News August 2012

31 August 2012

Radwaste

MOST West Cumbrian parish councils are still against any search being made in the area for a suitable site to bury highly radioactive nuclear waste. And with Cumbria County, Copeland and Allerdale Borough Councils set to make the crucial decision (on October 11), the Cumbria Association of Local Councils (CALC) is calling for the three local authorities to hold back until more is known about geology. Chairman of CALC, Copeland Tory councillor Keith Hitchen, said: “This is a key decision coming up. It’s vitally important that the decision is not rushed and that the county and borough councils have fully satisfied themselves that the proposed MRWS programme has credible foundations. “We believe there are serious gaps in the information available to the councils that must be addressed before any decision is taken. “The majority of town and parish councils in West Cumbria are unconvinced about the current approach to the programme.

Whitehaven News 30th Aug 2012 more >>

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are planning a trip to the Lake District. Perhaps they will be the first celebrities to take a stand opposing the mutation of the Lake District …. to the Nuke District ? The Lake District could do with some heroes to stop the government plan for the heart being ripped out of our wonderfully diverse geology and replaced with ever increasing quantities of high level nuclear wastes.

Radiation Free Lakeland 30th Aug 2012 more >>

Steven Quas is among the Buttermere and Loweswater residents who have arranged Thursday’s meeting for 6.30pm, with the talk due to start at 7pm and last an hour before questions are invited. Mr Quas said it was initially planned to be by invitation only, aimed at local councillors and business people and non-government organisations, but had since been opened up to the public because of the interest it had generated. Speakers: Professor David Smythe; Professor Stuart Haszeldine; Professor Andy Blowers; Thursday 6th Sept at 7pm The Eco Centre, Cockermouth School.

Radiation Free Lakeland 30th Aug 2012 more >>

Hinkley

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) will hold a forum for communities neighbouring existing and proposed nuclear power station sites in Somerset on Wednesday 26 September. The forum will be brought up to date on the design assessment progress reports for the new EPR reactors that are planned for the Hinkley C site.

Hazard Ex 30th July 2012 more >>

Sellafield

Heavy rain and flash flooding caused havoc in Cumbria today with a train carrying workers to Sellafield nuclear plant being derailed. The two-coach passenger train, which was carrying more than 100 people, struck a landslip near Nethertown, south of Caulderton in West Cumbria, at 6.45am.

Morning Star 30th Aug 2012 more >>

Letter Tim Knowles: Much has been said and claimed regarding the benefits of the “nuclear renaissance” for West Cumbria. As things stand today, what do we really know? I suggest that besides the confirmation that Thorp will close in the relatively near future, at a cost of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of pounds lost to our economy, we have very little hard information and only a few guaranteed counterbalancing benefits. The handover of Sellafield to a multi-national consortium, costing the taxpayer vast sums (apparently including an annual £50 million management fee on top of everything else?), the parcelling up of billions of pounds worth of contracts for work at Sellafield, which again seem to end up in the hands of multi-national companies, this we know. All of it would not be so bad if there was major, demonstrable benefit or improvement, but few who know Sellafield believe that to be the case. The eye-watering overspend/delays on Evaporator D are just one example, paying hundreds of thousands of pounds each for managers whose every out-of-pocket expense is borne by us, the taxpayers, should have brought better outcomes by now. Where is the delivery of the “global centre of excellence”, the promised links to world markets, creating wealth and jobs in Copeland, that was proposed by those self-same multinationals over four years ago, when they got their potentially 17-year contract, worth tens of billions of pounds?

Whitehaven News 30th Aug 2012 more >>

Nuclear Skills

LAKES College West Cumbria will introduce another new course which will help prepare the community of West Cumbria for the exciting developments planned in the area. Starting in September, Practical and Engineering Skills for the Nuclear Industry has been designed, with industry involvement, to provide essential education and training to give engineering hopefuls a better chance of securing an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships will act as one of the primary sources of training in the energy industry, providing both essential training solutions for businesses and vital skills for the future generation. However, this also means that the demand to become an apprentice has increased and employers have greater choice when selecting an apprentice. Fear not, this does not mean that apprenticeships will be unobtainable it just means a bit more preparation is required to stand out from the masses.

Whitehaven News 29th Aug 2012 more >>

Energy Prices

Households are running out of ways to avoid being stung by higher energy bills this winter after one of the UK’s big suppliers ended its fixed deal. EDF Energy is withdrawing its dual electricity and gas tariff, which is guaranteed to be maintained until April 2014, after a last-minute stampede. A rival supplier, Scottish and Southern Energy, unexpectedly announced last week that it would raise prices by 9 per cent. Other energy companies are expected to follow soon, triggering a rush by consumers to protect themselves by signing up to cheaper fixed deals.

Times 31st Aug 2012 more >>

Iran

An Israeli attack on Iran would delay but probably not stop its nuclear programme, the most senior US military officer has claimed. General Martin Dempsey reinforced Washington’s opposition to unilateral Israel military action as he made clear that US military chiefs were equally wary of getting ensnared in Syria.

Guardian 30th Aug 2012 more >>

Iran is preparing for a possible major expansion of uranium enrichment in a fortified underground facility, a UN nuclear watchdog report showed, underlining Tehran’s defiance in the face of western pressure and the threat of an Israeli attack.

Guardian 30th Aug 2012 more >>

Iran has more than doubled its capacity to refine uranium at an underground bunker, the UN said on Thursday night as Tehran was accused of re-activating the shadowy scientist at the heart of its alleged nuclear weapons programme.

Telegraph 30th Aug 2012 more >>

A U.N. watchdog report is expected to show that Iran has expanded its potential capacity to refine uranium in an underground site by at least 30 percent since May, diplomats say, adding to Western worries over Tehran’s nuclear aims.

Reuters 30th Aug 2012 more >>

Iran has no interest in nuclear weapons, but will keep pursuing peaceful nuclear energy, its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told heads of state from developing countries in Tehran. Iran, hosting a summit of the 120-nation Non-Aligned Movement, is hoping the high-profile event will prove Western efforts to isolate and punish it economically over a disputed nuclear programme have failed.

Herald 31st Aug 2012 more >>

The UN chief and Egypt’s president launched scathing attacks on Iran’s nuclear programme and foreign policy at an international summit in Iran. The Iranians were forced to listen as Ban Ki-moon denounced them for calling for Israel’s destruction and denying the Holocaust. The West suspects Iran is seeking a nuclear weapons capability, an accusation Tehran denies.

Daily Mail 30th Aug 2012 more >>

Japan

The majority of Japanese say they want to end the country’s dependence on nuclear power, a new report says. The report, by a government panel of experts that analyzed recent polls on the country’s attitudes toward nuclear power, says the majority of the public has expressed support zero nuclear dependency because of a growing “distrust in policy-making processes on nuclear policy and anxiety over the safety of nuclear power generation,” The Daily Yomiuri newspaper reports

UPI 30th Aug 2012 more >>

The construction of huge solar power plants is under way in unused industrial complexes across Japan amid expectations that solar power may become a pillar of renewable energy sources in the aftermath of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant. Mega solar power plants require vast amounts of land to lay tens of thousands of solar panels as well as power-transmission facilities, but idled industrial complexes meet the requirements. Local government officials have long racked their brains over how to deal with such idled industrial complexes because they have become non-performing assets. The officials are promoting construction of mega solar power plants at those complexes as an engine for regional economic revival.

Mainichi 27th Aug 2012 more >>

Belgium

The restart of the 1,006MW Doel nuclear power unit 3 in Belgium has been pushed back by a further two months, according to French utility GDF Suez, which operates the unit through its Belgian subsidiary Electrabel. The unit is now forecast to go back on line on 1 December, two months later than the previous forecast. This is the second delay to the restart of the unit following the discovery of “potential cracks” in the highly pressurised bottom ring of the stainless steel cladding of the reactor vessel. The restart of the unit was pushed back on 14 August until 30 September after Belgian watchdog AFCN announced the discovery of the defects and warned other national watchdogs of the potential nuclear manufacturing fault.

Argus Media 29th Aug 2012 more >>

US

Federal regulators denied a license Thursday to the French-controlled company for a proposed third nuclear reactor at the Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant in Southern Maryland, giving the company 60 days to find a U.S. partner. At the end of those 60 days, the three judges of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board wrote, they would be forced to terminate the company’s application proceedings entirely. The decision follows warnings from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in April 2011 that UniStar Nuclear Energy, which is owned by Electricite de France, is not eligible to control the proposed $9.6 billion Calvert Cliffs 3 project under its current ownership structure. Federal law prohibits a foreign entity from completely owning or controlling a U.S. nuclear plant.

Baltimore Sun 30th Aug 2012 more >>

Renewables

Wind power in Britain is predictable enough that the grid can rely on it to help keep the lights on, despite spells of cold, calm weather, while it cuts carbon emissions significantly, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) said.

Telegraph 30th Aug 2012 more >>

Posted: 31 August 2012

30 August 2012

EMR

The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) is considering using a price band rather than a single strike price for its contract for difference (CFD) mechanism to guarantee revenues to low-carbon power projects. The CFD is a central part of the UK government’s electricity market reform, now in the legislative process, and is aimed at effectively fixing power sales prices for new nuclear power plants, offshore wind farms, biomass firing and other low-carbon generation. Decc’s plan involves the generator receiving the difference between the market price and an agreed CFD strike price if the market price is below the strike price. Should the market price rise above the strike price, the generator will pay out the difference, in a mechanism that effectively locks in the agreed strike price for the generator. Decc is to negotiate strike prices for different projects initially, before moving to a competitive process for setting them. Decc is considering setting a band rather than a strike price for projects after 2017, a department spokesman told Argus today. This would include two 1,650MW nuclear reactors that French state-controlled utility EdF is planning to build at Hinkley Point in Somerset and for which it is negotiating the CFD details with Decc. It is still unclear how such a band might work. “The bandwidth structures still have to be defined through negotiations,” EdF chief executive Henri Proglio said when answering analysts’ questions at the half-year financial results presentation on 31 July. EdF is looking for a guaranteed power sales price for its nuclear plants below £140/MWh (€177/MWh), but declined to be more precise.

Argus Media 29th Aug 2012 more >>

Supply Chain

The Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research centre gained a new member today as Edgecam signed up to support the future of the UK nuclear industry. Edgecam, the industry-standard CAD-neutral production CAM system, joined the Sheffield-based Nuclear AMRC today in order to participate in the refinement of machining capabilities for the UK’s growing civil nuclear industry.

The Manufacturer 29th Aug 2012 more >>

Proliferation

US senator Richard Lugar and former senator Sam Nunn were honoured on Wednesday for their role in helping ex-Soviet states secure and dismantle huge stocks of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The pair became the first recipients of a new prize, to be awarded every two years, to people or groups whose work prevents the proliferation of nuclear weapons and cuts the risk of their use. The two authored the Nunn-Lugar Act in 1991 which set up the Co-operative Threat Reduction Programme that is credited with helping former Soviet republics such as Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan rid their territories of nuclear weapons.

Guardian 29th Aug 2012 more >>

US

More than 10 years into the job, Bechtel National Inc. has been described as incompetent to complete the $12.2 billion nuclear waste treatment plant at Hanford, Wa., the nation’s largest radioactive waste site, according to an internal Department of Energy memo. In the Aug. 23 memo, the DOE official responsible for supervising engineering at the facility, Gary Brunson, calls for Bechtel to be immediately removed as the design agent for the novel Waste Treatment Plant (WTP), which was supposed to begin operation last year.

Forbes 29th Aug 2012 more >>

US-based Exelon will withdraw its early site permit application, for an 11,500-acre tract, which had been submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the proposed construction of a new nuclear facility in Victoria County, Texas. Low natural gas prices and economic and market conditions were cited as the reason for withdrawal.

Energy Business Review 29th Aug 2012 more >>

Japan

Japan’s government, wary of public opinion ahead of an election, is leaning toward setting a target to eliminate atomic power by 2030 – a major policy shift for an economy that had planned to boost the role of nuclear energy before the Fukushima crisis.Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is expected to call a snap election within months and with his Democratic Party’s (DPJ) ratings sagging, pressure is mounting to respond to a growing grass-roots anti-nuclear movement and surveys showing that most voters want to abandon atomic energy eventually.

Reuters 29th Aug 2012 more >>

The government said Wednesday in a draft report that public consultations on the future of nuclear power show that most people favor doing away with all reactors. In formulating a new energy policy following the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the government has held public hearings nationwide, conducted a poll and solicited comments via the Internet and through other means. People were asked their views on the degree that Japan should rely on nuclear power by 2030

Japan Times 29th Aug 2012 more >>

Iran

A United Nations report is expected to detail how Iran is continuing to expand its nuclear programme despite painful economic sanctions and the spectre of Israeli military action. Just as Iran seeks to improve its image by hosting a Non-Aligned Movement summit attended by Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, the report will show how Tehran is boosting uranium enrichment in defiance of Security Council resolutions.

Telegraph 29th Aug 2012 more >>

Guardian 29th Aug 2012 more >>

The U.N. nuclear watchdog is establishing a specialized team to inspect and investigate Iran’s nuclear program, which diplomats say is expanding despite tough Western sanctions and the threat of an Israeli attack.

Reuters 29th Aug 2012 more >>

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon met Iran’s president and supreme leader in Tehran on Wednesday to urge them to take concrete steps to prove the country’s nuclear program is peaceful and to use their influence to help end Syria’s 17-month conflict.

Trust 29th Aug 2012 more >>

India

India’s nuclear regulator has received harsh criticism from the country’s main auditing institution, in a report (available at go.nature.com/srxnu3) that will provide fresh ammunition to opponents of the construction of nuclear reactors in Kudankulam and elsewhere in India.

Nature 29th Aug 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

SCOTTISH independence could lead to “unilateral nuclear disarmament” for the rest of the UK or mean Britain’s nuclear weapons being based abroad for many years while a suitable site in England is found, a Labour MP has claimed. Ian Davidson, the Labour chairman of the Commons Scottish Affairs Committee, made the claim after the group visited Faslane yesterday, the home to the UK’s nuclear deterrent. The committee is looking at implications for the UK’s defence and its defence industry should Scotland become independent. The SNP has made clear it wants to see nuclear weapons removed from the Clyde as soon as possible should Scots back independence. Mr Davidson said: “We have been told Faslane’s facilities could be replicated at an existing English naval base but the Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Coulport is unique in the UK. It could mean that effectively the UK’s nuclear weapons will be based in a foreign country for many years. There are also of course huge cost implications of making such a transition.

Herald 30th Aug 2012 more >>

THE transatlantic treaty is committed to nuclear weapons, so it is laughable to think we could join while opposing them, writes Michael Kelly Somewhere among the proposed SNP volte-face on Nato membership, has a principled reason been unearthed? Last week in these pages George Kerevan dug deep to find it. Most of us who oppose breaking up the UK see Alex Salmond’s attempt to reverse long-standing opposition to this nuclear alliance as an attempt to remove another of the bogey men that might frighten voters into marking a “No” on the ballot paper. A pledge to quit Nato could easily be presented as leaving Scotland defenceless with no big brother to fall back on for protection. The idea of the new state being able to support its own effective army, navy and air force is already a joke worthy of winning an award at the Edinburgh Festival. So, given that Scotland alone would be unable to defend itself the SNP had to devise a policy that at least seemed credible. The obvious choice would be to strike an alliance with what remained of the UK. However, such a plan, despite being the most feasible, would make an even greater farce of independence after concessions on the Queen, monetary and fiscal policies.

Scotsman 30th Aug 2012 more >>

Renewables

Bavarian village Wildpoldsreid, with a population of about 2,600, has created a local economy that produces 321 per cent more energy than it needs, selling the excess back to the national grid at a rate of $US5.7 million annually. This little German powerhouse has utilised solar, biogas digesters, windmills, hydro power plants, and a natural wastewater system to reduce its own use and increase its energy positive output. Every hamlet, township, city, metropolis, and megalopolis can learn something from Wildpoldsreid.

Renew Economy 30th Aug 2012 more >>

A new study into the efficiency and reliability of wind farms has concluded that a campaign against them by Conservative backbenchers and others is not supported by the evidence. The report, from the left-leaning thinktank IPPR in association with the leading energy consultancy GL Garrad Hassan, concludes there is no technical reason why turbines should not be supported. Reg Platt, an IPPR fellow, said government and local communities were right to scrutinise costs and planning issues, but that the report showed “unequivocally that wind power can significantly reduce carbon emissions, is reliable, poses no threat to energy security and is technically capable of providing a significant proportion of the UK’s electricity with minimal impact on the existing operation of the grid”. Claims to the contrary are not supported by the evidence, said Platt, who pointed out that the study had been peer-reviewed by Nick Davis, the head of the Institute of Energy at Cardiff University.

Guardian 29th Aug 2012 more >>

The UK renewable energy sector remains beset by concerns over policy clarity and the central role some ministers are planning for gas power, according to Ernst & Young’s latest quarterly report on the most attractive markets globally for clean energy investment. the consultancy giant warns the consensus across the industry is that the Draft Energy Bill in particular has failed to deliver the promised stability, due to the omission of both much-needed details on the new “contract for difference” feed-in tariff mechanism designed to replace the current ROC banding scheme and a commitment to decarbonise the UK’s electricity supply by 2030 in line with the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendations. The potential for greater cuts to the new ROC bandings for wind, following a review of costs later this year, has also spooked the industry, the report says, while government infighting over Chancellor George Osborne’s apparent desire to make the UK a “gas hub” has created even greater uncertainty.

Business Green 29th Aug 2012 more >>

Posted: 30 August 2012

29 August 2012

Radwaste

Engineering and technology company Frazer-Nash has secured a framework contract with the Environment Agency as part of its quality checking activities for radiological waste. Working as part of a consortium of other companies led by the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), Frazer-Nash will be putting forward a team of experienced and independent environmental auditors to support the Environment Agency in their regulation of radiological waste producers’ sites in England and Wales. Frazer-Nash’s audit work will include risk and compliance auditing – evaluating the processes used in consigning low-level waste for treatment and disposal. The company offers a package of skills that can assist the Environment Agency’s reviews of current processes and procedures for managing the waste to ensure they are adequate and comply with the necessary national regulations. The wider consortium offers the Environment Agency a flexible and efficient service for completing waste quality checking and draws on expertise from across industry. The Environment Agency was impressed with the complimentary skills that exist in the consortium that will provide the organisation with the facilities, equipment and skills to achieve the level of knowledge and authoritative advice required.

Process & Control Today 28th Aug 2012 more >>

France

The Green party, which has two ministers in the Socialist-led government, was taken aback after the minister for industrial recovery, Arnaud Montebourg, described nuclear power as an “industry of the future”, seeming to cast doubt on a commitment to shut power stations and reduce France’s devotion to atomic energy. France is the most nuclear-dependent country in the world, with 75% of its energy coming from nuclear. In a deal with the Greens before this year’s parliamentary and presidential elections, Socialists promised to reduce the share of nuclear in French electricity production to 50% by 2025, shutting 24 nuclear reactors. But so far, only one of France’s 59 nuclear reactors, at Fessenheim in eastern France, is due to be decommissioned. Montebourg called nuclear energy a “tremendous asset” with a key future role, saying: “We need energy that is not too expensive.” He was backed by the interior minister, Manuel Valls, who said nuclear was undeniably a part of the future of French industry.

Guardian 28th Aug 2012 more >>

US

Exelon Corp will halt efforts to gain regulatory approval to build a new nuclear plant in southeast Texas, the company said on Tuesday.Chicago-based Exelon, the nation’s largest nuclear operator, said it notified the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it will withdraw its application for an early site permit for land near Victoria in southeast Texas.”The action is in response to low natural gas prices and economic and market conditions that have made construction of new merchant nuclear power plants in competitive markets uneconomical now and for the foreseeable future,” said Charles Pardee, Exelon Generation’s chief operating officer.

Reuters 28th Aug 2012 more >>

Japan

Fukushima crisis updatre 24th to 27th Aug 2012.

Greenpeace International 28th Aug 2012 more >>

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it will build new tanks to store contaminated water. Tokyo Electric Power Company says the plant is producing 400 tons of contaminated water per day. This is partly because groundwater is entering the reactor building through cracks in walls. TEPCO says the existing tanks have a capacity of 220,000 tons and are 85 percent full. It says they are likely to be full in around 3 months if water accumulates at the current rate.

NHK 27th Aug 2012 more >>

Nuclear energy issues are a top priority for nearly half of voters in the upcoming Lower House election, rivaling perennial concerns about the economy and social security.

Asahi 29th Aug 2012 more >>

This is Japan’s summer of discontent. Tens of thousands of protesters — the largest demonstrations the country has seen in decades — descend on Tokyo every Friday evening to shout anti-nuclear slogans at the prime minister’s office. Many have never protested publicly before.

Fox News 26th Aug 2012 more >>

Germany

Germany’s largest utility E.ON will not build extra power capacity based on coal or gas in western Europe until 2020 because the market will be oversupplied until the final shutdown of nuclear generation.

Reuters 23rd Aug 2012 more >>

Iran

UN leader Ban Ki-moon will stress to Iranian leaders this week that they must take “urgent” action on the country’s nuclear drive and human rights, a UN spokesman said. The warning was given as Ban headed for Tehran to take part in the Non-Aligned Movement summit starting Wednesday. The United States and Israel said that Ban should not go to Iran.

AFP 29th Aug 2012 more >>

Iran said on Tuesday it has no plans to show its nuclear sites to diplomats visiting Tehran for this week’s Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit, despite an earlier offer by a deputy foreign minister.

Reuters 28th Aug 2012 more >>

Bulgaria

Nuclear energy company, Westinghouse has secured a deal from the Kozloduy NPP to perform a feasibility study on a potential seventh unit at the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant in Bulgaria. Situated 200km north of the city of Sofia and 5km east of Kozloduy town, the plant has good operational and safety record – providing a strong basis to host an additional reactor at the site. The feasibility study calls for a review of two potential designs: a reactor of VVER design utilizing equipment already purchased by the customer together with Westinghouse instrumentation and control (I&C) systems, fuel and a Toshiba turbine generator, and the construction and operation of a pressurized water reactor 1000-1200MW design.

Energy Business Review 28th Aug 2012 more >>

Finland

There will be some changes within Fennovoima’s majority shareholder Voimaosakeyhtiö SF. S Group has today announced it is leaving the project. In addition, electric utilities Leppäkosken Sähkö, Lankosken Sähkö and Outokummun Energia as well as Atria and Omya have decided not to participate in the project anymore. Boliden is rearranging its ownership and its share will decrease. Altogether these changes cover less than 10 per cent of the shares of Voimaosakeyhtiö SF. Fennovoima has two direct owners, Voimaosakeyhtiö SF (66 %) and E.ON (34 %). The shares of the two main owners remain unchanged and Fennovoima’s project continues as planned. At the moment, Fennovoima is evaluating the plant offers of Areva and Toshiba. The supplier will be chosen in 2012 or 2013. The schedule of the whole project will be settled in the plant contract after that.

Fennovoima 29th Aug 2012 more >>

North Korea

Officials from Japan and North Korea are holding their first government-to-government talks in four years, amid hopes that new leader Kim Jong-un will adopt a less confrontational approach to relations between his isolated, impoverished communist state and the outside world.

Guardian 29th Aug 2012 more >>

Renewables

When the wind on Orkney is strong enough to blow the rain parallel to the pavement, the cluster of gently sloping islands becomes a green energy powerhouse. There are hundreds of small wind turbines dotted across the islands, tall punctuation marks outside farmhouses, cottages and engineering yards, and more than a dozen large commercial machines. On Monday,, as the wind gusted to 45mph, they were powering homes on the Scottish mainland with surplus energy, feeding more than 23 megawatts of electricity into the grid. Orkney has quietly but very deliberately become arguably the most self-sufficient community in the British Isles for its energy, and is home to many of the world’s most advanced wave and tidal power machines. On Tuesday, in Orkney’s second town of Stromness, that status was confirmed when Nicola Sturgeon, deputy first minister of Scotland, announced the world’s most lucrative renewable energy competition: the £10m Saltire prize challenge. Four marine energy firms have entered their wave- and tide-powered devices. Martin McAdam, chief executive of Aquamarine Power says what the prize does do is give his industry a significant boost of confidence. “I like to say no one builds their business plan on the basis of winning a prize but the Saltire prize will bring focus on to the industry,” he said. With extra machines being installed now, Gareth Davies of the Stromness-based renewables consultancy Aquatera estimates that 85% of Orkney’s entire electricity demand will be met by its home-grown renewables industry by early 2013. It will soon exceed 100%. Six communities own their own large wind turbines – each turn of the blades earns them 7p – and 10 more are considering it. On the island of Shapinsay, the community has bought a minibus, employed an out-of-hours ferryman able to take them to the cinema in Kirkwall and is planning to buy its own boat. The council has begun running Scotland’s only electricity-powered lorry: it collects refuse in and around Kirkwall.

Guardian 28th Aug 2012 more >>

FOUR tidal and wave power developers are competing for a £10 million Scottish award to crack one of the world’s toughest technological challenges, it was announced yesterday. The rival firms – MeyGen, Aquamarine Power, Pelamis Wave Power and ScottishPower Renewables – were revealed as the official competitors for the Scottish Government’s Saltire Prize for marine energy developments. Their task has been dubbed the “Grand Challenge” – to produce clean power from the oceans. The winner will be the firm which generates the greatest volume of electrical output in Scottish waters during a continuous two-year period using only the power of the sea.

Scotsman 29th Aug 2012 more >>

UTILITIES firms SSE and ScottishPower are to share public funding to develop methods for connecting wave and tidal devices to the national grid. Scottish Enterprise and the UK government’s Technology Strategy Board are to invest £6.5 million in a raft of offshore research and development projects worth a total of £13m. The two power companies will work with four tidal turbine developers to come up with a way to connect a broad range of devices to the electricity network.

Scotsman 29th Aug 2012 more >>

The strong tides and choppy waters around Scotland’s coasts hold an estimated 25% of Europe’s potential tidal energy and 10% of available wave power. So, as well as a being the possible world leader in wind power, Scotland is the natural home of marine energy development. Several of the companies leading the push to harness the power of the sea on a commercial basis appear to agree. However, as none of the £10m will be distributed until 2017, it is no substitute for state support towards development and initial commercial deployment of wave and tidal power, the two most capital intensive forms of renewable energy. There are many challenges to be overcome, including improving power conversion and deploying and managing these devices in some of the harshest marine environments in the world. Yesterday Scottish Green MSP Patrick Harvie criticised the SNP Government for talking up the potential of ocean energy while failing to offer adequate day-to-day support. In reality, Alex Salmond continues to hedge his bets on renewables by pursuing a dual high-carbon, low-carbon strategy. So he claims that Scotland can lead the world in reducing its carbon footprint, while approving new coal and waste-to-power incinerators. Meanwhile, support for marine energy remains modest and piecemeal.

Herald 29th Aug 2012 more >>

The UK Government’s frequent renewable policy alterations and subsidy announcements seen since the launch of the feed-in tariff have bred uncertainty in the renewables marketplace, preventing strong investment in the sector. These are the findings from Ernst & Young’s latest quarterly global renewable energy Country Attractiveness Indices report (CAI), released today. The indices provide scores in 40 countries for national renewable energy markets, renewable energy infrastructures and their suitability for individual technologies. Ernst & Young’s report finds that the UK has now risen to fifth place in the renewables index, yet this is more to do with the economic conditions in Italy, and less to do with the country’s renewables progression. In fact, the indices has found that since the frequent policy and subsidy announcements made during the second quarter of this year, the general consensus among industry players is that the changes have delivered little certainty for investors.

Solar Portal 29th Aug 2012 more >>

Posted: 29 August 2012

28 August 2012

Germany

The two largest electricity utilities in Germany – E.ON and RWE – have declared they will build no more fossil fuel generation plants because they are not needed, challenging a widespread belief that the phasing out of nuclear in Europe’s most industrialised economy will require more coal-fired generation to be built. Both E.ON and RWE say the rapid expansion of renewable energy, particularly solar but also wind, would make up for the loss of capacity from nuclear. “We won’t be building any more gas and coal power generation plants in western Europe, because the market does not need them,” a spokesman for E.ON told reporters at a briefing at the group’s headquarters on Friday. RWE made a similar statement a week earlier. A third major operator, Vattenfall, agreed that the market in Western Europe is oversupplied but said some limited capacity may be needed in the southern part of Germany. The nuclear industry has been trying to ridicule Angela Merkel’s decision to exist nuclear, suggesting that without nuclear grid operators will simply turn to more polluting energy sources such as coal or gas. Germany is their Exhibit A, where they insist that 20GW of coal-fired power will be required to be built to substitute for retired nuclear plant. But that’s not happening. The only fossil fuel plants that are being built are those committed to, or commenced, before the nuclear phase out was announced.

RE New Economy 28th Aug 2012 more >>

Nuclear Safety

Improving global nuclear safety after last year’s Fukushima disaster must remain an urgent concern, despite improvements already made, the U.N. atomic agency chief said on Monday. “Much work remains to be done and we must not relax our guard,” said Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, at the start of an IAEA-hosted conference aimed at enhancing international standards to prevent any repeat of Japan’s reactor meltdowns. “The accident may have faded from international headlines but it is essential that all of us – member states, the IAEA and other key stakeholders – maintain our sense of urgency,” the veteran Japanese diplomat said.

Reuters 27th Aug 2012 more >>

Russia

Norwegian environmental organisations are shocked by the amount of nuclear waste dumped by the Russians in the Kara Sea and parts of the Barents Sea. A report by Aftenposten reveals that among the waste Russia has dumped in its northern waters, are three nuclear submarines, 19 vessels loaded with solid nuclear waste and more than 17,000 containers filled with nuclear waste, in addition to a number of smaller units. The report is based on information sent by the Russian authorities to the Norwegian National Radiological Protection Board (Strålevernet).

Norway Post 28th Aug 2012 more >>

As well as the beauty of Kremlin’s golden cathedral spires, sinister nuclear missiles will also welcome tourists to Moscow, according to bizarre billboard advertisements from Russia’s national airline.

Telegraph 27th Aug 2012 more >>

Bulgaria

Bulgaria has relaunched its nuclear power programme, hiring Westinghouse to prepare a proposal for a third reactor at its Kozloduy site, having shelved plans to build a new plant at Belene in March after failing to attract foreign investors.

Reuters 27th Aug 2012 more >>

Pakistan

AQ Khan, the renegade Pakistani nuclear scientist, has launched his own political movement targeting the youth vote as the country gears up for an election. Khan’s entry into politics could alarm many in the west, after his involvement in spreading nuclear technology to customers including Iran and Libya. He enjoys hero status in Pakistan, while the religious right lauds him for having created the “Islamic bomb”. Khan said he wanted the growing younger population to cast its ballot, and “not sit at home”, against the established politicians.

Guardian 27th Aug 2012 more >>

Belgium

Belgium will not reopen a nuclear power reactor which was closed over safety concerns until at least the end of the year, the government said on Monday.

Reuters 27th Aug 2012 more >>

France

Nuclear energy is a French “industry of the future”, the country’s minister for industrial renewal said on Sunday in a comment that has upset environmentalists in coalition with the government. “We need energy that is not too expensive,” Arnaud Montebourg told BFM TV. “France’s existing nuclear infrastructure is a huge asset, giving us cheap and affordable electricity. “It is a strategically important asset and we will continue investing in France’s nuclear future.” France, which has 59 nuclear reactors, is the world’s biggest consumer of atomic energy, which accounts for more than 75% of all electricity produced in the country. (The USA actually produces more, but it accounts for less than 20% of total consumption). During his successful 2012 presidential election campaign François Hollande, courting the support of the “Europe-Ecologie-les-Verts” (EELV) grouping of Green parties, pledged to find ways to reduce France’s reliance on atomic energy. In coalition negotiations with the EELV, he promised to launch a “big debate” and to start a process that would see “the nuclear share of the energy market drop from 75% to 50% by 2025.” But so far, only one of France’s 59 nuclear reactors, at Fissenheim in eastern France, is due to be decommissioned. In operation since 1978, it is France’s oldest nuclear plant. Hollande has also committed to finishing the construction of the 3rd generation EPR reactor in Flamanville, Normandy, which is expected to go into service in 2016. French energy giants Areva and EDF (the French state is majority shareholder in both companies) have already sold three EPR reactors (one to Finland and two to China) and are hoping to expand exports of the EPR model to global markets once they are operational.

France24 27th Aug 2012 more >>

French Labor Minister Michel Sapin Tuesday said nuclear energy will represent half of the country’s capacity to generate electricity for decades, after an industry minister clashed with the ecologist party, the government’s junior partner, over what importance to give to the industry. “An industry still representing 50% of the potential generation of electricity is an industry with future,” Sapin said. “The energy of the future is renewable energy.”

Fox Business 28th Aug 2012 more >>

China

JinkoSolar Holding has been awarded a 30MW supply contract by China Guangdong Nuclear Solar Energy Development. The modules will be used for a PV power plant that is being developed in Hami City, Xinjiang Province, China.

PV-tech 27thAug 2012 more >>

Iran

Iran indicated on Monday it might allow diplomats visiting Tehran for this week’s Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit to go to the Parchin military base, which U.N. nuclear experts say may have been used for nuclear-related explosives tests.

Reuters 27th Aug 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

New Nuclear Information Service newsletter. Stories includce: Trident warhead store at Coulport to be privatised; Atomic Weapons Establishment court hearing delayed; Approval finally given for HMS Ambush power range tests; French submarine visits Faslane Naval base; Government responds to Weightman Report; Convention on Nuclear Safety meets to discuss Fukushima implications; UK publishes details of civil fissile materials holdings’ Concern over planned privatisation of military equipment agency.

Nuclear Information Service August 2012 more >>

Renewables

Vestas, the struggling Danish wind turbine manufacturer, is in talks on “potential strategic co-operation” with Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The world’s largest wind company by sales on Tuesday did not disclose any details of the discussions but analysts have long speculated that Vestas could be a takeover target. Japan launched subsidies for renewable energy last month as it seeks to move away from its reliance on nuclear power following the accident at Fukushima. Wind power is subsidised at a rate more than four times higher than that in Germany. Japanese electricity companies are required to buy wind as well as solar and geothermal power at set rates for two decades.

FT 28th Aug 2012 more >>

The renewable energy companies competing for the £10m Saltire Prize will be announced by the Scottish government later. The announcement will be made in Orkney, where members of the Scottish Cabinet will meet on Wednesday. The competition was set up to encourage the development of wave and tidal energy devices in Scottish waters. Renewable energy firms will compete to see which device can produce the most electricity over two years. The rules state: “The Saltire Prize winner will be the team that achieves the greatest volume of electrical output over the set minimum hurdle of 100 gigawatt hours over a continuous two-year period, using only the power of the sea.”

BBC 28th Aug 2012 more >>

Microgeneration

First new council houses to be built in Lincoln for 20 years will have solar panels; The Isle of Wight could find itself at the heart of global efforts to decarbonise island communities; Local authorities increasingly interested in social benefits of investments in energy efficiency; Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to install almost 200 solar panels. This and more Micro Power News.

Microgen Scotland 24th Aug 2012 more >>

Posted: 28 August 2012

27 August 2012

Germany

After the government last year decided immediately to close eight of the country’s 17 nuclear reactors after Japan’s Fukushima disaster, German utilities have been at the vanguard of the job cuts wave. Only weeks after that decision midyear, Eon said it would shed up to 11,000 of 80,000 jobs worldwide to cut costs. RWE fell into step this summer when it said it would cut 2,400 posts as plunging European demand for electricity and gas left first-half profits stagnant. This added to some 8,000 posts the company had said it would shed in the midterm through asset sales and natural churn.

FT 26th Aug 2012 more >>

The dizzying drops in solar equipment prices over the past two years have left deep scars on a German sector that was once the world leader thanks to a decade-old system of generous price supports for sun-derived electricity. Q-Cells is the best known on a gloomy list of insolvency proceedings – and Solon one of the first. The latter, based in Berlin, recently tried to signal a return to business as usual when it said one of the city’s biggest solar installations had gone on stream – a 1.6MW unit, made by Solon, atop the city’s wholesale vegetable market. But such public relations blasts do not mask the changes the German sector has seen and the uncertain future many operators still face. Solon is now owned by Microsol of the United Arab Emirates and is shifting part of its production there; Q-Cells is reported to be the target of a South Korean rival. Wi th foreign competitors – especially the Chinese – producing solar modules more cheaply and Berlin cutting solar electricity price supports, “the market is developing away from Germany”, says Wolfgang Hummel from the Centre for Solar Market Research in Berlin. “German companies have lost home-market advantage.”

FT 26th Aug 2012 more >>

Germany’s energy strategy will cost consumers dearly as costs for new renewable power generation units and networks must be passed on, the head of the German unit of Swedish state-owned energy group Vattenfall was quoted saying on Monday.

Reuters 27th Aug 2012 more >>

Iran

Non-Aligned Movement leaders should take a stand against Western sanctions at a Tehran summit later this week, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Sunday, adding that many NAM members backed Iran’s nuclear programme.

Middle East Online 26th Aug 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

THE bid to stop a change to the SNP’s historic anti-Nato policy is set to intensify, with campaigners insisting they want to start a “grassroots movement” to defy Alex Salmond and the party leadership. A meeting of the Nationalists’ Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament group in Glasgow yesterday aimed to “educate” SNP members about what the proposed U-turn in policy could mean for the party and to its chances of securing a “yes” vote in the Scottish referendum on independence in 2014. Opponents of the change believe it would “make the SNP look cynical and lacking in moral courage”. Gareth Finn, SNP CND group convener, said the turnout at the seminar – about 65 people, including MSPs John Finnie, Dave Thompson, Jean Urquhart, Sandra White and John Wilson – was impressive. “The next step is for members to go back to their SNP branches with that information and pass it around. We want to expand the debate to a grassroots movement rather than just discussing it in the hierarchy of the party.”

Herald 27th Aug 2012 more >>

George Galloway: I’VE always credited my old sparring partner Alex Salmond with political ¬surefootedness but now it seems he’s tripped up in a military ¬two-step over Nato. The SNP conference will debate in the autumn a motion favoured by Eck that an independent Scotland should remain in Nato, subject to an agreement that the country doesn’t have to house any nuclear weapons on the Clyde or elsewhere. Eh? Why on earth would you want to belong to an organisation who have a first-strike nuclear policy and, as a matter of fact, won’t allow you to join if you don’t go along with that and do your bit to host the ICBMs and nuclear subs targeted at, er, someone? It’s a nakedly populist, if mightily confused, tactic and at the weekend, to bolster their argument, the Nats released a poll that claimed most Scots, and about half of separatists, believed an independent Scotland would be safer as part of Nato.

Daily Record 27th Aug 2012 more >>

Renewables

Community power projects are ushering in a new movement that allows citizens to take charge of their energy needs by providing locally generated renewable energy to their communities. These local projects are not only gaining momentum because of the economic and environmental advantages they provide, but also because of the immense social benefits they offer. Community-owned power projects encourage community-building and social cohesion as a group of ordinary citizens is presented with the opportunity to come together and achieve something extraordinary.

Community Power Report 21st Aug 2012 more >>

Posted: 27 August 2012

26 August 2012

Radwaste

Today in Carlisle in the pouring rain – monitored by Special Branch who introduced themselves most cordially (not kidding!) Radiation Free Lakeland provided the public with their only chance to vote. “Do you want a nuclear dump under Cumbria?” 200 people vote NO 6 vote YES The ONLY public vote to take place reveals a convincing 97% against the government plan for a nuclear dump under the Silloth or Eskdale area or any other “most promising site” in West Cumbria’s leaky geology. The vote took place over 2 hours from 10 till 12.

Radiation Free Lakeland 25th Aug 2012 more >>

Japan

The industry ministry plans to amend legislation to allow for “direct disposal” of spent nuclear fuel, a move away from the nation’s problem-plagued goal of creating a full nuclear fuel cycle, sources said.

Asahi 26th Aug 2012 more >>

Iran

The UN atomic watchdog said that “intensive” talks Friday with Iran had failed, with no plans for a follow-up meeting to persuade Tehran to address suspected evidence of nuclear weapons research.

Middle East Online 25th Aug 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Opponents of the SNP leadership’s plans to reverse the party’s long-standing opposition to Nato membership have met in Glasgow. SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson has said an independent Scotland could be opposed to nuclear weapons but remain in the military alliance. The party’s CND group hosted a seminar to “educate” nationalists about what the U-turn in policy could mean. The issue is due to be debated at the party’s conference in October.

BBC 25th Aug 2012 more >>

STV 25th Aug 2012 more >>

THE SNP leadership does not have grassroots backing for its plan to reverse policy on Nato membership, a group of Nationalist MSPs opposed to the reform said yesterday, as the party’s battle over the crucial issue intensified. The anti-Nato campaign, which launched yesterday with the backing of ten of the party’s 67 MSPs, said it was “confident” party delegates could be persuaded to stick by its historic opposition to the military alliance.

Scotland on Sunday 2th Aug 2012 more >>

Energy Efficiency

A new £5.2 million Scottish Government datacentre, completed last year, will use two-and-a-half times as much electrical power per year as a facility built to the best modern standards. A freedom of information request has uncovered that the 15,000sqft Saughton House facility in Edinburgh, one of 120 used by the Scottish public sector, has a “power usage effectiveness” (PUE) rating of 2.7, equating to a 37% efficiency rating. Calculations based on the 10p per-kilowatt-hour cost of electricity to the one megawatt datacentre reveal the facility will cost the taxpayer up to £7.14m in extra energy costs over five years, emitting an extra 38,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions, compared to a datacentre of the same size built to more up-to-date designs. PUE is the cost of mechanical and electrical power required to create optimum atmosphe ric conditions for massed servers, over and above the cost of powering the servers themselves. While a PUE of one (equal to 100% efficiency) is unachievable, some private datacentres – including an Edinburgh centre by Onyx unveiled last week – have already reached a PUE of 1.2 (83% efficiency). The most up-to-date facilities, including those in the Republic of Ireland, have achieved PUE as low as 1.07 (93%). Derek Schwartz, director of the Green Data Center Alliance (GDCA), a not-for-profit body that campaigns for better energy efficiency in data processing, said a 2.7 PUE rating for a new datacentre was “outrageous in this day and age” and urged the Scottish Government to consider predicted rises in the cost of energy when planning future data provision.

Sunday Herald 26th Aug 2012 more >>

Renewables

All is not well in the UK offshore wind industry. The Westway investment is the Scottish Government’s first from its £70 million National Renewables Infrastructure Fund – but a year ago it had been promising three such announcements before the end of 2011. Whether or not the authorities have been dawdling, this mainly reflects the reality that turbine manufacturers are not ready to commit to building factories. The problem is that the wind farms are taking longer to reach fruition than planned – above all the vital Round Three projects that comprise the biggest part of planned capacity for the sector. Danish turbine maker Vestas recently scrapped a plan to build a factory in Kent and despite memorandums of understanding for manufacturing in Scotland from the likes of Gamesa and Samsung, the sector has been ominously quiet of late. Several major farms – notably Greater Gabbard, off Suffolk – have has serious technical problems that have rattled investors. People are looking nervously at Europe, where the Germans among others are finally getting their act together. Given that there is likely to be less banking finance available than before the markets crash, some wonder whether the great offshore wind dream might be starting to slip away.

Sunday Herald 26th Aug 2012 more >>

Posted: 26 August 2012

25 August 2012

Radwaste

Nuclear Waste Disposal – the Partnership report condensed.

Whitehaven News 24th Aug 2012 more >>

An underground nuclear dump in West Cumbria would be about the size of Workington, a report has revealed. West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership, which published its final report this week, said it would take at least 15 years to find a site. Twenty-five per cent of West Cumbria has already been ruled out as unsuitable for an underground nuclear waste dump, the report said, and more work would be needed before it would be known if any of the area would be able to host the site. It added that most members felt it was appropriate to do more geological studies after any decision to move to the next stage. But, it said, some felt more work should be done to evaluate the prospects of finding a suitable site before a decision on whether to proceed is made.

Times and Star 24th Aug 2012 more >>

Turning nuclear waste into glass could offer a cheaper and more viable disposal solution for this toxic material, researchers have found. intermediate level waste (ILW) – this is currently encapsulated in specially formulated cement through a mixing process and sealed in steel drums, in preparation for disposal deep underground.

Edie 24th Aug 2012 more >>

Hinkley

The West’s biggest structural steelwork company has this week opened a £500,000 extension to its Somerset factory, with contracts for the proposed new Hinkley C power station in mind. The move is part of £1.6 million of investment at East Brent-based William Haley Engineering Ltd, which includes the latest robotic plasma cutting machine, and could eventually lead to the creation of another 20 jobs.

Western Daily Press 24th Aug 2012 more >>

Waste Transports

Communities are reaffirming their commitment to protect the Great Lakes from nuclear waste shipments, despite new challenges from the federal government’s omnibus budget bill. Late last week Sierra Club Canada and the Canadian Environmental Law Association announced that they were withdrawing their applications for judicial review of permits which allowed Bruce Power to ship nuclear waste to Sweden. In April 2010, Bruce Power applied for permits with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to ship nuclear waste through the Great Lakes to a treatment facility in Nyköping, Sweden. Bruce Power contracted Swedish company Studsvik to ‘decontaminate’ the radioactive waste and sell the scrap metal back onto open markets. The plan threatened to contaminate the drinking water of Owen Sound and other communities around the Great Lakes. Despite the opposition of city mayors, US senators, First Nation communities, residents and environmental and other groups, the CNSC issued transport permits, which have since expired. Introduced in the spring, the omnibus budget bill (Bill C-38) makes sweeping changes to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) as well as other environmental legislation. Under the new CEAA, Bruce Power’s plan would not trigger an environmental assessment as it would have under the old Act.

Northumberland View 23rd Aug 2012 more >>

Japan

Fukushima Crisis Update 21st Aug to 23rd Aug 2012.

Greenpeace 24th Aug 2012 more >>

Japan’s anti-nuclear movement has a new supporter: bestselling nationalist “manga” author Yoshinori Kobayashi, known for his controversial defense of Tokyo’s wartime aggression, has joined the growing ranks of those who want the country to end its reliance on atomic power in the wake of the Fukushima crisis.

Reuters 24th Aug 2012 more >>

India

A parliamentary report on nuclear safety regulation in India has pointed out serious organisational flaws and numerous failings relative to international norms. The report submitted to parliament by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India concerns the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), which reports to the policy-setting Atomic Energy Commission.

World Nuclear News 24th Aug 2012 more >>

Iran

For months there have been international discussions about the threat a nuclear Iran would present – most notably to its avowed enemy, Israel, which Iran has vowed to ‘erase from the map’. Aggressive, war-mongering rhetoric has been bubbling in Israel as a result. And seeing no signs that slow-burning international sanctions are effective, Israel is coming to the view it should no longer entrust others with its own security.

Daily Mail 24th Aug 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

ALEX Salmond faces a growing rebellion over plans to ditch the SNP’s historic commitment to withdraw from NATO. SNP policy opposes nuclear weapons and says Scotland should not be a full member of the pro-nuclear alliance, but party leaders want a change. As their opponents prepare to gather at the SNP CND group’s conference in Glasgow, we look at both sides of the issue.

Daily Record 25th Aug 2012 more >>

Renewables

A consortium of energy companies looks set to build a connector and lay a subsea power cable, linking the North-east with Europe. The 350-mile supercable would link Peterhead with Norway, and be the first step towards integrating the Scottish electricity network into a European grid. It is estimated that the multi-billion pound, 1400-megawatt project would create more than 100 jobs. The development is due to be commissioned in 2020.

Buchan Observer 24th Aug 2012 more >>

Posted: 25 August 2012

24 August 2012

Radwaste

OCTOBER 11 is D-day for deciding whether a massive underground nuclear waste repository might be built in the area. That is the day when Cumbria County Council and Copeland and Allerdale borough councils say yes or no to the question of trying to find somewhere suitable for burying high-level waste. The decision is in the hands of a relatively small number of councillors on the two borough council Executives and the county council’s Cabinet. All the meetings (which will be open to the public) take place the morning of Thursday October 11 – Copeland’s and Cumbria’s at 10am and Allerdale’s at its normal 9am. Before this, the full council of each authority will hold special meetings, again in public, to debate the issue and make any recommendations.

Whitehaven News 23rd Aug 2012 more >>

Government body looks for comms consortium to convince public on waste disposal. A Government body overseeing the proposed burial of radioactive waste in the UK has launched a hunt for comms help in a bid to head off a local community backlash. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s Radioactive Waste Management Directorate has launched a search for a consortium of agencies as local councils propose waste sites in Kent’s Romney Marsh and three locations in West Cumbria. NDA RWMD head of stakeholder and community engagement Elizabeth Atherton said the agencies would be doing ‘more than easing concerns’, adding the engagement processes were about ‘getting beyond traditional engagement to working in partnership with communities’. But the consortium that wins the brief is expected to face significant local opposition to the waste plans. Last week, a poll by The Hythe Herald of residents in Shepway, which contains Romney Marsh, showed that 55 per cent were against hosting the proposed £12bn national waste centre.

PR Week 24th Aug 2012 more >>

A method of storing nuclear waste normally used only for High Level Waste (HLW), could provide a better solution for the storage and ultimate disposal of Intermediate Level Waste (ILW). This is according to researchers at the University of Sheffield researchers, who tested simulated radioactive waste materials to produce glass and assess its suitability for storing lower grades of nuclear waste. They have shown, for the first time, that that turning this kind of waste into glass, a process called vitrification, could be a better method for its long-term storage, transport and eventual disposal.

Process Engineering 23rd Aug 2012 more >>

Scottish Waste

The NDA has today published a Strategy Paper on Intermediate Level Waste Storage Solutions in Central and Southern Scotland. The publication of this paper is consistent with the NDA’s Integrated Waste Management (IWM) Strategy. A key principle of the IWM Strategy is that centralised and multi-site approaches should be considered where it may be advantageous. Using the NDA’s Strategy Management System a small number of credible options have been identified, which will be taken forward for further assessment. The NDA welcomes comments from stakeholders on the options presented, which will be considered together with the further work the NDA is undertaking to identify a preferred option. It would particularly help NDA if comments are received by Friday October 5th 2012.

NDA 22nd Aug 2012 more >>

Sellafield

SELLAFIELD workers in the vitrification plant say they are going to be forced to work a compulsory 12-hour shift – four hours longer than usual – the GMB union said yesterday. The union also told The Whitehaven News that any worker who for whatever reason does not want to work 12 hours at a stretch will be “shipped out” elsewhere.

Whitehaven News 23rd Aug 2012 more >>

Hartlepool

A NEW visitor centre at Hartlepool nuclear power station will give thousands of people the chance to see behind the scenes of one of the country’s largest producers of low-carbon electricity. Planning permission for the centre has gone to Hartlepool Borough Council. If approved, it will be built near the site’s existing training centres.

Northern Echo 23rd Aug 2012 more >>

Belgium

Cracks in the steel reactor vessels of two nuclear plants in Belgium were found in 1979, three years before they came online, but they are unrelated to possible cracks discovered this summer, a spokeswoman for the country’s nuclear regulatory agency said Thursday. Belgium’s nuclear regulator announced this month that ultrasonic tests showed possible hairline cracks in the vessel housing the reactor at the Doel 3 nuclear plant near Antwerp. The plant was offline for a regular safety check, and it has yet to be determined whether it will ever go online again. The Federal Agency for Nuclear Control also ordered the shutdown of the Tihange 2 reactor, 90 kilometers (55 miles) southeast of Brussels, for checks because it had a vessel manufactured by the same company.

Huffington Post 23rd Aug 2012 more >>

Iran

Iran has installed many more uranium enrichment machines in an underground bunker, diplomatic sources said on Thursday, potentially paving the way for a significant expansion of work the West fears is ultimately aimed at making nuclear bombs.

Reuters 23rd Aug 2012 more >>

Renewables

A tidal turbine, which ministers claim will be the world’s first community-owned device of its kind, is to be built in Scotland. The Nova-30 turbine will be used by the North Yell community to power an industrial estate and ice plant in Shetland. It will be built by Scottish firms Steel Engineering and Nova Innovation. First Minister Alex Salmond said it showed Scotland was leading the way in offshore engineering. The Nova-30 will be fabricated for Leith-based Nova by Steel Engineering, which said the deal would help to safeguard and create jobs at its facility in Renfrew. Announcing the contract during a visit to Steel Engineering, Mr Salmond said the turbine would be connected to the grid and provide electricity to people in one of the most remote parts of Scotland.

BBC 23rd Aug 2012 more >>

Times 24th Aug 2012 more >>

Scotsman 24th Aug 2012 more >>

THE public is being asked to comment on new planning guidelines for the growing interest in small-scale wind farm developments in the Highlands. A draft guidance on wind turbine proposals, many of which have caused considerable controversy, has been produced by Highland Council. Thomas Prag, chairman of the Planning, Environment and Development Committee, said: “The council supports the principle of renewables – including wind energy. “Small scale turbines are part of that, but they can cause quite a bit of controversy locally, so we need a consistent approach to judge each application on its merits. “This draft guidance aims to set out the framework on which each decision will be based.

Scotsman 24th Aug 2012 more >>

Climate Change

The planet could be facing a catastropic 5 degree temperature rise, and we are losing time to address the threat of climate change, one of the government’s leading scientists tells Channel 4 News.

Channel 4 News 24th Aug 2012 more >>

Posted: 24 August 2012

23 August 2012

Horizon

Ministers yesterday denied they will limit the size of any Chinese stake in the stalled new reactor at Oldbury on Gloucestershire because of security fears. Some MPs and energy experts have expressed concerns about Chinese involvement in Horizon Nuclear Power. As the Daily Press has reported, that is the vehicle for developing new nuclear at Oldbury, and also Wylfa, on Anglesey, in North Wales.

Western Daily Press 22nd Aug 2012 more >>

Radwaste

Anti-nuclear protesters will take to the streets of Carlisle this weekend to demonstrate against a proposed nuclear dump. Radiation Free Lakeland (RFL) will be conducting an opinion survey on the streets of Carlisle on Saturday, asking people whether they are in favour of the search for a repository site in Cumbria. In its final report, West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership revealed it is “inherently uncertain” that there will be a suitable location in Copeland or Allerdale.

Carlisle News and Star 22nd Aug 2012 more >>

Hunterston

EDF Energy’s 500 megawatt B-7 nuclear unit in Hunterston, Scotland resumed output on Wednesday following a maintenance outage, electricity generation data from National Grid showed.

Reuters 22nd Aug 2012 more >>

Energy Policy

The Chancellor has intervened to influence one of the most pressing energy policy issues because he was unhappy that the Energy Department has been ambivalent and too narrowly focused in its efforts to fill the potential gap in electricity generation when the old coal and nuclear plants are phased out. He is concerned that Ed Davey, Energy Secretary, and his predecessor Chris Huhne, placed too much emphasis on the green dimension of renewable energy and a revival of nuclear power to provide the replacement capacity needed to meet any shortfall and ignored the case for back-up in the event of construction delays. He believes another dash for gas will provide the insurance needed to avoid the risk of blackouts because of the uncertainties surrounding the renaissance of nuclear power and the problems involved in linking wind farms into a more complex electricity distribution system.

Telegraph 22nd Aug 2012 more >>

Energy Costs

Householders are bracing themselves for steep rises in gas and electricity bills after SSE, the UK’s second-largest energy group, announced that its tariffs would rise by 9 per cent on average on October 15. The move will hit about 5 million electricity and 3.4 million gas customers. Industry figures had speculated that gas bills would increase in the autumn, but the size of the rise has enraged consumer groups. The Bank of England had predicted that energy bills would rise by an average of 2.5 per cent “around the turn of the year”.

Times 23rd Aug 2012 more >>

BBC 22nd Aug 2012 more >>

Herald 23rd Aug 2012 more >>

Plutonium

Nuclear watchdogs are fighting a proposal to ship tons of plutonium to New Mexico, including the cores of nuclear warheads that would be dismantled at an aging and structurally questionable lab atop an earthquake fault zone.Opponents voiced their opposition at a series of public hearings that opened this week on the best way to dispose of the radioactive material as the federal government works to reduce the nation’s nuclear arsenal. The Department of Energy is studying alternatives for disposing of plutonium in light of federal budget cuts that have derailed plans for new multi-billion-dollar facilities at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The preferred plan under consideration calls for the shipment of 7.1 metric tons of so-called pits — or cores — of an undisclosed number of nuclear warheads now stored at the Pantex plant in West Texas to Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and the Savannah River Site for disarmament and processing into fuel for commercial nuclear reactors.

Washington Post 22nd Aug 2012 more >>

The Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF) currently being built at the Savannah River Site near Aiken South Carolina has the potential, once tested and regulated, to generate enough electricity to power all households in South Carolina for 20 years. The Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF) currently being built at the Savannah River Site near Aiken South Carolina, is on track to be completed by its target date of 2016. The facility will be the principle location for the US to reduce its surplus weapons grade plutonium and provide fuel for commercial plants, which is its first priority. But looking deeper into the nuclear waste problem, which will not going away over night and requires stringent planning and expertise, MOX fuel could be the ultimate answer both politically and environmentally for a safer nuclear power industry.

Nuclear Energy Insider 22nd Aug 2012 more >>

Uranium

US government scientists have just announced research in which they’ve massively increased the efficiency of techniques for extracting uranium from the ocean – and that means that supplies of uranium are secure for the future even if the entire human race moves to fission power for all its energy needs.

The Register 22nd Aug 2012 more >>

A happy coincidence in the seafood industry has raised the prospects of harvesting uranium – the fuel source for nuclear power – from seawater. Oceans hold billions of tonnes of uranium at tiny concentrations, but extracting it remains uneconomical. A report at the 244th meeting of the American Chemical Society described a new technique using uranium-absorbing mats made from discarded shrimp shells. A range of improved approaches were outlined at a symposium at the meeting.

BBC 22nd Aug 2012 more >>

Japan

Fukushima Crisis Update 17th to 20th August 2012.

Greenpeace 21st Aug 2012 more >>

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda met representatives of a growing anti-nuclear energy movement on Wednesday amid signs his government, pressured by public safety fears, might be leaning towards a target to eliminate atomic power within two decades.

Trust 22nd Aug 2012 more >>

North Korea

North Korea has moved a step closer to building a nuclear power plant that could be used to bolster the state’s ailing nuclear weapons programme by placing a large, concrete-reinforced dome on a light-water reactor.

Huffington Post 22nd Aug 2012 more >>

Express 22nd Aug 2012 more >>

Iran

U.N. nuclear inspectors will press again for access to a major military facility in talks with Iran this week but the chances of finding any evidence of suspected atom bomb research may have dimmed because the site has been “cleaned up”, Western diplomats and experts say.

Reuters 22nd Aug 2012 more >>

US

A radioactive leak may prove to be the swan song for one of California’s ageing nuclear-power plants, the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, also known by the rather innocuous acronym SONGS. Located in northern San Diego county, and normally able to supply 2.1 million homes with electricity, the pressurised water reactor has been switched off since January 31, when one of its generators leaked what the plant’s operator, Southern California Edison, called “an insignificant or extremely small release” of radioactive steam into the atmosphere. This week, the plant announced plans to lay off a third of its workforce. The idea of scrapping this nuclear-power plant because of equipment failure is gaining support, particularly after the Nuclear Regulatory Commission ruled in early August to stop issuing any new licenses or renewals to US nuclear-power plants until the environmental impact of storing radioactive waste is addressed.

China Dialogue 22nd Aug 2012 more >>

The US NRC is currently considering to what extent, if any, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC’s) regulatory framework should be modified regarding its consideration of the economic consequences of an unintended release of licensed nuclear materials to the environment. The paper prepared by Staff (follow link below) focuses on the NRC’s current processes for considering economic consequences arising from offsite property damage caused by radiological contamination events. Based on an analysis of these processes, the staff concluded that the NRC’s regulatory framework for considering offsite property damage is sound and affords sufficient flexibility to account for the offsite economic consequences associated with unintended radionuclide releases and subsequent land contamination. Nonetheless, this paper provides options for updating staff guidance and methods in this area, as well as an option for exploring the merits of potential changes to the regulatory framework.

US NRC 14th Aug 2012 more >>

Energy Efficiency

The majority of people in the UK have never heard of so-called smart meters that show energy use in real time, despite plans by the government and energy companies to install them in all of the country’s 30m homes by 2019, a series of government-commissioned surveys reveal.

Guardian 22nd Aug 2012 more >>

Renewables

Letter Scottish Renewables: during a period of economic downturn the renewables industry has delivered around £2.8 billion of much-needed capital investment into Scotland, which has helped grow the supply chain, secured the future of many Scottish companies and supported more than 11,000 jobs across the country. This fact should be celebrated. There is no conflict at all between the £1.6bn invested in onshore wind and the level of investment in other important but less mature technologies like offshore wind or wave and tidal. Indeed, it is this investment in onshore wind development that underwrites the necessary investment in grid connections that will eventually benefit these other technologies. It is not an either/or – Scotland and the UK n eed onshore and offshore wind, and marine energy, and will need other forms of generation for many years to come. There is also no evidence to show wind farms have a significant impact on Scotland’s tourism, a fact clearly illustrated by the 2011 VisitScotland Wind Farm Consumer Research report, which showed that 83 per cent of those surveyed said a wind farm would not affect their decision about where to stay when on a holiday in Scotland. However, what the evidence does suggest is that the 13,750GWh of renewable electricity generated in Scotland in 2011, over half of which came from onshore wind, could have displaced as much as 8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel generating stations, thus helping Scotland and the UK meet their climate change goals.

Scotsman 23rd Aug 2012 more >>

Posted: 23 August 2012

22 August 2012

EMR

A group of Lords has expressed “serious doubts” over whether the government can deliver its aim of a long-term competitive market for generators of both renewable and non-renewable electricity under the draft Energy Bill.

E2B Pulse 16th Aug 2012 more >>

EDF Energy

Few subjects spark such a strong reaction as the mention of nuclear power. Some see it as a dangerous threat, others hail it as the answer to our growing need for renewable energy. We asked Gwen Parry Jones, nuclear physicist and EDF champion for women in the nuclear industry, to answer our most pressing questions about nuclear energy.

Marie Claire 21st Aug 2012 more >>

Sizewell

A WATCHDOG that monitors safety in the nuclear industry is taking enforcement against the company decommissioning Sizewell A power station. It follows an incident in September last year when 13,000 litres of treated pond water leaked from a waste treatment plant, known as an active effluent treatment plant (AETP). The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is now taking enforcement action against Magnox Ltd, which is the licensee for the decommissioning of the site. The watchdog has also written to the station director to set out the actions it expects to see happen. These include completing a long-term review of the vulnerabilities at Sizewell A’s AETP and providing a copy of this review to the ONR; drawing up improvements to ensure that the risk is minimised to levels that are as low as reasonably practicable; and providing the ONR with a commitment to share learning from this event with the rest of the Magnox fleet of reactors. The watchdog also wants to see a suitably-prioritised and timed plan in which it will make the changes, and it has asked to be kept up to date with progress at appropriate intervals.

Lowestoft Journal 17th Aug 2012 more >>

Hartlepool

Energy bosses have unveiled plans to give the public access to part of Hartlepool’s nuclear power station. French-based owner EDF has asked Hartlepool Council to allow a visitor centre to be built at the site, which opened in 1983. The company says it expects up to 10,000 visitors a year to the complex, if planning permission is granted.

BBC 21st Aug 2012 more >>

Dounreay

A project to bury tonnes of radioactive waste from Dounreay in massive underground vaults has completed its first phase.

STV 20th Aug 2012 more >>

Radwaste

ANTI-NUCLEAR protesters will take to the streets of Cumbria this weekend to demonstrate against a proposed nuclear dump in the county. Radiation Free Lakeland (RFL) will be conducting an opinion survey on the streets of Carlisle on Saturday, asking people whether they are in favour, or not, of the search for a repository site in Cumbria.

NW Evening Mail 21st Aug 2012 more >>

Campaigners against West Cumbria ‘volunteering’ to host a nuclear dump say it would be disastrous for the National Park’s image and tourist industry. They have conducted a survey of more than 500 visitors in Keswick, which found that 89% of people thought a dump would have an impact on the image of the National Park, and all of these thought it would be negative. Campaigners from Friends of the Earth, Save Our Lake District – Don’t Dump Cumbria! and Radiation Free Lakeland interviewed 562 visitors between July 25th and August 13th, without saying who they were until each interview was over. They asked whether the presence of a nuclear dump either next to the National Park or underneath it would affect the Lake District’s image, and if so in what way.

Radiation Free Lakeland 21st Aug 2012 more >>

Plutonium

In 1994, not long after the Cold War ended, the National Academy of Science came to a decision about surplus plutonium in thousands of nuclear warheads that were no longer needed. “The existence of large excess stocks of these materials poses a clear and present danger to national and international security,” declared a panel of advisers, referring to how easy it could be for illicit agents to convert weapons-grade plutonium into nuclear weapons. The warning is still valid but has yet to be addressed. The suggested solutions involved irradiating the plutonium into the form of a mixed plutonium oxide, or MOX, in a nuclear reactor; or blending it into nuclear wastes for permanent immobilization, a solution that is used in France but not in America. The current plan has no firm commitment for an end user after a commercial partner backed out, although weapons officials express optimism about preliminary talks with nuclear power officials at the Tennessee Valley Authority. Critics say the MOX approach adds to the time the plutonium would be vulnerable and at risk for falling into the wrong hands.

Sante Fe New Mexican 19th Aug 2012 more >>

Uranium

Workers at Areva’s Somair uranium mine in Niger started an open-ended strike on Monday over labour conditions, a union official said.”Our strike is open ended and will continue until the management improves our living and working conditions,” spokesman Mounkaila Abass told a local television broadcaster.

Reuters 21st August 2012 more >>

Extracting uranium from seawater is closer to becoming an economic reality which could guarantee the future of nuclear power, scientists said today. The world’s oceans hold at least four billion tons of the precious metal. But for the past four decades, the goal of mining seawater for uranium has remained a dream because of the technical difficulties and high cost. Today, a report presented to a scientific meeting showed that fast progress is being made towards turning the oceans into a uranium reservoir. Improvements to the extraction technology have almost halved production costs from around 560 dollars (£355) per pound of uranium to 300 dollars (£190).

Independent 22nd Aug 2012 more >>

BHP Billiton will take a $346m hit after deciding to not go ahead with a planned $20bn expansion of its Olympic Dam copper-uranium mine in South Australia. Reporting a 21 per cent decline in annual profit after tax, Marius Kloppers, chief executive, blamed the decision not to go ahead with plans to expand the mine on subdued commodity prices and cost pressures.

FT 22nd Aug 2012 more >>

Companies

James Fisher & Sons is continuing with Britain’s long- established maritime tradition and its broad range of technical skills means its services are in demand, helping push first-half profits up by more than a fifth. Fisher provides specialist equipment and support for oil tankers, ship-to-ship transfer and submarine rescue, as well as running an oil tanker business in the UK. It also offers engineering, manufacturing and technical services to the nuclear industry.

Telegraph 22nd Aug 2012 more >>

Japan

The Japanese government is likely to decide to eliminate all nuclear power over the next two decades in a new long-term energy plan that comes amid strong public opposition to atomic energy and ahead of national elections expected in the next few months, said government officials familiar with policy discussions. Following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-plant accident in March 2011, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda set up a council to recommend a long-term energy strategy based on three scenarios: phasing out nuclear power completely by 2030, reducing dependence to 15%, or keeping it at current levels of about 20% to 25%. All the scenarios aim to increase the use of renewable energy to at least 20% from the current 10%. The government is expected to announce a final decision in September, ahead of general elections for parliament expected by the end of the year.

Wall St Journal 21st Aug 2012 more >>

Evidence emerged last week that butterflies in Japan have suffered “physiological and genetic damage” caused by radiation released from the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Once again we see another animal species paying the price for nuclear power. In May last year, two months after the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami destroyed three of the Fukushima reactors, scientists and researchers in Japan collected and examined pale grass blue butterflies, a common species in Japan. Their findings are disturbing. Some of the butterflies collected showed “mild abnormalities.” Other butterflies bred from the collected specimens had more severe abnormalities that they then passed on to the next generation. These abnormalities included malformed eyes, wings and antennae.

Greenpeace 21st Aug 2012 more >>

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Wednesday met a delegation of anti-nuclear protesters at his official residence. Noda met with representatives from a loosely structured network of groups opposed to nuclear energy in Japan known as the Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes. The group has been staging demonstrations outside the prime minister’s residence since Noda authorized the restart of two reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture. Before the meeting, Noda told reporters that he hoped to convince the group of Japan’s need to utilize nuclear power in the short term as it works out a viable long-term energy policy, according to TV Asahi.

Japan Today 22nd Aug 2012 more >>

Radioactive cesium measuring 258 times the amount that Japan’s government deems safe for consumption has been found in fish near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported Tuesday. The Tokyo Electric Power Co. found 25,800 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium in two greenlings in the sea within 20 kilometers of the plant on August 1 – a record for the thousands of Fukushima-area fish caught and tested since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that led to a nuclear disaster at the plant, Kyodo reported.

CNN 21st Aug 2012 more >>

Gundersen: I think plutonium being reported around Fukushima is raw, unoxidized pieces of nuclear rods that were blown out from Unit 3s spent fuel pool.

ENE News 22nd Aug 2012 more >>

North Korea

New satellite images show that North Korea has completed a key step in the construction of a light-water reactor at its main nuclear complex, although it could take several more years before it is fully operational. Allison Puccioni at Jane’s Defence Weekly said images from the GeoEye-1 satellite showed a dome had been hoisted atop the reactor building. “The emplacement of the dome is a significant development

Independent 22nd Aug 2012 more >>

Scotsman 22nd Aug 2012 more >>

Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, is expected to embark on his first state visit from Sunday, attending an international meeting in Iran.

Telegraph 22nd Aug 2012 more >>

Iran

Israel is planning a military strike against Iran’s nuclear programme before November, security sources in Israel have claimed. British officials say prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has begun a process of ‘sounding out’ his voters to gauge support for airstrikes and build a case for military action.

Daily Mail 21st Aug 2012 more >>

Iran has unveiled plans to build a new airbase to defend its nuclear sites, as Israel hints it is edging closer to launching strikes to end or curtail its weapons programme.

Telegraph 21st Aug 2012 more >>

The United Nations nuclear watchdog said on Tuesday it would hold a new round of talks with Iran in Vienna later this week about a long-stalled investigation into suspected nuclear weapons research in the Islamic state. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a brief statement confirming the August 24 meeting after diplomats earlier on Tuesday told Reuters that they expected the meeting to take place on Friday in Vienna.

Reuters 21st Aug 2012 more >>

Submarines

Britain’s nuclear defence is under threat because the Navy will not have enough people to properly man its submarines, it was warned today.

Daily Mail 21st Aug 2012 more >>

Trident

THE number of SNP MSPs preparing to vote against leadership proposals to stay in Nato is approaching double figures after another Holyrood politician joined the backlash. Glasgow Shettleston MSP John Mason, who initially said he would await the views of his constituency party before declaring, became the latest Nationalist to join the revolt. Yesterday Mr Mason said he was now “95% likely” to vote against the party hierarchy on the issue at the annual conference in October. “I think there is a serious concern about this issue,” said Mr Mason. Jamie Hepburn, the MSP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, has moved October’s anti-Nato amendment to the motion from Angus Robertson, the party’s defence spokesman. MSPs John Finnie, Sandra White, Jean Urquhart, Dave Thompson, Bob Doris, Marco Biagi, John Wilson and now Mr Mason oppose the move by Mr Robertson, who believes a pledge of continuing membership of Nato will be another reassuring pitch in appealing to Scots voters in the 2014 referendum, arguing that Norway is both a non-nuclear state and alliance member. But critics point out Norway has never been a nuclear state, putting it in a very different position from that which Scotland would find itself in with nuclear weapons already on its territory.

Herald 21st Aug 2012 more >>

LEADING independence campaigner Pat Kane has called the idea of Scotland seeking non-nuclear status within Nato “not a principled or honourable position”. Mr Kane’s comments come as the organisers of Saturday’s SNP CND conference in Glasgow revealed the event has generated so much interest that similar events are now planned across the country ahead of the party’s national conference in October. Bill Ramsay, SNP CND organiser, said Saturday’s event was drawing great interest from ordinary party members, councillors and parliamentarians.

Herald 22nd Aug 2012 more >>

Renewables

The objections to “windmills” are many – and most contain at least an element of truth. So why is current policy aimed at building many thousands more turbines by 2020? And will it really happen – or will mounting political opposition curtail the plans? One key EU target underpins the drive for more wind farms: a legally binding goal for 15pc of the UK’s total energy consumption to come from renewable sources by 2020. That’s a huge increase from just 3pc when it was set, in 2009. To achieve it, the Government is aiming for massive growth in renewable electricity, to 30pc of our usage, from just under 10pc now. Most of that rise is due to come from wind, as the most advanced and readily available renewable technology. The Government wants up to 13 gigawatts (GW) of onshore wind capacity by 2020, up from about 5GW installed today. It also wants as much as 18GW of offshore wind, about 10 times current operational capacity. The industry has a “chicken and egg” challenge, says Dr Edge. “They say you can only have 18GW if you get to £100 per Mwh. But from our point of view, to get down to £100 per Mwh, we need to have confidence you’re going to have 18GW.” It remains to be seen how rigidly the Government will enforce this cost cut through reductions in the levels of subsidy from 2017. The 18GW ambition could be threatened if cost reduction proves even more challenging than thought.

Telegraph 21st Aug 2012 more >>

ENERGY Minister Fergus Ewing has launched new guidance for wind-farm planning applications, aimed at ensuring there is proper consultation on developments. The guidance is a result of the GP Wind Project, a Scottish Government project backed by European Union funding, which looked at the barriers involved in the development of wind energy and ways of reconciling renewable energy objectives with environmental concerns. The guidelines were developed in partnership with a wide range of interested parties, including the RSPB, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, SSE and ScottishPower Renewables. Mr Ewing also announced an onshore wind taskforce which will look at ways to improve the planning consent process for onshore wind.

Herald 22nd Aug 2012 more >>

Posted: 22 August 2012