The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has informed Westinghouse that it has agreed to close a ‘regulatory issue’ raised against its AP1000 reactor design. The regulatory issue, opened in February 2010 by ONR’s predecessor organisation (HSE’s Nuclear Directorate) concerned the AP1000’s civil structures, which were assessed by the regulator as part of the Generic Design Assessment, run jointly by ONR and the Environment Agency. ONR has judged that although there are still design issues with the civil structures, progress made by the company means that these are now less significant and the regulator is confident that Westinghouse will be able to resolve them satisfactorily before final ‘design acceptance confirmation’ is granted.
ONR 27th June 2011 more >>
Joint Regulators e-bulletin 29th June 2011 more >>
Energy Secretary Chris Huhne completed his spectacular U-turn yesterday when he backed a new generation of nuclear power stations. The Liberal Democrat minister said new nuclear plants were needed to keep Britains lights on and would have an essential role in tackling climate change and curbing soaring fuel bills. Mr Huhne, who once described nuclear power as a failed technology, now says it is an essential part of getting Britain off the oil hook. Speaking ahead of the launch of new electricity market reforms which will make nuclear power more attractive for business investors, he praised the example of France, where 77 per cent of electricity is generated by nuclear power stations, arguing that it provides the French with both better energy security and lower bills.
Daily Mail 30th June 2011 more >>
Britain will face soaring energy bills unless it emulates France and drives up its use of nuclear power, the Energy Secretary said yesterday. Chris Huhne is likely to face accusations of hypocrisy after applauding Britains European neighbour for keeping down energy prices by shifting away from the use of fossil fuels. France gets 77 per cent of its electricity from nuclear power, compared with 18 per cent in the UK. Mr Huhnes comments come despite arguing against the energy source for many years. Mr Huhnes decision to pick out France, in his most passionate argument in favour of nuclear power yet, has infuriated Liberal Democrat colleagues. Martin Horwood, the Lib Dem MP for Cheltenham who has argued against an expansion in nuclear power since the disaster at the Fuku- shima plant in Japan, called it very disappointing. Lib Dems promised before the general election to oppose a new generation of nuclear power stations.
Times 30th June 2011 more >>
European Union member state experts have agreed on a draft text for a new nuclear waste and spent fuel management directive that would allow permanent exports of waste from the EU under certain conditions. The EU Council’s Working Party on Atomic Questions agreed Monday on wording of the controversial nuclear waste export provision that allows export of waste to a non-EU country provided the recipient country has an agreement for nuclear cooperation with Euratom or is a party to the Joint Convention on the safety of spent fuel and radioactive waste management, according to EU member state representatives who have seen the text. The working party comprises EU member state experts in nuclear energy.
Platts 28th June 2011 more >>
THE UK government has started consulting on how to identify potential sites for disposing of its long-term nuclear waste. Energy Minister Charles Hendry said that the UK has a substantial legacy of radioactive waste and that the government will not simply leave it to future generations to deal with.
Chemical Engineer 29th June 2011 more >>
The UK’s long term solution for dealing with nuclear waste became a little clearer yesterday as the government published a consultation on how to select potential storage sites and provided an update on its disposal programme.
Guardian 29th June 2011 more >>
Ministers want to speed up plans for an underground store that would eventually take radioactive waste from redundant nuclear submarines alongside at Devonport. The Government wants to accelerate the timetable for a disposal facility and have it ready to take high-level material from 2029 11 years earlier than currently planned. The deep underground repository is central to plans to deal in the long term with the UKs nuclear legacy both civilian and defence.
Plymouth Herald 29th June 2011 more >>
ANTI-nuclear campaigners living near Shepperdine have delivered a rallying war cry against government proposals to build a new power plant near their homes. Members of Shepperdine Against Nuclear Power (SANE) have said they will continue their campaign to stop another nuclear power station being built at Shepperdine, near Oldbury. Reg Illingworth, chairman for SANE, said: “The energy and power remains with us as a conscious set of people who fully understand the full ramifications of a complete lack of vision in energy policy in the UK. It is us who will pay.
Gloucestershire Gazette 29th June 2011 more >>
One of the two nuclear reactors at Oldbury Power Station in South Gloucestershire is to be shut down permanently at midnight. Reactor 2, which has been operating for 43 years, will generate electricity for the last time on Thursday. It was originally earmarked to close in December 2008, but its operating life was extended. It first started generating electricity in April 1968 and has featured in television shows including Doctor Who.
BBC 30th June 2011 more >>
Despite claims of a higher incidence of breast cancer and infant mortality in the vicinity of the existing Hinkley nuclear plant, and concerns over flooding in the region, the government has put forward crazy plans for a new facility says Rosie Shute.
Ecologist 29th June 2011 more >>
EDF’s plans for traffic management around the proposed Hinkley C power station could bring Bridgwater to a standstill, the local council has said. Conservative-run Somerset County Council says the plans are “totally inadequate” and could cause chaos.
BBC 29th June 2011 more >>
Both reactors at the Torness nuclear power station have been shut down after huge numbers of jellyfish were found in the sea water entering the plant. The jellyfish were found obstructing cooling water filters on Tuesday. The East Lothian plant’s operator, EDF Energy, said the shutdown was a precautionary measure and there was never any danger to the public. A clean-up operation is under way, but it is understood it could be next week before Torness is operational again.
BBC 30th June 2011 more >>
Mock commandos who staged attacks on 24 nuclear power plants in pre-announced drills last year were able to “damage” or “destroy” critical targets at two of the plants, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The NRC did not identify the nuclear plants that failed the security tests, citing security concerns and other sensitivities. But it said inspectors remained at those plants until security shortcomings were addressed.
CNN 30th June 2011 more >>
It’s 25 years since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, but the legacy lives on, with children from the affected countries still visiting Notts to boost their immune system. Lynette Pinchess joins them.
Nottingham Post 29th June 2011 more >>
The Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor, located directly over an earthquake fault line near Tsuruga, Japan, lies on the opposite coast of Japan’s crippled Fukushima plant. Last August, a 3.3-ton fuel relay device broke and fell off into the reactor’s inner core, which severed access to its plutonium and uranium fuel rods. Experts have repeatedly tried to remove the device and fix the damage, but all efforts thus far have failed. The Monju plant had also been shut down for 14 years following a massive fire in 1995, a nuclear accident that was considered to be the worst one Japan had ever seen, that is until the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Fukushima back in March. Monju has basically been plagued with problems since it was first built, and because it is “fast-breeder” design, it has the potential to become far worse than Fukushima in the event of another major disaster.
Natural News 29th June 2011 more >>
Japan has moved closer to securing approval from local authorities to restart the first of 35 nuclear reactors shut for regular maintenance or kept idle since the March earthquake and tsunami. Japans trade and energy minister, Banri Kaieda, undeterred by several dozen anti-nuclear protesters urging him to go home, tried to persuade local governments in the southern Saga prefecture that it was safe to restart nuclear reactors shut since a deadly natural disaster struck the countrys northeast on March 11.
Engineering & Technology Magazine 29th June 2011 more >>
Letter: recent revelations show the levels of radiation emitted from the Fukushima reactors were far, far higher than previously admitted. One study suggests that there has been a 35% increase in miscarriages on the northwest US coast shortly after the event. Some experts have commented that the radiation will continue to be dispersed into the water table and the atmosphere for some years, because the technology to clean up the meltdown doesnt yet exist. This now lays bare any claim that it is a safe technology.
Sheffield Star 29th June 2011 more >>
A wildfire burning near the desert birthplace of the atomic bomb advanced on the Los Alamos laboratory and thousands of outdoor drums of plutonium-contaminated waste as authorities stepped up efforts to protect the site from flames and monitor the air for radiation. Officials at the premier nuclear weapons lab in the US gave assurances that dangerous materials were safely stored and capable of withstanding flames from the 93sqm fire, which was yards from the grounds. A small patch of land on the laboratory grounds caught fire on Monday before firefighters put it out. The fire has forced the evacuation of Los Alamos, population 11,000, cast giant plumes of smoke over the region and raised fears among nuclear watchdogs that it will reach as many as 30,000 208-litre drums of plutonium-contaminated waste. Officials also stood ready to coat the drums with fire-resistant foam if the blaze got too close.
Independent 30th June 2011 more >>
Guardian 29th June 2011 more >>
Telegraph 29th June 2011 more >>
Reuters (Video) 29th June 2011 more >>
Sky News 29th June 2011 more >>
Scientists were called in to check the atmosphere around the Los Alamos Laboratory for radioactive particles – as officials stressed that they were merely being drafted in as a ‘precaution’ after the bush fire burned through another 10,000 acres overnight. The flames were reported to have reached only 50 feet away from the large nuclear facility this morning and residents were urged to evacuate the area.
Daily Mail 29th June 2011 more >>
Atomic Energy of Canadas Candu reactor division will be sold to SNC-Lavalin in a deal a union leader says puts up to 800 high-paying jobs at risk. And the sale has left the Ontario government complaining that the province isnt getting the same support for its energy sector that other provinces receive. The union representing engineers and other professionals at AECL said the deal will chop about 40 per cent of the divisions staff, most working at AECLs Sheridan Park labs and offices in Mississauga. SNC-Lavalin will pay $15 million to the federal government for the part of AECL that makes electricity generators, natural resources minister Joe Oliver announced Wednesday.
Toronto Star 30th June 2011 more >>
The Conservative government has sold its Candu nuclear reactor business to Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin for a paltry $15 million, effectively writing off tens of billions of dollars Canadians have invested in the Crown corporation over the past 60 years.
Toronto Sun 29th June 2011 more >>
Iran has carried out secret tests of nuclear missiles, Britain has claimed, drawing an angry denial from Tehran.
Telegraph 29th June 2011 more >>
Daily Mail 29th June 2011 more >>
Saudi Arabia has warned NATO that it would pursue policies that could lead to “untold and possibly dramatic consequences” if Iran obtains nuclear weapons, a British newspaper reported on Wednesday. Faisal did not outline what the policies would be, but the Guardian quoted an unnamed Saudi official in Riyadh it said was close to the prince as saying that Iranian nuclear weapons would compel the Gulf state do develop its own nuclear arms.
Reuters 29th June 2011 more >>
A senior Saudi Arabian diplomat and member of the ruling royal family has raised the spectre of nuclear conflict in the Middle East if Iran comes close to developing a nuclear weapon.
Guardian 29th June 2011 more >>
A senior adviser told the Guardian that it was “inconceivable that there would be a day when Iran had a nuclear weapon and Saudi Arabia did not”.
Guardian 29th June 2011 more >>
The implications of the Fukushima catastrophe are reverberating through China, as a number of provinces have suspended new nuclear power projects.
Oil Price 30th June 2011 more >>
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Gleiss Lutz have picked up advisory mandates as German energy companies prepare for the Governments plans to phase out nuclear power plants by 2022. Herbert Smiths German alliance partner Gleiss Lutz is advising E.ON in relation to the plans to close all 17 of the countrys nuclear power plants within the next 10 years, which were announced by the German coalition government at the end of May. Meanwhile, Freshfields is understood to be advising RWE as well as E.ON, with Duesseldorf corporate partner Axel Epe, environment, plan-ning and regulatory partner Herbert Posser and finance and tax partner Jochen Ludicke acting, as well as Berlin environment, planning and regulatory partner Marcel Kaufmann. Fellow energy companies EnBW and Vattenfall are also believed to have appointed legal advisers, with the pair having ties to firms including Clifford Chance and Linklaters.
Legal Week 30th June 2011 more >>
Despite European fears about nuclear power after Japans recent accident at the Fukushima power facility, Poland plans to proceed with its first reactors. We are determined to realise our nuclear power programme as it was decided in mid-2009, says Hanna Trojanowska, the governments nuclear power adviser. We are aware that many people opposed to nuclear power are trying to use [Fukushima] to call for changes in the European Unions energy policy and Europe is vacillating between the urgent need to mitigate global warming on the one hand and nuclear phobia on the other, she adds.
FT 29th June 2011 more >>
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today welcomed the reduction in the number of warheads deployed on one of the UKs Vanguard class submarines, announced in a written statement by Liam Fox today. This has taken place as ministers from the US, Russia, UK, France and China (P5 countries) are holding talks on nuclear disarmament in Paris from today (29th) until Friday (1st July). Kate Hudson, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said This is a welcome step towards Britain living up to its commitment to disarm itself of nuclear weapons and we urge the government to rapidly expedite the reductions on all four submarines. However, this is only a small stage on the way to fulfilling our disarmament obligations. Even when the current reductions are completed in the 2020s, Britain will still have 180 of these city-destroying bombs.
CND 29th June 2011 more >>
RenewableUK, Britain’s largest wind and marine energy trade association has published an independent report showing that the overall cost of generating energy from offshore wind is set to fall significantly over the next ten years. The new study, “Offshore Wind Forecasts of Future Costs and Benefits”, compiled by independent technical consultants BVG Associates for RenewableUK, examines the most important measure for the offshore wind industry – the whole-life costs of projects – due to be built from 2011 to 2022. The whole-life cost includes capital expenditure, operational costs and the energy yield from offshore wind farms. The whole-life cost of energy from UK offshore wind projects is expected to be driven down by more than 15% in real terms between 2011 and 2022, under normal market conditions. Under favourable conditions, the decrease in costs would be as much as 33%.
Renewable UK Press Release 29th June 2011 more >>
RenewableUK, Britains largest wind and marine energy trade association, has welcomed the Governments announcement of £20 million funding from the Low Carbon Innovation Fund to develop the wave and tidal energy industry. However, RenewableUK warns that this amount is insufficient if Britain wishes to secure its position as the world leader in marine energy. Other measures are urgently needed, including a further £60 million funding from the Green Investment Bank, support from new regional enterprise zones, and a guaranteed 5 ROCs per MWh, to ensure this nascent industry is financially viable.
Renewable UK Press Release 28th June 2011 more >>
A position paper from the World Bioenergy Association forecasts the potential for global bioenergy utilisation in 2050 to be 20-30 times the present use. Renewable energy corresponds to 13% of global energy supply of which bioenergy comprises 10% while hydropower, wind power, geothermal energy and solar energy encompass the remaining 3%.
Renewable Energy Focus 29th June 2011 more >>
Energy companies should be forced to insulate every empty loft and cavity wall in the UK within four years, say the government’s climate change advisers. The independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) says the measure would boost efforts to cut national carbon emissions; in 2010 the number of loft insulations fell by 30% on the previous year. “The government should state this ambition and energy companies should be on the hook to deliver these emissions reductions,” said David Kennedy, the CCC’s chief executive. The coalition’s government’s “green deal” proposals to overhaul ageing and leaky homes and reduce consumer energy bills could be a major part of the UK’s action against global warming, says Kennedy, but must have firm targets to be effective. The committee’s recommendations are often accepted by ministers. In the UK, 10m (43%) of all lofts remain unlagged and 8m houses with cavity walls (42%) have yet to be insulated.
Guardian 30th June 2011 more >>
AN ambitious project to install smart meters in every home will cost the equivalent of £434 for every household in the country but it is uncertain that the benefits will be passed onto consumers, the National Audit Office has said. it is far from certain that households will enjoy benefits of £23 a year, as the Department of Energy and Climate Change has estimated. The NAO pointed out that the £23 a year figure was based on the presumption that not only would consumers change their behaviour such as only using electricity at certain times of the day, but that companies would pass on the benefits of not having to send out meter readers.
Telegraph 30th June 2011 more >>