News February 2012

19 February 2012

Radwaste

In friday’s Times and Star on page 7 there is an unobtrusive item tucked in the Cockermouth Town Council Notices. Item number 11 is sandwiched in-between “pot hole repairs” and “permission to use memorial gardens.” Former Allerdale Borough Councillor and Seaton Parish Councillor Joe Sandwith describes it as “The most important decision Cockermouth Town Council has ever made or is ever likely to make.” Item number 11 in the Town Council notices describes “Cockermouth Town Council voted against going to the next stage of consultation for an underground radioactive waste repository in West Cumbria.” The irony is of course that only the “Decision Making Bodies” of Allerdale and Copeland Borough Council and Cumbria County Council will be given the right of veto. Cumbria County Councillors in 2008 were furious that they were not allowed to vote on the initial “expression of interest” which was swept in by a handful of people on the “Decision Making Body.” It matters hugely that Cockermouth Town Council has said No to going to the next stage on the ‘steps towards geological disposal’ and other town and parish councils will follow their lead. The so called Decision Making Bodies have no moral mandate as was pointed out by Cumbria County Councillors back in 2008.]

Radiation Free Lakeland 18th Feb 2012 more >>

PEOPLE all over Cumbria have been having their say on the pros and cons of having an underground nuclear waste repository in the county. Copeland is seen as the most likely location if anywhere geologically suitable can be found for investigation – but first of all the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Safely Group wants to know whether or not it should purse the interest further. West Cumbria through its local authorities is the only area of the UK so far to have expressed an interest in hosting a facility designed to provide the final solution to the UK’s radioactive waste disposal problem. The Partnership’s public consultations started before Christmas and are due to end on March 23.

NW Evening Mail 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Nuclear energy company EDF, today served papers on activists occupying a farm on the proposed site for nuclear new build at Hinkley Point in Somerset. The papers, served by Squire Sanders of London are applying for possession of the premises and in an unprecedented move, an injunction against all future protests, at this site, this includes any protest by other local residents such as campaign group Stop Hinkley.

South West Against Nuclear 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Activists are occupying a farmhouse close to Hinkley Point nuclear power station, to stop EDF Energy trashing land for a planned new nuclear power station; and are calling for more people to join them. Anti-nuclear campaigners have been joined by members of Seize the Day as the first residents of Edf-Off Cottage which is on the 400-acre site earmarked for two new mega-reactors. Following an occupation of trees last week, the campaign against Hinkley C power station being built on fragile coastal land has now moved to a nearby farmhouse.

Rising Tide 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Building a new nuclear power station in the region will blaze the trail for a new Anglo-French industrial pact, David Cameron has said in Paris. The Prime Minister yesterday shared a platform with French President Nicolas Sarkozy to commit to “economic collaboration” in the development of civil nuclear energy.

Western Daily Press 18th Feb 2012 more >>

COUNCIL leaders in North Somerset are to join forces with other authorities along the route of a proposed new power line to continue to campaign for the cables to go underground. North Somerset Council is poised to sign a planning performance agreement (PPA) with energy giant National Grid to ensure the authority is fully involved with every step of the power line plans.

Bristol Evening Post 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Hartlepool

But today, power station bosses allayed fears when they told the Hartlepool Mail the information was nothing more than technical data which had been publicly available for weeks.

Hartlepool Mail 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Sizewell

BRITAIN and France will today sign a landmark agreement to co-operate on civil nuclear energy, paving the way for the construction of a new generation of power plants in the UK.

East Anglian Daily Times 17th Feb 2012 more >>

SUFFOLK’S head of emergency planning has pledged to take into account criticism of the existing plans to protect residents in the event of a nuclear accident at Sizewell. Andy Osman, who faced criticism of current emergency plans when he attended a public meeting at Leiston, said a review was being carried out and views of the community would be taken into account. Residents at the meeting – organised by the Office for Nuclear Regulation, the Government’s safety watchdog – called for more information to be made readily available about actions to take in the event of a disaster at Sizewell. One resident called for the storage of anti-radiation potassium iodate pills at local schools just outside the zone. These pills are currently only handed to people living and working within the zone. There was also criticism of the extent of the emergency zone itself – a 2.4 kilometre radius of the nuclear site – when accidents elsewhere, including the Fukushima disaster in Japan last year, had led to the evacuation from a radius of more than 30km. The meeting’s chairman, Pete Wilkinson, a member of the Sizewell Stakeholder Group, said: “I’ve lived up here for 15 years and it is evident that people don’t have confidence in the emergency plan.”

East Anglian Daily Times 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Supply Chain

British firms will be left with only the ‘scraps on the table’ from an £18 billion deal for two nuclear power stations signed by Britain and France, an expert has warned. At a meeting on Friday with President Nicolas Sarkozy, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that Rolls-Royce had landed a £ 400 million contract with Areva, the French maker of nuclear reactors, that would create 1,500 jobs in Britain. But the overall contract was won by the French state-owned energy giant EDF, while Areva is expected to build the four reactors – two at each plant.

This is Money 18th Feb 2012 more >>

A series of supplier days where local manufacturers can discuss their products with buyers from the nuclear energy sector are being planned by the Nuclear AMRC. The move has been subsidised by a £2m government grant, a £6m government-guaranteed banking facility and £2m from Elonex shareholders.

The Manufacturer 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

Iran may be poised to expand its nuclear programme at an underground site near the city of Qom, a Vienna-based diplomat has told the BBC. It appears to be ready to install thousands of new-generation centrifuges at the fortified underground plant, the diplomat said. They could speed up the production of enriched uranium – required for both power generation and nuclear weapons.

BBC 19th Feb 2012 more >>

Tom Donilon, the US president’s top security aide, arrived in Tel Aviv on Saturday morning for three days of meetings with Israeli defence and security chiefs. While Washington claims the visit is simply the latest in a series of “regular, high level consultations between the United States and Israel”, it came just days after coordinated attacks launched against Israeli embassies across the world provoked outrage in Jerusalem, which claims with certainly that Iran is responsible.

Telegraph 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Renewables

The government should increase support for wave and tidal power to preserve the UK’s global leadership, say MPs. The Energy and Climate Change Committee says the UK had in the past lost its early lead on wind power through lack of support, and must not make the same mistake again on marine energy. Its report recommends increasing funding and improving links between UK and Scottish programmes. The Carbon Trust recently said marine power could create 10,000 jobs by 2020.

BBC 19th Feb 2012 more >>

BRITAIN could rule the waves if the government adopted a more visionary approach to developing marine renewables if the UK, according to a new report. The House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee said with the largest wave and tidal resources in Europe, up to a fifth of the UK’s electricity could eventually come from this “reliable and predictable” low-carbon source. And developing a thriving wave and tidal power industry could also bring economic benefits to the UK, the committee argues, with opportunities to export technology and expertise. The report warns, however, that an overly cautious approach may allow other less risk-averse countries to steal the UK’s lead, as they did with wind power.

Scotland on Sunday 19th Feb 2012 more >>

Independent 19th Feb 2012 more >>

THE public sector should share the cost of developing wave and tidal power devices to attract more private sector investment into the industry, a group of MPs will today claim. The Commons’ energy and climate change committee will call on the coalition government to reduce the risks involved for investors so that the UK can keep its lead in developing offshore devices.

Scotland on Sunday 19th Feb 2012 more >>

Doug Parr: Why we must surf this wave of hope. As sure as the sun shines and the wind blows, marine renewable energy is part of our industrial future. This is a tide which no amount of nuclear nostalgia can turn back. Wave and tidal energy cuts carbon emissions and boosts energy security, and tidal power is highly dependable. But these technologies have big economic benefits too, and the race is on to be the industry leader.

Independent 19th Feb 2012 more >>

An organic farmer in Oxfordshire is trying to persuade his local community to take control of one of the largest solar farms in the country. Adam Twine, who has been farming at Westmill in Watchfield, Oxfordshire, for 27 years, will offer about £4.5m of shares in the 30-acre solar project to local investors over the next few weeks.

Sunday Times 19th Feb 2012 more >>

Microgeneration

This week’s Micro Power News now available.

Microgen Scotland 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Trident

The Clyde bases that host Britain’s nuclear bombs and submarines are plagued by widespread safety flaws, according to an internal Ministry of Defence (MoD) report obtained by the Sunday Herald. The SNP’s defence spokesman in Westminster, Angus Robertson MP, said the problems at Faslane and Coulport “clearly put lives at risk” and demanded an urgent investigation. The MoD’s latest annual review of safety reveals that 11 of the bases’ 13 activities have been officially declared unsatisfactory after assessments by site managers and regulators. The review was released last week in response to a request under freedom of information legislation.

Sunday Herald 19th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 19 February 2012

18 February 2012

New Nukes

Britain’s energy future starts in Paris with David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy signing formal agreements for the UK and France to work together on nuclear power. Attention will soon shift to a 500-hectare (1,250-acre) plot in Somerset where the French state energy giant EDF hopes to start work on Hinkley C. If all goes to plan, the first nuclear power station to be built in Britain since 1995 will generate 2,000MW of electricity a year by 2018-2019. The reality is that few, if any, of the world’s 435 working nuclear power stations were built to cost, or on schedule – the prototypes of the two stations EDF wants to build in Britain have taken far longer and proved much more expensive to build than anyone ever expected. The question hanging over Britain’s new stations will be whether cheaper, safer, alternatives become available. If so, Britain will be embarrassed, chained to a massively expensive technology that will suck in resources for ever. If they do not, the decision to build them may prove to be one of the most far-sighted taken by any government.

Guardian 17th Feb 2012 more >>

THE Prime Minister and the French President put their difference on Europe aside today to sign a deal worth more than £500million on nuclear strategy.

Express 17th Feb 2012 more >>

eGov Monitor 17th Feb 2012 more >>

The potential synergies between the two countries are very significant given the supply chain expertise across the two countries in forgings, critical and peripheral equipment and engineering expertise. The agreement between Britain and France to work together on civil nuclear energy secures their stronger commitment towards building safer, secure next generation plants. It also paves the ways for EDF and other utilities to secure funding, and supply chain agreements for the eight sites across the UK, earmarked for new nuclear capacity.

Engineer Live 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Hundreds of hi-tech jobs are heading to South Yorkshire following the signing of a landmark agreement by Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The agreement to co-operate on developing civil nuclear energy paves the way for the construction of a new generation of power plants. It was accompanied by the news of a deal between Rolls-Royce and French nuclear reactor developer AREVA which promises to be even more important for advanced manufacturing in Rotherham. AREVA has asked Rolls to make complex components and provide engineering and technical services for two reactors to be built at Hinkley Point, Somerset.

Sheffield Star 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Rotherham Advertiser 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Yorkshire Post 17th Feb 2012 more >>

The joint declaration on energy made at a Paris summit today contained a range of goals, the greatest of them being to encourage “the emergence of a Franco-British industry that is highly competitive across the whole supply chain at the international level.” Most prominent in this will be the work of France’s majority state-owned firms EDF and Areva and their cooperation with privately held UK firms for the construction of new reactors in Britain.

World Nuclear News 17th Feb 2012 more >>

The Prime Minister met his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris at a joint summit for the first time since their bitter clashes over Europe. Mr Cameron announced that the deal agreed between Rolls Royce and Areva would see “1,500 new jobs in the UK, £100 million invested across the South West and a brand new factory in Rotherham in South Yorkshire.”

Telegraph 17th Feb 2012 more >>

BBC 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Business Green 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Yorkshire Post 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Daily Mail 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Independent 18th Feb 2012 more >>

There were fears that the company’s ambitious nuclear programme in Britain could send energy bills soaring even higher. It comes as the UK arm already faces controversy after announcing its UK profits rose by 8.5 per cent last year to almost £1.6billion while mil- lions struggle to pay their domestic fuel bills. Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace UK, said yesterday: “The track record of EDF in building new nuclear power stations on time and to budget is appalling. It will cost the British tax payer who foots the bill for the massive overspend.”

Express 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Although it is welcome news that the UK is pressing ahead with the development of new nuclear reactors to secure affordable low-carbon electricity generation, this is not necessarily the best deal for securing UK jobs and skills. Although some relatively small contracts are to be awarded to Rolls-Royce and BAM Kier, it looks increasingly likely that the vast majority of the contracts involved in the manufacture and construction of the new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point and Sizewell will go to France rather than the UK. An outcome the Institution predicted in it Nuclear New Build report two years ago.

The Manufacturer 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Commenting on today’s news that Britain and France will co-operate to build new power plants in the UK, Friends of the Earth’s Energy Campaigner Paul Steedman said: “Cameron’s deal today will leave British taxpayers footing a massive bill for new nuclear plants we don’t need and can’t afford – while EDF continues to rake in huge profits.

FoE Press Release 17th Feb 2012 more >>

A new report by Unlock Democracy and The Association for the Conservation of Energy, published last month, reveals that the government misled parliament over the need to build a new fleet of nuclear power stations, distorting evidence and presenting MPs with a false summary of the analysis it had commissioned.

Corporate Watch 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Caroline Lucas: Why we must phase lout nuclear power. the proposed electricity market reform is set to rig the energy market in favour of nuclear – with the introduction of a carbon price floor likely to result in huge windfall handouts of around £50m a year to existing nuclear generators. Despite persistent denials by ministers, this is clearly a subsidy by another name, making a mockery of the coalition pledge not to gift public money to this already established industry. The Energy Fair group is arguing that the cap on liabilities for nuclear accidents is technically a subsidy and therefore illegal under EU law – and is now taking the case to the European commission.

Guardian 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Caroline Flint: Caroline Flint MP, Labour’s Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, commenting on the UK-France agreement to strengthen co-operation in the development of civil nuclear energy, said: “Nuclear power has a vital role to play as part of a more sustainable, balanced and low-carbon future energy mix, to make us less reliant on volatile fossil fuel prices, increase our energy security, and keep prices down for families. The UK must learn the lessons from the development of new nuclear power stations in France so we can deliver new nuclear projects in this country on time and on budget.

Labour Party 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Mark Lynas: Although the UK-French nuclear power deal signed by David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy today does not add up to much in terms of its details – a few hundred millions here and there, not much in the multi-billion-pound world of civil nuclear generation – it does send an important political signal: Britain and France will not follow Germany down the path of eschewing nuclear power. Instead, the governments and industries of both countries will work closely together to up the pace of nuclear new-build in the UK.

Guardian 17th Feb 2012 more >>

There were supporting statements from blue-chip corporate names such as Rolls-Royce on this side of the English Channel and EDF and Areva on their side of la Manche. All was fusion. But behind the political smiles lies an increasingly tense reality which throws into question everything the Coalition is trying to achieve in its National Policy Statement on energy, approved by Parliament in July. The are several risks, none of which Friday’s Franco-British summit addressed. The first is Sarkozy losing the French presidential elections being held in April and May. That risk is extremely high and French ambitions for spending on UK nuclear may look rather different under Francois Hollande, the socialist challenger in poll position to oust Sarkozy. Investments in up to four new UK nuclear sites are planned by EDF which in turn is 83pc owned by the French government. The spending starts with Hinkley Point C, home to two new nukes, which will require €10bn (£8bn). There is still no detail of how much nuclear investors, such as EDF, will get for the power from their new plants. There is a promise of a guaranteed price calculated through a complex instrument called a contract for difference (you, dear reader, will end up underwriting the guarantee through your bills to avoid accusations of state subsidy). But no one knows what this price will be. When and how can this be communicated to EDF so it can commit funds to start building in time for planned switch on in 2018, a date that now looks fanciful. EDF’s (junior) partner in the UK is Centrica, not owned by the Government but by concerned shareholders who may well start to question the company’s investment in nuclear plans which, if they materialise at all, risk being late and less ambitious than before.

Telegraph 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Supply Chain

Rolls Royce will be one of several companies working on the first of two reactors built to French energy company AREVA’s EPR design at Hinkley Point in Somerset. Ultimately two more reactors will be built in the UK to the same design. The work will secure 300 skilled UK jobs at Rolls Royce, some of which will be based at a new manufacturing facility in Rotherham where parts for the reactors will be built. Planning permission for the facility has already been granted and it is hoped that it will be up and running late next year.

Telegraph 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Atkins and Assystem are to expand their nuclear engineering alliance to support EDF in the deployment of the UK European pressurised water reactor programme. The alliance will support EDF in those parts of its programme where it seeks a Franco-British team.

Money AM 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Yahoo 17th Feb 2012 more >>

YORKSHIRE manufacturers are better placed than their European rivals to cash in on the growth of nuclear energy, according to a senior figure at EDF Energy. Alan Cumming predicted that the Nuclear AMRC at the Advanced Manufacturing Park, near Rotherham, will become Britain’s most important hub for the nuclear sector. The Nuclear AMRC brings together the manufacturing and engineering expertise of the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, and the University of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute.

Yorkshire Post 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Safety

The UK’s nuclear safety watchdog has admitted an employee lost a USB stick containing information on tests carried out at a facility in Hartlepool. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) also revealed that the USB stick was unencrypted but claimed that there was no sensitive data on the device. “At the start of the EC ‘stress test’ programme, the licensees of all UK nuclear power stations committed to publishing their stress test reports, so most of the findings in this report are now in the public domain,” it said.

V3.co.uk 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Information Age 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Computer Weekly 17th Feb 2012 more >>

BBC 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Guardian 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Scotsman 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Environmental activists have occupied the site of what is planned to be Britain’s first new nuclear power station since 1995, and on Friday accused EDF of “ignoring democracy” and starting work on the £10bn project without permission to build the station. Eight people have occupied the semi-derelict Langborough farmhouse on land due to be cleared within weeks to make way for the twin-reactor Hinkley Point C power station. The £100m preparatory earth works, which were formalised today in Paris with David Cameron and Nicholas Sarkozy signing an agreement, will remove a volume of soil and rock four times the volume of Wembley stadium from the 500ha site, destroy a site of special scientific interest and several historic buildings.

Guardian 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Anti-nuclear campaigners occupying land proposed for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point have produced an online movie from their new base. Activists took over land on the Langborough Farm site on Sunday morning, and have documented their week’s experiences in a seven-minute YouTube video.

This is Somerset 17th Feb 2012 more >>

The clearest indication yet that the proposed Hinkley C reactor will go-ahead will be signalled today when Britain and France sign a landmark agreement to co-operate on civil nuclear energy.

Western Daily Press17th Feb 2012 more >>

It was a very frustrating Valentine’s Day for one Somerset council and EDF Energy this week. They were meant to be agreeing a deal to fund the work of local authorities on scrutinising the plans for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. EDF had already handed over £13million to three local councils to help them carry out the work so that the cost would not have to be passed onto the council tax bills of those who live in the area affected by the French power giant’s scheme. Sedgemoor District Council advised EDF that another £2.3 million would be required from April 1. Perhaps not unreasonably, the energy company asked to see the council’s calculations before handing over the money. It would be normal in a situation like this, when two parties such as these disagree, that a deal would be thrashed out behind closed doors and some sort of common ground would be found. In the meantime, a bland press release would be issued and the parties would smile, if only through clenched teeth, and assure the world that all was well. Not this time.

Western Daily Press 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Dungeness

A suspect package has sparked a security alert at Dungeness Power Station this afternoon. Police were called to the Romney Marsh site when the alarm was raised at about 1pm. An emergency control centre was quickly set up by the nuclear power station staff. Rumour had spread to nearby New Romney, where some staff and their families live, that the package might have been a bomb. But when officers arrived, the package was discovered to be a webcam.

Kent Messenger 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Sellafield

West Cumbria will today move a step closer to securing a £9 billion new nuclear power station when Britain and France sign an historic nuclear pact. Prime Minister David Cameron is travelling to Paris to sign a landmark agreement with French President Nicolas Sarkozy that will see the countries work together on a shared civil nuclear programme. The deal will pave the way for the building of 10 new nuclear power stations in Britain, including one in west Cumbria which is projected to create 5,000 construction jobs and 800 permanent posts. Nu Gen, a consortium owned by energy giants Iberdrola and GDF Suez, is currently preparing plans for the scheme, provisionally called Moorside, on land north of Sellafield.

Cumberland News 17th Feb 2012 more >>

EDF

EDF said 2011 profit tripled on higher French and U.K. nuclear output, and forecast spending on aging reactors would increase over the next three years.

Bloomberg 16th Feb 2012 more >>

EDF says it plans to bid to build reactors in South Africa in a possible Franco-Chinese partnership.

Reuters 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

Fukushima Nuclear Crisis Update 13th to 16th Feb.

Greenpeace International 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

Iran is clearly trying to develop a nuclear weapons capability, and if it succeeds it will set off a dangerous round of nuclear proliferation across the Middle East, Foreign Secretary William Hague said in an interview published on Saturday.

Reuters 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Telegraph 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Many believe the west is overplaying the influence and nuclear potential that a divided, and increasingly reckless, Tehran wields

Guardian 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Submarines

The reactor compartments from redundant nuclear-powered submarines should be stored “intact” at Devonport, a campaign group has said. The dockyards at Devonport and Rosyth, Scotland, have already been identified by the Ministry of Defence as the only “candidate” sites for dismantling submarines. In all, 27 boats are to be dismantled, including the ten currently stored afloat at Devonport and seven at Rosyth. The MoD has been wrestling with the controversial issue for more than a decade. Its current public consultation ends today. In its submission, the group Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA), which represents 50 councils throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, said the reactor compartments should be removed and stored whole, rather than being cut up.

Western Morning News 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Renewables

Britain’s fledgeling marine energy industry has finally come of age after Siemens acquired a Bristol-based developer. Marine Current Turbines said that its takeover, for an undisclosed sum, would help it to further develop devices that generate electricity from tides. RenewableUK, an industry body, said that the deal could spur takeovers of British marine energy companies that are seeking a cash injection. The Edinburgh-based Pelamis Wave Power is said to be courting Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems. The generation of tidal and wave power is still at an experimental stage and only a handful of large projects exist globally. Experts say that Britain has the best marine energy resource in the world.

Times 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 18 February 2012

17 February 2012

New Nukes

The UK is to sign a deal with France to strengthen co-operation in the development of civil nuclear energy. The government says it reiterates the UK’s commitment to nuclear energy “as part of a diversified energy mix”. The coalition says the agreement will create a number of commercial deals in the nuclear energy field, worth more than £500m and creating 1,500 UK jobs.

BBC 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Guardian 17th Feb 2012 more >>

France24 17th Feb 2012 more >>

The British Prime Minister is meeting his French counterpart Nicholas Sarkozy in Paris at a joint summit for the first time since their bitter clashes over Europe. Sources said the two men are expected to seek to draw a line under the tense relations of recent months by unveiling new deals between British and French companies to build aircraft and nuclear power stations.

Telegraph 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Blunder

Ministers have been warned of the blunder amid concerns of the consequences, should the sensitive information fall into the hands of terrorists. The “stress test” report for the plant in Hartlepool, carried out in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, was downloaded onto a USB memory stick – against Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) rules. A senior inspector at the Health and Safety Executive, who was working for the ONR, mislaid the memory stick while attending a nuclear conference in India, it was reported. The report contains technical details and maps of the power station, which is owned by French firm EDF. An ONR spokesman told The Sun: “The use of unencrypted USB pen drives is not permitted by ONR for transporting documents with a security classification.”

Telegraph 17th Feb 2012 more >>

The Sun 17th Feb 2012 more >>

PLEX

The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change says nuclear plant life extension announced by Electricite de France February 16 does not alter the need for “urgent and speedy action” on new nuclear build in the UK. EDF Group said February 16 that it expects to extend the operating lives of its 14 advanced gas-cooled reactors (AGRs) by an average of seven years — two years longer than its previous estimates of only last year. Life extension at EDF’s AGR fleet could retain the equivalent of at least 6.5 gigawatts of nuclear electrical capacity on the national grid, equivalent to at least four 1,600-MW EPR reactors – more if Dungeness B is included in the AGRs to obtain future life extension. In its national energy policy statements last year, DECC said it expected to lose 10GW of nuclear power capacity on the grid over the next 20 years. However, EDF’s plans could significantly delay the loss of existing nuclear capacity. It could mean the only nuclear capacity to be lost between now and 2021 could be the four Magnox reactors at Oldbury and Wylfa, all of which are scheduled to close permanently this year, and Dungeness B. Dungeness B got a 10-year life extension in 2008 and is now scheduled to close in 2018, which would remove about 1GW from the grid.

i-Nuclear.com 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

This film gives an account of the first few days of the occupation of Langborough Farm on the site of one of the proposed ‘new wave’ of Nuclear Reactors, at Hinkley point in Somerset. The activists took occupancy in the early hours of Sunday the 12th of February and are settling in to their new home and community.

You Tube 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Indymedia 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Activists who have occupied a farm to oppose ground clearance for a new nuclear site in West Somerset today entered the fifth day of their stand-off with the French energy company EDF. The protesters entered Langborough Farm at Hinkley Point on Saturday night and established a camp around derelict buildings which are believed to house hibernating bats. They want the “Preliminary Works”, which will clear and level several hundred acres of Somerset coastal land to be halted for 12 months until EDF know if they actually have permission to build their proposed reactors.

South West Against Nuclear 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Wylfa

THE company behind the proposed construction of a new nuclear power station on Anglesey is to hold an open surgery in Llangefni. The drop in session, which will be held on Monday, February 20 between 1pm and 7pm at the Llangefni Communities First Centre, will allow members of the public to ask questions about the Wylfa B site.

The Leader 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Radwaste

A GOVERNMENT benefits package awarded to Copeland if it decides to host a nuclear waste dump should leave a “long-term legacy” for the area, a meeting has heard. Elaine Woodburn, the leader of Copeland Council, accepted that the area has missed opportunities in the past to be properly rewarded for its input into the nuclear industry. She said: “The Government has signed up to the principal of giving us community benefits [if Copeland agrees to host an underground repository for high-level nuclear waste]. But it has to be something that helps the community for 200 to 300 years; it can’t be a short-term shopping list of roads and schools for example.”

Whitehaven News 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Letter Michael Baron: The truth – if there is one – is that the entire MRWS process was flawed from the date of publication of the 2008 White Paper which sought to impose a fashionable concept of voluntarism upon local authorities – if they were willing – which they did not have the intellectual capacity to manage and implement. Morally, legally, scientifically, and constitutionally, the process is a failure; and if it proceeds one can only hope that both the will and the means and the opportunity will be found to challenge DECC/Cumbria County Council/Copeland and Allerdale Borough Councils in the High Court. The partnership is aware of this possibility since it has retained Birmingham solicitors Wragge & Co to advise them on issues around the legal weapon of judicial review. There are better and more legitimate ways of finding the safest geological site in England to bury high level nuclear waste. It is the nation’s waste and it is the national government that should find the solution and manage and implement the process, as has happened in other more careful nations.

Whitehaven News 16th Feb 2012 more >>

EDF

EDF has posted strong results for the last financial year, with nuclear generation up by enough to counter an ‘exceptionally poor’ year for hydroelectricity. EDF’s nuclear power plants in France and the UK generated 421.1 TWh and 55.8 TWh respectively, beating targets and up on 2010 performance by 13 TWh. The UK’s Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor fleet posted its best performance for six years. One factor in the year-on-year increase in nuclear generation was the reduction of unplanned outages by a total of 594 days. The ending of long outages at Heysham and Sizewell B also helped, and the company noted “the positive impact of the large component replacement program” for the French fleet.

World Nuclear News 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Utility Week 16th Feb 2012 more >>

EDF plans to carry out six once-a-decade maintenance outages at its French nuclear power reactors in 2012 versus nine in 2011.

Reuters 16th Feb 2012 more >>

EDF’s chief executive has hailed the “remarkable” financial performance of the world’s leading nuclear energy supplier by kilowatts, as he braces himself for a French presidential election that will determine both his and the company’s future. Henri Proglio – one of France’s most powerful businessmen – said the electricity group increased non-recurring net income by 13 per cent in 2011 despite the “troubled environment” in which it was operating, including the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan and the eurozone debt crisis. Its nuclear plants in France and the UK performed well. He insisted the company would meet ambitious 2011-2015 financial targets despite an extra 10bn euro of spending to meet strict safety guidelines following Fukushima.

FT 17th Feb 2012 more >>

One of Britain’s biggest energy companies, EDF, faces an “unstoppable tide” of criticism after last year’s steep gas price increases helped it to pocket an 8.5 per cent rise in annual profits. The surge in earnings came despite an overall fall in energy consumption by its cash-strapped British customers. Mild weather also contributed to an 8 per cent fall in energy use last year. EDF, which is controlled by the French Government, yesterday posted a pretax profit for 2011 of €1.91 billion (£1.59 billion) in the UK, compared with €1.79 billion in 2010. Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said: “When people see energy suppliers announcing increased profits despite a mild winter, they’re bound to question whether they’re paying a fair price. There’s an unstoppable tide of public opinion demanding more affordable energy.

Times 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Flooding

SEA level rises of between 30-40cm in the Severn Estuary over the next 60 years could cause more than three-quarters of the estuary’s intertidal area to be lost, a new report has warned. In stark findings, The State of the Severn Estuary report warns that the impact of climate change could cause 77% of the zone – the area that is above water at low tide and underwater at high tide – to disappear over the next 100 years.

Western Mail 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Sellafield

Letter: NFLA Ireland: We read with concern the huge cost over-runs with the development of an evaporator for the ‘Thorp’ reprocessing facility at Sellafield (Irish Independent, February 14). What should really worry people in Ireland is, despite the Fukushima disaster and the subsequent closure of the Sellafield MOX facility in 2011, there are still big plans to develop the reprocessing business at the plant, with all its incumbent risks. Despite this four-fold increase in costs to the UK taxpayer, the UK government wants to build a new plutonium fabrication plant at Sellafield, whilst councils in West Cumbria are currently consulting about going forward with a huge underground radioactive waste repository within a few miles of Sellafield and, of course, there are plans to build brand new nuclear reactors on the Sellafield site (along with reactors at three other Irish Sea coastal sites). We are dismayed with the lack of public debate on this issue from the Republic’s Government. It has to speak out, as we are doing now, on the folly of building new nuclear facilities just 60 miles from our coastline.

Irish Independent 16th Feb 2012 more >>

That the costs of the new evaporator needed at Britain’s nuclear reprocessing facility at Sellafield have spiralled from £90m to £400m is troubling enough. That the kit will not be up and running until at least 2014 – not only four years late, but only another four years before the closure of the Thorp reprocessing plant that will use it – borders on the farcical.

Independent 14th Deb 2012 more >>

SELLAFIELD is looking to remove the limits for controlling radioactive discharges into the air from its main operational plants. These cover the discharge stacks of Thorp and Magnox reprocessing plants. The overall site limit for monitoring discharges to make sure they are safe will stay in place – for the time being at least. In the meantime site operators Sellafield Ltd is applying to the Environment Agency to have individual plant limits removed. EA representative Rob Allott told members of the West Cumbria (nuclear) Stakeholders health and safety watchdogs: “The application to vary the permit for some of the plant levels is because discharges are now so low that they fall below our criteria for setting limits.”

Whitehaven News 16th Feb 2012 more >>

NuGen

SSE yesterday sold its stake in nuclear joint venture NuGeneration (NuGen) for a cash consideration that could rise to £7m. It has now completed the sale of its 25 per cent stake in NuGen, which it jointly owned with partners GDF Suez and Iberdrola, parent company of ScottishPower. A 50:50 joint partnership between those two companies acquired SSE’s stake for £5.75m, with a further £1.25m dependent on progress with the development of a new 3.6GW nuclear power station on a site in West Cumbria.

Business Green 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Small Reactors

It may be that when a new boom in nuclear power comes, it won’t be led by giant gigawatt installations, but by batteries of small modular reactors (SMRs) with very different principles from those of previous generations. But though a technology of great diversity and potential, many obstacles stand in its path. Gizmag takes an in-depth look at the many forms of SMRs, their advantages, and the challenges they must overcome.

Gizmag 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Energy Prices

A cap on fuel bills could be introduced for the first time in more than a decade amid rising concern that customers are being ripped off by the Big Six energy firms, the regulator Ofgem has told The Independent.

Independent 17th Feb 2012 more >>

The challenge facing Britain’s energy market has probably never been greater than it is today. Public confidence in the Big Six suppliers has fallen to extremely low levels as reflected in The Independent’s Fair Energy campaign. Poor supplier behaviour and the complexity of the energy market have contributed to an erosion of consumer trust.

Independent 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

Fukushima Update 10th – 13th Feb.

Greenpeace International 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Nearly a year after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, then-premier Naoto Kan is haunted by the spectre of an even bigger crisis forcing tens of millions of people to flee Tokyo and threatening the nation’s existence. His priority now is promoting renewable energy rather than political manoeuvring, and steered clear of any criticism of his successor, Yoshihiko Noda.

Reuters 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

Alarmism about nuclear proliferation is fairly common coin in the foreign policy establishment. And of late it has been boosted by the seeming efforts of Iran or its friends to answer covert assassinations, apparently by Israel, with attacks and attempted attacks of their own in India, Georgia and Thailand. A non-hysterical approach to the Iran nuclear issue is entirely possible. It should take several considerations into account. If the rattled and insecure Iranian leadership is lying when it says it has no intention of developing nuclear weapons, or if it undergoes a conversion from that position (triggered perhaps by an Israeli air strike), it will find, like all other nuclear-armed states, that the bombs are essentially useless and a considerable waste of time, effort, money and scientific talent.

Guardian 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran has told EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton that it is ready to resume talks as soon as possible over its disputed nuclear programme.

Morning Star 16th Feb 2012 more >>

US

The Obama Administration is “committed to doing our part to help jumpstart America’s nuclear industry,” US energy secretary Steven Chu said during a visit to the Vogtle site in Georgia, where construction of two new reactors is due to start soon. He highlighted the steps that the Administration is taking to restart the country’s nuclear industry.

World Nuclear News 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Submarines

SELLAFIELD is tipped to receive medium-level radioactive waste from Britain’s redundant nuclear powered submarines – but at a price. Many millions of pounds could be sought for community benefits on top of safety and environmental reassurances. The material from 17 decommissioned nuclear subs will have to be stored safely for up to 100 years before it can be buried for good in an underground repository. Community leaders will insist on Copeland getting financial benefits if the Ministry of Defence decides Sellafield is its preferred site. The MoD is considering a range of options for its Submarine Dismantling Programme (SDP) which includes where the radioactive waste should end up. But Copeland Council leader Elaine Woodburn and Conservative group leader David Moore want community benefits to figure largely. Coun Moore warned: “There has to be community benefit. Why should we take it otherwise?” And Coun Woodburn said: “Our concerns are safety for people, the environment and community benefits.” A national consultation closes Friday but Coun Woodburn said: “It’s flawed. To carry out a consultation without consulting on where the waste will finally go seems ridiculous.”

Whitehaven News 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Since the end of the Cold War more than 20 years ago, the prospect of nuclear Armageddon has gradually faded from the popular consciousness. But with approximately 23,000 nuclear warheads still thought to be in existence, there is still more than enough nuclear firepower available to basically end life on Earth. Now those interested in finding out how much damage a nuclear strike would cause in their home town can find out, thanks to a new online app.

Daily Mail 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Renewables

Solar companies are hoping to secure revisions to a key piece of research into solar panel costs, which formed the basis for the government’s latest controversial proposals to slash feed-in tariff incentives from July. The government last week issued a consultation on plans to introduce an automatic degression mechanism to the solar feed-in tariff to ensure the scheme remains within budget.

Business Green 16th Feb 2012 more >>

An independent Scotland could reap a £30bn dividend from a “reindustrialised” green energy sector over the next 20 years, Alex Salmond said on Wednesday night, raising the stakes in his economic case for a break from the union. The first minister told an audience of academics, students and members of the public at the London School of Economics Scotland’s “unparallelled energy resources” would give a fully independent Holyrood “a huge competitive advantage” over the rest of Europe. Salmond also said if Scotland had had full fiscal control since 1979, the nation would now have assets worth between £87bn and £117bn. “Under independence we would make the best use of our unparalleled energy resources,” he said. “We have 25% of Europe’s tidal power potential, 25% of its offshore wind potential and 10% of its wave power potential – not bad for a nation with less than 1% of Europe’s population.

Guardian 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Scottish and Southern Energy Renewables has applied to build Scotland’s biggest ever hydro electric scheme at the west end of the Great Glen. SSE plans a 600MW pumped storage scheme, which extracts, stores and releases electricity, near Loch Lochy. The company is asking the Scottish government for the go-ahead but says it will only reach a final decision on whether to press ahead in 2014.

BBC 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Scotsman 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Herald 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Given that hydro electricity schemes are the best way of providing energy quickly to the grid at times of peak demand and they inflict far less damage to the visual environment than wind turbines, this project, if carefully planned and supervised, deserves to be supported.

Scotsman 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Do we need more wind farms? Yes says Julia Davenport of Good Energy: Anyone who has looked at their energy bill recently can see that our energy market is broken. Sixty per cent of our energy is imported and our reliance on that has left households and businesses facing seesawing fuel costs with little or no certainty about how much the next month’s bill will be. We need to solve this problem if we want to create long-term economic security. The United Kingdom is lucky enough to have an abundance of renewable energy resources that can help us do exactly that.

Times 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Electricity Grid

A £1 billion contract has been awarded for the construction of the first sub-sea electricity link between Scotland and England, energy firms announced today. The 261-mile line will run from Hunterston in Ayrshire to a landing point on the Wirral peninsula and will have a 2,200 megawatt (MW) capacity. National Grid and ScottishPower have awarded the £1 billion contract to Siemens and cable manufacturer Prysmian. They said the new link will enable large volumes of renewable wind and other energy generation to be transferred from Scotland to areas of higher demand in England.

Independent 16th Feb 2012 more >>

BBC 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Scotsman 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 17 February 2012

16 February 2012

Hinkley

A furious row has broken out between a council and developers which could potentially see the authority unrepresented at planning hearings for the first of Britain’s new nuclear plants. The row is over the cost of scrutinising the massive planning application for Hinkley C power station in Somerset. Unless it is resolved, Sedgemoor District Council says it will not have the information to assess EDF Energy’s proposals and there could be empty chairs at Infrastructure Planning Commission hearings. The council adjourned its council tax setting meeting yesterday, saying EDF had failed to confirm that it will fund the £2.3 million which Sedgemoor says it and West Somerset need to research, gather evidence and present arguments to the commission. The sum would also cover some legal costs accrued by Somerset County Council.

Western Daily Press 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Sedgemoor DC wants EDF to pay £2m towards the cost of its scrutiny of the impact of the proposed £10bn Hinkley Point C power station. The council argued that it is legally required to undertake the scrutiny to produce a local impact report demanded under the Infrastructure Planning Commission’s (IPC) planning consent procedure. Council tax revenue should not be used “as the project is of national benefit and importance and is being built by a commercial, profit-making company”, a council statement said. It said EDF had previously funded this work but had not confirmed how much it would contribute for the IPC stage of the process despite protracted negotiations.

Local Government Chronicle 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Laing O’Rourke hires nuclear power consultant and ex Scottishpower construction chief Roger Seshan as the £1bn Hinkley C civils contract battle with Balfour Beatty/Vinci and Costain/McAlpine culminates.

Construction News 15th Feb 2012 more >>

In a stunning surprise move, members of SWAN and others have announced they are legally squatting under Section 6 of the Criminal Law Act 1977. They are in the yard of an old farm building to the west 0f the Hinkley Point main gate which can be reached on the public right of way footpath approx 10 mins walk from the layby on the main road nearest to the station. This building has to be demolished as part of site clearance so by staying on site they are stopping EDF progress, well done them!! The building has bats, and they have a bat expert in the group and are keeping quiet at night so as not to disturb them.

South West Against Nuclear 12th Feb 2012 more >>

Campaign group South-West Against Nuclear want to stop the government’s plans for a ‘nuclear renaissance’ beginning in Hinkley Point in Somerset. Nuclear, activists say, is plagued by problems from beginning to end.

Ecologist 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Wylfa

A NEW group opposed to plans for a holiday village at Penrhos nature reserve plans is to hold mass protests against the development. They say the plans, which also include a housing development at Kingsland and accommodation for Wylfa B construction workers at Cae Glas, could create 600 jobs and pump £5m annually into the local economy.

Holyhead & Anglesey Mail 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Sizewell

A report from Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) sets out the assessment of the treated pond water leak that occurred at the Magnox Limited Sizewell A site on 3 September 2011, the resultant enforcement decision, and related information.

Nuclear Matters 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Areva

US industry forum the Next Generation Nuclear Plant Industry Alliance (NGNP Industry Alliance) has selected the Areva Generation IV high temperature gas cooled reactor (HTGR) concept as the optimum design for next generation nuclear plants.

Nuclear Engineering International 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Stress Tests

The stress tests carried out on Europe’s nuclear power plants in the wake of the Fukushima disaster last year have already brought “important wins”, especially in terms of transparency, says Greenpeace nuclear expert Jan Haverkamp. Speaking to EurActiv. in an interview, he also said the tests had exposed some “black holes” in the emergency responses that need to be addressed. Jan Haverkamp is a nuclear policy expert at Greenpeace, the environmental NGO.

Euractiv 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Euractiv 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Radhealth

In the latest development in the debate over to what extent there is a link between childhood leukaemia and radiation from nuclear power plants, a French study has found a doubling in the incidence of the disease among children under 5 living within 5-kilometre radius of a nuclear plant. COMARE’s Secretariat, Dr Kerry Broom, said that it is aware of the French INSERM study and will be discussing it at the next COMARE meeting in March.

Ecologist 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Radwaste

A decision looms on whether – and where – to build the UK’s first deep disposal for nuclear waste. Two borough councils in Cumbria have ‘volunteered’ – but can the communities be convinced?

Ecologist 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Supply Chain

A TEESSIDE engineering company has unveiled a Nuclear Exhibition Centre as it gears up for more work in the sector. Lord Hutton of Furness, the former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, cut the ribbon for Darchem Engineering’s new facility, which bosses hope will showcase the company’s prowess in the expanding nuclear market.

Journal 15th Feb 2012 more >>

South Yorkshire firms are being urged to seize the opportunity to dominate the UK civil nuclear supply sector. Alan Cumming, who is commercial director for EDF Energy’s nuclear new build programme in the UK, says local industry will be in an even stronger position if it takes full advantage of having the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre on its doorstep. Speaking ahead of next month’s Global Manufacturing Festival in Sheffield – at which he will give a keynote address – Mr Cumming revealed that EDF Energy is to host a series of ‘Supplier Days’ at the Nuclear AMRC.

Sheffield Star 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Chernobyl

FAMILIES are being recruited to temporarily home two children from Belarus who’ve been affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. A group of youngsters aged between ten and 12 are visiting Selby district during the summer, and representatives from the Chernobyl Children’s Project are looking for families to home the final two.

South Yorkshire Times 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Fast Reactor Research

A European project is to investigate the manufacture of novel nuclear fuels that are safer and more efficient. The ultimate aim is to make nuclear power more sustainable through the use of ‘fourth-generation’ reactor designs in combination with a coherent re-use and recycling strategy. The €9.4m (£7.9m) FP7 ASGARD project is led by Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, with input from UK researchers at the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) and several universities.

Engineer 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Security

The 15th Feburary marked the official launch ceremony of the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit, South Korea. The Korean National Police Agency launched a security squad, exclusively established for the successful hosting of the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit which will be held in Seoul from March 26-27, 2012.

Telegraph 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Telegraph 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

Iran proclaimed advances in nuclear know-how on Wednesday, including new centrifuges able to enrich uranium much faster, a move that may hasten a drift towards confrontation with the West over suspicions it is seeking the means to make atomic bombs.

Reuters 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran has begun loading domestically-made nuclear fuel rods into its research reactor in a defiant response to toughening sanctions over its controversial nuclear programme.

Press & Journal 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Daily Mail 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Telegraph 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Guardian 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Separately, the Fars agency reported that a “new generation of Iranian centrifuges” had started operation at the country’s main uranium enrichment facility at Natanz in central Iran. State TV showed the father of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, killed in January, clicking on the computer to inaugurate the advanced centrifuges, as the scientist’s mother and widow stood by with tears in their eyes.

Scotsman 16th Feb 2012 more >>

A boastful Iran declared yesterday that it had made important new advances in its nuclear sector, compounding its confrontation with the US and its allies, including Israel, and further risking a military response.

Independent 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Express 16th Feb 2012 more >>

In a letter from chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Iran said it was ready for “dialogue on a spectrum of various issues which can provide ground for constructive and forward looking cooperation”.

Telegraph 15th Feb 2012 more >>

“Iran has enough low-enriched material for four weapons-worth – if further enriched. But if they went to further enrich it, the inspectors would find out, the world would know and we would be at war. I don’t think Iran will take that step – at least not in this year, but it’s getting closer.”

Channel 4 News 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Saudi Arabia

January’s signing of an agreement between China and Saudi Arabia excited much attention in the Chinese media, though this was just the latest in a series of similar such legal framework deals that the Middle Eastern Kingdom had signed with a variety of nuclear technology supplier nations including France, Argentina and South Korea. Like the other deals, the Riyadh-Beijing agreement is for peaceful use nuclear technology and covers the maintenance and development of nuclear power plants and research reactors as well as the manufacturing and supply of nuclear fuel elements.

Nuclear Energy Insider 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

In surprisingly frank public testimony on Wednesday, Japan’s nuclear safety chief said the country’s regulations were fundamentally flawed and laid out a somber picture of a nuclear industry shaped by freewheeling power companies, toothless regulators and a government more interested in promoting nuclear energy than in safeguarding the health of its citizens.

New York Times 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Japan Today 16th Feb 2012 more >>

The earthquake and nuclear meltdown in Japan last year compounded pre-existing issues like falling birth rates, fragmented families and shrinking communities. What does the future hold?

Ecologist 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Germany

A few days ago a sensational – and erroneous – piece of news spread in the media: On account of this winter’s unprecedented cold snap, Germany has ostensibly re-launched several of the nuclear reactors it shut down last year in the wake of the terrible catastrophe at Japan’s Fukushima. The misreporting aside, the story did serve to highlight another falsehood – that nuclear power is the best bet against the world’s new plague, the extreme spells of cold and heat brought on by climate change. As Jan Haverkamp, Greenpeace’s expert consultant on nuclear energy, points out, the eight nuclear power plants that Germany closed after Fukushima no longer have licenses and cannot legally go back into operation, or, for that matter, into reserve.

Bellona 13th Feb 2012 more >>

US

The future of U.S. nuclear power rests squarely on the shoulders of Atlanta-based Southern Co which will lead the industry’s effort to prove the concept of new reactor construction after a 30-year hiatus. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on Feb. 9 voted 4-1 to issue Southern a permit to build and operate two units at its existing Vogtle plant in eastern Georgia. These were the first U.S. permits issued since 1978, a year before the partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania cast a pall over the industry and halted plans for dozens of plants.

Reuters 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Submarines

As a Russian magazine reports the country came close to nuclear disaster in December following a fire on a submarine, Channel 4 News speaks to an engineer who worked on the salvage of the Kursk.

Channel 4 News 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Trident

A VETERAN US congressional defence analyst has suggested that Scottish independence “might not be too good” for American defence and foreign investment. Mr Goldich highlighted the SNP’s aim to rid Scotland of nuclear weapons.

Scotsman 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 16 February 2012

15 February 2012

Nuclear Costs

The largest factor in rising nuclear new-build costs is uncertainty caused by insufficient numbers of new-build projects. Those regions that are building many new plants now stand to gain the most in the new-build market of the future.

Nuclear Engineering International 14th Feb 2012 more >>

New Nukes

A GLOBAL renaissance in nuclear power offers a fantastic opportunity for North-East engineering, a former Business Minister said on a visit to the region. Lord Hutton yesterday visited Darchem, based at Stillington, near Darlington, in his role as chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA). During his visit Lord Hutton, who held ministerial posts for both business and trade and industry, amongst others, in the Labour Government, opened the plants new nuclear exhibition centre, which will enable the firm to showcase its work to potential customers.

Northern Echo 14th Feb 2012 more >>

Radwaste

Save Our Lake District – Don’t Dump Cumbria! today learned that Essex County Council has said it will send its radioactive Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) from Bradwell to Cumbria for disposal in a repository. Essex County Council & Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s views are set out in a November 2011 Waste Development Document (WDD), paras 3.35. and 3.36. A consultation on the proposals has just ended. In the document, the Councils make it clear that they expect to send waste from decommissioning the current Bradwell reactor to ‘the National Repository for Radioactive waste in Cumbria’. They also say that the waste arising from the new reactors proposed for Bradwell will not be kept in Essex, but instead needs ‘to be considered in the context of the future national repository arrangements and not with the WDD’. Council leaders in Copeland and Cumbria have constantly assured Cumbrians that the plans for a dump here are ‘not a done deal’. But the paper from Essex indicates that it looks very much like a ‘done deal’ to that Council.

SOLD 14th Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Anti-nuclear campaigners have been joined by members of Seize the Day as the first residents of Edf-Off Cottage next to Hinkley Point nuclear power station. The first wave of NVDA activity started last week in freezing weather when three people occupied trees as part of the campaign against two new mega-reactors being built on fragile coastal land. Now the action is focused on EDF-Off Cottage, a nearby farmhouse that was derelict until new residents moved in – including members of Seize the Day. One of the farmhouse residents said: ‘This is a wake up call. We need to get everyone to understand that nuclear power is not an answer to climate change. It’s dangerous and expensive. Germany is showing the world that you can build a nuclear-free future that is safe and affordable, so why can’t the UK do the same?’

Indymedia 14th Feb 2012 more >>

The application for the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset is progressing. A total of 1197 representations were made on it and these have now been published on the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) website. The preliminary meeting on the application is due to take place on 21 March. This kicks off the six month maximum period for examining the application, i.e. it must end by 21 September. There will then be three months for the IPC to make a recommendation and (assuming the Localism Act changes have come in by then) three months for the government to make a decision, i.e. by 21 March 2013.

Bircham Dyson Bell 14th Feb 2012 more >>

AP1000

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has imposed a pre-service and in-service inspection and testing program on Southern Corp. for the explosively activated squib valves used in the two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors that Southern is building in the US state of Georgia. The license condition requires the 12 squib valves in each AP1000 to be disassembled for inspection every 10 years, among other requirements. Squib valves are 8- and 14-inch explosively activated valves used in the AP1000 automatic depressurization system to reduce reactor pressure in the event of a loss-of-coolant accident.

i-Nuclear 14th Feb 2012 more >>

Radhealth

Possible mechanism explaing leukaemia clusters close to German and French nuclear power plants. In September 2011, Gundremmingen NPP located between Ulm and Augsburg in Southern Germany emitted much larger amounts of radioactive noble gases during inspection/refuelling than are emitted during normal power operation. According to the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) in Germany, the normal emission concentration during the rest of the year is about 3 kBq/m³, but during inspection/refuelling (in the afternoon and evening of September 22nd) this concentration abruptly increased to ~700 kBq/m³ with a peak of 1,470 kBq/m³. In the following days (September 22nd – 29th), the concentrations of released radioactive noble gases were still much higher (average = 100 kBq/m³) than during normal power operation. IPPNW warns of the probable health impacts of such large emission spikes. “Especially at risk are unborn children. When reactors are open and releasing gases, pregnant women can incorporate much higher concentrations of radionuclides than at other times, mainly via respiration” said Reinhold Thiel, member of the German IPPNW Board. “Radioactive isotopes inhaled by the mother can reach the unborn child via the blood and placenta with the result that the embryo/ fetus is contaminated (‘labelled’) by radioactive isotopes.

IPPNW 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Beyond Nuclear 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Police

A government proposal to merge the UK’s two nuclear police forces would be costly, messy and could create a conflict of interest between protecting British weapons and foreign-owned power stations, the Defence Police Federation has warned.

Police Oracle 14th Feb 2012 more >>

Energy Costs

Energy firms came under fresh fire last night after evidence came to light of them using dubious sales tactics to sell expensive tariffs. Undercover researchers discovered that anyone who switched tariff based on the sales patter of in-store representatives of the big energy companies could be worse off by hundreds of pounds. Energy companies’ salespeople in supermarkets and shopping centres told researchers they would make annual savings of between £20 and £142. But the customers would actually have been between £39 and £311 worse off if they had taken up the deals, according to Which?

Independent 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Europe

The representatives of the 16 EU countries that have opted for nuclear energy have identified the four ‘pillars’ on which the EU’s energy policy must be built: safety of sourcing, consumer purchasing power, industrial competitiveness and the fight against global warming. The French Minister of Industry, Eric Besson, who initiated the first informal meeting that was held in Paris on 10 February, said it was “normal” for these countries “to exchange experiences and perhaps, in the future, to better coordinate [amongst themselves]” since nuclear power represents 28% of electricity production in Europe. Yet these countries – Spain, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, the UK, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden – have very different nuclear profiles: France generates 75% of its electricity through nuclear power, while Latvia does not have nuclear plants but imports electricity from nuclear sources.

Europolitics 10th Feb 2012 more >>

US

Karl Grossman: Last week’s granting by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission of combined construction and operating licenses for two nuclear plants to be built in Georgia—both Westinghouse AP1000s—is the culmination of a scheme developed by nuclear promoters 20 years ago.

Counterpunch 13th Feb 2012 more >>

France

Extending the operating lifetime of EDF’s 58 power reactors past 40 years is “by far” the most economically and environmentally favorable scenario for France’s energy mix over the next 40 years, a government-appointed commission concluded in a report prepared for industry/energy minister Eric Besson and released Monday.

Platts 13th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

There are increasingly vocal demands for military action to halt Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons programme. Stuart Parkinson, SGR, takes a critical look at the evidence for such a programme and argues that any military attack is likely to make matters considerably worse.

Scientists for Global Responsibility 13th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran will present a new advance in its atomic programme on Wednesday by loading domestically made nuclear fuel into a research reactor in the capital Tehran, a senior Iranian official told a Russian news agency on Tuesday.

Reuters 14th Feb 2012 more >>

Telegraph 14th Feb 2012 more >>

Taiwan

Even the head of the safety department at Taiwan’s Atomic Energy Council, has doubts about the country’s fourth nuclear plant, suggesting it no longer enjoys much support. But since the presidential election on 14 January, plans to finish Nuclear Power Plant Four are back on the agenda.

Guardian 14th Feb 2012 more >>

Submarines

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) has submitted to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) its formal response to the public consultation on how to dismantle redundant nuclear submarines and what to do with the intermediate level radioactive waste that arises from them. The response has also been developed into a NFLA Radioactive Waste Briefing for its member authorities.

Nuclear Free Local Authorities 14th Feb 2012 more >>

Radioactive Waste Management Policy Briefing No.31

NFLA 14th Feb 2012 more >>

Russia came close to nuclear disaster when a blaze engulfed a sub carrying atomic weapons – despite official assurances that it was not armed, it was reported today. Russian officials said at the time that all nuclear weapons aboard the Yekaterinburg nuclear submarine had been unloaded well before a fire engulfed the 550ft-long vessel and there had been no risk of a radiation leak. But the respected Vlast weekly magazine quoted several sources in the Russian navy as saying that throughout the fire on December 29 the submarine was carrying 16 R-29 intercontinental ballistic missiles, each armed with four nuclear warheads.

Daily Mail 14th Feb 2012 more >>

Guardian 14th Feb 2012 more >>

Renewables

Sir Simon Jenkins’s claims that the National Trust shares his personal opposition to wind power ‘don’t chime’ with its actual position on renewable energy, the trust says.

Guardian 14th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 15 February 2012

14 February 2012

Sellafield

Britain’s biggest single nuclear project has run into serious trouble, with missed deadlines and cost overruns threatening the future of the nuclear reprocessing operation at Sellafield in Cumbria. Nuclear authorities have ordered a review of a monumental construction project at Sellafield that is millions of pounds over budget and more than four years late following a series of delays and financial mismanagement. The “Evaporator D” project was originally estimated to cost £90m and was due to be completed as early as 2010. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), which has taken over responsibility for running Sellafield from the defunct British Nuclear Fuels Ltd, says that the actual costs are now estimated to be “around £400m” with a completion date no sooner than 2014. The review, however, is likely to conclude that the final costs could be substantially greater, with some commentators predicting that Evaporator D will soak up a further £100m of public funds. The delays threaten seriously to disrupt the operating timetable of Thorp, the thermal oxide reprocessing plant at the heart of the Sellafield operation that was scheduled for closure in 2018.

Independent 14th Feb 2012 more >>

Cumbria

Lord Clark non executive director of Sellafield is on a salary ‘not in the public domain’ he is also chair of the Lake District National Park Partnership. Lake District National Park meetings chaired by Lord Clark reveal a bias as he talks up the safety and economic importance of Sellafield and new nuclear developments while playing down the risks. Under his chairmanship the LDNPA SUPPORTS dangerous new build (9 new reactors) at Sellafield and is going merrily along on ‘steps towards geological disposal’ of high level nuclear waste under Cumbria. As well as Lord Clark’s salary as a non executive director of Sellafield, the LDNPA itself is in reciept of money from Managing Radioactive Wastes Safely (MRWS). Government has drastically cut the LDNPA’s budget and is now filtering taxpayers money to the Lake District National Park from MRWS ( a government quango set up to promote a geological dump in Cumbria).

Northern Indymedia 13th Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Letter Giles Chichester MEP: I listened in disbelief to the radio as a Downing Street spokesman described wind power as a cost-effective energy source! If this is true, then why is it necessary for this Government to subsidise the construction and operation of these wind turbines? If we are seeking a cost-effective investment then it is clear that the privately financed Hinkley C nuclear power station has the edge over the Atlantic Array which will continue to require subsidies from electricity consumers.

Western Morning News 13th Feb 2012 more >>

Anti-nuclear protesters have taken squatting rights on farmland owned by energy giant EDF after it was given the go-ahead to clear the proposed nuclear power site in Somerset. Campaigners are angry over EDF’s plans to build a nuclear plant on the Hinkley Point C site near Bridgewater, which contains protected wetland, arguing that approval from the council to clear the site before planning permission has been approved sends out the message that it is a “done deal” for EDF.

Edie 13th Feb 2012 more >>

Construction News 13th Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Police

A government proposal to merge the UK’s two nuclear police forces would be costly, messy and could create a conflict of interest between protecting British weapons and foreign-owned power stations, the Defence Police Federation has warned. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) have launched a “scoping study” into whether to amalgamate the MoD police, which looks after nuclear bomb bases and other military sites, and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC), which has responsibility for nuclear power plants. Both forces differ from the normal police in that they usually carry guns.

Guardian 13th Feb 2012 more >>

France

Until Fukushima the French public felt largely secure in the safety of their country’s nuclear facilities. No more. In a report certain to spur political and public debate, France’s Institut de Radioprotection et de Surete Nucleaire (Institute for Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety, or IRSN) has just issued its 2012 Barometer IRSN Perception of Risks and Safety for the French. Which is a detailed report about the French public’s attitudes towards the country’s nuclear industry, and it makes for devastating reading.

Oil Price 14th Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

The Japanese Government has handed the Tokyo Electric Power Company a further £5.6 billion in support, but with a demand that if it is to give any more it will be in return for having a hand in running the company. The loan is only £50 million short of the annual losses that Tepco expects to suffer this year as it still reels from a wave of compensation claims in the wake of last year’s tsunami and meltdowns at its Fukushina Daiichi nuclear plant. Tepco lifted its compensation bill estimate yesterday to £13.9 billion.

The Times 14th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

James Morris MP: The seismic changes we are witnessing in the Middle East present both hope for the future but also profound strategic dangers. The threat of Iran continues to be the most pressing issue facing the international community. Should we be concerned about their nuclear intentions, and what sort of threat does Iran really represent to the region? The truth is, we should be taking the threat of Iran very seriously. Europe and the West must not become distracted by economic woes into underestimating the challenge presented by the possibility of a nuclear armed Iran. Their words and actions paint a vivid picture of the danger the regime would pose as a nuclear power.

Conservative Home 14th Feb 2012 more >>

Israeli diplomats were yesterday targeted in simultaneous bomb plots which were blamed on Iran. A bomb attached magnetically to a car in the Indian capital New Delhi exploded and injured the wife of an Israeli official and two bystanders. Officials in Georgia said an explosive device was attached to the bottom of a diplomat’s car in the capital Tbilisi, but was found and defused before it detonated.

Daily Mail 14th Feb 2012 more >>

Guardian 13th Feb 2012 more >>

Korea

US and North Korean officials will meet on 23 February to discuss Pyongyang’s controversial nuclear programme, the US state department says.

BBC 13th Feb 2012 more >>

Daily Mail 14th Feb 2012 more >>

US

The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved Georgia Power’s spending on Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 for the period including 1 January 2011 through 30 June 2011. The construction costs of the two nuclear power units are monitored by the PSC through monthly filings and construction monitoring reports filed every six months. Georgia Power, a unit of Southern Co, owns 45.7% of the new power units which are expected to commence operations as soon as 2016 and 2017. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has recently approved Southern Co’s request to build and operate the new reactors at its existing Vogtle site in Georgia.

Energy Business Review 13th Feb 2012 more >>

Poland

The supervisory Board of Polish utility Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE) has approved a strategy plan for the period 2012-2035. The plan envisages the start-up of two new nuclear power plants in Poland before 2030. As part of its new strategy PGE aims to increase its generating capacity and to diversify its sources of generating technology.

Nuclear Engineering International 13th Feb 2012 more >>

PGE energy group faces opposition against building a nuclear power plant near the town of Mielno, in the Zachodniopomorskie region on the Baltic coast, whose residents voted against the project in the Sunday referendum, the town mayor Olga Roszak-Pezala told a press conference Monday. There were 2,237 votes against against government plans to build Poland’s first nuclear plant in the nearby village of Gaski, and 125 for, Mielno county said on its website Monday.

Warsaw Voice 14th Feb 2012 more >>

Submarines

A FIRE at a dry-docked Russian nuclear submarine in December could have sparked a radiation disaster because it was carrying nuclear-armed ballistic missiles, despite official statements to the contrary, a Russian news magazine has claimed.

Scotsman 14th Feb 2012 more >>

Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Operations Group (B&W NOG) has won a contract totaling about $600m in US. As per the contract, B&W NOG will manufacture nuclear components to support US defense programs, which includes the manufacture of naval nuclear power systems for submarines and aircraft carriers. Work will be performed over an eight-year period beginning in January 2012.

Energy Business Review 13th Feb 2012 more >>

Disarmament

A new series of films in which Dr Hans Blix assesses the state of play on nuclear disarmament.

Talkworks 13th Feb 2012 more >>

Renewables

Green community energy projects need more support, new report argues. The Government must radically overhaul the ‘closed shop’ energy market by unleashing the community sector to enable more people across the country to play their part in developing a clean energy future, says a new think-tank report.

Respublica 13th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 14 February 2012

13 February 2012

Hinkley

Protesters have set up camp in an abandoned farm on the site of the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset. They are angry West Somerset Council has given EDF Energy the go-ahead for preparatory work before planning permission has been granted.

BBC 12th Feb 2012 more >>

Stop Hinkley 12th Feb 2012 more >>

Morning Star 12th Feb 2012 more >>

Construction Enquirer 13th Feb 2012 more >>

Western Morning News 13th Feb 2012 more >>

Burnham-On-Sea’s MP has endorsed a damning new report that criticises government research and proposals to build new nuclear power stations, such as Hinkley C, around the UK. The report, entitled ‘A Corruption of Governance?’ was written by the No Need for Nuclear Group.

Burnham-on-sea.com 11th Feb 2012 more >>

Wylfa

Wylfa Site has taken delivery of the last Magnox nuclear fuel elements ever to be manufactured, with the last bulk delivery arriving just before Christmas. Approximately 5.5 million Magnox fuel elements have been produced by Springfields Fuels Limited, near Preston, since 1955 – with more than 600,000 destined for Wylfa.

NDA 10th Feb 2012 more >>

Radwaste

Letter: Having seen the advert promoting geological disposal of nuclear waste (Gazette, Jan 19th) I went along to the meeting in Kendal Town Hall. Many people were there to voice their concerns, which were brushed aside by specialists with: “It won’t happen unless its safe” and: It’s a long process”. Really? The proposed timescale has already been brought forward, with mining up to 1000m deep and 26km square planned to start in a couple of years following site selection. And emplacement of waste is scheduled to start in 15 years time.

Westmorland Gazette 9th Feb 2012 more >>

Scoland

Safe Energy No.55, February 2012: An update of Scottish News is now available for downloading.

No2nuclearpower.org.uk 12th Feb 2012 more >>

New Nukes

Iberdrola has teamed up with France’s GDF Suez to develop plans for a new UK nuclear plant, with a final investment decision due in 2015, but Mr Galán said much more regulatory clarity was needed from the government. ”The area that has the most uncertainty is the area of nuclear. We still don’t know how it’s going to be properly paid – what the return will be,” he said. “The decision to go ahead is not going to be taken until the moment the framework is clear and predictable enough, with enough remuneration for those investments.”

FT 12th Feb 2012 more >>

Companies

The energy supplier First Utility is looking for a big-name chairman to help the Morgan Stanley-backed group to crack the dominance of the “big six” within three years.

Independent 13th Feb 2012 more >>

France

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has decided to extend the lifespan of France’s nuclear plants so they can operate beyond 40 years, Industry Minister Eric Besson said in an interview with Europe 1. A decision to prolong the life of a plant would require approval by nuclear-safety watchdog Autorite de Surete Nucleaire, Besson said. Shutting France’s nuclear plants would increase electricity prices, he said. Sarkozy on Feb. 9 vowed to keep the Fessenheim nuclear plant in eastern France open in opposition to Francois Hollande, the Socialist Party presidential candidate, who has promised to close the site because of safety concerns.

Bloomberg 12th Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

Concern is growing that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan is no longer stable after temperature readings suggested one of its damaged reactors was reheating. The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), said the temperature inside No 2 reactor – one of three that suffered meltdown after last year’s earthquake and tsunami – may have reached 82C on Sunday. Tepco said there was no evidence that the melted fuel inside had reached criticality. The utility reportedly increased the amount of cooling water being injected into the reactor along with a boric acid solution, which is used to prevent the fuel from undergoing sustained nuclear reactions. Confirmation that the temperature has risen above 80C could force the government to reverse its declaration two months ago that the crippled plant was in a safe state known as cold shutdown.

Guardian 12th Feb 2012 more >>

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Sunday the temperature at the bottom of the No. 2 reactor at its crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant rose further to 82 C, but the reactor has not gone critical. While the thermometer reading at shortly after 2 p.m. marked a new high since the reactor attained a cold shutdown in December, the utility known as TEPCO said it has confirmed that sustained nuclear reactions are not taking place in the reactor as no radioactive xenon has been detected inside its containment vessel.

Mainichi 12th Feb 2012 more >>

Back home for just three hours, a tearful Miyoko Takeda sorted through her belongings. She left behind the kimonos she once wore as a traditional dancer, fearful they might be contaminated by radiation. Nearly a year has passed since a massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit Japan, Okuma town, but the site of the reactors at the centre of the Fukushima nuclear crisis remains off limits for residents, save for short trips to hastily abandoned homes.

Reuters 13th Feb 2012 more >>

Japan’s trade minister threatened on Monday to block a plan to rescue Tokyo Electric Power Co with a $13 billion (8 billion pounds) injection of public funds unless the government gets more say in running the struggling operator of the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant.

Reuters 13th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted by state media, on Saturday, as saying his country would reveal “several major achievements in the nuclear domain” within the next few days.

IB Times 13th Feb 2012 more >>

Telegraph 12th Feb 2012 more >>

Fuel Poverty

Calls for energy bills to be cut intensified last night after it emerged that the number of people dying of hypothermia has almost doubled in the past five years. A total of 260 people across all age groups died from the condition in 2010-11 after suffering from low body temperatures, up from 135 in 2006-7. Meanwhile, hospital admissions for over-60s diagnosed with hypothermia rose by 120 per cent in the same period, up from 633 five years ago to 1,396 in the last year.

Independent 13th Feb 2012 more >>

Renewables

The Government must overhaul the “closed shop” energy market by embracing community schemes, according to a new report. The study by social and economic think-tank ResPublica warns that failure to support the community sector will have serious consequences on the Government’s climate change, emissions and fuel poverty targets. It sets out a series of recommendations to open up the market which is dominated by the big six energy companies. The Friends of the Earth-backed study – entitled Re-energising our Communities: Transforming the energy market through local energy production – argues that local communities should be at the centre of new projects to harness renewable energy.

Press Association 12th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 13 February 2012

12 February 2012

Wylfa

THE debate over a new nuclear power station in North Wales exposed a rift in the Plaid Cymru leadership battle yesterday. Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas accused his two rivals of undermining a campaign to secure Wylfa B on Anglesey and hundreds of skilled jobs. The clash came as the three contenders started a phase of hustings and meetings with party members across Wales in the race to succeed Ieuan Wyn Jones. Both Ceredigion AM Elin Jones and South Wales Central AM Leanne Wood are outspoken in their opposition to new nuclear power facilities in Wales.

Daily Post 11th Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Protesters have for the second time in a week occupied the development site at Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset. In the early hours of this morning anti-nuclear activists took possession of an abandoned farm on the site which is protected under International Environmental law. The site contains a Site of Special Scientific interest (SSSI) and a protected wetland (R.A.M.S.A.R site) but it is due to be cleared by power company EDF in the coming months. Protesters are angry that permission has been given for this work to begin before the company have won permission to build their controversial new nuclear plant. Press RFelease not on the web yet. Earlier Press Release.

Stop Hinkley 7th Feb 2012 more >>

The Infrastructure Planning Committee commissioned a report to look at the cost of various options of installing a new 400,000-volt power line between Avonmouth and Hinkley Point nuclear power station. Published this month it found overhead lines were the cheapest option, costing between £2.2 and £4.2million per kilometre on whichever route is chosen. Taking the cables underground could cost anything from between £10.2 million to £24.1 million per kilometre. Using an underwater route along the Bristol Channel would cost between £13.1 million and £31.8 million per kilometre, report authors the Institute of Engineering and Technology and consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff found. Nailsea district and town councillor Jan Barber equates to adding a few pence annually to household energy bills.

Mrs Barber said: “What is boils down to is a cost of only 30p per household per year to underground as opposed to ugly pylons spoiling our countryside.

Nailsea People 12th Feb 2012 more >>

Hilda Murrell

New doubt has been cast on the conviction of a teenage burglar for the controversial Eighties murder of anti-nuclear campaigner Hilda Murrell. Her nephew Robert Green, who was a naval commander, has written a book containing details of DNA evidence not disclosed at the trial. The case has been hotly debated because at the time then Labour MP Tam Dalyell claimed ‘men of British Intelligence’ were involved.

Daily Mail 12th Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Constabulary

A DECC quango has spent over £1 million on stockpiling weapons, ammunition and vehicles as it guards the nation’s civil nuclear energy sites against attack. The shocking figures were discovered within an annual budget of nearly £80 million that is operated by the eight-man Civil Nuclear Police Authority. The panel was set up in 2004 to govern the work of the UK’s Nuclear Police Constabulary but because it’s a quango, it’s spending is not scrutinised in the normal way by the National Audit Office but by accountancy firm KPMG. The vast spending bill, which includes £14,000 for bottled water, is underwritten by DECC but paid for by the nuclear energy industry, which in turn is recovered through consumers’ bills.

Click Green 11th Feb 2012 more >>

DECC

The new energy secretary has vowed to help households waste less electricity and heat as he takes control of a government department hit by turmoil over its solar and wind policies. Ed Davey marked his first week in charge of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) by announcing the creation of a 50-strong taskforce to make energy efficiency more relevant to homeowners. The team will promote the “green deal”, the coalition’s subsidy for home improvements such as cavity wall insulation, as well as the roll-out of smart meters and renewable heat technologies.

Sunday Times 12th Feb 2012 more >>

France

In a startling development widely reported across Europe in the English-, French-, and German-language press, France imported electricity to meet peak demand during a brutal cold snap February 7, 2012. And one of the countries France imported electricity from was Germany. Post Fukushima, Germany closed two-fifths of its nuclear reactors and there were fears that Germany would not be able to meet its own demand let alone export electricity.Nuclear reactors provided one-fourth of Germany’s electricity before Fukushima. Available French nuclear capacity was operating flat-out with three reactors off line. However, France’s famed nuclear fleet delivered only 60 percent of the 100,000 MW of peak load experienced at 7:00 p.m. (19:00 hours) as millions of French homeowners switched on their electric heaters.

Renewable Energy World 10th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the Islamic Republic, targeted by tougher Western sanctions, will soon announce advances in its nuclear programme.

Herald 12th Feb 2012 more >>

Daily Mail 12th Feb 2012 more >>

Metro 11th Feb 2012 more >>

Guardian 11th Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

Thousands of people marched against nuclear power Saturday, amid growing worries about the restarting of reactors idled after the March 11 meltdown disaster in northeastern Japan. Holding “No Nukes” signs, people gathered at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo for a rally. Nobel Prize-winning writer Kenzaburo Oe attended the rally. The protesters then marched peacefully through the streets, demanding the government abandon atomic power.

Japan Today 12th Feb 2012 more >>

Japanese operator of the stricken nuclear plant releases video of the nuclear fuel pool ahead of rod removal.

Reuters 11th Feb 2012 more >>

What really happened on March 11? How have the lives of the victims changed since the tragedy? What are their futures? NHK is to broadcast a “NHK Special” documentary series on NHK General TV for nine days beginning on March 3 to mark the first anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake. It will use the extensive footage and stories it has gathered since the disaster in the search for answers and to look toward a more optimistic future.

Japan Today 12th Feb 2012 more >>

Submarines

In an increasingly tense war of words, Argentinian Foreign Minister Hector Timberman claims the UK is deploying nuclear weapons near the Falkland Islands.

Telegraph 11th Feb 2012 more >>

Channel 4 News 11th Feb 2012 more >>

Microgeneration

This week’s Micro Power News now available: Updates and reactions on the Governments latest Feed-in Tariff consultations, plus news of schemes going ahead including community hydro projects and a solar co-operative.

Microgen Scotland 10th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 12 February 2012

11 February 2012

Radwaste

A CONSULTATION which will determine if West Cumbria takes part in a search for the location of an underground store for the UK’s nuclear waste is drawing to a close. Article examines some of the wider issues surrounding the proposed facility.

NW Evening Mail 10th Feb 2012 more >>

Kendal Museum will be holding an exhibition of specially created artworks based on Lakeland Geology. Lakeland geology is of intense interest as it is being considered for the geological disposal of high-level nuclear wastes. Associated with the exhibition will be a series of lectures and workshops examining this topic. 24th March to 16th June.

Kendal Museum (accessed) 11th Feb 2012 more >>

A Government benefits package awarded to Copeland if it decides to host a nuclear waste dump should leave a “long-term legacy” for the area, a meeting has heard. Elaine Woodburn, the leader of Copeland council, accepted that the area has missed past opportunities to be properly rewarded for its input into the nuclear industry.

News & Star 10th Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Bridgwater is looking to build on momentum already created by the proposed £12bn Hinkley Point C nuclear power station with a range of development projects, Insider’s latest Economic Forum event was told. David Eccles, head of the Bridgwater office of French energy giant EDF, said: “A rising tide lifts all ships, and this project is of such a scale that it can transform Bridgwater and be of enormous benefit for the town, the county and the wider region. At its peak, it will be the biggest construction site in Europe. “The national need for major energy solutions is obvious and the government is hugely supportive of projects like this – in that broader national sense it’s a question of ‘when not if’.”

Insider Media 10th Feb 2012 more >>

Rupert Cox, of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, has been working hard for us to make sure that the proposed new power station at Hinckley Point brings work to this county, and not just for massive national concerns. I encourage you all to make sure that you have registered your interest if you supply either materials or services that are relevant. Even if you are a small business there are opportunities here.

Western Gazette 9th Feb 2012 more >>

ONR

ONR Newsletter February 2012 includes articles on IAEA review team in Japan and regulating Sellafield

HSE 10th Feb 2012 more >>

Sizewell

A WATCHDOG that monitors safety in the nuclear industry has taken enforcement action against bosses at Sizewell A. It follows an incident in September last year when 13,000 litres of treated pond water leaked from a waste treatment plant, known as an active effluent treatment plant (AETP). The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is now taking enforcement action against Magnox Ltd, which is the licensee for the decommissioning power station.

EADT 11th Feb 2012 more >>

Dounreay

Materials currently stored at Dounreay in Scotland include unirradiated plutonium and high enriched uranium bearing fuels, which are termed by Dounreay as “exotics”. It is still an option to retain the material and treat it at Dounreay. Transporting the fuel to Sellafield will take between 30 to 60 train journeys during a six year period beginning in 2014/15 while treating the material on site will mean the construction of suitable facilities, which would take between eight an 10 years to build. The NDA said that all the Dounreay exotics were not considered waste and are instead potentially all recyclable. The NDA is expected to make a decision on its preferred option in March.

New Civil Engineer 8th Feb 2012 more >>

Remaining nuclear material left at the redundant Dounreay nuclear plant in Scotland should be transferred to Sellafield, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has suggested. Rail movements of high-level nuclear material from the site to Sellafield are expected to start this year. But so-called “exotics” – which include unirradiated plutonium and high-enriched uranium bearing fuels – remain under lock and key at the Scottish base. However, the NDA says that the storage facilities housing the materials will need to be replaced in 10 to 15 years, with new storage taking about eight to ten years to design and build. Copeland MP Jamie Reed is calling for talks with the authorities to discuss the implications of an independent Scotland being charged to store and treat material at Sellafield.

Cumberland News 10th Feb 2012 more >>

Energy Costs

The Big Six energy firms are set to announce bumper profits of £15bn in the next few weeks. The figures for 2011 will be £2bn higher than the previous year’s profits, according to forecasts from financial analysts. Meanwhile, with the Met Office predicting more freezing weather, Britain’s estimated 5.5 million households struggling in fuel poverty will be forced to decide whether they can afford to turn on their heating.

Independent 11th Feb 2012 more >>

Germany

Remember last year when Germany decided to speed up its phasing out of nuclear power and switch to clean energy and everyone (not in the clean energy industry) got freaked out about how German electricity prices would rise and the country would just start importing electricity from France’s nuclear power plants? Well, as I just wrote, it seems pretty clear that solar photovoltaics are bringing down the cost of electricity in Germany. Additionally, electricity exports to France have been increasing! “Because France has so much nuclear power, the country has an inordinate number of electric heating systems. And because France has not added on enough additional capacity over the past decade, the country’s current nuclear plants are starting to have trouble meeting demand, especially when it gets very cold in the winter,” Craig Morris of Renewables International writes.

IB Times 10th Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

Only three of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors remain online, and come April, there very well may be no nuclear plants running at all, and the impact on society here will remain all but invisible. Sure, some of the bright advertising lights of Tokyo have been dimmed to conserve power, and some large companies are complaining of increased energy costs, but in a country built on huge power excesses, where there’s a vending machine serving hot or cold drinks on virtually every street, and heated toilet seats in almost every home, there are many places power savings can be made without hurting standard of living.

Greenpeace International 10th Feb 2012 more >>

The Fukushima No. 2 nuclear power plant was “near meltdown” after being hit by tsunami following the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, according to the head of the plant.

Yomiuri 10th Feb 2012 more >>

US

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) signed off on the first new nuclear reactors since 1978 on Thursday, marking the beginning — and some might say the end — of the United States’ nuclear renaissance.

Nature 10th Feb 2012 more >>

Business Green 10th Feb 2012 more >>

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia would immediately push to acquire nuclear weapons should Iran carry out a successfully nuclear test, according to a report in The Times. Quoting an unnamed Saudi source, the newspapers said that Riyadh would launch a “twin-track nuclear weapons programme” should Tehran finally achieve their long-standing ambition of becoming a nuclear-armed power.

Huffington Post 10th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

U.S. officials confirmed today that Israel has been funding and training Iranian dissidents to assassinate nuclear scientists involved in Iran’s nuclear program. The claim has already been levelled by the Iranian government who believed that Mossad, Israel’s secret service, have been arming dissidents with the terrorist organisation the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK).

Daily Mail 10th Feb 2012 more >>

Submarines

Argentina’s foreign minister on Friday claimed the UK had dispatched a nuclear-armed submarine to the ocean near the disputed Falkland Islands, a region that is covered by a nuclear prohibition treaty. Britain refused to discuss the claims.

France24 11th Feb 2012 more >>

BBC 11th Feb 2012 more >>

The Daily Mail reported this week that Britain had deployed a Trafalgar-class nuclear-powered submarine armed only with conventional weapons.

Guardian 10th Feb 2012 more >>

The Royal Navy has reportedly sent a submarine to the Falklands, believed to be either HMS Tireless or HMS Turbulent. Both are powered by nuclear reactors but it is unlikely they are carrying nuclear warheads.

Daily Mail 10th Feb 2012 more >>

Britain’s ambassador to the UN has said Argentinian claims that the UK is militarising the Falkland Islands are “manifestly absurd”.

Sky 11th Feb 2012 more >>

A CONSULTATION exercise on proposals to cut up decommissioned nuclear submarines in Devonport has received just 32 responses since it was launched in October. The most recent figures obtained from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) reveal that only 72 feedback forms have been submitted. Thirty four queries have been logged by the MoD, as well as the 32 ‘responses’, and a total of 3,000 consultation documents have been handed out.

Plymouth Herald 11th Feb 2012 more >>

Renewables

The UK renewable energy company Ecotricity just released an amusing video ad as part of its Dump the Big Six social media campaign designed to get Europeans to ditch the “big six” traditional power providers for Ecotricity’s services. Ecotricity calls itself the “world’s first green electricity company” devoted exclusively to procuring and selling renewable electrons. The company is also developing projects to support biogas and displace the use of natural gas.

Climate Progress 9th Feb 2012 more >>

IB Times 10th Feb 2012 more >>

The wind industry has joined with the solar sector in protesting against proposed cuts to the level of feed-in tariff incentives available for small scale renewables, which according to experts threaten to “kill” the expanding market for small scale wind turbines.

Business Green 10th Feb 2012 more >>

Nearly 4m homes across the UK will be powered by the sun within eight years, the government said on Thursday, in a dramatic increase of ambition for the fledgling solar power industry. But the estimate comes on the back of a cut in the subsidies available for solar energy generation, to take effect from April, which will greatly reduce the amount of money households with solar panels will receive. Ministers said the cut was needed because the costs of solar panels have plummeted in recent months, and the new rules follow an unsuccessful attempt to impose cuts last year that was judged unlawful in the courts.

Guardian 9th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 11 February 2012

10 February 2012

Radwaste

PLANS have been announced for a large scale opinion survey to find out what people in West Cumbria think about the possibility of a nuclear waste repository being sited here. It will fall short of the referendum which Arlecdon resident Peter Fox called for at the recent public consultation meeting in Whitehaven. MORI has been commissioned by the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership to carry out a “statistically representative” poll by telephone around March 8. MORI will call up people randomly. A Partnership spokesman said: “Some people have suggested there should be a referendum before a decision is made. However we concluded that a referendum would not be appropriate at this point. This is partly because it is not yet known where a repository might be sited and therefore there is only general information available on key issues such as safety, geology and the impact of constructing these facilities.”

Whitehaven News 9th Feb 2012 more >>

Interview with Dr Chris Busby on why putting nuclear waste into a hole in the ground is not a solution.

Radiation Free Lakeland 9th Feb 2012 more >>

Various letters: (a) Is it a question of when, not if, we have more nuclear related sites dotted round our shrinking countryside? (b) Coun Knowles makes it clear that the siting partnership could recommend overriding the wishes of the potential host community, in some circumstances. The implication in his reply suggests that the councils would also be able to include an unwilling host community in the process. It would be helpful if he could be explicit on this important matter.

Whitehaven News 9th Feb 2012 more >>

Students at Workington’s Stainburn School will make four-minute radio podcast news reports about the consultation for an underground radioactive waste repository in West Cumbria.

Times & Star 9th Feb 2012 more >>

About 100 people attended a lecture about why West Cumbria could be an unsuitable site for an underground nuclear waste repository. New protest group Save Our Lake District – Don’t Dump Cumbria! invited Professor David Smythe, emeritus professor in geology, to talk about the area’s geology at Cockermouth School last Thursday. The group is against proposals being investigated by the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership for an underground store. The talk was based on Prof Smythe’s research of West Cumbria, other sites abroad and the 1995 to 1996 planning inquiry on Sellafield site Longlands Farm.

Times and Star 9th Feb 2012 more >>

Radhealth

What is the Radiation Effects Research Foundation, and on what “science” does it base its reassuring claims? More than 40 studies have turned up clusters of childhood leukemia in the vicinity of nuclear facilities, reckons Ian Fairlie, an independent consultant on radioactivity in the environment and a former member of the Committee Examining Radiation Risks of Internal Emitters. Fairlie describes this as a “mass of evidence difficult to contradict”—yet it continues to be contradicted, on the basis of the Hiroshima studies. Generally when a cancer cluster is detected in the neighborhood of a reactor, the matter gets referred to a government committee that dismisses the findings on the grounds that radioactive emissions from facilities are “too low” to produce a cancer effect—“too low, according to RERF risk estimates.

Global Research 26th Jan 2012 more >>

Hinkley

A SPECIALIST report investigating the costs of installing a new power line across the North Somerset countryside has revealed that overhead cables are the cheapest option. The Infrastructure Planning Committee (IPC) commissioned the report to look at the cost of various options of installing a new 400,000 volt power line from Avonmouth to Hinkley Point.

Clevedon Mercury 9th Feb 2012 more >>

Cumbria

Representatives of Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster (BECBC) signed a memorandum of agreement between the group and the national Nuclear Industry Association (NIA).

NW Evening Mail 9th Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Skills

GEN II has landed a £25million deal to train Britain’s next generation of nuclear workers. The training firm has beaten off national competition to win the eight-year contract with Sellafield Ltd. Under the agreement, it will train about 80 apprentices a year at the Energus training centre, Lillyhall.

Whitehaven News 9th Feb 2012 more >>

Fuel Poverty

More than 5.5 million households are suffering under fuel poverty, many being forced to choose between heating or eating. Meanwhile the Big Six energy suppliers increased their profit margins by 733 per cent in just three months last year. Enough is enough. Today The Independent supports a campaign to force energy companies to share their profits with the needy. The aim is simple: to make essential home energy affordable to all.

Independent 10th Feb 2012 more >>

Caroline Lucas: We are proposing three simple and sensible solutions. First, we are calling on the Government to impose a similar levy to the one it has imposed on North Sea oil companies and the big banks. Over time, such a levy could raise billions, revenues that could be ring-fenced and used to ensure that every home is insulated and highly energy-efficient – starting with the homes of the fuel-poor. This would form part of a Green New Deal and would help to create thousands of new skilled jobs. Second, to prevent energy companies from passing the cost of any levy on to customers, we want the Government to give Ofgem the power to cap prices. This could be linked to the wholesale price to make energy prices fairer. Third, we want the Government to launch a public inquiry into the Big Six energy companies. The industry has a huge problem in terms of trust, and it is in the interests of energy suppliers themselves that these issues be addressed. We then need to devise appropriate reforms that ensure we have a market and an industry that serve people and planet before profit. Energy provision should be viewed not merely as a market commodity, but as a crucial public service on which we all rely.

Independent 10th Feb 2012 more >>

The Big Six exert a far tighter stranglehold on energy than their counterparts in other industries with large calls on household budgets. The results of this oligopoly are over-the-top prices, confusing bills and poor customer service.

Independent 10th Feb 2012 more >>

Windfall taxes on businesses must be the exception rather than the rule; companies must be able to plan for their tax liabilities and not be penalised for success. But energy companies are currently being rewarded for failure. Tony Blair imposed a windfall tax on privatised public utilities, and Gordon Brown levied one on bankers’ bonuses. The Coalition should back the campaign and act against these slothful, failing monoliths of a market economy which otherwise serves us well.

Independent 10th Feb 2012 more >>

British Gas

Rising gas prices and strong demand for energy from Asia have helped BG Group to post an impressive rise in profits. Fourth-quarter pre-tax profits at the oil and gas company were up nearly 36 per cent to $1.9 billion (£1.2 billion), ahead of expectations. Revenues rose from $4.3 billion to $5.7 billion. Strong economic growth in Asia has lifted gas prices, as have the effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster last March. Japan has closed most of its nuclear reactors and needs to import more gas to generate power.

Times 10th Feb 2012 more >>

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic won’t build new nuclear power plants and instead plans to expand its existing capacity, abandoning the envisaged construction of as many as 18 new reactors, Hospodarske Noviny reported, citing a minister. A realistic plan is to build two new reactors at the Temelin power plant and extend operations of the Dukovany station until 2035, the newspaper said, citing an interview with Industry and Trade Minister Martin Kuba.

Bloomberg 8th Feb 2012 more >>

US

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved combined construction and operating licenses (COLs) February 9 for the Southern Corp. to build two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors at its Vogtle site in the US state of Georgia. The COLs for the Southern Corp.’s twin AP1000s are the first licenses issued for the construction of new reactors in the US in 34 years. In a 4-1 vote, the commission instructed the staff to issue the licenses within 10 business days.

i-Nuclear 9th Feb 2012 more >>

Energy Business Review 10th Feb 2012 more >>

IB Times 10th Feb 2012 more >>

BBC 9th Feb 2012 more >>

Reuters 9th Feb 2012 more >>

FT 9th Feb 2012 more >>

World Nuclear News 9th Feb 2012 more >>

Poland

Among the few “gifts” not forced upon Poland during its more than four decades as a Soviet satellite state was a nuclear power plant (NPP). But now, given the European Union and NATO state’s surging energy needs, Poland is about to construct its first NPP.

Oil Price 9th Feb 2012 more >>

Thorium

Conventional nuclear power (fission) is controversial and carries inherent risks, but no other energy source has a chance of securing our energy needs for the future. Nuclear fusion – for many scientists the ultimate goal of energy production – is still a long way off. Cywinski is part of a team of scientists who are working towards an entirely new type of nuclear reactor: one that could be operated safely and without generating long-lived radioactive waste. This new reactor could even consume the toxic waste generated by conventional nuclear reactors, removing it from the ecosphere. It’s called the Accelerator-Driven Subcritical Reactor (ADSR), or Energy Amplifier, and in a recent lecture hosted by the Leicester Literary and Philosophical Society, Cywinski outlined his vision of an ADSR-powered future.

Guardian 9th Feb 2012 more >>

Renewables

Solar Aid: must watch.

You Tube 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Climate Change Minister insists industry will expand this year, as solar firms vent fury over changes that could see tariff drop to 12.9p this year.

Business Green 9th Feb 2012 more >>

The Government today unveiled plans for further cuts to solar subsidies, sparking concerns over the future of the industry and thousands of clean-tech jobs. Energy Minister Greg Barker claimed the reforms to payments for small-scale solar would mean a bigger scheme that could deliver an “extraordinarily ambitious” 22GW of panels – the equivalent of 3.3 million installations for homes and businesses.

Independent 9th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 10 February 2012