News November 2009

30 November 2009

New Nukes

Campaign group Communities Against Nuclear Expansion (CANE) has applauded the latest criticism of the plans for new reactors across the country. Pete Rowberry (pictured below), Publicity Officer for CANE said: “Our members are not surprised about this decision. It has long since questioned the safety of the two reactor designs proposed for the UK on scientific and technical grounds. However, the government have decided that the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) are expected to pronounce on whether new nuclear power should go ahead the Generic Design Assessment is due to conclude in June 2011. CANE contends that this undermines the vitally important work of our regulators to safeguard the public and the workforce from nuclear risks.’

Get Noticed Online 29th Nov 2009 more >>

Sizewell

One of the county’s biggest road bottlenecks could finally be cleared – fuelled by nuclear power! Energy giant EDF has confirmed that it could help finance a by-pass for four villages on the A12 . . . if it is given the go-ahead to build a new power station at Sizewell. That would mean relief at last for the villages of Farnham, Stratford St Mary, Marlesford and Little Glemham – and a much faster run for motorists to Lowestoft and the Suffolk coast.

Evening Star 30th Nov 2009 more >>

Iran

In response to the revelation that Iran had been building an undeclared nuclear facility near the holy city of Qom, the United Nations nuclear watchdog asked Tehran whether it had any other such building plans. Yesterday the Islamic republic delivered its answer, as the country’s cabinet issued instructions for work to begin on five uranium enrichment plants within the next two months, and five more at some unspecified date in the future.

FT 30th Nov 2009 more >>

FT 30th Nov 2009 more >>

Times 30th Nov 2009 more >>

Guardian 30th Nov 2009 more >>

Telegraph 30th Nov 2009 more >>

Czech Republic

The Czech government will set the parameters of a tender to build new nuclear reactors for power group CEZ and give the deal “meticulous” scrutiny, the finance minister was quoted on Saturday as saying . The tender for the construction of two nuclear reactors at CEZ’s Temelin power plant with an option for the utility to order up to three more nuclear reactors at other stations is expected to be the country’s biggest ever procurement deal. Analysts have estimated the price tag for the entire project at 500 billion crowns ($28.28 billion), about half of the country’s state budget.

Reuters 28th Nov 2009 more >>

Pakistan

Pakistan’s president, Asif Ali Zardari, has transferred authority over the nation’s nuclear weapons to the prime minister, as he tries to deflect growing criticism that he has too much power. President Asif Ali Zardari, beset by corruption allegations, has been under pressure to give up sweeping powers that his predecessor Pervez Musharraf accumulated for the presidency.The transfer of the chairmanship of the National Command Authority, which oversees Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, came as Zardari faces pressure after the lapse of an amnesty opened several of his top aides to prosecution on corruption charges.

Guardian 30th Nov 2009 more >>

France

France’s nuclear watchdog has expressed concern over the loss of skills in the atomic energy industry after a near 20-year gap in building reactors.

Business Green 30th Nov 2009 more >>

India

Workers at a nuclear power plant in southern India were treated for poisoning after drinking water was deliberately spiked with radiation, government officials said on Sunday.

Telegraph 30th Nov 2009 more >>

US

Linda Gunter, a spokesperson for the Beyond Nuclear advocacy group, points out, “It’s an incredible amount of expense to bring online and pour hundreds of billions into a slow industry that endangers the public with waste, radioactivity and chemical releases.” Meanwhile, the billions in federal guarantees and the funds available from selling “cap-and-trade” emissions permits would, they fear, largely be funneled to the nuclear industry – instead of building renewable energy industries and the green jobs potentially available in solar power, wind power and conservation. “Renewables and energy efficiency will be completely strangled by investing in nuclear power, and will eliminate those opportunities,” Gunter says. And with each nuclear plant taking between six to ten years to start operating – and costs running between $12-$25 billion each for ratepayers, investors or taxpayers – “we’ve got a finite amount of time to face this [global warming],” she says.

Truthout 29th Nov 2009 more >>

Carbon Trading

The carbon market could become double the size of the vast oil market, according to the new breed of City players who trade greenhouse gas emissions through the EU’s emissions trading scheme. The key problem seems to be that ETS carbon prices have remained resolutely low, thwarting low-carbon, high-cost investment. Carbon is currently trading at around $13 a tonne but many believe it needs to be $30, if not $50, to deliver a decisive boost for clean technologies such as wind, solar, CCS and nuclear power. The criticisms of environmentalists such as James Lovelock and Friends of the Earth (FoE) are far more fundamental. The basic charge is that the market has put millions of pounds into the pockets of some without making any real impact on carbon emissions.

Guardian 30th Nov 2009 more >>

Telegraph 30th Nov 2009 more >>

Utilities

The Conservative party is drawing up radical plans to break up the “Big Six” energy companies in an attempt to increase competition and reduce customers’ bills, setting the Tories on a collision course with the industry. Greg Clark, the shadow secretary for energy and climate change, wants to introduce rules to force the big suppliers to divest the bulk of their power plants to allow new entrants into the market.

Guardian 30th Nov 2009 more >>

The man who runs Britain’s largest energy supplier believes that the United Nations Summit on Climate Change will signal the death of the traditional utility company. In a carbon-constrained world, he argues, energy companies must reinvent themselves. No longer can they thrive simply by offering consumers an “all-you-can eat buffet” of cheap gas and electricity, with scant regard for emissions. Instead, they will focus on offering consumers packages of “energy services” that satisfy their daily needs for heat, power and light while minimising the use of polluting fossil fuels and keeping a tight rein on emissions.

Times 30th Nov 2009 more >>

Renewables

Small-scale renewable energy could provide 6% of Britain’s electricity needs – equivalent to more than two Sizewell B nuclear stations or the Drax coal-fired plant – by 2020 if the government improves the terms of a new deal for producers due to be launched next April, Friends of the Earth says today. The environmental campaign group used figures obtained from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and prepared by consultants Poyry and Element Energy to show that introducing a more ambitious scheme than that currently proposed would add only an average £2.37 a year to household electricity bills over the next four years – just £1.20 a year more than the government is already proposing to add to fund the scheme. The figures are published as 30 organisations and businesses – including FoE, the REA, the TUC, the British Retail Consortium, the Co-operative Group, the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), the Federation of Small Businesses, Unison and WWF – have written to MPs urging them to support an Early Day Motion (EDM 276) tabled by Alan Simpson MP calling for a much greater level of ambition for small-scale renewable electricity generation than the government scheme proposes.

Guardian 30th Nov 2009 more >>

Energy Efficiency

THE Scottish Government must rethink its plans to eliminate fuel poverty, a charity insisted last night. WWF Scotland want the government to drop their means- tested approach to reducing fuel poverty in favour of a street-by-street home refurbishment scheme to improve energy efficiency and lower heating bills. Figures published last week showed that there are now 600,000 families living in fuel poverty in Scotland. The government’s Energy Assistance Package replaced the Central Heating and Warm Deal package last year. It is designed to help reduce fuel bills and improve the energy efficiency of homes, by using benefits and tax credit checks to identify those most at risk of fuel poverty. The measures also provide a package of standard insulation measures, such as cavity wall and loft insulation, to older households and those on benefits. But the charity said a study conducted with the Energy Agency showed that a non means-tested approach was “highly successful” in reducing the cost of energy as well as lowering the country’s carbon emissions.

Scotsman 30th Nov 2009 more >>

Posted: 30 November 2009

29 November 2009

New Nukes

The UK’s safety regulators, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), have just released the third stage of their assessment for the designs of AREVA’s EPR and Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactors. It’s grim reading. There are a significant number of issues with the safety features of both designs. The regulators still don’t have a complete design yet from either Areva or Westinghouse. The HSE will not approve the designs unless this is addressed.

Greenpeace Nuclear Reaction 28th Nov 2009 more >>

Hinkley

Hundreds of people packed a public meeting to grill National Grid bosses about plans to erect a new 400,000 volt power line through the North Somerset countryside. Around 700 people attended last night’s meeting at the Scotch Horn Leisure Centre in Nailsea, organised by the Save Our Valley campaign group, with dozens having to be turned away at the door.

Western Daily Press 28th Nov 2009 more >>

BBC 27th Nov 2009 more >>

Claims the nuclear reactor of the new Hinkley Point C power plant will be of an unsafe design have been dismissed. Nuclear inspectors raised safety queries in their initial assessment of the European Pressured Water Reactor (EPR) planned for the site. The Stop Hinkley campaign says this is proof the facility should not be built but the Health and Safety Executive says it has no major concerns. It comes as EDF, which will build the plant, begins public consultations.

BBC 28th Nov 2009 more >>

Proposals for the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station have been put on show in Somerset. A series of public consultations begin on Saturday at the village hall, in Cannington, near Bridgwater.

BBC 28th Nov 2009 more >>

Bradwell

LAND earmarked for a new power station at Bradwell has been put up for sale by EDF Energy. The energy company, which only purchased the site in May, confirmed today that it is looking to sell because it wants to concentrate its resources on new power stations at Sizewell and Hinkley Point.

Maldon Standard 28th Nov 2009 more >>

Renewables

Letter: Government procrastination over the feed-in tariff levels is not only an environmental concern, but the UK economy will be denied a massive opportunity if the Department of Energy and Climate Change doesn’t get this scheme right. Solar energy is one of the most viable small-scale energy generation methods. However, political backing is essential for small-scale renewables to become commonplace in the UK. The government must set robust feed-in tariff fee levels to create a market to prove that solar power can have a sustainable future in the UK. The solar energy sector has the potential be worth 27bn, create thousands of jobs, slash carbon emissions and help to address fuel poverty. The government needs to turn this vision into a reality.

Guardian 28th Nov 2009 more >>

Trident

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been accused of “deceit” after it was forced to confess to one of the most closely guarded secrets of making Britain’s nuclear bombs. For years UK ministers have repeatedly refused to say where neutron generators – a vital component of the Trident warheads stationed on the Clyde – were manufactured. The information had to be kept secret for national security reasons, they said. But now, confronted with undeniable evidence by the Sunday Herald, the MoD has admitted that the devices are imported from the United States. And in so doing, it has opened the Westminster government to a barrage of criticism from experts, politicians and campaigners. “This is another deceit of the British public by Westminster,” declared Dan Plesch, director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at the University of London. Neutron generators are vital because they initiate nuclear explosions by bombarding plutonium or uranium with neutrons at a precise time, and they have to be regularly replaced. The neutrons are generated by fusing together two radioactive isotopes of hydrogen, tritium and deuterium.

Sunday Herald, 29 November 2009 more >>

robedwards.com, 29 November 2009 more >>

EDINBURGH North & Leith Labour MP Mark Lazarowicz has backed calls for new moves on nuclear disarmament. He has joined other MPs in signing a motion calling for the establishment of a Nuclear Weapons Convention to bring about a total ban. Mr Lazarowicz said: “The threat of nuclear warfare has not gone away.”

Edinburgh Evening News 28th Nov 2009 more >>

India

Indian officials are investigating the leak of a radioactive substance into drinking water at an atomic power plant in the south of the country. Fifty-five workers at the Kaiga plant needed medical treatment for excessive exposure to radiation after tritium contaminated a water cooler. Officials said the leak might have been deliberate.

BBC 29th Nov 2009 more >>

Canada and India agreed on Saturday to cooperate on nuclear issues, with a pact that ends a freeze in cooperation dating from 1974 and could offer new opportunities for Canadian uranium firms.

Reuters 28th Nov 2009 more >>

Pakistan

The embattled president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, has handed control of the country’s nuclear arsenal to his prime minister in an attempt to boost his popularity. Anxious to placate critics who claim his office has too much power, Zardari agreed to shed presidential prerogatives.

Sunday Times 29th Nov 2009 more >>

Peak Oil

Crude is still being discovered; existing fields are not being exploited to the full. So it’s hard to predict the exact point at which the world’s dwindling reserves will precipitate a crisis. But it’s coming,

Observer 29th Nov 2009 more >>

Posted: 29 November 2009

28 November 2009

New Nukes

Letter from Kevin Allars: It is wrong to say that the designs for the proposed new nuclear stations in this country are unsafe. This is not what our reports say. The reports cover our work, as independent regulators, to assess whether the two designs meet UK regulatory requirements. This work is not complete, although we have said in the reports that we have so far not identified any show-stoppers that would preclude construction and operation in the UK. At this mid-stage of our assessment, we still need more information from the design companies to reach a meaningful conclusion. There is much for them and us still to do. However, subject to the full co-operation of the design companies, I remain confident that we can complete the assessment by our target date of June 2011.

Guardian 28th Nov 2009 more >>

Letter from former NuSAC members: The UK nuclear regulators seem to be doing a very good job, as evidenced by your front-page report and previous reports that set out their concerns about the safety systems of the proposed European pressurised reactor. However, readers may not be aware that the UK now has no independent scrutiny of these nuclear safety matters, following the peremptory disbanding of the Nuclear Safety Advisory Committee more than a year ago. In spite of promises by the Health and Safety Commission to reconstitute NuSAC, this has not happened. As former members, we believe that, as new build progresses, it is imperative that there be independent oversight of nuclear safety.

Guardian 28th Nov 2009 more >>

UK regulators have called on the designers of two proposed nuclear power stations to provide the missing technical information required to fully assess whether they meet safety, security, environmental and waste-management requirements in a “timely” fashion. The HSE is now about to start Step 4 of the GDA process, which will see it moving away from a focus on information exchange towards clarifying and resolving such technical issues. The aim is to examine safety and security plans to see whether the proposed design plans will meet UK regulatory requirements. The Environment Agency intends to hold a formal public consultation on its assessment findings from May 2010.

Business Green 27th Nov 2009 more >>

A report by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has suggested that the design for the build of some potential nuclear power stations may not be safe.

ICM 27th Nov 2009 more >>

The Government’s plans to expand nuclear power were dealt a blow today after experts raised a raft of safety concerns about two proposed reactors. Health and safety experts said they had identified a ‘significant’ number of issues over the designs of the French and American reactors set to power a new generation of UK plants in the next decade.

Daily Mail 27th Nov 2009 more >>

Building 27th Nov 2009 more >>

Construction News 27th Nov 2009 more >>

South West Business 27th Nov 2009 more >>

As oil prices hover in the high $70’s per barrel, market commentators wonder how long Americans can maintain their dependence on fossil fuels. Solar, Wind, Biofuels – all are touted as the next savior, but at this moment in time there is only one serious contender and although it may be unpalatable to some, Nuclear Power is the only realistic option available. We’ve all heard the horror stories of reactor meltdowns and other issues that plagued the nuclear industry in the past, but today, nuclear energy is safer and cheaper than ever before, making it a viable alternative to oil & coal.

Oil Price 27th Nov 2009 more >>

The pessimism of the press is a worrying development, though. It seems to indicate a knee-jerk damning of anything associated with nuclear. We on The Engineer are naturally inclined to be optimistic about technology.

The Engineer 27th Nov 2009 more >>

Bradwell

EDF Energy has started the process of selling off land suitable for new nuclear build at its Bradwell site. It has invited “credible nuclear operators” to come forward and express interest in the site. EDF is required to sell the land at Bradwell as part of conditions imposed when it purchased British Energy. In accordance with this, any sale agreed will be conditional on the final results of the Government’s Nuclear NPS and on EDF Energy obtaining planning permission for two European Pressurised water Reactors (EPR) at its site at Sizewell.

Nuclear Engineering International 27th Nov 2009 more >>

Building 27th Nov 2009 more >>

Energy Business Review 27th Nov 2009 more >>

The nearest new nuclear power station to London could be built at Bradwell. French company EDF Energy has put on sale land it owns on the Essex coast around the existing, but redundant, Magnox nuclear power station. EDF has committed to build four new reactors in the UK but is to site them at Sizewell in Suffolk and Hinkley Point in Somerset. The company admits it needs to raise funds to help pay for the £11 billion it spent buying nuclear generator British Energy last year and the similar amount it will cost to build new reactors. This month EDF said it hopes to raise as much £4 billion from the sale of its power networks delivering electricity to London and homes in the south east and East Anglia. Bradwell has been give the all-clear for a new reactor by the Government.

London Evening Standard 27th Nov 2009 more >>

Dungeness

Two reactors at the Dungeness B nuclear plant had been shutdown after a fire took place at the station on Monday. The fire was first reported by a staff in the boiler annexe’s Unit 22. Immediately, Kent firemen and the emergency control centre of British Energy at Barnwood were called. Authorities informed that the fire had been extinguished by 02:00.

Electric.co.uk 27th Nov 2009 more >>

Hinkley

BRIDGWATER parliamentary hopeful Cllr Kathy Pearce paid a fact-finding visit to discuss plans for a new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point. Labour candidate Cllr Pearce met with EDF bosses and was given a tour outlining the proposed development for 2017. She discussed safety issues around nuclear waste and the processing the waste undergoes once its energy life has finished.

This is the West Country 27th Nov 2009 more >>

PLANS for a new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point are to go on show to the public – with developers proposing new roads, ‘a legacy of infrastructure’ and a boost to the economy. EDF energy will launch consultation for the third reactor, which has been included on a shortlist of ten possible power plant sites by the Government in England and Wales, on Saturday in Cannington village hall.

This is the West Country 27th Nov 2009 more >>

HOUSING for up to 200 people and a new 350-bay park and ride could be built in Williton as part of wider plans for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. The proposals were revealed in a pre-application document from energy firm EDF, the company behind plans to construct two new nuclear power stations at Hinkley Point. The document says that at the peak of construction, local accommodation would need to be found for about 2,400 workers.

Somerset County Gazette 26th Nov 2009 more >>

Uranium Mining

Greenpeace has found high radiation contamination levels in the streets of Akokan where children play. What is even more disturbing is that this just year AREVA claimed that those same streets were safe. It began in 2003 when radioactive contamination was found in towns close to Niger’s uranium mines by the independent laboratory CRIIRAD and local NGO Aghir In’Man. In 2007 CRIIRAD found dangerous levels of radiation levels near the hospital in the mining village of Akokan. The mine operator, French nuclear giant AREVA, admitted to widespread contamination in the village. In October of that year, the mining company and AREVA subsidiary COMINAK reported the contamination had been addressed. In September 2009 AREVA confirmed to CRIIRAD that a clean up had been done and the streets made safe. It is clear that this is not true.

Greenpeace Nuclear Reaction 27th Nov 2009 more >>

Three Mile Island

On Nov. 21, there was a radiation leak at Three Mile Island nuclear power plant near Harrisburg, Pa., less than 100 miles north of Baltimore up I-83. One hundred and fifty workers were evacuated, and 20 people were exposed to radiation.

Baltimore Sun 25th Nov 2009 more >>

Iran

The UN’s nuclear watchdog has issued a rare condemnation to Iran over its secretive uranium processing operations. Twenty-five nations backed a resolution that demands Tehran immediately freeze construction of its newly revealed nuclear facility and heed Security Council resolutions calling on it to stop uranium enrichment.

Belfast Telegraph 28th Nov 2009 more >>

Guardian 28th Nov 2009 more >>

Scotsman 28th Nov 2009 more >>

China and Russia joined the United States, Britain, France and Germany in backing an International Atomic Energy Agency resolution censuring Iran and ordering it to halt construction of a secret uranium enrichment plant.

Times 28th Nov 2009 more >>

The latest criticism of Iran by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is another sign that new sanctions could be on the way.

BBC 27th Nov 2009 more >>

Gordon Brown led calls for new sanctions against Iran after the UN’s nuclear watchdog issued the country with its first official rebuke in almost four years.

Telegraph 28th Nov 2009 more >>

UAE

French oil major Total is still hopeful of winning a $40 billion nuclear deal in Abu Dhabi, Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie said on Friday.The French consortium, once considered a shoe-in for the bid, has encountered unexpected competition from a South Korean consortium led by Korea Electric Power Co. and Toshiba.

Reuters 27th Nov 2009 more >>

Posted: 28 November 2009

27 November 2009

New Nukes

Britain’s main safety regulator threw the government’s plans into chaos tonight by damning the nuclear industry’s leading designs for new plants. The Health and Safety Executive said it could not recommend plans for new reactors because of wide-ranging concerns about their safety. “We have identified a significant number of issues with the safety features of the design that would first have to be progressed. If these are not progressed satisfactorily then we would not issue a design acceptance confirmation,” the agency concluded following a study of the latest French EPR and US AP1000 reactor designs. Kevin Allars, director of new build at the HSE, admitted frustration that the design assessment process was already behind schedule owing to insufficient information from the companies promoting the reactors and a lack of enough trained staff in his own directorate.

Guardian 27th Nov 2009 more >>

Detailed reviews by the Health and Safety Executive highlight a series of shortcomings in security and safety systems in both reactors that must be fixed or redesigned before the power plants can be approved for construction.

Guardian 27th Nov 2009 more >>

The nuclear safety regulator has warned that two new reactor designs could be rejected due to wide-ranging concerns over their safety. The Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) said that it was concerned about several features of the French and US-Japanese reactor technologies, proposed for use in a new generation of British nuclear power stations.

New Statesman 27th Nov 2009 more >>

The HSE said it had identified a “significant number of issues with the safety features of the design” of the French and American reactors and the process cannot move forward until they are fixed.

Telegraph 27th Nov 2009 more >>

Telegraph 27th Nov 2009 more >>

Times 27th Nov 2009 more >>

Belfast Telegraph 27th Nov 2009 more >>

Interim assessment reports for two nuclear power station designs being considered for construction in the UK have been made public today. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published the reports on Step 3 of its Generic Design Assessment of the designs put forward by EDF/AREVA and Westinghouse. The GDA process enables the HSE and the Environment Agency (EA) to assess new nuclear power station designs before an application for a site licence has been received.

HSE Press Release 27th Nov 2009 more >>

A French consortium hoping to build the first new nuclear power stations in Britain for 20 years has submitted a solution that will “in principle” meet safety concerns about its reactor design, the UK regulator has said. A rival Japanese-owned group has also put forward a plan to strengthen its reactor to meet requirements for withstanding extreme events such as aircraft impact.

FT 27th Nov 2009 more >>

Henri Proglio, the new chief executive of EDF, told the Wall Street Journal the French power company generates enough cash to finance its international expansion in nuclear energy. But the CEO did not exclude a capital increase altogether, the newspaper reported on Thursday.

Forbes 26th Nov 2009 more >>

Wall Street Journal 26th Nov 2009 more >>

Areva

The French prime minister on Thursday quashed speculation that the government would break up Areva, the world’s biggest builder of nuclear reactors, saying the company would continue to operate throughout the nuclear supply chain.

New York Times 26th Nov 2009 more >>

Bradwell

EDF Energy plans to sell land at its Bradwell nuclear site in southeast England to companies planning to build new reactors in Britain, the world’s biggest nuclear power generator said on Friday. French nuclear power giant EDF got some of the land at Bradwell as part of its takeover of nuclear operator British Energy in January and bought more land there at auction in April.

Reuters 27th Nov 2009 more >>

Energy Business Review 27th Nov 2009 more >>

Dungeness

Temperatures ran high at a full council meeting on Wednesday 24 when a proposed motion about the decision to not consider Dungeness as a possible site for a new nuclear power station was discussed. The motion, raised by the Conservative group, proposed that the council ‘greets with incredulity the decision by the Labour Government to exclude Dungeness from the short list of ten sites considered suitable for the construction of new nuclear power stations.’ The Liberal Democrat group consistently against the motion. Cllr Peter Carroll (Lib Dem) said the motion concentrated on the economic impact and did not ‘give the issue the respect it deserves,’ and allowing the development risked an accident and ‘destroying the Marsh forever.’ The motion passed with Conservatives voting in favour. The majority of Liberal Democrats voted against, with Cllr Matthews and Cllr Marsh abstaining.

All Day Breakfast 26th Nov 2009 more >>

It seems the Department for Energy & Climate Change (DECC) representatives (who advised the Government on the Dungeness decision) did so on the basis that any new nuclear power station on the proposed site would need to be built further back from the coastline to enable adequate sea defences to be put in place which in turn would destroy the shingle ridges which are the subject of strict environmental protection. Natural England made such a strong case for the protection of the fragile eco-system at Dungeness that DECC had no option but to recommend the Government to remove Dungeness from the list of proposed sites, reinforced by a very strong case put by the RSPB for the protection of the wildlife & habitats there.

Romney Marsh Times 27th Nov 2009 more >>

Oldbury

OPPOSITION is growing to plans for a new nuclear power station in Oldbury on Severn. Another round of public exhibitions on plans for the new site, which could have up to four huge cooling towers measuring between 70 and 200 metres high, was launched on Saturday and residents and local councillors turned out to see what the nuclear station might look like. Shepperdine resident Reg Illingworth said: “There are now fairly significant objections from quite a number of people. “People are really concerned about the whole scale of the thing and especially the height of the towers. There is a lot of opposition.”

Gloucestershire Gazette 26th Nov 2009 more >>

Wylfa

Every Anglesey resident I meet is totally opposed to Wylfa B. There are so many reasons why so many of us object to the proposed Wylfa B, for example, danger of another Chernobyl type “accident”. Then there is the nuclear waste which creates toxic pollution for millions of years, and obtaining and transporting nuclear materials is unreliable and increases the terrorist threat. So investing in nuclear power would be wasting money that could be spent on safer green power. Those selfish, ignorant people who still support nuclear always try to play down the enormous risks involved and the hidden costs. We are not that gullible. We will happily accept any number of wind turbines, and other safe renewable energy technologies – but Nuclear Power – Definitely not!

Anglesey Today 26th Nov 2009 more >>

Waste Transport

More than ten years later than originally scheduled, the first shipment of vitrified High Level Waste (HLW) is expected to be shipped from Sellafield to Japan early in 2010. Sellafield Ltd said yesterday that the first HLW return shipment to Japan was expected to be completed by next in March. Depending on which of three recognised sea routes was selected, the return could take up to 6 weeks – indicating a departure from the UK sometime in January 2010. It is likely that the HLW, loaded into transport containers, will be sent from Sellafield to Barrow docks by rail and loaded onto the Pacific Sandpiper for the 25,000km voyage to Japan. Contrary to local media reports (Whitehaven News 26th November) that the shipment would be made on a vessel fitted with naval canon, the industry has confirmed today that there is no plan to use an armed ship.

CORE Briefing 26th Nov 2009 more >>

Finland

A poster of nuclear safety threats in Olkiluoto-3.

Greenpeace 26th Nov 2009 more >>

France

The head of France’s Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) could not understand why his joint letter with two other European regulators demanding design changes to a new-generation EPR reactor being built in France, Finland and soon in the UK, should have prompted a storm in a country traditionally supportive of nuclear power. The regulators were pleased they had acted together. “But it was seen as frightening because we were co-ordinated,” Mr Lacoste says in an interview with the Financial Times. “[The letter] did not call into question the safety of the EPR reactor. It is normal that authorities examine reactors and say if they are satisfied or not.” But the letter came in the wake of a series of recent incidents in France, not least the discovery of 39kg of plutonium dust that had built up over 40 years in fuel-making facilities run by the Atomic Energy Commission, the state nuclear research body.

The incidents prompted a call from Greenpeace for the “immediate halt of work on the EPRs in Finland and France”.

FT 27th Novc 2009 more >>

Iran

The outgoing head of the International Atomic Energy Agency has said his probe of Iran’s nuclear program is at “a dead end” and that trust in Tehran’s credibility is shrinking after its belated revelation that it was secretly building a nuclear facility.

Scottish Herald 27th Nov 2009 more >>

Disarmament

Russian-American negotiations on a new agreement to reduce strategic offensive arsenals have reached the decisive phase. The conclusion of such an agreement would be a key link in the “reset” of relations between Moscow and Washington.

Telegraph 27th Nov 2009 more >>

Renewables

By the end of 2009, there will have been a 50% drop in the levelized cost–i.e. the lifetime cost per kWh before subsidies–of solar power, and a 10% reduction in the levelized cost of other sources of renewable energy sectors compared to the end of 2008. This prediction is a result of detailed quarterly research by New Energy Finance.

Climate Progress 25th Nov 2009 more >>

Energy Efficiency

The Conservative Party will offer homeowners up to £6,500 per home to fund energy efficiency refurbishments if it wins the general election next year. Grant Shapps, Shadow Housing Minister, yesterday launched the ambitious “green deal”, designed to cut carbon emissions from the UK’s existing housing stock of 25 million homes, which contribute 27 per cent of all emissions.

Times 27th Nov 2009 more >>

Posted: 27 November 2009

26 November 2009

Waste Transport

SELLAFIELD is set to ship out highly active waste for the first time. The radioactive material which has been converted into glass blocks will be sent out to customers in Japan, it is understood. The canisters of waste have been loaded into a shielded flask on the site prior to being moved to a Cumbrian port. Under international security regulations, the vitrified “hot” material will be transported on a ship armed with canon as a deterrent against the potential threat of terrorism at sea. The plan is to complete the shipment by next March.

Whitehaven News 25th Nov 2009 more >>

Radwaste

FOUR former members of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management are at odds with the government over its handling of the controversial disposal issue involving an underground repository. The startling move comes just as thousands of leaflets pour through West Cumbrian letterboxes asking for views on how the highly radioactive material should be managed. Professor Andrew Blowers, Professor Gordon MacKerron and Pete Wilkinson say the government is going against recommendations made by the committee (CoRWM) to it in 2006.

Whitehaven News 25th Nov 2009 more >>

New Nukes

A Newsnight investigation suggests that UK government plans to build a new generation of nuclear power stations to fill the energy gap by 2020 are wildly optimistic. The British nuclear regulator has told Newsnight that he would not hesitate to halt construction if problems emerged and that no British nuclear power station had ever been built on time.

BBC 25th Nov 2009 more >>

Letter from George Regan. I read with interest the letter by Struan Stevenson MEP complaining about the lack of new nuclear developments in Scotland. I wouldn’t see the policy in Scotland as being Luddite but rather it is eminently sensible. Scotland has the highest percentage use of renewable energy in the UK and Scotland can be a leader of renewable energy in Europe. Scottish councils are also leading the way in promoting energy efficiency and micro-generation. Most of the wind projects Mr Stevenson mentioned will be offshore. I would not like to see our beautiful landscape blighted by ugly new nuclear power stations, with all their risks, plus an intractable radioactive waste burden. Mr Stevenson talks about the load factor for wind turbines but what about the times when nuclear power stations are forced off-line due to safety fears or lack of cooling water? France, the great exponent of nuclear power, will have to import electricity again this winter due to a lack of generating capacity over the summer.

Dundee Courier 25th Nov 2009 more >>

NDA Budget

The government is gearing up to cut the budget for Britain’s nuclear clean-up programme, which costs around £1bn a year. The Treasury has launched a review of spending by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which is responsible for dealing with 19 contaminated sites in the UK.

Building 25th Nov 2009 more >>

SELLAFIELD will not get a cut in its budget next year despite an on-going government review into public spending. All government agencies, including the NDA, which owns Sellafield, have been told to examine their areas of spending and what they most want to spent money on. Bill Hamilton told The Whitehaven News: “We are not talking about any cuts in nuclear clean-up at the moment. For next year Sellafield’s budget will remain roughly the same.” Sellafield will have its new allocation from next April having operated for the last 12 months on a “record” £1.3 billion from the NDA. If any cuts at Sellafield or any of the NDA’s other UK clean-up sites are required they will not take effect until 2011.

Whitehaven News 25th Nov 2009 more >>

NDA Response to The Times. As part of its financial and budgetary planning processes the NDA, along with other agencies, is taking part in a Government-wide review to identify options for transformational value for money savings called the Public Value Programme (PVP). The aim is to drive efficiency and effectiveness, and options identified through the PVP process will be used to inform the next spending review, currently expected in the first half of 2010. The NDA Board will consider a range of options that will be submitted to a review panel of senior Government officials, including representation from the nuclear regulators which is essential to ensure safety considerations are taken fully into account.

NDA 25th Nov 2009 more >>

Plutonium

The UK’s plan to cut its stockpile of separated plutonium is in “disarray”, a group of scientists has warned. The British Pugwash Group (BPG) says the way 100 tonnes of the deadly powder is being stored is “ludicrous”. Its experts fear the stockpile at the Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria – the largest in the world – could be a target for terrorists. The government said the plutonium was stored safely and securely but recognised the need to make progress. The report said the failure of a taxpayer-funded facility to make nuclear fuel from the plutonium was “scandalous”. It said the UK had no policy to deal with the deadly material, which was reclaimed from used nuclear fuel by reprocessing, because there are no UK reactors which can use it.

BBC 26th Nov 2009 more >>

Cumbria

Various letters (1) Residents near the Braystones site are now very angry. Evacuation plans for those residents trapped between two sites storing highly radioactive waste are a concern. RWE’s proposal to remove the road north out of Braystones would leave only two remaining, both subject to frequent heavy flooding. Not an acceptable safety scenario. I have very little faith that any credible objections raised during the so-called ‘public consultation’ won’t simply be manipulated and sidestepped. (2) Mr Reed MP was quoted as saying that “the entire community was united in its support for new reactors on land adjacent to Sellafield…” Is Mr Reed’s statement due to arrogance, ignorance or just plain youthful inexperience? To use an old Cumbrian saying – “He gits a laal bit carried away wid hissel at times!” (3) I am horrified at the potential effects on our beautiful area. Jamie Reed seems to be really making dependency worse and choosing to put all our eggs in one basket. It’s not a clean industry and it’s certainly not clever economics. (4) Jamie Reed’s enthusiasm for a new generation of nuclear reactors would be touchingly optimistic if the issues were not so serious and so very long term. The railway line at Drigg was flooded this week, along with other parts of Cumbria perilously close to Sellafield. It would be good to feel that our representatives were paying attention to these issues, and not just sweeping them under the carpet. (5) In response to Jamie Reed’s claim that no-one else has a plan B for the economic wellbeing of West Cumbria, just a couple of weeks ago a Plan B leaflet dropped through my door issued by the Green Party.

Whitehaven News 25th Nov 2009 more >>

The Braystones farmland coastal location is on the government’s “hit list” for new reactors but last Friday’s deluge caused more alarm among residents who say future flood risks reinforce their opposition to any nuclear development.

Whitehaven News 25th Nov 2009 more >>

Heysham

A new nuclear power station could be built near Heysham in Lancashire as the government seeks to implement alternative energy sources.

England’s Northwest 25th Nov 2009 more >>

Residents of Lancashire are this weekend being asked to have their say on proposals to a build a new nuclear power station in the area. Heysham, near Lancaster, has been confirmed in by the Government as a potential site for a new nuclear power station.

DECC Press Release 25th Nov 2009 more >>

Hinkley

Nuclear power bosses are appealing to guest houses and inns across the West to accommodate thousands of specialist workers set to flood the region. As work on the huge new Hinkley Point power station, one of the West Country’s biggest-ever construction projects, gets underway, hordes of new employees will be heading here to offer their expertise. And a call-out by energy chiefs at EDF Energy has so far been welcomed by small businesses across Somerset, who look set to reap huge financial rewards as a result of the 2,000 long-term guests.

South West Business 25th Nov 2009 more >>

Dounreay

DOUNREAY workers are today expected to question the head of the agency charged with cleaning up the nuclear power station site amid fears that future budgets may be cut. Tony Fountain, chief executive of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), is to visit the Caithness complex amid reports the government was considering reducing Britain’s £4 billion nuclear clean-up budget.

Scotsman 26th Nov 2009 more >>

Dungeness

The active reactor at Dungeness B in Kent ,was taken offline after the blaze broke out in a boiler annexe on Monday night.

ITN 25th Nov 2009 more >>

BBC 25th Nov 2009 more >>

New Civil Engineer 25th Nov 2009 more >>

Uranium Supplies

AS the world prepares for the largest investment in nuclear power in decades, owners of uranium mines last week raised the prospect of fuel shortages. To make things worse, the reliability of estimates of the amount of uranium that can be economically mined has also been questioned. Mined uranium caters for about 60 per cent of the global demand for nuclear fuel. The rest comes from secondary sources, including stockpiles left over from the 1970s and 1980s, reprocessed fuel and the conversion of old Russian nuclear warheads. But the supply may not be as secure as first thought. The price of uranium has plummeted from a peak of around $130 per pound of uranium oxide ($286 per kilogram) in 2007 to $45 today. Some of this decline is due to slumping fossil fuel prices and some from the uncertainty surrounding the industry. Uncertainty is stifling investment in new mines, which could lead to future shortages. Added to this are concerns that uranium resources may have been overestimated. The International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) publish biennial estimates of global uranium resources in the so-called Red Book. Michael Dittmar, a particle physicist at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, last week released a critical analysis of the figures and argued that the reasons behind the fluctuation in estimated resources in recent years are unclear.

New Scientist 25th Nov 2009 more >>

Nuclear Submarines

The patience of people in West Fife is wearing thin, according to Dunfermline West MP, William Rennie, because we have had these submarines for 25 years and we lost the Trident refuelling contract in the ’90s. We want rid of these submarines, and we want rid of them now.

Hansard 25th Nov 2009 more >>

ePolitix 25th Nov 2009 more >>

Europe

Baroness Ashton of Upholland’s past came back to haunt her yesterday when the European Union’s new foreign affairs chief was forced to deny taking funds from the Soviet Union during her days as treasurer for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Times 26th Nov 2009 more >>

Vietnam

Vietnam’s plans to build two nuclear power plants continue to inch forward with the approval by the country’s National Assembly of a resolution on investment policy for the project.

World Nuclear News 25th Nov 2009 more >>

Channel 4 News 25th Nov 2009 more >>

Clean Coal

Extra funding and better market conditions must be created for clean coal if it is ever to progress “beyond the blueprint” of trial plants, Dr Paul Golby, chief executive of E.ON UK, has warned.

Telegraph 26th Nov 2009 more >>

Posted: 26 November 2009

25 November 2009

Nuclear Costs

An incentive to persuade the private sector to build new nuclear power stations would add no more than £40 a year to consumers’ bills, the leading company planning to build the reactors has said. The figure is the first indication from the industry of the probable cost of financial support needed for the new reactors, which are likely to cost about £5bn each. Measures to encourage companies to make the investment that is needed are expected to be put forward by either a Conservative or a Labour government after next year’s general election. French-owned EDF Energy yesterday said it had calculated an additional cost of £20-£40 on annual bills to pay for a mechanism to support the price of carbon emissions permits in the European Union’s emissions trading scheme.

FT 25th Nov 2009 more >>

GE Hitachi

A new nuclear reactor that its manufacturers say is safer than any design now available is to be put forward for approval for use in Britain. GE Hitachi, a US-Japanese joint venture, is bidding to share in Britains nuclear renaissance, saying it has shown it can build reactors on time and on budget, avoiding the problems that have bedevilled other nuclear projects. Executives from GE Hitachi opened talks with the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency last week about securing approvals for the company’s Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor, re-entering a process that it dropped out of in 2008.

FT 24th Nov 2009 more >>

Westinghouse

Westinghouse is in talks with Horizon Nuclear Power, made up on European energy groups E.ON and RWE, and a consortium of Spain’s Iberdrola, French group GDF Suez and Scottish and Southern to get them to pick the Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactor to build on their sites. Both consortiums are also looking the EPR reactor, developed by French firm Areva, as they decide which to build on sites across the country. If either group chosses the AP1000, Westinghouse has said it will develop a major UK head office in Central Lancashire and use the Springfields Fuels Ltd factory in Salwick, near Preston to provide the power for the reactors.

Lancashire Evening Post 24th Nov 2009 more >>

Radwaste

Four former members of the government’s Committee on Radioactive Waste Management, including its Chairman, Professor Gordon MacKerron, have written to Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Miliband, informing him of their concerns about the government’s interpretation of radioactive waste management policy. They accuse him of ignoring the recommendation from CoRWM that the management of radioactive waste from new nuclear build should be subject to a separate process of examination. They say the claim that arrangements for the long term management of radioactive waste will exist are premature, and say that potential host communities need to be able to question the need for on-site, long term storage (up to 160 years) of new build waste during the IPC process.

Letter to Ed Miliband from Gordon Mackerron et al more >>

Press Release 20th Nov 2009 more >>

NDA

The Government is sharpening the axe for Britain’s £4 billion nuclear clean-up budget and drawing up plans for big spending cuts at contaminated sites including Sellafield and Dounreay, The Times has learnt. The Treasury has begun a sweeping review of spending by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), the quango that over the past four years is understood to have spent about £1 billion of taxpayers’ money annually on cleaning up at Britain’s 20 contaminated nuclear sites. An NDA spokesman said that it was in talks with the Treasury and the Department for Energy and Climate Change about options to cut costs.

Times 25th Nov 2009 more >>

Dungeness

The Dungeness B nuclear power station in Kent has been shut down after a small fire in the boiler annexe. The fire was extinguished by fire crews after it was spotted by staff just before midnight. No-one was injured.

BBC 24th Nov 2009 more >>

Telegraph 25th Nov 2009 more >>

Kent Online 24th Nov 2009 more >>

Kent News 24th Nov 2009 more >>

Romney Marsh Times 24th Nov 2009 more >>

Hinkley

At Monday night’s Weston Town Council meeting the disappointed members said the company is not giving people the options for laying the cables between the Hinkley C power station and Avonmouth. Town council leader Andrew Horler said: “We seem to be consulted, but not on all the options, only on the options that they want to consult us on. “I believe this council wants to see something out of eye sight and underground.” National Grid has said that putting the cables underground or under the sea could cost 17 times as much as using pylons. It is only consulting the public on two routes, which would see the cables bisect the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as well as North Somerset.

Weston Mercury 24th Nov 2009 more >>

EDF is beginning its community consultation on initial plans for a new nuclear power station on its site at Hinkley Point. The programme includes a series of exhibitions, newsletters, briefing meetings and a website allowing members of the public to submit their views on the proposals. A freepost address and freephone hotline have also been set up.

Nuclear Matters 24th Nov 2009 more >>

Somerset County Gazette 23rd Nov 2009 more >>

Wylfa

People living on or near Anglesey are being invited to have their say on proposals for a new nuclear power station on the island. The site at Wylfa has been included in a list of 10 possible locations approved by the UK government. The current Wylfa power station has permission to continue electricity production until December 2010. Energy firm RWE npower is holding an exhibition at various locations between 24-30 November.

BBC 24th Nov 2009 more >>

Ireland

Letter: So Minister for the Environment John Gormley is agreeable to a debate about nuclear power (Home News, November 21st). Does he, like his Green colleague Eamon Ryan, hope that such a debate will show that nuclear power is not for Ireland? Does he appreciate that a proper debate is ruled out by the egregious legal ban on electricity generated by nuclear power, which currently inhibits any open discussion with those in authority? We can get nowhere until that ban is repealed.

Irish Times 25th Nov 2009 more >>

India

Obama has affirmed the nuclear deal with India

Reuters 24th Nov 2009 more >>

Lithuania

The government of Lithuania has said it will go ahead with a tender process to find a strategic investor for its planned new nuclear power plant. A government meeting held on 23 November was told that Lithuania and its regional partners would need to attract a “financially strong” strategic investor with experience in the nuclear power industry.

World Nuclear News 24th Nov 2009 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

If a nuclear weapon were detonated in a metropolitan area, how large would the affected area be? Where should first responders first go? According to physicist Fernando Grinstein, we have some initial understanding to address these questions, but fundamental issues remain unresolved.

Medical News Today 24th Nov 2009 more >>

Fuel Poverty

The number of deaths during the coldest three months of the year were up almost 50 per cent on the previous year to 36,700, sending an extra 10,000 pensioners to early graves, new figures showed yesterday. The rise in “excess winter mortality” for England and Wales for the three months to February was the biggest for years and the highest total in a decade, sparking fresh calls for ministers to combat high energy prices.

Independent 25th Nov 2009 more >>

Peak Oil

Peak Oil, the Decline of the North Sea and Britain’s Energy Future: A presentation to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil, Tuesday 24th

November 2009. The paper, slides and background data that I produced as part of a special presentation for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil are now on-line at.

Mobbs Environmental Investigations 24th Nov 2009 more >>

Climate

The mainstream narrative on climate change decrees that if we can get the urgent political agreements in place, and produce enough turbines and electric cars quickly enough, we can “stabilise the climate” and carry on as before. It is a narrative built on an outdated faith in our reach and our technology, and it is rubbing up hard against the buffers of ecological reality.

Guardian 25th Nov 2009 more >>

Posted: 25 November 2009

24 November 2009

New Nukes

The UK plans to build a 16GW of new nuclear energy capacity, Dow Jones reported, citing the UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. As reported, the UK government now sees to triple nuclear energy generating capacity in the country to approximately 40% by 2025 from 13% now. Mr Brown has been quoted by Dow Jones as saying: “We will now build not 12GW of nuclear capacity but 16GW, a total for new building that is bigger than all our current nuclear capacity and represents significant progress toward a low-carbon future.”

Energy Business Review 24th Nov 2009 more >>

An international partnership has been set up to tackle the architectural challenges of design for new nuclear projects. Nuclear Design Partnership is the result of collaboration between London-based YRM and TRO Jung Brannan of Boston. John Clemow, CEO of YRM, told World Nuclear News the move came after the contract from EDF Energy to act as overall architect for the forthcoming reactors at Hinkley Point.

World Nuclear News 23rd Nov 2009 more >>

Hinkley

On Saturday I attended a DECC “consultation” on the plan to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset. We had very short notice, and the conference venue was given as “Near J24 on the M5”. I could not find it on Multimap, so though it must be a massive well signed centre that I couldn’t miss. Wrong. Drove round the vicinity of J24 and finally arrived 10 mins late. Others had the same problem.

Mabinogogiblog 23rd Nov 2009 more >>

Wylfa

The government has announced ten suitable sites for new nuclear power plants including one in Wales. The plans are part of a draft national policy statement to restructure the planning system fast tracking particular projects. The Welsh plant is proposed for Wylfa on Anglesey, already the site of an existing power station. Jake Griffiths, Wales Green Party Leader criticised the way the Assembly has dealt with the proposal saying, “The Welsh Assembly Government silence over the proposed nuclear power station at Wylfa is deafening.”

Gair Rhydd 23rd Nov 2009 more >>

Uranium

With the increase in demand, there is a concern as to whether the new reactors will be able to secure enough uranium to meet their long-term requirements, since nuclear reactors use about three times the level of uranium to fire up as they need once they reach steady operation. Therefore any pick up in demand for uranium could push up prices and with it, the profitability of producers.

Newcastle Journal 23rd Nov 2009 more >>

Lithuania

Lithuania will issue a tender next month to find a strategic investor in a nuclear power plant and aims to sign a deal in the second half of 2010, the government said on Monday.

Interactive Investor 23rd Nov 2009 more >>

Brazil – Iran

Brazil has reaffirmed its support for Iran’s right to a civilian nuclear programme, but called for a “just and balanced” solution with the West.

BBC 23rd Nov 2009 more >>

The talk in Israel, explicit and open – including in the country’s leading daily, Haaretz, last week – is about a war in the coming spring or summer. The skies will have cleared for air operations, Israel’s missile shields against short- and medium-range rockets will at least be partly operational, and the international community, led by President Obama, will palpably have failed to stymie Iran’s nuclear weapons programme. And the Iranians will be that much closer to a bomb.

Guardian 24th Nov 2009 more >>

UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will award a contract worth approximately $40 billion to build nuclear reactors, Reuters reported, citing the head of GDF Suez. As reported, French energy company GDF Suez, nuclear reactor maker Areva and Total, with technical support from EDF, are included in a consortium bidding for the deal.

Energy Business Review 23rd Nov 2009 more >>

Climate

The Conservatives will tomorrow make an ambitious pitch to win the environmental vote with a raft of measures including plans to pay the public to recycle and a promise to cut government emissions by 10% within 12 months of taking office.

Guardian 24th Nov 2009 more >>

Posted: 24 November 2009

23 November 2009

Nuclear Costs

Letter from Vincent de Rivaz. We calculate that a floor price of 25 or 35, as used in the article, could result in an increase on existing energy bills of about £20 or £40 per UK household per year respectively. However, it would be up to the Government to decide on a figure for such a floor. Of course, a stronger carbon trading system may mean that a floor is never triggered and the cost to consumers remains the market price, as now. Furthermore, new nuclear would not get a penny of the money raised by the Government from the carbon market. We reject Greenpeace’s suggestion that EDF Energy is “holding the Government to ransom” on this issue. Many key opinion formers including the Committee on Climate Change, CBI, Lord Stern of Brentford and many others in politics, academia, regulation and the energy industry believe that this is the right way forward. We are also continuing to discuss this issue with both main parties, who are generally agreed that the carbon price needs to be addressed.

Times 23rd Nov 2009 more >>

Westinghouse

Thousands of jobs that were to have been created in Britain to build the next generation of nuclear power plants could be heading overseas instead, after Westinghouse, the nuclear company sold by the government three years ago to Toshiba, chose one of its largest shareholders as the lead contractor to build reactors. Westinghouse is expected to confirm this week that it has appointed US-based Shaw Group to head up its £10bn nuclear programme, passing over the favourite for the contract, rival engineering group Fluor. Industry sources said that Shaw is likely to source far more reactor components from overseas than Fluor, which has close relationships with British manufacturers. The Unite union claimed that 10,000 new jobs in the UK would not be created as a result of Shaw being selected.

Guardian 23rd Nov 2009 more >>

Uranium

It’s a little-known – and slightly ironic – fact that when Lehman Brothers exploded last year it did so as the proud owner of 500,000 pounds of yellowcake uranium: enough to make a nuclear bomb. What could support prices even further is the fear that the world’s uranium resources might not be as plentiful as the World Nuclear Association predicts – an optimistic 83 years of reserves. Michael Dittmar, from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, last week published a report claiming that without more access to military stockpiles, western uranium supplies are likely to be exhausted by 2013.

Telegraph 23rd Nov 2009 more >>

Radwaste

Journal of Risk Research, Volume 12 Issue 7 & 8 2009. Nuclear Waste Management in a Globalised World more >>

Iran

Iran yesterday began large-scale air defence war games aimed at protecting its nuclear facilities from attack.

Belfast Telegraph 23rd Nov 2009 more >>

Guardian 23rd Nov 2009 more >>

BBC 2nd Nov 2009 more >>

US

Nuclear safety officials moved Sunday to quell worries about a leak of radioactivity from Three Mile Island nuclear plant, saying that human safety was never endangered. The incident happened Saturday, when the Pennsylvania plant – the same one that went to the brink of meltdown in 1979 – had what officials called an “unplanned exposure” and sent home 150 workers, media reports said. John White, a spokesperson for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said that federal experts sent to the plant found “nothing … that indicates safety was ever in jeopardy.”

Earth Times 23rd Nov 2009 more >>

Climate

Sceptics and fossil fuel companies that have lobbied against action on greenhouse gas emissions have squandered the world’s chance to avoid dangerous global warming, a key adviser to the government has said. Professor Bob Watson, chief scientist at the department for environment and rural affairs, said a decade of inaction on climate change meant it was now virtually impossible to limit global temperature rise to 2C. He said the delay meant the world would now do well to stabilise warming between 3C and 4C.

Guardian 23rd Nov 2009 more >>

Renewables

Hopes of having a key government policy on renewables in place before the Copenhagen summit have been dashed by internal wrangling over the final levels at which so-called “feed-in tariffs” (FITs) will be set. Officials at Miliband’s department of energy and climate change (DECC) have admitted that the announcement – originally due around now – will not come until January. The Treasury insists the full details of the FITs are still scheduled to be released around the time of Alistair Darling’s pre-budget report on 9 December. But sources say Treasury officials – egged on by the regulator Ofgem – are having last-minute concerns about the potential cost. Energy companies, in turn, are worried that the delay will jeopardise the supposed 1 April launch date to FITs consumers, because they may not have had enough time to prepare for it. The nuclear industry, too, has been lobbying against support for renewables because it undermines the case for new nuclear stations. Alan Simpson MP said the aim is to get 2% of electricity from microgeneration. “If they were five times as ambitious, it would only cost the average family another £2 a year. But energy companies and Ofgem don’t want to go down that path – they have created a cosy oligopoly which produces non-renewable energy and ever-spiralling prices.”

Guardian 23rd Nov 2009 more >>

A green technology body with powers to direct a worldwide transition away from a high-carbon economy is needed to combat climate change, according to the world’s developing nations. While most negotiations ahead of the UN’s climate change summit in Copenhagen next month have been concerned with which nations should slash greenhouse gas emissions and by how much, the method in which these cuts will be achieved has received far less attention. Yet the importance of green technology – from wind turbines to electric cars to zero-carbon buildings – is enormous. Developing nations argue that the costs should be paid by the rich nations, and that a new global body is required, perhaps working as part of the UN, to direct the world’s low-carbon transformation in sectors as diverse as power, transport and heavy industry.

Guardian 23rd Nov 2009 more >>

Posted: 23 November 2009

22 November 2009

Nuclear Security

The government is refusing to provide details on five separate security breaches at Britain’s nuclear power stations last year. The breaches have prompted accusations that ministers are suppressing damaging information at a time when they are attempting to sell the idea of more nuclear power stations. Earlier this month, 10 new sites in England and Wales were approved. Earlier this month an independent MP, Dai Davies, tabled parliamentary questions demanding that the government detail the nature of the five security breaches. But the energy minister, David Kidney, cited “national security reasons” in declining the request. Kidney said providing any more details would be in breach of government guidelines that “prevent the disclosure of sensitive nuclear information that could assist a person or group planning theft, blackmail, sabotage and other malevolent or illegal acts”. Dr David Lowry, a nuclear policy consultant who specialises in security issues, attacked the refusal to provide further details.

Observer 22nd Nov 2009 more >>

Radwaste

Cumbria is being fed propaganda about ‘geological disposal’ claim anti-nuclear campaigners Radiation Free Lakeland. They point to a letter from four former members of the government’s Committee on Radioactive Waste Management, including its Chairman, Professor Gordon MacKerron, to Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Miliband. The four advisers dispute the government’s nuclear waste claims in the same month that thousands of houses in Copeland and Allerdale have received a leaflet advocating ‘geological disposal’ of high level radioactive waste. The letter informs Milliband of their concerns about the government’s interpretation of radioactive waste management policy, as stated in the draft National Policy Statement on Nuclear Energy announced on 9 November.

Get Noticed Online 21st Nov 2009 more >>

Utilities

Major energy and utility companies, including EDF, Centrica and International Power, have decided not to send delegations to next month’s Copenhagen summit, which global leaders now admit is unlikely to reach an agreement on new measures to tackle climate change.

Sunday Telegraph 22nd Nov 2009 more >>

Peak Uranium

Countries that rely on uranium imports such as Japan and many western countries will face uranium shortages, possibly as soon as 2013.

Futurismic 18th Nov 2009 more >>

Europe

Letter from David Lowry (also in the Guardian) Your profile of new EU “foreign minister” Baroness Ashton, (20 November) overlooks one interesting aspect of her career. In the late 1970s she worked as an administrator for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). This was not merely a job without commitment, for she was subsequently elected as CND national treasurer and later vice-chair of CND, at the time of the Euro-missile nuclear crisis in 1983. Thus she probably becomes the first former staff member of CND to hold such a high diplomatic position. I think this is an excellent background for her new post.

Independent 21st Nov 2009 more >>

Partially obscured behind a group of fellow CND activists, an unremarkable looking woman in a crumpled anorak stands on the steps of 10 Downing Street. It is April 1982, and Cathy Ashton – CND’s influential national treasurer and a suspected Communist sympathiser – is demanding that Margaret Thatcher turn back the naval Task Force heading for the Falklands amid fears that it was armed with nuclear weapons.

Daily Mail 22nd Nov 2009 more >>

Turkey

Turkey is determined to build a nuclear power plant and will launch a new project to replace a failed tender, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz was quoted as saying Saturday. “The fact that the tender was scrapped does not mean that the process is scrapped. Our determination on nuclear power plants is persisting,” Yildiz said in Kizilcahamam town, near Ankara, Anatolia news agency reported.

AFP 21st Nov 2009 more >>

Iran

IRAN will begin large-scale air defence war games today aimed at protecting its nuclear facilities from possible attack, a senior military commander said yesterday.

Scotland on Sunday 22nd Nov 2009 more >>

Nuclear Weapons Bases

The Scottish government is to press Westminster to tighten up the regulation of nuclear missile bases in Scotland after a series of safety problems revealed by the Sunday Herald. Scottish ministers will lobby the UK government to close the loopholes which let the Faslane and Coulport bases on the Clyde escape statutory scrutiny by government watchdogs. In response to a report by the nuclear weapons working group, the Scottish government also said it will ask the Ministry of Defence to tell local authorities when nuclear weapons convoys are coming through their areas. At the moment, councils are not informed. A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We also support the recommendation that naval sites should be subject to the same regulation as civil nuclear sites. On these matters we will be writing to the UK government asking that the Ministry of Defence takes steps to implement these changes.”

Sunday Herald 22nd Nov 2009 more >>

robedwards.com, 22 November 2009 more >>

Green Gas

Rotting leftovers, wilted salad and even sewage are to provide a new source of “green gas” to heat our homes. From today, British householders will be able to register for Ecotricity’s new tariff to buy green gas – commonly known as biogas – as a way of reducing their carbon footprint and cutting landfill waste. It will be a first for carbon-conscious consumers who have previously only been able to buy “green electricity” from suppliers. Britain discards about 18 million tonnes of food waste a year, which Ecotricity said could generate enough biogas to heat 700,000 homes. The Conservative Party believes 50% of the UK’s natural gas supply could be replaced by biogas.

Observer 22nd Nov 2009 more >>

Posted: 22 November 2009

21 November 2009

National Policy Statements

The Energy and Climate Change Committee is calling for written evidence for its inquiry into the energy national policy statements (NPSs).The Committee scrutinises the work of DECC and has followed up swiftly on the release of the six statements. DECC is consulting on whether the proposals and provide a coherent and practical framework for the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC). Subject to this consultation, the Government intends to finalise and formally approve the energy NSPs in 2010. As part of the parliamentary scrutiny of the proposed NPS framework, the 14-person Committee has launched an inquiry to determine whether the energy NPSs are fit for purpose. The Committee will be receiving copies of written submissions made to the DECC’s current consultation and said it would also welcome any additional comments. Although the consultation period is open until February 22, the Committee said it is only likely to be able to take account of submissions made before Friday January 15. Oral hearings are set to take place in the New Year.

New Energy Focus 13th Nov 2009 more >>

New Nukes

We asked Gordon Brown “Why does the Government plan to further injure future generations by continuing with nuclear power and destroying valuable resources through incineration.”

Derby Telegraph 21st Nov 2009 more >>

Radwaste

The UK government’s recent announcement of a significant expansion for nuclear power generation has rekindled the debate over the safe disposal of radioactive waste. The public can be forgiven for being sceptical – the UK does not have an especially proud record in its attitude towards the treatment of waste arising from nuclear activities. Francis Livens is professor of radiochemistry at the University of Manchester. ‘Research into nuclear waste disposal has been severely neglected in this country for the past 40 years,’ he says. ‘Essentially the nuclear waste problem was ignored – people literally locked the door and walked away.’

Chemistry World 20th Nov 2009 more >>

EPR

An independent expert, commissioned by Greenpeace, has concluded that two nuclear reactors, currently under construction in Finland and France, suffer from serious safety flaws. The EPR (European Pressurised Reactor) design, which is supplied by the French company AREVA, fails to adequately separate different reactor control systems. Greenpeace is calling on the Finnish and French governments to immediately halt work at the EPR construction sites in Olkiluoto and Flamanville. According to independent nuclear safety analyst Dr. Helmut Hirsch the flaws in the reactor safety systems “in the worst case, can lead to a minor incident developing into a severe accident.”

Greenpeace 20th Nov 2009 more >>

Druridge Bay

MOVES away from using Druridge Bay for a nuclear power station have been welcomed by MP Sir Alan Beith. Campaigners have fought for years to have the area struck off a list of potential sites and last week the Government confirmed it was not being pursued as an option. Sir Alan, who represents the area, said: “Druridge Bay is the wrong site for the wrong energy policy.

Morpeth Herald 21st Nov 2009 more >>

Dungeness

Blog post by Donald Worsley, Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Folkestone and Hythe. Ed Miliband’s decision to rule out a new Nuclear Power Plant for Dungeness is to be deeply regretted and one with which I fundamentally disagree. A new Plant at Dungeness would have secured more than 4000 jobs for Lydd and surrounding villages. Now their future as viable communities must be very much in doubt.

Romney Marsh Times 21st Nov 2009 more >>

Oldbury

Engineers were given the award for their innovative approach to repairing one of the stations’s turbines while the site was still operational, avoiding the need to shut down and saving £3.5 million for the UK taxpayer.

Gloucestershire Gazette 20th Nov 2009 more >>

Up to three nuclear reactors and as many as four cooling towers as high as 200 metres could be built for a new atomic power station next to the Severn estuary. Exact details are yet to be finalised by the Horizon Nuclear Power joint venture set up by power companies Eon and RWE, which wants to put the complex next to the Oldbury atomic plant near Thornbury.

Bristol Evening Post 21st Nov 2009 more >>

Kirksanton

Britain’s largest colony of natterjack toads – a rare and highly protected species – would be affected by a planned nuclear power station at Kirkstanton, on the Duddon estuary, the Cumbria Wildlife Trust revealed last week. Kirkstanton was always going to be one of the most controversial sites. It is one of only two not at an existing nuclear power station; and it would demolish Britain’s second-oldest commercial windfarm, Haverigg, six of whose eight turbines are within its proposed footprint. A vigorous local protest group has sprung up.

Telegraph 21st Nov 2009 more >>

Springfields

FYLDE’S nuclear plant has received a six-figure boost to help future workers. Bosses at Springfields will match-fund a £100,000 grant from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). The cash will develop the Salwick plant’s state-of-the-art apprentice training centre.

Blackpool Gazette 20th Nov 2009 more >>

Energy Debate

Join the Telegraph & Eon debate on the evening of 3rd December 2009 at a central London location to pose your question live about the future of UK energy to a panel of leading experts.

Telegraph 21st Nov 2009 more >>

Global Problems

Handy reference guide.

Physicians for Social Responsibility Nov 2009 more >>

Ireland

The use of nuclear power should be open for debate, Minister for the Environment John Gormley told a climate change forum in Dublin today. “The technologies being developed, which people claim are 100 per cent safe, are still in their infancy,” he said. “I’ve seen presentations on chlorine fluoride reactors and on pebble bed technology but problems continue even though they say they are addressing the waste problem.” “I remain to be convinced but I’m not closing the door I do think we have to have a continued debate on those issues,” he said.

Irish Times 21st Nov 2009 more >>

US

The US should focus on energy efficiency and renewables to tackle climate change not new nuclear capacity, says a report from environmental organisation Environment California.

Energy Efficiency News 20th Nov 2009 more >>

UAE

The United Arab Emirates will award a $40 billion contract to build several nuclear reactors in the “next few weeks,” the head of GDF Suez said on Friday. A consortium bidding for it includes GDF Suez, nuclear reactor maker Areva and Total, with technical support from EDF.

Interactive Investor 20th Nov 2009 more >>

Iran

UN Security Council permanent members Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany have said they are disappointed with Iran’s apparent rejection of a deal over its nuclear programme. Can a solution be found?

BBC 20th Nov 2009 more >>

Turkey

Turkey has cancelled a tender to build the country’s first nuclear power station, despite pressure from Moscow to accept the sole bid from a consortium led by the Russian groups Inter Rao and Atomstroyexport.

FT 21st Nov 2009 more >>

Trident

Scrapping the Trident nuclear missile system could pay for almost the entire cost of the proposed new Forth road bridge, the Scottish Government has said.

Herald 19th Nov 2009 more >>

REPORT from a group commissioned by the Scottish Government on removing nuclear weapons from Scotland has been dismissed as supporting a “half-baked policy”. The paper was produced by 12 experts chaired by parliamentary business minister Bruce Crawford, and aimed in part to address how jobs would be affected by any future removal of Trident from Scotland.

Scotsman 19th Nov 2009 more >>

Submarines

The Royal Navy’s biggest and most powerful attack submarine has arrived at Faslane on the Clyde. Astute, which measures nearly 328ft (100m) from bow to stern, set sail from Barrow in Cumbria for its first sea trials on Tuesday. The vessel can be armed with 38 torpedoes and missiles – more than any previous Royal Navy submarine. It sailed into the Clyde and up the Gareloch to its new home at the Scottish naval base.

BBC 20th Nov 2009 more >>

Renewables

A hydroelectric wave-energy machine called the Oyster, which could revolutionise energy production in Scotland, was yesterday switched on to the National Grid by Alex Salmond, the First Minister. The Oyster is already billed as the biggest machine of its type in the world, but following a series of tests at the European Marine Energy Centre, near Stromness, engineers hope that it will be the precursor of even larger, linked sets of machines, capable of delivering 2MW of power enough to provide energy for about 1400 homes by 2011. Announcing £975,000 of Scottish Enterprise funding for the venture, Mr Salmond said that through such investments, the Scottish government was working to meet climate change targets and create green jobs. The Oyster, he said, was a milestone in renewable energy policy. The machine was developed by Edinburgh-based Aquamarine Power, resulting from research at Queen’s University, Belfast. The company’s chief executive, Martin McAdam, said: “We have proved that wave energy can produce sustainable, zero-emission electricity.”

Times 21st Nov 2009 more >>

Britain lacks the skills or training facilities to make the successful transition to a low-carbon economy that its international commitments require, an influential group of businesses and non-governmental organisations warns today. In a report that will dent Britain’s image ahead of the Copenhagen climate conference, the Aldersgate Group says that in spite of the UK’s pledge to meet a European Union 2020 target for carbon emissions, the government’s skills strategy is inadequate to meet those needs. Germany, in the decade since it launched its “feed-in tariff” policy has created at least 250,000 jobs in the sector – more than 10 times as many as exist in Britain.

Guardian 21st Nov 2009 more >>

Posted: 21 November 2009