News February 2012

9 February 2012

Dounreay

Anti-nuclear campaigners in Cumbria have reacted with fury to plans to empty Dounreay’s stockpile of nuclear fuel by sending it all to the Sellafield reprocessing complex. A start to the transfer by rail of 44 tonnes of spent fuel used in the site’s reactor is due to get underway this summer. This week, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority launched a consultation on plans to do the same with other similar material stored at the Caithness plant. If the proposal is approved, the total inventory would come to around 100 tonnes and include plutonium and bomb-grade highly enriched uranium. The NDA is to finalise its preferred option for these so-called exotic fuels by the end of April and experts say it would be surprising if it did not favour an extension in the use of Sellafield. Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE) opposes the plan. Spokesperson Janine Allis-Smith said the group does not want Cumbria to be the waste-bin for everybody else’s nuclear waste.

STV 8th Feb 2012 more >>

The NDA has today published a Credible Options Study covering the remaining nuclear materials at Dounreay referred to as ‘exotics’. The study identifies two strategic options for the material. These are to: transport them to Sellafield for management or manage them at Dounreay.

NDA 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Spent nuclear fuel from Dounreay’s fast reactor breeders could be transported to Sellafield in Cumbria for treatment, according to plans outlined by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) this week.

New Civil Engineer 8th Feb 2012 more >>

Radwaste

Copeland MP Jamie Reed has called for no time to be wasted in securing an underground dump for Britain’s nuclear waste in the borough. He told the Evening Mail: “Our community and the nuclear industry can’t afford to dither and delay on this. “The whole of our economic future depends on this.” Mr Reed said should the project go ahead then building the repository would be ‘the biggest civil engineering project on the continent’ as well as a lasting legacy of nuclear excellence in Cumbria.

NW Evening Mail 8th Feb 2012 more >>

A referendum will not be held on whether high-level radioactive waste should be buried in west Cumbria. The group set up to consult the public on plans for a possible underground nuclear repository in either Allerdale or Copeland has ruled out the move for now. However, a telephone poll will be carried out by polling firm Ipsos MORI.

Cumberland News 8th Feb 2012 more >>

New Nukes

OFFICIALS distorted evidence and misled MPs over the need to build a new fleet of nuclear power stations, according to a report written by a Suffolk town councillor.

East Anglia Daily Times 8th Feb 2012 more >>

Graduate engineers were evenly split on the merits of building new nuclear power stations following a lively debate at the ICE this week.

New Civil Engineer 8th Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Early this morning concerned locals occupied threatened ancient oak trees at the proposed site for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point near Bridgwater in Somerset. One of the tree occupiers said of their action – “We’re here to stop work on this criminal development and to protect the ancient trees that are surrounded by a special conservation area but mysteriously excluded from it“.

Stop Hinkley 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Bristol Indymedia 8th Feb 2012 more >>

Wells People 8th Feb 2012 more >>

Protestors evicted using dog.

Bristol Against the Arms Trade 8th Feb 2012 more >>

This is the West Country 8th Feb 2012 more >>

The UK’s 480-megawatt Hinkley Point B-7 nuclear reactor resumed power production on Wednesday although at low levels, data from transmission operator National Grid showed. The EDF-operated reactor, which went offline on February 1, fed just 30 MW into the grid on Wednesday morning.

Reuters 8th Feb 2012 more >>

Heysham

Nuclear waste flasks travelling from Heysham to Sellafield.

You Tube 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Part 2.

You Tube 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Sellafield

George Monbiot’s oh so persuasive and persistent (!) proposal to ‘let them burn plutonium’ is an example of agnotology.

101 uses for nuclear power 8th Feb 2012 more >>

Fast Reactors

Letter: With one giant leap they are free! How extraordinarily convenient that, just after the nuclear power mega-disaster of Fukushima and just when it is becoming clear around the world that citizens do not want nuclear power and that no one knows how to get rid of the lethal waste, the nuclear industry and government discover we can “safely” have enough nuclear power for the next 500 years not only without creating any nuclear waste but also by consuming the nuclear waste we already have in the power creation process. With this miraculous “new” process we will make the very embarrassing 35,000 tonnes of depleted uranium and 100 tonnes of plutonium disappear – “just like that” to quote another well-known comedian. And to help the story along George Monbiot adds his “analysis” with the totally misleading statement that we are confronted with a choice between gas and coal, or nuclear power. Renewables, dear George, renewables.

Guardian 8th Feb 2012 more >>

Tom Burke, Paul Dorfman and John Sauven: Proponents of integral fast reactors have so far failed to answer three key questions: do these reactors work, how much do they cost, and how long to build? There have been many unsuccessful attempts to build a working fast reactor. The Japanese spent four decades and $13bn trying. A UK fast reactor at Dounreay was a costly failure which we are still working out how to decommission. No one has built a fast reactor on a commercial basis. Even if these latest plans could be made to work, prism reactors do nothing to resolve the main problems with nuclear: the industry’s repeated failure to build reactors on time and to budget. Even the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s scientific adviser, David MacKay, says “it isn’t the nuclear fuel that’s the expensive bit – it’s the power stations and the other facilities that go with them.” Despite proven green technologies existing we are being asked to wait while an industry that has a track record for very costly failures researches yet another much-hyped but still theoretical new technology.

Guardian 8th Feb 2012 more >>

Walt Patterson: Oh please. Between 1955 and 1995 the UK blew more than £4bn of taxpayers’ money on fast reactors with nothing to show for it but a radioactive mess at Dounreay. The problem is not the reactor. The boilers have thousands of thin metal tubes with water on one side and molten sodium on the other. Every plant of this kind ever built has had boiler leaks with potential hydrogen explosions that make the plant impossible on an electricity system. If General Electric wants to use its own money on this, fine. If it wants to use mine, as a UK taxpayer, count me out.

Guardian 8th Feb 2012 more >>

Royal Society: We need experts in and outside government who understand nuclear technology well enough to ensure the UK avoids making the poor decisions dogging its nuclear programme in recent years.

Guardian 8th Feb 2012 more >>

Jean McSorley: I am mystified by your online headline ‘New generation of nuclear reactors could consume radioactive waste as fuel’, as the article discusses using the UK’s plutonium stockpile in reactors. The majority of the plutonium (approx 95%) is not actually designated as radioactive waste, but as a nuclear material. Anyone with knowledge of the industry would be aware of this distinction. The processing of plutonium into fuel, and its use in reactors, would however result in more nuclear waste. Once created, this waste would be added to substantial amounts of existing nuclear wastes for disposal – none of which can be used in reactors.

Guardian 8th Feb 2012 more >>

Supply Chain

A NUCLEAR contract win could help speed up a Teesside engineering firm’s plans for an £8m factory. Darchem Engineering has won a multi-million-pound contract – its first in the nuclear sector for two decades – creating 20 new jobs. The specialist fabrication contract for ACKtiv Nuclear will shore up expansion plans for a factory at Darchem’s Stillington site that will create a further 100 jobs, as the company grows its share in the burgeoning nuclear market. Darchem was forced to shed more than a tenth of its workforce in early 2010 following a steep decline in defence and aerospace orders, but has since employed 100 more staff, taking numbers to 650.

Evening Gazette 8th Feb 2012 more >>

Energy Costs

Two out of three householders will pay higher energy bills at the end of the decade despite government reassurances that the average home will fork out less as a result of costly energy and climate policies. The figures, obtained by the Guardian, come as the new energy secretary, Ed Davey, dedicated his first speech in the job on Wednesday to announcing new measures to step up home energy efficiency amid concern about public opposition to the cost of government policies. A Decc spokesman defended those policies, saying that overall average bills would be lower than with no government action, and that even homes that paid higher bills as a result would benefit. “The point of a low-carbon Britain is keeping the lights on, not being increasingly dependent on imports from sometimes volatile parts of the world, and also make sure Britain gets its share of the green industrial revolution,” he said.

Guardian 8th Feb 2012 more >>

Within 24 hours, more than 40,000 consumers have signed up to a pioneering campaign in which the consumer group aims to secure cheaper energy tariffs by effectively bulk-buying on behalf of the group. This is the first time that such “collective purchasing” has been tried in Britain – although it is common in other European countries. The initiative has won cross-party support, being endorsed by both the new Energy Secretary, Edward Davey, and his shadow, Caroline Flint.

Telegraph 9th Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

Former special adviser to Naoto Kan, who was prime minister when the crisis started, warned that the situation is far from resolved and said Fukushima has exposed a raft of serious nuclear problems that Japan will have to confront for years. He was one of a select group who glimpsed the secret worst-case scenario document written up by the Japan Atomic Energy Commission on March 25 that was later reportedly quashed by the government. According to the scenario, the biggest risk during the meltdown crisis wasn’t the reactors themselves but the spent fuel pools sitting atop them, particularly the one above reactor 4, which still contains about 1,500 nuclear fuel assemblies, Tasaka said.

Japan Times 8th Feb 2012 more >>

Emails posted on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission website after the Fukushima disaster last March have revealed the agency was kept in the dark about the scale of the crisis. The correspondence, posted after the earthquake and tsunami caused catastrophic damage to the nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan, reveals experts in the U.S. disagreed over how to deal with the disaster. And while assuring the U.S. population that there was no danger, the NRC did not disclose a worst-case scenario which could have seen high levels of radiation affecting Alaska if Fukushima could not be brought under control.

Daily Mail 8th Feb 2012 more >>

A relatively reassuring study about radioactive particles released into the ocean as a result of the accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant last March has proved popular reading.

Nature 9th Feb 2012 more >>

Eastern Europe

Ten years after the European Union began providing €2.8 billion of financial assistance to Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia for the closure of ‘unsafe’ Soviet-era reactors, decommissioning of those reactors remains a distant goal, according to a new report. In a special report released February 8, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) said that the reactors have all been shut down and partly defuelled, major preparatory works have been implemented and dismantling works have started. “However, after more than 10 years of EU assistance, progress has been slow, as many projects still involve preparatory activities. Moreover, the situation is rather unclear concerning the needs still to be met as a result of the early closure since no comprehensive needs assessment exists,” the report said.The main work “is still ahead and its finalisation faces a significant funding shortfall” of around €2.5 billion, the auditors said.

i-Nuclear 8th Feb 2012 more >>

The EU faces a shortfall of some 2.5 billion euros to complete de-commissioning of eight ex-Soviet nuclear plants in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia, the European Court of Auditors said Wednesday.

EU Business 8th Feb 2012 more >>

Engineers are preparing to pour the concrete foundation of the Baltic nuclear power plant in Kaliningrad. Once underway, it will be the ninth power reactor under construction in Europe. The twin VVER-1200 Baltic project is situated in Kaliningrad, an exclave of the Russian Federation that sits between the EU states of Poland and Lithuania. It is a stand-out project for Russia: the first to be opened to investment by European utilities; the first intended to export most of its output; and the first to use Western components such as an Alstom-Atomenergomash steam turbine.

World Nuclear News 8th Feb 2012 more >>

Finland

Finland’s nuclear waste organization, Posiva Oy, has awarded a contract for hydrological studies at the nuclear waste repository site at Olkiluoto to the consulting and engineering firm Pöyry, Pöyry said February 8. The site is where spent nuclear fuel from Olkiluoto and Loviisa are to be buried. The studies and measurements to be provided by Pöyry will be on the effects of groundwater flows on the disposal site and on the anticipation of technical barriers, the company said.

i-Nuclear 8th Feb 2012 more >>

US

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s decision to grant a formal combined construction and operating license (COL) to Southern Co. is expected Thursday of this week. The license will pave the way for construction for the first new nuclear power plant in the US in more than 25 years, marking an important milestone for Southern and the greater US nuclear supply chain. The company is also seeking a US loan guarantee for the project.

Nuclear Energy Insider 7th Feb 2012 more >>

France

Following an 18-month review, the French nuclear safety regulator has given its preliminary approval of the safety options for the Atmea1 reactor design. The decision marks an important step to demonstrate the licensability of the ‘mid sized’ pressurized water reactor. Atmea – the 50-50 joint venture formed in late 2007 between Areva and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) – requested that the French nuclear safety regulator, the Autorité De Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN), conduct a review of the safety features of the Atmea1 design.

World Nuclear News 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Kazakhstan

KAZAKHSTAN says it could host the world’s first international nuclear fuel bank by late next year, as it seeks to help limit the spread of nuclear weapons. The initiative first made headlines in 2009 and would allow fledgling nuclear states to purchase enriched uranium for use in domestic nuclear power plants without the need to develop their own enrichment technology, which can be tailored to produce weapons-grade material.

Chemical Engineer 8th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

THE single most important issue on today’s political agenda is not bankers’ bonuses, the economy, the carnage in Syria, or even – dare I say it – the referendum. It is the danger that some time very soon Israel will launch an all-out air strike against Iran’s nascent nuclear weapons facilities. Welcome to Disaster 2012.

Scotsman 9th Feb 2012 more >>

Going to war with Iran would not solve the problem. Whatever nuclear facilities you destroy with air strikes could be rebuilt. If the Islamic Republic’s leaders are (as Ferguson thinks) determined get a bomb now, they will be even more resolute after suffering an Israeli or Western assault.

Telegraph 8th Feb 2012 more >>

Submarines

Letter: I WAS shocked to read the first sentence of the report on the Prime Minister’s visit to Plymouth. It read that Plymouth should have “a great future” and the city will not be just a graveyard for nuclear submarines, says the Prime Minister. The results of the public consultation over the decommissioning of nuclear submarines between Whitehall and the Ministry of Defence will not have even be gathered fully until later this month. As a resident of this area, I am so concerned over this issue that I have emailed 40 Plymouth city councillors. I am surprised that on such an important matter, only a handful replied – and of those most seemingly didn’t know if they had a say in the matter. I therefore took the issue before the MoD, wrote to my MP, wrote to the Prime Minister and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond. Part of my submission to them read: “I note that former Prime Minister Gordon Brown is now campaigning for residents who cannot sell their homes in Dalgety Bay, Scotland, where radioactive waste was cut up after World War Two.

Plymouth Herald 9th Feb 2012 more >>

Renewables

Letter NFLA Chair: Germany has created over 350,000 jobs in the renewable energy sector alone and Scotland is creating thousands of new jobs as well, so it’s surprising that so many backbench Conservative MPs seem unwilling to support what could, and should, be a jobs bonanza in their recent letter on wind power to the prime minister.

Guardian 7th Feb 2012 more >>

The new energy secretary, Lib Dem MP Ed Davey, will face down the growing army of renewable power critics inside the coalition by making his first major outing a visit to a wind project. He will open the world’s biggest offshore windfarm on Thursday – the £1.2bn Walney scheme, off Cumbria, with more than 100 turbines generating enough power for 320,000 homes. Davey said: “Britain has a lot to be proud of in our growing offshore wind sector. Our island’s tremendous natural resource, our research base and a proud history of engineering make this the No 1 destination for investment in offshore wind.

Guardian 9th Feb 2012 more >>

The planning system for offshore renewable energy projects in Scottish waters is to be streamlined. The move was welcomed by renewable energy firms and environmental groups. They said the new approach would reduce delay while taking account of possible threats to wildlife.

BBC 9th Feb 2012 more >>

A renewables task force is proposing a “blueprint” to streamline the scoping, planning and consenting of offshore renewable energy developments. The report, prepared by Marine Scotland, The Crown Estate, environmental regulators and developers has been welcomed by first minister Alex Salmond at the first 2012 meeting of the Scottish Energy Advisory Board (SEAB). The task force recommends creating a national database of survey data to reduce duplication and minimise costs and times. It also suggests introducing common data collection standards to ensure developers use methodologies consistently and with confidence.

RE News 8th Feb 2012 more >>

Energy Efficiency

Newly appointed Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey will today provide new details on the government’s promised Energy Efficiency Deployment Office (EEDO) at a meeting with industry leaders. In his first set-piece speech since taking up the role of Energy and Climate Change Secretary last week, Davey will tell an audience at the The John Lewis Partnerships’ store on Sloane Square, London that energy efficiency initiatives will be central to his efforts to slash carbon emissions.

Business Green 8th Feb 2012 more >>

Letter Caroline Lucas: The rise in emissions from home heating is especially alarming when you consider that, by the government’s own admission, loft lagging will fall by 93% when the Green Deal starts. If we are to stand any chance of improving the efficiency of our homes and tackling fuel poverty, the new energy and climate secretary, Ed Davey, must make it a personal priority to strengthen this weak and underfunded programme so it delivers a good deal for households. The fact that a six-month shutdown of the Sizewell nuclear reactor was partly to blame for the recorded rise in emissions is yet another reason for the government to ditch its belief that nuclear can deliver the secure, reliable and low-carbon energy we need for the future. This week, the Bank of England is expected to announce a new batch of quantitative easing to the tune of £50bn or more. A new report from the Green New Deal Group and Southampton University economics professor Richard Werner, who coined the term quantitative easing, is calling for such cash to be injected into green investment to support badly needed renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Rather than handing the money over to the banks, who then sit on it, green QE would put money into the wider economy – creating thousands of new jobs, improving energy security and tackling climate change at the same time.

Guardian 8th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 9 February 2012

8 February 2012

Hinkley

PROTESTORS concerned about the clearing of plantlife near Hinkley Point by the site’s operator EDF Energy have scaled a tree near the power plant and are refusing to come down. It is understood the three men climbed the tree in the early hours of this morning and have refused requests from EDF security staff to leave. Theo Simon, from the South West Against Nuclear group, is in touch with the protestors who have scaled the tree.

Bridgwater Mercury 7th Feb 2012 more >>

This is the West Country 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Western Daily Press 8th Feb 2012 more >>

EDF Energy’s twin Areva EPR reactors planned for construction at Hinkley Point in Somerset, UK, have received Article 37 clearance from the European Commission. In an opinion published February 7 in the Official Journal of the European Union, the EC said that the generation, handling and disposal of nuclear waste from the two Hinkley C EPRs “is not liable to result in a radioactive contamination of the water, soil or airspace of another Member State that would be significant from the point of view of health.” The opinion said solid low-level radioactive waste is temporarily stored on site before transfer to disposal facilities authorised by the United Kingdom regulatory authorities. Spent fuel elements and intermediate-level solid waste are temporarily stored on site, awaiting the future availability of a geological repository. Reprocessing of spent fuel is not envisaged, the opinion said.

i-Nuclear 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Politics

Letter NFLA Chair: I urge Ed Davey, as the architect of the Lib Dems’ anti-nuclear pre-election policy, to challenge whether nuclear new build really stacks up, and where on earth the nuclear industry or the government will find the money to finance it when the industry is debt-laden and the radioactive waste bill soars. There is still time to think again

Guardian 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Letter FoE, GP &WWF: Davey and the PM now need to provide the policy clarity and certainty on energy saving, renewables and decarbonisation of the energy system that shows the UK is a long-term good bet for green business. The test of Davey’s success, and that of the government, will be if they deliver a timely boost to the economy, thousands of skilled jobs, and get a good deal for consumers.

Guardian 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Andy Atkins: A new energy secretary means a new chance for David Cameron to mend fences with the coalition and reaffirm his commitment to making ‘the greenest government ever’.

Guardian 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Radwaste

An EU nuclear expert group is calling for public feedback by February 13 on how best to manage deep geological disposal of nuclear waste, the European Commission said Monday. “Our vision is that by 2025, the first geological disposal facilities for spent fuel, high-level nuclear waste, and other long-lived radioactive waste will be operating safely in Europe,” the group said in its draft deployment plan published for feedback. The EC set up the group, known as the implementing geological disposal of radioactive waste technology platform, in 2009 to support EU-wide research, development and demonstration of safe, deep geological disposal of spent fuel and other long-lived radioactive waste. The group seeks to solve the remaining scientific, technological and social challenges, and thereby to support the nuclear waste management programs in EU countries.

Platts 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Sellafield

The UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority expects the costs of the new Evaporator D at Sellafield to come in “well below £1 billion” following a late 2009 re-design for the project, NDA spokesman Brian Hough said February 6. The multi-million pound evaporator used to concentrate highly radioactive liquid waste at the Sellafield nuclear and chemical waste complex will be in service for less than three years – and quite possibly much less – before the reprocessing plant it was meant to serve closes for good, according to official information. However, the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority says that improvements at the existing Evaporator C mean that the new evaporator, Evaporator D, is no longer critical to the continued operation of the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (Thorp). Evaporator D, they say, will be used as well for post-closure cleanup operations. Thorp is currently scheduled to close in 2018 upon completion of its existing contracts for reprocessing, but Evaporator D isn’t scheduled for active commissioning until December 2015, according to the latest information available to the UK Office for Nuclear Regulation. That date is now considered unlikely to be met – meaning the multi-million pound Evaporator D could serve Thorp for substantially less than three years. The NDA has said both the costs of the £400 million Evaporator D and the delivery schedule are going to be exceeded. But NDA and its site licensee, Sellafield Ltd., have declined to say how much Evaporator D is over budget and behind schedule until the completion of a project review now under way.

i-Nuclear 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Energy Costs

KPMG is refusing to publish the full findings of a controversial study examining the cost of the government’s green energy policies, which was originally used as a basis for a series of media reports attacking the cost of renewable energy. The preliminary findings of the report, dubbed Thinking about the Affordable, were made public last November. They claimed Britain could meet its 2020 carbon reduction targets more cost effectively by building nuclear and gas-fired power stations instead of wind farms. The report was seized on by critics of the government’s green agenda and also formed the basis of a number of media reports, including a BBC Panorama special that attacked the cost of renewable energy subsidies.

Business Green 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Greenhouse Emissions

The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions rose in 2010, the first increase since 2003, driven in part by switching away from nuclear to coal and gas for generating electricity. The final estimates for 2010 showed that greenhouse gas output rose by more than 3%, largely due to an increase in gas use for heating homes in the face of cold weather at the beginning and the end of the year.

Professional Engineering 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Guardian 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Independent 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear R&D

A new robotic arm scanner for the automated inspection of nozzle welds in nuclear reactors has successfully completed demonstration trials after two years in development. The trials mark the culmination of a €1.4m EU-funded research and development project, NozzleInspect, which has brought together Phoenix Inspection Systems, Peak NDT and The Welding Institute (TWI) in the UK, alongside partners in five other European countries.

NDT News 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

Workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant say they are regaining control of a reactor after its temperature rose dramatically this week, casting doubt on government claims that the facility has been stabilised. The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power [Tepco] was forced to increase the amount of cooling water being injected into the No 2 reactor after its temperature soared to 73.3C earlier this week. By Tuesday night, the temperature had dropped to 68.5C at the bottom of the reactor’s containment vessel, where molten fuel is believed to have accumulated after three of Fukushima Daiichi’s six reactors suffered meltdown after last year’s tsunami disaster.

Guardian 8th Feb 2012 more >>

Telegraph 7th Feb 2012 more >>

French Nuclear Testing

France carried out 193 nuclear tests on these two atolls from 1966 to 1996: 41 atmospheric and 137 underground tests, with a further 15 “safety trials”. In 2006, the French ministry of defence acknowledged that 22 underground tests had given rise to the release of radioactive gases. Radioactive waste has been collected and buried in 27 pits on Mururoa. Despite the repeated demands of the Polynesian authorities, a bill passed by the French parliament in 2010 disregarded the environmental consequences of the nuclear tests. It did, however, acknowledge their impact on public health and provide for compensation.

Guardian 7th Feb 2012 more >>

US

It was the dawn of a chilling new age when whole cities could be wiped out with one terrifyingly advanced bomb. But America’s attempt to educate its citizens on the health risks arising from the nuclear threat were a little less sophisticated. Dating back to 1947, these charming posters feature a hapless cartoon character and his somewhat baffling travails with atomic radiation.

Daily Mail 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

There is a rising sense of panic about Iran’s encirclement, the possibility of war and the prospect of economic pain to come. The last round of sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank has begun inflicting unprecedented damage on the private sector, traders say, making it so hard to transfer money abroad that rich businessmen are sometimes forced to board planes carrying suitcases full of US dollars.

Scotsman 8th Feb 2012 more >>

New Western sanctions will fail to force Iran to give up its nuclear “rights,” a foreign ministry official said on Tuesday, a day after the United States unveiled more measures against Iran’s central bank.

EU Business 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Trident

Plans to create a nuclear warhead depot near Falmouth could be resurrected in light of possible Scottish independence. At present, Trident nuclear arms are stored at Faslane and Coulport in Scotland, but, if the country votes for independence, it is believed the Ministry of Defence will have to find new homes for the weapons. A report prepared in 1963 looked at possible sites for the warheads, including Falmouth and Devonport. Despite being discounted at the time for being too expensive, officials will now have to start looking for a contingency plan in case a vote for independence, likely to take place in 2014, sees the UK split up.

Falmouth Packet 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Renewables

The new secretary of state for energy and climate change has been urged to end an ongoing legal battle over government plans to rush through solar feed-in tariff cuts, after Chris Huhne stepped down from his post to fight criminal charges.

Business Green 6th Feb 2012 more >>

Letter various councillors: We hope Mr Davey will rebuild the relationship with local government – based on mutual respect – which was severely strained and undermined by the Department for Energy and Climate Change deciding to prematurely cut the Feed in Tariff for Solar installation. It caused industry turmoil and job losses, forcing councils to reduce or abandon long-planned investment in cheaper, cleaner energy for tens of thousands of domestic homes and public buildings. A major step in rebuilding the relationship between DECC and local government would be for Davey to instruct his department to abandon the farcical and humiliating appeal to the Supreme Court against Friends of the Earth’s successful Judicial Review, and enter dialogue with councils, business, and the environmental sector on strengthening the future of solar and renewable energy, rather than undermining.

Guardian 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Ministers have argued that they had to act quickly to slash subsidies to small-scale solar power because the cost of panels has dropped by nearly half in the past year – much faster than the previous government envisaged when it set up the scheme. The government received fierce criticism from the solar industry and environmentalists after the cut and the decision was ruled unlawful in the courts. But ministers have argued that overly generous payments to investors who installed solar panels were in danger of draining the scheme of funds. They are expected to announce on Thursday a change to the way so-called feed-in tariffs are administered and an injection of funding for the scheme.

Guardian 8th Feb 2012 more >>

WIND turbines are being constructed to provide energy for two very different sectors. BAM Construction is weeks away from completion of a major development on the Advanced Manufacturing Park at Rotherham for the University of Sheffield. The scheme includes the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, which opened in October, and the Knowledge Transfer Centre.

Business Desk 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 8 February 2012

7 February 2012

Politics

Energy Secretary Ed Davey performed a spectacular U-turn on nuclear power last night – as he declared he would not block plans for a new generation of reactors. Liberal Democrat Mr Davey was appointed to the Cabinet post on Friday after Chris Huhne resigned to fight criminal charges. In the past, Mr Davey has condemned nuclear power as dangerous and expensive. As Lib Dem trade and industry spokesman in 2006 Mr Davey was the architect of the party’s anti-nuclear policy. He launched the policy with a press release entitled ‘Say no to nuclear’, which warned a new generation of nuclear power stations would cost taxpayers tens of billions of pounds.

Daily Mail 6th Feb 2012 more >>

Ed Davey used his first day as Energy Secretary to send a warning to more than 100 Conservative MPs that he is not prepared to back down over the issue of onshore wind farms. The Liberal Democrat MP, who was propelled into the Cabinet on Friday after the resignation of Chris Huhne, insisted he was a “lifelong supporter” of wind power.

Times 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Dieter Helm: Mr Huhne’s mistake was to assume that oil and gas prices were on an ever-upward march. But the shale gas revolution has turned everything upside down. In the United States, the gas price has plummeted. America is using cheap gas to cut its coal emissions and boost its competitiveness. The contrast with Europe could not be greater: its gas price is now four times higher than America’s. Despite that, the mantra of “peak oil”, “peak gas” and “high and volatile prices” continues to be trotted out in Britain. This partly explains why we have put most of our eggs in the wind basket — £100 billion by 2020, with much more to redesign the networks and provide the back-up to deal with wind’s intermittency.

Times 6th Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Campaigners fighting plans to erect a new 400,000-volt power line across the North Somerset countryside are calling on National Grid to go back to the drawing board.The calls have been made after an independent report revealed the cost of undergrounding cables is not as expensive as the energy giant first estimated.

Bristol Evening Post 6th Feb 2012 more >>

Stop Hinkley campaigners are highlighting the significance of the report1, ‘A Corruption of Governance?’ in relation to Électricité de France’s (EdF) new nuclear build project, Hinkley Point C, in Somerset. Katy Attwater, Stop Hinkley’s spokesperson, said: “This scrupulously researched report shows that two of the National Policy Statements, EN-1 and EN-62, approved by Parliament, are based on false information and the public has no alternative but to deem them invalid. MPs have, likewise, no alternative but to consider them fraudulent, re-open the debate and bring those responsible for this corruption to account.

Stop Hinkley 6th Feb 2012 more >>

Oldbury

Horizon Nuclear Power has completed the purchase of land is key to the development of its proposed new nuclear power station near Oldbury-on-Severn in South Gloucestershire.

Nuclear Engineering International 6th Feb 2012 more >>

EPRs

In the course of a technical review, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) has found that the original set of computer systems accompanying French nuclear major Areva’s EPR reactor units need “further reinforcement” to meet the regulatory requirements.

Indian Express 6th Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Skills

A Cumbrian company has been awarded £25m to train about 80 apprentices a year to be nuclear workers. Gen II, based in Workington and Carlisle, won the contract with Sellafield Ltd to provide training and apprenticeships for up to eight years. Under the agreement, training will take place at the Energus training centre, Lillyhall.

BBC 6th Feb 2012 more >>

Radwaste

Scientists are investigating a bizarre white cobweb found on nuclear waste – amid fears it could have been made by a ‘mutant’ spider. In a freakish echo of the Spider-Man comic strip, workers at a U.S nuclear waste facility discovered the growth on uranium last month. The white ‘string-like’ material – never seen before on nuclear waste – was found among thousands of spent fuel assemblies submerged in deep pools.

Daily Mail 6th Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

Tokyo Electric Power Co. injected boric acid into a reactor at its crippled Fukushima nuclear plant to prevent an accidental chain reaction known as re- criticality after temperatures rose in the past week. The temperature of the No. 2 reactor was 70.1 degrees Celsius (158 degrees Fahrenheit) as of 6 a.m. today, according to preliminary data, Akitsuka Kobayashi, a spokesman for the utility, said by phone. The reading fell from 72.2 degrees at 5 a.m. this morning, and is below the 93 degrees that’s used to define a cold shutdown, or safe state, of the reactor.

Bloomberg 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Citizens Nuclear Information Centre Tokyo Newsletter Jan/Feb.

CNIC 6th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

Iran is believed to be expanding uranium enrichment activity deep inside a mountain, diplomatic sources said on Monday, a move likely to add to tension with Western powers that suspect Tehran is seeking nuclear weapons capability.

Reuters 6th Feb 2012 more >>

Submarines

The Royal Navy is understood to be sending a Devonport-based nuclear submarine to the Falkland Islands amid heightened tensions between Britain and Argentina over the disputed islands. The Trafalgar class vessel, thought to be either HMS Tireless or HMS Turbulent, is believed to be being deployed to protect the islands from Argentine military action.

Western Morning News 6th Feb 2012 more >>

Renewables

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the UK’s offshore wind industry will today unveil new plans designed to ensure that UK-based firms will provide more than half the equipment to the next generation of offshore wind farms. The plan will be confirmed at the latest meeting of the Offshore Wind Developers’ Forum co-chaired by energy minister Charles Hendry. It is expected to set out a vision for bolstering the UK’s burgeoning offshore wind supply chain.

Business Green 6th Feb 2012 more >>

Guardian 6th Feb 2012 more >>

The long-running battle for the future direction of the UK’s green economic policy has broken into the open, after Tory backbenchers launched an assault on the coalition’s renewable energy subsidies and the Lib Dem leadership responded with an impassioned defence of the government’s environmental agenda. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and newly-appointed Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey will today reiterate the Lib Dem’s support for green policies.

Business Green 6th Feb 2012 more >>

Renewable UK 6th Feb 2012 more >>

RenewableUK, the trade association representing the wind, wave and tidal industry, has welcomed the Prime Minister’s public vote of confidence in wind energy, following the publication of a letter by a group of backbench MPs questioning the value of supporting onshore wind. In response to the letter, a Downing Street spokesman said: “We need a low carbon infrastructure and onshore wind is a cost effective and valuable part of the diverse energy mix”.

Renewable UK 6th Feb 2012 more >>

Nick Clegg has led a fightback against concerted attacks by Conservative MPs on government subsidies to support wind power. A letter to the prime minister signed by more than 100 Tory backbenchers called for a “dramatic cut” in subsidies for onshore windfarms, and new planning rules to make it easier for local communities to object to them. But the deputy prime minister defended subsidies to help renewable energy compete with fossil fuels, highlighting a growing division in the coalition over energy policy.

Guardian 6th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 7 February 2012

6 February 2012

Radwaste

These slides show the mind boggling comparison between the international guidelines being followed in other countries attempting geological disposal and the completely unsuitable mountainous and complex geology of Cumbria. Here is the pdf slideshow of the talk given by Professor David Smythe to 200 people at Cockermouth on 2nd Feb.

Radiation Free Lakeland 5th Feb 2012 more >>

Winfrith

STRIKE action could be on the horizon at the former Winfrith nuclear site. Members of the Prospect Union, representing professional engineers, have locked horns with their Research Sites Restoration Limited bosses over their 2011 pay offer.

RSRL, the organisation responsible for decommissioning at Winfrith and the former nuclear site at Harwell in Oxfordshire, insists the pay offer is ‘fair and reasonable’.

Dorset Echo 5th Feb 2012 more >>

US

Jim Riccio of Greenpeace makes the claim that economics, not Fukushima has already put the last nail in the coffin of the commercial nuclear power industry. He cites the ballooning cost of the Progress Energy new reactor Levy 1 & 2 complex that went from $2.5 billion to $22.5 billion dollars in construction costs over a few short years. Similar problems plague nuclear power construction in other countries as Areva saw the costs for their EPR reactor builds in France and Finland increase similarly. Progress Energy has since moved to cancel the 2 reactor project. Entergy also suspended the reactor projects at River Bend an Grand Gulf in 2009. UniStar suspended the new reactor project at Nine Mile Point in 2009. Exelon withdrew applications with the NRC for the Victoria Station nuclear plant in 2010 TVA cancelled two new reactors to be built at the Bellafonte nuclear site in 2009 AmerenUE had their application suspended by the NRC in 2009. A 3rd unit at Calvert Cliffs has been considered ineligible by the NRC in 2011 Five out of seven were ended by the operator over increasing costs or concerns about power demand being too low for them to be able to sell power at a profitable rate. This is at the same time the nuclear power industry is telling the media the US “can’t live without nuclear power” and uses distorted numbers to make the percentage of the US power mix that is nuclear look higher than it truly is. Update: Senator Markey wrote in US News about the financial aspects of commercial nuclear power and how the US taxpayers are being forced to fund it through some expensive investments that could post big losses for taxpayer dollars.

Simp;ly Info 4th Feb 2012 more >>

Russia

A FIRE broke out yesterday at a Moscow nuclear research centre that houses a non-operational 60-year-old atomic reactor. Russia’s nuclear agency said there were no open flames and no threat of a radiation leak. The fire was in a basement at the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics in south-western Moscow, said Sergei Vlasov, spokesman for the emergencies ministry.

Scotsman 6th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

Barack Obama has said that the United States will work in “lockstep” with Israel to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power, but he did not believe Israel had decided whether to launch a military strike. The US president’s comments appeared to be an attempt to downplay speculation that Israel was preparing to attack Iran following a report last week that the US defence secretary, Leon Panetta, believes an Israeli strike could happen this spring.

Guardian 5th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran has warned it will attack any country used to launch airstrikes against its nuclear bases, as increasingly aggressive rhetoric emanating from the Islamic Republic and Israel has increased apprehension that military confrontation is looming.

Guardian 5th Feb 2012 more >>

Trident

DEFENCE chiefs have warned that Britain’s nuclear submarine fleet could be under threat from plans to erect hundreds of wind farms off the west coast of Scotland. They say the developments could hamper access to the Trident base on the Clyde and increase the risk of subs running aground or colliding with other vessels. Reports yesterday quoted a senior defence source as saying: “There is no doubt that these fields would be an additional hazard to shipping. The rotating blades of turbines distort sonar images and impede visibility.” Faslane is the base for four nuclear submarines and Trident warheads are held in a facility at nearby Coulport.

Scotsman 6th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 6 February 2012

5 February 2012

Radwaste

A multi-million pound project that would have led to radioactive waste being buried along the North Ayrshire coastline has been abandoned in the face of protests by local residents and environmentalists. Investigations into a £3.2 million plan to bury large amounts of radioactive graphite underground at Hunterston have been suspended by the UK Government’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The area is said to be vulnerable to coastal erosion. Now the graphite waste will be stored in a huge engineered storage facility recently built at Hunterston. Critics had also feared that burying the graphite would free up space in the storage facility for waste from other nuclear sites across the country. They have welcomed the decision to drop the graphite burial project.

Sunday Herald 5th Feb 2012 more >>

Dalgety Bay

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has again missed hundreds of radioactive particles contaminating the beach at Dalgety Bay on the Firth of Forth, prompting accusations that it cannot be trusted to carry on monitoring. In the latest surveys of the Fife foreshore last month the MoD found and removed 83 radioactive particles. A survey of half the same area shortly afterwards by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) found and removed a further 228 particles. The failure of the MoD to detect most of the contamination was described a “cause for concern” by Sepa. “This reinforces the need to have credible investigation plans in place,” said a Sepa spokeswoman. In December, the Sunday Herald reported that previous MoD monitoring of Dalgety Bay had missed 442 radioactive hotspots. If the MoD fails to come up with clean-up plans by the end of this month, Sepa has said it will formally designate the bay as Britain’s first radioactively contaminated land.

Sunday Herald 5th Feb 2012 more >>

Politics

Ed Davey: “A new generation of nuclear power stations will cost taxpayers and consumers tens of billions of pounds. In addition to posing safety and environmental risks, nuclear power will only be possible with vast taxpayer subsidies or a rigged market. It is an issue that crops up in my postbag time and time again. People don’t want nuclear, but they don’t know what the alternatives are. Now they do, and the alternatives are cleaner, safer, greener, and better for the environment and the taxpayer.”

Edward Davey 17th July 2006 Accessed 4th Feb 2012 more >>

Chris Huhne’s departure from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) sees the exit of a minister who is generally regarded as having fought tenaciously for “green” policies within the Cabinet.

BBC 3rd Feb 2012 more >>

The challenge facing the new Liberal Democrat energy secretary, Ed Davey, has been laid bare by the revelation that 101 Tory MPs are demanding drastic cuts to the £400m-a-year government subsidies for wind farms. The demands from Conservative MPs, made in a letter to David Cameron, came as a former Liberal Democrat leader, Menzies Campbell, warned that there would be serious trouble from his party’s activists if there was any rowing back from the coalition’s commitment to run the “greenest government ever”.

Guardian 4th Feb 2012 more >>

Telegraph 5th Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

About 2.3 percent of farmers in Fukushima Prefecture yielded rice with radioactive cesium levels exceeding the government’s new safety standard, according to prefectural government officials. The new standard of 100 becquerels per kilogram will take effect in April, replacing the provisional standard of 500 becquerels per kg. The results of the Fukushima prefectural government’s emergency survey, released on Feb. 3, will be used by the central government to decide on areas where farming will be banned this year.

Asahi 4th Feb 2012 more >>

A total of 573 deaths have been certified as “disaster-related” by 13 municipalities affected by the crisis at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey. This number could rise because certification for 29 people remains pending while further checks are conducted. The 13 municipalities are three cities–Minami-Soma, Tamura and Iwaki–eight towns and villages in Futaba County–Namie, Futaba, Okuma, Tomioka, Naraha, Hirono, Katsurao and Kawauchi–and Kawamata and Iitate, all in Fukushima Prefecture. These municipalities are in the no-entry, emergency evacuation preparation or expanded evacuation zones around the nuclear plant, which suffered meltdowns soon after the March 11 disaster. A disaster-related death certificate is issued when a death is not directly caused by a tragedy, but by fatigue or the aggravation of a chronic disease due to the disaster. If a municipality certifies the cause of death is directly associated to a disaster, a condolence grant is paid to the victim’s family. If the person was a breadwinner, 5 million yen is paid.

Yomiuri 5th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

The Anglo-American aggression addicts haven’t kicked the habit. The team that brought you shock and awe and Operation Infinite Justice is gearing up for yet another crack at winning a senseless war in the Middle East. This time the target is Iran, the pretence the regime’s imminent possession of nuclear weapons. But some things will remain the same – it will lead to slaughter and end in disaster.

Guardian 4th Feb 2012 more >>

US

A worker at a nuclear power plant fell into a reactor pool as he was leaning over to retrieve a flashlight and lost his balance. The man, who has not been named, was able to return to work at the San Onofre nuclear power plant in California the same day as he was not exposed to a harmful amount of radiation. The pool is more than 20 feet deep and holds water that circulates through the reactor core.

Daily Mail 4th Feb 2012 more >>

Aldermaston

A CATALOGUE of fires, false alarms and chemical leaks at the Atomic Weapons Establishment has emerged in information released to The Gazette. Over 11 years between 2000 and 2011, Berkshire fire crews received more than 2,000 calls about incidents at AWE in Aldermaston, occurring at an average rate of more than four per week. Call-outs were received after an explosion, gas leaks, staff being overcome by fumes and fires breaking out in a radiation building.

Basingstoke Gazette 4th Feb 2012 more >>

Submarines

The Royal Navy is sending a nuclear submarine to the Falkland Islands amid heightened tensions between Britain and Argentina over the disputed islands, it has reported.

Huffington Post 4th Feb 2012 more >>

Energy Efficiency

SCOTS who do not insulate their homes should be forced to pay higher council tax or face increased stamp duty on their property, according to a leading figure in the sector. Alex McLeod, chairman of the Association for the Conservation of Energy, told The Scotsman he thinks “sticks” as well as “carrots” are needed to encourage people to conserve energy in their homes. He blamed “apathy” for low rates of use of insulation in Scotland and said other European countries were far better at conserving energy. And he suggested penalising people for not insulating their walls and lofts by putting up their council tax or increasing stamp duty linked to the property would force homeowners to take action. However, his views were met with a furious response from groups, who argued that at a time of austerity it would be wrong to penalise already struggling householders. The TaxPayers’ Alliance branded the ideas “outrageous”, and even Friends of the Earth Scotland disagreed, saying the Scottish Government should instead pay for everyone to have free insulation.

Scotsman 4th Feb 2012 more >>

GIVEN how badly most of our homes leak energy, it is perhaps not surprising that our housing stock is responsible for a quarter of Scotland’s climate emissions and, coupled with rising energy bills, that a third of Scottish households are now in fuel poverty. With most of us living in houses that are still going to be here in 2050, we need a co-ordinated programme to transform these properties into energy-efficient, low-carbon homes of the future. Despite efforts to date, we are a long way from exhausting many of the easy improvement measures. More than a million lofts in Scotland still have insufficient insulation and half a million cavity walls suitable for insulation have yet to be filled, despite these being very cost-effective and relatively easy options.

Scotsman 4th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 5 February 2012

4 February 2012

Fast Reactors

Japan’s long and expensive pursuit of a super-efficient nuclear reactor — a model once touted as the key to its energy future — now teeters on the brink of failure amid new government concerns about its runaway costs. The four-decade project to develop a so-called fast-breeder reactor has consumed more than $13 billion in funding, so far producing only accidents, controversies and a single hour of electricity. The government last month decided on sharp budget cuts for the project, and one top nuclear official in November raised the possibility of scrapping the plan.

Washington Post 31st Jan 2012 more >>

New Nukes

Parliament was kept in the dark and fed false information that boosted the case for nuclear power, campaigners claimed today. MPs were handed a dossier earlier this week which suggests that evidence given to ministers and Parliament promoting the use of nuclear power was “a false summary” of the analysis carried out by governmental departments. Specifically the report claims that on the basis of the government’s own evidence there is no need for the controversial new generation of nuclear power stations if Britain is to achieve 80 per cent reductions in carbon dioxide by 2050. The report also alleges that government statements claiming that electricity supply will need to double or even triple in order to achieve a low-carbon economy are disproved by its own evidence.

Morning Star 3rd Feb 2012 more >>

Politics

Soaring energy bills, falling investment in green energy, rising fuel poverty, the impact of the Fukushima nuclear accident, fractious climate change negotiations, veiled attacks from the chancellor – even without the tumult in his personal life, Chris Huhne has faced a turbulent scene since taking over as energy and climate change secretary, one of the most senior cabinet roles taken by the junior partners in the coalition. But Huhne won plaudits from many in the green movement who saw him fight for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) against sceptics in the Treasury and secure vital funds for key projects despite dismal government finances. “Most greens think he has done well,” said Lady Worthington, a labour peer and environmental campaigner. “He has held his own in the battles against the Treasury, secured funding for renewable heat and the green investment bank, and he has been very approachable, which is a good thing in a cabinet minister.” Andrew Simms, fellow at the New Economics Foundation, said: “A major failure was allowing George Osborne to set such a medieval tone for environmental policy, possibly the most regressive proclamation by such a senior figure for decades. The green deal is pitifully small, and Huhne must take some responsibility for the feed-in tariffs fiasco.” David Porter of the Association of Electricity Producers added: “At first I was concerned about his past position on nuclear power [which the Lib Dems opposed before the coalition], but in office he seemed to cope with that and help bring [nuclear power] forward.”

Guardian 3rd Feb 2012 more >>

Ed Davey, the new secretary of state for energy and climate change, faces a daunting in-tray of policies that will create battles with industry, electricity consumers, anxious renewable energy investors and green campaigners – but the toughest challenge of all is likely to come from his cabinet colleagues.

Guardian 3rd Feb 2012 more >>

Energy Policy

Ed Davey has a golden chance to drive away from an energy policy which might have been designed to make energy expensive and electricity unreliable. This deadly combination might be called the Windmill Solution to oil and coal dependency, and the former Energy Secretary spent his last months flailing around like a demented turbine trying to make the numbers add up. While Huhne was tilting at windmills, the energy game has been changed utterly by the emergence of shale gas. This rapidly emerging technology promises relatively cheap and abundant natural gas for at least the next two decades. The UK’s reserves may not add up to another North Sea (although some believe that they might) but they do give the country the chance to keep the lights on when the existing nuclear stations can’t be patched up any longer and before their replacements are built. All that is needed is a policy which sees gas-fired power as part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.

FT 3rd Feb 2012 more >>

Supply Chain

A NORTH-EAST engineering firm has taken on more staff after winning a multi-million pound contract in the nuclear sector. The contract, which involves work for existing nuclear facilities in the UK, means Darchem Engineering taking on up to 20 more staff, taking employee numbers at the firm’s base in Stillington, near Darlington, to 650, an increase of 100 since the middle of last year.

Northern Echo 3rd Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

Researchers working around Japan’s disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant say bird populations there have begun to dwindle, in what may be a chilling harbinger of the impact of radioactive fallout on local life. In the first major study of the impact of the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years, the researchers, from Japan, the US and Denmark, said their analysis of 14 species of bird common to Fukushima and Chernobyl, the Ukrainian city which suffered a similar nuclear meltdown, showed the effect on abundance is worse in the Japanese disaster zone.

Independent 3rd Feb 2012 more >>

Leaks of radioactive water have become more frequent at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant less than two months after it was declared basically stable. The problem underlines the continuing challenges facing Tokyo Electric Power Co as it attempts to keep the nuclear plant under control. A massive earthquake and tsunami badly damaged the plant last March, resulting in the melting of three reactor cores.

Japan Today 3rd Feb 2012 more >>

Less than two months ago the crippled Japanese nuclear power plant at Fukushima was declared stable. Yet now it has emerged that radioactive water is continuing to leak at the stricken site. These were spotted by workers at the reprocessing areas and were found to release enough beta rays that can lead to radiation sickness.

Daily Mail 3rd Feb 2012 more >>

Municipalities and farmers in Fukushima Prefecture are furious at the national government for ignoring the state of local farmland in extending subsidies for decontamination of areas tainted with radioactive substances.

Mainichi 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

Fukushima Update 31st Jan – 2nd Feb.

Greenpeace International 3rd Feb 2012 more >>

France

The Court of Auditors in France has this week published a report revealing that the cost of producing nuclear energy is set to surge in France as old plants need updating and new safety standards put in place. Nuclear will require significant investment in the short and medium term at a rate of at least double the current level of investment, the Court says.

According to EWEA analysis on the true costs of electricity, nuclear will cost €102 /MWh in 2020 – the average price across Europe taking into account the fact that nuclear plants take a long time to build which pushes up the initial capital cost. Onshore wind energy meanwhile will see a price drop by 2020 falling to €58 /MWh and offshore wind will cost €75 /MWh.

EWEA 3rd Feb 2012 more >>

US

The future direction of the US nuclear industry’s mutual insurer, Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited (NEIL), remains unclear at the start of 2012 as the organisation faces the challenge of possibly the largest claim in its 38-year history. The $1.9bn claim relates to Crystal River 3 Nuclear Power Plant in Crystal River, Florida. The power plant, owned by Progress Energy, is the third plant built as part of the 4,700 acre Crystal River Energy Complex.

Inside FAC 3rd Feb 2012 more >>

North Korea

North Korea may have conducted two covert nuclear weapons tests in 2010, according to a fresh analysis of radioisotope data. The claim has drawn scepticism from some nuclear-weapons experts. But if confirmed, the analysis would double the number of tests the country is known to have conducted and suggest that North Korea is trying to develop powerful warheads for its fledgling nuclear arsenal.

Nature 3rd Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Tactical nuclear weapons in Europe are a Cold War anachronism and should be removed from combat bases, argues the group Global Zero in a new report.

BBC 3rd Feb 2012 more >>

The US and Russia should pledge to scale back the deployment of their tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, moving them from combat bases across the continent to deep storage facilities where they would be more secure, the leading international movement for nuclear arms control argued on Friday.

FT 3rd Feb 2012 more >>

Guardian 3rd Feb 2012 more >>

Submarines

The Royal Navy is sending a nuclear submarine to the South Atlantic to protect the Falkland Islands from the threat of Argentine military action. Prime Minister David Cameron has personally approved plans for one of the Navy’s most sophisticated Trafalgar-class submarines to sail to the region. Significantly, the heavily-armed vessel is set to be in the islands’ waters by April – the 30th anniversary of the start of the 1982 war.

Daily Mail 3rd Feb 2012 more >>

Letter: To attend the meetings regarding the consultation on nuclear submarine work in our city is, in my view, becoming more and more of a surreal experience. The people attending are ordinary Plymouth citizens, most more concerned for their children and grandchildren, than for themselves, such is the long shadow cast by this work. But to me the problem they are presented with appears far from ordinary, indeed so bizarre, so huge in its implications and threat that one feels increasingly divorced from reality. For we, the people of Plymouth, are being asked to consider the Ministry of Defence’s plans to bring 27 nuclear reactors into our city, with various options as to how they might be dealt with, while lodging here, cheek by jowl with our schools and housing.

Plymouth Herald 3rd Feb 2012 more >>

Renewables

Is the roof-top solar panel industry nice, green and eco-cuddly – or no better than a bunch of double-glazing sales sharks? This week a colleague received a call from a solar panel company promising that after the industry’s court victory against the government, she could now pick up the juicy 43.3p per kWh feed-in tariff for generating electricity. She was told it made installing a system on her south-facing roof a no-brainer, it was money for old rope. New adverts all over Google say much the same.

Guardian 3rd Feb 2012 more >>

The fledgling solar industry has been flourishing, but the halving of government subsidies has thrown it into confusion.

Telegraph 4th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 4 February 2012

3 February 2012

Plutonium

Monbiot: Duncan Clark’s article in the Guardian today should cause even the most determined anti-nuclear campaigner to think long and hard about the choices that confront us. He reveals that Prof David MacKay, chief scientific adviser to the UK government’s energy department and author of Sustainable Energy: Without the Hot Air, has endorsed a remarkable estimate. The UK’s stockpile of nuclear waste could be used to generate enough low-carbon energy to run this country for 500 years. GE Hitachi has offered to build a fast reactor to consume the plutonium stockpile at Sellafield, though not yet the whole kit (the integral fast reactor). It has offered to do it within five years, and to carry the cost if it doesn’t work out. This is the proposal the government is now considering. I would like to see it go further and examine the case for the full works: an integral fast reactor (incorporating a reprocessing plant) that generates much more energy from the waste pile. After I first wrote about integral fast reactors, Ruth Balogh, the nuclear issues campaignercorrect for West Cumbria & North Lakes Friends of the Earth, sent a furious letter to the Guardian.

Guardian 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

A generation of “fast” nuclear reactors could consume Britain’s radioactive waste stockpile as fuel, providing enough low-carbon electricity to power the country for more than 500 years, according to figures confirmed by the chief scientific adviser to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc).

Guardian 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

Radwaste

Letter Stuart Haszeldine: The possibility of burying radioactive waste for a million years is a long-standing and contentious issue in Cumbria. That was decisively rejected after a £400million scientific investigation during the 1990s. Neither the rocks nor the science have changed since then. The security and performance of this repository is extremely questionable. It is predicted by the disposal agencies’ own studies that radioactive gas is likely to return to the surface within just tens of years. It is predicted by my own research that groundwater flowing past underground radioactive waste will return to the surface within only thousands of years. This groundwater will return to the surface much faster, within a few decades, if hot temperature, high level waste is also buried. That heat will also make the land surface rise. No earthquakes or extra rainfall are needed. A fundamental problem with this public information exercise is that no rival viewpoints are funded to be heard. If the elected councillors make a decision to participate in further site investigations, it becomes increasingly difficult for a disenfranchised local community to reverse out of the process. Readers wishing to know more could visit www.mrwsold.org.uk or attend lectures at Cockermouth School 7.30pm this evening (Thursday) or at Queen’s Hall in Keswick School at 6pm tomorrow (Friday).

Whitehaven News 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

Tim Knowles: Martin Forwood’s letter on the subject of nuclear waste policy is strong and well argued. He asks questions of me in relation to positions taken by the county council on the management of different categories of radioactive wastes and what he views as inconsistencies. I can understand his view, which highlights the complexity and variety of nuclear-related tasks undertaken by, or expected of, West Cumbria. The repository (MRWS) issue is important because, as is always said, 70 per cent of the higher level wastes by volume, are already stored at Sellafield. I don’t really know if local people think that taking on the responsibility for hosting a huge underground disposal facility in exchange for moving this material out of its current location to what experts say will be a safer place, coupled with taking waste and spent fuel from other areas of the UK into such a deep repository, is acceptable to them. I also don’t yet know whether the negative impacts on Cumbria of hosting such a facility can be counterbalanced by promised Government benefits.

Whitehaven News 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

Letter: it may be the case that Professor Smythe is over-prescriptive in his analysis of geological suitability as it relates to specific sites which could be found in West Cumbria. If this is the case, we need to understand this fully and why. To have Professor Smythe’s contribution as to the geological unsuitability of West Cumbria limited to 15 minutes when he wanted 45 minutes is unreasonable when faced with a decision that will have implications for this county for at least the next 20,000 years – that’s about 3 times longer than the earliest recorded human civilisation. We also need to understand that West Cumbria would not be the ideal geological choice for a GDF if all of the UK was open for suitable geological selection. The process of “volunteerism” is then a political one, rather than one based on the best of scientific principles. We have to accept this and as to how and why this has evolved.

Whitehaven News 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

Letter: All other counties in Britain have firmly rejected volunteering to look for a repository site. Copeland, Allerdale and Cumbria councils have now placed West Cumbria in to a railroading process. I didn’t volunteer for that. The decision to do this is far too important for these councils to have acted without first consulting the people of West Cumbria properly by means of a straightforward referendum. Where is the independent inquiry for something of this magnitude? West Cumbrian councils are now so blatantly “in bed” with the nuclear industry, both politically and financially, that their lack of impartiality and integrity is now clearly evident.

Whitehaven News 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

New Nukes

Ministers misled parliament over the need to build a new fleet of nuclear power stations, distorting evidence and presenting to MPs a false summary of the analysis they had commissioned, a group of MPs and experts alleged in a report published on Tuesday.

Stop Hinkley 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

NFLAs

ANTI-NUCLEAR campaigners have blasted a cash-strapped council for terminating its membership of a body dedicated to fight the growth of nuclear power stations and the development of nuclear weapons. Gwynedd Council has been a member of the Nuclear Free Local Authorities forum for 30 years. But last night the authority confirmed it would terminate its membership from April – because it can’t afford the subscription.

Daily Post 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

Politics

The Crown Prosecution Service will announce whether Mr Huhne and Vicky Pryce, his former wife, face criminal charges. Mr Huhne and Miss Pryce are not expected to learn of their fate until shortly before the 10am statement by Keir Starmer, the country’s most senior prosecutor. David Cameron and Nick Clegg are said to agree that Mr Huhne will be removed from his Cabinet post if he is charged with a criminal offence.

Telegraph 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

Oldbury

Horizon has today announced that it has completed the purchase of land which is key to the development of its proposed new nuclear power station near Oldbury-on-Severn in South Gloucestershire. The land is being purchased by Horizon Nuclear Power Oldbury Limited from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), under terms agreed in the 2009 land auction.

Nuclear Matters 31st Jan 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Concerns over the weakness of infrastructure exposed by the planned new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point have been officially lodged by Taunton Deane Borough Council. The council, which broadly supports the new station, Hinkley C, has voiced its concerns in representations to the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) which will decide the application. In its submission, the council backed the new reactor in principle, recognising the potential economic and social benefits it will bring. But it said it had reservations over the impact on local roads: junctions 25 and 26 on the M5, the A358 and the A38 corridor between Taunton and Bridgwater as well as the roads across the Quantock Hills to the coast.

Western Morning News 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

A long awaited report published by an organisation associated with National Grid says pylons are cheaper than burying power cables. But campaigners have taken heart as it is not as expensive as the power giant had originally claimed and they have already found evidence in favour of their arguments.

Cheddar Valley Gazette 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

COMMUNITIES in Sedgemoor are set to receive a share of £30 million from EDF Energy designed to limit the impact of preparation works at Hinkley Point C.

This is the West Country 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Three consortia are reportedly competing for a contract relating to the delivery of a new nuclear power plant in Somerset, which will offer a major fillip to civil engineering recruitment. It is anticipated that the £1.2 billion of civil engineering works for EDF’s Hinkley Point C plant will commence in 2013 and take three years to complete, during which time they will generate at least 1,500 new jobs in construction.

Career Structure 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

Contaminated materials

Government experts at the International Atomic Energy Agency are expected to finalize a draft code of conduct this week to monitor the trans-boundary movement of scrap metal and semi-finished products that may inadvertently contain radioactive material, the Bureau of International Recycling said Tuesday. Currently the scope of the code of conduct includes both ferrous and all nonferrous metals as scrap and semi-finished products, the BIR said.

Platts 31st Jan 2012 more >>

Waste Transport

The transport licence that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) issued to Bruce Power to ship 16 radioactive steam generators to Sweden will expire on February 3, 2012. Bruce Power had planned to use Swedish company Studsvik to ‘decontaminate’ the radioactive waste and sell the scrap metal back onto open markets. The most radioactive parts of the generators would be transported back to the Great Lakes and stored near its nuclear power plant on Lake Huron.

Council of Canadians 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

Dounreay

SEPA has announced its intention to hold a public consultation on the proposed solid low level radioactive waste disposal facility at Dounreay. DSRL applied to SEPA in November 2010 for an authorisation to disposal of solid low level waste in the new disposal facility, which is currently under construction. The public consultation is expected to take place in March.

DSRL 31st Jan 2012 more >>

An engineer who sneezed sending his dentures plunging to the bottom of a nuclear reactor was turned down for compensation. The claim for the false teeth, which may well still be at the bottom of the reactor, was revealed by Dounreay heritage officer, James Gunn, in this month’s issue of the Dounreay News.

Edie 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

NDA

A new report examines how the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority can better integrate the management of higher activity waste from the clean-up of its sites in the UK, including Dounreay. The NDA’s draft strategy development programme is open to comment until February 24. In Scotland, national policy is for the management of higher activity waste in near-surface facilities. In England and Wales, it is by geological disposal. “It is imperative that we ensure the very best use of these facilities as and when they become available,” states the report.

DSRL 23rd Dec 2011 more >>

Nuclear Research

MORE money spent on nuclear research can help stop the ‘brain drain’ of talent from West Cumbria, it has been stressed following a House of Lords inquiry. Copeland Council’s Strategic Nuclear & Energy Board is examining the impacts for the area following the inquiry carried out by the House of Lords Science & Technology Committee. The inquiry findings are seen to be critical of the government’s investment in research and development. It concluded that the government was not doing enough to maintain and develop UK nuclear research and development capabilities and associated expertise to ensure nuclear is a viable option for the future.

Whitehaven News 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

Sellafield

SELLAFIELD security became even tighter this week as a new guard force started its duties helping to protect the nuclear site. The commercial ‘Guard Force’, employed by Mitie Total Security, is in addition to the Civil Nuclear Constabulary whose officers are licensed to carry weapons. The Mitie force will not be armed for its guarding and search duties. Sellafield Ltd, which awarded the Mitie contract, said: “It has brought about a considerable number of employment opportunities in the local areas with over 90 per cent of the personnel employed in phase one from West Cumbria.”

Whitehaven News 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

EXPERTS predict that Copeland’s planned nuclear power station could see the area benefit to the tune of a staggering £9 BILLION. The projected investment is based on today’s prices only and could prove even higher. On top of the £9 billion reactor spend can be added another £11 billion – the potential value of the decommissioning contracts which Sellafield Ltd has so far placed with companies of all sizes.

Whitehaven News 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

SUPPLYING electricity underground from Sellafield’s planned new nuclear power plant will cost up to £20 million per kilometre more than it would from large overhead pylons, a new report shows. The huge extra costs have sparked fresh fears of 180ft high pylons being erected across parts of the Lake District National Park so electricity can be transmitted to the national grid from Sellafield and Cumbrian wind farms.

Whitehaven News 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

US

A severe accident at a US nuclear power plant would not be likely to cause any immediate deaths, while the risks of fatal cancers caused by such an accident would be millions of times lower than the general risks of dying of cancer, a long-running research study has found.

World Nuclear News 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

IB Times 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

Russia

Having spent five years combining its nuclear power, engineering and research enterprises into the single entity of Rosatom, the Russian government now sees privatisation of the firm as part of a plan for industrial modernisation.

World Nuclear News 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

LIKE walking onto a disaster movie set. That is how Dumbarton man Ian McKinley described visiting one of the contaminated villages near the stricken Japanese Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. Last March, the plant was hit by a post-earthquake tsunami which caused widespread damage to the surrounding area. Since then Dr McKinley, a leading expert in nuclear waste management, has supported the planning of decontamination of areas affected by radiation and the management of resulting wastes.

Lennox Herald 3rd Feb 2012 more >>

Japanese governor Tokihiro Nakamura believes nuclear power is vital for the resource-poor land, but even he says the central government must put safety pledges in writing before he’ll agree to restart off-line reactors — a sign of the tough battle ahead to repair tattered public trust after the Fukushima crisis.

Reuters 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

Researchers in Sweden are investigating ways to maximise the recycling of nuclear fuel for fourth-generation power systems. The 9.4m euro project, headed up by the Chalmers University of Technology, aims to produce safe fuel that can be 80% recycled, compared to current levels of 1%. Fourth generation power systems can lead to a reduction of the amount of high-level, long-lived nuclear waste to a tenth of what it is today, while energy output can increase hundredfold. Many researchers believe the new technology will have a commercial breakthrough within 20 years.

Edie 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons installations are vulnerable to possible military strikes, Israel’s vice-premier has warned. Moshe Yaalon’s comments contradict an assessment shared by foreign experts and Israeli defence officials that it would be difficult to strike the underground targets.

Scotsman 3rd Feb 2012 more >>

A senior International Atomic Energy Agency inspector spoke on Wednesday of a “good trip” to Tehran and said his team will return in late February. IAEA mission chief Herman Nackaerts said that he had engaged in “three days of intensive discussions” with Iranian officials.

Morning Star 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

Finland

Finland could invest in a second EPR nuclear power plant, despite the time and cost overruns that have dogged its first project at Olkiluoto. Finnish project company Fennovoima has named the EPR supplied by Areva as one of two preferred bidders for a new nuclear project at Pyhajoki on Finald’s west coast, reports World Nuclear News. The other shortlisted option is a so-called advanced boiling water reactor (ABWR) from Toshiba.

Utility Week 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 3 February 2012

2 February 2012

New Nukes

Can the UK achieve its carbon targets without nuclear power? : The government is wrong to claim that the UK cannot do without nuclear power, says a new report. Leo Hickman, with your help, investigates.

Guardian 1st Feb 2012 more >>

The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) ‘misled’ MPs by claiming new nuclear was needed to meet the UK’s increasing energy needs, according to a new report. The report Corruption of Governance has been produced for the Association for the Conservation of Energy and campaign group Unlock Democracy.

Edie 1st Feb 2012 more >>

New Civil Engineer 1st Feb 2012 more >>

GDA

Agreements on the design of new nuclear reactors for the UK drew a step closer when the Office of Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency awarded interim design acceptance certificates (IDACs) in December. The two government organisations have been carrying out a generic design assessment (GDA) for two types of reactors in the UK: EDF and AREVA’s UK EPR and Westinghouse’s AP1000. But they have also identified a number of issues that need to be sorted out.

Nuclear Energy Insider 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Radwaste

Thousands of west Cumbrians are to be asked about whether the area should be a possible host for the underground storage of high-level radioactive waste. The market research company Ipsos Mori is to conduct a telephone poll of 4,000 people over three weeks. One third of those questioned will be from Allerdale; one third from Copeland, and the remainder from other parts of Cumbria. The poll, which begins on March 8, has been announced as part of consultation organised by West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership.

Carlisle News & Star 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Flooding concerns have been raised over plans to build Britain’s first new nuclear power station for 20 years on the Westcountry coast. The Environment Agency (EA) says unresolved issues remain over the proposed twin-reactor Hinkley Point C in Somerset.

Western Morning News 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Oldbury

Gloucester-based company Horizon has bought £90m of land key to the development of the proposed new nuclear power station near Oldbury-on-Severn in South Gloucestershire. The company, Horizon Nuclear Power Oldbury Limited, which is based at Barnwood, bought the 119 acres from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). It also bought land at Wylfa on Anglesey in North Wales, all of which further positions the company at the heart of the development of the next generation of nuclear power plants planned for the UK. Alan Raymant, chief operating officer at Horizon, which expects its 130-strong staff team to grow to 175 this year and 200-plus eventually, said: “Completion of our land purchase at Oldbury is another important step for our project and means that we can look forward to developing a strong and successful project in South Gloucestershire.

This is Gloucestershire 1st Feb 2012 more >>

A LAND deal which is key to the building of a new nuclear power station near Bristol has been finalised. Horizon, the company behind the massive scheme, said it had completed the purchase of land which was necessary for the project to be developed next to the existing Oldbury atomic plant, right, near Thornbury. It was bought from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority under terms agreed in a 2009 land auction.

Bristol Evening Post 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

Bradwell

Mott MacDonald is acting as the designer to Vinci Construction Limited, on behalf of Magnox Limited, for the design and build of an approx £20 million weather protection envelope at Bradwell power station in Essex, UK. The two reactor buildings at the Bradwell site each consist of a reactor, two boiler houses and two circulator halls encompassing a 26,000m² surface area. The weather envelope will cover and protect both buildings on site.

Cision Wire 31st Jan 2012 more >>

Sizewell

The visitor centre at Sizewell nuclear power station is to re-open, a decade after it closed in the wake of the 11 September terrorist attacks. British Energy, which owns Sizewell B, said it will have a temporary centre near the plant on the Suffolk coast open by the autumn.

BBC 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Supply Chain

ENGINEERING firm Redhall is to team up with French company Baumert to bid for work on the UK’s nuclear new build programme. Wakefield-based Redhall’s chairman and chief executive David Jackson said: “We will bid jointly with Baumert for shield and security doors in the UK’s nuclear new build programme commencing with Hinkley Point. “The potential revenue for these products for the partnership is approximately £50m for each nuclear reactor.”

Yorkshire Post 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

Sheffield Forgemasters has put its unique nuclear capabilities on show to a global audience of key decision makers at a London conference. Chief executive Dr Graham Honeyman told delegates to the Civil Nuclear Energy Showcase event, organised by UK Trade and Investment, that the Brightside Lane firm had invested significant time and money into pushing the boundaries of forging technology.

Sheffield Star 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Radhealth

Europe is making a good start on learning about the health risks of low-dose radiation with a programme to share cold-war data and set research priorities. But the effort needs to be global.

Nature 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Security

The US and South Korea have asked the Netherlands to host the Nuclear Security Summit in 2014. The summit, an initiative of President Obama, works at the highest political level to combat nuclear terrorism and the smuggling of nuclear material. It will be attended by government leaders from more than 45 countries.

eGov Monitor 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Scotland

Renewable energy projects have been shelved because of uncertainty about energy market reform and a controversial decision to cut subsidies for home solar panels, the Scottish Energy Minister has said.Fergus Ewing told Holyrood‘s Energy Committee that the uncertainty had resulted in pre-approved renewables projects being put on hold. He also said that the UK Government’s fight to reduce feed-in tariff subsidies (FITs), payments made to households and communities that generate green electricity through solar panels, had also resulted in “major projects” being delayed.

Times 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

Finland

Finnish nuclear developer Fennovoima has received the final sections of the bids for its Hanhikivi 1 (HA1) nuclear power plant. Commercial bids have now been received from French company Areva and Toshiba of Japan for the plant, which will be built in the Pyhäjoki municipality in the north of the country. Technical bids had been submitted earlier in January and their evaluation is under way. The scope of the bids covers the engineering, supply and construction of the nuclear and turbine islands. Fennovoima’s alternatives are the EPR reactor from Areva and the ABWR reactor Toshiba

Construction Index 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

More than 8 tonnes of water have leaked from Japan’s stricken nuclear power plant after a frozen pipe burst inside a reactor building, but none of the water is thought to have escaped the complex.

Reuters 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Two advisers to Japan’s nuclear safety agency have slammed stress tests being conducted on idle nuclear reactors, saying they do not guarantee the safety of the facilities and calling into question the impartiality of the U.N. nuclear agency that approved Japan’s handling of the tests on Jan. 31.

Asahi 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

The central government is smoothing the way for restarting nuclear power reactors, but gaining the go-ahead from local officials and residents is anything but guaranteed.

Asahi 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Fukushima update 27th – 30th January.

Greenpeace International 1st Feb 2012 more >>

US

Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Tuesday said that the United States will likely need more than one permanent repository for commercial nuclear fuel waste, even after a decades-long battle killed plans for a single repository site long-planned for Nevada. The comment came in the wake of a final report last week from the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, which was set up by Chu to examine what to do with spent nuclear fuel now languishing at commercial nuclear power plants around the country.

Platts 31st Jan 2012 more >>

A reactor at a Southern Californian nuclear power station was shut down on Tuesday after a small leak was found. One of two reactors at the San Onofre nuclear power station was shut down after the leak was detected in a steam generator tube, but the incident posed no risk to the public or plant workers, the facility operator said.

Engineering & Technology 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

A UNITED Nations nuclear team has said it plans to revisit Tehran “in the very near future”, indicating progress on its quest to get information from Iran about claims that it has been secretly working on an atomic arms programme.

Scotsman 2nd Feb 2012 more >>

The International Atomic Energy Agency announced on Wednesday that it had conducted a “good trip” to Iran for discussions on Tehran’s nuclear programme, stating it would return to the country in three weeks for further talks.

FT 1st Feb 2012 more >>

United Nations inspectors did not visit any of Iran’s nuclear sites, reports say. Instead they concentrated on talks with officials. An Iranian official told the news agency IRNA the experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency conducted negotiations with Iranians and did not visit the sites where uranium is being enriched.

Wales Online 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Submarines

A Government minister has refused to detail back-up plans on an independent Scotland ditching nuclear submarines and moving the vessels to the Westcountry. In a series of written Parliamentary questions, MPs have pressed the Ministry of Defence on its contingency if the UK is to split. The Scottish National Party has vowed Trident nuclear missiles will be removed from Faslane naval base on the Clyde if voters back independence in a referendum. It could mean Plymouth’s Devonport Naval Base becomes home to the UK’s nuclear deterrent and submarine fleet.

Western Morning News 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Energy Efficiency

The government has set out proposals for an overhaul of building regulations that would make new “zero-carbon homes” commonplace by 2016 and require property owners to install measures to improve their building’s energy efficiency when they carry out renovations.

Guardian 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Homeowners who have to replace a broken boiler could be required to carry out energy-saving work such as installing loft insulation, under government proposals.

Telegraph 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 2 February 2012

1 February 2012

New Nukes

Ministers misled parliament over the need to build a new fleet of nuclear power stations, distorting evidence and presenting to MPs a false summary of the analysis they had commissioned, a group of MPs and experts alleged in a report published on Tuesday.

Guardian 31st Jan 2012 more >>

Corruption of Governance – Full Report.

ACE 31st Jan 2012 more >>

Plutonium

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s Prism fast reactor would be a “game–‐changer” for the UK, said Eric Loewen, the GE Hitachi chief engineer in charge of the project. Deployed at Sellafield, Prism could burn through the UK’s huge stockpile of plutonium in about five years, Loewen said in a January 24 interview. “The policy drivers are to get rid of the plutonium as quickly as possible,” Loewen said. “In that case we would run the (Prism) reactor for 45 days to burn the plutonium in the fuel. After 45 days the fuel would meet IAEA standards for spent fuel,” with a maximum radiation dose rate of 100 rem/hour at 1 meter’s distance from the fuel. After the initial 45–‐day burn, the fuel would be offloaded from the reactors and put in storage for two to three years. Then, after all the plutonium burning had finished, the fuel could be put back into the reactors to burn the rest of the fuel for a normal commercial operating cycle, Loewen said.

i-Nuclear.com 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Dalgety Bay

Officials from the MoD will visit Dalgety Bay in Fife later to explain what they plan to do about radioactive particles found on the beach there. The radiation is thought to be linked to the remains of World War II aircraft buried in the area. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has given the MoD until the end of February to devise a plan to make the beach safe. If no plan emerges Sepa will declare the land contaminated. Over the past few months more than 200 radioactive particles have been found and part of the shore was cordoned off in October for further investigation.

BBC 31st Jan 2012 more >>

DEFENCE chiefs have pledged to monitor a Scottish beach, which has been plagued by radiation, for the next three years and remove dangerous particles that wash up on the shore. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) hopes to reach an agreement with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) within weeks about the long-term future of Dalgety Bay. Sepa warned the MoD in November, after the most dangerous particle yet washed up on the Fife coastline, that it needed to come up with a “credible, long term” plan with three months. Gordon Brown said the MoD response did not go far enough. He said: “While I welcome regular monitoring, the issues of concern go beyond monitoring and include the funding of a clean-up plan.” “First, the MoD must accept liability for the remedial action that is required to make this site safe and secure in the long term. Second, the MoD must work with Sepa to come up with a remediation plan setting out clear timescales for the work to be carried out. “I am concerned that the language being used today by the minister suggests that the MoD involvement is purely on a voluntary basis. I want to make clear that the MoD has a responsibility for this situation and has a duty to take whatever steps are necessary to make the area safe.”

Scotsman 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Sizewell

A crucial independent inquiry into the comparative costs of overground and underground high power cables, commissioned by the Department for Climate Change (DECC) in 2010, is due to be published this morning. It is hoped the report will mirror research that led to similar plans for pylons in Lincolnshire being scrapped last week. The National Grid has previously ruled out an underground route for the 400,000 volt power lines, alongside its existing cables from Bramford, near Ipswich, to Twinstead near Sudbury. It has said burying cable, which would carry power from Sizewell C and offshore wind farms, through some of the county’s most beautiful countryside, would cost up to 17 times that of pylons.

East Anglian Daily Times 31st Jan 2012 more >>

Hinkley

The energy company behind a controversial new nuclear power station has promised to spend £30m mitigating the initial building work. EDF Energy’s plans for Hinkley Point C in Somerset were, earlier this month, the subject of a 13,000 signature petition stating: “We do not want Hinkley C”. In a drive aimed at winning over local people the French state-owned power giant is promising to invest in housing, leisure facilities, transport and local ecology schemes.

Edie 31st Jan 2012 more >>

Planning 31st Jan 2012 more >>

Output from Britain’s EDF-operated 480-megawatt (MW) nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point B-7 was at zero on Wednesday, data from transmission operator National Grid showed.

Reuters 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Heysham

A campaign group battling plans to build pylons across Lancashire claims putting them underground would be cheaper than previously thought. The Campaign to Protect Rural England was today awaiting the release of a report by the Institution of Engineering and Technology, which it expected to show the price of burying pylons was less than previously claimed. National Grid is considering different options for connecting nuclear power stations at Heysham and Sellafield, as well as off-shore wind farms, to the National Grid. Six official routes are being looked at with several options, which would see pylons erected through the county, including the outlying edges of the Forest of Bowland, the county’s only designated area of outstanding natural beauty.

Lancashire Evening Post 31st Jan 2012 more >>

Economics

There is a popular view that economic growth can be saved by efficiency measures, recycling and technological substitution, such as nuclear and renewable energy replacing fossil fuels. Yet the model allowed even for these variables, and crashed under the pressure of growth just the same. The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at Manchester University found that to prevent dangerous global warming, economic growth in rich countries would not be possible. With colleagues at the New Economics Foundation, I came to a similar conclusion. The work of Tim Jackson on “prosperity without growth” with the former government advisory body the Sustainable Development Commission. Yet Jackson’s work too, as the name suggests, foresees a future without growth.

Guardian 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Scotland

THE South Korean industrial giant Samsung Heavy Industries is to establish its first European offshore wind base in Scotland, developing the world’s largest ever offshore wind turbines. The company’s decision to develop the pioneering technology at the Fife Energy Park at Methil is expected to eventually be worth £100 million in inward investment and lead to the creation of 500 jobs in the area. The massive potential investment was announced by First Minister Alex Salmond yesterday on the opening day of the Scottish Offshore Wind Conference in Aberdeen, the largest ever held by the booming sector.

Scotsman 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Herald 1st Feb 2012 more >>

BBC 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Business Green 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Edie 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Companies

Babcock International, the support services and defence group, said on Tuesday that it had enjoyed a strong three months and expected its results for the year ending March 31 to be in line with expectations. The UK-based group, which helps maintain Britain’s submarine and surface fleet as well as servicing nuclear power stations, reported that its order book remained stable, at close to £12bn, while its bid pipeline stood at about £10bn.

FT 31st Jan 2012 more >>

US

Nuclear reactors in the central and eastern U.S. face previously unrecognized threats from big earthquakes, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Tuesday. Experts said upgrading the plants to withstand more substantial earth movements would be costly and could force some to close.

Wall Street Journal 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Reuters 31st Jan 2012 more >>

A nuclear power plant in Illinois, US, operated by power firm Exelon Generation is being monitored after offsite power was lost and smoke was seen coming from an onsite transformer.

New Civil Engineer 31st Jan 2012 more >>

Daily Mail 31st Jan 2012 more >>

France

France’s failure to make a definite decision about its energy future has left it with little choice but to extend the life of its existing nuclear power plants, an independent government agency said Tuesday.

New York Times 31st Jan 2012 more >>

By the end of 2022, 22 out the 58 reactors in France, the world’s most nuclear-reliant country, will have been in operation for 40 years. EDF’s investments costs to upgrade the reactors could reach 3.7 billion euros per year, including work imposed by ASN earlier this month to prevent a nuclear disaster such as Japan’s Fukushima accident, the report added.

Reuters 31st Jan 2012 more >>

Dismantling France’s nuclear reactors and storing their radioactive waste will eventually cost around 79 billion euros ($103.5 billion), the national audit office said on Tuesday. It put the cost of dismantling France’s 58 electricity-generating reactors, run by the state firm EDF, at 18 billion euros. Storing their highly radioactive waste at a long-term site deep underground would cost an additional 28.4 billion euros. Annual maintenance costs will more than double, from 1.5 billion euros on average in 2008-10, to 3.7 billion euros by 2025, partly as a cost of incorporating post-Fukushima safety measures, it said.

EU Business 31st Jan 2012 more >>

Iran

Iran says it has ended three days of “positive and constructive” talks with UN nuclear inspectors. The semi-official Fars news agency said the two sides had agreed to continue talks, but the report did not specify when the next meeting would happen. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has so far not commented.

BBC 31st Jan 2012 more >>

Reuters 31st Jan 2012 more >>

WASHINGTON – Iran could develop a nuclear bomb in about a year and create the means for delivery in a further two to three years, the US defense chief said Sunday, reiterating President Barack Obama’s determination to halt the effort.

Middle East Online 31st Jan 2012 more >>

Iran is more willing to launch terrorist attacks inside the US in response to perceived threats to the regime in Tehran, America’s top intelligence official told Congress on Tuesday.

FT 31st Jan 2012 more >>

Japan

A team of international nuclear safety experts has reviewed Japan’s procedure to confirm the safety of its nuclear plants as dire economic conditions grip the country’s power industry. A mission to Japan lasting from 23 to 31 January saw a team of ten experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its member states spend time with Japan’s nuclear safety regulator, NISA, which is conducting a two-stage assessment process to ensure nuclear plants have adequate protection against extreme external events.

World Nuclear News 31st Jan 2012 more >>

UN experts endorsed tests designed to show Japanese nuclear plants could withstand a repeat of last year’s earthquake and tsunami on Tuesday, with the government keen for public acceptance to restart reactors and avoid a summer power crunch.

Engineering & Technology 31st Jan 2012 more >>

Reuters 31st Jan 2012 more >>

Debate on utility reform will formally kick off at an expert panel on Thursday, one key strand of a potentially sweeping remake of Japan’s energy policy intended to reduce the role of nuclear power, promote renewables, spur energy conservation and address the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. Reformers are betting that tattered public trust in Japan’s utilities will give impetus to changes they argue are needed to give users more choice, bring down electricity costs that disadvantage Japanese firms globally, and promote clean, renewable sources of energy such as solar power.

Reuters 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Angie Zelter, founder-member of the anti-nuclear weapon campaign group Trident Ploughshares, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Irish peace activist Mairead Maguire, who won the award in 1976. Nominating Ms Zelter, Maguire said: “Angie Zelter has dedicated her life to building peace and working for world nuclear disarmament. Her life is committed to working to prevent nuclear mass murder, and by her own personal example and through her organisational skills, she has inspired and empowered many people to mobilise to prevent their governments from nuclear genocide, and begin seriously the work of abolishing all nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.”

Ekklesia 31st Jan 2012 more >>

Renewables

Community-owned green energy projects present the best chance of converting the UK to a low-carbon economy and should receive more government support, civil society groups representing 12 million people said on Wednesday. Giving local people a stake in energy generation often overcomes planning objections to structures such as wind and solar farms, and dozens of communities across the UK have seized the opportunity to create their own power. But the move has not been fast enough, according to the coalition of community groups, which adds that many places are missing out on the chance to produce their own low-carbon and low-cost energy, supported by government subsidies. The civil society groups include some of the leading non-governmental organisations in the UK, including the Co-operative, the National Trust, the Church of England and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes. Their call came as the Co-operative launched its “community energy challenge”, a competition under which six communities will be supported to set up their own energy generation, with some of the £1m the Co-operative plans to spend this year on community energy projects. Paul Monaghan, head of social goals at the Co-operative, said: “We want nothing less than a clean energy revolution, with communities controlling and benefiting from their own renewable energy. Talk of a new dash for [shale] gas, which could see up to 3,000 wells installed across the UK, highlights the choices we face – more and dirtier sources of fossil fuels or clean energy owned and controlled by communities.”

Guardian 1st Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 1 February 2012