News February 2011

28 February 2011

Chernobyl

Britain is coming under increasing pressure to provide Ukraine with an extra €50m (£43m) to construct a new contamination shield over the top of the stricken Chernobyl nuclear plant before the old one collapses. Officials from the European commission said governments around the world were being urged to find €750m to help build a more sophisticated roof over the burnt-out reactor and storage for 200 tonnes of highly radioactive fuel. Jean-Paul Joulia, from the commission’s nuclear safety unit, admitted the cost of just this aspect of the Chernobyl clean-up was running at €1.5bn – double the original estimate – partly due to “some delays” to some projects. But he said he was confident that foreign governments would stump up the money needed for the shield, even in today’s financially difficult climate. “I am optimistic the international community is committed to this. It is important for a number of reasons,” he said.

Guardian 28th Feb 2011 more >>

Nuclear Research

A multidisciplinary consortium of engineers from UK universities Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham, Salford, Sussex and Huddersfield is looking at ways to forecast the life of nuclear reactors and design materials for a new generation of power stations.

Modern Power Systens 27th Feb 2011 more >>

Iran

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, and William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, are understood to be unhappy about the Defence Secretary’s hawkish statements on Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Sources said Mr Cameron was worried that high-profile warnings about the Iranian nuclear programme could strengthen the domestic position of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s regime by lending it credibility. Mr Cameron is understood to have asked officials to create a new strategy for statements on Iran, which will be seen as a rebuke to Dr Fox, the Government’s most vocal critic of the country. Dr Fox told MPs at the end of last month that the West should plan on the basis that Tehran’s weapons programme could be viable as soon as next year.

Telegraph 28th Feb 2011 more >>

US

Dale Klein, Ph.D., Associate Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Texas, currently serving as a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Commissioner and former NRC Chairman pointed out again this week the U.S. has an extremely valuable resource in used nuclear fuel. Klein made his remarks Sunday morning at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) annual meeting, in Washington, D.C. reminding us that 95 percent of the energy value in a bundle of used nuclear fuel rods remains available to be re-used. That’s 19 times the energy already used over the past 50 years from nuclear power stations. Those power stations have provided about 20% of the electrical power used in the U.S over about 30 years. It’s a huge resource.

Oil Prices 28th Feb 2011 more >>

Turkey

Engineering and survey work at the site of the planned Akkuyu nuclear power plant on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast will begin next month, the Russian supplier of the plant has said. Saint Petersburg-based AtomEnergoProekt (AEP) reported that it has completed the registration of the contract to carry out engineering and surveying for Turkey’s first nuclear power plant. A team of geologists and engineers is scheduled to leave for Turkey in early March, the company added.

Your Industry News 28th Feb 2011 more >>

Test Veterans

VETERANS fighting to be allowed to sue the government after being exposed to nuclear radiation in the 1950s and 1960s are awaiting a key ruling from the Supreme Court. The former servicemen, including around 10 from Dorset, claim they contracted cancer and other rare illnesses after being present during nuclear weapons tests in the Pacific Ocean and Maralinga in South Australia.

Bournemouth Echo 27th Feb 2011 more >>

Renewables

Global investment in green energy soared by 30 per cent to a record $243bn (£151bn) last year, according to figures released today.

Yet growth is geographically patchy and some key markets are still struggling in the aftermath of the credit crunch, according to consultants Ernst & Young. On the plus side, China is still booming, recording a whopping 64 per cent growth in installed wind capacity last year. But the US, the world’s second largest renewables market, saw just 5.1 gigawatts of wind power installed in 2010, barely half the level of the previous year.

Independent 28th Feb 2011 more >>

One of the most impressive engineering feats of the clean technology revolution is to make its commercial debut off the coast of Invergordon in the Highlands. Buoys measuring 40 metres in length, much of which will be submerged, will be floated this week and will generate electricity from the rise and fall of the waves off northern Scotland, which will be transmitted to the mainland by underwater cable. The buoys have been designed and built by Ocean Power Technologies.

Times 28th Feb 2011 more >>

Scotland’s high-profile bid to lead the world in renewable energy could cost more jobs than it actually creates, according to a highly critical report issued today. Far from leading to the economic bonanza claimed by ministers, the drive for wind, sea and tidal energy projects would suck jobs from other parts of the economy, while creating only a fraction of the jobs anticipated. The economic consultancy Verso Economics, which carries out research in the economic and social impact of policy decisions for the Scottish Government, has compiled what it claims is a comprehensive financial audit of Scotland’s push for renewable energy. Jenny Hogan, director of policy at Scottish Renewables, the green energy trade association, said it was “meaningless” to look at renewables in isolation. “The report completely overlooks the economic impact of climate change and the fact that wind and nuclear have almost identical costs. There is no doubt Scotland’s renewable energy sector is a significant employer and will be even more so in the future,” she said.

Times 28th Feb 2011 more >>

Posted: 28 February 2011

27 February 2011

New Nukes

Using the lever of nuclear power and financial assets generated around them, the intended mechanism featured a massive finance bubble driven by a construction spree of new, industry standard, Chernobyl-sized (900 MW and over) reactors right across the Southern emerging and developing countries, through 2010-2020. The lynchpin target for this socalled Nuclear Renaissance was the entire Mid East and North African region – the Arab world including outlyer countries such as Sudan and the Central Asian muslim republics. As late as midyear 2007, France’s Sarkozy could crow about French success in selling nuclear power to his respected or at least petrodollar flush fellow head of state, received with pomp and circumstance at the Elysee Palace (with tent and gorilla bodyguard), Muammar Gaddafi. Until the Arab youth revolt started sweeping the entire Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in January 2011, the key geographic region for selling nuclear reactors and creating the new nuclear South – was the MENA. Who today in their right mind, 6 weeks later at end-February 2011, would suggest it is still a nice, progessive and productive, secure and useful idea to sell industry standard, Chernobyl-sized nuclear power plants to countries like Libya, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Iran, the Central Asian republics, or any other civil war-prone country of the region, like Sudan ?

Market Oracle 26th Feb 2011 more >>

Companies

State regulators slapped Utah nuclear waste processor EnergySolutions Inc. with a fine this week for handling waste that is more radioactive than its license allows. The Utah Radiation Control Board fined EnergySolutions $80,000 on Thursday for burying 23 containers of low-level radioactive waste that exceeded standards.

Bloomberg Business Week 25th Feb 2011 more >>

Nuclear Engineering Services is the latest winner of the Express & Star Excellence in Manufacturing Awards. Professor CARL CHINN reports on the firm’s success. It may seem an unlikely connection between the making of boilers to the provision of specialist equipment for the remote handling of hazardous material, but at Ettingshall in Wolverhampton that bond is made plain by the success of Nuclear Engineering Services Limited. The company is based on a site once dominated by John Thompson’s, boiler makers to the world.

Express and Star 26th Feb 2011 more >>

Uranium

Uranium, the fuel needed to make nuclear power, is completely dependent on oil for the very heavy duty machinery needed for extracting the annual supplies of uranium needed. And it takes a staggering amount of heavy mining equipment to extract the tiny amount of uranium needed.

What’s more, the world is running short of uranium fuel to supply reactors. According to Scientific American in 2009, the World Nuclear Association gives these figures. Every year, each of the 436 nuclear power plants in the world need to mine 143 million pounds of uranium, to extract the usable fuel. The largest mine in the world produces only 18.7 million pounds, or about a quarter of what just the US nuclear power plants need to mine each year.

Green Prophet 21st Feb 2011 more >>

Iran

Iran’s surprise announcement it will have to remove fuel from its first nuclear reactor suggests a new setback for its atomic ambitions, but the reason for the unusual step and how long it may take remain unclear.

Reuters 26th Feb2011 more >>

BBC 26th Feb 2011 more >>

The Iranians have been on record as saying that the Bushehr plant was affected by the Stuxnet computer worm, which is widely believed to have been a joint venture in cyber warfare by the US and Israel. But the initial signs are that Stuxnet has not played a part in this setback. Before Soltanieh spoke, ISIS provided an instant analysis of the IAEA report, saying it had learned that: the unloading may be motivated by concerns about the possible sabotage of the fuel assemblies or defective fuel assemblies.

Guardian Blog 26th Feb 2011 more >>

Test Veterans

A CABINET minister misled Parliament over the appalling illnesses suffered by British nuclear test survivors. Veterans Minister Andrew Robathan apologised after wrongly claiming the courts backed the Government’s battle against 1,000 people seeking compensation. In fact the courts ordered the MoD to a trial to scrutinise new evidence proving their DNA was irretrievably damaged by the test blasts. The MoD admitted he was wrong and apologised “for any confusion caused”.

Sunday Mirror 27th Feb 2011 more >>

Microgeneration

The fallout from the Government’s sudden decision to review feed-in tariffs continues to dominate this week’s Micro Power News. There is also news of Scottish Labour’s plan to have 10,000 more homes producing renewable energy across Scotland in the next four years if they gain power in the Scottish elections in May.

Microgen Scotland 25th February 2011 more >>

Posted: 27 February 2011

26 February 2011

Hinkley

Communities living near the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset are to get £20m. Energy company EDF has increased the amount in its community fund from £1m following criticism from local authorities. But the chief executive of Sedgemoor District Council says the money is not enough.

BBC 25th Feb 2011 more >>

This is the West Country 24th Feb 2011 more >>

Wylfa

CIVIL engineering firm Jones Bros is carrying out landscaping and access work at the site of the existing Wylfa nuclear power station on Anglesey. The £400,000 contract with Magnox Ltd involves block paving work and the re-alignment of the road leading up to the site, including the creation of a new roundabout.

Daily Post 25th Feb 2011 more >>

Sellafield

A trio of top Sellafield executives have been replaced in a management shake-up at the site. Mike Johnson, director of waste and effluent disposition, decommissioning director Russ Mellor and Tony Green, chief engineer, are all moving on. They will be replaced by Tom Foster, Jim French and Dawn James. Mr Foster and Mr French arrive in west Cumbria from the Savannah River nuclear complex in the US. Ms James is a UK-based employee of Amec.

Cumberland News 25th Feb 2011 more >>

Scotland

Letters: Dr David Purves (Letters, 24 February) berates Professor Trewavas for his non-scientific presentation in support of nuclear power, yet cites the Scottish Government as an authority for the contradictory view. Alas, the Scottish Government view is one of sheer dogma. Any minister questioned on this repeats the well-rehearsed mantra: “dirty, dangerous and expensive”. There is almost nothing in the modern world not associated in some way with nuclear technology, whether this be simply electrical energy, radiotherapy or the bottle of wine on your table. Why, the power companies engaged in the installation of our wind factories (themselves dependent on nuclear technology) also both build and operate nuclear power stations – strange bedfellows indeed for anyone practising an anti-nuclear religion.

Scotsman 26th Feb 2011 more >>

Radhealth

Federal researchers with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Thursday that a proposed study of cancer risks around nuclear facilities could improve the public’s trust in existing evidence that radiation doses emitted from those plants aren’t harmful. The study’s senior project manager, Terry Brock, told a committee of 19 independent experts organized through the National Academy of Sciences that the rationale for undertaking such a study would be to obtain credible, and updated, information for the public about possible cancer risks from nuclear plants. The last study on the issue was done in 1990.

The Day 25th Feb 2011 more >>

Companies

Porvair plc in King’s Lynn is playing a key role in the production of new clean fuels from first generation nuclear material. Nuclear industry filtration and remediation looks set to trigger global expansion for the group. Porvair provides very high end filtration techniques ideal for mixed oxide (MOX) fuel production manufactured to demanding international standards. The company has just won an order worth more than £500k from an unnamed international client for a glove box and associated filters essential to the MOX production process.

Business Weekly 25th Feb 2011 more >>

Each new nuclear power station built in the UK will offer an “Olympic Games” scale of opportunity for small and medium-sized engineering firms, the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) has said. MAS made the comments in the wake of a series of workshops it held in Doncaster for small firms hoping to get into the nuclear industry last week. Almost 200 companies attended, MAS said.

Professional Engineering 25th Feb 2011 more >>

Nuclear Space

Small rovers that hop from place to place are being developed for future Mars missions. Powered by nuclear energy, they could map the entire planet in a few years. The idea is under development at Idaho National Laboratory’s Centre for Space Nuclear Research (CSNR).

World Nuclear News 25th Feb 2011 more >>

Iran

In a classified report the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said “new information” it had received had prompted “further concern” about Iran’s nuclear programme. “Iran is not engaging with the agency in substance on issues concerning the allegation that Iran is developing a nuclear payload for its missile programme.”

Telegraph 26th Feb 2011 more >>

BBC 25th Feb 2011 more >>

Bangladesh

Russia has agreed to build energy-starved Bangladesh’s first nuclear power plant, which will generate a total of 2,000 megawatt of electricity.

Telegraph 25th Feb 2011 more >>

Spain

We are living in troubled times in Spain thanks to nuclear energy. The incoherence and inconsistency of the socialist government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero about nuclear energy in the last few weeks has plunged us into confusion. The nuclear lobby is taking advantage of this situation, proving the Spanish proverb that ‘in troubled waters, fishermen gain’. With much propaganda, but no truth or accurate information, the nuclear lobby was quick to proclaim everywhere that the recently adopted Law of ‘Sustainable’ Economy now allows the Spanish government to ‘extend the life of nuclear plants beyond the 40 years hitherto permitted’. That’s doubly false. On the one hand, it’s not true that Spanish law says nuclear plants could operate for 40 years and, secondly, it’s not true that the Law of ‘Sustainable’ Economy now allows the extension of the lifetime of nuclear plants beyond 40 years.

Greenpeace International 25th Feb 2011 more >>

Posted: 26 February 2011

25 February 2011

Radwaste

The first phase of public consultation over plans for an underground nuclear dump in Cumbria has ended. The West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership (MRWS) was set up to consult the public over the issue. It organised drop-in sessions, sent out information packs, collected comments and answered questions. It will now collate the data received during the process and will publish its findings later in the spring. It will then advise the three councils whether or not they should remain involved in the process. The public will then have another chance to say what they think, probably this autumn, before any decisions are taken.

Cumberland News 24th Feb 2011 more >>

Planning

Today’s entry reports on the Infrastructure Planning Commission and Planning Inspectorate views on how they will merge on 1 April 2012. The Localism Bill, once enacted (probably in November 2011) and in force (probably on 1 April 2012), will abolish the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC). It will return examination of applications and decisions on them to the government, although the authorisation regime under the Planning Act 2008 will otherwise remain largely unchanged. The job of examining applications will be subcontracted by the government to a new unit of the Planning Inspectorate (PINS). The current working title for this is the Major Infrastructure Planning Unit, although I am told this may change so that people don’t call it ‘my poo’.

Bircham Dyson Bell 24th Feb 2011 more >>

Hinkley

EDF Energy is to invest around £100million into the community as part of its plans for Hinkley Point C, it has been revealed today. The cash promises to be of lasting benefit by improving the quality of life for local people and by investing in infrastructure. It includes a £20million community fund – up on the original £1million – which will be spent by the community and local authorities, as well as contributions to housing, colleges, skills and services.

Burnham & Highbridge Weekly News 24th Feb 2011 more >>

Bridgwater is about to emerge as a new hot spot for home builders, according to South West land agent CJH Land.

Morrison’s is building a £95m regional distribution centre in the town and the Hinkley Point C power station has also been proposed. Matthew Hiles, from CJH Land, thinks that with more jobs on the horizon demand for housing is about to rise. He said: “The distribution centre and food preparation facility will create 2,650 jobs and those people will need. The power station will be the biggest development ever seen in the region with 3,500 construction workers. “With thousands of people relocating to the area from all over Europe there will be a huge demand for new homes.”

Insider Media 24th Feb 2011 more >>

“The people of the West and the people of Great Britain need nuclear, the need is obvious.” Vincent de Rivaz’ opening salvo could hardly be simpler and clearer. The chief executive of EDF has probably articulated his message many times over, but he hasn’t tired of repeating it, such is his staunch belief in Britain’s need to embrace nuclear if the country is to provide energy to a growing population. Slowly his French accent, which commands the English language impeccably, explains why nuclear power is such a necessity for the West Country and beyond.

This is Somerset 24th Feb 2011 more >>

EDF Energy will host a regional supply chain event entitled “New Nuclear Opportunities” to highlight the role that Somerset businesses could have in helping deliver the project. The event will take place at The Exchange, Bridgwater on 6 July. EDF Energy intends to build four new EPR reactors in the UK in total, with the first generating electricity by the end of 2017 and commercially operational in 2018.

This is Somerset 24th Feb 2011 more >>

Sizewell

EDF Energy was hit last year by an unscheduled shutdown at Sizewell B, its largest UK plant, and by “tough trading conditions” in the year to 31 December, the company said. As a result, UK sales fell 4.9 per cent to €10.7 billion, and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) fell 10.8 per cent to €2.7 billion.

Utility Week 23rd Feb 2011 more >>

Nuclear Vs Wind

Letter: The Scottish Government’s Electricity Generation Policy Statement details plans for the 5TW-hr of energy produced by onshore wind in 2008 to grow to almost 20TW-hr by 2030. At the same time the 14.3TW-hr of nuclear energy produced in 2008 will vanish

Scotsman 25th Feb 2011 more >>

Terror

A 20-YEAR-OLD Saudi student has been arrested in Texas over a bomb plot that may have targeted former president George W Bush and nuclear power plants, US officials said last night.

Scotsman 25th Feb 2011 more >>

Guardian 25th Feb 2011 more >>

Companies

Filtration and environmental technology firm Porvair has secured a 600,000 euro (£511,000) nuclear order bolstering a promising start to the year. The deal will see the King’s Lynn-based company supply equipment and filters for mixed oxide fuel production to a client, the identity of which has not been made public. The win follows a similar mixed oxide project delivered in the US last year in a new line of work for the company, which bosses said offers “further opportunities for future contracts”.

Eastern Daily Press 24th Feb 2011 more >>

Centrica: On Thursday we announced profits of £2.4bn, less than a third of which came from British Gas energy supply. This reflects both the growing size of the Centrica group – through our investments in UK gas production and nuclear power – and a first-class performance across the business. These are profits for a purpose. We’re investing more than £1.5bn every year to secure new supplies of gas and power for Britain and to revolutionise the energy efficiency of our homes. In fact, for every £1 we’ve made over the past five years, we’ve invested £1.60.

Telegraph 25th Feb 2011 more >>

Russia

Sounds like a chapter in a science fiction book? Well,it’s not. Rosatom and Russian Railways are seriously developing a nuclear powered train. Vice-president of Russian Railways (RZhD) Valentin Gapanovich says they will present the layout of the train by the end of this year. The train will consist of 11 wagons. The engine of the train will be a small fast breeder reactor, and in its initial stage, the train will be a scientific exhibition complex.

Barents Observer 24th Feb 2011 more >>

US

Public support for nuclear energy in the USA remains high, with 71% of people saying they favour its use, according to the results of a new survey.

World Nuclear News 24th Feb 2011 more >>

Korea

China is blocking the release of a report by a UN expert panel on the revelations of a new and highly sophisticated uranium enrichment plant in North Korea, according to Security Council diplomats.

Telegraph 24th Feb 2011 more >>

Test Veterans

Nuclear test veterans in the area face a tense wait as their long-running campaign for compensation goes before the Supreme Court.

The former servicemen witnessed massive nuclear explosions and were exposed to radiation in the 1950s and 60s as part of Operation Grapple. They are among 1,00 veterans and their surviving families, fighting a legal case seeking recognition and compensation from the Government, with a key ruling expected next week.

Peterborough Telegraph 24th Feb 2011 more >>

Posted: 25 February 2011

24 February 2011

Nuclear Waste

TRANSMUTATION, in which lasers might cut the half-life of radioactive waste from millions of years to mere minutes, and other futuristic remediation technologies, have believers. From now on, any underground nuclear waste dumps built in the UK will be designed to allow for the possibility of such technologies. So said the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) in new technical and safety rules published this week. Any new sites must allow waste to be retrievable for 100 years. Although there is currently no way to reduce the half-life of high volumes of radioactive waste, huge lasers have reduced the half-lives of specks of such material. “If something like that were to become successful, the facility must not preclude the option of retrievability,” says Bruce McKirdy of the NDA.

New Scientist 23rd Feb 2011 more >>

Safeguarding the public, the workforce and the environment from exposure to radiation through a multi-barrier approach is key to the safe disposal of the UK’s higher activity radioactive waste. These are the major considerations for the NDA’s Radioactive Waste Management Directorate’s (RWMD) scientists and engineers who are working on plans to safely and securely build and operate a deep underground disposal facility which will need to keep the radioactive materials isolated from the environment for hundreds of thousands of years. In July last year, the NDA published its Geological Disposal: Steps towards implementation report which set out the steps required to bring such a facility to fruition. As a next step in this process we have today published a suite of scientific and technical reports which explain all of the safety factors that need to be considered when we submit an application to the nuclear regulators for permission to operate such a facility.

NDA 23rd Feb 2011 more >>

Developing Disposal System Safety Case.

NDA 23rd Feb 2011 more >>

Into Eternity Film Trailer.

Keswick Film Festival 12th Feb 2011 more >>

Nuclear Subsidies

A complaint has been made to the European Commission that nuclear power in the UK is receiving subsidies, and that those subsidies are unlawful ‘state aid’ under laws governing competition in the EU. “One of the biggest subsidies for nuclear power in the UK is that it is required to pay much less than the full cost of insuring against a Chernobyl-style disaster or worse” said Dr Gerry Wolff, a member of the Energy Fair group that has made the complaint. “The nuclear industry is also paying much less than the full cost of disposing of nuclear waste and for the decommissioning of nuclear plants.” “Without the subsidies that it is receiving, nuclear power would be hopelessly uncompetitive. But it is a mature technology that should be commercially viable without support. Those subsidies are distorting the market and working against the development of the clean, green sources of power that are now urgently needed. There are now many reports from reputable sources showing that there are more than enough renewable sources of power to meet our needs, now and for the foreseeable future.”

Energy Fair Press Release 23rd Feb 2011 more >>

Since its inception more than 50 years ago, the U.S. nuclear power industry has been propped up by a generous array of government subsidies that have supported its development and operations. Despite that support, the industry is still not economically viable, according to a report released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The report, “Nuclear Power: Still Not Viable Without Subsidies,” found that more than 30 subsidies have supported every stage of the nuclear fuel cycle, from uranium mining to long-term waste storage. Added together, these subsidies often have exceeded the average market price of the power produced.

Union of Concerned Scientists 23rd Feb 2011 more >>

Also available here nuclear subsidies report: more >>

New Nukes

Put in context of the deaths and destruction of property arising from hydro dam failures, oil rig disasters, oil pollution (seen most recently in the Gulf of Mexico), coal mine accidents, LPG explosions and turbine disintegration, the health and safety record of nuclear generation is outstanding for its lack of death or destruction or major environmental impact. Waste would be a genuine concern if the amount produced by new-build nuclear plants was equal to the legacy waste from the historic generating plants. However, the future waste generation from nuclear new-builds will be a small fraction of existing legacy waste.

Utility Week 9th Feb 2011 more >>

Old Nukes

Three UK reactors were offline Wednesday: Dungeness B-21 (planned refueling), Dungeness B-22 (unplanned outage) and Hunterston B-7 (planned maintenance). Dungeness B-21 and B-22 are due to restart March 2 and February 28, respectively. Hunterston B-7 will likely restart mid-March.

Platts 23rd Feb 2011 more >>

Sellafield

NUCLEAR bosses have strongly denied that Sellafield’s sea discharges are set to rise dramatically. Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE) claims to have “exposed Sellafield plans for substantial increases in radioactive discharges into the Irish Sea over the coming decade.” CORE also alleges that the rate of discharges and radioactive concentrations in the marine environment will breach international commitments. But Sellafield’s owners – the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority – told The Whitehaven News: “We categorically deny there will be a substantial increase in radioactive discharges unto the sea.”

Whitehaven News 18th Feb 2011 more >>

Whitehaven News 23rd Feb 2011 more >>

SELLAFIELD’S new top boss Todd Wright has pledged: There are no more job losses in the pipeline. Only three weeks into the hot seat, the managing director told The Whitehaven News: “There are no current plans for redundancies.” Unions and site stakeholders have welcomed the statement following the recent loss of 800 jobs through voluntary redundancy.

Whitehaven News 23rd Feb 2011 more >>

The former boss of two United States key nuclear waste plants – Hanford and Savannah River – gives an assurance that Sellafield’s full-scale workforce review is not an excuse to justify more job cuts.

Whitehaven News 23rd Feb 2011 more >>

Hinkley

Hinkley has played host to nuclear power for nearly 50 years and its past and present stations have provided welcome jobs. EDF says the new station will give a £500 million boost to the South West economy while giving a massive boost to Britain’s low-carbon energy production. The company expects around 5,000 Somerset people will work on the new site at some stage, with up to 1,250 Somerset people employed at any one time. When operating it will employ 900, of whom it is claimed 95 per cent will be from the county. But the jobs bonanza promised when the biggest civil engineering project in the South West kicks off also brings controversy. Anti-nuclear groups say it is an unproven design and will leave a hazardous legacy, while local authorities are fighting for a better deal for the community for the disruption, and the fact that spent fuel may have to be stored on site for up to 100 years beyond the plant’s 60-year life.

This is Somerset 23rd Feb 2011 more >>

Look out from a cliff top outside the little French port of Flamanville and you will see what the future may hold for thousands of people across Somerset. For below is the massive construction site where French energy giant EDF is building the first of a planned series of new European Pressurised Reactor nuclear power stations. The 85 per cent Government-controlled company is building two more EPRs at Taishan in China, and plans another four in the UK. Providing the design is approved and planning permission granted, the first will be at Hinkley Point on the Bristol Channel coast. Work is due to start in 2013, with the first reactor completed in 2018. The twin reactors at Hinkley C will provide enough power for five million homes – an astonishing 20 per cent of the nation’s housing.

This is Somerset 23rd Feb 2011 more >>

The leader of the Labour group on the county council, Andrew Govier, said it was a “dark day” for Somerset, with £34m cuts, but the leader of the ruling Conservative group, Ken Maddock, pointed to job-creating projects like Hinkley Point C as evidence that better times lie ahead.

Bridgwater Mercury 23rd Feb 2011 more >>

Scotland

First Minister Alex Salmond has said it would be ‘utter madness’ to carry on with an expensive form of energy in nuclear power and stated that Hunterston is well situated to help serve Scotland as an international leader in the ‘marine engineering centre of Europe’. An offshore wind farm construction yard has already been earmarked for Clydeport grounds at Hunterston. The ‘News’ exclusively spoke to Scotland’s top politician Alex Salmond when canvassing in Largs last Wedensday afternoon, and was pinned down on his views of the future of nuclear power and whether a fully functional station will be operating at Hunterson in ten years time. He responded: “Not when I am in charge of this country – we won’t have another nuclear power station. We don’t need it. From our renewables, we are going to have ten times the electricity we need in Scotland; it would be absolutely mad not to concentrate our efforts on renewables that is where the future lies for this country.

Largs & Millport News 23rd Feb 2011 more >>

Reactor Designs

The Atmea1 reactor design has been put to Canadian regulators as a first step towards deployment in the country. Areva announced the move late yesterday. It founded Atmea with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Atmea1 is to be the joint venture’s first offering to commercial power companies. It is positioned as a ‘mid sized’ pressurized water reactor producing 1100 MWe. It features long operation cycles, short refuelling outages and the load-following ability to adjust power output by 5% per minute.

World Nuclear News 23rd Feb 2011 more >>

Chernobyl

Timebomb Nuclear Power- 25 Years after Chernobyl, Urania, Berlin, April 8 – 10, 2011. Conference organised by German affiliate of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Physicians for Social Responsibility in cooperation with the Society for Radiation Protection, the Physicians of Chernobyl, the Scientists Initiative for Peace and Sustainability and the Nuclear Free Future Award.

Chernobyl Congress 23rd Feb 2011 more >>

Iran

David Cameron has threatened Iran with fresh sanctions if it continues its nuclear weapons programme, saying it risks becoming “a pariah state”. He said there was “grave concern” and promised to “work vigorously” to force Iran’s government to change course.

BBC 23rd Feb 2011 more >>

Iran is gradually overcoming problems in its nuclear program, and could still detonate a nuclear device within a year if it put its mind to it, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said.

Yahoo News 24th Feb 2011 more >>

North Korea

The foreign ministers of South Korea and China expressed worries yesterday about North Korea’s recently disclosed uranium enrichment program, which could give it a second way to make atomic bombs, a South Korean official said. The foreign ministers agreed to consult closely on how to deal with the North’s uranium program, a South Korean Foreign Ministry official said on condition of anonymity because of department policy.

Kuwait Times 24th Feb 2011 more >>

China on Wednesday refused to let the UN Security Council publish a report on North Korea’s nuclear sanctions busting, diplomats said. The sanctions panel report calls for tougher implementation of sanctions against North Korea and outlines progress the isolated Stalinist state has made with its uranium enrichment, according to diplomats.

The Straits Times 24th Feb 2011 more >>

The South China Morning Post 24th Feb 2011 more >>

The Telegraph 24th Feb 2011 more >>

South Korea’s nuclear envoy left Thursday for talks in Washington on North Korea’s uranium enrichment activities, after China blocked publication of a United Nations report criticising the programme.

Yahoo News 24th Feb 2011 more >>

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on Thursday urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to stop developing nuclear weapons, saying it is essential to ensure peace and stability in northeast Asia.

People’s Daily 24th Feb 2011 more >>

Syria

Western intelligence services have identified a site that looks like it was geared toward making material for Syria’s alleged secret nuclear programme, a German newspaper reported in its Thursday edition.

Monsters and Critics 24th Feb 2011 more >>

The Wall Street Journal 24th Feb 2011 more >>

Posted: 24 February 2011

23 February 2011

New Nukes

Companies looking to build new nuclear power plants in the UK should seek to learn from the problems reported in Europe and the successes in China and South Korea in order to mitigate budget over-runs and delays. A new report from KPMG International has found that despite a reputation for spiraling project costs and delays, the nuclear power industry is experiencing a global resurgence as demand grows for low-cost, low-carbon power technologies. To capitalise on such a substantial opportunity, the industry, however, has some critical challenges to resolve. In particular, project owners and engineering contractors must employ new approaches for better project risk management in order to attract investment and ensure profitability.

KPMG 22nd Feb 2011 more >>

Electricity Market Reform

Drax, which will be penalised by higher prices for carbon emission allowances, is trying to restrict its pollution by burning biomass typically wood chippings or straw pellets with its coal, but Ms Thompson said that the costs of firing biomass at a certain point outweighed the incentives, meaning that Drax was burning only half the biomass that it could. It therefore releases about 1.25 million more tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than it might. Biomass receives a quarter of the green energy incentives given to wind energy and, according to Ms Thompson, reforms proposed by the Energy Secretary Chris Huhne to secure investment in low-carbon energy generation will mean windfalls for nuclear power stations.

Times 23rd Feb 2011 more >>

Radwaste

Letter from Marianne Birkby: Lord Clark of Windermere, a leading light in lobbying for the government’s U-turn over the forest sell-off, made a very rousing speech at Whinlatter last Saturday. Celebrities and NGOs have tripped over themselves in lining up to encourage people to support Saving the Forests. When asked about saving the forests and surrounding area from having a high-level nuclear dump beneath them, he replied that he is “fully supportive of geological disposal of high-level nuclear wastes in West Cumbria.”

Morning Star 22nd Feb 2011 more >>

GDA

The final substantial GDA quarterly report before we publish our conclusions on 30 June 2011. It provides an update on our work to assess the safety cases for the new nuclear power station designs and looks at the key challenges ahead. HSE’s main focus this last quarter has been on progressing the Step 4 assessments for both the Westinghouse AP1000 and the EDF and AREVA UK EPR. A number of meetings took place to agree with the Requesting Parties (RPs) what further information they will provide during the coming months, and which areas are likely to require further work beyond June 2011. On 18 October the Environment Agency reached a major milestone on the completion of its consultation on its GDA findings to date. Responses received have been published and are currently under consideration. We have not identified any showstoppers at this point, and subject to further progress on some key areas in the next few months we would expect to consider issuing an Interim Design Acceptance Confirmation (DAC) and Interim Statement of Design Acceptability (SoDA) for each design in June 2011.

HSE 22nd Feb 2011 more >>

Planning

A previous blog entry looked at the reasons for the predicted shortage of electricity generation in the UK by 2017. The main drivers are the (non-carbon, ironically) emissions limits placed on fossil fuel power plants, and the country’s ageing nuclear plants coming to the ends of their natural lives. Just to maintain the current demand for electricity, a further 25 gigawatts of capacity must be built by 2025, but since wind farms typically only provide 1/3 of their stated capacity and most of the new capacity is from wind energy, the government estimates that 43GW of new generating capacity is needed by 2020 and 60GW by 2025. This is a tall order – will the the requisite new electricity generation will be provided even if the Planning Act regime works perfectly?

Bircham Dyson Bell 21st Feb 2011 more >>

Nuclear Skills

A collaboration agreement for the development of excellence in skills for the global nuclear energy industry has been signed between the USA’s Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) and the UK’s National Skills Academy for Nuclear.

World Nuclear News 22nd Feb 2011 more >>

Harwell

David Wilson Homes has bought a 15ha brownfield site next to a science park in Oxfordshire for the development of 275 homes. The company, a subsidiary of Barratt Group, has bought Chilton Field from a joint venture between the UK Atomic Energy Authority and Goodman, which is developing the adjacent Harwell Oxford Campus, a science, technology and business park. The site has planning consent for 275 new homes, sports facilities and green open spaces. The brownfield Chilton Field redevelopment will enhance the provision of local housing for the community. The land was freed up for development in 2002 when the UK Atomic Energy Authority finished decontaminating the post-war nuclear research centre.

Property Week 22nd Feb 2011 more >>

Scotland

Scottish leader Iain Gray outlined plans to have thousands of properties producing their own renewable energy if the party wins the election in May. He promised an initial target for 10,000 more homes in the next four years, with an ambition to make household and community renewables the standard by 2020. Mr Gray said the plan would reduce domestic fuel bills and create 300 jobs and 750 traineeships. During a visit to the Dunedin Canmore Housing Association regeneration project in Edinburgh, he said, “As well as cutting carbon emissions, insulating our homes will help us to eradicate fuel poverty. “Nobody in Scotland should be forced to choose between heating their home properly and putting food on the table. My ambition is to have more homes producing renewable energy than anywhere else in the UK.

Dundee Courier 22nd Feb 2011 more >>

Aberdeen Press and Journal 22nd Feb 2011 more >>

Herald 22nd Feb 2011 more >>

France

Areva will be required to spin off its uranium mining activities under the French government’s plans for a strategic partnership between the company and EDF. The forthcoming Atmea-1 reactor design and small reactors up to 300 MWe will also be targets for future development.

World Nuclear News 22nd Feb 2011 more >>

France launches nuclear industry overhaul. The overhaul also involves the setting up of a nuclear power strategic committee chaired by ric Besson, the energy minister, with Henri Proglio, the chief executive of electricity behemoth EDF, as his deputy. Their aim is to “strengthen relationships and partnerships between different actors in the nuclear industry”. The appointment is a fillip to state-owned EDF and reinforces its role in securing French nuclear business abroad. The council has also called on Areva, EDF and GDF Suez, France’s other leading power company, to add to their portfolio of reactors by co-operating in the development of the new mid-sized reactor. In a separate move the government has asked Areva to spin off its uranium mining arm into a separate subsidiary that could eventually be listed on the market.

FT 23rd Feb 2011 more >>

Eastern Europe

The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria have much in common. In the second half of the 20th century they were part of the Socialist Bloc dominated by the Soviet Union and, as members of the Comecon (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance), also a distribution market for Soviet industrial production. In all of these countries – with the exception of Poland – nuclear power plants were built during the 1970s and 1980s using the Soviet technology of the time. Specialists were also trained in the Soviet Union, and upon their return these individuals formed the basis of the nuclear intelligentsia. In all five countries the electricity sectors were controlled by state monopolies. After the collapse of the socialist system these monopolies were transformed into companies of various kinds, but the governments kept their majority stakes in them. The Czech Republic’s EZ, Poland’s PGE, Hungary’s MVM, Bulgaria’s NEK and Slovakia’s Slovensk elektr rne had no difficulty maintaining their dominant positions, which were not even threatened by the market liberalisation which followed EU accession. Competition could not challenge the transformed monopolies due to their exceptional starting position, and proponents of nuclear energy have maintained significant influence at all of these companies

Heinrich Boll 21st Feb 2011 more >>

US

While construction continues on a mixed oxide nuclear fuel plant at Savannah River, negotiations on where the fuel will be used remain in the early stages. The $4.8 billion Savannah River MOX Plant is being built by Shaw Areva MOX Services to combine 34 tonnes of ‘surplus’ plutonium oxide with uranium oxide to create fuel for conventional power reactors. Russia is disposing of an identical amount of plutonium through a bilateral arms reduction deal that eliminates explosive fuel from some 17,000 unwanted nuclear weapons.

World Nuclear News 21st Feb 2011 more >>

The Department of Energy spent $43 million in a failed effort to treat and re-package 28.5 cubic meters of radioactive sludge at the Hanford nuclear production site in Washington state according to a new report from the Energy Department’s Inspector General. The amount of sludge, 28.5 cubic meters, is about equal to the water that would fill a small backyard above-ground swimming pool.

CBS News 22nd Feb 2011 more >>

Failure to pursue a program for recycling spent nuclear fuel has put the U.S. far behind other countries and represents a missed opportunity to enhance the nation’s energy security and influence other countries, the former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Sunday.

Nuclear Power Daily 23rd Feb 2011 more >>

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia said Tuesday it signed an agreement with France for cooperation on the development of peaceful nuclear energy. The agreement, the first nuclear accord signed by the kingdom, “allows Saudi experts to study the French technology options, their financial requirements and implications for developing qualified national human resources,” according to an emailed joint statement. For Saudi Arabia, a booming population and developing economy are constraining the government’s ability to provide electricity and water, while keeping domestic demand for oil at bay. Nuclear energy is increasingly becoming the favored alternative, one that experts say could save more valuable crude for export and satiate local demand for power and water.

Wall Street Journal 22nd Feb 2011 more >>

Middle East Online 22nd Feb 2011 more >>

Kuwait

Kuwait’s Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah met his visiting UK counterpart David Cameron on the latest regional developments and several issues of mutual interest. Following the talks, two memos of understanding were inked between both sides on peaceful nuclear usage, technical business and trade cooperation.

Global Arab Network 22nd Feb 2011 more >>

Iran

David Cameron has voiced “cautious optimism” that the popular uprisings sweeping the Middle East would not see the rise of extremism while stressing that the outcome was vital to the UK’s trade and security interests. In a rare speech at the Kuwaiti parliament by a visiting foreign leader, the Prime Minister said the region was the “epicentre of momentous change”. “We will not standby and let Iran cast a nuclear shadow over this region”.

ITN 22nd Feb 2011 more >>

Independent (video) 22nd Feb 2011 more >>

Ukraine

Ukraine and the US have signed an agreement on nuclear security in Washington under which both the countries will cooperate to safeguard the vulnerable nuclear materials and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Energy Business Review 21st Feb 2011 more >>

Trident

As you would imagine, it’s not easy getting on board one of Britain’s nuclear submarines. And nor should it be. After all, these are pretty much the most powerfully destructive weapons on earth. I first approached the Ministry of Defence about making a programme on the future of Trident in the summer of 2009. Some 15 months, numerous meetings, e-mails and phone conversations later, I finally clambered on board HMS Victorious, one of Britain’s four “bomber” submarines, berthed at Faslane.

BBC 23rd Feb 2011 more >>

REDUCING Britain’s fleet of nuclear submarines would “risk” the effectiveness of the UK’s military deterrent, Defence Secretary Liam Fox has claimed. In what appears to be a toughening of his stance, Dr Fox said that the Trident nuclear programme needed the full fleet of four submarines at the Clyde Naval Base at Faslane.

Scotsman 23rd Feb 2011 more >>

Having now reviewed the status of the project for Greenpeace, I can only conclude that “like-for-like” Trident replacement remains firmly on track. You quote Sir Menzies Campbell, who sits on the new Trident commission, as saying: “This is the first time in a very long time that we have had a wholesale review of nuclear weapons policy.” However, work on the successor submarine programme to replace the Trident missile system has begun. A joint US-UK effort to design a common missile compartment for each country’s respective replacement submarine programme commenced in 2008 and the UK has already spent over £200m on upfront engineering design activity. In 2007 the MoD approved a budget of £309.5m for the concept work on successor submarines – and defence secretary Liam Fox has confirmed that between April 2007 and June 2010 nearly twice this amount was spent, some £570m.

Guardian 23rd Feb 2011 more >>

Posted: 23 February 2011

22 February 2011

Nuclear Costs

On the surface, the UK’s nuclear new build programme has a serene inevitability about it. But rising construction costs and low and volatile electricity prices are indications that plenty could go wrong. Evidence is emerging of rising costs of construction (see Figure 1). Also, there is concern about the electricity price’s volatility and low price. Wholesale electricity prices reached a peak of almost GBP 100/MWh in September 2008. Since then have been below GBP 40/MWh for much of 2009 and 2010. The behaviour of the electricity market is the result of its design compounded by the effects of multiple overlapping mechanisms put in place during the last 10 or more years. Unless there is wholesale reform of the electricity market, it seems unlikely that any new generation-dependent high capital cost, such as nuclear power, will be built. Capacity margins would be squeezed and new gas- fired generators built (see also pp10-11). This would be cleaner than coal, but still polluting, and would increase dependence on imported gas. It would leave the government’s energy policy in tatters.

Nuclear Engineering International 21st Feb 2011 more >>

David Fuller, Global Strategist at fullermoney.com, speaks to Proactive Investors in the third and last of a series on investing in the nuclear age. Here he refers to the current GDP supercycle, as described by Gerard Lyons at Standard Chartered, and says as a consequence demand for power will rise enormously. David also refers to the risks as he sees them.

Proactive Investors 21st Feb 2011 more >>

EDF

The unplanned Sizewell B outage due to a pressuriser leak cost the company profits of approximately EUR 180 million. UK output from subsidiary British Energy was 48 TWh, compared to 55 TWh in 2009. Its nuclear business in the USA has taken a beating. After nuclear new-build joint-venture partner Constellation Energy pulled out of an application for a US loan guarantee for a proposed EPR at the Calvert Cliffs site, EDF bought Constellation’s 50% share in the JV company UniStar for about EUR 140 million. However, it has also had to pay ten times as much (EUR 1.04 billion) for a one-off risk provision because of “major ongoing doubt on medium-term prospects of energy markets” there.

Nuclear Engineering International 17th Feb 2011 more >>

Dungeness

A plane crash could trigger a ‘significant radiological release’, according to an inquiry into the expansion of Lydd airport in Kent The risk that planes will crash into nuclear plants and release potentially lethal clouds of radioactivity is significantly higher than official estimates, according to expert evidence to a public inquiry. Studies submitted to the inquiry to expand Lydd airport in Kent, which began last week, cast doubt on assurances from the government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that the dangers of accidental plane crashes are too small to worry about.

UTV 21st Feb 2011 more >>

Guardian 22nd Feb 2011 more >>

Nuclear Skills

A landmark collaboration agreement for the development of excellence in skills for the global nuclear industry between the National Skills Academy for Nuclear and INPO (International Nuclear Power Operators) was announced today. The Skills Academy is the lead ‘skills for nuclear’ organisation for the UK, and has been successful in the establishment of industry agreed training standards for the UK nuclear industry. INPO integrates the training efforts of U.S. nuclear utilities through the National Academy for Nuclear Training. Both organisations will now use their expertise to enhance the skills development on an international level through the establishment of high standards and expectations for the nuclear industry training, education and qualifications.

Build 21st Feb 2011 more >>

Construction News 21st Feb 2011 more >>

Nuclear Research

EXPERTS from the Universities of Leeds and Huddersfield are to work with the nuclear industry to look at the future of power stations. They are part of a team looking at how nuclear power stations will age to help the electricity generators that run them plan for the future.

The Business Desk 21st Feb 2011 more >>

India

A controversial project to build the worlds largest nuclear power station in India could involve British companies, among them Rolls Royce and Serco, under plans to be discussed in Mumbai this week. A high-level British trade delegation will arrive today to discuss how companies can participate in building six giant reactors at Jaitapur on the west coast. This is the first significant sign of improved trade links between the countries after David Cameron signed a pact to share civil nuclear technology during a visit last July. The 13.5 billion nuclear park near Ratnagiri in Maharashtra province will have a capacity of 9,900 megawatts more than the combined output of eight Sizewell B power stations. John McNamara, a spokesman for Britains Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), which is helping to organise the delegation, said that the Jaitapur project was certainly of interest to its members, which include Rolls Royce, Atkins, Serco and dozens of other engineering groups. He said that the opportunity for British companies to participate in Indias ambitious plan to quadruple its nuclear power output by 2020 was exciting. The delegation will be led by Lady Barbara Judge, the former chairman of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, and Keith Parker, the chief executive of the NIA. The Jaitapur project, which will more than double Indias current nuclear electricity capacity of 4,000 megawatts, has drawn fierce criticism from environmental groups, concerned that it is being built in an ecologically sensitive area in an earthquake zone and that villagers will be displaced by the development.

Times 21st Feb 2011 more >>

France

France’s nuclear policy council on Monday unveiled measures to streamline and unify a nuclear industry plagued by technical issues and public disputes that have tarnished its image abroad. Among a set of measures aimed at reshaping one of France’s most sensitive industries after the loss of a landmark deal in Abu Dhabi in December 2009, the council called on Areva to turn its uranium mining arm into a subsidiary, and cooperate with EDF and GDF Suez to develop a new reactor. The government holds over 80 percent of EDF’s capital and about 90 percent of Areva’s.

Yahoo 21st Feb 2011 more >>

Pakistan

Pakistan is on the verge of overtaking Britain as the world’s fifth largest nuclear power at a time when the country faces an unprecedented threat from extremists. American intelligence agencies believe that Pakistan now has more than 100 deployed nuclear weapons, an increase of nearly 40 per cent in two years.

Daily Mail 22nd Feb 2011 more >>

Posted: 22 February 2011

21 February 2011

Companies

NUCLEAR power looks set to be a big part of Gloucester’s future as energy giants prepare to expand their operations. With EDF Energy’s Barnwood base due to take on apprentices and build a new power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset and Brockworth-based firm Horizon due to build a plant at Oldbury, the county is already thriving with activity in the field. Now Areva, which designs nuclear reactors, has announced it too has established itself in the county as it prepares to build a reactor in the UK. A spokesman said: “We have established a new office in the Gloucester area specifically to provide services for the construction of the EPR nuclear reactor in the UK.

Gloucester Citizen 21st Feb 2011 more >>

Oldbury

Oldbury Unit 2, is getting a six month license extension (through June 2011) so that it can be shut down the same month as Oldbury Unit 1 is scheduled to shut down — unless further license extensions are granted: They are also vying for a 2012 closure “in order to use up spare fuel at the site”.What a LOUSY reason to keep a nuclear power plant operating! Unused nuclear fuel is mathematically about 10 million times safer than so-called “spent” fuel, which is just about the most dangerous and difficult stuff on earth to handle.

MWC News 20th Feb 2011 more >>

Reprocessing

Reprocessing nuclear waste provides little short-term benefit because the process costs too much and uranium supplies remain plentiful, according to a new study of US nuclear waste management options by MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The US doesn’t reprocess nuclear waste, but interest in that option has increased, not least since President Obama has blocked the development of a high level nuclear waste repository at Yucca mountain. A special Commission has been set up to explore options- which the MIT study aims to feed in to.

Environmental Research Web 19th Feb 2011 more >>

Green Bank

Nick Clegg is now the main driving force of the government’s “green investment bank” amid a Whitehall struggle over how precisely the new entity will function.

He brings an increasingly close interest to bear on the project, chairing cross-departmental meetings on a scheme that is intended to provide billions of pounds of funding for low-carbon energy initiatives such as wind farms and nuclear power stations. Some £1bn is already allocated from the Treasury for 2013-2014 and the rest is coming from sales of assets such as its one-third share in Urenco, which enriches uranium for nuclear power stations.

FT 21st Feb 2011 more >>

South Korea

South Korea’s state nuclear research institute reported a small radiation leak during an experiment Sunday, which led to a temporary warning but caused no casualties, an official said.

Reuters 20th Feb 2011 more >>

North Korea

North Korea has started digging tunnels at its nuclear test site in apparent preparation for a third atomic detonation.

Telegraph 21st Feb 2011 more >>

Gas Supplies

Plans for a 2,000-mile pipeline to reduce dependence on imports from Russia have been dealt a blow by BP’s cost assessment.

Guardian 21st Feb 2011 more >>

Carbon Markets

The European Union faces legal and political challenges over its handling of the carbon markets which remain in chaos after a cyber attack forced partial closure of the Emissions Trading Scheme. EU officials are due in a Belgian court on Monday to answer a request to name companies in possession of stolen allowances after a legal challenge by an Italian company affected by the fraud. And on Wednesday the EU’s climate change committee will try to reassure national governments and carbon exchanges that they have the right level of security in place to reassure nervous market users. British energy minister Greg Barker has sent a letter to the EU demanding that standards need to be raised to UK levels to prevent further thefts.

Guardian 21st Feb 2011 more >>

Posted: 21 February 2011

20 February 2011

Hinkley

A NEW nuclear power station at Hinkley Point is expected to give West Somerset’s economy a major boost with up to 5,000 people needed to complete the project. EDF Energy, the company behind the plans, is about to embark on the next stage of consultations into its proposals for Hinkley Point C.

Somerset County Gazette 17th Feb 2011 more >>

WILLITON should get funding for a public swimming pool, new leisure facilities and a link road as part of EDF Energy’s plans to offset the impact of a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. The village has been earmarked for a park and ride facility for construction workers travelling to the proposed Hinkley C development and local council chiefs are adamant the energy giant should do more to compensate communities affected by its proposals. Together with Sedgemoor District Council, West Somerset Council has drawn-up a comprehensive blueprint setting out its aims and aspirations from the Hinkley development. As well as better community facilities in Williton, Stogursey and Watchet also feature prominently in the draft supplementary planning document, which will now go out for public consultation. It focuses on a range of issues, including housing, tourism, leisure and waste storage and makes it clear both authorities want to see lasting, permanent benefits for local residents as a result of the multi-billion pound development.

West Somerset Free Press 18th Feb 2011 more >>

Heysham

OFFSHORE windfarms in the seas just off Barrow have to send their electricity by seabed cable 45 kilometres south to Heysham or beyond to Blackpool to link in to the national electricity grid.

North West Evening Mail 19th Feb 2011 more >>

Korea

North Korea is digging tunnels at a site where it has launched two nuclear tests, suggesting it is preparing a third, the South’s Yonhap news agency said on Sunday, a development which would trigger concern across the region.

Yahoo 20th Feb 2011 more >>

Microgeneration

Energetix has launched its first micro-CHP boiler this month. The Energetix Kingston looks and operates just like a normal boiler. As well as heating water and powering the central heating system, it also generates electricity enough to meet about half the annual needs of the typical home, leading to big savings on energy bills.

Hutchings claims a top normal boiler might cost £2,500; the Kingston will cost £800 more. He estimates homeowners can make up the cost of their boiler in two-and-a-half years. Under the Government’s feed-in tariff scheme homeowners also receive 10p for every kilowatt-hour of electricity generated. Before setting up his business, Hutchings had spent most of his career working in the nuclear industry for British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL), the Government’s former nuclear fuel manufacturer in Chester, becoming commercial manager of new business ventures.

Sunday Times 20th Feb 2011 more >>

Posted: 20 February 2011

19 February 2011

AP1000

In their rush to approve a newly designed nuclear reactor slated for proposed power plants throughout the southeastern United States, federal regulators are ignoring safety issues raised by a pattern of containment failures in reactors. That’s the urgent message at the center of two recent reports examining the design of the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor, which the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is in the process of certifying. Both reports were written by Arnold Gundersen, a former senior nuclear industry official and chief engineer of Fairewinds Associates, Inc., an independent research firm.

In These Times 18th Feb 2011 more >>

Sellafield

A report published today by CORE [Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment] exposes Sellafield’s plans for substantial increases in radioactive discharges to the Irish Sea over the coming decade. The rate of discharge from planned reprocessing operations, and subsequent concentrations of radioactivity in the marine environment, will breach international commitments and targets agreed by the UK Government in 1998 at an OSPAR (Oslo-Paris) Convention meeting in Portugal. As a contracting party, the Government committed to the ‘progressive and substantial reduction in radioactive discharges so that by the year 2020, concentrations of (man-made) radioactivity in the marine environment, above historic levels, were ‘close to zero’.

CORE Press Release 17th February 2011 more >>

Wylfa

A PRACTICE emergency evacuation of Anglesey in case of a nuclear catastrophe at Wylfa, has been called for. County councillors quizzed Horizon executives, the company who want to develop a ‘Wylfa B’, at a meeting of the full council last week. The main concern was where spent fuel will be kept.

Holyhead and Anglesey Mail 16th Feb 2011 more >>

Hinkley

THOUSANDS of job hunters in the Burnham and Highbridge area are expected to find work during the building of a third nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. EDF Energy is about to embark on the next stage of consultation into its proposals for Hinkley Point C. The energy firm says its project remains fundamentally the same but it has developed the details after considering feedback from the previous stage of its consultation.

This is the West Country 18th Feb 2011 more >>

Dungeness

Electricite de France SA said the halt of its 550-megawatt Dungeness B22 reactor in southeast England was unplanned.

Generation stopped at about 5 a.m. local time today, according to a website run by National Grid, the network operator. The reactor had been running below full capacity since Dec. 6, data on Bloomberg show. “It was unplanned and we are currently assessing the situation,” Marjorie Barnes, a company spokeswoman, said today in an e-mailed statement. EDF decided to switch the unit off, she said.

Bloomberg 18th Feb 2011 more >>

Oldbury

BOTH reactors at Oldbury Power Station will keep generating electricity until the summer. Magnox, which runs the 40-year-old station, has announced that industry regulators have approved an application for Reactor 2 to keep going until June this year, in line with Reactor 1 Reactor 2 was supposed to shut down this month but the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII), which monitors the site, has decided it is safe enough for the reactor to keep going that bit longer. Oldbury Power Station was due to shut down completely in late 2008 but Magnox has been able to extend its lifetime for more than two years, maintaining the 460 jobs on site.

Gloucestershire Gazette 18th Feb 2011 more >>

France

French authorities said Thursday they are replacing faulty metal bearings in the emergency power systems of eight nuclear plants because they showed signs of wear. At the Tricastin complex in southern France, all three emergency diesel generators used as backups for two reactors were equipped with the faulty bearings. State-owned utility EDF said they have been replaced. That incident was classified as a level 2 incident, on a scale of zero to seven, with seven being a major disaster. At the other plants the problem was classified at level 1. Officials are continuing to install new bearings there, EDF and the French Nuclear Safety Authority said.

Business Week 17th Feb 2011 more >>

Netherlands

Dutch lawmakers have outlined the requirements for any new nuclear plants with the goal of approving one before 2015. The move by the coalition government should increase clarity for the two companies planning new nuclear as well as for local people, governments and businesses.

World Nuclear News 18th Feb 2011 more >>

Korea

China has told UN security council members it plans to block publication of the organisation’s special report that accuses North Korea of violating sanctions on its nuclear programme.

Guardian 18th Feb 2011 more >>

Microgeneration

This week’s Micro Power News is dominated by anger from solar supporters about the suddent, unexpected decision to review feed-in tariffs. Some solar companies are considering legal action. A new report from the New Local Government Network says councils make greater use of green energy subsidies – with an estimated pot available of up to £12 billion over the next two decades.

Microgen Scotland 18th Feb 2011 more >>

Posted: 19 February 2011