News March 2011

31 March 2011

Japan

Reactors 1 to 4 at Fukushima Daiichi are highly likely to be written off, Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has said. The fate of undamaged units 5 and 6 may lie in the hands of local residents as may plans for new units.

World Nuclear News 30th March 2011 more >>

Test results released yesterday showed there was 3,335 times the usual amount of radioactive iodine 300m offshore. The news came as plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) admitted there was no end in sight to the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. Tepco also said four of its six reactors would be decommissioned once the site was under control. The amount of iodine-131 found south of the power plant does not pose an immediate threat to human health but is the clearest indication yet that highly radioactive water is leaking into the sea.

Metro 30th March 2011 more >>

Wales Online 31st March 2011 more >>

Setbacks mounted in Japan’s nuclear crisis yesterday, with seawater showing the highest radiation levels yet and the president of the wrecked plant being taken to hospital with stress.

Press & Journal 31st March 2011 more >>

The level of iodine-131, reported a few hundred yards south of its southern water outlet has risen in a series of tests since last week, carried out by plant operator the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). Previous readings there were 1,250 times the legal maximum on Friday, 1,850 times the limit on Saturday and 3,355 times the limit on Tuesday.

Telegraph 31st March 2011 more >>

The company responsible for Japan’s stricken nuclear reactors has admitted it may have to be nationalised or bailed out by the state to stave off collapse, sending its share price plunging 17pc.

Telegraph 31st March 2011 more >>

Tokyo Electric Power Co could face compensation claims topping $130 billion if Japan’s worst nuclear crisis drags on, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch estimated, fuelling expectations Japan’s government will step in to save Asia’s largest utility. Investor concern about the future of Tokyo Electric has been mounting after its president, Masataka Shimizu, was admitted to hospital and the company said on Wednesday that 2 trillion yen ($24 billion) in emergency loans from Japan’s major banks would not cover its mounting costs.

Reuters 31st March 2011 more >>

Pressure mounted on Japan on Thursday to expand the evacuation zone around its stricken nuclear power plant while officials said radiation may be flowing continuously into the nearby sea, where contamination was now 4,000 times the legal limit.

Reuters 31st March 2011 more >>

BBC 31st March 2011 more >>

Guardian 31st March 2011 more >>

IAEA Status report 30th March 2011.

IB Times 31st March 2011 more >>

Japan has conceded defeat in its frantic three-week battle to save a crippled nuclear plant, with the announcement that four of the six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi complex will be shut down. In a further blow, tests on seawater near the plant showed radiation levels well above the legal limit, heightening fears of widening nuclear contamination.

Independent 31st March 2011 more >>

Workers at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant are being paid vast sums of money to brave high radiation levels – as experts warn that the race to save the facility has been lost. Subcontractors are reportedly being offered up to 100,000 yen a day (£760) – 20 times the going rate – but some are still refusing the dangerous work. Radiation levels are still extremely high at the plant, with water around the reactors emitting a highly dangerous 1,000 millisieverts per hour. There are also fears that the plant is leaking more radiation as sea water around the plant was found to contain levels 3,335 higher than normal – almost three times higher than last week.

Daily Mail 30th Match 2011 more >>

Monitoring efforts are showing that although the reactors have released significant amounts of radiation into the atmosphere, dangerous contamination is mostly localized in a narrow zone northwest of the plant. Emissions are also lower than immediately after the initial explosions, but radioisotope release continues and trends are unpredictable.

Nature 29th March 2011 more >>

Hundreds of people evacuated from towns and villages close to the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant are being turned away by medical institutions and emergency shelters as fears of radioactive contagion catch on.

Telegraph 30th March 2011 more >>

A DUMBARTON scientist could play a role in helping to avert potential nuclear disasters caused by tsunamis like the one in Japan. Dr Ian McKinley, a leading expert in nuclear waste management, will be part of an international team helping the Japanese with the after-effects of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant – and trying to make sure it never happens again.

Lennox Herald 25th March 2011 more >>

With no sign of the crisis at Fukushima Daiichi being resolved any time soon, plans are now afoot to spray a resin over the embattled nuclear power plant.

New Scientist 30th March 2011 more >>

Implications

ESSEX has been showered with low-level radioactive iodine 6,000 miles from Japan’s earthquake-stricken Fukushima nuclear power station, the Government’s health protection agency said on Wednesday. The agency has monitors only in Glasgow and Oxfordshire but its spokesman said: “Similar amounts, which are not at the levels to be a threat to human health, will have landed on Essex and everywhere else in the UK in more or less the same amounts.” Essex and Suffolk Water said they have “extremely accurate” monitoring equipment and there would be no effect on the water supply. Matthew Pardoe at the health agency added: “Iodine 131 has a radioactive half life of eight days but the quantities measured here are well below anything harmful to humans and if things stay as they are we cannot see it being worse.

Total Essex 31st March 2011 more >>

More locations around Scotland have recorded very low levels of radioactive iodine believed to be from Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. The chemical was detected in air samples in Lerwick in Shetland and in grass samples near Dounreay in Caithness. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said it also appeared to have been detected in East Kilbride.

BBC 31st March 2011 more >>

Scotsman 31st March 2011 more >>

The Lib Dem deputy prime minister questioned whether new nuclear in Britain will be too expensive following the radiation leaks in Fukushima, Japan. There is currently a review going on ordered by the government into what the safety implications are for the UK industry. But companies planning on building nuclear in the UK insist the controversial technology remains viable and even argued that leaving out nuclear in the long term could threaten Britain’s energy security.

Telegraph 31st March 2011 more >>

EDF has dismissed claims by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg that nuclear power may be too expensive for Britain in the wake of Japan’s atomic disaster. Mr Clegg warned this week that nuclear operators may not be able to afford to build new plants because of possible extra safety requirements. However, EDF, the French nuclear specialist, said work was continuing with its investment and insisted it would not need extra subsidies. The company is planning to spend about £10bn building the UK’s first two new nuclear stations by 2018 with its partner Centrica. Despite the Government’s claims that nuclear has not been subsidised, a range of new incentives to encourage the construction of nuclear plants will substantially raise the price of electricity bills for customers.

Telegraph 31st March 2011 more >>

A UK report on the crisis at Japan’s Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant will not address nuclear or energy policy issues, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has confirmed. The UK’s chief nuclear inspector, Mike Weightman, has been tasked to produce an interim report on the implications of the Japanese nuclear crisis by mid-May, with the final version due within six months. The interim report will focus on any immediate lessons to be learnt for existing and potential nuclear power stations in the UK, based on the information available up to the middle of April. It is too early to define the full scope of the final report because additional issues may emerge from the unfolding crisis, the HSE said. But the report will compare UK nuclear power station designs with the Fukushima-Daiichi facility, address natural hazards and their design responses and examine the actions of the Japanese operator and emergency procedures.

Argus Media 31st March 2011 more >>

The founder of a local branch of a charity for children affected by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster says watching news coverage of the devastation in Japan is like a “horrifying repeat”.

Reading Post 30th March 2011 more >>

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has given the clearest indication yet that the UK may be forced to delay plans for a new generation of nuclear power plants in the wake of the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan.

Business Green 30th March 2011 more >>

New Statesman 30th March 2011 more >>

David Aaronovitch: Those nuclear scaremongers are a toxic lot Dont listen to Angela Merkel and the Greens. We need a cool look at the (not so great) risks of nuclear power.

The Times 31st March 2011 more >>

Plutonium

Anti-nuclear campaigners dismissed an industry-funded report today which told the government it should recycle plutonium and uranium to make it stretch further. Reactor manufacturer Rolls-Royce and French energy giant Areva both ploughed cash into the study by a group of Oxford University experts who proposed the plan. They said that the price tag of the eight reprocessing facilities needed could be up to £4.3 billion over the plants’ lifetimes but argued that this could be offset by the value of the new fuel. And they added that these new plants could create jobs and revenue by importing waste for recycling from abroad.

Morning Star 29th March 2011 more >>

Four possibilities for the UK’s policy on the recycling of uranium and plutonium stockpiles have been presented in a report by Sir David King, who called for a “holistic approach” to nuclear policy covering legacy materials as well as new build. King’s report comes during a government consultation on the situation. It was developed with co-authors Gregg Butler, Grace McGlynn and Michael Evans and contributions from Dame Sue Ion and Owen Owens. King said that Rolls-Royce and Areva had contributed. The report shows that it makes sense to produce MOX fuel from the plutonium. The question for the UK is whether it wants to offset this with extra savings and revenues from the potentially expensive return to the full nuclear fuel cycle that would come with a refurbishment of Thorp.

World Nuclear News 29th March 2011 more >>

NDA

Clean-up cost of nuclear sites to hit £12 billion: The scale of the nuclear clean-up from the first generation of Britain’s atomic reactors will be put into sharp relief as £12 billion of taxpayer funds are earmarked to be spent over the next four years. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is expected to announce a new plan for the next financial year of £2.9 billion and a further £9.1 billion in the following three years.

Proactive Investors 31st March 2011 more >>

Times 31st March 2011 more >>

Oldbury

NUCLEAR bosses at Oldbury power station will supply information to the inspector looking at the implications for the UK of the Japanese atomic crisis. Dr Mike Weightman, chief inspector of the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate, has been asked by the Government to carry out a full review of the Fukushima incident and how it was handled. He will also compare the designs of nuclear power stations in Britain with those at Fukushima, where a massive earthquake, followed by a devastating tsunami, resulted in a cooling system failing and the plant experiencing explosions, fires and radiation leaks.

South West Business 30th March 2011 more >>

Hinkley

A debate will be held at Sedgemoor District Council about plans to build a temporary jetty and harbour at Hinkley Point. The 500m long jetty will take delivery of the construction materials for the power station if consent is given to build the nuclear facility. EDF Energy has said the jetty would avoid 80% of shipments being delivered by road and will reduce congestion.

BBC 30th March 2011 more >>

The Environment Agency has today revealed the findings of an investigation into claims by Green Audit that soil at the Hinkley Point Power Station site is contaminated with 10 tonnes of enriched uranium. The agency says the findings clearly show no enriched uranium is present at the proposed site for Hinkley Point C, near Bridgwater, Somerset. The Environment Agency undertook soil sampling to provide reliable scientific information about whether or not uranium contamination is present on the proposed site following claims made by research group Green Audit at a public hearing earlier this year.

Click Green 29th March 2011 more >>

The case for nuclear power has “never been stronger”, according to a former government chief scientific adviser, who said Hinkley Point C was still on course for operation in 2018. Sir David King told Construction News the UK government was under less pressure than others around the world as the media and public reaction to the Japanese Fukushima Daiichi plant explosions has been debated here in a more “realistic” manner. Now director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, Sir David King this week launched a report saying nuclear power could present a £10 billion opportunity for the UK economy.

Construction News 31st March 2011 more >>

Wylfa

Campaigners on Anglesey opposed to a new nuclear power station have staged a protest at one of the two bridges linking the island to the mainland. The group said they wanted to highlight difficulties in evacuating the island. The protest came as the Daily Telegraph reported that Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg had cast doubt on whether new nuclear plants would ever be built.

BBC 30th March 2011 more >>

Daily Post 31st March 2011 more >>

A REACTOR at Wylfa nuclear power station was shut down to carry out unplanned maintenance work on two turbines. Staff at the Anglesey plant detected vibrations in the turbine hall powered by reactor two on Sunday. Two turbines went offline for work to be carried out to locate and deal with the problem. They are expected to be re-started shortly.

Daily Post 29th March 2011 more >>

Cumbria

Professor John Ashton, Cumbria’s director of public health, asked John Moores University in Liverpool to look at the positive and negative impacts of nuclear facilities on health and wellbeing.Prof Ashton said: “As a relative newcomer to Cumbrian life and one whose professional responsibility is to advise on threats to the health of the Cumbrian population, I have become aware of the elephant in the Cumbrian room – the issue of nuclear power and nuclear hazard. “For, whilst nuclear neighbours are an everyday fact of life within the county, especially on the west coast, and while a new generation of nuclear installation is under active construction, the issues to do with the benefits and risks of the industry go strangely unventilated.

Carlisle News and Star 30th March 2011 more >>

Scotland

SCOTLAND must be “realistic” and build nuclear power stations alongside renewable energy sources as a matter of urgency, the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said today as it launched its Holyrood election policy document.

Scotsman 31st March 2011 more >>

Green Investment Bank

The government’s former Chief Scientist has said that he does not think the Green Investment Bank (GIB) should help pay for the government’s programme of new nuclear reactors because the technology does not have enough public support.

Business Green 30th March 2011 more >>

Aldermaston

NIS March newsletter includes: US-UK co-operation on warhead fuse design paves the way towards a new British warhead; New reactor design for Trident Successor submarines; Health and Safety Executive to review Fukushima implications for UK nuclear industry; Nukewatch monitoring of convoy movements shows UK nuclear weapons programme operating at baseline level; News from the AWE: Road repairs add to AWE construction costs; Annual AWE Safety Review published

Nuclear Information Servic 20th March 2011 more >>

France

Frances nuclear safety authority has warned EDF, the countrys monopoly operator of atomic power plants, that it needs to improve the maintenance of its reactors. Andr-ClaudeLacoste, the head of the Autorit de Suret Nuclaire, also said on Wednesday he would consider suspending construction of the new generation of nuclear reactors, the EPR, during a safety audit of the countrys fleet of 58 operating plants, which the watchdog is carrying out in the wake of the nuclear accident in Japan. His comments came as he presented the regulators annual report to parliamentarians, who pressed him on the lessons France could learn from the disaster at the Fukushima plant. The French government has ordered the ASN to lead a reactor-by-reactor study on safety at the plants, in addition to carrying out stress tests of the reactors as part of a European Union initiative launch ed as a result of the Japanese accident. Findings will be published by the years end.

FT 31st March 2011 more >>

US

More than 600 power plants including more than half of US nuclear reactors may be forced to retrofit once-through cooling systems with cooling towers under a proposed rule issued by the country’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

World Nuclear News 30th March 2011 more >>

Germany

The German government led by Angela Merkel is facing urgent calls from the countrys normally reticent business community for a return to rational and reliable economic policies, in a sign of its disenchantment with the centre-right coalition. Ms Merkels decision to temporarily close seven nuclear power stations in the wake of Japans nuclear crisis has triggered an outpouring of criticism from business lobbies and individual entrepreneurs.

FT 31st March 2011 more >>

Spain

Spain had one of the world’s most ambitious and generous plans to boost the amount of electricity it generates from the sun. That dream, for the solar industry at least, has turned sour. Just days before Christmas, the government slashed the level of subsidies that all new and existing photovoltaic (pv) solar projects will receive. But even the powerful utility companies, who opposed the solar industry, are now warning that the fallout could be long-lasting and reach far beyond the energy sector. The row has pitted the renewable lobby against Spain’s three biggest utilities Iberdrola, Endesa and Gas Natural which have been urging the government to take action to stem the wave of subsidised renewable projects being built, particularly solar ones.

Guardian 31st March 2011 more >>

Alternatives

Amory Lovins: Each dollar spent on a new reactor buys about 2-10 times less carbon savings, 20-40 times slower, than spending that dollar on the cheaper, faster, safer solutions that make nuclear power unnecessary and uneconomic: efficient use of electricity, making heat and power together in factories or buildings (“cogeneration”), and renewable energy. The last two made 18% of the world’s 2009 electricity (while nuclear made 13%, reversing their 2000 shares)–and made over 90% of the 2007-08 increase in global electricity production.

Inside Nova 18th March 2011 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

France is biggest obstacle to ridding Europe of tactical nuclear weapons – report.

Guardian 30th March 2011 more >>

Posted: 31 March 2011

30 March 2011

Japan

Seawater outside the crippled nuclear power plant in north-eastern Japan was found to contain 3,335 times the usual amount of radioactive iodine – the highest rate yet and a sign that more contaminated water was making its way into the ocean, officials said today. The amount of iodine-131 found offshore 300 yards south of the coastal Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant did not pose an immediate threat to human health, but was a “concern”, said Hidehiko Nishiyama, of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency. He said there was no fishing in the area.

Wales Online 30th March 2011 more >>

BBC 30th March 2011 more >>

Telegraph 30th March 2011 more >>

Japan has promised to overhaul nuclear safety standards once it regains control of the wrecked Fukushima complex, admitting its current safeguards were not enough. The struggle to contain radiation at the complex has unfolded with near-constant setbacks – including two workers drenched yesterday with radioactive water despite wearing supposedly waterproof suits.

Press & Journal 30th March 2011 more >>

Reuters 30th March 2011 more >>

The discovery of highly radioactive water in areas outside reactor containment buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility may be due to one or more breaches of the protection vessels. Richard Lahey, who was head of safety research for boiling-water reactors at General Electric when the company installed the units at Fukushima, told the Guardian that material, including melted fuel rods and zirconium alloy cladding, appeared to have sunk through the steel containment pressure vessel in the number 2 reactor. The vessel is supposed to prevent radioactive contaminants leaking into the atmosphere in the event of a meltdown.

World Socialist Web 30th March 2011 more >>

A man who helped install reactors into the Fukushima reactor has claimed that the race to save the facility has been lost. His grim assessment comes as it has been revealed that workers at the plant are being paid huge amounts of money to tackle the problem. Their efforts, however, may be in vain as the former General Electric employee pointed out.

Daily Mail 30th March 2011 more >>

Independent 30th March 2011 more >>

Japanese authorities are considering plans to collect and freeze cells from engineers and water cannon operators at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in case they are exposed to dangerous levels of radiation. The proposal has been drawn up as a precautionary measure that could potentially save the lives of workers if they receive high doses of radiation while battling to bring the damaged nuclear reactors under control. High levels of radiation can cause serious illness and death from bone marrow failure, but the condition can be treated if patients are seen quickly enough and given transplants of blood stem cells collected before they are exposed.

Guardian 30th March 2011 more >>

The Obama administration is sending a squad of robots to Japan to help efforts to regain control over the Fukushima nuclear plant, it has emerged. “A shipment is being readied,” Peter Lyons, who oversees nuclear power in the department of energy, told a Senate committee. “The government of Japan is very, very interested in the capabilities that could be brought to bear from this country.”

Guardian 29th March 2011 more >>

The core at reactor two of the Fukushima plant may have melted on to a concrete floor, according to experts, running the risk of radioactive gases being released into the surrounding area. Richard Lahey, who was a head of reactor safety research at General Electric when the company installed the units at Fukushima, said the workers, who have been pumping water into the three reactors in an attempt to keep the fuel rods from melting, appeared to have “lost the race” to save the reactor.

Telegraph 29th March 2011 more >>

The streets seem deserted and the houses stand empty. Visitors are greeted only by stray dogs and the subdued moans of abandoned cows. But first appearances are deceptive. Despite the apocalyptic warnings to leave, some residents have chosen to stay in the exclusion zone near Fukushima crippled nuclear reactor and risk whatever comes. Tens of thousands have been evacuated from the area, leaving in a hurry as the plant became dangerous, and the only people allowed in are workers battling to limit the radiation leaks.

Daily Mail 30th March 2011 more >>

Shares in Tokyo Electric Power continued to tumble on Wednesday falling another 17 per cent as the company at the centre of the worst nuclear accident in 25 years revealed that its chief executive has been hospitalised. Masataka Shimizu, Tepco president and chief executive, entered hospital on Wednesday suffering from high blood pressure. He has been criticised for his handling of the nuclear crisis. Wednesdays falls followed on from even heavier losses on Tuesday amid growing speculation that the operator of Japans crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant could be nationalised.

FT 30th March 2011 more >>

Implications

Why Monbiot is Wrong

Cool Earth 29th March 2011 more >>

NUCLEAR fallout from Japan has been detected in Britain sparking fears the whole country could have been exposed to radiation. Radioactive iodine was found in air samples taken in Oxfordshire, Glasgow and Dublin. Officials insisted the amount was “extremely low” but the traces came from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, 5,500 miles away, which was crippled when the magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami hit Japan nearly three weeks ago.

Express 30th March 2011 more >>

SCOTLAND was last night on radiation alert after fallout from Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant was detected in Glasgow. Traces of iodine-131 were found in air in the city. The Health Protection Agency said there was NO public risk. But the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency increased checks for the substance.

The Sun 30th March 2011 http://www.thesun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/news/3499064/Scotlands-on-radiation-alert.html

Mirror 30th March 2011 more >>

Daily Star 30th March 2011 more >>

Scottish nuclear expert Shaun Burnie said the radiation was likely to have come from unit three at Fukushima , as it used a plutonium fuel that was likely to have plumed further up into the air than the other emissions. “It would have been a high atmospheric explosion and would have gone further into the atmosphere,” he said, adding that the radiation particles found in the UK were unlikely to cause problems.

“If I was in Glasgow today, I would be more worried about the radiation regularly emitted from Hunterston or Torness,” he said. “The level is not quite categorised as a trace – but almost – but you would expect that. Radiation like this tends to disperse, so I would say it is likely that it will be found not just in Glasgow, but elsewhere in Scotland in the coming days.”

Scotsman 30th March 2011 more >>

After assurances from the Japanese government of low levels of airborne radiation beyond the immediate vicinity of the Fukushima nuclear plant, it was a shock to learn that radioactive iodine had travelled as a far as Glasgow. How could a city 6,000 miles from the stricken plant find itself caught up in this drama? Health officials insist the concentration of iodine-131 in air samples is minuscule and that there is no public health risk. However, it is a discomforting reminder of how far such radiation can reach and what the long-term consequences might be of a full-scale meltdown.

Scotsman 30th March 2011 more >>

Nuclear power is going to be a tough sell going forward given the ongoing radiation leaking from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant, but what if future reactors were buried underground? It may sound like a crazy idea, but Singapore, a tiny island country whose population would have no place to go in the event of a wide-scale evacuation, is giving buried nukes a closer look.

New Scientists 29th March 2011 more >>

Hiroshima, Chernobyl, Fukushima and Stuttgart are markers on a nuclear line: respectively bomb, power plant explosion, power plant leakage, and last Sunday’s triumph of the anti-nuclear German Green party in state elections. Each event is quite different. The first was devastating, the second terrifying, the third shocking and the last a triumph for fear over reason. Although the reactors at Fukushima are not yet under control, even pessimistic experts expect far less damage than from the 1986 explosion at Chernobyl. Yet by the harsh standards of natural disasters, Chernobyl was not especially awful. It probably caused no more than a few hundred additional deaths, according to a 2011 report from the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation.

FT 30th March 2011 more >>

France wants threats from airplane crashes and terrorists excluded from safety checks planned on European reactors following the Fukushima nuclear accident.

Bloomberg 29th March 2011 more >>

New Nukes

The next generation of nuclear power stations may never be built because they will be too expensive following the Japanese tsunami, Nick Clegg has suggested. The Deputy Prime Minister cast doubt on the future for nuclear power by predicting that a review into existing plants – ordered after the explosion at the Fukushima power station would recommend higher and more costly safety standards. The Liberal Democrat leader insisted that no extra government money would be found to meet additional costs and suggested that energy firms would struggle to raise investment from the private sector as a result of the Japanese near-meltdown.

Telegraph 30th March 2011 more >>

Mr Clegg may well have intended to hole the Government’s nuclear plans below the heavy water line. Some might say that he was merely pointing out the obvious: Fukushima is bound to have a damaging impact on the financing plans for the new wave of nuclear plants in Britain. But from this side of the Atlantic he appears to have pre-empted the outcome of the safety review, which is bad form, And by declaring as a certainty that costs will have to rise, he can be accused of talking up the price of nuclear. As all evidence points to the necessity of expanding nuclear if we want the lights to stay on – as David Cameron made clear just days ago – Mr Clegg is surely rowing against Government policy.

Telegraph 30th March 2011 more >>

Britain could join a wave of countries loosening their embrace of nuclear power in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, has said. Speaking to reporters on a trip to Mexico, Clegg said that the new uncertainty for the nuclear industry could raise its liabilities and in all likelihood entail some kind of public subsidy – which the coalition would be unable to provide.

Guardian 30th March 2011 more >>

Telegraph View: Nick Clegg’s alarmism runs contrary to the Coalition’s approach to nuclear power, post-Fukushima. The Coalition’s initial response to the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan was commendably level-headed. David Cameron commissioned a safety review from Dr Mike Weightman, the chief nuclear inspector, and at the same time pointed out that British nuclear plants are of a different design and that this country is prone neither to earthquake nor tsunami. The unflustered reaction stood in stark contrast to other nuclear-generating countries, such as Germany, which ordered the immediate shutdown of seven older reactors. Yesterday’s comments by Nick Clegg struck an altogether more alarmist note. Speaking to reporters during a flight to Mexico, he cast doubt on whether the next generation of nuclear power plants would ever be built.

Telegraph 30th March 2011 more >>

Dr Whitehead, Labour MP for Southampton Test, has jointly sponsored Early Day Motion 1615 as part of his ongoing campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of nuclear power. The EDM calls on the Secretary of State to suspend the Government’s plans for a new nuclear power programme in the UK.

Labour Matters 29th March 2011 more >>

A leading scientist has called on Scotland to allow the construction of new nuclear power stations. Sir David King, the UK Government’s former chief scientist, said all energy sources had to be available, including nuclear, to help reduce climate change. He also warned that the UK’s plutonium stockpile, the largest in the world, could be used by terrorists to make a dirty bomb if it fell into the wrong hands. The used nuclear fuel should be recycled into a new energy source, he said, in a report published yesterday. Even ahead of its publication, the report had fuelled a row in Scotland, where debate is raging over the future of nuclear power following the crisis at the Fukushima plant in Japan. Nuclear power has emerged as one of the key battlegrounds between Labour and the SNP ahead of May’s election.

Herald 30th March 2011 more >>

WHILE frighteningly high temperatures inside blighted nuclear reactors in Fukushima continued to cause concern yesterday, the cool voice of scientific rationalism reasserted itself in the form of the report on Britain’s nuclear future from the former chief scientist, Professor Sir David King. He deserves a hearing, especially in Scotland where the SNP has attempted to commit the country to a non-nuclear future. This energy policy is intended to achieve the fastest transition to a low carbon economy anywhere on earth but it begs many questions about energy security.

Herald 30th March 2011 more >>

THE UK should stick with nuclear power to fuel the country cleanly and create around 40,000 jobs, the government’s former chief scientist said yesterday. Sir David King said the UK can generate £10bn over the next 50 years by working on a “nuclear renaissance”, through recycling nuclear materials and storing waste more safely. “We are talking about a £10bn boost to the economy from the British government taking the opportunity to build mixed-oxide plants, and 40,000 jobs over the next 20 to 30 years,” King told Radio 4 yesterday. “We now have enough [nuclear] material produced by reprocessing to power the UK for the next 60 years.”

City AM 30th March 2011 more >>

Click Green 29th March 2011 more >>

FT 30th March 2011 more >>

Sellafield

British taxpayers should spend up to 3bn on a new facility for reprocessing nuclear waste at Sellafield, despite the site in Cumbria already having a similar plant which has cost nearly 2bn and is labelled one of the biggest industrial failures in British history. This is the conclusion of a report by scientists which recommends a brand-new, plutonium-uranium mixed oxide (MOX) plant at Sellafield as part of Britain’s nuclear “renaissance” to build a suite of nuclear power stations that could burn MOX fuel as well as conventional uranium.

The current Sellafield MOX plant cost 440m to build and the nuclear industry has squandered a further 1.5bn of taxpayers’ money in operating costs and upgrades. Designed to produce 120 tonnes of MOX fuel a year for export, it has only managed 15 tonnes over nearly a decade of sub-standard opera tion, which was labelled by one former government minister as a catastrophic and comprehensive failure. Despite these shortcomings, yesterday’s report said that building a new reprocessing facility would allow Britain to recycle the current stockpile of 112 tonnes of plutonium left over from other reprocessed nuclear waste. Anti-nuclear campaigners said yesterday the plan would generate more nuclear waste than it eliminates, increase costs and create new risks of nuclear proliferation. Shaun Burnie, an independent nuclear consultant working for Greenpeace Germany, said he had warned the government that the Sellafield MOX plant was flawed and would not perform as promised by the nuclear industry. “It’s a very sorry tale for the taxpayer because this facility is burning a hole in the NDA’s budget. It’s also obscene that people are talking of building another plant because MOX fuel makes reactors more dangerous and risks nuclear proliferation because of the ease of extracting weapons-useable plutonium from MOX fuel,” Mr Burnie said.

Independent 30th March 2011 more >>

Radwaste

HAZARDOUS waste specialist Augean is confident it can win its battle to establish the first UK landfill site able to take both non-hazardous and low-level nuclear waste at its King’s Cliffe site near Peterborough. Wetherby-based Augean has appealed against a council decision blocking it from accepting low-level nuclear waste at King’s Cliffe.

The company said the original application was refused, despite the fact that the planning officer’s report strongly recommended approving it. Augean’s chief executive Paul Blackler said disposal of low-level nuclear waste at permitted landfill sites fits in with Government policy for the decommissioning of redundant nuclear facilities.

Yorkshire Post 30th March 2011 more >>

Hinkley

The Environment Agency says claims that soil at Somerset’s Hinkley Point nuclear power station is contaminated with enriched uranium are “unfounded”. The claim was made by environmental consultancy group Green Audit at a public meeting earlier this year. The agency said it had carried out its own investigation and found “no enriched uranium” present. A Green Audit spokesman said an initial look at the results suggested the agency’s investigation was “flawed”.

BBC 29th March 2011 more >>

SEDGEMOOR District Council has told EDF Energy of its “serious concerns” about the latest Hinkley Point C plans. The authority, together with West Somerset Council, has passed a series of resolutions in response to EDF’s stage two consultation on Hinkley C, which ended yesterday. Councillors raised objections about EDF’s worker accommodation plans, the firm’s “inadequate” £20million community fund offer, and plans for 24/7 working at the main site.

BBC 29th March 2011 more >>

US

Now that Japan is suffering the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl – if not of all time – is the government riding to the rescue to help fix the problem, or at least to provide accurate information to its citizens so they can make informed decisions? Of course not! The EPA has pulled 8 of its 18 radiation monitors in California, Oregon and Washington because (by implication) they are giving readings which seem too high.

Zero Hedge 29th March 2011 more >>

With TEPCO unwilling (or unable) to disclose consolidated detailed information about the status of its reactors, the task has fallen on third party analysts. Luckily, Jorge Stolfi of the state university of the State University of Campinas in Brazil, has compiled what is probably the most comprehensive data dump of all key Fukushima reactor indicators including water level, core, drywell and torus pressure, as well as temperature at the core bottom and nozzle. Below are the detailed results for each of the fuel loaded reactors since the start of the crisis.

Zero Hedge 28th March 2011 more >>

The Obama administration, virtually alone among governments of the nuclear-energy producing states, has gone out of its way to insist that no changes will be made outside of vague calls to “learn from” the crisis in Japan. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has insisted there is no need for new regulation or oversight, and there will be no moratorium on either the continuation of old plants or the construction of new ones. It has even granted a 20-year extension to a problem-riddled nuclear Vermont Yankee plant, whose reactor is a replica to that of the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

World Socialist Web 30th March 2011 more >>

A Democratic lawmaker who has been a long-time critic of nuclear energy proposed a bill on Tuesday that would put a moratorium on new U.S. nuclear plants and renewals of licenses for existing plants pending a review of the disaster in Japan. Representative Edward Markey of Massachusetts drafted a bill that would reauire tougher safety standards for U.S. plants, but the bill faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled House, given Republican support for nuclear power.

STV 29th March 2011 more >>

Germany

Tensions within Germany’s centre-right coalition government have burst into the open in Berlin, with leading members of the ruling parties competing in calls for ever more drastic moves to abandon nuclear energy in the country after they suffered bruising election defeats at the weekend. The moves to reverse the government’s previous cautiously pro-nuclear energy stance in the wake of the Japanese nuclear crisis brought an instant reaction from business and economic spokesmen in the party ranks, warning of rising electricity prices and dire economic consequences of any precipitate action. The most radical anti-nuclear move on Tuesday came from Christian Lindner, secretary general of the liberal Free Democratic party, who called for the permanent closure of eight of the country’s 17 nuclear power stations.

FT 30th March 2011 more >>

Italy

Italy is reviewing a ban on most offshore oil and gas development, which was passed only last year and to the bafflement of the energy industry, in a move that shows how the government is struggling to formulate a coherent energy strategy. Unforeseen events have shaken the energy sector of the eurozones third-largest economy, which is dependent on imports and pays some of the highest electricity bills in Europe. First came BPs oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year. Then, just as war in Libya cut off at least a tenth of Italys gas imports and a quarter of its oil, Japans nuclear crisis has thrown into confusion government plans to build four atomic power stations.

FT 30th March 2011 more >>

Lithuania

Like other European politicians, Romas Svedas, Lithuanias deputy minister for energy, takes a moment to offer his condolences to the victims of Japans nuclear crisis. But only a moment. Now is the best time to build nuclear! Mr Svedas declares excitedly. We are going ahead with our project no changes. That project is a 3.4 megawatt plant that Lithuania intends to build in Visaginas, a small town in this Baltic nation of 3.3m people. Like other European Union states, the enthusiasm for nuclear energy is based in part on a government desire to meet the blocs tough greenhouse gas standards. More importantly, though, nuclear is central to the regions ambitions to free itself from reliance on its energy-rich neighbour, Russia.

FT 30th March 2011 more >>

Trident

Two grandmothers, two priests and a nun were sentenced in federal court in Tacoma, WA Monday March 28, 2011, for confronting hundreds of US nuclear weapons stockpiled for use by the deadly Trident submarines.

Information Clearing Huose 29th March 2011 more >>

KTVU 29th March 2011 more >>

Renewables

There is silver lining from this spring’s political and nuclear crises for the fast-growing solar industry, whose fortunes depend on government subsidies and public interest in alternative and renewable energy sources. Unease about nuclear power has grown for nearly three weeks, as workers at Japan’s stricken Fukushima-Dai-ichi nuclear plant failed to contain damage or prevent the release of radioactive materials. That’s led some countries to question plans for heavy investment in nuclear power generation. As more buyers and investment enter the market, the costs of solar and wind generation fall, and the long-term result could be continued share price increases for related companies, according to a research note Tuesday from Kaufman Bros. analyst Jeffrey Bencik.

Bloomberg 29th March 2011 more >>

Posted: 30 March 2011

29 March 2011

Weightman Report

On 12 March 2011, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne, requested Mike Weightman, HM Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations, to produce a report on the implications for the UK nuclear industry of the accident that took place at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station in Japan. The purpose of the report is to identify any lessons to be learnt, taking forward this work in co-operation and co-ordination with national stakeholders and international colleagues. The Secretary of State asked for an interim report by the middle of May 2011, with a final report in September. The Secretary of State’s request has made clear that Mike Weightman has full independence to determine the scope of the report and the arrangements for conducting it.

HSE 29th March 2011 more >>

Japan

The radioactive core in a reactor at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant appears to have melted through the bottom of its containment vessel and on to a concrete floor, experts say, raising fears of a major release of radiation at the site. The warning follows an analysis by a leading US expert of radiation levels at the plant. Readings from reactor two at the site have been made public by the Japanese authorities and Tepco, the utility that operates it. Richard Lahey, who was head of safety research for boiling-water reactors at General Electric when the company installed the units at Fukushima, told the Guardian workers at the site appeared to have “lost the race” to save the reactor, but said there was no danger of a Chernobyl-style catastrophe.

Guardian 29th March 2011 more >>

Plutonium found in soil at the Fukushima nuclear complex heightened alarm on Tuesday over Japan’s battle to contain the world’s worst atomic crisis in 25 years, as pressure mounted on the prime minister to widen an evacuation zone around the plant.

STV 29th March 2011 more >>

Telegraph 29th March 2011 more >>

The amount of plutonium detected at the quake-stricken plant in Japan is similar to that which would occur at a location far from an atmospheric nuclear test but is not harmful to people, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said on Tuesday.

Reuters 29th March 2011 more >>

A review of company and regulatory records shows that Japan and its largest utility repeatedly downplayed dangers and ignored warnings — including a 2007 tsunami study from Tokyo Electric Power Co’s senior safety engineer.

STV 29th March 2011 more >>

Japan’s government is reportedly ready to consider nationalising the operator of the crippled power plant at the centre of the worst nuclear accident in the country’s history. News that the state could take a majority stake in the Tokyo Electric Power company (Tepco) came after nuclear safety officials confirmed traces of plutonium had been found in soil in five locations in the Fukushima Daiichi atomic complex. The prime minister, Naoto Kan, fought off criticism of his handling of the crisis, insisting to MPs that a state of “maximum alert” would be maintained until the power plant had been made safe. Doubts over the future of Tepco, the largest power company in Asia, has coincided with mounting criticism of its handling of the world’s worst nuclear emergency since Chernobyl.

Guardian 29th March 2011 more >>

Japan’s prime minister has declared a state of “maximum alert” over the country’s nuclear disaster after highly toxic plutonium was found to have leaked into the soil from the plant.

Telegraph 29th March 2011 more >>

Sellafield is preparing to help the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. As the crisis enters a third week at the tsunami-ravaged plant north east of Tokyo, officials at Sellafield are carrying out assessments ahead of lending equipment from its west Cumbrian site. A Sellafield spokesman said: “In response to the ongoing recovery operations at the Fukushima nuclear facility in Japan, the UK Government has made clear its willingness to offer assistance wherever possible.

Cumberland News 29th March 2011 more >>

Implications

Since the Fukushima accident we have seen a stream of experts on radiation telling us not to worry, that the doses are too low, that the accident is nothing like Chernobyl and so forth. They appear on television and we read their articles in the newspapers and online. Fortunately the majority of the public don’t believe them. I myself have appeared on television and radio with these people; one example was Ian Fells of the University of Newcastle who, after telling us all on BBC News that the accident was nothing like Chernobyl (wrong), and the radiation levels of no consequence (wrong), that the main problem was that there was no electricity and that the lifts didn’t work. “ If you have been in a situation when the lifts don’t work, as I have” he burbled on, “you will know what I mean.” You can see this interview on youtube and decide for yourself.

Counterpunch 28th March 2011 more >>

Low levels of radioactive iodine believed to be from the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan have been detected in Glasgow and Oxfordshire. Health protection officials said the concentration of iodine 131 detected in air samples was “minuscule” and there was “no public health risk in the UK”.

BBC 29th March 2011 more >>

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said that trace levels of the radioactive chemical iodine-131 had been detected by measurements taken at a monitoring station in Oxfordshire yesterday. Meanwhile, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said an air sampler in Glasgow had picked up the particles which they believe could be from the plant.

Telegraph 29th March 2011 more >>

Express 29th March 2011 more >>

Glasgow Evening Times 29th March 2011 more >>

New Nukes

Professor Sir David King said Britain must embrace a nuclear future despite fears raised by the crisis at the Fukushima power plant in Japan. He pointed out this country has the largest stockpile of plutonium in the world from spent nuclear fuel. He said the highly radioactive material is dangerous because of the potential for terrorists to make “dirty bombs”. It is also expensive to process and bury in the ground as nuclear waste.

Telegraph 29th March 2011 more >>

Guardian 29th March 2011 more >>

Independent 29th March 2011 more >>

A low carbon nuclear future: Economic assessment of nuclear materials and spent nuclear fuel management in the UK explores possible future scenarios to accelerate the delivery of a safe, holistic and long-term strategy for current and future nuclear material and spent fuel management. It assesses likely costs, risks, safety and potential returns to the UK taxpayer and the wider economy, and looks at options for existing and new facilities at Sellafield. Professor Sir David King, Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment said: “Currently the UK has a window of opportunity to deal with its nuclear material and spent fuel management and to maximise the value of its existing assets. The renaissance in new nuclear build creates an advantageous way of using these legacy materials as fuel for new nuclear power plants. Despite the terrible events in Japan, the economic, safety and carbon case for a new build programme in the UK has never been stronger.

Engineer Live 29th March 2011 more >>

A much anticipated report by Sir David King has recommended the UK takes a ‘holistic’ approach to nuclear power. The report, while demanding the government plans for how to deal with waste generated by future reactors, says the industry could be worth £10bn and would boost the economy of areas like West Cumbria – the home of Sellafield.

Edie 29th March 2011 more >>

The UK’s civil nuclear trade association has welcomed a new report by Professor Sir David King which underlines nuclear’s importance to the UK – and offers valuable insight into policy and the future shape of the nuclear sector.

Commodities Now 29th March 2011 more >>

Mark Lynas is an author, environmental activist and fierce proponent of nuclear power. Here, he tells Olivia Boyd why, even after Fukushima, his faith in the merits of atomic energy is firm.

China Dialogue 29th March 2011 more >>

The UK’s existing uranium and plutonium stocks should be converted into fuel and used in the country’s new-build nuclear reactors, according to a report from Oxford’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. The report is intended to feed in to a government consultation on what should be done with the stockpile of nuclear material, which currently stands at 100t of plutonium, around 60,000 t of uranium and 6,000 t of used fuel from the UK’s fleet of so-called AGR reactors. Launching the report, Professor Gregg Butler of the University of Manchester, said there was “no cheap do-nothing option” for the material.

Utility Week 29th March 2011 more >>

STV 29th March 2011 more >>

Business Green 29th March 2011 more >>

Campaigners against nuclear power will meet Energy Minister Charles Hendry today to discuss the implications of the disaster in Japan. The meeting at the Business Department in Westminster involves campaigners from eight sites that have been proposed for new development, including Hinkley Point in Somerset and Oldbury, South Gloucestershire. The third meeting in the past six months will also be attended by civil servants and the agenda includes the implications for nuclear policy in the UK. Reg Illingworth of SANE, the group campaigning to halt any further plans for new nuclear at Oldbury, will attend. He said: “What with the potential judicial review over justification and the sad ongoing saga at Fukushima it will be years before any new nuclear plants are started in the UK. “Certainly the new Oldbury/Shepperdine site will not be open before 2025 which was one of the main criteria for qualifying as a suitable site“. Meanwhile influential former Lib Dem party leader Lord Ashdown has told how he had been “seriously shaken” by the safety failures in Japan.

This is Somerset 29th March 2011 more >>

Germany

German chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government is increasingly split on the future course of its nuclear policy, with a leading member of junior partner FDP saying that the operating licences of eight nuclear plants should be revoked at the end of the three-month moratorium. The coalition government had previously agreed not to announce any direction on its nuclear policy and the future of the eight reactors before the conclusion of the moratorium on the lifetime extension in mid-June.

Argus Media 29th March 2011 more >>

China

China pauses its plans to build the most new nuclear reactors in the world – but will not halt them.

Nature 29th March 2011 more >>

Renewables

Tidal energy company Marine Current Turbines (MCT), in partnership with RWE npower renewables, today submitted a consent application to install a 10MW array of tidal stream turbines off the North West coast of Anglesey in 2015. Consisting of seven twin-rotor turbines arranged across an area of 0.56sq.km, the array will harness the power of the tidal waters, generating enough power for over 10,000 homes on the island. It will be the first tidal array to be deployed in Wales/

Efficient Energy 28th March 2011 more >>

In spite of the turmoil on the markets in the last few weeks, Japan’s nuclear disaster looks like a positive for renewable energy stocks, as investors conclude that cleantech has a brighter future than nuclear power.

New Net 28th March 2011 more >>

Across the world, the future of nuclear power looks increasingly uncertain. If nuclear is indeed on the way out, is now a good time to invest in renewable energy?

This is Money 29th March 2011 more >>


Japan

Plutonium has been detected in soil at five locations at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Monday. The operator of the nuclear complex said that the plutonium is believed to have been discharged from nuclear fuel at the plant.

Kyodo News 28th March 2011 more >>

Yahoo 28th March 2011 more >>

Highly toxic plutonium is seeping from the damaged nuclear power plant in Japan’s tsunami disaster zone into the soil outside, officials said. Plutonium has been detected in small amounts at several spots outside the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant for the first time, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) said. Safety chiefs said the amounts were not a risk to humans but supported suspicions that dangerously radioactive water was leaking from damaged nuclear fuel rods – a worrying development in the race to bring the power plant under control.

Wales Online 29th March 2011 more >>

Press & Journal 29th March 2011 more >>

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has said his government is in a state of maximum alert over the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

BBC 29th March 2011 more >>

The buildup of radioactive water in the tunnels underneath at least three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant is hindering efforts to restore power to the facility. The discovery of trace levels of plutonium, which is highly carcinogenic, suggests that contaminated water has seeped into the nearby soil.

LA Times 28th March 2011 more >>

Highly radioactive water has leaked from a reactor at Japan’s crippled nuclear complex, the plant’s operator said on Monday, while environmental group Greenpeace said it had detected high levels of radiation outside an exclusion zone.

STV 28th March 2011 more >>

Greenpeace called on the Japanese government to extend an evacuation zone around the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant, saying it had found high radiation levels outside the zone. The environmental group said it had confirmed radiation levels of up to 10 microsieverts per hour in Iitate village, 40 km (25 miles) northwest of the nuclear plant.

STV 28th March 2011 more >>

IT COULD be months before engineers regain full control of Japan’s devastated nuclear reactors, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) chief nuclear inspector, Yukiya Amano. Speaking on Saturday, Amano warned that Japan was “far from the end of the accident.

Chemical Engineer 28th March 2011 more >>

Several hundred protesters took to the streets in Tokyo yesterday to demand the closure of all nuclear plants – as workers at Japan’s crippled nuclear plant fled for their lives following massive radiation readings which later turned out to be false.

Daily Mail 28th March 2011 more >>

Episodes of The Simpsons which feature jokes about nuclear meltdowns have been banned in a number of countries – as a reaction to the disaster currently unfolding in Japan.

Daily Mail 28th March 2011 more >>

Telegraph 29th March 2011 more >>

High levels of radioactivity in water leaking from a reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant resulted from a partial meltdown of fuel rods, Japanese officials have said, amid growing fears that radiation may also have seeped into seawater and soil.

Guardian 28th March 2011 more >>

The most remarkable thing about the response so far to the ‘‘gempatsu shinsai’’ (nuclear-earthquake disaster) that has engulfed Japan is that there are still people who think nuclear power has a future. Should this be attributed more to the dependence of modern industrialized societies on massive inputs of energy, or to a collective lack of imagination? We do not yet know how this unfolding catastrophe will end, but we can be sure that if most of the radioactivity in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant remains on site, then the true believers will claim that this is as bad as it gets and that the risk is worth taking. The environmental damage of localized contamination and releases to sea will be discounted and long-term health impacts from exposure to low levels of radiation will be denied. Even those workers who suffer from acute radiation sickness will not find their way into the most commonly quoted statistics, unless they die promptly. The truth is that even in the best-case scenario the environmental and human consequences of this disaster will be enormous.

Kyodo News 28th March 2011 more >>

“While people may become more cautious, renewable energy alone isn’t sufficient, so nuclear power is essential,” Hidehiko Nishiyama, a director general at Japan’s trade ministry said, suggesting that the country has no other natural resources like oil or natural gas, and that the government’s objective is not to quit nuclear power, but make it safer than ever – a reasonable point of view.

IB Times 28th March 2011 more >>

Hundreds of pregnant women are fleeing Japan’s east coast and capital Tokyo over fears that radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant will harm their unborn babies. Workers are battling to avert a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi power plant have discovered a pool of radioactive water outside the crippled facility. Hospitals in the Osaka region, 450 miles from the crippled power station which is spewing radiation into the air, have been inundated with requests from mothers-to-be seeking a safe place to give birth.

Daily Mail 28th March 2011 more >>

Liability

The Japanese government plans to pay part of damages Tokyo Electric Power Co. will have to pay to people affected by the ongoing accident at its nuclear power plant Fukushima Prefecture, informed sources said Wednesday. Based on the law on compensation for nuclear damages, the government will first cover up to 240 billion yen of damages to be paid to those afflicted by the accident, which was caused by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and ensuing massive tsunami that devastated many coastal towns and cities in the Tohoku northeastern Japan region including Fukushima Prefecture on March 11. But the government is also considering shouldering additional costs because even with its initial support, Tokyo Electric’s final damages payment amount is expected to surpass the company’s solvency, the sources said.

Jiji Press 23rd March 2011 more >>

Implications

The head of the United Nations agency that coordinates global nuclear safety today called for a high-level conference within three months to strengthen safety measures and emergency responses in light of the Japanese power plant crisis.

Click Green 28th March 2011 more >>

A HAMPSHIRE MP has spoken out against nuclear power following the Japan disaster. Dr Alan Whitehead, Labour MP for Southampton Test, has jointly sponsored a motion to call on the secretary of state to suspend the Government’s plans for a new nuclear power programme in the UK.

Daily Echo 29th March 2011 more >>

Japan’s Nikkei average fell on Tuesday, hurt by growing worries about the crippled nuclear plant and the impact of the earthquake and tsunami on corporate earnings, with plant operator Tokyo Electric Power untraded on a report it may be nationalised.

Interactive Investor 29th March 2011 more >>

Letter: Nuclear power is unsafe because the consequences of any accident are so dire. Despite George Monbiot’s perverse conclusion the disaster at Fukushima has so far caused the evacuation of over 100,000 people, the suspension of fisheries and agriculture over a large area and a ban on the consumption of drinking water by babies in a city of 12 million.

Guardian 29th March 2011 more >>

Andrew Warren: To those like George Monbiot who state “there is no alternative” to the great God atom, I always say you could consider how it is that Germany has the confidence to go down an entirely non-nuclear route, even with the same 2050 objective of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases. The difference between where we believe our electricity consumption will be by then – twice, even three times, present levels – and where the German government thinks electricity demand can be via a purposeful and consistent efficiency programme (25% below present levels) is so vast that it does beg one obvious question. And that is, naturally, why have the Germans got it all so economically wrong yet again?

Guardian 29th March 2011 more >>

Letter: A landmark study published recently in Scientific American found: “Nuclear power results in up to 25 times more carbon emissions than wind energy, when reactor construction and uranium-refining and transport are considered.” Atomic energy is no friend of climate.

Guardian 29th March 2011 more >>

Radhealth

Greg Dropkin: George Monbiot blithely cites claims that 100mSv is the lowest one-year dose clearly linked to increased cancer risk. This is just not true. For example, Steve Wing and David Richardson found significant increased cancer risks associated with exposure to 10 mSv in workers at the Oak Ridge plant in Tennessee.

Robin Russell-Jones: the BEIR VII committee of the US National Academy of Science estimated that Chernobyl was responsible for an extra 4,000 cancer deaths among evacuees and workers involved in the clean-up, and 5,000 extra cancer deaths among the population of Ukraine, Belarus and the Russian Federation. Furthermore, if one accepts the linear no-threshold model of ionising radiation, then, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), there will be a total of 16,000 excess cancer deaths worldwide as a result of this nuclear disaster.

Guardian 29th March 2011 more >>

New Nukes

A MAJOR report from Britain’s former chief scientific adviser will today claim there is an “urgent need” for a new long-term nuclear plan for the UK. The report is likely to give fresh ammunition to supporters of a new nuclear power station constructed on Anglesey when the Wylfa reactor comes to the end of its life. But environment groups and the Welsh Liberal Democrats claim there is no need for a new generation of power stations.

Western Mail 29th March 2011 more >>

Scottish Labour welcomed the publication of the report, which they said backed their policy. Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP, Tom Greatrex said: “Safety, reducing carbon emissions and keeping the lights on must be at the heart of a sensible and sustainable energy policy.” Labour also points out that no company currently wants to build new nuclear power stations in Scotland, but says that it would consider any application on a case-by-case basis. A spokesman for the SNP said: “With Labour publishing their pro-nuclear election policy – entirely the wrong one for Scotland – these different visions of our energy future will become a major issue in the election.” The campaign group Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA), which includes a number of Scottish councils, called on the Coalition to guarantee there will be no public subsidies of new nuclear power stations in the wake of the Japan crisis.

Herald 29th March 2011 more >>

The UK’s nuclear industry is in no shape to cope with a large-scale reactor building programme and must be overhauled if the coalition wants to push ahead with its nuclear expansion plans, according to the former government chief scientist. The industry is better equipped to manage the decline and decommissioning of existing nuclear plants, rather than set up new ones, a study led by Sir David King has concluded. If Britain is to deal with its nuclear waste, as well as build new reactors, then more waste must be recycled. But this would mean keeping open and even expanding the controversial Thorp reprocessing plant at Sellafield, which was shut down for more than two years, from 2005 to 2008, because of a serious, though contained, leak of radioactive liquid inside the plant. That was the longest of several shutdowns in recent years at the plant, which has been dogged with problems and has never run at full capacity.

Guardian 29th March 2011 more >>

Peter Birtles, group board director of Sheffield Forgemasters International, makers of large cast and forged components for nuclear power plants, gives his view on the effect of Japan’s disaster on the nuclear industry and says the world has little alternative for mass scale power generation.

The Manufacturer 17th March 2011 more >>

Wylfa

Two turbines at Magnox’ UK Wylfa nuclear power plants went offline on Sunday for unplanned maintenance and are due to return to service within two days, a spokesman for operator Magnox said on Monday.

Reuters 28th March 2011 more >>

Sizewell & Bradwell

A business event being held in Lowestoft next week is to look at how the region is poised to play a significant role in the nuclear energy sector. The event, rganised by the East of England Energy Group (EEEGr), will explore all aspects of the sector from potential new reactors at Sizewell and Bradwell, in Essex, to decommissioning old plants.

Eastern Daily Press 28th March 2011 more >>

Hinkley

Councils in Somerset say more detail is needed about the overall impact of a new nuclear power station at Hinkley. Conservative leader of the county council, Ken Maddock, said the project was welcomed but the last consultation “still had some way to go in getting the proposals up to scratch”.

District councils were also worried about the level of community benefits, housing, job creation and transport.

BBC 28th March 2011 more >>

THE latest stage of EDF Energy’s consultation on its plans for Hinkley Point C nuclear power station draws to a close today. The month-long consultation has involved several public exhibitions in the area, which EDF says have been attended by around 1200 people.

Bridgwater Mercury 28th March 2011 more >>

Decision makers in Sedgemoor have passed a series of resolutions in response to the latest proposals from EDF Energy – the Stage 2 Update – for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point, which reflect the serious concerns it still has over some of the details.

Total Star 25th March 2011 more >>

Dungeness

Since my election I have been campaigning for the Government to include Dungeness on the list of recommended sites for a new nuclear power station, and understandably the earthquake in Japan and subsequent damage to the reactors at Fukushima has led people to ask whether we can still rely on this technology.

Kent News 28th March 2011 more >>

Companies

THE €1.62bn (£1.43bn) valuation for Siemens’ stake in a nuclear power venture was calculated by BDO head of advisory Gervase McGregor. Siemens, Germany’s largest engineering company, and venture partner Areva, organised the independent valuation. French-based Areva could be provided with the option to buy the 34% stake by the end of January 2012.

Accountancy Age 28th March 2011 more >>

Germany

Germany’s nuclear power plants suffer from serious safety deficits, with inadequate protections against earthquakes, plane crashes and cyber attacks. Retrofitting the plants would be so complex and costly that their continued operation makes little financial sense.

Der Spiegel 25th March 2011 more >>

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday it would take her Christian Democrats a long time to overcome the pain of an election defeat in their conservative heartland where the Greens won on fears about nuclear power.

IB Times 28th March 2011 more >>

The two German state elections Sunday were of key importance – but the Greens found the proper keyhole. Much of their remarkable gains were based on tragedy – the horror of Fukushima in Japan and fears that one of the four ageing atomic reactors in Baden-Wurttemberg – the youngest 22 years old, the oldest 35 – might cause a similar disaster. Huge demonstrations took place the day before the election, with 90,000 people in Berlin and over 400,000 in four other major German cities demanding an end to nuclear power.

Morning Star 28th March 2011 more >>

Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday blamed Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster for the crushing defeat inflicted on her ruling Christian Democrats by the Greens in key state elections at the weekend – but ruled out changes to her coalition in response to her party’s humiliation.

Independent 29th March 2011 more >>

Germany’s governing coalition of Christian Democrats and Free Democrats has signalled a move away from atomic energy after its pro-nuclear policies were rejected by voters in the state of Baden-W rttemberg.

FT 29th March 2011 more >>

Slovenia

A communist-era nuclear power plant that Croatia shares with Slovenia is safe, Croatia’s President Ivo Josipovic insisted Monday during a visit to Lithuania. “There are no official requirements to close this nuclear plant because it’s very safe,” Josipovic told reporters at a press conference with his Lithuanian counterpart Dalia Grybauskaite.

EU Business 28th March 2011 more >>

Disarmament

After the New Start treaty, with its modest reductions in the US and Russia nuclear arsenals, barely scraped through the US Senate in December, there is not a great deal of optimism around for a follow-on arms control agreement any time soon. Nor is there much hope that the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty will finally be approved in a finely-balanced Senate in the run-up to an election. Against this gloomy backdrop, James Acton, a nuclear policy expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, has brought out a practical guide to the seemingly impossible.

Guardian 28th March 2011 more >>

Renewables

Letter from Network of European Metropolitan Regions and Areas: The EU building standards directive seeks to reduce the energy use in buildings to 120kw/h m . Most of Europe’s urban buildings use two to three times this. The first step to decarbonisation must be to lower consumption through waste reduction. However, it is the next step that has not yet been recognised. Europe’s larger urban areas have the potential to meet such reduced energy demand from the renewable energy-generating potential of their land and buildings. Metropolitan energy self-sufficiency is conceivable and achievable, with all the benefits for energy security, stable energy prices and competitiveness that this could bring. Energy saving can fund the required renewable energy investment. We could have a decarbonised urban Europe in 20 to 30 years and greenhouse gas emissions would not then be an issue. A major European project is coming to its conclusion shortly and the evidence will be made public.

Guardian 29th March 2011 more >>

Posted: 29 March 2011

28 March 2011

Japan

Renewed radiation fears at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant sent the Nikkei 0.60% lower on Monday. Shares of Tokyo Electric Power, which operates the nuclear plant, slumped 17% after confused reports about radiation levels inside one of the buildings. On Sunday Tokyo Electric Power said radiation in puddles in the turbine building of reactor two was 10m times higher than normal. The company later corrected the information to say it was 100,000 times higher.

Share Cast 28th March 2011 more >>

City Wire 28th March 2011 more >>

Workers were once again evacuated from the Fukushima nuclear power plant as radiation rose to extraordinarily high levels on Sunday. Levels of 1,000 millisieverts per hour were measured in surface water within the Fukushima Unit 2 reactor building. This means that a human being entering building 2 would be exposed to four times the annual limit of radiation within an hour. The Japanese government has raised the limit to 250 millisieverts per year for the workers who are attempting to bring the Fukushima nuclear emergency under control. The normal background level of exposure for a person not working in the nuclear industry might be 3 millisieverts per year.

World Socialist Web 28th Narch 2011 more >>

The company responsible for the Fukushima I power station evacuated it again yesterday after immense levels of radiation were detected in the cooling system of one reactor. At one point radiation of 1,000 milli-sieverts per hour a potentially lethal level said to be ten million times higher than normal was measured, although the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) later said that the reading was a mistake, which had not been double-checked because workers had then fled the building.

Times 28th March 2011 more >>

The Japanese government has attacked the operator of a crippled nuclear plant for “unacceptable” mistakes. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) had said radiation levels were 10m times higher than normal before correcting the figure to 100,000 times.

BBC 28th March 2011 more >>

Daily Mail 28th March 2011 more >>

Daily Star 28th March 2011 more >>

Channel 4 News 27th March 2011 more >>

Japan appeared resigned on Monday to a long fight to contain the world’s most dangerous atomic crisis in 25 years after high radiation levels complicated work at its crippled nuclear plant.

Reuters 28th March 2011 more >>

Mounting problems, including badly miscalculated radiation figures and inadequate storage tanks for huge amounts of contaminated water, hindered emergency workers yesterday as they struggled to nudge Japan’s stricken nuclear complex back from the edge of disaster.

Scotsman 28th March 2011 more >>

Press & Journal 28th March 2011 more >>

The discovery of the highly radioactive water, even if the exact amount of radioactivity is unclear, is the latest blow to efforts to restore control at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Telegraph 27th March 2011 more >>

Fresh doubt has been cast on the handling of the Fukushima nuclear crisis after officials admitted wildly overstating levels of radiation, prompting an evacuation of the nuclear site damaged by the 11 March earthquake and tsunami. Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) said initial reports of a level 10m times higher than normal in parts of the No 2 reactor were inaccurate, although it could not say by how much.

Guardian 28th March 2011 more >>

Sky News 27th March 2011 more >>

At least 1000 anti-nuclear activists on Sunday marched through Tokyo as workers battled to stem the damage from a leaking atomic reactor. The Japan Congress Against A and H Bombs hold such marches every month but this month’s demonstration attracted a better turnout after they advertised the rally on social networking sites. A group of Greenpeace radiation experts have been analysing the area that surrounds the Fukushima nuclear plant. The environmental pressure group said Japanese officials have been too quick to underplay the disaster’s impact and the threat posed to public health.

Euro News 27th March 2011 more >>

Implications

Letter: Nuclear safety may not be that industry’s Achilles’ Heel – although currently the Japanese possibly have a different take on that. The real problem remains its other expenses. The Fukushima disaster will cost utility bill payers, insurance premium payers or taxpayers a huge sum; yet, however large, the figure is dwarfed by the cost of managing nuclear waste for its 150,000 life time.

Scotsman 28th March 2011 more >>

Nuclear Liability

National and international liability arrangements establish rules and allocate monies to deal with the consequences of a major disaster at a commercial nuclear power plant.

Nuclear Engineering International 27th March 2011 more >>

Electricity Market Reform

The introduction of a carbon tax in the Budget to penalise coal-fired power stations that emit greenhouse gases threatens to accelerate the closure of generating plant, potentially creating a serious energy supply gap in the middle of the decade. The electricity generating industry has warned the Treasury that it has gone too far, too fast by implementing a carbon price floor in last week’s Budget, claiming that the tax could also kill off plans by coal-fired power stations for futuristic and expensive carbon-capture schemes.

Times 28th March 2011 more >>

Wylfa

What caused most trouble was the tweet: “After Japan, #plaidconf will be able to reaffirm opposition to ALL nuclear power. #plaidcymru can settle the debate once and for all.” This, of course, is not Plaid policy, what with Ieuan Wyn Jones’ constituency being Anglesey and nuclear being quite popular there in terms of employment. Obviously not true, then? Er… not if you’re Shadow Economic Development Minister Darren Millar, who took it at its word and instantly issued a press release attacking Mr Jones for “actively campaigning for what would be a massive blow to his Anglesey constituents and have a negative impact on the economy of North Wales”. “I am appalled that Plaid would seek to use the disaster in Japan for political advantage… To imply that Wylfa could pose a similar risk to people in North Wales is a disgrace.”

Wales on Sunday 27th March 2011http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/columnists/2011/03/27/tweeter-runs-rings-round-the-plaid-party-faithful-91466-28410045/

ANTI-NUCLEAR campaigners will stage a protest against plans for a new Welsh power station, claiming the radiation leaks and other problems at Japan’s Fukushima plant proves the technology is unsafe. PAWB, or People Against Wylfa B, will hold its demonstration near the Menai Bridge on Anglesey, on Wednesday. PAWB spokesman Dylan Morgan said the island’s only two escape routes – the Menai and Britannia bridges – would quickly become congested in the event of a serious nuclear accident.

Western Mail 28th March 2011 more >>

Germany

An estimated quarter of a million people took to the streets in four German cities on Saturday to call for the closure of all nuclear power plants in the country. The demonstrations in Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne and Munich were organised by a wide range of environmental groups and supported by the main opposition parties in parliament the Social Democratic Party, the Greens and the Left Party. The German federation of trade unions (DGB) also put its name to the list of sponsors and its chairman was the main speaker at the rally following the march in Berlin.

World Socialist Web 28th March 2011 more >>

Morning Star 27th March 2011 more >>

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition was defeated in its southwestern heartland and failed to win control of a second state as the anti-nuclear Greens vote surged to a record, forcing her to reassess energy policy. The Greens were poised to enter the regional governments in Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate after state elections yesterday conducted in the shadow of the nuclear disaster in Japan. In Baden-Wuerttemberg, the Greens were set to lead their first state administration, ejecting Merkel’s Christian Democrats from power in Stuttgart after 58 years.

Bloomberg 27th March 2011 more >>

Telegraph 27th March 2011 more >>

Guardian 28th March 2011 more >>

Four nuclear power companies are preparing lawsuits against the German government in the wake of its decision to idle seven of the country’s 17 nuclear-power stations. Officials at the companies – Germany’s Eon, RWE and EnBW and Sweden’s Vattenfall – said no top-level decisions had been taken, but obligations to shareholders made suits “almost an imperative”.

FT 28th March 2011 more >>

Renewables

The UK renewable energy sector saw merger and acquisition deals worth £910m last year, around 11 per cent of all European green deals, a report from consultancy Pricewaterhouse-Coopers will show today. Between them, the UK and Germany account for a third of the activity in the EU, the report says. Although overall green deal values globally dropped by 32 per cent to $33bn (£20bn) in 2010, the volume of deals rose, as confidence returned to the sector and buyers and sellers came to market with more realistic expectations. And despite some regulatory uncertainty, the market is expected to remain strong throughout 2011, buoyed by a renewed environmentalism in the US and nuclear power groups’ increasing moves into other forms of green energy.

Independent 28th March 2011 more >>

Posted: 28 March 2011

27 March 2011

Japan

Japanese authorities evacuated workers on Sunday from a reactor building they were working in after high doses of radiation were detected at a crippled nuclear power plant, the plant’s operator said. Tokyo Electric Power Co said radiation 10 million times the usual level was detected in water that had accumulated at the No. 2 reactor’s turbine housing unit.

Reuters 27th March 2011 more >>

Radioactive iodine in sea-water off Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant rose to 1,850 times the usual level from 1,250 times measured on Saturday, Japan’s nuclear safety agency said on Sunday.

Reuters 27th March 2011 more >>

Abnormally high levels of radioactive materials have been found in the sea near the troubled plant, the government said, fanning concerns over the safety of fishery products in the region. According to the government’s nuclear safety agency, evidence of water having flowed through an ordinary drainage outlet has been found at the No. 2 reactor building, with a radiation level of about 15 millisieverts per hour detected. The outlet is believed to lead to the sea. Japan’s top government spokesman Yukio Edano said at a press conference Saturday that it was difficult to predict when the ongoing crisis at the plant — triggered by the catastrophic March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami — would end. Asked about the prospects for the crisis, Edano described the current situation as ‘‘preventing it from worsening,’’ adding that ‘‘an enormous amount of work’’ is required before it will settle down.

Kyodo News 27th March 2011 more >>

RADIATION levels are soaring in the sea near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Contaminated water was still being pumped from the plant into the sea yesterday despite tests revealing radioactive iodine levels 1,250 times higher than normal. Radioactive water was found in buildings housing three of the six reactors at the crippled plant.

Express 27th March 2011 more >>

Daily Mail 27th March 2011 more >>

Telegraph 26th March 2011 more >>

AMERICAN naval barges loaded with 500,000 gallons of freshwater have been sent to the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan in the latest bid to stabilise its reactors.

Scotland on Sunday 27th March 2011 more >>

Japan’s government has revealed a series of missteps by the operator of a radiation-leaking nuclear plant, including sending workers in without protective footwear in its faltering efforts to control a monumental crisis.

Belfast Telegraph 26th March 2011 more >>

London Evening Standard 26th March 2011 more >>

Seventeen workers have been exposed to dangerously high levels of radiation, including three last week who stood for 40 minutes in pools of water with radiation 10,000 times above safety limits. The accident raised fears of a leak in one of the six reactor cores and deepened criticism of the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s safeguards for workers.

Observer 27th March 2011 more >>

A group of Greenpeace radiation experts has started on Saturday monitoring locations around the evacuation area that surrounds the crisis-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, “in order to assess the true extent of radiation risks” to the local population. “Since the beginning of the Fukushima nuclear crisis, the authorities have consistently appeared to underestimate both the risks and extent of radioactive contamination. We have come to Fukushima to bear witness to the impacts of this crisis and to provide some independent insight into the resulting radioactive contamination”, said Greenpeace team leader and radioactivity safety advisor Jan van de Putte in a statement.

Pan Orient News 26th March 2011 more >>

Greenpeace International 26th March 2011 more >>

MoX is more difficult to control than uranium fuel. The risk of accidental criticality are different. You have the same kinds of problems, they are just more intense with plutonium. And when plutonium is dispersed into the wind you want to be pretty much anywhere else. There are four kinds of carcinogenic isotopes released when a nuke plant blows: iodine-131, cesium-137, strontium-90 and plutonium-239. Plutonium is not only the most lethal of the four it also hangs around the longest. It’s half life is a whopping 24,000 years, and since radioactive contamination is dangerous for 10 to 20 times the length of the isotope’s half.life, that means plutonium emitted in Fukushima today will still be around in close to half a million years.

Time 17th March 2011 more >>

Imlications

Monbiot wrote this while firefighters were risking their health and possibly their lives to protect citizens. He wrote this while the nuclear plant was radiating, the levels climbing around it, and still no prospect of an end to the leaks. He wrote this while the people of Fukushima looked on from emergency shelters as their livelihoods were destroyed, possibly for generations, and while tap water in Tokyo was forbidden to babies. Meanwhile, at the time of writing, the plutonium threat in reactor No 3 is still not under control.

Guardian 26th March 2011 more >>

Letter from Mike Childs: Nuclear power is a gamble we don’t need to take. Studies show that the UK can meet its energy needs and tackle climate change without resorting to nuclear power or burning fossil fuels – all that is lacking is the political will. Over the years, the nuclear industry has survived on massive subsidies from UK taxpayers while cleaner forms of energy have been starved of cash. If the government goes ahead with its plans to build new reactors this pattern will be repeated again. No nuclear power plant has ever been built without state funding and ministers are already planning ways to pump more money into the industry, despite promising not to.

Observer 27th March 2011 more >>

Letter Keith Parker: the UK government’s approach, to establish the facts, learn the lessons, and apply them to the UK’s situation and conditions, is the correct course of action. We will not be complacent. But it must be remembered too that the UK government’s approach is aimed at securing our future supplies of low-carbon energy. Both the UK government and the industry are clear that new nuclear build will go ahead in the UK to secure our long-term environmental and security of supply needs into the future.

Observer 27th March 2011 more >>

David Cameron has ordered a review and Mike Weightman, the chief nuclear inspector, is expected to publish his findings by September. Executives hope the review will cause a delay of weeks rather than months or years. Others are less convinced. Richard Nourse, head of Novus Modus, a renewable energy investing firm, said: “It’s easy to forget that not long ago nuclear was seen as a dinosaur technology. It has been rehabilitated through several years of hard graft, through focusing attention on its low-carbon benefits, the benefits for energy security and its affordability. However, public acceptability is key to building new plants, and this [the Japan disaster] could easily undo all that work.” Campaigners such as Greenpeace and developers of alternatives such as solar power are using the incident in Japan as evidence that nuclear is a bad option. But the government had made its intentions clear before Fukushima. Around Christmas it published the highly anticipated Electricity Market Reform, a package of measures calling time on the free-market model that has dominated the industry for the past two decades. Andy Cox, energy partner at KPMG, said: “The carbon floor certainly feels weighted towards building new nuclear plants and will put upward pressure on prices. In coal, for example, our analysis shows that at a carbon price floor above £25, coal starts to look difficult.” RWE Npower, meanwhile, is struggling under a mountain of loans and is understood to have launched a review of its British business. Horizon Nuclear Power, the joint venture it set up with Eon last year to build up to six reactors, is casting about for another partner to share the financial burden.

Sunday Times 27th March 2011 more >>

Radwaste

Dr Helen Wallace who wrote the scientific review “Rock Solid” has said: “This waste is extremely radioactive and very hot so it’s going to significantly change the water flow deep underground; the corrosion of materials and the repository will release large quantities of gas which have to escape somehow. The waste will remain dangerous for many generations.”

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

Hunterston

NUCLEAR families will be welcome. A plan has been hatched to create a theme park with outdoor water slides and adventure courses on the site of one of Scotland’s decommissioned atomic power stations. Hunterston A, on a scenic stretch of the North Ayrshire coast, was shut down in 1990 with “defuelling” successfully completed five years later. Now a veteran councillor, supported by local tourism businesses, wants the area turned into a visitor attraction.

Scotland on Sunday 27th March 2011 more >>

Scotland

Competing visions for the use of nuclear power in Scotland will be a “major” issue of the Holyrood election, SNP leader Alex Salmond says. He spoke out after Labour pledged to remove the presumption against “new nuclear” for the future. Mr Salmond, whose party opposes that plan, said Labour’s position is “an absurdity”.

Wishaw Press 26th March 2011 more >>

PA 26th March 2011 more >>

Chernobyl

As Japan struggles with its nuclear plant crisis, the site of the biggest atomic disaster in history remains a grim, radioactive monument

Observer 27th March 2011 more >>

Germany

Munich’s mayor, Christian Ude, has ambitious plans. He wants Munich to be the first city with over a million inhabitants to be powered 100 per cent by renewable energy by 2025. According to a documentary aired by the public broadcaster, ZDF, renewable energy is competitive and claimed that “Green” electric power in Munich is already less expensive than nuclear power or the energy mix offered by electricity utilities. The Bavarian capital plans to invest €9bn in water power and other renewable energies. Munich is also investing in offshore windparks in the North Sea and in solar plants in Andalusia, Spain. Everybody contributes to making Munich a green city. Even the elephants in the local zoo are called on to donate their biomass.

Independent 27th March 2011 more >>

Baden-W rttemberg in south-west Germany is one of Europe’s richest regions. For almost 58 years, it has been governed by Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU). But from 6pm tonight, when the first results from the state’s elections start to come in, this region of plenty might well be heading into the clutches of the opposition. If the pollsters are correct, the risk-averse burghers of Baden-W rttemberg – with their locally assembled Mercedes in their garages and their jobs for life – may end up electing, by a narrow vote, Germany’s first Green regional prime minister.

Observer 27th March 2011 more >>

In Germany, protesters have staged what they said was the country’s biggest ever demonstration against nuclear power. More than 200,000 people took part, in four cities. Nuclear energy has become a major political issue in Germany since the crisis in Japan and could influence a big regional election on Sunday. The party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is perceived to be pro-nuclear energy, could lose the state of Baden-Wuerttemburg for the first time in six decades.

BBC 26th March 2011 more >>

Russia

Russian Environmental groups Ecodefence and Groza yesterday held a protest in front of the building of Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear corporation, unfurling a 10-meter banner reading “No to New Nuclear Power Plants” and another inviting Rosatom employees to drink iodine, the element causing a run on Japanese drug stores for its prophylactic abilities against cancer causing agents in early radiation exposure.

Bellona 24th March 2011 more >>

Posted: 27 March 2011

26 March 2011

Justification

A LANCASHIRE man who is opposed to Government plans to introduce up to 20 new nuclear reactors across the UK has launched a High Court legal challenge against the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. Rory Walker (24), who lives close to Heysham, where one or two new reactors may be built, believes that the Secretary of State has not met his obligations in law and, as a result, is putting the health of local residents at risk.

Irwin Mitchell 25th March 2011 more >>

The UK could be forced to re-do a cost-benefit analysis on new nuclear power plants if a High Court challenge to the government’s “justification” for new reactors is successful. Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, working on behalf of a Lancashire man living near the Heysham nuclear power plant, asked the High Court to declare the government’s justification for new reactors unlawful. The law firm claims that the government’s justification failed to make proper estimates of health detriment and failed fully to take into account scientific research findings showing increased leukemia risks near nuclear facilities, according to a statement Friday from Irwin Mitchell. The lawsuit could force the government to re-do the justification process, which took several years to complete, and could even lead to the conclusion that new reactors are not justified, according to a spokesman at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors.

Platts 25th March 2011 more >>

BBC 25th March 2011 more >>

Nuclear Subsidy

Letter from Peter Rowberry: Although we are still in the middle of a nuclear catastrophe in Japan, the government sees fit to hand out a major subsidy to the nuclear industry, in the form of carbon-floor pricing. It is estimated that this will benefit them by around £3bn between now and 2050 for doing absolutely nothing. Couldn’t the government think of a way to only give the benefit of carbon-floor pricing in proportion to the carbon saved and not to existing, unsustainable and non-renewable sources such as nuclear power. The “no subsidy for nuclear” promise is another coalition joke.

Guardian 25th March 2011 more >>

Plutonium

Kansai Electric Power Co. and Chubu Electric Power Co. will postpone sea transportation of uranium-plutonium mixed-oxide fuel, known as MOX fuel, slated for this spring in the wake of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, company officials said Friday. Kansai Electric officials said the firms decided on the postponement after the government told them that it could not ensure tight security for transportation as it is concentrating on reconstruction following the March 11 mega earthquake and the current nuclear crisis.

Kyodo News 25th March 2011 more >>

Edwin Lyman, senior scientist for global security at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, D.C., argues that MOX is more likely to cause nuclear accidents than ordinary uranium fuel and is liable to release more harmful material in the event of an accident. “Plutonium has different properties than uranium 235 that generally tend to degrade some of the safety systems in nuclear plants,” Lyman says. For instance, because weapons-grade plutonium fissions more readily than uranium 235, reactors may need more robust control rods neutron absorbers that shut down the nuclear chain reaction when inserted into a reactor’s core. “You never get quite as much margin even after doing all that as you do with uranium,” Lyman says.

Scientific American 25th March 2011 more >>

SELLAFIELD bosses and workers are keeping fingers crossed that lucrative Mox fuel orders from Japan will not be at risk. The site has secured long-term contracts with 10 Japanese power utility companies for Mox fuel fabrication and transport services. Japan is one of Sellafield’s biggest and most valuable customers. Confidence was steadily restored after the so-called Mox scandal which saw rogue pellets being sent to Japan for use in reactors. And only a few months ago some of the utilities threw what was regarded as a lifeline for the existing Sellafield Mox plant (SMP) by placing contracts to make new plutonium/uranium fuel for use in Japan.

Whitehaven News 24th March 2011 more >>

Japan

Two weeks after the earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeast Japan, there is mounting evidence that the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is emitting radioactivity more widely and at more toxic levels than acknowledged by the Japanese government.

World Socialist Web 26th March 2011 more >>

Two weeks on and the spectre of contamination from Japan’s disaster-hit Fukushima nuclear plant looms larger than ever. After three workers there were exposed to radiation levels 10,000 times higher than normal, it is feared Reactor No. 3’s core may have been damaged.

Euro News 25th March 2011 more >>

Telegraph 25th March 2011 more >>

THE situation at Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is still “grave and serious”, Prime Minister Naoto Kan warned yesterday in a sombre televised address. Fears grew about the scale of the problem after it emerged that three engineers had waded into water with 10,000 times more radiation levels than normal. Two were hospitalised with skin burns.

Express 26th March 2011 more >>

The Japan nuclear and industrial safety agency official, Hidehiko Nishiyama, said there is a possibility of ‘some sort of leakage’ from the reactor, and he speculated that the unit’s containment vessel could have been cracked.

Daily Mail 26th March 2011 more >>

Guardian 26th March 2011 more >>

Times 26th March 2011 more >>

Liverpool Echo 25th March 2011 more >>

The reactor, No 3 of six, is the only one to use plutonium in its fuel mix which is more toxic than the uranium used in the other reactors. The government called for an investigation into why such high levels of radiation had suddenly appeared.

Scotsman 26th March 2011 more >>

A suspected breach in the reactor at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant could mean more serious radioactive contamination, Japanese officials have said.

Independent 25th March 2011 more >>

An investigation is under way in Japan to establish the source of a radiation leak at the quake-hit nuclear plant, which left two workers in hospital.

BBC 25th March 2011 more >>

Rising temperatures around the core of one of the reactors at Japans quake-crippled nuclear plant sparked new concern yesterday with more water needed to cool it down.

Herald 26th March 2011 more >>

Japan’s taxpayer, not the nuclear industry or insurers, will cover most of the cleanup cost from the worst accident since Chernobyl, a financial rescue that may spur moves by nations to make companies assume more liability. Some governments may seek to transfer more financial responsibility to plant operators, which worldwide plan to build or relicense more than 100 reactors, according to researchers who follow the nuclear industry. “Governments now will review burden-sharing in insurance coverage, just like after an oil spill or bank crisis,” David Robinson, senior research fellow at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies in Oxford, England, said in an interview.

Bloomberg 23rd March 2011 more >>

Nuclear safety officials in Japan fear the core of a reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant may have cracked, causing a leak of high levels of radiation. Growing uncertainty over the state of the stricken reactor prompted the government to tell people living within a 12-19 mile (20-30km) radius of the plant to consider leaving their homes temporarily.

Business Green 25th March 2011 more >>

Amory Lovins: Nuclear-promoting regulators inspire even less confidence. The International Atomic Energy Agency’s 2005 estimate of about 4,000 Chernobyl deaths contrasts with a rigorous 2009 review of 5,000 mainly Slavic-language scientific papers the IAEA overlooked. It found deaths approaching a million through 2004, nearly 170,000 of them in North America. The total toll now exceeds a million, plus a half-trillion dollars’ economic damage. The fallout reached four continents, just as the jet stream could swiftly carry Fukushima fallout. Fukushima I-4’s spent fuel alone, while in the reactor, had produced (over years, not in an instant) more than a hundred times more fission energy and hence radioactivity than both 1945 atomic bombs. If that already-damaged fuel keeps overheating, it may melt or burn, releasing into the air things like cesium-137 and strontium-90, which take several centuries to decay a millionfold. Unit 3’s fuel is spiked with plutonium, which takes 482,000 years. nuclear plants are so slow and costly to build that they reduce and retard climate protection. Here’s how. Each dollar spent on a new reactor buys about two to ten times less carbon savings and is 20 to 40 times slower, than spending that dollar on the cheaper, faster, safer solutions that make nuclear power unnecessary and uneconomic: efficient use of electricity, making heat and power together in factories or buildings (“cogeneration”), and renewable energy. The last two made 18 percent of the world’s 2009 electricity (while nuclear made 13 percent, reversing their 2000 shares) and made over 90 percent of the 2007 to 2008 increase in global electricity production. A durable myth claims Three Mile Island halted U.S. nuclear orders. Actually they stopped over a year before dead of an incurable attack of market forces. No doubt when nuclear power’s collapse in the global marketplace, already years old, is finally acknowledged, it will be blamed on Fukushima. While we pray for the best in Japan today, let us hope its people’s sacrifice will help speed the world to a safer, more competitive energy future.

Rocky Mountain Institute 18th March 2011 more >>

The damaged Fukushima Daiichi reactors in Japan continue to release radioactivity into the atmosphere. So far, the accident has released far more radioactivity than the 1979 Three Mile Island (TMI) accident. While Chernobyl had one source of radioactivity, its reactor, there are seven leaking radiation sources at the Japanese site. Together, the three damaged reactors and four spent fuel pools at Fukushima Daiichi contain far more long-lived radioactivity, notably cesium-137, than the Chernobyl reactor. Radiloactive iodine releases mat exceed those of TMI by 100,000 times.

IEER Press Release 25th March 2011 more >>

Levels of radioactive iodine in the sea near the tsunami-stricken Fukushima nuclear plant are 1,250 times higher than the safety limit, officials say. The readings were taken about 300m (984ft) offshore. It is feared the radiation could be seeping into groundwater from one of the reactors. But the radiation will no longer be a risk after eight days, officials say.

BBC 26th March 2011 more >>

Implications

As we move to reduce our reliance on high-carbon energy, George Monbiot believes nuclear is the best option. No, says Caroline Lucas, renewables should be the priority. Susanna Rustin chairs the debate.

Guardian 26th March 2011 more >>

The Government’s determination to build a new generation of nuclear power plants is unsellable after the Fukushima crisis, according to Lord Ashdown. In an interview with The Times, the former Liberal Democrat leader said that he had recently been persuaded of the need to build more nuclear power stations to solve Britains looming energy crisis. But in an intervention that exposes growing unease among Lib Dems over the Governments nuclear policy, he said the crisis that unfolded in Japan after the tsunami had critically undermined public confidence in the technology. I think that as a politicia n, like as a soldier, you have to be prepared to take risks from time to time, and I was wondering whether [nuclear energy] was a risk we would have to consider in order to stop the world frying, he said. I have concluded that what has happened in Japan makes this proposition unsellable. I think Japan has changed the public’s mind. Simon Hughes, the party’s deputy leader, said that the pursuit of new reactors in Britain should be abandoned. Some of us have taken a consistent position that for practical reasons, rather than theological ones, we should not go down the nuclear road, he said. Jo Swinson, a Lib Dem MP who raised concerns about the safety of nuclear energy during Prime Ministers Questions on Wednesday, said that the plants were also expensive and crowded out investment in greener forms of energy. The costs of decommissioning these plants and the underwriting costs mean it is difficult to build them without any public subsidy, she said.

Times 26th March 2011 more >>

Victor Gilinsky: Of the 13 nuclear reactors along Japan’s coast that were directly impacted by the earthquake and tsunami, it was the four oldest ones that failed completely. The more modern units sustained damage but rode out nature’s onslaught, even if just barely, despite facing forces far greater than what they were designed to withstand. Postmortems will likely disclose that the older plants were designed to lower standards than more recent ones and were not adequately upgraded. Such findings will raise questions about older reactors elsewhere, including in the United States. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been handing out 20-year extensions to plants, whose original licenses were for 40 years. This includes the country’s oldest operating plant, New Jersey’s Oyster Creek, which went into operation in 1969 and now holds a license to operate until 2029. These extensions tend to be granted after NRC reviews that are heavily weighted toward accepting the validity of past technical conclusions. Rather than simply green-lighting old nuclear plants, officials need to reverse the burden of proof and examine more carefully whether past acceptances of old safety systems remain valid today.

Foreign Affairs 21st March 2011 more >>

NUCLEAR should be part of the future UK energy mix, despite the disaster in Japan. That was the view of former Foreign Secretary David Miliband last night (Thursday, March 24) at a Bangor University question and answer session. “I don’t see the Japanese example as a case for abandoning nuclear,” he said. “If I understand it right, these were 1960s and 70s reactors and it’s not clear that some or all of the all of the safety protocols were done in exactly the right way.”

North Wales Chronicle 25th March 2011 more >>

The truth is that many of the “reports” you read this month, even in normally reputable publications, have been utter tosh. Sensationalism, wild inaccuracies and scaremongering have been the norm. So let’s put this into perspective; no one has died of radiation as a result of Japan’s nuclear crisis, and it’s highly unlikely anyone ever will. Put that against the 9,523 killed and further 16,094 missing as a result of the earthquake and tsunami and it’s clear we have got our priorities here wrong. You would have to eat the “poisoned” spinach for five years, and drink the milk for 12 months, to receive a dose of radiation equivalent to a single CT scan. But that won’t happen because radioactive iodine has a half life of about eight days.

You’d have to drink 52 gallons of “contaminated” water to reach the maximum annual radiation dose, which is itself a fraction any level proven to be harmful.

Yorkshire Post 26th March 2011 more >>

Letter: Even the release of radioactivity at Three Mile Island, very similar to that in Japan, has recently been acknowledged by no less than George Monbiot, the high priest of eco-scaremongering, as insufficient to harm an asthmatic ant with some heavy shopping, albeit it took him 32 years to say it.

Scotsman 26th March 2011 more >>

A Birmingham businessman who experienced the Japanese earthquake first-hand believes Britain’s plans to develop new nuclear power stations should not be derailed. John Taylor, business manager for nuclear at property and construction consultants Rider Levett Bucknall at Millennium Point, says the nuclear option should remain central to Government energy plans over the decades ahead, despite concerns raised over the safety of nuclear power after a tsunami sparked a serious safety alert at Japan’s Fukushima plant.

Birmingham Post 26th March 2011 more >>

It is time to reassess the international nuclear safety regime in the wake of the crisis in Japan where an earthquake and tsunami crippled an aging atomic power station, the U.N. chief said on Friday. “The situation in Japan has … given rise to calls to reassess the international emergency response framework and the nuclear safety regime,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement. “I support these calls.”

Reuters 25th March 2011 more >>

Reverberations from the Fukushima crisis are being felt around the world, as plans to build new nuclear power plants are being challenged. The safety of existing plants is being questioned. The cost of nuclear power is projected to rise, and the bottom has fallen out of the uranium market. Here’s a quick glimpse of what’s happening as the continuing uncertainty over the fate of the Fukushima reactors clouds the future of nuclear power. Rory Walker, a 24-year-old community worker from Lancaster and member of the Heysham Anti-Nuclear Alliance, has won legal aid to launch an unprecedented case against the energy and climate secretary, Chris Hulne, alleging that the government’s expansion of its nuclear programme was undertaken without properly factoring in evidence that nuclear power stations cause an increase in cancer cases among children living nearby.

Greenpeace International 25th March 2011 more >>

The government’s plans for a new generation of nuclear power stations will go ahead, energy secretary Chris Huhne revealed yesterday, adding that those plans would come “on stream” in 2018.

FM World 25th March 2011 more >>

Chernobyl

The crisis at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami on March 11, has brought the past tragedies at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island into the spotlight again. To offer a more thorough understanding of Chernobyl, the Bulletin has compiled this reading list from its archives.

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 25th March 2011 more >>

Electricity Market Reforms

Consumer groups fear that the energy companies will pass the costs of the carbon floor price tax on to households. The boost for green power announced in the Budget will act as a stealth tax on those in fuel poverty, causing household bills to rise by £80 a year, experts say. The Treasury admits, in the Budget small print, that this move could add £6 a year to the average household electricity bill in 2013 and £17 by 2016. But consumer groups say in reality rises will be considerably steeper. Consumer Focus, which campaigns for better recognition for those in fuel poverty, opposes the introduction of a carbon floor price, believing that the Goverment should consider green options that do not affect the pockets of struggling households. A spokesman says: We think there are cheaper ways to decarbonise the economy. If the Government goes ahead, we think the money should be returned to consumers who will be hardest hit by increas es to bills to pay for carbon-cutting measures. For example, additional funds could be made available for energy efficiency measures to reduce customer bills or to increase social price-support funding. There is speculation that the Governments Green Deal, to be announced next year, could make matters even worse for cash-strapped households, because it includes proposals for penalties on poorly insulated homes with the aim of incentivising consumers to take up green deal loans for energy- efficiency improvements. This could hit those living in draughty Victorian houses particularly hard.

Times 26th March 2011 more >>

Scotland

ALEX Salmond has unexpectedly waded into the row over the future of nuclear power following the crisis in earthquake-hit Japan, accusing Labour of being obsessed with the energy source. The First Minister predicted yesterday that, following the efforts to prevent a major catastrophe at the Fukushima plant that was hit by the disaster, the issue would become a defining one in the run up to the Holyrood election on May 5. Scottish Labours business manifesto, launched this week, re-opens the door to a new generation of nuclear power stations in Scotland. If elected, the party says it would overturn a ban on new power stations, to which the SNP is committed. Labour rejected the suggestion they were obsessed with nuclear power. A spokesman for Labour said: We will remove the presumption against new nuclear for the future. Any application will be considered on its merits in terms of safety, environmental impact and the local community.

Herald 26th March 2011 more >>

Wylfa

THE nuclear power company behind the proposed development of a new power station in Anglesey has promised to prioritise the safety of local residents as it continues to push ahead with plans for the plant’s development.

North Wales Chronicle 24th March 2011 more >>

Hinkley

Two local authorities have outlined a number of concerns over EDF Energy’s proposals for a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point. West Somerset District and Sedgemoor district councils have both lodged concerns including objections to work being carried out on-site around the clock and the “inadequate nature” of EDF’s community fund offer. Sedgemoor chief executive Kerry Rickards stressed that both councils remained committed to working with the energy firm to achieve positive outcomes for the region if it receives planning permission to develop the Hinkley Point C plant. However he expressed frustration at the lack of evidence from the company relating to significant elements of its plans for the main site and associated developments.

Construction News 25th March 2011 more >>

Burnham-on-sea.com 24th March 2011 more >>

Energy giant EDF is still not doing enough to compensate local communities for the potential impact of a new power station at Hinkley Point, local councils say. Politicians from two West councils have this week voiced serious concerns over the company’s latest plans, despite promises of millions of pounds to benefit the local area. Last month, the Daily Press reported EDF had massively upped its offer of compensation to local communities by promising £100 million of community investment, including a £20 million community fund.

This is Somerset 25th March 2011 more >>

Sellafield

The Sellafield plant will be part of a Europe-wide nuclear safety review following the crisis in Japan. EU leaders decided to stress test all nuclear power plants and appoint an independent panel for the job. The Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he asked that the review include processing plants (such as Sellafield, which is in Cumbria, North West England), as well as generation plants

Breaking News.ie 25th March 2011 more >>

Whitehaven News 24th March 2011 more >>

Nuclear Skills

A £20 million nuclear research centre in west Cumbria – the first of its kind in Europe – will open in September. Construction work at Dalton Cumbrian Facility, (DCF) at the Westlakes Science & Technology Park in Moor Row, was yesterday reported to be on schedule. It will house about 40 post-doctoral and PhD researchers, lecturers and operating personnel.

Cumberland News 25th March 2011 more >>

Europe

European leaders resolved Friday to revisit safety at nuclear reactors as emergency workers in Japan suffered radiation burns and rising global fears of food contamination hit home.

New checks are to be delegated to an inter-governmental European Nuclear Safety Regulatory Group (ENSRG), which will meet on Monday. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country has the lion’s share of the industry in Europe with 58 reactors (34 of which are more than 30 years old), said if a plant fails so-called ‘stress tests,’ it will shut forever.

EU Business 25th March 2011 more >>

STV 25th March 2011 more >>

European leaders agreed to publish the results of stress tests to be performed on their nuclear facilities but fought to retain a strong hand in how those tests are designed and carried out.

The bigger the role for member states, the lesser the chance that plants will be sanctioned or closed, according to critics, who have dismissed the tests as an empty gesture designed to ease public concerns.

FT 26th March 2011 more >>

The European Union is to step up controls on food imports from Japan in the wake of the nuclear accident at Fukushima – but stressed there was no evidence that consumers in the region were at risk from radiation-contaminated food.

Food Production Daily 25th March 2011 more >>

US

Research on the reprocessing of spent nuclear waste should be revisited in the U.S. as Japan battles to avoid a meltdown at its earthquake-damaged Fukushima power plant, Illinois’s Senate delegation said today. The country needs a plan for storing or recycling radioactive waste from fission used to generate electricity, Senators Dick Durbin, a Democrat, and Mark Kirk, a Republican, said at a forum in Chicago to address nuclear-plant safety in the state most reliant on atomic power.

Bloomberg 25th March 2011 more >>

China

China said it has faith in the safety of its nuclear power technology and will not scrap plans to expand its domestic industry because of Japan’s crisis.

Express 26th March 2011 more >>

Posted: 26 March 2011

25 March 2011

New Nukes

The government is being taken to court in a bid to derail its plans for a programme of new nuclear power stations because of fears that leaking radiation will give children cancer. A 24-year-old community worker from Lancaster has won legal aid to launch an unprecedented High Court action against Chris Huhne, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. Lawyers claim the action could delay, or even stop, the nuclear programme. Rory Walker, who lives close to Heysham where new reactors are planned, is worried about having children who could suffer an increased risk of leukaemia. His court challenge is backed by radiation experts and is being pursued by one of Britain’s largest law firms, Irwin Mitchell. Evidence from government-sponsored studies in Germany has suggested that young children who live close to nuclear power stations suffer twice as many leukaemias and other cancers as other children. The studies, known as KiKK (Kinderkrebs in der Umgebung von KernKraftwerken), have prompted an investigation by the UK Department of Health, the results of which were originally due to be published before the end of last year, but have been delayed.

Guardian 25th March 2011 more >>

Rob Edwards 25th March 2011 more >>

Lancashire Evening Post 25th March 2011 more >>

UK Government needs to urgently inspect ageing UK nuclear reactors and cancel the new nuclear build programme in the wake of the exlosions at the Fukushima nuclear power station in Japan. In Europe we note that both the German and the Swiss Governments are putting an immediate moratorium on the decision to extend the life of their ageing fleet of nuclear reactors. We ask the UK Government to urgently review the recent decisions to extend the life of a number of its own ageing nuclear reactors, such as at Wylfa and at Oldbury. We also ask that the recent review announced by Chris Huhne of nuclear safety is coupled with a decision to seek a full cancellation of any further development of a UK new nuclear build programme.

Westmorland Gazette 24th March 2011 more >>

For a world that was on the brink of a major expansion in nuclear power, a key question raised by the Fukushima Daiichi crisis is this: Would brand-new reactors have fared better in the power outage that triggered dangerous overheating at one of Japan’s oldest power plants? The answer seems to be: Not necessarily.

National Geographic 23rd March 2011 more >>

Tom Burke: A vigorous, focused and well resourced Government effort to get new nuclear off the ground has been underway for years. The trouble is the dreadful economics clash with the commitment not to offer any subsidies. Electricity Market Reform is supposed to solve that problem, but what we have at the moment is the weird sight of a government actually picking a technology loser while pretending it is not in the business of picking technology winners

ENDS Report March 2011 (subscription only) more >>

Japan

Abnormally high levels of radioactive materials were again detected in the sea near the crisis-hit nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture, its operator said Thursday, warning the radiation levels in seawater may keep rising. According to Tokyo Electric Power Co., radioactive iodine-131 146.9 times higher than the legal concentration limit was detected Wednesday morning in a seawater sample taken around 330 meters south of the plant, near the drain outlets of its troubled four reactors.

Kyodo News 24th March more >>

A high-level radiation leak detected Thursday at one of six troubled reactors at the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant indicates possible damage to the reactor’s vessel, pipes or valves, the government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said Friday. Three workers at the No. 3 reactor’s turbine building, connected to the reactor building, were exposed Thursday to water containing radioactive materials 10,000 times the normal level, with two of them taken to hospital due to possible radiation burns to their feet, the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.

Kyodo News 25th March 2011 more >>

Japan moved on Friday to widen the exclusion zone around its radiation-leaking atomic power station, by “recommending” residents in a 20-30km band around the plant to leave and telling them to prepare for a possible mandatory evacuation. Yukio Edano, chief cabinet secretary, said the government had taken the decision in response to increasingly difficult living conditions inside the band, where for nearly two weeks people have been under orders to stay inside

FT 25th March 2011 more >>

The plant’s owners, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), and the government say people will be safe here as long as they stay inside. Mr Ueda sent his wife and two children to Tokyo despite the reassurances. “I don’t know who to trust,” says Mr Ueda. “TEPCO have hidden problems in the past.” Japan’s power giant is denying any responsibility for the current crisis at its Fukushima Dai-Chi plant and is set for a legal scrap over liabilities which could have a profound influence on the future of nuclear power worldwide. TEPCO insists that the magnitude 9 earthquake on 11 March was outside the range of anything previously predicted. But testimony from those involved in the design and regulation of the plant, as well as leaked documents, portray a company that cut costs and ignored warnings in the build-up to the disaster.

Independent 25th March 2011 more >>

Shops across Tokyo began rationing yesterday after panic-buying of bottled water and disrupted deliveries left shelves bare. Milk, rice, water and toilet paper were among staples in short supply. Panic-buying followed an announcement from city officials that radioactive iodine had been found in the capital’s tapwater at more than twice the level considered safe for babies.

Scotsman 25th March 2011 more >>

Tokyo officials have started giving out 240,000 half-litre bottles of water to 80,000 families with infants in the city, 137 miles south of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, after panic buying in the capital cleared supermarket shelves.

Telegraph 24th March 2011 more >>

Japan will have to review its nuclear power policy, its top government spokesman said, as fear of radiation from an earthquake-damaged nuclear complex spread both at home and abroad. Radiation above safety levels has also been found in milk and vegetables from Fukushima and the Kyodo news agency said radioactive caesium 1.8 times higher than the standard level was found in a leafy vegetable grown at a Tokyo research facility. Alarm has spread, particularly among Japan’s neighbours.

Reuters 25th March 2011 more >>

Three of the Fukushima Fifty have been rushed to hospital with radiation poisoning as they battle to save Japan’s crippled power plant from nuclear meltdown. Fumio Matsuda, a spokesman for the nuclear safety agency, said the three workers, two in their 20s and one in his 30s, came face to face with the danger they had all feared when contaminated water came into contact with their skin at the Fukushima Dai-chi plant. Officials said they were standing in irradiated water in the No.3 reactor when it somehow seeped through their protective gear, causing them to be contaminated with a level of radiation almost twice as high as the accepted ‘safe’ limit.

Daily Mail 24th March 2011 more >>

Guardian 25th March 2011 more >>

FT 25th March 2011 more >>

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne says the Government turned down the same type of nuclear reactor that engineers are struggling to bring under control at Japan’s Fukushima plant.

Engineering & Technology 24th March 2011 more >>

Japanese engineers have warned that the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power station is far from over and it will be up to two weeks before they can declare the site safe.

Telegraph 24th March 2011 more >>

Sea salt may be hampering Japanese recovery operations. Corrosive salt from seawater may be adding to problems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, damaged two weeks ago by the megaquake and tsunami in Japan. Concerns are now arising about the effect of salt deposits in reactors and cooling systems as the water is boiled away by intense heat from the fuel

New Scientist 24th March 2011 more >>

A couple of examples below of how the radiation data being made public by the Japanese authorities can be represented. Rather than the static information you’d get in a print article, citing X microsieverts per hour, for example, these visualisations give you a sense of how the situation has evolved.

Guardian 24th March 2011 more >>

Timeline of the accident.

Wikipedia 25th March 2011 more >>

Bankers at Sumitomo Mitsui were returning a 14-year-old favour to Tokyo Electric Power when they pulled together a consortium this week to offer Y2,000bn in emergency loans to the utility at the centre of Japans nuclear crisis. When the bank faced liquidity problems during the Asian financial crisis in 1997, Tepco, a loyal customer that had a top-notch credit rating, raised about $2bn at low rates from western banks, according to people familiar with the matter. It promptly put the cash on deposit at Sumitomo Mitsui, helping the bank through the crisis.

FT 25th March 2011 more >>

Implications

Letter: In light of the Japan nuclear disaster people are now aware of the dangers. The question I would like to see debated is: should people living within 25km/15.5 miles of a nuclear power station or nuclear submarine base not be educated in the potential dangers so that they will be better prepared if it ever was to happen again.

Scotsman 25th March 2011 more >>

National Policy Statements

Given the events in Japan, the government will make a statement about the six energy NPSs as soon as the situation there has ‘clarified’ (and the nuclear one at least will wait until after the Weightman Report in mid May).

Bircham Dyson Bell 24th March 2011 more >>

Parliament

The energy secretary has said there is no complacency about the safety of the UK’s nuclear power stations. At DECC questions today Chris Huhne reassured MPs there are “very substantial differences between our situation and that in Japan”. He said the government’s plans for new nuclear power stations come “on stream” in 2018. “It is our view that new nuclear can play an important part,” he told the House. Huhne added that there have been “knee-jerk reactions in other countries, but that is not the right basis for British policy”. Shadow energy secretary Meg Hillier accused him of “dancing around on this issue” and “failing to be emphatic about the government’s position on nuclear”. Huhne said: “We continue with the plans as set out in the coalition agreement, and that we envisage a role for new nuclear and want to see new nuclear come on, but that we have to put an emphasis on safety.” Green MP Caroline Lucas asked if “the Japan accident will make it more difficult for private investors to raise capital to build the eight new reactors that are planned by the Government”. Huhne said: “Although I spent many years in financial markets I do not claim to know how they will react to particular events as they can often react in a rather faddish and fashionable manner. I think we will just have to wait and see.”

ePolitix 24th March 2011 more >>

Wylfa

THE nuclear power company behind the proposed development of a new power station in Anglesey has promised to prioritise the safety of local residents as it continues to push ahead with plans for the plant’s development.

The Leader 24th March 2011 more >>

Hinkley

EDF Energy is encouraging residents and organisations to make their views known on updates and changes to the energy company’s preferred proposals for the development of Hinkley Point C new nuclear power station. EDF Energy’s latest consultation, which closes on Monday, focuses on material changes to the plans. The fundamentals of the project remain the same.

This is Somerset 24th March 2011 more >>

FURTHER clarification from EDF on planned preparation work at the site of the proposed new Hinkley Point Power Station is needed, according to West Somerset Council. At a full council meeting last night, councillors asked for more time to clarify technical aspects of EDF’s application for site preparation work. EDF has also applied to build a temporary jetty to transport bulk material to the construction site.

Somerset County Gazette 24th March 2011 more >>

EDF’s chief executive appeared on BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show to justify continuing with the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear reactor despite the life-threatening radioactive devastation in Japan. Vincent de Rivaz was interviewed by political commentator Mr Marr on Sunday. EDF believes the disaster will delay Britain’s nuclear programme by “a couple of weeks”, at most.

This is Somerset 24th March 2011 more >>

Dounreay

New strategy sets out clean-up priorities: The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has published its strategy for cleaning up the nuclear legacy at sites such as Dounreay.

Dounreay News 22nd March 2011 more >>

The discovery of the slapdash way Dounreay stored its low-level radioactive waste 20 years ago led to stinging criticism of the Caithness plant and a major clean-up, which is about to move into its final phase. Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL), the site licence company responsible for the closure programme, yesterday announced the award of a 13 million contract to develop a disposal site for low-level waste from the decommissioning and closure of the site. It will mean the clearance of tens of thousands of tonnes of radioactive waste from the redundant nuclear site.

Herald 25th March 2011 more >>

Dungeness

David Cameron has backed calls by a Kent MP to push forward with a nuclear future despite warnings that one of the county’s power plants sits next to an earthquake zone. It follows fears over the future of nuclear energy in the light of the situation in Japan. In Parliament, the Prime Minister agreed with a statement made by Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins that nuclear power was an important part of future energy needs in the UK and should be “part of the mix”. Mr Collins is campaigning for a new nuclear station at Dungeness after it was excluded from Government’s list of potential sites for development.

Your Shepway 20th March 2011 more >>

Bradwell

A NUCLEAR protest group has defended its comments about the disaster at Fukushima. Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG), was criticised by Miriam Lewis, a Maldon District Councillor, after claiming that a similar event could befall Bradwell. The group was accused by councillor Lewis of using the tragedy for political gain. However, in a statement sent to the Standard, spokesperson Varrie Blowers said: “The Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan has highlighted the problems with nuclear power and BANNG, in rightly drawing attention to these, has promised to re-double its efforts to prevent a Fukushima happening at Bradwell.”

Maldon Standard 23rd March 2011 more >>

Oldbury

NUCLEAR bosses have moved to allay fears after smoke was seen rising from one of Oldbury’s reactors. People living near Oldbury Power Station witnessed plumes of smoke escaping from one of the site’s two reactors last Thursday.

Gloucestershire Gazette 24th March 2011 more >>

Radwaste

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has published the latest edition of the UK’s radioactive waste inventory.

Dounreay News 22nd March 2011 more >>

Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB) submitted a construction permit application to Swedish authorities this month for a final disposal facility for nuclear waste.

Tunnels & Tunneling 24th March 2011 more >>

IAEA & WHO

The disturbing bargain between the IAEA & WHO, how they each essentially agreed not to release information that might cast a negative light on the operations of the other, and its impact on public health (the mandate of WHO), especially re Chernoblyl.

Couterpunch 4th – 6th March 2011 more >>

Europe

John Large: Fukushima – implications for the world wide nuclear regulatory regimes.

Large Associates 23rd March 2011 more >>

France

When the radioactive fallout from Chernobyl’s nuclear disaster drifted across the European continent in 1986, the French government famously claimed the clouds had stopped at the border. This time round, as Japanese authorities struggle to bring the crippled Fukushima plant north-east of Tokyo back under control, the French public is not buying any such platitudes. A vast public debate has been sparked by the accident, calling into question for the first time in decades France’s heavy reliance on nuclear power

FT 25th March 2011 more >>

US

“While new plants are unlikely to be built in the United States over the next 25 years, nuclear power provides 20 percent of our electrical power and is climate friendly. We therefore must make existing reactors safer, develop a new generation of safer designs and prevent nuclear power from facilitating nuclear proliferation. As tragic as the Fukushima disaster has been, it has provided a rare opportunity to advance those goals”. Nuclear physicist Frank von Hippel has a good op-ed today, which the NYT gave the provocative headline, “It Could Happen Here.”

Climate Progress 24th March 2011 more >>

New York Times 24th March 2011 more >>

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said on Thursday it was seeking public comment on the proposed certification of General Electric -Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s Economic Simplified Boiling-Water Reactor (ESBWR) design for use in the United States.

Reuters 24th March 2011 more >>

Defects in components of US nuclear plants are going unreported because of contradictory and unclear regulations, according to a report from the federal nuclear regulators watchdog. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspector generals report, released on Thursday, is based on a review conducted in January, before the crisis at Japans Fukushima Daiichi plant and the ensuing concern over the safety of nuclear sites in the US. The inspector generals findings, however, raise questions about risks at the 104 operating reactors across the country. Nuclear plants provide 20 per cent of US electricity, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute, the industrys lobbying organisation. Under NRC rules, the companies that operate nuclear plants are supposed to report problems caused by faulty components. That includes parts involved in keeping nuclear fuel cooled, shutting down the reactor and preventing accidents that could lead to leaks of radioactive material. But plant operators were also required to report defects in those parts, even if they had not caused an incident, if the faulty components could cause a substantial safety hazard, the report said. In spite of these requirements, industry data showed many problems with parts were not being reported, with 28 per cent of nuclear plants not reporting defects unless an incident occurred.

FT 25th March 2011 more >>

Iran

It would take Iran at least two years to produce a single nuclear weapon, according to a new in-depth report from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). Although concerns have long been raised about Iran’s uranium enrichment programme – and major powers have sought to limit it through talks, sanctions and sabotage – officials and analysts have differed in their estimates of the timeline for an Iranian nuclear weapon. The latest IISS Strategic Dossier, Iran’s Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Capabilities: a net assessment is the most systematic and thorough public review of the evidence yet. It explains, in fact-rich detail that most government public estimates fail to provide, the assumptions and calculations behind the timelines. The IISS estimate, which has been reviewed by internationally recognised experts and practitioners, is neither worst- nor best case.

Wired Gov 24th March 2011 more >>

Germany

German chancellor Angela Merkel is scrambling to stave off a hugely embarrassing defeat this weekend as a German state her party has governed for nearly six decades votes in an election clouded by Japan’s nuclear crisis. But the Ms Merkel’s abrupt – many say credibility-sapping – about-turn on Germany’s nuclear power plants may harm, not help. And the issue could help the anti-nuclear opposition Greens win their first state governorship.

Scotsman 25th March 2011 more >>

The Japanese earthquake caused Ms Merkel to perform an extraordinary U-turn in her nuclear policy, ordering an instant moratorium on extending the life of nuclear power stations. More than 70 per cent of voters believe it was a move to save the election.

FT 25th March 2011 more >>

China

The first steel ring of Haiyang 2’s containment vessel was lifted into place a few days after a structural module for the centre of the reactor building. The moves were announced by Shandong Nuclear Power Equipment Manufacturing Company as the first milestones this year in the construction of the second Westinghouse AP1000 pressurized water reactor (PWR) at the site. Three other AP1000s are under construction in China – another one at Haiyang and two more at Sanmen – which should begin operation over a two-year period from mid-2013. Many more are planned for China as it masters the technology under agreements with US-based Westinghouse

World Nuclear News 24th March 2011 more >>

Posted: 25 March 2011

24 March 2011

Japan

The restoration of electricity at the plant, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, stirred hopes that the crisis was ebbing. But nuclear engineers say some of the most difficult and dangerous tasks are still ahead and time is not necessarily on the side of the repair teams. The tasks include manually draining hundreds of gallons of radioactive water and venting radioactive gas from the pumps and piping of the emergency cooling systems, which are located diagonally underneath the overheated reactor vessels.

New York Times 24th March 2011 more >>

The radiation dose received by one-year-old infants outside of a 30-kilometer radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant since Saturday’s explosion at the plant may have exceeded 100 millisieverts, a computer simulation conducted by the government showed Wednesday. ‘‘There are some cases in which they could have received more than 100 millisieverts of radiation, even if they’re outside the 30-kilometer radius and in the event that they spent every day outdoors since the explosion at the Fukushima nuclear plant,’’ Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news conference. Haruki Madarame, chairman of the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan, told reporters, ‘‘The figure represents the level that one-year-old infants would have received and accumulated in their thyroids by midnight Wednesday since the explosion.’’ Madarame said the radiation dose accumulated by adults outside the 30-km zone in their thyroids would be lower. People exposed to a radiation dose of 100 millisieverts are required to take potassium iodide, Madarame said. An annual radiation dose of 100 millisieverts is believed to be associated with an increased risk of cancer.

Kyodo News 24th March 2011 more >>

Emergency crews resumed work at Japan’s stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station on Thursday after smoke cleared from its No 3 reactor, prompting authorities to lift an evacuation order issued a day earlier. The evacuation, which lasted about 12 hours, delayed efforts to restore vital electrical systems.

FT 24th March 2011 more >>

BBC 24th March 2011 more >>

Three workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have been taken ill after being exposed to radiation, Japan’s nuclear safety agency says.

Sky News 24th March 2011 more >>

Tokyo residents were warned not to give babies tap water because of radiation leaking from a nuclear plant crippled in the earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeast Japan in the world’s costliest natural disaster. The U.N. atomic agency said there had been some positive developments at the Fukushima nuclear plant 250 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo but the overall situation remained serious. Some countries have started blocking imports of produce from Japan, fearful of radiation contamination.

Reuters 24th March 2011 more >>

Authorities in Tokyo have warned that very young children in the Japanese capital should not drink tap water after it was found to contain twice the levels of radioactive iodine considered safe for infants. The warning came as the spread of radioactivity continued through the food supply in the region surrounding the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Black smoke was seen rising yesterday afternoon from the plant’s No 3 reactor, prompting the operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) to evacuate workers who have been battling to make the facility safe. The source of the smoke was not immediately known.

Guardian 24th March 2011 more >>

Japanese authorities and the international community are following the situation very closely. A series of sources provide the public with up-to-date information on the accident’s possible impacts on Europe’s environment as well as radiation measurements across Europe.

European Environment Agency 23rd March 2011 more >>

Implications

George Monbiot, told Guardian readers this week that the Fukushima nuclear disaster had finally persuaded him of the case for nuclear power. If this is the worst that nuclear can do, he said, then bring it on. Coal is much more damaging to the environment and the people who mine it, and hydrocarbons are rapidly destroying the atmosphere. So, what’s a bit of radiation among friends? Monbiot isn’t alone. Another nuclear environmentalist, Mark Lynas, has offered to travel to Japan and to eat contaminated spinach to prove it is safe. Mind you, he hasn’t said whether he would take his daughter with him on this exercise in radioactive gastronomy. However, I fear this nuclear conversion has come a little too late – the economic case for civil nuclear power is collapsing. As the Environment Secretary, Chris Huhne, pointed out this week, the plans for Britain’s eight new nuclear power plants are having to be reviewed following Fukushima, not just because of safety, but because of the rising cost of capital needed to finance them. He told the Scottish Renewables conference in Glasgow that he is going to use every legal power at his disposal to speed up the development of Scotland’s renewable energy resources which he now says is “mission critical” if our emissions targets are to be met. This time, I think he means it. Really, whatever George Monbiot thinks, it is not going to be possible to “decarbonise” electricity generation without massive investment in proven renewable energy. This is not frontier technology any more. Four gigawatts of renewable power are already in place in Scotland. We have a quarter of Europe’s wind resource, a quarter of tidal and a 10th of wave energy – 60 gigawatts of potential. This is no longer a fantasy of green romantics, but a hard-headed investment opportunity. Forget Scotland’s oil, it’s Scotland’s wind and waves that are going to make a lot of people rich in the next 10 years – though few of them will actually live in Scotland, because the wealth will be exported to the foreign-owned energy giants.

Herald 24th March 2011 more >>

A PROFESSOR from Sheffield is calling for the UK not to halt plans to build a new generation of nuclear power stations – despite the nuclear disaster in Japan. Prof Neil Hyatt, of the department of materials science and engineering at The University of Sheffield, spoke out in the wake of explosions at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Sheffield Star 24th March 2011 more >>

CONCERNS have been raised over uranium enrichment company Urenco, which employs more than 300 staff at its Capenhurst plant near Chester. Global ratings agency Fitch, which provides research and data to the world’s credit markets, believes the long term future of the industry could be jeopardised by the crisis at Japan’s nuclear power plants following the disastrous earthquake and tsunami. Fitch warns of “challenges” if the nuclear industry faces stricter regulations, suspension and/or delays in the construction of new nuclear power plants as a result of Japan’s problems.

Liverpool Daily Post 24th March 2011 more >>

The nuclear industry is uniting with contractors to ramp up a campaign to restore public confidence and press ahead with plans for new UK nuclear reactors. However, several industry sources told CN that privately it was expected there would be delays to projects of at least six months. Founding director of sustainable development group E3G and Nuclear Consultation Group member Tom Burke said he believes a 2018 timeline for Hinkley Point C, which would be operated by EDF, is no longer viable. “Apart from EDF this has basically killed any interest in nuclear because anyone with a half open balance sheet – RWE and E.On – will have a hard time persuading investors; they will now be a lot less serious. I think (EDF Energy chief executive) Vincent de Rivas is going to have a lot of trouble to convince his board to spend so much money for five years.”

Construction News 24th March 2011 more >>

Japanese shares slipped on Thursday, with short-covering after a steep fall last week running out of steam as nerve-racking radiation leaks from a quake-stricken nuclear plant impeded any optimism on the economy.

STV 24th March 2011 more >>

Malcolm Grimston: The unfolding horror in Japan has thrown nuclear energy back into the public eye in the most dramatic way possible. Most of the country’s nuclear power stations withstood the earthquake and tsunami. But the problems at Fukushima (in plants built in the 1960s or commissioned in the early 1970s) and the failure of hydropower dams have cast into sharp relief the sometimes uneasy tensions between our needs for low-carbon energy and the challenges of the energy sources that could provide it. That the plants survived the earthquake was testimony to their designers’ skills; that their backup safety systems were knocked out by the tsunami shows the dilemma.

Prospect 23rd March 2011 more >>

Jerry Leggett: Monbiot is wrong. I have watched renewables industries become some of the fastest growing in the world. In 2008 and 2009 more renewables came onstream in both Europe and America than did all fossil fuels and nuclear combined. In Europe in 2009, wind and solar PV alone provided more than half all new generation. Energy is like medicine,” Monbiot writes, “if there are no side-effects, the chances are that it doesn’t work.” Were he to visit the renewables frontlines, he would discover many views to the contrary. German government and companies have run a scaled national experiment showing that the modern economy could be powered by renewables. A sophisticated American modelling exercise has shown the same for the global economy. All it requires is systematic mobilisation, and the imagination to believe what Silicon Valley believes. Ultimately we should be able to provide power far less expensively than new nuclear. As we grow, our costs fall. We do not need to hand open cheques for currently unknowable billions to the taxpayer for things like waste transportation, waste disposal, decommissioning, security at sites, or accident clear-up. The chief executives of EDF and E.ON are both on record as saying that renewables would spoil the chances for nuclear, and only a minor renewables contribution can be tolerated if ministers want a “nuclear renaissance”.

Guardian 24th March 2011 more >>

Costing the Earth.

Radio 4 23rd March 2011 more >>

Electricity Market Reforms

Nuclear and renewable energy companies will scoop huge windfall profits after the government announced plans to raise £3.2bn by 2016 from a new carbon tax funded by higher electricity bills. The chancellor announced a guaranteed minimum or “floor” price for carbon under Europe’s emissions trading scheme of £16 a tonne in 2013, rising to £30 by 2020. If the market price of carbon slumps, the Treasury’s tax will increase to make up the difference. The UK is the first country in the world to introduce such a mechanism to guarantee a price for carbon. The level of the tax was higher than many energy experts expected. Charity National Energy Action called on the government to use some of the Treasury proceeds to fund the insulation of the poorest households’ homes .

Guardian 24th March 2011 more >>

THE Budget makes Britain the first country in the world to introduce a carbon floor price which aims to encourage investment in low-carbon electricity. However, green campaigners claimed that the scheme – which would set the price electricity generators have to pay for their carbon emissions at £16 per tonne of CO2 – would give a near-£3 billion boost to the nuclear industry. It brings into question the government’s commitment not to provide public subsidy for new nuclear.

Scotsman 24th March 2011 more >>

Richard Dixon: “Despite some progress on green investment, the major items in the Budget were simply give-aways for the roads lobby and the nuclear industry.” Francis Stuart, Friends of the Earth Scotland’s parliamentary and policy officer, said the decision that the Green Investment Bank – which would bank new renewables technology, such as wave and tidal power – should not have borrowing powers until 2015, was a backwards step.

Scotsman 24th March 2011 more >>

The objective of the carbon floor price is to replace the power stations burning coal, gas and oil – which contribute to climate change through their carbon-dioxide emissions – with renewable energy systems such as wind, solar, wave and tidal power, and also – although Mr Osborne did not mention it, perhaps because of the ongoing Japanese crisis – nuclear. These new projects are immensely expensive, and the returns, if any, take a long time to come in. For example, a nuclear power station can take 10 years to construct. So investors are reluctant – and a little helping hand, the Government feels, is needed here and there.

Independent 24th March 2011 more >>

New nuclear reactors and offshore wind turbines received significant hidden subsidies in the Budget. Owners of poorly insulated existing homes face new penalties under a plan to encourage them to take out a Green Deal loan for energy efficiency improvements from next year. Mr Osborne said the Government would incentivise tak e-up of the Green Deal. A Whitehall source said the Government was considering stamp duty and council tax rebates for homes that took part in the Green Deal. Details will be in next years Budget.

Times 24th March 2011 more >>

Hinkley

Campaigners have sent an open letter to West Somerset Council, asking them to coordinate action over land found to be contaminated on the proposed Hinkley C site. Local campaign group Stop Hinkley is asking for works to be halted on the affected land, that an early meeting of interested parties including the public be held and for affirmation that suitable sophisticated tests are being performed on the Hinkley land as a matter of urgency in response to the recent Green Audit report. Following the Japan disaster campaigners are seeking faster action from the council.

Stop Hinkley Press Release 17th March 2011 more >>

Pakistan

China is committed to controversial plans to expand a Pakistan nuclear power plant using 1970s technology, experts say, even after Japan’s crisis triggered global alarm about atomic safety.

Yahoo 24th March 2011 more >>

US

The top U.S. nuclear regulator on Wednesday approved the launch of a safety review of U.S. nuclear reactors sought by President Barack Obama in response to the ongoing crisis at Japan’s Fukushima plant.

STV 23rd March 2011 more >>

The recent tsunami in Japan and the subsequent, ongoing crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant have prompted concerns that a similar series of events could occur in the United States. After all, there is no country on earth more familiar with nuclear power than the United States: its 104 commercial plants make it the world’s largest provider of nuclear power. Yet, for an industry with such well-documented risks albeit risks that have laid dormant for more than a decade nuclear energy has enjoyed a great deal of support from the Obama administration.

Guardian 24th March 2011 more >>

Germany

Germans move to exit the nuclear age. The transition was originally to take 25 years, but the government of Chancellor Angels Merkel has decided to accelerate the program.

IB Times 23rd March 2011 more >>

Posted: 24 March 2011

23 March 2011

Japan

Radiation at the crippled Fukushima No.2 nuclear reactor was recorded at the highest level since the start of the crisis, Japan’s nuclear safety agency said on Wednesday. An agency spokesman said 500 millisieverts per hour of radiation was measured at the No.2 unit on Wednesday.

Reuters 23rd March 2011 more >>

Parents in Tokyo have been told that the city’s tap water is not safe for babies to drink after radiation from Japan’s earthquake-hit nuclear plant affected the capital’s water supply.

Telegraph 23rd March 2011 more >>

First pictures emerge of the Fukushima Fifty as they battle radiation poisoning to save Japan’s stricken nuclear power plant

Daily Mail 23rd March 2011 more >>

Radiation found in Tokyo tap water as fight for nuclear plant continues; Reykjavik is first European city to detect particles from Japan; U.S. halts food imports from affected areas of Japan; Now ‘costliest natural disaster’ in history with estimates at £190billion

Daily Mail 23rd March 2011 more >>

There have been a lot of reports and contradicting information circulating recently about radiation and its potential dangers. Reports of contaminated water, milk, vegetables and ocean radiation make the news daily as well as claims that there is little to no danger posed by contamination of varying degrees. I sat down with Dr. Ian Fairlie, an Independent Consultant on Radiation in the Environment to find out what radiation is, how it spreads and who might be affected.

Greenpeace International 23rd March 2011 more >>

Japan’s Chubu Electric Power Co is delaying the construction of a sixth nuclear reactor at its Hamaoka plant, 125 miles southwest of Tokyo, to review safety and power supply plans after this month’s quake and tsunami in northeast Japan.

Engineering & Technology 23rd March 2011 more >>

For years, Tepco, the operator of the Fukushima power plant, has been widely criticized for deadly accidents and improper inspections. The Fukushima disaster is the tragic nadir in a history of poor management at the company’s nuclear facilities.

Der Spiegel 23rd March 2011 more >>

A wave of “nuclear refugees” who have fled as far as they can from the man-made disaster unfolding to the north. Whether they can return depends on the half-life of various radioactive isotopes, and people’s confidence in what the government tells them, which is sorely lacking. Some fear they will never go back north, and that their former homes will become ghost towns, condemned to rot in the long shadow of a leaky, radioactive power plant.

Telegraph 23rd March 2011 more >>

Implications

If anything, the longer this bizarre, horrible story goes on the more convinced I am that what has happened in Japan amounts to an almighty and almost irrefutable endorsement of nuclear power and proof, if ever there could be such a thing, that nuclear power remains one of the safest and certainly greenest ways of making electricity we have.

Daily Mail 23rd March 2011 more >>

One thing which has become clear, however, is the startling lack of knowledge about nuclear power in the UK. Misinformation, wrong information and downright hysteria appear daily in newspapers even non-tabloid ones and the tone of television news veers wildly from informative to alarmist.

The Engineer 23rd March 2011 more >>

IN THE wake of the nuclear crisis in Japan, Germany has temporarily shut down seven of its reactors and China, which is building more nuclear power plants than the rest of the world combined, has suspended approval for all new facilities. But this reaction may be more motivated by politics than by fear of a catastrophic death toll. It may be little consolation to those living around Fukushima, but nuclear power kills far fewer people than other energy sources, according to a review by the International Energy Agency (IAE). “There is no question,” says Joseph Romm, an energy expert at the Center for American Progress in Washington DC. “Nothing is worse than fossil fuels for killing people.”

New Scientist 23rd March 2011 more >>

Radiation biologists say they must organise now to monitor any illness caused by fallout from the stricken nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan. They warn that failure to do this after the 1986 Chernobyl accident in Ukraine has left conflicting claims circulating ever since.

New Scientist 23rd March 2011 more >>

Nuclear Costs

Benjamin Sovacool: The safety debate obscures an economic point that already was emerging before the Japan disaster: Nuclear power makes little economic sense. Modern nuclear plants are among the most capital-intensive structures ever built. Initial construction of a new reactor consumes close to 60% of a project’s total investment, compared to about 40% for coal and 15% for natural gas power plants (the remainder goes to costs such as fuel, maintenance and operations). The nuclear industry is typically the most capital-intensive business in any country that builds nuclear plants. One study estimated that between 1966 and 1977, when most of America’s light-water reactors were built, in every case the U.S. plants cost at least twice as much as expected. The quoted cost for these 75 plants was $89.1 billion, but the real cost was a monumental $283.3 billion and that excludes fuel storage and decommissioning. All of this ought to raise questions in a lot of minds in Asia, where nuclear increasingly has been viewed as the next big energy thing. Asian governments purport to have plans to build 110 nuclear power plants between 2010 and 2030. Achieving this build-out would necessitate hundreds of billions of dollars of continued subsidies. Conservatively estimating a per-plant cost of $5 billion, and very conservatively estimating subsidies equal to one-third of project costs (it’s closer to 70%-80% in the U.S.), that still works out to around $180 billion in subsidies simply to build the plants, let alone operate them. Can Asia afford that?

Wall Street Jouurnal 24th March 2011 more >>

The full fallout of Fukushima is still unknown. There has been a great deal of focus on the potential health dangers – understandable given the fears of local people, but easy to downplay in the wake of a wave that killed more than 10,000 people. However, the effect on the nuclear industry will go much further than headline-grabbing concerns around the health impacts. Following the incredibly expensive evacuation, there has been a suspension of sales of food from the area, and now even fears about drinking water in Tokyo. These measures will hopefully ensure the health impact remains minimal. As well as being incredibly distressing for the people living nearby, this is all costing a fortune. Add to it the clean-up costs, more stringent safety regulations and an inevitable increase in insurance arrangements, and the economics of nuclear will be forever changed. And they weren’t particularly healthy to start with. The tide is turning. It’s time to highlight the growing body of evidence showing we can keep the lights on with renewable power if we cut the amount of energy we waste.

Guardian 23rd March 2011 more >>

Fission power must remain a crucial part of the energy mix until renewable energy technologies can be scaled up, argues Charles D. Ferguson.

Nature 23rd March 2011 more >>

Electricity Market Reform

The Chancellor announced a carbon price floor of £16 per ton by 1st April 2013, stepping up to £30 by 2020, which will be gladly received by the energy companies funding new nuclear, according to energy experts at KPMG. Andy Cox, energy partner at KPMG, commented: “The private sector which is being asked to fully fund billions of investment to get new nuclear built and set the UK firmly on the road to low carbon energy generation will be pleased with today’s announcement. However, the delivery of these massive projects requires certainty and the industry will want to have a clear understanding of how the step up to £30 per ton by 2020 is made when committing major capital investment. Moreover, any substantive changes required by the safety review could well destabilise the precarious balance. “Beyond nuclear, the carbon price floor also has an impact on other forms of energy generation. This announcement certainly feels weighted towards building new nuclear and will put upward pressure on prices. In coal, for example, our analysis shows that at a carbon price floor above £25, coal starts to look difficult. Of course the knock on impact of this policy change on investment into other technologies – such as offshore wind – remains unclear and will be better understood once the conclusions of the wider energy market reform are announced later this year.”

KPMG 23rd March 2011 more >>

The UK will become the first country in the world to introduce a carbon price floor for the power sector to encourage investment in all forms of renewable energy, including controversially new nuclear power. The measure is among several announced by the Chancellor to boost investment into low-carbon energy and encourage investment to improve what he described as Britain’s “dilapidated infrastructure”. George Osborne also confirmed plans to inject another £2bn of funding into the Green Investment Bank backed by asset sales from the government, in addition to the £1bn already announced. Dr Doug Parr, policy director of Greenpeace, which opposes nuclear power, said the “carbon floor price will put up bills, deliver a windfall profit for existing nuclear power stations and yet it won’t drive investment into clean energy and improved efficiency. It’s not so much a green tax as a stealth tax and it’s exactly the sort of measure that gives green levies a bad name”

FT 23rd March 2011 more >>

Hunterston

Letter from Gordon Black: The loss of reactor coolant at Fukushima power station is reminiscent of an incident at Hunterston “A” nuclear power station in 1966. On that occasion I tripped one reactor manually on total loss of cooling water (to the steam turbine exhaust) and saved the reactor from damage by overheating. An emergency shut-down of the second reactor was carried out by my colleague, but the procedure was too slow to prevent extensive damage. My assessment of nuclear power after that was that it had no future because it is too costly and environmentally dangerous. This is still my opinion today. Politicians should stop interfering in complex decisions about nuclear power and leave engineers to make economic choices for electricity production. The Japanese, like the French, have no indigenous fuel supplies, so they opted for nuclear power on a large scale. Relying on a single fuel is a gamble, especially for Japan, which risks a return to Third World status as a consequence of earthquakes. I strongly recommend we build no more nuclear power stations in Britain. Even grossly expensive wind turbines are safer for the environment and ourselves. Gas and coal power stations are our best options. We need cheap, safe electricity to get out of the economic mess that the politicians and financiers have created.

Telegraph 14th March 2011 more >>

Heysham

A WORLD-leading Lancashire expert has said nuclear power remains a safe option for the future – despite the current Fukushima reactor crisis in Japan. Laurence Williams, a professor of nuclear safety at the University of Central Lancashire, said the disaster, which followed a huge earthquake and tsunami in the country, should not put the UK off a new generation of nuclear power stations. The Government has indicated that new reactors could be built at Heysham, near Morecambe, which has produced nuclear energy since the 1970s.

Lancashire Telegraph 23rd March 2011 more >>

Hinkley

ENVIRONMENTAL campaigner and Vale of Glamorgan councillor Rob Curtis, pictured, has called on the Government to suspend expansion of nuclear power. He is concerned about Hinkley Point power station, on the Somerset coast, 15 miles from Barry. Coun Curtis said: “After the shocking events in Japan, it seems only common sense that plans for any new nuclear plants in the UK should be suspended pending a full investigation. If an accident were to take place at Hinkley the people of South Wales would have just one hour to evacuate the area.”

South Wales Echo 23rd March 2011 more >>

Europe

European leaders look set to adopt tough measures on nuclear safety this week, a draft paper seen by Reuters showed, a move that could benefit France as it seeks to create a selling point for its advanced EPR reactors.

Reuters 23rd March 2011 more >>

Nuclear energy is here to stay so European Union leaders need to spell out clearly how to revamp safety guidelines at a key summit, the bloc’s energy commissioner said Wednesday. “We are looking for clear instructions from EU leaders meeting on Thursday and Friday,” Guenther Oettinger told a hearing of European Parliament lawmakers, after diplomats revealed deep divisions on reactor stress tests.

EU Business 23rd March 2011 more >>

Sinn F in MEP Bairbre de Br n today said that the disaster in Japan “shows the importance of moving to a nuclear free Europe” Speaking in the debate in the European Parliament on the situation in Japan Ms de Br n said: “I would like to express my sincere condolences to the people affected by the ongoing tragedy in Japan. We must do everything possible to assist the people of Japan. “As for the lessons we in Europe must draw from this, the question of nuclear safety is now starkly on the agenda, particularly in relation to ‘stress tests’ to be carried out on nuclear plants in Europe. What has happened in Japan has serious implications for EU energy policy.

Sinn Fein 23rd March 2011 more >>

European Union (EU) ministers have agreed to launch a safety assessment of Europe’s 143 nuclear power reactors, re-checking their safety in the light of the Fukushima nuclear accident.

World Nuclear News 23rd March 2011 more >>

As the fallout from the Japanese nuclear disaster continues, the EU’s climate chief has insisted Europe cannot back away from the technology if it wants to meet its 2020 climate goals.

Business Green 23rd March 2011 more >>

Italy

The Italian government has decided to suspend for 12 months procedures for the selection and construction of nuclear sites in the country in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear incident in Japan. The decision puts at risk the launch in 2020 of the country’s first reactor, but aims to calm voters ahead of a crucial referendum on nuclear energy scheduled on 12 June.

Argus Media 23rd March 2010 more >>

Poland

Poland may hold a national referendum on the centre-right government’s plans to build a nuclear power plant in the heavily coal-dependent country, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Wednesday.

Reuters 23rd March 2011 more >>

France

No country outside of Japan has been watching the crisis unfold around the Fukushima nuclear plant more closely than France. Atomic stations provide more than three-quarters of French electricity and the government is keen to champion the 85% state-owned power provider, lectricit de France (EDF), and nuclear plant builder, Areva, as they try to build their businesses around the world. EDF is at the centre of plans to build new reactors in Britain after beefing up its corporate presence in the atomic sector through the takeover of the UK’s largest nuclear plant operator, British Energy. Areva, meanwhile, has submitted its European pressurised reactor (EPR) design for safety approval in Britain and has recently signed up its own supply arrangements with UK turbine maker, Rolls Royce. While the explosions and radiation releases in Japan triggered promises to review nuclear in Germany, Austria and elsewhere, the French president, Nicholas Sarkozy, was quick to restate his confidence.

Guardian 23rd March 2011 more >>

Is the French public beginning to doubt nuclear power? Even before Fukushima, the relationship between France and its dominant nuclear industry was being tested for the first time.

Guardian 23rd March 2011 more >>

Submarines

The Royal Navy is to drop a dangerous type of reactor used in its existing nuclear submarines because it fails to meet modern safety standards, defence ministers have disclosed. A safer type of reactor is expected to be used in the submarines that will replace the Trident fleet, as the existing design shares very similar features to the nuclear reactors involved in the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in Japan.

Guardian 23rd March 2011 more >>


Japan

Mycle Schneider: As far back as 2005, I warned Eisaku Sato, governor of Fukushima at the time, about the dangers of letting spent fuel accumulate in cooling ponds at the prefecture’s nuclear plants and the need to put it into much safer dry stores as soon as possible. He seemed to be the only one who listened. But clearly there were people who always knew better and whose arrogance characterizes the nuclear industry.

Bloomberg 23rd March 2011 more >>

The U.S. military is considering the mandatory evacuation of thousands of American troops and their families in Japan out of concern over rising radiation levels, a senior defense official tells CNN. The official, who did not want to be on the record talking about ongoing deliberations, says there are no discussions to evacuate all U.S. troops across the country. The talks have focused exclusively on U.S. troops in Yokosuka, just south of Tokyo, the official said. Yokosuka is home to America’s largest naval base in Japan. The military is monitoring radiation levels on a constant basis.

CNN 22nd March 2011 more >>

Naoto Kan, the Japanese prime minster, has banned two prefectures near the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant from shipping a range of farm products found to have elevated radiation levels.

Telegraph 23rd March 2011 more >>

Parents have been advised not to give children water from Tokyo’s taps after some samples contained more than double the legal limit of the hazardous substance. The discovery increases fears of food and water safety nearly two weeks after the devastating earthquake and tsunami which killed thousands and damaged a nuclear plant in Fukushima, leading to a radiation leak. Residents of cities in Japan’s northeast earlier had already been advised not to drink tap water due to elevated levels of radioactive iodine, which can cause thyroid cancer. Until Wednesday, levels found in Tokyo tap water had been minute, according to officials.

Telegraph 23rd March 2011 more >>

Times 23rd March 2011 more >>

BBC 23rd March 2011 more >>

Japan’s radiation food scare rippled around the world Wednesday as the United States blocked imports of dairy and other produce from areas near a disaster-hit nuclear power plant.

Yahoo 23rd March 2011 more >>

The United States became the first nation to block produce from Japan’s radiation zone, saying it will halt milk, vegetable and fruit imports from areas near the tsunami-damaged nuclear plant because of contamination fears.

Telegraph 23rd March 2011 more >>

High radiation levels have been found in the sea off Japans earthquake-stricken nuclear power plant, fuelling fears about the impact on the nations fishing industry. Operator Tokyo Electric Power said unusual amounts of five kinds of radioactive material had been found in water samples near the Fukushima Daiichi plant. One of the substances, Iodine-131, was found at nearly 127 times the permitted level.

FT 23rd March 2011 more >>

Japan said on Wednesday there was no need to extend a 20 km (12 mile) evacuation zone around its tsunami-damaged nuclear plant, despite elevated radiation readings outside the area.

Yahoo 23rd March 2011 more >>

IAEA update 23rd March

IB Times 23rd March 2011 more >>

Japan’s top lenders including Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group are in talks to provide up to 2 trillion yen ($24.7 billion) in emergency loans to Tokyo Electric Power to help the operator of a stricken nuclear plant rebuild its power supply network.

Reuters 23rd March 2011 more >>

STV 23rd March 2011 more >>

It emerged that the plant had contained far more spent fuel rods than it was designed to store, while its technicians failed to carry out the necessary safety checks, according to documents from the reactor’s operator.

Independent 23rd March 2011 more >>

Guardian 23rd March 2011 more >>

Radiation from the stricken Japanese nuclear power plant has reached Europe and is heading towards Britain, it emerged last night. Officials in Iceland have detected ‘minuscule amounts’ of radioactive particles believed to have come from Fukushima, the site of the worst nuclear accident in 25 years. Last night the Government said radiation from Japan had not been detected by Britain’s network of monitoring stations set up after the 1986 Chernobyl explosion. A spokesman said any signs of radiation were not expected in the next few days. However, France’s nuclear agency said tiny amounts were likely to arrive in the country by today.

Daily Mail 23rd March 2011 more >>

Daily Record 23rd March 2011 more >>

Frustrated by media reports about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Japanese artist Hachiya Kazuhiko has turned to social media and Twitter to describe recent events. He has invented the character of a sick child, named “Nuclear Boy”. When asked about the cartoon, Mr. Hachiya explained the need for simplicity.

ITN 22nd March 2011 more >>

An excess of optimism has become a recurring theme of Japan’s nuclear crisis, the world’s worst for 25 years. For critics of Japan’s atomic energy policy in general, and of the official response to breakdowns at Fukushima in particular, the emergency has been framed in terms of chronic failures to acknowledge risks and prepare for worst-case scenarios. Beyond the broad question of whether the world’s most earthquake-prone country should host 54 nuclear reactors, doubts have been raised about the location and design of some plants. Regulators last year approved a 10-year extension of the life of Fukushima Daiichi’s No 1 reactor, its oldest, which began operating in 1971. They did so in spite of finding 16 shortcomings in plant facilities, including poorly conducting radiation metres and cracked water-level gauges. Tepco was given five years to fix the most serious problems, according to regulatory filings.

FT 23rd March 2011 more >>

Japanese nuclear technicians moved closer to restoring power to crippled reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi atomic station on Wednesday, but internal cooling systems that will be key to stabilising the plant’s four most damaged units remained offline. Events at the plant have fuelled a food contamination scare with some vegetables and milk produced in the surrounding areas showing elevated levels of radiation. On Wednesday the US became the first country to block imports of milk, fresh fruits and vegetables from the four areas worst affected – Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma. Separately the Tokyo government on Wednesday warned residents not to give tap water to infants after water in a purification plant was found to contain elevated levels of Iodine-131, a radioactive element

FT 23rd March 2011 more >>

The pro-nuclear chairman of Japan’s atomic watchdog yesterday called for a worldwide review of the nuclear energy industry after admitting that mistakes had been made in the design of the Fukushima power plant. His remarks came as it emerged that minuscule numbers of radioactive particles were detected as far away as Iceland and were believed to have originated from the plant.

Times 23rd March 2011 more >>

Implications

The chief executive of RWE Npower has warned that it could be forced to delay plans to build UK plants, especially if any major safety changes prompted by Japan’s atomic disaster push up the cost of reactors. Volker Beckers also told the Future of Utilities conference the UK’s new nuclear power stations are already expected to slip behind schedule by “three to six months” as a result of the Sendai earthquake. UK regulators had been expected to approve the design for new reactors in June, but this may now take until late 2011 because of further checks. “It is getting very difficult to persuade investors to fund new projects,” the executive said. “Especially given what’s going on in Japan, we can’t just carry headlong into [the carbon price support] this early”. The new tax may be introduced as soon as 2013, although it will not incentivise new nuclear until 2018.

Telegraph 23rd March 2011 more >>

From a communications perspective, the challenge facing the nuclear energy industry goes beyond the specifics of the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns. Public concern is so great, media coverage so voluminous, the response from politicians so easily misinterpreted, and the fact patterns so detailed, that it would be immensely challenging for any industry to dig out from the weeds and identify a few fundamental themes to guide a strategy going forward.

Forbes 22nd March 2011 more >>

What’s going on in Japan is probably the single best advert for a new generation of nuclear power stations – not just here in Britain, but also around the world. Despite the most extreme assaults by nature – an earthquake that has shifted the earth on its axis and shortened the day by 1.8 millionth of a second – there hasn’t actually been a meltdown. At Chernobyl there were no containment vessels, so when the building blew up the clouds of radioactivity spread rapidly. In Japan, the failsafe systems have worked. All except one. The back-up power sources – diesel generators – which were meant to pump water into the reactors to keep them cool if the main systems failed, were flooded.

Scotsman 23rd March 2011 more >>

Next week, the person in the hotseat will be Keith Parker, chief executive of the UK’s Nuclear Industry Association. The NIA represents almost every company involved in providing UK nuclear power, and even lists the stricken Tepco among its members. In the wake of the Japan nuclear crisis, this is your chance to ask him about nuclear safety, the role of nuclear in providing low-carbon energy and whether the industry can ever recover from the events of the past two weeks. Email all your questions to energysource@ft.com by the end of Sunday, March 27th.

FT 22nd March 2011 more >>

Hinkley

Housing developers were being drawn to the area by the prospect of major new developments such as the Morrisons regional distribution centre and Hinkley Point C. And the demand for properties locally is already being felt, say town estate agents.

Bridgwater Mercury 22nd March 2011 more >>

THE Somerset Chamber of Commerce is hosting an event near Bridgwater this Thursday, to show local food and drink businesses how they could benefit from Hinkley Point C.

Bridgwater Mercury 21st March 2011 more >>

National Grid is currently carrying out a public consultation to seek people’s opinions on the criteria it will use in future when analysing whether to place new electricity cables under or over the ground. This comes while the energy giant is deciding on which route a new power line from Hinkley Point C in Bridgwater to Avonmouth will take across Somerset and North Somerset.

Weston Mercury 22nd March 2011 more >>

COUNCIL chiefs have pledged to continue to press for a proposed 400,000 volt power line across the North Somerset countryside to run underground. The pledge follows a meeting between councillors and National Grid to highlight concerns about the energy giant’s plans to run an overhead power line between Hinkley Point and Avonmouth to bring electricity on to its transmission network.

Bristol Evening Post 22nd March 2011 more >>

Wylfa

Counter-terrorism measures at Wylfa nuclear power station in Anglesey are to come under public scrutiny later. Security chiefs will take questions from local people with nuclear safety in the global spotlight after the Japan earthquake. The Civil Nuclear Police Authority insists UK nuclear plants are in “safe hands”. But anti-nuclear group Pawb says it has concerns about Wylfa’s vulnerability to cyber-attacks and air assaults.

BBC 23rd March 2011 more >>

Energy Supplies

Demand in China, India and other emerging markets soars, but there is also quite considerable growth from advanced economies too. The big picture is that with an additional one billion cars on the road, demand for oil would grow 110pc to more than 190 million barrels per day. Total demand for energy would rise by a similar order of magnitude, doubling the amount of carbon in the atmosphere to more than three and a half times the amount climate change scientists think would keep temperatures at safe levels.

Telegraph 23rd March 2011 more >>

Europe

The hysteria surrounding nuclear power in Europe which reached fever pitch in the wake of Japan’s nuclear crisis (sparked by a 9 magnitude earthquake and Tsunami) has called Europe’s nuclear future into question. Comments from the European Energy Commissioner about an ‘apocalypse’ have done little to help. The stress tests announced soon after the tsunami. Some of the details of the stress tests emerged at yesterday’s (21 March) Energy council meeting in Brussels.

EU Reporter 22nd March 2011 more >>

US

Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) has launched a new campaign to permanently close the 23 General Electric Mark I reactors currently operating in the United States.

NIRS 22nd March 2011 more >>

On Monday, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) delivered a letter to energy firm Entergy stating that it may keep running its Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant through March, 21, 2032. The reactor in the aged plant, which is known to have released radiation into groundwater, is virtually identical to that of the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan, whose flaws some scientists claim have contributed to the world’s worst nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl meltdown.

World Socialist Web 23rd March 2011 more >>

Germany

Letter: Your leader writer who is so dismissive of earthquake-related threats to German nuclear power stations has clearly never heard of the fiasco surrounding the M lheim-K rlich power plant. This expensive facility began generating electricity in 1986 but was closed down just two years later; attempts to deal with the earthquake risk in the Neuwieder basin by moving the initially proposed location by 70 metres were found by the courts to have invalidated the original planning permission for the site. The plant is now being dismantled.

FT 23rd March 2011 more >>

Renerwables

The Scottish renewable energy industry is calling for more ambitious targets on the use of green heat sources. Trade body Scottish Renewables wants parties in Holyrood to increase the overall target for renewable energy use from 20% to 30% by 2020. This includes proposals for 16% of Scotland’s heat energy to be generated through renewable alternatives, such as biomass.

BBC 23rd March 2011 more >>

Posted: 23 March 2011

22 March 2011

Japan

Rising temperatures around the core of one of the reactors at Japan’s quake-crippled nuclear plant sparked new concern on Tuesday and more water was needed to cool it down, the plant’s operator said. Despite hopes of progress Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said it needed more time before it could say the reactors were stabilized.

Reuters (4.52pm GMT) 22nd March 2011 more >>

Workers desperately battling to contain a meltdown at Japan’s crippled nuclear plant today faced a fresh crisis as a pool for storing spent fuel began heating up. The news came as diplomatic sources said the Icelandic capital Reykjavik had become the first European city to detect radioactive particles believed to be from the Fukushima plant. Temperatures in the facility have already reached boiling point and staff believe this is responsible for the clouds of steam drifting from reactor two yesterday. The hot storage pool is another complication in bringing the plant under control and ending the nuclear crisis which followed the massive earthquake and tsunami which devastated the north-east coast on March 11.

Daily Mail 22nd March 2011 more >>

The power plant at the centre of the biggest civilian nuclear crisis in Japan’s history contained far more spent fuel rods than it was designed to store, while its technicians repeatedly failed to carry out mandatory safety checks, according to documents from the reactor’s operator.

The risk that used fuel rods present to efforts to avert disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant was underlined on Tuesday when nuclear safety officials said the No 2 reactor’s storage pool had heated to around boiling point, raising the risk of a leakage of radioactive steam.

Guardian 22nd March 2011 more >>

The stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan was stacked high with more uranium than it was originally designed to hold and had repeatedly missed mandatory safety checks over the past decade according to a Reuters special report.

Waste Management World 22nd March 2011 more >>

Engineers at Japan’s stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have reconnected all six reactors to the electrical grid, but are not yet ready to turn the power on.

Telegraph 22nd March 2011 more >>

Independent 22nd March 2011 more >>

Engineers at Japan’s stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant battled to stop a pool holding spent nuclear fuel from boiling, as fears about contamination spread to the country’s seafood industry.

Telegraph (1.54pm GMT) 22nd March 2011 more >>

Just a month before a powerful earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi plant at the center of Japan’s nuclear crisis, government regulators approved a 10-year extension for the oldest of the six reactors at the power station despite warnings about its safety. The regulatory committee reviewing extensions pointed to stress cracks in the backup diesel-powered generators at Reactor No. 1 at the Daiichi plant, according to a summary of its deliberations that was posted on the Web site of Japan’s nuclear regulatory agency after each meeting. The cracks made the engines vulnerable to corrosion from seawater and rainwater. The generators are thought to have been knocked out by the tsunami, shutting down the reactor’s vital cooling system.

New York Times 21st March 2011 more >>

“As you will have seen there is no roof in place”

IAEA Briefing (1.00) 17th March 2011 more >>

People are concerned about the level of water in the spent fuel pools because if the water level drops and the fuel is exposed to air for long enough, the temperature of the fuel rods can increase to the point they suffer damage and release potentially large amounts of radioactive gases. Cooling has been restored to the pools in Units 5 and 6, and efforts to restore cooling at Units 1 and 2 are underway. The biggest concern is at Units 3 and 4, and in both cases explosions have damaged the reactor buildings that surround the spent fuel pools, so that gases released from the spent fuel pools would go directly into the atmosphere.

All things Nuclear 21st March 2011 more >>

Radioactive materials that exceeded regulation levels have been found in seawater around the endangered Fukushima nuclear plant, but government officials offered reassurances Tuesday they will not have an immediate effect on people’s health.

Japan Times 23rd March 2011 more >>

Residents of Fukushima and neighboring prefectures, let alone Tokyo, have little to fear from radiation exposure because current levels are far below what would pose a health risk, a newly appointed medical adviser to Fukushima Prefecture said Tuesday.

Japan Times 23rd March 2011 more >>

The central dilemma of nuclear power in an increasingly water-stressed world is that it is a water guzzler, yet vulnerable to water. And decades after Lewis L. Strauss, the chairman of the United States Atomic Energy Agency, claimed that nuclear power would become “too cheap to meter,” the nuclear industry still subsists on munificent government subsidies.

Japan Times 23rd March 2011 more >>

Residents evacuated from the most dangerous areas said they never received any information about how to avoid the radiation threat in an emergency, a basic requirement in some other countries that operate nuclear power facilities.

Yahoo 22nd March 2011 more >>

The figures are not out yet, but it’s likely that tens of thousands were killed by the tsunami. Yet the newspapers were all focused on the nuclear meltdown which injured 15 people. The irony is that, when a tsunami strikes, the local nuclear power station is pretty much the safest place to be.

Spectator 22nd March 2011 more >>

Implications

Even before the earthquake-tsunami one-two punch, the endlessly hyped U.S. nuclear revival was stumbling, pummeled by skyrocketing costs, stagnant demand and skittish investors, not to mention the defeat of restrictions on carbon that could have mitigated nuclear energy’s economic insanity. Reports of nuclear Renaissance were greatly exaggerated; efficiency is 10 times cheaper today, renewables “costs are dropping fast” Since 2008, proposed reactors have been quietly scrapped or suspended in at least nine states not by safety concerns or hippie sit-ins but by financial realities.

Climate Progress 22nd March 2011 more >>

With Japan’s nuclear catastrophe still far from resolved, Dr Paul Dorfman argues why nuclear remains ‘economically unreliable’ and why it will be the taxpayer who ends up being liable as well as facing all the risks.

Ecologist 21st March 2011 more >>

Plans to build new reactors in the U.K. could be delayed by three to six months, or possibly longer, if the current safety review of the sector requires changes to reactor designs already undergoing assessment for use in the U.K., the chief executive of RWE AG’s (RWE.XE) U.K. unit said Tuesday. But it is important to take that time to ensure that the lessons learnt on safety and security from Japan’s nuclear crisis are incorporated into new U.K. nuclear projects, said RWE npower’s Volker Beckers.

Fox News 22nd March 2011 more >>

Gvernments across the world continue to promote further investment in nuclear power. Just last week, for example, the government of my home country of South Africa announced that it was adding 9,600 megawatts of nuclear energy to its new energy plan. There are two dangerous assumptions currently parading themselves as fact in the midst of the ongoing nuclear crisis. The first is that nuclear energy is safe. The second is that nuclear energy is an essential element of a low carbon future, that it is needed to prevent catastrophic climate change. Both are false.

Greenpeace International 22nd March 2011 more >>

Three Mile Island, I convinced myself, was a teething accident: An industry had pretended that nuclear power was just another way to boil water, and the accident resulted from appalling deficiencies in worker training and “the man-machine interface.” In the months after Three Mile Island, the nuclear industry overhauled its instrument panels, introduced job training via simulators, and communicated, somehow, that it had been chastened and was implementing reforms. Chernobyl, I could pigeon-hole, as well: The Chernobyl RBMK (Russian acronym for “high power, channel-type reactor”), whose fateful design permitted prompt criticality, was a manifestation of the isolation of Russia and its obsession with self-reliance. The unwillingness of nuclear experts in the West to strong-arm the Soviets not to build RBMKs, despite their awareness that an actual nuclear explosion at any power plant could sink the whole global industry, was yet another disastrous outcome of the East-West divide. I can find no escape from Fukushima Daiichi. Words I hoped never to read in a news report, like loss of coolant accident (LOCA), exposed core, hydrogen explosion: Here they are. Except for those who can identify ways to contribute directly to the management of the disaster, we scientists have only one job right now — to help governments, journalists, students, and the man and woman on the street understand in what strange ways we have changed their world. Two rogue isotopes with 30-year half-lives, Cesium 137 and Strontium 90, will be found everywhere, both of them unmistakably attributable to the accident. They will be measurable throughout the lifetimes of everyone alive today. Throughout this century, the poor will live on the contaminated land, eat the contaminated food, and live in the contaminated buildings.

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 21st March 2011 more >>

Selected readings on Three Mile Island.

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 21st March 2011 more >>

Copeland MP Jamie Reed says lessons to be learned in Britain from the Japanese atomic emergency could be limited. Anti-nuclear campaigners have demanded that the Government suspend Britain’s plans for new nuclear build until a full safety review of the Japanese disaster has been carried out. Land at Sellafield is among the contenders for a new atomic reactor. Newport West MP Paul Flynn has tabled a Commons motion claiming that a full independent evaluation into the long-term implications for the safety and cost of nuclear power needs to be done following problems at the Fukushima power plant.

Cumberland News 22nd March 2011 more >>

More than one third of Britons are likely to oppose government plans to build a new generation of nuclear power stations in the wake of Japan’s nuclear crisis, a new poll has revealed. The research conducted for Friends of the Earth showed not only that 37 per cent of those surveyed would oppose the plans, but that public support for nuclear energy had dropped significantly in the last six months. Research for the Nuclear Industry Association in November showed that almost half of respondents – 47 per cent – supported the construction of replacement nuclear power stations. But the new research revealed a U-turn in public opinion, with 44 per cent of people admitting to feeling worried about the safety of nuclear power plants.

FM World 22nd March 2011 more >>

Business Green 22nd March 2011 more >>

Support for nuclear power has fallen among the British public by 12 per cent since the Fukushima disaster, according to a new poll. But the UK nuclear industry has reason to cheer regardless, because left-wing environmentalist George Monbiot has today explained why he now supports nuclear power

First Post 22nd March 2011 more >>

IS NUCLEAR power dangerous? Is it green? And are reports from Fukushima being blown out of proportion? As the story in Japan continues to unfold, Mary Griffin looks at the pros and cons of nuclear and asks local experts about fear versus fact.

Coventry Telegraph 22nd March 2011 more >>

Planning

The Localism Bill makes changes to the regime for authorising nationally significant infrastructure projects as well as introducing a raft of new concepts into the world of planning and local government that will have an impact on such projects. The Bill has completed its committee stage in the House of Commons and has recently been reprinted to take account of the amendments made there, so this is a good time to take stock of what has happened so far.

Bircham Dyson Bell 22nd March 2011 more >>

Sellafield

A PROFESSOR who was in charge of regulating safety in Britain’s nuclear industry told an audience in Barrow how Britain built the world’s first nuclear power station in just three years at Sellafield. Professor Laurence Williams said Calder Hall power station was built so “robustly” that it operated for almost 50 years.

NW Evening Mail 22nd March 2011 more >>

Torness

EDF Energy, the company that runs Britain’s nuclear power stations, has been reprimanded by government inspectors after a series of safety blunders at reactors in Scotland. Two reactors at Torness in East Lothian have suffered failures in electricity supplies, several “unplanned shutdowns”, and a seaweed blockage. It was the loss of power caused by the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the still unfolding nuclear disaster at Fukushima in Japan. The revelations have reignited concerns about the safety of Britain’s nuclear stations. French-owned EDF Energy admitted that it had not followed the correct procedures, but insisted that there had been no danger to the public. A report posted online by the UK government’s Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) discloses that there were two significant safety “events” at Torness in the last three months of 2010. “Correct operational procedures appear not have been observed,” says the report. In one incident, an equipment malfunction cut off the electricity supplied to a gas circulator. Gas circulators are critical components because they ensure that air is kept moving to cool reactor fuel and prevent it from overheating. The second incident also involved problems with electricity supply, though this time to a radioactive fuel dismantling facility at Torness. In addition, the second reactor at Torness had to be manually shut down because the screens that take in seawater for cooling were blocked by a large mass of seaweed. “These are all events that should ring very loud alarm bells,” said Pete Roche, an Edinburgh-based nuclear consultant and editor of the no2nuclearpower.org.uk website. “As we’ve seen with Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and now Fukushima, a combination of unexpected events all happening at once can quickly lead to a serious accident because of the highly dangerous nature of the fuel used to power these reactors.”

Guardian 22nd March 2011 more >>

RobEdwards 22nd March 2011 more >>

FM World 22nd March 2011 more >>

Hinkley

March Newsletter

Stop Hinkley 22nd March 2011 more >>

Wylfa

The company behind the Wylfa B proposals says it needs to take stock after the events at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Horizon Nuclear Power says it cannot say whether it will carry on at Wylfa or not but will learn safety lessons. Campaign group Pawb said it had warned another nuclear disaster could happen. Efforts resumed on Tuesday at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to restore electrical power and cool its overheating reactors.

BBC 22nd March 2011 more >>

There is uncertainty over plans for a new nuclear power station in Wales. In an exclusive interview with BBC Wales, the company behind proposals for a second series of reactors at Wylfa on Anglesey says it needs to take stock following the Japanese nuclear emergency. Horizon Nuclear Power had hoped construction of the £8bn project would start towards the end of 2012. Officials from Anglesey council are in London on Monday night for talks with the UK government and the company.

BBC 21st March 2011 more >>

Islanders will be give the opportunity of finding out more about the Civil Nuclear Police Authority at a public meeting at Wylfa Sports and Social Club, near Cemaes Bay, next Wednesday, March 23.

Holyhead and Anglesey Mail 16th March 2011 more >>

Protest

Three things you can do to help stop nuclear new build.

CND 22nd March 2011 more >>

Europe

Campaigners claim that 50 per cent of Europe’s nuclear reactors are of “particular concern.” The claim was made by leading environmental group, Greenpeace, which has called for a shake-up of nuclear safety rules in the wake of the nuclear crisis in Japan.

Parliament 22nd March 2011 more >>

US

The Japanese quake and tsunami have thrown a spotlight on the safety of North American shores. Last week, the White House asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to conduct a comprehensive safety review of all 104 US nuclear reactors, and state senators held hearings on the safety of California’s nuclear plants on Monday 21 March.

Nature 22nd March 2011 more >>

Dave Lochbaum, an outspoken US nuclear safety expert, has a macabre saying about people living in northern Ohio: they should not waste their time buying lottery tickets because they have already used up all their luck. Residents there escaped a near-catastrophe at the Davis-Besse nuclear plant in 2002 which, according to Mr Lochbaum, could have resulted in an accident that, while not as deadly as Chernobyl, would have been worse than the Three Mile Island disaster in 1979. Today, he and a legion of other independent nuclear safety experts are challenging the Obama administration’s assertions that the ageing US fleet of nuclear plants would be safe under “any number of extreme contingencies”.

FT 22nd March 2011 more >>

A majority of Americans want the United States to tap the brakes on new nuclear power reactors following the crisis in Japan that has focused more attention on the already controversial power source, according to a poll released on Tuesday.

Reuters 22nd March 2011 more >>

Canada

Durham Regional Police are trying to remove four Greenpeace activists who chained themselves to a table to protest an environmental assessment hearing on a proposal to build new reactors at the Darlington Nuclear Power Plant.

Toronto Sun 22nd March 2011 more >>

Germany

The new national energy plan unveiled by the German government last autumn is already obsolete in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. Berlin now faces the challenge of devising a new mix of fossil and renewable energy sources to prevent the worst effects of climate change. But how quickly can Germany dispense with nuclear power and what will the phase-out really cost?

Der Spiegel 22nd March 2011 more >>

Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen said on Tuesday that Germany’s Nuclear Safety Commission will focus on issues including emergency power supply and cooling systems when it reviews all the country’s atomic power stations.

Reuters 22nd March 2011 more >>

Renewables

For many years, a small handful of countries dominated growth in wind power, but this is changing as the industry goes global, with more than 70 countries now developing wind resources. Between 2000 and 2010, world wind electric generating capacity increased at a frenetic pace from 17,000 megawatts to nearly 200,000 megawatts.

Grist 15th March 2011 more >>


Japan

Abnormal radiation levels reported in tap water, vegetables and milk with concerns that fish may also be affected. The operation to cool the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has suffered a minor setback after smoke and vapour was seen rising from two reactors, as anxiety grew over the safety of food produced in the area. High levels of radioactivity had been found in seawater near the facility, raising fears that seafood has also been contaminated. The power company said seawater samples contained levels of radioactive iodine 126.7 times the allowed limit, and caesium 24.8 times over. The firm said the quantities posed no immediate threat to health.

Guardian 22nd March 2011 more >>

The World Health Organisation said food contamination was more serious than previously thought and smoke or steam was seen coming out of two of the facilities.

Independent 22nd March 2011 more >>

Tokyo Electric Power will be made to compensate farmers near its radiation-leaking nuclear power station for losses related to a widening ban on the sale of agricultural products from the area, Japans government has said. In the first direct reference by a high-ranking government official to reparations by Tepco for victims of the worlds worst nuclear accident in a quarter of a century, Yukio Edano, chief cabinet secretary, said the state would have Tepco take responsibility. But he added that if the company is unable to compensate people adequately, then by law the government will step in and guarantee the claims. The cost of cleaning up the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, compensating victims and buying extra coal, gas and oil to make up for lost nuclear capacity is certain to be in the billions of dollars.

FT 22nd March 2011 more >>

Work to restore power and key cooling functions to the troubled reactors at the quake-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was marred Monday by smoke that rose from the buildings housing the No. 2 and No. 3 reactors, the plant operator said. Tokyo Electric Power Co. and the government’s nuclear safety agency said operations to revive power systems and spray massive coolant water onto overheating spent nuclear fuel pools will likely resume Tuesday after the utility observes the situation at the site. TEPCO said it had briefly evacuated its workers after grayish and blackish smoke was seen at the southeast of the No. 3 reactor building around 3:55 p.m. above a pool storing spent nuclear fuel, though a blast was not heard. The smoke stopped after 6 p.m., but TEPCO subsequently found that white smoke was rising through a crack in the roof of the building that houses the No. 2 reactor at around 6:20 p.m. The utility said later the smoke was believed to be steam, not from the reactor’s core or spent fuel pool.

Kyodo News 22nd March 2011 more >>

Officials detected in the air 5 radioactive materials that are generated by nuclear fission. The level of iodine 131 was 5.9 milibecquerels per cubic centimeter. That’s about 6 times the permissible level for workers without protective masks. The density of the other substances was also higher than usual, but within safety standards.

NHK 21st March 2011 more >>

Japan’s science ministry is publishing radiation levels monitored nationwide on its website, with the information also available in English, Korean and Chinese. The ministry’s website began showing the data on Saturday, with information updated twice a day.

NHK 21st March 2011 more >>

Japan’s health ministry is urging the people of a village in Fukushima Prefecture not to drink the tap water, in which higher levels of radioactive materials were detected on Sunday. The Ministry says, however, that drinking it does not pose any immediate health risk.

NHK 21st March 2011 more >>

The government ordered Fukushima and three other prefectures Monday to suspend shipments of spinach and another leaf vegetable following the detection of radioactive substances in the produce at levels beyond legal limits, while trace amounts of radioactive substances were detected in tap water samples collected Sunday and Monday in nine prefectures.

Kyodo News 22nd March 2011 more >>

Radiation leaked into the sea from Japan’s crippled nuclear plant, contaminating the water and raising concern that fish and vegetables may become tainted. Five kinds of radioactive materials released by damaged fuel rods were detected in the sea, Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant’s operator, said on its web site. Levels of one, Iodine-131, which increases the risk of thyroid cancer, were 127 times higher than normal in a sample taken at 2:30 p.m. yesterday, it said.

Bloomberg 22nd March 2011 more >>

AS SOME of the panic associated with the nuclear crisis in Japan ebbs, markets around the world have regained ground. But the end of panic also reminds us all that quite apart from the nuclear situation, Japan has suffered an unprecedented calamity perhaps the costliest disaster in fifty years. Thousands of lives have been lost and power issues continue to plague the country. What will this disaster mean for Japan’s economy?

Economist 21st March 2011 more >>

After the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, radiation contaminated 3 million acres of farmland. Up to 9,000 died or will die from thyroid cancer after drinking milk laced with radioactive iodine, according to World Health Organization estimates. The radiation leaks at Fukushima don’t come close to that of Chernobyl. Still, Japanese officials admit their food chain is also contaminated with harmful levels of radiation, in some cases up to 90 miles from the nuclear site.

Fox News 21st March 2011 more >>

To a world that doesn’t know him, Shingo Kanno is one of the “nuclear samurai” – a selfless hero trying to save his country from a holocaust; to his family, Kanno is a new father whose life is in peril just because he wanted to earn some money on the side doing menial labour at the Fukushima nuclear plant. A tobacco farmer, Kanno had no business being anywhere near a nuclear reactor – let alone in a situation as serious as the one that has unfolded after the 11 March earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Guardian 22nd March 2011 more >>

Ideally, officials believe it should only take a day to get the complex under control once the cooling system is up and running. In reality, the effort to end the crisis is likely to take weeks.

Wales Online 21st March 2011 more >>

Officials are racing to restore electricity to Japan’s leaking nuclear plant, but getting the power flowing will hardly be the end of their battle: with its mangled machinery and partly melted reactor cores, bringing the complex under control is a monstrous job.

Independent 22nd March 2011 more >>

Implications

More Britons support the building of new nuclear power stations than oppose it, despite the crisis at Japan’s Fukushima plant, an opinion poll says. But almost a half say they are worried about the safety of nuclear plants. And 75% cite energy efficiency or renewables as their priority for investment, against 9% for nuclear. The survey, commissioned by Friends of the Earth from GfK NOP, polled 1,000 people by phone over the weekend, a week after Japan’s crisis began. Events at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi plant have shifted opinion, with 37% saying they are now more likely to oppose new nuclear build and only 16% saying they are more likely to support it.

BBC 22nd March 2011 more >>

Independent 22nd March 2011 more >>

IN THE immediate aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant crisis, apocalyptic fears proliferated across the globe. Despite the panic that always accompanies nuclear incidents, the world’s growing energy needs will not disappear: nuclear is a solution that will not go away. The nuclear industry has been seriously set-back by this disaster. Uranium dropped from $68.24 to $50.01 a pound, while the $1.16bn takeover offer from Russia’s ARMZ for Australian uranium miner Mantra Resources fell through. The latter plunged 29 per cent, while Cameco, the world’s largest uranium producer, was down by around a third.

City AM 22nd March 2011 more >>

George Monbiot: You will not be surprised to hear that the events in Japan have changed my view of nuclear power. You will be surprised to hear how they have changed it. As a result of the disaster at Fukushima, I am no longer nuclear-neutral. I now support the technology. A crappy old plant with inadequate safety features was hit by a monster earthquake and a vast tsunami. The electricity supply failed, knocking out the cooling system. The reactors began to explode and melt down. The disaster exposed a familiar legacy of poor design and corner-cutting. Yet, as far as we know, no one has yet received a lethal dose of radiation.

Guardian 22nd March 2011 more >>

So where does this leave nuclear power? There has already been a suggestion that Japan could retreat from nuclear power generation and fall back on fossil fuels. This could have a serious knock-on effect for us by pushing oil, gas and coal prices ever higher. The consequence of this would be increased prices at the pumps and increased household fuel bills. Unfortunately, fossil fuel resources are becoming scarcer. To get away from our reliance on oil, gas and coal we have to consider the alternatives. We have wind, wave and solar energy to think about. Each power source will have its supporters and detractors but each will have a role to play. However, our requirements are likely to exceed the energy that we can extract from these renewable sources, which inevitably brings us back to nuclear – and that won’t be popular. There is another energy source to consider, of course, but so far this one hasn’t proved too popular either. I’m talking about waste incineration.

NW Evening Mail 21st March 2011 more >>

Peter Birtles, group board director of Sheffield Forgemasters International, makers of big cast and forged components for nuclear power plants, gives his view on the effect of Japan’s disaster on the nuclear industry and says the world has little alternative for mass scale power generation.

The Manufacturer 21st March 2011 more >>

Sellafield

The River Calder straightened and tritium discharges.

101 uses for nuclear power 21st March 2011 more >>

Events

Marking the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster this meeting also considers the implications of the Fukushima disaster for Britain’s nuclear policy and looks at the sustainable energy alternatives. Tuesday 26th April 6-7.30pm Grimond Room, Portcullis House, Parliament.

CND 21st March 2011 more >>

Australia

Japan’s nuclear crisis threatens to derail a political push by Australia’s government to overturn a ban on selling uranium to India, as well as a drive to use nuclear power domestically to counter climate change.

Yahoo 22nd March 2011 more >>

US

U.S. nuclear developer NRG Energy Inc has all but stopped work on a $10 billion project in Texas, the first U.S. company to slow its ambitious growth plans in the wake of the crisis in Japan. NRG, which has worked closely with Tokyo Electric Power Co to develop the Texas reactors, said there was too much regulatory uncertainty to continue pouring cash into the project. It will halt construction-related engineering work to focus only on activity related to licensing the new reactors and securing a federal loan guarantee.

Reuters 21st March 2011 more >>

Renewables

SCOTLAND’S political parties will today be urged to raise the nation’s renewable energy targets to attract fresh investment into the industry. Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, will call on politicians to lift the 2020 goal from 20 per cent to 30 per cent. Stuart will tell delegates at the trade body’s annual conference in Glasgow that Scotland needs to be “ambitious” in its renewable energy targets in order to show investors that it is taking the industry seriously. The 30 per cent target for 2020 would be double the level set by the UK government and European Union. Stuart said: “By increasing our renewable heat and overall energy targets, we will spell out to investors that Scotland is the place to do business in renewables, whilst making real strides towards bringing down carbon emissions and securing safe, clean supplies of energy at an affordable price.

Scotsman 22nd March 2011 more >>

Posted: 22 March 2011