News June 2011

30 June 2011

New Nukes

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 Britain’s 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 Britain’s 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 Huhne’s comments come despite arguing against the energy source for many years. Mr Huhne’s 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 >>

Radwaste

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 UK’s nuclear legacy – both civilian and defence.

Plymouth Herald 29th June 2011 more >>

Oldbury

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 >>

Hinkley

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 >>

Torness

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 >>

Security

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 >>

Chernobyl

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 >>

Japan

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. Japan’s 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 country’s 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 doesn’t yet exist. This now lays bare any claim that it is a safe technology.

Sheffield Star 29th June 2011 more >>

US

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 >>

Canada

Atomic Energy of Canada’s 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 isn’t 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 division’s staff, most working at AECL’s 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

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

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 >>

China

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 >>

Germany

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Gleiss Lutz have picked up advisory mandates as German energy companies prepare for the Government’s plans to phase out nuclear power plants by 2022. Herbert Smith’s German alliance partner Gleiss Lutz is advising E.ON in relation to the plans to close all 17 of the country’s 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 >>

Poland

Despite European fears about nuclear power after Japan’s 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 government’s 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 Union’s 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 >>

Nuclear Weapons

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today welcomed the reduction in the number of warheads deployed on one of the UK’s 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 >>

Renewables

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, Britain’s largest wind and marine energy trade association, has welcomed the Government’s 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 Efficiency

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 >>

Posted: 30 June 2011

29 June 2011

Electricity Market Reform

The Treasury says that the Finance Bill will put up consumer energy bills and deliver almost £1 billion of windfall profits for existing nuclear reactor operators. All major parties have promised not to support new subsidies for nuclear power. Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth are calling on the Government to introduce a windfall tax on windfall profits to existing nuclear and renewable operators. If the Government does not, we are calling for MPs to support amendment 12 to the Bill at Report stage. The amendment would mean the windfall would not be introduced without a further vote of the House and it would require the Government to report on how it will prevent this unfair leg-up to the nuclear industry. No need for nuclear is asking supporters to write to Danny Alexander and their own MP.

No Need for Nuclear 28th June 2011 more >>

Electricity Costs

ScottishPower has been accused of disproportionately targeting people who use the lowest amount of electricity after it emerged that it is raising the flat rate it charges hundreds of thousands of households by up to 79 per cent. This month the supplier shocked many consumers when it announced that it was raising average electricity bills by 10 per cent and gas bills by 19 per cent. But the small print, which has just come to light, shows that the increase will disproportionately hit those using the least electricity, who often are on low incomes, but will benefit large middle-class families who consume a lot.

Times 29th June 2011 more >>

Radwaste

The Government today published the first annual report of its Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Programme. The programme is focused on implementing the long-term geological disposal of our higher activity radioactive waste. Alongside this, the Government published a consultation on how potential sites for geological disposal will be identified and assessed. Charles Hendry, Minister of State for Energy, told a meeting of the Geological Disposal Implementation Board in London today: “Today’s annual report and proposals for identifying and assessing possible sites show that we are making progress in this vital area. I want us to continue to be ambitious in our timescales for delivery. I would like us to set a goal of putting the first waste into a geological disposal facility by the end of 2029. I have tasked the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to look at opportunities for accelerating progress to meet this aim.”

DECC Press Release 28th June 2011 more >>

First Annual Report on MRWS Programme 28tyh June 2011 more >>

Managing Radioactive Waste Safely: Desk-based identification and assessment of potential candidate sites for geological disposal – a public consultation.

DECC 28th June 2011 more >>

The UK’s strategy for long-term disposal of nuclear waste took a step forward today (28 June) as the Government outlined a programme of action and launched a consultation process. The consultation document considers how desk-based studies would be used to identify possible sites which have been put forward following a local authority decision to participate. It also sets out how possible sites will be assessed against agreed criteria and how local and subsequent government decisions will be made about any sites that might be put forward for more detailed geological assessment.

Edie 28th June 2011 more >>

Due to the current untenable waste situation within the nuclear industry, the Government has decided to ask for volunteer communities for one or more Repositories for Atomic Pollutants in the Environment (RAPE).

Northern Indymedia 28th June 2011 more >>

New Nukes

As Germany decides to close all its nuclear power plants by 2022, in the wake of growing public opposition following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, Britain have gone the opposite way and have published plans to build eight privately built nuclear power plants in England and Wales, including 2 at existing installations in Sellafield. What will this mean for Ireland? Minister Phil Hogan has said that it is a matter for the UK to decide on its energy policy. Pat was joined by Philip Walton, Professor Emeritus of Applied Physics from NUIG and Mark Deary, Green Party member and resident of Co. Louth.

RTE Radio 1 24th June 2011 more >>

A MANX politician has expressed disappointment after the UK Government announced plans for new nuclear power stations on the west coast of Britain, including three just across the Irish Sea from the Isle of Man. Environment, Food and Agriculture Minister John Shimmin MHK said the announcement came as no surprise to him but nonetheless he felt ‘considerable disappointment’. ‘In particular the proposal to locate a nuclear power station next to the Sellafield reprocessing plant introduces an element of increased risk that we will continue to oppose,’ he said. ‘The upgrading of the existing facilities at Heysham and Wylfa, though undesirable, at least will be built with even higher security and safety in mind and, finally, we will continue to work with our colleagues in Ireland to apply pressure to the UK government to best protect the safety of our island and its people.’

Isle of Man Today 29th June 2011 more >>

AP1000

The United Kingdom’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) said that the regulatory issue connected to the design of Westinghouse’s AP1000 nuclear reactor has been lifted.The ONR is assessing the AP1000 reactor as part of the UK Generic Design Assessment process. The announcement brings the AP1000 one step closer to design acceptance in the UK. Westinghouse said Revision 19 sent to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) earlier in June should address all concerns, and NRC could confirm final approval for the AP1000 design later in 2011.

Powergen Worldwide 28th June 2011 more >>

Bradwell

TORY MP Bernard Jenkin has vowed not to give a new nuclear power station in Bradwell his full support until he is satisfied environmental concerns are met. Bernard Jenkin’s Harwich and North Essex constituency covers West Mersea, which is less than two miles from the proposed site. He said Government plans to build a power station at Bradwell would not get his unqualified support until his worries over the future of marine life in the River Blackwater were investigated. Anti-nuclear campaigners have criticised Mr Jenkin for not opposing the plans. The new site, which could be operational by 2025, would need five times more water than the plant which shut in 2002.

Essex Gazette 27th June 2011 more >>

Hinkley

EDF has launched a new round of consultations on changes to its transport plans. The consultation runs from July 11 to August 12, and public exhibitions will be held.

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

EDF Energy’s proposed road improvements to cope with Hinkley Point C would make traffic in Bridgwater “worse than doing nothing at all”, according to a damning new report. Somerset County Council will meet with EDF chiefs this week to discuss the results of comprehensive traffic modelling the council has carried out on the impact of Hinkley C traffic on Bridgwater’s roads.

Bridgwater Mercury 28th June 2011 more >>

Torness

Masses of jellyfish entering the Torness nuclear power plant’s cooling water inflow area led EDF Energy to shut both units there manually on Tuesday, the company said. “This is temporary and the reactors will be restarted once the jellyfish situation subsides,” a spokeswoman for EDF Energy said. The two 640-megawatt (MW) units in Scotland went off line on Tuesday afternoon, National Grid data showed. The presence of jellyfish, seaweed and other marine life is not uncommon at nuclear power plants, EDF Energy said.

Reuters 28th June 2011 more >>

Heysham

The leader of Lancashire County Council has welcomed the government announcement that Heysham has been selected as the site of a new nuclear plant. The government confirmed a list of eight sites it deems suitable for new power stations by 2025. County Councillor Geoff Driver said: “This is good news for Lancashire as it will help to keep very high-skilled jobs right here in the county.

Click Lancashire 28th June 2011 more >>

Sellafield

Mammoet has supplied several Self Propelled Modular Transporters (SPMT) to transport the first two of eleven nuclear modules to the Sellafield Evaporator D nuclear power project in West Cumbria, UK. To build the £297m Evaporator D project, Sellafield, a subsidiary of Nuclear Management Partners, contracted the UK construction group Costain. The largest of the modules to be housed at Sellafield measures 27m high, with a weight of 500t. The facility will contain over 11k of pipework, require 10,000 pipe welds and house around 1,000t of structural steel. Each of the two modules weighs 100t. Each module had wide load dimensions, with a height of 10m, a width of 7.5m, and a length of 10m.

Cranes Today 28th June 2011 more >>

Companies

FORTHRIGHT Barrow AFC chairman and engineering firm boss Brian Keen believes a new Sellafield nuclear power station will offer major opportunities for the Barrow area, as well as west coast towns like Millom. NuGeneration Ltd, made up of Spanish energy firm Iberdrola S A, French energy firm GDF Suez SA, and Scottish and Southern Energy, plans to build three reactors capable of generating 1.6 gigawatts of power on the 470-acre site next to Sellafield. The consortium has agreed to buy the land for £70m if the scheme goes ahead. Building on the multi-billion pound project will start in the second half of this decade, creating up to 5,000 construction jobs, and the power station is due to open in 2023 with 700 to 800 permanent jobs. Mr Keen runs St Andrews Engineering in Barrow and Scurrah Nassau in Millom. The firm, which includes BAE among its customers, was involved in the build of the Heysham 2 power station between 1979 and 1988. He recruited a huge force of 180 welders from Barrow and across the country to work on pipework and turbines for the power station.

NW Evening Mail 28th June 2011 more >>

Uranium

KATCO, a joint venture (JV) between French nuclear group Areva and Kazakhstan’s Kazatomprom, plans to raise its annual uranium production to 4,000 tons in 2012. The venture will complete a planned expansion next year which will allow it to ramp up production. KATCO intends to increase its uranium output to 3,500 tons this year from 3,354 tons in 2010. The company, which invested a total of $550m in the development activities, operates two mines Tortkuduk and Muyunkum, which utilize the in-situ leaching process to mine uranium.

Energy Business Review 27th June 2011 more >>

US

Flooding along the Missouri River has overspread much of one nuclear power plant’s boundaries, forcing it onto emergency generators, and threatens a second plant downstream.

Christian Science Monitor 27th June 2011 more >>

Concerning news from Nebraska, where one (Calhoun) nuclear power plant is shut down and waiting for flood waters to recede to start up again (something that may not be until the Fall) and another (Cooper nuclear power plant) has mostly been in operation but is under threat as well now. The news is that, yesterday, a dam (or AquaDam) built around the Cooper nuclear power plant and other flood protection systems broke. And that may just be a sign of things to come.

IB Times 28th June 2011 more >>

Flooded nuclear plant declared safe. Video footage.

Independent 28th June 2011 more >>

A protective berm holding back the Missouri river floodwaters from the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant has collapsed.

Nuclear Engineering International 28th 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 Tuesday as authorities stepped up efforts to protect the site and monitor the air for radiation. Officials at the nation’s premier nuclear weapons lab gave assurances that dangerous materials were safely stored and capable of withstanding flames from the 93-square-mile fire, which as of midday was as close as 50 feet from the grounds. A small patch of land at the laboratory caught fire Monday before firefighters quickly put it out. Teams were on high alert to pounce on any new blazes and spent the day removing brush and low-hanging tree limbs from the lab’s perimeter.

CBS 28th June 2011 more >>

Channel 4 News 28th June 2011 more >>

Video Footage of the Wildfire.

Telegraph 28th June 2011 more >>

Russia

Russia has no plans to submit its nuclear reactors directly to EU-style safety stress tests, Kirill Kormarov of Russian state energy corporation Rosatom told Platts in Brussels late Monday. “We don’t want to fulfill the EU stress tests–we’ve done tests already,” Kormarov, who is deputy general director for global business development at Rosatom, said on the sidelines of an industry debate on the future of nuclear in central and eastern Europe. The EU agreed common criteria in May for safety tests to be carried out on all 143 EU reactors starting June 1. The move came in response to Japan’s nuclear crisis at Fukushima earlier this year, and the EC has also pushed for the EU’s neighbors to agree to a similar nuclear safety review.

Platts 28th June 2011 more >>

Japan

Tens of thousands of children living near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are to be given personal radiation monitors, as concern grows over the long-term health effects of exposure to radiation. Dosimeters will be given to 34,000 children aged between four and 15 living in Fukushima city, 45 miles from the plant, after abnormally high radiation readings were recorded in the area.

Guardian 28th June 2011 more >>

Tokyo Electric Power Co. led Japanese utilities in rallying around a nuclear future, defying growing public opposition to atomic energy after the worst radiation accident in 25 years. Shareholders of Tepco, as the utility is known, voted to continue with nuclear power yesterday at the company’s first annual meeting since the crisis at its Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant wiped about $36 billion off the utility’s market value. Shareholders of Chubu Electric Power Co. and Kyushu Electric Power Co. also backed continuing with the status quo at meetings, voting down proposals against nuclear power.

Bloomberg 29th June 2011 more >>

Asahi 29th June 2011 more >>

Tokyo Electric Power Co. faced a six-hour barrage of heavy flak from shareholders Tuesday at their annual meeting, with management blasted over how it has handled the world’s worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Japan Today 29th June 2011 more >>

Many DPJ members now suspect that Kan may be trying to remain in power as long as possible, and that he could dissolve the Lower House for a snap election to appeal to voters who have started calling for use of non-nuclear power in the face of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

Japan Today 29th June 2011 more >>

The accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has brought to light the cascading problem of spent nuclear fuel that threatens to overwhelm Japan’s nuclear power plants. Local governments are demanding that electric power companies remove the spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power plants, but plans for a reprocessing facility and an off-site storage facility are on hold. According to a survey by The Asahi Shimbun, while the nation’s 17 nuclear power plants are capable of holding 83,000 spent nuclear fuel assemblies in storage pools, 70 percent of the combined storage capacity has already been used.

Asahi 29th June 2011 more >>

Bulgaria

Bulgaria signed grant agreements on Tuesday to receive 73.8 million euros ($105.3 million) for energy projects as compensation for shutting down four units at its Kozloduy nuclear plant ahead of joining the EU in 2007. The Balkan country had already received a total of 575 million euros as compensation from an EBRD-operated international decommissioning support fund for Kozloduy as the plant’s partial closure cost the country its position as a top electricity exporter in the region.

EU Business 28th June 2011 more >>

Germany

Germany will have to build an additional 8-17GW of coal and gas-fired generation capacity by 2020 to compensate for the country’s planned faster nuclear phase-out and the increasing share of intermittent renewable power, energy and water association BDEW said. Berlin will have to create the necessary political framework to make investments in new capacity attractive, given that renewable power will cut into the load hours of the fossil fuel-fired generation fleet. “Power plants will not be built just on the basis that a federal or state government decides it is necessary,” BDEW president Hildegard Muller said. “We need additional investment incentives which we have to discuss and develop on a political level and with all parties involved” she said.

Argus Media 28th June 2011 more >>

France

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has confirmed plans to invest €1 billion ($1.4 billion) in future nuclear programs including fourth generation reactor research.

World Nuclear News 28th June 2011 more >>

eGov Monitor 28th June 2011 more >>

Nuclear Engineering International 28th June 2011 more >>

Renewables

With recent news indicating that both solar and wind power generation is on the the rise and looking stronger every year, it might be natural to wonder if renewable energy is dethroning fossil-fuel based electricity production. Greenpeace seems to think things are certainly moving that direction, but it notes in a new report that more must be done if renewable energy is to take over as the dominant method of generating power.

IB Times 28th June 2011 more >>

Climate

David Cameron must end his silence on climate change and “step up to the plate” to provide international leadership, the former government chief scientific adviser Prof Sir David King says on Wednesday. Barry Gardiner MP, who is Ed Miliband’s special envoy on climate change, said: “If Cameron had spent a quarter of a billion pounds tackling climate change instead of bombing Gaddafi he could have transformed Britain’s energy infrastructure to meet our 2025 targets, protected a million hectares of rainforest from deforestation, or fitted solar [panels] to 100,000 homes. It is clear that he thinks Libyan oil is a bigger priority.”

Guardian 29th June 2011 more >>

David King’s article: we need to fully grasp the nettle of the role that nuclear power must play, and also ensure the £200bn investment needed in our energy infrastructure is spent on equipment fit for the second half of this century, not the first. With this action the UK is again setting the bar high for other countries, and we must use this position in muscular bilateral and multilateral negotiations with other nations.

Guardian 28th June 2011 more >>

Greg Barker says climate change campaigners needed to be careful not to dismiss sceptics such as the former Conservative chancellor Lord Lawson of Blaby. “We need to make sure don’t behave in an arrogant or offhand way because that really pisses people off,” he said. “The big shift in thinking on climate change policy is a recognition that we need to rebalance our economy. But decarbonisation must not mean de-industrialisation,” he said. “On the contrary, we actually need to build an economy that has more advanced manufacturing where we stop just reducing our carbon emissions by sending stuff offshore to less regulated markets and actually see the energy challenge of the next two decades as a real opportunity to see more advanced manufacturing here in the UK, importing less and looking to successful advanced economies like Germany as the way forward rather than thinking we can simply be ever more dependent on the services sector.”

Guardian 28th June 2011 more >>

Posted: 29 June 2011

28 June 2011

Electricity Market Reform

A green ‘stealth’ tax to encourage new wind farms and nuclear power plants could push tens of thousands of households into fuel poverty but do nothing to reduce emissions. The carbon floor price, announced in the March Budget, could even end up giving climate policies a ‘bad name’, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has warned. To be introduced in 2013, the tax is intended to encourage investment in low-carbon energy – and raise billions for the Treasury. IPPR estimates that 30,000 to 60,000 more households will be pushed into fuel poverty. The think-tank report also said that because the floor price was announced in the Budget, it would be open to annual review – meaning it would not have the certainty needed by investors looking at putting money into low-carbon energy projects such as wind, wave and nuclear power.

Daily Mail 28th June 2011 more >>

Sellafield

A senior councillor remains optimistic that a nuclear renaissance could bring billions of pounds to Cumbria. Tim Knowles says the county would cement its place at the heart of the country’s atomic industry if new reactors were built here. The Government last week confirmed that Sellafield was one of three sites deemed suitable for a new generation of nuclear power plants. And it has reignited hope that the reactors could be operational by as early as 2023. Last week’s statement also confirmed the Government is satisfied that the geological disposal of radioactive waste is technically achievable. It also highlights the fact that a suitable site can be found to do that work. Debate is ongoing as to where that could be.

Cumberland News 27th June 2011 more >>

Heysham

EDF Energy returned its 450-megawatt Heysham 1-2 nuclear reactor on Saturday following refuelling, a spokeswoman said.

Reuters 27th June 2011 more >>

US

As America’s nuclear power plants have aged, the once-rural areas around them have become far more crowded and much more difficult to evacuate. Yet government and industry have turned a blind eye, even as plants are running at higher power and posing more danger in the event of an accident. Populations around the facilities have swelled as much as four-and-a-half times since 1980, a computer-assisted population analysis shows.

Daily Mail 28th June 2011 more >>

A raging forest fire threatened the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory in New Mexico on Monday and led to the evacuation of thousands of nearby residents. The fire started in Santa Fe national forest on Sunday and has so far burnt 200 sq km (78 sq miles). The Las Conchas blaze started a 4,000-sq-metre “spot fire” on the sprawling property where scientists worked on the first atomic bomb 50 years ago. So far several thousand people have fled the town of Los Alamos, which has a population of about 12,000.

Guardian 28th June 2011 more >>

Reuters 27th June 2011 more >>

Wales Online 27th June 2011 more >>

Express 27th June 2011 more >>

Two Nebraska nuclear power plants have planned properly to protect themselves from the swollen Missouri River and keep the public safe, the head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on Monday.

Reuters 28th June 2011 more >>

Belfast Telegraph 28th June 2011 more >>

A water-filled berm protecting a nuclear power plant in Nebraska from rising floodwaters collapsed Sunday, according to a spokesman, who said the plant remains secure. Some sort of machinery came in contact with the berm, puncturing it and causing the berm to deflate, said Mike Jones, a spokesman for the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD), which owns the Fort Calhoun plant.

CNN 27th June 2011 more >>

Japan

Operators of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant have begun pumping decontaminated water in as part of a system to cool damaged reactors. The government hailed the move as “a giant step forward” in bringing the facility under control. Some 110,000 tonnes of water have built up during efforts to cool reactors hit by the 11 March earthquake and tsunami.

BBC 28th June 2011 more >>

THE operator of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant moved closer to ending its radiation crisis yesterday with the start of a system to cool damaged reactors that could also help avoid dumping highly contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean.

Irish Examiner 28th June 2011 more >>

Tokyo Electric Power Co shareholders gathered in record numbers on Tuesday for an annual meeting that will vote on a stockholder motion calling for the utility to abandon nuclear power. Although proposed annually by anti-nuclear activist shareholders, the proposal to scrap nuclear power this year takes on greater resonance with radiation still escaping from damaged reactors at the utility’s plant in Fukushima, 240 kilometres (150 miles) north of the capital. Shareholders at the meeting appeared split on the issue.

Reuters 28th June 2011 more >>

Shareholders of the company known as Tepco will vote today on whether the utility continues with nuclear power and the future of 17 board members.

Bloomberg 28th June 2011 more >>

The Japanese government has launched a campaign to persuade communities to support the resumption of nuclear reactor operations following the Fukushima crisis. The PR drive came as 15 people were confirmed to have suffered internal radiation exposure. Central government officials held the campaign’s first meeting in Saga prefecture, where two reactors at the Genkai power plant were among several across the country halted for safety checks in the aftermath of March 11. Local officials in the region have since cited concerns surrounding safety standards at the plant as a reason for subsequently withholding routine consent for operations to resume. Their stance reflects the growing anti-nuclear mood spreading across Japan as a result of the ongoing crisis at Fukushima power plant which was triggered when the March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out its crucial cooling systems.

Telegraph 27th June 2011 more >>

Nearly 70 per cent of Japanese oppose the restart of nuclear reactors following the Fukushima crisis, a poll has revealed. Public fears about nuclear power have increased after the disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, where workers are struggling to control radiation leaks from meltdowns after reactor cooling systems were knocked out by the earthquake and tsunami.

Engineering & Technology Magazine 27th June 2011 more >>

France

France will invest 1bn euros (0.8bn) in nuclear power despite warnings after the Fukushima disaster in Japan, President Nicolas Sarkozy says. The new investment will include a boost for research into nuclear safety. The French nuclear giant Areva is developing the fourth generation of reactors.

BBC 28th June 2011 more >>

The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has bucked the anti-nuclear trend following Japan’s Fukushima disaster by pledging €1bn of investment in atomic power. Despite growing worldwide concern about the safety of nuclear plants, Sarkozy said the moratorium on new nuclear reactors adopted by certain countries since the Japanese nuclear crisis in March “makes no sense”. “There is no alternative to nuclear energy today,” he told journalists on Monday. “We are going to devote €1bn to the nuclear programme of the future, particularly fourth-generation technology,” Sarkozy said.

Guardian 27th June 2011 more >>

Telegraph 27th June 2011 more >>

Bouygues Construction has issued a statement saying that it challenges the findings of a report by the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) concerning under-reporting of accidents at a reactor site in Flamanville. Bouygues said that it firmly refutes any intention not to report accidents on the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) and has taken no initiatives either to avoid informing the work inspectorate or to distract it from surveillance.

Construction Index 27th June 2011 more >>

Philippines

In a fresh but ambiguous take on ecotourism, travellers in the Philippines can visit a remote turtle sanctuary and then venture into the heart of a nearby nuclear power plant. If tourists feel too weary to make the three-hour bus drive back to Manila after their unique day of sightseeing, they can stay at a guesthouse overlooking pristine South China Sea waters at the atomic site’s private beach. This tour-with-a-difference is part of the government’s latest effort to make use of the idle Bataan Nuclear Power Plant – one of the country’s most expensive and troublesome burdens.

The Move Channel 27th June 2011 more >>

Pakistan

Pakistan is unable to protect its growing atomic arsenal from the threat of Islamic extremists according to one of the coiuntry’s leading nuclear scientists. Professor Pervez Hoodbhoy, who teaches at universities in Lahore and Islamabad, said there was evidence that the Army had been infiltrated by extremist elements. “We have reason to worry because the most secure installations, bases, and headquarters of the military have been successfully attacked by Islamic militants who have sympathisers within the military,” he said. “What is the proof that nuclear installations or weapon stocks would be exempt from this? My worry is not limited to nuclear arsenals because places that deal with fissile materials can also be similarly infiltrated.”

Telegraph 27th June 2011 more >>

Canada

The Harper government is set to announce the sale of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. to Montreal-based engineering firm SNC-Lavalin Group, a major gamble that Canada’s nuclear program can stand on its own amid growing global resistance to nuclear energy.

Globe & Mail 27th June 2011 more >>

Nuclear Testing

The story of Kazakhstanis being used as guinea pigs to test nuclear weapons has been picked up by More4 for documentary strand True Stories. After the Apocalypse, which is part funded by More4 and produced by Tigerlily Films and Dartmouth Films, looks at the stories of people from Semipalatinsk whose children were born with defects. One in twenty children are born with defects in the area, which the families believe is a result of the testing, despite no scientific consensus on the effects of radiaton.

Broadcast Now 27th June 2011 more >>

Renewables

Up to 20 million is to be invested in the marine energy industry to take power devices to the next level of development, the Government said. Climate change minister Greg Barker said generating energy from the power of waves has the potential to meet 15% to 20% of the UK’s current electricity demand by 2050. Mr Barker will visit Pelamis Wave Power at Leith Docks in Edinburgh to announce funding of around 20 million to help develop marine energy devices from the prototype stage to “bigger formations in the sea”. The money will come from the Department of Energy and Climate Change budget of more than 200 million to fund low carbon technologies, announced in last year’s Government spending review. Mr Barker said: “Marine power has huge potential in the UK not just in contributing to a greener electricity supply and cutting emissions, but in supporting thousands of jobs in a sector worth a potential 15 billion to the economy to 2050.

Herald 28th June 2011 more >>

Posted: 28 June 2011

27 June 2011

Radwaste

The most persuasive PR stunts are dressed up in suits and paid for by the unwitting taxpayer. Last Monday’s “geology seminar” at Whitehaven was a brilliant example of nasty spin from a government who wants new nuke plants and needs to be seen to have ‘solved’ the nuclear waste problem.

Northern Indymedia 26th June 2011 more >>

Book Review

Contesting the future of Nuclear power: Benjamin Sovacool, World Scientific. Dave Elliot says As someone who has been very critical of nuclear power, I was not expecting to be surprised by this book, which, according to the Introduction, sets out to prove that ‘the basic premise behind a nuclear renaissance is wrong, whether one looks at it technically, economically, environmentally, or socio-politically’. However I was surprised: I had not appreciated just how strong the case against nuclear power has become. Certainly if the nuclear lobby’s relentless counter arguments have lulled you into a resigned acceptance that not everything about nuclear was bad, this book should provide a wake up call.

Environmental Research Web 25th June 2011 more >>

Opinion Polls

New research by Ipsos MORI shows that three in five global citizens (62%) oppose the use of nuclear energy – a quarter (26%) of those have been influenced by the recent nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan. The latest survey shows that support for nuclear energy is far below that for solar power (97%), wind power (93%), hydroelectric power (91%) and natural gas (80%) as a source of electricity. Just one in four (38%) adults across 24 countries support the use of nuclear energy. Support is highest in India (61%), Poland (57%) and the United States (52%).

Commodities Now 26th June 2011 more >>

Japan

Japans government is struggling to pass its bail-out of Tokyo Electric Power Company, owner of the doomed Fukushima nuclear plant. But any success would be pyrrhic: a bail-out is another step down the road of forbearance that made Japans nuclear industry so dysfunctional in the first place. It is hard to know what compensation Tepco will owe to those affected by its reactor meltdowns. One estimate, Y4,000bn-5,000bn, does not seem overblown. If correct, it could bankrupt the company, leaving it unable to pay creditors or accident victims their due. Even if the final cost is less, its uncertainty has been enough to put Leader: Tepcos solvency under a cloud: Standard & Poors has downgraded Tepco bonds to junk. Insolvency is what the government is trying to prevent. The draft law sets up a compensation scheme funded by power companies but guaranteed by the state. This commits the government to ensuring bondhol ders will never contribute to compensation costs through haircuts.

FT 27th June 2011 more >>

Masafumi Asada bought shares of Tokyo Electric Power Co. almost a decade ago with a single purpose: To vote against the use of nuclear power. Asada, a 70-year-old resident of Fukushima prefecture, the epicenter of Japan’s nuclear crisis, will speak on behalf of 402 shareholders tomorrow at the annual general meeting of the utility known as Tepco, to ask it to stop atomic generation.

Bloomberg 27th June 2011 more >>

Nearly 70 percent of Japanese believe nuclear safety measures are not yet sufficient to allow restarting reactors taken down for routine maintenance, a poll showed on Monday, suggesting Japan may have difficulty keeping plants running and avoiding a power crunch amid the protracted nuclear crisis at Fukushima. The poll by the Nikkei business daily also showed that 47 percent of the respondents favoured reducing the number of nuclear plants, up 5 percentage points since the previous poll in May.

Reuters 27th June 2011 more >>

Japan Today 27th June 2011 more >>

The Fukushima prefectural chapter of the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party declared Sunday that it will no longer promote nuclear power generation. The LDP, which held power for most of the postwar period until it was defeated by the Democratic Party of Japan in the August 2009 general election, has long promoted nuclear power.

Japan Today 27th June 2011 more >>

Radiation experts said Sunday they had found internal radiation exposure in all of the 15 people they surveyed in May in areas 30-40 kilometers from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The experts surveyed 15 people aged between 4 and 77 in Iitate and Kawamata in early and late May, and found radioactive cesium in both batches of their urine samples.

Japan Today 27th June 2011 more >>

A decade and a half before it blew apart in a hydrogen blast that punctuated the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl, the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima nuclear power plant was the scene of an earlier safety crisis. Then, as now, a small army of transient workers was put to work to try to stem the damage at the oldest nuclear reactor run by Japan’s largest utility. At the time, workers were racing to finish an unprecedented repair to address a dangerous defect: cracks in the drum-like steel assembly known as the “shroud” surrounding the radioactive core of the reactor. But in 1997, the effort to save the 21-year-old reactor from being scrapped at a large loss to its operator, Tokyo Electric, also included a quiet effort to skirt Japan’s safety rules: foreign workers were brought in for the most dangerous jobs, a manager of the project said.

Reuters 27th June 2011 more >>

France

Thousands of demonstrators formed a human chain outside France’s oldest nuclear power plant on Sunday to demand the site be closed as the government mulls whether to extend its life by a decade.

Reuters 26th June 2011 more >>

Germany

Germany’s Greens agreed Saturday to support Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government in a decision to ditch nuclear energy by 2022 despite divisions over the move within the opposition party. A majority of Greens delegates agreed to support the government proposal to fully replace nuclear energy with renewable sources within the next decade when it comes up on the ballot in parliament next week. The move could pass with government support alone, but the Greens’ decision to support it will be key in determining their path as they head toward 2013 general elections.

Business Week 25th June 2011 more >>

Eon, the German power group, has called Germany’s switch to renewable energy “a huge opportunity” only weeks after demanding billions in damages from the government for nuclear plant closures. “The switch to renewables is a fact. This is a huge opportunity to develop new technologies and business models,” he added, naming electricity storage and smart networks as areas of interest alongside generation.

FT 27th June 2011 more >>

US

ESBWR Remains on Track for NRC’s Final Design Certification in the Fall of 2011. GEH’s New Reactor Poised to be One of the First Generation III+ Designs Certified for US Construction.

Vadvert 27th June 2011 more >>

Renewables

Britain’s biggest array of solar panels has begun generating in Oxfordshire. The first large ground system to feed into the national grid will benefit from the tariff scheme paying a premium for supplying clean electricity. Howbery business park’s companies specialise in engineering, environmental and water research and development and its 3,000-panel array generates up to 682 MWh a year, a quarter of its needs, and thereby save 350 tonnes of CO2 a year. Derry Newman, chief executive of Solarcentury, the company that supplied the solar photovoltaic modules, said that the UK’s famously overcast weather did not make it an unsuitable place for solar power.

Guardian 27th June 2011 more >>

Posted: 27 June 2011

26 June 2011

Nuclear Costs

In April, I debunked a piece by journalist Mark Lynas (see “Lynas pens error-riddled, cost-less nuke op-ed”). I also said I’d do a longer post about one particular myth he repeated: In the 1970s it looked as if nuclear power was going to play a much bigger role than eventually turned out to be the case. What happened was Three Mile Island, and the birth of an anti-nuclear movement that stopped dozens of half-built or proposed reactors…. Just as the U.S. nuclear renaissance was mostly dead before Fukushima, so too was the original cycle of nuclear plant orders dead before TMI — killed by rising prices for plants and cost over-runs. As a December 1978 Business Week’s Special Report “Nuclear Dilemma: The Atom’s Fizzle in an Energy-Short World” explained: One by one, the lights are going out for the U.S. nuclear power industry. Reactor orders have plummeted from a high of 41 in 1973 to zero this year. Nuclear power stations are taking longer to build, and the delays are tacking hundreds of millions of dollars onto their costs. Waste disposal, which was supposed to be solved by now, is not.

Climate Progress 25th June 2011 more >>

Letter: Steuart Campbell (Letters, 24 June) is right to point out that the capital costs of nuclear plants will be borne by the utilities which build them, but he neglects to mention that this is the case for most other power plants as well (including wind). Since the capital cost of new nuclear plants currently has a high degree of uncertainty, the Electricity Market Reform (EMR) White Paper, to be presented to parliament before the summer recess, will contain a set of economic incentives (subsidies) to ensure that utilities build nuclear plants. Without such subsidies it is very likely that we would have a gas-dominated power system, owing to the quick payback on investment which that technology provides.

Scotsman 25th June 2011 more >>

Bradwell

The coastal village of Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex.is one of the recommended sites, which are spread across the English and Welsh coastlines. Behind me, is the old Bradwell nuclear power station, it was decommissioned in 2002. In fields just south-east of this building, the Government wants to build one of the eight brand new nuclear power stations. Not only will this cost billions to the country, it is likely to anger environmental campaigners who feel that we should follow the example of countries like Switzerland and Germany and scrap nuclear power altogether. But the small community of Bradwell is thrilled at the proposition of a new power plant. The new plant is likely to bring hundreds of workers to the village, which will give it a new lease of life. Anti nuclear campaigners however are less enthusiastic about the announcement. They feel that lessons should have been learned after the events which shook Japan at the start of this year.

Press TV 24th June 2011 more >>

Hinkley

ANTI-NUCLEAR campaigners are planning a massive blockade of Hinkley Point this autumn in protest at plans for C station. Several anti-nuclear groups are uniting to blockade the nuclear power plant site on October 3.

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

Radwaste

Nuclear waste exports to countries outside the EU should be prohibited, unless exported for recycling and imported back into the EU, and even within the EU should be permitted only when governed by bilateral agreements, said Parliament on Thursday. MEPs also backed stricter rules for protecting and training workers, called for stronger investigatory powers for national authorities, and said research on alternatives to burying the waste deep underground should be stepped up.

IEWY News 24th June 2011 more >>

Energy Costs

Energy customers who signed up for market-leading discounted deals face shock price rises of up to 45% this summer — three times as high as recent increases in standard bills. Scottish Power, which has 5m customers, announced at the start of this month that standard gas bills will rise by 19% and electricity by 10% in August. Dual-fuel bills are set to go up by 15.3%. However, one Sunday Times reader has written to say that his dual-fuel bill will soar by 45%, and another expects a rise of about 35% from August, because of the supplier’s complex charging structure. Up to 10m customers who have discounted deals from other energy giants could face similar double-digit rises later in the year, when other suppliers are expected to follow Scottish Power’s lead.

Sunday Times 26th June 2011 more >>

Japan

Campaigners in Japan are asking people to grow sunflowers, said to help decontaminate radioactive soil, in response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster that followed March’s massive quake and tsunami. Volunteers are being asked to grow sunflowers this year, then send the seeds to the stricken area where they will be planted next year to help get rid of radioactive contaminants in the plant’s fallout zone. The campaign, launched by young entrepreneurs and civil servants in Fukushima prefecture last month, aims to cover large areas in yellow blossoms as a symbol of hope and reconstruction and to lure back tourists.

Independent 26th June 2011 more >>

Over several decades, Japan’s nuclear establishment has devoted vast resources to persuade the Japanese public of the safety and necessity of nuclear power. Plant operators built lavish, fantasy-filled public relations buildings that became tourist attractions. Bureaucrats spun elaborate advertising campaigns through a multitude of organizations established solely to advertise the safety of nuclear plants. Politicians pushed through the adoption of government-mandated school textbooks with friendly views of nuclear power. The result was the widespread adoption of the belief — called the “safety myth” — that Japan’s nuclear power plants were absolutely safe. Japan single-mindedly pursued nuclear power even as Western nations distanced themselves from it. The belief helps explains why in the only nation to have been attacked with atomic bombs, the Japanese acceptance of nuclear power was so strong that the accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl barely registered. Even with the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the reaction against nuclear power has been much stronger in Europe and the United States than in Japan itself.

New York Times 25th June 2011 more >>

An accident did occur at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. But even though the situation has yet to be brought under control, economy minister Banri Kaieda has declared other plants safe and called for them to resume operations. Does anyone really believe him? The economy ministry is a party involved in the accident. Kaieda may be likened to a bankrupt person offering security for someone taking out a loan. Now that conventional safety measures have proved useless, how could anyone talk so casually about safety?

Asahi 26th June 2011 more >>

Local governments outside the immediate vicinity of nuclear power plants are increasing their demands for a say in the operations and the safety of the reactors. But electric utilities continue to largely ignore such requests, saying central government guidelines are sufficient.

Asahi 26th June 2011 more >>

Submarines

A US nuclear submarine came close to running aground in Plymouth Sound, following an incident in which two crewmen died as it tried to leave one Devonport naval base.

MoD Oracle 25th June 2011 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Skilfully crafted and smoothly assembled by London-born film maker Lucy Walker, the documentary Countdown to Zero raises the all but forgotten question of nuclear war and leaves us petrified, in almost no doubt it will happen. It’s a handy guide to the history of the bomb and how to make your own. There are more than 23,000 bombs still active on Earth. Most troubling are the “loose nukes”, the warheads strewn about the former Soviet countries where plutonium factories rust silently and where, it seems, Georgian smugglers have enriched uranium stuffed inside their packs of contraband fags.

Observer 26th June 2011 more >>

Posted: 26 June 2011

25 June 2011

National Policy Statements

The UK is pushing ahead with its nuclear expansion policy despite public opposition in the wake of the ongoing Japanese nuclear crisis at Fukushima. The Government published its finalised Energy National Policy Statements (NPSs) yesterday, confirming eight possible sites for new nuclear power stations by 2025 as part of its nuclear strategy. FoE called the nuclear expansion plan an “expensive gamble. We can meet our energy needs by investing in energy efficiency and developing the UK’s vast potential for clean renewable power,” says campaigner Simon Bullock. He adds that while the nuclear power industry still requires government subsidies – although the Coalition has insisted that it will not provide them – solar power could be cost-competitive within the decade, according to a recent report. “If the Government gave the same enthusiastic backing to green energy as it gives to nuclear we’d be well on the road to a cleaner, safer future,” says Bullock.

Energy Efficiency News 24th June 2011 more >>

Opinion Polls

At the same time as our government has restated its backing for nuclear power, a new IPSOS poll commissioned by Reuters shows a sharp world-wide drop in support for nuclear energy. In fact, it has dropped to 38%, down 16 points from 54%. This is now lower than support for coal, which is on 48%. This sharp change stems in particular from a jump in opposition to over 50% in India, China, Japan and South Korea. Not surprisingly, respondents indicated the impact of Fukushima on their thinking. But it is not just regional opposition in proximity to Japan. Of the 24 countries surveyed, support for nuclear power is lowest in Germany (21%, Italy (19%) and Mexico (18%).

CND 24th June 2011 more >>

Hartlepool

A JOBS-boosting new nuclear power station for Hartlepool has moved another step closer. The Government has confirmed eight sites where new multi-million pound reactors can be developed, and Hartlepool is one of them. Town Mayor Stuart Drummond said plants in the south would be the first to be developed but he added: “We shall continue to prepare ourselves and lobby as hard as we can to get one here.”

Peterlee Mail 24th June 2011 more >>

BUSINESS leaders have welcomed news that Teesside has been earmarked as one of the locations for the next generation of UK nuclear power stations. The Government has pushed ahead with plans for new plants in the UK, confirming a list of eight sites – including Hartlepool – where the next generation of reactors can be built.

Evening Gazette 24th June 2011 more >>

Hinkley

ENVIRONMENTALISTS have hit out at plans to build a new nuclear power station less than 15 miles off the South Wales coast amid concerns the region is “due” a tsunami. Keith Stockdale, coordinator of Barry and Vale Friends of the Earth, said the group has been campaigning for years in a bid to prevent yesterday’s announcement.

South Wales Echo 24th June 2011 more >>

Oldbury

OLDBURY nuclear power station, which was due to close down in 2008, will continue to generate electricity until 2012. Oldbury Power Station has had its life extended twice but the new extension will be the final one.

Gloucestershire Gazette 24th June 2011 more >>

This is shocking – I can’t tell how many times we have been told this plant will close – see for example my blog last year. Meanwhile we hear the government is planning on building new nukes at old sites like Oldbury.

Ruscombe Green 24th June 2011 more >>

Sellafield

THE news Sellafield is an approved site for a new nuclear power station has been welcomed by leading lights in the energy industry. The power station would bring around 800 permanent jobs, on top of 5,000 construction workers and an extra 1,000 staff when engineering shutdowns take place. NuGeneration Ltd, the consortium which wants to develop the Sellafield station with up to three reactors, predicts a multi-billion pound investment for West Cumbria. Martin Forwood, chairman of Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment, said: “We wait with interest to see how NuGen intends to overcome the poor geology of the site for reactor construction, the problems with extracting plutonium-saturated sea water for cooling the reactors, or syphoning yet more from local lakes and rivers, and the likely desecration of the national park with a new grid system. “Given drawbacks and the stalling of the worldwide nuclear renaissance, it is hardly surprising that their decision to sink £15bn or more on three reactors won’t be made until around 2015.”

NW Evening Mail 24th June 2011 more >>

Carlisle News & Star 24th June 2011 more >>

Three sites in Cumbria had been listed as potential areas for new build, but energy secretary Chris Huhne said Kirksanton and Braystones would not be included on the revised draft Nuclear National Policy Statement published in October as they were not suitable for the deployment of new nuclear by 2025. Copeland MP Jamie Reed welcomed the news and said: “Although we expected this news, we have worked very hard over many years to achieve it. Despite the delays, I have held a series of meetings with ministers to ensure that this announcement was made. The blunt truth is that there was a point when we were not in the running at all, but now we are in a prime position.

Whitehaven News 23rd June 2011 more >>

SEVERAL teams will share in a new Sellafield decommissioning deal worth up to £140 million over the next four years. Along with Cumbria Nuclear Solutions consortium, as reported in last week’s Whitehaven News, a number of other companies are engaged in the contract award. These are: Astrel, Jacobs E&C Ltd, Hertel Ltd, Studsvik Ltd, DEV Nuclear, Dooson Power Systems Ltd, Energy Solutions EU Ltd, Babcock Nuclear Ltd and Nuvia Ltd. The Cumbria Nuclear Solutions consortium comprises James Fisher Nuclear Ltd, React Engineering Ltd, Shepley Engineers Ltd, Stobbarts Ltd, WYG Engineering Ltd, Westinghouse Electric Co UK Ltd.

Whitehaven News 23rd June 2011 more >>

Sizewell

Andrew Nunn, Suffolk Coastal district councillor for Leiston and cabinet member for the green environment, said: “We have long recognised the potential benefits of a new build at Sizewell. “However, of course there are significant and wide-ranging local concerns. It is an area of outstanding natural beauty which is an issue and the council’s position is that we would want communities to be able to say ‘no’ if the project is going to have an unreasonable impact.” Jonny Newton, the chairman of the Leiston Business Association, hoped EDF would continue to establish links with the town throughout development, adding: “EDF have been genuinely good neighbours and must be seen to support the local community and certainly invest in its economy to offset the disruption of building the plant. People should see this as an opportunity.”

East Anglian Daily Times 24th June 2011 more >>

Malvern Jones is on a mission to unravel some of the common misconceptions and debunk some of the myths about nuclear power. For that, there’s one man he holds culpable above all others. “My friends all call me Homer Simpson,” he jokes as we walk around the site of the Sizewell B nuclear plant.

Guardian 24th June 2011 more >>

Wylfa

WYLFA B took a giant step forward after the Government confirmed the Anglesey site was suitable for new nuclear development. Anti-nuclear campaigners vowed to step up their fight against any new build, calling it a gamble the nation cannot afford. Friends of the Earth Cymru said the plans for Wylfa should be scrapped, as apart from the risks of accidents, nuclear power was horrifically expensive. The group believes that energy efficiency and renewable energy are better solutions to the country’s energy needs, and would also provide many more jobs for people across North Wales. It said: “Nuclear is a gamble we don’t need to take.”

Daily Post 24th June 2011 more >>

IAEA

IAEA members are in favour of strengthening checks on nuclear power plants, but how this should be financed was still up in the air, the UN atomic watchdog’s chief said here Friday. “There is such a strong support for increasing and strengthening the activities of the Agency, to enhance our safety,” Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told journalists at the end of a week-long conference here to discuss the lessons learnt from the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant. “I am very optimistic that we can get extensive support from the member states to raise funds,” he added.

International News 25th June 2011 more >>

AFP 24th June 2011 more >>

IN THE wake of the nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan in March, several countries have announced plans to reject nuclear power. Japan will not build any more reactors. Germany plans to phase out its nuclear power plants, Switzerland will not replace its reactors, and last week Italy voted against starting a nuclear programme. So does this mean a decade-long revival of interest in nuclear power is grinding to a halt? IAEA figures suggest not. They list 65 reactors under construction, and those figures are just the tip of the iceberg because they do not include reactors that are contracted to be built, or those being planned. Neither do they acknowledge the significance of the United Arab Emirates being on course to become the first country to go nuclear since China in 1985: the UAE has signed a deal with a consortium led by the Korea Electric Power Corporation to build four reactors. Saudi Arabia is following suit, having announced earlier this month that it will build 16 reactors by 2030. Turkey plans to build two new plants. Dozens more countries have registered an interest in the nuclear option with the IAEA, though few are likely to follow through.

New Scientist 24th June 2011 more >>

Radwaste

The best PR stunts are dressed up in expensive suits and paid for by the taxpayer. Monday’s “geology seminar” at Whitehaven was a brilliant example of nasty spin from a government who wants new nukes and desperately needs to be seen to have ‘solved’ the nuclear waste problem. Some have called for “more debate” but even if Cumbria’s geology was perfect rather than leaky there are over 100 reasons why dumping high level nuclear waste in the ground is guaranteed to poison the land and us. Here are just a few examples.

101 uses for nuclear power 24th June 2011 more >>

Ireland

The Environment Minister Phil Hogan has asked the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland to examine the impact of plans for eight new nuclear power plants in Britain. The plants form part of plans, published by the British Government, and could be in action by 2025. Critics of the plan say it is “unbelievable” that new plants would be built in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. Minister Hogan has says he is “disappointed” with the British Government’s decision.

Breaking News.ie 24th June 2011 more >>

India

India’s commerce minister has called for more cooperation with the United States on nuclear energy and brushed aside talk of scrapping ambitious plans in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima crisis. On a visit to Washington, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said he has faced questions on whether India should rethink its nuclear energy policy and responded flatly: “My answer was no.” While supporting safety reviews of nuclear establishments, Sharma said: “We are very clear it is an absolute must in the bouquet of energy resources which have to be accessed.”

AFP 24th June 2011 more >>

Pakistan and India agreed on Friday to try to ease fears about their nuclear arsenals, in unexpectedly positive talks between the two countries’ top diplomats.

Reuters 24th June 2011 more >>

Japan

Workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant downplay radiation dangers, saying the risks are lower than people think.

Reuters 24th June 2011 more >>

Microgeneration

This week’s Micro Power News includes news of a solar co-operative in Warwickshire; Last ditch attempts to stop the FiT cuts in the House of Lords; A Scottish Borders Solar co-operative; Falling solar pv costs; and the Governments Microgeneration Action Plan.

Microgen Scotland 24th June 2011 more >>

Posted: 25 June 2011

24 June 2011

New Nuclear: delays & costs increases

The commercial start of Britain’s first new reactors will be delayed and costs to build new stations are expected to rise, chief executives of two major UK nuclear investors said on Thursday. ‘There will be a delay, we just don’t know by how (long),’ Centrica Chief Executive Sam Laidlaw said at a conference in London. Centrica is in partnership with EDF Energy, Britain’s largest nuclear operator, to build four new nuclear power reactors in Britain. The first new European Pressurised Water Reactor (EPR), developed by France’s Areva, was planned to start operating in 2018 at the Hinkley Point site in Somerset, where EDF Energy already operates two reactors. But Japan’s nuclear crisis unleashed a wave of nuclear safety re-assessments around the world, which has thrown nuclear new build plans into doubt. At a separate conference in Prague, Centrica’s nuclear director said that while the 2018 target was achievable, the whole industry was reviewing dates for new builds after the Japan nuclear accident.

London South East 23rd June 2011 more >>

Sam Laidlaw, whose company is building the first two plants with French nuclear giant EDF, said: “There will be a delay, we just don’t know by how much.” Politicians have acknowledged that a review of nuclear safety will delay approval for reactor designs by months, but industry previously insisted that this time can be made up over the next seven years. Mr Laidlaw’s comments came as the Government confirmed its eight suitable sites for nuclear power, releasing its National Policy Statements giving guidance on planning permission.

Telegraph 24th June 2011 more >>

Reuters 23rd June 2011 more >>

A new opinion poll from Ipsos MORI tells us: 62% of citizens in 24 countries across the world oppose the use of nuclear energy, with a quarter of those having change their minds after the Fukushima disaster. Before looking in more detail at the poll, let me make very clear that I think the debate over nuclear power is a fiendishly complex one. It encompasses the risks of rising carbon dioxide, the strength of political will behind renewables like wind and solar, whether the true cost of nuclear can be calculated and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. I don’t think there’s an easy formula that combines all these factors and into which you can feed data and get the “right” answer. You have to make your own judgements about some things, as I’ve written before, and one of those things is public opinion.

Guardian 23rd June 2011 more >>

Ipsos-Mori 23rd June 2011 more >>

Letter Steuart Campbell: Patrick Harvie MSP (Platform, 22 June) implies that the public will pay for the “huge investment” required for new nuclear power stations. However, unlike all renewables, which are both subsidised by consumers (increasing our bills) and the state, nuclear stations will be built without any subsidy entirely at the expense of the constructors/operators.

Scotsman 24th June 2011 more >>

National Policy Statements

Ministers have announced plans for the next generation of UK nuclear plants. The government confirmed a list of eight sites it deems suitable for new power stations by 2025, all of which are adjacent to existing nuclear sites. The sites are: Bradwell, Essex; Hartlepool; Heysham, Lancashire; Hinkley Point, Somerset; Oldbury, Gloucestershire; Sellafield, Cumbria; Sizewell, Suffolk; and Wylfa, Anglesey. The announcement comes three months after the Fukushima disaster in Japan. Andreas Speck from Stop New Nuclear said Stop New Nuclear would continue to oppose the plants “more than ever” and would blockade the Hinkley Point site on 3 October. Friends of the Earth said the UK’s energy needs could be met through “clean renewable power”. “After five decades of nuclear power the industry still needs huge public subsidy, while solar is set to operate without taxpayer support within a decade – even in cloudy Britain,” spokesman Simon Bullock said. “The Government is obsessed with putting a new nuclear millstone around Britain’s neck.”

BBC 23rd June 2011 more >>

FT 23rd June 2011 more >>

London Evening Standards 23rd June 2011 more >>

Bircham Dyson Bell 23rd June 2011 more >>

Independent 24th June 2011 more >>

Business Green 23rd June 2011 more >>

Telegraph 23rd June 2011 more >>

Guardian 23rd June 2011 more >>

Newcastle Journal 23rd June 2011 more >>

Express 23rd June 2011 more >>

Herald 23rd June 2011 more >>

Interactive Map.

Guardian 23rd June 2011 more >>

The UK’s finalised Energy National Policy Statements (NPS), which set the stage for planning decisions on energy infrastructure projects including nuclear, have been formally published ready for debate in parliament. The NPSs will now be debated in parliament before being ratified, at a date to be confirmed.

World Nuclear News 23rd June 2011 more >>

The Government has confirmed it’s to push through plans for the next nuclear power stations, with two in our region. They’ve identified Sellafield in Cumbria and Hartlepool in the North East on their shortlist of eight sites.

ITV Border 23rd June 2011 more >>

Greenpeace has condemned the plans saying that nuclear power is expensive and naming sites is not a solution to dealing with radioactive waste. Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, Louise Hitchins, said: “It’s illogical, and possibly illegal, for the Government to keep pushing for a fleet of new nuclear reactors before we’ve even learned the lessons from the Fukushima meltdown. “Countries around the world are dropping their nuclear programmes as costs soar. And a growing number of our European competitors have turned their backs on nuclear power after calculating that it’s just not worth the risk.”

Edie 23rd June 2011 more >>

The Government Response to Consultation on the Revised National Policy Statements on Energy Infrastructure. Page 157 says “The NPS now states that the fact that a site is identified as potentially suitable does not prevent the impacts being considered greater than the benefits in the consideration of an application for development consent. And Page 158: “it is not necessarily the case that the whole interim storage period for the spent fuel produced by a new nuclear power station will be on-site. The Government does not wish to preclude alternative arrangements, for example a central storage facility, if a site can be identified and the necessary regulatory and planning permissions obtained.”

DECC 23rd June 2011 more >>

DECC Press Release with links to the NPS documents.

DECC 23rd June 2011 more >>

Confirmation today that the Government intends to build eight new nuclear reactors across Britain is an expensive gamble we don’t need to take, warned Friends of the Earth. Today’s announcement comes as the Government published its National Policy Statements for Energy – which aim to speed up the building of major energy infrastructure.

Friends of the Earth 23rd June 2011 more >>

WALES faces the prospect of new nuclear power stations in the north and near the south coast under UK Government plans published yesterday.The Department of Energy & Climate Change said a “surge of investment” was needed and gave the green light to proposals to build a new power plant at Wylfa on Anglesey and at Hinkley Point in Somerset. Anti-nuclear campaigners have appealed to MPs to oppose the plans when these are put before Parliament for approval. Carl Iwan Clowes, of People Against Wylfa B (Pawb), a retired doctor who lives in Rhoscefnhir on Anglesey, said it would be “morally indefensible” to press ahead, especially after this year’s Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. He warned that a facility would be vulnerable to terrorist attack, air accidents and human error, and called for investment in renewable energy. He told the Western Mail he had the following message for UK ministers: “There are real alternatives both for energy and employment… this is not playground politics; this is for real. “Japan will never be the same country after Fukushima. If it can happen, it will happen sooner or later, somewhere or sometime. It mustn’t be on our watch.”

Western Mail 24th June 2011 more >>

THREE of the eight sites the UK has today (Thursday) revealed as suitable for new nuclear power stations overlook the Isle of Man. The UK’s coalition government has revealed new stations could be built at Heysham, in Lancashire, Sellafield, in Cumbria, and Wylfa, Anglesey, by 2025.

Isle of Man Today 23rd June 2011 more >>

Hinkley

Hinkley Point is today expected to be named as an approved site for new nuclear build – securing a multi-billion pound investment for Somerset. Oldbury in South Gloucestershire will also discover whether it is on the Government’s final list of locations which can host the next generation of reactors. Anti-nuclear campaigners will fight plans for a new generation of reactors at Hinkley Point, and Oldbury if it is included, arguing they are not needed, and citing health concerns.

Western Daily Press 23rd June 2011 more >>

PLANS for a third nuclear power station in Somerset have taken a major leap forward today after the Government named Hinkley Point on a list of suitable sites for new nuclear plants.

Somerset County Gazette 23rd June 2011 more >>

Wylfa

GOVERNMENT ministers have announced that the Wylfa site in Anglesey is one of eight approved locations for new nuclear power stations.

North Wales Chronicle 23rd June 2011 more >>

Wales Online 23rd June 2011 more >>

The consortium behind plans for a new nuclear power station on Anglesey has welcomed a UK government decision to list the site as suitable for the next generation of plants. Wylfa was confirmed among eight sites around the UK, all adjacent to existing nuclear sites, deemed suitable for new power stations by 2025.

BBC 23rd June 2011 more >>

Welcoming the inclusion of Wylfa as suitable site for nuclear power development, Mrs Gillan said: “This is great news for Anglesey and the North Wales economy. It demonstrates the UK Government’s commitment to supporting major infrastructure investment in Wales. Wylfa is a prime location. Today’s announcement will be a huge boost to its workforce and offers the prospect of continued electricity production on the island for years to come.

Wales Office 23rd June 2011 more >>

Oldbury

OLDBURY has been included on a list of eight sites named by the government today as being suitable for new nuclear power stations. The proposals for new UK nuclear power plants are part of a series of national policy statements on energy which have been published following a public consultation.

Gloucestershire Gazette 23rd June 2011 more >>

Regulators have given permission for reactor 1 at the Oldbury nuclear power station, near Bristol, UK to operate until the end of 2012 – 18 months longer than previously planned. The decision means that all of the fuel produced for the Oldbury site can be used up.

Nuclear Engineering International 23rd June 2011 more >>

“It is far too premature to determine the full effects of Fukushima and the potential disasters that could still emanate from there. The German government and people have decided to close the existing nuclear power stations, The Italians voted in a referendum to scrap any plans for new nuclear. We with the French now stand alone in Europe as totally unmoved by the potential disasters that can be caused by nature or humans in their planning and control systems. The disaster in Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant was caused, not by the tsunami or earthquake, but by the human beings who built a nuclear power station close to an earthquake zone.

Shepperdine Against Nuclear Energy 23rd June 2011 more >>

ONE of the country’s oldest power stations, Oldbury, has been given permission to stay open for another 18 months. It comes as the Government rubber stamped Oldbury Power Station, in Thornbury, as one of eight sites where a new nuclear reactor could be built. Yesterday, Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary Chris Huhne revealed Oldbury could get a new reactor by 2025. It will be manufactured by Horizon Nuclear Power, based at Brockworth, and is expected to create numerous jobs. The current power station was originally facing closure in December 2008, but won two previous extension. It has now secured another. It means Reactor 1 can generate electricity until the end of 2012, using up all the available fuel produced.Reactor 2 is due to cease generation on Thursday, in line with current plans.

Gloucestershire Citizen 24th June 2011 more >>

AN ENERGY firm says a new nuclear power station in Gloucestershire could bring hundreds of jobs and millions of pounds of investment. In the first major announcement on the future of nuclear in the UK since the Fukushima disaster in Japan, the Government confirmed Oldbury as one of the eight sites where the next generation of reactors can be built. All the locations deemed suitable for new power stations by 2025 are next to existing nuclear sites. The move has been welcomed by Gloucester-based Horizon Nuclear Power – a conglomerate formed by Eon and RWE – which is behind the plans for the Oldbury site.

Gloucestershire Echo 24th June 2011 more >>

Heysham

HEYSHAM was today confirmed as one of the sites for the UK’s next generation of nuclear power plants. David Morris, Morecambe’s MP and a big supporter of nuclear power, said: “The whole community has been lobbying for decades to increase jobs at Heysham. “I have spent many hours negotiating with Chris Huhne (Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change) and I am delighted that today’s announcement confirms there will continue to be nuclear power in Heysham for many years to come.”

The Visitor 23rd June 2011 more >>

Next generation of reactors will be built at Sellafield and Heysham, the Government announced today as it pushes ahead with plans for new nuclear power plants.

Westmorland Gazette 23rd June 2011 more >>

Next generation of reactors will be built at Sellafield and Heysham, the Government announced today as it pushes ahead with plans for new nuclear power plants.

Lancaster Citizen 23rd June 2011 more >>

Sellafield

Hopes of an environmentally friendly and diversified business future for West Cumbria have been dashed by today’s well-trailed approval by Government of the suitability of the greenfield site north of Sellafield for new reactor build. CORE’s spokesman Martin Forwood said today. This fixation on suffocating West Cumbria with all things nuclear ignores the wealth of evidence against the suitability of the proposed site and clearly has more to do with appeasing the nuclear apologists promoting the Energy Coast Masterplan than ensuring a safe, economic and reliable source of electricity for the UK”. The proposed site’s green field status and its accepted remoteness from the UK’s south and south-east regions where the electricity is needed – together with the lack of national grid infrastructure – should have ruled out the site long ago. That these obvious ‘show-stoppers’ have been ignored by Government enforces the widely held view that the UK’s renewable energy potential – particularly that of Cumbria – is being sacrificed on the altar of a nuclear power programme that can only survive with significant taxpayer subsidies.

CORE Press Release 23rd June 2011 more >>

Hartlepool

Hartlepool has been chosen as one of eight sites where a new nuclear power plant could be built. The location, next to the existing station, has been labelled suitable. The plans will have to go through parliament and the planning process, but ministers hope they will be up and running by 2025. James Ramsbotham, from the North East Chamber of Commerce, said: “There are opportunities for companies and it’s good news for those already employed.” Iris Ryder from the Green Party in Hartlepool said: “This first power station was built on a site that was totally unsuitable, to build a second one is just madness. “At the moment we’ve got a multi-million pound development on the seafront to try and protect our coastline, and yet they are wanting to put a nuclear reactor further along the same coastline. “This is not a safe way of going on.”

BBC 23rd June 2011 more >>

Sizewell

The Government has pushed ahead with plans for new nuclear power plants in the UK today as it confirmed a list of eight sites, including one by Sizewell B in north Suffolk, where the next generation of reactors can be built.

Eastern Daily Press 23rd June 2011 more >>

A third nuclear reactor at Sizewell has been given Government approval along with seven other UK sites.

Suffolk Evening Star 23rd June 2011 more >>

Bradwell

Plans for new nuclear power plants in the UK, including one in Essex, are being pushed forward, despite the Fukushima disaster in Japan. The government’s confirmed a list of eight sites where the next generation of reactors can be built, Bradwell is on it. It means we could see a new power station built there by 2025.

Heart FM 23rd June 2011 more >>

Scotland

Scotland should continue to resist attempts to build new nuclear power plants and instead concentrate on clean renewables and energy efficiency, said WWF Scotland today (Thursday 23 June). The environmental charity made the call following today’s confirmation by the UK Government of a list of eight sites – all in England and Wales – where they say the next generation of reactors can be built. WWF Scotland’s Director, Dr Richard Dixon, said: “Following the recent rejection of nuclear by Germany, Switzerland and Italy, it is deeply depressing to see the UK Government pressing ahead with plans for new nuclear power plants. The UK needs new nuclear power like it needs a hole in the head. Nuclear power is an expensive and dangerous distraction that will undermine moves to boost the use of renewables and energy saving.

WWF Scotland 23rd June 2011 more >>

Radwaste

NOWHERE in West Cumbria will be forced to take higher levels of nuclear waste against their wishes, a packed meeting in Whitehaven heard on Monday. Assurances were given that communities will have the final say on whether to accept an underground repository for burying the material. While no specific sites have yet to be identified it was admitted that Black Combe was a possibe for investigation. A panel of geological and radioactive waste experts were asked: “If the answer is ‘no’ where do you go from here? You are only looking at one option which means you are going to try and make it fit.”But Professor Simon Harley, one of the government’s radioactive waste management advisors, answered: “It is a voluntary process. It will only move forward with community participation. If a community decides it does not want to move further forward the process will come to an end. That will leave the UK with a significant legacy of nuclear waste that needs to find a solution.” This was greeted by applause from some members of the audience. After the meeting Greenpeace campaigner Jean McSorley said: “Clearly the geologists believe there are areas which need to be investigated. The big question mark is whether they’re going to find at the end of a long, expensive process that those areas are going to be suitable. I think the answer to that is ‘no.’ Tonight’s debate doesn’t resolve anything.”

Whitehaven News 23rd June 2011 more >>

Europe

A study by the industry’s European trade association Foratom – intended to win support for nuclear in the European Commission’s Energy Roadmap 2050 expected later this year – accepted that bans on new build, nuclear phase-out policies and “arbitrary caps” could damage nuclear’s health. However, Foratom claimed that favourable conditions, including strong climate policies, could result in nuclear expansion by 2050.

Utility Week 22nd June 2011 more >>

Terror

Global action to protect the nuclear industry against possible terrorist attacks is urgently needed, a leading expert said, as are safety steps to prevent any repeat of Japan’s Fukushima accident. “Both al Qaeda and Chechen terrorist groups have repeatedly considered sabotaging nuclear reactors — and Fukushima provided a compelling example of the scale of terror such an attack might cause,” Matthew Bunn of Harvard University said. Some countries had “extraordinarily weak security measures in place”, he said in an Internet blog posted this week, without naming them. “The nuclear industry in many countries is much less prepared to cope with security incidents than with accidents,” wrote Bunn, an associate professor at Harvard Kennedy School who specialises in nuclear issues.

Reuters 23rd June 2011 more >>

US

Building the country’s first brand-new nuclear power plant in a generation could take longer and cost the Southern Co. more than its approved $6.1 billion budget, but the problems “are not insurmountable,” an independent monitor testified Thursday.

Forbes 23rd June 2011 more >>

As America’s nuclear power plants have aged, the once-rural areas around them have become far more crowded and much more difficult to evacuate. Yet government and industry have paid little heed, even as plants are running at higher power and posing more danger in the event of an accident, an Associated Press investigation has found.

Lohud.com 23rd June 2011 more >>

Weeks of flooding in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri have threatened two nuclear plants in eastern Nebraska. Both have issued “unusual event” alerts (the lowest of four emergency levels) to the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

World Socialist Web 23rd June 2011 more >>

Russia

A report stunning in its candor prepared for Russian President Dmitry Medvedev by the county’s state nuclear monopoly in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster reveals that Russia’s atomic reactors are grievously under-prepared for both natural and man-made disasters ranging from floods to fires to earthquakes or plain negligence.

Bellona 21st June 2011 more >>

Russia and six other neighbors of the European Union agreed to follow the EU’s lead by imposing new safety checks on their nuclear power stations, the EU’s executive said Thursday.

Reuters 23rd June 2011 more >>

Iran

Five Russian scientists who died in a plane crash on Tuesday had been helping Iran with nuclear secrets, it has been revealed. They were among 45 killed when the plane’s lights failed in heavy fog and careered into a motorway before bursting into flames – leading conspiracy theorists to believe it was a deliberate plot to kill the nuclear experts.

Daily Mail 23rd June 2011 more >>

Telegraph 23rd June 2011 more >>

Lithuania

Westinghouse Electric Company, the United States-based arm of Japan’s Toshiba Corp , said on Thursday it was ready to take a stake in a new Lithuanian nuclear power plant.

Reuters 23rd June 2011 more >>

Japan

Nuclear technicians in Japan have restarted a problem-plagued water purification system at Fukushima Daiichi atomic power station, as they race to prevent radiation-contaminated water from overflowing into the sea. About 110,000 tonnes of highly contaminated water have accumulated in basements and service tunnels under the plants four crippled reactors, a result of three months worth of emergency cooling efforts since the March 11 tsunami. The onset of Japans early-summer rainy season has made the situation more critical by adding to the build-up. If water cannot be pumped out in the next few days, it is likely to overflow, according to Tokyo Electric Power, the plants operator. That would further contaminate the station grounds as well as the nearby ocean, making conditions more dangerous for emergency workers. The company is already struggling to keep to its ti metable for bringing the plant to a safe cold shutdown by January a process that depends crucially on its ability to cycle decontaminated coolant water through the reactors.

FT 24th June 2011 more >>

Following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami disaster of March 11, the meltdown of the nuclear reactor in Fukushima continues to alarm people all around the world. The world witnessed the events virtually live as one reactor building after another exploded and one of the planet’s most high-tech countries tried to quell the 770 000 terabecquerel (1) radioactivity unleashed from the meltdown with bucket and hose. Japan was desperate to convince the world that everything was under control. Following the media reports from Japan, many people ask themselves why governments chose to gamble on nuclear power in such an earthquake-prone country—after the US and France, Japan is the world’s third largest nuclear power nation—and why the people of this land appeared to be so indifferent to the dangers of nuclear energy. These are the questions we want to pursue.

World Socialist Web 23rtd June 2011 more >>

Thorium

With the world’s population due to hit nine billion by 2050, it highlights the increasingly urgent need to find a clean, reliable and renewable source of energy. India hopes it has the answer: thorium, a naturally occurring radioactive element, four times more abundant than uranium in the earth’s crust. The pro-thorium lobby claim a single tonne of thorium burned in a molten salt reactor (MSR) – typically a liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR) – which has liquid rather than solid fuel, can produce one gigawatt of energy. A traditional pressurised water reactor (PWR) would need to burn 250 tonnes of uranium to produce the same amount of energy. They also produce less waste, have no weapons-grade by-products, can consume legacy plutonium stockpiles and are meltdown-proof – if the hype is to be believed. India certainly has faith, with a burgeoning population, chronic electricity shortage, few friends on the global nuclear stage (it hasn’t signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty) and the world’s largest reserves of thorium. ‘Green’ nuclear could help defuse opposition at home (the approval of two new traditional nuclear power reactors on its west coast led to fierce protests recently) and allow it to push ahead unhindered with its stated aim of generating 270GW of energy from nuclear by 2050. There is a significant sticking point to the promotion of thorium as the ‘great green hope’ of clean energy production: it remains unproven on a commercial scale. While it has been around since the 1950s (and an experimental 10MW LFTR did run for five years during the 1960s at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US, though using uranium and plutonium as fuel) it is still a next generation nuclear technology – theoretical. ‘Without exception, [thorium reactors] have never been commercially viable, nor do any of the intended new designs even remotely seem to be viable. Like all nuclear power production they rely on extensive taxpayer subsidies; the only difference is that with thorium and other breeder reactors these are of an order of magnitude greater, which is why no government has ever continued their funding.’

Guardian 23rd June 2011 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Time Out interview with Lucy Walker about Countdown to Zero.

Time Out 23rd June 2011 more >>

Renewables

A new analysis of the global power plant market launched today by Greenpeace International shows that since the 1990s, installations of wind and solar grew faster than any other power plant technology [1]. In addition, renewable energy expanded rapidly, to reach its biggest market share in 2010 and providing enough capacity to supply electricity to the equivalent of one third of Europe. The Greenpeace report, The Silent Energy Revolution: 20 Years in the Making, also highlights how renewable energy power plants accounted for more than a quarter (26%) of all new power plants added to the worldwide electricity grid over the past decade, compared to nuclear power stations representing just 2% of new installations in the same period.

Greenpeace 23rd June 2011 more >>

Posted: 24 June 2011

23 June 2011

National Policy Statements

Energy secretary Chris Huhne will today confirm that the Government wants to press ahead with new nuclear power stations at eight sites. The Government will also publish a wider national policy statements for nuclear energy. The publication before summer was vital to allow progress on the planned nuclear power station at Hinkley in Somerset where plans to start building are most advanced. Developer EDF intends to submit a planning application in October, but could not do this until the Government announced the sites. The plan can now be be debated and voted on by Parliament, and ministers hope that the programme gets the go-ahead within weeks.

Construction Enquirer 23rd June 2011 more >>

Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary, will confirm that new reactors at sites including Sellafield, Anglesey and Hinkley Point will be built in a multi-billion pound programme to make Britain more self-sufficient in energy. Sources close to Mr Huhne said that the statement would show that Britain is “open for business” after other European countries scaled back their nuclear plans.

Telegraph 23rd June 2011 more >>

Nuclear Subsidy

ALL future costs of decommissioning nuclear power stations will have to be met by the industry. The government has accepted an amendment to its Energy Bill put down by anti-nuclear MPs that make it explicit that owners of nuclear power stations would be fully responsible for any changes to clean-up operations or costs following decommissioning. Copeland MP Jamie Reed has welcomed the move, but said the government should subsidise an underground nuclear storage facility. Anti-nuclear campaigners had criticised the government’s previous wording of the Energy Bill, as they believed it threw into question who was responsible for additional costs of decommissioning. The critics said that without the clarification, UK taxpayers could have footed the bill.

NW Evening Mail 22nd June 2011 more >>

Nuclear Waste

Do we want Cumbria to be the nation’s nuclear dump? The issue was debated enthusiastically a public meeting in Whitehaven this week. It was organised by West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership, an advisory body specifically created to investigate whether the plan should be supported in Cumbria. One of the key voices was that of Copeland Council leader Elaine Woodburn. Cherry Wade, from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), told the meeting: “We would not want to proceed unless we were confident that a site was safe. “For those parts of west Cumbria which are still potentially in consideration for this process the amount of geological information available is highly variable. For most of the region insufficient information exists on which to take a decision on the suitability to host a geological disposal facility. Even for those areas where more information is available it would be necessary to evaluate it further in the light of the advanced knowledge which has taken place since the early stages and make sure the information and the understanding is up to date.” Her words gave little reassurance to campaign groups like Greenpeace who regard an underground repository as a gamble with the health of future generations. Dr Ruth Balogh, from the west Cumbria and North Lakes Friends of the Earth, questions the value of this week’s meeting. She says: “Hosting a repository in this region would mean keeping people and the environment safe from hazardous radioactive waste for hundreds of thousands of years. An issue of this magnitude deserves more than a biased two-hour seminar.”

Carlisle News & Star 22nd June 2011 more >>

Emergency Planning

The Department of Energy and Climate Change today formally responded to the three recommendations for Government contained in the Chief Nuclear Inspector’s interim report on events at the Fukushima nuclear site in Japan. The Government will continue to work with international partners in the G8, G20 and IAEA to ensure that information is shared in a timely and open manner in the event of any future global nuclear event; carry out a review of the Japanese response to the events at Fukushima and identify any lessons for UK emergency planning by the end of 2011; and review the UK’s own national nuclear emergency arrangements to ensure that they are as robust as possible and can deal effectively with prolonged nuclear incidents, and update guidance before the Chief Nuclear Inspector’s final report.

DECC Press Release 21st June 2011 more >>

Hansard 21st June 2011 more >>

The UK Coalition Government yesterday pledged to meet the recommendations of the Chief Nuclear Inspector’s interim report on the safety of the country’s nuclear facilities. In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan, the Government charged Mike Weightman and his team to reassess safety measures at nuclear power stations. His interim report raised no major concerns, but made three recommendations, which Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne has welcomed. He responded officially yesterday, committing the Government to work with international partners to share information in a timely and open manner in the event of any future nuclear event. Huhne added that the Government would carry out its own review of the Japanese response to the events at Fukushima and identify useful lessons for UK emergency planning by the end of the year. The Government also says it will review its own national nuclear emergency arrangements and update guidance on dealing with nuclear incidents before the Inspector’s final report.

Energy Efficiency News 22nd June 2011 more >>

Scottish Waste Consultation

The Scottish Government published a series of additional docements when it published its Higher Activity Waste Policy

Scottish Government 20th January 2011 more >>

One document was outstanding – Retrievability and Reversibility. This has now been published.

Scottish Government 17th June 2011 more >>

Energy Bill

Caroline Lucas: Since I secured a place on the energy bill committee last month, a sizeable chunk of my parliamentary schedule has been given over to scrutinising – and seeking to improve – the government’s key proposals on energy policy, including its flagship household energy efficiency programme, the “green deal”. This work will come to a close today when the committee meets for the final time. The energy bill introduces a new provision, the energy company obligation (ECO), which obliges firms to provide energy efficiency measures for the fuel-poor. However, since this obligation is funded by a levy on the fuel bills of everyone, including those who can least afford it, there is a very real risk this mechanism will push more people into fuel poverty than it pulls out. At the energy bill’s second reading, there was a welcome announcement from the secretary of state of the introduction of a minimum standard of efficiency: from 2018, no privately rented property with an energy rating below band E will be allowed to be put on the market. Yet the government has inherited a target of eradicating fuel poverty by 2016, two years earlier. Given the seriousness of the scourge of fuel poverty, which is thought to cause around 40,000 extra winter deaths every year, ministers should be bringing the introduction of its efficiency standards forward to 2016, as well as setting out an ambitious timetable for further improvements. I have tabled amendments to do just that – aiming for a phasing out of all of the worst insulated properties. My proposals are that no band F or G properties would be let or marketed to let by 2015; that by 2016 there would be no new lets of band E properties; and that by 2019 band D properties would be outlawed, followed by band C properties in 2022. After this, I want to see the secretary of state bring forward a plan to achieve band A ratings by 2030 at the latest.

Guardian 21st June 2011 more >>

Oldbury

Almost half of the Oldbury nuclear power plant site has been declared free of the need for nuclear regulation. At the same time, Oldbury 1 has been granted approval to generate electricity until 2012 – an 18 month extension on earlier plans. Originally scheduled to close in 2008, it has had its operation extended on two occasions. It was due to be shut by the end of June this year but a final extension, announced today, could see unit 1 generate until the end of 2012 allowing it to use up all the remaining fuel. Unit 2 will cease generation on 30 June, in line with the earlier plan.

World Nuclear News 22nd June 2011 more >>

The UK’s 220 megawatt Oldbury 1 nuclear power reactor can produce electricity into 2012, following an extension to its operational license granted by regulators, operator Magnox said on Wednesday. Reactor 2 is due to cease generation on June 30 this year, in line with current plans.

Reuters 22nd June 2011 more >>

BBC 22nd June 2011 more >>

Hinkley

NATIONAL Grid has come under fresh attack over its plans for a massive corridor of pylons across the Somerset Levels. As reported in the Weekly News, National Grid is considering how best to connect the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station to an electricity substation at Avonmouth. Campaigners have pleaded for the firm to choose underground cables instead of overhead pylons, which they say would destroy the landscape, but National Grid fears the underground option would be too expensive.

This is the West Country 22nd June 2011 more >>

Carbon Emissions

The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions are likely to fall and the cost of carbon emissions for industry will rise as a result of Germany’s decision to shut down its nuclear power plants, a new analysis has shown. Germany’s own carbon emissions will rise, because the phase-out of nuclear power between now and 2022 will force an increased reliance on fossil fuels, such as coal and gas. But this in turn is likely to push up the price of carbon permits within the European Union’s emissions trading scheme – by about €5 (£4.60) a tonne, according to research to be published on Wednesday by Thomson Reuters Point Carbon, an analyst company. If that happens, generators in many countries will switch from coal-fired power generation to gas, which produces less carbon, predicts Daniel Jefferson, author of the research.

Guardian 22nd June 2011 more >>

Energy Supplies

Sam Laidlaw (Centrica) Three forces are coming together our growing dependence on an increasingly volatile world market; our commitment to make serious cuts in carbon emissions; and our obligation as a society to ensure that energy remains affordable. It is going to be exceedingly difficult to reconcile these three forces as we build the energy market of the future. Today, we at Centrica have published the results of an opinion poll which shows only 25pc of respondents thought it vital that the Government sticks to its plans for creating a low carbon power industry if it meant higher bills. The Government must also put in place structures and incentives to encourage investment in wind and new nuclear. This has to happen soon. We can’t afford to postpone these choices. If we do, there is a danger of interruptions to supply in the coming decade. New nuclear power stations are an essential part of the energy mix. It’s important not to sacrifice an important element of our futu re energy security. In our poll, 53pc of respondents agreed it was better to have more nuclear power than higher carbon emissions. It is vital to set out the true costs and implications of decarbonisation. Regulator Ofgem believes consumer bills could rise by anything between 250 and 600 over the next decade, largely due to the levels of new investment required and the increasing cost of carbon. Yet it’s clear from our poll the public is totally unprepared for price increases on this scale. We found that while one third of consumers are willing to pay an additional 100 on their bill to ensure decarbonisation and energy security, only 1pc would be prepared to pay an extra 500. There is a dangerous disconnect here between reality and popular understanding.

Telegraph 23rd June 2011 more >>

Britain will have to abandon its ambitious carbon emission reduction targets within a year if the public continues to resist higher bills, according to the chief executive of the British Gas owner Centrica. Sam Laidlaw will say in a speech tonight that there is a disconnect over the public’s understanding of the reality of rising costs to keep the lights on and generating electricity from more expensive lower-carbon sources, such as wind and nuclear. Mr Laidlaw believes that the public needs to take ownership of government policy to drastically cut carbon emissions and hit ambitious renewable energy targets, which they are paying for through higher utility bills. He will warn that the UK is rapidly approaching a tipping point and that there is a risk that society is being unrealistic about the scale, and cost, of the energy challenge.

The Times 23rtd June 2011 more >>

Nuclear Industry Association

Lord O’Neill’s time at the NIA has coincided with a dramatic change in the fortunes of nuclear power. Roger Milne talks to him. Lord O’Neill, the outgoing chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), won’t forget Friday 11 March this year in a hurry. That was the day the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan and crippled the nuclear power station at Fukushima. He was in Tokyo with colleagues from the association on a fact-finding mission to investigate Japanese nuclear construction techniques and had been visiting facilities under construction, which were vastly superior in design and safety to the Fukushima nuclear plant. O’Neill accepts that this means the original timescale for new-build will slip. ”Six to nine months would be worth waiting to get it right,” he says.  O’Neill believes the UK should be gearing up to consider new types of reactor technology, which might involve some form of fast reactor. He also believes there should be a discussion about making use of the weapons grade plutonium currently in store at Sellafield for nuclear fuel. But the big one is nuclear waste. He says the 35 to 40-year timescale proposed by the government’s independent advisers for finding a new disposal facility is unduly slow. ”We have yet to show we have a credible strategy for the storage of nuclear waste. We need to inject a sense of urgency into that. We’ve crossed a number of bridges but we’ve yet to convince the public on that,” he says.

Utility Week 22nd June 2011 more >>

Companies

Consultant Amec has been awarded a framework contract by Magnox Ltd to provide nuclear consultancy services at their sites across the UK. The two-year contract, the value of which has not been announced, will see Amec provide both specialist nuclear and safety case services across the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) estate. Magnox Ltd operates 10 sites on behalf of the NDA. The framework contract will give Magnox access to Amec’s expertise in a wide range of capabilities in radioactive waste, chemistry, physics, sludge handling, encapsulation of waste, contaminated land studies, characterisation, technical option studies and safety case services.

New Civil Engineer 22nd June 2011 more >>

Japan

Yasuteru Yamada, a 72-year-old former anti-nuclear activist, will lead a band of pensioners to the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant early next month to help clean up the site of Japan’s worst atomic disaster since World War II.

Bloomberg 23rd June 2011 more >>

“Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind,” Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president, told Al Jazeera. Japan’s 9.0 earthquake on March 11 caused a massive tsunami that crippled the cooling systems at the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan. It also led to hydrogen explosions and reactor meltdowns that forced evacuations of those living within a 20km radius of the plant. Gundersen, a licensed reactor operator with 39 years of nuclear power engineering experience, managing and coordinating projects at 70 nuclear power plants around the US, says the Fukushima nuclear plant likely has more exposed reactor cores than commonly believed. “Fukushima has three nuclear reactors exposed and four fuel cores exposed,” he said, “You probably have the equivalent of 20 nuclear reactor cores because of the fuel cores, and they are all in desperate need of being cooled, and there is no means to cool them effectively.”

Aljazeera 16th June 2011 more >>

Germany

Germany’s largest power producer RWE is to file an objection against the German government’s nuclear fuel tax on Wednesday, a spokeswoman said. RWE is also poised to divest a 75 percent stake in its high-voltage power grid arm within the next few days, two people familiar with the transaction told Reuters. News of RWE’s legal move comes after peer E.ON late in May said it would sue the government for billions of euros in damages arising from the decision to abandon nuclear power within the next decade.

Reuters 23rd June 2011 more >>

City AM 23rd June 2011 more >>

Vattenfall, the Swedish energy company, has warned that Germany’s decision to bring an early end to the country’s nuclear power programme would cause an immediate $1.6bn hit on profits, bolstering its case for compensation from the German government. The Swedish state-controlled company said it would be forced to write down the value of its German nuclear plants and increase provisions for decommissioning, resulting in a SKr10bn ($1.6bn) impact on second-quarter operating profits. The company reported operating profits of SKr29.9bn for the whole of 2010.

FT 22nd June 2011 more >>

US

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said Wednesday it was closely monitoring conditions along the Missouri River, where floodwaters were rising at Nebraska Public Power District’s Cooper Nuclear Station and Omaha Public Power District’s Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant in Nebraska.

STV 22nd June 2011 more >>

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) routinely fails to detect leaks of radioactive water from power plants and such leaks are likely to continue, a Senate report concluded on Tuesday. The report by Democratic Senators Edward Markey and Peter Welch for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) was a response to an investigation which revealed three-quarters of the country’s 65 nuclear plants have leaked radioactive tritium. In at least three cases the carcinogenic chemical had contaminated drinking water.

Morning Star 22nd June 2011 more >>

The US’s ageing stock of nuclear reactors only grows more unsafe as it gets older. Renewables offer clean, green energy. New details are emerging that indicate the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan is far worse than previously known, with three of the four affected reactors experiencing full meltdowns. Meanwhile, in the US, massive flooding along the Missouri River has put Nebraska’s two nuclear plants, both near Omaha, on alert. The Cooper nuclear station declared a low-level emergency and will have to close down if the river rises another 3in. The Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant has been shut down since 9 April, in part due to flooding. At Prairie Island, Minnesota, extreme heat caused the nuclear plant’s two emergency diesel generators to fail. Emergency generator failure was one of the key problems that led to the meltdowns at Fukushima. In the US, the NRC has provided preliminary approval of the Southern Company’s planned expansion of the Vogtle power plant in Georgia, which would allow the first construction of new nuclear power plants in the US since Three Mile Island. The project got a boost from President Barack Obama, who pledged an $8.3bn federal loan guarantee. Southern plans on using Westinghouse’s new AP1000 reactor. But a coalition of environmental groups has filed to block the permit, noting that the new reactor design is inherently unsafe.

Guardian 22nd June 2011 more >>

An overwhelming 90% of respondents said that the recent events following the Fukushima Daiichi accident in Japan had little to no effect on their concerns over US nuclear energy safety. However, support for building new facilities was only moderate (45% of respondents supported building new facilities), with only 14% strongly opposed future construction.

Nuclear Engineering International 22nd June 2011 more >>

France

EDF denied Wednesday there had been radioactive leaks at any of its French nuclear plants, after market talk of a possible incident hit its share price. Earlier Wednesday, French investigative website Mediapart reported there had been a series of malfunctions at the Paluel plant in the northern region of Normandy, which it said produces some 8 percent of the country’s nuclear power capacity. The website said the site had suffered from repeated leaks, discharges of radioactive gas, the triggering of alerts and incidents of worker contamination. A union representing workers at the Paluel plant said in a statement last week there had been a leak of radioactive iodine at the plant for a number of months, starting last winter.

Reuters 22nd June 2011 more >>

Finland

The project by Areva and Siemens to build the world’s first third-generation European pressurised water reactor on the west coast of Finland has been beset by problems. Yet despite the delays and setbacks to Olkiluoto 3, the Finns have not lost faith in the essential viability of the design. While some European countries – notably Germany – have lost faith in nuclear power altogether in the wake of the disaster at Fukushima in Japan, Finland has no intention of following suit. 

Utility Week 22nd June 2011 more >>

Aldermaston

Three Christian peace protesters were convicted yesterday (21 June) at Newbury Magistrates Court of Criminal Trespass under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA), and Criminal Damage. The convictions follow a protest at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in September 2010 organised by the Catholic Worker movement. The three, Susan Clarkson (64), Chris Cole (47) both from Oxford, and Fr Martin Newell (42) from London were conditionally discharged for 18 months and ordered to pay £553 each costs and compensation. The three had created a gateway in the outer fence of AWE Aldermaston and attached a sign say ‘Open for Disarmament: All Welcome.” In their evidence the protestors described the massive development currently being undertaken at AWE Aldermaston and argued that the developments were in contravention of both the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Ekklesia 22nd June 2011 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Two developments are inching the world towards a nuclear tipping point. The first is the Iranian nuclear programme. Were Iran to reach nuclear status, it would spark a nuclear arms race throughout the Middle East. The second is terrorists efforts to acquire fissile material. Proliferation to non-state actors is now as much of a threat as the spread of nuclear weapons among states. This is particularly worrying because the logic of mutually assured destruction that kept fingers off nuclear but tons during the cold war does not apply to terrorist groups. To head off such threats, nuclear- armed states need to start shedding weapons. Until now, the drive to cut arsenals has centred on the US and Russia. That is understandable, since these two powers own 95 per cent of the worlds nuclear weaponry. But this narrow focus is also a reason that broader disarmament has been conspicuous by its absence. As argued by Global Zero, an anti-nuclear group hosting a conference on disarmament in London this week, what is needed is a more aggressively multilateral approach.

FT 23rd June 2011 more >>

Renewables

Farmers in the Scottish Borders have been given the opportunity to receive up to 40,000 kilowatt/hours of free electricity every year under a ground-breaking deal between Borders Machinery Ring and ISIS solar. The added attraction of this agreement is that the farmers involved will have no capital outlay in the scheme. Michael Bayne, manager of BMR which has 850 members, said that all the farmers had to do was provide a suitable site. This, he said, could be on the roof of a building or even just along the side of a hedge.

Scotsman 23rd June 2011 more >>

Posted: 23 June 2011

22 June 2011

New Nukes

The Government has today been forced to remove a controversial clause from its new Energy Bill which could have made the nuclear industry eligible for bailouts following opposition from Conservative and Lib Dem MPs. Ministers argued that the clause – highlighted by Friends of the Earth in April – was essential because it reduced risk for those investing in nuclear power. Friends of the Earth and others said it didn’t reduce risk, it simply transferred it from nuclear companies to the taxpayer – effectively a subsidy. Ministers are expected to introduce an amended clause at a later stage in the Energy Bill. Under existing law, Ministers must agree a clean-up plan and the funding arrangements required with any company building a new nuclear power station. Crucially however, Ministers can amend these plans should something happen which means new safety measures are required, or there is another unforseen change in circumstances. The proposed clause 102 (now withdrawn from the Bill) would have allowed Ministers to promise the companies they would not change these plans, unless they agreed. This made it possible for nuclear companies to refuse to agree to new safety measures unless Government funded them.

FoE Press Release 21st June 2011 more >>

Oldbury

Land at a nuclear plant near Bristol could be reused after a project said there was no risk from radiation. The study, at Oldbury power station, saw soil analysed to assess the impact of nuclear operations over the past 50 years. It means that 32 hectares (79 acres) of land around the station could be reused. The remaining 39 hectares (96 acres) are made up of the plant including the turbine hall and reactor buildings. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) issued the variation to Oldbury’s licence which releases the land for future use.

BBC 21st June 2011 more >>

Hinkley

A corner of the Somerset Levels could be about to change forever with plans for three separate wind farms and a new pylon route.

Western Daily Press 21st June 2011 more >>

ANTI-NUCLEAR group Stop Hinkley says it will be campaigning at this week’s Glastonbury Festival. Members will be displaying flags with anti-nuclear slogans, running a campaign stall and playing a short film supported by Greenpeace.

This is the West Country 22nd June 2011 more >>

Energy Supplies

Green Alliance said the UK’s first dash for gas in the 1990s was good for the country because it brought down carbon emissions and electricity prices as power generation switched from more-polluting coal to gas. But the UK now has a slew of new gas plants, being built or planned, and a report from the think tank warns that they could lead to the UK missing its carbon targets for the 2020s. Fitting gas-fired power stations with unproven technology to capture and “permanently” store emissions once they have been built, to cut carbon, could increase the cost of producing electricity for firms who will pass the extra cost onto customers. Alternatively, if the Government presses ahead with its plans for new nuclear power plants and a much bigger role for renewables, it could make redundant up to half the number of the gas plants expected on the grid by 2030, wasting £10 billion in investment.

Telegraph 22nd June 2011 more >>

Ofgem has told Britain’s big six energy suppliers that sweeping reforms are needed to the retail gas and electricity market to encourage competition as prices rise. Alistair Buchanan, Ofgem chief executive, said: “We will pursue breaking up the stranglehold of the Big Six on the electricity market to encourage more firms, like new arrival the Co-op, to enter the energy market and increase the competitive pressure.” Ofgem said that wholesale energy costs had risen by 30 per cent since December, making competition in the gas and electricity market even more important. However, Centrica, EDF Energy, Scottish and Southern Energy, ScottishPower, E.ON and RWE npower have escaped a damaging formal investigation by the Competition Commission that could have taken up to 18 months to complete.

Times 22nd June 2011 more >>

First Utility, the UK’s largest independent energy supplier with more than 60,000 customers, has warned that Ofgem’s plans are unlikely to boost competition as it claims. One of the key reforms that Ofgem announced in March, after its latest retail market review, was to force the Big Six to auction up to a fifth of the electricity they generate to help new entrants such as First Utility to gain a bigger share of the market. According to First Utility’s submission to Ofgem, all the power generated by the Big Six should be auctioned, rather than up to a fifth.

Times 22nd June 2011 more >>

World Nukes

Japan will not stop using nuclear power. Instead, its engineers will develop better and safer plants, most likely relying on the miniaturised nuclear reactors that were planned to replace the ageing plant at Fukushima. Most Japanese have remained rational in the face of their country’s tragedy, as have most people in neighbouring Asian countries like China and South Korea, which, likewise, have not abandoned their commitment to nuclear energy. This is not the case in Europe and the United States, where Fukushima’s ideological aftershocks have been most destructive. German chancellor Angela Merkel’s government was the first to decide to close down all nuclear reactors in the coming years – a radical move driven by domestic politics. Ms Merkel’s government does not include Germany’s Greens, but the Green ideology has become a widely shared national creed in Germany.

Scotsman 22nd June 2011 more >>

IAEA

In a burst of activity on Monday, the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) despatched the two potentially exciting documents of its week-long ministerial meeting into the public domain.This is the meeting where IAEA member governments decide what changes they want to make to international regulation of nuclear industries, among other things. And in the wake of the biggest nuclear accident for 25 years, at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power station, this was clearly one where major shake-ups were possible. The most likely candidate for change was the regime of international inspection, which is currently very light-touch. In the run-up to the meeting, German and Swiss ministers alarmed by the proximity of French and Czech reactors to their borders said that governments should have the right to see safety assessments compiled by neighbouring states. And in his opening speech to the IAEA assembly, its chief Yukiya Amano suggested that countries should have to open their doors to inspectors sent by the IAEA on spot-check missions. To no-one’s great surprise, neither option proved palatable to governments conscious of the near total sovereignty they retain over nuclear safety.

BBC 21st June 2011 more >>

Emergency Planning

New details have emerged of how seriously the British government was bracing itself for a full scale nuclear crisis in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster. Documents show how advisers rushed to work out how bad the crisis might get, and the plans drawn up for ‘the worst case scenario’ to protect British citizens – including the British Embassy in Tokyo issuing iodine pills to expats and visitors in the capital and Sendai, 70 miles from Fukushima.

Daily Mail 21st June 2011 more >>

Scotland

Patrick Harvie (Green) MSP: A shift to renewables will mean a substantial short-term increase in investment, but alternatives like carbon capture technology or nuclear won’t give us a free ride – they, too, would require huge investment. In the longer term, though, relying on Scotland’s own wind, wave and tidal resources will certainly be cheaper than continued dependence on diminishing supplies of fossil or nuclear fuel – even without considering the much higher capital cost of nuclear power. That calculation also leaves out the employment and economic opportunities that come from moving quickly into this growing market. That’s one Green way to cut bills for the long term – but the other route is support for energy efficiency. A Scotland-wide programme to insulate every home would pay for itself, region by region, in just 18 months, cutting household bills as well as emissions. Those benefits should be available for everyone, not just home-owners who are well off enough to pay for the work themselves.

Scotsman 22nd June 2011 more >>

US

AP defines the process as “fudging of calculations and assumptions to yield answers that enable plants with deteriorating conditions to remain in compliance.” In one of the examples cited in the report, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has twice raised the acceptable level of radiation damage reactor vessels can sustain, after several plants violated or came close to violating the original standard.

Forbes 21st June 2011 more >>

An investigation by AP reveals how the industry has found a simple solution to ageing: weaken safety standards until creaking plants meet them.

Guardian 21st June 2011 more >>

Dangerous radiation has leaked from three-quarters of all U.S. nuclear power stations raising fears the country’s water supplies could one day be contaminated. The number and severity of leaks has increased because of the many old and unsafe plants across America, a new investigation has claimed. Radioactive tritium has escaped at least 48 of 65 of all U.S. sites, often entering water around the plants through rusty old pipes.

Daily Mail 21st June 2011 more >>

UK Daily Nuclear News reported on the story below about spent fuel storage in the US on 25th May when it covered:

IB Times 24th May 2011 more >>

Here is the original Bob Alvarez article. U.S. reactors have generated about 65,000 metric tons of spent fuel, of which 75 percent is stored in pools, according to Nuclear Energy Institute data. Spent fuel rods give off about 1 million rems (10,00Sv) of radiation per hour at a distance of one foot — enough radiation to kill people in a matter of seconds. There are more than 30 million such rods in U.S. spent fuel pools. No other nation has generated this much radioactivity from either nuclear power or nuclear weapons production. Even though they contain some of the largest concentrations of radioactivity on the planet, U.S. spent nuclear fuel pools are mostly contained in ordinary industrial structures designed to merely protect them against the elements. Some are made from materials commonly used to house big-box stores and car dealerships.

Institute for Policy Studies 24th May 2011 more >>

U.S. regulators see room to improve safety at the country’s nuclear power plants even though tests after the Fukushima disaster have shown they are fundamentally sound, the top U.S. watchdog said on Tuesday. More than two-thirds of the way through a 90-day task force review to see if the Japanese catastrophe had exposed any issues that needed quick action, a mixed picture was emerging, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko said.

Reuters 21st June 2011 more >>

Japan

Japanese parents living near the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant issued an “emergency petition” on Tuesday, demanding the government do more to protect their children from radiation exposure. A coalition of six citizens’ and environmental groups called for the evacuation of children and pregnant women from radiation hotspots, stricter monitoring and the early closure of schools for summer holidays. They voiced concern that authorities had focused on testing for radiation in the environment and not on people’s internal exposure through inhaling or ingesting radioactive isotopes through dust, food and drinks.

AFP 21st June 2011 more >>

Germany

Plans by the German government to axe all the country’s nuclear power stations by 2022 are under threat from legal action by aggrieved energy companies that claim Berlin’s plans are unconstitutional.

Telegraph 21st June 2011 more >>

France

France will unveil in the next few weeks a substantial rise in research funds for nuclear safety in the aftermath of Japan’s nuclear crisis, a ministerial source told Reuters on Monday.

Reuters 20th June 2011 more >>

Czech Republic

In October, a huge project to build two nuclear reactors begins in earnest with the publication of the tender parameters. The importance of this deal for the three bidders – France’s Areva, Westinghouse Electric of the US and a Russo-Czech consortium led by Atomstroyexport of Russia – promises to make this a hard-fought battle. Public opinion is not a worry – a recent G allup poll found national support for nuclear power at 63 per cent, even after events in Japan. A more likely source of trouble is financing. The cost of building Europe’s first pressurised water reactor in Finland was estimated by Areva at €3bn in 2003, but has since grown to about €6bn amid delays. Together with the possibility of further safety measures stemming from the EU’s reactor stress tests and uncertainties over the price and demand forecasts for electricity, some believe state guarantees will be needed to finance Temelin’s expansion. “Without state guarantees, this project is dead,” says Jan Ondrich of Candole Partners, a consultancy, adding there are echoes of the collapse in 2010 of Constellation Energy’s plan to build a reactor in the US, after the company could not accept the conditions attached to a $7.5bn federal loan guarantee.

FT 22nd June 2011 more >>

Russia

The Russian Federal Nuclear Center in Sarov has completed successful tests of the world’s first aerial transport container for spent nuclear fuel from research reactors. The Russian Federal Nuclear Center in Sarov in Nizhnii Novgorod oblast undertook the reportedly successful tests, the Press Center of Nuclear Energy and Industry reported. The tests involved transport packaging containers for transporting spent nuclear fuel from TUK-145/S research reactors by air and were undertaken in order ascertain that the containers met the requirements of Russian and international regulations applied for S-type containers used for transporting research reactors’ spent nuclear fuel by air.

Oil Price 22nd June 2011 more >>

Iran

A journalist from Qom who says he originally wrote the hypothetical piece in April on what would happen if Iran conducted its first nuclear test, which caused quite a stir after it was republished by Gerdab, a website run by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Guardian 21st June 2011 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

A movie that charts the history of the atomic bomb has been dubbed “the horror film to end all horrors”. Countdown To Zero is produced by filmmaker Lawrence Bender and is being screened as part of an international campaign called Global Zero. The campaign is working for the phased elimination of nuclear weapons.

Sky News 22nd June 2011 more >>

Submarines

A US nuclear submarine nearly ran aground, following an incident in which two of its crewmen died near Plymouth, a report has revealed. The attack submarine the USS Minneapolis-St Paul was trying to leave Plymouth Sound after a visit to Devonport naval base in 2006 when it hit rocks and became stuck with consequences that could have been “catastrophic”, the Royal Navy report, released through the Freedom of Information Act, said.

Independent 22nd June 2011 more >>

Telegraph 21st June 2011 more >>

Earlier submarine accidents.

Telegraph 21st June 2011 more >>

Renewables

A “floating doughnut” wave energy device has so excited a French multinational engineering giant that it has bought 40 per cent of the Inverness company that makes it. Alstom, maker of the French TGV high-speed train, was so impressed by the device designed by AWS Ocean Energy, a rediscovery of a forgotten 1980s technology, that it has made its first investment in the wave energy sector. The move is a huge coup for the Inverness company, which employs just 14 people. Investments of this type are normally only made when the design has been proven to work as a full-size prototype. But AWS has so far only tried out a one-ninth scale model of their machine in the calmer conditions of Loch Ness, rather than the more hostile conditions it will encounter at sea.

Times 22nd June 2011 more >>

PA 22nd June 2011 more >>

BBC 2nd June 2011 more >>

SCOTLAND’S renewables sector has marked two further breakthroughs following the launch of a large-scale solar deal in the Borders and confirmation of a major investment in a Highlands wave energy business. Global power and infrastructure group Alstom has taken a 40 per cent stake in AWS Ocean Energy of Inverness, paving the way for its workforce to double to 30. The agreement, welcomed last night by First Minister Alex Salmond, marks the first investment in wave energy by Alstom. London-based ISIS solar has raised 2 million to install solar equipment at rural businesses within the Borders Machinery Ring, a co-operative of farmers and contractors with more than 850 members. About 20 applicants will benefit initially, but ISIS expects this to exceed 100 within weeks, and is already looking to expand the offer elsewhere in Scotland. The announcement comes within weeks of the UK government’s decision to significantly reduce the feed-in tariff for larger solar installations of 50kW or more. This does not affect ISIS, whose arrays are on a smaller scale.

Scotsman 22nd June 2011 more >>

Posted: 22 June 2011

21 June 2011

Hinkley

To fight the plans for new nuclear power stations at Hinkley Point, please object to EDF’s preliminary works. You can find details and post your comments on the West Somerset Council’s website.

West Somerset June 2011 more >>

Short film about Fukushima, Hinkley and the renewable alternatives which Stop Hinkley and Greenpeace have submitted for showing at this year’s Glastonbury Festival.

You Tube 10th June 2011 more >>

Opinion Polls

In the wake of new nuclear power plant build rebukes in both Germany and Italy, a new poll conducted by international research company Ipsos for Reuters News finds that global support for Nuclear Energy has dropped quickly to 38% (down 16 points from 54%) to now become lower than support for coal (48%)—fuelled by a 26% jump in new opponents to nuclear power (above 50% in India, China, Japan and South Korea) who indicate that the recent crisis in Japan caused their decision.

IPSOS Mori 20th June 2011 more >>

Nuclear Safety

The United Nations nuclear watchdog is weighing whether atomic-plant operators should be tapped to fill budget shortfalls needed to finance tougher safety reviews in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi meltdown. The nuclear industry’s contribution to safety reform will be discussed today by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, where delegates from 151 countries are convening for the second day of a one-week meeting.

Bloomberg 20th June 2011 more >>

The International Atomic Energy Agency will formulate tougher nuclear safety measures by the second half of 2012, IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano said in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun.

Asahi 21st June 2011 more >>

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Tuesday urged a worldwide safety review to prevent new nuclear disasters, but acknowledged that since the IAEA lacks enforcing authority, any improvements are only effective if countries apply them.

Japan Today 21st June 2011 more >>

STV 20th June 2011 more >>

Security of Supply

A recent NEA/OECD report qualifies the concept of security of supply. It concludes that nuclear power has helped increase nations’ ability to source their own provisions of energy, although doing so often requires action by the government.

Nuclear Engineering International 20th June 2011 more >>

Companies

Sweden’ state-owned energy company Vattenfall has the worst performance among 27 European nuclear power operators, according to a report from the United Nations energy agency. Statistics from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reveal that Vattenfall’s nine nuclear reactors in Germany and Sweden have only been operating at 55 percent capacity the last two years, Sveriges Television (SVT) reports.

The Local 20th June 2011 more >>

Amid a global slowdown and fears over a deepening of the eurozone debt crisis, the last thing markets need is for Tokyo Electric Power Company to be downgraded in the domestic market, which could have huge implications for investors.

FT 20th June 2011 more >>

Emergency Planning

The British government made contingency plans at the height of the Fukushima nuclear crisis which anticipated a “reasonable worst case scenario” of the plant releasing more radiation than Chernobyl, new documents released to the Guardian show. The grim assessment was used to underpin plans by the British embassy in Tokyo to issue protective iodine pills to expats and visitors. It also prompted detailed plans by Cobra, the government’s emergency committee, to scramble specialist teams to screen passengers returning from Japan at UK airports for radioactive contamination. The UK government’s response to the unfolding crisis is revealed in documents prepared for Sir John Beddington, the chief scientist and chair of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), and released to the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act. The 30 documents include advice from the National Nuclear Laboratory on damage to the plant, public safety assessments from the Health Protection Agency (HPA), computer models of the radioactive plume from Defra’s Radioactive Incident Monitoring Network (Rimnet), and the worst case scenario that might unfold at the plant.

Guardian 20th June 2011 more >>

Japan

Prime Minister Naoto Kan, citing economic concerns, said he would allow nuclear power plants to resume operations as early as possible after their safety is confirmed based on stricter safety measures.

Asahi 21st June 2011 more >>

Japan’s economy will suffer major damage if it reduces output from nuclear power stations to zero in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, its trade minister said.

Reuters 20th May 2011 more >>

Prefectural governors who hold the keys to restarting Japan’s idle nuclear reactors did not appear to be convinced by the government’s June 18 statement declaring nuclear power plants safe enough to resume operations.

Asahi 21st June 2011 more >>

The first “independent” review of the Fukushima nuclear disaster was published today and it does not make reassuring reading. Japan is perhaps the most technologically advanced nation on Earth and yet, time after time, the report finds missing measures that I would have expected to already be in place. It highlights the fundamental inability for anyone to anticipate all future events and so deeply undermines the claims of the nuclear industry and its supporters that this time, with the new generation of reactors, things will be different. I used quote marks on the word “independent” because the report comes from the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) which, while independent of Japan, is far from independent from the nuclear industry it was founded to promote. But this conflict of interest only makes the findings of the IEAE’s experts more startling.

Guardian 20th June 2011 more >>

Japan needs nuclear power as its main energy source and the country shouldn’t follow European examples in banning new reactors, said Shosuke Mori, chairman of Kansai Electric Power Co., the nation’s second-biggest power producer.

Bloomberg 21st June 2011 more >>

A government panel agreed Monday to pay 100,000 yen each monthly to those who have been forced to evacuate from areas around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to compensate for their psychological pains.

Japan Today 21st June 2011 more >>

US

Safety has taken a back seat to cost-cutting at most of the nation’s nuclear power plants, sparking fears that America could be facing its own Fukushima disaster. An investigation by the Associated Press has revealed federal regulators are repeatedly weakening – or simply failing to impose – strict rules. Officials at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission have frequently decided that original regulations were too strict, arguing that safety margins could be eased without peril.

Daily Mail 20th June 2011 more >>

Federal regulators have been working closely with the nuclear power industry to keep the nation’s aging reactors operating within safety standards by repeatedly weakening those standards, or simply failing to enforce them, an investigation by The Associated Press has found. Time after time, officials at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission have decided that original regulations were too strict, arguing that safety margins could be eased without peril, according to records and interviews.

AP 20th June 2011 more >>

As record floodwaters along the Missouri River drench homes and businesses, concerns have grown about keeping a couple of notable structures dry: two riverside nuclear power plants in Nebraska. Despite the official assurances of safety, the unusual sight of a nuclear plant surrounded by water — coming so soon after the still unfolding nuclear disaster that followed the earthquake and tsunami in Japan — has prompted concern and speculation, leading one utility to add a feature to its Web site called “flood rumor control.” It says, “There has been no release of radioactivity and none is expected.”

New York Times 21st June 2011 more >>

UAE

A national opinion poll has found strong support for the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) nuclear energy program, with 85% of the respondents believing in the importance of peaceful nuclear energy for the nation.

World Nuclear News 20th June 2011 more >>

France

France, which depends on nuclear power for about three quarters of its electricity, should “progressively” exit from atomic energy, according to 60 percent of respondents to a Viavoice opinion poll published in today’s Liberation newspaper. Thirty-five percent are against the change, the newspaper said.

Bloomberg 20th June 2011 more >>

Germany

The European Investment Bank is confident that Germany will be able to fund its ambitious plan of closing its 17 nuclear plants and replacing them with renewable energy and gas-fired power stations by 2022, a bank official said.

FT 20th June 2011 more >>

Renewables

Ministers from the British Isles, Ireland, The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man today signed up to a historic deal to cooperate on exploiting the major wind and marine resource in and around the islands. The states involved agreed to co-operate in the All Islands Approach to energy at this afternoon’s British Irish Council in London.

DECC Press Release 20th June 2011 more >>

Prices of solar panels are falling so fast that by 2013 they will be half of what they cost in 2009, according to a report from Ernst & Young that argues solar electricity could play “an important role” in meeting the UK’s renewable energy targets. The average one-off installation cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels has already dropped from more than $2 (£1.23) per unit of generating capacity in 2009 to about $1.50 in 2011. Based on broker reports and industry analysis, the report forecasts that those rates of decline will continue, with prices falling close to the $1 mark in 2013. At present, solar PV is economically viable in the UK for homeowners, businesses and investors only because of government subsidies given out via feed-in tariffs (Fits). But the new analysis suggests that falling PV panel prices and rising fossil fuel prices could together make large-scale solar installations cost-competitive without government support within a decade – sooner than is usually assumed.

Guardian 20th June 2011 more >>

Solar industry campaigners have their last chance to save much-needed subsidies today as MPs meet to decide if the Government’s controversial cuts warrant a debate in the House of Commons.The Merits Committee, chaired by Lord Goodlad, is to consider a letter co-signed by some 58 organisations and businesses – including the Solar Trade Association, the Co-operative, and the Town and Country Planning Association – calling for a rethink of Government plans to slash the “feed-in tariff” (FiT) scheme barely more than year after it was introduced. The committee could trigger a parliamentary debate and vote on the Government’s proposals to cut the subsidy rates available to solar power projects of more than 50 kilowatts (kW). Much of debate centres on the comparative cost of solar power. A report from the Climate Change Committee last month backed new nuclear as the cheapest option for the green power Britain needs to hit its carbon-reduction targets. But the solar industry disputes the point, claiming that solar costs should be compared with retail prices, because of the scale of the technology. A report from Ernst & Young yesterday suggests that solar will compete with retail grid prices as soon as mid-2012, if current subsidy levels are maintained, rather than the mid-2016 “parity” point with wholesale costs.

Independent 21st June 2011 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

A mind boggling $1,000 billion will be spent by the world’s nine nuclear-armed powers (including Britain) over the next decade on modernising nuclear weapons, says campaign group Global Zero – while UK budgets for social and environmental spending are slashed. But, you can do something: learn more about the issues by heading to your local cinema tomorrow, Tuesday June 21, to join the UK premiere of Countdown to Zero for Demand Zero Day. Produced by the team behind An Inconvenient Truth, Countdown to Zero is a chilling wake-up call about the urgency of the nuclear threat in the 21st century.

IB Times 21st June 2011 more >>

Posted: 21 June 2011