News May 2010

31 May 2010

Energy Supplies

A proposed levy on power suppliers that could add £10-20 to a typical household’s annual electricity bill is being considered by the Treasury, The Times has learnt. Officials are attracted by the idea of an electricity tax that would help to create a fund to finance green power projects. The tax could generate capital for the Lib-Con Government’s proposed green investment bank and is being debated within Whitehall as concern mounts over the reluctance of power companies to commit funds to new power generation projects. Within the past month, three gas-fired power stations have been suspended because the projects were uneconomic.The Government wants a third of Britain’s power to come from renewables but weakening enthusiasm among utilities for building conventional fossil fuel plants is highlighting the greater burden of financing more expensive nuclear and renewable power projects.

Times 31st May 2010 more >>

North Korea

You lead a rising economic superpower, with ambitions for global political power. You have pledged to pursue a “peaceful rise” and to work through the United Nations wherever possible to maintain international stability. Out of the blue, your unruly neighbour, an ally and quasi-dependant for the past 60 years, torpedoes a warship of its own neighbour, killing 46 sailors, and then, when accused of this crime, threatens all-out war. What do you do? Virtually nothing, is China’s answer so far, for that is the superpower and the neighbour is North Korea.

Times 31st May 2010 more >>

The Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao, today warned of an urgent need to defuse tensions on the Korean peninsula, but appeared to brush off calls to take a tougher line towards North Korea.

Guardian 31st May 2010 more >>

NPT

many countries at the meeting, held every 5 years, are calling for action on an underappreciated but pressing risk: getting rid of the legacy of hundreds of research reactors, mainly civilian, that use weapons-grade highly enriched uranium (HEU). The total quantity of HEU in research reactors is small compared with military stocks, but still amounts to a few hundred tonnes more than enough to pose a threat, as a nuclear bomb can be made with just a few dozen kilograms. Security can often be lower at research reactors, which are typically operated by universities and civilian labs, raising fears that nuclear material could fall into the hands of terrorists.

Nature 25th May 2010 more >>

Israel

Israeli leaders have mounted a concerted effort to defend the country’s policy of “nuclear ambiguity” after 189 countries backed a United Nations declaration calling for a Middle East without nuclear weapons and demanding international inspections of Israeli nuclear facilities. Issuing a sharp reaction to the closing statement of a UN conference to review the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, which ended on Friday, the Israeli government called the resolution “deeply flawed and hypocritical” and said it “ignores the realities of the Middle East and the real threats facing the region and the entire world”.

FT 31st May 2010 more >>

Morning Star 30th May 2010 more >>

Posted: 31 May 2010

30 May 2010

New Nukes

CHRIS HUHNE, the Liberal Democrat energy secretary, last night signalled a softening of his opposition to nuclear power, insisting he was no “ideological ayatollah”. Huhne, who once described nuclear power as a “failed” technology, claimed that plants would be built despite the government’s refusal to subsidise the industry. “It is very clear from the coalition agreement that there will be a new generation of nuclear power,” he said in an interview with The Sunday Times. He said the likely rise in gas and oil prices over the next few years would make nuclear more attractive to private finance. “They are looking at the likely rise in the carbon price. That will provide an incentive to all low-carbon and zero-carbon forms of energy.”

Sunday Times 30th May 2010 more >>

Radhealth

Scotlands first, longest and most disputed Freedom of Information case has ended up keeping vital cancer statistics secret. After two investigations by the Scottish information commissioner, Kevin Dunion, plus appeals to the Court of Session in Edinburgh and the House of Lords in London, numbers that might shed light on the links between childrens blood cancer and radioactive pollution have been kept under wraps. The Scottish Green Party, which made the original request, is frustrated and annoyed. The Scottish Health Service, which fought to keep the information confidential, sounds relieved. Back at the start of 2005, Michael Collie, a researcher for the then Green MSP, Chris Ballance, asked the Scottish Health Service for the annual incidence of childhood leukaemia in every census ward in Dumfries and Galloway from 1990 to 2003. They wanted to test widespread suspicions that the debilitating and potentially fatal cancer could be caused by radioactive contamination. Plutonium from the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria washes up on the Solway coast, and has been detected around the shoreline. Mr Dunion has conducted a second investigation, the results of which were sent to those involved last week. This time he agreed with the House of Lords, and ruled that the information as requested should not be released.

Sun Herald 30th May 2010 http://www.heraldscotland.com:80/news/transport-environment/longest-foi-battle-ends-in-defeat-over-cancer-data-1.1031334

Radioactive Waste

AREVA, the French nuclear energy company, admitted Friday that their contract to ship nuclear waste to Russia has been halted four years early, ending this July. Transports Greenpeace has tirelessly highlighted, taken action against and lobbied to have ended. But , where to now with all their dangerous waste? AREVA says it plans to let the, ahem, “stocks” build up in their facilities at home.

Greenpeace 29th May 2010 more >>

NPT

Israel says it will not take part in a conference aimed at achieving a nuclear-arms free Middle East, proposed at a UN meeting in New York. Nearly 200 nations, signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), backed plans for the meeting in 2012.

In a document agreed at the talks, Israel was singled out for criticism.

BBC 29th May 2010 more >>

Israel was the big loser in the nuclear review conference in New York – and Iran the big winner. The cause of nuclear non-proliferation was haltingly served in that the conference did reach a consensus, unlike the last time, and a number of watered-down measures were agreed to seek ways of strengthening the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). But overall, there was not the decisive strengthening that some states wanted.

BBC 29th May 2010 more >>

An alliance of nine UK Churches has expressed disappointment at the failure of nuclear weapons states to agree deadlines for actions on nuclear disarmament.

While the Churches welcomed progress made on discussions on the Middle East and a declaration by the UK on the number of warheads, they were highly critical of the refusal of the nuclear powers to agree timeframes for future discussions at the conference in New York, which ended today.

Ekklesia 29th May 2010 more >>

Middle East

Three German-built Israeli submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles are to be deployed in the Gulf near the Iranian coastline. The first has been sent in response to Israeli fears that ballistic missiles developed by Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, a political and military organisation in Lebanon, could hit sites in Israel, including air bases and missile launchers.

Sunday Times 30th May 2010 more >>

Renewables

Plans by communities and landowners to build small wind farms could soon be driven by a government loan fund that would pay for planning applications, the Sunday Herald can reveal. Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead is understood to have tasked civil servants with developing proposals that would enable communities and other small developers to make planning applications to their councils without having to risk hundreds of thousands of pounds in the process. Based on ideas put forward by Mackies ice cream chairman and community wind proponent Maitland Mackie, this is seen as removing what many believe is the main barrier to developing small wind projects. Mackie has long argued that such a scheme would prevent profits from being mopped up by the large utilities.

Sunday Herald 30th May 2010 more >>

Power plants fuelled by organic matter such as food waste, wood chips and sewage could be given higher priority than wind farms as the new government tries to transform the electricity sector. The Lib-Con coalition’s energy policy announcement placed emphasis on technologies such as anaerobic digestion, which captures gas from decomposing food and human waste, and other biomass generation methods. Conspicuously absent was any specific mention of onshore wind farms, which are often sited in the rural constituencies that are traditional Conservative strongholds. The coalition’s plan to hand greater planning powers to communities will further hinder onshore development, said industry sources.

Sunday Times 30th May 2010 more >>

Posted: 30 May 2010

29 May 2010

Nuclear Subsidies

In a nimble piece of semantic two stepping Chris Huhne has managed to combine the Conservatives pro-nuclear Energy Policy with the Lib Dems opposition. The solution, while lucrative for the Energy companies and their financial backers is a financial black hole for the UK Taxpayers argues Natural Choices editor Peter Shield. The solution they have come to is an interesting one, and potentially a hugely expensive one for the UK taxpayer and very lucrative for EDF and their fellow Energy companies- a floor price for carbon emissions. Carbon pricing, that product of the Kyoto has had a strange life in Europe. Very effective business lobbying both in Brussels and in member states has lead to a massive over allocation of free emission permits in Phase 1 of the EU ETS, this over supply of the right to pollute continued into Phase 2 and looks very likely this week to continue into Phase3 despite the Commission’s ever optimistic spin on the scheme. Sandbag, a campaigning organisation, recently estimated that to achieve the Commission’s stated goal of a 30% emissions deduction by 2020 2.3 billion permits need to be removed from the scheme. The present proposed system is in effect giving 18 billion to the most polluting industries across Europe.

Natural Choices 28th May 2010 more >>

New Nukes

An MP has demanded clarification from the new Coalition on why no public subsidy should be given to developing new nuclear build when other energy sources are given money from the public purse. Copeland MP Jamie Reed said investors needed answers from government after the collation document published by the Tories and Lib Dems said nuclear would expand as long as there was no public subsidy.

The Labour MP told the Commons he had always supported public subsides for new nuclear generation which was necessary for its development in the country.

Carlisle News & Star 28th May 2010 more >>

The open letter from Artists opposed to nuclear new build (22nd April) sparked responses in the Westmorland Gazette (April 29th & May 6th ) which suggested that that “keeping the lights on” can only be accomplished with nuclear in “the mix.” Contrast this to diverse decentralised renewable energy schemes powering towns and cities worldwide, for example Frederikshavn in Denmark, Kuzumaki in Japan and Rock Port in America. Nuclear power has the supermarket effect of knobbling decentralised local schemes.

Westmorland Gazette 27th May 2010 more >>

Cumbria

COMMENTS made by the new energy secretary have been welcomed by key players on Britain’s Energy Coast.

In an exclusive interview with the Evening Mail, Chris Huhne said the government was aware of the key role of the energy industry to west Cumbria. However, during the fact-finding visit to Sellafield on Wednesday, he confirmed there would be no public funding for any new-build nuclear power stations.

NW Evening Mail 28th May 2010 more >>

Sizewell

Therese Coffey, who made history at the General Election by becoming the first woman to be elected to parliament to represent Suffolk, said in her maiden speech to the Commons that she wanted to see at least two nuclear reactors built alongside the existing Sizewell complex. “Several offshore wind farms are also being constructed, with more planned. Suffolk Coastal is ready to take the lead in the low-carbon economy,” said Ms Coffey “ and I hope that our coast will be able to take on the new alias of the `Green Coast’

East Anglian Daily Times 28th May 2010 more >>

PROPOSALS to build a new store for spent nuclear waste at Sizewell power station have been backed by Suffolk county councillors. But the decision by Suffolk County Council’s cabinet prompted a furious reaction from opponents of nuclear power after the cabinet refused to answer questions about the new store from Labour councillor Sandy Martin. Among the issues raised was how confident the council could be that concrete containers would last for 100 years. “The concrete is already being used in America, and if there is any problem the storage could be reinforced,” said Mr McGregor. Speaking after the meeting, Charles Barnett of the Shut Down Sizewell Campaign, was outraged that no public inquiry would be held. “Shame on Suffolk County Council,” he said. “How on earth can we get a situation where a proposal like this which will leave us with

East Anglian Daily Times 28th May 2010 more >>

Sellafield

Two important high hazard risk reduction milestones have been achieved in the clean up of the historic Pile Fuel Storage Pond facility at Sellafield. 16 fuel skips have been retrieved from the pond, while six of the facilities’ twelve decanning bays have now been desludged. Constructed between 1948 and 1952, the pond and adjoining decanning building provided the storage and cooling facility for irradiated fuel and isotopes from the two Windscale reactors. Work has been ongoing to retrieve the corroded and wind-blown material, known as ‘sludge’, which has accumulated in the pond since it was commissioned.

Sellafield Sites 25th May 2010 more >>

Wylfa

Horizon Nuclear Power intends to apply for planning permission to construct 2 – 3 reactors of up ro 3,300Mw at Wylfa early in 2012

Community Update May 2010 more >>

Dounreay

A fire that broke out at Dounreay nuclear plant is being investigated, it has been revealed. Firefighters were called to the blaze at 1am on Friday after radiation alarms were triggered at the defunct facility. It is understood the incident involved a batch of radioactive sodium which had been removed and bagged after the break-up of pipework.

STV 28th May 2010 more >>

BBC 28th May 2010 more >>

Companies

The Weir Group and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) have signed a cooperation agreement to develop jointly activities in the UK nuclear new build market under the brand Weir-MHI. Under the joint cooperation agreement, MHI will design and manufacture nuclear pumps for nuclear power generation, as well as pumping equipment across the ‘conventional island’ of a nuclear power plant.

New Statesman 28th May 2010 more >>

Tidal Power

A power station which could be the “world’s first” such offshore installation has been earmarked for the straits between the Isle of Skye and the Scottish mainland. The station, which will produce enough electricity to power around 900 homes, is being sited in the straits at Kyle Rhea due to the strong tide and sheltered location. Sheffield-based company Pulse Tidal aims to have the station producing the first 1.2MW of renewable electricity in 2012 and has begun a year-long environmental study ahead of applying to Marine Scotland for a licence.

BBC 26th May 2010 more >>

New Civil Enginner 27th May 2010 more >>

Solar

Letter from Kerr Macgregor: Chris Parton highlights problems with using renewable energy, stating it is a diffuse energy source (Letters, May 27). However, he does not seem to be aware that modern technology can concentrate solar energy so efficient capture is possible. For example, solar PV or solar thermal can achieve a conversion efficiency of more than 15% and that means the entire energy needs of the human race could be met by covering only 10% of one of the worlds deserts with solar capture equipment.

Also, Scotland has one of the best climates for using solar energy to heat buildings. Our cool, maritime climate means solar energy is much more useful than in more southern climes. Tests in Perthshire and Berwickshire have proved solar energy can make a huge contribution to tackling fuel poverty.

Herald 29th May 2010 more >>

Switzerland

Shoppers and office workers in Zurich were left part bemused, part terrified when hundreds of people instantly collapsed to the floor. All across the city green demonstrators simulated dropping down dead at exactly 12.15pm yesterday – to protest about a series of proposed nuclear power stations. The campaigners say their action simulated a nuclear radioactivity disaster which could happen in Switzerland, if the stations are built.

News Lite TV 29th May 2010 more >>

Express 28th MAy 2010 more >>

NPT

Signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) have agreed to work towards a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East. The members, meeting at the UN in New York, called for a conference in 2012 attended by Middle Eastern states – including Iran – to establish the zone.

The unanimously agreed document also said that Israel should sign the NPT.

BBC 29th May 2010 more >>

As the UN conference on nuclear non-proliferation draws to a close, the most contentious area remains a region with no nuclear power stations, and no country which has declared that it has nuclear weapons: the Middle East. There have been renewed efforts, at the conference, to have the Middle East declared a “nuclear-free zone”. But such a push is drawing stiff opposition from Israel and its allies.

BBC 28th May 2010 more >>

The 189 member nations of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) last night struck a deal on a series of small steps towards disarmament, including a 2012 conference to discuss a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. After a month of wrangling, signatories to the NPT agreed a deal, despite “deep regrets” from the US over a clause singling out Israel’s unacknowledged nuclear arsenal.

Guardian 29th May 2010 more >>

Telegraph 29th May 2010 more >>

Iran

Iran, in its nuclear declaration deal with Turkey and Brazil this month, has tried to gain a head start in forthcoming negotiations over the country’s nuclear programme. It is also motivated to some degree by a desire on the part of Tehran to test the Obama administration’s resolve to impose a new wave of sanctions on Iran while at the same time overcoming domestic opposition to the transfer of enriched uranium abroad.

Institute for War & Peace Reporting 28th May 2010 more >>

North Korea

A United Nations panel has accused North Korea of continuing to export nuclear and missile technology in defiance of a UN ban.

BBC 28th May 2010 more >>

Guardian 29th May 2010 more >>

Wales Online 28th May 2010 more >>

Posted: 29 May 2010

28 May 2010

New Nukes

Banks are coming under pressure for financing the nuclear power sector, with a group of NGOs launching a website which names the top 10 “nuclear banks”.

Environmental Finance 27th May 2010 more >>

The coalition government has received its first mauling in the Commons on nuclear power, as Ed Miliband suggested the Liberal Democrats had a “hidden agenda” on the issue. The Conservatives support new nuclear power but the Lib Dems do not. Under the terms of the coalition agreement the Lib Dems will abstain and a spokesperson will speak against nuclear power. The appointment of Chris Huhne as energy and climate change secretary handed Ed Miliband, who until last month was the Cabinet minister responsible for nuclear power, the opportunity to launch a strong attack. He repeated a previously-made criticism that it was “like having a vegan in charge of MacDonalds”.

Politics.co.uk 27th May 2010 more >>

Letter from Colin McInnes: Kerr MacGregors entirely reasonable concern that nuclear fuel will be quickly depleted is misplaced (Letters, May 27). When coal began to be used as a substitute for wood during the Elizabethan era, agricultural writer Arthur Standish noted that there is no assurance how long they [coals] will last. As with uranium, some viewed coal as a dirty and polluting fuel and advocated simply growing more trees. This would no doubt have led to a sustainable wood-burning society, but would never have led to the marvels of the industrial revolution with all its manifold benefits.

Herald Letters 28th May 2010 more >>

Letter from Cllr Euan McLeod: I read with interest your report that an EDF poll showed strong support for wind and other renewable energy projects over nuclear power. I am delighted Scots support renewable energy and that almost 70 per cent were in favour of onshore wind. Scotland is one of the windiest parts of the British Isles and it makes sense to tap into this free, clean natural resource rather than choose unsafe, dirty and waste-producing nuclear power. It was interesting that this poll came from the pro-nuclear EDF. Your readers may also be interested in a You Gov poll for Greenpeace, which showed 59 per cent support for renewable energy compared to 34 per cent for nuclear energy.

Scotsman 27th May 2010 more >>

Sellafield

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has praised the role of Sellafield as both a local and national ‘player’. But the Lib Dem cabinet member last night reiterated that any new nuclear power stations would not come from the public purse. Mr Huhne, along with Tory energy minister Charles Hendry, was making his first fact-finding visit to the Sellafield site. And he exclusively told The Evening Mail of the coalition government’s views on Britain’s Energy Coast prospectus for Furness and West Cumbria. Mr Huhne said: “We have to look at the detail, but we are very aware of the importance of energy to West Cumbria and very aware of Sellafield, in particular, to our national strategy; the expertise that is here, the professionalism, the dedication of so many people.

NW Evening Mail 27th May 2010 more >>

Carlisle News and Star 27th May 2010 more >>

Companies

SCOTS engineering heavyweight Weir Group yesterday joined forces with Japanese giant Mitsubishi to supply pumps for the next generation of nuclear power stations. Weir’s new partner will design and make pumps for the atomic parts of the stations and equipment for the conventional areas of the plants, such as the turbines. The Scottish firm’s power and industrial division, based in East Kilbride, will then install and service the pumps.

Scotsman 28th May 2010 more >>

Herald 28th May 2010 more >>

World Nuclear News 27th May 2010 more >>

Energy Business Review 27th May 2010 more >>

BBC 27th May 2010 more >>

NPT

A top Iranian diplomat accused the United States and other nuclear powers on Thursday of creating a “deadlock” that could wreck hopes for a deal on a plan to strengthen the global anti-nuclear arms treaty.

Reuters 27th May 2010 more >>

Talks on shoring up the global anti-nuclear arms treaty were on the edge of failure on Friday as the United States and its allies clashed with Egypt over a push to pressure Israel to scrap any atom bombs it has.

Reuters 28th May 2010 more >>

UK Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt has returned from his trip to New York, where he attended talks at the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

News on News 27th May 2010 more >>

Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt discussed the Foreign Secretary’s announcement on the total size of the UK’s nuclear arsenal on the BBC News Channel

News on News 27th May 2010 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Suddenly Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, William Hague, is anxious to confide details of Britain’s nuclear deterrent policy to all and sundry. There was a time when all matters relating to nuclear strike capability and the strategy on which it was predicated were regarded as top secret. Now William is babbling Britain’s nuclear secrets to the world and his dog. He was never as indiscreet as this when he was on 14 pints a day.

Telegraph 27th May 2010 more >>

As Foreign Secretary William Hague announces an overhaul of UK nuclear declaratory policy, a new report by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) shows that it must fundamentally reconcile declarations of nuclear deterrence and nuclear disarmament.

RUSI 27th May 2010 more >>

Iran

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday called on Iran to “carefully consider” an international offer on its nuclear programme, and also expressed concern over instability in Yemen.

Yahoo 27th May 2010 more >>

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov voiced doubt on Thursday about whether Iran would fulfill the terms of a deal brokered by Brazil and Turkey aimed at resolving the Iranian nuclear crisis.

Middle East Online 27th May 2010 more >>

Russia rejected on Thursday Iran’s criticism of it for supporting draft sanctions against Tehran, saying Iran repeatedly had ignored Moscow’s efforts to resolve the crisis over the Iranian nuclear programme.

Reuters 27th May 2010 more >>

North Korea

A new U.N. report suggests that North Korea has been using front companies to export nuclear and missile technology and has helped Iran, Syria and Myanmar.

Yahoo 28th May 2010 more >>

Irish Independent 28th May 2010 more >>

Posted: 28 May 2010

27 May 2010

New Nukes

EDF Energy will announce today that it has received sufficient reassurances from the energy and climate change secretary, Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne, to continue planning for a new generation of nuclear plants in Britain. There were fears that the Lib Dems’ manifesto commitment to halt the construction of any more nuclear reactors, and recent sceptical signals from Huhne, could derail its £20bn building programme. But Vincent de Rivaz, the chief executive of EDF in Britain, will tell a conference he is convinced that both sides are committed to the same goal: new reactors without subsidies and at a viable cost.

Guardian 27th May 2010 more >>

Voters of all three main political parties support nuclear power and are in favour of changes to the planning system to make it easier to build new nuclear plants, according to a major poll by YouGov for EDF Energy. Nearly two thirds (64 per cent) of all voters now say that nuclear power is needed as part of a balanced energy source for the UK.

The Engineer 26th May 2010 more >>

Nuclear Banks

BankTrack, in cooperation with a number of working partners, today launches, a new website mapping the involvement of 45 leading commercial banks in funding nuclear power projects and companies active in the nuclear sector. BankTrack considers nuclear energy a grave danger for people and planet. The renewed interest in nuclear energy also poses a severe obstacle to achieving a sustainable solution to the climate crisis. The website provides information on 867 transactions, involving a total of 124 banks providing finance to over 70 nuclear companies. Between 2000 and 2009, these banks provided a total amount of 175 billion euro to the nuclear sector.

Bank Track 26th May 2010 more >>

Nuclear Reaction 26th May 2010 more >>

Radioactive Waste

Posiva, which is owned by the power utilities TVO and Fortum, plans to have the facility deep in the bedrock at Olkiluoto ready to begin operations by 2020. In order to do so, it needs official approval of current plans. There will also be a need for expansion in order to fit in spent fuel from the two new reactors that Parliament is likely to approve before going on summer recess. The schedule calls for Posiva to file an application for a construction licence late next year. Time is running short, if the company is to stay on schedule. There are still questions that need to be answered, especially about the reliability of the barrier that will surround the canisters holding the radioactive waste. A researcher working with the project recently contacted YLE with the claim that Posiva is cutting corners at the expense of safety. The source, who does not want to be named, says the company is hiding data.

YLE 26th May 2010 more >>

Companies

Engineering group Weir has struck a deal with Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industriesto develop and install pumps for Britain’s next generation of nuclear power stations.

Reuters 27th May 2010 more >>

Sizewell

Peat excavated from the building site of a new nuclear power station could be used to convert a farm-sized area into lowland heaths. But the greatest potential for restoring this threatened habitat comes from felling forests.

ENDS 25th May 2010 more >>

Wylfa

AN internet hacker took over an anti-nuclear campaigner’s email and contacted his friends telling them he was stuck in Malaysia and desperately needed £1,500 to get home. However, Dylan Morgan, who runs the Cwpwrdd Corner bookshop in Llangefni, told the Mail this week he is fine, and firmly on Welsh soil. Several of Mr Morgan’s friends contacted him after receiving a disturbing email with the subject ‘Emergency’ from his Hotmail account.

Holyhead & Anglesey Mail 26th May 2010 more >>

Cumbria

COPELAND MP Jamie Reed will urge the new coalition government to make sure West Cumbria receives full support for its £2billion Energy Coast projects. Mr Reed will also urge parliament: “The notion of no new nuclear without any public subsidy at all should be abandoned. Public money will inevitably be used to support the civil nuclear constabulary, development of the national grid, establishment of a deep underground repository and much else. “Funding for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority must not only be maintained, it must be increased. The NDA has to be maintained and unequivocally supported.”

Whitehaven News 26th May 2010 more >>

Sellafield

SELLAFIELD’s biggest industrial union, the GMB, has pulled out of talks with the company over the site’s planned 800 job cuts.

Whitehaven News 26th May 2010 more >>

SELLAFIELD’S new warning sirens go “live” this week. The aim is to make it easier for the public and workers to tell the difference between separate types of incidents. There will be two different sounds – one warning of an incident confined to the site and another which could affect the community if radioactivity escapes outside.

Whitehaven News 26th May 2010 more >>

THE Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and two other government guangos within the Department of Energy and Climate Change has been hit by a £20.2 million cut. The NDA, the biggest of the agencies, says it is too early to say what might be affected but a spokesman told The Whitehaven News: “What it won’t impact on is the high-hazard work at Sellafield: removing the hazard from the old silos and ponds will be protected.”

Whitehaven News 26th May 2010 more >>

NEW Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne, known for an anti-nuclear stance in the past, made a hush-hush first visit to Sellafield yesterday. The visit was described as private. There was no Press conference but local stakeholders were given the opportunity to ask questions at a meeting last night in the Sellafield Business Centre. Accompanying Mr Huhne was Charles Hendry, Tory energy minister in the coalition government.

Whitehaven News 26th May 2010 more >>

A £250 million new plutonium plant has been opened at Sellafield. It will supplement an existing facility which has been used to store plutonium produced on the site over many years.Sellafield is believed to hold one of the world’s biggest plutonium stockpiles and is the main reason for the site having its own armed police officers in the Civil Nuclear Constabulary. The additional state-of-the-art plant, known as Sellafield Product and Residues Store, is described as one of the biggest nuclear stores in the world. It incorporates some of the most advanced nuclear security features ever used in a building of this type.

Whitehaven News 26th May 2010 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

The government has said it will be “more open” about the UK’s nuclear weapons capability after announcing it will retain a maximum of 225 warheads.

BBC 26th May 2010 more >>

Guardian 27th May 2010 more >>

Times 27th May 2010 more >>

FT 27th May 2010 more >>

Daily Mail 27th May 2010 more >>

Express 27th May 2010 more >>

CND Press Releae 26th May 2010 more >>

UK Foreign Office Minister of State Alistair Burt has travelled to New York to attend talks at the Review Conference of the NPT. The Minister’s arrival follows a significant announcement by the British Government to help enhance confidence and transparency between nuclear and non-nuclear weapons states, by making public the maximum number of nuclear warheads that the UK will hold in its stockpile. In the announcement to Parliament, Foreign Secretary William Hague stated that the UK’s overall stockpile of nuclear warheads will not exceed 225 warheads, and the UK will retain up to 160 operationally available warheads.

News on News 27th May 2010 more >>

The key question as the conference enters the endgame is whether the P-5 nuclear weapon states are willing to drop their demands for the removal of so many of the disarmament commitments that are important to the non-nuclear countries, including references to a nuclear weapons convention or time bound framework to achieve the total elimination of nuclear weapons

Open Democracy 26th May 2010 more >>

Iran

Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, today urged Barack Obama to accept an offer to export the country’s uranium to Turkey as a “last opportunity” to resolve the crisis with Tehran. He also warned Russia not to support new UN sanctions, triggering a furious rebuke from Moscow.

Guardian 27th May 2010 more >>

Iran and Russia have clashed over Tehran’s nuclear programme after the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad launched an extraordinary attack on a country that has traditionally been one of his few allies.

Telegraph 27th May 2010 more >>

Middle East Online 26th May 2010 more >>

Italy

GDF Suez is keen to take part in the Italian nuclear power rebirth but only with at least two other partners, the utility’s chief executive said on Wednesday.

Reuters 26th May 2010 more >>

Czech Republic

AMEC, the international engineering and project management company, has signed a five year contract with Czech utility CEZ for the management of radioactive waste at their nuclear power plant in Dukovany.

Build 26th May 2010 more >>

Smart Grid

An energy-saving trial that will shut down home appliances when peaks of demand threaten to overwhelm the network began this week. About 300 homes in Sandwell in the West Midlands have received fridge-freezers that turn themselves off when the grid is overstretched. Altogether, 3,000 homes will take part in the two-year trial, run by npower. Energy companies plan to offer grants and cheaper tariffs to encourage all households to switch to such appliances. If all homes had smart fridges, Britain’s annual emissions would fall by two million tonnes, the equivalent of taking 700,000 cars off the road or closing a large coal-fired power station.

Times 27th May 2010 more >>

Climate

The Government promised yesterday to support a European plan to raise the target for cutting greenhouse gases this decade. Chris Huhne, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, urged other European Union members to raise their sights and increase the target from 20 to 30 per cent by 2020.

Times 27th May 2010 more >>

Posted: 27 May 2010

26 May 2010

IPC

The coalition has also waged war on quangos by slashing £600m through axing some and reducing the budgets of others. That includes shelving the Infrastructure Planning Commission set up to speed through major schemes such as nuclear power stations like Anglesey’s Wylfa B. Communities Minister Greg Clark said: “We need to speed up the planning system and deliver new infrastructure like power generation. But it is vital that there are proper democratic checks and balances – which the Infrastructure Planning Commission patently lacks.”

Daily Post 25th May 2010 more >>

Electricity Supplies

The Royal Academy of Engineering said that to convert the countries fleet of 30 million vehicles would increase current demand by 16 per cent or an extra 10 gigawatts of power. With the 70 GW grid currently running at near full capacity that would mean building the equivalent of six large nuclear power stations or 2,000 wind turbines to meet demand.

Telegraph 26th May 2010 more >>

At least one in ten vehicles on Scotland’s roads must be electric by 2020 to meet Scotland’s climate change targets, an environmental charity report said. The WWF Scotland study said that electric vehicles (EVs) have an important role to play in helping to achieve the Scottish Government’s 2020 target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 42%.

STV 25th May 2010 more >>

Companies

Frazer-Nash, the engineering consultancy, has announced a significant new appointment to its nuclear industry team.

Neil Proud has become the Business Manager for Nuclear Decommissioning in its Warrington office, bringing over 25 years nuclear engineering experience to the role. Neil’s role will be to lead the development of the company’s rapidly growing nuclear decommissioning arm. Frazer-Nash has particularly strong experience in this field, including work on decommissioning projects at Sellafield Ltd.

Process & Control Technology 26th May 2010 more >>

Toshiba is to invest $100m in one of the worlds largest producers of enriched uranium, as the top players in the nuclear industry race to secure their supply chain. The Japanese group said it would take a stake in New York-listed USEC, which has annual revenues of $2bn and supplies more than half of the US market with enriched uranium fuel.

The move highlights how the handful of companies that can make a nuclear reactor including Toshiba of Japan, Areva of France and General Electric of the US are scrambling to ease bottlenecks and control the complex nuclear supply chain.

FT 26th May 2010 more >>

Supply Chain

A FREE event highlighting the opportunities for businesses to benefit from the £70bn nuclear decommissioning programme and new-build strategy is to be held next month. The ‘New to Nuclear’ day-long seminar event, run by law firm Hammonds, will offer businesses from a broad range of sectors knowledge of how they can become part of the growing supply chain for this high value and fast growing sector.

Business Desk 25th May 2010 more >>

NPT

Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt has arrived in New York to participate in talks on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Taking place from 25- 26 May 2010, the trip is Alistair Burt’s first overseas visit since taking his position at the Foreign Office. During the visit the Minister is meeting a number of Heads of Delegation to the Review Conference of the NPT. He will also deliver a UK statement at a United Nations Security Council debate on “Maintenance of international peace and security”.

News on News 26th May 2010 more >>

Scotland

SCOTS are more in favour of using wind farms than nuclear power stations to produce electricity, a poll commissioned by EDF Energy has shown. When asked in a YouGov survey about their support for different types of power plants, more than eight out of ten Scots backed offshore wind farms and 69 per cent were in favour of onshore turbines. However, fewer than half – 47 per cent – said they supported the idea of replacing existing nuclear plants when they closed in the poll, commissioned by the French nuclear power giant. Similarly, when questioned about their opinion of different energy sources for producing electricity, 74 per cent said their impression of wind farms was favourable, compared to just 43 per cent for nuclear. EDF claimed the results of the survey showed “strong” support for new nuclear build among Scots, but this was disputed by green groups.

Scotsman 26th May 2010 more >>

Letter from Steuart Campbell: The country has been bewitched by the idea that, by generating electricity from all sorts of renewable methods, the lights will stay on and greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced. An example is energy minister Jim Mather’s article “Offshore resources: if we’ve got them, we should flaunt them” Advocating a low-carbon economy, he thinks that we can “power Scotland many times over” with renewable generation, especially from tidal and wave power. His claim that a quarter of our electricity comes from renewables is misleading. Although the Scottish Government’s website claims that, in 2008, 22 per cent of gross electricity consumption came from renewables (about half of this from hydro), this is a statistical trick. Because (coincidentally) 22 per cent of our electricity was exported, no-one can tell what proportion of that gen erated from renewables ended up consumed in Scotland. In any case, the statistics record total generation and consumption (energy) and do not reveal how often renewable generation was unable to contribute to demand (power). Especially at this time of economic stringency, we should not be pouring money into subsidising renewables. We do not need them and we cannot afford them. We should certainly not be flaunting them. The whole thing is madness and will lead to blackouts.

Scotsman 26th May 2010 more >>

Letter from Colin McInnes: Scotland may have a significant renewables potential. However, the key is the long-term cost of turning low-grade, diffuse renewable energy into to high-grade, concentrated electrical energy. An energy policy that refuses to consider the role of nuclear power, and so risks needlessly expensive energy, will be socially regressive and damaging to the Scottish economy.

Herald 26th May 2010 more >>

DECC

Decc is expected to have to cut deeply into home energy-efficiency programmes which could undermine the public take-up of low-carbon technologies. The department’s three largest delivery bodies, the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency, the Carbon Trust and the Energy Saving Trust, are all expected to see budgets cut by an average of 1% this year.

Guardian 26th May 2010 more >>

Queen’s Speech

Energy bill: Provides loans for homes and businesses to install measures for greater energy efficiency such as insulation. May also include limits on coal pollution and a new green investment bank. Flashpoints: In response to concern that many policies “may” be in the bill, a spokesman said they were still commitments but might not need primary legislation. Home loans now appear to exclude small renewable energy sources; the spokesman said only that efficiency was “the number-one priority”. The government is being asked to contribute £2-4bn for the green bank. Details of the bank and other promises will be hard fought between pro-nuclear Tories and anti-nuclear Lib Dems.

Guardian 26th May 2010 more >>

Europe

Europe will introduce a surprise new plan today to combat global warming, committing Britain and the rest of the EU to the most ambitious targets in the world. The plan proposes a massive increase in the target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in this decade. The European Commission is determined to press ahead with the cuts despite the financial turmoil gripping the bloc, even though it would require Britain and other EU member states to impose far tougher financial penalties on their industries than are being considered by other large economies. The plan, to cut emissions by 30 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020, would cost the EU an extra £33 billion a year by 2020, according to a draft of the Commission’s communication leaked to The Times.

Times 26th May 2010 more >>

Incineration

Waste, and not wind, should be the focus of the new Government’s energy policies, according to the chief executive of one of Britain’s rubbish collectors. “Energy from waste accounts for about 1.5 per cent of energy produced in the UK and the target is to get that up to 6 per cent by 2015,” Colin Drummond, the chief executive of Viridor, said, “but the Government needs to be much more ambitious than that.

Times 26th May 2010 more >>

Iran

Teams of American special forces have been authorised to conduct spying missions intended to pave the way for a military strike on Iran in case President Obama orders one, US government sources have confirmed.

Times 26th May 2010 more >>

Israel

The revelation that the Israeli government in the 1980s considered selling nuclear weapons to the apartheid regime in South Africa has triggered fresh criticisms of Israel’s current nuclear policies.

Ekklesia 26th May 2010 more >>

Purporting to claim – on the basis of a book by American academic, Sasha Polakow-Suransky — that Israel offered to sell nuclear weapons to apartheid-rule South Africa, it actually provided no backup for this at all.

Spectator 26th May 2010 more >>

Posted: 26 May 2010

25 May 2010

Nuclear Subsidy

21st century nuclear power needs a 21st century subsidy… no blank cheques this time – just an apparently green tweak to the emissions trading system, and voila! A floor price for carbon is the answer. Driving up the cost of producing polluting energy from coal- or gas-fired power plants, doesn’t just favour renewables. It also makes the costs of nuclear production far more competitive, even without subsidy. Plus, of course, those companies looking to build new nukes are the same ones currently providing our electricity, and who can pass on to their customers the extra cost of the floor-price through energy bills, paid for by you and me. Huhne, it seems, may have ruled out using the public purse to fund the new nuclear generation, but his Government is asking us to use our wallets to do the same.

Ecologist 24th May 2010 more >>

Coaltion

THE UK’s new coalition government has confirmed it will push forward with the replacement of the country’s aging nuclear power stations but will axe the Infrastructure Planning Commission and remodel Regional Development Agencies (RDAs).

Chemical Engineer 24th May 2010 more >>

New Nukes

The majority of voters for Britain’s three main political parties support nuclear power and nearly half back moves to change the planning system to make them easier to build, according to a YouGov poll for EDF Energy.

Reuters 24th May 2010 more >>

Business Green 24th May 2010 more >>

The Register 24th May 2010 more >>

THE coalition government will scrap the body set up to push through strategic projects like new nuclear build – but have offered no detail on what will replace it.

Included in the Tory-Lib Dems document Coalition Programme for Government was a promise to abolish the Infrastructure Planning Commission.

North West Evening Mail 24th May 2010 more >>

Nuclear Costs

Entergy Corp Chief Executive J. Wayne Leonard said on Monday that building new nuclear plants remains too costly and will prevent many utilities from participating in the fledgling nuclear renaissance in the United States.While a few U.S. companies are moving ahead to develop new reactors, Leonard said that to make the economics of nuclear work for Entergy, he would need to see “double-digit natural gas prices and carbon blow-out prices” starting at $25 per ton and escalating toward $50.

Reuters 25th May 2010 more >>

Dungeness

The fight to have a new nuclear power station built on the Kent/Sussex border has been renewed with an appeal to the new Energy Secretary Chris Huhne. The new Conservative MP for Folkestone and Hythe, Damian Collins, has written to Mr Huhne asking for a meeting to discuss a new plant at Dungeness.

BBC 24th May 2010 more >>

Sellafield

A NEW nuclear storage centre has been built at Sellafield. The facility is the first major project to be completed since the site was taken over by Nuclear Management Partners (NMP), the US-led consortium.

The scheme, which was finished ahead of schedule and under budget, will be known as the Sellafield Product and Residues Store (SPRS).

Cumberland News 24th May 2010 more >>

Nuclear Waste

An association based in Switzerland is helping its European neighbours in their search for a good place to dump nuclear waste. Ten nations have enlisted the aid of Baden-based Arius, or Association for Regional and International Underground Storage. They hope to consolidate their radioactive waste within a single location. The countries in question include Austria, Ireland, Italy and seven others – but not Switzerland. In 2006, the federal government enacted a ten-year moratorium on the export of nuclear waste – the storage of which is the producers’ responsibility.

Swiss Info 24th May 2010 more >>

Nuclear Testing

The radiological legacy of U.S. nuclear weapons testing in the Marshall Islands remains to this day and will persist for many years to come. The most severe impacts were visited upon the people of the Rongelap Atoll in 1954 following a very large thermonuclear explosion which deposited life-threatening quantities of radioactive fallout on their homeland. They received more than three times the estimated external dose than to the most heavily exposed people living near the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986. It took more than two days before the people of Rongelap were evacuated after the explosion. Many suffered from tissue destructive effects of radiation and subsequently from latent radiation-induced diseases.

Counterpunch 24th May 2010 more >>

NPT

A UN conference aimed at bolstering and modernising the international non-proliferation regime is reportedly close to an agreement on measures aimed at a ban on nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

Guardian 25th May 2010 more >>

Asia

Nuclear energy demand will increase at 5.1% per year through 2030 in Asia, the fastest annual growth rate of any energy type in the Asian Development Bank’s study, Energy Outlook for Asia and the Pacific, which has just been released.

Nuclear Engineering International 24th May 2010 more >>

Japan

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency has just reported that its 246MW Monju nuclear reactor is back on line after a serious accident that operators tried to cover up. More than one tonne of liquid sodium leaked from the reactor’s secondary cooling loop. There were no injuries and no radioactivity escaped from the main building, but the incident was a huge embarrassment for the country and its nuclear programme. Here’s the rub. The emergency happened back in 1995, more than 14 years ago. Gulp. Redesigns, safety assessments and placating the local population and the country’s nuclear safety regulator have all taken rather longer than originally expected. Needless to say, the type of atomic plant involved was a, erm, so-called fast reactor.

Utility Week 24th May 2010 more >>

Iran

Iran has formally submitted a plan to swap nuclear material in Turkey for reactor fuel to the UN atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

BBC 24th May 2010 more >>

Telegraph 25th May 2010 more >>

Israel

Israel’s policy of “nuclear ambiguity” came under fresh scrutiny yesterday when officials moved to quash reports that it had offered to sell nuclear weapons to apartheid South Africa in 1975. Israel is believed to have about 200 nuclear weapons but refuses to confirm this. A new book and a report yesterday in the UK’s Guardian newspaper allege senior Israeli officials met their South African counterparts in March 1975 to discuss the sale.

FT 25th May 2010 more >>

Israel has long based its security policy on the preservation of its monopoly of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. It seems to regard this monopoly as an entitlement so self-evident as to need no examination, whether at home or abroad, and has invented a doctrine of ambiguity, under which it neither denies nor confirms its nuclear status, as a means of preventing, or at least staying aloof from, any discussion. Among the many matters which Israel has concealed, documents suggest, was a readiness to consider the transfer of nuclear weapons to apartheid South Africa, something at variance with Israel’s insistence that it has always been a responsible state.

Guardian 25th May 2010 more >>

Israel’s president, Shimon Peres, today robustly denied revelations in the Guardian and a new book that he offered to sell nuclear weapons to apartheid South Africa when he was defence minister in the 1970s.

Guardian 25th May 2010 more >>

Middle East Online 24th May 2010 more >>

The revelation in today’s Guardian that Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads and missiles to apartheid-era South Africa was roundly condemned by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. The news comes a day after Mordechai Vanunu, who first exposed Israel’s nuclear programme, was jailed for a further 3 months for speaking to foreigners.

CND Press Release 24th May 2010 more >>

Posted: 25 May 2010

24 May 2010

Radwaste Costs

Labour left a multi-billion-pound black hole in its nuclear power budget, which could force ministers to implement bigger cuts elsewhere in Whitehall, coalition sources claimed this weekend. They alleged that future costs of safe waste disposal had not been properly accounted for in spending budgets, amounting to a £850m shortfall next year, £950m in 2012-13 and £1.1 billion by 2013-14. The issue was judged so serious it was discussed at the cabinet’s first meeting. “We will have to look at it very carefully because we can’t do cuts to nuclear decommissioning and safety,” said one insider.

Sunday Times 23rd May 2010 more >>

Sizewell

We are protesting about National Grid’s plans for a line of pylons marching towards London, across our rural part of Suffolk and Essex, carrying the extra power that is to come from wind farms in the North Sea and a new nuclear plant at Sizewell. More pylons are the Orwellian downside to the low-carbon future. And this is just the beginning. Here and in the Mendips in Somerset, the path of the pylons lies through areas of outstanding natural beauty, which celebrated their 40th anniversary as protected landscapes last week. We have been writing letters and going to meetings trying to persuade National Grid to put the cables underground for the whole route.

Sunday Times 23rd May 2010 more >>

US

Nuclear power – energy released from atomic nuclei via controlled nuclear reactions – is a safer, more environmentally friendly source of electricity. Simply put, nuclear power is “clean”. No pollutants or greenhouse gasses, no impact on respiratory health, no connection with other adverse human health effects. So why are we still relying on coal and oil instead of nuclear? There are at least three reasons: groundless fears, technological ignorance and political correctness.

Anti-nuclear activists, still living in the dark days of A-bomb fears and radioactive fallout polluting the atmosphere, and harbouring a New Age preference for more “natural” – but currently inadequate – sources of energy such as wind and solar, promulgate scary scenarios about nuclear energy plants leaking radioactivity in amounts sufficient to harm or kill people in surrounding areas.

Guardian 24th May 2010 more >>

Israel

Israel is an undeclared nuclear power: it has a nuclear plant in the southern city of Dimona, in the Negev desert, and is believed to have a formidable nuclear arsenal, but the government has always maintained a policy of “strategic ambiguity”. Israel – like India, Pakistan and North Korea – is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Guardian 24th May 2010 more >>

Secret South African documents reveal that Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime, providing the first official documentary evidence of the state’s possession of nuclear weapons. The “top secret” minutes of meetings between senior officials from the two countries in 1975 show that South Africa’s defence minister, PW Botha, asked for the warheads and Shimon Peres, then Israel’s defence minister and now its president, responded by offering them “in three sizes”. The two men also signed a broad-ranging agreement governing military ties between the two countries that included a clause declaring that “the very existence of this agreement” was to remain secret.

Guardian 24th May 2010 more >>

Guardian 24th May 2010 more >>

Telegraph 24th May 2010 more >>

Daily Mail 24th May 2010 more >>

Proof that Israel is, without any doubt, a nuclear weapons state, means an end to nods, winks and blind eyes. It confirms Israel as the Middle East’s premier armed power. And it challenges all the countries of the region, including Iran, to address, separately or jointly, the threat inherent in the resulting, now undeniable military imbalance.

Guardian 24th May 2010 more >>

Israeli nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu has started a three-month jail sentence for breaking the terms of his release and meeting a foreigner.

Telegraph 24th May 2010 more >>

Guardian 24th May 2010 more >>

Posted: 24 May 2010

23 May 2010

Coalition

Chris is bent on turning out the lights on Britain, according to Melanie Phillips – and “provoking a possible nuclear explosion in the energy department” for good measure.

One’s mind inevitably jogs back over 25 years to the days when Chris and Mel were both Guardian leader writers – and wholly comradely in their views. More chattering-class socialism? Not really. Just two highly intelligent people agreeing a leader line, because agreement was the nature of the job. Journalism may be the first rough draft of history, but leader writing is the first rough draft of coalition government.

Observer 23rd May 2010 more >>

Huhne and his Liberal Democrat colleagues had secured a vital concession: that no public money will be used to finance nuclear stations. Huhne – who described the coalition agreement on nuclear as one of many “unpleasant” compromises in the new partnership – may feel the lack of government cash is a major deterrent. Industry leaders are being more sanguine, despite the estimated £40 billion-plus price tag attached to the replacement of the UK’s ageing fleet of 19 reactors operating across ten sites. Mish Tullar of Centrica says what the government has set out is “all positive” in terms of what the nuclear industry requires to move forward. “Clearly new nuclear power stations are not cheap things to build, but equally you don’t have to come up with all of that in a single lump sum,” he says. “It doesn’t necessarily require public subsidy. What it does require is a fair wind in terms of the planning consents, and a fair reward structure for clean production.” To that end, two points in last week’s coalition agreement have been particularly welcomed. The first is a promise to provide a floor price on carbon allowances that generators must buy to cover their emissions. In effect, this will provide additional help for all low-carbon projects – including nuclear – which can sell their excess allowances to higher polluters. The price of these allowances has been volatile in the past, most notably in 2007, when their worth fell to zero. The second significant change is a plan announced by the Conservatives before the election to speed up the planning process and stop protestors from delaying construction. The new system would give parliament direct powers to approve new stations.

Scotland on Sunday 23rd May 2010 more >>

Queen’s Speech: Energy Security and Green Economy Bill. (Dept for Energy and Climate Change). A big win for the Liberal Democrats and Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary, this will seek to improve energy efficiency in homes and businesses and promote low carbon energy production. Energy supplies will also be “secured”.

Telegraph 23rd May 2010 more >>

Dungeness

Labour put forward a shortlist of 11 potential sites for new nuclear power plants, including Dungeness. But the site, which already has two reactors, one of which was decommissioned, was removed from the list for environmental reasons. Senior politicians in Kent called for the decision to be overturned, arguing a power station would create jobs for 2,000 people during construction and a further 350-450 over a 60-year period. Damian Collins, the new Tory MP for Folkestone and Hythe, said he would continue to push for nuclear power at Dungeness.

Kent News 22nd May 2010 more >>

Sizewell

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne says that Liberal Democrats will not stand in the way of privately funded nuclear plants. The Lib Dem party had a long record of opposition to nuclear power stations until it joined the coalition. Mr Huhne had previously described atomic power as a “failed technology” but he now backs new construction. The move means that the prospect of new plants being built at Sizewell in Suffolk may have grown.

BBC 20th May 2010 more >>

Trident

The new British Defence Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, has now announced the beginning of the long-awaited Strategic Defence Review and the indications are that the process will be completed before the end of 2010. Given Britain’s role in the European Union and NATO, and its close links with the United States, the outcome of the review will be watched with interest in many countries.Professor Paul Rogers, warns that the Government “may be shooting itself in the foot, unless it reconsiders costly programmes that are already under way, such as the aircraft carriers and Trident replacement. Carrying on with these will hugely constrain the kind of review that Britain really needs.”

Oxford Research Group 21st May 2010 more >>

Disarmament

Desmond Tutu: This year the nuclear bomb turns 65 – an appropriate age, by international standards, for compulsory retirement. But do our leaders have the courage and wisdom to rid the planet of this ultimate menace? The five-yearly review of the ailing nuclear non-proliferation treaty, currently under way at the United Nations in New York, will test the strength of governments’ commitment to a nuclear-weapon-free world.

Guardian 22nd May 2010 more >>

North Korea

With his bouffant hair, platform shoes and strange penchant for zip-up, khaki catsuits, it would be easy to dismiss North Korea’s dictator as a faintly ludicrous pantomime villain. But Kim Jong-il, known as the Dear Leader by his impoverished, brutalised people, is a psychopath who threatens the world with his burgeoning nuclear arsenal and his neighbours with his pathological bullying.

Daily Mail 21st May 2010 more >>

Climate

The SNP government is on track to suffer an embarrassing defeat in the Scottish Parliament this week unless it toughens up its targets for cutting pollution. Labour, LibDems and the Greens are threatening to combine to throw out ministers’ latest plans to reduce the country’s carbon emissions by just 0.5% in 2011 and 1% in 2012.

Sunday Herald 23rd May 2010 more >>

Renewables

One of the world’s biggest technology companies is working on plans to power its data centres using energy generated from cow manure. Researchers at Hewlett-Packard (HP) want to build computer warehouses on dairy farms where they would be hooked up to power plants fuelled by waste. Just one cow produces enough waste every day to power the televisions in three typical households. A large dairy farm, with about 10,000 cows, produces enough to run one of the firm’s typical data centres and meet the energy needs of the farmer, the HP scientists believe.

Sunday Times 23rd May 2010 more >>

Posted: 23 May 2010

22 May 2010

Coalition

The coalition has pledged that it will not provide any subsidies to the nuclear industry. This, you might think, is likely to present a wee bit of a problem. Nuclear is a deeply uneconomic technology. So are some kinds of renewables at the moment, but the technology on which renewables depend is in its infancy. Improvements in renewable technology, further commercialisation and economies of scale – if we can ever get renewables off the ground – will reduce these costs over time. Not so with nuclear. The technology has been around and in commercial use for over 50 years now. It is unlikely that further major cost reductions can be achieved. That is why nuclear still depends, for its very existence, on huge levels of government subsidy.

Inverness Courier 21st May 2010 more >>

The coalition government has published its programme for the next five years, paving the way for a new nuclear power station programme and pledging a Green Deal to give homeowners access to finance to make their homes more energy efficient.

Construction Manager 21st May 2010 more >>

Tucked away in this week’s policies statement from the Tory-Lib Dem coalition is a paragraph that shocked me. Since the Lib Dems have principled objections to more nuclear power plants, it says, they will be allowed to opt out of policy-making or Commons votes involving these nasty things. Has nobody noticed that the new Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, is himself a Lib Dem? He proclaimed on Thursday: ‘The renewables industry will come of age under this government.’ Last week, he said there is no reason to stop a consortium building some new nuclear power stations in Britain, but ‘on the key principle that there will be no public subsidy’.

If even half of what Huhne says is sincere, if Britain does not start some nuclear plants fast, by 2020 you are likely to find your lights going out without touching any switches, and the whole economy imperilled.

Daily Mail 22nd May 2010 more >>

Nuclear Subsidies

RADIATION Free Lakeland is backing a letter sent by the Nuclear Free Local Authorities group to the new Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne. Marianne Birkby says that RFL fully endorses the NFLA call for an end to the taxpayer picking up the tab for the nuclear industry’s waste. She explains: “The proposed “fixed unit price” for “waste disposal” amounts to billions of pounds in subsidy that makes the politicians’ expenses scandal look piffling in comparison.

Get Noticed Online 22nd May 2010 more >>

Nuclear Costs

Letter from Neil Criaig: Colin McInnes admirably sets out the nuts and bolts of sea turbine cost and efficiency, showing that the 4 billion to be spent will produce 400MW. His price comparison of this as being equal to a 1,650MW nuclear plant, excluding greater maintenance costs for turbines, may well be what our government is aiming at. It is not, however, what nuclear need cost. Westinghouse (a company which used to be owned by British Nuclear until our government forced it to sell it to Japan) is selling its AP 1000 generator off the shelf for 1,200 per KW for the first reactor, which may fall to 800 per KW for subsequent reactors, so for the same 4bn we could get 4,500MW of electric capacity, 11 times as much.

Of course we won’t get that because even self-styled “pro-nuclear” politicians want massive amounts of time and money-consuming regulation which, as can be seen, triples the cost, even though it still leaves nuclear less than a third of the cost of turbines and nearly a tenth of that of windmills. However, it is important that, whatever the final cost, the people are aware of the true options.

Scotsman 22nd May 2010 more >>

A snap examination of the 1 ,588MW of electricity- producing wind farms in Scotland showed that they were only producing 25MW.

As a Hyperion Triga Reactor, which can be carried on the back of a lorry, produces 27MW, the further construction of wind farms seems utterly stupid.

Scotsman 22nd May 2010 more >>

Dounreay

Letter from Geoffrey Minter: Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL), through their contractors, recommenced monitoring at Sandside Bay at 9am on Tuesday. Two nuclear fuel fragments were detected at 9.45am and 12.45pm approximately on that day; the first initially assessed as being in the Dounreay Particle Advisory Group (DPAG) devised “minor” category and the second in its “relevant” category – the latter being the most radioactive of the last 44 detected since 2008. Sandside’s four-mile coastline is the off-site location where the vast majority of Dounreay’s errant intermediate level radioactive waste (ILRW) naturally beaches; 151 fuel rod particles and an unidentified radioactive object have now been detected here and repatriated to Dounreay since 1997. Three comparatively very low radioactivity “hot spots” have been found at two other off-site locations – two at Murkle beach and one at Dunnet beach. Happily, it is now not envisaged, after 11 years since our access and use consent of Sandside’s coastline was first requested by UKAEA in March 1999, that it will be necessary for the Sandside Estate company to suspend vehicular monitoring consent again.

John O Groat Journal 21st May 2010 more >>

Dungeness

Damian Collins, MP for Folkestone and Hythe says on the day following the announcement of the new Cabinet, I wrote to Chris Huhne, the new Secretary of State for Energy requesting an update on the consideration of Dungeness as a potential site for a new power station, and I look forward to updating you on his response. A new power station at Dungeness could create thousands of new jobs.

Romney Marsh Times 22nd May 2010 more >>

US

Areva said Friday it had been awarded a $2 billion loan guarantee from the American government to help build a uranium enrichment facility in Idaho.

Reuters 21st May 2010 more >>

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected 42 university-led nuclear research and development (R&D) projects for grants totaling $38m. These projects, funded over three to four years through the Department’s Nuclear Energy University Program, will help advance nuclear education and develop the the next generation of nuclear technologies.

Energy Business Review 21st May 2010 more >>

Bangladesh

Bangladesh said on Saturday Russia had formally agreed to assist the energy-starved South Asian country in building nuclear power plants.

Yahoo 22nd May 2010 more >>

Iran

There are “indications” that Iran may be willing to hold fresh talks with world powers on its controversial nuclear programme, EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said Friday.

EU Business 22nd May 2010 more >>

Iran will hand an official letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency chief on Monday about its nuclear fuel swap agreement with Brazil and Turkey.

Yahoo 21st May 2010 more >>

Lula and Erdogan have shown that dealing with proud and prickly nations like Iran, showing respect, friendship and a willingness to dialogue, however difficult and time-consuming, yields far better results than sanctions, threats and military confrontation.

Middle East Online 21st May 2010 more >>

Iran intends to go ahead with a deal reached with Turkey and Brazil for a nuclear fuel swap despite a new sanctions resolution against Tehran pending at the United Nations, an Iranian parliamentarian said today.

Independent 22nd May 2010 more >>

Japan

Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd filed a plan with the government on Friday that will delay by five months until October the start of constructing in Aomori Prefecture a plant designed to produce plutonium-uranium mixed oxide, or MOX fuel. Due to the postponement, completion of the plant, which will be built in the village of Rokkasho, is now being targeted in March 2016, from the originally planned June 2015.

Japan Today 22nd May 2010 more >>

Pakistan

The Pakistan government will allocate some Rs18 billion ($213 million) for the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) in the upcoming development budget for 2010-11 to complete 19 ongoing nuclear energy-related projects under public sector development programs, according to a report in the Daily Times newspaper.

World Nuclear News 21st May 2010 more >>

Trident

The Government could make significant savings on Britain’s nuclear weapons deterrent without compro- mising its credibility, according to a study from an independent think tank. Dispensing with the current practice of “continuous-at-sea deterrence” – which relies on one nuclear armed Vanguard- class submarine always being on patrol – could extend the life of the four boats well beyond 2024.

The new policy could also mean that the existing fleet is not replaced by as many submarines. That would save more than £11 billion, according to Nick Ritchie and Paul Ingram, authors of the report published by the Royal United Services Institute. Their report suggested one submarine could remain in port on enhanced alert, being ready to sail at short notice if intelligence warned of an imminent attack.

Devon Herald Express 22nd May 2010 more >>

THE South Somerset Peace Group next meets at the Minster Rooms, Ilminster, on Tuesday, May 25. Veteran campaigner Pat Arrowsmith will speak to the group about the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, discussing Trident and Britain’s role in ridding the world of nuclear weapons.

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

CND chairwoman Kate Hudson has launched an email campaign targeting Defence Secretary Liam Fox and Defence Minister Nick Harvey after the government said there would be no compromise over Trident. “I am very relaxed about explaining to our Liberal Democrat colleagues that the system is actually the best value for money,” Mr Fox said. “We believe that Britain needs a credible nuclear deterrent.”

Morning Star 21st May 2010 more >>

The Lib Dems have got seats on both the new National Security Committee and the more secretive NSC (Nuclear Deterrence and Security) committee. The second panel deals with the state’s greatest secrets, relating to our nuclear weapons. It will be attended by Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne: two men who oppose nuclear weapons now have access to our nuclear secrets.

Telegraph Blog 21st May 2010 more >>

Posted: 22 May 2010