News February 2012

29 February 2012

Hinkley

Occupiers calling themselves the barnstormers are being evicted right now (8.20am Wednesday 29th Feb) from the property called Langborough Barn at the proposed Hinkley Point C development site by energy giant EDF. Following the high court case on Monday, EDF have now been given possession of the property and the eviction has begun. Yesterday saw EDF trying to to evict the protest camp without any writ papers but fortunately the protestors were not taken in by their antics. Said campaigner Nikki Clark “Ever since court on Monday we’ve tried to establish a channel of communication with EDF about the time neccesary to leave the protest site. After hearing nothing from them at all they attempted to ask us to leave without serving us the correct papers at 3pm yesterday afternoon. We’ve been concerned to avoid a middle of the night eviction as has happened at Occupy London due to the very different nature of our camp here in rural somerset. Unlike the occupy london camp the buildings we have squatted pose numerous threats to health and safety, as do the public rights of way if forced to move our equipment in the dark” EDF finally managed to find their paperwork first thing this morning and the eviction began at 6:45 am. Theo Simon one of the barnstormers is refusing to leave the site and has climbed into the barn structure in a last ditch attempt to save the bat roost and surrounding 400 acre site that EDF are waiting to trash.

South West Against Nuclear 29th Feb 2012 more >>

GDA

Vital safety approvals for new nuclear power stations in England and Wales have been delayed because of the Fukushima nuclear accident a year ago, according to the government’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). The design of the new reactor proposed by the French power companies, EDF and Areva, has 15 unresolved safety issues, including cracking risks in key components, fault studies of cooling and electrical failures and the dangers of flooding. These have to be resolved before ONR will licence the construction of the new reactor but the programme for achieving this has slipped by two months. This is because more work than expected has been needed to address the issues raised by the Fukushima accident. ONR has posted online its latest report on progress with the “generic design assessment” of proposed new reactors in the last quarter of 2012. It reveals that it has had to rejig its resources to cope with the delays. “Some of the deliverables…have been late or do not provide the quality of information or depth of evidence that we expected,” ONR says. It has coded two issues as red, meaning that “delays cannot be recovered and will impact on the target closure date”.

robedwards.com, 27 February 2012 more >>

Emergency Planning

UK Nuclear Emergency Planning Review and NFLA Local Authority Questionnaire. Talk by Sean Morris at NFLA Conference Leeds 24th Feb.

NFLA 28th Feb 2012 more >>

Europe is ill-prepared for a nuclear accident on the scale of Japan’s Fukushima disaster, a French safety authority said. “There are doubts about the ability of some European countries to manage this type of situation,” Jacques Repussard, director of the Institut de Radioprotection et de Surete Nucleaire, or IRSN, said at a press conference in Paris today. “It’s extremely problematic. We need to progress in crisis management in many regions.” Some European countries lack sufficient atomic crisis centers while health authorities across the region don’t agree on what instructions to give local populations in case of accidents, he said. “There isn’t enough coordination.”

Bloomberg 28th Feb 2012 more >>

Radhealth

New French Study on Child Leukaemias near French Nuclear Power Plants. Talk by Dr Ian Fairlie at NFLA Conference Leeds 24th Feb.

NFLA 28th Feb 2012 more >>

Radwaste

Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Process – the answer to our problems, or the start of new nuclear risks. Talk by Jean McSorley at NFLA Conference Leeds 24th Feb.

NFLA 28th Feb 2012 more >>

Three parish councils have voted to withdraw Cumbria from the process to find a location for an underground nuclear dump. Seaton, Cockermouth and Above Derwent councils have all rejected moves to offer west Cumbria as a possible location for a so-called deep geological repository. Their vetoes do not carry any power and Allerdale, Copeland and Cumbria county council will take the final decision on whether to press ahead. All three authorities have volunteered to be involved in the process to find a suitable site – the only in the country to do so. A dump would bring billions of pounds of investment to the area, create new jobs and attract a package of Government benefits. But people campaigning against the idea say that the area’s geology is unsuitable and a repository would harm west Cumbria’s economy.

Carlisle News & Star 28th Feb 2012 more >>

Plutonium

The UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has requested proposals for disposition of the UK’s 112 tonnes of civilian plutonium. The NDA said re-use of the plutonium in mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel remains the government’s preferred option, but it is now seeking formal proposals on potential alternative approaches for disposing of the plutonium.

i-nuclear 28th Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Environmental campaigners opposing the planned Hinkley Point nuclear power station have claimed victory after the High Court threw out an injunction sought by French energy firm EDF aimed at preventing further protests. Mr Justice Floyd, sitting in the High Court on Monday, granted a possession order to EDF allowing the firm to clear a group of protesters occupying an abandoned farm building on the proposed site of the controversial power station in Somerset. But he rejected an application by EDF for an injunction against four named organisations – South West Against Nuclear, Stop Nuclear Power Network, Stop New Nuclear and Stop Hinkley – saying it was unnecessary.

Morning Star 28th Feb 2012 more >>

Anti-nuclear protesters camping on the site of the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station have been ordered to leave by the High Court.

Construction Enquirer 28th Feb 2012 more >>

The campaign group Stop Hinkley and other anti-nuclear campaigning organisations claimed a victory in the High Court when a judge ordered one group of protesters off the site of a proposed new Somerset nuclear power plant but said an injunction against four named organisations was unnecessary.

Western Daily Press 28th Feb 2012 more >>

Oldbury

Oldbury reached the end of its life and will generate its last megawatt of electricity on Wednesday. Last year, reactor two was switched off and now it is the turn of reactor one to be shut down. The decommissioning of Oldbury – although welcomed by local campaigners – will not be the end for nuclear power generation at the site, with plans for a new station advancing.

BBC 29th Feb 2012 more >>

Oldbury nuclear power station near Bristol is to stop generating electricity after 45 years of use. Both of the station’s reactors were scheduled to be turned off in 2008 but had their operational life extended. Reactor two was turned off in 2011 and reactor one is due to be shut down at 11:00 GMT.

BBC 29th Feb 2012 more >>

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority estimates that Oldbury will enter a so-called care and maintenance phase in 2027 when reactors are left to cool, most structures are removed and the reactor buildings are left in a safe state requiring minimum supervision until final site clearance. That final stage for Oldbury is anticipated to be between 2092 and 2101. It is estimated the cost of taking Oldbury out of action and clearing the site will be £954 million.

Western Morning News 29th Feb 2012 more >>

Wylfa

An E.ON-RWE joint venture is poised to take a huge step towards building a nuclear power station in north Wales by choosing the reactor technology it will use for the project. Westinghouse, owned by Toshiba, and France’s Areva have been battling it out to win contracts for their reactor designs from the energy giants that plan to build the UK’s upcoming wave of nuclear stations. The two designs are the only ones that have approval in principle from the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency. It is understood that Horizon Nuclear Power, the nuclear developer owned by the two German energy giants E.ON and RWE, is about to decide which reactor it wants to use for its Wylfa B plant on the Isle of Anglesey, and could make an announcement this week.

Independent 29th Feb 2012 more >>

Sellafield

Sellafield chiefs have shaken hands on an historic £1.5 billion procurement contract which will change the way the site does business. The deal will see some of the world’s biggest nuclear firms signed up on a 15-year deal to provide specialist design, engineering and safety assessments. The landmark agreement, known as the Design Services Alliance (DSA), marks a radical shift in the way Sellafield buys in services by signing up firms on long-term framework contracts. It is hoped the tie-ups will create more stability in the Sellafield supply chain, drive up efficiency levels and ensure a greater proportion of the cash spent on decommissioning stays in west Cumbria.

Cumberland News 28th Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

A team of 30 university professors, lawyers and journalists investigated Japan’s response to the triple meltdown at the Fukushima plant, which followed the twin disasters that shut down the plant’s cooling systems. Since September, it has interviewed more than 300 people, including Kan, then-trade minister Banri Kaieda and Edano. The New York Times newspaper, which had an advance copy of the report, said there was lack of trust between the major actors: Kan; the Tokyo headquarters of the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), and the manager at the stricken plant. Japanese leaders did not know the extent of the damage in the wake of the nuclear crisis after the massive quake and tsunami hit the Pacific nation even as they tried to play down the risk in public, an independent investigation is set to report. Naoto Kan, the then-prime minister, and his staff began referring to a worst case scenario that could threaten Japan’s existence as a nation around three days after the quake-triggered tsunami on March 11, and even secretly considered evacuating the capital, Tokyo, the report by the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation said on Tuesday. The Japanese prime minister ordered workers to remain at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear plant as fears mounted of a “devil’s chain reaction” that would force tens of millions of people to flee Tokyo, the report says.

Al Jazeeera (Video) 28th Feb 2012 more >>

The tsunami-hit Fukushima power plant remains fragile nearly a year after it suffered multiple meltdowns, its chief said Tuesday, with makeshift equipment—some mended with tape—keeping crucial systems running.

Japan Today 29th Feb 2012 more >>

As the people of Pripyat, a once bustling Soviet city built for the workers of Chernobyl, will tell you, evacuation from a nuclear disaster is a one-way ticket. Nearly 26 years later, time is frozen. The hammer-and-sickles still hang from the lamp-posts as they did on the day the town’s residents were told to get on the buses. A similar fate awaits many of the 80,000 evacuated a year ago from Fukushima. The Japanese government is raising hopes of an early return to the evacuation zone, and there are parts of villages to which former residents could move back this spring – if they wanted to. But life without neighbours, or the region’s traditional livestock and fishing industries, would be a shadow of its former self. Japan’s overreliance on nuclear power as a “clean” alternative to coal- and oil-fired stations should give the world pause for thought. Britain is now going down the same route. The debate is complex, but it must not assume the same thing couldn’t happen here. That’s what they said in Japan after Chernobyl.

Guardian 28th Feb 2012 more >>

A new report released today by Greenpeace argues it was neither the 7.1 magnitude earthquake nor the raging tsunami that followed which deserve the real blame for the nuclear disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Diachi power plant last year. Rather, according to ‘The Lessons of Fukushima’, the real disaster was caused by hubris, greed, and the fact that repeated warnings over the unsafe nature of the nuclear plant were ‘downplayed and ignored’.

Common Dreams 28th Feb 2012 more >>

The Japanese government withheld information about the full danger of last year’s nuclear disaster from its own people, according to an independent report released today. The report, compiled from interviews with more than 300 people, delivers a scathing view of how officials played down the risks of the meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant that followed a March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Compiled by scholars, lawyers and other experts, the study concludes that government oversight of nuclear plant safety had been inadequate, ignoring the tsunami risk and the need for plant design renovations and instead clinging to a “myth of safety.”

Morning Star 28th Feb 2012 more >>

Chronicle Live 28th Feb 2012 more >>

Newcastle Journal 28th Feb 2012 more >>

The remains of the shattered reactors are still some distance away when you first notice the sheer destruction of Japan’s nuclear disaster. The journey into the heart of the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl 26 years ago begins much earlier, in the towns and villages that exist in name only, their residents having been sent fleeing a year ago. Homes and shops lie empty, the roads are deserted. In the town of Naraha, groceries sit untouched on the shelves of a convenience store; a handful of cars punctuate a supermarket carpark, abandoned by their owners amid the panic that followed the first explosion at one of the Fukushima Daiichi plant’s reactor buildings.

Guardian 28th Feb 2012 more >>

It is impossible, on a brief visit, to grasp the scale and complexity of the post-meltdown operation at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. But entering the ground zero of Japan’s nuclear crisis, as the Guardian did on Tuesday, at least means going through the same procedures as the thousands of people who work there every day.

Guardian 28th Feb 2012 more >>

The first independent investigation into Japan’s nuclear crisis has painted a damning portrait of the desperate efforts by ill-prepared politicians, bureaucrats and utility executives to avert a disaster some feared could force the evacuation of Tokyo. The report highlighted how a dearth of effective planning left leaders struggling to decide how to respond to the failure of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant last March.

FT 28th Feb 2012 more >>

The Fukushima Dai-ichi power station is still vulnerable to disaster almost a year after the meltdown that poisoned eight towns and villages and forced 78,000 people to flee, the head of the nuclear plant admitted yesterday. In a rare interview, Takeshi Takahashi said that despite claims that the plant’s three reactors had been brought into a controlled state of “cold shutdown” late last year, the equipment keeping it stable was susceptible to a further earthquake or tsunami.

Times 29th Feb 2012 more >>

Russia

Russian Federal Prosecutors have accused a company owned by the country’s nuclear energy corporation, Rosatom, with massive corruption and manufacturing substandard equipment for nuclear reactors under construction both at home and abroad. The ZiO-Podolsk machine building plant’s procurement director, Sergei Shutov, has been arrested for buying low quality raw materials on the cheap and pocketing the difference as the result of an investigation by the Federal Security Service, or FSB, the successor organization to the KGB. It is not clear how many reactors have been impacted by the alleged crime, but reactors built by Russia in India, Bulgaria, Iran, China as well as several reactor construction and repair projects in Russia itself may have been affected by cheap equipment, given the time frame of works completed at the stations and the scope of the investigation as it has been revealed by authorities.

Bellona 28th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

A new round of nuclear negotiations with Iran is likely to be agreed in the next few days when diplomats from six major powers hammer out a common response to Tehran’s offer to resume contacts, official sources said on Tuesday.

Guardian 28th Feb 2012 more >>

Israel said it will not warn the U.S. if it decides to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, American intelligence has revealed. Officials said they would keep America in the dark so that the U.S. would not be held responsible for failing to stop the attack.

Daily Mail 29th Feb 2012 more >>

India

The Indian government has charged four non-governmental organisations with allegedly diverting foreign funds to back protests against a nuclear plant.

BBC 29th Feb 2012 more >>

China

Opposition to the Pengze plant has escalated to the point that the eastern province of Anhui province has issued a formal appeal to Beijing to halt construction on the plant, which is in neighbouring Jiangxi province but close to population centres in Anhui. Other reactors under construction have also seen more vocal opposition. Although the protests do not appear co-ordinated and no nationwide anti-nuclear lobby group exists, any public disturbance will raise anxiety in Beijing where leaders are increasingly worried about unrest.

FT 28th Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Nuclear Information Service February newsletter includes articles on: Safety report reveals widespread safety flaws at Clyde submarine base; Development go-ahead at the Atomic Weapons Establishment.

NIS 28th Feb 2012 more >>

While media pundits in the United States warn darkly of Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, America itself is regarded as the main nuclear threat in much of the world today. The United States argues that it needs these weapons to deter attacks on itself and its allies, and that it would only use them to prevent or respond to such an attack. But people in other countries wonder why Americans need so many of them — secreted away in missile silos, on submarines and in bombers, computer-targeted to obliterate their cities at the turn of a key.

Middle East Online 28th Feb 2012 more >>

Renewables

Opposition groups kick up storm over windfarms in Wales. National Grid’s plans for huge substation and a line of pylons stretching up to 25 miles lead to protests.

Guardian 28th Feb 2012 more >>

Technology now on trial could pave the way for turbines in deep seas of Mediterranean and off the coasts of Japan and the US. Six miles off south-west Norway, the first full-scale demonstration of a floating wind turbine heaves and sways in the North Sea. The depth of water, at 200 metres, rules out driving piles into the seabed, or mounting the turbine on a submersible tower. Instead, it sits on a buoyant steel cylinder, kept upright with ballast, and tethered (not too tightly) to the seabed by a three-point mooring. Hopes are running high for the Hywind project which ends this year. Since 2010, the turbine has generated 15MWh of energy. If it survives the battering waves and driving winds, floating offshore wind turbines will shift from the plausible to the probable.

Guardian 29th Feb 2012 more >>

Britain is leading the world in the building of windfarms off its coastline but the “green revolution” appears to be largely working in favour of foreign firms. The Danish operator of the world’s biggest offshore windfarm, off Cumbria is the latest to come under fire for favouring foreign suppliers and allegedly providing “negligible” work or services to local UK companies. Dong Energy opened the Walney scheme on 9 February boasting it had erected more than 100 turbines in double quick time and had broken other records by bringing in foreign investors. But John Woodcock, Labour MP for Barrow-in-Furness where the formal opening of Walney took place, blamed ministers as well as companies, saying they had taken their eye off the ball.

Guardian 29th Feb 2012 more >>

Scotland’s spectacular mountain scenery is being wrecked by “windfarm vultures” making millions on the back of government subsidies, an environmental group says. Environmental groups that back wind power argue that more should be done to benefit local communities. “We would like to see developments moving from simply providing community funds to an increasing element of community ownership,” said the director of WWF Scotland, Dr Richard Dixon. “It is time for government north and south of the border to enable communities to be the drivers of larger schemes and benefit from the renewables revolution that will help us wean ourselves off fossil fuels and nuclear.”

Guardian 28th Feb 2012 more >>

Letter from NFLA: was troubled to read that most of the largest onshore and offshore wind companies in the world are thinking of not investing in the UK renewable energy market because of a perception of a lack of formal support from the government for such projects. I wish Mr Cameron had recently been signing an Anglo-French treaty on renewables, instead of wasting time and vast resources developing the white elephants that will be new nuclear power stations. With the Daily Telegraph accurately noting that most of the profits and jobs for new nuclear will not be in UK hands, I find it bizarre that the government is prepared to miss out on a renewable jobs and finance bonanza at a time when our economy really needs a major boost.

Guardian 28th Feb 2012 more >>

Fuel Poverty

The number of people dying as a result of fuel poverty is three times higher than government estimates suggest, according to new academic research. Some 7,800 people die during winter because they can’t afford to heat their homes properly, says fuel poverty expert Professor Christine Liddell of the University of Ulster. That works out at 65 deaths a day. Fuel poverty is defined as when someone needs to spend 10 per cent or more on heating their home. The new total – calculated using World Health Organisation guidance and official excess winter death figures – is four times as many fatalities as happen in road accidents each year.

Independent 29th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 29 February 2012

28 February 2012

Nuclear Safety

A 40-STRONG team at EDF Energy’s engineering headquarters in Barnwood has undertaken a massive operation to ensure that the UK’s nuclear power plants are the safest in the world. And last week the Gloucester base threw open its doors to explain the undertaking and reassure the public about the planned next generation of nuclear power stations. EDF set up the Japan Earthquake Response Programme team at Barnwood following the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant in March 2011. Stress tests have been applied to assess the safety of its nuclear installations and how it would deal with a major incident. Last week a special exhibition at Barnwood demonstrated some of the equipment available including huge trucks that could cope if roads were swept away, communications equipment and gear that could be delivered to the site of the emergency in pods and simply “plugged in” to replace critical plant. EDF Japan Earthquake Response Programme team communications head Martin Kelly said it was important for the company to have its own capability and not rely on others.

Gloucestershire Echo 28th Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

The campaign group Stop Hinkley and other anti-nuclear campaigning organisations won a victory in the High Court today when a legal action against them by EDF Energy was thrown out by the Judge, Mr Justice Floyd. EDF wanted to ban Stop Hinkley not only from entering its land at Hinkley Point, where it plans two new nuclear power plants, but from encouraging anybody else to do so. The injunction was rejected by the Judge on the basis that there was no evidence that the campaign and other organisations intended to encourage illegal activity. “This is a victory for free speech,” said Stop Hinkley spokesman Crispin Aubrey, ” and our right to publicise events in opposition to the Hinkley C development on our website”. Earlier the Judge did grant a possession order to EDF to reclaim Langborough Farm, a deserted building on the proposed Hinkley C site which has been occupied by protesters for the past two weeks.

Utility Week 27th Feb 2012 more >>

BBC 27th Feb 2012 more >>

Anti-nuclear activists begin their 13th day occupying a barn on the site of the proposed new Hinkley C nuclear power station today as they prepare to resist legal action to evict them. French firm EDF Energy is seeking possession of the site and an injunction preventing a return. A hearing is expected in the High Court of Justice in London on Monday.

Democratic Underground 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Today in the High Court of Justice, EDF Energy failed to win an injunction against a number of anti-nuclear power campaigns. The energy giant is seeking permission to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset but is facing major opposition at a local and national level. In a clear attempt to suppress opposition to its highly controversial plans, EDF has not only sought the eviction of individual protestors occupying farm land near to the proposed site, but also attempted to secure an injunction against four anti-nuclear groups: South West Against Nuclear, Stop Nuclear Power Network UK, Stop Hinkley and Stop New Nuclear to prevent them protesting on the land in future.

CND 27th Feb 2012 more >>

Energy company EDF has successfully obtained a High Court order to evict protesters from its site in Hinkley, Somerset, where it is set to build a new nuclear power plant. However, it was unsuccessful in getting a blanket injunction against all groups opposed to the plans including local protest organisation Stop Hinkley. Theo Simon, a protester at the site, described the decision as a “moral victory” and said he wanted the protesters to be able to move off the site in an orderly fashion.

Building 27th Feb 2012 more >>

Sizewell

Spend a weekend camping on the beach at Sizewell and learning about the plans for the new nuclear power station. Come show your opposition to nuclear power, and your support for sustainable energy solutions. The weekend includes a protest at the power station entrance, skill-shares and other workshops, woodland and beach walks. Now is the time to take action against nuclear new build – come join us to say ‘Nuclear power – No thanks!’

CND 27th Feb 2012 more >>

Berkeley

THE decommissioned nuclear power station at Berkeley will mark a milestone when its five huge 300 tonne boilers are removed next month. The boilers, which are 21 metres long and five metres in diameter, will be moved whole from the site, through Berkeley to Sharpness Docks. Then they will be transported to Avonmouth and shipped to Sweden for smelting and recycling. It is estimated up to 90 per cent of the metal will be put back into the market for reuse. The boilers will be moved in three movements. Berkeley will be the first Magnox site to remove its boilers and to mark a major decommissioning milestone. It will also alter the skyline of the site forever. Magnox has been working with contractors Studsvik and ALE on the project.

Gloucestershire Echo 28th Feb 2012 more >>

THE first of five massive boilers to be removed from the defunct Berkeley nuclear power station will start to make their slow journey to Portbury docks next month. Each of the 310-tonne boilers used to produce steam to turn the generator turbines when the plant was operating. It had been planned to leave the boilers on the site until its final clearance in 2074 after Berkeley – the first commercial UK nuclear power station to produce electricity – was closed in 1989. But they will now be taken to Sweden for decontamination and recycling, once they have been carefully carried through Berkeley town centre. As reported in the Evening Post last month, the company Studsvik has signed an £8 million contract with the Low Level Waste Repository for the transport to Scandinavia and treatment of five of the 15 redundant boilers at its processing plant. The first two boilers, which measure 21 metres (nearly 70ft) in length and contain low levels of radioactivity, will be moved on March 19, with two further journeys to carry the others away. They will be moved by road to Sharpness docks in an operation that could take three hours. They will then be loaded onto a barge and taken to Portbury for shipping to Sweden.

Waste Management World 27th Feb 2012 more >>

Radwaste

In a letter to new DECC minister Ed Davey Environment Group member of Cumbria Churches Together, Sir Martin Holdgate has said ‘While community acceptance of any possible repository site is of course desirable, the imperative is its environmental suitability for thousands of years to come. A bad site remains a bad site even if it currently has a willing community, while a good site will be safe effectively forever, whoever lives on top of it. We hope that you will take full responsibility for this vital issue back to where it properly resides, in Central Government, and not leave it unfairly on the shoulders of the local authorities of Cumbria.’

Radiation Free Lakeland 27th Feb 2012 more >>

Plutonium

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has announced it continues to seek alternatives for managing the UK’s plutonium stockpile this week. The NDA is seeking alternatives from the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s preferred strategy of reusing the plutonium as mixed-oxide (Mox) fuel for future nuclear power stations. The NDA said the government remains “open” to other options provided they can offer better value or less risk. The UK’s plutonium stockpile has been accumulating since the 1950s – largely from the reprocessing of spent fuel at Sellafield – and NDA has been seeking ways to manage it. This has included constructing a large geological disposal facility. NDA announced last year it was shutting its existing Mox plant – built for the export market – following the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. Engineering giant GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) unveiled plans to re-use the UK’s legacy plutonium stockpile for a new nuclear power station in Sellafield, West Cumbria last year. Interested parties have until the end of March to submit expressions of interest in alternatives.

New Civil Engineer 27th Feb 2012 more >>

The NDA is seeking proposals on potential alternative approaches for managing the UK’s plutonium stocks alongside providing support to the Government as it progresses its preferred policy of converting the material into Mixed Oxide fuel (MOX) for reactors. Both the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the NDA have already held extensive public consultations over possible management solutions for the existing civil stocks of plutonium, which have accumulated since the 1950s, largely from the reprocessing of spent fuel at Sellafield , and are currently held in secure storage pending the development of a long-term solution. More than 100 responses were received to the DECC consultations.

NDA 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Skills

Hinkley Point C – could be under construction as soon as next year and fully operational six years later. Three consortia, EDF Energy-Centrica, Horizon and NuGen, plan a total of six stations by 2027. But how well is the industry placed to cope with its first new-build programme since Sizewell B, which began generating in 1995? Will it be able to meet demand for the skills needed? With a relatively high average age among the industry’s most experienced staff, the need to attract new blood into the industry is made more acute.

Engineer 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Supply Chain

British companies look set to miss out on the lion’s share of the £60 billion in construction contracts that will be available from building of nuclear power plants at Hinkley Point and Sizewell. Cameron did announce his commitment to using British companies in the engineering, construction and manufacturing of the power plants when the energy alliance deal with Nicolas Sarkozy was launched. However, French companies look to benefit as design and technology used in the power plants will mostly be from companies in France. The UK looks to be taking the back-seat in the partnership.

Purcon 27th Feb 2012 more >>

Old Nukes

EDF Energy resumed output from its 480 megawatt Hinkley Point B-7 reactor on Saturday. Another reactor operated by Magnox, unit 1 at Wylfa, also restarted, adding 240 MW to supply early on Monday morning.

Reuters 27th Feb 2012 more >>

Radhealth

Lamb Deformities caused by Midge Virus? Or cumulative radiation …. Anyone asking?

Radiation Free Lakeland 27th Feb 2012 more >>

ONR

Two executives at the organisation that ensures safety at nuclear plants have had their contracts terminated following discovery that they were being paid through private companies rather than the staff payroll.

Accountancy Live 27th Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

In the darkest moments of last year’s nuclear accident, Japanese leaders did not know the actual extent of damage at the plant and secretly considered the possibility of evacuating Tokyo, even as they tried to play down the risks in public, an independent investigation into the accident disclosed on Monday.

New York Times 27th Feb 2012 more >>

In solemn remembrance of the lives affected by last year’s Japanese earthquake and the following Fukushima nuclear tragedy, Greenpeace climbers today delivered messages of support and hope to the summit of Mt Fuji. As the eleven climbers from Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA scaled the mountain, a banner reading “No Nuclear” and “Nuclear Free Tomorrow” was deployed at Lake Yamanakako, one of five lakes at the base of Mt Fuji, by a second team of Greenpeace activists. “Greenpeace is taking messages for Fukushima collected from thousands of people in Japan and all over the world (1) to the top of Mt Fuji to help convince the Japanese Government to listen the voices of the people, not the nuclear industry,” said Wakao Hanoaka, Greenpeace Japan Campaign Manager.

Greenpeace 28th Feb 2012 more >>

To learn from Fukushima, Greenpeace commissioned “Lessons from Fukushima.” This report, by three independent experts (a nuclear physicist, a correspondent for a health publication and a nuclear engineer), documents how the government, regulators and the nuclear industry enabled the Fukushima Daiichi disaster and then failed to protect the people from its impacts. Given that these failures are repeated wherever nuclear power is generated, means that millions who are in the shadow of reactors live with the risks of the next nuclear disaster. Instead of acknowledging these risks, many politicians and authorities responded to Fu-kushima by calling for the need to “restore public confidence in nuclear power.” Something is clearly wrong. A year after the disaster began; governments continue to protect the nuclear industry instead of protecting their citizens.

Greenpeace 28th Feb 2012 more >>

Lessons from Fukushima.

Greenpeace 28th Feb 2012 more >>

Greenpeace today released “Lessons from Fukushima”, a new report which shows that it was not a natural disaster which led to the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant on Japan’s east coast, but the failures of the Japanese Government, regulators and the nuclear industry. The key conclusion to be drawn from the report is that this human-made nuclear disaster could be repeated at any nuclear plant in the world, putting millions at risk.

Greenpeace 28th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

Iran is still relying on decades-old technology to expand its nuclear programme, a fact that suggests it might be having difficulties developing more modern machines that could speed up production of potential bomb material, experts say.

First Post 27th Feb 2012 more >>

City AM 28th Feb 2012 more >>

Korea

North Korea has informed the United States that it is ready to suspend its uranium enrichment program in exchange for food aid. This would include grains from the United States.

NHK 27th Feb 2012 more >>

South Africa

In the budget review for 2012, a price tag of R300 billion appears for Eskom’s nuclear fleet build programme. The programme is designed to deliver 9,600MW of nuclear capacity by 2029 and is described as being in the “final stages of consideration before financial proposals can be determined”. This is all rather curious. The President did not mention the R300 billion nuclear build programme in his State of the Nation Address. The Minister of Finance did not mention it explicitly in his Budget Speech. Now, apparently, it is in its “final stages”. There has been no debate in Parliament and no opportunity for the public to scrutinise a nuclear programme that could have a very real impact on all of our lives. Not only will it cost nearly a third of our annual budget, but there are serious safety and environmental concerns to consider.

All Africa 26th Feb 2012 more >>

India

India is determined to promote its nuclear energy program with a planned 20 more nuclear reactors in the pipeline amid escalating protests in the country.

IB Times 28th Feb 2012 more >>

India’s power minister Mr Sushilkumar Shinde has stated that the country plans to build nuclear power generation capacity of 63 GW during the next 20 years.

Modern Power Systems 26th Feb 2012 more >>

Bahrain

Trade Arabia reports that Bahrain has abandoned its plans to adopt nuclear power as an alternative power source.

Modern Power Systems 26th Feb 2012 more >>

Renewables

The growth of renewable energy has been unprecedented over the past 25 years. Wind and solar have maintained double-digit growth rates since 2000. No other segment of the energy sector has grown this fast. Wind power is the most economic new power plant technology, due to reduced installations costs, no fuel costs and construction time of less than one year, compared to over 10 years to construct nuclear power plants. In addition to replacing nuclear, renewables could lead to phasing out of over 90% of fossil fuels in the power and heating sectors by 2050, while in the transport sector the use of fossil fuels could be reduced from the current 98% down to about 30% by 2050.

Greenpeace 27th Feb 2012 more >>

The Department of Energy and Climate Change says green policies add £20 to the average domestic fuel bill each year. This question has caused plenty of vexed debate over the past year in the media and among politicians. But the position of Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) is quite clear. In its 2011 annual energy statement, it stated that green policies such as the renewables obligation (RO) – which ensures that suppliers generate an increasing proportion of electricity from renewable sources – add £20 to the average domestic fuel bill each year. RenewableUK, a trade association representing the renewable energy sector, says that 47% of this total can be attributed to wind. “So we normally say [that for wind power] the RO adds £10 per year to people’s fuel bills,” says a spokesman. Much of the heat in this debate is about the predicted future burden of “gree n taxes” on domestic fuel bills. Decc calculates that its policies will add £48 to bills by 2020 (compared with its £20 figure for 2011). However, it argues that its overall push for renewables and energy efficiency will lead to a net decrease in energy bills – a much contested claim, it should be stressed – because consumers will be less reliant on the ever-rising cost of fossils fuels such as gas. An additional upward pressure on bills in coming years will be the shared cost of upgrading the UK’s energy infrastructure, not just in terms of generating, but also transmission. Ofgem, the energy market regulator, predicts that around £30bn will need to be spent upgrading aging infrastructure over the next decade, adding a further £60 each year to energy bills. Apportioning a percentage of this figure to wind alone, though, is almost impossible.

Guardian 27th Feb 2012 more >>

The boom in onshore wind power, likened to a “new industrial revolution”, is being dominated by a small number of private landowners who will share around £1bn in rental fees over the next eight years. Rental payments vary and are secret but, say property agents speaking in confidence to the Guardian, landowners can now expect £40,000 a year “risk-free” for each large turbine erected on their land. Those set to benefit include senior members of the royal family and the Forestry Commission in Wales and Scotland.

Guardian 28th Feb 2012 more >>

The prime minister, David Cameron, has met MPs who are fighting the government’s support for onshore windfarms as concern mounts that billions of pounds of investment in green jobs is on hold while the row continues. The Guardian revealed on Monday that spending on energy infrastructure, from research and development to building turbines, is in doubt while company executives look for reassurance from ministers that they are committed to a big expansion of wind and other renewable energy. Growing concern about the government’s support for its own climate and energy policies was refuelled three weeks ago by the publication of a letter signed by more than 100 Conservative, two Liberal Democrat and other MPs opposing subsidies and planning policies supporting windfarms. Cameron, along with the Conservative energy minister Charles Hendry and planning minister Greg Clark, met the Tory MP Chris Heaton-Harris and a small group of others who signed the letter. Cameron is understood to have reiterated his support for wind power, as he did in a letter to the MPs last week.

Guardian 28th Feb 2012 more >>

Public subsidies for the development of wind power in the UK are dwarfed by the tax breaks enjoyed by fossil fuels, a new Guardian analysis has revealed. Financial support for fledgling renewable energy industries has increasingly come under attack in recent months, but the new data shows that the older industries benefit to a far greater extent. Most of the Decc’s budget is spent on decommissioning nuclear power stations and managing nuclear waste, which cost taxpayers £7bn on 2010-11. Nuclear power is expected to benefit from the forthcoming carbon floor price, receiving perhaps £50m a year, and possible tax exemption on uranium. Anti-nuclear campaigners also claim that “hidden subsidies”, such as the limit on an operator’s liability for accidents, are worth billions.

Guardian 27th Feb 2012 more >>

Studies of wind farms built in California and Spain in the 1980s have shown an “excessive” number of fatalities among six raptor species, including eagles and vultures. The evidence suggests that poor planning and outmoded turbine design were largely responsible and the current thinking is that fewer but much larger turbines, sited away from known migratory paths of birds, can significantly decrease the risk of bird strikes.

Guardian 28th Feb 2012 more >>

A NETWORK of “green homes” has been set up in Scotland to enable people to visit and find out how to install renewables in their property. The Scottish Government hopes the Green Homes Network will give people the chance to talk to other homeowners about the costs and savings of installing renewables such as biomass burners, solar panels and turbines, and get tips and advice. So far, more than 500 homes across Scotland have signed up to be part of the network.

Scotsman 28th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 28 February 2012

27 February 2012

Hinkley

This is the second film made about the occupation of Langborough Farm on the proposed site of Hinkley C – one of the new wave of nuclear power stations the coalition Government have given the go ahead for. It is a video diary made by one of the protestors, Theo Simon, and spans the first two weeks of the farm occupation. It includes visits from Mr Hurry, the man responsible for an emergency nuclear response, Tessa Munt, MP for Wells and Glastonbury, and an inordinate number of files delivered for EDF to the camp by Squire and Sanders, their corporate lawyers.

You Tube 25th Feb 2012 more >>

BBC 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Supply Chain

British companies will struggle to win the bulk of the £60bn expected to be spent building the next generation of nuclear plants, the Prime Minister has been told. David Cameron made it clear when he signed an energy alliance deal with the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, that he wanted to see the “vast majority” of the content “constructed, manufactured and engineered” by British companies. He has been given no firm assurances on a “buy British” commitment by either President Sarkozy or EDF, the French state-controlled energy group in line to build the first new plants. With the heart of the new power stations based on French designs and technology, Mr Cameron has been warned there is little prospect of achieving his aim.

Telegraph 26th Feb 2012 more >>

Fuel Poverty

More than nine million households will be living in fuel poverty within four years unless the Government directs £4bn a year from carbon taxes to families in greatest need, campaigners warn. More Britons die every year from living in a cold home than on the roads, they said, with the situation expected to worsen sharply because of soaring utility bills. A new study has revealed that there are a million more households already living in fuel poverty compared with previous estimates, taking the total to 6.4 million. The study, by energy efficiency experts Camco, suggests that the total will hit 9.1 million by 2016. Mike O’Connor, chief executive of Consumer Focus, said: “It is a harsh truth that an effective strategy to transform the energy efficiency of our homes and to tackle growing numbers in fuel poverty will need far greater ambition and resources. Billions of pounds will go directly from our energy bills to the Exchequer as part of schemes to cut carbon emissions. That money could reap a double benefit if it was directed to reduce massively our wasteful consumption of energy.” The campaign, called the Energy Bill Revolution, was created by Transform UK, a not-for-profit organisation.

Independent 27th Feb 2012 more >>

Energy Bill Revolution 26th Feb 2012 more >>

India

India is betting heavily on nuclear power to meet its surging energy needs. While India currently has six nuclear power plants (NPPs) with 20 reactors generating 4,780 megawatts, seven other reactors are under construction and are expected to generate an additional 5,300 megawatts. This current rate of nuclear power generation pales into insignificance with New Delhi’s future plans, as on 22 February Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told a seminar at the India International Nuclear Symposium, “India plans to have a total installed nuclear capacity of 63,000 megawatts by the year 2032, using both indigenous technology and imported reactors.

Oil Price 26th Feb 2012 more >>

Thorium

Norway holds a resource of 170,000 tonnes of thorium, which amounts to 15% of the world’s total of 1.2 million tonnes. There is far more thorium than that within the earth’s crust all told, averaging 8 ppm compared with around 2.8 ppm for uranium, but the above figures refer to richer ores, most commonly monazite sand which contains up to 12% of thorium. There is some opinion that thorium nuclear power might be a better environmental/energy-strategy for Norway than relying on carbon-capture which many consider to be uneconomic. However, the matter of thorium reactors is not straightforward. Professor Egil Lillestol of Bergen University has been pushing thorium for some years now, and thinks that Norway should set the trend in building a prototype accelerator-driven reactor.

Oil Price 26th Feb 2012 more >>

Renewables

Billions of pounds’ worth of investment in Britain’s energy infrastructure is on hold or uncertain because of concerns over the government’s commitment to wind energy. In an exclusive survey, the heads of some of the world’s biggest wind companies, which have been considering setting up factories, research facilities and other developments in the UK, have told the Guardian they are reviewing their investments or seeking clarification and reassurances from ministers on future energy policy in the wake of growing political opposition to wind energy that culminated in this month’s unprecedented attack on the government’s policies in a letter signed by more than 100 Tory MPs. Keith Anderson, chief corporate officer at Scottish Power, contrasted the situation with that in Scotland, where top politicians, the media and the public tend to advocate more wind power. Much of the company’s planned £1bn investment will go to Scotland.

Guardian 26th Feb 2012 more >>

Tory high command may be hedging on coalition’s renewable energy policy by quietly encouraging opposition to windfarms. Whatever happened in this case, there are good reasons why David Cameron and George Osborne may have been happy to see the letter make headlines. It is prudent to have a confident rightwing asserting itself, to counter suggestions that the Lib Dems have undue influence on government policies, despite being the minor coalition partner. More pertinently, with regular headlines – fair and unfair – about the cost of the government’s energy and climate policies being added to electricity and gas bills, there must be concern among senior ministers about subsidies for wind and other renewables. Add to that the frustration that a large proportion of wind turbine investment and jobs seems to be going overseas when the British economy is struggling, and it is helpful to have ground prepared for a possible policy shift.

Guardian 26th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 27 February 2012

26 February 2012

Opinion Polls

After Fukushima support for the technology in the UK tumbled by 11 percentage points to stand at a record low of 36 per cent last June, according to a survey by Ipsos MORI. “Always, when you get a major disaster, people instantly stand back with a lot of antipathy,” says Angelos Anastasiou, an analyst at Investec. “But it doesn’t usually last.” He’s right: in the UK and much of the rest of the world, it didn’t. Almost as quickly as the opposition to nuclear power had increased, it evaporated, more or less in line with television coverage of the disaster. In fact, according to a poll taken in December and published last month, UK support for nuclear had not only rebounded, but actually hit a record of 50 per cent. It was as if the relationship had emerged stronger as a result of the doubt.

Independent 26th Feb 2012 more >>

New Nukes

Centrica is the only UK energy generator proposing to invest in the next generation of nuclear power but has yet to make a final decision. Its chief executive, Sam Laidlaw, says: “It is vital that the Government provides the clarity and assurance that will be needed if the [nuclear] industry is to step up and deliver the massive investment that the country requires.” Two government decisions will be crucial. The first relates to the level of “price support” that nuclear power generators can expect to get. The other is the “carbon floor price”, to be introduced in April next year. This will determine the minimum amount that the big coal and gas power plants must pay for their carbon emissions, which, in turn, will influence the price of electricity – and which will dictate the profits made by low-emissions nuclear power plants and, in turn, their viability.

Independent 26th Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Taxpayers will not have to foot the £2.3m research costs into a proposed nuclear plant at Hinkley Point, Sedgemoor District Council has pledged. The authority has voted to freeze council tax bill levels by not building in the costs of the research. The council said it would review the planning application and has renewed calls for developer EDF to pay for it EDF Energy has denied accusations it has refused to provide funds and said it is prepared to pay reasonable costs.

BBC 25th Feb 2012 more >>

Western Daily Press 25th Feb 2012 more >>

Burnham-on-sea 24th Feb 2012 more >>

Anti-nuclear activists begin their 13th day occupying a barn on the site of the proposed new Hinkley C nuclear power station today as they prepare to resist legal action to evict them. French firm EDF Energy is seeking possession of the site and an injunction preventing a return. A hearing is expected in the High Court of Justice in London on Monday.

Western Daily Press 25th Feb 2012 more >>

Energy Prices

Millions of families are paying up to £330 a year more for their gas and electricity than neighbours who consume the same amount, because of anti-competitive practices by the country’s biggest suppliers, research has found. The findings – after a week in which Centrica, the owner of British Gas, posted record profits of £2.4bn – will increase the pressure on ministers and the energy regulator, Ofgem, to act to ensure that all customers are offered the cheapest available tariffs.

Observer 26th Feb 2012 more >>

Dounreay

A PIECE of radioactive fuel with potentially “significant” health risks has turned up on a beach in Caithness. Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL) confirmed on Monday that it had recovered a particle – thought to have originally come from the Prototype Fast Reactor – from the water’s edge at Sandside beach in Reay. If confirmed by further testing it will be the first time a radioactive speck of this category has been discovered on public land locally – with its unusual chemical make-up also raising questions. DSRL’s head of communication Colin Punler explained that it has informed the Scottish Environment Protection Agency that additional tests are being carried after it was noted that the particle was twice as “hot” as the previous highest find since beach monitoring started nearly 20 years ago.

John O Groat Journal 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

Iran has warned Israel against mounting an attack on its nuclear facilities amid rising international tension over its uranium enrichment programme. General Ahmad Vahidi issued a statement warning Israel that an attack would lead to the collapse of the Jewish state.

Guardian 25th Feb 2012 more >>

Trident

A cut-price nuclear deterrent is being considered by defence chiefs as part of a concession to the Liberal Democrats. One option would see submarines equipped with nuclear-armed cruise missiles replacing the more effective Trident deterrent. Such a step would dramatically shorten the range of Britain’s nuclear missiles and increase the risk of its submarines being detected or the cruise missiles being shot down. But some experts say it could halve the £25 billion cost of a building a new fleet of Trident nuclear missile submarines, which is the government’s current plan. The government review into options other than Trident is being led by the Cabinet Office but overseen by Nick Harvey, the Lib Dem defence minister. Lib Dem MPs are confident its findings will allow them go into the 2015 general election with a credible alternative to renewing Trident.

Sunday Times 26th Feb 2012 more >>

Shale Gas

Fracking – the extraction of shale gas – was halted last year after it was linked to a series of tremors in Lancashire. Drilling companies hope a decision due soon will allow them to restart operations. But protesters say fracking can lead to water contamination, methane leaks and animals dying.

Guardian 25th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 26 February 2012

25 February 2012

Radwaste

IT’S JUST like West Cumbria – only with lots more hot sunshine. That’s Carlsbad in New Mexico, a place where, when mining declined, nuclear took over. It was not exactly a rags-to-riches story, but billions of United States government dollars have since flowed into Carlsbad transforming the old mining town. The comparison with West Cumbria is significant: a once prosperous coalfield area until all the pits closed and where nuclear is now king, Carlsbad is home to WIPP, the world’s only underground nuclear waste repository. Soon West Cumbria is likely to be at the heart of a search for the UK equivalent of a place in which to bury Britain’s highly radioactive materials. An opinion poll will shortly be launched soon to test Cumbrian attitudes.

Cumberland News 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Low Level Waste

A pledge has been given that extra monitoring will be carried out at a low-level nuclear waste dump in the north of the county. The assurance was given by MP Bob Neill, minister responsible for planning at the Department for Communities and Local Government, following a meeting with Corby and East Northamptonshire MP Louise Mensch. Since an appeal against plans to allow Augean to dispose of waste at the site in King’s Cliffe was lost in the High Court in January, the MP has been calling for better monitoring of the site.

Evening Telegraph 24th Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Although discussions with EDF have not yet been concluded, on Friday, February 24, Sedgemoor District Council agreed to set its proportion of council tax at 0%, thereby freezing the rate.

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

DC CABE has given YRM’s £10 billion Hinkley Point C nuclear reactor scheme a glowing design review

Architects Journal 24th Feb 2012 more >>

ONR

Two executives at the nuclear regulator have lost their jobs after ministers discovered they were being paid through private companies rather than via the staff payroll. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) last night confirmed that two of its senior managers were paid through service companies, and were losing their contracts with the ONR. It comes amid a review by Danny Alexander, the chief secretary to the treasury, into the number of bureaucrats who are paid through tax efficient private firms. Being paid through a private company can save a contractor thousands of pounds in tax because they would be taxed in part at the corporation tax rate of 21 per cent rather than the income tax rate of up to 50 per cent.

Telegraph 24th Feb 2012 more >>

Guardian 24th Feb 2012 more >>

Scotland

The company, previously known as Scottish & Southern Energy, said it will honour existing investments in Scotland but the uncertainty created by the 2014 referendum could hamper future plans until the question of independence is settled.

Telegraph 24th Feb 2012 more >>

France

French export hopes dim: We’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami — and, with it, the end of the toughest year the nuclear power industry’s had in a good long while. Since January of last year, the number of reactors online around the world has fallen sharply and raised sharp questions about what was looking for a while there like a nuclear power rennaissance of sorts. No country counted more on that revival than France

Market Place World 9th Jan 2012 more >>

Japan

A panel of experts reviewing Japan’s nuclear fuel cycle policy in the wake of last year’s nuclear accident agreed Thursday that while a fuel cycle involving a fast-breeder reactor has some advantages, it cannot be considered as a realistic option for the next 20 to 30 years from a technological viewpoint.

Mainichi 24th Feb 2012 more >>

Fukushima update 17th – 20th Feb.

Greenpeace International 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Fukushima Update 21st – 23rd Feb.

Greenpeace International 24th Feb 2012 more >>

The government on Friday said some areas surrounding the Fukushima nuclear power plant that was wrecked last year by a massive tsunami will likely remain permanently unlivable. Measurements taken between November and January confirm earlier results which show a level of radioactivity of 470 millisierverts per year when the average, under normal conditions, is less than one per year, according to a government report released Friday. Some of the highest readings were taken in the town of Futaba, to the northwest of the plant wrecked on March 11.

Japan Today 25th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

Iran failed to co-operate with UN nuclear officials during two sets of talks in Tehran over the past month, the UN’s watchdog has said in a report. The International Atomic Energy Agency said that Tehran had not cleared up questions about possible military aspects of its nuclear programme. The agency also said Iran had stepped up uranium enrichment in recent months.

BBC 24th Feb 2012 more >>

IRAN must address “serious concerns” about “possible military dimensions” to its nuclear programme after significantly escalating its ability to enrich uranium, the International Atomic Energy Agency said yesterday.

Telegraph 24th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran expanding its controversial nuclear activity, warns leaked UN report.

Daily Mail 25th Feb 2012 more >>

Independent 25th Feb 2012 more >>

Guardian 24th Feb 2012 more >>

Oil prices surged on Friday as the UN’s nuclear watchdog said Iran had significantly increased its production of higher-grade uranium over the past six months and had failed to dispel concerns that it was pursuing atomic weapons. Amid growing fears that Iran’s nuclear programme could prompt a military attack by Israel later this year, the International Atomic Energy Agency produced a detailed report into the state of Tehran’s nuclear programme which suggested it has ramped up the production of uranium close to weapons grade.

FT 25th Feb 2012 more >>

The Iranians stalled on even discussing a document setting out how “unresolved issues” relating to the “possible military dimensions” of the nuclear programme might be clarified.

Economist 25th Feb 2012 more >>

Lithuania

Lithuania’s planned nuclear power plant will cost as much as $6.5 billion, making it the biggest investment in the Baltic country since independence from the Soviet Union 22 years ago. Lithuania plans to control 34 percent of the plant, while Estonia, Latvia and Poland would each take a 20 percent stake, with the remaining 6 percent paid by companies leasing the atomic technology, Vytautas Nauduzas, a Lithuanian ambassador for energy and transport policy, said yesterday in an interview in London.

Bloomberg 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

US

After the Fukushima disaster, Germany ditched nuclear power. So why has the US stopped worrying and learned to love nukes?

Guardian 24th Feb 2012 more >>

India

Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh has said that groups protesting the start-up of two new reactors at Kudankulam don’t understand the energy situation in India and are based in foreign countries.

World Nuclear News 24th Feb 2012 more >>

BBC 24th Feb 2012 more >>

India has shut down three aid organizations it says were diverting foreign funds to anti-nuclear protests.

Washington Post 25th Feb 2012 more >>

New Nuclear Countries

At least five countries will start work on their first nuclear reactors this year despite the jolt to international confidence caused by the Fukushima disaster, a top U.N. nuclear official said Friday. “We expect that this year Vietnam, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Belarus will start building their first nuclear power plants,” Kwaku Aning, deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told a forum in New York. He said Jordan and Saudi Arabia could follow in 2013.

Japan Today 25th Feb 2012 more >>

Saudi Arabia

Both Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council maintain that they want a WMD-free Middle East. However, key members of the Saudi royal elite have recently signalled that if Iran develops a nuclear weapon, then Saudi Arabia will get one too. Speaking of signalling, they have also long indicated that if Israel were to overfly the desert kingdom to bomb Iranian nuclear sites, they would temporarily turn their radars off. Saudi Arabia has signed nuclear technology agreements with several states: China, France, Argentina and South Korea, in order to address its need for research reactors, nuclear power plants and so forth.

Daily Mail 24th Feb 2012 more >>

UAE

EnergySolutions has been awarded a four-year contract to design and supply waste management systems for the United Arab Emirates’ first nuclear power plant at Braka. Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) plans four APR14000 reactors at the site, which will be built a Korean-led consortium.

Nuclear Engineering International 24th Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

The World War Three files: For 30 years the papers have been kept secret. Now, the extraordinary story of how Whitehall drew up terrifyingly detailed plans for nuclear armageddon can finally be revealed

Daily Mail 25th Feb 2012 more >>

Microgeneration

This week’s Micro Power News: Government confirms Supreme Court Solar Appeal and other news.

Microgen Scotland 24th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 25 February 2012

24 February 2012

Radwaste

A study has called for a communications campaign to promote Cumbria if it decides to house a new underground nuclear repository. A series of consultation meetings are currently underway across the county into whether it wants to be considered as a site for the dump for higher-activity radioactive waste. The West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership commissioned two agencies – Sedley Place and The Communications Group – to look at what could be done to offset any risk of negative perceptions if west Cumbria does take part.

Cumberland News 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

A STUDY has recommended ways to mitigate against any possible negative perceptions of the county if West Cumbria takes part in the Government’s search for a suitable site for an underground repository for higher-activity radioactive waste.

Whitehaven News 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Letter: Why not simply save taxpayer money (Coun Woodburn has revealed that MRWS has so far cost £1million) by having a Copeland-only referendum NOW. Why not? Because it could mean the end of this MRWS consultation for without Copeland there is no site! Why are they consulting Cumbrians outside Copeland? So as to try to engineer a ‘YES’ result with people who will not have to suffer the consequences maybe? Windscale became Sellafield, Nirex became the NDA. Why? To hopefully distance the MRWS from the past failure and rejection of NIREX by the previous generation, councillors included, on the very same subject and her playing the patriotic card is only a sign of her arrogance and MRWS’s desperation.

Whitehaven News 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Letter: It cannot be considered a democratic process if every Copeland councillor will have a vote to decide whether to move to Stage 4 and enter the siting process, yet with Allerdale, only seven councillors (the Executive) will decide the issue for Allerdale voters. This decision will affect this area and future generations for thousands of years. I urge local people to communicate their opposition of this unfair situation to their local and borough councillors.

Whitehaven News 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

We have been assured that the Nirex proposals for a rock characterisation facility were not rejected at the inquiry on safety grounds. However, I quote the retired inspector, Mr Chris McDonald, from The Whitehaven News , July 5 2007. On Longlands Farm, Mr McDonald said: “The site selection process was flawed, not treating safety as the most important factor and irrationally affected by a strong desire to locate close to Sellafield.

Whitehaven News 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Letter Jill Perry: councils in other areas seem to think the dump is a done deal and can be used to justify their pursuit of new nuclear power stations. Essex County Council’s plans for waste disposal expose the Council’s apparent ignorance over national plans for dealing with radioactive wastes. It claims that Intermediate Level Waste already on site will eventually be “exported to the National Repository for Radioactive waste in Cumbria”. Later, the document talks about these and any future wastes arising from new build going to the new national geological radioactive waste repository.

Whitehaven News 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Dounreay

Dounreay clean-up contractor DSRL has informed the Scottish Environment Protection Agency of additional tests being carried out on a particle recovered during routine monitoring of a beach near the redundant nuclear site. The particle was detected in the water’s edge at Sandside. Checks carried out on the beach indicated the particle had higher than normal beta dose rate. Initial laboratory analysis carried out at Dounreay showed: Low Caesium-137 content; Niobium-94; High beta dose rate suspected to be from Strontium-90.

DSRL 20th Feb 2012 more >>

The future of the remaining ‘exotic’ fuels and nuclear materials at Dounreay is being considered by the NDA who have today published a paper outlining two options for the material. The paper puts forwards two options for the material: continue to manage the ‘exotics’ at Dounreay; or transport the ‘exotics’ to Sellafield for management. The paper is open to comment until March 23.

DSRL 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Wylfa

Plaid’s members will vote for a replacement for outgoing leader Ieuan Wyn Jones next month. “We need to capitalise on the number of skilled workers at the former Trawsfynydd nuclear power station and at Wylfa, and develop an industry around them. This could kick-start the national economy.” With election rivals Elin Jones and Leanne Wood both on record as against nuclear power, he added: “It’s not just the former mining industries that we should be supporting. Creating jobs in these industries will also help safeguard the future of the Welsh language.”

Caernarfon Herald 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

The Stop New Nuclear alliance has reacted with outrage at EDF Energy’s attempts to restrict peaceful protest against a proposed new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset. The French firm is seeking an injunction which would limit current and future protests at the controversial site, which has faced fierce local and national opposition. The move comes ahead of major demonstrations planned for 10-11th March, which Stop New Nuclear have said will still be going ahead. For the last eleven days anti-nuclear activists have occupied a barn on the site proposed for two new mega-reactors. This injunction is being sought to remove these campaigners, but it is simultaneously designed to restrict future demonstrations. The Orwellian language even prohibits campaigning groups from ‘encouraging other persons’ to protest at the site. The Fukushima catastrophe is just the most recent example of the dangers of nuclear power, and public opposition to nuclear new builds is on the rise. While the UK and France are planning the next generation of nuclear power stations, states like Germany are leading the way in forging a nuclear-free future. Speaking on behalf of the Stop New Nuclear alliance, Kate Hudson from CND stated “It should be inconceivable that private companies could restrict basic civil liberties in this way. They are not the arbiters of the nuclear debate, nor the guarantors of our freedoms. We will fight to ensure the rights of future generations to peaceful protest and to preserve essential democratic principles.”

Stop New Nuclear 24th Feb 2012 more >>

EDF Energy stopped its 480-megawatt (MW) Hinkley Point B7 nuclear reactor on Wednesday evening to repair a hydraulic fluid leak, the company said.

Reuters 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Enformable 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

A TRANSPORT study over the proposed Hinkley Point C development will be open for debate at a council meeting next week. Sedgemoor District Council is set to receive the detailed findings of the independent transport study and will discuss them on 27th Feb.

Burnham & Highbridge Weekly News 24th Feb 2012 more >>

Sedgemoor District Council and energy giant EdF were this week urgently trying to settle a row that threatens to derail the planning application for the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. EdF and Sedgemoor are locked in a battle over who should pay for the council’s continuing work to scrutinise EdF’s Hinkley Point C planning application.

New Civil Engineer 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Sedgemoor District Council’s council tax has not been set, the authority citing “very real concerns” about paying to scrutinise EDF’s nuclear power station plan. The council says it is adamant local taxpayers’ money should not pay for officers to analyse the £10 billion Hinkley Point C plan. The money instead should come from EDF. Council leader Duncan McGinty said: “It is entirely improper that we use extremely scarce public money to fund the development process relating to a privately owned commercial asset of a company which is expected to reveal profits of £3.8 billion.”

Wells Journal 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Bridgwater is on the brink of an industrial renaissance thanks to numerous large development projects, say property experts. Massive investment projects such as Hinkley Point C, the Morrison’s Distribution Centre and the Bridgwater Gateway development are fuelling the Somerset town’s economy.

Western Daily Press 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Protesters have taken possession of Langborough Farm, proposed site of the controversial Nuclear power station Hinkley C.

You Tube 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Trawsfynydd

THE architect who designed Trawsfynydd power station is one of several distinguished people celebrated on a new set of stamps issued today. Sir Basil Spence was most noted for his work on Coventry Cathedral. Ten stamps are published, featuring distinguished individuals from the worlds of science, technology, architecture, politics and the arts.

Daily Post 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Supply Chain

Rolls-Royce has entered an agreement to assist AREVA in the deployment of nuclear reactors, with this deal also expected to generate a large number of engineering jobs. Under this agreement, Rolls-Royce will manufacture complex components for and provide engineering and technical services in support of the first of two European pressurised reactors (EPRs) being installed at the new Hinkley Point plant in Somerset.

Career Structure 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Energy Security

How can fossil fuels and uranium be kept in the ground and agrofuels off the land in ways that do not inflict suffering upon millions? Mainstream policy responses to these issues are largely framed in terms of “energy security”. Yet far from making energy supplies more secure, such policies are triggering a cascade of new insecurities for millions of people. This report considers the pitfalls of “energy security”, both as policy and as rhetoric.

Corner House 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Big Six

Iberdrola, Spain’s largest utility by value, issued a profit warning after a sharp fall in demand for power in Spain and the UK could not be offset by growth in Brazil. Iberdrola said on Thursday that while it had previously expected recurring net profit to grow between 5 and 9 per cent between 2010 and 2012, it would now grow less than 5 per cent a year. Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation had also been expected to grow between 5 and 9 per cent a year, and Iberdrola said this measure would now come in at the bottom of this range.

FT 24th Feb 2012 more >>

Crucial investment in new power plants needed to keep the UK’s lights on is at risk unless the Government acts quickly to clarify its energy policy, Centrica said. The warning came as the energy giant reported a 55pc slump in pre-tax profits, to £1.27bn, down to one-off losses, including a £226m impairment related to shutting two UK power stations. It revealed it was scrapping a planned gas storage facility, and that it had cut 2,300 jobs worldwide – more than previously announced. “It is vital that the Government provides the clarity and assurance that will be needed if the industry is to step up and deliver the massive investment – an estimated £200bn in total by 2020 – that the country requires,” he said. There was “much detail to be resolved” on Electricity Market Reform (EMR) proposals, which must ensure there is sufficient gas-fired power capacity to help meet energy demand when old coal and nuclear power stations shut from 2016. Mr Laidlaw revealed doubts about whether an investment decision on a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point would be taken this year. Centrica has the option of a 20pc stake in the project, led by state-run French energy giant EDF, whose management is likely to be replaced if Francois Hollande wins the French election. “EDF… are the experts on French politics but clearly that is a potential risk,” he said.

Telegraph 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

Operators of Japan’s damaged nuclear power plant in Fukushima have unveiled plans to cover a vast swathe of seabed with cement to prevent the spread of radiation. An area of 786,000 sq ft at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean just in front of the nuclear power plant, in northeast Japan, will be covered with a thick layer of clay-cement compound. The move to lay down concrete across a space, which is the equivalent of 10 football pitches, is designed to prevent radiation contamination spreading further into the ocean.

Telegraph 24th Feb 2012 more >>

The wind-power farm at Rokkasho has sprung up close to Japan’s first nuclear reprocessing plant, a Lego-like complex of windowless buildings and steel towers, which was supposed to have started up 15 years ago but is only now nearing completion. Dogged by persistent technical problems, it is designed to recycle spent nuclear fuel and partly address a glaring weakness in Japan’s bid to restore confidence in the industry, shredded last year when a quake and tsunami wrecked the Fukushima Daiichi power station to the south, triggering radioactive leaks and mass evacuations. But the Rokkasho project is too little, too late, according to critics who say Japan is running so short of nuclear-waste storage that the entire industry risks shutdown within the next two decades unless a solution is found. As Japan approaches the anniversary of the March 11 quake, the nuclear power industry, which just over a year ago supplied a third of its power, is virtually paralyzed. All but two of the country’s 54 reactors are offline. The reactors have steadily been shut down for maintenance, unable to restart until they meet new stress tests. Effectively, though, the utilities have to do more than pass stress tests; they have to finally convince local governments that the waste problems will be resolved, not continue to mount up inside power plants lined up along the Japanese coast like radioactive warehouses, exposed to the risk of tsunamis.

Reuters 24th Feb 2012 more >>

Japan said on Friday it plans to strengthen security at nuclear power plants following recommendations from the International Atomic Energy Agency, a month before a nuclear security summit in neighbouring South Korea.

Reuters 24th Feb 2012 more >>

UAE

EnergySolutions has been awarded a four-year contract with Korea Electric Power Corp. to design and supply waste management systems for the United Arab Emirates nuclear energy program, EnergySolutions said February 23. The contract, worth more than $5 million, will see EnergySolutions supply liquid waste processing equipment, including ion exchange and reverse osmosis systems, to reduce levels of contamination and waste at the UAE new build site.

i-Nuclear.com 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

Some are warning that an Iran with a nuke would automatically trigger nuclear proliferation throughout the greater Middle East – an Egyptian, Turkish, Saudi bomb. Such societies, it is claimed, would be incapable of the sophisticated US and Soviet command and control mechanisms which were used to prevent accidents – and worse – during the Cold War.

Daily Mail 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Submarines

City leaders have called for the Ministry of Defence to remove nuclear submarines from the Firth of Forth and dismantle them in the south of England. The MoD is holding a consultation on its options for the seven nuclear submarines that it stores at Rosyth Dockyard. And the city council is to submit a response urging the UK Government to move them to Devonport in Plymouth – where other vessels are stored – and start the process of dismantling them there. Concerns have been raised about the potential danger of the nuclear decontamination process and the negative impact on the Firth of Forth’s image if the subs remain at Rosyth. There are also fears that Rosyth could see a repeat of the nuclear contamination at Dalgety Bay in Fife, which is thought to have been caused by dumped Second World War aircraft. But political opponents said the council’s preferred option, which will now be formally submitted to the MoD, would mean the Edinburgh area

Edinburgh Evening News 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Green Deal

Fears are growing that the timetable for rolling out the government’s Green Deal energy efficiency scheme may have slipped, with Whitehall officials no longer committing to the stated October implementation date. In recent months officials have started describing the launch of the programme as happening “before the end of the year” in meetings with stakeholders.

Building 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Face to face meetings with residents are the only way to increase take-up of the Green Deal and ensure the government meets its carbon savings target, experts have claimed. The claim is based on evidence from a community-based energy efficiency pilot project, which achieved a 100% take-up.

Building 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Shale Gas

The Government’s energy plans could cost the UK billions of pounds if a shale gas boom brings down the price of gas because current policy is predicated on high prices, a think tank has warned. Policy Exchange argued that the government’s “flawed strategy towards the electricity generation market” is “unnecessarily gambling with bill-payers’ money”. “The view that future gas prices are likely to be high was a key driver of the government’s Electricity Market Reform (EMR) proposals,” it said. “No one can predict future gas prices but shale gas developments suggest prices may be lower than previously assumed.”

Telegraph 24th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 24 February 2012

23 February 2012

Nuclear Subsidy

Ahead of next month’s budget, business representatives are calling on the Chancellor to reduce taxes on carbon-emitting industries, support nuclear power and to merge the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) and Climate Change Levy (CCL). The CBI’s director, John Cridland, has written to Number 11 with a shopping list of items he would like to see George Osborne announce in his Budget on 21 March. Near the top is a request for capital allowances to be applicable to investments in infrastructure which are currently not eligible; foremost among the list of examples is the building of nuclear power structures, as well as waste treatment structures and airport terminals. It says that giving tax relief to the building of new nuclear power stations would reduce their cost by up to £30 million.

Energy & Environmental Management 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

PLEX

The UK’s ageing nuclear reactors look likely to have their lives extended beyond the mid-2020s as the country looks to tackle a looming energy gap, energy minister Charles Hendry said today. Of the UK’s 19 reactors, only Sizewell B in Suffolk is currently scheduled to keep running beyond the middle of the next decade, leading to plans for 16GW of new plants at eight sites across the country. However, Hendry today told a conference in London that several existing reactors would have to have their lives extended to provide more time for new low carbon energy capacity to be built. He said the UK’s deregulated electricity market had not produced enough capacity to replace the fossil fuel and nuclear plants that are due to be switched off over the next 10 years, while at the same time dealing with a predicted doubling in demand for electricity over the next 30 to 40 years.

Business Green 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

New Nukes

Local opposition is something of an occupational hazard in new nuclear programmes. That is why developers should spare no efforts in trying to build relations with the community. Horizon Nuclear Power’s first ‘public information surgery’ on plans for a new nuclear power station at Wylfa, Anglesey, UK, could hardly have been better timed. Two days earlier, up to 300 demonstrators had taken to the streets in nearby Llangefni to protest against the project. There is no suggestion the two events were linked. But the incident neatly underscores the need for nuclear developers to tread carefully around the whole issue of community relations and new-build programmes. The Wylfa development is not even particularly contentious. “We’ve got wide political and public support,” states Leon Flexman, head of communications at Horizon. “Any surveys you care to look at repeatedly show that’s the case, and we are very grateful for that.”

Nuclear Insider 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

The Cameron-Sarkozy pact can’t put the wheels back on the nuclear gravy train.

Greenpeace UK 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Radwaste

A series of events are taking place alongside the exhibition and include: Saturday 10th March Walk to the top of Scafell To experience something of the scale of 1000 metres deep – Scafell Pike is 978 metres high. We will be accompanied an experienced mountaineer – but the walk is at people’s own risk.

Rock Solid Expo 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

It has been confirmed that Keswick Town Council has, rather bizarrely given the town’s reputation as tourist hot spot, voted to carry on the government ‘steps towards geological disposal.’ The vote was 5 for and 5 against with the town’s mayor throwing the casting vote while talking about the jobs that a geological disposal facility would bring. This contrasts starkly with the emphatic NO from Cockermouth Town Council, and Seaton and Above Derwent Parish Councils who have cited the threat to jobs in tourism and agriculture as just one of the very good reasons to say No. Tourism alone is worth 2bn per year to the Cumbrian economy with over 32,000 direct jobs in contrast to the nuclear industry. The combined civil nuclear workforce in the whole of the North West including Heysham is around 23,000.

Radiation Free Lakeland 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Save Our Lake District – Don’t Dump Cumbria! today has learned that 3 local Councils have decided against going into the next stage of the search for a nuclear dump site. The decisions put down a clear challenge to the very basis of the government’s proposals – the idea that West Cumbria is a ‘willing community’.

Save Our Lake District 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Electricite de France SA’s Hinkley Point nuclear power station in southwest England will next month be targeted by protestors against new reactors in the U.K. The Stop New Nuclear Alliance, a grouping of campaigners who oppose nuclear power stations, plans to blockade the station for 24 hours from about 5 p.m. on March 11, Zoe Smith, a campaigner helping arrange the protest, said by telephone from Bristol today. Protesters will gather at the site from midday, she said.

Bloomberg 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

This is the West Country 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

A VOTE of no confidence in a Hinkley C consultation panel was passed by a parish council whose community will bear the brunt of the development. At a meeting in Stogursey last Wednesday, councillors carried a vote of no confidence in the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) Panel by an overwhelming majority after the parish was not granted an open floor hearing. The hearings are designed to give local people the chance to air their concerns but so far will take place only in the parishes of Combwich and Cannington.

This is the West Country 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Supply Chain

SolidCAM UK has become a Tier 2 member of the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC), allowing SolidCAM UK to become a supplier of choice to the global civil nuclear industry.

Machinery.co.uk 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Energy Costs

British Gas owner Centrica will announce bumper profits today with analysts predicting they’ll climb 4 per cent to £2.5bn. But as senior bosses at the firm celebrate their massive bonuses, fuel poverty campaigners say it’s time to call the big energy firm to account.

Independent 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Energy Supply

Energy regulator Ofgem has strengthened plans intended to aid small energy suppliers, proposing that the Big Six companies should be forced to auction a quarter of the energy they generate.

Telegraph 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Germany

A legal battle over a tax on uranium and plutonium that was put in place last year to fund Germany’s transition away from nuclear power and fossil fuels to renewable energy is the latest twist in the country’s nuclear saga, says David Stellfox.

Utility Week 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

The Japan National Press Club hosts Arnie Gundersen. Over 80 journalists were present where questions were asked regarding the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi and the ongoing risks associated with the GE Mark 1 BWR nuclear reactors. (video)

Fairwinds 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Tohoku Electric Power is preparing to re-open the Japanese bond markets for nuclear power companies, a year after operators were frozen out by the Fukushima disaster. The utility will offer bonds next month to raise funds for the restoration of power plants damaged in the disaster last year. Since then, Tohoku – along with eight of the other nine electric utilities serving Japan’s regions – has been shut out of public debt markets, unable to raise any finance except bank loans or short-term commercial paper, both at significant premiums to pre-crisis rates.

FT 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Radioactive elements from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant have been detected in seawater and marine organisms up to 600km from Japan.

BBC 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

India

India’s commitment to nuclear energy remains strong as the country looks ahead to decades of sustained growth, New Delhi conference delegates have been told by leaders of the country’s program.

World Nuclear News 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

US

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission released a collection of transcripts of internal conference calls held in the initial hours after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in the earthquake in Japan, which reveal a sense of urgency and confusion that the situation generated.

IB Times 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

In the days after Japan’s 2011 nuclear accident, the U.S. surprised the world by ordering a 50-mile evacuation zone for U.S. citizens, far larger than Japan’s own zone. That sowed fear and created tension with one of the U.S.’s closest allies. Now, almost a year after the accident, newly released transcripts of discussions by U.S. officials give the clearest picture yet of how that move was based at least in part on faulty information about whether spent fuel rods in one reactor had been exposed.

Wall Street Journal 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Korea

US and North Korean officials are meeting in Beijing for talks on Pyongyang’s nuclear programme. The talks are the first since the death in December of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. The US says it wants to find out if the new leader, his son Kim Jong-un, is willing to discuss giving up North Korea’s nuclear weapons.

BBC 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, has said the country’s nuclear course would not change regardless of international sanctions, assassinations or other pressures.

Telegraph 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

THE United Nations’ nuclear watchdog has ended its latest mission to Iran after talks on Tehran’s suspected secret atomic weapons programme failed. The setback is likely to increase the risk of a confrontation with the West over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Scotsman 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Independent 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Guardian 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Kuwait

Kuwait is no longer pursuing nuclear power following the disaster in Japan, scrapping a plan last July to build four reactors by 2022, officials of a Kuwaiti government research body said Tuesday.

Japan Times 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

A SPACE-BASED nuclear attack on Britain is “quite likely”, according to a Conservative MP. Such an explosion would create an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) which would knock out electrical systems and make it very difficult to live in cities.

The Week 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

BBC 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Iran’s nuclear prowess is growing, fuelling a range of global tensions. Are scientists’ abilities to sniff out covert nuclear weapons tests keeping up? Two new techniques could at least make it harder for countries to develop nuclear weapons on the sly.

New Scientist 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Renewables

It first caused a stink in Ambridge. Now, thanks to an unusual alliance of the Prince of Wales, Lord Rothschild, Sainsbury’s and Fajr Capital, an investment fund focused on Muslim markets, anaerobic digestion could be coming to a village near you. They are among investors putting £65 million into a start-up company that will turn food waste into green energy. Tamar Energy plans to build 40 “anaerobic digestion” plants in the UK, which will be fuelled by the likes of potato peelings, chicken litter and household kitchen waste. Also investing is Sustainable Technology Investments, a renewable energy fund set up by Stephen Lansdown, the co-founder of Hargreaves Lansdown.

Times 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 23 February 2012

22 February 2012

New Nukes

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) Chair Councillor Brian Goodall has written today to the Chairs of the UK Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee, Joan Walley MP, and the Public Administration Committee, Bernard Jenkin MP; to consider a new report that questions the information provided to Parliament when approving two of the National Policy Energy Statements.

NFLA Press Release 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

On Saturday 10th March, there will be a peaceful action afternoon at Hinkley Point. The plan is to make a human chain around the site.

Stop Hinkley Newsletter February 2012 more >>

A FIERCE row has broken out between bosses at Sedgemoor District Council and Hinkley Point operators EDF Energy over the cost of researching plans for the planned new nuclear plant. The authority last week delayed setting its council tax, claiming it needs clarity from EDF over whether it will pay the council £2.3million to meet the costs of scrutinising its power plant application.

This is the West Country 21st Feb 2012 more >>

BOSSES at EDF Energy have served a legal notice to evict anti-nuclear protestors who have been camped on the site of the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station for more than a week. A small group of campaigners set up camp in an old farm building at the site on Sunday, February 12, and have reportedly refused requests to leave the site, which is owned by EDF. The group is angry that EDF has been allowed to start preparatory work for the new power station despite planning permission for the facility not yet being granted. The works were approved by West Somerset Council last year.

This is the West Country 21st Feb 2012 more >>

CONSTRUCTION firm Kier Group yesterday won a £100 million contract from French utility firm EDF to prepare land in Somerset for the building of a nuclear power station. Kier said the contract at the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station will create 350 jobs.

Scotsman 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Radwaste

The parish council of “One of the largest villages in England” voted unanimously last night to reject continuing on any further steps to a geological dump 1000 metres deep x 26 km square. Seaton joins Cockermouth Town Council and Above Derwent Parish Council in emphatically rejecting the government’s orchestrated campaign to turn Cumbria into a nuclear sacrifice zone.

Radiation Free Lakeland 21st Feb 2012 more >>

GDA

ONR & EA 4th quarterly report on GDA, Oct – Dec 2011. This is the first routine quarterly progress report that describes how this GDA close-out work is proceeding and we have introduced new metrics to help illustrate both our and EDF and AREVA’s progress on resolving the remaining GDA Issues for the UK EPR. Some of the deliverables from EDF and Areva have been late or do not provide the quality of information or depth of evidence that we expected. Accordingly, a number of the metrics are amber or red, indicating that, if no action is taken to improve matters, it is unlikely that the GDA Issues will be closed-out on the timescales indicated in the resolution plans.

HSE 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Supply Chain

AREVA has signed a cooperation agreement with Rolls-Royce to extend global cooperation for the manufacture of components for new nuclear power plants and other nuclear projects in the UK and beyond.Rolls-Royce will provide AREVA with equipment and technical and engineering services with an objective of GBP100m in value for the first of its EPR reactors in the UK, planned to be built at Hinkley Point by EDF.

Energy Business Review 21st Feb 2012 more >>

A series of Supplier Days, where local manufacturers can discuss their products with key buyers from the burgeoning nuclear energy sector, are being planned for the Nuclear AMRC, which is set to be opened at the Advanced Manufacturing Park.

The Manufacturer 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Skills

Organisations dedicated to education and training in nuclear energy from both sides of the English Channel are getting closer. The National Skills Academy for Nuclear (UK) and the International Institute of Nuclear Energy (France) have identified common areas of interest and potential co-operation that will really drive forward performance improvement and safety across the nuclear industry. The organisations confirmed their commitment to partnership working by signing a Collaboration Agreement at the British French summit held in Paris, 17th February 2012.

Engineer Live 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Energy Costs

In a victory for consumers and The Independent’s Fair Energy campaign, Scottish and Southern Energy is today scrapping its confusing range of deals to challenge rivals’ predatory pricing. The company currently offers 68 different tariffs to electricity and gas customers – but from today they are being slashed to just four.

Independent 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Rising energy prices have left the poorest families £450 short of being able to adequately heat their homes, a report reveals today. Meanwhile the big freeze in the past two weeks has cost each household in the UK an extra £77 in heating costs.

Independent 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

BBC programme this Thursday Feb 23 at 21:00. International investigative documentary series. When a tsunami struck Japan in 2011, it swamped the Fukushima nuclear complex causing nuclear meltdown and releasing radioactivity that ultimately would leave hundreds of square miles uninhabitable, and cost a hundred thousand people their homes.With unique footage and powerful eyewitness testimony from key figures in the drama – the engineers in the plant, firemen, soldiers, pilots, tsunami survivors, the Japanese prime minister and even the MD of the company operating the plant – Inside the Meltdown reveals what really happened in the extraordinary days after the tsunami as a disaster unfolded that Japan’s nuclear industry said would never happen. It tells the story of workers inside the plant’s pitch-dark, radio-active reactor buildings desperately trying to stop reactors exploding as radiation levels rose inexorably. ‘In the control room people were saying we were finished,’ says one. ‘They were saying it quietly but they were saying it.’ It meets the helicopter pilots who desperately dropped water from above the radioactive cores, and the firemen who braved radiation to spray water onto melting nuclear fuel. ‘We chose all the over 40s’, their chief tells the programme. ‘These were the guys who were not going to be having any more children.’ Inside the Meltdown also reveals the tensions between the plant’s owners and an increasingly distrustful Japanese prime minister, struggling to get at the truth of what was happening, fearful the owners planned to abandon the plant. He reveals his experts at one point warned he might need to evacuate vast areas of Japan, even the capital Tokyo. ‘That first week, we walked a razor thin line,’ he tells This World.

BBC 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Japan’s long and expensive pursuit of a superefficient nuclear reactor — a model once touted as the key to its energy future — now teeters on the brink of failure amid new government concerns about its runaway costs. The four-decade project to develop a fast-breeder reactor has consumed trillions of yen in funding, so far producing only accidents, controversies and a single hour of electricity. The government decided last month on sharp budget cuts for the project, and one top nuclear official in November raised the possibility of scrapping the plan.

Japan Times 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Tepco has long been a scandal-ridden company, caught time and time again covering up data on safety lapses at their power plants, or doctoring film footage which showed fissures in pipes. How was the company able to get away with such long-standing behaviour? According to an explosive book recently published in Japan, they owe it to what the author, Tomohiko Suzuki, calls “Japan’s nuclear mafia… A conglomeration of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats, the shady nuclear industry, their lobbyists…” And at the centre of it all stands Japan’s actual mafia: the yakuza.

Telegraph 21st Feb 2012 more >>

French Industry and Energy Minister Eric Besson became the first foreign politician to enter the crippled Fukushima plant since last year’s disaster, telling workers they must revive atomic energy in Japan. Besson, who was accompanied on his tour of the plant by an AFP journalist, said nuclear power was too important a source of energy to abandon.

Telegraph 21st Feb 2012 more >>

US

In March 2011, novelist Kristen Iversen’s memoir, Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats, was waiting sedately among piles of other manuscripts at various publishing houses. Then, Japan was hit by a tsunami, and the cooling systems of the Fukushima nuclear reactor were overwhelmed, giving the world apocalyptic images of toxic floods and floating cars, of whole provinces made uninhabitable. Immediately, Iversen’s book was auctioned, and the timing of its publication, in June, could not be better – since, incredibly, in the shadow of the Fukushima disaster, and even as Japan and other nations see movements against the use of nuclear power ever again – President Obama is planning more investment in nuclear energy. The US is soon to start construction on several new reactors for the first time in three decades. Iversen, a softspoken woman with a laid-back western vibe, wearing jeans and lavender scarf, seems an unlikely prophet of nuclear catastrophe. But her message is searing. She grew up in a small town near Rocky Flats, Colorado, where a secret nuclear weapons plant built over 70,000 plutonium “triggers” for nuclear bombs.

Guardian 21st Feb 2012 more >>

China

A series of research and development (R&D) projects has been launched by China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) to improve the country’s emergency response capabilities at nuclear power plants in the event of an extreme disaster.

World Nuclear News 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Engineering International 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

The U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Wednesday it had failed to secure an agreement with Iran during two days of talks over disputed atomic activities and that the Islamic Republic had rejected a request to visit a key military site.

Reuters 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

FT 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Sky News 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Guardian 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

The current drive to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear arsenal reflects two important, and inter-related, changes. From Israel’s perspective, these changes are to be welcomed, though its government must remain cautious about the country’s own role. The first change is the escalation of efforts by the United States and its Western allies to abort the Iranian regime’s nuclear quest. The second change is the perception that Iran’s nuclear capacity would threaten not only Israel.

Scotsman 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Britain could be crippled by a high-altitude space attack by a rogue state or terrorists, MPs are warning. A nuclear weapon detonated up to 500 miles above the Earth’s surface could generate an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) with a devastating effect on Britain’s critical infrastructure.

ITN 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Social networks erupted on Tuesday as people shared the terrifying message the BBC would have broadcast in the event of a nuclear attack. While the script, written in the 1970s, was first released in 2008, it didn’t stop thousands of people sharing the link between themselves some four years later.

Huffington Post 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Telegraph 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Guardian 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

A NUCLEAR bomb attack on London would leave residents of Eastbourne nursing third degree burns. A controversial new website (www.nuclearsecrecy.com) allows users to select a town or city to target and then shows the different degrees of damage and fallout which would result from the subsequent blast. The online projection shows that were the capital to be hit by a 100 megaton bomb, not only would everyone within a two-mile radius be killed instantly, but the after effects would stretch all the way to Eastbourne.

Eastbourne Herald 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

So reluctant is the government to debate the UK’s nuclear arsenal (Labour’s leadership is in no hurry either) and whether the country can afford, or need, to replace Trident, and so sensitive is the Ministry of Defence, that it changed completely a planned contribution from a senior military officer to The Bomb, a series of plays now being performed at Kilburn’s Tricycle Theatre in northwest London.

Guardian 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Nicolas Kent bids farewell to the Tricycle with a characteristically grand project: a two-part history of the nuclear bomb consisting of 10 separate plays. Obviously not everything can be included: no room for the 1962 Cuban missile crisis or the extraordinary 1987 Reykjavik summit where Gorbachev proposed a 50% cut in nuclear weapons. But this is still an astonishing achievement that puts the nuclear issue back at the centre of public debate.

Guardian 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Renewables

The prime minister has mounted a strong defence of the government’s plans to build huge wind farms around the country in the face of strong opposition from his own members of parliament. David Cameron has written to more than 100 of his own backbenchers who published an open letter to the PM asking for subsidies for “inefficient” on-shore wind power to be slashed, and complaining about planning policies putting national energy policies ahead of local objections.

Guardian 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Drax, operator of Britain’s largest coal-fired power station, is scrapping plans to build two biomass plants in the UK with Germany’s Siemens in a fresh blow to the future of renewable energy. The company blamed a lack of financial help from the government for the decision which involved an investment of around £1.4bn.

Guardian 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Independent 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Telegraph 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Times 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Energy Efficiency

British Gas will pay £50 to anyone who refers “vulnerable” family members, friends and neighbours for free loft and cavity wall insulation from the company. Referrers will receive the sum for every individual on qualifying benefits whose details they pass on, with no limit to the number they can refer. Those who qualify must be on pension credit, certain income-related benefits or receiving child tax credit, and have an income of less than £16,190. The referred customer will also receive £50 once the installation has been carried out, in addition to the money they will save on their bills following insulation.

Guardian 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 22 February 2012

21 February 2012

New Nukes

Centrica is seeking clarification from the Government on key financing and cost issues before making decisions about whether to continue its nuclear power partnership with EDF and build four new nuclear plants in Britain at an estimated cost of £20bn. The British Gas parent wants more details about how the Government’s electricity market reforms will affect the programme and is pressing for further guidance on the fiscal framework and the complex contracts for differences. It is also in detailed talks with its French partner and consortium leader about the total costs of the first station, Hinkley Point C in Somerset where contracts worth £250m have already been let to British companies. Centrica which has a 20pc share of the partnership is expected to provide more details of the outstanding issues with the release of full year financial figures this week. Hinkley still needs planning approval and clearance for the reactor technology and a decision to go ahead is not expected before the end of the year.

Telegraph 20th Feb 2012 more >>

New nukes depend on subsidies; and Huhne’s plan was to give ’em a guaranteed inflated electricity price via a combination of feed-in tariffs and contracts-for-difference, but at an as-yet unknown strike price. When is the UK government going to show the dog the rabbit? Centrica management, the Telegraph says, “might need to reassure the City that its nuclear ambitions remain on track to create expected returns”. What happens if Sarkozy loses to the (anti-nuke) Socialists? Soes EDF have the necessary credit rating (being essentially an arm of the down-rated French state) ?

Capitalist at Work 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Renewable energy has a role in reducing carbon emissions, but the greenest solution may yet be nuclear. Nuclear energy, received Scottish wisdom as purveyed by First Minister Alex Salmond tells us, is unsafe, unreliable, and yesterday’s technology. But what if nuclear reactors were designed that could not melt down, produced little waste, or even consumed existing waste as fuel? If they were economic, might they not become a highly desirable technology of the future?

Scotsman 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Dounreay

EXPERTS have discovered the most significant radioactive particle yet on a public beach two miles west of Dounreay. Dounreay clean-up contractor DSRL has informed the Scottish Environment Protection Agency of additional tests being carried out on a particle recovered during routine monitoring of a beach near the redundant nuclear site. The particle was detected at the water’s edge at Sandside, where more than 200 particles have been found in the last 15 years. Provisional checks carried out on the beach indicated the particle had a higher than normal beta dose rate. A spokesman for DSRL said it was the first time a particle classed as significant – the highest classification in terms of radioactivity – had been found on the beach, although many had been found on the seabed and foreshore at Dounreay as well as on the site itself. Any particle with radioactivity above one million Becquerel (Bq) units is classed as significant.

Herald 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Scotsman 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Radwaste

Adopted Position of Above Derwent Parish Council by unanimous resolution 15th February 2012. We believe that “West Cumbria” should now withdraw from the MRWS process because: We have no confidence in the Right of Withdrawal; We are convinced by the argument that nowhere in Cumbria has suitable geology; We believe that it is a waste of time and money to continue the process in Cumbria when there are other, more promising, areas in England.

Radiation Free Lakeland 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Power giant EDF has begun court action to remove protesters who have set up camp on land earmarked for the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. The company served papers on activists occupying farmland on Saturday.

Western Daily Press 20th Feb 2012 more >>

It would be an accident waiting to happen if Electricité de France (EdF) were allowed to extend the life of their ageing fleet of advanced gas-cooled reactor (AGR) nuclear power stations. EdF announced their intention on the 16th February in what looks like a desperate move to keep their nuclear power generation going in the UK as investors shy away from new nuclear build that is increasingly looking like a white elephant. Among the numerous risks facing investors is that trends in the energy market suggest there will be no market for nuclear power. And potentially by 2020, customers could buy their electricity more cheaply from booming photovoltaic technology in Italy or other cheaper renewable sources across Europe rather than be constrained to buy from UK/French nuclear energy providers.

Stop Hinkley 20th Feb 2012 more >>

EDF Energy has signed a £100m+ contract with a Kier BAM joint venture for site preparation works at Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

Construction Index 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Construction News 20th Feb 2012 more >>

City AM 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Sizewell

Sizewell Camp 20th – 22nd February 2012.

Transition Bungay 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Police

FEARS have been raised that the policing of power stations could be compromised by a proposed Government shake-up. The Defence Police Federation warns that a Government proposal to merge the UK’s two nuclear police forces would not only be costly and messy, but could create a conflict of interest between protecting Britain’s weapons and its power stations. The Ministry of Defence and the Department of Energy and Climate Change have launched a study into whether amalgamating MoD police, which looks after nuclear bomb bases and other military sites, and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, which has responsibility for nuclear power plants, would be viable.

Chelmsford Weekly News 20th Feb 2012 more >>

UK/France

The UK Prime Minister David Cameron has signed a joint framework agreement with French President Nicolas Sarkozy to collaborate in the development of civil nuclear energy projects. The deal in line with UK government’s commitment to nuclear energy as it plans to build a diversified energy mix. The two governments will work together with the International Atomic Energy Agency to establish a joint framework for cooperation and exchanging good practices on civil nuclear security. The framework is expected to strengthen international capability to react to nuclear emergencies.

Energy Business Review 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Britain and France have signed a landmark deal to cooperate on civil nuclear energy. New agreements cover cooperation on civil nuclear security, research and development and nuclear education and training.

Nuclear Engineering International 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Uranium

FANS of the cock-up theory of events got a boost this week when Areva, a French nuclear-energy one-stop shop, said there had been no fraud in its disastrous purchase of UraMin, a Canadian start-up firm with mining assets in Namibia, the Central African Republic and South Africa, in 2007 for $2.5 billion. The acquisition had simply been badly managed, it said, leading Areva to overpay. Last December the company took a €1.46 billion ($2 billion) charge against the acquisition, resulting in a huge operating loss for 2011. Others suspect a plot.

Economist 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Germany

Solar photovoltaics are bringing down the cost of electricity in Germany, and electricity exports to France have been increasing!

Oil Price 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Spain

Spanish nuclear regulator CSN is supporting the continued use of the 466MW Santa Maria de Garona nuclear power plant until 2019. CSN’s evaluation clears the way for owner Nuclenor to extend its operating licence beyond July 2013. Nuclenor must apply for the extension to Spain’s industry ministry by 6 September this year to give CSN time to carry out a technical appraisal before Garona’s current licence expires. Garona renewed its operating licence and requested a 10-year extension in 2009. The Spanish government granted a four-year licence, with the condition that the plant upheld safety standards. Nuclenor is a 50:50 joint venture between Spanish utilities Endesa and Iberdrola.

Argus media 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

Kansai Electric Power Co. said Friday it will suspend its only remaining active reactor — the No. 3 reactor at the Takahama nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture — for a regular checkup early Tuesday, leaving only two of Japan’s 54 commercial reactors online.

Mainichi 18th Feb 2012 more >>

On Monday, Japan closed another nuclear reactor, bringing its total number of nuclear reactors to just two out of an original 54 in operation before the devastating March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The two nuclear reactors, according to Bloomberg News data, operate with a capacity of 2,268 megawatts, or 4.6 per cent of the total.

IB Times 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Tepco, the operator of the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, has opened up the site to journalists for the second time, weeks ahead of the anniversary of the March 11 disaster. (Video)

Telegraph 20th Feb 2012 more >>

The manager of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan has conceded that it will be very difficult to remove the facility’s melted nuclear fuel, but dismissed fears that one of the damaged reactors had started overheating again. “Our main challenge is to now remove the nuclear fuel from the reactors,” Takeshi Takahashi told visiting journalists on Monday. “Technically it’s a very difficult problem, but we want to take it step by step.” Fears rose this month that fuel in the No 2 reactor was heating up again, prompting the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) to inject more cooling water along with boric acid, which is used to prevent a nuclear chain reaction. Asked repeatedly to explain the dramatic rise in temperature, Takahashi said the cause had been traced to a faulty thermometer, one of three inside the unit.

Guardian 20th Feb 2012 more >>

A year since the Fukushima nuclear plant was destroyed, the fight to prevent disaster goes on. In an exclusive dispatch from the reactors, David McNeill becomes the first European journalist to revisit Japan’s ground zero.

Independent 21st Feb 2012 more >>

China

In a bid to avert experiencing the same fate of its fellow Asian neighbor, China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) on Monday announced it has started a series of 13 research and development projects aimed to improve emergency response mechanisms in cases of “extreme disasters” related to nuclear power plants failure.

IB Times 21st Jan 2012 more >>

Korea

Three South Koreans have been arrested for rigging share prices by spreading false rumours about a nuclear accident in North Korea, police said Tuesday. The three, including a 19-year-old college student, were accused of spreading groundless claims on January 6 that a reactor in the North had exploded, leaking dangerous levels of radioactivity. They allegedly sent such rumours to market analysts and brokers through online messaging services, sending share prices falling more than two percent at one point.

AFP 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Turkey

Much of Europe may be moving towards cleaner power but in Turkey the story is somewhat different. EUAS, the country’s state-owned electricity company, was due in early February to sign a memorandum of understanding with two South Korean groups on a USD 2 billion coal fired power plant. It is also moving ahead with plans for 2 nuclear plants. That contrasts strongly with European figures – 71% of new power generating capacity in the European Union last year came from renewable energy sources.

Modern Power Systems 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Bahrain

Bahrain has abandoned its plans to adopt nuclear power as an alternative power source, according to the country’s Energy Minister Dr Abdulhussain Mirza. The Kingdom had been exploring nuclear energy as an alternative power source, but scrapped the idea following an explosion that crippled Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant last year, Dr Mirza told the Shura Council yesterday.

Trade Arabia 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

UN nuclear inspectors have arrived in Tehran for the second time in a month to discuss Iran’s nuclear programme.

BBC 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Yorkshire Post 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Scotsman 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Independent 21st Feb 2012 more >>

“This is a make-or-break situation,” said Mark Hibbs, an expert on nuclear proliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “The Iranians have to understand the language of the IAEA report will be critical to the views of the P5+1 powers and the non-aligned countries. If it says Iran did not co-operate, Iran will be isolated in the boardroom. It will be much more difficult for Russia and China to veto further sanctions.”

Guardian 20th Feb 2012 more >>

UN inspectors have been barred from visiting nuclear sites after arriving in Iran to get answers on the country’s disputed nuclear ambitions.

Metro 20th Feb 2012 more >>

The inspectors want to meet Iranian nuclear scientists and visit the Parchin military complex – a conventional weapons development facility outside Tehran. IAEA inspectors visited the site in 2005, but only saw one of four areas of potential interest within the grounds.

Morning Star 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran has announced it will hold military exercises to boost protection of its nuclear sites. A military statement said drills would be held in southern Iran to counter “all possible threats, especially to public, important and nuclear centres”.

BBC 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Telegraph 20th Feb 2012 more >>

THE Middle East will descend into an arms race if Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons, MPs were warned last night. Speaking in a Commons debate, Foreign Secretary William Hague said that if the Tehran regime managed to construct a viable weapon, its neighbours would be forced to build their own nuclear warheads too. With Israel believed to be considering using its nuclear arsenal to prevent Iran arming, there were already concerns that the situation in one of the most volatile regions in the world could spiral out of control.

Scotsman 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Letter from Kate Hudson: Wise words indeed from John Mueller. Aggressive counter-proliferation policies come with a massive human cost – you only need to look at Iraq to see the consequences. And the lessons are clear: current escalation of tension over Iran’s nuclear programme must not take us there again. All the indications are that an attack on Iran would start a protracted war which would be ruinous for the region and have significant economic and resource consequences for the wider world. It would be good to see the nuclear weapons states getting off their soapboxes about Iran, reflecting on the consequences of their own nuclear weapons possession, and taking some serious diplomatic steps to resolve the actual nuclear problems of the region. This year sees a major UN conference to secure a WMD-free zone in the Middle East. Backing from the US and UK to bring all parties to the table – including nuclear-armed Israel – would be a major step forward for the region.

Guardian 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

While the “international community” is focused on ensuring Iran doesn’t get its hands on a nuclear weapon, today’s chart of the day looks at just how well-armed some of its members are.

The Staggers 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Renewables

Scotland moved a step closer to a greener future last week following government approval of the nation’s first near shore commercial wave power array, which will power more than 1,000 homes. Consent has been given for two new Oyster devices to be added to an existing installation to create the commercial array. Meanwhile, Siemens has taken a majority stake in ocean energy firm Marine Current Turbines. Scotland’s first near shore commercial wave power array, which will power more than 1,000 homes, has been approved by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing. Two new Oyster wave energy converters will be added to an existing device at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) at Billia Croo, Orkney, to allow operators Aquamarine Power to test the devices as an array. Each of the machines has a capacity of 800 Kilowatts, bringing the total capacity of the array to 2.4MW.Although the mac hines are demonstrators, the array will be the first near shore wave array in Scotland to be connected to the National Grid, and will supply enough electricity to power more than 1,000 homes.

Renewable Energy Magazine 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 21 February 2012

20 February 2012

New Nukes

It is just David Cameron’s bad luck to have chosen to back a nuclear future for Britain at a moment when it is becoming increasingly unlikely that it will happen. And it is entirely appropriate that he should find himself doing so in Paris since that is where the fate of DECC’s nuclear policy will be determined. The idea of replacing Britain’s aging AGRs with Areva’s EPR was always inspired by a French government seeking to close an emerging decades long gap in domestic nuclear orders. The justification for British homeowners and businesses being forced to pay for a French industrial policy was a supposed electricity generation gap. Without French nuclear power stations, Britons would be freezing in the dark by 2015 according to energy ministers. This was always nonsense but has been made totally ridiculous by several recent developments. EDF has now announced that it is going to extend the life of the AGRs. There are 30GW of new gas planned or under construction and the world is experiencing a ‘glut’ of gas according to the IEA. So long generation gap.

Tom Burke 17th Feb 2012 more >>

In the UK it’s as if Fukushima never happened. The Government has too much invested to turn back now. Whether or not the nuclear power stations counted on to ensure a secure supply of low-carbon electricity get built depends entirely on decisions made by foreign-owned utilities. If they decide not to go ahead, DECC’s current low-carbon energy policy collapses.

ENDS Report February 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Energy supplier EDF has served notice to anti-nuclear protesters who have set up camp on the site of the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. A group of about seven people have been occupying an old farm building. They are angry that EDF has been allowed to carry out preparatory work before planning permission was granted.

BBC 19th Feb 2012 more >>

Morning Star 19th Feb 2012 more >>

THE South Somerset Peace Group will be holding a public discussion on Tuesday, February 28, about Nuclear Power Generation: It is a Threat to Peace? The discussion will be led by Nikki Clark, of the Stop New Nuclear, Stop Hinkley group and a founder of South West Against Nuclear, and SSPG member Robert Shearer.

This is the West Country 19th Feb 2012 more >>

A Kier joint venture with BAM Nuttall has been given the task by energy company EDF Energy of doing site preparation work for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset.

Share Cast 20th Feb 2012 more >>

British construction group Kier has won a 100 million pound ($158 million) contract from France’s EDF to prepare the ground for construction of a new nuclear power station in the west of England.

Reuters 20th Feb 2012 more >>

A local council in Somerset is taking on the mighty EDF Energy in a row over the cost of a planning application for a £10bn nuclear power station. It puts into doubt David Cameron’s promise at the weekend that Britain and France will co-operate to build new power plants in the UK. In Paris, Mr Cameron said deals between British and French companies – worth more than £500m – will allow work to start on new facilities, creating more than 1,500 jobs. But such Anglo-French co-operation is missing in Somerset where councillors at Sedgemoor District Council have accused the energy giant of using bully-boy tactics in pushing through plans for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. Kerry Rickards, pictured, the council’s chief executive, said: “EDF has put us in a very difficult position.” Last week the council was forced to adjourn the setting of its annual council tax because of arguments over an estimated £2m legal bill. The row centres on the cost of employing specialist lawyers to scrutinise EDF Energy’s application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission for its new nuclear power station. The Council is refusing to use local council taxpayers’ money to carry out the work, as it says the project is of national benefit and is being built by a commercial, profit-making company.

Independent 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Developing World

There are already some large-scale solar projects underway or planned for example in Morocco, Algeria, and Egypt, as well as in Jordon and the UAE. Interestingly, Kuwait has now indicated that it no longer wanted to develop nuclear power. Qatar similarly. Steve Kidd from the World Nuclear Association, writing in Nuclear Engineering International’s Newsletter suggested that nuclear ‘may not for some years be suitable for many countries that do not have the developed institutional framework to cope with it. Such a description must apply to most of the Middle Eastern countries currently looking at nuclear power. Maybe it would be far better for them to specialise in developing solar power and other renewable solutions, combined with developing their power grids to cope with diffuse and sometimes intermittent technologies.’ It is hard not to agree.

Environmental Research Web 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan has admitted that Japan was woefully unprepared for last year’s nuclear disaster and suggested that the crippled Fukushima No. 1 plant should not have been built so close to a tsunami-prone coastline. But he said the disaster — the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986 — laid bare a host of even bigger vulnerabilities in the nuclear power industry and its regulations, ranging from inadequate safety guidelines to crisis management, all of which he said need to be overhauled.

Japan Times 19th Feb 2012 more >>

Greenpeace today launched ‘Shadowlands’, a presentation of haunting photographs depicting the impacts of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the plight of people displaced by the crisis, and a warning to others that a serious nuclear accident can happen everywhere there are reactors.

Greenpeace International 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Nearly a year after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, it’s time to take a look at its legacy and take an opportunity to stand in solidarity with the people who continue to suffer the impacts. We’re calling for a nuclear free, renewable future and asking you to join us in sending messages of support and hope to Japan. The silence and contamination left behind by the Fukushima disaster have been captured in the online photographic exhibit Shadowlands by photographer Robert Knoth. Robert’s haunting photographs of empty villages, deserted schoolyards, and abandoned farmlands not only act as a chilling reminder to us of the costs of nuclear energy, but an impetus to continue demanding a future free from nuclear risk. We also bring the stories of several people whose lives have been seriously disrupted, some of whom live with constant worry about how their children’s health has been affected by radiation.

Greenpeace International 19th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

Why should Iran or North Korea respect the principle of non-proliferation when the most powerful states lecturing them possess such enormous arsenals?’ Why indeed.

Daily Mail 20th Feb 2012 more >>

A team of UN inspectors has arrived in Tehran for talks on Iran’s disputed nuclear programme, a day after Iran ordered a halt to its oil sales to Britain and France in apparent retaliation for tightening EU sanctions.

Guardian 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Some analysts believe the actual killings themselves were carried out by a little known outfit called the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK or The People’s Mujahedin of Iran). The MEK is a group of Iranian exiles listed as a terrorist organisation by both Tehran and Washington. It’s estimated to have around 3,000 members, with a high proportion of them female. Recently, anonymous US officials told NBC news that the MEK, backed by Israel’s Mossad espionage service, was involved in the killings of the scientists and also insisted the US hadn’t played a role.

Scotsman 20th Feb 2012 more >>

The concerns that Iran is secretly building nuclear weapons are bad enough. Iranian promises that it is merely pursuing peaceful research and development for domestic energy needs are clearly not worth the paper they are written on. Why else would they refuse UN inspectors access to various facilities if there was nothing to conceal? But the evidence now seems to be mounting that Iran is building the capacity to produce enriched uranium for which there is no other use than in a nuclear weapon.

Scotsman 20th Feb 2012 more >>

The foreign secretary said economic sanctions and talks were the best way to convince the Iranians to ditch theirA nuclear ambitions. Israel is widely believed to be planning an air strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities if sanctions fail. But Mr Hague said: ‘I think Israel, like everyone else in the world, should give a real chance to the approach we have adopted on very serious economic sanctions and economic pressure.’

Metro 19th Feb 2012 more >>

In an interview with BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show, the Foreign Secretary repeated his warning that a nuclear-armed Iran would result in another cold war, this time between states in the Middle East.

Telegraph 19th Feb 2012 more >>

Some, including the New America Foundation’s Steve Clemons, talk about Mr Obama’s impending “Cuban missile crisis”. Much as Nikita Khrushchev misread John F. Kennedy as a pushover, and then tested his brinkmanship over Cuba, so Mr Obama is perceived by Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, to be susceptible to intimidation. Mr Netanyahu – Mr Obama’s least favourite foreign leader – visits Washington in two weeks. The build-up to his March 6 speech to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee has brought a flurry of leaks that Israel’s fuse is shortening by the day. The zone of impunity is looming, people say. “Everything, from Iran’s nuclear timetable to Israel’s red lines, points to some kind of Iran reckoning before November,”

FT 19th Feb 2012 more >>

Russia

Prime minister Vladimir Putin says Russia must replace its Soviet-built arsenals with modern weapons to counter new evolving threats. Mr Putin, who is running to reclaim the presidency in a March 4 election, laid out his vision of military modernisation in an article published today in the government daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Independent 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Trident

The Herald’s star Environment Editor, Rob Edwards, holds the Ministry of Defence (MoD) regularly to account for issues across the spectrum of safety standards at its nuclear bases of Faslane and Coulport in Argyll. Edwards today published, in The Herald on Sunday (19th February), the shock revelation obtained under Freedom of Information (FoI) legislation, that the two nuclear bases on Argyll’s Clyde coast, Faslane and Coulport have been reported as failing the numbing total of 11 out of 13 nuclear safety tests. Worse, one of the two ares ‘passed’ actually throws up a situation potentially worse than failure.

For Argyll 19th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 20 February 2012