global warming emissions slashed and energy security increased. There is no choice between economic recovery and climate recovery – they are one and the same. But time is running out and we need bold measures at the heart of this year’s budget to build a low-carbon economy, ramp up energy efficiency and provide the renewables industry with urgently needed support to overcome immediate difficulties.

Guardian 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Coal

Ed Miliband, the energy secretary, is expected to set out rules for more “carbon capture and storage” coal plants, despite industry doubts about whether so-called “clean coal” is cost-effective and questions about the technology involved. Mr Miliband is expected to give the go-ahead for at least one new carbon-capture coal plant, financially supported by the Government to demonstrate the new technology. A new licensing regime for new coal stations will also be set out.

Telegraph 21st Apr 2009 more >>

Posted: 22 April 2009

21 April 2009

New Nukes

Letter: Nuclear is not the answer. Sadly, new Labour ministers and the leadership of trade unions such as Prospect have fallen for the propaganda from the nuclear fission industry, which is better at peddling half-truths than safely operating nuclear facilities. However, we disagree both with your suggestion that nuclear fusion may provide a future answer and the inaccurate assertion that fusion “would produce no radioactive waste.” Fusion power does produce radioactive waste, but a different sort from fission.

Morning Star 19th Apr 2009 more >>

Editorial: Nuclear’s low-carbon nature has been overstated, concentrating largely on power stations’ operation and taking no account of the mining and transport of uranium to Britain and the construction of the new facilities. And its advocates ignore the real dangers related to waste and terrorist threats. The process of nuclear fission leaves radioactive waste that poses a threat to humans and their environment for hundreds of years. It also produces plutonium, which is used to build nuclear warheads.

Morning Star 15th Apr 2009 more >>

Letters: Global new nuclear build cannot contribute to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. High-grade uranium reserves are finite and will become severely depleted early within the lifetime of a global nuclear build programme. The use of lower-grade uranium will increase nuclear greenhouse gas emissions to the level of gas-fired power generation within the lifetime of the plants.

Scotsman 21st Apr 2009 more >>

Wiltshire’s Euro MP Dr Caroline Jackson has welcomed the Government’s announcement of potential sites for new nuclear power stations. Two of them are in her South West constituency. Dr Jackson, who will be standing down as an MEP at the elections in June, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Oldbury in Gloucestershire and Hinkley Point in Somerset have been chosen and I very much hope that new power stations are built there with the minimum of delay.

Wiltshire Gazette and Herald 20th Apr 2009 more >>

WEALTH created by the nuclear sector in the north west could double over the next decade, with Manchester at the heart of the prosperity, according to a senior industry figure. The government is considering 11 potential sites for new nuclear reactors – three near Sellafield in Cumbria and one at Heysham in Lancashire. The plans could deliver a benefit to the entire north west, with Manchester at the centre of expertise.

Manchester Evening News 20th Apr 2009 more >>

Heysham

HEYSHAM has now been confirmed by the Government as being on a list of 11 sites where a new nuclear power station could be built.

Morecambe Visitior 20th Apr 2009 more >>

Hartlepool

Environmental campaigners have vowed to fight plans for a new reactor at Hartlepool.

Evening Gazette 20th Apr 2009 more >>

EDF

EDF paid investigators to infiltrate the anti-nuclear movement around Europe, according to testimony given in a French judicial investigation. The investigation is looking into whether the state-controlled group condoned illegal practices as part of a surveillance operation

FT 21st Apr 2009 more >>

Renewables

Britain could save up to £12.6bn a year in imports of fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal by 2020 if it embarks on a large- scale programme of energy efficiency and renewable technologies including wind power and biomass, a study showed yesterday. The report, carried out by Edinburgh-based consultants Delta EE for the Renewable Energy Association (REA), is the first attempt to quantify the economic benefits to Britain of a move to energy efficiency and sustainability, rather than just the costs. The figure for savings is close to 1% of GDP at current levels.

Guardian 21st Apr 2009 more >>

Green New Deal?

The most eye-opening study, by independent consultants Ecofys, looks at the UK’s first fiscal stimulus, revealed in November in the pre-budget report. The study argued that the emissions reductions delivered by the investments in energy efficiency and public transport were more than outweighed by the simultaneous investment in 520 lane miles of new roads. In other words, the package was on balance damaging to the environment.

Guardian 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

France

Workers at France’s nuclear power plants of Dampierre in central France and Chinon in southwestern France extended on Monday a strike which began on April 16, the CGT union said.

Interactive Investor 20th Apr 2009 more >>

Yahoo 20th Apr 2009 more >>

China

China will commence construction of five nuclear plants in 2009, which includes two technologies based on from Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC (Westinghouse) and one technology based on Areva S.A., said Sun Qin, deputy chief of China’s National Energy Agency. The five of them are, Sanmen in Zhejiang province and Haiyang in Shandong, both based on Westinghouse’s AP1000; Taishan in Guangdong province, using Areva technology; Changjiang in Hainan province and Rongcheng in Shandong.

Energy Business Review 20th Apr 2009 more >>

Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC (Westinghouse), its consortium partner The Shaw Group Inc. (Shaw Group), State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) and Sanmen Nuclear Power Company of China National Nuclear Corporation have completed the first pour of basemat structural concrete for the nuclear island at Sanmen. The Sanmen site is the first of four Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear power plants to be built under a contract signed in 2007.

Energy Business Review 19th Apr 2009 more >>

Korea

A South Korean delegation arrived in North Korea on Tuesday for rare talks between the political rivals that come as regional powers are trying to prevent reclusive Pyongyang from restarting its nuclear arms plant.

Interactive Investor 21st Apr 2009 more >>

Seoul’s huge financial stimulus package pledges 81% for a swath of environmental projects. But activists fear a wave of construction may increase the country’s carbon footprint.

Guardian 21st Apr 2009 more >>

Japan

A senior Japanese politician has called for Japan to discuss allowing nuclear weapons within its pacifist constitution. Shoichi Nakagawa, former finance minister, suggested that Japan should examine the possibility of defending itself from potential attacks from North Korea by obtaining nuclear weapons.

Telegraph 20th Apr 2009 more >>

Iran

Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant has commenced testing stage by dummy fuel, an official said. The loading stage of dummy fuel has been completed and the plant has entered cold test stage. In February 2008, Iran has loaded Bushehr nuclear power plant by dummy fuel rods loaded with lead instead of low-enriched uranium.

Energy Business Review 19th Apr 2009 more >>

Croatia

Croatia’s Ministry of Economy has denied reports which the country would join with Albania to construct a nuclear power plant, media sources reported. According to media sources, a contract on the deal would be signed by the end of April 2009. Mazal said that at the end of March 2009, Deputy Croatian Prime Minister Damir Polancec was on an official visit to Albania when possible cooperation on constructing a nuclear plant in the country was discussed.

Energy Business Review 19th Apr 2009 more >>

Submarines

A fire broke out on board a nuclear-powered submarine as 20 people were working on it, the Ministry of Defence said.

Telegraph 20th Apr 2009 more >>

NW Evening Mail 20th Apr 2009 more >>

Plymouth’s naval base could become a “nuclear dustbin” for decommissioned nuclear-powered submarines.

BBC 20th Apr 2009 more >>

Trident

Campaigners will present Chancellor Alistair Darling with an alternative Budget today which does not include spending on nuclear weapons. Members of the group Scotland’s for Peace will take their case to Mr Darling’s office in Edinburgh this morning. The group, who include various public sector workers, will be holding red boxes, similar to the one Mr Darling will use for Wednesday’s Budget.

Herald 20th Apr 2009 more >>

Posted: 21 April 2009