News May 2011

31 May 2011

New Nukes

LEADING Labour anti- nuclear campaigner Paul Flynn has called on the UK Government to follow the example of Germany and abandon support for nuclear power. The German Government has agreed to shut down all the country’s nuclear power plants by 2022, making it the first major industrialised power to go nuclear- free since the Japanese disaster. Newport West MP Mr Flynn said Germany had come to terms with the “futility” of nuclear power but said the UK Government was avoiding the issue. He fears politicians have been “bewitched by the pied piper of nuclear power” at a time when Wales would benefit from the development of tidal energy.

Western Mail 31st May 2011 more >>

Anti-nuclear campaigners urged the government to abandon Britain’s commitment to nuclear power after Germany announced it is to shut down all its reactors by 2022. Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn told Metro that the development in Germany was ‘hugely significant’. ‘The fact that they are prepared to take this dramatic step is very much a message to everybody that they are taking the issue of nuclear safety very seriously,’ he said.‘It is very sad that at the same time as Germany is doing this we are proposing to build a whole generation of nuclear power stations in Britain at enormous cost.’Mike Childs, head of climate change at Friends of the Earth, said: ‘If Germany is turning its back on nuclear then the chance of the UK ploughing on alone is unlikely.’

Metro 30th May 2011 more >>

As the shock and fear created by the crisis at the Fukushima reactors have faded, its effect on nuclear power worldwide has become clearer: growth will be slowed, but not stopped. Countries that were already sceptical about nuclear power, such as Germany, have had their doubts confirmed. A few, including Italy and Switzerland, have moved away from plans for new reactors. In others, such as the US and India, government support for nuclear power has faced increasingly vocal criticism. But most of the leading countries that have planned to build new reactors, including China, France, the UK and South Korea, have been sticking to those plans.

FT 30th May 2011 more >>

The world must follow Britain’s lead on nuclear power if it wants to curb greenhouse gases, not that of Germany, which is to scrap all its nuclear plants by 2022, a former government chief scientist said yesterday. Germanys plan to close all its 17 nuclear power stations, announced yesterday, is an overreaction to the earthquake disaster at the Fukushima plant in Japan, Professor Sir David King said. The International Energy Agency said that its latest estimates of carbon emissions would make it almost impossible to stop a global temperature rise of more than 2C (3.6F). Fatih Birol, its chief economist, said: This significant increase in CO2 emissions and the locking in of future emissions due to infrastructure investments represent a serious setback to our hopes of limiting the global rise in temperature to no more than 2C. Sir David, who as Chief Scientist described climate change as a bigger threat than terrorism, told The Times that it would be difficult to reverse this trend if more countries followed Germany in rejecting nuclear power as a low-carbon source of energy.

Times 31st May 2011 more >>

Nuclear Inspection

Interview with Mike Weightman. Why did one nuclear site in Fukushima escape damage from the earthquake? Mike Weightman is going there to discover what lessons can be learned,

New Scientist 30th May 2011 more >>

Scotland

GERMANY’S decision to shut its nuclear power plants has sparked a furious row in Scottish politics, as a leading SNP politician claimed the move was the same “route that Scotland wishes to go down”. Nationalist MSPs at Holyrood seized on yesterday’s announcement, with energy minister Fergus Ewing saying that the move “adds further weight” to the SNP’s plans to generate all of Scotland’s energy from renewables within ten years. But Jackson Carlaw, the Scottish Conservatives’ spokesman on energy issues, told The Scotsman that the SNP’s plans for 100 per cent reliance on renewable energy by 2020 was “extreme recklessness” and could lead to Scotland being forced to buy nuclear power from England if nuclear power stations north of the Border were closed.

Scotsman 31st May 2011 more >>

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said Germany’s decision, which follows Switzerland’s announcement last week of its intention to be nuclear-free by 2034, added to the growing international realisation of difficulties associated with nuclear power. He said: “It adds further weight to our view that Scotland does not need a new generation of costly nuclear plants and is instead ideally placed to become a green energy powerhouse. “That’s why we have a new target of generating 100% of Scotland’s electricity needs from renewables by 2020, one of the most demanding anywhere in the world. And we have already started the journey. Total planned offshore wind development in waters around Scotland already amounts to almost 10 gigawatts of capacity, more than Scotland’s peak demand. Mike Weir, the party’s energy spokesman at Westminster, said it was time the UK Government followed suit. He said: “Scotland is well placed to lead this global renewable energy revolution with our huge natural advantage. Scotland has the capacity to generate a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind and tidal power and a tenth of the Continent’s wave energy.” Stan Blackley, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “If a country like Germany can commit to this type of action, then there is no reason why the UK Government cannot commit to the same.“The SNP’s commitment to 100% renewables for Scotland by 2020 is very welcome and independent research has shown that it is completely achievable. Renewables could provide 185% by 2030.”

Herald 31st May 2011 more >>

Nuclear has always been in a doubtful position, because it’s treated as an everlasting fuel. But there are only 50-100 years left of uranium resources needed for nuclear power. That’s not long and we should be using our skills to develop alternative approaches. The point was always going to come in terms of international electricity generation of how you provide for baseload, given that a lot of renewables are intermittent. There has never been a privately owned and operated plant in the world. They’re not profitable. In the 50s they were flagged up as being too cheap to meter, but they’re actually too expensive to go anywhere near and we’re still spending billions de-commissioning some of our old stuff.

Scotsman 31st May 2011 more >>

Fanfaring the end of nuclear is one thing, finding an alternative source of 23 per cent of the country’s energy supply quite another. And it is on the question o f reliable, sustainable and environmentally clean alternative supply on which the nuclear-free policy will flourish or founder. It faces opposition from environmentalists to giant pylons and high voltage cables dividing the country – concerns all too familiar here. But the immediate worry is supply. If wind farms can’t fill the gap, coal power could be a beneficiary. Here some 200 billion will be needed for energy infrastructure to meet existing carbon reduction targets. Age UK calculates another 250,000 people will be forced into fuel poverty as energy bills climb further, while the chemicals industry is warning of plant shutdowns and an energy price regime that could force companies overseas. If the Scottish Government wishes to follow Germany it needs to move beyond emissions targets to real transparency and honesty about the costs for households and businesses – the very ones now being hammered by the worst cost increases and spending squeeze for a generation.

Scotsman 31st May 2011 more >>

Dungeness

DESPERATELY needed new jobs on the Marsh have been left in limbo after the decision on a potential Dungeness C power station was hit by delays. The Government was due to publish its national policy statements on energy – a list of nuclear stations to be built before 2025 – in April or May. But the announcement has been hit by a series of delays and is now only expected in July, to the frustration of Romney Marsh MP Damian Collins. Determined Mr Collins has been lobbying hard for Dungeness C and demanded answers from Charles Hendry, Minister of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change in Parliament last week. The main reason for the delay is the Government’s decision to review all UK nuclear sites following events at Fukushima in Japan, the world’s second-worst nuclear accident following a massive earthquake and tsunami in March. Mr Collins argued that some of the extra time spent deliberating should also be used to “give greater consideration to the local economic benefits of nuclear power stations in the site-specific report, with particular regard to Dungeness and Romney Marsh”.

This is Kent 30th May 2011 more >>

Uranium

Shares of top Canadian uranium producer Cameco slipped as much as 4.4 percent on Monday, after Germany said that it plans to shut all its nuclear reactors by 2022.

Reuters 30th May 2011 more >>

Japan

A group of more than 200 Japanese pensioners are volunteering to tackle the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima power station. The Skilled Veterans Corps, as they call themselves, is made up of retired engineers and other professionals, all over the age of 60. They say they should be facing the dangers of radiation, not the young.

BBC 31st May 2011 more >>

The crisis at Fukushima Daiichi and government pledges to rethink energy policy from a “blank slate” have sparked widespread speculation that Japan will abandon plans for new reactors, spelling the eventual end of an atomic sector that until this year accounted for nearly 30 per cent of electricity generation. Opinion polls since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami certainly suggest a shift in sentiment against nuclear power. But there remain considerable reserves of support for an energy source seen as easing Japan’s reliance on imported fossil fuels.

FT 30th May 2011 more >>

The government has decided to abolish the upper cap of radiation exposure for workers at the disaster-crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, drawing concern from experts, it has been learned. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare decided to lift the yearly 50-millisievert maximum permissible amount of radiation exposure for workers at the troubled Fukushima plant in the face of the prolonged restoration work at the facility. The ministry has notified the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) — Japan’s largest labor organization — of the decision in writing. The ministry will uphold the combined 100-millisievert maximum allowable exposure for workers over a five-year period, inclusive of doses they are exposed to during regular inspections of other nuclear power plants.

Mainichi Daily 30th May 2011 more >>

Amid growing pressure to step down from his post, Japan prime minister Naoto Kan said on Tuesday he wants to continue with his post to resolve the nuclear crisis triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

IB Times 31st May 2011 more >>

Reuters 31st May 2011 more >>

Japan faces the possibility of having to pay huge compensation to overseas victims of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant because it has yet to sign any international convention that defines procedures for filing lawsuits for damages from a nuclear accident that extend beyond a nation’s borders.

Asahi 31st May 2011 more >>

Two workers at Japan’s crippled nuclear plant may have exceeded a radiation exposure limit. The two control room operators are being tested further and do not have immediate health problems, Tokyo Electric Power Co said. If confirmed, they would be the first men to reach the government-set limit. Tepco has been criticised for not fully disclosing the extent of radiation exposure among the plant’s workers or their working conditions, raising suspicion they may not be closely monitored or informed of potential risks. The conventional limit of 100 millisieverts was raised to 250 millisieverts for male workers – equivalent of more than 30 CT scans – to confront the problems the 11 March earthquake and tsunami set off at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Thirty plant workers have exceeded 100 millisieverts, according to Tepco. Meanwhile, Typhoon Songda caused heavy rains around the plant and other areas of the coast already devastated by the tsunami. Tepco said the rains had caused no damage to buildings, but contaminated water that had been pooling inside the plant had swollen further. No leaks into the sea were detected.

Guardian 30th May 2011 more >>

The operator of Japan’s crippled nuclear plant has suspended some of its outdoor work due to a tropical storm, just days after it admitted it was not prepared for harsh weather.

BBC 30th May 2011 more >>

Germany

Angela Merkel has committed to shutting down all of the country’s nuclear reactors by 2022, a task said by one minister to be as mammoth as the project to reunite East and West Germany in 1990. Monday’s announcement, prompted by Japan’s nuclear disaster, will make Germany the first major industrialised nation to go nuclear-free in decades. It gives the country just over 10 years to find alternative sources for 23% of its energy.

Guardian 30th May 2011 more >>

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative-led coalition announced plans yesterday to close all the country’s atomic power plants by 2022, in a move that put the seal on a policy U-turn in the immediate aftermath of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster. The decision — which makes Germany the biggest industrial power to completely renounce atomic power as an energy source — will include a planned 10% reduction in electricity consumption and a doubling of renewable energy sources to 35% by 2020.

Belfast Telegraph 31st May 2011 more >>

Independent 31st May 2011 more >>

Daily Mail 31st May 2011 more >>

Morning Star 30th May 2011 more >>

Scotsman 30th May 2011 more >>

Environmental NGOs and energy campaigners around the world have welcomed a decision by the German government, who announced today (30 May) that they plan to phase out nuclear energy in their country. Kate Hudson of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) said, “If a high-skilled society such as Germany – with a strong industrial safety record – says it can’t justify the risk to its citizens from nuclear power, why should it be any different here?”. She continued, “Germany looks set to ensure their energy security by investing in new technologies that will doubtless have a huge export market. Britain could be doing just the same if the government would only take a genuinely open-minded approach to this issue.” Hudson concluded, “Unless something changes, we look set to remain the nuclear dirty man of Europe”.

Ekklesia 30th May 2011 more >>

CND Press Release 30th May 2011 more >>

A German plan to shut all nuclear reactors by 2022 is unlikely to inspire many imitators abroad even though safety worries after Japan’s Fukushima accident have dimmed nuclear industry hopes of a renaissance, experts say. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phase-out plan risks boosting greenhouse gas emissions by aiding fossil fuel producers despite her assurances of a renewed drive to promote greener energies such as wind and solar power, they said. “Most other countries are saying, ‘Let’s take a pause and learn lessons after Fukushima’, not ‘Let’s close down nuclear power’,” said Malcolm Grimston, a nuclear expert at the Chatham House think-tank in Britain. “Germany is a special case, Merkel is in a special position,” he said. Merkel’s abrupt shift follows disastrous election results for her Christian Democrats and their Free Democrat allies, partly blamed on her former pro-nuclear views.

Reuters 30th May 2011 more >>

Angela Merkel’s bid to outflank the opposition by closing all nuclear plants by 2022 smacks of opportunism to many Germans but could ease an alliance with the anti-nuclear Greens that may be her best bet to stay in power.

Reuters 30th May 2011 more >>

Angela Merkel, knows perfectly well that her decision to phase out all nuclear power stations by 2022 makes no scientific or economic sense. In fact, she said so herself as recently as two months ago, when she promised that Germany would not let itself be rushed into abandoning nuclear power by the Fukushima accident in Japan. “I am against shutting down our nuclear power plants only to have atomic power imported into Germany from other countries,” she told the Bundestag in March. “That won’t happen on my watch.” Well, as so often happens to politicians, she has been forced to eat her words by political necessity. An irrational fear of nuclear energy runs deep in Germany, and electoral defeats for Chancellor Merkel’s conservative coalition at the hands of the Greens have convinced her that it is no longer politically possible to hold the line.

Telegraph 30th May 2011 more >>

Telegraph 30th May 2011 more >>

German industry has intensified its criticism of Berlin after the government made good on its promise for a full phase-out of nuclear energy, which produces some 23 per cent of the country’s electricity, by 2022. Prognos, a respected Basel-based consultancy, suggests both sides have a point. Shutting the country’s 17 nuclear plants by 2022 would add only 0.5 cents to a current average price of 9.8 cents per kWh paid by industrial companies, it calculates. But prices are set to rise for other reasons, it says. RWE has filed suit against the government for the forced idling of Germany’s oldest nuclear plants in March, and could yet seek damages. Eon is expected to decide whether it will file suit against the nuclear fuel tax, intended to raise €3bn ($4.3bn) a year until 2016, although Berlin officials said that total would fall to about €1.3bn as nuclear plants closed more quickly.

FT 30th May 2011 more >>

The complete shutdown of nuclear plants will add further pressure on the PV industry to reduce costs to offset claimed price hikes of electricity over the next decade and beyond. The goal of the German Federal Government is to support wind energy installations of as much as 25GW by 2030, which supports utility-based energy generation, compared to PV which has been primarily residential rooftop and thus decentralized.

PV Tech 30th May 2011 more >>

Sinn Féin Environment spokesperson Brian Stanley has welcomed the announcement that Germany is to close all of its nuclear power plants by 2022. Deputy Stanley said he hoped other States that use nuclear energy would follow suit and that this should now signal the end of the nuclear debate in Ireland.

Sinn Fein News 30th May 2011 more >>

During the nuclear summit attended by chancellor Angela Merkel, Greenpeace activists unfurl a 3 x 18 meter banner on the Brandenburg Gate in support of the German government’s plans for the immediate closure of eight of the country’s nuclear power plants. Greenpeace has hailed the move as a very important step towards ending nuclear power globally. However, delaying the closure of the remaining nine plants is both dangerous and unnecessary.

Greenpeace 30th May 2011 more >>

Greenpeace Press Release 30th May 2011 more >>

Setting a date to shut down Germany’s nuclear power stations is the wrong approach by the country and it should instead focus on boosting the use of renewable energy, Sweden said on Monday. Germany’s coalition government has decided to keep permanently shut the country’s eight oldest reactors and the rest by 2022 in response to Japan’s Fukushima disaster. The decision was a dramatic policy reversal. Sweden’s state-owned power group Vattenfall operates two of the nuclear plants, though these have been offline since 2007. It is a minority holder in a third plant. “The important thing is not the year nuclear power stops, the important thing is to build out renewable energy so that one reduces dependency on nuclear power and climate emissions,” Swedish Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren told public radio.

Reuters 30th May 2011 more >>

Analysts views.

Reuters 30th May 2011 more >>

Syria

Syria has pledged full co-operation with UN-led efforts to investigate evidence that it secretly built a reactor that could have been used to make nuclear arms, in a major U-turn as Damascus faces pressure over its crackdown on protests. If Syria fulfils its promise, the move would end three years of stonewalling of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Since 2008, the agency has tried in vain to follow up on evidence that a target bombed in 2007 by Israeli warplanes was a nearly built nuclear reactor that would have produced plutonium.

Independent 31st May 2011 more >>

Aldermaston

Efforts to tackle a major fire at Britain’s top secret nuclear weapons research site were plagued by poor communication, faulty fire hydrants, safety breaches and repeated confusion, according to an internal fire service report seen by the Guardian. The official inquiry into the blaze last August at the Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment (Awe) by the Royal Berkshire fire and rescue service contains strong criticism of the nuclear plant’s firefighting performance. There were “numerous problems” with the way the emergency was tackled, the report said. Aldermaston’s on-duty emergency controller was “overwhelmed by the demands of the incident and unable to effectively provide the information required”. The fire started just after 9pm on 3 August when a solvent used in making explosives, methyl ethyl ketone, burst into flames. It burned for nearly nine hours overnight in a building within Aldermaston’s explosives technology facility and it took 16 fire appliances and 68 firefighters to put it out.

Guardian 31st May 2011 more >>

Rob Edwards.com 31st May 2011 more >>

Posted: 31 May 2011

30 May 2011

New Nukes

Switzerland became the latest country to decide to phase out nuclear power last week, citing concerns over the accident at the Fukushima plant that was left stricken by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami in March. The Swiss decision not to build any new nuclear stations – three were in the pipeline – follows similar announcements in Germany, Italy and further afield in Thailand and Malaysia, where governments have opted to freeze or forgo plans to build nuclear power stations.

Guardian 29th May 2011 more >>

Cumbria

The Cost of Nuclear – a free illustrated talk speakers: Marianne Birkby – Radiation Free Lakeland; David Riley – Friends of Chernobyl Children, South Lakes; 15th June 7pm -9pm, Victoria Hall, Grange over Sands

Radiation Free Lakeland 29th May 2011 more >>

Radhealth

A Letter from John Urquhart May 24th 2011: the Data Protection Act is used to shield inconvenient data from the public: for some time I have been particularly concerned about the impact of the Data Protection Act on the public’s right to know of health anomalies in their locality. As you may know, there was a request for childhood leukaemia figures in south west Scotland which was appealed by NHS Scotland and finally went up to Supreme Court level, where it was decided that full disclosure could not be allowed at ward level.

Radiation Free Lakeland 24th May 2011 more >>

Syria

Syria has offered to cooperate with a UN investigation into evidence that it tried to build a reactor that could have been used to make a nuclear weapon, it has been reported.

Guardian 29th May 2011 more >>

Express 30th May 2011 more >>

Iran

Last week brought new indications that the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran want to make a nuclear bomb. The disclosure was part of the newly released nine-page report by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It stated that “Tehran has conducted work on a highly sophisticated nuclear triggering technology that experts said could be used for only one purpose: setting off a nuclear weapon”.

Guardian 29th May 2011 more >>

Germany

Dozens of environmental activists have climbed on top of Germany’s landmark Brandenburg Gate demanding a speedy end to the use of atomic energy. The Greenpeace activists on Sunday unfurled an 60-foot (18-meter) wide banner on top of the Berlin monument that read “Every day of nuclear power is one too many.”

Sacremento Bee 29th May 2011 more >>

Germany today announced plans to become the first major industrialised power to shut down all its nuclear plants in the wake of the disaster in Japan, with a phase-out due to be wrapped up by 2022. Germany has 17 nuclear reactors on its territory, eight of which are currently off the electricity grid. Seven of those offline are the country’s oldest nuclear reactors, which the federal government shut down for three months pending a safety probe after the Japanese atomic emergency at Fukushima that began in March. The eighth is the Kruemmel plant, in northern Germany, which has been mothballed for years because of technical problems. Roettgen said that none of the eight reactors offline would be reactivated.

RTE 30th May 2011 more >>

Guardian 30th May 2011 more >>

BBC 30th May 2011 more >>

Bloomberg 30th May 2011 more >>

Times 30th May 2011 more >>

Turkey

Turkish government’s rush to build dams, hydro and nuclear power plants angers villagers and environmental campaigners. The ruling AK party, expected to win a record third term in next month’s elections, is forcing through a series of gigantic public works projects that include three nuclear power plants – despite Turkey being one of the most seismically active nations on earth.

Guardian 29th May 2011 more >>

Japan

While Tokyo Electric Power Co. plans to set up a water treatment facility in mid-June to decontaminate the thousands of tons of radioactive water being generated at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, the utility must also find a safe place to store it before it leaks into the ground or finds its way to the sea.

Japan Times 29th May 2011 more >>

Ken Buesseler, a chemical oceonographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said that new research of waters up to 19 miles (30 km) offshore from Fukushima show radioisotope levels that are 10 times higher than radioisotopes measured in the Baltic and Black Seas during Chernobyl. He said, “When it comes to the oceans, the impact of Fukushima exceeds Chernobyl.” One man who has been keeping track of the Fukushima nuclear disaster on a daily basis is Scott D. Portzline, Security Consultant for Three Mile Island Alert in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania says – I think most of Unit 3’s spent fuel rods were ejected upwards in what some people think was a prompt criticality, which would have been very similar to the prompt criticality that occurred at Chernobyl. What happened is that the fuel gets re-arranged geometrically into a configuration where fission criticality can occur very rapidly. In this case, a prompt criticality because of the water acting as a moderator and then you have an explosion of steam and gases with such power that it ejected these spent fuel fragments and pieces hundreds of feet into the air and up to a mile away.

Earthfiles 26th May 2011 more >>

Seventy percent of Japanese voters want Prime Minister Naoto Kan to be replaced but nearly half think he should stay and oversee the initial stage of dealing with the March 11 disaster and ensuing nuclear crisis, a newspaper survey showed Monday. The opinion poll adds to growing pressure on the unpopular premier, who is under fire of his handling of the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years and is likely to face a no-confidence vote as early as this week.

STV 30th May 2011 more >>

Trident

THE running of Britain’s nuclear bomb base at Coulport on the Clyde is to be handed over to a consortium of multinational private firms led by the controversial US arms dealer, Lockheed Martin, the Sunday Herald can reveal. Defence ministers in Westminster have decided that the highly sensitive job of managing more than 200 Trident nuclear warheads, and arming the Royal Navy’s submarines with them, should be taken over by the group of companies within the next year. The decision has been condemned by the SNP, trades unionists and disarmament campaigners, who are demanding an urgent rethink. They describe it as a cost-saving, job-cutting “kick in the teeth to the workforce” that will put nuclear safety at risk. Up to 200 Coulport workers have been told that they will be seconded from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to a newly formed private-sector consortium called ABL.

Sunday Herald 29th May 2011 more >>

Climate

Greenhouse gas emissions increased by a record amount last year, to the highest carbon output in history, putting hopes of holding global warming to safe levels all but out of reach, according to unpublished estimates from the International Energy Agency. The shock rise means the goal of preventing a temperature rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius – which scientists say is the threshold for potentially “dangerous climate change” – is likely to be just “a nice Utopia”, according to Fatih Birol, chief economist of the IEA. It also shows the most serious global recession for 80 years has had only a minimal effect on emissions, contrary to some predictions.

Guardian 29th May 2011 more >>

The record leap in global greenhouse gas emissions last year has thrown the spotlight on the world’s only concerted attempt to stem the tide of global warming – the United Nations climate negotiations. Next week, governments will convene in Bonn, Germany, for the latest round of more than 20 years of tortuous talks, aimed at forging a binding international agreement on climate change which so far has eluded them.

Guardian 29th May 2011 more >>

Using the engine of the world economy, energy, to tackle the world’s poverty. It could be done by agreeing binding, global goals for cash and carbon: a top-down approach. But that would require unprecedented political leadership. Can the heating-up of the global economy thaw the diplomatic freeze at the UN talks and reignite the urgency needed?

Guardian 29th May 2011 more >>

An irreversible climate “tipping point” could occur within the next 20 years as a result of the release of huge quantities of organic carbon locked away as frozen plant matter in the vast permafrost region of the Arctic, scientists have found.

Independent 30th May 2011 more >>

Renewables

Letter from Chris Huhne: Simon Jenkins’s misguided missive (Bravo for nimbyism. What else will keep us from turbines and pylons?, 27 May) offers nothing new for Britain’s much-needed energy debate. Windfarms do have an important role to play in the UK’s energy mix as an abundant low-carbon alternative to fossil fuel generation. They not only cut our emissions, but they reduce Britain’s reliance on imports and enhance our energy security. We will also then need new electricity lines to connect these new sources of generation into the grid.

Guardian 30th May 2011 more >>

Posted: 30 May 2011

29 May 2011

Liability

A German study identifies the costs of adequate insurance for nuclear reactors. Entitled “Calculating a risk-adjusted insurance premium for cover the liability risks from the operation of nuclear power plants result”, the study was commissioned by the Federal Association for Renewable Energies (BEE). Key conclusions are there would need to be approximately € 6.09 trillion insurance (Coverage) for a nuclear disaster; €19.5 billion annual insurance premium for each nuclear power plant (100-year availability period); this would increase the energy cost of nuclear electricity by 0.14 € / kWh up to € 2.36 / kWh.

Energy Fair 28th May 2011 more >>

Dungeness

Electricite de France SA halted its Dungeness B-21 reactor in England today for refueling. The unit halted at 5 p.m. local time, according to National Grid Plc (NG/) data. “EDF Energy can confirm that unit 21 at Dungeness B power station is offline for planned refueling,” Jonathan Levy, a London-based spokesman, said by e-mail.

Bloomberg 26th May 2011 more >>

Hinkley

Stop the next generation of nuclear power stations with a blockade at Hinkley Point. Join us at Hinkley on 3 October 2011.

Indymedia 28th May 2011 more >>

Chapelcross

Gretna, Lockerbie and Annan have been handed £1.2 million to help them recover from the closure of the Chapelcross nuclear plant.The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has come up with the cash to soften the blow of the estimated 300 job losses at the site over the next six years. The area is forecast to lose about £30m in wages alone by 2017. The aid package, announced yesterday, will fund the ‘Beyond Chapelcross’ project which will attempt to boost the business base in the so-called ‘Gretna, Annan and Lockerbie (GLA) Triangle’.

Cumberland News 28th May 2011 more >>

Japan

Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is not fully prepared for heavy rain and winds of a typhoon heading towards the country, officials admit. Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), which runs the plant, said some reactor buildings were uncovered, prompting fears the storm may carry radioactive material into the air and sea. Typhoon Songda is expected to hit Japan as early as Monday.

BBC 29th May 2011 more >>

Japan Today 28th May 2011 more >>

Prime Minister Naoto Kan on May 26 proposed co-hosting an international conference on nuclear power safety in the latter half of 2012. Kan made his proposal in a speech at a lunch meeting of the Group of Eight (G-8) nations. Japan would co-host the conference with the International Atomic Energy Agency. In addition to the G-8 nations, a wide range of nations would be invited to send ministerial-level officials to the conference.

Asahi 28th May 2011 more >>

Resident file lawsuit to keep Hamaoka permanently shut. It was shut indefinitely in mid-May until it can be better defended against the type of massive earthquake and tsunami experienced in March at Fukushima.

Reuters 27th May 2011 more >>

Tepco Failed to Disclose Scale of Fukushima Radiation Leaks, Academics Say. Academics warn the company has failed to disclose the scale of radiation leaks and faces a “massive problem” with contaminated water. By May 18, almost 100,000 tons of radioactive water had leaked into basements and other areas. The volume of radiated water may double by the end of December and will cost 42 billion yen ($518 million) to decontaminate, according to Tepco’s estimates.

Bloomberg 27th May 2011 more >>

The system to cool the nuclear reactor and fuel pool has stopped at the No. 5 unit of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant in northeastern Japan, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power said Sunday. A Tokyo Electric official said the operator had started work to repair the cooling facility and hoped to restore the system within several hours. The official said the breakdown of the cooling systems would not lead to a rapid rise in temperatures at the reactor and spent fuel pool.

Huffington Post 28th May 2011 more >>

Germany

Germany is set to shut down its seven oldest nuclear reactors permanently after federal and regional environment ministers agreed on the move. The seven reactors built before 1980 — out of a total 17 in Germany — were taken off the grid for three months following Japan’s Fukushima disaster pending a safety review.

Business Week 27th May 2011 more >>

Renewables

Buoyed by his landslide win in the Scottish parliamentary elections, Alex Salmond believes renewable energy exports could underpin self-rule. But do the economics stack up? Salmond’s Saudi Arabia metaphor is carefully chosen: he predicts that renewables – particularly offshore wind, wave and tidal power – will soon allow Scotland to become a net exporter of electricity. By 2020, he claims, Scotland could produce all its domestic electricity needs from renewables. The surplus would be sold to England and Ireland, or across the North Sea on the new super-interconnectors planned by the European Union. As a lucrative export, it would rank alongside whisky, worth £3.4bn in exports last year, and financial services, still worth £11bn despite the recession and the bailouts for Royal Bank of Scotland and HBOS.

Observer 29th May 2011 more >>

Green Investment Bank

Over the next 15 years Britain will have to spend as much as £450 billion to upgrade its energy infrastructure to meet carbon emission targets. This is the sum required if the country is to meet its long-term target of an 80% cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, said Ernst & Young, the accountant. The government estimates that the power sector alone needs £110 billion of investment by 2020 in “green” energy projects. Private companies such as power groups and financial institutions have been reluctant to part with cash. Coal and gas-fired power are cheaper than green alternatives and there has been little incentive to invest in them. The government last week launched its own Green Investment Bank to support riskier projects that have been avoided by private investors. Vince Cable, business secretary, confirmed the bank will have an initial £3 billion to plough into low-carbon initiatives, with an expectation that this will help attract a further £15 billion of private investment. He hopes the cash injection will help the coalition hit its ambitious green targets, including a commitment to sourcing 15% of the country’s energy needs from renewable sources. Cable has secured an agreement “in principle” from the Treasury to start tapping the debt markets for funding from 2015.

Sunday Times 29th May 2011 more >>

Cold Fusion

China’s scientists are leading the quest to unearth the ‘holy grail of physics’ – a safe form of nuclear power to fuel the 21st century.

Sunday Times 29th May 2011 more >>

Posted: 29 May 2011

28 May 2011

New Nukes

EDF Energy has confirmed it will continue with plans for four new nuclear reactors, including procurement of contractors to build the facilities. Chief executive Vincent de Rivaz made the statement after the government’s chief nuclear inspector found there was no reason to curtail the operation of UK nuclear facilities based on the direct causes of the Fukushima disaster. But EDF Energy’s plans at Hinkley Point C could still be complicated by three Somerset councils which have refused to accept a proposed £100m investment in the region, including a £20m community fund. Somerset County, Sedgemoor District and West Somerset councils have yet to award planning permission for preliminary works on the site.

Energy Event 27th May 2011 more >>

Monbiot: The environment movement is needlessly polarised over nuclear power, with Jonathon Porritt only encouraging this tribalism. Can he explain why he thinks nuclear and renewables can’t co-exist?

Guardian 27th May 2011 more >>

The time to act is now. We only have this summer to build a massive public backlash against the new nuclear programme. By the Autumn, the government will have given the green light to at least ten new reactors and it will be a lot harder to fight the momentum. Kick Nuclear campaigns against the UK’s addiction to nuclear energy.

Indymedia 25th May 2011 more >>

Oldbury

One of Britain’s oldest working nuclear reactors, which projected it won’t produce power next year in a revision of plans, is still waiting for approval to operate beyond a deadline to shut next month. The Oldbury station started in 1967 and is set to close at the end of June. It is operated by Magnox North Ltd. on behalf of the U.K.’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. Reactor 1, capable of producing 215 megawatts of power, has asked to operate beyond next month’s deadline.

Bloomberg 27th May 2011 more >>

Campaigners against nuclear power says an accident like that seen at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan could effect Bristol. The Shepperdine Against Nuclear Energy group have created a map which shows the 30km evacuation zone which might have to be put in place if anything happened at the Oldbury nuclear plant. The group are campaigning against the development of another new reactor next to the site which will be decided on this summer.

Jack FM 27th May 2011 more >>

Dungeness

LARGE aircraft landing and taking off near Dungeness Power Station could be a nuclear disaster waiting to happen, claim airport protesters. Lydd Airport Action Group (LAAG) opened its nuclear safety case at the ongoing public inquiry into the controversial airport expansion this week. Addressing the inquiry was John Large, the first of four experts engaged by LAAG to claim that it is inherently unsafe for a regional airport to be developed beside a nuclear power station complex. Louise Barton, from the action group, said: “Expansion will introduce a step change in the probability of a major nuclear accident since large aircraft, such as Boeing 737s, will be taking off and landing close to the Dungeness site.” On Wednesday John Large outlined the vulnerability of the Dungeness nuclear power stations to an aircraft crash and claimed the risk of serious radiological release remains on site well beyond the decommissioning phase. But EDF energy, in a public meeting at Rye, claimed the power station could withstand a direct hit from an aircraft and not leak radiation, though it said it was not in favour of the airport expansion.

Rye and Battle Observer 27th May 2011 more >>

Chapelcross

A £1.2m project has been launched to help offset the economic impact of the closure of the Chapelcross nuclear plant in Dumfries and Galloway.Hundreds of jobs will have gone by the time the decommissioning of the site is completed in 2017. The investment package is earmarked to support and stimulate businesses in the surrounding areas. The project is being financed by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority through its social economic fund. The Beyond Chapelcross scheme will be delivered by Magnox Ltd, Chapelcross in partnership with the economic development department of Dumfries and Galloway Council.

BBC 27th May 2011 more >>

G8

Only ten minutes were allocated for leaders of the G8 countries to discuss nuclear energy at the summit in Deauville, France.

World Nuclear News 27th May 2011 more >>

Radhealth

Ionizing radiation is not without danger to human populations. Indeed, exposure to nuclear radiation leads to an increase in male births relative to female births, according to a new study by Hagen Scherb and Kristina Voigt from the Helmholtz Zentrum München. Their work1 shows that radiation from atomic bomb testing before the Partial Test Ban Treaty in 1963, the Chernobyl accident, and from living near nuclear facilities, has had a long-term negative effect on the ratio of male to female human births (sex odds). Their work is published in the June issue of Springer’s journal, Environmental Science and Pollution Research.

Medical News Today 27th May 2011 more >>

Medical News Today 27th May 2011 more >>

Companies

The long-term future of ScottishPower remained shrouded in doubt yesterday despite its parent company claiming a victory over its biggest shareholder. The construction group, ACS, owns 18 per cent of Iberdrola but Spanish regulations mean that its voting rights are limited to 10 per cent. These will be lifted in July and ACS is expected to add to its stake. A break-up could see ScottishPower, which was bought by the Spanish in 2007, sold off.

Times 28th May 2011 more >>

Japan

Residents living near Japan’s devastated nuclear plant have returned home for the first time since the crisis began more than two months ago.Wearing white protective suits and masks, they had only two hours to stuff their belongings into rubbish bags before leaving again. Some stole a few minutes to light incense at a makeshift shrine in Namie, one of the deserted, evacuated towns frozen in time since March 11.

Yorkshire Post 27th May 2011 more >>

Govt to reduce school ground radiation levels: Japan’s education minister says the government will strive to keep cumulative radiation levels at school grounds in Fukushima Prefecture below one millisievert per year.The government had earlier set a yearly limit of 20 millisieverts of accumulated external radiation for children taking part in outdoor activities. But parents have protested the decision.

NHK 27th May 2011 more >>

Work began to remove radioactive contaminated topsoil from 26 elementary and junior high schools grounds in Fukushima Prefecture on Friday. In one Elementary School, the top 5 centimeters or so of soil will be scraped off and replaced with uncontaminated earth.

NHK 27th May 2011 more >>

Typhoon Songda is getting to Japan. The ZAMG predictions show spread of radioactivity all over Japan.

ZAMG 26th May 2011 more >>

The crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is not fully prepared for heavy rain and strong winds forecast due to a powerful typhoon moving Saturday toward disaster-affected areas of northeastern Japan, according to the plant’s operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. Heavy rain has been forecast for the areas from Sunday to Monday due to the season’s second typhoon, Songda, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. TEPCO has for the last month been spreading anti-scattering agents around the troubled Nos. 1 to 4 reactor buildings to prevent radioactively contaminated dust from being carried into the air and sea by rain and wind. But some of the reactor buildings have been left uncovered after they were damaged by hydrogen explosions following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. TEPCO plans to launch the work to put covers on the destroyed buildings in mid-June.

Japan Today 28th May 2011 more >>

Prime Minister Naoto Kan on May 26 proposed co-hosting an international conference on nuclear power safety in the latter half of 2012.

Asahi 28th May 2011 more >>

A group of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency on a fact-finding mission into Japan’s worst nuclear accident inspected on Friday the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant in northeastern Japan. Tokyo Electric Power Co said that the IAEA team examined the surviving diesel generator, which helped the Nos. 5 and 6 reactors to achieve a stable state of ‘‘cold shutdown.’‘ The IAEA team, led by Mike Weightman, the head of Britain’s Nuclear Regulation Office, are scheduled to deliver their findings at a ministerial meeting on nuclear safety to be hosted by the IAEA from June 20 to 24 in Vienna. A summary of the team’s draft report is expected to be handed to the Japanese government on Wednesday, a day before the team members leave Japan.

Japan Today 28th May 2011 more >>

Japan’s richest man, Masayoshi Son, the CEO of Japanese telecom company, Softbank, wants to kick-start large solar power plants in tsunami-hit areas of eastern Japan.

PV-tech 25th May 2011 more >>

Nuclear Cartel – ties between the government and the nuclear industry have become so intertwined that public safety is at threat. Inspections are too lax, and anyone who criticizes the status quo can find themselves out of a job.

Der Spiegel 27th May 2011 more >>

Greenpeace Germany released a couple of John Large Reports yesterday (in English) and accused TEPCO and the Japanese Government and international atomic agencies of carrying out a policy of disinformation which is dangerous and irresponsible. “No-one would lie without a reason“, says Shaun Burnie, a Greenpeace nuclear expert. “The illusions and concealments of TEPCO and the continuous declarations of the International Atomic Energy Agency all serve only one purpose: They want the people to believe that atomic energy is controllable even after the catastrophic disaster at Fukushima. But this is a dangerous illusion.”

Greenpeace Germany Press Release 26th May 2011 more >>

Fukushima Interim Status Report – Summary.

Greenpeace Germany 26th May 2011 more >>

Update on the Nuclear and Radiological Situation.

Greenpeace Germany 26th May 2011 more >>

See also: Incident, Developing Situation, and possible eventual outcome at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants.

Greenpeace Germany 26th May 2011 more >>

Environmental group Greenpeace on Thursday slammed Japan’s “continued inadequate response” to the nuclear disaster at a power plant after new data showed seaweed radiation levels 50 times higher than official limits.

Common Dreams 27th May 2011 more >>

Japan’s Chubu Electric Power Co said on Friday that a lawsuit seeking a permanent shutdown of its Hamaoka nuclear plant had been filed by residents who live near the controversial facility south of Tokyo. The utility shut the Hamaoka nuclear plant indefinitely in mid-May until it can be better defended against the type of massive earthquake and tsunami in March that crippled Tokyo Electric Power Co’s Fukushima Daiichi plant. The temporary shutdown of the plant came after an unprecedented request by Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who cited the risk that the plant, which is about 200 km southwest of Tokyo, would be hit by a major earthquake.

Reuters 27th May 2011 more >>

Germany

The seven oldest of Germany’s 17 nuclear power stations will not go back into operation when a three-month safety review finishes in June, the country’s federal and state environment ministers agreed on Friday. The decision, announced after a meeting of the 17 ministers, is the first in a series of rulings about the phase-out of nuclear power in Germany, culminating in a final parliamentary vote to be held the first week of July.

FT 27th May 2011 more >>

Germany’s ethics commission will submit in its concluding report to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right government a phase-out of nuclear power by 2021 at the latest.

Reuters 27th May 2011 more >>

One man dared to challenge the legal basis of the moratorium. He was Jürgen Grossmann, the boss of RWE, a big German power company that generates a quarter of its output from nuclear plants. He is a doughty warrior for a non-alarmist energy policy and, at 2.03m tall, a highly visible one. But his cause seems doomed. He argues that until other forms of low-carbon energy improve, Germany will need nuclear power to meet its greenhouse-gas targets. The country aims to get 35% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 and 80% by 2050. That could be hard.

Economist 26th May 2011 more >>

Microgeneration

This week’s Micro Power News includes news that Berwickshire Housing Association is are aiming to become the first housing association in the UK to develop a three turbine wind farm where all profits will go towards building affordable houses; A £54 million contract to enable solar power across 9,000 properties in Wales; a Wind Co-operative in Fife which plans to offer locals the chance to own a stake in the windfarm with a possible return to members of 10 per cent and Scottish whisky producers planning to use their distillery by-products in a project to produce electricity, in a £60.5 million biomass/feeds combined heat and power plant.

Microgen Scotland 27th May 2011 more >>

Posted: 28 May 2011

27 May 2011

New Nukes

Fukushima Lessons Learned seminar 14th June 2011.

Nuclear Consultation Group May 2011 more >>

Lady Barbara Judge, chairman emeritus, United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, told ACE’s conference that Fukushima will not be “that big a deal” for the prospects of the nuclear industry. Lady Judge explained that in countries where nuclear energy was already under pressure it would remain under pressure. But she suggested that China, the USA, the UK and other countries committed to nuclear energy would go unchanged. The UK’s report on what happened in Japan concluded it was unlikely to happen in Britain. Meanwhile, although the EU plans to stress test the nuclear industry, Lady Judge suggested this would have little impact on nuclear energy in the UK.

Association Consulting Engineers 26th May 2011 more >>

Oldbury

An advert in today’s paper shows how an accident like that seen at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, could affect Bristol. The Shepperdine Against Nuclear Energy group have created the advert which shows the 30kms evacuation zone which might have to be put in place if anything happened at the Oldbury nuclear plant.

The Breeze 27th May 2011 more >>

Hinkley

NEW procedures for handling nuclear waste at Hinkley Point A – which could see some materials released into the sea – have been criticised by Burnham and Highbridge’s MP. Magnox, the company managing the decommissioning of the plant, is developing plans to introduce by 2015 a process called dissolution, to reduce the amount of waste on site. The process involves putting nuclear materials in acid to emit low-risk gases and liquids, which could then be released into the sea.

Burnham & Highbridge Weekly News 26th May 2011 more >>

AP1000

Westinghouse Electric said it expects no design changes will result from a federal regulator’s request for additional work on the AP1000 advanced nuclear reactor design favored by a half-dozen utilities in the United States. Officials of Pittsburg-based Westinghouse, majority owned by Toshiba Corp and Shaw Group, on Thursday said they were disappointed that a May 20 release from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission regarding several technical issues has been “misinterpreted and sensationalized” by opponents of nuclear power.

Reuters 26th May 2011 more >>

Companies

Russia’s Rosatom said on Thursday it still wants to cooperate on nuclear issues with Siemens now the German industrial group looks close to severing an atomic venture with a French partner.

Reuters 26th May 2011 more >>

Radwaste

The champion of localism Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has approved a plan to dispose of radioactive waste at the East Northants resource management facility (landfill site) at Kings Cliffe near Peterborough.

Public Service 25th May 2011 more >>

Peterborough Evening Telegraph 26th May 2011 more >>

eGov Monitor 26th May 2011 more >>

Yorkshire Post 26th May 2011 more >>

Northampton Evening Telegraph 26th May 2011 more >>

AN average of 550 jobs generating £3 billion worth of wages over 140 years will come to any area which can take a deep nuclear waste repository. A study by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has illustrated the employment and economic benefits which can result from having an engineered underground facilities which would solve a major disposal problem. Says the study: “The highest employment rate during the £12 billion project would come during construction and the early operations stage, when workforce numbers will rise to more than 1,000 staff. Most of these will be directly employed at whatever site is chosen.”

Whitehaven News 26th May 2011 more >>

Sellafield

WEST Cumbria is entering the age of space exploration with the news that cutting-edge technology needed to launch future European space missions is to be developed in the National Nuclear Lab at Sellafield. If successful it will mean radioactive batteries being produced to power new space flights.

Whitehaven News 26th May 2011 more >>

SIR Roger Parker, who headed up The Windscale Inquiry at Whitehaven in 1977, has died at the age of 88.

Whitehaven News 26th May 2011 more >>

Europe

This morning in Vienna was the start of the anti-nuclear alliance in Europe. Ten nuclear-free states – Latvia, Denmark, Malta, Liechtenstein, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Estonia, Cyprus and Luxembourg – were invited by Environment Minister Niki Berlakovich to Vienna, to discuss the possibility of a nuclear-free Europe, nuclear safety and sustainable energy systems. During the meeting, a joint declaration was adopted, which includes the requirement of stress tests as well as the conversion of nuclear power to renewable energy.

Austrian Government 26th May 2011 more >>

Europe’s nuclear power faultlines in the wake of the Fukushima disaster were exposed on Wednesday as Switzerland moved to phase out its nuclear power plants and the extent of British and French lobbying to water down nuclear safety checks was revealed.

Business Green 26th May 2011 more >>

The European Union has finally agreed on a compromise on the guidelines and criteria of the proposed “stress tests” on 143 nuclear power facilities in Europe. The stress tests and viability and safety of nuclear plants became centre stage following the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima power station. Although member states have agreed to hold stress tests, they are divided over whether to include assessments of terrorist threats. The United Kingdom, France, Czech Republic are completely against assessing nuclear facilities for terrorist threats while others such as Austria and Germany want them to be included. So in a compromise, the European Commission has agreed that while stress tests would include both natural and man-made hazards, they would not include preventative measures for terrorist threats.

eGov Monitor 26th May 2011 more >>

Opinion Polls

More people are opposed to nuclear power since the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, according to an Asahi Shimbun poll survey of seven nations. The poll was conducted in May to gauge public perception of the accident and awareness of the use of nuclear energy to produce electric power. Those who favored the use of nuclear power outnumbered those against in the United States and France, whereas pros and cons were about even in South Korea and China. Opponents outnumbered proponents in Japan, Germany and Russia.

Asahi 27th May 2011 more >>

Japan

The meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant has grave implications for Japan’s planned atomic energy expansion, and also its long-term economic growth IN A CITY where mass demonstrations are rare and generally tame, Tokyo has seen at least four in the past month, all against nuclear power. Thousands of people have marched past the headquarters of Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) shouting slogans at the executives they hold responsible for the world’s worst atomic crisis since Chernobyl.

Irish Times 27th May 2011 more >>

Computer analysis of reactor damage at Fukushima Daiichi has indicated more serious fuel melt has probably occurred than previously thought at units 2 and 3.

World Nuclear News 26th May 2011 more >>

Radioactive water appears to be leaking from a waste disposal building at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear complex, operator Tokyo Electric Power said on Thursday, in a new setback to the battle to contain radiation from the crippled power plant.

IB Times 26th May 2011 more >>

Two weeks ago Greenpeace released preliminary results from our marine radiation monitoring work off the coast of Japan, near the melted-down and leaking Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. These results showed worrying levels of radioactive contamination in seaweed – a staple of the Japanese diet. After having difficulties finding a lab in Japan to do detailed analysis, we sent samples of seaweed, fish, and shellfish collected by our radiation monitoring teams both onshore and on the Rainbow to professional labs in France and Belgium. The results of the details analysis are back – and we can say that the situation in the ocean along the Fukushima coast is worse than we originally thought. The new data shows that some seaweed contamination levels are not only 50 times higher than safety limits – far higher than our initial measurements showed – but also that the contamination is spreading over a wide area, and accumulating in sea life, rather than simply dispersing like the Japanese authorities originally claimed would happen.

Greenpeace 26th May 2011 more >>

The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant on Thursday detailed a new leak of radioactive water as Greenpeace slammed the country’s “inadequate response” to a growing threat to sea water and health. And in an embarrassing reversal, Tokyo Electric Power officials changed a key element of an account of the early response to the crisis it had given on Saturday as part of a government investigation into the accident. Tokyo Electric said up to 57 tonnes of highly contaminated water had leaked from a storage facility into a trench. It vowed to step up monitoring of groundwater. The disclosure raises the stakes in a race to complete by next month a system to decontaminate a massive pool of radioactive water at the site that critics see as a growing risk to both the Pacific and groundwater. In early April, the utility dumped about 10,000 tonnes of radioactive water into the ocean, prompting criticism from neighbours China and South Korea. Environmental group Greenpeace said seaweed had been found with radiation levels 60 times higher than official limits, raising concerns about risks from contaminated sea water more than two months after the Fukushima-Daiichi plant was hit by an earthquake and tsunami.

Reuters 26th May 2011 more >>

Russia

A quarter of a century after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster sent a radioactive cloud over Europe, Russia is casting itself as a champion of stricter safety standards for the atomic energy industry.

Reuters 26th May 2011 more >>

Thorium

What if there existed a means of nuclear power generationin which risks were drastically reduced? The answer could be thorium – an element occurring as a silvery metal that’s more abundant, cleaner and can produce more bang-per-buck in energy terms than uranium. So how does thorium differ from uranium and plutonium, and why isn’t it being used? First, a quick run-down on how nuclear energy works.

Gizmag 26th May 2011 more >>

Electricity Grids

Eurotunnel has unveiled plans to run an electricity link through the Channel Tunnel as part of efforts to bolster UK power supplies. The proposed interconnector cable with France will help to smooth supply volatility relating to offshore wind power, meaning that energy generated from places where the wind is blowing can be shared around.

Independent 27th May 2011 more >>

Telegraph 26th May 2011 more >>

Times 27th May 2011 more >>

Renewables

Japan’s nuclear disaster and political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa have spurred momentum in the global renewables sector, but declining incentives and access to finance remain obstacles to growth, according to Ernst & Young. The consultancy said the post-Fukushima nuclear backlash combined with uncertainty over oil supply following revolution in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), prompted a rethink among many countries about the optimal energy mix and the role of renewables in electricity generation.

Environmental Finance 26th May 2011 more >>

Energy Efficiency

Incentives, such as garden makeovers and fruit and veg vouchers, could help home-owners invest in energy efficiency measures, a pilot scheme has shown. The trial by the University of Salford set out to discover if non-cash incentives could change attitudes. Studies have estimated that 70% of homes in 2050 have already been built. Experts warn that unless existing homes are “retro-fitted” with energy saving devices, then the UK will not meet its target of cutting CO2 emissions by 80% in the middle of this century from 1990 levels.

BBC 27th May 2011 more >>

Posted: 27 May 2011

26 May 2011

New Nukes

EDF Energy has confirmed it will continue with plans for four new nuclear reactors, including procurement of contractors to build the facilities. Chief executive Vincent de Rivaz made the statement after the government’s chief nuclear inspector found there was no reason to curtail the operation of UK nuclear facilities based on the direct causes of the Fukushima disaster. Major contracts have yet to be awarded at the site, including the main civils works worth more than £1.6bn. In the spring, Kier and BAM Nuttall were revealed as preferred bidders for a £100m earthworks contract. EDF Energy’s plans at Hinkley Point C could still be complicated by three Somerset councils which have refused to accept a proposed £100m investment in the region, including a £20m community fund. Somerset County, Sedgemoor District and West Somerset councils have yet to award planning permission for preliminary works on the site.

Construction News 26th May 2011 more >>

Green Investment Bank

Adrian Montague: The scope of the new bank’s activities has been pretty widely debated, so it’s important to be clear that the sectors it will prioritise are offshore wind, non-domestic energy efficiency and some waste projects. I’m quite well known in the Department from my days as Chairman of British Energy, and therefore we also need to be clear that nuclear projects are not on the list.

BIS 24th May 2011 more >>

Vince Cable: The initial analysis suggests that nuclear power would not be an appropriate sector for the bank’s investment, but in the very long run we are not ruling out particular possibilities, including nuclear. It is not part of the bank’s immediate planning, however.

Hansard Column 794 24th May 2011 more >>

Radwaste

In February 2011 CoRWM wrote to Managing Radioactive Waste Safely: Cumbria, an NDA-funded so-called ‘Partnership’, to assert that there was no basis for Prof David Smythe’s view regarding the unsuitability of West Cumbria. CoRWM wrote: “there is presently no credible scientific case to support the contention that all of West Cumbria is geologically unsuitable”. David Smythe has now refuted the bald assertion above with a detailed 35-page review of the geology and hydrogeology of Cumbria. He sent the review both to MRWS and to CoRWM on 12 April 2011.

David Smythe 12th April 2011 more >>

Plans for low-level radioactive waste disposal to be allowed at a landfill site in Northamptonshire have been given the go-ahead by the government. The decision for Kings Cliffe near Peterborough follows a two-year stand-off between the hazardous waste company Augean and campaigners. Some 98% of people who voted in local referendums opposed the plans. This was seen as a test case for waste companies and for the government’s proclaimed localism commitment.

BBC 25th May 2011 more >>

Metro 25th May 2011 more >>

Rutland Times 25th May 2011 more >>

Augean, the hazardous waste specialist, jumped 19.8 per cent to 33¼p after government gave permission for low-level nuclear waste disposal at the company’s landfill site near Peterborough. Stockbroker Killik said the news was transformational for the company.

FT 25th May 2011 more >>

There is another row in Cumbria after the Environment Agency gave the go-ahead last month for a permit to dispose radioactive waste at the Lillyhall landfill site, from the Sellafield nuclear complex. Augean, the waste management outfit, is expected to bring waste in to the East Northamptonshire site at King’s Cliffe by road from Harwell in Oxfordshire, which was established in 1946 as Britain’s first atomic energy research establishment. But local fears that the facility could also be used for waste created at other nuclear plants such as Bradwell in Essex. Louise Bagshaw, MP for nearby Corby told the BBC the decision undermined the government’s professed commitment to localism. “We had a local referendum at the ballot box, not a petition, actual votes cast and 96% of people were against this dump. I will be asking the secretary of state why his department has taken this appalling decision.”

Guardian 25th May 2011 more >>

Weightman Report

British nuclear plants could be vulnerable to terrorist attacks, power failures, severe natural disasters and hydrogen explosions, according to evidence from industry experts submitted to the government’s review of nuclear safety after the Fukushima accident in Japan. Submissions to the review, being conducted by the head of the newly-formed Office for Nuclear Regulation, Dr Mike Weightman, were published online last week but have since been withdrawn. They highlight a series of previously unpublicised concerns from nuclear insiders. In one submission, Robert Quayle, who says that he was for 15 years a member of the emergency response team at the Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria, warns of the dangers of terrorists causing a power blackout. They could do this, he says, by disabling back-up power systems and downing pylons without breaching the site security fence. That would mean that emergency diesel generators would have to be brought in from Manchester or Newcastle to keep vital safety systems going, which could take hours. According to Quayle, who is now a consultant to the engineering company, Babcock, this scenario was apparently discussed by engineering teams at Sellafield “some years ago”. He concludes: “It was considered that there is the potential for severe damage that could readily and easily be caused, without gaining access to the secure areas, and the impact would not only be to the site but also the surrounding areas.”

Rob Edwards.com 25 May 2011 more >>

Stress Tests

Europe may take action to shut plants temporarily or decommission them entirely if it finds any of Britain’s existing 10 stations to be lacking in safety features. Gunther Oettinger, Europe’s energy commissioner, said yesterday that all plants, regardless of their age, must be tested for resilience to natural threats. However, the stations will not be tested for their ability to withstand terrorism, as some green groups had demanded, since protection from attacks will be left to national security forces.

Telegraph 26th May 2011 more >>

Austrian Environment Minister Nikolaus Berlakovich welcomed Wednesday a deal to conduct EU-wide safety checks on nuclear plants, saying it marked the start of a new era in nuclear safety in Europe. The deal was a “complete success” and met all of Austria’s demands, Berlakovich told a news conference. Austria has long been opposed to nuclear energy and does not have a single atomic power plant in operation. It had been pressing for tests to be conducted on atomic power stations in Europe to assess their resistance in the wake of the nuclear disaster in Japan. Earlier this month, Berlakovich insisted the tests also take into account man-made events such as a plane crash, a cyber attack and terrorism.

EU Business 25th May 2011 more >>

Europe’s nuclear power faultlines in the wake of the Fukushima disaster were exposed on Wednesday as Switzerland moved to phase out its nuclear power plants and the extent of British and French lobbying to water down nuclear safety checks was revealed. The UK, with the backing of France and the Czech Republic, managed to have terror attacks excluded from a series of new nuclear safety tests ordered after the Japanese tsunami led to radiation leaks from Fukushima nuclear reactors in March.

Guardian 25th May 2011 more >>

‘Stress testing’ of the European Union’s 143 nuclear power reactors will not specifically include terrorism after that idea was rejected by national safety regulators. Instead, the tests will focus on the aspects of nuclear plant safety highlighted by the Fukushima accident: earthquakes and flooding as natural events, as well as loss of safety functions and severe accident management following any initiating event.

World Nuclear News 25th May 2011 more >>

European nuclear watchdogs have agreed details of new safety checks on the region’s 143 reactors and said a group would be set up to deal with the risks of a nuclear crisis arising from a terrorist attack.

Guardian 25th May 2011 more >>

STV 25th May 2011 more >>

It is reported that the Sellafield plant in England will not be included in a round of stress tests on nuclear facilities across Europe. Authorities in Britain have apparently decided to exclude Sellafield from the review, because it only reprocesses nuclear fuel, and does not generate power anymore. However, a spokesperson for the Irish Department of the Environment has told the Irish Times that Minister Phil Hogan was led to believe just two months ago that Sellafield would be included in the tests.

Evening Echo 26th May 2011 more >>

Torness

Old footage of the May 1979 Demonstration.

Vimeo May 2011 more >>

Hinkley

Somerset has the perfect opportunity to become a world leader in low-carbon technology, top civil servant Hergen Haye told delegates at a major business conference. Mr Haye, head of nuclear new build at the Department for Energy and Climate Change, said cutting carbon emissions and saving energy provides the county with “a huge challenge and fantastic business opportunity.” The proposed building of Hinkley Point C nuclear power station has already led developer EDF to plough funds into an energy skills centre at Bridgwater College. He added it can be the catalyst for developing a cluster of businesses specialising in technology which Britain, and the world, must have to tackle the problems of climate change.

This is Somerset 25th May 2011 more >>

Planning

The first abbreviation is ‘NPS’ – National Policy Statement. There are going to be 10 or 11 of these: the first seven were published in draft in November 2009; six of these were republished in October 2010 and one more was published in November 2010. The remaining three or four will be published over the next year or so. These will set out national policy on a particular area of national infrastructure in a single accessible document, and will state to a greater or lesser degree what infrastructure is needed over the next 15-20 years, and set out the impacts of the infrastructure that should be addressed by project promoters when making applications, and the Infrastructure Planning Commission when considering them.

Bircham Dyson Bell 25th May 2011 more >>

Companies

The Shaw Group has won a contract from SMR, a subsidiary of Holtec International, to provide phase I engineering support services for a new 140MW small modular nuclear power reactor, the Holtec Inherently Safe Modular Underground Reactor (HI-SMUR). Shaw will develop the conceptual design of the balance of plant and support systems to advance the HI-SMUR toward eventual commercial application. The company will also prepare an overall design basis, support licensing activities and evaluate plant layouts and optimization of plant output.

Energy Business Review 25th May 2011 more >>

Old Reactors

Climate change poses a serious threat to the future safety of nuclear power plants, a UK-based researcher has warned in a respected science journal. Natalie Kopytko says there are “serious doubts” that nuclear can cope with our changing global weather. Often touted as the solution to global warming by pundits, including recent convert George Monbiot, nuclear power could instead be one of its first victims, writes Kopytko of the University of York’s environment department in the New Scientist. Nuclear power plants are vulnerable because they depend on access to huge volumes of water which they need to cool their reactors – and to power in order to pump that water. It was after both these vital links were severed in an earthquake and tsunami that the Fukushima 1 plant in Japan went so disastrously awry.

First Post 25th May 2011 more >>

Japan

Sales of Geiger counters have soared amongst a nervous Japanese public and despite efforts by the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. to play down fears over the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear reactor.

Telegraph 26th May 2011 more >>

The Fukushima crisis is exactly the kind of disaster that Japan’s anti-nuclear lobby has been warning of for decades. The Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center (CNIC), a Tokyo-based network of scientists, activists and concerned citizens, spearheads the movement for a non-nuclear Japan. It has repeatedly warned that Japan’s nuclear power plants will, over their operating lives, experience stronger earthquakes and larger tsunamis than they were designed to withstand.

New Internationalist 1st May 2011 more >>

Tokyo Electric Power Co. is fast running out of places to stash highly radioactive water from the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and may soon be unable to prevent leaks into the ocean.

Asahi 25th May 2011 more >>

Japan’s atomic energy specialists are discussing a plan to make the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant a storage site for radioactive waste from the crippled station run by Tokyo Electric Power Co. The Atomic Energy Society of Japan is considering the proposal, and building a repository would cost several trillion yen, Muneo Morokuzu, a professor of energy and environmental public policy at the University of Tokyo, said in an interview yesterday. The society comprises more than 7,000 nuclear researchers and engineers and makes recommendations to the government on atomic energy policy.

Bloomberg 26th May 2011 more >>

Despite the managed media campaign by Tokyo Electric Company, the Japanese government and nuclear industry flacks worldwide, the 11 March 9.0 on the Richter scale earthquake, followed by a tsunami that off-lined TEPCO’s six reactor Daiichi Fukushima nuclear power complex represents a global mortal blow to the nuclear power industry, which had been optimistic of a renaissance following worldwide concerns about global warming. While TEPCO’s PR spin doctors along with Japanese government flacks will continue to parsimoniously dribble out information about the real situation at the stricken reactors while blandly assuring the Japanese population and the world that all is well even as nuclear lobbyists bleat “it can’t happen here,” all but the most obtuse are beginning to realize that catastrophes at nuclear power facilities, whether man-made (Chernobyl) or natural (Fukushima) have radioactive pollution consequences of potentially global significance.

IB Times 26th May 2011 more >>

Two of the damaged reactors at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan may be riddled with holes, according to the facility’s owner. The holes may be as big as 7 to 10 centimeters ( 2.8- 3.9 inches), Tokyo Electric Power Co. said in a 225-page document submitted to Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

CNN 25th May 2011 more >>

Switzerland

The Swiss government decided on Wednesday to phase out nuclear power by 2034 after the Japan disaster shook public confidence in the industry, but said it will not shut any existing power plants prematurely. The Swiss government suspended the approvals process for three new nuclear power stations in March pending a review into safety after the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima plant.

Reuters 25th May 2011 more >>

FT 25th May 2011 more >>

World Nuclear News 25th May 2011 more >>

BBC 25th May 2011 more >>

Syria

A remote desert site in Syria that was bombed by Israeli planes in September 2007 was “very likely” a nuclear reactor, the UN atomic watchdog said Tuesday.

Middle East Online 25th May 2011 more >>

Nuclear Testing

The clock, which is located in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, was reset to from 251 to 54, the number of days that have passed since the last US nuclear tests took place.It is the 14th time the clock has been reset since it was created by a peace group and opened at the museum on August 6 2001, the 56th anniversary of the city’s atomic bombing. The most recent US nuclear tests took place last November and in March this year at the Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, using equipment capable of generating the world’s strongest X-Rays to simulate a nuclear fusion.

Telegraph 25th May 2011 more >>

A group of anti-nuclear protesters staged a sit-in in the Japanese city of Hiroshima against new nuclear experiments conducted by the United States.

Telegraph 25th May 2011 more >>

NUCLEAR test veterans have been offered fresh hope after the Supreme Court set aside a full day to hear an appeal against a legal setback to their battle for compensation.

Burton Mail 25th May 2011 more >>

Renewables

Solar power may be cheaper than electricity generated by fossil fuels and nuclear reactors within three to five years because of innovations, said Mark M. Little, the global research director for General Electric Co. (GE). “If we can get solar at 15 cents a kilowatt-hour or lower, which I’m hopeful that we will do, you’re going to have a lot of people that are going to want to have solar at home,”

Bloomberg 26th May 2011 more >>

Energy Strategy

Letter Ruth Chambers: The competition to find new pylon designs that has been launched by the National Grid and the energy secretary, Chris Huhne, is very welcome, but we must not let it detract from the real issues facing the nation’s landscapes. Surely the growing concern about the landscape impact of connecting new generations of nuclear and renewable energy power stations should lead to a more fundamental look at the strategy for generating the energy that we need and using it more wisely? With several national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty in the firing line for new pylon connections, updated designs are unlikely to address public concern about landscape impact – but a rethinking of the location of electricity generation and a more joined-up approach to generation and transmission would be a good start.

Guardian 26th May 2011 more >>

Posted: 26 May 2011

25 May 2011

New Nukes

Plans by E.ON and RWE to build new nuclear reactors in Britain are in limbo because of the backlash against nuclear power in Germany after the Fukushima Dai-ichi meltdown, The Times has learnt. Bankers and industry sources also said that the cash-strapped RWE would struggle to fund its share of the multibillion-pound programme even if it went ahead. Horizon, the British new-build joint venture set up by the two German companies, had been due to award the contract to build its first reactors on Anglesey early this year. Work is still under way to assess competing bids from two consortiums, fronted by the reactor groups Areva and Westinghouse, to build them. But a decision is now not expected this year, according to several sources. One source close to RWE’s supervisory board, whose approval is necessary for strategic moves, said that the contract would not be awarded in the next “three to six months, at the earliest”. The source said that taking such steps to build new reactors overseas while the industry was under a cloud in Germany would be seen domestically as “politically provocative”. there is fierce lobbying going on behind the scenes directed at Charles Hendry, the Energy Minister, who is drawing up a White Paper to reform the electricity market. RWE is furious about the Government’s carbon tax, which has made its task of convincing the board in Germany to back new- build plans more difficult. Putting a floor under the price of carbon to support nuclear power also penalises coal plants, which RWE relies on to generate much of its electricity. It will also result in a windfall for its competitor EDF Energy, which owns British Energy, the nuclear generator.

Times 25th May 2011 more >>

THE accident at the Fukushima power plant in Japan has led to much discussion about the future of nuclear power. I believe one important lesson of the accident has been overlooked. Nuclear power is often touted as a solution to climate change, but Fukushima serves as a warning that far from solving the climate problem, nuclear power may be highly vulnerable to it. Of course, the emergency in Japan was caused by an earthquake and tsunami. But the effects of climate change could cause very similar problems. Two facts that everyone should now know about nuclear power are that it needs access to large volumes of water to cool the reactor and a supply of energy to move the water.

New Scientist 24th May 2011 more >>

Nuclear Subsidy

The UK Government coalition agreement was clear – no public subsidies for new reactors. The Government is planning to force consumers to subsidise nuclear power, driving an extra million into fuel poverty, whilst failing to implement a comprehensive energy efficiency programme. Any limit on liability on the costs of nuclear accidents eases the burden on nuclear operators. Paying for commercial insurance could add around half a euro to the cost of a unit of electricity, making new reactors unviable. And offering new nuclear operators a fixed unit price for the cost of spent fuel management and disposal represents a subsidy of around £427 million per reactor.

No2nuclearpower briefing 24th May 2011 more >>

Nuclear Research

Professor Sir John Beddington, the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA) will appear before the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee on Tuesday 24 May. He will be questioned about setting departmental science budgets and the appointments of chief scientific advisers. He will then be joined by Professor David MacKay, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department for Energy and Climate Change, and they will be quizzed on the UK nuclear research and development capabilities.

Lords Select Committee 24th May 2011 more >>

Hinkley

Low-level radioactive gas and effluent could be released into the sea under proposals for decommissioning a West nuclear power station. The proposals, by Magnox, the company which manages the decommissioning of Hinkley Point A in Somerset, are still being developed. The effluent and hydrogen gas would be byproducts of a process to reduce the bulk of some intermediate level nuclear waste by dissolving it in acid. Outer fins from Magnox fuel casings would be among the material to be reduced. The sludge which remained after processing would be stored on site before finally being stored at a national site which has yet to be established. The effluent would be treated by existing site water treatment plant before being discharged into the sea.

This is Somerset 24th May 2011 more >>

Burnham-on-sea.com 23rd May 2011 more >>

Hartlepool

THE owner of Hartlepool Power Station has welcomed the interim report into the implications of events at Fukushima, and pledged to implement all its recommendations. EDF Chief Executive Vincent de Rivaz praised the high quality of Dr Mike Weightman’s work as he welcomed the interim conclusions that the UK nuclear power industry has reacted “responsibly and appropriately” to events in Japan, “displaying a leadership for safety and a strong safety culture”.

Evening Gazette 24th May 2011 more >>

Radwaste

A DECISION on whether a company can dump nuclear waste at a site in King’s Cliffe has been delayed. Augean hopes to secure permission to dump low level waste at its East Northants Resource Management Facility in the village. Local government minister Eric Pickles was due to make a decision on the plans today (Tuesday) but campaigners have since heard that his announcement has been deferred until Wednesday. Northampton County Council refused to grant planning permission and Augean bosses failed to overturn the decision at a planning inquiry in November. The community then took part in a referendum on the plans last month where 98 per cent of people voted against them.

Rutland and Stamford Mercury 24th May 2011 more >>

Companies

Electricite de France SA, Europe’s biggest power producer, will focus development on nuclear energy even after the disaster in Japan threatens to delay new projects and tighten safety rules. EDF should be a world “reference” for nuclear energy as the state-run utility enters a period of uncertainty following the accident, Chief Executive Officer Henri Proglio told an annual shareholders’ meeting in Paris today. “Safe nuclear generation is possible.”

Bloomberg 24th May 2011 more >>

Utility EDF said it would invest in gas and renewable energies while forging ahead with its core nuclear power business, as the former French monopoly vies to be the world’s biggest provider of electricity by 2020.

Reuters 24th May 2011 more >>

TOSHIBA said yesterday it may not reach its target of 39 orders for nuclear reactors until two to three years later than expected, and that it would increase focus on renewables as the crisis rumbles on at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Despite the setback, Toshiba said it aims to more than double its operating profit to 500bn yen (£3.7bn) by the year to March 2014.

City AM 25th May 2011 more >>

Business Green 24th May 2011 more >>

BBC 24th May 2011 more >>

In a new report from Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd (DTTL), suggests the recent natural disasters that led to a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan will have far-reaching impacts on the global nuclear power industry. The report, titled Empowering ideas 2011: A look at 10 of the emerging issues in the power and utilities sector,, offers insights into issues and trends in the coming year and identifies opportunities. This includes the high growth of unconventional gas and challenges related to the security of energy supplies.

The Engineer 24th May 2011 more >>

Japan

In a belated acknowledgment of the severity of Japan’s nuclear disaster, the Tokyo Electric Power Company said Tuesday that three of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant’s reactors most likely suffered fuel meltdowns in the early days of the crisis.

New York Times 24th May 2011 more >>

Worls Socialist Web 25th May 2011 more >>

Guardian 24th May 2011 more >>

Experts from the Vienna headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in Tokyo on Tuesday to study the nuclear situation in Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear plant, IAEA said in a statement. The IAEA mission consists of a team of nuclear experts from 12 countries who will prepare a report for the Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety at IAEA headquarters in Vienna on 20 to 24 June, it said.

IB Times 25th May 2011 more >>

Few days pass without news that makes us wonder if the government is telling the truth about the disastrous nuclear accident triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake. On May 23, the Lower House special committee on reconstruction from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami asked about the government’s suspected involvement in the decision to temporarily suspend the injection of seawater into a crippled reactor the day after the accident broke out at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The government said it was a voluntary decision by the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO). But the answers from government officials to the questions failed to dispel suspicions that the prime minister’s office influenced the company’s decision. It is easy to imagine the utter confusion within the government and TEPCO at that time. Efforts to uncover what actually happened should be made carefully. That is all the more reason why it is essential to get an independent entity to look into the nuclear crisis in an inquiry clearly separated from policy debate on recovery and rebuilding in the devastated areas.

Asahi 25th May 2011 more >>

The nuclear crisis triggered by the massive earthquake and tsunami has made it difficult for Japan to build new atomic power plants, Prime Minister Naoto Kan suggested in an interview with the Financial Times citing the experience of the United States after the 1979 Three Mile Island accident. Kan was quoted Tuesday by a Japanese government official as telling the British newspaper that Japan will depend less on nuclear energy and focus more on natural energy and energy-saving efforts in light of the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi complex.

Japan Today 25th May 2011 more >>

More than 160 nuclear and civil engineers over the age of 60 are planning to set up a Skilled Veterans Corps to assist restoring control over crucial cooling functions at the tsunami-hit nuclear power plant. Decades of professional engineering expertise combined with a desire to protect younger workers from radiation exposure have united the elderly workers in a desire to help fix the plant. The idea was masterminded by Yasuteru Yamada, 72, a retired engineer formerly working in plant construction, who was alarmed by reports of young subcontractors, some unskilled in this field, undertaking the high-risk work.

Telegraph 25th May 2011 more >>

Kaliningrad

France’s EDF and Italy’s Enel are among companies in talks with Russia’s Rosatom on a stake in its planned nuclear power plant in Kaliningrad, Rosatom official said on Monday. Head of Rosatom’s marketing and business development department Alexei Kalinin said on the sidelines of the Nuclear Energy Congress in Warsaw that Rosatom will certainly maintain at least 51 percent stake in the power plant.

Reuters 23rd May 2011 more >>

Syria

A Syrian site bombed by Israel in 2007 was “very likely” to have been a nuclear reactor which should have been declared, the U.N. atomic agency said in a report, an assertion which may lead to Damascus being referred to the U.N. Security Council.

Telegraph 24th May 2011 more >>

BBC 24th May 2011 more >>

US

A report from the Institute for Policy Studies says that the spent nuclear fuel currently stored in pools at dozens of sites in the U.S. poses a danger and should be moved into dry storage as soon as possible. The report, authored by Robert Alvarez, who served as a Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of Energy during the Clinton administration, says the problem is that too often the spent fuel pools are storing more fuel — and more highly radioactive fuel — than they were designed for. Alvarez also says there have been at least 10 incidents in the last decade in which the spent fuel pool lost a significant amount of water, and there are other cases in which the systems that keep the pools functioning as they should are under strain. Much of this, he says, is simply because most of the pools in the country are at capacity already.

IB Times 24th May 2011 more >>

Iran

The U.N. nuclear watchdog has received new information about possible military aspects to Iran’s atomic activities, adding to concerns Iran may be working to develop a nuclear-armed missile, the agency said in a report.

STV 24th May 2011 more >>

Italy

The Italian government has won a confidence vote on measures that include shelving plans to build new nuclear power plants. The prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has been an advocate of nuclear power, but he decided to scrap the construction of new nuclear plants amid mounting public concern after the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima reactor. He has said the situation will be reassessed in one or two years’ time. The government hopes shelving its nuclear plans will avoid a referendum on the issue, which is due on June 12. It won the confidence vote on Tuesday by 313 votes to 291.

Guardian 24th May 2011 more >>

Green Bank

The former chairman of the nuclear operator British Energy, Sir Adrian Montague, has been appointed to direct the establishment of the Green Investment Bank. The institution will prioritise investment in offshore wind, energy efficiency and waste. However, Mr Cable said he envisaged the bank funding a range of projects in the future including rail developments and nuclear power. He said its purpose would be to “tackle risks which the private sector cannot adequately finance”.

Telegraph 25th May 2011 more >>

Flood defences and nuclear power are expected to receive funding from the green investment bank, according to detailed plans for the new institution set out on Tuesday by Vince Cable, the business secretary. Cable also announced that Sir Adrian Montague, a City of London grandee, would be the first de facto chairman of the bank, in the first formal step towards establishing the institution. He will initially be chair of an advisory group rather than a formal board for the bank, because the government must satisfy EU state aid rules before it can formally set up the bank. Sir Adrian is chairman of venture capital group 3i, and formerly worked for British Energy and Network Rail, as well as serving as chief executive of the Private Finance Initiative Taskforce at the Treasury.

Guardian 24th May 2011 more >>

Trident

History can repeat itself. Looks like the Lib Dems are set to run a replay of Whitehall’s great Trident debate from 30 years ago – a thrilling tale involving secret studies by civil servants, party leaders going behind the backs of their grass roots and an outgoing Labour prime minister ordering officials to help his Tory rival, Margaret Thatcher. Well, it may not be as exciting and devious this time round, but there are similarities. Nick Harvey, Lib Dem armed services minister, has told the Financial Times that he is asking military intelligence and the Cabinet Office for fresh advice on Trident. Under the coalition deal the Lib Dems can have a separate position to the Tories on the UK nuclear deterrent – hence the review. Mr Harvey’s Tory boss, Liam Fox, backs Trident. The Lib Dem grass roots are against. It is all reminiscent of Labour in the 1970s.

FT 24th May 2011 more >>

Posted: 25 May 2011

24 May 2011

New Nukes

Tony Roulstone MA CEng FIMechE MIET is delivering a lecture tomorrow entitled ‘Fukushima — new wine in old wineskins?’ Taking place at IMechE, central London, the free lecture is based on the premise that events at Fukushima have cast doubts over the inevitability of a nuclear renaissance. The event’s publicity material states: ‘The scale of the accident, involving multiple reactors and the way it ran across the global news for weeks…has challenged the idea that the nuclear industry has learned the lessons and is now a safe-and-sound means of generating electricity.’ Roulstone’s talk will focus of what went wrong at Fukushima and the response from Japanese authorities, moving on to consider whether the effects of the accident might be felt more by old reactors such as those at Fukushima, or newer ones such as those planned to be built in the UK.

The Engineer 23rd May 2011 more >>

Jean Lambert, Green MEP for London, has warned that an energy policy founded on nuclear will saddle future generations with a costly debt. Speaking during a special European Greens press briefing on the implications of the Committee for Climate Change’s Renewable Energy Review, the Green MEP argued that the Whitehall preference of nuclear energy places the UK in grave danger of missing out on the economic and environmental benefits that the renewable sector has to offer. Lambert, who is currently involved in new European legislation on nuclear waste management said:

News on news 23rd May 2011 more >>

Senior IChemE members have welcomed a new interim report about the implications of the nuclear crisis in Japan and its impact on the UK nuclear industry. The report, conducted by Michael Weightman, HM chief inspector of nuclear installations, says that there is no need to restrict UK nuclear power following incidents earlier this year at the Fukushima site. Weightman describes the threat of earthquakes and tsunamis like those experienced in Japan as ‘far beyond the most extreme natural events’ likely to be experienced in the UK but does call for revaluation of existing plant safety systems. The report says that there is no need to change the present siting strategies for new nuclear power stations in the UK but for those sites with a flooding risk, detailed consideration may require changes to plant layout and the provision of particular protection against flooding. Bill Harper, Chair of IChemE’s nuclear technology subject group says: “The interim report is a substantial and authoritative piece of work, especially impressive given the short timescales.

Process and Control Today 23rd May 2011 more >>

Electricity Market Reform

The government will introduce a carbon floor price of £16 per tonne from 2013, with the aim of encouraging low-carbon forms of electricity generation, particularly nuclear power. However, the first new reactor will not come into service until 2018. As for why the government was introducing this measure five years earlier, Mr Cridland said: “The answer is because we need the revenues to bring down the deficit … We need to start the carbon floor price late and low. Instead we’re starting it high and early.

FT 23rd May 2011 more >>

Hinkley

Plans being developed to deal with nuclear waste at Hinkley Point A in west Somerset will see radioactive gas and liquid released into the sea. The power station began decommissioning in 2001 and is working on a system to put “intermediate” waste in vats of acid to reduce it down. Magnox, the company that manages the site, said there would be no risk to public health or the environment. But a nuclear expert questioned the controls in place at Hinkley Point. Magnox said the process of dissolving materials in acid would give off gas and produce liquid that was radioactive, however those releases would be very low and cause no harm.

BBC 23rd May 2011 more >>

Oldbury

THE Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan will not stop the progression of new nuclear power stations in the UK, including a proposed second plant at Oldbury. An interim report into the events at the Japanese nuclear plant has made 25 recommendations that existing and future nuclear power plants need to consider, and has said stations can continue to operate.

Gloucestershire Gazette 23rd May 2011 more >>

Japan

The operator of a damaged nuclear power station in north-eastern Japan said Tuesday a partial fuel meltdown was believed to have taken place at two more reactors at the plant. The latest update suggested that three of the six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant were believed to have suffered fuel meltdowns after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami crippled the plant.

Monsters and Critics 24th May 2011 more >>

BBC 24th May 2011 more >>

The government has discovered thousands of cases of workers at nuclear power plants outside Fukushima Prefecture suffering from internal exposure to radiation after they visited the prefecture, the head of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said.

Mainichi 21st May 2011 more >>

Japan is considering a plan that would make it compulsory for all new buildings and houses to come fitted with solar panels by 2030, a business daily said Sunday. The plan, expected to be unveiled at the upcoming G8 Summit in France, aims to show Japan’s resolve to encourage technological innovation and promote the wider use of renewable energy, the Nikkei daily said.

AFP 22nd May 2011 more >>

Outraged Japanese parents have held a rowdy demonstration outside the Education Ministry in Tokyo, to protest against the government’s decision to weaken nuclear safety standards in schools. Under the new guidelines, Japanese children can now be exposed to 20 times more radiation than was previously permissible. The government argues the new rules are essential to keeping schools in the Fukushima region from being forced to close.

ABC 24th May 2011 more >>

France

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has asked the state audit office to perform a detailed study on nuclear plant costs including those for decommissioning and waste storage. In a letter published Sunday, Fillon asked the Cour des Comptes to complete the report by January 31, 2012. The study on long-term costs associated with nuclear power would supplement a separate report by the nuclear regulator ASN on the safety of plants following Japan’s Fukushima disaster, which is to be completed by the end of this year, Fillon said.

Platts 23rd May 2011 more >>

US

Critics of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission received fresh ammunition on Thursday when the agency revealed that many of the nation’s aging nuclear power plants would be ill-equipped to withstand earthquakes and other natural disasters. The revelation stood in direct contrast to repeated statements made by the agency — and by the nuclear power industry — in the days and weeks following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. It suffered a partial meltdown, resulting in a massive release of radiation that is still not under control.

Huffington Post 13th May 2011 more >>

Germany

Phasing out nuclear power in the next decade could boost competitiveness and “reap enormous pay-offs for the economy”, Germany’s environment minister has claimed in a powerful snub to critics. Energy generators and industry more widely have warned of price surges and the potential deindustrialisation of Europe’s largest economy.

FT 23rd May 2011 more >>

Germany could face widespread winter blackouts following Angela Merkel’s “knee-jerk” decision to decommission the country’s nuclear power stations, according to German power grid operators. The warning from four energy providers came after the German chancellor suggested she agreed with a proposal to shut down all of Germany’s 17 nuclear power plants by 2022.

Guadian 23rd May 2011 more >>

Switzerland

Around 25,000 people joined Switzerland’s biggest anti-nuclear demonstration in a generation on Sunday, waving banners emblazoned with “No thanks to nuclear” and “The future is renewable.”

Morning Star 23rd May 2011 more >>

Test Veterans

VETERANS of nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s and 1960s have been offered hope after the Supreme Court set aside a full day to hear an appeal against a legal setback to their battle for compensation.

Hemel Today 23rd May 2011 more >>

Green Investment Bank

The UK’s green investment bank will be investing in UK low-carbon infrastructure projects within a year, and is expected to have assisted in injecting £15bn into the green economy within four years, Nick Clegg told a City of London audience on Monday. Green investors, businesses and campaigners welcomed the announcements, which met most of the criteria they had set out for a fully functioning green bank. Ed Matthew, director of Transform UK, a green campaigning organisation, said: “Confirmation of legislation and full, independent borrowing powers is a major step forward. It is absolutely critical to ensure the bank is an enduring institution, operationally independent and able to maximise its leverage from the capital markets. It will give a real boost to investor confidence in the institution.” In a further boost to green campaigners, the bank may be used to help finance the green deal scheme, by which householders will have access to loans to carry out energy efficiency refurbishment, paying back the loans in instalments through their energy bills. Campaigners had warned that the green deal would not work if private sector providers were able to charge commercial rates of interest on the loans, as the interest payments would outweigh the savings on energy bills.

Guardian 23rd May 2011 more >>

Posted: 24 May 2011

23 May 2011

Decommissioning Costs

The Treasury is refusing to hand over nearly £7 billion from the sale of British Energy to the Energy Department, even though the cash pile is earning such meagre returns that future generations may be forced to pick up the nuclear generator’s huge decommissioning bill. The Nuclear Liabilities Fund was set up by the Government to cover the cost of decommissioning British Energy’s eight reactors. All of the state’s shares in the generator were sold by January 2009, producing £6.8 billion for the fund. But because three of the fund’s five trustees are appointed by the Government, and because DECC ultimately underwrites it, the fund is classified as a public sector body. That means the Treasury has been able to hoard the cash in the public sector account, despite protests from the energy department and the Public Accounts Committee. Leaving the money there helps to reduce the deficit, but brings in a return of only about 0.5 per cent. The nuclear fund’s chairman believes the trust should be able to make long-term higher return investments to match liabilities that will stretch beyond 100 years in a similar way to sovereign wealth funds. The fund’s total assets are £8.5 billion, just over double its current estimated decommissioning liabilities. But decommissioning costs have been above inflation for several years, and huge uncertainty remains over how much the work will cost in the decades ahead.

Times 23rd May 2011 more >>

Hinkley

Ant-nuclear campaigners have this week released a new study showing the effects of a hige tsunami hitting Hinkley Point power station.

Burnham-on-sea.com 21st May 2011 more >>

Plutonium

Letter: The opposition to MOX fuel overlooks the fact that we need to get rid of military plutonium from nuclear warheads. A significant proportion of US electricity is made from Russian warheads. The same technology can turn the Sellafield plutonium into carbon-free energy equivalent to 600 million tonnes of coal. But, given the record at Sellafield, maybe we should put the French in charge of the project. MOX may be more expensive than mined uranium, but this will not remain true if there is an expansion of nuclear energy. Peak oil will soon present us with the choice of expanding nuclear energy or facing a medieval standard of living.

Independent 23rd May 2011 more >>

Uranium

The biggest drop in prices of uranium in two years may be ending as China and India plan atomic power developments that will more than double global production even after Japan’s nuclear disaster. The radioactive metal has slumped 8.7 percent this year, the most since 2009, after tumbling as much as 27 percent as governments reviewed nuclear plants following the Japanese crisis in March, according to prices from MF Global Holdings Inc. China and India will lead a 46 percent increase in consumption by the world’s five biggest atomic-power developers by 2020, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Bloomberg 23rd May 2011 more >>

Switzerland

About 20,000 people took part in an anti-nuclear demonstration in north Switzerland on Sunday ahead of a government decision on the future of atomic energy in the country. “At least 20,000” protesters joined the march near the town of Doettingen and the Beznau nuclear power plant, Switzerland’s oldest, police and organisers said. “It’s the biggest demonstration in Switzerland against nuclear power since the Fukushima accident (in Japan),” spokeswoman for “Sortons du nuclaire” Maude Poirier told AFP. “These thousands of people who have come are sending a strong signal to the Swiss authorities.

AFP 22nd May 2011 more >>

Japan

Leaders of China, Japan, and South Korea agreed on weekend to facilitate joint programs on renewable energy and energy conservation to avoid excessive dependence on nuclear energy even as they recognize nuclear power as a very important option for many countries.

IB Times 23rd May 2011 more >>

Members of an International Atomic Energy Agency investigation team arrived Monday morning in Japan to conduct fact-finding and assess safety issues at the radiation-leaking Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Nikkei 23rd May 2011 more >>

Since 2006, Watanabe has been traveling across the country surveying nuclear power stations built near fault lines. He describes his findings as follows: “The length of an active fault line is a direct factor in the severity of an earthquake.” When assessing a site for a new plant, power companies, “in order to make the impact of potential earthquakes seem as low as possible, will (on paper) divide a fault line into two or more segments. The nuclear power industry even has its own technical term for it: ‘value-cutting.’ It seems unthinkable, and yet it’s surprisingly common.” Prime Minister Naoto Kan, with much fanfare, issued on May 6 an unprecedented request to Chubu Electric Power Co to shut down its nuclear power plant at Hamaoka, Shizuoka Prefecture. The request, though not legally binding, was complied with. How, under the circumstances, could Chubu Electric refuse? If Hamaoka is hit by an earthquake-tsunami event approaching in scale the one that in Fukushima Prefecture is making nonsense of decades of blithe official assurances that nuclear power is safe – and seismologists rate at 87 percent the chance of a major quake occurring near Hamaoka within the next 30 years – Tokyo itself, the heart and lungs of Japan, would suffer what much of Tohoku is now suffering.“It’s not just Hamaoka,” says Watanabe, the Toyo University geologist – who describes himself, incidentally, as “not anti-nuclear.” “To keep running Japan’s nuclear power plants in their current condition is a terrifying prospect. To start with, all nuclear plants near active fault lines need to be shut down.”

Japan Today 22nd May 2011 more >>

Iran

A secret report compiled by Iranian nuclear scientists delivered a stark warning that a future earthquake could have devastating consequences for Iran’s nuclear plant in the Gulf port of Bushehr. “The seismic danger to Iran and its implications for the reactor in Bushehr could be disastrous for Iran, similar to the disaster in Fukushima, Japan,” states the report, which was commissioned shortly after the Japanese reactor was crippled by the tsunami on March 11. But nuclear experts advising the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna report that Iran is pressing ahead with plans to start operating the reactor.

Telegraph 22nd May 2011 more >>

Renewables

Securing investment, jobs and prospects for the next generation requires boldness. The Committee on Climate Changes recent Renewable Energy Market Review reflects a lack of commitment by the UK Government that could suffocate the renewables industry in its infancy. The CCC report says: The precise level of appropriate ambition will become clear over time. But we do not have the luxury of time, politically or environmentally. Someone needs to make long-term decisions on where we invest resources, talents and energy to halt climate change and keep the lights on. Last week, Denmarks Vestas announced 2000 jobs at its new UK offshore turbine blade factor, with the caveat: Policy uncertainty may kill it off … the likely scale of investment in the less mature renewable technologies (eg offshore wind, marine) during the 2020s is very uncertain [reflecting] the lack of policy co mmitment to providing support for new investments beyond 2020. If this Coalition Government fails to put its eggs in the renewables basket today it will rob the UK of the biggest job opportunities for decades. Only certainty will ensure we have the workforce capable of creating, growing and sustaining the sector.

Sunday Herald 22nd May 2011 more >>

Posted: 23 May 2011

22 May 2011

Politics

Chris Huhne has conceded that he may have been driving his car on the day it was caught speeding, after weeks of denials that he broke the law. The energy secretary’s cabinet career is hanging by a thread after allegations that he lied to police about who was behind the wheel. Police have launched a criminal investigation into the claims, which can carry a prison sentence.

Sunday Times 22nd May 2011 more >>

Cumbria

Greenpeace this week unveiled 118 pages of minutes and other documents, mostly obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, which it claims undermine the case for a new power station at Sellafield. It hopes the findings might force a rethink of the NuGen consortium’s plan to start building in 2015. In fact, many of Greenpeace’s “revelations” were already public knowledge, such as problems with the site’s geology and difficulties in accessing the National Grid. But the documents do shed light on a behind-the-scenes campaign to promote Sellafield as suitable for nuclear new build against improbable odds. In Jan 2008 Cumbria’s movers and shakers held a ‘nuclear influencing strategy workshop’ at the Castle Green Hotel in Kendal. Rosie Mathisen, director of nuclear opportunities at West Lakes Renaissance, was in the chair. Also present were representatives from Copeland, Allerdale and Cumbria County councils, Sellafield unions, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Cumbria Vision, Northwest Development Agency, Invest in Cumbria, and Carl Carter from Copeland MP Jamie Reed’s office. Greenpeace argues that the minutes of these meetings show the ‘expression of interest’ from local authorities in having a long-term waste repository were a smokescreen to promote nuclear new build.

Times & Star 21st May 2011 more >>

Radwaste

Bruce Power still plans to ship nuclear generators to Sweden via the Great Lakes. Officials at the Owen Sound, Ontario, plant just don’t know when that’s going to happen. For now, things are on hold.

Times Herald 21st May 2011 more >>

Weightman Report

The Areva EPR, the Toshiba-Westinghouse AP1000 PWR and Fukushima – submission by John Busby to the Weightman review.

After Oil 15th April 2011 more >>

Also see submission to NPS consultation.

After Oil 29th December 2009.

more >>

AP1000

U.S. nuclear regulators are demanding more information about Toshiba Corp. (6502)’s new reactor design, potentially delaying its approval for use by power companies such as Southern Co. (SO) and Scana Corp. (SCG) The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s review of the AP1000 reactor, developed by Toshiba’s Westinghouse Electric Co., has uncovered “additional technical issues,” Gregory Jaczko, the agency’s chairman, said in a statement yesterday. Westinghouse “must prove to our satisfaction that the company has appropriately and completely documented the adequacy of the design,” Jaczko said.

Bloomberg 21st May 2011 more >>

Japan

IAEA’s latest update on the Fukushima crisis.

IB Times 21st May 2011 more >>

The United Nations has launched a broad study of the implications of the accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant following the earthquake and tsunami in March, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced.

AFP 21st May 2011 more >>

Highly contaminated radioactive water that leaked into the sea in earlier May from a pit near a seawater intake of the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant totaled 250 tons and contained an estimated 20 terabecquerels of radioactive substances, Tokyo Electric Power Co said Saturday. The estimated amount of radioactive substances from the plant, crippled by the March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami, is about 100 times the annual allowable limit for release outside the plant, said TEPCO. The leak is estimated to have lasted for 41 hours from 2 a.m. on May 10 through 7 p.m. on the following day, TEPCO said based on its analysis of data showing changes in water levels in the pit.The leak raised the concentration of radioactive substances within the port of the power plant, but the level outside the port did not change significantly, TEPCO said. The leak from near the No. 3 reactor compares with about 500 tons of radioactive water with 4,700 terabecquerels of radioactive substances that leaked from near the No. 2 reactor from April 1 to 6.

Japan Today 22nd May 2011 more >>

Several damaged pipes carrying sea water were found at the No. 5 reactor of the Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, plant operator Chubu Electric Power Co. said May 20. Damage was found to small pipes running inside the condenser of the boiling water reactor, which turns steam into water after it has been used to power the turbine. At least 20 of the approximately 21,000 titanium pipes, which are 0.5 millimeters thick and have a diameter of 3 centimeters, had cracks or holes in them.

Asahi 22nd May 2011 more >>

Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday backed proposals to shut down all of the country’s 17 nuclear power plants within about a decade. Speaking at a meeting of the Christian Social Union (CSU), Bavarian sister party to her conservatives, Merkel said a 2022 date proposed by the CSU was appropriate and that her government will eventually fix a date for Germany’s nuclear exit.

Reuters 21st May 2011 more >>

Trident

THE Scottish Parliament is to call, for the first time, for the Trident nuclear submarine weapons system to be removed from Scotland. The devolved parliament is to back a formal resolution on the matter soon, with this month’s Scottish elections having returned a majority of parliamentarians who are now opposed to the base at Faslane. The move comes after Defence Secretary Liam Fox last week began the process for a new generation of submarine-based nuclear warheads to replace Trident with the Clyde Naval base at Faslane seen as the only realistic place to house them in the UK. The Scottish Parliament has no say over Trident being based in Scotland, as defence is a matter wholly reserved to the Westminster parliament. However, the SNP will be able to use a resolution to argue that any decision to maintain the nuclear weapons at Faslane goes against the devolved parliam ent’s will, prompting further cross-border tensions. It comes with Alex Salmond set to make a major speech on the constitution tomorrow, setting out his plans for Scottish independence. While Holyrood’s vote will not carry legal force, analysts said last night they expected a Scottish challenge to be added to arguments within the MoD among generals who are privately opposed to Trident’s replacement. Scottish-based campaigners also say the SNP Government should press home its mandate from the Scottish Parliament, once the motion is passed, to make it impossible for warheads to be transported around the country. Brian Larkin, of Trident Ploughshares, said yesterday: “The UK Government currently transports nuclear warheads over Scotland’s roads to Faslane and Coulport. The Scottish Government could refuse to allow that.” But academics have warned that such a non-negotiable stance will massively complicate any attempt by Scotland to secede from the UK. A study by Professor William Walker, professor of International Relations at St Andrew’s Uni versity concluded that, in such negotiations, other EU nations would want to be assured there was an agreement on military relations within the UK. He warned that would be “difficult if Edinburgh was intent on expelling Trident against the will of London”.

Scotland on Sunday 22nd May 2011 more >>

Renewables

SCOTTISHPOWER is this week expected to unveil a multi- million pound partnership in Europe that will help establish its wind power technology on the continent. A deal with a manufacturer to build wind turbines will mark another milestone in the company’s progress in the renewables sector. It is already in talks with Germany and Poland and is now understood to be making inroads into another key European state. The latest project is described as being worth potentially hundreds of millions of pounds and will help establish Glasgow as a key centre for the development of wind energy technology.

Scotland on Sunday 22nd May 2011 more >>

Climate

One British company uses more power than Liverpool and Manchester combined. Little wonder, then, that Ineos, the chemicals giant, is leading the charge against government plans to raise power bills by much more than the rest of Europe is proposing. The firm’s pleas have gained little traction. Last week the government accepted the advice of the Committee on Climate Change to agree a new target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions to 50% of 1990 levels by 2027. It will make Britain the first country in the world to commit itself to targets beyond 2020. Manufacturers say the move, taken with other plans, including a UK-only carbon tax, will cripple industry. They insist thousands of jobs will be lost as firms move their plants to countries where the cost of doing business is lower.

Sunday Times 22nd May 2011 more >>

Posted: 22 May 2011