News March 2012

31 March 2012

New Nukes

Rob Edwards: Depending on the interpretation, this is either a “total train wreck” or just a “disappointing” setback for the government’s nuclear ambitions. The truth, of course, is somewhere in between. A combination of last year’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, the German government’s subsequent decision to phase out nuclear power and the general economic downturn has long made investments in new reactors look shaky. The sums of money are so large, the potential liabilities so daunting and the financial paybacks so uncertain, that investors have always been wary about nuclear power. Expect more setbacks.

Guardian 30th Mar 2012 more >>

Rob Edwards 30th Mar 2012 more >>

Nuclear Liability

The Government today confirmed its intention to substantially increase the third party liabilities of operators in the event of a nuclear incident. This follows a public consultation held last year on the UK’s proposals to implement changes made to an international treaty on nuclear third party liability – the Paris and Brussels Conventions, to which the UK and most of the other EU countries are signatories.

DECC 30th Mar 2012 more >>

The Manufacturer 30th Mar 2012 more >>

Utility Week 30th Mar 2012 more >>

Energy Policy

The EON/RWE exit leaves Britain dependent on the French state-backed group EDF Energy to press the nuclear button in the UK. This hope could be misplaced. If the anti-nuclear Socialist Party wins next month’s presidential election, industry executives fear a German-style nuclear U-turn. At the very least, EDF Energy’s plans are likely to be delayed, they say. None of this would matter so much if Britain, like Germany and France, had its own national energy champions capable of pulling off the huge, risky investment required for nuclear. But we don’t. The UK energy market was fully liberalised following privatisation. British utilities were snapped up by foreign players. This created an efficient market and relatively low energy bills. But it has put Britain at a huge disadvantage now that the country needs tens of billions of pounds of investment. What Britain is left with is an aspirational energy policy with little influence to put it into practice. As E.ON and RWE have demonstrated, relying on other countries’ energy policies is dangerous.

Times 30th Mar 2012 more >>

NFLA welcomes the decision of RWE Npower and E-On decision to halt nuclear new build investment – now is the time to re-focus UK energy policy.

Nuclear Free Local Authorities 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Nuclear contractors are seeking urgent assurances from Government on the future of the UK’s nuclear new build programme, after RWE npower and E.On announced the sale of the £15 billion Horizon joint venture behind two power plant schemes. Balfour Beatty and Laing O’Rourke are currently competing for the main construction contract at Wylfa. One nuclear contractor told Construction Enquirer: “This is obviously very worrying news and we need assurances from the Government that they are committted to nuclear new build …A lot of contractors have invested a lot of resources following promises about this market which is seen as a major growth area for the next decade.”

Construction Manager 30th Mar 2012 more >>

The smart money is on energy efficiency and renewables yet a government terrified of “backing winners” appears happy to back the nuclear, oil and gas losers. Follow the money: in the billion-dollar world of the energy business that is good advice. So what do the collapse of a quarter of the UK’s new nuclear power plans and the gas still billowing dangerously from Total’s Elgin rig in the North Sea tell us about keeping the lights on and tackling climate change at a price we can afford?

Guardian 30th Mar 2012 more >>

Wylfa

Officials from the company which was to build a new nuclear power station on Anglesey are set to visit the island. Talks are taking place about finding a new investor after E.ON and RWE npower announced they were pulling the plug on plans at Wylfa B. Meanwhile, politicians and community leaders say they are hopeful a new buyer can be found. However, opponents to the Wylfa plans say alternatives to nuclear energy should now be found. Nuclear energy expert Malcolm Grimston, a fellow at Chatham House, told BBC Radio Wales said Horizon provided other investors with an “opportunity”.

BBC 30th Mar 2012 more >>

It was “late last night” that Horizon informed the Assembly’s Environment Committee that their Director of Project Development wouldn’t, after all, be turning up to give evidence this morning. It was early this morning that the Enviornment Committee – and everyone else – found out quite why Horizon had pulled their witness. If you look at the prior written evidence, there’s no hint of a u-turn on building Wylfa B but with the two firms saying that raising finance for power projects has become difficult, they’ve called a halt to plans to invest in Anglesey as well as Oldbury near Bristol. There is live and significant interest in the site, and the First Minister has asked for the full support of the UK Government as we work with Horizon to deliver this investment and secure jobs for workers at Wylfa in the future.” The interest may indeed be both ‘live’ and ‘significant’ but how long might it all take to bear fruit – if its comes to fruition at all? WWF Cymru – not, as you might expect, part of that “broad public and political support” of Horizon’s plans – welcome the announcement. It is, they argue, good news if the economics “doesn’t stack up.” Their challenge is to the Welsh Government: “Just two weeks ago we called on the Welsh Government to do more to drive forward renewables, instead of pushing forward with its unfortunate change of policy to support nuclear power. We hope today’s news will prompt Carwyn Jones to refocus his government’s efforts to support clean, safe and affordable renewable energy production.”

BBC 30th Mar 2012 more >>

Nuclear industry experts were confident the 5,000 construction jobs and 800 permanent roles will still come under a new buyer – with a new expression of interest already made to the Welsh Government shortly after the announcement yesterday.

Daily Post 30th Mar 2012 more >>

Meetings are taking place on Anglesey to find a solution to the problems facing the Wylfa B project. The two companies backing the project, RWE npower and E.on pulled out yesterday. They are meeting with representatives from the council as well as the local AM and MP. The Assembly Member for Angelsey, Ieuan Wyn Jones, says that whilst delayed, the project should go ahead as three years of preparatory work has already been done. He said that two French firms including EDF and a Swedish company had shown interest in the project at the time Horizon was formed. He says that RWE npower and E.on faced problems that other companies wouldn’t when working to make the Wylfa B project work.

ITV 30th Mar 2012 more >>

Westinghouse

Westinghouse, one of two candidates for reactor technology supplier to Horizon Nuclear Power, said March 29 it was disappointed in the decision by Horizon’s German owners, RWE and E.On, to withdraw from the nuclear new build market in the UK. But Westinghouse said it would engage with Horizon over the next few weeks to “determine the best direction for continuing the development of these projects and to explore alternative investors in the company.”

i-Nuclear 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Nuclear workers are facing a further six months of uncertainty after a pair of European energy giants walked away from a multi-billion pound deal. German firms RWE and E.ON yesterday announced they were pulling out of a joint venture company, Horizon Nuclear Power, which is building a new power station in Anglesey, North Wales. The AP1000 reactor built by Westinghouse, which has its head office at Buckshaw Village, near Chorley, is bidding to be the design picked to be built at the site. If selected, the fuel to power it would be made by the 1,000-strong workforce at Springfields Fuels at Salwick, near Preston, securing work for up to a century. Today, a trade union leader said he was confident new investors would be found to take on the Horizon project – but admitted the delay added uncertainty to the long-term future of the factory. “Horizon is confident that investors will come forward, who those investors are and what their feelings towards the AP1000 is, I could not say.” It is believed that utilities in China, where the AP1000 has already been built, could be interested in the deal.

Lancashire Evening Post 30th Mar 2012 more >>

Hinkley

The energy giant behind plans for a second reactor in Somerset said it was “determined to make UK new nuclear a success” despite two of its rivals pulling out of the market. The decision by RWE npower and E.on to abandon projects in Wales and Gloucestershire for financial reasons was seen as a major blow to the Government’s future energy strategy. However, Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy, one of the Westcountry’s largest suppliers, said that its project at Hinkley Point would continue “as planned”. He added: “The UK needs investment in a diverse mix of energy sources, including nuclear, gas and renewables.

Western Morning News 31st Mar 2012 more >>

This is the West Country 30th Mar 2012 more >>

Hartlepool

IT is business as usual for Hartlepool’s plans for a new nuclear power station despite nationwide fears over the future of the Government’s energy policy. Any future Hartlepool plant would be developed by EDF Energy, which already owns and runs the existing facility in town.

Hartlepool 30th Mar 2012 more >>

Sellafield

THE exodus of nuclear workers away from Sellafield is about to begin – but first of all into Allerdale. More than 200 staff will be moving into the Cattle Movement Centre at Workington – and a start will be made next month. They will share part of the building with staff of the Rural Payments Protection Agency. It is part of Sellafield’s plans to cut down drastically on the number of cars travelling to and from the nuclear site.

Whitehaven News 29th Mar 2012 more >>

FACE to face meetings with suppliers and skilled nuclear workers will be held in West Cumbria next week by the global energy company looking to bring the world’s fast reactor – PRISM – to Sellafield. GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy says their reactor would not only dispose of Sellafield’s massive stocks of plutonium but also produce low carbon electricity as a by-product. And if GEH can get the go ahead it predicts a multi-billion pound investment for the area creating about 900 new permanent jobs and another 1,000 indirectly in the local community on top of the construction work.

Whitehaven News 29th Mar 2012 more >>

COPELAND Council’s Labour leader Elaine Woodburn is to get a pay rise of more than £6,000 for carrying out a “unique” role handling nuclear issues. But Copeland Council was split over the decision to award Labour’s Elaine Woodburn a 30 per cent increase, pushing her annual special responsibility allowance up to £25,534. Coun Woodburn will get an extra £6,606 after Labour members at last night’s full council meeting in Whitehaven carried the vote. Conservative councillors voted against.

Whitehaven News 27th Mar 2012 more >>

Radwaste

Letter: As readers will realise, the process of finding the best site for the disposal of radioactive waste is a complex matter requiring extensive consultation, not least among those communities who may in future have to host such a facility. The MRWS partnership has made much of its consultation, closing at the end of this week, as to whether West Cumbria should take any further part in the process. In these circumstances I find it insensitive to say the least that the government, in the shape of the Department of Energy and Climate Change, has just published its framework document outlining its plans for identifying potential host communities within a larger area. Given that there is currently only one such volunteer area and the decision to participate further is yet to be made, we could be forgiven for suspecting a “done deal”.

Whitehaven News 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Carbon Emissions

An 8% drop in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the UK in 2011 was helped by an 11% increase in electricity output from the country’s nuclear power plants, provisional figures from the government indicate.

World Nuclear News 30th Mar 2012 more >>

Bulgaria

“You are far too optimistic! This is Bulgaria!” I can’t count how often I got this remark from one of my Bulgarian friends over the last 10 years. But 10 years after former Bulgarian king Simeon II and then Prime Minister Simeon Sakskoburggotski (Saxe-Coburg-Gotha) ended a dinner with the remark that it was time to revive the Belene project, this symbol of nuclear megalomania has finally been removed.

Greenpeace 30th Mar 2012 more >>

US

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved issuance of combined construction and operating licenses (COLs) to South Carolina Electric & Gas and Santee Cooper for two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors at the V.C. Summer nuclear power plant site in the US state of South Carolina. The Commission, in a 4-1 vote March 30, approved issuance of the licenses allowing SCE&G to proceed with construction of the two reactors. The Commission’s findings impose two conditions on the COLs, with the first requiring inspection and testing of squib valves, important components of the new reactors’ passive cooling system. The second requires the development of strategies to respond to extreme natural events resulting in the loss of power at the new reactors.

i-Nuclear 30th Mar 2012 more >>

Reuters 30th Mar 2012 more >>

The idle San Onofre nuclear power plant in southern California won’t restart until a problem with superalloy tubing is resolved, increasing speculation that parts of California may be facing an electricity pinch this summer.

Metal Bulletin 30th Mar 2012 more >>

Japan

Fukushima Update 27th – 29th March.

Greenpeace 30th Mar 2012 more >>

JAPAN is opening up areas just inside the evacuation zone around its leaking Fukushima nuclear power plant for the first time since last year’s disaster. The 12-mile perimeter around the plant, hit by an earthquake and tsunami, remains largely intact. But yesterday’s announcement means about 16,000 of Japan’s 100,000 nuclear evacuees may return home. Towns in the least contaminated areas will be rearranged into three categories based on contamination levels. Parts of each will remain off-limits because of hot spots.

Scotsman 31st Mar 2012 more >>

Guardian 30th Mar 2012 more >>

Lithuania

The Lithuanian government has signed a formal agreement with Japan’s Hitachi for the construction of its planned nuclear power plant at Visaginas. Negotiations have been under way since July last year when the government selected Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy over Toshiba-owned Westinghouse to build a 1,300MW plant next to the site of the Ignalina nuclear power plant that closed at the end of 2009.

Argus Media 30th Mar 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

This month’s NIS Update contains news about the arrival of HMS Vengeance at Devonport Dockyard for refit; the UK’s contribution to the international Nuclear Security Summit at Seoul; and the Supreme Court ruling on the nuclear test veterans’ damages case.

NIS 30th March 2012 more >>

Shown as part of The Tricycle Theatre’s Nuclear Film Festival, Mick Jackson’s 1984 BBC docu-drama Threads tells the story of what happened to Sheffield when the Russians start playing with nuclear weapons.

Cine Vue 30th Mar 2012 more >>

Energy Efficiency

Small businesses must do more to make themselves energy and resource efficient, or environmental policies will fail, the the vice president of the European commission has warned. His comments follow the first in depth analysis of how smaller companies are affecting climate change and pollution targets.

Guardian 30th Mar 2012 more >>

Microgeneration

This week’s Micro Power News now available. Covering FiT changes and the Government new heat strategy including delays to Renewable Heat Incentive.

Microgen Scotland 30th March 2012 more >>

Posted: 31 March 2012

30 March 2012

Horizon

Two of the “big six” energy companies have pulled out of developing new nuclear plants in the UK, in what was described as a “devastating blow” for the Government’s energy policy. RWE npower and E.ON said they would not proceed with their “Horizon” project, which looked to develop nuclear reactors at Wylfa in North Wales and Oldbury-on-Severn in Gloucestershire.

Independent 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Independent 30th Mar 2012 more >>

The government’s nuclear energy policy is in disarray after German utilities RWE and E.ON dropped their plans to build two reactors in the UK. RWE confirmed this morning that it is ending the Horizon joint venture and putting its stake on the market. According to industry sources, the Horizon consortium owned by RWE and E.ON is up for sale following a row over the technology that would be used in the power stations planned for Wylfa in Wales and Oldbury in Gloucestershire.

Guardian 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Telegraph 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Express 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Platts 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Daily Mail 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Herald 30th Mar 2012 more >>

The move will send shockwaves through Britain’s engineering industry and spark fears on how the UK will cope as old nuke stations close. An insider told the Sun both companies are under pressure to cut costs given Germany’s decision to axe nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster last year. He said: “We’re being told an announcement is coming today. They’re under huge pressure from the Greens in Germany and this is costing them a packet. “But it leaves our energy policy here in a right old mess.” Industry experts were waiting for an announcement from Horizon today. They presumed it was about who RWE and E.ON were picking to build the reactor – Westinghouse or France’s Areva.

The Sun 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Charles Hendry, energy minister, said the withdrawal, while “very disappointing,” was “based on pressures elsewhere in their businesses and not any doubts about the role of nuclear in the UK’s energy future”. “Of course this is a pain in the neck, but it’s a frustration, it does not mean Britain’s plans are in disarray,” insisted one person familiar with the government’s thinking. Sovereign wealth funds and Asian utilities are seen as possible buyers for Horizon.

FT 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Two German power firms have shelved plans to build a new nuclear power station on Anglesey. Wylfa is one of eight existing nuclear sites around the UK deemed suitable for new power stations by 2025. In a statement, E.ON and RWE npower said they had made the decision following a strategic review. They said they would look for a new owner for Horizon Nuclear Power, their joint project firm for developing nuclear power business in the UK.

BBC 29th Mar 2012 more >>

The two were planning to invest in new plants in Anglesey and Oldbury, near Bristol, under a joint venture called Horizon Nuclear Power. But the firms say that raising finance for power projects has become difficult due to the global financial crisis. Greenpeace’s policy director Doug Parr said: “The government’s energy strategy is crumbling. Not even the billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money they have offered as incentives to the German and French nuclear industry are enough to make a new generation of power stations economically viable.”

BBC 29th Mar 2012 more >>

German utilities RWE and E.ON said on Thursday they will drop plans to build new nuclear stations in Britain and aim to sell their Horizon joint venture. “A strategic decision has (…) been made by both RWE and E.ON that they will not develop new nuclear power projects in the UK through the Horizon joint venture,” the companies said, confirming what sources had told Reuters earlier on Thursday.

Reuters 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Planning 29th Mar 2012 more >>

ITV West 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Express & Star (Wolverhampton) 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Management Today 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Utility Week 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Business Green 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Click Green 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Nuclear Engineering International 29th Mar 2012 more >>

London Evening Standard 29th Mar 2012 more >>

New Civil Engineer 29th Mar 2012 more >>

World Nuclear News 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Environmental groups seized on the news as evidence that nuclear power, which provides just under a fifth of UK electricity supplies, was not a viable option for the country’s future energy mix. Greenpeace’s policy director Doug Parr said: “The Government’s energy strategy is crumbling.”

Liverpool Daily Post 29th Mar 2012 more >>

The decision not to proceed for now is a blow to Japanese-owned Westinghouse, which had been hoping its AP1000 reactor design would be selected on the Horizon sites. A decision had been expected for the past three months.

Professional Engineering 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Westinghouse, which owns the Springfields site at Salwick, near Preston, is in a head-to-head battle with French firm Areva to be selected by Horizon Nuclear Power to build a pair of reactors at the Anglesey site. Trade union bosses at the site have warned its future could be under threat if Westinghouse miss out on the £7.5bn contract. But on Thursday, national newspaper reports claimed that RWE Npower and E.ON have scrapped plans for Horizon.

Lancashire Evening Post 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Westinghouse and NPD UK are disappointed in the decision made by E.ON and RWE not to proceed with plans for new nuclear energy stations in the United Kingdom. Significant work over the last few years with their 50-50 joint venture – Horizon Nuclear Power – has made it very clear to Westinghouse that new nuclear plants are hugely important to the energy independence and economic vitality of the United Kingdom as a whole, and especially to the communities targeted for development in North Wales and southern England.

Market Watch 29th Mar 2012 more >>

TWO GERMAN power firms have scrapped plans to build a new nuclear power station on Anglesey. RWEnpower and E.ON – the two firms behind the Horizon Nuclear Power – will now not proceed” with the plan to build Wylfa B, and another site at Oldbury, as part of a new generation of reactors.

Daily Post 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Commenting on the announcement about Horizon Nuclear Power, Energy Minister Charles Hendry said: “EON and RWE’s withdrawal is clearly very disappointing, but the partners have clearly explained that this decision was based on pressures elsewhere in their businesses and not any doubts about the role of nuclear in UK’s energy future. “The UK’s new nuclear programme is far more than one consortia and there remains considerable interest. Plans from EDF/Centrica and Nugen are on track and Horizon’s sites offer new players an excellent ready-made opportunity to enter the market.”

DECC 29th March 2012 more >>

This morning two more energy companies abandoned their plans to build new nuclear power stations in the UK. It’s left the government’s energy strategy in tatters – and it’s time for them to admit that the future is not nuclear and start investing in cleaner, safer renewable energy. Today’s announcement by RWE and E.ON isn’t really a surprise. People working in the energy sector have been saying privately for months that it was just a matter of time before they pulled out, because the economics of nuclear didn’t stack up without billions of pounds of subsidy.

Greenpeace 29th Feb 2012 more >>

Responding to the news that German utility companies RWE and E.ON have abandoned plans to build new nuclear plants in Britain [1], WWF said that the economics of nuclear were still uncertain, and the Government should back renewable energy instead. Keith Allott, head of climate change at WWF-UK, said: “Despite the Government’s efforts to bend over backwards to support the nuclear industry, it is now blindingly clear that the economics just don’t stack up. Three major utilities have now pulled out of nuclear plans in the UK, and the only two reactors under construction in Europe are massively over budget and behind schedule.

WWF 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Environmental group Friends of the Earth (FoE) has declared Britain’s new nuclear aspirations as over following Eon and RWE’s decision to abandon plans to build plants in the UK. German energy giants RWE and Eon have pulled out of their joint venture Horizon and will no longer pursue new nuclear projects in the UK. Friends of the Earth’s Energy Campaigner Paul Steedman said the move meant it was “virtually game over for new nukes” in the UK.

New Civil Engineer 29th Mar 2012 more >>

FoE Press Release 29th Mar 2012 more >>

E.ON has today (THURS) announced that following a strategic review it will not proceed with plans to develop its 50-50 joint-venture, Horizon Nuclear Power. It will instead look to find a new owner for Horizon, and, in the UK, it will focus on other strategic projects that will deliver earlier benefit for customers and the company. The other partner in Horizon, RWE npower, has simultaneously made the same announcement. The decision means that alternative investors will now be sought to advance the work of Horizon Nuclear Power. The decision has been made following a full review and against the backdrop of the wider E.ON group’s financial constraints. Commenting on the announcement Dr Tony Cocker, Chief Executive of E.ON UK said: “E.ON has decided to focus its investment in the UK on other strategic projects that will allow us to deliver earlier benefit for customers and our company, rather than the very long term and large investment new nuclear power calls for.

EoN Press Release 29th Mar 2012 more >>

A number of factors have changed since the formation of Horizon in 2009: The global economic crisis has meant that capital for major projects is at a premium and nuclear power projects are particularly large scale, with very long lead times and payback periods; The effect of the accelerated nuclear phase out in Germany, which has led to RWE adopting a number of measures, including divestments, a capital increase, efficiency enhancements and a leaner capital expenditure budget; A combination of these strategic factors, together with the significant ongoing costs of running the Horizon joint venture, has led to a situation where capital investment plans have been reviewed. A strategic decision has therefore been made by both RWE and E.ON that they will not develop new nuclear power projects in the UK through the Horizon joint venture.

RWE Press Release 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Responding to the decision by energy firms RWE npower and E.ON to abandon plans to develop nuclear plants in North Wales and Gloucestershire, Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said: “This is bad news for the future of Britain’s energy supply. We need more power generation, and we need it from a range of sources including nuclear. Without enough reliable and affordable power to underpin our economy, businesses will find it harder to deliver growth. This decision is disappointing, and the Government needs a far better energy strategy to ensure the lights stay on and the factories keep running.”

Institute of Directors 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Caroline Flint MP, Labour’s Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, responding to RWE and E.ON’s decision to not proceed with the Horizon Nuclear Project, said: “Nuclear power has a vital role to play as part of a more sustainable, balanced and low-carbon future energy mix, to make us less reliant on volatile fossil fuel prices, increase our energy security, and keep prices down for families.

Labour Party 29th Mar 2012 more >>

The union Unite is urging the Government to get Project Horizon back on track to help secure thousands of skilled jobs. It had the potential to bring £3 billion into the UK supply chain: The UK Government must not allow this crucial UK project to fail because of decisions being made in Germany. Britain needs Project Horizon to succeed for the sake of our future energy needs and thousands of skilled jobs which would be created as a result. The Government must urgently do everything possible to get Project Horizon back on track by finding buyers to take over the project.

ITV 29th Mar 2012 more >>

£15bn of construction work has been put on hold at a stroke with the decision by RWE npower and E.ON UK to scrap plans to build nuclear power stations at Wylfa and Oldbury. EDF Energy chief executive Vincent de Rivaz was quick to restate his own company’s commitment to the UK nuclear market at Hinckley Point, however. He said: “EDF Energy and Centrica remain focused on our project and nothing has changed with regard to that. We are determined to make UK new nuclear a success. With our partner Centrica we are progressing a strong and credible new nuclear project.

Construction Index 30th Mar 2012 more >>

Commenting on the decision by RWE and E.On on Thursday to pull out of developing new nuclear power plants at Wylfa and Oldbury, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: ‘This is a major jobs blow for the construction and engineering sectors. But it also exposes the government’s position. If you think nuclear power has an important role in decarbonising the economy, as ministers say, then you have to make sure that these kinds of very long-term investments occur.’

This is Money 30th Mar 2012 more >>

Electricity Market Reform

The Horizon joint venture and its sites in Anglesey and Gloucestershire will now be sold, though experts said there are few obvious buyers. Investec analyst Angelos Anastasiou said: “EDF and Centrica already have the prime sites and GDF and Iberdrola are probably exposed enough. A lot more needs to be done.” The coalition will reveal its plans to reform the energy market, which is expected to lay out priorities for renewable energy, later this year. Jeremy Nicholson of the Energy Intensive Users Group said it remains to be seen whether the overhaul “is going to be enough to persuade companies to commit to substantial capital investment over the coming decades”.

City AM 30th Mar 2012 more >>

For the government, which is in the middle of reforming the electricity market in part to make it more attractive for companies to overcome the high cost of building new reactors or offshore wind farms, providing regulatory certainty for the remaining utilities is now the key challenge. It is due to publish its reforms in May but concerns are rife they could be delayed. One of the key elements which still needs to be finalised is the introduction of long-term contracts that would pay a steady rate of return for energy over the lifetime of new plants. Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy, sounded a bullish tone on Thursday, saying the company is on track to make its final investment decision at the end of this year on the UK’s first new reactor at Hinkley Point. Yet there are also concerns in some quarters that the withdrawal by the German groups undermines the government’s attempt to encourage competition. The move means “that the bulk of the UK’s new nuclear plants risk being built by French state-owned EDF who have yet to provide an in-service delivery timetable for new plant”, said Tony Lodge, research fellow at the Centre for Policy Studies.

FT 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Nuclear Strategy

Last night, government advisers were in a desperate scramble to find alternative investors to back the £15 billion plan, but one expert said the list of likely candidates had already been “exhausted”. Simon Harrison, the energy director at Mott MacDonald, said they would struggle to find willing buyers: “Who else is there to replace them? The list has been exhausted — all the UK’s utilities already are, or were, involved [in nuclear new-build].” He warned that the unravelling of the joint venture would allow EDF Energy, as the sole player, to demand even higher subsidies to go ahead with its own plans. The subsidies would be funded by consumers via higher bills.

Times 29th Mar 2012 more >>

The Russian state-controlled nuclear energy group Rosatom is considering building nuclear reactors in Britain, The Times has learnt. The group, whose origins go back to the Soviet era and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, has hired the accountancy firm KPMG to examine investment opportunities. These include the Horizon venture to build up to six new reactors. The German companies E.ON and RWE, which set up the £15 billion joint venture, pulled out yesterday but are looking for new owners. Any involvement by Rosatom in Britain’s faltering nuclear new-build programme would be controversial and extremely political sensitive. But after the German companies withdrew, and with other European utilities similarly cash-strapped, the Government may not be in a position to refuse an offer of sizeable investment from the Russians. John Large, an international nuclear consultant, said that Rosatom cannot demonstrate the same track record as European nuclear groups of being able to manufacture reactor components to a consistently high quality. “The way their reactors are designed and built would make it very difficult to shoehorn them into British regulatory requirements,” he said.

Times 30th Mar 2012 more >>

E.ON and RWE’s decision will be partly blamed on an anti-nuclear backlash in Germany over the continuing danger of high level radiation leaking from the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan following the factor-9 earthquake last year. Robert Gross, an energy policy expert at Imperial College London said other concerns could have been delays in projects in Finland and France, and “possibly wavering” by the UK government over its commitment to low carbon energy after high profile political questions over wind farms and a marked increase in support for building new gas turbines.

Guardian 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Dr Sue Ion: One thing is certain: new nuclear is essential, along with renewables, for the transition to a low-carbon economy. Only nuclear can provide the low-carbon electricity that is needed in sufficient volume as a key part of the UK’s energy mix.

Professional Engineering 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Sue Ion: Not only is new nuclear build stalling, but investment is stalling generally across the energy industry. Large amounts of capital require large amounts of cash and the recession, especially in Europe, is making access to cash difficult. This decision will bring home to government how challenging it is when investment decisions are left entirely to the market. We are now in a position where investment by UK utilities in the UK is being affected by decisions taken overseas

ITV News 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Professor Andrew Sherry from the Dalton Nuclear Institute at the University of Manchester says that despite this setback, nuclear remains the energy choice of the future.

ITV 29th Mar 2012 more >>

The French company EDF promised on Thursday that it remained committed to its nuclear expansion strategy here. But it’s 83pc owned by the French government and French ambitions for spending on UK nuclear may look different under François Hollande, the socialist challenger in pole position to oust Nicolas Sarkozy. That said, the Germans exiting the UK leaves EDF (and its junior nuclear partner, Centrica) in a far more powerful negotiating position when it comes to agreeing with Government a price for nuclear energy (which will be met through our energy bills). Anyway, even if it’s possible to find new investors to replace RWE and E.ON (Russia’s Gazprom perhaps?) it certainly puts the new build timetable at grave risk. But another very recent ministerial speech may cast some light on that problem. Just two days before the Cameron speech I highlighted, Ed Davey, the energy and climate change secretary, announced he was bringing forward legislation into the next Parliamentary session to help underwrite more investment in gas-fired power stations. So perhaps the Government did know after all that its German partners were about to bail out of nuclear.

Telegraph 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Greenpeace UK’s policy director Doug Parr says the Government needs to reconsider its energy strategy, with a nuclear future now clearly no longer a viable option.

ITV News 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Shadow chancellor Ed Ball claims a confusing energy policy and the Government’s economic plans are making foreign firms think twice about investing in the UK.

ITV News 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Centrica

The four former FoE Directors address the likelihood of Centrica going ahead here.

TomBurke.co.uk 13th March 2012 more >>

NuGen

NuGeneration, a joint venture between Spain’s Iberdrola and France’s GDF Suez, would appear to be a potential buyer. NuGeneration has plans to build up to 3.6 GW of new nuclear plant on the Moorside site adjacent to Sellafield in northwest England. The Sellafield site has been considered less desirable than sites further south, because of its long distance from large populations centres in need of the power and because of the need for expensive new grid connections that could have to cross national park land. Moreover, a new complication with NuGen’s Sellafield property has recently become public – mineral rights. Lord Egremont, who has substantial landholdings in the area of the site, has reportedly come forward to say he wants paid for his ownership of the rights to minerals under the land on which NuGeneration plans to build. However, a spokesman for Iberdrola, told i-NUCLEAR March 29 that NuGeneration is not pursuing an interest in Horizon. However, a source close to the joint venture, speaking anonymously because he is not authorised to speak publicly, told i-NUCLEAR that there was a “fair chance” the consortium would take at look at what’s on offer from Horizon because of the complications at Sellafield. Separately, an RWE npower spokeswoman confirmed that land at Braystones and Kirkstanton in Cumbria county, which RWE bought as potential sites for new nuclear power plants is not part of the Horizon joint venture. “The land and properties are leased to tenant farmers. There is no immediate intension to divest these sites as they are not part of the Horizon business and [are] owned by RWE npower,”

i-Nuclear 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Wales

Wylfa is a good site for nuclear power.

ITV Wales 29th Mar 2012 more >>

People who have campaigned against plans for a new nuclear power station on Anglesey have welcomed the news, saying that it is “pure fantasy economics” that a new investor would replace Horizon. We’ve said all along the economics won’t work. We’ve argued against the technology, the Nuclear Industry has issues with dealing with the current waste, and in the last year following the disaster in Japan our arguments have resonated with the public – Dylan Morgan, PAWB

ITV Wales 29th Mar 2012 more >>

First Minister Carwyn Jones says there is still ‘significant interest’ from companies wanting to build a new nuclear power station on the Wylfa site on Anglesey. Mr Jones says he’s spoken to UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey today and will continue to work to ensure a new power station is built there. Mr Jones also said that ‘interest has been signalled to us today’ but wouldn’t be drawn on which companies had expressed that interest

ITV Wales 30th Mar 2012 more >>

Oldbury

Two energy giants have pulled out of plans to build a new nuclear power station at Oldbury, near Bristol, it emerged yesterday. The decision by RWE npower and E.ON not to go ahead with developing nuclear stations at Oldbury and Wylfa in North Wales threatened thousands of potential jobs, undermined UK energy policy and left the government’s energy policy in disarray.

Bristol 24/7 30th Mar 2012 more >>

E.ON

E.ON’s decision to scrap a multi-billion pound plan to build new nuclear plants in Britain does not mean the company is turning away from nuclear power altogether, its chief executive told a German newspaper.

Reuters 30th Mar 2012 more >>

Scotland

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has welcomed new figures that demonstrate Scotland will beat the 2011 renewables target. Statistics published today show that the amount of renewable electricity generated in 2011 rose 45 per cent on 2010 to 13,750 Gigawatt hours. Assuming gross consumption in 2011 is similar to 2010, that means around 35 per cent of Scotland’s electricity needs came from renewables in 2011, beating the Scottish Government’s target of 31 per cent.

Scottish Government 29th Mar 2012 more >>

SNP energy spokesman Mike Weir said: “Despite the UK government bending over backwards to rig the market in favour of nuclear power, the decision by these companies to pull out shows that nuclear power is simply not the answer to our energy needs. “The SNP Scottish Government has led the way by rejecting nuclear and setting a 100 per cent renewables target for Scotland’s own electricity use.”

Scotsman 30th Mar 2012 more >>

Nuclear Research

The first cutting trials of the largest and deepest hole boring machine in the UK have been successfully completed at the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre. Research has begun at the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing (NAMRC) in Rotherham to drill extremely deep holes from stainless steel rods in a single operation to manufacture vital parts for the nuclear industry. Small diameter, super-deep holes are essential for certain components in the nuclear reactor for a nuclear power station. The research is the beginning of a project that will help underpin the engineering capabilities of the UK’s new nuclear build programme, say experts at the NAMRC.

The Manufacturer 29th Mar 2012 more >>

A joint project between the universities of Manchester and Sheffield for a New Nuclear Build and Manufacturing (NNUMAN) programme has been awarded £4m funding by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to research innovative manufacturing for the future of the UK’s nuclear power supply.

Engineering & Technology 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Yorkshire Post 30th Mar 2012 more >>

The Engineer 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Eureka 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Radwaste

IT will be late summer before Copeland Council announces whether it will continue to investigate the possibility of hosting an underground nuclear dump in the area. A four-month consultation period, hosted by the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) partnership, ended last Friday. Public opinion has been sought on whether residents would be prepared to host a high-level nuclear waste repository. The feedback received, in direct correspondence to the partnership and from a series of public meetings, will now be assessed before a decision is taken. A telephone survey carried out among Copeland residents by independent researchers MORI will also feed into the process. However, opposition has come from eight parish councils, plus Greenpeace and the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA), while a Save Our Lake District, Don’t Dump Cumbria campaign group has been formed to fight the plans. NFLA chair Brian Goodall said: “The NFLA has consistently opposed the development of a deep underground radioactive waste repository because it is deeply concerned with the many technical and scientific uncertainties that remain unanswered with such a development. “The Scottish Government policy of near site, near service, monitorable and retrievable stores seem a much more sensible approach to me. “I also believe the geology of West Cumbria is clearly not suitable for a deep-underground facility and as such the NFLA urges the West Cumbrian Councils to not move on to the next stage of this process. A better solution must be found.”

Whitehaven News 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Dounreay

THE Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has been accused of “sticking its nose up” at stakeholders over plans to ship nuclear waste from Scotland to Sellafield. In a rare moment of unity, anti-nuclear group Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE) backed Copeland Borough Council’s claim that the NDA’s consultation lacked transparency. If the NDA goes ahead with its proposals, a 15-year programme, worth around £30m, will see tonnes of high-level nuclear waste transported by train and stored at Sellafield. The NDA, which is responsible for decommissioning UK power stations, sought feedback from stakeholders including councils in Scotland and Copeland. Copeland Borough Council said the NDA’s consultation, which ended on Friday, was “limited”.

NW Evening Mail 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Book Review

The Doomsday Machine, a sometimes mendacious and frequently anti-scientific book, has one claim to novelty. It combines hysterical opposition to all things nuclear with an equally deranged climate-change denialism. One wonders both why the publishers published, and who they imagine will enjoy it. The authors argue that concern about climate change is largely a public relations exercise by nuclear power lobbyists to revive their fortunes.

New Scientist 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Germany

12 years have passed since the German parliament adopted the “Renewable Energy Sources Act” on the 29th March of 2000. This law was primarily developed by Hermann Scheer who developed the underlying concepts during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Up until his death in 2010, Dr. Scheer was one of the most significant and uncompromising proponents of renewable energy sources in Germany and around the world. The law that gave priority to renewable energy sources, guaranteed access to the grid for renewables and included a comprehensive feed-in-tarrif system became known as “Scheers-Law” around the world. Today it has been introduced to some extent by over 60 countries and states around the globe. Since this historic push for a 100% renewable energy supply began, there have been countless developements & success stories in the field of clean energy & energy efficency around the world.

You Tube 26th Mar 2012 more >>

Japan

The power company behind Japan’s nuclear crisis is seeking more public funds to avoid insolvency as the cost of compensation and stabilising damaged reactors swells. Tokyo Electric is asking for another 1 trillion yen (£7.55 billion) from a state fund.

Scotsman 30th Mar 2012 more >>

IB Times 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Iran

Multilateral talks due to resume on April 14 under the shadow of oil sanctions and military threats.

Guardian 30th Mar 2012 more >>

China

During China’s parliamentary season this month, the government put out a number of signals that the moratorium on approving new nuclear-power plants may soon be lifted.

China Dialogue 29th Mar 2012 more >>

North Korea

North Korea satellite pictures show rocket launch preparations. Trucks, fuel tanks and other movement at Tongchang-ri site indicate countdown is under way, according to analysts.

Guardian 30th Mar 2012 more >>

Posted: 30 March 2012

29 March 2012

Nuclear Subsidy

The Government is to invest up to £15 million in research, development and knowledge transfer to stimulate innovation and support growth in the civil nuclear power sector. The investment will fund feasibility projects, collaborative research and development and Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) that stimulate innovation and strengthen the UK supply chain. Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said “This is an important and exciting time for the UK civil nuclear industry. With potential for investment and innovation in the new-build and decommissioning markets, now is the right time to make sure that the UK is best placed to win orders and grow global market share.

Business Matters 28th Mar 2012 more >>

Nuclear Markets

Nuclear electricity could be forced to the margins of the European generation mix by the growth of solar power before the end of the decade, a new report has claimed. According to the study, the market for electricity generated by nuclear power could substantially change in less time than it would take to commission a new reactor. “By the time any new nuclear plant could be built in the UK [2020 or later, according to the report] the market for its electricity will be disappearing, regardless of any possible increase in the overall demand for electricity,” said the study, published on Tuesday by UK-based think tank Energy Fair. Energy Fair coordinator Gerry Wolff told ICIS that other countries could follow the German nuclear phase-out model over the next decade as a result of increased interconnection and technological advances.

ICIS Heren 28th Mar 2012 more >>

Hinkley

HUNDREDS of people attended a meeting to mark the start of the examination of EDF Energy’s application for a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point. The Infrastructure Planning Commission will spend six months assessing issues raised by interested parties and is expected to release a timetable of meetings soon.

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

EDF Energy, Britain’s biggest nuclear power producer, stopped output at Hinkley Point B power station near Burnham-On-Sea on Tuesday, March 27th due to an ‘unplanned outage’.

Burnham-on-sea.com 27th Mar 2012 more >>

Platts 28th Mar 2012 more >>

Radwaste

Work has begun on a final report advising Cumbrian councils whether they should volunteer to host an underground nuclear waste dump. A public consultation on the issue – one of the biggest ever undertaken in Cumbria – finished last Friday. Now, the group set up to investigate the issue – the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership – will write a final report for Allerdale, Copeland and the county council. The three authorities will then decide whether or not to remain in the race to find a suitable location for a repository.

Cumberland News 28th Mar 2012 more >>

Interest is growing over the potential of plasma-based processing to reduce the volumes and costs used in radioactive waste disposal. In essence, the concept is a simple one: take low or intermediate-level waste (ILW) and blast it within a sealed furnace, using a plasma arc, to burn off any extraneous materials so nothing but the radioactive residue is left. This can then be packaged in an inert vitreous form.

Nuclear Insider 27th Mar 2012 more >>

Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s Belene Nuclear Power Plant will not be constructed, the country’s Deputy Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov announced on on Wednesday. A natural gas power plant will be built in the Danube town of Belene instead, Goranov told reporters after Wednesday’s Council of Ministers sitting. The nuclear reactor already assembled by Rosatom subsidiary Atomstroyexport and originally meant for Belene will be placed in Bulgaria’s sole nuclear power plant, Kozloduy.

Novinite 28th Mar 2012 more >>

Japan

One of Japan’s crippled nuclear reactors still has fatally high radiation levels and much less water to cool it than officials had thought, according to an internal examination. The news has renewed doubts about the plant’s stability and provoked fears the other two reactors that had meltdowns could be in even worse shape.

Daily Mail 28th Mar 2012 more >>

Wales Online 28th Mar 2012 more >>

A lethal level of radiation has been detected inside one of the reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, throwing fresh doubts over the operator’s claims that the disabled complex is under control.

Independent 29th Mar 2012 more >>

Fukushima Update 23rd – 26th March.

Greenpeace 28th Mar 2012 more >>

Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan and some other ruling Democratic Party of Japan lawmakers on Wednesday decided to start a group as early as next week that seeks to create a road map for ending the country’s reliance on nuclear power.

Kyodo 28th Mar 2012 more >>

Iran

Pre-emptive military strikes aimed at forcing Iran to abandon its nuclear activities may end up having the opposite effect: convincing the Islamic Republic’s leaders they need an atomic arsenal to secure their hold on power.

Reuters 28th Mar 2012 more >>

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has defended Iran’s pursuit of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes while on an official state visit to Tehran.

IB Times 28th Mar 2012 more >>

Long-stalled talks between Iran and world powers are to be revived on April 13 at a place yet to be agreed, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi announced on Wednesday.

Middle East Online 28th Mar 2012 more >>

Telegraph 28th Mar 2012 more >>

South Korea

Despite the 11 March 2011 disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex, South Korea remains fully committed to nuclear energy, where 23 reactors turn out 20.5 gigawatts of electricity daily, 29.5 percent of the country’s total electrical generation capacity, but 45 percent of total electrical consumption. Far from being unsettled by Fukushima, Seoul intends to increase nuclear power’s share of the country’s electricity generation to 60 percent by 2035 by bringing eleven more reactors online in the next nine years, adding 13.8 gigawatts to the nation’s power grid.

Oil Price 28th Mar 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

The Cold War may have long since ended, but France still maintains a fleet of nuclear-armed submarines and strike planes – and more than 300 warheads. Why? And are the French people still comfortable with being a nuclear power?

BBC 28th Mar 2012 more >>

Test Veterans

It was the fireball burning angrily in the blue sky above the Indian Ocean that Geoff Partridge remembers most. “It wasn’t pretty, it was horrific – a mass of colour, with bits flying out of it.” In the immediate aftermath of that megaton bomb test on scorched Christmas Island 54 years ago, Geoff realised the full horror of nuclear warfare.

Birmingham Post 28th Mar 2012 more >>

Renewables

An £865m scheme to financially reward households that generate hot water or heat from renewable sources has been delayed for up to a year in a further embarrassment for government over low carbon energy payments. The second phase of the renewable heat incentive, seen as the equivalent of the solar feed-in tariff for generating electricity, was announced last year and due to be launched next week. But in a statement on Tuesday, the Department of Energy and Climate Change said that it wanted to conduct further consultations on how to control costs.

Guardian 27th Mar 2012 more >>

Energy Efficiency

Recently, The Edinburgh Energy Co-operative held an event that focussed on practical attempts for making tenement buildings more energy efficient. Co-op member, Pete Roche wrote this guest post on the Changeworks blog that gives an insight into how expensive it can be to make some of the older properties in Edinburgh more energy efficient.

STV Local 24th March 2012 more >>

Changeworks Blog 23rd March 2012 more >>

Posted: 29 March 2012

28 March 2012

Nuclear Investment

Building a nuclear power plant is perceived as risky by credit rating agencies – and in some cases could lead to a ratings downgrade of the utility concerned, a senior analyst at US-based Moody’s told ICIS on Tuesday. The analyst, who wished to remain anonymous, said an unfavourable attitude towards nuclear power stemmed largely from the scale of investment required, together with future uncertainties surrounding power prices. “The risks are writ larger when you think of a nuclear project [than for other forms of generation], because construction and planning is that much more tortuous, construction risk is higher and from an operational point of they have a high fixed cost base,” the source said. The source added that Moody’s pays particular attention not only to nuclear power but to any large capital investment projects where the financial risk profile of a given utility may be affected by whether or not the project is completed on time and on budget. He noted that appetite for investment in nuclear power may have waned in recent years owing to the large sums of money utilities spent on other forms of generation assets in 2008-2009 – when power prices across Europe were considerably higher than their current level.

Heren Energy 27th Mar 2012 more >>

By the time any new nuclear plant could be built in the UK (estimated to be 2020 or later), the market for its electricity would be disappearing, according to new research. While the debate over the role nuclear should play in energy generation, both here in the UK and elsewhere (most notably Japan in recent months following the Fukushima disaster), a new report from Energy Fair suggests that even accounting for rising energy demand in coming years, the consumer demand for clean renewables will push aside nuclear. Labelling the nuclear market a ‘high risk gamble, ‘the new report entitled ‘The financial risks of investing in new nuclear power plants’ identifies five main areas of risk for anyone considering investing in nuclear; market risk, cost risk, subsidy risk, political risk and construction risk.

Green Car 27th Mar 2012 more >>

Reactor Design

MPs and two of Britain’s largest trade unions are concerned only one type of design could be picked by nuclear power firms operating in the UK, potentially jeopardising jobs and energy security. The call comes as the nuclear group behind Horizon Nuclear Power is due to announce its chosen reactor design for a new plant at Wylfa, north Wales within the next month.

Energy Live News 27th March 2012 more >>

Westinghouse

Westinghouse will split its nuclear power plant business unit into two distinct organizations – one to focus on the delivery of new plant projects to existing customers and the other to develop new plant opportunities globally.

World Nuclear News 27th Mar 2012 more >>

Radwaste

HAZARDOUS waste firm Augean is forecasting profits will more than double this year as it starts to take low level waste from decommissioned nuclear power stations. The Wetherby-based company recently won a court battle allowing it to take in low level radioactive material at its East Northants site in Northamptonshire, a former clay pit, despite local opposition. Now the group has signed an agreement with Low Level Waste Repository Limited to take in rubble from old offices, laboratories and ancillary buildings from redundant nuclear facilities across the UK.

Yorkshire Post 28th Mar 2012 more >>

Sellafield

Sellafield Ltd. said it would publish its initial Fukushima ‘stress test’ report – already three months old – only when the Office for Nuclear Regulation publishes their assessment on the report. That assessment is expected “soon,” a spokesman for the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) said March 27. Although the European Union’s post-Fukushima stress tests applied only to nuclear power plants (NPPs), the ONR ordered a similar review of all non-NPP facilities, including fuel manufacture, reprocessing, decommissioning and waste facilities.

i-Nuclear 27th Mar 2012 more >>

Nuclear Security

Documents to be released at the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit.

Nuclear Security 27th Mar 2012 more >>

According to various sources, including the International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM) and the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), there are estimated to be almost 20,000 nuclear warheads in the world, with about half of them in Russia. However, IPFM warned that there is enough stockpiled weapons-grade nuclear material left over from decommissioned bombs and atomic-fuel plants to manufacture at least another 100,000 new nuclear bombs.

IB Times 27th Mar 2012 more >>

The synergies between nuclear safety and security were highlighted at the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, where world leaders concluded that the right to develop and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes must not be hampered by measures to strengthen nuclear security.

World Nuclear News 27th Mar 2012 more >>

In his speech at the ongoing summit on nuclear security in Seoul, Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt emphasised the importance of international cooperation in efforts to prevent uranium, plutonium and other radioactive material from falling into the wrong hands and being used for the production of nuclear devices or in acts of terrorism.

e-Gov Monitor 27th Mar 2012 more >>

Japan

One of Japan’s crippled nuclear reactors still has fatally high radiation levels and much less water to cool it than officials estimated, according to an internal examination that renews doubts about the plant’s stability. A tool equipped with a tiny video camera, a thermometer, a dosimeter and a water gauge was used to assess damage inside the number two reactor’s containment chamber for the second time since the tsunami swept into the Fukushima Daiichi plant, a year ago. The data shows the damage from the disaster is so severe the plant operator will have to develop special equipment and technology to tolerate the harsh environment, and decommission the plant. The process is expected to last decades. The other two reactors that had meltdowns could be in even worse shape. The number two reactor is the only one officials have been able to closely examine so far.

Guardian 28th Mar 2012 more >>

Japan, the world’s third-largest oil consumer behind the US and China, has delivered the biggest upside surprise for consumption this year and it is unlikely to be its last as Tokyo replaces nuclear power. Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) on Monday shut down another nuclear reactor for stress tests, leaving Japan with only one atomic power plant in operation. The one remaining reactor, Hokkaido Electric’s Tomari, is scheduled to go offline on May 5 for maintenance. Since the Fukushima crisis, not a single reactor has come back into operation after undergoing stress tests introduced to examine the ability of nuclear plants to withstand earthquakes and tsunami similar to those that caused the Fukushima catastrophe, so the oil market is now assuming that Japan may need even more oil for electricity generation this year than the initially large quantities assumed.

FT 27th Mar 2012 more >>

Germany

Nuclear power’s proponents frequently point out that it is one of the only low-carbon sources that can serve as “baseload” (always on) power. Baseload power is needed, they say, because renewable sources like solar are intermittent (the sun isn’t always shining) and non-dispatchable (the sun can’t be turned on and off at will). You need large, steady, predictable power plants if you’re going to have all those flighty renewables involved. Believe it or not, Germans have heard this argument before. They just think it’s wrong. They don’t think renewables and baseload are complimentary; they think they’re incompatible. In 2010, Federal Minister of the Environment Norbert Röttgen said: It is economically nonsensical to pursue two strategies at the same time, for both a centralized and a decentralized energy supply system, since both strategies would involve enormous investment requirements. I am convinced that the investment in renewable energies is the economically more promising project. But we will have to make up our minds. We can’t go down both paths at the same time.

Grist 23rd Mar 2012 more >>

Fusion

High-gain nuclear fusion could soon be a possibility according to new computer simulations. A series of computer simulations performed at Sandia National Laboratories revealed that a fusion reactor can release an output of energy that is greater than the energy fed into the reactor. The method being tested at Sandia appears to be 50 times more efficient to drive implosions of targeted materials to create the fusion reaction.

IB Times 28th Mar 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Britain was embroiled in a fresh diplomatic row with Argentina today after being accused of deploying nuclear weapons to protect the Falklands. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg blasted the ‘unfounded, baseless insinuations’ at an international conference. Mr Clegg was forced to deny that Trident nuclear missiles were being carried aboard a Royal Navy submarine sent to the South Atlantic.

Daily Mail 27th Mar 2012 more >>

Express 27th Mar 2012 more >>

Telegraph 27th Mar 2012 more >>

Guardian 27th Mar 2012 more >>

REPUBLICANS have accused Barack Obama of planning to “cave” in to Russia over the controversial missile defence shield after the US president was overheard asking the Russians to give him “space” until after the November election. Obama was whispering to outgoing Russian president Dmitry Medvedev at yesterday’s nuclear summit in South Korea when, unaware the rogue mic was recording his words, he asked Medvedev to urge the incoming president, Vladimir Putin, to be patient.

The Week 27th Mar 2012 more >>

Posted: 28 March 2012

27 March 2012

New Nukes

Four former directors of Friends of the Earth are continuing their campaign to convince the UK government to abandon plans for new nuclear power. The four — Tom Burke, Tony Juniper, Jonathon Porritt and Charles Secrett – issued the first of six planned briefings March 26 as follow up to their March 12 open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron. The first briefing, entitled ‘Subsidising the nuclear industry’ details government support for nuclear power that the four say qualifies as subsidy.

i-Nuclear 26th Mar 2012 more >>

I will be running a series of Briefings along with Tony Juniper, Jonathon Porritt and Charles Secrett, following our letter of 12th March to the Prime Minister warning him that his plans for another generation of nuclear reactors are ill-conceived and doomed to failure. To substantiate the broad arguments advanced in that Note to the Prime Minister, we are producing a series of six supplementary Briefings released throughout March and April. The first of these- 1) Subsidising the Nuclear Industry- can be downloaded here.

Tom Burke 26th Mar 2012 more >>

Dr Gerry Wolff writes: New report says there are five major areas of risk in putting money into new nuclear plants. According to a new report from the Energy Fair group anyone considering investing in new nuclear plants faces five major areas of risk: market risk, cost risk, subsidy risk, political risk and construction risk.

Market Oracle 26th Mar 2012 more >>

Hinkley

MP Ian Liddell-Grainger has been deluged with complaints about the first meeting of the planning commission on the future of Hinkley Point. Concerns included the microphones, choice of venue to the fact that some people hoping to speak were cut short because their points were considered not relevant.

Western Daily Press 26th Mar 2012 more >>

Chernobyl

Restrictions on hundreds of Welsh and Cumbrian sheep farms dating back to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster have finally been lifted – 26 years on. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said the controls were not “proportionate” to the “very low risk” and removing them would not compromise the consumer. The disaster in 1986 affected 10,000 UK farms, including 334 in north Wales. The movement of sheep was heavily restricted after the nuclear disaster. Before farmers could sell livestock, the animals’ radiation levels had to be monitored. If they were above a certain level, the sheep were moved to another area and the levels had to subside before they could be sold and consumed. The lifting of the restrictions comes after a 12-week consultation with key stakeholders including consumers, affected farmers, farming unions and trade bodies. The FSA board agreed to lift the controls from 1 June, 2012.

BBC 23rd March 2012 more >>

Wales

A MAJOR new sponsor for this year’s Urdd National Eisteddfod was revealed yesterday. Magnox Ltd, the management and operations contractor for Trawsfynydd and Wylfa Nuclear sites has pledged its support to the festival which will be staged at Glynllifon, Caernarfon in June.

Daily Post 27th Mar 2012 more >>

Westinghouse

Westinghouse said March 26 it will split its nuclear power plants division into two groups, one focused on delivering on existing orders for the AP1000 and one focused on getting new orders for the reactor design. The newly created Nuclear Power Plant Project Delivery organization, which will focus exclusively on the delivery of new plant projects to Westinghouse customers, will be led by Senior Vice President Deva Chari. Chari will be responsible for interfacing with Westinghouse customers on a day-to-day basis and ensuring that key project milestones are met safely on schedule, and in a high-quality and cost-effective manner.

i-Nuclear 26th Mar 2012 more >>

Westinghouse Electric Company, a group company of Toshiba Corporation, said it will apply to the US Department of Energy (DOE) for investment funds to license the development of small modular reactor (SMR) technologies.

Energy Business Review 26th Mar 2012 more >>

Nuclear Security

As 54 world leaders gathered Monday for a second summit on nuclear security, the seemingly uncontroversial goal they set at their first meeting two years ago—securing and reducing radioactive materials that can be turned into bombs—has turned out to be difficult to do. Working-level discussions have bogged down over issues of national sovereignty, competing corporate interests, trade priorities and differing perceptions about the threat of nuclear terrorism. Even with the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan last year serving to focus world attention on the danger nuclear materials can present, the negotiations on nuclear security have become as complicated as those over the global financial crisis and climate change.

Wall St Journal 26th Mar 2012 more >>

World leaders have called for closer co-operation to tackle the threat of nuclear terrorism at a summit on nuclear security in Seoul. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said nuclear terrorism remained a “grave threat”, while US President Barack Obama said action was key. There are currently no binding international agreements on how to protect nuclear material stored peacefully inside its home country, says the BBC’s correspondent in Seoul, Lucy Williamson. An amendment seeking to do that is still unratified after seven years.

BBC 27th Mar 2012 more >>

Nearly 60 leaders have gathered for the two-day conference meant to find ways to keep terrorists from detonating an atomic weapon in a major city. The leaders were to release a communique on Tuesday about their efforts to lock down the world’s supply of nuclear material by 2014. Much of the drama, however, has centred on North Korea’s stated plans to launch a satellite on a long-range rocket around the April 15 celebration of the birthday of North Korean founder Kim il-sung. Washington and Seoul view the launch as cover for nuclear missile development; North Korea says the satellite is part of a peaceful space programme and will help in forecasting the weather.

Telegraph 27th Mar 2012 more >>

President Barack Obama inveighed against North Korea’s plans to launch a long-range rocket next month in a rousing speech in the South Korean capital yesterday, as tensions over Pyongyang’s plans cast a shadow over an international nuclear security summit.

Independent 27th Mar 2012 more >>

The United States, Mexico and Canada have entered into a trilateral nuclear security agreement under which fuel in a Mexican research reactor will be converted from highly-enriched uranium (HEU) to low-enriched uranium (LEU).

IB Times 26th Mar 2012 more >>

Estimates say as much as 1,600 tons of weapons-grade highly enriched uranium (HEU) and 500 tons of plutonium exist in the world, sometimes stored under questionable security in former Soviet states and elsewhere. Obama said in a speech in Seoul Monday that “just the smallest amount of plutonium – about the size of an apple – could kill hundreds of thousands and spark a global crisis.” There are millions of other radioactive sources such as nuclear power plants, research facilities and hospitals, which store isotopes used in treating cancer and other conditions. Security experts say this could be used by terrorists to spread contamination through a “dirty bomb”. Only about 55 pounds of HEU or 17.6 pounds of plutonium would be required to build a working nuclear bomb, according to experts. Even less material would be needed for a “dirty bomb”, a combination of conventional explosives and radioactive substances that would release far less radiation but pack a high terror punch. The International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed 20 cases of theft or loss of HEU or plutonium in the past two decades and hundreds more cases of other nuclear material going missing.

Telegraph 26th Mar 2012 more >>

Waste Transport

“Suddenly all hell let loose behind us. There was a terrific noise as metal hit concrete and all the wagons began crunching together in a pile.” That would have been bad enough, but what the two men in the cab of the locomotive that day knew was that among the wagons being smashed and crumpled into twisted wrecks was one containing nuclear waste.

Worcester News 26th Mar 2012 more >>

France

French energy giant GDF Suez said Monday that its bid to build hundreds of wind turbines off France’s Atlantic coast and in the English Channel would create 6,000 local jobs. France, which produces 75 percent of its electricity through nuclear energy, is investing 20 billion euros ($25 billion) in wind power, with plans to build 1,200 offshore turbines capable of producing 6,000 megawatts by 2020. The government has vowed to increase the share of renewable resources, including wind and solar, to 23 percent of national production by 2020.

Expatica 26th Mar 2012 more >>

The French Court of Auditors recently found that nuclear power, which France is a leader in, costs more than what electricity consumers in the country are charged. Furthermore, the wind industry there has spoken up to point out that electricity from wind power is cheaper than from new nuclear. Here’s more from Craig Morris of Renewables International: The 446-page report, which is only available in French (PDF) and does not have an executive summary, was designed mainly to answer the question of whether “all costs are taken into account” in the pricing of nuclear power in France. The answer is no.

IB Times 26th Mar 2012 more >>

Finland

The Finnish nuclear power company Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) has started a bidding process for their Olkiluoto 4 project as a part of the bidding and engineering phase. Bids for the new nuclear power plant to be located at Olkiluoto in Eura on Finland’s west coast are expected at the beginning of 2013. TVO reported on Friday that there are five plant supplier alternatives at the bidding phase of the OL4 project, namely the French installation company Areva, the American GE Hitachi, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power in South Korea, as well as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Toshiba in Japan.

Helsingin Sanomat 26th Mar 2012 more >>

Japan

CNIC’s Nuke Info Tokyo newsletter March/April is now available.

CNIC 26th Mar 2012 more >>

There is a particularly sensitive accusation reverberating through online discussion boards and social media in Japan: that Emperor Akihito’s speech on the one year anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami was censored on TV for his comments about the nuclear disaster at Fukushima.

Atlantic 26th Mar 2012 more >>

Another Japanese nuclear reactor was taken off line for maintenance yesterday, leaving the country with only one of its 54 reactors operational following last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami. The last reactor is expected to be shut down by early May, increasing the chances of power shortages across the nation as demand increases in the hot summer months.

Independent 27th Mar 2012 more >>

Japan is almost completely free of nuclear power now, after the shutdown on March 26, 2012 of the Number 6 reactor at the country’s Kashiwasaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant. No nuclear reactors are now operational on the Japanese mainland. When scheduled maintenance closes the Number 3 Tomari reactor on the island of Hokkaido on May 5 2012, all of Japan’s 54 reactors will be out of action. The country will be nuclear-free for the first time since 1966.

Greenpeace 26th Mar 2012 more >>

ANOTHER nail was driven into the coffin of Japan’s nuclear industry today after Tepco shut reactor number six at its Kashiwazaki Kariwa plant.That now leaves only one nuclear reactor in operation in Japan, which is good news for liquefied natural gas imports into Japan.

Lloyds List 26th Mar 2012 more >>

Japan was facing the prospect of power cuts after its programme of shutting down nuclear reactors following the tsunami left the country with only one still working. The final reactor, out of a total of 54, will be closed by early May but demand for electricity to run air conditioning systems is set to soar in the hot summer months.

London Evening Standard 26th Mar 2012 more >>

US

Remember the brouhaha about $563 million in Obama administration loan guarantees to Solyndra, the solar panel manufacturer that went belly up last fall? Neither President Obama nor Republicans in Congress have voiced opposition to an expected $8.3 billion Energy Department guarantee to help the Southern Company, a utility giant, build nuclear reactors in Georgia.

New York Times 26th Mar 2012 more >>

India

India’s prime minister has told a gathering of world leaders that nuclear safety is of utmost concern but the country needs nuclear energy. Manmohan Singh was speaking at a summit on nuclear security in Seoul. Although the summit is about how to tackle the threat of nuclear terrorism, India’s nuclear energy plans have faced protests from within the country.

BBC 27th Mar 2012 more >>

Germany

Those on the frontline of Germany’s nuclear power phase-out talk about a daily struggle to keep the lights on. One year after half the country’s nuclear plants were switched off, the government argues that the country’s conversion to electricity from renewable sources over the next decade is on track. But many experts question this and say the transition is proving difficult.

FT 26th Mar 2012 more >>

Korea

North Korea vowed on Tuesday to go ahead with a rocket launch, snubbing demands from US President Barack Obama and other world leaders who are in Seoul for a summit on combating nuclear terrorism.

Telegraph 27th Mar 2012 more >>

‘Pursue peace or face the consequences’: Obama’s warning to North Korea as nuclear summit gets underway

Daily Mail 26th Mar 2012 more >>

Submarines

ROLLS-ROYCE will be carrying out work to upgrade one of the Royal Navy’s nuclear missile submarines, in a move which will help safeguard Derby jobs. Defence Secretary Philip Hammond confirmed the £350 million overhaul of the Trident-carrying HMS Vengeance yesterday.

Derby Telegraph 27th Mar 2012 more >>

Yorkshire Post 26th Mar 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Letter: Are we really approaching the stage where a major justification for having new Tridents is preserving jobs? Surely some of the substantial savings which would arise from dropping the project could be utilised in helping to create new jobs and re-training. Other arguments for allocating large sums to nuclear missiles and their delivery systems are that such a deterrent is an intrinsic part of our protection against the uncertainties and hazards of the future and that we need to ensure the UK’s vital interests are safeguarded. It would not be illogical for countries such as Iran, North Korea and Israel to advance similar arguments.

Herald 27th Mar 2012 more >>

US President Barack Obama raised the prospect of further reducing his country’s nuclear arsenal as he sought to rally leaders against threats from North Korea and Iran. Mr Obama pledged to work towards a new arms-control push with Russian President Vladimir Putin when they meet in May.

Herald 27th Mar 2012 more >>

It has long been widely accepted that nuclear weapons are, as one American general put it, ‘increasingly a danger rather than a benefit or a source of strength’. It is to President Barack Obama’s credit that he has made the achievement of Global Zero, a world free of all nuclear weapons, one of the special objectives of his presidency. There has, of course, always been rhetoric of this kind, even during the worst years of the cold war, but Mr Obama has given it an edge it previously lacked.

Guardian 26th Mar 2012 more >>

Republican leaders have jumped on Barack Obama after the president made unguarded comments to Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev, appealing to him to allow Obama space on the contentious European missile defence issue – and claiming he could be more flexible after the November general election. Obama’s comments were caught on a microphone during what the two leaders believed was a private conversation during a nuclear summit in South Korea.

Guardian 26th Mar 2012 more >>

US President Barack Obama declared on Monday that the United States will make further cuts to its huge stockpiles of nuclear weapons. Speaking in Seoul before the opening of a nuclear security summit, Mr Obama conceded that with more than 1,500 deployed nuclear weapons and 5,000 warheads, the country had “more nuclear weapons than we need.

Morning Star 26th Mar 2012 more >>

Barack Obama today set out his vision for “a world without nuclear weapons” and offered to slash the US warhead arsenal. But in a highly-charged speech, he called on North Korea and Iran “to have the courage to pursue peace” or face the wrath of the world.

London Evening Standard 26th Mar 2012 more >>

Posted: 27 March 2012

26 March 2012

Dungeness

As one era of electricity generation comes to a close with the recent demolition of Richborough’s cooling towers, there are calls to revive a new age of power at Dungeness. Both Shepway and Ashford councils are lobbying for a third nuclear plant to be built at the site. Dungeness A has already been decommissioned, and the B reactor is due to stop producing pwer in 2018. Leader of Ashford council Peter Wood said: “The decommissioning of Dungeness B, coupled with the Coalition Government’s reluctance to approve development of Dungeness C, will have a profound, some claim calamitous impact not only upon Romney Marsh, but also upon much of Shepway and Ashford.

Kent News 25th Mar 2012 more >>

Dalgety Bay

Gordon Brown will today hand over a dossier containing fresh evidence of radiation risks on the coast of Fife when he meets with the Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond. The former Prime Minister and MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, will call for urgent action to clean up Dalgety Bay, affected by contaminated materials thought to date back to the Second World War. He said: “There can be no complacency on the part of the Ministry of Defence now that a new fuller picture … has become available.” The contamination is thought to stem from radium-coated instrument panels used on aircraft that were burnt and buried in the area after the War. Mr Brown’s dossier highlights the recent finding of radiation higher than previous levels discovered. It also states that much larger numbers of smaller particles have been discovered than previously reported.

The Times 26th Mar 2012 more >>

Herald 26th Mar 2012 more >>

New Nukes

As Japan mourned this month for the 19,000 people killed or presumed dead from the earthquake and tsunami that also wrecked the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear station, India last week overrode six months of local protests to approve the start of its Kudankulam plant. In February, the U.S. gave the green light to build the nation’s first reactor in 30 years. China is “very likely” to resume approval of new nuclear projects this year, said Sun Qin, president of China National Nuclear Corp.

Bloomberg 25th Mar 2012 more >>

Terror

Security officials in all of the 5 Declared Nuclear states of the UN Security Council (the US, Russia, China, France and the UK by rank of their declared bomb inventories) are still seeking the most basic information about how much high-enriched uranium and plutonium has been lost or is unaccounted-for. Due to critical lack of clear information, leaders meeting in Seoul on 26 and 27 March will be forced to settle for modest but reassuring measures, adapted to the slender intellectual status of their middle class voting publics, which would seem to protect these key voters from the risk of terrorists obtaining nuclear materials or building and exploding a nuclear weapon.

Market Oracle 25th Mar 2012 more >>

Japan

Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of the Fukushima plant, shut down its last running reactor, the No. 6 unit at the Kashiwazaki Kariwa plant, at 1:46 a.m. on Monday (1646 GMT on Sunday) for planned maintenance, leaving only one of Japan’s 54 reactors online. The one remaining reactor, Hokkaido Electric’s Tomari No.3, is scheduled to go off line on May 5 for maintenance. The capacity of the last remaining reactor is 912 megawatts, meaning just 1.9 percent of the nation’s total nuclear power capacity remains in use, raising concerns about a power crunch if none of the reactors taken off-line after the Fukushima crisis is restarted.

Reuters 26th Mar 2012 more >>

Independent 26th Mar 2012 more >>

Belfast Telegraph 26th Mar 2012 more >>

BBC 26th Mar 2012 more >>

ITV News 25th Mar 2012 more >>

The possibility of a nuclear power-free summer in Japan draws closer when one of two remaining reactors shuts down for on Monday for maintenance, raising concerns about a power crunch if none of those taken off-line after the Fukushima crisis is restarted.

Reuters 25th Mar 2012 more >>

Tokyo soil samples would be considered nuclear waste in the US.

Fairwinds 25th Mar 2012 more >>

Iran

If Israel’s 1981 bombing of Iraqi nuclear facilities teaches us anything, it’s that the quickest way to help the Iranians make up their minds is to attack them.

Guardian 25th Mar 2012 more >>

Korea

It did not take long for North Korea’s twenty-something leader Kim Jong-eun to show off a skill perfected by his recently deceased father: how to steal a show. Barack Obama, Hu Jintao and a host of other world leaders are due to meet in Seoul from Monday for a nuclear summit aimed at preventing terrorists from acquiring nuclear material.

FT 25th Mar 2012 more >>

South Korea has warned it might shoot down a North Korean rocket if it passes over its territory, as worries about what Washington calls a long-range missile test overshadowed an international nuclear security summit.

Guardian 26th Mar 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

US President Barack Obama issued stern warnings to Iran and North Korea on Monday as he vowed to pursue further strategic nuclear arms reductions with Russia.

Telegraph 26th Mar 2012 more >>

Obama said that he will “pursue a reduction” in US nuclear weapons, during a summit speech in Seoul, South Korea.

ITV News 26th Mar 2012 more >>

BBC 26th Mar 2012 more >>

Submarines

Up to 2,000 jobs will be secured around Plymouth’s dockyard when a contract for a £350 million refit of a Royal Navy nuclear submarine is awarded today. Defence Secretary Philip Hammond will this morning visit Devonport Dockyard to announce a deal which will see HMS Vengeance upgraded, and will mean a major boost to the Westcountry economy.

Western Morning News 26th Mar 2012 more >>

Scotsman 26th Mar 2012 more >>

ITV News 25th Mar 2012 more >>

Posted: 26 March 2012

25 March 2012

Reactor Design

Two of the UK’s biggest unions, Prospect and Unite, have urged lawmakers to support a “dual design” approach to nuclear new build, meaning they want Horizon Nuclear Power to choose the Westinghouse AP1000 over the Areva EPR. Horizon Nuclear Power, a joint venture of German utilities E.On and RWE, are expected imminently to announce their selection of reactor technology to build in the UK, with the first reactors to be constructed at Wylfa on Anglesey, Wales. EDF is planning to build four Areva EPRs at Hinkley Point and Sizewell and the unions what to see the AP1000 also developed. The two reactor designs are the only ones to have undergone a UK design review.

i-Nuclear 24th Mar 2012 more >>

Hinkley

The energy industry must recoup the trust of consumers if plans for a second generation of nuclear power stations are to be successful, the chief executive of one of the UK’s largest suppliers said. Speaking at the University of Exeter, Vincent de Rivaz, the head of EDF, said confidence in governments and business was “at an all-time low” because of the economic crisis. His firm is behind plans for the Hinkley Point C reactor in Somerset.

Western Daily Press 23rd Mar 2012 more >>

Nuclear Security

South Korea will host some 50 world leaders at a two-day nuclear security summit starting on Monday to discuss ways to safeguard nuclear materials and facilities from terrorist groups.

ITV 25th Mar 2012 more >>

South Korea hosts some 50 world leaders at a two-day nuclear security summit starting on Monday to discuss ways to safeguard nuclear materials and facilities from terrorist groups.

Alert.net 25th Mar 2012 more >>

President Obama has told US troops they stand on “freedom’s frontier” during a visit to South Korea’s heavily fortified border with North Korea on the eve of an international summit that will address mounting concerns over the North’s nuclear weapons programme.

Observer 25th Mar 2012 more >>

Alert.net 25th Mar 2012 more >>

Dalgety Bay

Fresh fears about the dangers of the radioactivity contaminating a Scottish coastal resort have been revealed in hundreds of internal government emails obtained by the Sunday Herald. Contaminated shellfish from Dalgety Bay in Fife have been officially deemed unfit to eat, while a UK government health watchdog has been accused by one of its leading advisers of downplaying the public health risks from the pollution. The revelations will be raised by the former prime minister and local MP, Gordon Brown, at a meeting with the Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, in London tomorrow. They emerge as discussions on how to clean up the contamination, blamed on old military planes, come to a head in talks this week. The Sunday Herald understands that a plan to investigate the contamination until May 2013 is likely to go ahead. But it is still unclear how or when the area will subsequently be cleaned up, as the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is refusing to accept liability. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) will therefore not lift its threat to formally designate Dalgety Bay as Britain’s first radioactively contaminated land if the site is not cleaned up. But it is unlikely to implement the threat in the near future.

Herald 25th Mar 2012 more >>

Switzerland

A reactor at the world’s oldest functioning nuclear plant, in Beznau, Switzerland, has been temporarily shut down because of a problem with its main pump, its operator Axpo said late Friday. The halt at the Block 2 reactor is expected to last several days. The main pump is responsible for circulating coolants in the system’s primary circuit and must be shut down completely for the repair work, Axpo said.

Inquirer News 24th Mar 2012 more >>

Energy Efficiency

BRITAIN’S suburbs are about to get an environmental makeover. Eight million homes from the Victorian, Edwardian and other periods could be clad with up to 8in of insulation under a government scheme to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The thick layer will save householders hundreds of pounds a year in energy bills, but will transform the appearance of homes. The insulation is topped with render that can be painted, sometimes in the style of the original brickwork or in a colour of the householder’s choice. The plan is being promoted by Greg Barker, the climate change minister, under the government’s “green deal” where householders get low- interest loans for energy efficiency measures. The loans are repaid with the money saved. The plan has provoked anger among heritage experts who say it will destroy the unique character and appearance of the country’s older towns and suburbs. Research shows that period homes are worst at retaining warmth and have the highest energy costs, largely because of their uninsulated brick walls. Buildings as a whole contribute 43% of Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Sunday Times 25th Mar 2012 more >>

Posted: 25 March 2012

24 March 2012

Sizewell

MEMBERS of a nuclear site liaison group are studying official accounts of radiation emissions during the last period when Sizewell B was shut down for re-fuelling and maintenance. Concern about so far unexplained above-average incidence of childhood leukaemia around nuclear reactors in Germany and France has led to suggestions from critics of atomic energy that there may be a link with the “spikes” in radiation emissions which usually occur when reactors are temporarily shut down for re-fuelling. Official figures show that radiation emissions from Sizewell B – calculated on a monthly and annual basis – are well within statutory limits. But some members of the Sizewell Stakeholder Group (SSG) – set up to improve liaison between the nuclear site, its regulators and the local community – have been pressing for detailed information on the increase in emissions of some radionuclides during the shutdowns, known as outages. A list of questions has been posed by members concerned there could be a raised health risk during outages – held every 18 months and lasting about three weeks.

East Anglia Daily Times 23rd Mar 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Hinkley Point B-8 resumed output on Friday.

Reuters 23rd Mar 2012 more >>

Hinkley Point C will be the first nuclear power plant to be built in decades and of course construction firms are keen to be part of the £10bn project. But wait: EDF still has to make a final investment decision, the plant hasn’t even got planning permission yet, and then there’s the little matter of nuclear protesters and what they might tie themselves to.

Building 23rd March 2012 more >>

BOSSES at Sedgemoor District Council have voted to use contingency funds to scrutinise plans for a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point. The authority had been locked in a row with site operator EDF Energy over how a study of the power plant application should be funded.

This is the West Country 23rd Mar 2012 more >>

North Somersett MP Liam Fox spoke in an adjournment debate in the House of Commons last night in which he gave praise to Nailsea people campaigning against the huge pylons planned for his constituency.

Nailsea People 23rd Mar 2012 more >>

Radwaste

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) has submitted today its official response to the West Cumbrian Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) Partnership consultation, stating that West Cumbria is not an appropriate location for such a facility. It recommends that the three West Cumbrian Councils involved in this process – Cumbria County Council, Copeland and Allerdale Councils – to not go further ahead with this process.

NFLA Press Release 20th Mar 2012 more >>

NFLA Briefing on West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership Consultation.

NFLA 20th March 2012 more >>

A public consultation into a proposed underground nuclear storage site in west Cumbria has ended. More than 700 written responses have been received about plans to create the facility. A further three thousand were gathered by a telephone opinion poll. County councillor Tim Knowles who chairs the group looking into the plans today said he was disappointed more people hadn’t put forward their views. He said: “I think part of the issue is that it is quite a general question and people tend to respond more directly if it involves a known location.

ITV Border 23rd Mar 2012 more >>

MILLOM Town Council has pledged its support to a West Cumbrian nuclear waste facility. At an extraordinary meeting of Millom Town Council, councillors unanimously agreed that the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership’s consultation should progress to the fourth stage.

NW Evening Mail 23rd Mar 2012 more >>

Student Ellie Blackley has scooped a top prize in a young journalist competition. Ellie, 16, from Great Broughton, won £500 in the contest organised by the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership. Her task was to write a news report on the issues surrounding the Government’s search for an underground repository site for nuclear waste in the county. Consultations on the nuclear plans end today.

News & Star 16th Mar 2012 more >>

Reactor Design

Any new nuclear build in the UK should be secured via a “dual design approach” representatives from two key energy unions agreed with MPs in a meeting on Wednesday night (21 March). Officials from the Prospect and Unite unions met with cross-party MPs from the north-west and Westinghouse representatives to discuss the implications for the UK supply chain if only one of the reactor designs under assessment for the nation’s new nuclear fleet goes ahead. The unions warned that the UK needs both the Areva EPR and Westinghouse AP1000 reactors to be built to ensure long-term security of energy supply, job creation and skill development for the full cycle of new nuclear services. But without intervention from the Department of Energy and Climate Change the country’s capability in advanced engineering, manufacturing and support for the UK nuclear industry will be threatened. The timing of the meeting comes as an announcement from Horizon Nuclear Power over its chosen reactor design for a new plant at Wylfa, north Wales is anticipated any day.

Unite 22nd Mar 2012 more >>

Terror

US President Barack Obama has departed for Seoul, South Korea, for an international summit on keeping nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists.

Express 24th Mar 2012 more >>

Anti-nuclear protesters rally as nuclear energy industry leaders meet ahead of the upcoming nuclear security summit in Seoul.

Reuters 23rd Mar 2012 more >>

Pakistan

Pakistan’s is the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world, with the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists estimating that it could number between 150-200 warheads in a decade, making its arsenal larger than Britain’s.

Trust.org 23rd Mar 2012 more >>

Japan

Fukushima Update 20th to 22nd March.

Greenepeace 23rd March 2012 more >>

As Japan’s government prepares to restart dozens of nuclear power plants, idled since the Fukushima disaster last year, there is concern that electric cars could become tainted by their association with nuclear generation.

Green Car 23rd Mar 2012 more >>

US

The operators of 20 of the nation’s aging nuclear reactors, including some whose licenses expire soon, have not saved nearly enough money for prompt and proper dismantling. If it turns out that they must close, the owners intend to let them sit like industrial relics for 20 to 60 years or even longer while interest accrues in the reactors’ retirement accounts.

New York Times 20th Mar 2012 more >>

Linda Pentz: An affinity group of eight anti-nuclear activists with the New England-based Safe And Green Energy (SAGE) Alliance, were arrested yesterday inside the headquarters of the New Orleans nuclear corporation, Entergy. Entergy owns the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in Vernon, VT which had been on schedule to close on March 21, 2012 when its 40-year license expired. However, Entergy applied for, and was granted, a 20-year license extension despite the plant’s history of fires, radioactive leaks, structural collapses, and cover-ups. Entergy also owns reactors in Arkansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, and New York. Entergy chose to ride roughshod over the will of the people and government of Vermont in continuing to run the plant. The Vermont government had voted in February 2010 to close the reactor on schedule. Entergy sued the state in federal court and won. Most outrageously, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission – with the track record of a lapdog rather than a watchdog – issued the license extension on March 21, 2011, ten days into the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. Vermont Yankee is the same GE Mark I Boiling Water Reactor design as the four Fukushima Daiichi reactors that exploded and melted down in the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan.

Counter Punch 23rd Mar 2012 more >>

Middle East

A historic conference bringing Iran and Israel together with Arab states to discuss a ban on nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in the Middle East is scheduled to take place in Helsinki in December, it has emerged. The Finnish organisers of the UN-backed bid to establish a zone free of weapons of mass destruction are said to be cautiously optimistic that the conference will go ahead despite high tensions in the Gulf.

Guardian 23rd Mar 2012 more >>

India

About 500 people have been arrested at a protest against a nuclear power plant in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The leaders of several political parties were among those detained for attempting to protest near the Koodankulam nuclear plant, reports say. The Tamil Nadu government gave the go-ahead on Monday for work at the unfinished plant to proceed.

BBC 23rd Mar 2012 more >>

South Africa

Forming the basis of an economic rediscovery, South Africa is attempting to extend its energy network through greater reliance on nuclear power.

New Economy 23rd Mar 2012 more >>

Microgeneration

Supreme Court throws out Government FiT appeal. Wrexham fits 3,000 homes with PV and mid Devon does 1,000. All the rest of this week’s micro power news.

Microgen Scotland 23rd March 2012 more >>

Renewables

A SPANISH renewables company has announced plans to build a wind turbine manufacturing plant in Leith, creating around 800 jobs. The £125 million investment by Gamesa will establish a new factory on a site at the Edinburgh port, which will make the enormous blades for offshore turbines as well as the generator units that sit at the top of the turbine. The blades, which can be 50m long, will be made for turbines set to be built around the British coast. Gamesa has signed a memorandum of understanding with Forth Ports for the site and the two will work together in preparation for a longer-term agreement. The port was competing with Hartlepool for the investment, with Dundee also under consideration.

Herald 24th Mar 2012 more >>

Scotsman 24th Mar 2012 more >>

Daily Record 24th Mar 2012 more >>

Times 24th Mar 2012 more >>

Guardian 23rd Mar 2012 more >>

BBC 23rd Mar 2012 more >>

FT 24th Mar 2012 more >>

The government has failed to get permission to appeal to the Supreme Court over its plan to cut subsidies for solar panels on homes. The UK’s highest court said it could not challenge a High Court ruling that blocked the halving of payments to households generating solar energy. Critics argued the plan to bring the lower rate in in December was too short notice and lacked proper consultation. The lower tariff will now apply to panels installed after 1 April.

BBC 23rd Mar 2012 more >>

Guardian 23rd Mar 2012 more >>

Thousands of households that agreed to rent their roofs to solar panel companies, in return for free electricity, could find their properties are unsaleable. It has emerged that lenders have begun turning down mortgage applications from homeowners who signed up to the schemes. Guardian Money has been contacted by a Southampton couple who were refused by several companies when they tried to remortgage. The refusals were on the basis that they had agreed to allow a firm to install solar panels on their roof for the duration of a 25-year lease. Although their existing mortgage provider agreed to the scheme, the couple are now worried they won’t be able to sell if potential buyers also struggle to find a loan.

Guardian 23rd Mar 2012 more >>

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing yesterday unveiled plans for a new £103 million investment fund for renewable energy raised from the region’s Fossil Fuel Levy. The Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF) will initially be focused on helping communities and rural businesses develop renewable projects, support district heating initiatives and help at the early stages of the development and deployment of wave and tidal arrays. The fund will complement that of the Green Investment Bank (GIB), which aims to help renewable projects at a “near commercial” stage, and bridge the funding gap – particularly for marine energy. The investment, which comes in addition to the £200 million already committed by the Scottish Government over the next three years, also aims to leverage additional financing from other sources.

Energy Efficiency News 23rd Mar 2012 more >>

Posted: 24 March 2012

23 March 2012

New Nukes

The UK government and the nuclear industry believe the efficient delivery of EDF’s planned Areva EPR reactors at Hinkley Point is so important to the UK’s new build program that they have formed a new group to address construction and delivery issues, according to recently released documents. “The successful delivery of Hinkley Point is fundamentally important,” UK Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) Chairman Lord Hutton said, according to minutes of the first meeting of the new Programme Management Board. John Hutton told the PMB that Hinkley Point “will be achieved by Government and industry making decisions on common ground to support the delivery of that project, and giving confidence to the marketplace for future projects.” The PMB members are meant to work together to overcome potential pinch points and bottlenecks in the delivery of new nuclear power. The PMB was being promoted by Hutton, the former Labour government secretary of energy, and has the full support of the current Secretary of State for Energy Charles Hendry.

i-Nuclear 22nd Mar 2012 more >>

Radwaste

CONSULTATION over whether a nuclear waste repository should be built on Cumbria’s west coast comes to a close tomorrow with opponents making their voices heard in many imaginative ways. Canvasses depicting radio-active waste have been painted, talks have been given at the top of Scafell Pike and people have dressed in white boiler suits to highlight the dangers of buried nuclear waste. The opposition to the Govern-ment’s proposals were promp-ted by concerns over the consultation process and the lack of knowledge about nuclear waste.

Westmorland Gazette 22nd Mar 2012 more >>

Friday marks the end of a consultation that could determine the fate of the UK’s high-level radioactive waste. West Cumbria residents have been asked for their views on whether local councils should enter formal talks with government on hosting a repository. More than 750 responses have been sent and will be analysed in coming months. Pete Roche, an independent consultant on nuclear issues who advises the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) organisation, said the safety case for the repository had not been made. “NFLA are extremely concerned about a number of outstanding issues that are still to be looked at before we could even begin to produce a decent safety case for deep geological disposal,” he said. “It seems to us that the geology in West Cumbria is particularly bad – and in this process, voluntarism comes before geology, and local communities could be left with the effects of that.” He was aware, he said, of 900 issues that needed to be investigated, including the possibility that gases containing radioactive elements could force their way to the surface.

BBC 23rd Mar 2012 more >>

Letter: Under the 1972 Local Government Act, civic parish councils in England can vote to request their local district council to hold a referendum on any issue of concern to the local parish. Once the parish council has voted in favour, the district council has to carry out the referendum. The issue and wording of the question can be set down by any resident (not dictated by their councillors) and, provided at least five additional supporters can be found, a request can be made for a parish council meeting. The meeting must be advertised and at least 10 people must be present at the meeting. A formal motion to support the referendum (including the precise wording of the referendum) must be voted upon.

Whitehaven News 22nd Mar 2012 more >>

Hinkley

More than 200 people gathered in a vast echoing hall designed to stage pop concerts and car boot sales yesterday for the start of the biggest planning investigation in the West for a generation. The Infrastructure Planning Commission was holding a Preliminary Meeting ahead of its six-month investigation into proposals for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point.

Western Daily Press 22nd Mar 2012 more >>

Two councils in the south west are seeking an extension to the six month examination period they have to review energy firm EdF Energy’s plans to build a new power station at Hinkley Point.West Somerset Council and Sedgemoor District Council have asked the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) for an extension to the six month examination period after failing to come to an agreement with EdF over funding their review work. Queen’s councillor Martin Kingston, representing West Somerset Council and Sedgemoor District Council, asked the IPC for an extension at this week’s Preliminary Hearing that marked the start of the six month examination period. “If the funding gap cannot be bridged,” said Kingston to the IPC commissioners. “Then we [the councils] need more time to examining the documents.”

New Civil Engineer 22nd Mar 2012 more >>

Sedgemoor District Council fears it will be unable to properly scrutinise plans for a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point because of a lack of cash.

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

Sizewell

Jim Crawford needs to know his nuclear power station on a gentle stretch of England’s North Sea coast can withstand a chunk of volcanic rock dropping into the ocean 2,000 miles away in the Canary Islands. Since Japan’s 2011 nuclear disaster, Sizewell-B’s operator Electricite de France SA has earmarked about 200 million pounds ($317 million) to protect its U.K. reactors from previously inconceivable events. The collapse of an island off northwest Africa would be the most likely cause of a wave big enough to threaten Britain, according to plant director Crawford.

Bloomberg 22nd Mar 2012 more >>

Small Reactors

Westinghouse and Babcock & Wilcox Co. will join other applicants in applying for US Department of Energy (DOE) funding to assist the development of a small modular reactor that can be in commercial operation on a US site by 2022. The DOE issued a “funding opportunity announcement” March 22 noting the availability of investment funds of up to $452 million to develop small, modular reactors or SMRs.

i-Nuclear 22nd Mar 2012 more >>

Dungeness

The £304 million Magnox framework will be a huge chunk of the demolition industry over the next five years. Mark Anthony finds out how Erith is limbering up for works at Dungeness in Kent.

Construction Index 22nd Mar 2012 more >>

Sellafield (Moorside)

WORK to pave the way for Copeland’s planned new nuclear power station has been delayed – by a lordly intervention. Lord Egremont, a substantial landowner in Cumbria and Sussex, owns the rights to minerals lying below the surface of the site neighbouring Sellafield which has been earmarked for West Cumbria’s biggest single private sector development. Today The Whitehaven News can reveal that the aristocrat wants to sell the rights to NuGen, the power station’s prospective developers, before allowing any exploratory work to begin. NuGen has been left frustrated over the extra cost of what might lie below because the consortium can’t set foot on the Moorside site until a sale of the mineral rights has been agreed.

Whitehaven News 22nd Mar 2012 more >>

Sellafield

SELLAFIELD bosses are probing an incident on one of the oldest parts of the nuclear site. There was a five-minute discharge into the air, but it does not appear as though it contained any radiation. Ultra sensitive monitoring is being carried out to confirm this. But whatever the outcome, Sellafield Ltd faces a possible wrap from the Environment Agency for breaching conditions.

Whitehaven News 22nd Mar 2012 more >>

Japan

Most Japanese mayors and governors whose communities host nuclear plants want fresh safety assurances beyond government-imposed stress tests before agreeing to the restart of reactors taken off line after the Fukushima crisis, a Reuters poll showed, amid concerns about a looming power crunch this summer.

Reuters 23rd May 2012 more >>

Poland

Areva SA (AREVA) Chief Executive Officer Luc Oursel said the nuclear reactor maker will make a joint bid with French power utility Electricite de France SA to build an atomic plant in Poland.

Bloomberg 21st Mar 2012 more >>

French nuclear reactor builder Areva said it expected a recovery soon in global interest in nuclear projects following Japan’s Fukushima disaster, adding it will bid this year with EDF for Poland’s first nuclear project.

Reuters 23rd Mar 2012 more >>

US

The Fukushima accident in Japan has led to more Americans now believing that the risks of using nuclear energy outweigh the benefits, according to a new public opinion poll. The poll also found high support for natural gas, despite recent negative publicity about its extraction using hydraulic fracturing.

World Nuclear News 22nd Mar 2012 more >>

Iran

The threat of a military strike on Iran is preventing the Islamic republic from taking the final steps towards developing a nuclear bomb, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said on Thursday.

Middle East Online 22nd Mar 2012 more >>

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the nuclear watchdog at the heart of the growing Iranian crisis, has been accused by several former senior officials of pro-western bias, over-reliance on unverified intelligence and of sidelining sceptics.

Guardian 22nd Mar 2012 more >>

Korea

North Korea has declared that any statement emerging from the forthcoming Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul that is critical of its nuclear weapons programme will be “considered a declaration of war.”

Telegraph 22nd Mar 2012 more >>

Japan readied its missile defence systems to shoot down a North Korean rocket on Friday, as the UN chief warned that next month’s launch could jeopardise food aid.

Telegraph 23rd Mar 2012 more >>

Posted: 23 March 2012

22 March 2012

Nuclear Investment

The investment climate for new nuclear power is not good and “significant government support” will be needed in most markets, according to Mark Muldowney, head of energy advisory at BNP Paribas in London. “Liberalized markets are not sending out the signals needed,” Muldowney said at the Marketforce European Nuclear Forum in Brussels earlier this week. Muldowney said there’s been a sharp decline in investor interest in new nuclear power since Fukushima. “People are very aware of the financial hit on the German utilities from the Fukushima phase out,” he said. “It’s an unfortunate precedent from an investors point of view,” he said March 19. Ratings agencies have no clear ideas on nuclear power, but they don’t like it, he said, and this will lead to greater scrutiny of nuclear investment compared with other investments. Chinese experience in building reactors, supposedly on time and budget, will “not be weighted by financial investors at all” when considering investments in new nuclear plants in Europe, he said.

i-Nuclear 21st Mar 2012 more >>

New Nukes

The energy minister, Charles Hendry, is preparing to waive the rules on admitting skilled foreign workers in order to keep the government’s nuclear power programme on track, according to a report today in Private Eye magazine. Hendry made his suggestion, the latest in a series of sops to the nuclear industry, at the first meeting of a hitherto secret group called the Programme Management Board. It was set up by the nuclear industry and the government to try and prevent their plans for eight new nuclear stations from going off the rails. The board was the brainchild of the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), which represents nuclear companies in the UK. It brings the French firms, EDF Energy and Areva, the US giant, Westinghouse, and other companies together with DECC and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS). It also includes the Office for Nuclear Regulation, the government’s safety watchdog.

Rob Edwards 21st March 2012 more >>

Spinwatch 21st March 2012 more >>

A year on from Fukushima, Malcolm Grimston finds that nuclear policies have ridden out the storm.

Prospect 20th March 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Sedgemoor District Council will continue to fund an examination of plans to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. Councillors voted unanimously to spend nearly £300,000 on its analysis of the Hinkley C proposals, after being told in a special meeting that the £10bn project “would be bigger than the Olympics and have an impact of some kind on every resident in the area”.

This is Somerset 21st March 2012 more >>

The preliminary hearing into the planning application for Britain’s biggest construction project opens in Somerset today. The Infrastructure Planning Commission will sit at Sedgemoor Auction Centre in Bridgwater to decide the principle issues over energy giant EDF’s plans to build a new reactor at the nuclear power station in Hinkley Point.

Western Daily Press 21st Mar 2012 more >>

ITV West Country 21st Mar 2012 more >>

Wales

New Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has shifted her defeated rival Dafydd Elis-Thomas from his role as the party’s environment spokesman because of his support for nuclear power. Instead he will become the spokesman for rural affairs, fisheries and food.

Wales Online 21st Mar 2012 more >>

ITV Wales 21st March 2012 more >>

Dounreay

Former nuclear plant Dounreay could become “the world’s nuclear dustbin”, campaigners have warned. The Scottish Government has been criticised over a waste exchange deal with countries from around the world. Australia, Germany and Italy are refusing to take back radioactive waste sent to the Caithness plant in the 1990s, unless it is vitrified, or encased in glass.

STV 21st Mar 2012 more >>

Supply Chain

A PARTNERSHIP between Newburgh Engineering and South Yorkshire’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre is starting to pay dividends for both organisations. Newburgh production engineer Andrew Wright has been working full time at the Nuclear AMRC, supporting the centre’s machining team, while leading a project that aims to ensure Newburgh’s production processes are as efficient as possible. Newburgh Engineering started manufacturing parts for the nuclear industry at its Bradwell site in the 1950s, making it one of the first engineering companies to establish itself in this sector. The company is one of the few who has never stopped producing components for nuclear reactors and nuclear contracts remain a significant part of its business today, making up over a fifth of its total turnover.

Sheffield Star 21st Mar 2012 more >>

Nuclear Security

More still needs to be done to safeguard nuclear and radioactive materials given the scores of security incidents the U.N. atomic agency hears about each year, a senior official said on Wednesday. Khammar Mrabit, a director of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency, said much had been achieved in the last decade to help make it harder for militants to carry out “malicious acts” involving potentially dangerous nuclear substances. But, Mrabit told reporters ahead of next week’s Nuclear Security Summit in South Korea: “Nuclear security is work in progress. Continuous improvement is a must. Complacency is bad.”

Trust.org 21st Mar 2012 more >>

Uranium

Jason Simpkins writes: Uranium stocks got hammered last year in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. But now, roughly one year later, uranium mining stocks have finally begun to bounce back… just like we told you they would.

Market Oracle 21st Mar 2012 more >>

Europe

Nuclear safety regulators want increased power plant safety margins following last year’s Fukushima disaster in Japan, said a senior European Union (EU) regulator. It had been felt previously that margins could be cut to boost plant efficiency, said Andrej Stritar, chair of the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group, at a European Nuclear Forum meeting organised by Marketforce & ASI. “There is a change of philosophy,” he said. He said that it was unclear if the voluntary stress tests of plants after Fukushima would lead to legislation for centralised EU nuclear regulation and enforcement. Few governments are likely to want to cede their nuclear safety sovereignty, said Mr Stritar.

Utility Week 21st Mar 2012 more >>

Germany

Not since the allies leveled Germany in World War II has Europe’s biggest economy undertaken a reconstruction of its energy market on this scale. Chancellor Angela Merkel is planning to build offshore wind farms that will cover an area six times the size of New York City and erect power lines that could stretch from London to Baghdad. The program will cost 200 billion euros ($263 billion), about 8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product in 2011, according to the DIW economic institute in Berlin.

Bloomberg 19th Mar 2012 more >>

As a reaction to the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, starting on March 11, 2011, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition shut down roughly 40 percent of the country’s nuclear generating capacity in mid-March 2011 and roughly re-implemented the original nuclear phase-out set forth under Chancellor Schroeder’s Social-Democrat/Green government. This change has been criticized as a panicked overreaction that would hurt the German economy and harm energy security. A year later, however, we can see what the temporary effects have been and what the long-term effects are likely to be.

Renewables International 9th March 2012 more >>

Canada

A group of environmentalists has gone to court to challenge Ontario’s plan to build new nuclear reactors, arguing the environmental risks and costs involved haven’t been properly assessed. Lawyers for Ecojustice and the Canadian Environmental Law Association have filed arguments in Federal Court on behalf of several green agencies, saying a review panel failed to carry out a proper environmental assessment on building new reactors at the Darlington station in Clarington, Ont. Despite a push for green energy projects, Ontario remains committed to nuclear energy, which makes up 50 per cent of its energy supply, and is moving forward with the construction of two new reactors. But the groups, which include Greenpeace, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, Northwatch and the Canadian Environmental Law Association, argue the government provided only vague plans to the federal government-appointed review panel, which nonetheless recommended the project be approved. They argue that, contrary to the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the panel also didn’t gather the evidence required to evaluate the project’s need and possible alternatives.

CTV News 21st Mar 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

As our government maintains its nonsensical commitment to Trident ballistic missiles, the Kilburn Tricycle presents a timely season examining the history of the nuclear weapons debate.

Quietus 21st Mar 2012 more >>

Scrapping the Trident nuclear missile system would save £83.5bn and many of the jobs at risk could be transferred to alternative defence projects, according to an authoritative study published on Wednesday. The report, by Professor Keith Hartley, a leading defence economist, is published by a commission set up by the British American Security Information Council. The Trident commission is jointly chaired by the former Conservative and Labour defence secretaries Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Lord Browne and the former Liberal Democrat leader and foreign and defence spokesman, Sir Menzies Campbell.

Guardian 21st March 2012 more >>

FT 21st Mar 2012 more >>

Renewables

An ambitious £1.3m project to fit a 240kW solar glazing system to the roof of King’s Cross station is nearing completion, BusinessGreen has learned. While the station’s new roof captured imaginations when it opened last week, the process of installing solar cells along two new barrel-vaulted glass roofs soaring high above the platforms and concourses is in many ways just as impressive. The solar PV cells are integrated into 1,392 glass laminate units that form part of the 2,300 square metre glass roofing structure.

Guardian 21st Mar 2012 more >>

Posted: 22 March 2012