News April 2012

30 April 2012

Horizon

ONE of China’s state-backed nuclear companies is in talks to invest more than $10 billion (£6 billion) in Britain’s new nuclear reactors. According to Whitehall sources, the State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation is considering funding a bid for Horizon, the nuclear venture put up for sale by German utilities RWE and Eon. It is in talks about joining forces with Japan’s Toshiba which owns Westinghouse, the reactor designer formerly owned by the UK government. Over time, the tie-up could be worth $60 billion (£37 billion), sources said.

Express 29th April 2012 more >>

New Nukes

The Financial Risks of Investing in new nuclear power plants. Since most of the cost of nuclear electricity is in the capital cost of nuclear plants, since build times can be 7 years or more, and since payback times can be 30 years or more, investors in new nuclear plants are exposed to financial risks from inaccurate estimates and from changes in markets in the future.

Energy Fair 24th April 2012 more >>

All but one of Britain’s existing nuclear energy stations are scheduled to close within the next eleven years if their lifetimes are not extended. The Government’s indicative timeline for the first of a new generation of nuclear power stations in Britain is for it to be built by 2019. Industry had set out plans to develop up to 16GW of nuclear power in the UK by 2025, but this outcome may now be in question following RWE and E.ON’s recent decision to withdraw from new nuclear investment. This inquiry seeks to investigate the feasibility of delivering on this timetable and the potential barriers to delivering new nuclear power stations more generally. The Committee is aware of the significance of the electricity market reform process in determining the viability of investment in new nuclear power stations and does not intend to focus on this aspect in this inquiry.

House of Commons Energy & Climate Change Cttee 27th April 2012 more >>

Energy Prices

Dozens of Greenpeace campaigners have shut down the headquarters of ‘Big Six’ energy company Centrica this morning in a row over rising household energy bills. The Greenpeace campaigners have blockaded the private road leading to the Windsor-based HQ with a spoof energy bill measuring 260 square feet, which says ‘Your energy bill ripoff is being fuelled by gas hikes’. All the entrances have also been sealed with large bills, which have been printed on to sheets of wood and locked to the doors. Hundreds of employees of the British Gas parent company are expected to be turned away. The average energy bill increased by £150 in the last year. £100 of this was solely due to rising gas prices, according to figures from Ofgem, the government’s energy watchdog. Direct subsidies for renewable energy have increased little over the last few years and make up only £25 of the total average annual bill.

Greenpeace 30th April 2012 more >>

Greenpeace 30th April 2012 more >>

Some households are paying £300 a year more than necessary for electricity and gas, according to new research. In a study, the respected IPPR think tank said as many as five million homes were being overcharged for power and called for reform of the energy market so that the Big Six – British Gas, EDF, E.on, npower, ScottishPower and Scottish and Southern – faced stiffer competition from new entrants. If the market were truly competitive, IPPR calculated, efficiency savings by the Big Six would knock £70 a year off the average bill.

Independent 30th April 2012 more >>

Elderly people and poorer families on expensive energy tariffs are subsidising internet-savvy neighbours who switch suppliers to the tune of £330 per year, according to a think-tank, which has demanded an end to so-called predatory pricing.

Times 30th April 2012 more >>

The Sun 30th April 2012 more >>

Radwaste

Keekle Head in Cumbria is being targeted for a nuclear dump – this is not the BIG geological dump – but another large development which plans to take the higher end of low level/intermediate radioactive wastes. Quite rightly Cumbria County Council is OPPOSING this development – in contrast to their bizarre ‘expression of interest’ in a BIGGER geological dump. A planning meeting will decide on the application on 8th May.

Radiation Free Lakeland 29th April 2012 more >>

Use No 39 Uplifting the Land with Radioactive Gases The government quango ‘Managing Radioactive Wastes Safely’ are promoting Cumbria/The Lake District as the national geological dump for nuclear wastes. Professor Stuart Haszeldine has said:”Emplacement of hot wastes will force rock to expand, with the strong probability that new fractures will be created. The fractures can allow radioactive gas to rapidly leak to the surface. Land users and housing at the land surface will be uplifted.”

101 uses for nuclear power 29th April 2012 more >>

VIRTUAL LANCASTER – the popular Community Resources and Visitor Guide says: “The knock on effects for the North Lancashire visitor industry are serious. Being a gateway to Wastwater is attractive. Being a gateway to ‘Nuclear Wastewater’ less so.

Radiation Free Lakeland 29th April 2012 more >>

Uranium

Although nuclear power growth will continue to be driven by emerging economies like China, India, South Korea and even Saudi Arabia, the biggest consumer of uranium in the world today is still the US. There are some 104 nuclear reactors operating in the US, generating about 20 percent of total US electricity. In terms of uranium consumed by utilities, that translates into 55 million pounds of uranium per year. Currently, however, uranium mining in the US only provides about 3.5-4 million lbs per year.

Oil Price 27th April 2012 more >>

Pakistan

Despite the country’s significant power problems, Islamabad should seriously reconsider placing a NPP in the midst of Karachi’s long suffering populace, as the possibility of a Fukushima type incident in a massive city of 13-15 million inhabitants would overwhelm the municipality’s ability to cope. In the 21st century nuclear world, there are some things worse than power blackouts.

Oil Price 27th April 2012 more >>

Posted: 30 April 2012

29 April 2012

Radwaste

Quite how they came to be preserving the Lake District “brand” instead of considering the potential effect on the environment and people’s well-being is unclear, but a useful tactic for diverting from the real matters which need to be considered.

Toxic Coast 28th April 2012 more >>

EON

Energy supplier E.ON has been forced to apologise to 65,000 companies after telling them they would have to pay a climate change tax at 1,000 times the real rate.

Telegraph 28th April 2012 more >>

Japan

JAPAN will take its last operational nuclear reactor offline next weekend, but the country may not be nuclear-free for long. Since the earthquake and tsunami devastated the country’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility on 11 March last year, all but one of Japan’s 54 reactors have been taken offline for routine maintenance or safety checks. With public opposition to nuclear power strong, none has yet restarted. Japan’s last operational reactor, on the northern island of Hokkaido – will go offline on 5 May. But with a third of Japan’s energy previously nuclear, political pressure to reopen the reactors is mounting. Last week the country’s prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, laid out the case in The Washington Post. He argues that importing energy is a crippling cost to industry.

New Scientist 28th April 2012 more >>

Iran

The United Nations has confirmed that talks with Iran over its nuclear programme will resume in Vienna next month.

Guardian 28th April 2012 more >>

The former head of Israel’s domestic intelligence agency has accused the country’s leadership of “misleading” the public on the merits of a possible military strike on Iran. Yuval Diskin said an attack might speed up any attempt by Iran to obtain a nuclear bomb. The comment follows remarks by other leading figures contradicting the prime minister and defence chief’s views on the subject.

BBC 28th April 2012 more >>

North Korea

NEW satellite imagery appears to show preparations under way at a North Korean nuclear test site. Early this month South Korean intelligence reported the digging of a new tunnel at the Punggye-ri site, which it took as a sign that North Korea was covertly preparing for a third nuclear test, following previous ones in 2006 and 2009.

Sunday Herald 29th April 2012 more >>

Telegraph 28th April 2012 more >>

Renewables

Stepping from a plane into Kenya’s bright sunshine, Simon Bransfield-Garth knew that his bag was packed perfectly for the climate. In his hand luggage was a simple keypad linked to a solar panel, a battery and some low-energy lights. The kit, developed by Eight19, a company spun out of Cambridge University and led by Bransfield-Garth, was the prototype for Indigo, a pay-as-you-go solar electricity system now being rolled out in rural communities across Africa. In Kenya, where the average income is $2 to $3 a day, the $50 (£30) cost of a modest solar lighting kit is the equivalent of buying a second-hand car in Britain. That cost is the main barrier to the take-up of solar power in countries such as Kenya where many homes are miles from the electricity grid but there is plenty of sunshine.

Sunday Times 29th April 2012 more >>

THE owner of the seabed around the UK yesterday opened up the Pentland Firth to wave and tidal power devices, allowing firms to bid for spaces to test their equipment in the waters that First Minister Alex Salmond once described as “the Saudi Arabia of marine power”. The Crown Estate, which manages British waters on behalf of the Queen, said companies that are competing for the Scottish Government’s saltire prize and taking part in the UK-wide demonstration projects can now apply for licences to use the sea between Caithness and Orkney.

Scotsman 28th April 2012 more >>

Posted: 29 April 2012

28 April 2012

New Nukes

The Government legislated in the Energy Act 2008 to ensure that operators of new nuclear power stations will have secure financing arrangements in place to meet the full costs of decommissioning and their full share of waste management and disposal costs. Before construction begins, an operator of a new nuclear power station will have to submit a Funded Decommissioning Programme (FDP) for approval by the Secretary of State. The Energy Act is supported by regulations, which were subject to public consultation in spring 2010 and came into effect in April 2011. Since the consultation the Government conducted a further consultation on draft FDP Guidance and published its updated Guidance in December 2011. As a result of views expressed in the consultation and the Government’s further work on the Guidance, the Government has concluded that the Current Regulations should be amended. The changes proposed relate to three specific areas of the current regulations: reporting requirements, independent verification and the modification of an FDP. The purpose of the consultation is to seek views on whether or not the proposals strike the right balance in setting a framework which is achievable at reasonable cost to the operator while enabling the Secretary of State to have confidence that the FDP continues to represent prudent provision for the operator’s liabilities.

DECC 27th April 2012 more >>

Letter David Toke: The FT is right to feature a debate about whether subsidies should go to nuclear power or renewable energy. However, the article is in danger of confusing two things: first, allowing nuclear new build to get the same sort of premium price contracts for supplying electricity as may be given to renewable developers; and second, the government agreeing to “underwrite the costs” of new nuclear build. Renewable developers do not get their construction cost overruns underwritten by government. If the nuclear industry is asking for additional layers of subsidy compared to that given to renewable developers, the nuclear industry is tacitly admitting it is less cost-effective than renewables. The danger is that nuclear developers may be offered unlimited subsidies to cover any construction cost overruns and that this will be hidden in “commercially confidential” contracts given to them. This would amount to the government giving nuclear constructors a blank cheque on electricity consumers’ behalf. What we must demand now is that such moves be made public rather than, as in previous funding streams for nuclear power, hidden from us until it is too late to complain.

FT 28th April 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Hinkley nuclear plant could be delayed by two years: Client EDF claims restrictions on lorry movements could hold up completion of the project.

Building 27th April 2012 more >>

COMMUNITIES across Sedgemoor are being urged to let Government planners know any concerns about proposals for Hinkley Point. Hundreds of people are expected to attend open floor meetings next month where members of the public can address planning officials. People who want to speak at the meetings must have already registered but the meeting is open to the public to attend. A meeting will be held in Bridgwater on Wednesday, May 16, and similar sessions will be held in Cannington on Wednesday, May 9, Combwich on Thursday, May 10, and Stogursey on Thursday, May 17.

This is the West Country 27th April 2012 more >>

Wylfa

One of Wylfa’s twin reactors ceased generating electricity yesterday after 41 years of safe operation. Originally planned for the 30th April, the reactor shut down five days earlier than planned after an issue was identified with the plant. Normally, the reactor would have returned to service within a few days following an investigation. The decision has been taken, however, not to restart the reactor due to the closeness to the scheduled shutdown date.

NDA 26th April 2012 more >>

Stress Tests

Peer review country report: United Kingdom. “In the area of extreme natural hazards all the issues are addressed in the report. During the stress test process, Electricité de France Energy Nuclear Generation Ltd (EDF-NGL) concluded that it was not in position to carry out meaningful margin assessment for seismic, flood or extreme weather conditions in the timescales of the stress test assessment. ONR considers the design basis requirements to be robust and that the design basis events used by licensees are reasonable. Nevertheless ONR considers that existing methodologies may benefit from a review against the latest approaches and that additional, more systematic work on margins is required for beyond design basis events and identification of cliff edges. It is therefore difficult to fully evaluate safety margins at this time.”

ENSREG 26th April 2012 more >>

Radwaste

Councils across west Cumbria are not backing plans for a new nuclear waste dump. The Cumbria Association of Local Councils (CALC) – which represents town and parish councils on the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MWES) Partnership – will not support any move to look for a suitable site.

Carlisle News & Star 27th April 2012 more >>

The Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) has issued a consultation response that indicates that its sole concern about proposals for a dump for high-level nuclear waste to be built under the Lake District is bad publicity to the Lakeland ‘brand’. The proposed Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) (nuclear waste dump) within the National Park would be the first of its kind, would become known throughout the world, and must remain intact and sealed from any groundwater seepage for several hundred thousand years with potentially deadly consequences to the region if it should weaken at any point in that era.

Virtual Lancaster 26th April 2012 more >>

Areva

Areva generated consolidated revenue of 2.026 billion euros in the first quarter of 2012, up 2.4% compared with the same period in 2011, the company said April 26. The increase in revenue in the Mining Business Group (+11.9%), the Reactors & Services Business Group (+5.8%) and the Renewable Energies Business Group (+198.2%) offset the expected decrease in revenue in the Front End Business Group (-17.2%), Areva said April 26. The Front End BG reported revenue of 432 million euros for the first quarter of 2012, a decrease of 17.2% compared with the first quarter of 2011. Revenue from the enrichment business decreased, following a decrease in volumes delivered over the period due to the expiration of the legacy contract with EDF for enrichment services from the Georges Besse plant, Areva said.

i-Nuclear 27th April 2012 more >>

Chernobyl

On the 26th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, Ukraine launched the construction of a new and improved shelter to permanently secure the traumatized plant. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych pressed the symbolic button at the construction site, while workers and ambassadors from countries including China and Japan watched on. The president also spoke during the ceremony, which inaugurated the initial assembly of an enormous arch-shaped building that will essentially cover the remnants of the infamous exploded reactor.

IB Times 27th April 2012 more >>

Europe

Greek, Polish and Portuguese legislation is not in line with EU law on nuclear safety.

eGov Monitor 27th April 2012 more >>

NPT

Foreign Office Minister: Given our expectation that world-wide energy demand is set to double by 2050, and the stark reality that we must reduce global greenhouse gas emissions if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change, then it is clear that the debate about the peaceful uses of nuclear power and the risks of the spread of nuclear weapons is set to continue. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is at the heart of our approach to this debate. The 2012 NPT Preparatory Committee starting next week in Vienna (30 April – 11 May) will be the first meeting of States Parties to assess our progress and build on the success of 2010. I hope that all states will come ready to discuss the progress they have made and plans for implementation of the NPT action plan. I am pleased that the UK will have an excellent story to tell.

Huffington Post 27th April 2012 more >>

Japan

Fukushima update 24th – 26th April 2012.

Greenpeace 27th April 2012 more >>

Tokyo Electric Power, the Japanese nuclear crisis-hit utility, has submitted a recovery plan to the government under which the state will inject Y1tn ($12.4bn) for a controlling stake, banks will lend a further Y1tn, costs will be cut and electricity rates increased. The plan, which has been under discussion since January, aims to ensure Asia’s largest private utility by sales can shoulder the burden of huge compensation for victims of the failure of the Fukushima Daiichi atomic plant and of de-commissioning its wrecked reactors and fuel ponds. In return for injecting Y1tn, the government will take an initial stake of 50.1 per cent in Tepco along with rights to a further one-sixth of the company’s shares that it can exercise later if it deems necessary, according to an official involved in the plan. The official said the nationalisation of the utility was intended to be a temporary measure to keep Tepco afloat and give it a chance to “win back public confidence”.

FT 27th April 2012 more >>

US

A nuclear power plant has been forced to shut down because of an infestation of jellyfish-like creatures. Diablo Canyon, in California, was completely closed yesterday after a swarm of salp was found clogging filters meant to keep marine life out and the unit cool. The slimy sea creatures were discovered as part of the Pacific Gas & Electric plant’s routine monitoring system.

Daily Mail 27th April 2012 more >>

The day a nuclear bomb fell on South Carolina: Extraordinary story of how U.S. air force accidentally dropped weapon of mass destruction onto little girl’s playhouse

Daily Mail 27th April 2012 more >>

Middle East

Act now to create a WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East.” This is the message from supporters of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) to Ambassador Peter Woolcott, who will this weekend (30 April 2012) chair the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Preparatory Committee in Vienna.

Ekklesia 27th April 2012 more >>

Energy Supplies

Energy bills are soaring and UK consumers are feeling the pinch. Leading politicians and consumer groups are rushing in with a new solution: collective switching. But they should beware. Done wrong, collective switching will take money from the poor and the old and put it in the pockets of the middle classes while undermining competition between energy suppliers. All eyes should instead be on the regulator, Ofgem, whose job it is to fix the UK’s broken energy market.

Guardian 27th April 2012 more >>

Letter Andy Atkins: While it’s encouraging that David Cameron has restated his pledge to lead the greenest government ever, his assertion that it’s already been achieved is jaw-droppingly wide of the mark. Earlier this year the government fired the starting pistol for a new “dash for gas” by allowing new gas-fired stations to be built without any restriction on the amount of carbon they emit until the middle of the century – which would leave the UK hooked on expensive fossil fuels for decades. The electricity market reform bill, expected in the Queen’s speech, is an ideal opportunity for the PM to show his government’s commitment to a cleaner future. The aim should be an electricity system almost entirely free from carbon by 2030 – and a huge investment in the nation’s substantial clean energy potential.

Guardian 27th April 2012 more >>

Microgeneration

This week’s Micro Power News: Solar Power Portal explores financing options; Forrest Housing Association and Dimplex team up to design social housing finance scheme; Westminster Gov’t releases biomass strategy; Labour attacks solar shambles; Bristol Energy Co-op aims to raise £90k.

Microgen Scotland 27th April 2012 more >>

Posted: 28 April 2012

27 April 2012

Radwaste

The organisation which represents town and parish councils in Cumbria this week said the search for a nuclear waste dump site was “not credible or viable”. Cumbria Association of Local Councils, a member of West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership, announced that it would not support the process unless major changes were made. The partnership is considering if West Cumbria should continue in the search for a site for a high-level nuclear waste repository. An association statement said: “In view of the absence of clear support from parish councils and the community generally, and the number of serious shortcomings in the prospective managing radioactive waste safely process, we do not consider the programme as currently envisaged to be credible and viable.”

Times & Star 26th April 2012 more >>

THE chances of finding a place to bury radioactive waste in the area have suffered another setback. For the Cumbria Association of Local Councils (CALC) has decided not to support any move to look for a safe and suitable site. The association represents town and parish councils on the West Cumbria MRWS Partnership which recently held a consultation and brief public opinion survey on whether the process should now go a stage further – searching for a site. Seventy per cent of the councils who responded to the survey have said they do not support proceeding any further. Three parish councils closest to Sellafield, Gosforth, Beckermet and Ponsonby, have already said ‘no’.

Whitehaven News 26th April 2012 more >>

Letter Michael Baron: Not for the first time in the long-running debate on the GDF, your leader of April 12 has neatly and dispassionately defined the issues before Cumbria, Copeland and Allerdale. But is the debate really about the parishes and roaring in the grassroots? And now the Cumbria Association of local councils has added its powerful questioning voice. The concern is for the best method and the safest place for the nation’s high-level nuclear waste, even its plutonium. While there is much to be argued for a county-wide referendum, who decides the question to be put therein to the electorate?

Whitehaven News 26th April 2012 more >>

Letter Barry Weston: I read with interest your editorial (April 12) regarding the possibility of hosting a geological disposal facility in our locality but would take issue with your assertion that “…most of the nasty stuff to be disposed of is produced at Sellafield”. The problem of dealing with dangerous radioactive material is indeed a national one and it always has been. Sellafield (particularly its employees) can be justly proud of its role, up to now, in safely dealing with this national problem and should not be cast as a villain for causing the problem. Trying to extend this role to included the siting of an underground dump for radioactive waste in geology that has been shown to be totally unsuitable should be resisted by our local representatives – not encouraged.

Whitehaven News 26th April 2012 more >>

Chernobyl

Today is the 26th anniversary of the Chernobyl. It is a disaster that left a 30-kilometre uninhabitable exclusion zone, displaced hundreds of thousands of people, and still threatens the lives of tens of thousands. The legacy of the day that Chernobyl’s Reactor Four exploded, throwing radioactive contamination across Europe, is still with us and will be for many years to come. We must never forget the magnitude of the disaster and the people who suffered then and continue to suffer now as Greenpeace found when we returned to the area surrounding Chernobyl last year. It’s 26 years later and what have the nuclear industry and its supporters learned? Nothing.

Greenpeace 26th April 2012 more >>

Urging all nations to be extremely cautious with nuclear energy, Ukraine’s president thanked donors for financing the construction of a new, safer shelter over the damaged Chernobyl reactor on the 26th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear disaster. President Viktor Yanukovych spoke during a ceremony Thursday inaugurating the initial assembly of a gigantic arch-shaped steel containment building to cover the remnants of the exploded reactor. The structure – weighing 20,000 tons and big enough to house New York’s Statue of Liberty – is due to be completed in 2015, allowing the delicate and dangerous job of dismantling the reactor and cleaning vast amounts of radioactive waste still around it to begin. About 2,000 protesters staged an angry rally Thursday outside parliament in Kiev, demanding an increase in compensations and pensions. In Minsk, the capital of Belarus, more than 1,000 demonstrators took part in a march protesting plans to build the former Soviet republic’s first nuclear power station, in the town of Ostrovets near the Lithuanian border. The plant will be built by Russia.

Huffington Post 26th April 2012 more >>

TWENTY-SIX years to the day after the world’s worst nuclear disaster, Ukraine yesterday began construction of a vast new metal shelter to contain the stricken Chernobyl reactor.

Scotsman 27th April 2012 more >>

SKILLED workers, volunteers and financial donors are needed to help children affected by the Chernobyl disaster. Elaine Roberts, 50, an ordained minister from Clopton who runs the Christian mission charity World Mandate Ministries, is appealing for people to travel to the Ukraine in August to carry out work at the Chernobyl hospital which helps the children of children who were affected by the radiation leak and near melt down 23 years ago. If work is not done it could be closed. She is also asking for financial donations and practical items from businesses or individuals.

Nothants Evening Telegraph 26th April 2012 more >>

Sellafield

FEARS have been raised that Cumbria police officers will be “stretched” as they are brought in to help police Sellafield site. An agreement has been drawn up between Cumbria Constabulary, Sellafield Ltd and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary to implement a new way of policing. However, there are concerns the move will put a strain on Cumbria Constabulary’s resources, which has already been forced to make serious cutbacks.

Whitehaven News 26th April 2012 more >>

NUCLEAR and local authorities have again come under fire from Copeland MP Jamie Reed. Adding to the criticism first aired in The Whitehaven News the day before the conference that anticipated community benefits were not being delivered quickly enough, Mr Reed said: “The key is – deliver on your promises. “In my line of work, if I don’t deliver on my promises I face the sack. That’s right, that’s fair and that’s exactly the same standard to which I am now going every organisation in this room. More to the point, that’s precisely what 170,000 West Cumbrians expect and deserve. “So what is the way forward? Unless partners act in concert to achieve our aims, then they will not be achieved. It follows that today’s event will be entirely pointless without an unambiguous declaration from partners (but from Nuclear Management Partners in particular) that they will now act to realise the ambitions that we have talked about today.”

Whitehaven News 26th April 2012 more >>

SELLAFIELD unions have painted two possible futures for West Cumbria – one to uplift the area through nuclear renaissance but the other a threat of decline and stagnation. Despite the early optimism of nuclear power renaissance, Mr Clements pointed out: “Regrettably not one sod has been cut in the construction of any new nuclear power plant in the UK – to say the least we are frustrated by the lack of progress. “And nowhere is this lack of progress more evident than at Sellafield. The NDA’s decision on the Sellafield plant has been the only announcement that has led to real live action – closure. “All the good intentions (NuGen, Mox 2, the Prism fast reactor, and the MRWS public consultation about an underground waste repository) are just that so far. “What’s real for is that we are in a state of decommissioning – that has been the situation for over eight years. “Despite all the good intentions, unless things change dramatically we see a future dominated by decommissioning, by decline, run down, redundancies and closures.

Whitehaven News 26th April 2012 more >>

Nuclear Transport

CLAIMS that two nuclear ships for carrying highly radioactive materials are potentially unsafe have been denied by the operators. The vessels – Oceanic Pintail and Atlantic Osprey – are managed by International Nuclear Services (INS) on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. But Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (Core) claims the ships are being kept in service beyond their “sell-by” date. Core spokesman Martin Forwood alleged: “INS and NDA are playing fast and loose with maritime safety by press-ganging the old Pintail back into service when she should have been retired and scrapped.

Whitehaven News 26th April 2012 more >>

Sizewell

The fourth annual camp at Sizewell nuclear power station took place from Friday 20th to Sunday the 22nd of April 2012. The aim of the camp is to make information available to local people about nuclear power, and to oppose the building of the two planned reactors, Sizewell C and D, and the dry fuel storage dump. The camp takes place in April to commemorate the Chernobyl disaster which occurred on 26th April 1986.

Indymedia 25th April 2012 more >>

Stop Nuclear Power 25th April 2012 more >>

Wylfa

Nuclear industry workers will get career advice and re-training as part of a £4m scheme for north-west Wales. It comes as the end of generating electricity at Wylfa Reactor 2 on Anglesey was brought forward by five days on Wednesday. The Welsh government said help would be available for more than 1,200 staff at Wylfa and the former nuclear power plant at Trawsfynydd, Gwynedd. Wylfa will stop generating in 2014, and Trawsfynydd is being decommissioned. Originally Wylfa’s Reactor 2 was due to be shut down on Monday 30 April, but it finished generating electricity on 25 April when the reactor was shutdown at 19:02 BST.

BBC 26th April 2012 more >>

Wales Online 26th April 2012 more >>

Reuters 26th April 2012 more >>

ITV Wales 26th April 2012 more >>

The penultimate Magnox reactor has generated its last electricity after 41 years of service. The closure of Wylfa 2 leaves its twin, unit 1, as the sole operational representative of the type.

World Nuclear News 26th April 2012 more >>

Gwilym O Jones is a Senior Production Technician at Wylfa power station and chairman of Anglesey County Council. He has worked at the site since its opening in 1967, and says that the highly trained workforce that has been built up is keen for a replacement power station after the current one closes in 2014. “We have the required skills” he says. “We’ve trained local lads, from Anglesey, from the Gwynedd and the surrounding area”. “They are trained and they are ready to do the work.”

ITV Wales 26th April 2012 more >>

A £4 million windfall to reskill nuclear energy workers on Anglesey and in Gwynedd has been welcomed. The Welsh Government support came as Reactor 2 at Wylfa closed down on Wednesday at 7.02pm after 41 years of safe operation.

Daily Post 27th April 2012 more >>

Europe Stress Tests

The EU’s energy chief Thursday deemed an almost year-long study on nuclear plant safety in Europe as short on detail and numbers and demanded further work before publication of the critical report. “Going deep is more important than being fast,” Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told journalists, saying that a final report would be available to the public in the autumn rather than in the summer, as scheduled.

EU Business 26th April 2012 more >>

EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger and Andrej Stritar, Chairperson of ENSREG, the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group, welcomed today’s adoption of the ENSREG stress test report and the agreement to examine some safety aspects in more detail and prepare a follow up in the next few months: Günther Oettinger said: “This extensive report is a major element of our stress tests. Now, we will do additional visits of power plants and analyse some safety aspects in more detail. EU citizens have the right to know and understand how safe the nuclear power plants are they live close to. Soundness is more important than timing. “

eGov Monitor 27th April 2012 more >>

Iran

Defence Minister Ehud Barak restated Israel’s fears of a nuclear-armed Iran on Thursday after his top general clashed with the government’s line by describing the Islamic republic as “very rational” and unlikely to build a bomb. Addressing foreign diplomats on Israel’s independence day, Barak said Iranian leaders were not “rational in the Western sense of the word – connoting the quest for status quo and the peaceful resolution of problems”.

Trust.org 26th April 2012 more >>

Trident

Like many independence-supporting Scots of a left persuasion, I have been extremely disquieted by the recent press speculation about a possible reversal of the SNP’s stance on Nato – from non-involvement, to possible membership after independence. The key questions in my mind are these: Is the SNP’s advocacy of membership of Nato rooted in a desire to participate in a wave of reform of this Cold-War-era, nuclear-defined military command? Or is it a way to retain Scotland’s military-industrial complex – its Rosyths and Clyde shipyards, its bases with ancillary services and industries – under cover of an ostensibly “credible” commitment to European collective security? To be blunt about it: does the SNP need Nato, because Nato will keep us shipbuilding? Before we even explore these options, I am presuming a “red line” in Scottish independence politics that cannot be crossed – and that is the decommissioning, and then physical removal of Trident missiles from Scottish soil, under the shortest possible timeline, upon the achievement of full independence.

Scotsman 27th April 2012 more >>

Renewables

The Prime Minister David Cameron made the case for clean energy in the UK and globally today as he addressed delegates at the Clean Energy Ministerial being held in Central London. Speaking to energy ministers from 23 leading economies, and alongside a series of government and commercial announcements, the Prime Minister said: “There are huge challenges facing governments across the world today, and one of the most important of all is how we meet our growing energy demands in a way that protects our planet for our children and grandchildren.

DECC 26th April 2012 more >>

Julia Davenport: We are now expecting just five minutes from David Cameron at the Clean Energy Ministerial. This is despite its billing as the Prime Minister’s first major key note address on the environment since the infamous ‘greenest government ever’ speech. Here’s the speech I would like to see the PM deliver to the meeting of G20 Energy Ministers tomorrow. We have some of the best wind resources in the world, including 40 per cent of total resource in Europe, and our wind farms perform better than their counterparts in Germany and Denmark. As an island nation we have vast wave and tidal resources. We are just beginning to realise the huge potential we have in harnessing solar power, a technology often and erroneously considered solely the preserve of the sunniest countries. All of these energy sources hold the key to securing our long-term economic future. And at a time when the course our economy might take in the future is so uncertain, we need to choose renewables not just because they are sustainable for us environmentally, but because they are sustainable for us economically. Every pound we invest in renewable energy is a pound invested in perpetuity. Every pound we invest in other energy sources is an investment that will one day be written off.

Huffington Post 25th April 2012 more >>

Renewable energy sources must become “financially sustainable” if they are to meet the world’s needs, David Cameron is to say. Opening a meeting of international ministers later, he will hail progress made by the UK in the “green energy revolution”. But the prime minister will say the challenge now is to drive down costs.

BBC 26th April 2012 more >>

The government has achieved its aim of being the “greenest ever”, David Cameron said on Thursday, in his first significant remarks on the environment since reaching office. “When I became prime minister I said I would aim to have the greenest government ever and this is exactly what we have,” he told energy ministers from the world’s leading nations at a summit in London. Cameron said he “passionately believed” the growth of renewable energy was vital to the UK’s future. “I believe renewable energy can be among our cheapest energy sources within years not decades,” he said. But he warned: “We need to make it financially sustainable.” David Nussbaum, chief executive of WWF-UK, which took Cameron on his “husky-hugging” trip to the Arctic in 2006, said: “We were led to expect a keynote speech, only for it to be suddenly downgraded; what we got today was a damp squib.”

Guardian 26th April 2012 more >>

Posted: 27 April 2012

26 April 2012

Horizon

Britain’s continuing commitment to low-carbon energy may lead to the adoption of Russian nuclear technologies. Rosatom, Russia’s state atomic energy corporation, could be about to build two nuclear power stations in Britain. With a growing energy deficit and a commitment to cutting carbon emissions, the British government may find itself faced with an offer they can’t refuse. Earlier this month, Rosatom said it was mulling over buying a stake in Horizon Nuclear Power after the British energy firm’s parent companies, RWE and E.ON, shelved a joint venture to construct two nuclear power plants at Wylfa, Anglesey and Oldbury, Gloucestershire.

Telegraph 25th April 2012 more >>

Radwaste

Today in Kendal anti-nuclear groups, Cumbria and Lancashire area CND and Radiation Free Lakeland remembered the Chernobyl disaster. People in Kendal were keen to sign a giant postcard to the Lake District National Park Authority who have given the thumbs up to a giant nuclear dump or two under Cumbria and in just one and half hours 90 people wrote to the National Park.

Radiation Free Lakeland 25th April 2012 more >>

EDF

EDF Energy chief executive Vincent de Rivaz said his company “and our investment partner Centrica” aim to take a final investment decision on its planned nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset “around the end of the year”. De Rivaz said EDF’s firm aim remained four new nuclear units, two each at Himkley Point and Sizewell, saying the decision by German companies Eon and RWE to dispose of their Horizon nuclear project was due to those companies’ finances and nuclear shutdown decisions in Germany. He said the contract for difference feed in tariff was at the heart of the investment, insisting that the deal must provide balanced benefits to customers and investors, because “if it is not balanced it is not stable and that’s not sustainable”.

Utility Week 25th April 2012 more >>

EDF boss piles pressure on government over nuclear plans. Head of French energy firm wants guaranteed price for nuclear power which greens oppose as a subsidy.

Building 25th April 2012 more >>

EDF Energy underlined its commitment to a low carbon future when it revealed that the electricity it will supply for the London 2012 Games will be matched by equivalent amounts of electricity backed by nuclear and renewable sources. EDF Energy, Britain’s largest producer of low carbon electricity, will guarantee that for each unit of mains electricity used on the Olympic Park it will provide a unit generated from low carbon nuclear and renewable sources to the national grid. 80% of the low carbon electricity sourced to supply the Games will come from EDF Energy’s existing nuclear fleet, with the remaining 20% coming from renewable generation assets. EDF is an official partner of London 2012.

EDF Energy 23rd April 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Bridgwater College is to get a new £1.5million civil engineering and construction training facility. The new build is being funded by EDF Energy to promote local skills to deliver the proposed Hinkley Point C project, which the energy supplier hopes will be operational by 2020. The training facility includes a single-storey, three-classroom teaching block with vehicle storage, and a maintenance and training area, stretching across eight acres of College land a the college’s Cannington site.

This is the West Country 25th April 2012 more >>

North Wales

£4 million is being spent on helping nuclear energy workers in North West Wales back into work. The funding aims to help 1,200 staff at the Wylfa and Trawsfynydd sites prepare for future careers. Wylfa, on Anglesey, is due to stop generating electricity in 2014. Trawsfynydd has already closed, and is in the process of being decommissioned.

ITV Wales 26th April 2012 more >>

Companies

A Cumbrian recruitment firm has joined forces with a Finnish business to prepare for an anticipated boom in nuclear jobs in the UK. NRL, based at Dovenby, Cockermouth, has forged an alliance with Enersense International of Finland in readiness for work starting on Britain’s next generation of nuclear power stations. The two firms have now set up a shared London base.

Cumberland News 25th April 2012 more >>

Chernobyl

There will be a meeting in Geneva to discuss the catastrophes at Chernobyl and Fukushima, organised by IndependentWHO on 12th – 13th May. The topics will include both the actual consequences of the explosions and how governments and international agencies have attempted to cover them up. Among the speakers will be Alexei Yablokov and Alexei Nesterenko, the two surviving authors of the detailed report on Chernobyl.

Institute of Science in Society 25th April 2012 more >>

Japan

THE boss of a Wrexham technology firm joined the Prime Minister on a trade mission to Japan. Alan McCall, managing director of Nu Instruments, visited the Far East with David Cameron and UK business leaders to discuss an increase in exports. The firm is also looking to help with the clean-up of the abandoned Fukushima power plant, devastated by the earthquake and tsunami in March of last year. Alan was involved in high level discussions with senior Japanese politicians and nuclear safety experts, and told Business Post they took the possibility of British assistance very seriously, notably the value of NU Instruments’ mass spectrometers, advanced technology for radiation detection.

Daily Post 25th April 2012 more >>

This past weekend, the Japanese parliament’s Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission held a two-day hearing for villagers of Namie and Okuma, two of the evacuated towns close to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear-power plant, which suffered a triple meltdown in March last year. On April 21st the Namie residents in Nihonmatsu, where they have been relocated since the evacuation, were shockingly outspoken. More than 13 months after the disaster, much of the news interest in Fukushima has faded. But the agony of evacuation, and the sense of helplessness and frustration that it has spawned, remain palpable. The testimony of Namie city officials, who complained repeatedly about the lack of official information they were given as radiation levels increased during the disaster, is available online. But ordinary villagers made particularly pertinent points about the after-effects.

Economist 24th April 2012 more >>

France

Electricite de France SA, Europe’s largest power producer, may get a boost from frontrunner Francois Hollande’s backing off from a nuclear pact with the Greens, who flopped in the first round of the elections. Socialist candidate Hollande has distanced himself from an accord with the Greens to shut 24 of France’s 58 nuclear reactors by 2025 in light of union support for the industry and the perceived threat to jobs. The Greens candidate Eva Joly — with her trademark round green glasses — got 2.3 percent of the vote in the first round of the French presidential election on April 22. Hollande led with 28.6 percent, while President Nicolas Sarkozy got 27.2 percent. Hollande and Sarkozy will square off on May 6. “Eva Joly failed to seduce French voters,” said Nicolas Tenzer, the director of CERAP, a political think-tank in Paris.“There won’t be a radical change in French nuclear policy under the Socialists.”

Bloomberg 25th April 2012 more >>

South Korea

The UK and South Korea will share nuclear, wind and other forms of renewable energy technologies and expertise under a new agreement due to be finalised at this week’s Clean Energy Ministerial in London.

Business Green 25th April 2012 more >>

US

After the Fukushima power plant disaster in Japan last year, the rising costs of nuclear energy could deliver a knockout punch to its future use in the United States, according to a researcher at the Vermont Law School Institute for Energy and the Environment. The disaster insurance for nuclear power plants in the United States is currently underwritten by the federal government, Cooper says. Without that safeguard, “nuclear power is neither affordable nor worth the risk. If the owners and operators of nuclear reactors had to face the full liability of a Fukushima-style nuclear accident or go head-to-head with alternatives in a truly competitive marketplace, unfettered by subsidies, no one would have built a nuclear reactor in the past, no one would build one today, and anyone who owns a reactor would exit the nuclear business as quickly as possible.”

US News 30th March 2012 more >>

North Korea

Russia has raised the alert level for its forces in the Far East as it expects North Korea to carry out an underground nuclear test within the next week.

Telegraph 26th April 2012 more >>

Iran

The chief of staff of Israel’s defence force has said Iran will ultimately decide against building a nuclear weapon, putting him at odds with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister. Lt-Gen Benny Gantz believes diplomatic pressure and economic sanctions, along with Israel’s determination to strike if necessary, will act as a deterrent.

Independent 26th April 2012 more >>

Guardian 25th April 2012 more >>

BBC 25th April 2012 more >>

The commander of Israel’s armed forces offered a measured appraisal of Iran’s nuclear ambitions on Wednesday, saying that Tehran had “not yet decided” whether to build a nuclear weapon.

Telegraph 25th April 2012 more >>

Pakistan

Pakistan successfully test fires nuclear-capable ballistic missile.

Reuters 25th April 2012 more >>

Independent 26th April 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

In advance of the NATO summit in Chicago RUSI has collaborated with the partner institutions in the United States to explore potential solutions to NATO’s emerging nuclear dilemmas.

Rusi 25th April 2012 more >>

Renewables

David Cameron will champion Britain’s position at the forefront of the growth in renewable energy on Thursday, at a high-level ministerial meeting in London. He will address a meeting of representatives of 23 of the world’s biggest economies at Lancaster House that aims to advance the adoption of clean energy technologies. “Renewables are now the fastest growing energy source on the planet, and I am proud that Britain has played a leading role at the forefront of this green energy revolution,” the prime minister is due to say. “Our commitment and investment in renewable energy has helped to make renewable energy possible. Now we have a different challenge. We need to make it financially sustainable.”

Guardian 26th April 2012 more >>

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey has today called on energy ministers from around the world to step up efforts to work with the private sector to make “the business case for going green”.

Business Green 25th April 2012 more >>

Posted: 26 April 2012

25 April 2012

Radwaste

In a major vote of no-confidence, an association of local governments in Cumbria County, England have said they do not consider “credible or viable” the UK government process for siting a geological disposal facility (GDF) for nuclear waste. The Cumbria Association of Local Councils (CALC) has represented town and parish councils on the West Cumbria MRWS (Managing Radioactive Waste Safely) Partnership for three years. CALC’s participation in the MRWS Partnership was based on a position statement agreed with its member councils in September 2009 that required a neutral position to be adopted on the merits or demerits of a siting a GDF in West Cumbria. But CALC said this week that it has changed its position. “In view of the absence of clear support from parish councils and the community generally and the number of serious shortcomings in the prospective MRWS process in West Cumbria, CALC does not consider the programme as currently envisaged to be credible or viable,” the association said.

i-Nuclear 24th April 2012 more >>

CALC’s position Statement: In view of the absence of clear support from parish councils and the community generally and the number of serious shortcomings in the prospective MRWS process in West Cumbria, CALC does not consider the programme as currently envisaged to be credible or viable.

CALC 23rd April 2012 more >>

56% of local and Parish Councils from Allerdale and Copeland responded to the consultation. Of those 65% said no to moving on to the next stage of the process.

CALC 23rd April 2012 more >>

The Lake District National Park Authority has given the complicit thumbs up to the plan for a geological nuclear dump. They are happy to go to the next toxic step and their concerns are not with radioactive pollution but with polluting the ‘brand’ of the Lake District. West Cumbria is effectively disowned.

Radiation Free Lakeland 23rd April 2012 more >>

Hurrah Some of the Partnership Patsys are stirring from their sleep walk along the toxic steps to a geological dump! In CALC’s view the evidence in the public domain and available for public discussion points to the conclusion that the prospects of finding a suitable site in West Cumbria are too poor to justify proceeding.

Radiation Free Lakeland 24th April 2012 more >>

New Nukes

In the space of a few weeks, Britain’s energy policy has gone into meltdown. Now, if you want this country to have a low-carbon future, vote for Nicolas Sarkozy. It’s not a pledge likely to be included in the French president’s manifesto as he begins a crucial 12 days of campaigning. Nor is it likely to sway all the voters he must attract from the far-Right Marine Le Pen if he intends to sweep past the challenge of François Hollande. But such is the nature of our open energy market that the result of the election is critical to keeping the lights on in Britain. Only Sarkozy is committed to France’s nuclear future. Hollande, for example, has pledged to close down many of the reactors that have powered France for a generation. If he is going cool at home, there is no reason he would sanction a further investment abroad. But it isn’t just the political whims abroad that threaten the nuclear programme. Even Centrica, the only British company involved, is getting cold feet. The reason is that how much it can charge for power generated by those new plants is up in the air.

London Evening Standard 24th April 2012 more >>

Sizewell

FRENCH owned power giant EDF Energy has reiterated its commitment to building a new nuclear plant on the Suffolk coast – regardless of who wins the race to the presidency in its native country. Prospective candidate François Hollande holds a narrow lead over the incumbent, Nicolas Sarkozy, following the first round of elections in France. Socialist Mr Hollande has already said that he will look to reduce his country’s reliance on nuclear energy from 75% to 50% by 2025 if he is elected. This – coupled with German owned energy companies RWE and E.ON abandoning its nuclear projects in the UK – has led some to question whether French EDF might look to pull out of its projects, which includes hopes of building two reactors on the Suffolk coast at Sizewell. But last night EDF Energy CEO Vincent de Rivaz said: “We are moving forward with our strong and credible new nuclear project, and remain committed to delivering the first new nuclear plants in the UK for 20 years.

East Anglian Daily Times 24th April 2012 more >>

Hinkley

COMMUNITIES across Bridgwater are being urged to take their “best chance” to let Government planners know the extent of traffic fears over proposals for Hinkley Point. Hundreds of people are expected to pack Bridgwater Town Hall for an open floor meeting next month when members of the public can directly address planning officials. Power giant EDF Energy wants to build a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point, and its application is being considered by the National Infrastructure Directorate.

This is the West Country 24th April 2012 more >>

Politics

In an extraordinary failure of leadership, the prime minister has backed out of making his first major green intervention. The nation’s ailing economy and energy bill payers will bear the cost. Prime minister David Cameron has at the last minute downgraded a planned “keynote speech” on the environment, trailed as a “major policy intervention”, to just five minutes of introductory “remarks”.It is an extraordinary betrayal and abject failure of leadership. Cameron pledged to lead the “greenest government ever” and was elected with photogenic huskies and a “vote blue, go green slogan”. But after two years in No 10, he has given no speech dedicated to the issue at the heart of his Tory decontamination strategy. With the dream of new nuclear power plants in the UK crumbling in the face of high costs, a deafening committment to energy efficiency and renewable energy is essential. What we get is a cancelled speech and a craven capitulation to the Daily Mail over the “conservatory tax” that never was.

Guardian 24th April 2012 more >>

Japan

The Tomari nuclear plant in Hokkaido and the Tsuruga plant in Fukui Prefecture are at risk of being surprised by earthquakes that exceed their quake-resistance specifications, a report by three utilities said Monday.

Japan Times 24th April 2012 more >>

Fukushima Update 20th – 23rd April 2012.

Greenpeace 24th April 2012 more >>

A new report on the world’s changing energy architecture from high-level policy organisation the World Economic Forum (WEF) warns Japan risks jeopardising its energy security if it turns its back on nuclear power.

World Nuclear News 24th April 2012 more >>

North Korea

North Korea’s nuclear programme has been a source of great concern for the international community for more than 20 years. The state is already believed to have conducted two underground nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009 at a site called P’unggye-yok in a remote area in the east of the country, near the town of Kilju. Multiple rounds of negotiations amid a strict sanctions regime – a process, which has been described as a game of cat and mouse – appear to have done little to curb its nuclear ambitions. North Korea’s previous tests followed rocket launches and there are concerns that the North could be preparing for a third nuclear test after April’s failed missile test.

BBC 24th April 2012 more >>

North Korea has almost completed preparations for a third nuclear test, a senior source with close ties to Pyongyang and Beijing said, an act that would draw further international condemnation following a failed rocket launch.

Reuters 24th April 2012 more >>

Independent 25th April 2012 more >>

Scotsman 25th April 2012 more >>

Pakistan

Pakistan successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable ballistic missile on Wednesday, the military said, less than a week after rival India tested a missile capable of delivering nuclear warheads as far as Beijing and Eastern Europe. Pakistan’s Shaheen-1A is an intermediate range ballistic missile, capable of reaching targets in India. Military officials declined to specify the range of the missile.

Trust.org 25th April 2012 more >>

India

Letter: You fail to mention that the NPT classifies countries into nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states on the basis of a world order almost half a century old, and seeks to cement this position for posterity. Surely you do not suggest that a country arguably more democratic than Russia, with a better human rights record than China, and more relevant than the UK and France, should accept this preordained position because she was spearheading naive concepts such as global disarmament and non-alignment when the “Big Five” were stockpiling enough nuclear weapons to destroy the planet many times over (which, conveniently, the NPT does not seek to reduce). If there is a lesson to be learnt from the NPT being weakened it is that postwar global institutions must adapt to a changing world or risk being made irrelevant – something we can ill-afford while taking our first steps in a non-unipolar world.

FT 25th April 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

April’s NIS Update includes news on cuts in numbers of police guards at the UK’s military nuclear sites and a new report analysing the future relationship between an independent Scotland and NATO. We also report on lessons from a major emergency exercise at the Atomic Weapons Establishment.

NIS 23rd April 2012 more >>

Renewables

Almost nine in 10 people want to see the government ramp up the UK’s use of clean domestic energy and reduce the country’s reliance on imported gas, a new YouGov poll reveals. Just under two-thirds of the 2,884 people questioned on behalf of campaign group Friends of the Earth listed wind, wave, solar or tidal as power sources they wanted to see playing a greater role in the UK’s electricity mix over the next decade, while just 2% backed an increase in gas capacity. The survey is the latest to signal strong public backing for renewable energy, following Sunday’s YouGov poll for Scottish Renewables that found 71% of Scots supported wind power, and a separate Ipsos MORI survey last week that reported 67% of respondents were in favour of using more wind power.

Guardian 23rd April 2012 more >>

Posted: 25 April 2012

24 April 2012

Centrica

Plans to usher in a new era of nuclear energy by building the country’s first reactor for 20 years in Somerset have been cast into doubt amid concerns over the Government’s energy policy. Centrica – formerly British Gas – has threatened to pull out of a joint agreement with French company EDF Energy to construct the Hinkley Point C twin reactor. Executives at Centrica, which holds a 20 per cent stake in the project, have warned Whitehall officials that the plan hangs by a thread and could be scrapped without assurances on the future price of nuclear-generated electricity.

This is Gloucestershire 23rd April 2012 more >>

“Our position on nuclear new-build has not changed and we are still working towards taking a final investment decision on Hinkley Point by the end of the year,” a Centrica spokesman said, responding to press reports over the weekend that the company could withdraw from its project to build a new nuclear power plant with EDF Energy at Hinkley Point in Somerset. There are a number of areas where we still need absolute clarity, such as cost, market framework and planning approval and permits,” he added.

Platts 23rd April 2012 more >>

Energy Bill

Christopher Pincher MP: Last week Centrica signalled that it may withdraw from its joint venture to build a new fleet of nuclear power stations. The week before, RWE and E.ON announced that they are not proceeding with their plans to rebuild the Wylfa station on Anglesey. With all but one of our nuclear stations due to shut down by 2023, the long term future of the nuclear industry in Britain is now in doubt. If that is not a wake-up call to government, then set alongside the closure of up to one third of our coal-fired stations by 2015 in order to meet our carbon reduction targets, and the failure of CCS to take off at Longannet, this latest news should set alarm bells ringing in Whitehall. There is already a growing recognition that on-shore wind does not provide a free passport to clean energy. Fundamentally, nuclear investors must be given certainty. Certainty that an Energy Bill will be a centre-piece of the Queen’s Speech and will be introduced quickly; certainty the contracts issued for clean energy like nuclear will be long term; certainty that those contracts will offer a reasonable rate of return; certainty that the post-Fukushima security review will not lead to unsustainable construction costs in a country where the industry has one of the best safety records in the world.

Conservative Home 24th April 2012 more >>

Radwaste

Director of GeneWatch Dr Helen Wallace will be in Kendal next month to give a free lecture at Kendal Museum, part of the Rock Solid? Expo art and events exploring the government plan to try to contain nuclear wastes in Cumbrian geology. The exhibition and events have taken their name from ‘Rock Solid?’ a scientific report written by Dr Wallace (PDF link), an overview of the status of research and scientific evidence regarding the underground disposal of highly radioactive wastes, which in Cumbria would in all probablity include the disposal of waste from the Heysham power stations.

Virtual Lancaster 23rd April 2012 more >>

Dounreay

Nuclear Engineering Services (NES) has completed installation of flask leak test equipment (FLTE) at the Dounreay fast reactor facility in Scotland. The contract has been delivered for Dounreay Site Restoration, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Babcock Dounreay Partnership, a consortium of Babcock International Group, CH2MHILL and URS.

Energy Business Review 24th April 2012 more >>

EDF Energy

HARTLEPOOL’S nuclear station will be helping to power the Olympic Games. Eighty per cent of the low carbon electricity sourced to supply the Games will come from EDF Energy’s existing nuclear fleet, including Hartlepool. The rest will come from renewable energy. EDF is an official partner of London 2012 and the company’s chief executive Vincent de Rivaz said: “I’m very proud that we will be powering London 2012 with a supply package that is backed by nuclear and renewable electricity.”

Hartlepool Mail 23rd April 2012 more >>

Politics

Executives from big energy companies are set to be called in front of an influential committee of MPs amid concerns that Britain’s “nuclear renaissance” is under threat. Eon and RWE, the German utilities, announced last month they were selling their Horizon joint venture to build nuclear reactors in Britain, in part because of financial difficulties caused by Germany’s retreat from atomic power after the Fukushima disaster in Japan. The FT reported on Saturday that Centrica has also threatened to pull out of a separate consortium with EDF Energy due to uncertainty over the government’s energy policy. Tim Yeo, chairman of the energy select committee, said it was ominous that no buyer had come forward to purchase Horizon. He also warned he was “very alarmed” by the threat of withdrawal from Centrica, which is planning a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset in a joint venture with EDF Energy. Senior figures from the four companies as well as Charles Hendry, energy minister, are expected to be called to give evidence after the committee has met on Tuesday. Mr Yeo warned that the electoral success of François Hollande, the Socialist challenger who won the first round of the French presidential election on Sunday, was a “risk factor” for Britain’s nuclear programme given his aim of reducing the share of atomic energy in France. EDF is majority-owned by the French state.

FT 23rd April 2012 more >>

Bernard Jenkin, the Conservative MP who chairs the Public Administration committee, said: “There is a failure in this government to think strategically.” Mr Jenkin mentioned problems that have hampered ministers in the past few years that his committee thought could have been avoided by better long-term planning. “We’ve had unrealistic objectives on renewables, chaos in nuclear power.”

FT 23rd April 2012 more >>

Submarines

The commander of the Royal Navy’s newest nuclear-powered submarine was taking a shower minutes before it ran aground, an official inquiry has concluded. The 24-page report says Commander Andy Coles was spotted returning to his cabin as HMS Astute, the UK’s most advanced hunter-killer sub, headed into a sandbank. The embarrassing detail is included in the inquiry which found that a catalogue of errors contributed to the beaching of the £1billion submarine off the west coast of Scotland on October 22, 2010.

Daily Mail 24th April 2012 more >>

The Bee 24th April 2012 more >>

STV 23rd April 2012 more >>

The nuclear reactor which drives the propulsion system is roughly the size of a dustbin but will last the 30-year life of the boat without needing to be replaced. But there are some other big numbers to bear in mind – the first three Astute class submarines (HMS Astute, Ambush and Artful) cost the Government £3.8bn, according to last year’s National Audit Office report, compared with an initial contract for £2.58bn. That report also showed the project was 47 months late, with an original in-service date for Astute of May 2005.

Telegraph 23rd April 2012 more >>

North Korea

North Korea has almost completed preparations for a third nuclear test and has the capacity to carry it out “soon,” a senior source with close ties to Pyongyang and Beijing told Reuters.

Reuters 24th April 2012 more >>

Obituary

George Cowan, who died on 20 April aged 92, was a chemist who influenced everything from the Manhattan Project and the hunt for evidence of the Soviet Union’s first nuclear tests to the Santa Fe Opera. After graduate studies at Princeton, Cowan continued his nuclear research as part of the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb. Cowan was a troubleshooter for the effort at various research sites around the country and was among the few people who had knowledge of the bomb’s separate components.

Independent 24th April 2012 more >>

Renewables

The renewable energy industry supports 110,000 jobs in the UK and could support 400,000 by 2020, a report says. The Renewable Energy Association (REA) and consultants Innovas conclude that the industry is worth £12.5bn per year to the UK economy. Last week the European Commission said low-carbon generation and energy efficiency could generate five million jobs across the EU by 2020. The report follows two opinion polls showing public support for renewables.

BBC 23rd April 2012 more >>

Fracking

Caroline Lucas MP: The UK is the richest country in Europe in renewable energy potential, but the new focus on gas threatens to displace investment in those renewables, making it even harder to achieve our targets and nurture this jobs-rich sector. A number of studies have shown the overall climate impact of shale gas to be as great as that of coal. If carbon capture and storage technology is not in place, burning just 20% of the gas which Cuadrilla claims to have found in its licence area in Lancashire would generate 15% of the UK’s total CO2 allowance to 2050. And despite claims from gas lobbyists that shale gas will bring down energy bills, we know from Ofgem and DECC that recent energy bill rises resulted mainly from high gas prices. Analysis by Deutsche Bank concludes that the impact of shale on bills would actually be low.

Guardian 23rd April 2012 more >>

Cllr Audrey Doig: Where is the coherence in UK government energy policy? You have recently published three important energy policy articles that show the extensive confusion there is with the government’s energy policy. Late last week you reported that the proposed “green deal’ for the promised renewable energy and energy efficiency revolution is under threat of being shelved. Then you reported that the proposed new nuclear build utility for Sellafield, GDF Suez, is threatening to pull out of the project unless the government effectively gives it more price guarantees (at taxpayers’ expense, I’ve no doubt). And finally you reported that the highly dubious and environmentally risky shale gas experiments will get the green light, despite, as you accurately report, scores of alarming issues like mini-earthquakes, water contamination and damaged natural landscapes. It doesn’t make me feel confident that there is a coherent energy policy in the UK? What is clear to me is that the only safe, sustainable, clean, job-friendly and environmentally sound energy policy must be the development of a wide UK renewable energy mix, enhanced commitment to energy efficiency and microgeneration projects, coupled with international co-operation to create a European renewable super-grid . I urge the government to hold a strategic energy review as a matter of urgency and bring environmental common sense into its policy, rather than short-term economic expediency.

Guardian 23rd April 2012 more >>

Posted: 24 April 2012

23 April 2012

Centrica

Plans to usher in a new era of nuclear energy by building the country’s first reactor for 20 years in Somerset have been cast into doubt amid concerns over the Government’s energy policy. Centrica – formerly British Gas – has threatened to pull out of a joint agreement with French company EDF Energy to construct the Hinkley Point C twin reactor.

Western Daily Press 23rd April 2012 more >>

Centrica, the only UK company in the running to build a new generation of atomic power plants in the UK, said it could scrap its plans because of uncertainty over the government’s energy policy, the Financial Times reported Sunday. “Nuclear power stations cost GBP6 billion each and we must know what the return is going to be on that kind of investment,” a person close to the company told the Financial Times. “If we don’t get the right answers, we won’t proceed.”

Dow Jones 22nd April 2012 more >>

Companies

A swath of US firms are preparing to bid to oversee the multibillion-pound decommissioning of 10 obsolete Magnox reactor-powered nuclear stations, angering unions that want the work to go to British outfits. The programme management role to look after some or all of the decommissioning, which includes Hinkley Point A in Somerset and Bradwell in Essex, is expected to go out to tender next year. Currently the sites are being run by Magnox Ltd, a company owned by Salt Lake City-based EnergySolutions. The reactors are being decommissioned ahead of the nuclear new-build programme and will be lucrative, with costs of at least £1bn a site expected. The US giants Bechtel, URS and Jacobs are understood to be mulling bids. Another, Fluor, is believed to have started putting a consortium together, while EnergySolutions could also bid, having already done the preparatory work.

Independent 23rd April 2012 more >>

Horizon

The German energy giants RWE and E.on are preparing to sell Horizon, which has proposed stations in South Gloucestershire and North Wales, after announcing they could no longer afford to participate. It is understood that they interviewed Rothschild, HSBC, KPMG and Nomura last week over the mandate to run an auction process. There is expected to be a lot of interest in the business, which could fetch around £250m.

Independent 23rd April 2012 more >>

Japan

Bob Alvazrez: Spent reactor fuel, containing roughly 85 times more long-lived radioactivity than released at Chernobyl, still sits in pools vulnerable to earthquakes. More than a year after the Fukushima nuclear power disaster began, the news media is just beginning to grasp that the dangers to Japan and the rest of the world are far from over. After repeated warnings by former senior Japanese officials, nuclear experts, and now a U.S. Senator, it’s sinking in that the irradiated nuclear fuel stored in spent fuel pools amidst the reactor ruins pose far greater dangers than the molten cores. Despite the enormous destruction from the earthquake and tsunami, little attention was paid to the fact that the nine dry spent fuel casks at the Fukushima Da-Ichi site were unscathed. This is an important lesson we cannot afford to ignore.

Huffington Post 22nd April 2012 more >>

Widely criticised for his handling of the March disaster, Mr Kan has nevertheless been hailed for his decision to confront plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) and stop it abandoning its six reactors and seven lethal nuclear fuel pools. “It is for history to evaluate what took place, but as Prime Minister I just did what I could,” he said in his first interview with a British newspaper since stepping down last year after turning against nuclear power.

Independent 23rd April 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

The furore in the letters pages of Scotland’s newspapers that has predictably followed the revelation that the SNP is to debate the issue of membership (or not) of Nato at its National Council gathering in June is tired, inflated and reactionary. Accusations of yet another Salmond U-turn are being bandied about as evidence of the SNP’s ability to sway with the wind as long as it brings the party votes in a referendum – but, frankly, it rings a little hollow on this particular issue. The SNP’s attitude to Nato was formed during its many years in opposition. Years when it could pick away at the scab of Britishness, years when it could seethe at Scotland not having a seat at the top table [on anything] and years away from getting within sniffing distance of independence. It was easy to be against something when you weren’t part of it, but the SNP’s opposition to the fundamental principle of Nato as a nuclear alliance was a genuine, heartfelt belief against Trident and was right for its time. However, seeking to create a real, live independent state is a very different ball game from playing fantasy politics from the back benches; and it is one in which the strategic position of Scotland and the strategic interests of others has to be taken into account.

Holyrood Magazine 23rd April 2012 more >>

Renewables

A worrying slowdown of investment in renewables means that Britain is on course to miss its 2020 green energy generation commitments by as much as 15 per cent, according to research. A report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance has found a deep divide between Britain’s six big energy companies. While all have talked a good green game, analysis of their investment shows that while SSE, ScottishPower and RWE npower are living up to their promises, the British Gas group Centrica is lagging far behind. Britain has made a commitment to source 30 per cent of its generated electricity from renewable sources by 2020. The research, commissioned by Greenpeace, indicates that at present rates of investment the UK will fall far short of this. The report says that investment in the past decade was encouraging — with wind farms sprouting up off the English and Welsh coasts and on the Scottish moors, while families and industry have embraced solar panels — but has tailed off.

Times 23rd April 2012 more >>

Asia’s mightiest solar power farm has been switched on in the Indian desert state of Gujarat. It is part of a drive to transform the region into one of the world’s leading green energy producers and to provide electricity to some of the 400 million people who still have no access to it. The Gujarat Solar Park, which spans a remote 3,000 acres near the border with Pakistan, started generating 214 megawatts of electricity, sufficient to power 90,000 British households, over the weekend. The huge array of solar panels outstrips China’s 200MW Golmud Solar Park as the biggest in Asia. An official said that eventually the facility would reach a capacity of 1,000MW, bigger than any other single existing solar power plant in the world.

Times 23rd April 2012 more >>

At the moment most wind turbines in the UK are onshore or in shallow water near the coast, often in areas of outstanding natural beauty, causing mass protests. Unlike fixed offshore wind turbines, floating turbines can be installed in water more than 100m deep, where wind speeds are consistently higher. They are anchored to the sea bed with cables rather than concrete and can survive storms by moving with the waves in the same way as a ship. Most importantly they can be towed into port for repairs, making them more viable for the wild and windy coast off the north of the UK. The new technology could also be installed off the coast of North America and the Iberian Peninsula. Already floating turbines are being tested off the coast of Norway. The UK has a third of Europe’s offshore wind potential and by 2020 the Crown Estate hope to develop offshore sites in deeper water. Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, said floating wind turbines could help the UK meet ambitious targets to cut carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

Telegraph 23rd April 2012 more >>

Britain and the U.S. said they’d fund work on offshore wind generation technologies that work in waters as much as 500 feet deep, a measure aimed at opening vast new areas of ocean to development.

Bloomberg 22nd April 2012 more >>

Friends of the Earth’s “clean British energy” campaign – launched to urge the Government to stop the big six energy companies locking the UK into dependence on imported fossil fuels and to drive forward renewables – is backed by TV “dragon” Deborah Meaden. The Dragons’ Den star said: “Gas, coal and nuclear are the technologies of the past. Our country has the skills and the talent to be world-beaters in the renewable energy technologies of right now.” Friends of the Earth’s director of policy and campaigns Craig Bennett said: “The public has given a clear vote of confidence to clean British energy from our wind, sun and sea – it makes no sense for the Government to pursue an unwanted, costly dash for gas that’s causing our fuel bills to rocket.”

PA 23rd April 2012 more >>

Posted: 23 April 2012

22 April 2012

Hinkley

Plans to expand Hinkley Point nuclear power station near Burnham-On-Sea have been thrown into doubt, according to a report in the Financial Times. The paper says that power company Centrica, which owns British Gas, is threatening to abandon its investment in the scheme.

Burnham-on-sea.com 21st April 2012 more >>

Cumbria

The need to drive for more progress was the message at a major west Cumbrian conference. The West Cumbria Nuclear Futures event, at the Energus Centre in Lillyhall yesterday, saw some of the nuclear industry’s leading figures, union officials and community leaders. Among them was Copeland MP Jamie Reed who delivered a hard-hitting speech over what he sees as delays in delivering the area’s anticipated nuclear benefits. Mr Reed said: “There is no cavalry coming to help us – it is down to us. The truth is we are the people we have been waiting for. If we do not act now we will become architects of our own destruction.

Cumberland News 21st April2012 more >>

Sizewell

A group of anti-nuclear campaigners will gather at Sizewell in Suffolk to commemorate the anniversary this week of the Chernobyl disaster. The nuclear power plant disaster took place on the 26th April 1986 in northern Ukraine. The campaigners will gather at a camp on the beach by the power station in Suffolk and hold a remembrance event on Sunday afternoon. Sizewell has seen a number of protests since it was named by the government as a possible site for a new nuclear plant.

ITV Anglia 21st April 2012 more >>

Politics

Geoffrey Lean: David Cameron pledged to run “the greenest government ever”. It was “a very simple ambition and one that I’m absolutely committed to achieving”. This Thursday will show if he’s as good as his word, as he makes his first speech on the environment as Prime Minister since that brief address at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The occasion has been planned for some time, to restore the Government’s fading green reputation; this is perhaps Mr Cameron’s last chance to ensure his two-year-old promise is realised. Last month, the Chancellor bounced Ed Davey, the inexperienced new Energy Secretary, into setting emission standards for gas power stations that are likely to nullify Britain’s greenhouse gas targets. A third runway at Heathrow, ruled out when the Coalition took office, is now getting a hearing. And this week, Downing Street briefed against the “conservatory tax” – which doesn’t affect conservatories, and would actually make householders better off – that is designed to make the Green Deal effective. All this has deterred the very growth the Prime Minister promised, since green industries – though one of the fastest-growing sectors of the economy – are particularly vulnerable to political uncertainty. Many have deferred investment. And, just this week, a Korean firm scrapped plans for offshore wind turbine factories that would have created 1,700 jobs.

Telegraph 20th April 2012 more >>

New Nukes

Geoffrey Lean: Who’d have thought it? All five leading candidates in the French election, apart from Nicolas Sarkozy, want to scale back or reassess the country’s commitment to nuclear power. It’s one more sign of the retreat from the atom that I have been banging on about for many months – which could well endanger our own nuclear plans. François Hollande, the favourite, is the most sceptical of all, pledging to close 24 of 58 reactors. Things are even more critical in Japan – almost as enthusiastic as France, until the Fukushima disaster. The only two reactors still operating are set to go offline soon, leaving it with no nuclear power for the first time in over 40 years. Even here in Britain, where the Government remains keen, things have taken a marked turn for the worse. Last month, the German utilities E.ON and RWE pulled out of building nuclear plants in Wales and Gloucestershire. Last week, GDF Suez effectively threatened to abandon its plan to construct one at Sellafield. And ratings agency Moody’s has hinted that it could downgrade the members of the remaining nuclear construction consortium, EDF and Centrica, if they proceed. EDF, as a French nationalised company, is relatively inured against financial pressures, but vulnerable to political ones. So a Hollande win could be the final straw. Britain’s energy policy, too, is being cast into doubt by those French votes.

Telegraph 20th April 2012 more >>

Renewables

The UK is set to miss its renewable energy targets by a wide margin – a failure that could result in billions of pounds being added to energy bills as we rely increasingly on imported gas, according to a new study. Only 3% of the UK’s energy currently comes from renewable sources, such as sun and wind, compared with a European average of 12%, despite a series of high-profile government policies aimed at increasing that percentage. Britain is committed to producing 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 – but campaigners say that the government currently has no prospect of achieving that target. The evidence that the UK is falling behind will embarrass David Cameron as he hosts a two-day international meeting on renewables, the Clean Energy Ministerial, beginning in London on Wednesday. Energy ministers from the world’s 20 biggest economies will be at the event, where they will discuss strategies for co-operating on developing low-carbon emission technology and policy. Meanwhile, green campaigners attacked government plans for a new “dash for gas”, which could see a host of gas-fired power stations built across the country that green groups have warned will lock in fossil-fuel infrastructure for decades.

Guardian 21st April 2012 more >>

Louise Wilson is one of three founders of Abundance Generation, which she describes as being like a building society for low-carbon technology. The firm is the first of its kind, and aims to bridge the gap between the average citizen and the renewable projects sprouting up all over the country by allowing anyone to invest as little as £5 in new ventures. Wilson argues that Abundance provides an alternative to savings accounts and funds that often offer no more than an abstract concept of where your money is going and what the return might be.

Sunday Times 22nd April 2012 more >>

SOLAR Electricity Systems is branching into other forms of energy generation for the home following soaring sales during the Glasgow-based company’s second year of trading. The firm, which has installed 32,000 solar panels on 1,800 houses across Scotland, has signed a deal with boiler specialist Vokera to supply thermal panels used to heat water. It is expected to be the first in a series of agreements to extend the firm’s offering beyond its core business of installing solar panels which generate domestic electricity.

Scotland on Sunday 22nd April 2012 more >>

Posted: 22 April 2012

21 April 2012

Centrica

The only British company in the running to build a new generation of atomic power plants has threatened to pull out due to uncertainty over the government’s energy policy – a move that could imperil the country’s nuclear renaissance. Executives at Centrica, which is planning to build a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset in a joint venture with EDF Energy, have warned Whitehall officials that the plan hangs by a thread and could be scrapped if the company does not receive assurances about the future price of nuclear-generated electricity. A decision by Centrica to pull out would also present a dilemma for EDF Energy, subsidiary of the French state-run electricity group EDF, which would have to decide whether to shoulder the huge costs of building nuclear plants in the UK on its own or seek another partner. Some of the government’s reforms, which were first unveiled in a white paper last summer, will be set out in next month’s Queen’s Speech. One element is long-term contracts that would guarantee a steady rate of return over the lifetime of a new plant – so-called “contracts for difference”.

FT 20th April 2012 more >>

David Cameron is to make a keynote speech on Thursday at Lancaster House, telling an august group of 23 international energy ministers that the coalition is committed to a “green” future in which Britain no longer relies on fossil fuels. But the prime minister’s vision will be undermined by Centrica’s warning on Saturday that it could pull out of its joint venture to build nuclear plants in the UK. Greenpeace – the environmental group which campaigns against nuclear power – called on the government to “urgently deliver a Plan B” involving more renewable energy. “Despite successive governments bending over backwards to make the business case stack up, the nuclear dream is failing,” said John Sauven, its executive director.

FT 20th April 2012 more >>

Centrica is willing to walk away from building new power stations in Britain because of uncertainty over the Government’s energy policy. The group is the only British company in the running to build a new generation of nuclear power plants but will not proceed unless it is guaranteed an acceptable price for the electricity that they would produce. Centrica, which plans to build a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset in a joint venture with EDF Energy, has told government officials that it would be difficult to make such a big investment without being confident of the returns it would bring. The plants are expected to cost more than £6 billion each. The Government has said that it would guarantee long-term prices for electricity from certain sources, which could include nuclear, in order to encourage investment. A move to support new nuclear facilities by guaranteeing high prices would be criticised by anti-nuclear campaigners, who would view the arrangement as a subsidy through bills.

Times 21st April 2012 more >>

Nuclear Subsidies

Ed Davey: Liberal Democrats were at pains in the negotiations for the coalition to insist that if nuclear power stations were to be built in the UK that there should be no public subsidy. This position was reiterated by Chris Huhne in a statement to the House of Commons on October 18th 2010 as reported in his article on Lib Dem Voice. So I would like to allay Fiona Hall concerns expressed on Lib Dem Voice yesterday by clarifying that there has been absolutely no change in this position.

Lib Dem Voive 20th April 2012 more >>

Ministers are planning to subsidise nuclear power through electricity bills – despite their promises not to, a secret document seen by the Guardian reveals. The leaked document clearly lays out plans to use “contracts for difference” for nuclear energy, which would allow nuclear operators to reap higher prices for their energy than fossil fuel power stations. The plans will further inflame rows over energy policy and cause a political furore for the Liberal Democrats, who fought the general election firmly opposing an expansion of nuclear power. Fiona Hall, leader of the Lib Dem group in the European parliament with a special interest in energy, said she now had no doubt that the contract for difference was a subsidy. “Industry on all sides believe this is a subsidy.” She wants the UK court of auditors as well as the European commission to give a legal ruling on the issue and believes any subsidy runs against the coalition agreement. In a blog posted on the Liberal Democrat Voice website she calls on fellow party members to “speak out” against nuclear subsidies. The Guardian has also seen a presentation made by Scottish & Southern Energy to MPs last month, saying the plans contain “hidden subsidies”, will be open to challenge on legal grounds, and could “mess up” funding for renewables.

Guardian 20th April 2012 more >>

A Government submission to the European Commission shows that subsidies introduced as part of electricity market reform will help not only renewables such as wind and solar power but all “low-carbon technology”, which includes nuclear. By failing to single out renewable energies the Government is effectively allowing the nuclear industry to claim the same sort of public help. “Both parties went into the election saying no subsidy for nuclear but that’s exactly what this is,” said Greenpeace. “It is OK to give developing technologies such as renewables support but nuclear is a mature technology that does not deserve a subsidy. They have had 60 years of development why should they continue to get bill payers’ money?”

Telegraph 21st April 2012 more >>

All mainstream political parties have committed to not providing public subsidy for nuclear power. But energy companies will not build them without a hefty subsidy. So instead of taking full advantage of the UK’s excellent potential for renewable energy and investing in energy efficiency, ministers have been looking at how to transfer the spiralling cost of delivering nuclear power to taxpayers and consumers. This may be illegal under European law. And one of the energy companies has warned that it risks damaging investment in renewable energy. But despite the government’s best efforts, the nuclear dream is fast turning into a nightmare. It’s time for energy secretary Ed Davey to admit that the government’s nuclear dream is failing. He’s now faced with a future of more imported gas, higher energy bills and higher greenhouse gas emissions. That would be unpopular with bill payers and bad for efforts to curb climate change. The government could ditch nuclear, reign back on gas and start taking advantage of the UK’s potential for investment in clean, renewable energy. They could put large scale energy efficiency, as well as renewable energy, at the heart of this year’s electricity market reforms. It’s not too late for a plan B, but time is running out. Ed Davey needs to step up and deliver.

Greenpeace 20th April 2012 more >>

New Nukes

The fourth in a series of Briefings, written by Tony Juniper, Jonathon Porritt and Charles Secrett and me, is released today. The fourth Briefing, The Wider Economic Impacts of Nuclear Power, can be downloaded here, and focusses on: Costs; the European Single Market; Carbon Leakage; Impact on the UK Jobs Market; Job Generation.

Tom Burke 19th April 2012 more >>

The consultative planning process employed in many Western countries may be acting to slow down the progress and increase the costs of large-scale developments, even when they are in the wider national interest.

Nuclear Engineering International 20th April 2012 more >>

The Government should take a bigger role in ensuring Britain’s planned new nuclear power stations go ahead, a trade union has said. The GMB has called for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) – the public sector body in charge of cleaning up former nuclear sites – to be renamed the Nuclear Development Authority and asked to lead the companies behind plans for a new fleet of reactors. The call comes following the withdrawal of German energy giants RWE and E.ON from the Horizon consortium which plans to build a new power station in Wales.

Cumberland News 20th April 2012 more >>

SMR

Westinghouse has entered into an agreement with Missouri-based utility Ameren Missouri to jointly solicit US Department of Energy funding to license and build the Westinghouse SMR at the Callaway nuclear power plant site in Missouri. The Westinghouse SMR is a 225-MWe integral pressurized water reactor (PWR), with all primary components located inside of the reactor vessel. It utilizes passive safety systems and modular construction techniques. The DOE issued a “funding opportunity announcement” March 22 noting the availability of investment funds of up to $452 million to develop small, modular reactors or SMRs. The DOE plans to consider SMR applications that incorporate passive safety features and that can be licensed expeditiously, achieving a commercial operation date on a US domestic site by 2022.

i-Nuclear 20th April 2012 more >>

Hinkley

The leader of Sedgemoor District Council has thanked Bridgwater Town Council for helping to meet its legal costs over plans to build a £10bn nuclear power station. The district council approved an outline document yesterday (Thursday), which the will form the basis of a final document to be jointly submitted with West Somerset Council and Somerset CC next month. The local impact report will examine plans by the French energy giant EDF to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point.

Local Gov 20th April 2012 more >>

Wylfa

I CAN’T be the only resident of North Wales that feels a sense of unease that the Russian state nuclear authority is seeking to build a power station at Wylfa. The good citizens of Ynys Môn have already experienced one meltdown when their local council suffered a level seven systems failure. As a result, the Welsh Government had to scramble an emergency team in order to decontaminate decision making at Llangefni. An exclusion zone is still in place around the island’s ballot boxes. The sight of Russians wielding modified engineering drawings is hardly going to help public confidence in the future of the island. After all, before the Soviet nuclear authority got involved, Chernobyl was a sleepy backwater known only to students of Ukrainian railways.

Liverpool Daily Post 20th April 2012 more >>

Radwaste

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) has published its latest policy briefing. It outlines initial concerns over the decision to start moving by road and sea radioactively contaminated heat exchangers from the decommissioned former Magnox reactor at Berkeley, Gloucestershire to a site in Nykoping, Sweden for decontamination and recycling.

NFLA Press Release 17th April 2012 more >>

Supply Chain

The quality of concrete in a nuclear plant is crucial. Building a new generation of nuclear reactors in the UK will require a specialist approach to concrete and careful consideration of supplying material to manage project risks.

Construction Index 20th April 2012 more >>

Energy Costs

Labour is considering organising the bulk purchase of cheap electricity to sell at a discount in a move designed to help squeezed households and show that the party is focused on more than just winning elections, Ed Miliband has told the Guardian. The initiative is being studied by the Labour leader after being urged on the party by the American community activist Arnie Graf, who is advising him on how to revitalise the party’s culture. Miliband said: “It is an outstanding idea. It might involve working with, or emulating what [the activist organisation] 38 degrees and Which? magazine are trying to do, which is to sign up people to bulk buy energy from the energy companies.

Guardian 20th April 2012 more >>

Japan

Fukushima update 17th to 19th April.

Greenpeace International 20th April 2012 more >>

Japan is set to have no nuclear power within weeks for the first time in over 40 years following last year’s crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which crushed public trust in nuclear power and prevented the restart of reactors shut for regular maintenance checks. The poll, taken alongside the monthly Reuters Tankan company sentiment survey, showed only 15 per cent of firms want an early restart for idled reactors, while 72 per cent said safety should be the key priority – despite the impact the loss of power could have on their businesses.

Engineering & Technology 20th April 2012 more >>

France

French power group Electricite de France SA (EDF.FR) may have to wait as much as three months before it can restart one of its French nuclear reactors that was halted after a fire occurred at its Penly plant, in Northern France, French business daily Les Echos reports Friday.

Dow Jones 20th April 2012 more >>

Greece

Greece’s plan to dig its way out of its financial hole by becoming Europe’s solar ‘powerhouse’ may be starting to work. Global photovoltaics developer SDL Solar plans to design and build 23 MW of utility-scale solar photovoltaic plants in Greece as part of a wider plan to develop 100 MW of solar capacity across the country. SDL Solar says it has “very large plans” for the Greek solar market and is working on three initial projects as a “pilot for the implementation of a much larger portfolio”.

Energy Efficiency News 20th April 2012 more >>

Israel

Letter: Amid all the talk of Iran is aiming to equip itself with nuclear weapons (Report, 14 April), it seems too often ignored that the one Middle East country that indisputably has nuclear weapons is Israel. The person who, in 1986, produced the conclusive evidence for Israel having these weapons was Mordechai Vanunu. For this “crime” he has suffered 26 years loss of freedom: 18 years in prison – 12 of these in solitary confinement – followed by eight years of being forced to live in Israel against his wishes, under stringent limitations on his freedom of movement, speech and association. If an Iranian scientist came forward with firm evidence that Iran was secretly equipping itself with nuclear weapons this would be regarded as a brave act worthy of praise not punishment; surely Mordechai’s identical action in relation to Israel’s nuclear weapons should be regarded in a similar light?

Guardian 20th April 2012 more >>

Jeremy Corbyn MP: Last Tuesday I asked the foreign secretary about progress towards the establishment of a nuclear weapons-free Middle East, as a vital component of ensuring peace in the region. The reply was: “We have no chance of achieving a nuclear-free Middle East as long as Iran persists in a programme that the world suspects is a nuclear military programme.” Of course, this programme – one that is ‘suspected’ by Hague, but not confirmed – is not the real stumbling block in establishing a new nuclear-free zone, but Israel’s already- existing arsenal.

Politics.co.uk 20th April 2012 more >>

Turkey

Canada’s Candu Energy, a unit of SNC-Lavalin Group, is in talks with the Turkish government to build a nuclear power plant with a 3,000 megawatt installed capacity on the Black Sea coast.

Reuters 20th April 2012 more >>

Microgeneration

This week’s Micro Power News available, as Government gets itself into a mess over the Green Deal.

Microgen Scotland 20th April 2012 more >>

Posted: 21 April 2012