News February 2010

28 February 2010

EDF

The £4bn sale of French power giant EDF’s electricity distribution network has been put back on track with first-round bids expected by the middle of March. Four buyers are understood to be interested in putting in first-round bids for the asset. A consortium including Australian infrastructure group Macquarie, the Canadian Pension Plan and Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund ADIA, thought to be advised by Goldman Sachs, is understood to be working on a joint £4bn bid. Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), which has teamed up with Borealis, another Canadian pension fund, is also keen to bid. Cheung Kong Infrastructure (CKI) – the infrastructure investor controlled by Li Ka-shing, Asia’s richest man – is thought to have hired Royal Bank of Scotland to advise on a possible takeover of the electricity distribution network. National Grid is also thought to be interested in bidding for the business.

Telegraph 28th Feb 2010 more >>

Japan

Japan’s Tohoku Electric Power said on Sunday its Onagawa and Higashidori nuclear power plants on the northern Pacific coast have been operating normally after tsunami waves hit the region in the wake of a massive earthquake in Chile. There was no damage to the plants in northern Japan after waves of around half a metre (22 inches) hit Higashidori in Aomori prefecture and Onagawa in Miyagi prefecture, a company spokesman said. (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori)

Reuters 28th Feb 2010 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

President Barack Obama has ordered the rewriting of the draft new US Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), amid frustration in the White House that the document fails to reflect his aspirations for a nuclear-weapons-free world and an end to “cold war thinking”. The review, drawn up by each administration, sets the doctrine justifying both the retention of nuclear weapons and the circumstances in which they might be used. It also determines more practical issues, including nuclear force readiness, targeting and war planning.

Observer 28th Feb 2010 more >>

Submarines

THE captain of a £1.2billion nuclear submarine being tested in Scotland has defended the vessel amid claims serious flaws were exposed. Insiders at the Navy’s Faslane base, near Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire, say the Astute sub’s trials offthe west coast of Scotland have been plagued by technical faults. One said: “There have been problems with Astute. Every time engineers think they have solved one problem, another crops up.

Sunday Mail 28th Feb 2010 more >>

Posted: 28 February 2010

27 February 2010

National Policy Statements

Reports into the Parliamentary scrutiny of the energy National Policy Statements. Two previous blog entries have reported on the first few sessions of the Energy and Climate Change Committee’s examination of the six energy National Policy Statements (NPSs). Today I summarise the salient points I took from the 27 January and 3 February sessions.

Bircham Dyson and Bell 25th Feb 2010 more >>

Sellafield

Radiation Free Lakeland have made a Freedom of Information request about wildlife around Sellafield following reports about radioactive seagulls.

Get noticed online 26th Feb 2010 more >>

Seagull eggs are being destroyed A specialist company is pricking the eggs in a bid to keep the numbers down. A Sellafield spokesman said that the action is running successfully. He said this meant other methods of keeping numbers down – such as culling with poisoned bait – are not being looked at for the immediate future.

Carlisle News and Star 26th Feb 2010 more >>

Sizewell

HIGHLY radioactive spent fuel from the Sizewell B nuclear power station could be stored in containers in a massive new building on the site. British Energy, part of EDF energy, has outlined plans to build a dry storage building to manage the power station’s spent fuel from 2015. The company has submitted an application to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) for permission to build the facility near Sizewell B on the north Suffolk coast.

East Anglian Daily Times 27th Feb 2010 more >>

Evening Star 27th Feb 2010 more >>

East Anglian Daily Press 26th Feb 2010 more >>

Companies

Babcock International, which is seeking a merger with VT Group, runs the Faslane submarine base for the Royal Navy.

Guardian 27th Feb 2010 more >>

Netherlands

German utility RWE has indicated its interest in building a nuclear power plant in the Netherlands should a new government revoke the ban on such

projects, RWE CEO Juergen Grossmann said at the company’s annual earnings press conference Thursday in Essen.

Platts 25th Feb 2010 more >>

Iran

The dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme is casting a shadow over the Americas as Hillary Clinton heads south to push -Brazil to take a tougher approach towards Iran. The US secretary of state will embark on a week-long tour of South and Central America tomorrow. Brazil, which is deepening its ties with Tehran and resisting Washington’s drive for United Nations sanctions, is to be the main focus of attention.

FT 27th Feb 2010 more >>

US

A total of 59 nuclear reactors in the United States have obtained 20-year license extensions from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission since 2000, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute, a trade association. No applications have been rejected. Currently, 19 renewal applications are under NRC review and 20 other reactors have indicated they will apply for extensions before 2017.

Interactive Investor 26th Feb 2010 more >>

There has been no deep, thoughtful re-making or re-evaluation of atomic technology. No solution to the nuke waste problem. No making reactors economically sound. No private insurance against radioactive disasters by terror or error. No grassroots citizens now desperate to live near fragile containment domes and outtake pipes spewing radioactive tritium at 27 US reactors. No, nothing about atomic energy has really changed. Except this: $645 MILLION for lobbying Congress and the White House over the past ten years.

Counterpunch 25th Feb 2010 more >>

Russia

As Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin announced the allocation of 53 billion roubles ($1.77 billion) of federal money towards the construction of new nuclear power in 2010, the country could also be poised to buy into a Bulgarian nuclear power plant.

World Nuclear News 26th Feb 2010 more >>

Renewables

The US Department of Energy has conditionally granted $1.37bn (£1bn) in loan guarantees for construction and start up of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, a 440MW solar power facility in southeastern California being built by BrightSource Energy and Bechtel.

New Civil Engineer 24th Feb 2010 more >>

Posted: 27 February 2010

26 February 2010

Hinkley

Britain’s new nuclear programme is poised to take a major step forward next week with tenders due in for the earthworks contract for the first new plant planned at Hinkley Point in Somerset. Five contractors are believed to be in the running for the £30M deal. They include a Balfour Beatty/Vinci joint venture, a Bam Nuttall/Kier/URS joint venture, a Laing O’Rourke/Ferrovial joint venture. Carillion and Sir Robert McAlpine are also bidding independently.

New Civil Engineer 25th Feb 2010 more >>

NATIONAL Grid has been warned it has not provided enough information about proposals for a huge power line planned for North Somerset and Somerset. Representatives of the energy giant have been advised by the Government’s Infrastructure Planning Committee (IPC) that ‘substantially more work needs to be done to increase the level of understanding in the respective local communities’. This includes providing more nformation on the environmental, cost and technical implications of undergrounding the line or putting it under the sea. The IPC has advised that National Grid should resolve this issue before beginning a second stage of consultation.

Weston and Somerset Mercury 25th Feb 2010 more >>

Bradwell

A NEW nuclear power station at Bradwell would be a mistake, Colchester Council has told the Government. Councillors have spent months looking at the question of Bradwell’s suitability for another nuclear plant at a series of public hearings. Their report, sent to Whitehall as part of a national consultation which ended on Monday, says ministers should look elsewhere.

Chelmsford Weekly News 24th Feb 2010 more >>

Dungeness

Two local councils in Kent are angry that a new nuclear station at Dungeness has been ruled out. Meanwhile, the Law Society warns the government legal action over its new national policy statements is likely.

ENDS February 2010 more >>

Sizewell

Plans for a store to house spent fuel at Sizewell B nuclear power station have gone to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) for consent. The application follows a six-week public consultation last year. Spent fuel from the reactor is currently stored in a fuel storage pond which will provide capacity until 2015. If the application is approved, the new dry fuel store, which British Energy says is tried and tested technology, will provide capacity from 2015.

BBC 25th Feb 2010 more >>

New Nukes

Unit4 Collaboration Software has said that its project collaboration system BC 5.3 is being implemented by EDF Energy across its nuclear new build program. The system, which is being used for both internal and external collaboration, is providing a central hub for information management, tracking company processes in order to meet regulatory requirements. EDF Energy’s nuclear new build program will spearhead the development of four new EPR pressurised water reactors in the UK, providing reliable low-carbon electricity. This infrastructure project is expected to generate considerable commercial opportunities for the UK construction sector.

Energy Business Review 25th Feb 2010 more >>

Consultations

Greenpeace submissions to NPS and Justification Consultations available.

Greenpeace 25th February 2010 more >>

Radioactive Waste

BURYING highly radioactive waste underground in Copeland to solve one of the nation’s biggest problems is not a done deal. Copeland Borough Council leader, councillor Elaine Woodburn, told a meeting there had been no discussion with the government for the borough to accept a repository.

NW Evening Mail 25th Feb 2010 more >>

Proliferation

BETWEEN 1992 and 2007, according to Ian Hutcheon of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, in California, 17kg of highly enriched uranium was seized from smugglers around the world, along with 400 grams of plutonium. In neither case is that enough for a proper atom bomb, but it is still worrying. Presumably, more is out there. Even if it is not, the material that has been found could have been used to make a “radiological” weapon, by blowing it up and scattering it around a city using conventional explosives. Dr Hutcheon is one of those charged with analysing this captured material, to discover how dangerous it really is and where it came from and thus whether it has been stolen from legitimate nuclear projects or made on the sly.

Economist 25th Feb 2010 more >>

Energy Prices

Roger Carr, Centrica chairman and until recently head of Cadbury, cautioned that a combination of higher wholesale energy prices this year and the huge investment needed to ensure security of supply and meet environmental targets meant the group was in a “very different commodity price environment.”

Telegraph 26th Feb 2010 more >>

Japan

The Monju prototype fast reactor (FBR) in Japan has completed a government-mandated procedure to ensure the reactor is safe to restart following a sodium coolant leak which forced it out of action almost 15 years ago. It could restart as early as next month.

Nuclear N Former 23rd Feb 2010 more >>

US

US SENATORS have voted against renewing operations at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant – the first such move in 20 years. The Vermont Senate voted 26-4 against allowing the Public Service Board to consider granting the plant another 20 years of operation beyond 2012. The 38 year-old 620 MW plant has been mired in controversy after a cooling tower collapsed in 2007 and more recently radioactive tritium was found leaking from the plant. The cause was further damaged when officials from the operating company Entergy testified, inaccurately, that there were no buried pipes from which tritium could leak.

The Chemical Engineer 25th Feb 2010 more >>

Amid the rural homes and thick greenery of Long Island’s North Shore is the biggest testament to the difficulties of building nuclear power plants in the US. It is the Shoreham nuclear power plant – a building from which no steam rises and no hum is heard. Completed in 1984, the $5.3bn ( 3.7bn, £3.3bn) plant could not overcome public resistance and obtain an operating licence. It has lain idle ever since. That resistance was echoed in the Vermont Senate on Wednesday when it voted to close an Entergy Corp nuclear power plant 140 miles from Boston when its licence expires in 2012, citing a radioactive leak. If that vote is not overturned, Vermont will be the first state in more than 20 years to shut down a nuclear plant; California took such action in 1989.

FT 26th Feb 2010 more >>

Iran

SURELY it is clear by now, many people feel, that Iran would rather go on enriching uranium than talk to America or anyone else about its suspect nuclear activities. If efforts to tempt it round have failed, could a tight economic squeeze lead the regime to think again about the costs of its defiance?

Economist 25th Feb 2010 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Letter from Kate Hudson: Your editorial supporting the withdrawal of obsolete US nuclear weapons from Europe is spot on. They are the remnants of an illegal cold war policy of “nuclear weapons sharing” which should have been swept away a generation ago.

Guardian 26th Feb 2010 more >>

Submarines

Letter: At last a national newspaper has pointed out the reality that the nuclear submarine base “is in the middle of Plymouth” not “Devonport near Plymouth”. Devonport dockyard, with the nuclear submarine base, is 25 metres from residential areas of Plymouth, a city with a population of over 250,000, an expanding university, commercial shipping, a continental ferry port and numerous yachting marinas. As you report, there are eight redundant nuclear submarines at the base, with a proposal to send another 27 to Devonport naval base on the River Tamar. The River Tamar is designated an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Guardian 26th Feb 2010 more >>

Renewables

Local councils will be allowed to start generating and selling electricity back to the grid, in legislation being planned to bring about a “local energy revolution”. Ed Miliband, the climate change secretary, intends to help councils to become energy providers, individually or jointly, by setting up renewable energy companies. The plan is the latest attempt to shake up the energy provision and encourage sustainable sources. Councils are responsible for some 10% of UK carbon emissions and Miliband thinks they need incentives to move to lower carbon energy.

Guardian 26th Feb 2010 more >>

Moves to create a green manufacturing hub in Britain were given a major boost today when one of the world’s leading wind turbine manufacturers unveiled plans to spend £100m building a new factory in the north-east. The proposal by Japan’s Mitsubishi, which will create hundreds of clean-tech jobs, came as Siemens of Germany bought a stake in Marine Current Turbines, a UK-based tidal energy firm. And a Spanish-owned group, FCC, said it planned to spend another £100m building wind turbines on some of the dozens of waste recycling plants it controlled in Britain through a local subsidiary. Lord Mandelson said the Mitsubishi investment, coming on top of a similar recent investment by Clipper Windpower of the US, gave the UK a real opportunity to become a world leader in the sector.

Guardian 26th Feb 2010 more >>

Independent 26th Feb 2010 more >>

Telegraph 26th Feb 2010 more >>

Government plans to generate one third of Britain’s electricity from giant offshore wind parks by 2020 could be scrapped because of the vast costs involved, according to the head of Britain’s biggest utility company, as well as a key investor. Sam Laidlaw, chief executive of Centrica, the owner of British Gas, said it was unclear whether the scheme to build an estimated 10,000 wind turbines across swaths of the North and Irish seas would ever go ahead. He said that Centrica, which was awarded one of the nine so-called Round Three development zones last month, would proceed only “if the economic conditions are right”, citing high costs for turbines and other equipment as well as limited government financial support.

Times 26th Feb 2010 more >>

Climate

A new report says that the projected population increase of nine million by 2031 and an increase in the number of single-person households would result in unprecedented demand for land for development and put pressure on natural resources such as water. By 2050, hotter, drier summers could reduce river flows by 80 per cent. The report, compiled by 300 scientists, economists and planners, includes three scenarios to “stimulate thought” and “highlight difficult policy dilemmas that government and other actors may need to consider in the future”.

Times 26th Feb 2010 more >>

Posted: 26 February 2010

25 February 2010

Sellafield

Sellafield, the nuclear plant that is Western Europe’s most heavily contaminated industrial site, is facing an unexpected environmental challenge. The 262-hectare (645 acres) plant in West Cumbria is being overrun by seagulls, mice and stray cats, and managers are battling to contain the problem. Things have become so serious that a cull of seabirds is being considered. There are concerns that some have been swimming in open ponds containing plutonium and radioactive waste, some of which date back to Britain’s atomic weapons programme of the 1950s and 1960s.

Times 25th Feb 2010 more >>

NPS

The RTPI, the professional body that represents 22,000 planners has submitted a robust response to the Government’s consultation on a National Policy Statement for Energy, which will determine how proposals to build new energy facilities are decided upon by the new Infrastructure Planning Commission. Matt Thomson, Acting Director Policy & Partnerships at the RTPI said: “The draft national policy statement on energy is not fit for purpose. It makes no attempt to translate the national need for energy infrastructure into guidance on where such development should be located and so provides no reassurance for either potential investors, or indeed local communities.

Royal Town Planning Institute 24th Feb 2010 more >>

House of Lords Debate on National Policy Statements.

UK Parliament 23rd Feb 2010 more >>

Radioactive Waste

Concerns have been raised again over the viability of a deep geological repository for storing nuclear waste because of the build-up of gases within such a chamber. According to an Environment Agency report published last week, “the modelling of gas and its effects [within a repository] continues to present many challenges”. The report found that gases generated by metal corrosion and degradation of organic waste would be likely to accumulate within a geological repository. The main gases produced would be hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane. It is thought these could contain radioactive isotopes such as tritium and carbon 14. If gas accumulated within a repository, the report said, there would be a build-up of pressure which could have an effect on the repository’s engineered structure and host rock. Peter Wilkinson of Nuclear Waste Advisory Associates said there were “anomalies” in terms of the development of a repository that needed to be addressed. “On the one hand you have to isolate the radioactivity from the biosphere in a repository, and therefore you want to make it as impermeable as possible, but on the other you need to ensure that some of this gas escapes. It’s a dilemma. If gas is vented, it could significantly alter the risk of those exposed to developing fatal cancers,” he said.

Professional Engineering 19th Feb 2010 more >>

BURYING highly radioactive waste underground in Copeland to solve one of the nation’s biggest problems is not a done deal, insists Copeland Council leader Elaine Woodburn. She told a meeting in Whitehaven this week: “There is no done deal by the government nor has there been any discussions with government over Copeland accepting a repository – neither would it be the case.” It was stressed at a meeting of the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership that at this stage Copeland, Allerdale and Cumbria county council had expressed an interest into the possibility of “hosting” a deep underground repository – that’s all. The Partnership is giving information and advice to the three councils on whether West Cumbria should proceed to the next stage with government. This is when the Nuclear Decommissioning will look at social, economic and environmental criteria needed to identify potentially suitable disposal sites. At Tuesday’s meeting, Partnership members discussed issues with environmentalists Jean McSorley and Ruth Balogh. Ms McSorley said there was an impression that burying highly radioactive waste in Cumbria was already a done deal. “It seems to be a case of Copeland rushing headlong into this, it should not be happening so soon, it is one of the biggest technical problems we face. We are dealing with a highly dangerous environment here,” she declared. Dr Balogh, a leading health researcher, said that addressing engineering and technical issues was paramount.

Whitehaven News 24th Feb 2010 more >>

Low Level Waste

COPELAND’s MP has come out publicly against Keekle Head being used to dispose of slightly radioactive nuclear waste. Jamie Reed told The Whitehaven News yesterday he had told Endecom, the proposed developers, of his opposition. He has called for the former opencast coal site to be cleaned up, restored and reparations paid. Endecom has already submitted a planning application and says it has had a favourable public response locally to its plans. In order to free up capacity at the UK’s only designated disposal site (Drigg), the government is looking for alternatives such as landfill to bury very low levels or radioactive material.

Whitehaven News 24th Feb 2010 more >>

Cumbria

Made in Cumbria members learnt on Monday by email that they will be funded wholly by the nuclear and the arms trade industry. Made in Cumbria was established in 1989 as an economic development initiative by Cumbria County Council to promote the sales of crafts, gifts and local foods.

Indymedia 24th Feb 2010 more >>

NEW nuclear build must happen in Copeland to provide thousands of jobs and more investment in other sectors, MPs have been told. Copeland Council’s deputy chief executive, Fergus McMorrow, said nuclear power was key to regeneration across the borough and west Cumbria. Giving evidence at the north west regional select committee into the future of the nuclear industry in the north west, he told MPs he wanted Copeland to become the country’s centre for nuclear excellence. And he warned without new build 8,000 jobs would be lost through the decommissioning of Sellafield which could otherwise be filled with vacancies created by new sites.

NW Evening Mail 24th Feb 2010 more >>

A HOUSE of Commons Select Committee has been told that Sellafield faces the loss of up to 8,000 jobs in the next few years but a new nuclear power station could help offset the rundown.

Whitehaven News 24th Feb 2010 more >>

COPELAND Council and Cumbria County Council are at odds over where any potential new nuclear reactors should be built in the area. Only days after Copeland councillors voted in favour of all three potential sites – Sellafield, Braystones and Kirksanton – staying on the provisional list, the county council has this week formally called for the two village locations to be struck off.

Whitehaven News 24th Feb 2010 more >>

Copeland Council wants Sellafield to be top of the list but have voted for Sellafield, Braystones and Kirksanton all to stay on the list of “potentially suitable” sites.

Whitehaven News 24th Feb 2010 more >>

Hinkley

Construction’s big hitters are finalising their bids for the first significant contract package at Hinkley Point, set to be the first nuclear power station built in the UK for 20 years.

Construction News 25th Feb 2010 more >>

FEARS over health and damage to the countryside dominated debate on plans to place pylons from Hinkley Point across the Somerset Levels. Executive members of Sedgemoor District Council met last Wednesday to submit a response to a national document on electricity networks, published by the Government Department for Energy and Climate Change. But focus soon shifted to National Grid’s proposals to take electricity away from a new Hinkley C nuclear power plant using pylons.

Bridgwater Mercury 24th Feb 2010 more >>

US

South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster said on Wednesday he would take legal action to stop President Barack Obama from dropping plans to build a nuclear waste storage facility in Nevada. Last month the Obama administration announced it was stopping the license application for a long-planned nuclear waste storage site at Yucca Mountain near Las Vegas, which is opposed by environmental groups. McMaster said that he would file a petition to intervene with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission this week and plans to take additional legal action in appellate courts in Washington and Virginia on Friday.

Reuters 25th Feb 2010 more >>

Iran

With the Obama administration escalating its diplomatic campaign for a further round of UN sanctions against Iran, a report issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last week provided an apparent boost to US propaganda that Tehran is developing a nuclear weapons capacity. While the 10-page report is largely a rehash of previous IAEA documents, there was a shift in emphasis, most strikingly in the six-paragraph section headed “Possible Military Dimensions”. For the first time, the IAEA openly raised “concerns” that Iran might have been engaged in research activities related to the manufacture of a nuclear weapon that continued beyond 2004.

World Socialist 25th Feb 2010 more >>

India

The aftermath of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal in 1984 has vital lessons for India as it seeks to commercialise its nuclear industry without an adequate legal framework covering compensation and liability.

Open Democracy 24th Feb 2010 more >>

Israel

Israel’s nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu has requested that his name be removed from the list of candidates to the Nobel Peace Prize, the head of the Norwegian Nobel Institute said Wednesday.

Middle East Online 24th Feb 2010 more >>

Ukraine

A year-long assessment exercise carried out by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the European Commission (EC) has found that safety at Ukraine’s nuclear power plants is in line with international standards.

World Nuclear News 24th Feb 2010 more >>

Posted: 25 February 2010

24 February 2010

Nuclear Research

Manchester is to get a £16m research facility which will make it a centre for the nuclear industry in the UK. The Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) plans to invest £4.4m into setting up The Centre for Nuclear Energy Technology (C-NET) at the University of Manchester.

Crain’s Manchester Business 23rd Feb 2010 more >>

World Nuclear News 23rd Feb 2010 more >>

The Business Desk 23rd Feb 2010 more >>

Manchester Evening News 23rd Feb 2010 more >>

Pebble Bed Reactor

Hopes for the development of pebble-bed nuclear reactor technology, long held up as a safer alternative to conventional nuclear power, have suffered a blow. Last week, the South African government confirmed that it will effectively stop funding a long-term project to develop the technology.

Nature 23rd Feb 2010 more >>

Scotland

Letter from Dr Geraint Bevan: Professors Colin McInnes and Ken Ledingham make a strong case for nuclear power, but argue that unspent fuel is perhaps the most contentious issue. Residents of Chernobyl might beg to differ. Nuclear fission brings with it the risk of catastrophic failure and the problem of safe disposal of radioactive waste. Nuclear reactors are relatively safe; they rarely fail. But when they do fail, the results can be devastating. If safety is put above all else, if financial considerations are not allowed to impact on design and operation, engineers can surely minimise the risk of catastrophic failure. Some may believe that we can trust politicians and regulators to ensure that the public good is put before profit and loss accounts. But there is not yet any solution to the problem of toxic waste. Future generations will not thank us for leaving them a legacy of highly radioactive isotopes that will remain dangerous for hundreds of millenniums to come. Proponents of nuclear power must first answer the question: what will be done with the waste?

Herald 24th Feb 2010 more >>

Hinkley

‘HORRIFIED’ parish councillors have decided to join forces with their colleagues in a neighbouring village to fight against National Grid’s future pylon plans. Members plan to oppose the utility company’s proposal to put 400,000-volt power lines near residents’ homes in North Somerset.

Weston and Somerset Mercury 23rd Feb 2010 more >>

Three West Country MPs have joined forces to fight the pylons.

Burnham-on-sea.com 22nd Feb 2010 more >>

Weston & Somerset Mercury 23rd Feb 2010 more >>

Sizewell

COMMUNITIES living near the proposed site for a new nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast face an anxious wait to hear the outcome of a government consultation on the scheme. A public consultation on the ten proposed sites for new nuclear reactors around the UK, which includes a new facility at Sizewell, closes today and the government is expected to use the responses to come up with a finalised strategy later this year.

Beccles and Bungay Journal 22nd Feb 2010 more >>

Four anti-nuclear power protesters have been arrested after a blockade at Sizewell power station today. Demonstrators from the People Power Not Nuclear Power Coalition locked themselves on to the barrier at the main entrance to the site, south of Southwold, at about 6.40am. The demonstration was arranged to coincide with the end of the government’s public consultation about ten potential new sites for nuclear power, which includes the possibility of a new reactor at Sizewell.

Lowestoft Journal 22nd Feb 2010 more >>

East Anglian Daily Press 22nd Feb 2010 more >>

Wylfa

With Wylfa approaching its official decommissioning date that cheap electricity deal came to an end on 30th September, 2009, and the closure of Anglesey Aluminium came very shortly afterwards. Anglesey Aluminium’s own management said at the time that it had “worked intensively with the UK Government and others” to find an alternative power supply, “but had been unable to do so”.

The Druid 23rd Feb 2010 more >>

Uranium

It doesn’t take much effort to realize the French care much less about the human rights of Niger’s citizens than they do about the yield of Niger’s uranium deposits.

Examiner 20th Feb 2010 more >>

The world is running out of uranium and nobody seems to have noticed, contends the Swiss physicist Dr Michael Dittmar, a researcher at CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. “Without access to the military stocks, the civilian western uranium stocks will be exhausted by 2013,” he predicts. “It’s not clear how the shortfall can be made up, since nobody seems to know where the mining industry can look for more. That means countries that rely on uranium imports, such as Japan and many western countries, will face uranium shortages.” Access to high-quality uranium deposits could be constrained. Last Thursday’s coup in Niger, for instance, clouds the plans of the French nuclear group Areva to develop one of the world’s largest uranium mines there.

The National 20th Feb 2010 more >>

US

Barack Obama’s new dream of a nuclear renaissance faces a major reality check tomorrow when the state of Vermont is expected to shut down an ageing nuclear reactor with a history of leaks. It would be the first time a state has moved to shut down such a reactor, and follows Obama’s announcement last week of $8.3bn (£5.4bn) in loan guarantees for the construction of two new reactors in Georgia. White House officials said the money would help spur a burst of new construction – the first since the Three Mile Island meltdown. The Vermont Yankee, one of America’s oldest reactors, has had several leaks of radioactive tritium dating back to 2005, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said yesterday.

Guardian 24th Feb 2010 more >>

Spain

Asc , a town of 1,600 people that is already the site of two nuclear power plants, is now hoping to be selected as the location of a repository designed to hold 60 years’ worth of waste produced in Spain’s power plants, until at least 2075. While town leaders have already backed the proposal, it has divided the region and raised questions about whether the debate is really about safety or economics.

New York Times 23rd Feb 2010 more >>

France

GDF Suez SA is seeking to build a nuclear reactor in the Rhone valley in France. The third-generation reactor would be smaller than the EPR version that rival Electricite de France is building in Flamanville, and is slated to be in service in 2020. The company is seeking a benchmark in France to be able to push for export sales of the reactor.

Bloomberg 24th Feb 2010 more >>

Iran

Iran has said it is ready to start uranium fuel-swaps to assuage concerns in the West about its nuclear enrichment activities, but insisted they take place instantaneously and on its own territory, making rejection of the plan by Washington and its allies a near certainty.

Independent 24th Feb 2010 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Five Nato states are to call for the removal of all remaining US nuclear weapons on European soil, a move that could spur global disarmament. One might have thought it would have been welcomed by a man who was not only a former secretary general of Nato, but is also a leading member of a parliamentary group for multilateral disarmament and non- proliferation. Alas no. George Robertson took the opposite view. Co-authoring a paper for the Centre for European Reform, he accused one of the states, Germany, of wishing to remain under the nuclear umbrella, while exporting to others the obligation of maintaining it; he warned of the consequences for decoupling the security of Europe from that of the US; and he said that Turkey could feel compelled to develop its own weapons.

Guardian 24th Feb 2010 more >>

It’s decision time for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which is confronted by a dilemma over the future of short-range US nuclear weapons in Europe. Until now, the alliance has chosen to ignore calls for change and has eschewed public debate. Nato clings to the outmoded notion that the 200 or so gravity bombs in five European countries are a necessary deterrent (against Russia, which has an estimated 4,000 short-range nuclear weapons). The status quo has prevailed with the US saying it is waiting for an allied request to remove the B61 bombs from Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Turkey. But this has never happened, partly because of resistance from some former Soviet bloc states within Nato. They have been virulently opposed to the removal of the weapons which they perceive as a guarantee of a US presence in Europe against Russian aggression. Army chiefs today questioned the usefulness of the Trident nuclear deterrent as they stepped up their battle with the navy and RAF over resources ahead of the impending strategic defence review. Senior army sources warned that many British military capabilities lacked relevance and were structured and equipped for the 20th-century cold war. They said that of all weapons at the disposal of the armed forces, the Trident missile system was least likely to be used.

Guardian 24th Feb 2010 more >>

Guardian 24th Feb 2010 more >>

Daily Mail 24th Feb 2010 more >>

Telegraph 24th Feb 2010 more >>

Coal

A significant number of Tory MPs are expected to abstain today on a vote to cut emissions from coal-fired power stations like Kingsnorth, threatening to tarnish the party’s carefully cultivated green image. The Guardian has learned that Conservative party officials have not imposed a three-line whip ordering MPs to vote for an amendment to the government’s energy bill to avoid a confrontation with those sceptical about David Cameron’s green agenda. It is believed there could be enough rebel Labour MPs prepared to vote against the government to defeat its plans, but only if Tory backbenchers do not abstain. Labour MP Alan Simpson and senior Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have tabled the amendment. It would require energy companies to meet an “emissions performance standard”. This would restrict greenhouse gas emissions from coal and gas plants, for example by forcing them to be more efficient or reducing how many hours they could operate. But companies like E.ON and unions have warned MPs that if such restrictions are introduced, plans to build new plants in Britain could be scrapped.

Guardian 24th Feb 2010 more >>

It may be Europe’s biggest coal-fired power station, but Drax’s management is already mapping out a future without coal. Drax, which has pioneered the co-firing of biomass straw or wood with coal as a way of reducing its carbon emissions, has said that it can envisage a future in which it runs entirely on biomass. The amount of biomass that the generator can burn alongside coal is capped at 12.5 per cent, but Drax is lobbying to lift that cap. It said that there was no reason why all six of its original combustion units could not be converted to burn biomass alone.

Times 24th Feb 2010 more >>

Posted: 24 February 2010

23 February 2010

Nuclear Waste

The European Commission intends to propose EU- wide rules on the disposal of nuclear waste by the end of 2010, an official said Thursday. “Nuclear waste management is an important area which needs to be addressed by both industry and national governments (…) the role of the EU is to set a common framework for the establishment of national waste management programs,” said Marlene Holzner, spokeswoman for energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger, during a briefing in Brussels.

Earth Times 18th Feb 2010 more >>

New Nukes

Local councils have opposed two of the 10 proposed new nuclear reactor sites in England and Wales, accusing the government of trying to railroad them through under its new planning regime. The councils will make the first challenge to the controversial new Infrastructure Planning Commission, which was established to speed up the planning process for large projects and starts handling planning applications next month. The government closed its consultation on the planning statements yesterday. In its submission, South Gloucestershire council, which is opposing the planned E.ON and RWE reactor at Oldbury, said the risk of flooding had been underestimated. It also said councils did not have the resources to fully assess the applications for nuclear companies. It added: “The draft [national planning statement] effectively confers a presumption in favour of development.” The Guardian has also learned that Colchester borough council and West Mersea town council are objecting to the nomination of Bradwell, which is owned by EDF, as a new reactor site. Essex county council has yet to make a decision. Professor Andy Blowers, a former government adviser on nuclear waste, said: “What is the point of the IPC or any consultation if you are going to have the nomination rammed down your throat?”

Guardian 23rd Feb 2010 more >>

Bill Gates has called for a dramatic increase in R&D investment for low-carbon technologies, including his own new pet project into advanced nuclear reactors, warning that developed countries will need to completely decarbonise the energy they use by 2050 if they are to avert the worst effects of climate change.

Business Green 22nd Feb 2010 more >>

The United Arab Emirates and Scotland have much in common. Both are small nations whose economies have been geared to the production and export of oil and both are rich in future renewable energy potential. The empty deserts of the UAE have the capacity to produce vast quantities of clean solar energy, while the coastal waters of Scotland could generate copious wind, wave and tidal energy. However, while the UAE has just awarded a contract for four nuclear power plants, in Scotland we are in the process of winding down our nuclear capacity. Modern nuclear plants are compact machines with a design life of 60 years and provide continuous output of firm base-load power. The UAE has, therefore, chosen a prudent policy that will guarantee a supply of clean energy into the far future.

Herald 23rd Feb 2010 more >>

NPS

Energy Minister Lord Hunt today welcomed the level of public engagement around the consultation on National Policy Statements on Energy. The consultation, which closes today, gives the public the opportunity to influence and comment on the draft NPSs at a national and local level.

DECC 22nd Feb 2010 more >>

Oldbury

South Gloucestershire Council, in its response, raised a number of objections including the visual impact of the cooling towers and the towers’ effect on migrating birds. It has been suggested that a new nuclear power station would have to be built with cooling towers 70 to 200 metres high. The existing station is only 54 metres high. The council emphasised the flooding risks at the site and surrounding area, and the additional traffic pressure that would be put on the M5 during construction. Concerns about the lack of a national repository for nuclear waste and potential health risks associated with living near to a nuclear power station, were also raised.

Gloucestershire Gazette 22nd Feb 2010 more >>

Sizewell

FIVE anti-nuclear power protesters blocked the entrance to Sizewell power station today. Representatives from the People Power not Nuclear Power Coalition wearing arm tubes locked themselves on to concrete just under the barrier at the main entrance around 6.40am. The demonstrators brought big black barrels with them daubed with ‘Don’t Nuke the Climate’. Other protesters are also there in support. The group said they are demonstrating against the flawed government consultation on nuclear new build – which ends today – and the dumping of local democracy.

Suffolk Evening Star 22nd Feb 2010 more >>

Stop Nuclear Power 22nd Feb 2010 more >>

Utility Week 22nd Feb 2010 more >>

Sellafield

Sellafield has launched an investigation into claims that some staff were caught viewing porn and playing computer games at work. Bosses at the plant were today unable to confirm a report that a number of workers had resigned in the wake of the investigation. But a recent memo warned all staff at the nuclear plant that their internet use is constantly monitored.

Carlisle News and Star 22nd Feb 2010 more >>

Wylfa

Secretary of State for Wales Peter Hain has been in Germany on a mission for an ambitious scheme to transform Anglesey into the UK ‘hub’ for wind energy and create hundreds of new low carbon jobs. Mr Hain visited the German North Sea port town of Bremerhaven, which has witnessed the creation of around 700 jobs over the past three years after becoming a renowned hub for offshore wind power generation. He saw some of the 185 or more companies now clustered around Bremerhaven harbour involved in the manufacture and fabrication of wind turbines, as well as suppliers and Research & Development companies.

News Wales 22nd Feb 2010 more >>

Mr Rees also spoke enthusiastically about the prospect of a replacement for Wylfa nuclear power station. When it was put to him that Plaid disapproved of nuclear power, Mr Rees asked, rhetorically, how he could oppose a project that would bring up to 5,000 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent jobs. To heck, he seemed to be saying, with policy.

David Jones MP 21st Feb 2010 more >>

The Druid 22nd Feb 2010 more >>

Hinkley

David Heathcoat-Amory: We’ve got to get the electricity away from Hinkley Point when it is rebuilt, but it can’t be done with overhead pylons which are going to damage a very precious part of the Somerset countryside. We haven’t been offered the option of a submarine cable, I am demanding that that is investigated and included in the discussions.

This is the West Country 22nd Feb 2010 more >>

NFLAs

During the 1980s era of the “looney left” Labour councils would frequently declare themselves “Nuclear Free Zones.” Cllr Iain Lindley reminds us that this practice continues. Socialists can indulge in some agitprop at their Council Taxpayer’s expense by affiliating to Nuclear Free Local Authorities who promise that in return: “Your local council will be publicly demonstrating its opposition to nuclear power and nuclear weapons.” The organisation is based in Manchester Town Hall.

Conservative Home 23rd Feb 2010 more >>

Smart Grids

The £37bn modernisation of Britain’s electricity network will not take place unless the Government seizes control and helps pay for the new “smart grid”, according to a group of MPs.The market alone cannot be trusted to provide the financing for such an enormous undertaking, according to a report from the select committee on energy and climate change.

Telegraph 23rd Feb 2010 more >>

Fusion

Research Councils UK says a fusion power station could be in operation by 2030. Scientists in the UK have drawn up plans for the world’s first nuclear fusion power station, which could be online in 20 years. Unlike a conventional nuclear power station, nuclear fusion provides clean, safe, carbon-free power with a minimum of radioactive waste. However, up until now the theory has never been successfully put into practice due to the massive technical challenges.

Building 22nd Feb 2010 more >>

US

Mark Z Jacobson: If our nation wants to reduce global warming, air pollution and energy instability, we should invest only in the best energy options. Nuclear energy isn’t one of them. Every dollar spent on nuclear is one less dollar spent on clean renewable energy and one more dollar spent on making the world a comparatively dirtier and a more dangerous place, because nuclear power and nuclear weapons go hand in hand.

CNN 22nd Feb 2010 more >>

Constellation Energy Group closed on the $4.5bn sale of its nuclear assets last quarter, sending net profit soaring over year-ago results. The sale of 49.99pc of its nuclear business to French power generator EDF lifted Constellation’s earnings to $21.96/share, compared with a loss of $7.75/share during the 2008 period. Profit also increased on an adjusted basis – a measure that excludes accounting changes, discontinued operations and special items – to 30 /share from 3 /share.

Argus Media 22nd Feb 2010 more >>

Iran

The head of Iran’s nuclear programme has said the country will build two new uranium enrichment facilities within the next year. Ali Akbar Salehi, who is also Iran’s vice-president, said the new facilities would be built in the mountains to protect them from attack.

BBC 22nd Feb 2010 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Five Nato states plan to call for the removal of all remaining US nuclear weapons on European soil in a move intended to spur global disarmament, officials said today. Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Norway and Luxembourg will make a joint declaration “in the next few weeks”, a Belgian official said, with the intention of influencing a growing debate within Nato over the usefulness of nuclear weapons in alliance strategy.

Guardian 23rd Feb 2010 more >>

Posted: 23 February 2010

22 February 2010

Sizewell

Since 6.40am this morning, anti-nuclear power activists from the ‘People Power not Nuclear Power Coalition’ have been blockading Sizewell power station in protest against the flawed government consultation on nuclear new build, which ends today, and the dumping of local democracy.

Stop Nuclear Power Press Release 22nd Feb 2010 more >>

Nuclear Security

Letter from David Lowry: US environmentalists have rightly highlighted the security problems posed by the AP1000 nuclear reactor design, particularly its vulnerability to terrorists. This danger is very relevant in Britain too, as this reactor design is one of two planned for new-build in this country. Last week, Britain’s Nuclear Installations Inspectorate and the Office for Civil Nuclear Security, which are jointly scrutinising the potential vulnerabilities of the two major new reactor designs being proposed by foreign vendors, raised their own worries over nuclear insecurity. However, the problem is broader than one of the designs not being strong enough to withstand a direct hit from an airliner. The reason is that it is planned, according to the government’s national nuclear policy statement, to store the irradiated spent nuclear fuel discharged from the new reactors at the reactor sites for at least 160 years.

Morning Star 22nd Feb 2010 more >>

Sellafield

Letter from David Lowry: YOUR article “Sellafield: inside the big clean-up” last week cited Tony Fountain, chief executive of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, as saying of the privatised Sellafield plant operators: “They have got off to a good start, now we want to see more.” Included in the “more” will be the decontamination of 20,000,000 cubic metres of radioactively contaminated soil on which Sellafield sits. Your article made no mention of this massive legacy waste problem, which will cost billions to clean up across many decades.

Sunday Times 21st Feb 2010 more >>

Cumbria

Controversy over plans to build nuclear reactors on the edge of the Lake District.

Granada TV 21st Feb 2010 more >>

Submarines

Military chiefs are running out of space to store the UK’s growing number of obsolete nuclear submarines, prompting fears that one of the country’s busiest naval ports is set to be turned into a nuclear scrapyard. Eight ageing nuclear-powered vessels are currently kept afloat at the Devonport dockyard in the middle of Plymouth, and 27 more are due to be sent there as they reach the end of their service life in the next few years. The Ministry of Defence admits it will run out of storage space for the redundant nuclear subs by 2020 and has put forward plans to begin dismantling the radioactive hulks at the city centre site. Campaigners say the work will be dangerous and turn the dockyard – and the city – into a “nuclear dumping ground” if the plans go ahead.

Guardian 22nd Feb 2010 more >>

Hiroshima

James Cameron has now bought the film rights to a book of survivors’ stories from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, prompting speculation that his next blockbuster will focus on one of the seminal tales of 20th-century destruction. The Last Train from Hiroshima, by science writer Charles Pellegrino, takes place over two days and weaves together the stories of Japanese survivors with the memories of US air force personnel who accompanied the bomb, dubbed Little Boy, on its journey to kill 70,000 people. The potential transition from book to Cameron movie has hit a glitch, however, with the revelation that important parts of the book are based on the testimony of an American veteran that appears to have been fabricated.

Guardian 22nd Feb 2010 more >>

Posted: 22 February 2010

21 February 2010

Nuclear Supply Chain

LORD MANDELSON is close to sealing a £170m government-backed deal for a nuclear manufacturing facility just days after Corus mothballed its steel plant on Teesside. The business secretary has been leading talks between Sheffield Forgemasters, the engineering firm, and Westinghouse, the nuclear reactor maker, for months about arranging a financing package for a 15,000-tonne press that would be used to make pressure vessels and castings for nuclear reactors. Today these are made by a handful of highly specialised facilities, all located in Japan. The deal with Sheffield, which gained notoriety in the 1990s when it was embroiled in the “Supergun affair” over arms sales to Iraq, would secure a critical piece of infrastructure for a new generation of nuclear reactors in Britain. The first new reactor is not expected before 2017 and industry experts say the timeline is already slipping. This is due in part to wrangling between industry and government over subsidies. Utilities are lobbying for a mechanism that ensures a minimum price for power so they can be sure they will be able to recoup the large upfront building costs. The government has said from the outset that it will not subsidise the industry.

Sunday Times 21st Feb 2010 more >>

Dungeness

The Labour Government has now refused to assess the suitability of Dungeness and vicinity for new renewable energy projects, following its earlier decision not to build a new nuclear power station on the site.

Nick Perry 20th Feb 2010 more >>

Fast Reactors

The International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM) has condemned Fast Breeder Reactors. ‘After six decades and the expenditure of the equivalent of tens of billions of dollars,’ it says, ‘the promise of breeder reactors remains largely unfulfilled and efforts to commercialize them have been steadily cut back in most countries.’ In a damning judgement, the IPFM report says that the reactors are ‘plagued by high costs, often multi-year downtime for repairs (including a 15-year reactor restart delay in Japan), multiple safety problems (among them often catastrophic sodium fires triggered simply by contact with oxygen), and unresolved proliferation risks’.

Greenpeace Nuclear Reaction 19th Feb 2010 more >>

New models for nuclear reactors have been attracting a lot of interest recently, with all sorts of ideas touted as the solution to the problems of the standard designs in use today. The huge cost, and delays and budget over-runs in construction, of third generation reactors such as Areva’s EPR, along with concerns about their safety, has inspired a search for new smaller designs, including some that are only the size of a garden shed. There is also renewed excitement over fourth-generation reactor technology that can use spent uranium fuel as its feed-stock. One version of fourth generation technology that is decades old, but is earning a new lease of life as a potential solution to the problem of dealing with nuclear fuel waste is the fast reactor. The IPFM, however, is sceptical. The report argues that the use of these reactors as a global solution to the problem of nuclear waste, suggested as part of the Bush administration’s Global Nuclear Energy Partnership in 2006, had already been shown to be ineffective.

FT 18th Feb 2010 more >>

EDF

Energy company EDF plans to build France’s biggest solar-power plant at the Euro Disney theme park resort on the outskirts of Paris. A sweeping structure would see solar cells cover huge canopies built above Euro Disney’s 11,000-space car park, which is one of the biggest in Europe. The canopies could also collect rainwater to reduce Euro Disney’s water consumption, and the solar energy they generate would be used on-site or sold back into the grid.

Independent on Sunday 21st Feb 2010 more >>

Energy Policy

The Conservatives’ flagship energy paper may not appear until April – six months after its original planned publication – leading to industry fears of policy disagreements in the run-up to the election.

Sunday Telegraph 21st Feb 2010 more >>

Fusion

BRITISH scientists have drawn up plans to build the world’s first nuclear fusion power station. They say it could be pouring electricity into the National Grid within 20 years. Nuclear fusion, the power that lies at the heart of the sun, offers the prospect of clean, safe, carbon-free power with a minimum of radioactive waste. But despite decades of research the technical problems have seemed insurmountable. This weekend, however, Research Councils UK (RCUK), which oversees the British government’s spending on science and technology, has said it believes that many of those obstacles are close to being overcome. It wants to commit Britain to a 20-year research and construction plan that would see a fusion power station in operation around 2030. Didcot in Oxfordshire is among the sites under consideration for the so-called Hiper project.

Sunday Times 21st Feb 2010 more >>

Companies

Babcock runs three naval dockyards and is a big player in nuclear services. VT is out of dockyards but does nuclear, trains air-force pilots and is branching out into waste management and schools. Personality-wise they are cut from the same cloth driven, old-fashioned managers who push themselves and their companies hard. All that counted for nothing last week, when Babcock told the world it wanted to buy VT and made a £1.1 billion offer to its board.

Sunday Times 21st Feb 2010 more >>

Climate

Leading scientists in Britain and America have warned that recent controversies over research into climate change are damaging the public’s faith in science. The group – which included Lord Rees, head of the Royal Society and Ralph Cicerone, president of the US National Academy of Sciences – believes the fallout will continue as sceptics keep up their attacks on climate science. Only fundamental changes in the structure of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) would bring an end to the problem and improve public confidence, they said.

Observer 21st Feb 2010 more >>

President Barack Obama’s climate change policy is in crisis amid a barrage of US lawsuits challenging government directives and the defection of major corporate backers for his ambitious green programmes.

Sunday Telegraph 21st Feb 2010 more >>

Renewables

A LANDMARK £2 billion green energy plant will be scrapped and moved abroad unless the government reverses its decision to limit subsidies, Dorothy Thompson, chief executive of Drax, has warned.

Sunday Times 21st Feb 2010 more >>

Posted: 21 February 2010

20 February 2010

Nuclear Costs

If you want to understand why the U.S. hasn’t built a nuclear reactor in three decades, the Voters power plant outside Atlanta is an excellent reminder of the insanity of nuclear economics. The plant’s original cost estimate was less than $1 billion for four reactors. Its eventual price tag in 1989 was nearly $9 billion, for only two reactors. But now there’s widespread chatter about a nuclear renaissance, so the Southern Co. is finally trying to build the other two reactors at Vogtle. The estimated cost: $14 billion. And you can be sure that number is way too low, because nuclear cost estimates are always way too low. That’s why no Wall Street moneyman in his right mind would finance a new reactor. But President Obama has located an alternative financier: the US Taxpayer

Time Magazine 18th Feb 2010 more >>

Low Level Waste

Approval to dump low level radioactive waste at a rural Northamptonshire landfill site is a step nearer. The Environment Agency has decided nuclear waste to be handled by the King’s Cliffe site is not hazardous. A final decision has yet to be made and local people are being invited to give their views before the county council will give planning permission. But residents formed a protest group to campaign for low level nuclear waste to be disposed of nearer power stations. The site at King’s Cliffe near Peterborough is operated by Aegean who call it the East Northants Resource Management Facility. Simon Mitchell, from the Environment Agency, said: “I know this application has caused concern within the local community. “But I want to reassure the public that we would not authorise any disposals of low level radioactive waste to any landfill unless we were satisfied people and the environment were protected. “We will not make any final decisions about this application until we have considered the responses to this consultation.” The King’s Cliffe protest group believe the site will be taking construction rubble from decommissioned nuclear plants because the national low level waste repository at Drigg in Cumbria is filling up. What they have discovered is that the landfill would be the first to take radioactive material from the nuclear industry, nowhere near any nuclear plant.

BBC 19th Feb 2010 more >>

Radioactive Waste

The European Union is moving ahead with plans to dispose of nuclear waste directly underground, with the first site due to be up and running in Finland, waste management experts said Friday. Finland’s deep geological repository for direct, underground disposal of spent nuclear fuel is due to come onstream in 2020, experts who addressed a forum at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), have said in a “vision paper.” Sweden will follow three years after its Nordic neighbor, and “France plans to start operating a deep geological repository for vitrified high-level waste from reprocessing in 2025,” the paper says.

EU Business 19th Feb 2010 more >>

Cumbria

COUNCILLORS have voted overwhelmingly in favour of plans to build a nuclear power plant near Millom. The free vote was made by 31 Copeland borough councillors at a special meeting on Wednesday. It supports government plans to build a plant on the doorsteps of villagers in Kirksanton. The government has also earmarked two other sites in Copeland for nuclear plants, Braystones and land near Sellafield. At the meeting councillors highlighted the Sellafield site as the favoured option but plans to put forward the two other sites as acceptable alternatives.

NW Evening Mail 19th Feb 2010 more >>

Hinkley

CAMPAIGNERS are monitoring the traffic “chaos” on the A39 west of Bridgwater they believe will worsen if new power station plans are approved. The Save Cannington Action Group (SCAG), spearheaded by nuclear expert Alan Beasley, claims EDF Energy’s infrastructure plans for the Hinkley Point C will destroy the village. With the first stage of EDF’s public consultation now complete, members are keeping watch on busy routes likely to be affected by the development.

Bridgwater Mercury 19th Feb 2010 more >>

National Grid has come under renewed pressure to scrap its “sham” consultation over controversial 400,000 volt overhead power lines, and start again. Residents living along the route have accused the energy giant of backtracking about why it is apparently not even considering burying the cables under the sea. Somerset County Council is the latest, and biggest, authority to condemn the consultation process for the line which would see 160ft high pylons carrying power 37 miles from a new Hinkley Point power station to a sub station at Avonmouth, near Bristol. Communities along the route and local MPs are fighting the pylons, which they say will ruin views and threaten livelihoods in an area highly dependent on tourism.

This is Somerset 19th Feb 2010 more >>

Wylfa

NUCLEAR regulators are worried that a reactor being considered for Wylfa B power station may not withstand a terror attack. The HSE Nuclear Directorate (NR) say the AP1000 reactor type could be vulnerable to “external shocks” such as a direct hit from an aircraft or from extreme weather. They have asked American-Japanese group Toshiba-Westinghouse for more evidence to demonstrate that their design for the £4bn reactor is safe. The AP1000 is one of two reactor designs being considered by Horizon Nuclear Power, the German consortium behind proposals for new nuclear development on Anglesey.

Daily Post 19th Feb 2010 more >>

Iran

Iran was driven deeper into international isolation yesterday after Russia said it was “very alarmed” by a leaked UN report which directly accused the country of building a nuclear weapon for the first time.

Telegraph 20th Feb 2010 more >>

Has anyone else noticed that, now Mohamed AlBaradei is no longer in charge of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, we are suddenly seeing a more realistic assessment of what the Iranians are really up to with their nuclear programme?

Telegraph 19th Feb 2010 more >>

Iran’s supreme leader has denied it is developing nuclear weapons, after a new report from the UN atomic watchdog, the IAEA, sparked an international outcry.

BBC 19th Feb 2010 more >>

Middle East Online 19th Feb 2010 more >>

Sweden

The financial liability of Swedish nuclear power reactor owners in the event of an accident would quadruple under a bill introduced by the country’s government. The bill would also allow the construction of new reactors in the country.

World Nuclear News 19th Feb 2010 more >>

Bulgaria

Russia will extend funding to Bulgaria for the construction of the stalled Belene nuclear power plant project until Sofia finds a strategic investor, Bulgaria’s economy and energy minister said on Friday.

Reuters 19th Feb 2010 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

European NATO allies are to urge President Barack Obama to remove all remaining US nuclear weapons from European soil, as domestic pressure grows to rid its soil of outdated Cold War-era aerial bombs.

Yahoo 19th Feb 2010 more >>

Posted: 20 February 2010

19 February 2010

Dungeness

One of two reactors at Dungeness B power station has returned to service after being shut down following a blaze in November. The second reactor, which has been out of action since July 2009, remains closed due to maintenance works, according to operator EDF Energy.

Kent News 18th Feb 2010 more >>

Hinkley

Somerset County Council has rejected calls for a judicial review into the National Grid’s proposals for pylons.

Burnham-on-sea.com 17th Feb 2010 more >>

Oldbury

Council leaders have raised serious concerns about the suitability of a site next to Oldbury nuclear power station for a new generation of atomic reactors. They said there were major issues involved in allocating the Oldbury- Shepperdine area, near Thornbury, for a power plant and they did not think action could be taken to limit their effect on the locality. Their comments also come as doubts were raised that one of the two reactor designs being considered for the site may not be strong enough to withstand a direct hit from a commercial airliner, leaving it vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Both South Gloucestershire Council and Thornbury Town Council have said they are worried about aspects of the allocation of the land next to the Severn estuary by the Government.

Bristol Evening Post 18th Feb 2010 more >>

Submission from Rockhampton Parish Council

Shepperdine Against Nuclear Energy 18th Feb 2010 more >>

Wylfa

During the day Mr Hain visited Bangor University to talk to students about the potential for green energy on Anglesey. Mr Hain pointed to his plans to transform the former Anglesey Aluminium site into a wind turbine factory, turning the island into a “wind energy hub”. “That will also create jobs in North Wales as billions will be pumped into the area, especially if Wylfa B comes on top of that.”

Daily Post 18th Feb 2010 more >>

Sellafield

Former directors of controversial nuclear power station Sellafield pocketed ‘golden goodbyes’ worth £8 million upon leaving the company, it emerged yesterday. The former managing director of Sellafield Barry Snelson picked up £1.86 million, potentially rising to £2 million, as ‘compensation for loss of office’, according to the financial reports of the defunct British Nuclear Fuels. David Bonser, who headed the Thorp facility which suffered a leak in 2005, trousered £1 million, while chief executive Mike Parker was handed £526,000 and director John Edwards got £420,000.

Daily Mail 19th Feb 2010 more >>

Proliferation

The United States will seek commitments from its allies on securing vulnerable nuclear material within four years at a summit to be held in Washington in April, Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday. “It’s a very high priority,” Biden said in a speech about America’s nuclear posture. President Barack Obama will host the April 12-13 summit bringing together representatives from as many as 43 countries to help secure the world’s loose nuclear material.

Reuters 18th Feb 2010 more >>

Energy Supplies

All roads lead to a yawning energy gap. Coal is the dirty outcast – until clean coal technology is proven on a large scale – and that is at least a decade away. So – what is cheap to build and run, clean(er) and able to fill the gap by 2015? Gas. Lots of it. Power companies are falling over themselves to build new gas stations – often on the sites of old coal plants on their last legs (Cockenzie and Tilbury to name but two). There are two questions – should we build nuclear, and can we do so in time? The answers are linked, and complicated. Nuclear ticks many boxes: it is low carbon, provides reliable baseload power, and boasts stable sources of supply. Carbon targets and energy independence means that a future built mainly around conventional fossil fuels is untenable. In many commentators’ minds, cleaner fossil fuels would provide the ’sandwich filling’ between worthy but unpredictable renewables, and controversial yet reliable atomic power. Of course, nuclear’s detractors would argue that the emissions and social cost of atomic energy is measured in hundreds of thousands of years, and the lack of a permanent solution for waste storage is undeniably the biggest argument against a new generation of reactors. The other aspect is cost – nuclear has never been built on time, on budget – and never without public subsidy. In this last respect, atomic and renewable energy have more in common than one might expect.

The Engineer 17th Feb 2010 more >>

US

Areva SA, the world’s biggest reactor builder, said the successful execution of the U.S. nuclear-loan guarantee program and the ability of companies to deliver on time and on cost will lead to an “enormous” market.

Business Week 18th Feb 2010 more >>

NRG Energy Inc. expects to learn in about two months whether it will get a federal loan guarantee needed to build nuclear reactors in Texas, and will scrap the project if it doesn’t.

Business Week 18th Feb 2010 more >>

World Nuclear News 18th Feb 2010 more >>

Atlanta-based Southern Company has confirmed that its Georgia Power subsidiary has been offered a conditional commitment for loan guarantees from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to construct two new nuclear power units – the first in the US for more than 30 years.

The Engineer 19th Feb 2010 more >>

A survey of US electric power industry leaders by Black & Veatch (B&V) shows that nuclear energy is widely considered best suited to meet the country’s environmental standards while meeting increased electricity demand.

World Nuclear News 18th Feb 2010 more >>

US Radwaste

The US Department of Energy’s assistant secretary for nuclear said Wednesday the agency is undertaking a wide-ranging research and development initiative to figure out how to deal with spent nuclear fuel. But a long-term solution is not urgently needed, given that current dry-cask storage technology can safely hold spent fuel securely for many decades, Warren Miller told the winter meeting of the National Association of

Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

Platts 17th Feb 2010 more >>

Iran

The White House has again warned Iran that it faces consequences if it fails to meet international responsibilities about its nuclear programme. The continuing pressure follows a report from the IAEA, the UN nuclear watchdog, that said Iran may currently be working on nuclear weapons.

BBC 19th Feb 2010 more >>

FT 19th Feb 2010 more >>

The United Nations nuclear watchdog said it was worried Iran could be working on “a nuclear payload for a missile”, in its most hard-hitting report on Tehran’s atomic programme. It also highlighted the possibility that Iran might shift almost its entire stock of low enriched uranium closer to weapons grade.

FT 19th Feb 2010 more >>

Guardian 19th Feb 2010 more >>

Telegraph 19th Feb 2010 more >>

Syria

Uranium particles found at a Syrian desert complex bombed to ruin by Israel in 2007 point to possible covert nuclear activity at the site, the U.N. atomic watchdog said on Thursday.

Yahoo 18th Feb 2010 more >>

Renewables

The latest £8m funding for offshore wind technology was made available today as the Prime Minister hailed the UK as a ‘global leader’ in the offshore wind market. The announcement came as Clipper Windpower confirmed that it is to start construction of a factory in Newcastle to build the biggest wind turbine blades in the world. The Prime Minister visited the site where Clipper today confirmed it will employ up to 500 people by 2020 to manufacture blades for the massive 10 megawatt ‘Britannia’ offshore wind turbine.

DECC 18th Feb 2010 more >>

Guardian 19th Feb 2010 more >>

Independent 19th Feb 2010 more >>

Coal

Britain’s biggest power station has suspended its plan to replace coal with greener fuel, leaving the Government little chance of meeting its target for renewable energy. Drax, in North Yorkshire, which produces enough electricity for six million homes, is withdrawing a pledge to cut CO2 emissions by 3.5 million tonnes a year, or 17.5 per cent. The power station, which is the country’s largest single source of CO2, has invested £80 million in a processing unit for wood, straw and other plant-based fuels, known as biomass. The unit is designed to produce more renewable electricity than 600 wind turbines, but will operate at only a fraction of its capacity because Drax says it is cheaper to continue to burn coal.

Times 19th Feb 2010 more >>

Posted: 19 February 2010