News April 2011

30 April 2011

Oldbury

THE company behind plans to build a second nuclear power plant at Oldbury has said the project may still not go ahead. Speaking at the Oldbury Site Stakeholder Group (OSSG) meeting recently, Tim Proudler, from Horizon, said there were still several hurdles to overcome. He said: “A future Oldbury isn’t clear yet. We are at the beginning of a very long process.” Mr Proudler had been invited to speak to the local community by the OSSG, which normally deals with issues surrounding the current Oldbury Power Station run by Magnox. In a short presentation to local people Mr Proudler outlined what Horizon, a partnership between energy firms E.ON and RWE npower, had already done and what else needed to be done before a planning application could be made.

Gloucestershire Gazette 29th April 2011 more >>

Scotland

Letter: IS NUCLEAR power dirty and dangerous, as some politicians claim? Coal contains both uranium and thorium and these are concentrated at least tenfold when coal is burnt. Danger is usually estimated from the frequency of death. Based on TWhr (tera watts, equal 1,000 gigawatts) of power generated, the annual average number of world deaths from coal is 161, that of oil 40, natural gas four, wind 0.15 and nuclear 0.04. Attitudes to nuclear power need to be based on knowledge, not fearful ignorance.

Scotsman 30th April 2011 more >>

Radhealth

The nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan and the 25th anniversary of the catastrophe in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine have thrown into relief contradictions in the role played by the World Health Organisation, which civil society organisations have spent years pointing out. An international coalition of NGOs, IndependentWHO, says the multilateral agency has never shown independence in its decisions or actions, in terms of living up to its mandate of protecting the victims of radioactive contamination.

IPS News 27th April 2011 more >>

Japan

May 5 is Children’s Day, a Japanese national holiday that celebrates the happiness of childhood. This year, it will fall under a dark, radioactive shadow. Japanese children in the path of radioactive plumes from the crippled nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi power station are likely to suffer health problems that a recent government action will only exacerbate. On April 19, the Japanese government sharply ramped up its radiation exposure limit to 2,000 millirem per year (20 mSv/y) for schools and playgrounds in Fukushima prefecture. Japanese children are now permitted to be exposed to an hourly dose rate 165 times above normal background radiation and 133 times more than levels the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency allows for the American public. Japanese school children will be allowed to be exposed to same level recommended by the International Commission on Radiation Protection for nuclear workers. Unlike workers, however, children won’t have a choice as to whether they can be so exposed.

IPS 29th April 2011 more >>

Huffington Post 29th April 2011 more >>

Criticism of the Japanese government’s handling of the radiation crisis at a nuclear power plant has increased after an adviser quit in protest over what he claimed were unsafe, slipshod measures. Toshiso Kosako, a professor at the University of Tokyo’s graduate school and an expert on radiation exposure, announced late yesterday that he was stepping down as a government adviser. In a tearful news conference, Prof Kosako said he could not stay and allow the government to set what he called improper radiation limits of 20 millisieverts an hour for elementary schools in areas near the plant.

Independent 30th April 2011 more >>

Japan’s chief government spokesman said Saturday that the resignation by a senior science adviser over radiation safety limits for schools around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was over a misunderstanding, while Prime Minister Naoto Kan defended the government’s handling of the situation.

Nikkei 30th April 2011 more >>

A community bank in Tokyo will offer incentives, including a 1-percent deposit interest rate, to promote non-nuclear energy. Johnan Shinkin Bank said April 28 it will offer 1-percent interest on a one-year deposit and an interest-free loan for the initial year from May 2. People who purchase solar panels, generators, storage batteries or LED lighting worth 100,000 yen ($1,230) or more will be eligible.

Asahi 30th April 2011 more >>

IAEA Update of the situation at Fukushima.

IB Times 29th April 2011 more >>

Europe

The results of stress tests on European nuclear power plants should be clear by the end of the year, EU energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger said in Helsinki Friday.

EU Business 29th April 2011 more >>

Chernobyl

Acivists around the world came together to mark the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl

Greenpeace 27th April 2011 more >>

India

Now is not the time for energy-starved India to increase nuclear dependency. Soaring costs and safety doubts post-Fukushima mean India is unwise to plan a doubling of its nuclear plants.

Guardian 29th April 2011 more >>

Renewables

Total, one of the world’s largest oil companies, is to make a $1.38bn (800m) investment in solar power reversing a trend that has seen Shell and BP cut back their involvement in green energy. France’s biggest company is to purchase 60% of SunPower Corporation, the second biggest solar panel manufacturer in America, and use it as a new springboard into a renewable sector struggling for competitive edge. Shares in SunPower surged 40% after it revealed a “friendly tender offer” from an oil company that had been expected to put major new investment into nuclear rather than solar or wind, at least until the Japanese earthquake raised new questions about the safety of atomic power. “The world future energy balance will be the result of a long-term transition in which renewable energies will take their place alongside conventional resources,” said Philippe Boisseau, president of Total’s gas and power division.

Guardian 30th April 2011 more >>

RENEWABLES will overtake oil, gas and coal as the world’s main energy source by 2025, according to a new survey of operators. The annual Maxwell Drummond International Energy Survey 2011 was led by global consultancy Maxwell Drummond, which has its HQ in London and offices in Aberdeen, Calgary, Houston, Johannesburg, Perth and Sydney. The survey is based on responses from business leaders in major oil and gas operators and contractors in Europe, US, Canada, Asia, Africa, Australasia and the Middle East. Kevin Davidson, chief executive of Maxwell Drummond International, said the results are “illuminating”.

Scotsman 30th April 2011 more >>

Posted: 30 April 2011

29 April 2011

New Nukes

A new generation of nuclear reactors should be built at Sellafield, according to the leaders of Cumbria County Council. The are urging the government to press ahead with plans for new reactors which would recycle mixed plutonium and uranium oxide fuel (Mox). Most of the UK’s plutonium is already stored at Sellafield. A Mox plant at Sellafield would provide around 5,000 construction jobs and ongoing plant employment. The call was in response to a government consultation on how the UK’s 112-tonne stockpile of civil separated plutonium should be managed. Cumbria County Council says the government should “consider the case for constructing one or more dedicated Mox burning reactors on available land beside the Sellafield and NuGeneration Ltd sites”.

BBC 28th April 2011 more >>

Scotland

Richard Dixon: THE history of renewable electricity targets in Scotland is instructive in considering how credible the current crop of manifesto promises are. In 2000 Labour environment minister Sarah Boyack set a target of 17.5 per cent of Scotland’s electricity consumption to come from renewables by 2010. This was only a 5 per cent increase on current production, but at the time her civil servants told her this was “very brave”. This is Sir Humphrey-speak for something that can’t be done. However, technology advanced rapidly and the 2010 target was met years early. The Labour-Liberal Democrat government went on to set a target for 2020 of 40 per cent and by 2007 the Lib Dems were proposing 100 per cent by 2050, which was impressive at the time. When the SNP came to power they set the 2020 target at 50 per cent. Again because rapid progress was being made, they raised the 2020 figure to 60 per cent and only recently raised it again to 80 per cent, the same level promised by Labour and the Lib Dems in their manifestos, with the latter also promising 100 per cent by 2025. The SNP and the Greens both promise 100 per cent by 2020. By the end of 2010 the actual figure was around 25 per cent and the figure for 2011 is likely to be 33 per cent a third of all the electricity we consume being created from clean, green sources. Politicians often set targets that they struggle to reach but the lesson of the last decade is that targets for renewable electricity soon go out of date because the technology is moving so quickly. Moving to renewable energy is an essential part of tackling climate change and Scotland, with her huge natural resources in wind and waves, should be leading the world. Our own research shows that 100 per cent by 2020 is possible. Massive job and export benefits would arise from hitting this milestone. As offshore wind, wave and tidal power start to come on stream, Labour and the Lib Dems’ 80 per cent is eminently achievable, and with a bit of political will, 100 per cent by 2020 is certainly possible.

Scotsman 29th April 2011 more >>

Letter Niall Stuart Chief Executive Scottish Renewables: The proposed target is for Scotland’s renewable energy sector to generate the equivalent of 100 per cent of annual electricity demand, not 100 per cent of electricity output. This does not mean the abandonment of other forms of energy generation, but rather a firm commitment to have renewables as a substantial part of an energy mix, which would not just meet Scotland’s needs but allow us to export clean power to other parts of the UK, creating wealth and jobs in Scotland. Scotland has around 25 per cent of Europe’s tidal stream and 10 per cent of its wave power, creating a combined 33 gigawatts potential of practical marine energy in Scottish Waters. Existing plans for 1.6GW installed capacity by 2020 would mean our marine renewables sector providing more than 10 per cent of Scotland’s electricity needs. Although the SNP’s pledge to increase the target of Scotland’s consumption from renewables from 80 to 100 per cent is ambitious, it can be achieved with the necessary level of support and commitment from government. To succeed will require the right market framework, investment in grid connections and skills, and the correct balance in the planning system between development and conservation.

Scotsman 29th April 2011 more >>

Hinkley

MOST people in West Somerset support a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point according to a recent survey commissioned by the energy company planning the new build. EDF Energy has said it will invest £100 million in the area, including a £20 million Community Fund, which was increased from £1 million after consultation.

This is the West Country 28th April 2011 more >>

CONCERNED residents have formed a protest group against two developments on North Petherton greenfield. The Sedgemoor Traffic Action Group (STAG) was launched to fight plans for a business development and EDF’s freight management and park-and-ride between the town and Bridgwater. Spokesman Matthew Jackson-Smith said: “The group formed because the project has outraged and frustrated residents who say it will create traffic chaos at junction 24 and along the A38 Taunton Road from North Petherton to Bridgwater.

This is Somerset 28th April 2011 more >>

FIFTY Bridgwater children swapped their Easter break to taste university life and discover the skills needed and opportunities available in the nuclear industry.

This is Somerset 29th April 2011 more >>

The Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster in Japan is having a potential impact on the West’s political landscape. In West Somerset, which along with neighbouring Sedgemoor, will bear the impact of the proposed Hinkley C nuclear plant, the Green party is running twice as many district council candidates as Labour and the Liberal Democrats combined. A dozen Greens will stand on May 5, compared with four Labour candidates and two Liberal Democrats, making the environmental campaigners the principal local opposition to the Conservatives.

This is Somerset 28th April 2011 more >>

Wylfa

(Translated from Welsh) People Against Wylfa B, has invited Dr Ian Fairlie to address a meeting Thursday night.

BBC 28th April 2011 more >>

Radwaste

Plans for a nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico were initially opposed in the late 1980s by a 2-1 margin but a new analysis of 35 statewide public opinion surveys taken over a decade shows that public acceptance steadily grew as Federal agencies went through the policy development and approval process over a 25-year-span. “By the time the facility opened in March of 1999, a majority of New Mexicans supported its continued operation,” according to the research.

Waste Management World 28th April 2011 more >>

Japan

Officials postponed a plan to ramp up efforts to cool nuclear fuel at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex amid concerns that the use of thousands of additional metric tons of water could result in dangerous leaks. Tepco officials said they would postpone their plan to cool reactors via the injection of massive amounts of water into the pressure vessel holding the fuel rods, ultimately spilling into and filling the outer containment vessel in each unit. The plan to fill the containment vessels is a departure from the current system of continuously injecting smaller amounts of water that haven’t yet fully covered the rods. They didn’t say when it might resume. The trial run saw a more-than-anticipated drop in the temperature and the pressure inside the plant’s No. 1 reactor, raising the possibility that air from outside could enter suspected gaps and spark an explosion when oxygen hits the hydrogen inside the reactor. Similar explosions in the first week of the crisis exacerbated damage and radiation at the plant.

Wall Street Journal 29th April 2011 more >>

Kansai Electric Power Co said its nuclear run rate this year would be lower than initially planned, and it may delay the restart of three reactors due to stricter safety steps imposed after a massive earthquake triggered the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years.

Reuters 27th April 2011 more >>

On March 15, the Japanese Government announced that the permissible cumulative radiation exposure for nuclear workers was increased to 250 mSv per year from 100 mSv per year. The purpose of this increase seems to be merely to extend the time nuclear workers could legally spend in a radioactive area. On April 12, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency of Japan decided to raise the severity level of the crisis to 7—the highest level and equal to the 1986 disaster at Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union. We emphasise the need to predict potential scenarios in Fukushima and to prepare medical care providers for how to respond in cases of accidental high radiation exposure, since this operation is estimated to take months to years.

The Lancet 18th April 2011 more >>

Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Thursday he will launch an independent panel around mid-May to investigate the causes of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.‘‘By sharing the lessons from the accident with the international community through the International Atomic Energy Agency and other channels, we will take the lead in contributing to safety improvements of nuclear plants around the world,’’ Kan also told a plenary session of the House of Representatives.

Japan Today 29th April 2011 more >>

A group of officials from Tepco, the beleaguered operator of Japan’s crippled nuclear plant, have become unlikely heroes thanks to their daily internet broadcasts on the latest situation at Fukushima.

Telegraph 29th April 2011 more >>

Korea

Japan’s nuclear crisis could result in a two to three year setback in the nuclear power reactor market, but demand will rise in the longer term, a senior executive at Korea Electric Power Corp said on Friday.

Reuters 29th April 2011 more >>

Syria

THE head of the International Atomic Energy Agency has said for the first time that a target destroyed by Israeli warplanes in the Syrian desert in 2007 was the covert site of a future nuclear reactor, countering assertions by Syria that it had no atomic secrets.

Scotsman 29th April 2011 more >>

US

The Tennessee Valley Authority has shut down its undamaged Browns Ferry nuclear power plant in northern Alabama, cooling its reactors after power transmission lines into the plant were knocked out by severe storms in the state.

IB Times 28th April 2011 more >>

Exelon and Constellation Energy have announced a $7.9 billion merger. Under the name Exelon, the resulting firm will be America’s largest generator of nuclear power by an even greater margin. A definitive agreement posted today will see a stock-for-stock transaction combine the two companies. The new firm wants to take advantage of Exelon’s large low-carbon generation fleet and Constellation’s customer-facing business. Nuclear expansion plans for both companies have faltered over the last two years on the drop in power demand due to the financial crisis and the increasing availability of cheap gas. Exelon had proposed to build two new units at Victoria County in Texas but licensing for this has been downscaled to just an Early Site Permit. Constellation was a 50% partner in the Unistar initiative to build a fleet of Areva EPRs in America. A proposal for Calvert Cliffs has the most promising of this effort, but the company pulled out last year and sold its stake cheaply to the other partner, EDF of France. This had come after Constellation sold half of its nuclear generation business to EDF for some $4.5 billion, rejecting an offer of $4.7 billion for the entire company from MidAmerican Energy Holdings. Constellation shares had plunged on the financial crisis. For its part during that crisis, Exelon had tried to buy out another huge US generator, NRG, for $6.2 billion. The nuclear fleet of the expanded Exelon will include its 17 reactors across ten sites: Braidwood, Byron, Clinton, Dresden, LaSalle, Limerick, Oyster Creek, Peach Bottom, Quad Cities, and Three Mile Island 1. The deal with Constellation will add interests in five more reactors across the Nine Mile Point, Calvert Cliffs and R G Ginna sites.

World Nuclear News 28th April 2011 more >>

French state-controlled power group Electricite de France SA owns 7.2% of U.S.-based Constellation Energy Group, the group noted Thursday after Exelon Corp. announced it agreed to buy Constellation in a stock-for-stock deal valued at about $8 billion. “EDF still owns 7.2% in Constellation and also owns 49.9% of its nuclear assets, through CENG, a joint-venture,” a spokeswoman for the group said. She declined to further comment the Exelon announcement.

Fox Business 28th April 2011 more >>

India

The Indian government announced, 26 April, a number of measures that will be taken in response to the recent nuclear accident in Japan. The measures address safety concerns about India’s nuclear power programme, in particular the planned Jaitapur plant, which have seen large public opposition.

Nuclear Engineering International 28th April 2011 more >>

Thailand

Thailand is preparing to double LNG imports after putting plans to two nuclear power plants on ice.

Petroleum Economist 28th April 2011 more >>

Pakistan

Shrouded in secrecy and jealously guarded by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, there is little public debate about Pakistan’s nuclear safety record in the wake of what is happening at Fukushima.There are two main reactors used for energy production in Pakistan: the ageing plant on the coast near Karachi (Kanupp) and the nuclear plant near Chashma Barrage on the Indus River (Chasnupp I). Between them, they provide only about 350 MW of energy, just 2% of Pakistan’s energy demand. A second nuclear reactor at Chashma (Chasnupp II) is being tested and should start operations soon. They are extremely costly, at about US $1bn for each of the Chasma reactors, plus they are very unsafe, according to two of the country’s top physicists who teach at the Lahore University of Management Sciences.

Guardian 28th April 2011 more >>

Posted: 29 April 2011

28 April 2011

Nuclear Subsidy

Letter Yousaf Mahmood Butt, Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics: You advocate reviving nuclear power in the radioactive shadow of the Fukushima disaster in Japan. I would, perhaps, support your viewpoint if the nuclear industry could revive itself without massive government subsidies. In the US – the biggest user of nuclear power – the industry receives huge ongoing insurance bail-outs under the 1957 Price-Anderson Act. This outdated legislation limits the liability of the nuclear industry in the event of a major nuclear accident and artificially cheapens the price it pays for insurance. As a result, nuclear-derived power itself is artificially cheap, one reason that it continues to displace renewables in the not-so-free-market. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reports that many nuclear suppliers have said that “without Price-Anderson coverage, they would not participate in the nuclear industry”. If an industry that has benefited from massive government research and development and other subsidies for more than five decades, and which creates staggering unresolved waste disposal problems, raises proliferation issues, and poses serious risks to human health, cannot survive without government support then, perhaps, it ought not to survive.

FT 28th April 2011 more >>

Nuclear Safety

Letter: Gordon Murray uses the report of the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate to imply that nuclear installations are not safe. But some of the figures he quotes do not agree with those of other experts in the field and are therefore misleading. In fact, the 500 or so nuclear stations around the world have an outstanding safety record. The International Energy Agency gives the number of deaths per 10 billion kWh generated as 0.2 for nuclear compared with 0.3 for gas (its nearest neighbour) and a huge 2.8 for coal – and this is after taking into account Chernobyl.

Herald 28th April 2011 more >>

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday he plans to convene a summit meeting in September to discuss nuclear safety following the crisis at Japan’s earthquake-damaged Fukushima plant. Ban told reporters after briefing the U.N. Security Council that he had used the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear accident at the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine to call for improvements in nuclear safety worldwide.

STV 26th April 2011 more >>

Supply Chain

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills has given the go-ahead to the Manufacturing Advisory Service North West (MAS-NW) to continue to co-ordinate the national MAS civil nuclear supply chain activity through until 31st December, under the current MAS contract terms.

Process & Control Technology 27th Apriol 2011 more >>

Oldbury

A warning has been issued to Oldbury power station after oil used for cooling leaked into the River Severn. Managers at the plant near Bristol said the leak on 6 and 7 February had “no measurable environmental impact”. But the Environment Agency said the discharge contravened regulations by “causing polluting matter to enter the Severn estuary”.

BBC 27th April 2011 more >>

OLDBURY Power Station looks set to keep powering the nation until December 2012. Operators at the 42-year-old nuclear plant are hoping to extend its life for a further 18 months. Phil Sprague, site director, said his team was currently working on a safety case to extend its life span until the end of next year. Both reactors one and two at the site were due to shut down on June 30 this year. However, Magnox, which runs Oldbury, hopes to transfer all remaining fuel that is available into reactor one and continue producing electric.

Gloucestershire Gazette 27th April 2011 more >>

Hinkley

EDF Energy says most people surveyed in a new poll think its £100million investment as part of its plans for Hinkley Point C will have a positive impact on the area. According to the survey, 75% believe the cash will have an impact with 53% saying it will have a big impact. The same survey suggests nearly two-thirds consider EDF’s investment offer to be about right and 17% say it is not enough.

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly 27th April 2011 more >>

Protest

Nuclear white elephant blown up outside Parliament.

Stop Nuclear Power 27th April 2011 more >>

Twitpic 27th April 2011 more >>

A SOUTH Lakeland-based campaign group is challenging the Bishop of Carlisle to abandon his support for nuclear power. Radiation Free Lakeland (RFL) will make its demand today as members lay three crosses outside Carlisle Cathedral to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. They will also deliver a letter to Bishop James Newcome urging him to reconsider his position on new-build nuclear power.

Westmorland Gazette 26th April 2011 more >>

CAMPAIGNERS walked through Bridgwater last night to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Anti-nuclear group Stop Hinkley along with the Sedgemoor and West Somerset Green Party and the Bridgwater Peace Group organised the commemorative walk from the bandstand in Blake Gardens at 7.30pm to the Blake statue in Cornhill.

Bridgwater Mercury 27th April 2011 more >>

London CND and Medact staged a vigil and parliamentary meeting at Portcullis House in Westminster to mark the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl, the world’s worst ever civil nuclear disaster.

London Indymedia 27th April 2011 more >>

Scotland

SNP plans to generate 100 per cent of Scotland’s power from renewable sources by 2020 have been endorsed by seven leading industry figures. The proposals have been dismissed as “cuckoo” by business leaders, while Labour leader insisted this week that no serious engineer or scientist thought the plans were credible. But, in an open letter, seven executives say that it is vital that Scotland builds on its current low-carbon industry in order to attract investment in the sector. Meanwhile, Ignacio Galn, chairman and chief executive of ScottishPower Renewables’ parent company, Iberdrola, has described the renewables goal as “entirely credible”. The endorsement have been welcomed by First Minister Alex Salmond, who was campaigning at Nigg Yard in Easter Ross yesterday. “Our goal of generating 100 per cent of Scotland’s own electricity demand from renewable sources by 2020 is ambitious but achievable,” Mr Salmond said.

Scotsman 27th April 2011 more >>

Letter: NO developed economy can function without a reliable and economic supply of electricity but with present UK policies we have been warned that within a few years there will be a risk of power failures while increases in prices to consumers will rise by more than 50 per cent by 2025. On a standalone basis the situation in Scotland would be even more disastrous. The huge investment required to remedy the neglect and wishful thinking of recent years will require two decades or more to take effect and in the run up to the May elections we urge all political parties in Scotland to put the future of our electricity supplies at the top of their agendas. The pretence that our electricity can in future be supplied from renewables, mainly wind and marine, has gone on too long. These matters are not a question of opinion; they are answerable to the laws of physics and are readily analysed using normal engineering methods. All of these energy sources are of very low concentrations and intermittent; they are and will remain inherently expensive and no amount of development will have more than a marginal effect on this conclusion.

Scotsman 27th April 2011 more >>

Japan

Gundersen Postulates Unit 3 Explosion May Have Been Prompt Criticality in Fuel Pool,

Vimeo 26th April 2011 more >>

Tokyo Electric Power Co said Wednesday that one of its female employees was exposed to radiation doses far above the legal limit at the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant—the latest revelation of lax radiation management by the plant operator since the crisis erupted last month.As a key step to bringing an end to the ongoing crisis, the utility said, meanwhile, it will seek to start in June decontamination of highly radioactive water accumulating in the plant’s premises, which has prevented restoration work as a side effect of the emergency water injection into troubled reactors from outside in place of their lost cooling functions. TEPCO also started to increase the amount of water injected into the damaged No. 1 reactor core in preparation to flood the reactor’s primary containment vessel to cool the fuel inside in a stable manner. In the latest sign of tough working conditions at the radiation-leaking plant, the firm said it found earlier in the day that one of its 19 female employees working at the plant when the March 11 quake and tsunami crippled it had been exposed to 17.55 millisieverts of radiation by March 23, against the legal limit of 5 millisieverts over a three-month period.The woman, who is in her 50s, has no health problems, but two more female workers may also have been exposed to radiation in excess of the limit before all the female employees left the plant on March 23, the utility and the government’s nuclear safety agency said.

Japan Today 28th April 2011 more >>

Design techniques were used to create the rover currently examining the inside of Japan’s nuclear reactors, in areas not yet deemed safe for human crews, which before were honed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., for Mars rovers.

IB Times 27th April 2011 more >>

Japanese engineers are struggling to gain control of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, which was seriously damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Two of the six reactors at the plant, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), are considered stable but the other four are volatile. Following are some questions and answers about efforts to end the world’s worst nuclear crisis since the 1986 Chernobyl accident.

Reuters 27th April 2011 more >>

Japan, stung by international criticism of its handling of a nuclear crisis, will likely include foreign experts in a review of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, an aide to the prime minister said on Wednesday. Prime Minister Naoto Kan has promised an eventual review of the crisis, in which cooling functions at the nuclear power plant in northeast Japan were knocked out by a 15 meter (49 foot) tsunami on March 11, leading to leaks of radiation into the air and sea.

STV 27th April 2011 more >>

US

A team with radiation monitoring equipment highlight the threat to millions of people from New York’s Indian Point nuclear plant. 17 million people live within 50 miles of Indian Point, an old nuclear plant in an active seismic zone just north of New York City. If an accident or terrorist attack led to a catastrophic release of radiation, evacuation would be impossible. Nationwide, 1 in 3 Americans live within 50 miles of a nuclear plant. Greenpeace is calling for the shut-down of the Indian Point nuclear plant, and the replacement of dangerous nuclear power with safe solutions like renewable energy and energy efficiency.

You Tube 25th April 2011 more >>

Blaming uncertainties arising from the nuclear crisis in Japan, NRG Energy says it will write down its $481 million investment in two planned new nuclear reactors in South Texas.

Climate Progress 26th April 2011 more >>

Germany

Germany must speed up its transition to renewable energy in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident, writes Norbert Röttgen, the German environment minister, in an opinion piece. He says Germany can lead the way with a successful shift into green power that will boost its economy.

Der Spiegel 27th April 2011 more >>

India

India is planning an overhaul of its insular nuclear establishment as it gears up for a big expansion of its nuclear energy capacity in the aftermath of the disaster at Japans Fukushima reactor. The Congress-led government said it planned to introduce legislation in the coming session of parliament that will create an independent and autonomous nuclear power regulator, the Nuclear Regulatory Authority of India, to oversee the expanding nuclear energy industry. The decision comes as the administration of Manmohan Singh, prime minister, affirmed its determination to go ahead with plans for Frances Areva to build two 1,650MW European pressurised water reactors, for $9.6bn, on Indias west coast, in spite of fierce local resistance.

FT 28th April 2011 more >>

Thailand

BANGKOKThailand will delay the commercial startup of five planned nuclear-power plants by three years because of safety concerns following the nuclear crisis in Japan. Energy Minister Wannarat Charnnukul said Thailand will instead build three 800-megawatt combined-cycle power plants to offset the deferral of the nuclear plants under the country’s long-term energy development plan. Thailand had planned to start commercial operations of the first nuclear-power plant in 2020.

Wall Street Journal 28th April 2011 more >>

Low Carbon Investment

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) published a report yesterday expressing its concern that the UK’s transition to a low-carbon economy needs boosting, echoing that of the British Chambers of Commerce last week. The CBI commissioned Accenture to interview businesses about planning and investment. They concluded that the money is there to invest, but investment is not sufficient because: pensions funds, who have the money, invest indirectly through utility companies; banks are unwilling to lend money for the 6-7 years required; and low-carbon technology is seen as a risky investment, partly due to unpredictable policy-making. The government’s current consultation on reducing feed-in subsidies for larger solar projects, currently being challenged in the courts by a consortium of solar power companies, is given as an example of the perception of policy being unstable.

Bircham Dyson Bell 27th April 2011 more >>

Posted: 28 April 2011

27 April 2011

New Nukes

The UK nuclear new build programme will be delayed by a year in the aftermath of the Japan Fukushima disaster, according to ICE vice president Richard Coackley. “It has changed processes [in the UK] and delayed decisions by a year,” he said. Last week, the Health & Safety Executive decided to postpone the outcome of the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) for nuclear reactors until government chief scientist Mike Weightman has completed his report into the Fukushima accident, due in September. Already, new nuclear developer EdF Energy’s attempts to build a power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset have run into trouble, with two local councils objecting to its proposals earlier this month. Stage two of its public consultation for the plant ended last week with Somerset County Council and Sedgemoor District Council still objecting to parts of the proposal. However, a top government advisor told NCE that there was “no cause for concern” and the nuclear new build programme will go ahead as planned.

New Civil Engineer 21st April 2011 more >>

SCHOOLCHILDREN in Bridgwater gave up their Easter holidays to enjoy a taste of university life and learn about the nuclear energy industry.

Bridgwater Mercury 26th April 2011 more >>

Letter Dr Gerry Wolff: You say: “For the foreseeable future, neither fossil fuels nor renewable sources will be able to replace the 14 per cent of global electricity generated by nuclear reactors, without risking severe instability and shortages in energy markets.” But exactly the same would be true of new nuclear power stations in the unlikely event that all existing nuclear plants were to be suddenly closed down. In general, renewables can be built much faster than nuclear power plants. Last year, Germany installed 8.8 GW of photovoltaic solar panels, producing about the same amount of electricity as a 1 GW nuclear plant. But it would take much longer – about seven years – to build that nuclear plant.

FT 27th April 2011 more >>

Sizewell

British Energy, which is part of EDF Energy and runs the power station, has written to people living close by to keep them informed about the discovery, which is not isolated to Suffolk. Traces of Iodine have been found at stations around the UK in the wake of the Japanese earthquake but Jim Crawford, station director at Sizewell B, said he expected the traces in Suffolk to have disappeared “within a month”. He said: “We have measured trace quantities of Iodine – 131 in air samplers where none is usually detected, similar readings have been detected at other EDF Energy stations around the country.

East Anglian Daily Times 26th April 2011 more >>

Evening Star 26th April 2011 more >>

Iodine-131 has been detected at some of the ten plants owned by EDF Energy. But the company’s subsidiary, British Energy, has been quick to quash fears of individual leaks, claiming the readings are a direct result of last month’s Fukushima disaster and nothing to do with their plants.The scare comes after levels of the dangerous substance were found in the air around the Sizewell B nuclear power reactor near Ipswich. Jim Crawford, the station’s director, insists that the readings are ‘extremely low’ and not of greater concern.

Metro 26th April 2011 more >>

Video of Sizewell Demo.

You Tube 25th April 2011 more >>

Hinkley

The Green party is running twice as many district council candidates as Labour and the Liberal Democrats combined in West Somerset, where Britain’s first new nuclear power station is expected to be built.A dozen Greens will stand on May 5, compared with four Labour candidates and two Liberal Democrats, making the environmental campaigners the principal local opposition to the Conservatives. The emergence of the Greens in West Somerset is the first tangible evidence that last month’s disaster at the Fukushima reactor in Japan has influenced the local debate over a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. EDF Energy, the UK subsidiary of EDF, the large French energy group, plans to build two reactors beside an existing nuclear power plant.

FT 26th April 2011 more >>

Scotland

GREEN campaigners have used the 25-year anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster to call for an end to new nuclear power plants in Scotland. WWF Scotland said there was now “very little chance” of any new reactors being built, with most of the main political parties committed to renewable energy. Dr Richard Dixon, director of WWF Scotland, said: “Twenty-five years on from Chernobyl, nuclear power’s record of accidents, secrecy and hidden subsidies is again in the spotlight.”

Edinburgh Evening News 26th April 2011 more >>

Dounreay

Remotely controlled robotic arms have been used to clean the windows of the Dounreay nuclear power plant in Scotland.

Metro 26th April 2011 more >>

Nuclear Safety

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has called for new safety rules to be drawn up for the global nuclear industry as Chernobyl marks the 25th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear accident.

Engineering & Technology 26th April 2011 more >>

Daily Mail 26th April 2011 more >>

BBC 26th April 2011 more >>

RUSSIA’S president argued yesterday that tough international guidelines could help prevent accidents such as the Chernobyl meltdown. He was defending atomic energy during solemn ceremonies commemorating the 25th anniversary of the worst nuclear accident in history.

Scotsman 27th April 2011 more >>

Chernobyl

Rochdale and Littleborough Peace Group joined campaigners from across Greater Manchester on Monday evening (25 April 2011) to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl which resulted from the meltdown of the nuclear reactor there on 26 April 1986.

Rochdale Online 26th April 2011 more >>

FARMERS who were saddled with restrictions on livestock in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster have made fresh calls for them to be lifted. This week marks 25 years since the nuclear plant in the former Soviet Union exploded, sending a radioactive cloud across Europe. Hundreds of British sheep farmers are still feeling the effects, with close monitoring and strict rules a daily bind. Emlyn Roberts whose farm in Dolgellau, is one of 330 affected in Wales, still has to obtain a licence every time he wants to move sheep, which he said can make his business less competitive. “We were told by a MAFF official the restrictions would only last three weeks – three months at the most – and here we are a quarter of a century on,” said Mr Roberts.

Farmers Guardian 26th April 2011 more >>

On the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe, while the world still struggles with the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, CEE Bankwatch Network issues a startling report showing how plans of the Ukrainian government to build 22 new nuclear reactors and extend the lifetime of old Soviet reactors are indirectly supported with European public money as part of the long-term EU energy security strategy.

Bankwatch 26th April 2011 more >>

Bankwatch Report 26th April 2011 more >>

Twenty-five years ago, the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the Ukraine suffered a catastrophic explosion. The real lessons are still being learned. There is also growing evidence that the effects of radiation can be passed to future generations. Studies of mice by Prof Yuri Dubrova, of the University of Leicester, reveal that large doses of radiation can make the genetic code more likely to suffer mutations, and that this propensity can be passed down the generations in the “germ line”, the genes contained in sperm and eggs.

Telegraph 26th April 2011 more >>

On the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, Friends of the Earth Europe stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and neighbouring countries, remembering those affected by the catastrophe. Friends of the Earth Europe also stands with those still affected by the tsunami and ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan – where the severity level of the nuclear crisis has been raised to maximum, on a par with Chernobyl. The Chernobyl catastrophe is still a reality, and nuclear power remains more than ever a threat to people and planet – a fact driven home by the unfortunate events in Japan. Friends of the Earth Europe calls on European governments to start phasing out nuclear power across Europe, and calls on national authorities in the Ukraine and Japan do everything possible to prevent the immeasurable damage to people, the environment and the local ecosystem that further radioactive leaks will cause.

FoE Europe Press Release 26th April 2011 more >>

Campaign Opposing New Nuclear Energy Development Press Release and brfiefing on Chernobyl

CONNED 26th April 2011 more >>

Today is the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl catastrophe. We went to Carlisle Cathedral to lay three crosses: Windscale- Never Again? Chernobyl – Never Again? Fukushima- Never Again? A letter was delivered to the “nuclear is a green option” Bishop of Carlisle.

101 uses for nuclear power 26th April 2011 more >>

TWENTY-FIVE years on from Chernobyl, kind-hearted Wirralians are opening their homes to children affected by the nuclear disaster. Volunteers from the Chernobyl Children’s Life Line charity have welcomed over 800 children from Belarus to the borough every summer for the last 17 years. Belarus received up to 70% of the radioactive fallout when the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in the Ukraine exploded on April 26, 1986. It caused a huge increase in cancer among the population, particularly in children.

Wirral News 27th April 2011 more >>

Terror

Secret files have revealed that terrorists claim to be hiding a nuclear bomb in Europe, according to WikiLeaks.

Metro 26th Apriol 2011 more >>

Radwaste

Villagers from a dozen local communities were in London today, trying to stop the dumping of low-level nuclear waste near King’s Cliff in Northamptonshire. 12 villages to the east of Peterborough held referendums at the beginning of the month – to force their parish councils to take action.

Anglia Regional News 26th April 2011 more >>

The UK has a unique problem with nuclear waste. As a pioneer in the nuclear sector in terms of the development of weaponry and of nuclear power a variety of equipment designs were used in the early days, along with unusual materials and much experimentation. The large majority of waste forms can be handled with conventional encapsulation, but a small proportion probably a single-figure percentage can’t. ’But that’s still a large volume and tonnage of waste.’ Known as WRATs (wastes requiring additional treatment) or orphan wastes, these materials are being studied for their suitability to encapsulation in polymer materials.

The Engineer 25th April 2011 more >>

Japan

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has cut its outlook on Japan’s sovereign debt following last month’s quake-tsunami disaster and warned that reconstruction costs could pass $600 billion (£360bn). Standard & Poor’s warned that its projections were “uncertain” due to ongoing developments at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, where workers are battling to cool reactors and spent fuel rod pools to prevent a meltdown. The nuclear disaster, the world’s worst since Chernobyl 25 years ago, caused electricity shortages while the quake and tsunami damaged and destroyed production facilities and infrastructure, disrupting supply chains.

Telegraph 27th April 2011 more >>

Angry farmers brought two cows to Tokyo yesterday, shouting and punching the air to demand compensation for products contaminated by radiation from the Fukushima plant. The 200 farmers, mostly from north-eastern Japan, rallied outside the headquarters of Tepco, the operator of the nuclear plant which was damaged by the tsunami on 11 March. The farmers held aloft cabbages they said they could not sell and carried signs saying: “Stop nuclear energy.”

Independent 27th April 2011 more >>

Ten days have passed since Tokyo Electric Power Co released its road map for bringing the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant under control. Efforts are under way to stabilize overheated nuclear fuel rods and keep water temperatures in reactors in check but new challenges have emerged such as dealing with a large volume of contaminated water found inside the No. 4 reactor building. Rubble containing radioactive materials and a series of aftershocks following the March 11 massive earthquake have also been hampering work. The road map lists three areas that need to be tackled immediately—bringing the reactors and spent fuel pools to a stable cooling condition, mitigating the releases of water and air containing radioactive materials from the power station, and monitoring radiation levels in areas around the power station.

Japan Today 26th April 2011 more >>

The backup electricity generators at many of Japan’s nuclear power stations lack the capacity to keep reactor cores cool if another earthquake and/or tsunami strikes. So say sources at Japan’s electricity utilities who have been comparing the power capacity of the backup generators available against that needed to keep reactors safe from thermal runaway and meltdown.

New Scientist 26th April 2011 more >>

The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says water may be leaking from the spent fuel pool of the No. 4 reactor. More than 1,500 spent fuel rods are stored in the pool, the largest number at the site. Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, has been injecting water daily into the pool to make up for the loss of cooling function and prevent the fuel rods from being exposed and further damaged. TEPCO has poured in 140 to 210 tons of water over each of the last few days. The company found that water levels in the pool were 10 to 40 centimeters lower than expected despite the water injections.

NHK 27th April 2011 more >>

TEPCO workers agreed to a management proposal to cut their pay by as much as 25 percent out of a sense of responsibility for the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, their union said. “Most union members didn’t object to a pay cut, considering the situation at the company and the effect on society from the nuclear accident,” Koji Sakata, secretary- general of the Tokyo Electric Power Workers Union, said by telephone today.

Bloomberg 26th April 2011 more >>

Tokyo Electric Power said it would cut the total remuneration of its president, chairman and other top executives by half as it grapples with the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years.

Reuters 25th April 2011 more >>

Exports from Japan contaminated by high levels of radiation from the country’s nuclear meltdown in Fukushima are beginning to arrive in Western ports. Last week Russian custom officials stopped 49 contaminated cars from a consignment of 300 newly manufactured vehicles.

What Doctors Don’t Tell You 26th April 2011 more >>

Angry farmers picketed the head office of nuclear privateer Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) today to demand compensation for produce contaminated by the radiation that continues to spew from its crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. Hundreds of farmers from Japan’s north-east wore green bandanas, held up cabbages they said they couldn’t sell and carried signs saying “Stop nuclear energy” outside the firm’s headquarters.

Morning Star 26th April 2011 more >>

Given the fierce insularity of Japan’s nuclear industry, it was perhaps fitting that an outsider exposed the most serious safety cover-up in the history of Japanese nuclear power. It took place at Fukushima Daiichi, the plant that Japan has been struggling to get under control since last month’s earthquake and tsunami.

New York Times 26th April 2011 more >>

A group of Diet members studying ways to build a new Japan without nuclear power plants was formed on April 26. Hiroyuki Arai, a New Renaissance Party member in the Upper House representing Fukushima Prefecture, urged drastic steps to reinvent the country’s energy policy.

Asahi 27th April 2011 more >>

IAEA

From the name, one might expect the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to have been a major force in the response to the Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan. Instead, its performance was sluggish and sometimes confusing, drawing calls for the agency — an independent organization that advises the United Nations — to take a more proactive role in nuclear safety. Ministers from the countries that oversee the IAEA will meet in June at the agency’s head quarters in Vienna to discuss lessons from the nuclear accident. A shake-up of the agency’s function in emergencies is likely to be on the agenda.

Nature 26th April 2011 more >>

US

“It is highly irresponsible to talk of building new nuclear power plants unless the nuclear wastes we have already generated over forty years are dealt with promptly and effectively,” says Richard Stewart, co-author, with Jane Stewart, of Fuel Cycle to Nowhere: U.S. Law and Policy on Nuclear Waste (August 2011, Vanderbilt University Press). The meltdown of spent fuel rods and releases of radioactivity at nuclear plants in Japan highlights the dangers of the current policy drift in the U.S. Spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power generation now sits in spent fuel pools at 104 reactor sites in 35 states, and there is no plan in place for its disposal.

IB Times 26th April 2011 more >>

The Japanese nuclear crisis will likely curtail expansion of U.S. nuclear power generation, an official from the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday.

Reuters 26th April 2011 more >>

India

India will tighten safety systems at a proposed $10 billion nuclear plant, potentially the world’s largest, a minister said on Tuesday, after protests against the plan turned violent in recent weeks following last month’s nuclear disaster in Japan.

Reuters 26th April 2011 more >>

BBC 27th April 2011 more >>

South Korea

Even before Japan’s atomic disaster in March unsettled sentiment towards nuclear power, South Korea’s plans to export atomic technology were hitting commercial and political obstacles. Primarily, Seoul is battling to convince potential buyers it can finance projects of this scale. After South Korea won the deal to build four nuclear reactors in Abu Dhabi, traditional atomic exporters such as Japan’s Toshiba/Westinghouse and France’s Areva were concerned. Kepco had bid at about 20 per cent beneath the industry average. But since then, Kepco has failed to win key contracts in Turkey and Lithuania. Vietnam, which Kepco sees as a big potential market, finalised a reactor deal with Japan in October.

FT 26th April 2011 more >>

Renewables

How can we cope with the variability of renewable energy? Do we need some coal, gas and nuclear in Scotland to keep the lights on when the wind drops? Electricity only meets a quarter of all our energy needs; what can we do about emissions from transport and heating? What is electricity anyway? Find answers to all these questions and more, in our new myth-busting pamphlet on renewable energy in Scotland, based on the research of Garrad Hassan, one of the UK’s leading energy consultants.

FoE-Scotland 26th April 2011 more >>

For years, solar panels were just too expensive. And businesses relied on government subsidies, which collapsed in the wake of the financial crisis. Prices of solar energy stocks plummeted – and stayed there. But solar energy is about to have its moment. Costs have been slashed. A solar panel now costs half of what it did in 2008. Large-scale manufacturing is cutting costs by 5%-8% per year on average. Efficiency is improving all the time too. Photovoltaic solar energy cells convert sunlight directly into energy, rather than using its heat. Solar energy now costs 15c/kWh to produce this way, compared to 8c/kWh for wind, and between 3-7c/kWh for coal and gas. In fact, installations in certain regions have even achieved the Holy Grail of ‘grid parity’ – producing electricity as cheaply as conventional grid power.

Money Week 26th April 2011 more >>

Fusion

Engineers are investigating potential ways of sustaining electricity generation from nuclear fusion reactors, in anticipation of a demonstration plant coming online in the proceeding decades. In an EPSRC-funded project, researchers based at Queen Mary University will focus on harnessing power from a tokamak design where reacting plasma is confined by powerful magnets.

The Engineer 26th April 2011 more >>

Posted: 27 April 2011

26 April 2011

New Nukes

Roland Kupers – visiting fellow at Oxford University and a former executive at Royal Dutch Shell: The evidence of the link between carbon reduction, economic growth, and job creation is mounting. In the past six months, studies by the United Nations Environment Program and Johns Hopkins University, as well as “A new growth path for Europe,” a blueprint proposed by six leading European universities, all project the creation of millions of job before 2020. Notably, these are not just “Green Jobs”; they are “Green Growth jobs” across all industrial and services sectors. What we are witnessing is a watershed in the debate on greenhouse-gas emissions. A low-carbon growth path requires neither coal nor new nuclear power. The way forward is to pursue more ambitious and consistent climate and energy policies that drive the massive deployment of renewables; install new load-balancing electricity grids; and ensure large-scale adoption of energy-efficiency measures. This agenda promises to boost investments, stimulate economic growth, and create jobs while increasing competitiveness and energy security. In both economic and ethical terms, nuclear power merits no role.

Project Syndicate 25th April 2011 more >>

Scotsman 26th April 2011 more >>

Karl Grossman: With the ongoing disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plants in Japan, some people ask: can nuclear power be made safe? The answer is no. Nuclear power can never be made safe. Instead we must fully implement the use of safe, clean, renewable energy technologies like solar, wind (now the fastest growing energy source and cheaper than nuclear) and geothermal and all the rest which, major studies have concluded, can provide all the energy the world needs energy without lethal radioactivity, energy we can live with.

Counter Punch 25th April 2011 more >>

Chernobyl

The health effects of Chernobyl, 25 years after the reactor catastrophe.

IPPNW 26th April 2011 more >>

More than a 100,000 anti-nuclear protesters gathered on the French-German border on Sunday to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Euro News 25th April 2011 more >>

Telegraph 25th April 2011 more >>

BBC 26th April 2011 more >>

Ukraine will today mark a the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, as Japan struggles to recover from its own atomic crisis.

Telegraph 26th April 2011 more >>

On the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, a Comment and Editorial published Online First by Lancet Oncology describes the known health consequences of this event. The authors point out that there were many obstacles in studying the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident and that the Fukushima incident might offer a new, albeit sad, opportunity to more accurately study the health consequences of a major nuclear power plant accident. The authors attribute this to the greater scientific expertise in Japan, as well as the greater economic and political stability. The Comment is by Dr Kirsten B Moysich and Dr Philip McCarthy, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY, USA, and Dr Per Hall, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden – who have contributed to numerous scholarly articles on this topic, including the first major United Nations Report into the effects of the Chernobyl accident in 2000.

Medical News Today 25th April 2011 more >>

Twenty five years since the world’s worst nuclear accident at the Chernobyl power station, the surrounding settlements are still ghost towns, with thousands of houses abandoned and left to fall into ruin. Ukraine is today preparing to mark a quarter of a century since the disaster, which endangered hundreds of thousands of lives and contaminated pristine forests and farmland with deadly radiation. The blast on April 26, 1986, spewed a cloud of radioactive fallout over much of Europe and forced hundreds of thousands from their homes in the most heavily hit areas in Ukraine, Belarus and western Russia.

Daily Mail 25th April 2011 more >>

TODAY’S 25th anniversary of the disaster at Chernobyl finds the world engaged in a new debate about the safety of nuclear power following the damage done by the recent Japanese earthquake and tsunami at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Both are now classified on the highest scale of such accidents. Despite the undoubted progress made in design and safety standards, trust in the industry still lags behind its technological development because endemic secrecy, powerful lobbies and disputed statistics remain characteristic of its public profile. Chernobyl put these on the map and they are still there.

Irish Times 26th April 2011 more >>

For 25 years, the children of Chernobyl have suffered sickness, disability and death. Instances of genetic abnormalities, birth deformities, cancers and suppressed immune systems, allergies, water on the brain, asthma, blood vessel damage, pancreatic diabetes and heart defects increased after the accident. The Belarus government and the nuclear industry are reluctant to attribute this to radiation. The Chernobyl Children’s Project observed that “it is possible for scientists to insist that there is no proof that radiation has affected the rate and severity of any illnesses because in recent years there have been no serious studies to settle the matter one way or another.” Why? Nuclear accidents are an occupational hazard for the industry. In England, operator liability is limited by the Paris and Vienna Conventions which cap liability of reactor operators at a minuscule fraction of the likely cost of a significant nuclear accident.

Morning Star 25th April 2011 more >>

The 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster is prompting much debate about the future of the industry. Safety is very much in focus as Japan deals with the problems at the Fukushima nuclear plant, in the aftermath of the tsunami. Asia’s emerging economies have plans to invest billions of dollars in nuclear power to fuel their fast growing countries.

BBC 26th April 2011 more >>

Ukraine is marking the 25th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear accident – at the Chernobyl power plant. An explosion at one of the plant’s reactors sent a plume of radiation across Europe and killed at least 30 people in its immediate aftermath. A disputed number of others died later from radiation-related illnesses. The anniversary comes amid renewed global protest over nuclear power and as Japan struggles to contain radiation leaks at its crippled Fukushima plant.

BBC 26th April 2011 more >>

A consortium of Ukrainian and international scientists is making an urgent call for a $13.5m (£8.28m) programme to prevent potentially catastrophic wildfires inside the exclusion zone surrounding Chernobyl’s ruined nuclear power plant. The fear is that fires in the zone could release clouds of radioactive particles that are, at the moment, locked up in trees, held mainly in the needles and bark of Scots pines. The consortium says an automated fire detection and monitoring system and new firefighting and forestry equipment are needed to guarantee safe management of Chernobyl’s forests.

Guardian 26th April 2011 more >>

The long-term health effects of Chernobyl remain unclear 25 years after the most serious nuclear accident in history, according to a former World Health Organisation (WHO) official. A full assessment of the public health impact has been thwarted by poorly co-ordinated research on residents in areas close to the plant, and should be carried out with funding from the European commission, said Keith Baverstock, a former health and radiation adviser to the WHO. He said research had been frustrated by pro- and anti-nuclear lobby groups who had turned the debate over health risks into a battleground. Crucial lessons on how to respond to nuclear emergencies and quell public anxiety had been missed by governments and aut horities such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In an editorial in the British Medical Journal to mark the anniversary of the disaster, Baverstock calls for comprehensive research into cancers, birth defects and other health problems among 600,000 people in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.

Guardian 26th April 2011 more >>

The control room where Soviet atomic staff fought a losing battle to prevent a nuclear disaster is quiet and cold as a tomb. Even through a face mask, anti-radiation suit and large industrial boots one feels a deep chill plus rubble underfoot. The size of the space is hard to fathom. It is pitch black until suddenly illuminated by the flash on my camera. In the burst of light a huge V-shaped console desk looms battleship grey in the distance, its top pock-marked with dozens of tiny holes. It is easy to imagine that a fireball swept through the nerve centre of the Chernobyl power plant’s reactor No 4 on theday of the world’s worst atomic accident, 25 years ago. In fact the instrument panel was not stripped of plastic switches by fire; rather more mundanely it has been raided by souvenir-hunters among the decommissioning staff.

Guardian 26th April 2011 more >>

Nuclear Accidents

The nuclear crisis in Japan has revived fears over the safety of nuclear power and the potential danger posed to public health when things go wrong. There have been a number of serious nuclear incidents since the 1950s. Here are details of the most serious.

BBC 26th April 2011 more >>

Terror

One of the terrorist group’s most senior figures warned that al-Qaeda had obtained and hidden a nuclear bomb in Europe that would be detonated if Osama bin Laden was killed or captured. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the al-Qaeda mastermind currently facing trial in America over the 9/11 atrocities, was involved in a range of plans including attacks on US nuclear plants and a “nuclear hellstorm” plot in America.

Telegraph 26th April 2011 more >>

Channel 4 News 25th April 2011 more >>

Scotland

Scotland could generate more than 100% of its power from renewable sources such as wave and tidal generators by 2020, the Scottish Greens have said. Launching their national energy policy, the Greens have asked for public support in ending “risky” nuclear and “dirty” coal power in favour of renewables. The Greens’ plans would see the country export surplus power to other parts of the UK, while also empowering Scottish Water and local authorities to develop renewable capacity in the public sector and to reduce their dependence on central funding.

STV 25th April 2011 more >>

Twenty-five years to the day after the Chernobyl disaster, a leading environmental group has said it is unlikely any new reactors will ever be built in Scotland. Restrictions on Scottish sheep were finally lifted last year, but they are still in place for some livestock in Cumbria and Wales. In Scotland, the SNP, Liberal Democrats and Greens have also ruled out building new reactors. However, the Conservatives and Labour say they will not rule out building new nuclear power stations entirely although, like the other parties, they have made a commitment to sourcing most of the country’s energy from renewable sources, meaning there would be little demand for nuclear energy. This year WWF Scotland published a report which showed all of the world’s energy needs could be provided from renewable sources by 2050 and charity director Dr Richard Dixon said he believes it is extremely unlikely new reactors will ever be built in Scotland. Even if a pro-nuclear government is elected Scotland’s nuclear dream is over. Even the enthusiasts secretly know that there is now virtually no chance of new reactors ever being built in Scotland. “Scotland’s politicians should be working together to prevent the UK coalition government’s total zeal for nuclear reactors in England damaging investment in renewables here.”

Dundee Courier 26th April 2011 more >>

WWF Scotland Press Release 26th April 2011 more >>

Hinkley

Nuclear power bosses are under fire after claiming most people believe a £20 million community fund is appropriate compensation for living with the proposed Hinkley C nuclear power station. French power giant EDF Energy commissioned a telephone poll of 1,004 people living in Sedgemoor, Taunton Deane and West Somerset. It asked whether the fund, increased from £1 million earlier this year following consultation, was “about right”, “too big” or “too small”. A total of 54 per cent of people responding said it was about right, with 17 per cent saying it was too small and nine per cent saying it was too big. Twenty per cent said they did not know whether the fund was adequate, or had no opinion. Kerry Rickards, chief executive of Sedgemoor District Council which is leading the civic fight for a much bigger fund, said people were not given enough information to judge whether the sum was fair compensation for hosting the power plant for 60 years, and its waste fuel for up to 100 years.

This is Somerset 25th April 2011 more >>

Sellafield

BEAUTY spots in the Lake District and north Lancashire could be scarred by giant pylons needed to transfer electricity from a new generation of low carbon power plants. High-voltage cables are needed by 2020 to connect nuclear power stations, such as Sellafield and Heysham, and offshore windfarms to the national grid.

Westmorland Gazette 25th April 2011 more >>

Wylfa

A GREEN group has demanded Labour and Plaid Cymru reverse their support for a nuclear power plant in Wales on the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. In a letter seen exclusively by the Western Mail, Friends of the Earth Cymru urged Carwyn Jones and Ieuan Wyn Jones to reverse their controversial backing for the Wylfa B nuclear station on Anglesey ahead of the Assembly poll on May 5. The group also labelled the leaders’ support for the plant – in opposition to the Assembly Government – as “extremely disappointing and bizarre” and claimed that Mr Wyn Jones was “going against the policies of the party he leads”.

Western Mail 26th April 2011 more >>

Sizewell

Images from the anti-nuclear camp 22nd-25th April 2011.

Picasa 25th April 2011 more >>

Japan

Letter Steuart Campbell: Japanese authorities have over-reacted and are needlessly forcing people to leave an area which, although suffering from raised radiation levels, is quite safe to occupy. More damage will be done by the evacuation itself, which will produce its own health effects.

Scotsman 26th April 2011 more >>

Japanese activists are alarmed about a government decision to allow children in Fukushima Prefecture to attend schools where radiation readings indicate they could be exposed to 20 MilliSieverts/year (2 rems/year) 20 times the U.S. allowable standard for the public. This decision appears not to be based on risk (and children are more susceptible to radiation than adults), since the government also is relocating people in five villages outside the previous evacuation zone because people in them could be exposed to 20 MilliSieverts/year. Rather, the decision appears to be based on the reality that many schools in Fukushima Prefecture are experiencing high levels of contamination, and the government apparently does not want to require children to go to schools further away, nor further expand the exclusion zone.

NIRS 25th April 2011 more >>

A group of 87 nongovernmental organizations in Japan reiterated calls to achieve ‘‘a nuclear-free society’’ on Tuesday, the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, at a time when a nuclear crisis is continuing in Japan at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. ‘‘We will launch a large national action’’ seeking the permanent closure of the Fukushima Daiichi and neighboring Daini plants, cancellations of the nuclear fuel recycle program and new reactor construction plans as well as shutdowns of aging reactors, the NGOs said in their joint statement.

Japan Times 26th April 2011 more >>

Atsushi Kasai, a former senior researcher with the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute, says Fukushima crisis is more serious than Chernobyl. “It’s graver than Chernobyl in that no one can predict how the situation will develop.”

Mainichi Daily 25th April 2011 more >>

UPI 25th April 2011 more >>

The Nuclear Safety Commission said Monday that it will start issuing forecasts of how airborne radioactive material may be spreading out by the hour from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Starting Tuesday, the commission’s Web site will show hour-by-hour data from SPEEDI, a system that analyzes and predicts dispersal of radioactive material in the event of a nuclear emergency.

Nikkei 26th April 2011 more >>

The core of unit 4 had been placed in the reactor’s spent fuel pool as part of routine maintenance prior to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. However, the reactor building and cooling pool were damaged by a hydrogen explosion. The state of the core, which became exposed and heated up, is unclear. Last Friday, TEPCO had to inject 200 tonnes of water in a bid to bring down the temperature of the pool which was nearing boiling point. At the same time, engineers were concerned that the weight of the extra water might further damage the building. The problems associated with units 1, 2 and 3 are more complex. Last week, robots sent into the reactor buildings recorded radiation levels of up to 57 millisieverts an hour in unit 1 and 49 millisieverts an hour in unit 3. Hidehiko Nishiyama, spokesman for the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), told the press that these levels were too high to allow workers to enter. Japan has set an annual exposure limit at 250 millisieverts, raised from 100 at the beginning of the crisis. Attempts by a robot to enter the building of unit 2, where radiations levels are believed to be higher, were hampered by steam which fogged its camera. The steam is being produced by water fed by emergency lines into the reactor’s hot core.

World Socialist Web 26th April 2011 more >>

Despite increased injections of cooling water, the water temperature is rising in a spent fuel pool at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Japan’s Pacific coast. The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, says it will inject 210 tons of water into the Number 4 spent fuel pool on Monday, after finding on Sunday night that the temperature in the pool had risen to 81 degrees Celsius. The Number 4 spent fuel pool stores 1,535 nuclear fuel rods, the most at the nuclear complex. TEPCO engineers are trying to balance the amount of water needed to keep the nuclear fuel covered with the structural integrity of the reactor containment building. On Friday, TEPCO found that the temperature in the Number 4 spent fuel pool had reached 91 degrees, so it began injecting two to three times the amount of water as before. TEPCO says the pool’s water temperature dropped to 66 degrees on Saturday after water was injected, but is now rising again.

ENS 25th April 2011 more >>

The government’s nuclear agency said Tuesday that water may be leaking from the No. 1 reactor container of the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and that remote-controlled robots are expected to check the situation inside the reactor building.

Kyodo News 26th April 2011 more >>

More than 200 farmers brought two cows to Tokyo where they protested to demand compensation for products contaminated by radiation spewing from Japan’s crippled nuclear plant. The farmers from north-eastern Japan wore green bandanas and held signs saying “Nuclear disaster is human disaster” and “Stop nuclear energy” outside the headquarters of Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of the plant damaged in the March 11 tsunami.

Irish Independent 26th April 2011 more >>

About 5,000 citizens rallied against nuclear power in Shibuya on April 24, reflecting the increasing concerns about the energy source following the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant accident. Many of the demonstrators said they participated in a demonstration for the first time, as they urged the government to switch from nuclear power to natural and renewable energy sources.

Asahi 26th April 2011 more >>

Iran

Iran has been hit by a second computer virus, a senior military official has said. He suggested it was part of a concerted campaign to undermine the country’s disputed nuclear programme.

Gholam Reza Jalali, the head of an Iranian military unit in charge of combating sabotage, said experts discovered the “espionage virus” which he called “Stars”.

Belfast Telegraph 26th April 2011 more >>

Guardian 25th April 2011 more >>

Renewables

Business leaders are to accuse ministers of failing to lay the groundwork fast enough for the raft of urgently needed low-carbon projects that are vital if Britain is to plug the widening gap between its energy requirements and its fast dwindling sources of power. The CBI employers’ group is urging the government to set out long-term, business-friendly guidelines that will give companies the confidence to invest in green energy infrastructure projects.

Guardian 26th April 2011 more >>

Independent 26th April 2011 more >>

Posted: 26 April 2011

25 April 2011

New Nukes

This is going to be another bad week for the nuclear industry. On top of the continuing radioactive releases from Japan’s stricken Fukushima plant, Tuesday’s 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine is providing anti-nuclear campaigners with a rallying call. Over the weekend, for example, nine Nobel peace laureates sent heads of state a letter demanding a phase-out of atomic power, to enable people everywhere to “live in greater peace and security”. In reality a world free of nuclear power would be less secure. For the foreseeable future, neither fossil fuels nor renewable sources will be able to replace the 14 per cent of global electricity generated by nuclear reactors, without risking severe instability and shortages in energy markets. Put simply, energy security requires a diversity of sources, including nuclear.

FT 24th April 2011 more >>

There used to be discussion in the 1980s about the safety of nuclear power stations, based on the odds of a serious accident. Anything greater than a one in 10,000 chance per year was regarded as unacceptable. Since the tsunami in Japan in March there has been debate in archaeological circles about the odds of such an event happening in Britain. UK tsunamis were always recorded as weather related “floods” but Simon Parfitt, from the National History Museum in London, reports three tsunamis in the past 10,000 years. One devastated the east coast of Scotland 8,000 years ago, a second in 1607 was in the Bristol Channel (with waves 7.5 metres high travelling at 31 miles an hour) and a third in 1755 hit Britain’s south-west coast. The 1607 event, which was caused by a small earthquake and landslip off southern Ireland, would have swamped the sites of both Hinkley Point and Oldbury nuclear power stations.

Guardian 25th April 2011 more >>

The earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan, coupled with the unrest in the Middle East, have impacted markets worldwide, highlighting the importance of hedging portfolios against so-called tail-risk – namely events of very low probability but of potentially very high impact. In addition to the general economic upheaval, these two unrelated events look set to have far-reaching consequences for the world energy market.

FT 25th April 2011 more >>

Radwaste

Like the energy source itself, it’s the question that won’t go away: what can be done with spent nuclear fuel? Sweden believes it has the answer. The plan is to bury the country’s expected 12,000 tons of nuclear waste in corrosion-resistant copper canisters under 500 meters of crystalline bedrock. There it will remain isolated from human contact for at least 100,000 years. The idea, which still needs final approval, was developed by Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management company (SKB) — a collective of Sweden’s nuclear power companies. After three decades of research, SKB believes that Osthammar in central Sweden is the perfect final resting place for the country’s nuclear waste. Not only is the 1.9 billion year old bedrock ideal says SKB, but the locals are largely in favor of the plan and it is close to the nuclear power plant at Forsmark.

CNN 25th April 2011 more >>

Few architects have to design anything to last more than 100 years, so how do you build a nuclear waste facility to last for millennia? And what sign do you put on the door? Onkalo, which is Finnish for “hiding place”, it was the subject of a documentary last year, Into Eternity. Retitled Nuclear Eternity and broadcast on More4 tomorrow, the film fully appreciates the Kubrickian visual aspects of the nuclear landscape and the staggering challenges the project presents to our notions of permanence, history – even time itself. Onkalo will be ready to take waste in 2020, and then will be finally sealed in 2120, after which it will not be opened for 100,000 years. By that time, Finland will probably have been through another ice age. Little trace of our current civilisation will remain. The prospect of designing anything to last even 200 years is unlikely for most architects; the Egyptian pyramids are “only” about 5,000 years old.

Guardian 24th April 2011 more >>

Hinkley

People living near a proposed power station in Somerset have welcomed EDF Energy’s plans to invest in the community, according to the company. EDF’s original offer of a £1m community fund was criticised by local councils. The amount was then increased to £20m.

BBC 24th April 2011 more >>

Sizewell

Members of the Stop Nuclear Power Network are holding their summer camp at Sizewell Beach, Suffolk. They were joined by members of CND and some individuals for a protest outside the main entrance to Sizewell Nuclear Power Station. They also marked the 25th Anniversary of the Chernobyl accident, with various speakers.

Demotix 23rd April 2011 more >>

Chernobyl

WEARING a lead protective suit and placing his cameras in lead boxes, photographer Igor Kostin made a terrifying trip to the Chernobyl danger zone just a few days after the nuclear power plant reactor exploded there in the world’s worst atomic accident.

Scotsman 25th April 2011 more >>

SUCH is the disagreement over the true consequences of Chernobyl that a four-day conference organised to mark the disaster by the Ukrainian government on Friday was unable to agree on any formal conclusions. More than 6,000 cases of thyroid cancer have been detected in people who were children or adolescents when exposed to high levels of fall-out in the period immediately after the blast, and at least 28 people have died of acute radiation sickness from close exposure to the shattered reactor. But Mikhail Balanov of the UN Scientific Committee of the Effects of Atomic Radiation told the conference that other medical effects were difficult to project because the margins of error in various studies are too high to allow reliable assessment. Balanov did say that radioactive contamination of mushrooms and berries – both popular delicacies in Ukraine – remain high “and we will face elevated levels for decades to come.”

Scotsman 25th April 2011 more >>

Japan

We urgently demand the withdrawal of the Japanese Government’s inhumane decision to force 20 milli-sievert per year radiation exposure onto children.

Sign the petition April 2011 more >>

Last week the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) announced a roadmap for bringing four damaged reactors at its Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant to cold shutdown within six to nine months. The Japanese government has made clear that stabilising the reactors is a precondition for allowing tens of thousands of evacuees from the exclusion zone around the plant to return home.

World Socialist Web 25th April 2011 more >>

A number of opponents of nuclear power plants won seats in the assemblies of host municipalities in Sunday’s nationwide local elections in the wake of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi complex, including one candidate who drew the largest number of votes in his town. But winners who had called for closing atomic power plants in their communities were in a minority in host municipalities, with many of those elected pledging to boost measures to ensure the safety of plants.

Japan Today 25th April 2011 more >>

Recognized as the world leader in robotic technology, Japan will finally deploy its own robot at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant after relying on U.S.-made versions to do all the work.

Asahi 24th April 2011 more >>

With electricity shortages looming this summer, many companies are releasing new power-saving products they hope will inspire consumers to shake off the mood of “self-restraint” prevalent since last month’s earthquake and tsunami. Exceptional demand for efficient electrical appliances is evident. Retailers and manufacturers have high expectations that power-saving products will make up for the expected substantial drop in sales of flat-screen TVs and refrigerators following the termination of the government’s eco-point system for energy-saving appliances at the end of March. Sales of Toshiba’s LED light bulbs have doubled compared with before the March 11 disaster. Toshiba’s plant in Nagai, Yamagata Prefecture, which suspended operations due to the quake and tsunami, resumed operations Thursday and is now at full production. Panasonic Corp. expanded production of LED light bulbs at its plants in Indonesia and China during winter and spring to cope with an expected increase in demand in Japan.

Daily Yomuiri 25th April 2011 more >>

Data released by the government indicates radioactive material was leaking into the atmosphere from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in early April in greater quantities than previously estimated. Radioactive material was being released into the atmosphere from the plant at an estimated rate of 154 terabecquerels per day as of April 5, according to data released by the Cabinet Office’s Nuclear Safety Commission on Saturday. The NSC previously estimated radiation leakage on April 5 at “less than 1 terabecquerel per hour.”

Yomuiri Shimbum 24th April 2011 more >>

China and South Korea rebuffed on Sunday Japan’s calls for more “reasonable” restrictions on imports of food and other products that could be contaminated with radiation after last month’s nuclear disaster, showing the difficulty Japan will face in restoring trust in its products.

Reuters 24th April 2011 more >>

Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s sole nuclear plant at Kozloduy, spotlighted in the 1990s over safety issues, is looking forward to European stress tests, following Japan’s nuclear disaster. “Our plant is the most controlled one in Europe: 25 missions over the last 12 years, including from the (UN nuclear watchdog) IAEA and WANO (World Associaton of Nuclear Operators),” Kozloduy’s executive director Kostadin Dimitrov told AFP on a recent visit.

EU Business 24th April 2011 more >>

Switzerland

Switzerland’s economy minister said on Sunday it would be decades before the country could give up nuclear power completely but that in the meantime no new nuclear power plants should be built. Johann Schneider-Ammann, of the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) said the initiative to develop ‘green’ technologies needed to come from the private sector, with the public sector in charge of implementing the right framework.

Reuters 24th April 2011 more >>

Renewables/Scotland

Stephen Salter: SNP policy on renewable energy is being attacked by nuclear enthusiasts on grounds of intermittency. It is true that if weather systems are dominated by anticyclones to the east we can have long periods of low wind and wave activity accompanied by extreme cold. During these unusual periods Scotland would have to burn the gas that was still in the ground because we had not burned it when wind patterns were normal. There will be plenty of Scottish gas for some time yet. The nuclear advocates want us to believe that only nuclear can provide firm base-load but this is far from the case. The availability of British nuclear plant is in the low seventies. Some of the outages are planned for summer periods of low demand, but others can be forced at no notice and last for months or even years. Grid operators have to assume that there may be a simultaneous and unpredicted loss of the two biggest sets or connectors on the system. In contrast our meteorologists can give several days’ notice of calms and our oceanographers can predict tidal outputs for many thousands of years. If Scotland were to depend on two new reactors they would also have to be backed up by gas, hydro and the English connector. The pot is calling the kettle black. The temperature cycles needed for following fluctuations in demand are very bad for the hot parts of nuclear reactors. If the full potential of close-packed turbines in the Pentland Firth was combined with close-packed offshore wave plant and offshore wind, Scotland would have far more electricity than it could ever need. The surplus could be used for the synthesis of easily stored liquid fuels and methane, giving complete firmness and valuable exports. If the policy of UK governments had allowed steady development since the first energy crisis we could have been very close to this now. A final idea for improving energy security is to prevent the sale of infrastructure to foreign firms who might have less motivation to keep the lights on.

Scotsman 25th April 2011 more >>

Posted: 25 April 2011

24 April 2011

New Nukes

Sizewell A and Bradwell operators Magnox Ltd has come to an agreement with Sizewell B and C site owner EDF Energy which will mean some staff can transfer as their roles become redundant at the Magnox sites, most of which are currently in various stages of decommissioning. While Magnox is owned by an American firm, Energy Solutions, it works on behalf of the taxpayer via the owner of its 10 sites, which is the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

East Anglian Daily Times 23rd April 2011 more >>

Letter: Our planet is on the brink of extinction and all I read in these columns is how windfarms spoil the view. There is no view without the Earth. Windfarms are a necessary part of the renewable energy mix to offset climate change. They are not intended on their own to replace conventional power stations, so direct comparisons are invalid. We know windfarms do not operate at 100% efficiency but no power stations do. Some windfarms operate at nearly 60% in Scotland. Hunterston B runs at less than 70% due to the risks of cracks in the boiler tubes and Hunterston A operated at 42% in the years up to its closure. By the end of 2009 renewables comprised 25% of global power capacity and for the last two years more renewable power was a! dded in the US and Europe than fossil fuels or nuclear. The intermittent nature of wind farms is no longer an issue, as multi-MW storage systems are now available in a range of technologies. By the end of 2009 wind power accounted for 20% of Denmark’s electricity supply. The nuclear option is dead since Uranium-235 is a non-renewable energy source. The Nuclear Installations Inspectorate reported that between 2001 and 2008 there were 1767 safety incidents in Britain, half of which were judged “to have had the potential to challenge a nuclear safety system”.

Herald 23rd April 2011 more >>

Oldbury

A NUMBER of back-up systems are in place at Oldbury nuclear power station to deal with any emergency at the plant, its site director has assured the public. Dr Phil Sprague outlined how staff at the atomic site would respond to a major problem, answering questions posed in the light of the Fukushima crisis in Japan.

Bristol Evening Post 23rd April 2011 more >>

Heysham Justification Appeal

The Justification regulatory process is the key piece of UK law by which health detriments of nuclear power stations are evaluated, therefore making it a central part of keeping communities as safe as possible. According to the Euratom Directive and UK Regulations, the Secretary of State must ensure that the risk to human health from nuclear power stations is minimal and substantially outweighed by their economic, social and other benefits before giving the go ahead to build new nuclear power stations.

Heysham Anti Nuclear Alliance April 2011 more >>

Chernobyl

This corner of Ukraine was ‘a wonderful place to live’ until April 26th, 1986, when a nuclear reactor in Chernobyl exploded. Twenty-five years later, the devastating effects are still felt.

Irish Times 23rd April 2011 more >>

Evacuated with other British students from Belarus in 1986, Catriona Munro was diagnosed with cancer three years ago. She feels more fortunate than those left behind.

Independent 24th April 2011 more >>

A full quarter of a century after the Chernobyl disaster, and the sarcophagus over the wrecked reactor is cracked and deteriorating, hundreds of tons of highly radioactive material remain to be dealt with, attempts to raise many millions of pounds to make the site safe are falling short, the health of Ukrainian children unborn in 1986 is still being damaged, and it will be 20,000 years before vegetables grown in the area will be safe to eat. This is the appalling and continuing legacy of the world’s worst nuclear disaster. Its 25th anniversary will be on Tuesday, and a meeting in Kiev last week to resolve issues broke up without full agreement and unable to issue a report. Some $1.1bn is needed to build a planned new cover for the reactor, which will allow the radioactive rods to be dealt with. But the pledges from a range of countries are still falling short by $298m.

Independent 24th April 2011 more >>

Japan

Workers at a nuclear power plant damaged by last month’s earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan’s northeast continued battling to deal with radioactive water Saturday as their exposure to radiation is constantly increasing. One more worker is found to have been exposed to radiation of more than 100 millisieverts, bringing to 30 the total number of people of that dosage level while dealing with the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant since the March 11 disasters, sources familiar with the situation said. Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co said Saturday that a piece of concrete rubble with a high radiation emission of 900 millisieverts per hour was found near the plant’s No. 3 reactor and a worker removed! it using heavy equipment.

Japan Today 24th April 2011 more >>

Of 46 local governments hosting or located close to current and future nuclear power plants in Japan, 41% said they will await further public and government discussions before deciding on their stance toward the future of atomic power plants in their respective neighborhoods, a Kyodo News poll showed Saturday. The number was slightly above the 37% of respondents who said they will allow the nuclear plants to continue to operate ‘‘with conditions,’’ showing that many are unsure about what position to take amid an ongoing nuclear crisis at the radiation-leaking Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and uncertainty about the central government’s energy policy. Only Minamisoma and Namie in Fukushima Prefecture, w! here a nuclear power plant is planned to be built straddling the two municipalities and whose residents must evacuate due to the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, said plants should ‘‘be decommissioned immediately without any conditions.’‘

Japan Today 24th April 2011 more >>

The government is arranging to help Tokyo Electric Power Co. pay for damages incurred from the nuclear accident at its Fukushima Daiichi power plant if it comes to a point where the company’s survival is at risk due to ballooning compensation costs, government sources said Saturday.

Kyodo News 23rd April 2011 more >>

The temperature inside a pool for spent nuclear fuel at the No. 4 reactor of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant remains high at around 91 degrees Celsius, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said.

Daily Mainichi 23rd April 2011 more >>

Submarines

THE Ministry of Defence has been slammed for blundering over nuke sub secrets for the second week running. Officials were last night accused of dithering after anti-nuclear campaigners published classified information that could leave our fleet open to deadly sabotage. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament revealed secret details about weaknesses in the design of Brit subs’ reactors.

Daily Star 24th April 2011 more >>

THE Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been accused of misleading MPs about the risks of the reactors that power Britain’s nuclear submarines suffering Fukushima-style accidents. In a parliamentary answer earlier this month, the defence minister, Peter Luff, failed to respond directly to a question from the SNP’s defence spokesman, Angus Robertson, about the emergency cooling systems used on the submarines. Instead Luff is accused of making a reassuring statement disguising the fact that the reactors have cooling systems that, according to a senior MoD safety expert, renders them vulnerable to a major loss-of-coolant accident. It was the disabling of the back-up cooling systems at the Fukushima nuclear plants in Japan by a ts! unami that caused radioactive fuel to leak.

Sunday Herald 24th April 2011 more >>

Posted: 24 April 2011

23 April 2011

Oldbury

Reg Illingworth addressed the RWE board in Germany at their AGM on Wednesday. His full speech is set out here.

Shepperdine Against Nuclear Energy 22nd April 2011 more >>

Hinkley

A new poll shows the majority of people in Sedgemoor think that the £100million of investment proposed by EDF Energy as part of its plans for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point will have a positive impact on the area.

Burnham-on-sea.com 22nd April 2011 more >>

Torness

AN investigation is under way after a radioactive leak at the Torness nuclear power station east of Edinburgh. Health and safety officials were alerted when the problem was found during a routine inspection at the plant near Dunbar, East Lothian. Groundwater at the Dunbar plant was found to be contaminated with radioactive tritium leaking from two pipelines.

Scotsman 23rd April 2011 more >>

Scotland

Letter: THE Scottish Chambers of Commerce support for new nuclear power (20 April) stands in stark contrast to the view of the majority of Scotland’s main political parties, the renewables’ industry and the conclusions of independent power sector analysis by Garrad Hassan for Friends of the Earth Scotland, RSPB and WWF. This showed renewables can grow to comfortably exceed Scottish demand by 2020. With better interconnection, energy storage and demand management, Scotland could phase out both coal and nuclear by 2030, and still export some 20 million worth of renewable electricity each year.

Scotsman 22nd April 2011 more >>

Letter: Renewables cannot work in the time available or at all. If attempted we will end up with a huge distributed investment, sucking subsidy, generating little at the wrong time and demanding increasing maintenance with attendant costs and dangers.We must install massive fission nuclear immediately, leading, with luck, to fusion towards the end of the century. This is something which could be the key to industrial and hi-tech growth in Scotland for the foreseeable future. In the whole context, the issue of waste is unimportant. If the engineers are left free to deal with it, ways can be found for its destruction in new reactors.

Southern Reporter 22nd April 2011 more >>

Chernobyl

THE rundown of the Dounreay nuclear complex could provide lessons for the eventual decommissioning of the Chernobyl plant, according to an expert. World powers this week pledged nearly 500 million to help build a new containment shield for the Ukrainian facility ahead of the 25th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear accident. Jillian Bundy, training and development manager at Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd, has recently returned from a three-day visit to Ukraine where international experts discussed plans to decommission Chernobyl. She was one of four foreign speakers invited by the International Atomic Energy Agency to share their experience of decommissioning nuclear sites. The conference was held in Slavutych, a new town built about 50km from Chernobyl to house people displaced by the exclusion zone around the plant.

Scotsman 22nd April 2011 more >>

When a plume of highly radioactive material billowed into the atmosphere from Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power station, few realised its effects would be just as prominent for decades to come. Yet as the catastrophic disaster nears its 25th anniversary, toxins still pervade areas affected by the fallout, particularly in neighbouring country Belarus, where 70 per cent of the radiation fell. The country’s ground, water and food are still contaminated and will be for thousands of years. But a charity set up to help children suffering from the fallout is determined to make sure the rest of the world doesn’t forget the disaster.

Portsmouth News 22nd April 2011 more >>

A week of meetings on the world’s worst nuclear accident has highlighted a key message: the Chernobyl cleanup will remain expensive and anxiety-provoking for decades to come. Still, differences over the true consequences of the 1986 calamity meant that no formal conclusions were issued as the meetings ended Friday.

Washington Post 22nd April 2011 more >>

Radwaste

WORK aimed at proving the safety of the UK’s designated low-level radioactive waste disposal site is complete. LLWR at Drigg needs a new permit in order to continue operating the site for many years ahead. The ball will be set rolling next month when an all-embracing safety case is submitted to the Environment Agency. But it will take two years for the Agency to go through all the work with a fine tooth comb. Until then the site can operate under its present authorisation but a new permit is crucial for the future. It is not expected before May 2013.

Whitehaven News 21st April 2011 more >>

Sellafield

SELLAFIELD’S Effluent and Encapsulation Plants (E&EP) teams are celebrating having reached one year worked without a Lost Time Accident (LTA). More than 500 employees work within E&EP – a series of facilities used to process intermediate level solid waste and liquid effluents generated across the site prior to final encapsulation or released to the environment within the limits specified.

Whitehaven News 19th April 2011 more >>

Nuclear Liability

The nuke industry is lobbying for a cap on its public liability. “Consultation” ends on 28th April. Wrote today to tell the Department of Energy and Climate Change that this is insane.

Dear DECC, Please ensure that Radiation Free Lakeland’s views are taken into account regarding Implementation of changes to the Paris and Brussels Conventions on nuclear third party liability. Radiation Free Lakeland are in full agreement with the Nuclear Free Local Authorities that continuing with the ‘nuclear liabilities’ consultation is meaningless in the light of the Fukushima catastrophe. The nuclear industry should not have the luxury of getting away with the limited liability proposed as a matter of course by our pronuclear coalition government. Nuclear operators are allowed to cap their liability at one billion. This would only compensate for the loss of 6 months tourist trade in Cumbria.

101 Uses for a Nuclear Power Station 22nd April 2011 more >>

Uranium

Leaking radioactive material from the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant has poisoned the entire global uranium market. Every nuclear- and uranium-related asset on the market has suffered drastic devaluations.

Energy & Capital 22nd April 2011 more >>

Japan

The former governor of Fukushima province has spoken of his frustration at the failure of the Japanese authorities to heed his warnings over the safety of the power plant that was stricken by the country’s recent earthquake. The story of Japan’s epic disaster comes with a generous cast of Cassandra figures, the seismologists, conservationists and whistle-blowers ignored by the national nuclear planners. But 71-year-old Eisako Sato may be pre-eminent among them. As governor of Fukushima Prefecture from 1988-2006 – “roughly half the life of the plant”, he told journalists at Tokyo’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club earlier this week – he was initially an enthusiastic supporter of nuclear power, swayed like his predecessors after the government and utility giant Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) brought his prefecture jobs, subsidies and a chance to contribute to the national good. In 1998 he conditionally agreed the controversial use of mixed oxide plutonium uranium (MOX) fuel at the plant. But he withdrew it after discovering a cover-up of reactor malfunctions and cracks. Later his doubts would grow.

Independent 23rd April 2011 more >>

Tens of thousands of Japanese have made a pilgrimage to a 1,000-year old cherry tree that has blossomed just 30 miles from the site of last month’s nuclear disaster. The tree in full bloom has become a symbol of hope in Japan. Adding to the significance of the occasion is that the tree is one of the oldest in a country that cherishes cherry blossoms as symbol of springtime renewal and a fresh start.

Telegraph 22nd April 2011 more >>

The Fukushima 50, emergency nuclear plant workers in Japan, have accused the government of inconsistent handling of data in relation to radiation exposure.

Telegraph 22nd April 2011 more >>

Japan officially sealed off a wide area around the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant today to stop tens of thousands of residents from returning.

Morning Star 22nd April 2011 more >>

Press & Journal 22nd April 2011 more >>

Japan’s government said it will largely take over speaking for embattled Tokyo Electric Power Co., after six weeks of nuclear crisis at the company’s Fukushima Daiichi power complex have often generated conflicting reports from the government and Tepco.

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which oversees the country’s top nuclear regulator, said Friday said it will run Tepco’s main daily plant-status briefing, held each evening, though the company will conduct some others on its own.

Wall Street Journal 23rd April 2011 more >>

Wind power can generate electricity up to that produced by 40 nuclear reactors, the Environment Ministry said April 21. The ministry calculated the amount of electricity that can be produced using natural energy sources in Japan. The result: Wind theoretically shows a significantly greater likelihood of generating power across the country compared with other natural energy sources. The results show that even on the assumption that windmills are not continuously operational, they still have the capacity to produce electric energy equivalent to that generated by 40 nuclear reactors. Japan has 54 commercial reactors, generating nearly 30 percent of the country’s electricity output.

Asahi 23rd April 2011 more >>

A group of 16 nuclear safety experts has issued proposals for preventing a recurrence of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant accident, saying that “relatively inexpensive improvements, detectable by more extensive analysis beforehand” may have prevented it altogether. The joint statement by experts representing 11 countries, including the United States, Russia, India and Sweden, was presented to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Asahi 23rd April 2011 more >>

A stepladder bent and broken against a rack of electrical equipment, debris covering the ground, on-screen radiation readings in the red zone. These are the first images provided by robots from inside the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after the massive 11 March earthquake and subsequent tsunami led to the world’s second-worst nuclear accident. A pair of iRobot Packbots entered three of the reactor units on Sunday and Monday. Their job was to survey the conditions inside and help Tokyo Electric Power evaluate whether it is safe to send humans in to continue the cleanup.

Techworld 22nd April 2011 more >>

Canada

Ontario’s municipal employee pension fund has pulled out of talks with SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. to purchase federally owned Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., raising new concerns about the future of the country’s flagship nuclear energy company.

Globe & Mail 21st April 2011 more >>

Germany

Nuclear energy may appear cheap at first glance, but the potential human costs of atomic power make it unaffordable over the long term, German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen said in comments released Friday. In an article for news weekly Der Spiegel on the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine, Roettgen said Germany’s decision to move away from nuclear power generation was a matter of responsible economic policy.

Reuters 22nd April 2011 more >>

India

Violent protests that have been taking place in India against government plans to build a nuclear plant. Opposition to the project in Maharashtra state has grown since the crisis in Japan. One protestor was killed earlier this week in clashes with police at the proposed site in Jaitapur.

BBC 23rd April 2011 more >>

US

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has renewed operating licenses for an additional 20-years for the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station outside of Phoenix, Arizona. Palo Verde is the nation’s largest generating station, with three pressurized water reactors, each capable of producing 1335 megawatts for a combined capacity of just over 4,000 MW. Palo Verde, which began operating in the mid-8os, has racked up a large number of safety violations over the years. In a 2007 investigation, the NRC found that “cost controls had been viewed as more important than safety,” based on interviews with workers at Palo Verde.

Forbes 22nd April 2011 more >>

Carbon Trading

Major energy companies have been given free carbon allowances worth more than £100m this year for closed or mothballed power stations – despite the fact that the plants are producing little or no emissions.

Telegraph 22nd April 2011 more >>

Microgeneration

This week’s Micro Power News is now available; A group of solar companies has launched a High Court legal challenge against proposals to cut tariffs for larger solar energy projects; Heat pump industry and solar thermal companies getting ready for the renewable heating incentive; Going Solar has starting work on the UK’s largest rooftop solar power project at a site in Ipswich; the UK’s first community-owned environmental solar project in Lewes wants to be up and runing before incentives are cut; Over a thousand homeowners across the south east of England will get free solar PV systems worth up to £15,000.

Microgen Scotland 22nd April 2011 more >>

Posted: 23 April 2011

22 April 2011

New Nukes

Twenty five years on from Chernobyl, the heated debate on nuclear power remains resistant to cold facts: simply too few are known. But making your own judgements on five key questions will lead to your answer.

Guardian Blog 21st April 2011 more >>

George Monbiot, Helen Caldicott and Laurence Williams join host James Randerson to debate the future of the UK’s nuclear programme following Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant disaster.

Guardian Podcast 21st April 2011 more >>

Nuclear Accidents

The world must prepare for more nuclear accidents on the scale of Chernobyl and Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, the head of the UN has warned.

Express 21st April 2011 more >>

Hinkley

A new emergency shutdown system will be trialled at one of Britain’s oldest nuclear power stations this summer. It will bring Hinkley Point B “towards modern standards,” according to the Office for Nuclear Regulation’s (ONR) site inspector, John Burrows. But anti-nuclear campaigners say the plant’s owners and the regulators have rejected a “fail-safe” solution already installed at other UK power plants. EDF Energy says the power station is well built and rigorously maintained.

BBC 21st April 2011 more >>

Heysham

British Energy, the owner and operator (known as the licensee) of Heysham 1 Power Station, has requested that HSE agree to the use of Robust Fuel at Heysham 1 Power Station. Fuel for advanced gas cooled reactors (AGRs) has been modified slightly to take on board changes to its manufacturing route and to add features that are known to improve fuel performance. The new design, called Robust Fuel, is described and its use justified in a category 1 safety submission. This change has been accepted by an independent nuclear safety assessment and the licensee’s Nuclear Safety Committee (NSC) members. The fuel may not be used in the site’s reactors until amendments are made to some of the Heysham 1 Operating Rules (subject to a separate assessment).

HSE 14th March 2011 more >>

Sellafield

A leak containing plutonium five times the “ministerial reportable level” was discovered at Sellafield in February, it has emerged. A ‘brown puddle’ of liquid was found to have seeped from an old ventilation duct in an empty building at the west Cumbrian nuclear complex during a safety inspection.

Cumberland News 21st April 2011 more >>

EDF

EDF holds its first press conference since the disaster Fukushima? Greenpeace is here! This afternoon, thirty Greenpeace activists were responsible for the welcoming committee, with the front seat of EDF in Paris banners and stickers bearing the message “Nuclear is not safe.”

Greenpeace France 21st April 2011 more >>

France’s EDF will go ahead with atomic projects at home and abroad but will draw all the necessary lessons on safety from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, its top management said on Thursday. In its first press conference in the wake of the world’s biggest nuclear crisis in 25 years, the state-owned utility sought to quell concerns over nuclear safety and called for greater coordination between nuclear operators worldwide. Shortly before the presentation, Greenpeace militants scaled the facade of EDF’s headquarters near the Arc de Triomphe, and were perched above the glass building’s entrance with a banner bearing the slogan, “Safe nuclear power does not exist”.

Reuters 21st April 2011 more >>

Nuclear Liability

From the U.S. to Japan, it’s illegal to drive a car without sufficient insurance, yet governments around the world choose to run over 440 nuclear power plants with hardly any coverage whatsoever. Japan’s Fukushima disaster, which will leave taxpayers there with a massive bill, brings to the fore one of the industry’s key weaknesses that nuclear power is a viable source for cheap energy only if it goes uninsured. Governments that use nuclear energy are torn between the benefit of low-cost electricity and the risk of a nuclear catastrophe, which could total trillions of dollars and even bankrupt a country. The bottom line is that it’s a gamble: Governments are hoping to dodge a one-off disaster while they accumulate small gains over the long-term. The cost of a worst-case nuclear accident at a plant in Germany, for example, has been estimated to total as much as €7.6 trillion ($11 trillion), while the mandatory reactor insurance is only €2.5 billion. “The €2.5 billion will be just enough to buy the stamps for the letters of condolence,” said Olav Hohmeyer, an economist at the University of Flensburg who is also a member of the German government’s environmental advisory body.

Washington Post 21st April 2011 more >>

Old Nukes

Radioactive waste leaked from the Sellafield complex in Cumbria, said the nuclear watchdog. There was also a similar spill at the Torness station near Edinburgh and the breakdown of a cooling system at Hartlepool nuclear plant. Environmental campaigners said the incidents, all in February, made it more important for the government to block plans to build more nuclear plants.

Metro 21st April 2011 more >>

Companies

William Foord has joined consultant Capita Symonds as director of nuclear. Foord joins the company from Babcock International where he was responsible for developing the company’s business across the new nuclear build arena. He has nearly 20 years experience in the energy sector working nationally and internationally with leading power producers and distributors such as National Grid, ABB, EDF, Areva E.On and Scottish Power.

Building 21st April 2011 more >>

Chernobyl

“The ‘liquidators’ have formed a survivors’ organisation. The membership keeps decreasing, not from lack of interest on the part of the members, but because they are dying. To date, approximately 13,000 of these special men have died. Almost 20% of these were suicides. This is 20 times higher than the international average. A further 70,000 are estimated to be permanently disabled” – Adi Roche, ‘Children of Chernobyl, 1996.

No Sweat 21st April 2011 more >>

As the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster is marked this month one Cambridgeshire doctor will be continuing her work to make the lives of those affected just a little bit better. Cambridge First talks to Dr Rachel Furley, the founder of Bridges to Belarus.

Cambridge First 21st April 2011 more >>

Japan

Japan has officially sealed off a wide area around a crippled nuclear power plant to stop tens of thousands of residents from sneaking back to the homes they quickly fled and are enduring a long, uncertain wait before they can officially return. Fearing they might not see their homes and belongings again for at least six months, evacuees raced into the deserted towns yesterday before the ban took effect to grab whatever belongings they could cram into their cars.

Scotsman 22nd April 2011 more >>

Newsround 21st April 2011 more >>

Tens of thousands of people who were evacuated from near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant risk arrest if they return home, after the government declared the area a no-entry zone due to high radiation levels. Under the order, which goes into effect at midnight local time, people living within a 12-mile (20km) radius of the atomic plant will be given up to two hours to enter the area to collect belongings. The move came amid concern over the long-term health risks posed by high levels of accumulated radiation, despite signs of progress in bringing the stricken facility under control. The 245 workers currently battling stabilise Fukushima have fallen ill due to the harsh conditions inside the plant, experts warned.

Guardian 21st April 2011 more >>

After a day of pumping, the level of radioactive water flooding unit 2 of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant dropped 2.3 centimeters – a modest start to pumping efforts expected to take at least five weeks.

Nuclear Street 21st April 2011 more >>

Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) is expected to delay the launch of its Higashidori nuclear plant in Japan. The move has been taken in a bid to equip the plant with new safety measures to protect it against earthquakes and tsunamis in the future. TEPCO had previously planned to launch the 1,385MW No.1 reactor at the plant in March 2017 while the 1,385MW No.2 reactor by 2020. The company said it will revise the design of the No.1 and No.2 reactors at the plant in Aomori prefecture in the north.

Energy Business Review 21st April 2011 more >>

The ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant following the March 11 earthquake that struck north-eastern Japan has produced rising public concern over the risks of nuclear power and indignation at the government’s response to the disaster. These sentiments have been reflected in public opinion polls, but also in small but significant protests.

World Solcialist Web 21st April 2011 more >>

Germany

RWE has warned that the German governments decision to halt two of its nuclear plants will drag down the power companys earnings. Jrgen Grossmann, chief executive, said at the groups annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday that the three-month stoppage of its Biblis A and B reactors would reduce profits by a low three-digit million-euro figure. His warning came after the German government decided last month to idle seven of the countrys oldest reactors to conduct safety checks, in a sudden policy switch in the wake of the Fukushima power plant disaster in Japan.

FT 21st April 2011 more >>

German utility EnBW plans to almost double its renewable power capacity in the next 10 years, requiring an investment of €8 billion ($12 billion).

Environmental Finance 21st April 2011 more >>

US

The U.S. nuclear safety regulator said on Thursday it has renewed the operating licenses for Arizona’s Palo Verde nuclear plant for an additional 20 years after more than two years of reviews.

Reuters 21st April 2011 more >>

US based NRG Energy said it will not invest additional capital in expansion of the South Texas Project Electric Generating Station in Texas, US. The move has been taken due to diminished prospects as a result of the ongoing nuclear incident in Japan.

Energy Business Review 21st April 2011 more >>

Poland

French nuclear reactor maker Areva has signed a letter of intent with Polish builder Polimex MOSD.WA to cooperate on Poland’s first nuclear plant, an Areva official said on Thursday.

Reuters 21st April 2011 more >>

Romania

Romania has unveiled plans to install two reactors at its Cernavoda plant by 2020. Operated by atomic-power company Nuclearelectrica, the plant will see the addition of 4,600MW of nuclear capacity by 2035 to its existing output of 1,400MW. The capacity increase is in line with the nation’s strategy to expand its nuclear power generation within the next 24 years, according to the Romanian economic ministry. The facility is expected to be complete by 2030 and the government is currently seeking investment of $5.8bn for the two nuclear reactors.

Energy Business Review 21st April 2011 more >>

Renewables

If Japan adopted an aggressive renewable energy policy like that of Germany, it could, within 10 years, generate more than four times the electricity lost at the Fukushima 1 nuclear power plant, cutting the country’s reliance on nuclear power by one-half or more.

Renewable Energy Focus (It’s Free to Register) 21st April 2011 more >>

Posted: 22 April 2011

21 April 2011

New Nukes

Nuclear power’s share of the global energy mix will be unchanged in 30 years’ time in spite of the disaster in Japan, according to the chief executive of ExxonMobil.

FT 20th April 2011 more >>

THE head of the International Atomic Energy Agency yesterday said Japan’s nuclear crisis does not undermine the value of nuclear power. Yukiya Amano was speaking at Chernobyl, site of the world’s worst nuclear accident. He was accompanied by UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.

Scotsman 21st April 2011 more >>

SHEFFIELD Forgemasters has put its nuclear expansion plans on hold, blaming industry safety reviews, advances by Chinese rivals and rising costs. Managing director Graham Honeyman told the Yorkshire Post that he has decided to delay the project until next year amid mounting speculation that Forgemasters was targeting the Government’s £1.4bn regional growth fund for support. The privately-owned company became a political cause celebre after the coalition Government cancelled an £80m loan promised by Labour Ministers.

Yorkshire Post 21st April 2011 more >>

Old Nukes

There have been two spillages of radioactive waste and a breakdown in an emergency cooling system at Britain’s nuclear plants in the last three months, according to a report to ministers leaked to the Guardian. A brown puddle containing plutonium five times the legal limit leaked from an old ventilation duct at the Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria. This exposed “a number of shortfalls in the design”, says the report. Groundwater at the Torness nuclear power station near Edinburgh was contaminated with radioactive tritium (an isotope of hydrogen) leaking from two pipelines. At Hartlepool nuclear station on the north-east coast of England, the backup cooling system was put out of action by a faulty valve.

Guardian 20th April 2011 more >>

Nuclear Accidents

The world must prepare for more nuclear accidents on the scale of Chernobyl and Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, the U.N. chief warned Wednesday, saying that grim reality will demand sharp improvements in international cooperation. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and others portrayed the growth of nuclear power plants as inevitable in an energy-hungry world as they spoke at a Kiev conference commemorating the explosion of a reactor at Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear reactor 25 years ago.

MSNBC 20th April 2011 more >>

So just how much of a unique, unrepeatable event is the tsunami-induced nuclear crisis at Fukushima? Not so much as we have all thought, if some geologists and nuclear experts are to be believed. They have worked out that at least 32 atomic power stations already operating, or under construction, in Asia alone are at risk of being hit by a wall of water.

Telegraph 20th April 2011 more >>

Japan

The government has set the permissible hourly radiation dose at schools in Fukushima Prefecture at 3.8 microsieverts — a level that would see students absorb the internationally recognized maximum of 20 millisieverts per year. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology set the hourly allowable dose for kindergartens, nursery, primary and junior high schools in Fukushima Prefecture on April 19. In order to keep students within the new standard maximum dose, the ministry has also called on the schools to limit children’s time outside.

Mainichi Daily 20th April 2011 more >>

IAEA’s latest update on Fukushima.

IB Times 21st April 2011 more >>

An exclusion zone around Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant may be sealed off after residents began returning to check on their homes, Japanese officials have said.

Metro 20th April 2011 more >>

Daily Mail 20th April 2011 more >>

Reuters 21st April 2011 more >>

Scotsman 21st April 2011 more >>

Telegraph 21st April 2011 more >>

The breast milk of four Japanese mothers has been found to contain small quantities of radioactive iodine.

Telegraph 21st April 2011 more >>

Tepco, the villain of Japan’s nuclear crisis, is fighting battles on all fronts – to stop radiation leaking from the crippled Daiichi plant; to remain solvent in the face of mounting compensation and decommissioning costs; and, perhaps most crucially for Japan’s economy, to keep power flowing to Tokyo. All hands are on the pump, the Tepco man said, and happily the news is good so far. The company has managed to purchase power from factories equipped with power generators, and has brought some “grandfather” thermal oil plants back to life. A target of 46.5GW of capacity has been raised to 50GW.

Telegraph 20th April 2011 more >>

Citing safety concerns, Prime Minister Naoto Kan suggested freezing projects to build more than a dozen nuclear reactors by 2030, but he did not offer details on how to do it.”We should not carry out the existing projects without thoroughly examining if (the planned reactors) are safe,” Kan told a session of the Upper House Budget Committee on April 18.

Asahi 20th April 2011 more >>

Japans nuclear safety authorities raised the alert level at the Fukushima plant last week to a maximum seven. This means they consider the emergency to be as serious as the Chernobyl disaster in the Soviet Union. That seems a rather overstated comparison to me. Twenty-five years after the explosion at the Ukrainian facility, I vividly recall every detail of those terrible days of April 1986. I was a 26-year-old foreign correspondent working in Moscow for Reuters news agency. On Friday, April 25, I flew to Kiev to spend a couple of days with Rhona, an ebullient Scottish friend who was teaching at the citys university under a British Council programme. I was the only western journalist in Kiev that weekend. While we caroused the night away, extraordinary events were unfolding 130km to the north. Technicians were conducting experiments that involved the disabling of automatic shutdown mechanisms at th e plants fourth reactor.

FT 20th April 2011 more >>

When an American whistleblower told Japanese nuclear regulators in 2000 that Tokyo Electric Power had been hiding safety violations at its atomic plants, the regulator assigned the task of investigating to the entity that knew the plants best: Tepco itself. Two years later, the utility duly reported that its nuclear facilities were safe only to backtrack within weeks as evidence emerged that it had falsified inspection data. Senior executives resigned over the scandal, and Tepco was forced to shut down all 17 of its nuclear reactors for a comprehensive safety review.The decade-old incident has been recounted often since Tepcos Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility began leaking radiation after Japans tsunami on March 11. The focus has mostly been on Tepco: the company has been harshly criticised over the Fukushima accident, and many say the earlier scandal illustrates a long-held contempt for safety standards. Yet for Japanese critics of nuclear power, it is the role of regulators in the 2000-2002 episode that is most galling.

FT 20th April 2011 more >>

Last June, Japan laid out plans to build nine atomic reactors by 2020 and at least five more the following decade to increase the nation’s portion of nuclear energy to 50 percent of overall power generation by 2030 from 29 percent in 2009. Prime Minister Naoto Kan said March 31 the country needs to revise those policies. That means Japan will probably step up a campaign to encourage the use of solar cells for years at the expense of atomic power, Takashi Watanabe, a Tokyo-based analyst at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., wrote in an April 1 report. Solar may be the strongest option because of restrictions on where wind and thermoelectric power stations can be built, he said.

Bloomberg 21st April 2011 more >>

US

NRG Energy Inc., Toshiba Corp.’s partner in the ongoing nuclear power project in Texas, said Tuesday it has decided not to invest more money in it due to the massive radiation leak at a crippled nuclear power plant in Japan.

Kyodo News 20th April 2011 more >>

U.S. regulators should set a more rigorous standard for allowing aging nuclear power plants to keep operating, demanding they be as capable of withstanding natural disasters as new facilities, a U.S. senator said on Wednesday.

Reuters 20th April 2011 more >>

Italy

Italy said on Wednesday it is looking to the European Union for a decision on the future of nuclear power as the country considers halting its own programme in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan.Rome has proposed a halt to its plans to build nuclear power stations and Economic Development Minister Paolo Romani said that a decision will not be made until the EU takes a “joint decision” on the matter.

EU Business 20th April 2011 more >>

Italy’s government has proposed to shelve its nuclear programme indefinitely following the Japanese nuclear crisis – but critics said the move was simply a bid to derail a planned referendum on the issue which is expected to decisively reject nuclear energy.

Morning Star 20th April 2011 more >>

India

Violent protests at the site of one of India’s most ambitious nuclear installations have thrown into sharp relief the domestic resistance the country faces in achieving its nuclear power ambitions. French group Areva hopes to complete a $10bn deal by mid-year for two third-generation European pressurised water reactors in India, despite increasingly violent local protests against the project.

FT 20th April 2011 more >>

Posted: 21 April 2011