News August 2011

31 August 2011

New Nukes

The government’s national policy statement on nuclear energy faces a legal challenge from environmental group Greenpeace on the grounds that ministers failed to take into account the implications of this spring’s Fukushima incident in Japan. The group’s 1,611-page judicial review application says energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne unlawfully pressed ahead with the NPS, adopted last month after a Commons vote, “without waiting to take into account relevant considerations arising from the Fukushima disaster”.

Planning 30th Aug 2011 more >>

Greenpeace UK has served legal papers accusing the UK coalition government of failing to take into account the implications of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in their future planning for the building of new nuclear power stations in the UK. The six energy National Policy Statements (NPS) were approved by parliament on 19 July 2011, following public consultation and parliamentary scrutiny. The nuclear NPS lists eight sites that are suitable for the deployment of a new nuclear power station by 2025. A spokesman for the energy and climate change department (DECC) said: “We are confident that the designation of the Nuclear National Policy Statement was lawful.”

Nuclar Engineering International 30th Aug 2011 more >>

Dounreay

Opposition is growing to using the railway to carry consignments of spent nuclear fuel from Dounreay to west Cumbia. A local authority lobby group has condemned the proposal, adding to concern already voiced by environmental groups. The controversy centred on a 44-tonne payload of uranium/plutonium fuel used to power the long-defunct, sphere-shaped reactor. Today marks the deadline for a consultation the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is carrying out on what to do with the material.

Press & Journal 31st Aug 2011 more >>

Bradwell

PARTS of the north Essex coast have been put on flood alert by the Environment Agency. Higher than usual tides are forecast at 12.42pm today. The coast between Clacton and Bradwell on the other side of the Blackwater Estuary are currently on flood alert.

Essex County Standard 29th Aug 2011 more >>

Scotland

Letters: in response to Professor Colin McInness assertion that renewables are an increasingly risky bet. That may be true for countries without Scotlands fantastic renewable energy resources, but we should play to our strengths and look to capitalise on our natural resources 25% of Europes wind and tidal resource, and 10% of its wave energy. There is a 2bn annual subsidy from UK taxpayers to fund decommissioning of nuclear power stations, twice the levels of support to renewables. The Department for Energy and Climate Change and the independent regulator Ofgem have published research concluding that investment in renewables will protect consumers from hikes in bills due to increases in gas prices in coming years. Professor McInnes points to the proposed nuclear plant in Cumbria with a colossal 3600MW capacity. Scotland already has more than 4300MW of renewable electricity in operation, and plans for almost 10,000MW of offshore wind and 1600MW of wave and tidal projects by 2020. These new projects will attract thousands of job opportunities and inward investment and tackle climate change. The renewables industry is actively exploring options for storage capacity, cost reduction and financing the necessary grid connections to transport power to where it is consumed.

Herald 31st Aug 2011 more >>

Letter Bill Robertson: Professor McInness article claims that the rest of the UK will push ahead with developing the next generation of nuclear energy while our policy is to eradicate nuclear energy from Scotland. The reactors likely to be given the go-ahead in Wales and England will be based on the pressurised water reactors being built in Finland, France and China, referred to as the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR). Construction of the Finnish Olkiluoto 3 reactors commenced in August 2005 with an initial estimate of 3.7 billion euros and has experienced major problems, delays and cost over-runs. The latest cost estimate in June 2010 was an increase of 2.7 billion euros and the latest completion date is 2013. Westminster has assured us there will be no nuclear subsidies for the next generation of nuclear power plants. However they will be given guaranteed production quotas and the fossil plants will be penalised by the so-called carbon tax. Planning permissions for them will be eased and public inquiries very unlikely.

Herald 31st Aug 2011 more >>

Nuclear Safety

Facing higher resistance to nuclear power after the Japanese disaster this year, French officials said Monday they would seek to promote stronger international policies on nuclear energy, despite opposition from some other countries who resist tougher supranational regulation. French Prime Minister François Fillon on Monday called for the creation of an international emergency task-force to address nuclear incidents and an international training center on nuclear operations. Earlier, French Energy Minister Eric Besson said he would seek to have the International Atomic Energy Agency extend recently-enacted European “stress tests” on a global level.

Wall Street Journal 30th Aug 2011 more >>

Energy Business Review 30th Aug 2011 more >>

A U.N. nuclear safety action plan has been described as “weakened” by diplomats looking for strong measures to prevent a repeat of Japan’s nuclear crisis. The document from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the third draft presented to IAEA member states over the last few weeks, outlines a series of steps to help improve nuclear safety after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident earlier this year. The latest version would encourage countries with atomic power to host international safety review missions but puts increased emphasis on the voluntary nature of the proposals.

Engineering & Technology 30th Aug 2011 more >>

Japan

The first comprehensive survey of soil contamination from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant showed that 33 locations spread over a wide area have been contaminated with long-lasting radioactive cesium, the government said Tuesday. The survey of 2,200 locations within a 100-kilometer (62-mile) radius of the crippled plant found that those 33 locations had cesium-137 in excess of 1.48 million becquerels per square meter, the level set by the Soviet Union for forced resettlement after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. Another 132 locations had a combined amount of cesium 137/134 over 555,000 becquerels per square meter, the level at which the Soviet authorities called for voluntary evacuation and imposed a ban on farming.

Wall Street Journal 30th Aug 2011 more >>

Germany

Germany is importing massive amounts of nuclear-generated electricity from France following its decision to abandon atomic power in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster. But it is still bracing for blackouts of the kind not seen since the Second World War as eight of the 17 reactors were switched off overnight in a populist move that is now seen as a rash decision. Nuclear plants generated nearly a quarter of Germany’s electricity. But after the tsunami and earthquake that sent radiation spewing from Fukushima in March, the government disconnected the eight oldest of Germany’s 17 reactors.

Daily Mail 30th Aug 2011 more >>

Scotsman 31st Aug 2011 more >>

US

A supplemental evaluation of Entergy’s application to continue operating its aging Indian Point nuclear plant outside of New York City did not identify any new license conditions, the U.S. nuclear safety regulator said on Tuesday.

Reuters 30th Aug 2011 more >>

Kazakhstan

The Semipalatinsk region suffered under four decades of Soviet nuclear testing. Now, the country wants to become an international research hub for the effects of radiation on future generations.

Ecologist 30th Aug 2011 more >>

Between 1949 and 1989, the Soviet Union detonated more than 456 nuclear devices on the Semipalatinsk test site, better known as the “Polygon”. This region of the Kazakh steppe, covering an area the size of Belgium, was the primary testing ground for the most sophisticated atomic weapons in the Soviet arsenal. Some 116 were exploded above ground, producing the “beautiful” mushroom clouds that witnesses remember; the rest were let off underground, protecting the atmosphere but leaching more poison into the earth. As for the locals, they were little more than guinea pigs. In the state home for the elderly in Semipalatinsk – which has been renamed Semey since Kazakhstan independence in 1991 – old women gather round to tell their stories. They too have injuries and illnesses, though only Makysh receives compensation, because it is so hard to prove the link between nuclear fallout and the diseases that may strike afterwards. According to Dr Marat Sandybaev, head of the local oncology centre, cancer rates in the area are still twice as high as the national average, and it is estimated that birth defects are up to 10 times higher.

Telegraph 31st Aug 2011 more >>

Space

Nuclear power plants built on the Moon or Mars could fit in a suitcase and would need no water towers, according to researchers developing a prototype.

Edie 30th Aug 2011 more >>

Submarines

Generations of submarine builders are working on the latest Astute vessels for the Royal Navy at the “James Bond set” of BAE Systems’ yard in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. It has cost £4bn to design and build the first three Astutes and takes up to six years to build each vessel. Can the country afford to spend billions on more nuclear submarines? Or can it afford to lose one of its few world-leading industries? Should we be promoting defence as the base to rebalance our economy?

Telegraph 31st Aug 2011 more >>

Renewables

More than one-third of UK farmers want to install renewable energy projects on their land, most of them within the next year, and hope to generate average returns of £25,000 pounds a year, Barclays bank says. The bank’s business arm on Tuesday launched a £100m fund to help farmers finance renewable energy projects, including solar panels, windfarms, hydro plants and organic waste power, as a growing number of agricultural businesses seek to benefit from government support tariffs.

Guardian 30th Aug 2011 more >>

The nimbys are mutating. Until recently the main opposition to renewable energy in the UK was directed against onshore wind turbines, along with some strong pylon-hating. But today’s Times reveals the existence of solar farm nimbys too. You may not be able to read that story, it’s behind a paywall, but luckily it’s a pretty shameless replica of a story from the Daily Mail on Friday. It even has the same nimby, Robin Smith, who says his view of Somerset Levels has been spoiled, using exactly the same words: “It is blanket desecration of the countryside. I feel very sad that it is just for people lining their coffers.”

Guardian 30th Aug 2011 more >>

Posted: 31 August 2011

30 August 2011

Hinkley

The defence secretary has urged the government to put a stop to plans for overhead pylons in his constituency. The National Grid wants to put up 37 miles of pylons between Hinkley Point in Somerset and Avonmouth. Liam Fox has written to Energy Secretary Chris Huhne about the plans. Meanwhile, Wells MP Tessa Munt said the power lines should go underground.

BBC 29th Aug 2011 more >>

Telegraph 29th Aug 2011 more >>

Hartlepool

EDF Energy said it restarted its 620-megawatt (MW) UK Hartlepool 1 nuclear reactor on Monday afternoon following a planned outage.

Reuters 30th Aug 2011 more >>

Radwaste

If nuclear waste management is not thought out from the beginning, the public in many countries will reject nuclear power as an energy choice, according to research published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Allison Macfarlane of George Mason University in the US believes coming up with storage solutions for nuclear waste continues to be a last-minute decision in a number of countries. It is surprisingly common for reactor sites to be overburdened with spent fuel with no clear disposal plan. In South Korea, for example, storage at the nation’s four nuclear plants is filling up, leading to a potential storage crisis within the next decade.

Environmental Research Web 29th Aug 2011 more >>

Japan

The ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) today picked current finance minister Yoshihiko Noda as the new party head and imminent Japanese premier, who is likely to seek a prompt restart of safe nuclear reactors to revitalize the country’s economic activity. Noda, a fiscal hawk, is expected to prioritise fiscal and debt reforms but also support Japanese utilities to restart reactors where their safety is confirmed to aid the country’s rehabilitation efforts in the wake of March’s devastating earthquake and tsunami. Noda is yet to make clear his plan on the phasing out of nuclear power in the country but has said that Japan should not build any new reactors. Without any new capacity, Japan will be effectively phasing out nuclear within 40 years — a conventional reactor’s lifespan.

Argus Media 29th Aug 2011 more >>

Greenpeace said on Monday that schools and surrounding areas located 60 km (38 miles) from Japan’s tsunami-hit nuclear power plant were unsafe for children, showing radiation readings as much as 70 times internationally accepted levels. The environmental group took samples at and near three schools in Fukushima city, well outside the 20 km exclusion zone from Tokyo Electric Power’s stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex in Japan’s northeast.

Reuters 29th Aug 2011 more >>

Greenpeace 29th Aug 2011 more >>

Mr Noda has not backed Naoto Kan’s call for a rethink of nuclear power and says the nation’s reactors must be restarted. Yesterday Greenpeace called on the new leader to delay the opening of schools in Fukushima City this week after testing found high radiation levels from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in a pre-school, secondary school and child care centre.

Independent 30th Aug 2011 more >>

Guardian 30th Aug 2011 more >>

US

The historic earthquake that shut Dominion Resources Inc’s North Anna nuclear plant in Virginia last week may have shaken the facility more than it was designed to withstand, the U.S. nuclear regulator said on Monday.

Reuters 29th Aug 2011 more >>

Uranium

Under terms of the U.S.-Russian two-decade old “megatons-to-megawatts” agreement, the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) has reimbursed the Russian Federation more than $7.2 billion for its work in separating fissile uranium for use in civilian nuclear power plants from Soviet-era nuclear warheads.

Oil Price 30th Aug 2011 more >>

Namibian authorities have arrested four people they suspect of stealing drums of radioactive material from a mine in the country that is a major exporter of uranium, officials said on Monday.

Reuters 29th Aug 2011 more >>

Renewables

Since the late 1990s, wind and solar installations have grown faster than any other power technology across the world. But it’s still too early to claim the end of fossil-based power generation. The bright future for renewable energy that has long been predicted is already under way. Analysis of the global power plant market shows that since the late 1990s, capacities of wind and solar installations have grown faster than any other power plant technology across the world – with about 430,000 MW total installed capacity between 2000 and 2010.

Renewable Energy World 26th Aug 2011 more >>

Solar generators may produce the majority of the world’s power within 50 years, slashing the emissions of greenhouse gases that harm the environment, according to a projection by the International Energy Agency.

Bloomberg 29th Aug 2011 more >>

Economic uncertainty amid the ongoing slowdown in the global recovery and the eurozone sovereign debt crisis is likely to threaten investment in renewable energy projects, an Ernst & Young report warned today. The consultant said that investors in renewableenergy installations were seeing the cost of financing such projects rise, especially in countries most exposed to uncertainties. In some cases, that might mean projects are cancelled or delayed. E&Y said investors in the UK were less worried about financing issues but warned planning complexities and regulation continued to hinder large-scale renewables developments.

Independent 30th Aug 2011 more >>

A green electricity initiative that promised big returns for energy producers has led to hundreds of acres of countryside disappearing beneath solar panels in the past few months. Developers have been busy installing the panels on dozens of greenfield sites across the south of England in a rush to meet a government deadline and reap the rewards of vastly inflated prices for the electricity they produce. The Feed-In Tariff scheme, launched in April last year, promised to pay four times the going rate for electricity generated by solar power for 25 years.

The Times 30th Aug 2011 more >>

A surprising aerodynamic innovation in wind turbine design called the ‘wind lens’ could triple the output of a typical wind turbine, making it less costly than nuclear power.

Mother Nature Network 29th Aug 2011 more >>

More than one third of farmers want to install renewable energy projects on their farmland, most of them within the next year, and hope to generate average returns of 25,000 pounds per year, UK bank Barclays said.

Reuters 30th Aug 2011 more >>

Space

Engineers in the US are working on a nuclear reactor that can be deployed on other planets. A team made up of NASA and the US Department of Energy (DOE) is scheduled to build a technology demonstration unit in 2012.

Engineer 30th Aug 2011 more >>

Posted: 30 August 2011

29 August 2011

New Nukes

Greenpeace UK has served legal papers on the UK Government claiming it has unlawfully failed to take into account the implications of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in their future planning for the building of new nuclear power stations at sites in Britain.

Click Green 28th Aug 2011 more >>

Excellent news that Greenpeace have launched a legal challenge to the government. Greenpeace UK has served legal papers on the Government for unlawfully failing to take into account the implications of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in their future planning for the building of new nuclear power stations at sites in Britain.

101 uses for nuclear power 28th Aug 2011 more >>

Scotland

Colin McInnes is Professor of Engineering Science at the University of Strathclyde: The Westminster Government has finalised its list of potential sites for the UK’s next generation of nuclear power plants, and Scotland is conspicuous by its absence. This should come as no surprise given the antipathy towards nuclear energy voiced by Holyrood in recent years. However, with the publication of the list, the finality of our anti-nuclear policy is now clear. Along with Germany, Scotland will become one of the few nations to have successfully developed, and then entirely abandoned, nuclear energy. This is a far-reaching decision whose consequences will roll on for decades to come. Abandoning what is by far our single largest source of cost-effective, zero carbon base load electrical energy is an unsettling prospect.

Herald 29th Aug 2011 more >>

Japan

Why the Fukushima disaster is worse than Chernobyl. Japan has been slow to admit the scale of the meltdown. But now the truth is coming out. Across the northeast, millions of people are living with the disaster’s consequences and searching for a consensus on a safe radiation level that does not exist. Experts give bewilderingly different assessments of its dangers. Some scientists say Fukushima is worse than the 1986 Chernobyl accident, with which it shares a maximum level-7 rating on the sliding scale of nuclear disasters. One of the most prominent of them is Dr Helen Caldicott, an Australian physician and long time anti-nuclear activist who warns of “horrors to come” in Fukushima. Chris Busby, a professor at the University of Ulster known for his alarmist views, generated controversy during a Japan visit last month when he said the disaster would result in more than 1 million deaths. “Fukushima is still boiling its radionuclides all over Japan,” he said. “Chernobyl went up in one go. So Fukushima is worse.” On the other side of the nuclear fence are the industry friendly scientists who insist that the crisis is under control and radiation levels are mostly safe.

Independent 29th Aug 2011 more >>

US

A nuclear reactor in Maryland has been shut down because of wind damage, while others were either taken offline or operating at reduced capacity as precautionary measures before the arrival of hurricane Irene on Sunday. A reactor at the Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant in Lusby, Maryland, remained off-line on Sunday, after going into automatic shutdown when a piece of aluminum siding ripped from a nearby building damaged a transformer.

Guardian 28th Aug 2011 more >>

Telegraph 28th Aug 2011 more >>

US nuclear facilities look to re-start after Irene.

Reuters 28th Aug 2011 more >>

Nuclear Testing

The people of Semey will gather for a strange celebration today. Under a huge statue of a mushroom cloud they will commemorate the end of a chilling experiment on their own people and call for a complete ban on nuclear testing.

Telegraph 29th Aug 2011 more >>

Posted: 29 August 2011

28 August 2011

Hinkley

The Environment Agency is asking communities near the site of a proposed nuclear power station for their views on the disposal of radioactive waste and other processes. The organisation has received two applications for permits relating to the operation of the Hinkley Point nuclear power station on the Somerset coast. It wants feedback from residents before deciding whether to grant or refuse the applications from NNBGenCo, a subsidiary of EDF Energy.

Western Daily Press 27th Aug 2011 more >>

Japan

Areas around the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant could remain uninhabitable for 20 years, Japan warned yesterday. The plant is still leaking low-level radiation nearly six months after the earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear meltdown. About 80,000 people were evacuated and many are still living in shelters.

Daily Mail 27th Aug 2011 more >>

Reuters 27th Aug 2011 more >>

US

Members of Congress say the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is moving too slowly on recommendations made after damage to plants in Japan’s earthquake and tsunami. The earthquake that rattled much of the East Coast last week is sparking angry calls from elected officials seeking an immediate reevaluation of seismic risks at two dozen or so commercial nuclear plants around the country, including two in California.

LA Times 27th Aug 2011 more >>

Nuclear power plants along the U.S. East Coast are braced for the impact of Hurricane Irene which is churning north toward New York and New England after making landfall in North Carolina on Saturday. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it sent additional staff to monitor conditions and storm preparation at the 14 nuclear units from Maryland to New Hampshire in Irene’s path as well as a nuclear fuel production plant in North Carolina.

Reuters 27th Aug 2011 more >>

Some 200,000 residents mostly in the southern coastal area of North Carolina were without power on Saturday morning from the effects of Hurricane Irene, a spokeswoman for Progress Energy said.

Reuters 27th Aug 2011 more >>

Argentina

Argentina has signed a $444 million contract with Canada’s SNC-Lavalin Group to renovate its Embalse Río Tercero nuclear plant. The SNC-Lavalin Group is Canada’s top engineering firm. The Embalse Río Tercero nuclear power plant is one of two NPPs in Argentina. The contracts were signed by the government’s state-owned Nucleoelectrica Argentina, and Candu Energy Inc., a SNC-Lavalin subsidiary.

Oil Price 27th Aug 2011 more >>

Devonport

The risk of a nuclear accident at the Westcountry’s submarine base is getting “progressively worse” as Government budget cuts hit resources, an official report has warned. Devonport in Plymouth is home to six operational nuclear-powered submarines, ten decommissioned boats, and a range of nuclear engineering work.

Western Daily Press 27th Aug 2011 more >>

Greenham

Campaigners have recalled how a march from Cardiff to the US base at Greenham Common 30 years ago began a peace camp that attracted worldwide attention.

BBC 27th Aug 2011 more >>

Renewables

SCOTTISHPOWER is planning to pull the plug on more than 1,000 onshore wind turbines if the Westminster government cuts millions of pounds of subsidy from the industry. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has launched a review of taxpayer-funded subsidies that is expected to lead to the payments being switched to giant offshore wind farms. A report commissioned by Scottish Power reveals that a quarter of onshore wind farms planned for the UK could become uneconomic if financial support is cut by an anticipated 25 per cent. Of these, more than 70 per cent are in Scotland, which would mean the equivalent of about 2.3 gigawatts of wind power going unbuilt – some 1,080 average-sized turbines; almost as much as the wind power currently installed.

Scotland on Sunday 28th Aug 2011 more >>

Posted: 28 August 2011

27 August 2011

New Nukes

Greenpeace UK has served legal papers on the government for unlawfully failing to take into account the implications of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in their future planning for the building of new nuclear power stations. In a 1611 page legal submission to the High Court, Greenpeace is seeking a Judicial Review of the government’s decision not to take into account specialist advice on the implications of the Fukushima disaster on future reactors, which it has an obligation to do. The case includes: That the secretary of state unlawfully chose to press ahead with his plans for new nuclear reactors at eight sites (through the Nuclear National Policy Statement) without waiting to take into account relevant considerations arising from the Fukushima disaster; That the government appears to have regarded Dr Mike Weightman’s Interim Report into the lessons from Fukushima as a ‘green light’ for proceeding with the Nuclear National Policy Statement even though that the report highlighted areas of serious concern requiring further investigation and that Dr Weightman’s review remains ongoing; That communications between government officials and nuclear companies seems to show that there was no real intention to properly consider the implications of the disturbing events at Fukushima with an open mind as to what careful analysis of those events and their aftermath might reveal about the safety of nuclear power and the UK’s ability to respond to a major nuclear incident That he failed to fully consider all the risks of flooding to a nuclear site despite the evidence of how flooding affected operations at Fukishima.

Greenpeace UK 26th Aug 2011 more >>

EPR

Further doubt has been cast on the integrity of the new nuclear reactor design proposed for Hinkley Point in Somerset following a series of criticisms by French safety regulators. Documents revealed this week in the French press highlight a series of “gaps and weaknesses” in work being carried out on a new European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) by Electricite de France (EDF) at Flamanville in Normandy. In a 20-page report the French Nuclear Safety Authority, ASN, highlights a number of deviations from construction requirements affecting essential parts of the reactor, including the steam generators, water injection filters and batteries used for the cooling system.

Stop Hinkley Press Release 26th Aug 2011 more >>

Proliferation

Letter from NFLA: I was pleased to read that North Korea is willing to resume talks on a nuclear weapons moratorium. Welcome news when the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists is speculating that Pakistan may assist Saudi Arabia develop nuclear weapons should Iran succeed in building them, creating a “Sunni versus Shia bomb” race. But we also hear real worries from former UN weapons inspectors to Libya of the possibility of nuclear materials and blueprints from its cancelled nuclear weapons programme being taken from their purpose-built facility in Tripoli in the current chaos. The possibility of such information or materials getting into the hands of those who would use it for a terror device must remain the likeliest scenario for a nuclear attack on a large city. Only by working collectively can we build on the positive developments for a nuclear weapon-free world. The need for a Middle East nuclear weapon-free zone is now more pressing than ever. Otherwise we are all under threat of the real danger from a nuclear attack on one of our great cities – a scenario that our organisation and the Hiroshima-led Mayors for Peace were set up to campaign against.

Guardian 25th Aug 2011 more >>

Radwaste

The tsunami that disabled the Japanese Fukushima is empowering the nuclear energy community in the United States. A panel of concerned interests appointed by the president before the accident is recommending a new and permanent repository to store spent fuel. While the commission did not name a specific location, its move is an interesting one: It points to the need to have central positions where the mega waste created by nuclear plants can go. But it would also appear to be a near-futile effort, given that billions have already been paid to get an earlier iteration off the ground — an effort that died after years of work.

Energy Biz 24th Aug 2011 more >>

A “jaw-dropping” new film about nuclear energy is to be shown in Carlisle early next month. The documentary Into Eternity, directed by Michael Madsen, is being screened at Tullie House on September 5 as one of the museum and art gallery’s regular Monday Alternative film nights. The film is about the vast Onkalo underground storage site being built 500 metres below the ground in Finland to house thousands of tonnes of radioactive nuclear waste. The site has been chosen because it is as far away as possible from a possible earthquake or any other disturbance on the surface – but will have to last 100,000 years to become safe. The documentary interviews technicians, scientists, politicians and commentators involved in the project, and The Guardian’s movie critic Peter Bradshaw has described it as “jaw-dropping”. He said: “Into Eternity does not merely ask tough questions about the implications of nuclear energy, but about how we, as a race, conceive our own future.”

Cumberland News 26th Aug 2011 more >>

Dounreay

A plan to transport 44 tonnes of radioactive uranium and plutonium by train has run into opposition from councils worried about accidents and terrorist attacks. The government’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) plans to make about 50 rail shipments over the next five years from the Dounreay nuclear site in Caithness to the Sellafield reprocessing complex in Cumbria. It wants to process material left over from Britain’s long-abandoned fast breeder reactor programme – a class of reactors that aim to produce more fuel as they operate – to extract plutonium and uranium for re-use or disposal. But councils say this is dangerous and risks theft of nuclear material by terrorists en route, arguing the material should be treated as waste and “immobilised” at Dounreay. The group says the plan fails to ensure that radioactive waste is managed as close as possible to the site where it was produced. It would also lead to increased radioactive discharges into the environment from Sellafield during reprocessing, the councils argue. The risk of terrorists stealing the material in transit to make it into a dirty bomb, or even crude nuclear weapons, meant that it would have to be protected by armed guards, they claim.

Guardian 26th Aug 2011 more >>

Rob Edwards 26th Aug 2011 more >>

Hinkley

ENERGY company EDF could be just weeks away from submitting their application for permission to build Hinkley Point C. The Mercury has followed the progress every step of the way, from the initial proposal and consultations to heated meetings with statutory consultees including Sedgemoor District Council and Somerset County Council. Hundreds of Mercury readers have written to us or e-mailed in with their comments on plans for the new power station – but there is still a chance to have your say. Here is what happens next: • Once the Infrastructure Planning Commission receives the development consent application for a new nuclear power station, it will have 28 days to review the application and decide whether or not to examine it. This will include looking at the accuracy of consultation and documentation in the application.

This is the West Country 23rd Aug 2011 more >>

Heysham

EDF Energy reconnected its 610-megawatt (MW) Heysham 1-1 nuclear reactor on Friday.

Reuters 26th Aug 2011 more >>

Carbon Trading

Every household in Britain has been overcharged an estimated £120 in utility bills as a result of an environmental initiative that is not working, an investigation by The Times has found. Energy companies such as Scottish Power, EDF Energy and Centrica, the owner of British Gas, have pocketed about £9 billion in free windfall profits by manipulating a carbon trading scheme. The extra costs have come when energy prices are at a record high, but, according to the climate change group Sandbag, the total carbon emissions saved by the scheme are roughly equivalent to every person in Europe replacing two old incandescent lightbulbs with energy-efficient alternatives, costing about £3 each. Jenny Saunders, the chief executive of the NEA fuel poverty campaign group, called on the energy regulator Ofgem to re-examine the scheme.

Times 27th Aug 2011 more >>

Carbon is traded just like any other commodity — and the City is at the centre of a fast-growing global market. All the major investment banks trade carbon on behalf of their clients, the owners of power stations and other heavy polluters that are part of Europe’s trading scheme. Traders buy and sell their “permits to pollute” depending on market prices — and how many their clients need — taking a small cut on the deal as profit.

Times 27th Aug 2011 more >>

Urenco

The uranium enrichment company one-third owned by the Government has dismissed concerns about the impact on its business from the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Friso van Oranje, chief financial officer of Urenco, said that less than 10 per cent of its forecast orders for the next two years were with Japan. He declined to give precise figures or comment on the Government’s planned sale of its stake. It is thought that the Treasury, which hopes to raise £1 billion from the sale, will appoint an investment bank next month to handle the disposal. The remainder of Urenco is split between the Dutch Government and E.ON and RWE, the German utility companies. Mr van Oranje, who was reporting a 16 per cent rise in first-half profits to €306 million (£271 million), said that the group had not detected any sign that customers in other countries, other than Germany, would scale back their nuclear plans.

Times 27th Aug 2011 more >>

Companies

When it was announced that all German nuclear reactors were to be taken offline over a period of months, E.ON chief executive Johannes Teyssen warned of serious supply shortages and the possibility of the country’s electricity grid becoming unstable because it is not designed to handle the necessary redistribution of power from renewable sources in the north of Germany to the south. The company has maintained a positive stance over the recent months, compared to rival RWE, which announced in early April that it would take sue the German government if the courts backed its view of the initial three-month stoppage.

Energy Business Review 26th Aug 2011 more >>

Japan

Japan’s government estimates the amount of radioactive caesium-137 released by the Fukushima nuclear disaster so far is equal to that of 168 Hiroshima bombs, a news report said Thursday. Government nuclear experts, however, said the World War II bomb blast and the accidental reactor meltdowns at Fukushima, which has seen ongoing radiation leaks but no deaths so far, were beyond comparison. The amount of caesium-137 released since the three reactors were crippled by the March 11 quake and tsunami has been estimated at 15,000 tera becquerels, the Tokyo Shimbun reported, quoting a government calculation. That compares with the 89 tera becquerels released by “Little Boy”, the uranium bomb the United States dropped on the western Japanese city in the final days of World War II, the report said.

AFP 25th Aug 2011 more >>

Government nuclear experts, however, said the World War II bomb blast and the accidental reactor meltdowns at Fukushima, which has seen ongoing radiation leaks but no deaths so far, were beyond comparison. The amount of caesium-137 released since the three reactors were crippled by the March 11 quake and tsunami has been estimated at 15,000 tera becquerels, the Tokyo Shimbun reported, quoting a government calculation. That compares with the 89 tera becquerels released by “Little Boy”, the uranium bomb the United States dropped on the western Japanese city in the final days of World War II, the report said.

Telegraph 25th Aug 2011 more >>

Global Security News 25th Aug 2011 more >>

Space News 25th Aug 2011 more >>

The Japanese government estimates the amount of radioactive cesium-137 released by the Fukushima nuclear disaster so far is equal to that of 168 Hiroshima bombs, a news report said Thursday. Government nuclear experts, however, said the World War II bomb blast and the accidental reactor meltdowns at Fukushima, which has seen ongoing radiation leaks but no deaths so far, were beyond comparison. The amount of cesium-137 released since the three reactors were crippled by the March 11 quake and tsunami has been estimated at 15,000 tera becquerels, the Tokyo Shimbun reported, quoting a government calculation.

Japan Today 26th Aug 2011 more >>

Japan aims to halve radiation over two years in places contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear crisis, removing soil, plants and trees as well as cleaning roofs of buildings in an area spanning thousands of square kilometres. The cleanup could cost tens of billions of dollars, and thousands of evacuees may not be able to return home for years, if ever.

Reuters 26th Aug 2011 more >>

Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who stepped down Friday as president of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, said he plans to stay on as a lawmaker and renewed his pledge to work toward making Japan less reliant on nuclear power, and rebuild areas devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Japan Today 27th Aug 2011 more >>

Japan on Friday lowered radiation exposure limits for children to below one millisievert per year while at school due to health concerns in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Japan Today 27th Aug 2011 more >>

Canada

An independent panel appointed by the Canadian government has concluded that the construction of up to four new reactors at the Darlington plant in Ontario is unlikely to cause adverse environmental effects. The government must now decide whether or not to allow the project to proceed. It makes several recommendations highlighting actions that are required to address potential effects on the environment, health, waste management, emergency preparedness and the consequences of a severe accident, nuclear liability insurance and land use.

World Nuclear News 26th Aug 2011 more >>

US

Nuclear experts likely will reassess the design of dozens of U.S. reactors in the wake of Tuesday’s earthquake in Virginia that drew scrutiny when the plant temporarily lost electricity from the grid—the result of construction geared for the kind of temblor that hits Western parts of the U.S., not the East. The finding is expected to put a spotlight on many plants east of the Rockies so they can better ride out Eastern-type quakes.

Wall Street Journal 27th Aug 2011 more >>

Nuclear power plants along the U.S. East Coast are bracing for the

impact of Hurricane Irene which is barreling toward North Carolina.

Reuters 26th Aug 2011 more >>

Korea

North Korea signalled recently that it was ready to end its nuclear testing and return to anti-nuclear talks. Still, the US and South Korea were hardly moved and anything resembling normal state-to-state relations on the peninsula seems far off.

Morning Star 26th Aug 2011 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Greenham Common peace camps made quite a few people feel very unpeaceful.

Telegraph 26th Aug 2011 more >>

Microgeneration

Haringey Council is investing £15million into solar power by installing thousands of solar panels on its buildings; Dundee council looking for partner to help install solar on its buildings, including thousands of council houses; Middlesbrough’s Fabrick Housing Group installed PV panels on its HQ; Plans for CHP by Fife Housing Association; Mitsubishi has developed technology that enables solar cells to be applied to buildings, like paint; 2.5k PV panels planned for South Wales Factory site; public buildings & schools to be solarised across Reading;

Micro Gen Scotland 26th Aug 2011 more >>

Posted: 27 August 2011

26 August 2011

EPR

The construction of the EPR nuclear reactor being built in Flamanville (Manche), has many “weaknesses” which question the “quality of the final” product. This is the conclusion drawn after a thorough inspection conducted on site in May by the Nuclear Safety Authority. The report of this “inspection review” , – a letter of twenty-two pages sent by the ASN June 24 to EDF, prime contractor for the 1600 megawatt reactor designed by Areva. The inspection has mobilized fifteen experts, including an observer from the British regulator. ASN says thirteen findings of deviations from the requirements of construction, on the essential parts of the reactor feed steam generators, filters, water injection, batteries RIS cooling system.

Le Monde 24th August 2011 more >>

New Nukes

The Environment Council (TEC) has launched an online survey about the UK’s nuclear energy policy. The engagement charity wants to find out how much people feel included in decisions about the future of nuclear power. Most of the UK’s nuclear power plants are due to close in the next 15 years and the government has identified eight new nuclear reactors could be established on the sites of existing nuclear power stations. The new Government national policy statement on energy comes in the wake of decisions in Japan and Germany to move away from nuclear power following the destruction of the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan by the tsunami in March this year. The UK Government is still in favour of nuclear power because it is a low-carbon option and there is tremendous pressure for the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to prevent catastrophic climate change. But how much does the British public feel they have an influence in this issue? The TEC online survey is a short “pulse check” of the nation. It runs until the end of September 2011. Based on the findings, TEC will be making recommendations to the government on how to ensure there is an authentic engagement process for nuclear energy policy.

Environment Council Aug 2011 more >>

Hinkley

The Environment Agency is seeking the views of communities around Somerset regarding a proposed power station. Feedback is being sought in Burnham on Sea and Bridgwater on applications for environmental permits to operate a new station at Hinkley Point. They relate to discharges and disposals of radioactive waste and operation of standby power supply systems. The Agency is to decide whether to grant or refuse the applications.

BBC 25th Aug 2011 more >>

Cumbria

COPELAND Council has given a resounding thumbs down to plans to bury radioactive waste at a derelict site in the borough. Keekle Head, a former opencast coal site near Pica, has been earmarked for the development, but last week Copeland’s planning panel opposed an application from Endecom UK to bury very low levels of radioactive waste on its 70 hectares. Council leader Elaine Wooburn told the meeting that the community of Copeland has the right to say ‘no’ to having nuclear waste buried in the borough. “This community has lived with nuclear waste for a long time and this panel should invoke the community’s right to say ‘no’,” said Coun Woodburn, speaking as the council’s portfolio holder for nuclear issues.

Whitehaven News 25th Aug 2011 more >>

COPELAND Council is sending a strong letter to the government voicing its concerns in the wake of Sellafield’s Mox plant closure. Six hundred and forty nine jobs are affected but site operators Sellafield Ltd says it is committed to finding alternative jobs elsewhere on the site for as many former Mox workers as possible. The Sellafield Mox plant has closed because it no longer has a customer following Japan’s earthquake disaster which has badly affected its nuclear industry. The impact locally was discussed by Copeland councillors at last Thursday night’s meeting.

Whitehaven News 25th Aug 2011 more >>

Insurance

Global insurance broker Willis Holdings on Thursday launched a new product to cover business interruption (BI) costs for companies forced to evacuate an area near a nuclear power plant. The new product was a direct response to the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant following the Japan earthquake and tsunami in March.

Reuters 25th Aug 2011 more >>

Insurance Insider 25th Aug 2011 more >>

Insurance Business Review 26th Aug 2011 more >>

Electricity Statistics

Higher wind speeds and increased capacity saw electricity supply from wind rise 131 per cent in the second quarter of 2011 compared to a year earlier, according to latest government figures. Electricty generation from gas fell by around a fifth. Supply from gas fell 21 per cent reflecting higher gas prices and the fact that nuclear output rose 38.3 per cent. Last year Sizewell B was offline during the quarter. Higher rainfall saw hydro power almost twice as high as the same period last year.

Utility Week 25th Aug 2011 more >>

US

The U.S. nuclear regulator said on Thursday that it will require operators of the nation’s 104 nuclear reactors to review their earthquake risks as part of an ongoing update of seismic hazards for power plants. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it will provide existing plants with a seismic analysis tool later this year that will allow plants to performThe U.S. nuclear regulator said on Thursday that it will require operators of the nation’s 104 nuclear reactors to review their earthquake risks as part of an ongoing update of seismic hazards for power plants. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it will provide existing plants with a seismic analysis tool later this year that will allow plants to perform “an updated review.”

Reuters 25th Aug 2011 more >>

The good news is: during today’s 5.8 quake between Richmond VA and Washington DC, the nearby North Anna nuclear plant shut down as it was designed to do. The bad news: The plant was only designed to withstand up to a 6.2. So we came pretty damn close. And why did we build yet another reactor on an earthquake fault line?

IB Times 25th Aug 2011 more >>

China

China has “vastly increased” the risk of a nuclear accident by opting for cheap technology that will be 100 years old by the time dozens of its reactors reach the end of their lifespans, according to diplomatic cables from the US embassy in Beijing. The warning comes weeks after the government in Beijing resumed its ambitious nuclear expansion programme, that was temporarily halted for safety inspections in the wake of the meltdown of three reactors in Fukushima, Japan.

Guardian 25th Aug 2011 more >>

Russia

Wikileaks: Russia’s Atomstroyexport Cannot Fulfil Existing International Nuclear Energy Contracts, But Seeks New Ones.

Cablegatesearch 24th Aug 2011 more >>

Japan

Fukushima update 19th to 22nd August.

Greenpeace International 26th Aug 2011 more >>

What will be the final legacy of the Fukushima nuclear disaster? It’s way too early to tell. What we do know is, with large areas around the stricken nuclear power plant likely to be made off-limits for ‘several decades’ this week, this is a catastrophe happening in slow motion. Long years lie ahead before the full effects of it are known. How many people have had their health and lives destroyed by Fukushima? Again, it’s way too early to tell. The Chernobyl disaster happened 25 years ago and even now we do not know what the full effects of the radioactive contamination will be. We know the effects will be long lived. We know children not even born when the Chernobyl explosion took place are suffering into their adult lives.

Greenpeace International 23rd Aug 2011 more >>

The DPJ leadership race will be fought over a broad range of issues, including how to finance the reconstruction of Japan’s earthquake-devastated northeastern coast, whether to restart nuclear power plants in the wake of the Fukushima accident, and longer-term energy policy.

FT 26th Aug 2011 more >>

The nation’s sixth new prime minister in five years will inherit a string of pressing issues, including the on-going nuclear crisis in Fukushima, reconstruction of the tsunami-devastated northeast coast and a soaring yen. The nuclear issue will also remain top priority under the new regime, with the on-going Fukushima crisis continuing to rumble on – dispelling public confidence in nuclear power in the process. Mr Kan has made popular vows to wean Japan from nuclear power dependency, however, he did not directly indicate how the nation would be able to raise capacity from other energy sources to meet demand. Japan also faces the possibility of further reactors closing for maintenance, with the possibility that all of Japan’s reactors could potentially be shut by May 2012, raising the threat of prolonged power blackouts and economic disruption.

Telegraph 26th Aug 2011 more >>

Defence Facilities

The risk of accidents and radioactive leaks from Britain’s ageing nuclear bombs and submarines is getting “progressively worse” because of deepening spending cutbacks, according to an internal Ministry of Defence report.

Guardian 25th Aug 2011 more >>

Read the Defence Nuclear Environment Safety Board Report

Guardian 25th Aug 2011 more >>

Posted: 26 August 2011

25 August 2011

EPR

The French nuclear safety watchdog has asked EDF to fix a series of “gaps and weaknesses” in its €6bn ($8.6bn) flagship project to build a next-generation atomic plant in northern France, putting more pressure on a programme already beset by spiralling costs and delays. In a letter to the company, sent at the end of June but which came to light on Wednesday, the country’s atomic watchdog highlighted 13 areas of concern about what is one of the world’s biggest and most important nuclear power developments. The 1,650-megawatt plant at Flamanville in Normandy is the first new reactor to be built in France in 15 years.

FT 24th August 2011 more >>

Letter ASN to EDF 24th June 2011 more >>

New Nukes

David Toke: The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which the Government was heavily influenced by, says nuclear is cheaper than renewables. Are they right or just biased? The CCC’s Renewable Energy Review (RER), published on 11 May, provides a highly-skilled analysis that is also clearly skewed in favour of nuclear power. Nuclear power is held to be the cheapest low carbon fuel. This is a challengeable conclusion. The Committee appears to have interpreted data in a pro-nuclear direction. The RER comes in the aftermath of the Government’s Electricity Market Reform (EMR) consultation, which is widely seen by renewable advocates as shifting subsidies away from renewables and towards nuclear power. A recent analysis by the Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change gives credence to this view.

Renewable Energy Focus 25th Aug 2011 more >>

Nuclear Waste Directive

The main aspects of the directive are actually limiting in nature and impose strict obligations on member states – they are required to draw up national programmes for the construction of modern disposal facilities, including a timetable, costs assessment and description of activities to be used in waste management. These have to be presented to the Commission by 2015 and subsequently updated regularly. As such, administrative and financial monitoring pressure is placed on member states, while the Commission is tasked with assessing these action plans. More importantly, however, the question of nuclear waste export to countries outside the EU has been addressed – initially, the Commission wanted to ban this, but the revised version of the directive indicates that it will be allowed, but only under very strict conditions.

New Europe 24th Aug 2011 more >>

Hinkley

Find out about the work the Environment Agency is doing at the Hinkley Point nuclear power stations and the proposed development at Hinkley Point C.

Environment Agency (Accessed) 24th Aug 2011 more >>

Proliferation

What next A Sunni Bomb? Pakistan, a Sunni-majority country, secretly helped Shia-dominated Iran with its nuclear weapon program until the 1990s, but even then, some Pakistani elites spoke against such support. Shia Iran and Sunni-led Saudi Arabia have become bitter rivals for pre-eminence in the Middle East as Iran has pursued the nuclear option. If Iran gets a nuclear bomb, Saudi Arabia will likely try to follow, turning to Pakistan, its longtime Sunni ally, for technological help.

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 8th Aug 2011 more >>

US

Virginia’s largest earthquake in more than a century shook the East Coast on Tuesday and is likely to revive a long-standing debate about the safety of the country’s nuclear power plants. Paul Gunter, director of reactor oversight at the group Beyond Nuclear, said “Once again, Mother Nature is warning us that nuclear power is the most brittle of electrical power systems”. The earthquake comes at a sensitive time for the NRC and the nuclear industry, which is dealing with the fallout from the March disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

The Hill 24th Aug 2011 more >>

Dominion Virginia Power restarted reactor coolant pumps today at the 1,800MW North Anna nuclear plant, but power production is still at a standstill after a nearby earthquake yesterday. Unusual event status has been cancelled by operators at most if not all of the 12 other nuclear plants where the earthquake was felt at 1.51pm ET yesterday. Operators told Argus that their visual inspections and instrument readings of non-nuclear and nuclear systems found no post-quake problems. Constellation Energy ended the unusual event at its Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant in Maryland around midnight. In all, more than 20GW at 21 separate reactors was subject to additional scrutiny because of the magnitude 5.8 earthquake. Those reactors comprise more than 20pc of the US nuclear fleet.

Argus Media 24th Aug 2011 more >>

The U.S. nuclear safety regulator said on Wednesday it is considering inspecting a nuclear power plant in Virginia to see how Tuesday’s East Coast earthquake compares to what the plant was designed to withstand. The earthquake was centered several miles from Dominion’s North Anna nuclear plant, which temporarily lost power from the grid after the earthquake but ran its safety systems using backup diesel generators, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in a release.

Reuters 24th Aug 2011 more >>

To say that Tuesday’s east coast earthquake surprised everyone would be an understatement. In a post 9/11 world, those of us in Washington always have the vague fear of something bad happening lurking in our subconscious. That fear is usually of an event caused by humans, not of a natural disaster, but we never really can know what Mother Nature has in store for us. This is why our best bet is planning for the worst. And when we look at the US nuclear energy infrastructure, it becomes clear that we aren’t planning for the worst – not even close. Though a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission told reporters that “as far as we know, everything is safe”, the event revived fears about the safety of US nuclear plants. Most of the region’s reactors were reportedly designed to withstand a 5.9 to 6.1 magnitude quake – which means Tuesday’s quake was, for many, too close for comfort.

Guardian 24th Aug 2011 more >>

Tuesday’s earthquake on the US east coast shut down two nuclear reactors. Seismic activity in the US is unlikely to cause a meltdown, but it poses serious engineering challenges

Guardian 24th Aug 2011 more >>

Ireland

Instead of seeking partners to exploit hoped-for offshore fossil fuel resources, Ireland should consider building some medium-sized nuclear plants, writes JOHN GIBBONS LAST MARCH, shortly after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Fintan O’Toole memorably described a nuclear power station as “a concrete testament to hubris”. The term, he reminded us, came from the ancient Greek, and is a “warning that there are boundaries we should not cross”.

Irish Times 25th Aug 2011 more >>

Libya

A RESEARCH centre near Tripoli contains stocks of nuclear material that could be used to make a dirty bomb, a former senior UN inspector said, warning of the possibility of looting during turmoil in Libya.

Irish Examiner 25th Aug 2011 more >>

Scotsman 25th Aug 2011 more >>

North Korea

Pyongyang is ready to suspend its nuclear missile tests if international talks on its atomic programme resume, a spokesman for Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said after his rare meeting yesterday with North Korea’s reclusive leader, Kim Jong il.

Independent 25th Aug 2011 more >>

Scotsman 25th Aug 2011 more >>

Guardian 24th Aug 2011 more >>

Telegraph 24th Aug 2011 more >>

Reuters 24th Aug 2011 more >>

North Korea has supplied Iran with a computer programme as part of intensified cooperation that could help the Islamic Republic build nuclear weapons, a German newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing Western intelligence sources.

Reuters 24th Aug 2011 more >>

Engineering & Technology 24th Aug 2011 more >>

Electricity Grid

Germany’s decision to phase out nuclear power and the operation of the BritNed interconnector have had a significant impact on the European electricity system, says TenneT. The Dutch-German Transmission System Operator said in a statement that it has stepped up exports of electricity to Germany since March, when the government implemented a moratorium on the operation of its oldest nuclear power plants. The BritNed cable link has helped to increase interconnector capacity, says TenneT.

Utility Week 24th Aug 2011 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Ukraine has celebrated 20 years since its independence from the USSR by opening up a museum of some of the deadliest weapons ever created. The Pervomaisk Strategic Missile Forces Museum is built on the site of a perfectly preserved Soviet missile silo, and features de-commissioned missiles such as the Sandal, most famous as the short range rocket at the centre of the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.

ITN 25th Aug 2011 more >>

Fusion

For decades, scientists have been predicting that, one day, the same process that powers the sun will give us virtually unlimited cheap, clean electricity. Are they wrong? As long as fusion research remains underfunded (a term he doesn’t utter, but the implication is there) then it will never save humanity from climate change, oil wars and the poverty and underdevelopment caused by ever-higher energy costs. As if to prove his point, he admits that on occasion he has even turned to eBay to buy spare parts for the smaller UK-owned tokamak

Guardian 23rd Aug 2011 more >>

Posted: 25 August 2011

24 August 2011

Hinkley

Things are hotting up with the government and nuclear industry’s plans for nu-killer new build in Britain. If we want to put the brakes on their insane plans to build a fleet of new potential Fukushimas at up to eight sites around England and Wales, we need to get active TODAY!

Stop Nuclear Power 21st Aug 2011 more >>

Foreign Office Minister and Member of Parliament for Taunton Deane, Jeremy Browne called in at EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point site this month to see for himself plans for a new nuclear power station. As well as discussing the project with members of the construction site management team, Mr Browne also took the opportunity to tour the operational Hinkley Point B power station. The MP met several of his constituents who work at the power plant and was shown around the site by station director, Mike Harrison.

Build.co.uk 23rd Aug 2011 more >>

Sellafield

Letter published in NW Evening Mail 10th August from Marianne Birkby. Mox Closure Designed to Generate Pleading for Nuclear Developments. The way in which the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority coldly announced the closure of the Sellafield MOX – without any prior talks with the workforce was designed to generate pleading for new nuclear developments. Sure enough Jamie Reed MP and other nuclear supporters are calling for MOX 2 (!) along with new build and deep disposal. The NDA have said the closure of MOX is essential to easing the financial burden to the taxpayer. The sincerity of this statement could only be believed if the NDA then went on to say: No more spent fuel will be delivered to Sellafield; All jobs expertise and taxpayers money will now be put into looking after existing wastes; Existing wastes will not be dispersed into the wider environment by deep ‘disposal,’ dumping in landfill, ‘recycled’ into pots and pans. Or as with MOX and Thorp turned from solid spent fuel into even more dangerous and much larger volumes of liquid high level wastes (reprocessing). Then perhaps I could believe the NDA when they say they are concerned with wasting taxpayer billions

Radiation Free Lakeland 23rd Aug 2011 more >>

Sellafield is appealing for bidders for a £58 million contract for electrical and maintenance work on the nuclear site.

Construction News 23rd Aug 2011 more >>

Sellafield chiefs are looking for maintenance contractors and plant hire specialists to join a four-year framework worth £58m to help with the upkeep of the nuclear plant. Work up for grabs ranges from M&E maintenance work to the supply of plant and equipment. The work has been split into four lots with the main £48m contract being Lot 1 covering civil maintenance and repair work and electrical installation.

Construction Enquirer 23rd Aug 2011 more >>

US

U.S. nuclear plants face the first post-Fukushima test of their ability to withstand multiple natural disasters as Hurricane Irene bears down on an area shaken by a 5.8-magnitude earthquake. The temblor yesterday knocked out power to Dominion Resources Inc.’s North Anna nuclear plant in Virginia and prompted 12 stations from North Carolina to Michigan to declare “unusual events,” the lowest-level emergency designated by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. North Anna’s twin reactors were being cooled by backup diesel generators yesterday after automatically shutting down during the earthquake, whose epicenter was less than 15 miles (24 kilometers) from the plant, about 85 miles southwest of Washington, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

San Farncisco Chronicle 24th Aug 2011 more >>

A nuclear power plant in Louisa County, ten miles from the epicentre of the earthquake, has been shut down. Federal officials said two nuclear reactors at the North Anna Power Station were automatically taken off line by safety systems around the time of the earthquake. The power plant was only built to withstand a magnitude 5.9 to 6.1 earthquake. Today’s earthquake measured 5.8.

Daily Mail 23rd Aug 2011 more >>

The largest earthquake to hit the East Coast of the United States in 67 years raised concerns on Tuesday about the safety of the country’s nuclear power plants. The 5.8 magnitude quake’s epicenter was just a few miles from the two-reactor North Anna nuclear power plant operated by Dominion Resources in Mineral, Virginia, 80 miles southwest of Washington.

Reuters 24th Aug 2011 more >>

The largest earthquake to hit the eastern US in 67 years has raised concerns about the safety of the country’s nuclear power plants. The 5.8 magnitude quake’s epicentre in Virginia yesterday was close to the North Anna plant, 130 kilometres southwest of Washington. The plant lost power and automatically halted operations after the quake. While the operator reported no ‘major’ damage to the facility, three diesel generators were required to kick in and keep the reactors’ radioactive cores cool. A fourth diesel unit failed. While nuclear power plants can operate safely on back-up power, failure of generators was a key reason for the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant after a 9.0 magnitude quake and tsunami in March.

RTE 24th Aug 2011 more >>

Iran

A man accused by Iran of carrying out an assassination “sponsored and designed by Israel” has pleaded guilty to the murder of an Iranian “nuclear scientist”. According to Iranian media, Majid Jamali-Fashi, 26, admitted killing Masoud Ali-Mohammadi, a particle physicist who Iran says was involved in the country’s nuclear programme, Jamali-Fashi confessed to having attached a remote-control bomb to a motorcycle parked on the street, which detonated and killed Ali-Mohammadi while he was leaving home for work in January 2010.

Guardian 23rd Aug 2011 more >>

Iran allowed a senior U.N. nuclear inspector rare access to a facility for developing advanced uranium enrichment machines during a tour of all of the country’s main atomic sites, an Iranian envoy said on Tuesday. Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said last week’s visit to Iranian nuclear facilities by IAEA Deputy Director General Herman Nackaerts showed Tehran’s “100 percent transparency and openness.”

Reuters 23rd Aug 2011 more >>

Telegraph 24th Aug 2011 more >>

Japan

Among the lessons to be learned from the accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daichii nuclear powerplant, according to a new report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), are that emergency generators should be better protected from flooding and other extreme natural events, and that increasing the spacing between reactors at the same site would help prevent an incident at one reactor from damaging others nearby.

R&D Mag 23rd Aug 2011 more >>

An energy saving mood sweeping the country is a new trend in Japan that gives an opportunity to push for clean energy over national policy that favours nuclear power. She explained that the challenge facing green activists is to link the setsuden mood to banning nuclear energy. “To push renewable and safe energy to the national forefront and reduce Japan’s reliance on nuclear energy, it is important to sustain the current public setsuden mood. I am worried that the public support could be temporary,” she said. Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind provide for less than two percent of Japan’s total power consumption.

Guardian 22nd Aug 2011 more >>

There can be no reasonable case for the government to lead efforts to sell nuclear technology to other countries when one of the worst nuclear accidents in history has taken place in this nation, raising many serious questions about the future of atomic energy.

Asahi 24th Aug 2011 more >>

Japan’s Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI) and US Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) have signed an agreement to cooperate in the joint research in the field of nuclear power. Initially the two institutes will undertake a project of joint research on materials to address the deterioration of nuclear power plants and on the effects of low-level radiation exposure on the human body. The CRIEPI also intends to carryout research on topic related to nuclear safety and response to nuclear accidents.

Energy Business Review 23rd Aug 2011 more >>

Moody’s has cut Japan’s credit rating by one notch citing concerns about the government’s ability to reduce its mountain of debt and implement long-term fiscal sustainability measures. Moody’s said that the March 11 disaster, and the nuclear accident that followed, have “aggravated” deflationary conditions and delayed the economy’s recovery from its recession in 2009, its worst since the second world war.

FT 24th Aug 2011 more >>

Germany

The Wunderland Kalkar in Germany has everything that a theme park should possess – log flume, swings, a big wheel – and a nuclear power station.

Metro 23rd Aug 2011 more >>

Mail 23rd Aug 2011 more >>

Posted: 24 August 2011

23 August 2011

Hinkley

Bulldozers are busy out on the Somerset coast as engineers make initial preparations to build the giant new power station which designers claim could provide electricity to five million homes. When – and if – the scheme gets into full gear, the building project will be even bigger than the work going into the London 2012 Olympics.

Western Daily Press 22nd Aug 2011 more >>

Energy giant EDF Energy admitted it was waiting to learn lessons from the Fukushima disaster in Japan before it finalised plans for the new Hinkley C nuclear plant. The site on the Somerset coast is already awash with bulldozers, as work is done to remedy some of the environmental damage done by the builders of Hinkley A. EDF is waiting for the outcome of the official inquiry, compiled by chief nuclear inspector, Dr Mike Weightman, into whether Japan’s nuclear crisis holds lessons for the safety of Britain’s nuclear industry before progressing. It is unclear if it will impact on the target of opening in 2018. Mr Cann was speaking as part of a rare tour of what will be Europe’s biggest civil engineering project. He said the new site would have not one but two large sea walls capable of withstanding the unlikely event of a Bristol Channel tsunami.

Western Daily Press 22nd Aug 2011 more >>

The Environment Agency is seeking the views of local communities around Bridgwater and Burnham-on-Sea, in Somerset, and parts of South Wales, on applications for environmental permits to operate a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. The Agency received two environmental permit applications from NNBGenCo, a subsidiary of EDF Energy, relating to operation of a nuclear power station on the North Somerset coast at Hinkley Point, across the Bristol Channel from Wales. The applications relate to discharges and disposals of radioactive waste and operation of standby power supply systems.

BYM Marine Environment News 22nd Aug 2011 more >>

Environment Agency 22nd Aug 2011 more >>

News that the nuclear regulator will assess whether the road network to the proposed new Hinkley Point nuclear plant is adequate for emergency vehicles has been welcomed by bypass campaigners. They believe the regulator will agree with them that construction traffic could cause congestion which could cost lives. EDF Energy, the French energy giant proposing to build new twin reactors at Hinkley has offered road improvements for the construction phase, but many fear they will not prevent snarlups on the route from the M5 through Bridgwater and Cannington.

Power Engineering 20th Aug 2011 more >>

Local homeowners have joined hoteliers and caravan park owners to offer hundreds of rooms to rent for construction workers due to build EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C project. More than 1,250 rooms in private homes have been registered so far, alongside accommodation in B&Bs, guest houses, hotels and static caravans.

Construction Enquirer 22nd Aug 2011 more >>

Radwaste

Council Directive 2011/70/Euratom of 19 July 2011 establishing a Community framework for the responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste.

Eur Lex 2nd Aug 2011 more >>

The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future has just released its recommendations on how to resolve America’s nuclear waste dilemma. The Blue Ribbon Commission has provided some sound analysis and introduced some new ideas, but overall, it has focused more on the symptoms of America’s failed approach to nuclear waste management than addressing the system’s structural deficiencies. U.S. nuclear waste management must transition to a more market-oriented system. Moving the responsibility for nuclear waste management away from the federal government will be difficult, but it is necessary for an economically rational and sustainable resolution to America’s nuclear waste dilemma.

Waste Management World 22nd Aug 2011 more >>

Storage options for used nuclear fuel are likely to be re-considered following the incidents at Fukushima’s spent fuel pools. But whether storage is local, centralised, or deep under ground, we need to keep our options open. It remains rather early to assess the full consequences for the nuclear industry in the aftermath of the Fukushima accident. There are a huge number of separate bodies busily preparing reports with recommendations, and this process may well last for several years.

Nuclear Engineering International 22nd Aug 2011 more >>

Uranium

The USA has formally announced the availability of a reserve stockpile of low-enriched uranium for use in nuclear fuel, derived from downblended surplus military material. Meanwhile, Belarus has suspended a program to exchange high enriched uranium fuel with the US.

World Nuclear News 22nd Aug 2011 more >>

Companies

Mori Seiki is a Tier 1 partner in the new Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre at the Advanced Manufacturing Park between Sheffield and Rotherham and is involved in the development of machining methods for nuclear power station components.

Machinery 22nd Aug 2011 more >>

Ernst & Young has announced the appointment of Director Tim Cooper who joins the firm’s Manchester office from Babcock International with over 20 years experience in the nuclear sector.

Consultant News 22nd Aug 2011 more >>

Japan

Tokyo says evacuations near plant to be extended. Radioactive contamination may keep some areas around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex off limits for years, Japan’s government said Monday. In its first detailed survey of the evacuation zone around the plant, the education ministry said it found spots—mostly within three kilometers (nearly two miles) of the plant—where annual radiation exposure could reach 200 to 500 millisieverts. The government requires people to evacuate if the cumulative dosage is likely to exceed 20 millisieverts per year. The annual limit for nuclear-plant workers in normal circumstances is 50 millisieverts (250 millisieverts in emergency conditions).

Wall Street Journal 23rd Aug 2011 more >>

Residents who lived close to the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant are to be told their homes may be uninhabitable for decades, according to Japanese media reports. The Japanese prime minister, Naoto Kan, is expected to visit the area at the weekend to tell evacuees they will not be able to return to their homes, even if the operation to stabilise the plant’s stricken reactors by January is successful.

Guardian 22nd Aug 2011 more >>

FT 22nd Aug 2011 more >>

Times 23rd Aug 2011 more >>

Japan will have a new prime minister by early next week, a Cabinet minister said today. Prime Minister Naoto Kan has faced demands to step down amid criticism of his handling of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis. Economy Minister Kaoru Yosano said Mr Kan told Cabinet members today that his days are numbered and they should be ready to resign en masse next Tuesday. On Friday, Parliament is set to pass two key Bills which Mr Kan wanted to see through. Polls show Mr Kan’s approval rating has fallen below 20%. Critics accuse him of a lack of leadership and survivors complain of slow relief efforts. Former foreign minister Seiji Maehara is favourite to take over. He is set to join the party leadership race on Monday.

Independent 22nd Aug 2011 more >>

US

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) board has approved the $4.9bn plan for the completion of the Bellefonte nuclear reactor in Alabama, US. TVA president and CEO Tom Kilgoren said during the construction of the Bellefonte plant, TVA will integrate safety modifications from the extensive review of the lessons learned from the Fukushima nuclear plants in Japan.

Energy Business Review 22nd Aug 2011 more >>

Iran

Russia has proposed to construct more nuclear plants in Iran, in a bid to enhance the nation’s nuclear building programme. Earlier, the nation announced plans to build research nuclear reactors and uranium enrichment facilities. It also planned to build ten to twenty nuclear power plants to eventually generate 20,000MW of electricity to supplement the nations power needs.

Energy Business Review 22nd Aug 2011 more >>

Space

As we start to look at exploring more intensively in the Solar System and to plan again for Mars and lunar missions, space nuclear power is facing a problem, explained Tom Rice, business development manager of the National Nuclear Laboratory at the recent UK Space Conference. Previous nuclear power in space has used plutonium as its fuel, he said, and the changing landscape of the nuclear industry and research community here on Earth has meant that this is not so easy to come by any more. ’We need alternative fuels,’ he said, ’and the UK and Europe are active in the search for them.’

The Engineer 15th Aug 2011 more >>

Posted: 23 August 2011

22 August 2011

Electricity Market Reform

The Big Six energy giants face the prospect of price controls if Labour returns to power. In the month that companies have announced huge inflation-busting price increases, the party signalled it would take action to curb bills. Shadow Energy Secretary Meg Hillier said that Labour was working on plans to create a panel of experts who would give independent advice to the Government on energy pricing. Hillier wants to compel companies to auction all of their electricity to allow more entrants into the market and to create pressure to reduce prices. The dilemma for the Government is that while it wants to curb energy companies it is conscious that they are the only source for £200 billion of investment to pay for new clean power sources such as wind and nuclear

Dail Mail 21st Aug 2011 more >>

ONR

A four-year plan from the UK’s Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has spelt out the resources it will put towards new nuclear build in coming years. The ONR expects to issue interim Design Acceptance Confirmation for the Areva EPR and Westinghouse AP1000 by the end of the year, if the outcomes of Mike Weightman’s post-Fukushima report can be incorporated. Some items will be outstanding, but these should have a predictable timetable for resolution. It also counts among its deliverables the granting of approval for non-nuclear site work for Hinkley Point C, Wylfa B and Sizewell C, as long as applications are satisfactory. Subject to government approval, the ONR will start acceptance work on a new set of reactor designs in mid-to-late 2012.

World Nuclear News 18th Aug 2011 more >>

Proliferation

Scientists have long sought easier ways to make the costly material known as enriched uranium – the fuel of nuclear reactors and bombs, now produced only in giant industrial plants. One idea, a half-century old, has been to do it with nothing more substantial than lasers and their rays of concentrated light. This approach has always proved too expensive and difficult for anything but laboratory experimentation. Until now. In a little-known effort, General Electric has successfully tested laser enrichment for two years and is seeking permission from the US government to build a $US1 billion ($960 million) plant that would make reactor fuel by the tonne. That might be good news for the nuclear industry, but critics fear that if the work succeeds and the secret gets out, rogue states and terrorists could make bomb fuel in much smaller plants that are difficult to detect.

Sydney Morning Herald 22nd Aug 2011 more >>

New York Times 20th Aug 2011 more >>

Iran

Russia has put forward “proposals” to build new nuclear power plants in Iran after the completion of the Bushehr project, local media reported Sunday quoting the Islamic republic’s atomic chief.

AFP 21st Aug 2011 more >>

Coal

Coal is facing its demise in Britain as new stations have to meet onerous environmental standards and margins remain low. Furthermore, nine of the UK’s coal stations must close before 2015 because of European regulations on pollution. All coal power stations were given the choice between spending millions on becoming less pollutive or running 20,000 more hours in their current form before closing.

Telegraph 22nd Aug 2011 more >>

Renewables

A raft of farmers have responded to Government incentives to make energy from manure, waste crops and discarded food. Between 40 and 50 farmers are seeking planning permission to set up anaerobic digestion (AD) plants, which harness natural micro-organims to break down organic waste creating gas and heat which can be used to make electricity. If successful, they will double the UK’s farm plants from 24. Dr Prabodh Mistry, a consultant at AEA Group, which is helping investigate the potential for anaerobic digestion in the UK, believes 400 such plants, which produce between 300kW and 800kW of electricity each, are likely to be built by 2020. Farmers are also among the backers of some big AD plants, capable of producing 1MW or more of electricity by processing a combination of farm waste, specially grown crops and discarded food collected by local councils. There are currently just 30 of these operating or commissioned in the UK. Dr Mistry believes there could be up to 70 operating by 2020.

Telegraph 22nd Aug 2011 more >>

Edinburgh could be powered by a huge offshore wind farm under new proposals from Mainstream Renewable Power. The wind farm would consist of as many as 130 turbines and could be installed 30km north of Dunbar. The wind farm would connect to the National Grid through East Lothian.

Utility Exchange 20th Aug 2011 more >>

A NORTH Yorkshire company that has become a world leader in offshore wind turbine installation is continuing to power the future with the launch of its latest vessel. MPI Offshore, based in Stokesley, has finished building its second wind turbine installation vessel, MPI Adventure, at a cost of €150m.

Business Desk 20th Aug 2011 more >>

GLASGOW energy firm EML Group is seeking to capitalise on the boom in community wind projects across Scotland with a part-ownership scheme that offers towns and villages a slice of the profits from turbines in their area. The company is offering community groups access to 100 per cent finance to take a share in small wind turbine arrays it plans to build. It says this allows communities to take part in energy projects without any risk or capital outlay.

Scotsman 21st Aug 2011 more >>

Posted: 22 August 2011