News December 2010

31 December 2010


Protestors fighting the new Hinkley Point C power station this week joined a nationwide group that aims to halt the development. 29th Dec 2010 more >>

Morning Star 31st Dec 2010 more >>

Shepperdine Against Nuclear Energy 30th Dec 2010 more >>

THE futures of two major projects in Sedgemoor will be under the microscope next week. Somerset County Council’s independent regulation committee is meeting on Thursday to consider plans for the new school at Queenswood Farm in Durleigh to replace Haygrove and Penrose, and remediation works at Hinkley Point.

Bridgwater Mercury 30th Dec 2010 more >>


RESIDENTS are being urged to have their say on plans which could result in a replacement power station being built in Hartlepool before a consultation comes to an end. The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) carried out extensive consultation about a year ago which resulted in overwhelming support in town for a new nuclear power station in the future. The Government is now re-consulting on this and other documents. The consultation runs until Monday, January 24.

Hartlepool Mail 28th Dec 2010 more >>


THE restart of reprocessing operations at Sellafield has been halted after a fault was discovered in a pipeline at the atomic complex. Engineers made the find as part of a programme of investigations into the conditions of structures at the nuclear plant. While the routine maintenance work was being carried out in November, the Magnox reprocessing facility was closed down. Reprocessing operations were due to start this month but have been put back until the new year while an investigation and repair work is carried out.

Whitehaven News 30th Dec 2010 more >>


Charles Hendry, Minister of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, has come under fire from a Cumbrian campaign group. Radiation Free Lakeland have taken exception to a recent letter the Minister sent to south Cumbrian MP Tim Farron. The Minister (pictured), who is responsible for steps towards implementing geological disposal of nuclear waste, has been severely criticised for his comments. In the letter he said: “The current process is not a reopening of that old site-specific proposal but a completely fresh start. Nirex did not look in detail at the whole of West Cumbria.” Marianne Birkby, for Radiation Free Lakeland, says that Hendry ‘may sincerely believe the lies and misinformation contained in his recent letter’ but the public should be made aware of the true facts. She says: “Allerdale and Copeland Councillors and the public are repeatedly fed the untruth that the Nirex inquiry did not look at the whole of West Cumbria. “For those of us who do not have amnesia (recent amnesia may be due to five fold increase in antimony emissions this year from Sellafield reprocessing), we are grateful that government commissioned geologists such as Professors Smythe and Haszeldine have the back up documentation which led to the Nirex Inspector ruling out the WHOLE of West Cumbria 15 years ago at a cost to the public purse of over £400M. “The letter from Professor Smythe below has been sent to Copeland and Allerdale councillors who are being bombarded with smooth misinformation from Charles Hendry, Doublespeak Czar at the Department of Energy and Climate Change.”

Get Noticed Online 30th Dec 2010 more >>


The last few months have been busy ones for the nuclear express: trucks, trains and ships have been hauling giant protective casks containing highly-enriched uranium, plutonium, and spent nuclear fuel from vulnerable locations to safe harbors.

These delicate operations in the former Soviet bloc point to progress in President Obama’s promise to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials in four years. He may not make the goal, but step-by-step, more and more weapons-useable material is being cleaned out and locked up.

Foreign Policy 30th Dec 2010 more >>

In a secret operation to secure nuclear material, the United States has helped Ukraine return to Russia enough uranium to build two atomic bombs. This week’s removal of more than 110lb (50kg) of highly enriched uranium followed a pledge by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to get rid of all of his country’s highly enriched uranium by April 2012.

The material will be blended down in Russia, rendering it useless for bomb making.

PA 31st Dec 2010 more >>


Time may be running out for French energy giant EDF to gain a stronger foothold in the US nuclear sector, after it rejected a government loan deal for a new reactor and lost its local partner. Since parting ways with US firm Constellation in October, EDF has vowed to find a new partner for its American subsidiary Unistar, and to press ahead with construction of a new reactor at Calvert Cliffs, Maryland. But according to several sources familiar with the situation, EDF has missed a golden opportunity by refusing the 7.5 billion dollar loan guarantee from the Department of Energy (DoE) to help build the reactor.

Nuclear Power Daily 31st Dec 2010 more >>


The latest figures on the growth of the renewable energy industry in the United States has the combined forces of solar, wind, hydro-electric and biomass fuel sources on par with nuclear energy in the electricity supply stakes.

Energy Matters 29th Dec 2010 more >>


More than three decades ago, before there was an Islamic Republic, the West sought desperately to prevent Iran’s ruler from getting his hands on the bomb. New revelations show just how serious the crisis was — and why America’s denuclearization drive isn’t working.

Foreign Policy 29th Dec 2010 more >>


British diplomats feared Israel would use nuclear weapons in the event of a fresh war with the Arab nations, according to official papers from 1980. The papers show that British officials expressed concern that a new conflict could erupt, despite a peace deal signed between Israel and Egypt the previous year. A cable from the British embassy in Tel Aviv, dated May 4, warned: “The situation in the region is deteriorating and, with it, Israel’s dangerous mood of isolation and defiance will grow.

Morning Star 30th Dec 2010 more >>

Posted: 31 December 2010

30 December 2010

New Nukes

New Alliance Warns of Pre-Emptive Strike by Nuclear Industry. The nuclear industry is already starting site preparation works at two of its favoured locations for new power stations – even before it has applied for permission to build the plants. This warning that the industry is “jumping the gun” comes from a new alliance of local organisations opposed to the government’s plans for a nuclear revival. Communities Opposed to New Nuclear Energy Development (CONNED) brings together groups around six/eight sites earmarked for possible development – Hinkley Point in Somerset, Sizewell in Suffolk, Bradwell in Essex, Wylfa on Anglesey, Oldbury In Gloucestershire, Heysham in Lancashire, Sellafield in Cumbria and Hartlepool in County Durham.

Shepperdine Against Nuclear Energy 29th Dec 2010 more >>


The CBI is not alone in criticising the SNP’s energy policy, which rejects the building of new nuclear power plants while focusing on renewables, as risking the security of energy supply. This newspaper has welcomed the SNP’s ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and for encouraging Scotland’s potential in harnessing wind and wave power. Until suitable storage of renewable energy is developed, however, it is essential that nuclear power is part of the mix if we are to enjoy security of supply.

Herald 29th Dec 2010 more >>

Responses to Jim Mather’s letter about Scotland “importing” electricity from France.

Scotsman 29th Dec 2010 more >>

Torness & Hinkley

EDF halted generation yesterday at two atomic units in the U.K. EDF’s 650-megawatt reactor 1 at the Torness nuclear plant on the east coast of Scotland and the 610-megawatt B8 Hinkley Point unit in southwest England went down yesterday, Sue Fletcher, a company spokeswoman, said today by e-mail. “Both outages were unplanned,” she said, declining to comment on when the units would be back in action.

Bloomberg 29th Dec 2010 more >>


As the chief executive of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, I hope I can be forgiven for concentrating on economic and political issues that will affect Somerset in 2011, however, in most issues you could delete “Somerset” and insert any area of the South West. I see 2011 panning out very like 2010, but that does not mean stagnation or instability, it means uncertainty as the economy rebalances away from the over-dependence of the public sector and the waiting game for THE big opportunity. The long wait for us in this part of the South West is the slow progress towards EDF Energy gaining permission to build Hinkley C – the next generation of nuclear power generator, on the coast of Somerset about eight miles north west of Bridgwater. Why such interest? It is a £10 billion project that will last for nearly 10 years and at its peak employ over 5,000 people, with a legacy of nearly 1,000 jobs on site for the next 60 years. Let’s put things into perspective. This is bigger than the Olympic village and bigger than Terminal 5 at Heathrow. Now, if and when this comes to fruition, then that will be an economic prospect worth waiting for in 2011

This is Devon 30th Dec 2010 more >>


Latest data from the grid operator also showed that the Heysham 1-2 nuclear reactor would reconnect to the grid on Thursday, adding further supply to the system.

Reuters 29th Dec 2010 more >>

Nuclear vs Climate

The argument that nuclear represents reliable “baseload” power is, as Peter Bradford points out, “rapidly losing relevance.” He echoes Lovins in saying that the new combinations available in the deployment of the Smart Grid, distributed generation (DG), renewables, energy efficiency, demand-side management (DSM), etc. render the idea of one constantly streaming power source archaic. As Lovins points out, the grid has anyway pretty much always been about a combination of generators. Bob Alvarez said that nuclear power is a “millstone” holding back the flourishing of other, better technologies. I could not agree more. I have hated nuclear power for 40 years but now more than ever. Given the need to successfully address the specter of climate change, we are wasting precious time, money and expertise pursuing new nuclear. Amory Lovins, as is so often the case, is eloquent on this point: expanding nuclear power is uneconomic, is unnecessary, is not undergoing the claimed renaissance in the global marketplace (because it fails the basic test of cost-effectiveness ever more robustly), and, most importantly, will reduce and retard climate protection.

Climate Progress 29th Dec 2010 more >>

Small Reactors

Letter from Basic Element: Coming just before the conclusion of the UN climate-change summit in Canc n, your article on mini nuclear reactors could not have been more timely. As you pointed out, Russia has developed small floating reactors to deliver energy to the Arctic regions, primarily to overcome the problem of building power plants and grids on unstable permafrost. The simplicity and scalability of small reactors makes them an ideal energy source where future demand is uncertain and investment in larger plants and grids is simply not viable. But you passed over the one big area where small reactors can perhaps make the greatest contribution: the developing world. Harnessing this technology can promote clean and affordable economic and social development in countries that are held back by energy shortages. Indeed, small reactors should figure prominently when it comes to implementing Canc n’s pledges on technology transfer to developing economies.

Economist 29th Nov 2010 more >>

North Korea

South Korea’s President said yesterday that urgent progress must be made in dismantling North Korea’s atomic weapons programme before a key anniversary that could spur Pyongyang to bolster its nuclear capabilities. President Lee Myung-bak said diplomats must persuade the North to abandon its nuclear aspirations as Pyongyang pushes to create a “powerful, prosperous nation” by 2012; the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung, who founded the communist state in 1948.

Independent 30th Dec 2010 more >>


Iran no longer has the capability to create a nuclear weapon on its own, Israel’s deputy prime minister said on Wednesday, in a new assessment that would seem to make military action less likely in the near future.

Telegraph 30th Dec 2010 more >>

US officials are worried Iran could use new technology in coming months that would shorten the time needed to reach nuclear weapon status and reduce the scope for diplomacy. Washington is particularly concerned that Tehran might deploy a new generation of centrifuges to enrich uranium, a process that can yield nuclear fuel and weapons-grade material.

FT 30th Dec 2010 more >>

Stuxnet masy have damaged no less than 1000 centrifuges at the Natanz uranium enrichment plant.

IT Portal 29th Dec 2010 more >>


Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin has praised the New Start nuclear arms treaty with the United States in his first remarks on the pact since the US Senate approved it last week. Mr Putin lauded President Dmitry Medvedev for forging the treaty with US president Barack Obama – a clear signal of approval for the agreement from Russia’s paramount leader.

Scotsman 29th Dec 2010 more >>

Posted: 30 December 2010

29 December 2010

Nuclear Terror

One of the greatest threats facing the United States is the possibility that a terrorist organization could steal a nuclear warhead or other dangerous materials from poorly-secured stockpiles throughout the world and use it to build a device that could harm millions. That is the assessment of a little-noticed US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released earlier this month.

Christian Science Monitor 28th Dec 2010 more >>


PLANS to help local workers claim the hundreds of nuclear sector jobs that would be created if Wylfa B is built are underway on Anglesey. Horizon Nuclear Power wants to build a two or three reactor plant at land near Wylfa, Cemaes, and the site has been selected by the Government for a new generation of nuclear stations. The challenge has now started to train up young people and re-skill older workers to ensure Anglesey and the wider North Wales population can cash in on the jobs that would be on offer. The training will also focus on decommissioning work at the existing plant, which is due to stop operating in 2012.

Daily Post 28th Dec 2010 more >>

Review of the Year: The future of Wylfa B would be put at risk in the event of a hung Parliament, we reported, with the Liberal Democrats revealing they would use power sharing as an opportunity to halt the nuclear building programme.

Daily Post 28th Dec 2010 more >>


Letter from Energy Minister, Jim Mather: Your claims that Scotland has had to rely on energy imported from France during the recent cold snap are wrong. The reality is that Scotland is a net exporter of electricity, a position which will only be strengthened when new wind and other renewables projects come on stream.

Scotsman 28th Dec 2010 more >>


New equipment is being introduced at Devonport Naval Base two years after a nuclear spill in which hundreds of litres of radioactive liquid escaped into the River Tamar. In November 2008, the Western Morning News revealed that 280 litres of water, contaminated with radioactive Cobalt-60 and Tritium, poured from a burst hose as it was being pumped from the nuclear-powered submarine HMS Trafalgar. It was the worst nuclear spill at the Royal Navy dockyard since 1985.

Both the Royal Navy and Environment Agency insisted that there had been “no risk to the public” and the incident was treated seriously and fully investigated.

This is Devon 28th Dec 2010 more >>


Hitachi Ltd and partner General Electric may struggle to hit a long-term orders target for nuclear power plants due to signs of waning demand in the United States, the president of Hitachi said. The partners have set a target of securing orders for at least 38 nuclear plants by 2030. Of that, 10 were originally expected to come from the United States, Nakanishi said.

Reuters 28th Dec 2010 more >>


Two years after reaching agreement with India on the supply of six European pressurised reactors (EPRs), Areva has signed a series of contracts with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) for the construction of two 1,650-MW reactors.

“India has little experience in the field of civilian nuclear power which entails a large amount of technical preparation and lengthy negotiations,” an Areva engineer said. The power stations should be in operation by 2020, at a cost of $9.2bn.

Guartdian 29th Dec 2010 more >>


At Taishan, Guangdong province work on the first two European pressurised reactors (EPRs) is going well. France’s nuclear conglomerate takes pride in the progress being made on the third-generation reactors sold to China in November 2007. Things have worked out much better here than at Flamanville, in western France, and at Olkiluoto in Finland. The first reactor, currently no more than a metal cylinder 39 metres high, stands in the middle of a lunar landscape extending over 450 hectares, served by some 20 cranes. Nearby, the dome – which will cap the structure containing the 1,660-MW reactor – is waiting for its last two rings to be added.

Guardian 29th Dec 2010 more >>


Spain has bolstered its credentials as a world leader in renewable energy by exporting electricity to France for the first time. Heavy rain and strong winds during 2010 meant that renewables – principally hydro, wind and solar power – met 35% of Spanish demand.

Guardian 29th Dec 2010 more >>

Posted: 29 December 2010

28 December 2010


INCREASED security checks have caused chaos as workers queued to get into the Sellafield site. Members of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary have been searching all vehicles entering the site, but Sellafield Ltd deny the measures are linked to security concerns last week. The company has also denied a link to arrests made across the UK in a counter-terrorism offensive. On December 15 The Times reported a security breach had prompted a major security alert at the site and staff have complained of poor access since the measures began. Heavy traffic has built up on the A595 since the checks were introduced on December 16.

NW Evening Mail 27th Dec 2010 more >>


On the 26th November 2010, EdF submitted their application to carry out preliminary works to West Somerset District Council, as a part of this they also submitted an application to the Marine Development Organisation to build a temporary Jetty at the site. Anybody who wants to object to EdFs planning application can do so by visiting the link before the deadline for objections is the 12th of January.

Saying No to Hinkley C 27th Dec 2010 more >>


Brian Wilson: Freezing cold, wind turbines stilled, French nuclear power ensuring that our lights stay on Surely none of this was included in the energy script we have been encouraged to recite from over the past few years. Winter freeze-ups were a phenomenon of the past. Global warming was the great challenge of the 21st century. Renewable energy was the way of the future. Scotland, bizarrely, was to generate “120 per cent” of our electricity from renewables.

Scotsman 28th Dec 2010 more >>

Energy Supplies

Virtual pipeline that ships LNG around the world is growing in importance – and reducing the UK’s reliance on Russia. But it can’t insulate the gas supply from disruption.

Guardian 28th Dec 2010 more >>

Fuel Poverty

We have one of the highest levels of excess winter deaths. Roughly twice as many people, per capita, die here than in Scandinavia. Even Siberia has lower levels than we do. Between 25,000 and 30,000 people a year are hastened to the grave by the cold here – this winter it could be much worse.

Guardian 28th Dec 2010 more >>

Half a million pensioners were thought to have spent Christmas in bed to keep warm, new figures have disclosed, as it emerged that more than a million are missing out on cold weather payments.

Telegraph 28th Dec 2010 more >>


In this depressed corner of western Colorado one of the first places in the world that uranium, nuclear energy’s primary fuel, was ever dug from the ground in industrial scale the debate is both simpler and more complicated. A proposal for a new mill to process uranium ore, which would lead to the opening of long-shuttered mines in Colorado and Utah, has brought global and local concerns into collision jobs, health, class-consciousness and historical memory among them in ways that suggest, if the pattern here holds, a bitter national debate to come.

New York Times 27th Dec 2010 more >>

Wikileaks cables have revealed a disturbing development in the African uranium mining industry: abysmal safety and security standards in the mines, nuclear research centres, and border customs are enabling international companies to exploit the mines and smuggle dangerous radioactive material across continents.

IPS 26th Dec 2010 more >>


The nuclear construction business looks highly uncertain at the moment, but companies that are interested in building are still keeping their options open, and spending money to do so. Last week I wrote that Exelon, of Chicago, had dropped its application for permission to build in Victoria County, Texas, but was still pursuing an “early site permit” a license for the patch of land, about 120 miles southwest of Houston. Having that permit in hand would lop many months off the time needed to get a nuclear plant up and running if at some point in the future Exelon decided it was a good idea. So the company is working hard to win permission in the face of concerted opposition, even though it has no building plans at the moment.

New York Times 27th Dec 2010 more >>


The UAE’s state nuclear company is moving ahead with plans to build its first nuclear power plant, saying it has filed a construction license application covering the project’s first two reactors. The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation announced the filing of the roughly 9,000-page regulatory application Monday a year after it awarded a South Korean consortium led by Korea Electric Power Corp. the $20 billion contract for the project.

Bloomberg 27th Dec 2010 more >>

World Nuclear News 27th Dec 2010 more >>

Posted: 28 December 2010

27 December 2010

Electricity Market Reforms

Letter from David Toke, Dave Elliot, Ian Fairlie, Herb Eppel and others: We urge support for real feed-in tariffs for renewable energy and not nuclear power. British policymakers are poised yet again to ignore the dominant and most effective mechanism for promoting renewable energy across the world (feed-in tariffs) in favour of an auction system (Huhne promises ‘seismic shift’ to greener power, 17 December). This will replace the renewables obligation. The obligation is expensive, but allows good opportunities for onshore and offshore wind developers to set up schemes. The auction approach is tried and tested across the world (including the UK in the 1990s) and shown to consistently fail to deliver large capacities of renewable energy.

Guardian 27th Dec 2010 more >>

Electricity Supplies

Electricity network companies are putting customers at an “unacceptable” risk of power cuts as they try to maintain Britain’s ageing pylons and wires, according to Ofgem. Ofegem principally warns network companies that they must be quicker about reporting any breaches of their engineering obligations while they work to keep the network in a good state.

Telegraph 27th Dec 2010 more >>


Marianne Birkby: Following last night’s earthquake in Cumbria – just one of the increasingly frequent earthquakes to hit this area – our Cumbrian councillors should think again about their support for new nuclear build and the geological disposal of high-level nuclear waste. Earthquakes and nuclear power are not happy bedfellows with the need to retain radioactive releases compromised in unpredictable ways. Even if this region had experienced no earthquakes at all, the Nirex inquiry of 1995 found the whole region to be too geologically unpredictable for the “disposal” of nuclear waste.

Morning Star 24th Dec 2010 more >>

The earthquake in Cumbria this week could hamper plans for an underground nuclear dump, claim anti-nuclear campaigners. They say seismic tremors – like the one felt across the county on Tuesday night – are a significant factor in deciding where a repository could be placed. Martin Forwood, of Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE), said it would be “dangerous folly” to consider anywhere in west Cumbria for a repository.

Carlisle News & Star 25th Dec 2010 more >>

Nuclear Skills

The University of Central Lancashire has launched a series of nuclear postgraduate courses to aid filling the UK’s skills gap in the sector.

New Civil Engineer 24th Dec 2010 more >>


Great news for Horizon Nuclear Power’s plans for Wylfa B on Anglesey as UK Energy Secretary Chris Huhne announces a “seismic shift” towards cleaner, low carbon technology like nuclear and renewables. Setting out goverenment plans, Mr Huhne said Britain faces a significant challenge of surging demand, shrinking supply and a set of very ambitious emissions targets.

Anglesey Today 26th Dec 2010 more >>


SCOTLAND’S wind farms are unable to cope with the freezing weather conditions – grinding to a halt at a time when electricity demand is at a peak, forcing the country to rely on power generated by French nuclear plants.

Scotsman 27th Dec 2010 more >>


Japan is seeking to promote civil nuclear cooperation with such nations as Egypt and Saudi Arabia which have not ratified a protocol allowing snap inspections by the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog as part of efforts to increase infrastructure exports under its economic growth strategy, government sources said Saturday.

Japan Times 26th Dec 2010 more >>


North Korea could stage another nuclear test next year as Pyongyang flexes its military muscles in the aftermath of artillery drills by the South. Celebrations for the 19th anniversary of leader Kim Jong Il’s elevation to supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army have been held today. It comes just 24 hours after South Korea staged massive military exercises near the heavily guarded border – part of a series of drills that have raised tensions on the peninsula.

Daily Mail 24th Dec 2010 more >>


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad joined regional leaders Thursday for a summit in Istanbul, where he urged world powers to choose cooperation over confrontation in nuclear talks due here next month.

Middle East Online 24th Dec 2010 more >>


Welcome to central Asia, home to some of the world’s worst environmental disasters. But they are disasters that could come to haunt us all, according to an alarming new prediction from a veteran Scottish politician appointed as an international ambassador for the area. Poisonous radioactive pollution could leak into rivers and end up contaminating the Arctic and other oceans, warns Struan Stevenson, the Conservative MEP for Scotland. “The Soviet nuclear legacy may yet become a world catastrophe,” he said. “It would be a grave error to think that this problem is in a far-away country about which we know little and therefore can have no impact on us in the West. This is a man-made environmental problem of global significance.” Stevenson has launched a campaign to bring the environmental plight of central Asia to the attention of the Scottish public. Last month he began a series of lectures at universities across Scotland on what he calls “Stalin’s legacy”. For more than 10 years he has been visiting and researching the area, meeting leaders from several countries. Earlier this year he was chosen to be personal environmental representative of the chair of the 56-nation Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

Sunday Herald 26th Dec 2010 more >>


The British government opted for the Trident nuclear weapons system because it estimated it could kill up to 10 million Russians and inflict “unacceptable damage” on the former Soviet Union, according to secret Whitehall documents written in the 1970s. The macabre calculations that underpinned the decision in 1980 to replace Polaris nuclear missiles with Trident have been revealed by a Ministry of Defence memo, marked “personal and top secret”. In a nuclear war, Britain would have had to be prepared “to finish what we start”, it said.

Guardian 27th Dec 2010 more >>

Posted: 27 December 2010

24 December 2010


CAMPAGINERS fighting plans to erect a new overhead power line across the North Somerset countryside have welcomed news that National Grid is to review its policy about putting cables underground. The energy giant, which wants to create the new line from Bridgwater to Avonmouth to bring electricity from the proposed new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point on to its transmission network, confirmed it is to launch a public consultation on its approach to undergrounding electricity lines.

This is Somerset 23rd Dec 2010 more >>


Following last nights earthquake in Cumbria – just one of the increasingly frequent earthquakes to hit this area, our Cumbrian councillors should think again about their support for new nuclear build and the geological disposal of high level nuclear wastes. Earthquakes and nuclear power are not happy bedfellows with the need to retain radioactive releases compromised in unpredictable ways.

Stop Oldbury 23rd Dec 2010 more >>

Waste Transport

Serbia sent 2.5 tons of its remaining nuclear waste, including 13 kilograms of highly enriched uranium, from its sole nuclear research facility near Belgrade to a disposal site in Russia, Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic said. In coordination with the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency and under tight security, the radioactive cargo was transported via Hungary and Slovenia to the Mayak reprocessing facility in the Urals, in an operation that cost $55 million, Djelic said.

Bloomberg 23rd Dec 2010 more >>

SKB has commissioned a new ship to ferry used nuclear fuel and radioactive waste from Swedish nuclear power plants to storage facilities near Oskarshamn and Forsmark.

World Nuclear News 23rd Dec 2010 more >>

Nuclear Smuggling

A judge yesterday called for the prosecution of three Swiss engineers suspected of smuggling nuclear weapons technology following allegations that the US pressured Switzerland to destroy incriminating evidence to conceal their work for the CIA. The three are suspected of supplying technology to a nuclear smuggling ring in Pakistan run by Abdul Qadeer Khan, a nuclear scientist reputed to be the “father” of Pakistan’s atomic bomb. Mr Khan, who now lives under government surveillance in Pakistan, is suspected of having aided Iran, Libya and North Korea with uranium enrichment programmes. They are alleged to have played a bizarre dual role as nuclear weapons smugglers who at the same time worked for the CIA as informers and banked on the agency’s protection

Belfast Telegraph 24th Dec 2010 more >>

Independent 24th Dec 2010 more >>

Scotsman 24th Dec 2010 more >>


Burglars stole two computers containing confidential information from a power company’s nuclear energy research site. The burglary, discovered on Monday, was at the lectricit de France’s office in Chatou west of Paris, even though it is protected by highly secure anti-theft systems. Police suspect industrial espionage. An EDF spokeswoman said that the office is for research purposes only. The company said that the two laptops “contain no information about the operating systems of nuclear plants”.

Independent 24th Dec 2010 more >>


The Senate was forced to pull the “Omnibus” funding bill it had proposed, which included the $8 Billion in taxpayer loans for the nuclear industry, and instead a “Continuing Resolution” was passed that funds the government through mid-March. That makes at least seven major efforts over the past two years by nuclear industry backers to increase taxpayer loans for new reactors–and every one of those efforts has been blocked! So take a moment to celebrate this holiday season. And get ready to do it all over again early in the new year–because the nuclear industry will surely be back, hat-in-hand, looking for your money again.

NIRS 23rd Dec 2010 more >>

North Korea

North Korea yesterday threatened to launch a “sacred” nuclear war against South Korea if it is attacked. It came as the South staged military exercises that have raised already-high tensions on the peninsula. The remarks seemed aimed at reviving patriotic spirit on the 19th anniversary of the North’s leader Kim Jong II’s appointment as the supreme military commander.

Press & Journal 24th Dec 2010 more >>

Herald 24th Dec 2010 more >>

Belfast Telegraph 24th Dec 2010 more >>

Daily Mail 24th Dec 2010 more >>

Telegraph 24th Dec 2010 more >>

Guardian 24th Dec 2010 more >>

Mirror 24th Dec 2010 more >>


Three Swiss utilities have agreed to jointly develop projects to replace old reactors and cut back on energy imports from France. The move is the latest configuration of power companies that want to address an upcoming security of supply issue in the country.

World Nuclear News 23rd Dec 2010 more >>

Argus Media 23rd Dec 2010 more >>

Reuters 23rd Dec 2010 more >>


US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev have hailed the New Start nuclear arms treaty as a “historic event”, the White House says. In a telephone call on Thursday, Mr Medvedev congratulated Mr Obama on achieving Senate approval of the pact.

BBC 23rd Dec 2010 more >>

Guardian 24th Dec 2010 more >>

The Treaty was supposed to be the first step in a two-stage process that would make big cuts to the US and Russian nuclear arsenals. But officials are already warning that the next step will be much more difficult.

FT 24th Dec 2010 more >>


Don’t miss this week’s Micropower News, which should be available later today. There is news of a new Government consultation on Microgeneration Strategy which aims to, amongst other things, ensure microgeneration is available to all. The 14-page document, which will be open for consultation until March, addresses the non-financial barriers to the rollout of small-scale renewable energy technologies, such as solar panels, micro wind turbines and ground source heat pumps, and puts forward a range of proposals for accelerating deployment of these green technologies. The Government has also published a new report setting out recommendations to ensure all new homes are zero carbon from 2016, and provided £1.1million funding to 3 geothermal energy projects. The Isos Housing Group in North Shields has completed a demonstration renovation project of a terraced house which has reduced energy bills by 80%.

Microgen Scotland 24th December 2010 more >>

Posted: 24 December 2010

23 December 2010


The NDA’s presentation on the Waste Inventory to the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Partnership is finally available on the Partnership website

WCMRWC Dec 2010 more >>

along with the Critique by Pete Roche

WCMRWC Dec 2010 more >>

Tuesday night’s earth tremor in Cumbria has increased the size of the question marks against the area’s potential for burying highly radioactive nuclear waste. Serious concerns about the unsuitability of Cumbria’s underground rock formation for any nuclear dumping below the surface have been voiced strongly over the last few weeks. Marianne Birkby said “Following last night’s earthquake in Cumbria – just one of the increasingly frequent quakes to hit this area – our Cumbrian councillors should think again about their support for new nuclear build and the geological disposal of high level nuclear wastes.Even if this region had experienced no earthquakes at all, the Nirex inquiry of 1995 found the whole region to be too geologically unpredictable for the ‘disposal’ of high level nuclear wastes. “The following is an extract from an email sent by Professor David Smythe (employed by Nirex in 1995) to Allerdale and Copeland Borough Council which describes Nirex’s remit- which was to explore the whole of West Cumbria. “It reads ‘The REGION studied extends from north of Workington to south of Barrow, inland to Ulverston and halfway to Keswick, and offshore northwest and southwest for between 15 and 50 km. ‘The DISTRICT is defined as Whitehaven down to Ravenglass, inland about 10 km, and offshore about the same distance. ‘The SITE is a rectangle of about 55 sq km centred on Longlands Farm, including the Sellafield Works, Seascale and Gosforth. ‘The POTENTIAL REPOSITORY ZONE comprises the 2 sq km or so of Longlands Farm.

‘So when the Planning Inspector deems the REGION to be unsuitable, he evidently means, using Nirex’s own definition, the whole of West Cumbria, not just the PRZ. ‘Since Longlands Farm was presented as the best site within the whole REGION, and £400M was spent in support, the bad science is in seeking to return to the REGION and waste yet more public money’”. Martin Forwood of Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment told The Whitehaven News: “Our own house (at Broughton Mills) shook with the explosion. It was a real tremor and as soon as we heard it our first thought was: ‘This has put paid to the nuclear waste dump.’

Get Noticed Online 22nd Dec 2010 more >>

Martin Forwood of Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment said it would be “dangerous folly” to consider anywhere in West Cumbria for a repository. He told The Whitehaven News: “Our own house (at Broughton Mills) shook with the explosion. It was a real tremor and as soon as we heard it our first thought was: ‘This has put paid to the nuclear waste dump.’ “It would be stupidity to bury high levels of radioactive material underground in areas which can be affected by earthquakes.

Whitehaven News 22 Dec 2010 more >>


A LUTON pump company has won three orders valued at nearly $5 million to provide equipment to three nuclear power stations in the US.

Luton Today 23rd Dec 2010 more >>

AP1000 – China

Construction of AP1000 units in China has seen three milestones this month: on-site, at a new module factory and in fuel fabrication. Building work on the first of the Westinghouse-designed units at Sanmen moved on with the lifting in of the fourth ring of the reactor’s containment vessel. Meanwhile, in central Hubei province an inauguration ceremony was held for the country’s second factory for the modules that make AP1000 major structures.

World Nuclear News 22nd Dec 2010 more >>

Low Level Waste

LAST week’s Whitehaven News published an article on page 11 which claimed that contaminated metal from Sellafield was to be sent to the Studsvik Metals Recycling Facility (MRF) near Workington for smelting. The MRF does not use a smelter but decontaminates metals using a standard industrial dry-blasting process. The Whitehaven News is happy to correct the report.

Whitehaven News 22nd Dec 2010 more >>


Dounreay’s site closure programme is changing shape as the site falls into line with a cap on funding and prepares for the appointment of a new parent body organisation for the site licence company. Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd has spent the last 10 months making adjustments to the long-range forward plan.

DSRL 16th Dec 2010 more >>

Experts are getting to look inside a concrete vault used to store liquid metal from the cooling system of the Dounreay Fast Reactor. It’s the latest phase of a major programme of work to dismantle one of the country’s biggest environmental hazards – Britain’s experimental fast breeder. The tanks contained primary and secondary sodium-potassium liquid metal coolant, known as NaK. Now empty, they still contain residual matter. The primary coolant is radioactive, so their decommissioning will be strictly monitored to maintain a safe working environment.

DSRL 21st Dec 2010 more >>


The Nuclear Infortmation Service December Update is now available. It includes articles on (1) Parliament closes for 2010 without announcement on Trident Initial Gate (2) AWE waste treatment facility two years behind schedule (3) Radioactive spill at AWE Aldermaston (4) AWE pay dispute settled (5) Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator enforcement record released (6) Green Paper published on Defence and Security Technology and Equipment

NIS 22nd December 2010 more >>


WYLFA B has moved a step closer as the power consortium behind the development welcomes Government reform in the electricity market. The changes are designed to support the generation of low-carbon power. Horizon Nuclear Power, which hopes to build two or three reactors at land around the existing Wylfa site, said they welcomed the changes. Up to now nuclear firms had concerns about making money from the new generation of plants. Alan Raymant, Chief Operating Officer of Horizon, said: “We welcome the Government’s commitment to reform the electricity market.” “The country needs to replace closing power stations, and the focus must be on low carbon power generation. “Nuclear is the most cost effective of the serious, large scale, low carbon electricity sources. “It doesn’t need a subsidy, just a level playing field which isn’t currently provided by a market designed in another era.”

Daily Post 18th Dec 2010 more >>

Waste Transport

A shipment of nuclear fuel has arrived in Russia after a top-secret international operation to remove it from Serbia, where it was feared terrorists could seize it to make a nuclear or dirty bomb. In the dead of night, armed men in balaclavas surround a long convoy of trucks in the woods just outside Belgrade. Radios crackle as they prepare for a long journey.

Their mission is to escort a dangerous cargo, the kind terrorists would dearly like to get their hands on.

BBC 22nd Dec 2010 more >>

Reuters 22nd Dec 2010 more >>

On its return voyage around Norway’s Finnmark coast, a leakage happened and the vessel had to seek emergency assistance. The vessel is currently portside in Hammerfest in Northern Norway, reports the local newspaper Finnmark Dagblad.

Barents Observer 20th Dec 2010 more >>


French nuclear generation was running at over 58GW at midday today, after EdF restarted two nuclear reactors.

Operators at Cruas’ 910MW unit 4 and Chinon’s 905MW unit 3 confirmed that both reactors had returned to full capacity today. Cruas 4 had been off line for repairs following the discovery of a technical fault on 10 December, while Chinon 3 had been taken out of service for routine maintenance.

Argus Media 22nd Dec 2010 more >>


Iran is operating a worldwide recruitment network for nuclear scientists to lure them to the country to work on its nuclear weapons programme. The country is particularly reliant on North Korean scientists but also recruits people with expertise from African countries to work on developing missiles and nuclear production activities.

Telegraph 23rd Dec 2010 more >>


MALAYSIA’S energy minister has confirmed that the country is hoping to build two nuclear power plants with a capacity of 1000 MW each by 2022. The plants would be the first nuclear power stations to be constructed in Malaysia.

Chemical Engineer 20th Dec 2010 more >>


Thailand’s energy minister said that he may not be able to submit the nuclear power development plan to government in January as planned, according to a report in The Nation newspaper. Wannarat Charnnukul cited several obstacles, including the legal amendments to enhance safety measures. The cabinet was due to consider in January whether Thailand should proceed with the nuclear power plan as part of the national energy security.

World Nuclear News 22nd Dec 2010 more >>


The U.S. Senate ratified a nuclear arms reduction pact with Russia on Wednesday by a strong bipartisan vote of 71 to 26. The New START treaty was one of the last measures approved during a busy post-election, end-of-year session.

Voice of America 22nd Dec 2010 more >>

Wales Online 23rd Dec 2010 more >>

Press & Journal 23rd Dec 2010 more >>

ITN 23rd Dec 2010 more >>

Independent 23rd Dec 2010 more >>

Scotsman 23rd Dec 2010 more >>

Guardian 23rd Dec 2010 more >>

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament strongly welcomes the anticipated passage of the new START-replacement treaty, expected to be voted upon by the US Senate later today. Britain’s leading anti-nuclear campaigners expressed hope that its successful ratification will “re-open the space for further disarmament measures by the US, Russia and other states – measures we desperately need to reduce and ultimately rid the world of the most deadly of weapons”.

CND Press Release 22nd Dec 2010 more >>


Plymouth council leader Vivien Pengelly is being urged to start a public debate on plans to dismantle nuclear-powered submarines in the city. The Ministry of Defence is set to open a public consultation next year on how to dispose of 27 decommissioned submarines. The MoD is considering two sites for the work – Devonport Dockyard and Rosyth in Scotland. In the wake of the Government’s defence review, which will see the number of surface ships based in Plymouth dramatically slashed, Liberal Democrats say they fear that Plymouth has already been chosen as the dismantling site.

This is Devon 22nd Dec 2010 more >>

Posted: 23 December 2010

22 December 2010

Generic Design Assessment

Environment Agency summary of GDA responses.

EA 21st Dec 2010 more >>

Nuclear Free Zone?

Letter: Jim McLeod is correct that I was the Tory who did in fact lead the opposition to the SNP motion to have Inverclyde council declared as a nuclear-free zone.

In my speech, I defended nuclear weapons and nuclear energy, both of which are opposed by the SNP. The Faslane/Coulport installation is the largest military establishment in Scotland and is currently the home base for 10 nuclear submarines of various types. There are 8,000 people employed at the base (many from Inverclyde) and these would be lost under an anti-nuclear SNP independent Scotland. Nuclear electricity contributes a significant base-load to our power availability as part of a varied menu of production including coal, gas, hydro and wind.

Greenock Telegraph 20th Dec 2010 more >>


Companies behind the decommissioning of the country’s ageing Magnox reactors are inviting firms to bid for a £300m demolition and earthmoving framework deal. The huge package of work over the next five years will be spread across 10 sites in the UK and be handled by Magnox South and Magnox North, put in control of the decommissioning projects. The framework is being broken up into three distinct packages. The first will cover demolition of radioactive structures and removal of plant, the second covers demolition of inert structures and the third specialist removal of asbestos.

Construction Enquirer 21st Dec 2010 more >>


National Grid has given the pylon protesters an early Christmas present by announcing it is seriously looking at an underground option.

Nailsea People 21st Dec 2010 more >>


Westinghouse Electric Company has completed the preparatory work on fuel for its AP1000 nuclear power plants and manufactured the first four fuel assemblies at its Columbia Fuel Fabrication Facility (CFFF) in South Carolina. This fuel will be used at Sanmen Unit 1, located in the Zhejiang Province of China.

Energy Business Review 21st Dec 2010 more >>


The next US Congress has its sights on a clean energy standard (CES) that includes clean coal and new nuclear technology rather than a federal renewable electricity standard (RES), a shift that Barack Obama’s administration seems willing to embrace.

Oil Price 21st Dec 2010 more >>

With the completion of the congressional review, the way is clear for the Obama administration to enact a civilian nuclear energy co-operation agreement with Russia, according to lobby group the Nuclear Energy Institute. It said that the US government is also now free to renew another with Australia. The bilateral agreements with the two nations will open the door for new nuclear trade, research and technology transfers.

Modern Power Systems 21st Dec 2010 more >>


The United States imposed new sanctions Iran Tuesday, targeting the Islamic republic’s Revolutionary Guard and its energy and shipping sectors over Tehran’s nuclear and weapons activities. Sanctions were placed on entities linked to the guards corp, which is seen as a key driver of Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program.

Middle East Online 21st Dec 2010 more >>


Pakistan tests a nuclear capable missile in a launch that it says demonstrates its defence capabilities.

Reuters 21st Dec 2010 more >>


The governments of Japan and South Korea have signed a cooperation agreement on the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

World Nuclear News 21st Dec 2010 more >>

North Korea has stepped back from the brink of war and is ready for a new round of regional peace talks, an unofficial US envoy to Pyongyang said today as a sceptical South Korea kept its troops on high alert and lit up a provocative Christmas tree on the border. Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico, said North Korea has promised to re-admit United Nations nuclear inspectors and to sell its neighbour 12,000 plutonium fuel rods, which would reduce its potential bomb-making stockpile.

Guardian 22nd Dec 2010 more >>


Russian companies will start building Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, at an estimated $20 billion cost, in 2013, Russian ambassador to Ankara Vladimir Ivanovsky has revealed.

Modern Power Systems 21st Dec 2010 more >>


Russia and India on Tuesday signed a pact worth up to 30 billion dollars on the development of a fifth-generation fighter aircraft and agreed to pursue a deal to build two Russian nuclear reactors.

Yahoo 21st Dec 2010 more >>


President Barack Obama’s strategic nuclear arms treaty with Russia secured enough votes on Tuesday to clear a Republican procedural hurdle and appeared headed toward ratification in the US Senate this week.

Independent 22nd Dec 2010 more >>

Guardian 22nd Dec 2010 more >>

Posted: 22 December 2010

21 December 2010

Electricity Market Reforms

A further one million households will be forced into fuel poverty by Government plans to raise power prices to subsidise the building of thousands of wind turbines and eight nuclear power stations. There are already 4.5 million families who must spend more than ten per cent of their disposable income to keep warm, according to the Government’s own estimates.

Mail 19th Dec 2010 more >>


Letter from Marianne Birkby: When questioned recently on the timetable for the geological disposal of high level nuclear waste, Charles Hendry said: “We’ve set up a geological disposal implementation board of which I am the chairman and which met for the first time this morning” (November 30th). “The board will look at what is necessary to take this to the next stage. We are very committed to the approach of the previous Government, who took a voluntarist approach to finding a community prepared to host this”. “That, inevitably, is a gentle process. “There have been three expressions of interest from within Cumbria-two from district councils and one from the county council-and we are taking those forward. From their perspective, I think they see this as being part of a nuclear renaissance. It isn’t simply a facility for looking after the historical waste from the nuclear programme; they al! so want to see a nuclear renaissance in west Cumbria”. Cumbrians are being groomed (used and abused) in order to accept geological disposal and new build but NOT FAST ENOUGH for our pro-nuclear government ministers. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (who fund the Managing Radioactive Wastes Safely Partnership) are keen for Cumbrians to just forget all about the £400M Nirex (now NDA) spent on geologists. Those government commissioned geologists found 15 years ago that nowhere in West Cumbria is suitable and that the search for a site to dump nuclear wastes should continue elsewhere – anywhere but Cumbria. The Nirex Inspector said : “… the location should be in a region of low hydraulic gradients, so that there should be slow-moving and long groundwater pathways.

North West Evening Mail 20th Dec 2010 more >>


CAMPAIGNERS have hailed the start of a public consultation into a proposed corridor of electricity pylons through parts of Sedgemoor as an “early Christmas present”. As previously reported, National Grid has bowed to pressure from various campaign groups and agreed to consider underground cables instead of 150ft pylons to power the proposed Hinkley Point C.

This is the West Country 20th Dec 2010 more >>

Hartlepool & Heysham

UK electricity utility EDF has decided to extend the lifetime of two of its UK AGR reactors, and is planning five-year life extensions for all seven of its AGR reactors. In addition, a 20-year life extension is being planned for the Sizewell B PWR, which started up in 1995.

Nuclear Engineering International 20th Dec 2010 more >>


GDF Suez has opened a new front in the rivalry that has long riven France’s nuclear industry. It is publicly opposing the government’s proposal that state-controlled utility EDF increase its stake in Areva, the reactor and fuel group. G rard Mestrallet, chief executive of GDF Suez, said that allowing EDF to increase its 2.4 per cent stake or have a seat on Areva’s board would present “conflicts of interest” that would be unacceptable to his company as its client.

FT 21st Dec 2010 more >>


One of Britain’s biggest energy suppliers, which wants to build half a dozen nuclear reactors in the UK, helped develop one in Bulgaria which was “dogged by ongoing serious safety concerns”, according to leaked US diplomatic cables. The German firm RWE, which owns npower and supplies electricity and gas to 6.7 million UK customers, bought a 49% stake in the project in December 2008 and quit as a strategic partner in October 2009. RWE said its decision to pull out of the troubled €7bn reactor project was due to the fact that “the project’s financing could not be finalised within the agreed period”. It said “safety issues were not a factor”.

Guardian 21st Dec 2010 more >>

Wikileaks: Bulgaria’s highest profile energy project — the Belene Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) is dogged by cost overruns, financing woes, construction delays, and now serious safety and quality assurance concerns

Guardian 20th Dec 2010 more >>

Guardian 20th Dec 2010 more >>

North Korea

North Korea should accept the return of international nuclear watchdog agency inspectors as a step towards defusing tensions on the Korean peninsula, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

Yahoo 21st Dec 2010 more >>


Russia and India agreed on Tuesday a long-awaited contract to jointly develop fifth generation fighter aircraft and signed a deal to expand capacity at an Indian nuclear power plant.

Yahoo 21st Dec 2010 more >>


Russia has warned US lawmakers that any change to the new nuclear arms disarmament treaty between the two countries could destroy the pact.

BBC 21st Dec 2010 more >>

Climate Change

There is now strong evidence to suggest that the unusually cold winters of the last two years in the UK are the result of heating elsewhere. With the help of the severe weather analyst John Mason and the Climate Science Rapid Response Team, I’ve been through as much of the scientific literature as I can lay hands on (see my website for the references). Here’s what seems to be happening.

Guardian 21st Dec 2010 more >>

Posted: 21 December 2010

20 December 2010

Electricity Market Reforms

David Toke, Senior Lecturer in Energy Policy, Birmingham University: It seems strange to have to explain why nuclear power isn’t green, but it is all over the British press from the Government that it is, and that electricity consumers will be supporting ‘green energy’ with increased bills. Consumers may think that most or all of this is going to renewable energy. But, under the Government’s ‘electricity market reform’ proposals a lot will be diverted to support nuclear power – both old and new, through two ways. One is because fossil fuel prices are being increased to make non-fossil sources relatively cheaper, and another is through a new scheme called the ‘low carbon mechanism’. This will be organised by government in what will be no doubt a rather opaque fashion to funnel an additional precept from consumer electricity bills to fund new nuclear. What is left will go to renewable energy through an ‘auction’ system that has long been discredited (see earlier blog). In doing so, of course, it does not take a great deal of imagination to see that the renewable energy programme will not be anything like as big as if all the money was going to start new renewable energy schemes rather than support nuclear power.

Campaign for Real Feed-in Tariffs 19th Dec 2010 more >>

Has EDF conned the Government? Will we be paying the price for decades? ‘What troubles me most about these new low-carbon incentives is that the immediate big financial winners will be the already built, old, nuclear power station owners. Besides being a huge windfall for their current owners (EDF/British Energy), it will provide a huge financial incentive to life-extend the old nuclear power stations to the limit. It will be hugely ironic if EDF ultimately decides new nuclear is too expensive to build, but they end up creaming it with their old power stations. Another question on my mind is will nuclear power generated in France, and sent to us over cross-channel HVDC links, also benefit from Huhne’s increased prices? If so EDF could keep the jobs in France, but pick up the extra cash from the UK to do so.’

Paul Flynn MP 18th Dec 2010 more >>

Nuclear power developers have welcomed Government plans to reform the way the electricity market works. Horizon Nuclear Power, which is planning a new plant at Oldbury-on-Severn, South Gloucestershire, believes nuclear power fits the Government’s drive for low carbon sources. Horizon boss Alan Raymant said: “We welcome the Government’s commitment to reform the electricity market.

This is Somerset 20th Dec 2010 more >>

Nuclear Subsidy

The decision not to loan money to Sheffield Forgemasters could be revisited, it has emerged. The coalition government cancelled a £80m loan to Forgemasters to build parts for nuclear power stations as part of its spending review in June. Now, deputy prime minister and Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg is reportedly thinking of looking again at the project.

Insider Media Ltd 20th Dec 2010 more >>


AN angry audience was kept waiting for 75 minutes before Government officers arrived for a public meeting on a proposed new nuclear power station. A delegation from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) was held up at Didcot due to train delays and missed much of last night’s allocated two-hour event at Thornbury Leisure Centre. Nearly 100 people had turned up to hear a presentation from the DECC team and question them about the inclusion of land next to the existing Oldbury atomic station at Shepperdine for a new generation of reactors. A protest was held beforehand. The meeting pressed on without Peter McDonald, the deputy head of the Office for Nuclear Development, and his colleagues, with a South Gloucestershire Council officer reading out the DECC presentation.

Shepperdine Against Nuclear Energy 19th Dec 2010 more >>

Hartlepool & Heysham

Power firm British Energy has announced plans to extend the life of two of the UK’s nuclear power stations, including one in Lancashire, for a further five years. The Hartlepool and Heysham 1 plants have been dogged by output issues in recent years but British Energy (BE), owned by French company EDF Energy, said the reactors had passed a technical and economic evaluation.

Westmorland Gazette 18th Dec 2010 more >>

Nuclear Energy Insider Press Release 19th Dec 2010 more >>


A meeting of Lancaster City Council on 15th December was presented with a recommendation from Andrew Dobson (Head of Regeneration and Policy) that read: “That Council responds to the consultation on the National Policy Statements in the form drafted and attached to this report at Appendix B, and makes it clear that it supports the nuclear new build projects at Heysham and Sellafield in principle subject to mitigation of any adverse effects.” Councillor Bryning (Labour) proposed that Council adopts this recommendation. This was supported by all Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem councillors (Note 1) who spoke. John Whitelegg (Green Party) proposed an amendment that deleted the word “support” and inserted the word “oppose”. He argued that nuclear power was expensive and dangerous, high risk, usually over budget and usually delivered several years late and is associated with serious health risks (e.g. leukaemia). He argued that we should support wind and wave power and other renewable energy technologies all of which have far greater potential to create jobs and minimise risks. Other green councillors including Cllrs Barry and Coates also spoke in support of Cllr Whitelegg’s amendment.

North Lancashire Green Party 16th Dec 2010 more >>


The leaked US cables reveal the constant, largely unseen, work by American diplomatic missions around the world to try to keep the atomic genie in its bottle and forestall the nightmare of a terrorist nuclear attack. The leaked cables tell hair-raising tales of casks of uranium found in wicker baskets in Burundi, a retired Russian general offering to sell “uranium plates” in Portugal, and a radioactive Armenian car on the Georgian border. As part of what the US government calls its “second line of defence”, it is America’s diplomatic corps who are called out in the middle of the night when radiation detectors goes off on a border crossing or smugglers turn up with fissile or radioactive materials in his pocket.

Guardian 20th Dec 2010 more >>


Police resorted to a baton-charge to disperse a large crowd of villagers protesting the death of an anti-Jaitapur nuclear power plant activist in an accident in this Maharashtra district Saturday, officials said. Irfan Yusuf Qazi, 40, was going to pick up his kids from school when his scooter was hit by a police jeep, said Pradeep Indulkar, head of the Konkan Anti-Nuclear Power Project Committee.

Sify News 18th Dec 2010 more >>


Egypt was offered nuclear weapons, material and expertise on the black market after the collapse of the Soviet Union, according to a senior Egyptian diplomat.

Guardian 20th Dec 2010 more >>


A Yemen government official warned US diplomats that poor security meant there was little to stop terrorists getting their hands on the country’s nuclear material, a US cable showed Monday. At one point there was practically nothing protecting the material at Yemen’s National Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC), according to the diplomatic dispatch dated January 9 this year. The lone security guard at the facility had been removed and the only closed circuit TV security camera had broken six months earlier and had never been fixed, said the cable.

AFP 20th Dec 2010 more >>

Guardian 20th Dec 2010 more >>


Greenpeace has today received and verified reports that since December 11th, more than 200,000 litres of radioactive sludge from three cracked waste pools has leaked into the environment at the SOMAIR uranium mine in Niger, operated by French energy company AREVA. Almoustapha Alhacen who carried out an inspection of the spill for NGO Aghir in’Man confirmed to Greenpeace that two hectares have been contaminated by the spill since December 11th.

Greenpeace Nuclear Reaction 18th Dec 2010 more >>

North Korea

North Korea has agreed to permit the return of UN nuclear inspectors as part of a package of measures to ease tensions on the peninsula.

Telegraph 20th Dec 2010 more >>


The fate of the US-Russian treaty on reducing nuclear arsenals is in the balance after the Republican leader in the US Senate, Mitch McConnell, vowed today to vote against it. The treaty needs to be ratified by two-thirds of the 100-member Senate. The Democrats, though in control of the Senate, will need the support of some Republicans. McConnell, interviewed on CNN, said that although the Senate foreign relations committee had studied the Strategic Arms Reduction treaty, other members of the Senate had not. “I don’t think this is the best time to be doing this. Members are uneasy with it,” McConnell said.

Guardian 20th Dec 2010 more >>

Posted: 20 December 2010