News March 2010

31 March 2010

New Nukes

THE vast majority of business leaders support a new generation of nuclear power stations to safeguard Britain’s energy supply, according to new research. The Institute of Directors has discovered that 85% of the 1,800 business people it surveyed were in favour of a new nuclear build.

The Business Desk 31st Mar 2010 more >>

As the head of Horizon Nuclear Power, Alan Raymant is leading the plan to create a second nuclear power business in Britain, offsetting what would otherwise be domination of the industry by the French, in the shape of EDF.

FT 31st March 2010 more >>

THE Government today welcomed news that German utility giants RWE and E.ON are planning to build two nuclear power plants in the UK, creating thousands of jobs. Horizon Nuclear Power, a joint venture between the two firms, said it proposed having its first reactor at Wylfa on Anglesey in North Wales and a second power station at Oldbury-on-Severn plant in Gloucestershire.

Suffolk Evening Star 30th Mar 2010 more >>

NDA

The next stage of decommissioning Britains ageing fleet of nuclear power stations and cleaning up the legacy of waste will cost 2.8bn, according to a business plan to be published by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority on Wednesday. About 1.5bn of the money to be spent this financial year will go to Sellafield, where a reprocessing programme that reduces the amount of highly active liquid waste stored on site should be completed soon. The costs to the taxpayer will be defrayed by the income generated by the NDA from its power stations and fuel-reprocessing operations. This income is expected to amount to about 1.15bn next year, though the amount is likely to decrease as plants reach the end of their lives.

FT 31st Mar 2010 more >>

A £140m contract to reduce the height of two nuclear reactors at Magnox North in Wales has been put on hold

Building 31st Mar 2010 more >>

Waste Transport

AN anti-nuclear campaigner is asking questions after claiming a shipment of highly-radioactive waste from Barrow took four days instead of the expected two to get to the Netherlands.

North West Evening Mail 30th Mar 2010 more >>

Oldbury

Up to 5,000 jobs could be created in South Gloucestershire under proposals announced for a new nuclear power plant at Oldbury-on-Severn. Horizon Nuclear Power – a conglomerate formed by E.On and RWE – hopes to start work at the site, next to the existing reactor, by 2019. But formal plans for the plant will not be submitted until work at the firm’s new plant on Anglesey starts. Local campaigners say Oldbury is an unsuitable location.

BBC 30th March 2010 more >>

Hinkley

Chris Ledgard looks at the impact Hinkley Point nuclear power station has had on the surrounding Somerset communities, in particular the Quantock village of Stogursey. Featuring Stop Hinkley campaigners.

Another Green World 30th Mar 2010 more >>

A Community Engagement Programme has been set up by West Somerset Council, Sedgemoor Council and the Community Council for Somerset. The main objective is to ensure that the community has a comprehensive understanding of the scale and nature of the proposals re Hinkley Point C.

Bicknoller Parish Website 30th Mar 2010 more >>

Wylfa

U.K. nuclear joint venture Horizon Nuclear Power Ltd. plans to commission its first reactor by 2020 at Wylfa in Wales followed by a second nuclear power station at Oldbury-on-Severn in Gloucestershire, the company said Tuesday. Horizon is the third nuclear group to outline its plans for the U.K. and comes as the government pushes for a new fleet of reactors to replace aging nuclear and coal-fired power plants that are due to be retired over the next decade.

Fox News 30th Mar 2010 more >>

London South East 30th Mar 2010 more >>

The Druid 30th Mar 2010 more >>

Chemical Engineer 30th Mar 2010 more >>

Professional Engineering 30th Mar 2010 more >>

World Nuclear News 30th Mar 2010 more >>

Business Green 30th Mar 2010 more >>

Utility Week 30th Mar 2010 more >>

Daily Post 30th Mar 2010 more >>

Plaid Cymru leader and Anglesey AM Ieuan Wyn Jones said it was an economic boost, and Labour MP Albert Owen called it a vote of confidence in the area. County council leader Clive McGregor said the move would have a “positive impact” on the community and deliver “high quality jobs”.

BBC 30th Mar 2010 more >>

Campaign group People Against Wylfa B (Pawb) plans a demonstration against nuclear power and the plans for a new Wylfa station at Menai Bridge on Wednesday morning.

BBC 30th Mar 2010 more >>

The North Wales site was chosen ahead of a location at Oldbury-on-Severn, South Gloucestershire, partly because of strong public support, the Times reported.

Wales Online 30th Mar 2010 more >>

Unite, the largest union in Wales, today (Tuesday, 30 March) welcomed the government’s announcement that a new nuclear power station will be built at Wylfa on the Isle of Anglesey.

Unite 30th Mar 2010 more >>

The official timelines for UK new build have slipped repeatedly, and don’t look like stopping. For example: It’s not clear if and when Wylfa would be given the green light, let alone when work could start on site. The complications arise from the deal the government struck with EdF when the company bought British Energy. It has been reported that EdF still holds land vital to the new Wylfa project. It appears EdF doesn’t have to sell the land it owns at Wylfa until it is granted planning permission for two new reactors at both Hinkley Point and Sizewell. There’s no guarantee this will ever happen, so no-one should be holding their breath waiting for an atomic revolution in Anglesey. According to the latest list of Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) projects Wylfa was slated to get an application in for November 2011. Yet according to Horizon today, an application for Wylfa is only “scheduled for “2012,” a year behind their original schedule. DECC said in 2008 that Regulatory Justification, a legal requirement, would be completed in mid-2009. They now say this won’t be happen until after the General Election. Similarly, the National Policy Statements should have been designated before 2010. Now DECC can’t say when this will happen. Waste and decommissioning was pencilled in to be signed off in the final quarter of 2009. If or when this particular nuclear nightmare will be straightened out is anyone’s guess.

Left Foot Forward 30th Mar 2010 more >>

Springfields

Lancashire’s nuclear fuel factory will supply the next generation of power stations across the world, according to the head of the energy giant which runs it. Dr Aris Candris, the chief executive and president of Westinghouse, said there would be new jobs and new investment pumped into Springfields Fuels, in Salwick, near Preston, to make it the company’s “centre of excellence” for fuel production. He was speaking at the official signing of a new long-term lease with site owners the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency (NDA) on Monday.

Lancashire Evening Post 30th Mar 2010 more >>

Aldermaston

THE Environment Agency (EA) has issued the Atomic Weapons Establishment with a warning letter after it discovered pollution in the Burghfield Brook. The EA issued the warning after a report revealed that during construction for Project Mensa, a nuclear warhead assembly facility at AWE Burghfield, the brook was polluted. A spokeswoman for the EA, Hayley Willoughby, said the agency would now be working closely with the nuclear weapons establishment to prevent future incidents.

Newbury Today 30th Mar 2010 more >>

Finland

‘More nuclear waste for our children’ – that is the message Greenpeace Finland campaigners took to the construction site of the OL3 nuclear reactor at Olkiluoto in Finland. The activists skied and canoed to the scandal-prone reactor to demand that construction be stopped. They were able to climb a crane on the site and unfurl their banner. In the light of the Greenpeace action, the Finnish nuclear safety authority STUK announced that security measures at the OL3 site are inadequate. If Greenpeace can get there, who else? Just one more reason why nuclear power can’t be trusted.

Greenpeace Nuclear Reaction 29th Mar 2010 more >>

YLE 30th Mar 2010 more >>

Uranium

French nuclear group Areva is not paying enough attention to the health of workers and inhabitants around its two uranium mines in Niger, Greenpeace said yesterday. The environmental lobby group called in a report for an independent radiation study to be conducted around the two mine sites at Arlit and Akokan in the country’s northwest and for the area to be decontaminated.

The Peninsula 29th March 2010 more >>

Belgium

A 250 million euro ($338 million) nuclear tax imposed by Belgium in 2008 and mainly paid by France’s GDF Suez is lawful, the top Belgian court ruled on Tuesday.

Interactive Investor 30th Mar 2010 more >>

Iran

A leading Iranian nuclear scientist has defected to the United States and is working with the CIA, ABC News reported late Tuesday.

Middle East Online 31st Mar 2010 more >>

Barack Obama warned yesterday that a conflict in the Middle East set off by Iran’s nuclear programme could destabilise the world economy as he and Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, stepped up a push for sanctions on Tehran.

FT 31st Mar 2010 more >>

Vietnam

The United States and Vietnam have signed an agreement that may pave the way for US firms to help build nuclear plants in the country as it strives to meet booming energy demand.

Morning Star 30th Mar 2010 more >>

US

Obama has recently taken one step toward a nuclear free world, and two steps away from it. First, the forward step. Last week, Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed to slash their strategic nuclear arsenals from 2,200 warheads each to 1,500. The U.S. and Russia will still have almost 20,000 warheads between them, but this step still deserves a big yay. In February, however, Obama took another step that will make it harder to rid the world of nuclear threats once and for all. He announced that the Department of Energy would provide $8 billion in loan guarantees to help a utility build two new reactors in Georgia. Materials and technologies for nuclear energy can be diverted into making nuclear weapons, either overtly or covertly.

Scientific American 30th Mar 2010 more >>

Miniature, mass-produced nuclear power plants, along with other alternative energy sources, can help the US address global warming, says Energy Secretary Steven Chu. Critics see that plan as raising the risk of proliferation of nuclear materials.

Christian Science Monitor 30th Mar 2010 more >>

Yucca Mountain

President Barack Obama’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future will have its first meeting this week. The commission, formed after Obama cancelled the Yucca Mountain spent nuclear fuel repository in January, is tasked with rebooting the country’s five-decade-plus effort to manage its high-level radioactive waste. The problems the commission will consider are far from new. In 1957 the National Academy of Sciences warned that “[t]he hazard related to radioactive waste is so great that no element of doubt should be allowed to exist regarding safety.”

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 24th Mar 2010 more >>

Disarmament

Our new video blog shows an interview with NIS Director Peter Burt about the implications of the new US-Russia START arms control treaty and the contradictions in President Obama’s arms control programme.

Nuclear Information Service 30th Mar 2010 more >>

Renewables

Europe could meet all its electricity needs from renewable sources by mid-century, according to a report released Monday by services giant PricewaterhouseCoopers. A “super-smart” grid powered by solar farms in North Africa, wind farms in northern Europe and the North Sea, hydro-electric from Scandinavia and the Alps and a complement of biomass and marine energy could render carbon-based fuels obsolete for electricity by 2050, said the report. The goal is achievable even without the use of nuclear energy, the mainstay of electricity in France, it said.

Bay Ledger 29th Mar 2010 more >>

If the road to a clean energy future seems too long, check your map. The debate about moving to a clean energy economy is over. The question is, how long will it take? Some posit “we shouldn’t expect” clean technologies to significantly dent fossil fuel use anytime soon. But while RMI agrees that new energy innovations in solar, wind and electric vehicles may take years to overtake existing products or technologies, there are several ways to make the road a bit shorter.

Rocky Mountain Institute 9th March 2010 more >>

Posted: 31 March 2010

30 March 2010

Wylfa and Oldbury

Britain’s next nuclear power station will be built on Anglesey, North Wales, under a £7.5 billion plan being drawn up by two of biggest energy providers in the UK. Horizon Nuclear Power, a joint venture owned by E.ON and RWE, is expected to make a formal announcement today on the lead site for its first new UK nuclear power station. A 232-hectare plot at Wylfa on the north coast of Anglesey has been chosen as the front-runner for the plant, due to enter service in 2020. Wylfa was selected over another, smaller site owned by the joint venture at Oldbury-on-Severn, South Gloucestershire, which Horizon hopes to develop later.

Times 30th Mar 2010 more >>

Times Graphic 30th Mar 2010 more >>

Telegraph 30th Mar 2010 more >>

BBC 30th Mar 2010 more >>

Nuclear Security

Serious concerns have been raised over the security of nuclear material in Britain despite official warnings that al-Qaeda terrorists are trying to build a nuclear or radiological bomb. Armed police could be withdrawn from two key nuclear sites after recommendations from a government regulator. The Civil Nuclear Constabulary, which is responsible for guarding nuclear sites, is in open conflict with the Office for Civil Nuclear Security which has said there is no requirement for armed officers at the sites. Some officers are also questioning whether there are enough police to guard the rest of the country’s 15 nuclear sites. One of the sites in Britain where police have concerns is at Springfields in Lancashire, used to produce nuclear fuel while the other, at Capenhurst in Cheshire, was once used to enrich uranium but is now used for the storage of nuclear materials. Sources have told the Daily Telegraph that Richard Thompson, the chief constable of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, is so concerned about the decision to withdraw armed officers that he has secretly reversed it.

Telegraph 30th Mar 2010 more >>

Chernobyl

To commemorate Chernobyl Day on April 26th Radiation Free Lakeland are asking children and adults to send in their drawings of other creatures such as Brown Bear, Grey Owl, Reindeer, Wolf and Lynx found in Finnish Lapland. Finnish Lapland is often described as one of Europe’s last true wilderness areas – with a rich diversity of wildlife and land based culture of the indigenous Sami people.

Radiation Free Lakeland 29th Apr 2010 more >>

Chapelcross

CHAPELCROSS has been stripped of its Magnox Depleted Uranium stores in a £6.5 million clean-up. This week the final 20 of more than 10,000 drums of MDU, which Chapelcross has been storing for Sellafield since the 1970s, left the site for its new home at Capenhurst. In the long term, the MDU has the potential to be re-used in the nuclear fuel cycle. Some 5,000 tonnes of the material, a product of reprocessing used Magnox nuclear fuel at Sellafield, was placed in interim storage at Chapelcross during the 1970s and 1980s.

Dumfries and Galloway Standard 26th Mar 2010 more >>

Energy Supplies

It is understood that the Government has decided against keeping national stocks of gas, which is the practice in some European countries such as Holland. The decision will be contained in a paper examining Britain’s security of gas supply. The decision flies in the face of a recommendation from its own adviser, Malcolm Wicks MP, who published a paper last August urging the Government to consider reserving storage space in offshore gas facilities owned by energy companies for UK needs. This would stop companies diverting gas supplies to other countries in the event of shortfall – which happened during the dispute between Russia and the Ukraine just over a year ago.

Telegraph 30th Mar 2010 more >>

Areva

After five years and 22m man hours, Finland’s newest nuclear reactor is finally taking shape. The vast circular walls of the 1600MW EPR being built by France’s Areva group rise from the ground like a modern day basilica. But inside the core chamber a vast crane stands idle, waiting to bring in the 458 tonne reactor vessel that has been lying nearby since January. Yet again, progress on the reactor at Okiluoto has fallen victim to a dispute between France’s state-owned group and its Finnish utility customer, TVO – this time over commissioning the plant, which is already three years behind schedule and more than 2bn ($2.6bn) over its 3bn budget. The delays are fuelling talk of the Areva chief’s exit.

FT 30th March 2010 more >>

Iran

Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox warned of the threat posed by a nuclear armed Iran and called for stronger sanctions.

Press and Journal 30th Mar 2010 more >>

Telegraph 30th Mar 2010 more >>

Arab and international experts at a meeting in Manama on Sunday proposed the establishment of a regional atomic energy body to include Iran and Iraq alongside the Arab monarchies of the Gulf. The meeting on nuclear technologies, in a final statement, said the new body could be fashioned along the lines of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The delegates also proposed a security accord for nuclear installations in the Gulf region, warning any separate atomic initiative could pose “a danger or even potential catastrophe for the inhabitants and environment of the region.”

Middle East Online 29th Mar 2010 more >>

India

The United States and India moved a step closer on Monday to getting American firms a share of India’s $150 billion nuclear energy market, completing negotiations on reprocessing spent nuclear fuel. The agreement on procedures, announced by the State Department, will enable Indian reprocessing of U.S.-originated nuclear material under the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards and is part of the countries’ bilateral civilian atomic pact. Monday’s announcement removed one hurdle to U.S. participation in the Indian nuclear market. However, a new cause for delay emerged on March 15, when opposition protests forced India’s government to shelve a crucial accident liability bill.

Reuters 29th Mar 2010 more >>

Russia

A reserve of low-enriched uranium is to be set up in Russia, according to an agreement the country made with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today. The 120 tonne stockpile, its maintenance and storage is to be entirely provided by Russia and held at the newly founded International Uranium Enrichment Centre at Angarsk. The IAEA said the value of the uranium was about $250 million. The idea is that any IAEA member country will be able to draw on the reserve if it were denied supply from the normal routes – apart from for technical or commercial reasons. In other words, any country employing nuclear power peacefully and in keeping with its obligations to the international community through the IAEA would not suffer supply disruption for political reasons.

World Nuclear News 29th Mar 2010 more >>

France

Electricite de France SA obtained five additional years from the government to finance the decommissioning of its nuclear plants. The power producer will have until 2016 to sell assets to pay for scrapping older nuclear facilities.

Bloomberg 29th Mar 2010 more >>

Climate Change

Hospitals, the energy industry, government agencies and other institutions should put new policies and programmes to a “climate adaptation test” akin to health and safety regulations, according to a new report by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. The report, titled Adapting Institutions to Climate Change, says the test is needed to ensure new projects take into account increasingly variable and extreme weather, as global warming continues. Candidates for adopting the test include coastal industries such as ports, power stations and oil installations – which would have to withstand storm surges and rising sea levels.

Guardian 30th March 2010 more >>

Fuel Poverty

The Government will miss its target to lift millions of vulnerable households out of fuel poverty by this year, MPs have warned. The Energy and Climate Change Committee also said a second goal to end fuel poverty among all homes by 2016 looked “increasingly difficult to hit”. Households are in fuel poverty if they spend more than 10 per cent of their income on heating rooms to a reasonable temperature. There were an estimated four million such households in the UK in 2007 the most recent year that figures were available double the number in 2004.

Times 30th Mar 2010 more >>

Posted: 30 March 2010

29 March 2010

Sizewell

So according to EDF having “abnormal readings” in the containment is “perfectly normal”. I don’t think that the plant should be allowed to reopen until local people have been given a full explanation of what happened so that we do not have to wait several years to find out the truth as happened with the Sizewell A cooling pond incident.

Shepperdine Against Nuclear Energy 26th Mar 2010 more >>

ENERGY bosses have refused to say when Sizewell B will be back up and running after it was shut down as a safety precaution – amid calls for more openness with members of the public. An investigation is being carried out at the power station after the nuclear reactor was taken off-line because of abnormal readings in the containment building.

Lowestoft Journal 26th Mar 2010 more >>

Iran

Iran has come under fresh international scrutiny after evidence emerged to suggest that the regime had secretly begun to construct two new nuclear enrichment plants. Western intelligence agencies are understood to have concluded that Tehran has escalated the covert elements of its nuclear programme, giving renewed impetus for a US-led push to tighten sanctions on Iran. The findings are partly based on anomalies in Tehran’s nuclear inventory that were recently identified by inspectors from the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Telegraph 29th Mar 2010 more >>

Independent 29th Mar 2010 more >>

Renewables

The government will receive another boost to its green manufacturing momentum this week when Siemens of Germany announces plans to create hundreds of jobs in Britain and invest more than £75m in a new wind turbine plant.

Guardian 29th Mar 2010 more >>

Brussels is pressing ahead with plans to establish an energy agency which is seen as a prototype European regulator. The body could eventually restrict national policymaking but could also give important impetus to North Sea wind power and developing a European “supergrid”.

Guardian 29th Mar 2010 more >>

Energy Efficiency

British Gas is to put smart meters in a million homes this year as part of an ambitious programme that will create 2,500 jobs and could cut household energy bills by at least £1 billion over the next ten years. The meters monitor energy consumption as it is used and send the information directly to suppliers over wireless networks. At the same time, a monitor placed prominently in the home shows customers exactly what they are using, encouraging them to switch off power-hungry appliances.

Times 29th Mar 2010 more >>

Our household agreed to take part in a smart metering trial organised by npower. The experience, while not yet as transformational as advocates of smart metering would have people believe, has nonetheless influenced the way we use energy.

Times 29th Mar 2010 more >>

Posted: 29 March 2010

28 March 2010

Energy Supplies

BRITAIN faces the worst energy crisis in Europe, according to the boss of one of the biggest power companies. “The country has to build two large plants or more every single year,” said Volker Beckers in his first interview since becoming chief executive of RWE Npower two months ago. “This has never happened in Britain’s history, so there’s no time to lose.” Homeowners will end up footing much of the estimated £200 billion bill for the new plants through higher energy prices. He expressed particular concern about the development of nuclear power, a central plank of the government’s low-carbon plans. As of now it gets no additional support while offshore wind, for example, receives renewable obligation certificates (ROCs), which in effect triple generators’ income from the projects. “Why discriminate against nuclear in favour of renewables?” said Beckers. “Why give offshore wind ROCs and make nuclear stand on its own feet?” Ministers have clung to the conviction that nuclear will be subsidy-free. Subsidy is only one aspect of the nuclear story that still needs to be worked out. Companies remain unclear how much they will have to pay into a nuclear waste clean-up fund, and when if ever a facility for deep geological disposal will be built.

Sunday Times 28th Mar 2010 more >>

Hinkley

STUDENTS at The West Somerset Community College in Minehead have won a national competition for a short film they made about nuclear energy. They looked at EDF’s plans for a new power station at Hinkley Point and considered how it would affect them, the local community, climate change and the environment.

Somerset County Gazette 27th Mar 2010 more >>

Dounreay

For more than half a century the futuristic dome of Dounreay nuclear power station has stood as one of the most iconic – and intimidating – coastal landmarks in Scotland. Now, despite last-ditch rescue attempts, it seems the imposing and eye-catching structure is doomed to be removed from the Caithness landscape forever. Although Dounreay is now defunct and set to be decommissioned, a public consultation over the future of the monumental structure has come up with a series of strange suggestions designed to save the building. Although the power station itself was far from loved, the famous ‘golf ball’, which once housed Britain’s experimental fast breeder reactor, has an important place in Scotland’s heritage.

Sunday Herald 28th May 2010 more >>

Radiation and Health

There is a “medium high risk” that land underneath a housing estate in Motherwell is contaminated with radioactivity and toxic metals, according to an expert report for North Lanarkshire Council. The report reinforces residents’ fears that their health is being harmed by pollution from a wartime munitions factory that used to be on the site near Watling Street.

Sunday Herald 28th Mar 2010 more >>

Submarines

BAE Systems has won a £127million ($189million) four-year contract to produce the specification for development and manufacture of a new class of British warship, Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said. Ainsworth said he had also agreed for BAE to start building the fifth of a planned seven Astute class submarines in Barrow-in-Furness, and begin procurement for the sixth, at a cost of over £300million. The warship contract was awarded after the government decided to proceed with the assessment phase for the Type 26 Combat ship, the Royal Navy’s next generation surface warship, Ainsworth said in a statement.

Daily Mail 26th Mar 2010 more >>

Energy Efficiency

The Carbon Trust’s Big Business Refit will tomorrow confirm that it has lent £60m to small and medium-sized companies. The firms have replaced old energy equipment and cut back on energy costs with interest-free loans of up to £500,000. Since last April more than 1,847 businesses have used the scheme. The Carbon Trust estimates that savings of £20m have now been made by SMEs because of the new kit.

Independent on Sunday 28th Mar 2010 more >>

Posted: 28 March 2010

27 March 2010

New Nukes

Mark Lynas: Of all the dangers of a hung parliament, the lights going out is not thought to be one of them. Yet this could be the perverse result, if the Liberal Democrats end up holding the balance of power and insist on halting the UK’s nuclear new-build programme as their condition for joining any cross-party coalition. Already, the heads of companies such as RWE npower are reconsidering nuclear investments and holding back until the political landscape becomes clearer. Simon Hughes would do well to consult Wade Allison. Allison’s new book looks at evidence from Chernobyl and Hiroshima, which demonstrates that very low doses of radiation are unlikely to have negative health effects, and may even be beneficial. (Of those who took a big hit in Chernobyl, roughly 50 died from radiation poisoning; others with lower doses have closer-to-normal mortality rates.)

New Statesman 26th Mar 2010 more >>

Anti-nuclear campaigners have welcomed criticism by the Commons Select Committee Energy Committee over the way plans for the country’s nuclear expansion are being handled. The Select Committee has called for a parliamentary debate on the National Policy Statements which underpins the proposals for new power stations. These include “potentially suitable” sites at Sellafield, Braystones and Kirksanton. The committee’s spokesman Paddy Tipping MP said: “The National Policy statements on energy will be crucial for delivering our energy and climate change objectives. “As ministers will no longer determine planning consent for nationally important infrastructure in the future, it is vital that the NPSs (new planning commission for considering power station applications) are underpinned by a full democratic mandate.” According to Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment, the Committee was being critical of “the government attempt to push through plans to build nuclear power stations and other UK sites”. CORE spokesman Martin Forwood declared: “In layman’s terms, the committee is pretty much describing the National Policy Statements and associated public consultation as a dog’s dinner.

Cumberland News 26th Mar 2010 more >>

Sizewell

Sizewell B power station had to be shut down as a safety precaution last week when higher than normal moisture levels were detected in a containment building. EDF Energy, which runs the facility, has confirmed a repair plan has been drawn up – although they have still declined to say exactly when it will be back up and running.

Ipswich Evening Star 26th Mar 2010 more >>

BBC 26th Mar 2010 more >>

ENERGY bosses have refused to say when Sizewell B will be back up and running after it was shut down as a safety precaution – amid calls for more openness with members of the public. An investigation is being carried out at the power station after the nuclear reactor was taken off-line because of abnormal readings in the containment building.

East Anglian Daily Times 26th Mar 2010 more >>

Hinkley

A NEW Hinkley Point nuclear power station is not needed and would leave an unacceptable radioactive waste legacy, according to a leading environmentalist. Jonathon Porritt voiced his views to a packed meeting of anti-nuclear campaigners who are opposing the scheme. Instead, he supports a Severn Estuary power-generating barrage as part of a sustainable alternative, in spite of its potential environmental and social costs.

This is Somerset 26th Mar 2010 more >>

Wylfa

Anglesey council executive has backed plans to create an Energy Island Team to see the island become a powerhouse for the north west Wales economy. The decision underlines the council’s commitment to its Energy Island vision, which would see Anglesey develop into a powerhouse for the north west Wales economy. The Anglesey Energy Island vision aims to create jobs through both nuclear and renewable energy projects.

News Wales 26th Mar 2010 more >>

Gordon Brown’s Government is keen to rescue the job market in Anglesey that has been badly hit by the closure of Rio Tinto’s smelting plant by turning the area into an “energy island”. That includes plans to push ahead with Wylfa B.

Daily Post 26th Mar 2010 more >>

Nuclear Waste

Plans to boost nuclear power hinge on overcoming intense public fears about radioactive waste — and mistrust that the government can safety store it — federal commissioners tasked to deal with the issue said on Friday. There’s little point in hammering out technical details about how to site a permanent nuclear waste dump without also convincing the public that storing waste won’t be a risk to health or the environment, argued Commissioner Albert Carnesale of the University of California at Los Angeles.

Reuters 26th Mar 2010 more >>

Germany

Germany’s government parties and ministries have agreed on a maximum lifespan for the country’s nuclear power plants, spokesmen confirmed today. Germany’s nuclear power plants will be able to run for up to 28 years in addition to the 32-year lifespan set by a left-Green government in 2000, according to an agreement by the chancellory, the economy and the environment ministries. According to the nuclear phase-out law of 2000 to be formally revised this year, the last nuclear power plant in Germany will go off line in 2023 at the latest.

Argus Media 26th Mar 2010 more >>

Disarmament

Russia and the US will sign their most comprehensive nuclear arms control agreement of the post-Cold War era in Prague next month, slashing their strategic warheads by a third, and making substantial cuts in missiles and other long-range delivery systems. The deal announced yesterday by Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev breaks years of deadlock but it is at least as important in diplomatic and political terms as in its purely military aspects. For Mr Obama, the new treaty is a foreign policy achievement to match his huge domestic victory this week in pushing through historic healthcare legislation and one that goes a long way to fulfil his administration’s pledge to “re-set” relations with its former superpower rival.

Independent 27th Mar 2010 more >>

Guardian 27th Mar 2010 more >>

Telegraph 27th Mar 2010 more >>

Daily Mail 27th Mar 2010 more >>

Aberdeen Press & Journal 27th Mar 2010 more >>

CND Press Release 26th Mar 2010 more >>

Mr Miliband said the UK was committed to a world without nuclear weapons and “stands ready” to take part in future multilateral disarmament talks. Campaigners CND urged world leaders to “build on this momentum”.

BBC 26th Mar 2010 more >>

Express 27th Mar 2010 more >>

The two countries have agreed on a new plan for offensive weapons, they differ on the subject of missile defence. The US hopes to install a shield of interceptor missiles in Europe to protect against potential attacks from countries like Iran. Russia suspects the shield is really there to block its own missiles, and in a separate, nonbinding statement has declared it reserves the right to withdraw from START if US missile defence plans seem to threaten its national security, the New York Times reports.

New Scientist 26th Mar 2010 more >>

The conclusion of a nuclear arms reduction agreement, after months of protracted and often fraught negotiations, suggest that relations between the US and Russia appear to be moving towards a position of grudging co-operation. The most important motive for the nuclear deal is the signal it seeks to send to the “great proliferators”, notably Iran. The Obama-Medvedev signing ceremony will be followed by two international conferences, on nuclear security and non-proliferation. Welcome though the deal is, the Americans and Russians are unlikely to make much immediate progress with the Iranians.

Guardian 27th Mar 2010 more >>

The repeated postponements of the publication of the US Nuclear Posture Review was partly due to the stand-off within the government, in which Biden has been pressing for a policy that minimises the scenarios under which America could resort to nuclear war, in opposition to Defense Secretary Robert Gates who wants to preserve the flexibility of the status quo. The traditional US policy has been “calculated ambiguity” – not allowing an enemy to know the precise circumstances in which he might provoke nuclear retaliation.

Telegraph 27th Mar 2010 more >>

Posted: 27 March 2010

26 March 2010

New Nukes

The government has officially confirmed plans for a new carbon levy on consumer bills which it hopes will make building new nuclear plants viable, as the Guardian revealed in October last year. Nuclear companies like EDF Energy have warned they will not make the billions of pounds of investment necessary in the UK without government financial guarantees. Speaking to the Guardian, the energy secretary, Ed Miliband, admitted that the energy market needed “radical reform”, but denied the plans amounted to subsidies for the nuclear industry. He insisted that all forms of low-carbon generation – nuclear plants, wind farms and clean coal plants – would benefit from the proposed changes.

Guardian 26th Mar 2010 more >>

Draft legislation, based on the proposals contained in the 2009 consultation document entitled ‘Consultation on the Restructuring of the Health and Safety Executive’s Nuclear Directorate’ has been published. The original consultation document, together with the Government response to the consultation and the full Impact Assessment is available.

DECC 25th Mar 2010 more >>

Consultation on a Fixed Unit Price methodology and updated cost estimates – the framework for setting a Fixed Unit Price for the disposal of intermediate level waste and spent fuel.

DECC 25th Mar 2010 more >>

Consultation on the financing of decommissioning and waste handling regulations – a consultation on the draft regulations that are derived from the Energy Act 2008, and a draft Order to make certain matters associated with a Funded Decommissioning Programme designated technical matters.

DECC 25th Mar 2010 more >>

Manufacturers have been urged to explore how their talents could be applied to the burgeoning nuclear industry by a firm who recently won a £250,000 contract to supply control panels for nuclear power stations. Assembly Solutions Ltd (ASL) is celebrating the award of the contract to supply the control panels to radiation detection company Canberra – part of the Areva group – which will use them for leak detecting equipment within power stations. ASL had diversified its perspective from being a specialist electrical cabling and wiring harnessing business to meet the growing demand from the nuclear industry.

The Manufacturer 25th Mar 2010 more >>

Low Level Waste

An appeal over the refusal of permission to store radioactive waste in Northamptonshire could have implications for the government’s nuclear strategy. Northamptonshire County Council considered an application last week from Augean Group to transport low-level radioactive waste from decommissioned nuclear sites to landfill. Members unanimously opposed the plans despite planning officers advising approval.

Planning 26th Mar 2010 more >>

BOSSES at a landfill site in Skelmersdale have hit back at claims it will soon store nuclear waste and that it poses a health risk to residents. Whitemoss Landfill Site Ltd, which runs the site on Whitemoss Road South, has been asked to look into expansion options as part of Lancashire County Council’s Mineral and Waste Development Framework. The first round of public consultation for the Framework, which outlines the council’s requirements and locations for mineral extraction and waste disposal until 2021, has just been completed. And the company is now highlighting its concerns about what it calls the “misinformation” that has been spread about its possible future plans. Last month, West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper urged residents to sign a petition on her website opposing the plans, saying Whitemoss was proposing to double in size and start storing nuclear waste at its facilities. Although she now accepts that only hazardous – not radioactive – waste will be stored at the site, she is standing by concerns about the long term health effects of the site, despite those concerns being at odds with Government research.

Skelmersdale Advertiser 25th 2010 more >>

Nuclear Costs

Nuclear energy is a highly competitive energy option for the production of baseload electricity, the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) have concluded in their latest joint study into generating costs.

World Nuclear News 25th Mar 2010 more >>

Springfields

Energy giant Westinghouse will take over the long-term management of a Lancashire nuclear fuel factory, the government has confirmed. Ministers gave the green light to a deal on Wednesday which will see the Springfields Fuels site, in Salwick near Preston, signed over to the firm from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The firm, a US subsidiary of Japan’s Toshiba, already operates the plant on behalf of the NDA but without the change the agency would have to stick to a plan to decommission the whole site and return it to green field by 2031. This new deal will see Westinghouse leasing the site on a long-term basis, giving it the security to invest into its future.

Lancashire Evening Post 25th Mar 2010 more >>

Sizewell

An investigation is today under way after energy bosses were forced to shut down Sizewell B, it has been revealed. The nuclear reactor, on the Suffolk coast south of Southwold, was taken offline last Wednesday after abnormal readings in the containment building sparked further inquiries.

Eastern Daily Press 25th Mar 2010 more >>

US

The lack of a permanent home for the nation’s radioactive waste is dampening prospects for a resurgence of the U.S. nuclear industry, federal commissioners said at their first public hearing on the subject. The Energy Department set up the panel of former Congressmen, academics, and business leaders after deciding to scrap the long delayed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump in Nevada. Commissioners said nuclear waste does not pose an immediate threat to the nation, but a plan on its disposal must be hatched to address the concerns average Americans have about expanding nuclear power.

Reuters 25th Mar 2010 more >>

Disarmament

Before the details of the deal have even been released, all 41 Republicans senators have put on record their determination to block ratification (which, being a treaty, requires 67 votes and thus seven Republican ones) unless the US “modernises” its ICBM force and delinks offensive weapons with missile defence. As the agreement with Russia has only been reached by recognising the relationship that exists between offensive weapons and missile defence, this condition alone is tantamount to tearing any new treaty up.

Guardian 26th Mar 2010 more >>

Iran

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday accused Western countries of stirring up a “fuss” about Tehran’s nuclear programme. “They are saying we are worried that Iran may be building a bomb,” Ahmadinejad said in a speech at the inauguration of a new dam in southwest Iran that was broadcast on state television. “But we are saying you have built it and even used it. So who should be worried? We or you? They are just making a fuss. They have ended up humiliating themselves.”

Middle East Online 25th Mar 2010 more >>

Energy Efficiency

A programme to “retrofit” homes with measures to make them more energy and water efficient and resilient to flooding is needed to help households cope with climate change, MPs said today. The environmental audit committee also warned that new housing developments should only get planning approval if they are designed to suit future changes in the climate, as part of efforts to make sure the UK adapts to rising temperatures. And there needs to be greater focus on “green infrastructure” including water storage, more trees and more open spaces which can tackle flash flooding and hot city summers, the committee said. A report by the committee of MPs warned efforts to adapt to a changing climate needed to be as much of a priority as cutting the greenhouse gas emissions which cause global warming.

Guardian 26th Mar 2010 more >>

The UK has committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the UK by 80pc by 2050 and yesterday the Treasury and the Department for Energy & Climate Change unveiled a report entitled Energy Market Assessment, outlining how the market will need to change to help “de-carbonise” the economy and enhance energy security. Published within the assessment is a “road map analysis” of how the country can achieve the target of an 80pc reduction in emissions. This analysis suggests that “ambitious energy demand reduction” is required. “Based on the analysis to date, total UK energy demand in 2050 will need to fall significantly (potentially by as much as 25pc lower relative to 2007 levels),” according to the report.

Telegraph 26th Mar 2010 more >>

Renewables

While executive chairman Jeremy Leggett should have been devoting 24 hours a day preparing for the busiest period of his commercial life, he has been forced to spend some of his time fighting off an unexpected assault by environmentalists in the Guardian blogosphere. The irony is that Legget t is an ex-Greenpeace employee and, as a former Imperial College geologist, a powerful and knowledgeable ally to the environment campaigners on a range of issues, including “peak oil” the point when global demand outstrips supply. The debate over whether the feed-in tariff costs too much for the expected carbon reductions rumbles on but even this “social entrepreneur”, who has always enjoyed a good tussle with more traditional foes, admits he has had enough of swapping increasingly fraught online words with George Monbiot, Chris Goodall and other notable greens.

Guardian 26th Mar 2010 more >>

The US conglomerate General Electric (GE) announced plans for an offshore wind turbine manufacturing plant in Britain, creating up to 2,000 jobs. The company said it had not yet decided where to build the facility, but its plans would result in about £100m being invested in Britain, creating clean energy jobs at both the new site and in the supply chain. The UK is well placed to harvest clean energy from powerful sea winds, but the closure of a Vestas plant on the Isle of Wight last August was highly embarrassing for ministers, leaving Britain without a significant turbine manufacturer.

Guardian 26th Mar 2010 more >>

Telegraph 26th Mar 2010 more >>

Posted: 26 March 2010

25 March 2010

New Nukes

UK lawmakers have heavily criticized the policy statements that the government had hoped would speed up planning decisions on new energy infrastructure. A report just published by the cross-party House of Commons Energy And Climate Change Committee calls for parliament to be given a vote on the statements.

Get Noticed Online 24th Mar 2010 more >>

The Select Committee has called for a Parliamentary Debate on the National Policy Statements which underpins the proposals for new power stations. These include “potentially suitable” sites at Sellafield, Braystones and Kirksanton. According to Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment, the Committee was being critical of “the government attempt to push through plans to build nuclear power stations and other UK sites”. CORE spokesman Martin Forwood declared: “In layman’s terms, the committee is pretty much describing the National Policy Statements and associated public consultation as a dog’s dinner. “It’s gratifying that the committee has picked up on and supported many of the nuclear issues that CORE and others have raised during the process particularly those affecting West Cumbria. Of relevance to West Cumbria was the committee’s particular condemnation of the late inclusion in the process of the greenfield sites of Kirksanton and Braystones which ‘prevented effective consultation on those sites’. “On new nuclear build, the Select Committee questions the government’s ‘robust assertion’ in the draft NPS that effective arrangements will be in place to manage the resulting radioactive waste.

Whitehaven News 24th Mar 2010 more >>

Investment in the country’s ageing nuclear power fleet could be in jeopardy, if the general election ends in a hung parliament, two energy trade associations told Reuters on Tuesday. “A hung parliament frightens me a bit. The only way it can be made to work is if all three main parties make a very strong pledge,” David Porter, the head of an association of companies likely to build new nuclear plants, said on the sidelines of an Energy Lectures briefing in London. “But it looks difficult when you realise nuclear power is going to be one of the solutions to Britain’s low carbon future and one of the parties is strongly opposed to nuclear power.” The Association of Electricity Producers members include energy companies EDF, RWE, and E.ON who, with others, have plans for new nuclear plants on 10 potential sites. “There has to be a concern about the Liberal Democrats ideological, and in our view irresponsible, views on nuclear power,” Jeremy Nicholson, director of the Energy Intensive Users Group, said.

Reuters 24th Mar 2010 more >>

Software-as-a-Service collaboration tool to help project teams build four low carbon UK nuclear power reactors UNIT4 Collaboration Software Limited, the recently crowned Business IT Service Provider of the Year, today announced that EDF Energy, the UK’s largest producer of electricity, is implementing its project collaboration system, BC 5.3, across its nuclear new build programme. 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.

Qube Magazine April 2010 more >>

British Energy

Ministers faced criticism today for selling the Government’s stake in Britain’s biggest nuclear energy generator and a major South West employer to French giant EDF without securing guarantees that the company would build new power stations in the UK.

Gloucester Citizen 24th Mar 2010 more >>

South West Business 24th Mar 2010 more >>

Carbon Price

The energy market will require significant reform to secure the investment in low-carbon electricity generation required beyond 2020, according to a policy review released alongside the Budget yesterday. In a series of measures to be put to UK electricity producers this year, the Department of Energy said additional payments could be made to low-carbon generators to reduce investment risk and lower costs and barriers to entry. Other measures would be to limit investment in high-carbon electricity generation through regulation, or to provide incentives to low-carbon generators. The proposals come after UK energy companies voiced concern that investment in low-carbon energy left producers exposed to volatility in the price of carbon emissions permits. Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF, the UK energy group, has called for government to introduce a price floor for carbon, while last week the Conservative party said it would introduce a carbon tax on generation to encourage investment in renewable and nuclear energy.

FT 25th Mar 2010 more >>

THE Conservative policy on energy is more likely to secure the multi-billion-pound investment required for the UK renewables industry than that of the Labour Government, according to the chief of the Spanish company that owns ScottishPower. In a notable break from his usual political neutrality, Iberdrola boss Ignacio Galan expressed a preference for a policy whose main difference with Labour is that it proposes to set a floor on the price of carbon. He added that there had to be big support for carbon sequestration and very clear support for nuclear power from the two main political parties. As usual he did not give a clear answer as to whether he thought that the same should apply to the SNP in Scotland, but his comments will put further pressure on First Minister Alex Salmonds policy of preventing any new nuclear stations from being built north of the border.

Herald 25th Mar 2010 more >>

Energy Finance

The 2bn green investment bank announced in the Budget is likely to attract between 10bn and 20bn in private sector investment in offshore wind, carbon capture and, in time, nuclear power, Paul Skinner, chairman of Infrastructure UK, said yesterday. The government has already concluded cutting- edge technologies such as offshore wind and carbon capture need support by the green bank to get off the ground quickly. It is studying options to encourage private sector investment in low-carbon generation, including nuclear energy. These include: providing generating companies with a premium above the wholesale market price; regulating to limit high-carbon generation; or providing a guaranteed revenue stream, which could mean regulators agree a fixed rate of return on low-carbon investments.

FT 25th Mar 2010 more >>

The Government is to create a 2bn Green Investment Bank to address the “equity gap” threatening investment in low-carbon infrastructure. The scheme will be funded by 1bn from the sale of assets such as the Channel Tunnel rail link, and another 1bn from the private sector. It will be open to all green infrastructure projects, but will focus on energy and transport projects in particular. Offshore wind is likely to be the most immediate priority, as Britain races to put up the 100bn-worth of offshore wind capacity needed to meet the 2020 carbon-reduction target. The Government is also putting up 60m for the development of ports hosting manufacturers of offshore wind turbines. Energy projects are such a focus because electricity is at the heart of plans to clean up heating and transport. Alongside the Green Investment Bank scheme, the Government also published a wider review of Britain’s electricity market. The report offers a “clear direction of travel” for the reforms needed to secure the investments, said Ed Miliband, the Energy Secretary. “The Energy Market Assessment is about incentives; the Green Investment Bank is about liquidity and risk,” Mr Miliband said. “If we get the incentives right, there can still be issues about whether the private sector can come up with sufficient resources to invest, and that is where the Green Investment Bank can make a difference.

Independent 25th Mar 2010 more >>

The Government set out plans today to create a green investment bank to help to boost investment in low-carbon sources of electricity, including giant offshore wind parks. John Sauven, the Greenpeace executive director, said: “This bank can provide the jolt that brings Britain’s economy back to life, but only if it’s here to stay. It will need a similar injection of public funding every year if we’re to see the scale of private investment required to transform our energy system.

Times 25th Mar 2010 more >>

Sizewell

AN INVESTIGATION is under way after energy bosses were forced to shut down Sizewell B, it has been revealed. The nuclear reactor was taken off line last Wednesday after abnormal readings in the containment building sparked further inquiries. The incident is expected to cost EDF Energy hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Ipswich Evening Star 25th Mar 2010 more >>

Sellafield

Green Door Studio artists have recovered after the fire which ripped through the studios in February to produce artworks making up The Big

Inspiration previously featured on Get Noticed Online. One of the artworks is called ‘The Sea Birds Warning’. The mermaid is alluring and desirable but the sea birds know otherwise and are calling out a warning. The painting is dedicated to the hundreds of dead sea birds classified as nuclear waste and held in large freezers at Sellafield”

Get Noticed Online 24th Mar 2010 more >>

UNPRECEDENTED security checks are to be carried out at Sellafield to help safeguard both the site and the country against the threat of terrorism. It means that for the first time, Sellafield, which holds one of the world’s biggest stockpiles of plutonium, will open its gates to inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Authority.

Whitehaven News 24th Mar 2010 more >>

Cumbria

ENERGY Secretary Ed Miliband will be outlining the Government’s plans to drive towards a low carbon economy at a special conference at Westlakes Science Park. Lifestyle Choice – Climate Change and Low Carbon Transition is the theme of the 2010 West Cumbria Community Conference. It takes place on Friday and Mr Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, will join the conference via a weblink. He will talk about the challenges ahead as the UK and its international partners join together to combat the effects of climate change. Copeland MP Jamie Reed and Workington MP Tony Cunningham are also due to address the conference, which runs from 9am to 3pm at the Samuel Lindow Building, UCLan at Westlakes. Mr Reed will talk about the Climate Change Action Plan for England’s Northwest.

Whitehaven News 24th Mar 2010 more >>

Uranium

Toshiba and Westinghouse Electric Company have formed a new joint venture, Advance Uranium Asset Management (AUAM) to strengthen Toshiba Group’s capabilities in the nuclear front end business segments and enhance the range of support services extended to utilities around the world. Uranium related transactions in the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle will be undertaken by the UK based AUAM, which is 60% owned by Toshiba and the rest by Westinghouse.

Energy Business Review 24th Mar 2010 more >>

Yucca

The U.S. Energy Department’s push to scrap a long-planned national nuclear waste dump in Nevada has run into stiff opposition as lawmakers on Wednesday questioned the Obama administration’s decision.

Reuters 24th Mar 2010 more >>

US

One of the most promising areas is small modular reactors (SMRs) – less than one-third the size of current plants, and could be made in factories and easily transported to sites ready to “plug and play” upon arrival. The modular construction process makes them more affordable by reducing capital costs and construction times. SMRs could “significantly expand the options for nuclear power and its applications,” said Chu. “Their small size makes them suitable to small electric grids so they are a good option for locations that cannot accommodate large-scale plants.

The Engineer 24th Mar 2010 more >>

Disarmament

Russia and the US are on the verge of agreeing a much delayed nuclear arms control treaty, officials from both countries signalled on Wednesday. The deal would replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which expired on December 5 last year, and would require each side to reduce its nuclear arsenal by about a quarter.

FT 25th Mar 2010 more >>

Daily Mail 25th Mar 2010 more >>

Guardian 25th Mar 2010 more >>

Telegraph 25th Mar 2010 more >>

Fusion

Radiation-free nuclear fusion could be possible in the future claim a team of international scientists. This could lead to development of clean and sustainable electricity production. Despite the myriad of solutions to the energy crisis being developed, nuclear fusion remains the ultimate goal as it has the potential to provide vast quantities of sustainable and clean electricity. But nuclear energy currently comes with a serious environmental and health hazard side effect – radiation. For fusion to gain widespread acceptance, it must be able to produce radiation-free energy but the key to this has so far remained elusive, explains Heinrich Hora at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

Chemistry World 24th Mar 2010 more >>

Posted: 25 March 2010

24 March 2010

New Nukes

Irish Green party politician Mark Dearey has called for a debate over plans to build a string of next generation nuclear power stations along Britain’s west coast amid concerns over possible design faults. Senator Dearey, speaking in the Irish parliament he called for a house debate and investigation by the nuclear safety watchdog the UK Nuclear Installations Inspectorate into “the assertion that this reactor design is fundamentally unsafe”. The minister spoke after French anti-nuclear campaigners claimed to have unearthed confidential documents leaked by an insider at French electricity company EDF showing tests on third-generation reactors show defects that could lead to “Chernobyl-type accident”.

Edie 23rd March 2010 more >>

Alistair Darling will place nuclear and wind power today at the heart of efforts to lead Britain into sustained growth as he sets out the choices voters face in the coming election. The Chancellor will use the Budget to try to “unlock private sector investment” to boost jobs and help to harness the energy sources of the future. He will seek to use government support for private companies as a key election dividing line, portraying Labour as safe custodians of a recovery that is as yet too fragile to trust to the Conservatives. One of the main thrusts of Mr Darling’s pre-election statement will be to promise a range of inducements where government will act as a catalyst for private sector projects.

Times 24th March 2010 more >>

Alistair Darling’s proposed eco-bank is meant to be big enough to make headline news on Budget day, but a capitalisation of £2bn (of which half is public money)? That’s a drop in the green ocean. In these days of throwaway nine-zero figures, £2bn will only buy two-thirds of a nuclear power station and we’re going to need ten of them. Then there’s the two giant wind turbines that will need to be installed off the UK’s coast every day for the next decade, a raft of gas-fired power stations to back them up and some hi-tech clean coal plants costing more than £1bn each that haven’t even been invented yet.

Telegraph 24th March 2010 more >>

The most recent example of Labour’s new found taste for market intervention came earlier this week with the announcement that Sheffield Forgemasters would be given an £80m government loan to build parts for Britain’s next generation of nuclear power stations. Forget the size of the loan for a moment. The significance is the government’s investment to help steer a traditional industry into a new market – new nuclear. So perhaps here is the most fertile – the most likely – ground for the chancellor to be seen to, as he put it, “lay the foundations for growth”. There has been speculation that Mr Darling will create a new £1bn fund for bio-tech and green-tech industries. The question is what will this industrial activism mean for East Anglia? The region is well placed to exploit the economic potential of green energy by virtue of the multi-million pound programme of offshore wind farm construction a few miles of the East Anglian coast? But regional and local authorities all the way up to the North East – dare I say with a higher proportion of Labour MPs – are making a similar case for support. However, a new nuclear power station, Sizewell C, looks likely at Leiston, with the potential to create thousands of jobs during the construction phase alone.

Eastern Daily Press 24th March 2010 more >>

Letter Dr Gerry Wolff: The suggestion that “40 new nuclear power stations” might be needed to meet climate targets (report, March 18) is out of step with several published reports. Research in Scientific American shows that renewables can meet 100 per cent of the world’s energy needs, not just electricity, and that it is technically feasible to do it by 2030. The US National Academy of Sciences published a report last year showing that wind power could supply more than 40 times current worldwide consumption of electricity, and more than five times total global use of energy in all forms. A consortium of blue-chip companies, the Desertec Industrial Initiative, has been formed to develop the colossal potential of solar and wind power in desert regions. It aims to supply 15 per cent of Europe’s electricity demand by 2050. Nuclear power is one of the most expensive ways of generating electricity.

Telegraph 24th March 2010 more >>

British Energy

The Government’s sale of British Energy to France’s EDF was a good price but a bad deal, an influential committee of MPs will conclude this morning. The state received 4.4bn for its 36 per cent stake of the nuclear operator out of a total 12.5bn price tag thanks to peak energy prices at the time of the contract, says the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). But the deal has done little to address the danger of energy shortages from 2016 as demand rises and obsolete power stations are retired.

Independent 24th Mar 2010 more >>

In an extremely critical report, the Public Accounts Committee attacked the Government’s failure to get a guarantee from EDF that it would build nuclear stations without subsidy when selling its 36pc stake in January 2009 for £4.4bn. The cross-party group of MPs, which holds government spending to account, criticised the “systemic weakness” at the heart of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and its approach to risk that could cause “serious liabilities to fall to the public purse”.

Telegraph 24th Mar 2010 more >>

National Policy Statements

A critical report on the Government’s attempt to rush through plans to build new nuclear power stations in West Cumbria and other UK sites is published today by the Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change. The National Policy Statements (NPS) launched by Government for public consultation on 9th November 2009, already highly criticised by consultees for their complexity and the short timescale for consultation, have been similarly criticised by the Committee who noted a range of significant concerns about the Government’s consultation process and advised that the NPS ‘must be improved if they are to serve their purpose successfully’ .

CORE Press Release 23rd Mar 2010 more >>

The government’s consultation into the draft energy NPSs failed to adequately engage the public while the statements themselves contain significant flaws, a report has claimed today. The report, by the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee, says the late publication of the NPSs constrained the time available for parliamentary scrutiny and public engagement, particularly in relation to greenfield nuclear sites. The Committee calls for a debate on an amendable motion, offering the possibility of a vote, preferably before the end of the current Parliament, or at the earliest opportunity in the next Parliament.

Planning 22nd March 2010 more >>

Government plans to hold Britain’s nuclear waste in storage for 160 years before burying it permanently underground were condemned as “bizarre” yesterday. Paddy Tipping, acting chairman of the Parliamentary Energy and Climate Change Committee, made the remarks as the cross-party group published a highly critical report on the Government’s handling of recent UK energy policy. He said that the Department for Energy and Climate Change had failed to consult MPs or the public properly on a range of matters, including the handling of spent nuclear fuel, and he called for a full parliamentary vote, preferably before the general election that is expected on May 6. Mr Tipping told The Times it was “rather odd” that Britain was pressing ahead with a fleet of new nuclear reactors the first of which is due to enter service in 2017 at Hinkley Point in Somerset with only a vague idea of what would happen to their waste. “It’s really not good planning is it?” he said. “There really needs to be greater debate about this.”

Times 23rd March 2010 more >>

UK lawmakers have heavily criticized the policy statements that the government had hoped would speed up planning decisions on new energy infrastructure. A report published Tuesday by the cross-party House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee calls for parliament to be given a vote on the statements, asks the government to review its projections of future power and gas supplies, and slams the lack of public consultation on the documents. The report may raise concern in the energy industry about the ability of the government to get its new infrastructure planning system in action, raising the possibility of further delay for new nuclear power plants and gas storage facilities.

Platts 23rd March 2010 more >>

Scotland

There is of course another reason the London parties don’t want the SNP in the leaders debates. They know we offer an alternative to their cosy consensus. A consensus on cuts that will see the pain inflicted this year whether it is Gordon or David in Number 10. The wrong cuts at the wrong time – that is their foolish agenda. A cosy consensus on Trident. The extent of their disagreement is whether we have three new submarines or four new submarines. But we say – no nuclear submarines, no nuclear missiles, no weapons of mass destruction on the River Clyde. Theirs is a consensus on nuclear power. On nuclear dumping.

Independent 22nd March 2010 more >>

Terror

The risk of a dirty bomb blast at the London Olympics is a very real danger and intelligence chiefs are working flat out to prevent it, Lord West said. Gaps in the capabilities of the security services have been identified in the first counter-terrorism strategy to prevent a ‘dirty bomb’ attack in the UK.

Metro 23rd Mar 2010 more >>

Chapelcross

The last of more than 10,000 drums of Magnox depleted uranium (MDU) has left a nuclear plant being decommissioned. Some 5,000 tonnes of the material was placed in interim storage at the Chapelcross site in Dumfries and Galloway during the 1970s and 1980s. It was identified by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) as a “major hazard” at the plant. It has now been transferred to the Capenhurst facility in Cheshire in an operation costing £6.5m.

BBC 24th March 2010 more >>

Wylfa

Horizon is investigating heavy lorry routes on Anglesey.

Horizon Press Release 23rd Mar 2010 more >>

Uranium

Greenpeace marks World Water Day by reminding us all of the places around the world where drinking water supplies have been put at risk by the nuclear industry.

Greenpeace Nuclear Reaction 22nd Mar 2010 more >>

Sellafield

A computer modelling system able to accurately identify areas of high radiation has been used to complete an 18-month characterisation project at the Sellafield nuclear site. The N-Visage technology, funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and developed by REACT Engineering, was used by site engineers to predict potential sources of radiation in the plant’s shear cell, where fuel is sheared prior to being dissolved.

The Engineer 24th Mar 2010 more >>

Proliferation

Article IV of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) recognises the right of the parties to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Civil nuclear power enables developing countries to source the low-carbon energy they need to underpin sustainable development. Nuclear Power is a proven technology which generates low carbon electricity, is affordable, dependable, safe, and capable of increasing diversity of energy supplies. Nuclear power is thus an essential part of any global solution to the challenges of climate change and energy security.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office March 2010 more >>

Mini Nukes

A startup firm funded in part by Bill Gates is in talks with Toshiba about creating small, efficient, nuclear energy reactors that are fueled not by treacherous uranium-235 or plutonium-239, but by relatively benign uranium-238.

The Register 24th March 2010 more >>

Business Green 24th Mar 2010 more >>

BBC 23rd Mar 2010 more >>

Middle East

On Wednesday night, in London, there is a rare chance to engage in dialogue with Israelis and Palestinians on the issue of ridding the Middle East of nuclear weapons.With a US president who won the century-long battle for universal healthcare in one year, it would be rash to dismiss serious progress towards two of his other stated goals, the Middle East peace process and the abolition of nuclear weapons. On these issues, Bill Clinton’s officials were wont to say “we agree with you, but the time is not right”. Obama seems to follow Franklin Roosevelt’s line of “you’ve convinced me, now pressure me”.

Guardian 24th Mar 2010 more >>

Iran

Russia and China have quietly made clear to the Iranian government they want Tehran to change its approach to the nuclear issue and accept a U.N. atomic fuel offer, Western diplomats said on Tuesday.

Reuters 23rd Mar 2010 more >>

Italy

The Enel-EDF joint venture Sviluppo Nucleare Italia will propose three sites for potential new nuclear reactor construction by early next year, SNI CEO Francesco de Falco said Monday

Platts 22nd Mar 2010 more >>

Sweden

The centre-right Swedish government unveiled legislation on 22 March to allow the construction of new nuclear reactors, in a bid to replace the ten ageing ones that still produce about 40% of the country’s electricity. The government’s push to overturn a 30-year-old ban on building new nuclear reactors will test how much green concerns over atomic power still resonate in a modern European country seeking cheap and carbon-free electricity. The context of the move is highly politicised with parliamentary elections due on 19 September.

World Business Council for Sustainable Development 23rd Mar 2010 more >>

Russia

Russia’s Volgodonsk nuclear power plant has increased its capacity to 2,000MW after the new 1,000MW unit 2 was brought on line on 18 March. The new unit will work at 35-50pc of capacity until the end of May and will increase its load to 100pc by the end of October, according to state-run nuclear power producer and plant owner Energoatom. Unit 1 of the Volgodonsk plant is operating at 86pc of capacity at present.

Argus Media 23rd Mar 2010 more >>

US

A public opinion poll in the USA shows that support for the use of nuclear power has reached a record high of over 60%. However, a separate poll of “opinion formers” in the USA and six European countries shows that, while support for nuclear is high, dealing with used nuclear fuel remains a concern.

World Nuclear News 23rd Mar 2010 more >>

Renewables

Leaving aside the fact that the only way any wind farm would ever hit “full power” was if the UK was buffeted by high winds for an entire year, it is almost certainly the case that some wind farms have performed poorly, just as some nuclear and coal power plants have delivered very low levels of efficiency. But, equally some wind farms will have performed very well, far exceeding average outputs – that after all is how averages work. Why did the Sunday Times fail to offer a more balanced view, providing similarly in-depth information on the wind farms that are working well and delivering an increasing proportion of the UK’s energy mix?

Business Green 22nd March 2010 more >>

Posted: 24 March 2010

23 March 2010

New Nukes

Launching the Tories’ energy policy in July 2006, David Cameron, gave a convincing and well-reasoned argument explaining why nuclear power must be a “last resort”. Later that year he described Labour’s enthusiasm for nuclear power as “irresponsible”. As Cameron rightly pointed out: “The problems of nuclear waste haven’t been dealt with. They have got to be dealt with in order to make any new investment possible.” Four years on, we’re no closer to finding out how to deal with highly toxic nuclear waste and the Tory leader’s point stands as strong as ever. But unfortunately, the Tories no longer seem to care. Indeed, the Tories’ new green paper on energy security shows remarkable dexterity in rewriting history, now criticising the Labour government for dragging its feet before finally coming round to support new nuclear.

Guardian 23rd Mar 2010 more >>

The Energy and Climate Change (ECC) Committee said the plans for nuclear power stations have failed to consider the issue of radioactive waste, while other major energy projects may not even be necessary. The influential cross party group said Parliament should have a right to vote on the plans before new power plants and pylons are built across the countryside.

Telegraph 23rd Mar 2010 more >>

Predictions of the amount of CO2 pumped out by new power plants and clearer plans for disposing of nuclear waste should be published by energy companies, according to a group of MPs.

Telegraph 23rd Mar 2010 more >>

Companies

Japan’s Toshiba Corp said it is in talks with a company backed by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates to jointly develop advanced nuclear reactors, helping push Toshiba’s stock up nearly 5 percent.

Reuters 23rd Mar 2010 more >>

Bloomberg 23rd Mar 2010 more >>

Babcock International appears to have triumphed in its pursuit of rival defence services firm VT Group. The two sides have reached agreement on a £1.326bn bid which, if it goes through, would create a new UK defence giant on the scale of BAE Systems.

Guardian 23rd Mar 2010 more >>

Terror

Britain faces an increased threat of a nuclear attack by al-Qaeda terrorists following a rise in the trafficking of radiological material, a government report has warned.

Telegraph 23rd Mar 2010 more >>

Daily Mail 23rd Mar 2010 more >>

Independent 23rd Mar 2010 more >>

Uranium

According to a new report, the uranium conversion market, which was worth $0.7 billion in 2009, will be worth $1.4 billion by the end of 2020. It will expand at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 6.6% over the period, increasing by almost 2% in volume. The enrichment and fabrication markets will grow in volume by 1.4% over the same period.

Nuclear Engineering International 22nd Mar 2010 more >>

Wylfa

FRENCH anti-nuclear campaigners claim a potential new power plant that is one of two identified for Wales could cause a “Chernobyl-type accident”. R seau Sortir du Nucl aire, the Network for Nuclear Phase-out, claims leaked documents from lectricit de France show their European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) presents a serious accident risk. The warning is the latest in a series of concerns to be raised about plans to replace North Wales’ existing Wylfa nuclear power plant on Anglesey.

Western Mail 22nd Mar 2010 more >>

Nuclear Skills

While US organizations have agreed to help the United Arab Emirates (UAE) establish an institute for training its nuclear energy workers, Russia has signed an agreement to help Vietnam train its nuclear workforce.

World Nuclear News 22nd Mar 2010 more >>

Stewart Brand

Environmentalist, thinker, mover, shaker. If it was “happening” in the sixties and seventies, Stewart Brand was there. Now he tells Liz Else why green ideology is flawed and nuclear power and slums are good.

New Scientist 22nd Mar 2010 more >>

Scotland

SCOTLAND will benefit from an extra 60,000 jobs as a result of a green revolution that will sweep the country over the next ten years, according to a major new report. An average of 500 jobs will be created every month until 2020 in sectors ranging from offshore wind power to carbon capture technology. The study highlights for the first time how Scotland can capitalise on its natural advantages to make the most of the potential economic benefits of green business. Unveiling the report produced with the support of several public agencies finance secretary John Swinney said the opportunities were “vast”.

Scotsman 23rd Mar 2010 more >>

Pakistan

Pakistan wants the US to provide it with nuclear technology for a civilian programme and is to push the Obama administration this week for a deal. Islamabad seeks a civilian nuclear deal to mirror the package granted to India by George Bush, a proposal that would prove contentious in Washington, given Pakistan’s uneven record on combating extremist groups and its sale of nuclear technology to states hostile to the west, led by the former head of its programme, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan.

Guardian 23rd Mar 2010 more >>

The Pakistan government has said it wishes to question the shamed nuclear scientist A Q Khan over fresh claims that he tried to sell nuclear weapon technology to both Iraq and Iran. In a petition before a court in Lahore, the government applied for permission to interrogate the “godfather” of the country’s nuclear programme and prevent him from further speaking publicly about sensitive issues. The move follows the recent publication of two articles in a US newspaper which provided further details to longstanding allegations that Dr Khan – with the knowledge of the Pakistan military – was involved in efforts to illicitly transfer the technology to Iran and Iraq.

Independent 23rd Mar 2010 more >>

China

China’s nuclear power generating capacity will grow to at least 70 to 80 gigawatts (GW) by 2020, an energy official was quoted as saying on Monday by the Xinhua News Agency, twice the level in earlier plans. China previously said it would have 40 GW of installed nuclear capacity and 18 GW under construction by 2020, but government and industry officials have repeatedly urged a higher target to speed up clean energy sources and reduce the country’s reliance on coal.

Reuters 22nd Mar 2010 more >>

Disarmament

Sandra Butcher, Pugwash: Gordon Brown told the Foreign Press Association in London on Friday that he would highlight the upcoming “moments of opportunity and challenge”. He said we “must now urgently do more to build upon that brief moment of collective international will”, and he reminded us that “global problems need global solutions”. Despite this rhetoric, and earlier UK statements promoting the ultimate goal of a nuclear weapons-free world, in reality Brown’s comments on nuclear weapons were tepid, sadly leaving him in some ways behind the Tory party lines as discussed by shadow foreign minister David Lidington last week at the Royal Society. There was certainly no sign that Brown intends to encourage his government to show transformative leadership in this area.

Greenpeace 22nd Mar 2010 more >>

Guardian 22nd Mar 2010 more >>

George Monbiot: Sharing our nuclear deterrence with France is out of the question. Last week the government slapped down a French offer to reduce the costs of our submarine patrols by taking turns to prowl the same seas rather than duplicating the effort and occasionally crashing into each other. This proposal, it said, would cause “outrage”, on the grounds that it’s an unacceptable erosion of sovereignty. Using a system leased from the United States, on the other hand, presents no such difficulty. When the government says our sovereignty is threatened, it means that another nation might disrupt the orders it receives from Washington.

Guardian 22nd Mar 2010 more >>

Faslane

A navy marine smuggled a woman into Scotland’s nuclear submarine base in the boot of his car. The Ministry of Defence said it was carrying out disciplinary proceedings following the incident at Faslane high security base. It is understood the serviceman was caught with the woman as he escorted her back out of the base on March 12. The MoD confirmed military police had interviewed the marine.

STV 22nd Mar 2010 more >>

Posted: 23 March 2010

22 March 2010

New Nukes

A new type of nuclear reactor that could permanently “destroy” atomic waste is being developed by French scientists, according to the chief executive of Areva, the world’s largest nuclear energy company. Anne Lauvergeon told The Times that the French group was developing a technology to burn up actinides highly radioactive uranium isotopes that are the waste products of nuclear fission inside a reactor. The technology could be critical in winning greater global public support for nuclear energy and cutting emissions of carbon dioxide.

Times 22nd Mar 2010 more >>

Nuclear Subsidy

Alastair Darling will use the proceeds from the state sell-off of the Channel Tunnel rail link to pay for a £2bn green infrastructure fund, in a budget designed to help business and tackle Britain’s emerging energy crisis, Treasury sources said tonight. The projects likely to benefit from the fund will include low-carbon cars, wind energy, green waste projects and a new generation of nuclear power stations. Darling will claim that the fund will create 400,000 low-carbon jobs by 2015.

Guardian 22nd Mar 2010 more >>

Alistair Darling will use the Budget to announce the creation of a new state bank, backed by £2bn of public and private cash, which will help finance companies planning to build green energy projects and high-speed rail links. The venture is designed as a key plank in the Chancellor’s platform for building growth and investment over the next decade.

Telegraph 22nd Mar 2010 more >>

The money would go towards new nuclear power stations, renewable energy schemes – such as wind farms and solar power – and developing new rail routes. The Government believes an extra 400,000 “green jobs” can be created over the next five years in the drive to cut Britain’s CO2 emissions.

Independent 22nd Mar 2010 more >>

Energy Supply

The UK faces at least two years of peak-time power cuts in five years, despite the Conservatives’ pledge to revive nuclear power. The Tories’ energy policy was published Friday, and while a revived nuclear commitment provides some of the promised “energy security”, it won’t come in time. And amazingly, the party has committed to prop up the carbon price.

The Register 21st Mar 2010 more >>

Oldbury

A DESERTED building near the possible site of a new nuclear power station is to be demolished because of fears about safety and national security. A Prior Notification of Demolition has been made to South Gloucestershire Council for a property on Shepperdine Road, Oldbury.

Gloucestershire Gazette 21st Mar 2010 more >>

One new nuclear power station would be opened every 18 months under a Conservative blueprint to avoid the first widespread electricity blackouts since the 1970s. Shadow energy spokesman Greg Clark told the Daily Mail there would be ‘no limit’ on the expansion of nuclear power under a Tory government.

Stop Oldbury 21st Mar 2010 more >>

Cumbria

The Parish News (Levens, Heversham and Milnthorpe) dropped on the mat the other day. Inside is an article on the Nuclear Discussion Day at Carlisle Cathedral. I was there and the Parish News article is a tad biased. Even the space devoted to Supporters of Nuclear Energy (SONE) is twice that given to those questioning the need/safety/ethics of new build.

Westmorland Gazette 20th Mar 2010 more >>

Renewables

THE first detailed study of Britain’s onshore wind farms suggests some treasured landscapes may have been blighted for only small gains in green energy. The analysis reveals that more than 20 wind farms produce less than a fifth of their potential maximum power output.

Sunday Times 21st Mar 2010 more >>

Billy Wolfe Obituary

In the early 1960s he was active in CND, campaigning against the arrival of a US Polaris fleet of nuclear weapons on the Clyde, and became Scottish CND’s treasurer for four years from 1982. His early CND activity coincided with a period in Scottish politics when nationalism found itself able to co-exist with much of the Scottish left on issues such as nuclear disarmament. Wolfe recognised the advantages in persuading the SNP to be anti-nuclear, which it remains today, and to position itself to the left of centre, where his party and his successors as leaders have found themselves at ease.

Guardian 22nd Mar 2010 more >>

Posted: 22 March 2010