News September 2012

30 September 2012

NuGen

THE owner of Scottish Power has pulled out of a multibillion-pound plan to build atomic reactors, dealing a blow to Britain’s faltering nuclear renaissance. The decision by Iberdrola, the Spanish energy giant, means there is now a question mark over two of the three groups that planned plants. Worries about price and construction costs have dogged Horizon and NuGen. Horizon was to have built six reactors in Gloucestershire and Anglesey but its German owners, RWE and Eon, put it up for sale. Bids closed on Friday. Iberdrola, Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) and France’s GDF Suez set up the third group, NuGen, to build reactors at Sellafield. It is understood the Spanish company, grappling with energy taxes and deteriorating cashflows at home, told GDF recently that it could not proceed. SSE dropped out last year. GDF is unlikely to go ahead on its own. The companies declined to comment.

Sunday Times 30th Sept 2012 more >>

Hinkley

It is with huge sadness that Stop Hinkley announces the untimely death of Crispin Aubrey. The Stop Hinkley campaign is coming to terms with the news that spokesperson Crispin Aubrey suffered a fatal heart attack on Friday afternoon in the midst of the preparations for the planned protest against Hinkley C next weekend. Crispin played a key role in the preparations and was due to speak at the rally next Saturday. Crispin’s wife Sue, also part of the Stop Hinkley campaign, has bravely requested that the ‘show must go on because it’s what Crispin would have wanted’.

Stop Hinkley 29th Sept 2012 more >>

One of the two reactors at Hinkley Point B nuclear power station near Burnham-On-Sea went offline on Friday (28th September) at the start of a £25m planned maintenance project.

Burnham-on-sea.com 29th Sept 2012 more >>

Torness

Radioactive waste has gone astray because of blunders at one of Scotland’s main nuclear power stations. The revelation about Torness in East Lothian comes as the nuclear industry is proposing to transport significant amounts of potentially dangerous waste across Scotland, and against the background of a steep rise in nuclear transport accidents. The French operator of Torness, EDF Energy, has been reprimanded by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) for breaking rules concerning the safe handling of radioactive waste. It wrongly sent 28 oil drums containing 26 litres of radioactive residue to be recycled at a waste plant in Cumbria. When this was discovered in April the waste had to be sent back to Torness, where it is still awaiting disposal. According to Sepa, EDF Energy was not authorised to dispose of such radioactive “sludges” at a low-level waste repository.

Sunday Herald 30th Sept 2012 more >>

Horizon

The man behind a bid to build a new fleet of power stations has said he is committed to keeping hundreds of jobs at a Lancashire fuel factory. Mike Tynan, chief executive of energy giant Westinghouse UK, said the company remained “committed to the future” of keeping manufacturing at its Springfields facility at Salwick, near Preston. He declined to comment on reports Japanese giant Hitachi had joined the battle to buy Horizon Nuclear Power, which owns two sites earmarked for a pair of reactors in North Wales and Gloucestershire. It pits it against Westinghouse’s consortium backed by the financial muscle of China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corp, and rival reactor firm Areva and China’s Guangdong Nuclear Power Group Company. If Westinghouse landed the deal to buy Horizon, it would build its AP1000 reactor on the two sites and power them using fuel built at Springfields, securing jobs for decades.

Lancashire Evening Post 29th Sept 2012 more >>

Scotland

An update on Scotland’s progress towards its goal of becoming a leading centre of low-carbon energy will be provided next month when Scottish Government ministers are joined by UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey and leading lights of the energy and investment industries at the third Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference in Edinburgh.

Sunday Herald 30th Sept 2012 more >>

Chinese Companies

President Barack Obama has stopped a Chinese company from building wind turbines in the US state of Oregon, citing national security concerns, his administration said. Ralls Corp, a private Chinese firm, had acquired four wind farm projects near a US naval facility earlier this year. This is the first foreign investment to be blocked in the US for 22 years. It comes as the US lodged a trade dispute against China just weeks ahead of November’s presidential election. The move forces Ralls Corp to divest its stake in the projects, which were located near restricted airspace used by the military base.

BBC 29th Sept 2012 more >>

Japan

Japan’s industry minister said the country must give up nuclear power plants as soon as possible because they pose too much risk in one of the world’s most earthquake-prone countries.Yukio Edano said last year’s meltdowns after a tsunami hit the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant showed that nuclear power’s cost is too high. He expressed the opinion in his new book of policy views that hit stores Saturday.

CTV 29th Sept 2012 more >>

India

On 22nd September 3,000 fishermen and anti-nuclear activists aboard 500 boats attempted to blockade a port to prevent the unloading of nuclear fuel into the recently constructed Nuclear power plant in, Southern India. Located on the Tamil Nadu coast This massive power plant is a joint venture between India and Russia and houses two nuclear pressurized water reactors (PWR) reactors, with future plans to construct four additional reactors at the site.

Schnews 29th Sept 2012 more >>

Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drew the world a stark red line Thursday, warning that Iran could have a nuclear bomb in less than a year and demanding international action. Wielding a red marker pen and a cartoonish diagram of a round bomb with a fizzing fuse, Netanyahu told the UN General Assembly that the international community must put a limit on Tehran’s uranium enrichment.

Middle East Online 28th Sept 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Contents of this month’s NIS Update: BAE – EADS merger raises Trident concerns for Ministry of Defence; Atomic Weapons Establishment fire cover-up prompts calls for greater safety disclosure; Unanswered questions following Ministry of Defence Fukushima review; Military chiefs question Trident replacement. In brief: HMS Ambush commences sea trials; Planning applications for AWE Aldermaston; Design changes for Project Mensa.

Nuclear Information Service September 2012 more >>

TWO branches in Nicola Sturgeon’s constituency have put their names to a call to keep the party’s anti-Nato stance intact amid signs of grassroots opposition to the party leadership’s attempts to join the nuclear alliance. Members in both the Southside Central and the Govan Kingston branch say they have signed an anti-Nato amendment that will be debated at conference next month. Last week, Deputy First Minister Sturgeon joined fellow SNP ministers John Swinney and Alex Neil in backing a change in policy, which has been proposed by Westminster leader Angus Robertson. Robertson has recommended party support for an independent Scotland joining Nato on condition that the new nation is allowed to remove the Trident nuclear deterrent from Scotland. However, ministers such as Sturgeon are now facing opposition from grassroots members who are making their opposition felt.

Scotland on Sunday 30th Sept 2012 more >>

Space

BRITAIN’S burgeoning stockpile of nuclear waste may finally be put to good use — as fuel for Europe’s future missions to the solar system’s most distant and exotic planets such as Uranus and Neptune. The European Space Agency (ESA) and Britain’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) want to use radioactive isotopes harvested from the waste to make the nuclear batteries essential to power such space probes. Nuclear batteries have been used by the American and Russian space agencies since the 1960s, but Europe has not developed such technologies until now. This has limited it to exploring only those parts of the solar system that have enough sunlight to power solar panels. Under the scheme the NNL, which operates the £280m Central Laboratory facility at Sellafield, will exploit the 100-plus tons of plutonium waste stored on the site. That plutonium has been in storage for up to four decades and over that time some has radioactively decayed, producing an isotope called americium-241 which is ideal for nuclear power packs. The NNL has set up a trial production line to see if this can be extracted from the plutonium.

Sunday Times 30th Sept 2012 more >>

Renewables

TWO of the best-known names in Scottish asset management are teaming up with the Duke of Westminster’s Grosvenor outfit to fund £100 million-worth of hydro-electric power projects north of the Border. The two Edinburgh-based investors, who are acting in a private capacity rather than on behalf of their respective firms, expect to be involved with about 15 schemes over the next five years. Figures from Highlands and Islands Enterprise show that Scotland’s 145 hydro-electric schemes have the capacity to generate 1.5 gigawatts of 
power, enough to meet 6 per cent of the country’s electricity needs. News of the investment fund’s launch comes just days after the Co-operative Bank 
revealed that it had lent £232m to 17 renewable energy projects in the first half of 2012 and has nearly tripled the amount of cash it has handed out over the past 12 months.

Scotland on Sunday 30th Sept 2012 more >>

Posted: 30 September 2012

29 September 2012

New Nukes

Natalie Bennett: with the government’s energy bill on the horizon, serious questions around the coalition’s wobbly-looking commitment not to subsidise new nuclear, and an anti-nuclear protest at Hinkley Point on 8 October, I’ve also spent lots of my time explaining why I think renewable energy – wind, solar and, in the future, tide and wave – combined with energy conservation, provide an excellent way forward for British energy. Nuclear is a distraction from the need to promote and invest in renewables. Fuelled by a fierce and well-funded industry lobby claiming that nuclear would address the dire, if exaggerated, warnings about “the lights going out”, as well as the urgent need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, the nuclear idea has gained some traction recently in the UK. So I think it is worth spending a little time talking about why nuclear power is the Betamax of the energy world – a technology that was briefly in the hunt, but now could be ready to fade away into a museum curiosity. We need to stop getting distracted by this 20th-century Betamax option, and get on with putting in place the 21st-century renewables solution.

Guardian 28th Sept 2012 more >>

Horizon

Final bids for a nuclear project which includes an £8bn new plant on Anglesey are expected to be submitted. The Horizon nuclear scheme, which includes a new Wylfa plant to replace the existing Magnox one, was put up for sale in March. There is speculation three firms are interested in Horizon as bids are submitted to owners, energy companies RWE npower and E.ON, later. It is unlikely a final decision will be made public for several weeks. New Welsh Secretary David Jones said earlier this month that securing a new nuclear station on Anglesey was “critical” to his economic efforts.

BBC 28th Sept 2012 more >>

The island is currently waiting for a decision on whether a new power plant will be build at Wylfa, with bidders for that due to be announced later. Philip Steele, from campaign group ‘People Against Wylfa B’ , opposes plans for a new nuclear plant. “A lot of the jobs will be going to people with no connection to the local area at all and contractors have already found this”, he claims.

ITV Wales 28th Sept 2012 more >>

A battle between China and Japan’s financial heavyweights will decide the future of a huge contract to build new nuclear power stations. The bidding war to buy Horizon Nuclear Power, a group which owns two sites earmarked for a pair of reactors in North Wales and Gloucestershire, has stepped up with Japanese giant Hitachi entering the fray. It is up against consortiums led by reactor-building group Westinghouse, backed by the financial muscle of China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corp, and rival reactor firm Areva and China’s Guangdong Nuclear Power Group Company.

Lancashire Evening Post 28th Sept 2012 more >>

The Canadians have entered the race to win a multibillion-pound project to build up to six nuclear reactors in Britain, The Times has learnt. SNC-Lavalin, Canada’s largest engineering group, has teamed up with Japan’s Hitachi to bid for the Horizon joint venture, which owns two vacant reactor sites in Anglesey and Gloucestershire. E.ON and RWE, the German energy groups, pulled out of the venture in March after politicians in Berlin decided to scrap domestic nuclear power in the wake of last year’s Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. Final bids were due in yesterday and the winner is set to be announced within the next three weeks, according to industry sources. Hitachi has put forward its Advanced Boiling Water Reactor design, which SNC-Lavalin would build and operate on the two sites.

Times 29th Sept 2012 more >>

Hinkley

A SPEECH made by West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger in the House of Commons has caused confusion and anger among some district councillors. He was invited to join West Somerset Council’s (WSC) latest meeting to explain what he meant when he said it should share business rates from Hinkley Point C with Sedgemoor District Council and Somerset County Council. The Government plans to allow local authorities to keep some of the business rate money paid in their regions from April next year When the nuclear power plant starts generating electricity, WSC will be the only local authority in line to benefit from a share of the estimated £10million a year business rates due from Hinkley Point C under this scheme, as the site lies within its boundaries.

This is the West Country 28th Sept 2012 more >>

National Grid will announce whether pylons loom in the future of the Cheddar Valley in six weeks’ time. The energy firm will release its draft proposed route on how to connect proposed Hinkley C nuclear plant to Avonmouth on November 6. This will show the details of the route, suggested underground sections and the location of pylons and sealing compounds. There will follow a six-week period of consultation.

Cheddar Valley Gazette 28th Sept 2012 more >>

Hunterston

FOR THE fifth year Hunterston B Nuclear Power Station has started a group of apprentices on training for a career in nuclear engineering. Hunterston B’s newest apprentices have enjoyed a week of team building in the Lake District including orienteering and high wire climbing. The event happened before setting off to HMS Sultan, a world class training centre in Portsmouth.

Largs & Millport Gazette 28th Sept 2012 more >>

“You are not going to get a tsunami in the west coast of Scotland’. That was one of the comments when the SNP-led council suffered a surprise defeat over the future of nuclear power during a highly charged debate at Cunninghame House H.Q in Irvine. Labour councillor Alex Gallagher put forward a motion “that the council writes to the Scottish Government requesting that the presumption in favour of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) power generation at the Hunterston site be removed, and that a presumption in favour of Nuclear Power Generation at Hunterston (Hunterston C) be inserted into the NPF.”

Largs and Millport Gazette 28th Sept 2012 more >>

Radwaste

Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet was looking likely to honour the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the County Council’s councillors and their constituents and say NO to the Nukiller Dump. This would have been an end to the insane plan to dump high level nuclear wastes in a big mine under West Cumbria/Lake District. Following the meeting in London with Baroness Verma (Secretary of State responsible for geological implementation!) and the three council leaders at which who knows what nasty deals were brokered, the decision has now been kicked into the long grass for three months. No doubt the new marketing consortium, a host of PR firms that the government is setting up will swing into action spending yet more taxpayer £millions on “more than easing the concerns of communities.”

Radiation Free Lakeland 28th Sept 2012 more >>

At the meeting last wednesday of Copeland Borough Council the nuclear dump was ‘discussed.’ Questions from the public have to be registered days beforehand in order for pat answers to be be provided. I’d registered early on my own behalf as a wildlife artist but we arrived 5 minutes late and I was initially refused the right to speak by Elaine Woodburn, leader of the Borough Council and Moorcide nuclear plant cheerleader. Luckily the democratic services officer stepped in so I spoke after the newly formed nukiller dump cheerleaders, The Sellafield Workers Campaign.

Radiation Free Lakeland 28th Sept 2012 more >>

THE people most affected by the prospect of having highly radioactive nuclear waste buried in their area should have the largest voice, Copeland council leader Elaine Woodburn said at a special meeting. And at the borough council meeting in Whitehaven on Wednesday, considering arguments for and against trying to find somewhere in West Cumbria for the facility, Cllr Woodburn highlighted a recent independent opinion poll showing 60 per cent of Copeland residents are in favour of starting a search for a suitable site. But she stressed: “If the geology is not right then no repository will be constructed here.

NW Evening Mail 28th Sept 2012 more >>

Cumbria

Cumbria needs a new nuclear power plant urgently to stop the county being over-run with “an avalanche” of wind turbines. County council leader Eddie Martin demanded action from the government at a special meeting in London. He believes a replacement for Sellafield would spare the county from being saturated with turbines. A committed opponent of windfarms, Mr Martin says Cumbria has “more than its fair share” and is not prepared to accept any more.

Cumberland News 28th Sept 2012 more >>

Urenco

The Government is appointing a Wall Street banking giant to advise it on the future of its stake in Urenco, the nuclear processing company, which could spark a £1.5bn plus windfall for taxpayers. I have learned that Whitehall officials this week rubber-stamped the appointment of Morgan Stanley to examine options for Britain’s one-third shareholding in the company. Urenco, which is headquartered in the UK, is jointly-owned by the Dutch government and two German energy groups, Eon and RWE, both of which have a major presence in the UK domestic energy supply market. The UK Government has signalled its interest in offloading its shareholding for some time, but Morgan Stanley’s recruitment is the clearest indication yet that it is moving towards such an event.

Sky News 28th Sept 2012 more >>

Telegraph 29th Sept 2012 more >>

Chernobyl

FRIENDS from the local branch of the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline have just returned from the Ukraine where they visited the power plant at the centre of the 1986 disaster. Friends and supporters attending an open evening held by the Totnes & South Hams link of Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline at Kingsbridge Methodist Hall last week heard about the recent visit to Ukraine by four people from the link – Sue Wyeth, David Neate, and Ian and Lydia McClure. There was an opportunity to discuss the work of the charity, and for the new host families for next year’s children’s visit to talk to the families who had hosted before.

Kingsbridge Today 28th Sept 2012 more >>

Politics

With melting sea ice, extreme weather and continued warnings from leading scientists on the need to tackle climate change, it beggars belief that the coalition government persists in pushing though policies that will increase the nation’s reliance on dirty and increasingly expensive fossil fuels. But with the Labour party conference starting on Sunday, it’s also time to ask; why isn’t the opposition doing more to champion the environment? Last week Ed Miliband – a man who really understands the issues – made a timely and extremely welcome intervention on the debate. He gave his backing to the government’s official climate adviser and said that the forthcoming energy bill must contain a clear commitment to decarbonise the UK power system by 2030.

Guardian 28th Sept 2012 more >>

Lithuania

On 14 October, the people of Lithuania go to the polls to vote in a referendum on whether the country should build new nuclear reactors in the town of Visaginas. Will they join the people of Austria who gave a resounding “NO!” in 1978 and the people of Italy who said “NO!” not once but twice in 1987 and 2011? Lithuania’s referendum campaign has begun but instead of a lively debate about energy strategies and the risks of nuclear power, the country’s ruling party, along with several others, have decided that their strategy to get support for nuclear will be mud-slinging. Everyone critical of nuclear power is basically accused of being an agent for Russia.

Greenpeace 28th September 2012 more >>

Japan

Fukushima Crisis Update 25th to 27th Sept.

Greenpeace 28th Sept 2012 more >>

Iran

Tehran said it will respond with full force if any of its nuclear facilities are attacked.

Independent 29th Sept 2012 more >>

President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu have reaffirmed their commitment to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, the White House confirmed.

ITV News 28th Sept 2012 more >>

Iran told a U.N. summit on Friday it considers nuclear terrorism to include attacking or sabotaging a nuclear facility and that as a target of such actions it places “a special importance” on preventing them.Along with attacks on nuclear facilities, Iran said the use or threat of nuclear weapons with the intent to cause death, injury or damage to property or the environment was also deemed nuclear terrorism.

Reuters 28th Sept 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Here is a story you will never read in this or any other newspaper: “President Obama has issued a stern warning to Iran to abandon its ambition to acquire a nuclear deterrent.”It is an iron law of journalese usage that every nuclear power in the world has a nuclear weapon – except one. Britain alone occupies a higher moral plane, and deploys not a weapon but a deterrent. Nuclear weapons are very horrible, but nobody, surely, ever died a ghastly death as a result of being hit by anything so innocuous, so reassuringly dull, as a deterrent. It must be all right for us to have one of those.

Independent 28th Sept 2012 more >>

Can we actually get rid of nuclear weapons? This is a question I get asked on quite a regular basis at public meetings. And it’s a good question that has a simple answer: yes we can. While I am no scientist or engineer, even I can understand how to dismantle a nuclear weapon, thanks to CND’s new briefing ‘Disarming Trident’. Following detailed research by John Ainslie from Scottish CND, we have been able to produce this simple step-by-step guide.

CND 28th Sept 2012 more >>

Paul Rogers: A significant change of thinking inside Britain’s military services raises the prospect that the long-term ambition of nuclear disarmament could become reality. The United Kingdom’s nuclear arsenal is at fewer than 200 warheads is less than half the size of its peak during the cold war. Any one of these could nonetheless inflict enormous damage if ever used. Both for this and other reasons, the argument against their retention has gathered force in recent years: in part on the grounds that the country’s nuclear weapons serve little purpose, in part that they bolster an obsolete view of Britain’s world status that bears little resemblance to reality.

Open Democracy 28th Sept 2012 more >>

Gas

Twenty new gas-fired power stations are likely to be built in the UK, amounting to a massive increase in consumption of the fossil fuel, the climate and energy secretary, Ed Davey, has told the Guardian. But Davey insisted the expansion – the biggest construction effort in the power sector for decades – would not harm the prospects for investment in renewable energy or in the government’s carbon reduction targets. He said: “I strongly support more gas, just as I strongly support more renewable energy. We need a big expansion of renewable energy and of gas if we are to tackle our climate change challenges.” Joss Garman, political director of Greenpeace, said: “Green-lighting a whole fleet of new fossil fuel power stations would cause a huge jump in emissions and blow this autumn’s once-in-a-generation opportunity to replace dirty power stations with clean ones.”

Guardian 28th Sept 2012 more >>

Posted: 29 September 2012

28 September 2012

Radwaste

A decision on whether to search for a site for a nuclear dump in west Cumbria may be delayed by three months. County councillors, together with those from Allerdale and Copeland, are due to meet next month to decide whether to progress with the search. However, following private talks in London this week, it is understood that the decision may be delayed until January. The talks are believed to have taken place between the three council leaders and Baroness Verma, of the Department of Energy. Speaking at a special meeting of Copeland council last night, Egremont Labour councillor Karl Connor confirmed the potential delay.

Carlisle News & Star 27th Sept 2012 more >>

It is understood Copeland and Allerdale were keen to keep to the October 11 deadline but the county wanted the postponement. It is believed that at first the county council hierarchy wanted it put back for nine months until after its May elections.

Whitehaven News 27th Sept 2012 more >>

COPELAND Borough Council leader Elaine Woodburn says the people most affected by the prospect of highly radioactive nuclear waste buried in their area should have the largest voice. Speaking at a special meeting of the borough council in Whitehaven last night, Cllr Woodburn said Copeland should have control over its own destiny, while recognising the potential impacts beyond the borough boundaries. She highlighted a recent independent opinion poll showing that 60 per cent of Copeland residents are in favour of starting a search for a suitable site in the west of the county.

NW Evening Mail 27th Sept 2012 more >>

At the borough council meeting in Whitehaven considering arguments for and against trying to find somewhere in West Cumbria, Coun Woodburn highlighted a recent independent opinion poll showing that 60 per cent of Copeland residents are in favour of starting a search for a suitable site in the west of the county. But she stressed: “If the geology is not right then no repository will be constructed here. A ‘yes’ decision to go to the next stage (desk top geological studies) would open a door but could be unlocked again by a right of withdrawal from the process. “If Copeland decides to participate it would not be agreeing to have a repository but to carry on investigations and further discussions.” She believed Copeland should have control over its own destiny while recognising potential impacts beyond the borough boundaries.

Whitehaven News 27th Sept 2012 more >>

Sellafield’s operators Nuclear Management Partners told The Whitehaven News: “This is still the earliest of stages and the decision to investigate the Cumbrian geology is a critical next step, one of which NMP as an interested and responsible observer, fully supports.” In an exclusive Whitehaven News interview, NMP’s new general manager Graham McKendry said: “I want the science to be established to further inform future decision making and that is why the councils should take the next step in allowing the investigations to proceed.” He went on: “Sellafield are the custodians of much of the waste that would go in a repository and we need clarity where much of the existing high hazard material at the site will ultimately go.

Whitehaven News 28th Sept 2012 more >>

Letters: (1) The effects on West Cumbria’s economy of a ‘No’ vote at this stage of the MRWS process will be devastating – not that it’ll bother the likes of Marianne Birkby (South Lakes) or Colin Wales (Sedburgh). (2) I find that I cannot support the move to Stage 4 because West Cumbria is not a suitable place to have an underground repository and it is time to stop the procrastination and allow the search to continue in other parts of the country for a more geologically acceptable site. (3) If the powers that be kow-tow to the vocal minority who have flooded these pages in recent weeks it will send a clear message to the Government that the area isn’t interested in partnering with it to do the right thing. (4) At last common sense seems to be permeating the nuclear waste storage saga, with suggestions of a Plan B having surfaced to provide medium- to long-term storage at Sellafield using proven existing technology. It is high time this under-ground repository project was kicked into touch – no-one wants it, its too problematical and would be horrendously expensive, both in capital cost and operating cost. (5) Other counties manage regeneration and provision of jobs using many different industries. Isn’t it time Copeland started to look to other methods of regeneration, like encouraging cottage industries, making Whitehaven’s retail and tourism mix more attractive, and respecting the beautiful surroundings we have which are unique to Britain and only found in Cumbria? There are less attractive places in Britain which are I am sure better suited to the dumping of nuclear waste. (6) “Nuclear Waste Disposal in West Cumbria”, misses one important consideration – the potential environmental impacts of test drilling to establish the suitability of the geology.

Whitehaven News 27th Sept 2012 more >>

Letter Jean McSorley: Sir David King, along with Jamie Reed MP, has claimed that Copeland, Allerdale and Cumbria councils need to say yes to proceeding to the next stage on investigations for a nuclear dump, as such a facility is essential to new nuclear reactors. Yet I have been told, in no uncertain terms, by a senior official at the NDA – now one of the managers overseeing the nuclear waste disposal programme – that there is no link between the proposed repository and the fortunes of new build and that it is an “absolute lie” to say otherwise. According to CoRWM, the radioactive wastes of the proposed 10 new reactors would contain three-fold the amount of radioactivity of the wastes and nuclear materials created over the past 60 years of nuclear activity.

Whitehaven News 27th Sept 2012 more >>

EMR

The UK government will in November set out draft details of a planned contract-for-difference (CfD) subsidy regime for nuclear and renewable power, with a view to setting CfD strike prices by the end of 2013, a senior official at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) said today. Decc expects the strike price to be set over the course of the next year, with draft prices published in 2013 and final prices published by the end of the same year for the 2014-2017 period, Decc’s director of energy markets and networks, Jonathan Brearley, said at National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios 2012 event. The feed-in tariff with CfD, designed to give nuclear and renewables a guaranteed wholesale power price, is the key element of the government’s electricity market reforms. But the proposed schedule still leaves uncertainty for projects that require an earlier investment decision, such as the planned new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point C. French state-controlled utility EdF and UK generator Centrica have said that they would like the bill underpinning the reforms to become legislation by spring 2013 to facilitate a final investment decision. Any project that needs an early decision should approach Decc, Brearley said, adding that this would not equate to a blank cheque for nuclear power. The government is not prepared to support nuclear “at any price”, he said.

Argus Media 27th Sept 2012 more >>

Horizon

EON AG (EOAN) and RWE AG (RWE), the German utilities dropping out of Britain’s atomic-power program, are due to close the bidding today on their Horizon nuclear venture in the country after rising costs prompted their withdrawal. A group combining Areva SA (AREVA) and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group Co., a Hitachi Ltd.-led partnership, and a third comprising Westinghouse Electric Co. and China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corp. are the likely bidders, Malcolm Grimston, an analyst at Chatham House in London, said by phone.

Bloomberg 28th Sept 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Coaches from Bath will take campaigners from the city to a protest about nuclear power next weekend. They will attend a national rally in Bridgwater next Saturday as part of the campaign to stop a new nuclear power station being built at Hinkley Point in Somerset. Bath Friends of the Earth nuclear energy spokesman Richard Carder said: “The purpose of this national rally, is to press the Government to put the £60 billion earmarked for new nuclear into energy reduction and cleaner, greener renewables.”

Bath Chronicle 27th Sept 2012 more >>

Wylfa

“The BBC is wrong in its reporting on my comments with regard to the development of a new nuclear power station on Anglesey and I have been misrepresented by this inaccurate reporting. It is disappointing that I have to make my position clear on this when I mentioned support for training so local people can be equipped with the skills needed to undertake these jobs if the go ahead is given. The party’s has always had concerns about nuclear power. The party has always been opposed to the construction of new power stations on new sites. However we have always given local party representatives in Ynys Mon and Meirionydd the right to make up their own minds on questions like extending existing reactors, decommissioning and on new stations on existing sites, balancing the party’s environmental concerns with the question of jobs. We are a decentralised party and we have pledged to do everything to support the creation of local jobs should there be a decision to build a new nuclear power station on Anglesey and I will do everything possible to support Ieuan Wyn Jones and our local Plaid Cymru candidates who are working tirelessly for the people of Ynys Mon.”

Plaid 23rd Sept 2012 more >>

Times of News 23rd Sept 2012 more >>

Sizewell

ANTI-nuclear campaigners are warning that direct action – currently being threatened at another proposed nuclear development site – could be used against plans for Sizewell C. Protesters are gearing up for what is billed as a “mass trespass” at the site earmarked for the Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset. It is being organised by the Stop New Nuclear Alliance and is scheduled to be the culmination of a protest camp over the weekend of October 6/7. Pete Wilkinson, a Suffolk-based environment consultant and member of the Sizewell Stakeholder Group, said direct action could eventually be used against plans for Sizewell C if the Government, the nuclear industry and local authorities did not provide all relevant information and properly canvass, and act upon, the views of local people.

East Anglian Daily Times 27th Sept 2012 more >>

EDF Energy has today signalled the start of its formal public consultation in November for a new proposed nuclear power station at Sizewell in Suffolk, just as the examination of its application for Hinkley Point C in Somerset concludes. Following initial meetings, EDF Energy is today sending a draft Statement of Community Consultation (SoCC) to Suffolk local authorities to invite feedback on the proposed consultation programme for the Sizewell C project.

EDF 21st Sept 2012 more >>

Sellafield

A SURPRISE switch of some Sellafield staff to work in Copeland Council’s Whitehaven HQ could soon be on the way.The idea is to transfer some nuclear staff away from the Sellafield site to take over spare desks at the borough council. However the reasons why, at this stage, remain unclear. The move of a 20-strong council environmental health section to its Moresby Parks site will leave spare capacity at the Catherine Street HQ. However sources stress that as it is a planned transfer it is not a case of displacing any council staff. The Whitehaven News understands discussions are still under way between the council and nuclear industry over terms.

Whitehaven News 27th Sept 2012 more >>

COPELAND Council is putting pressure on the nuclear industry to spend money in what it believes to be better ways of helping the area and local businesses. It follows a recent change in industrial policy outlined by coalition business secretary Vince Cable who says government has neglected to include social requirements in public procurement. The new approach, says the council’s regeneration portfolio holder Phil Greatorex, heralds “potential opportunities for Copeland by ensuring local considerations receive greater priority than they have up to now”. He has written to John Hayes, new minister for energy and climate change, saying: “I and others have lobbied hard over a number of years to help realise the benefits (outlined by Cable) with respect to the £45 billion nuclear decommissioning and £3.9 billion MoD astute submarine programme in West Cumbria.”

Whitehaven News 27th Sept 2012 more >>

Companies

Spanish energy giant Iberdrola is mulling the sale of a stake in its UK power grid, in the latest sign that new investors will be needed to fund the planned £200bn overhaul of the energy sector. ScottishPower Energy Networks, which analysts value at up to £5bn, owns electricity transmission pylons and cables in southern Scotland and distribution networks in southern Scotland, northern England and Wales, serving about 3.5m homes. It requires an estimated £8bn investment this decade to replace ageing cables and substations and to connect up and transport power from 11GW of new wind farms that are due to be built in Scotland. Sources with knowledge of the situation said Iberdrola – which is also planning £4bn investment in its ScottishPower generation business – was looking at selling a minority stake in the grid business as a means of funding the upgrade without increasing its debt. The Spanish company is attempting to ease its €29.3bn debt burden, amassed through a series of acquisitions including that of ScottishPower for £12bn in 2006.

Telegraph 27th Sept 2012 more >>

The Spanish owner of ScottishPower is in talks to bring minority equity partners into the energy supplier as it feels the impact of the economic chill blowing through Madrid. Iberdrola, which bought ScottishPower in 2006 for £12 billion, could raise more than £1 billion through the sale of a minority stake in the Glasgow-based group’s UK networks business — the arm of the company that owns and operates cables and powerlines to 3.5 million homes in Scotland, the North of England and North Wales.

Times 28th Sept 2012 more >>

Scotsman 28th Sept 2012 more >>

Herald 28th Sept 2012 more >>

Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday denied she had lied to the public about the suitability of a permanent location for the country’s central nuclear waste dump when she was environment minister in the 1990s.In a rare five-hour appearance before a parliamentary inquiry, Merkel rebutted allegations that the then government had put political considerations before scientific findings when it decided to focus the search for a waste dump only in Gorleben in northern Germany.

Reuters 27th Sept 2012 more >>

India

Despite mass protests by villagers, the Indian government in partnership with the Tamil Nadu state government is pushing ahead with the loading of nuclear fuel at the recently built 2000 MW Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) located on the Tamil Nadu coast.

World Socialist Web 27th Sept 2012 more >>

Iran

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has drawn his “red line” for Iran’s nuclear programme – the point at which Iran has amassed nearly enough highly enriched uranium for a single atomic bomb. Addressing the United National General Assembly yesterday, he appeared to pull back from any threat of an imminent Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, saying the Islamic Republic would be on the brink of producing an atomic weapon only next summer. He added he was confident the United States and Israel, which have disagreed about the urgency of military action, could devise a common strategy to prevent Iran developing a nuclear weapon.

Scotsman 28th Sept 2012 more >>

ITV 27th Sept 2012 more >>

Guardian 28th Sept 2012 more >>

Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu uses a red pen and a chart at the United Nations to illustrate the Iranian nuclear threat.

Guardian 27th Sept 2012 more >>

The United States expects major powers’ consultations on Iran’s nuclear program to continue and eventually lead to another round of talks with Tehran, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday.

Reuters 27th Sept 2012 more >>

Iran must take urgent action to allay mounting international concerns over its nuclear drive, EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said Thursday after talks among the major powers.

EU Business 27th Sept 2012 more >>

Would Israel discreetly warn U.N. nuclear chief Yukiya Amano so that he could withdraw his inspectors before any air raid on Iran, as the United States did in a dramatic night-time phone call to his predecessor just before the 2003 war in Iraq? With persistent speculation that Israel might soon attack Iran’s nuclear sites and his own increasingly tense relations with Tehran, the potential dangers facing Amano’s staff on the ground are likely a big worry for the veteran Japanese diplomat.

Reuters 27th Sept 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

After half a century of avoiding a decision it is surely about time that the Labour Party got round to abandoning our nuclear deterrent. For there has been no rational reason for retaining this expensive toy since the Soviet Union collapsed over twenty years ago. Although the Russians, like the French and of course the Americans, have retained their nuclear weapons none of the nuclear-armed countries which pose any kind of threat – Israel, India. Pakistan, North Korea and soon possibly Iran as well – are ever going to be able to reach the White Cliffs of Dover.

Independent 27th Sept 2012 more >>

Former Lib Dem minister Nick Harvey, speaking at a fringe debate at his party’s conference, has thrown the issue of British nuclear weapons back into the headlines. But the public discussion of this story indicates a less-than-stellar understanding of the subject. If you wanted to put nuclear-armed cruise missiles onto attack submarines – the “Tuppeny Trident” approach associated with Harvey – this would require splitting with the United States and building a new warhead. You also need to do a lot of planning on what happens in a crisis. You have to be able to disperse your bombs at short notice, in case they get targeted. You have to decide when to mate the warheads with the missiles. If you’re using ships or submarines, how can you ensure they won’t be tracked and potentially taken out as they leave British waters?

Telegraph 27th Sept 2012 more >>

Renewables

The government has today released its latest quarterly energy statistics, confirming that the UK’s renewable energy sector is continuing to expand rapidly, while also fuelling concerns that high gas prices are forcing energy companies to switch to more polluting coal power.

Business Green 27th Sept 2012 more >>

The Scottish government said it is on track to meet its 2020 energy targets after a positive first half of 2012. According to figures released by the Department for Energy and Climate Change, Scotland’s renewable generation for the first half of 2012 was 12.8 per cent higher for the same period in 2011, seeing generation stand at 806GWh. The figures also showed installed capacity at the end of the second quarter for 2012 was up by 18.6 per cent on the previous year, at 5,453MW. Confirmation that 2011 was a record year for renewable electricity generation in Scotland was also shown, with 35 per cent of Scottish electricity demands being met from renewables, breaking the 31 per cent target. Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said, ‘These statistics show once again that Scotland leads the world in renewable energy generation, and that our industry goes from strength to strength. ‘Renewable electricity generation for the first half of 2012 is up nearly 13 per cent on the amount generated in the same period in the previous year. The equivalent of an extra 147,000 homes could be powered for a year with the extra electricity produced in those six months alone, compared to the same period in 2011.

New Energy World 27th Sept 2012 more >>

Gas

Fracking’s backers say it will deliver a quick, cheap way of cutting carbon emissions. The latest analysis shows none of these claims stands up.

Guardian 28th Sept 2012 more >>

Posted: 28 September 2012

27 September 2012

Nuclear Safety

Research shows 23 nuclear power plants with 74 reactors have been identified in high tsunami risk areas and one is the now infamous Fukushima. Thirteen plants with 29 reactors are already operating and another 4 have 20 reactors with nine more reactors to be added. Seven new plants are under construction with 16 reactors. Tsunamis threaten the U.S. west coast the Spanish/Portuguese Atlantic Coast and the coast of North Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean and areas of Oceania to a degree. But the higher risks lie in South and Southeast Asia. Of considerable note, is that 19 (two of which are in Taiwan) of the 25 new reactors under construction are being built in Chinese areas identified as dangerous.

Oil Price 26th Sept 2012 more >>

IAEA

Growth rates may have slowed but world nuclear energy capacity will nevertheless continue to increase over the coming decades, according to the latest projections from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The newly released report – full title Energy, Electricity and Nuclear Power Estimates for the Period up to 2050 – contains high and low projections of energy, electricity and nuclear power trends over the coming years. Under the low scenario, installed nuclear capacity is predicted to grow from 2011’s 370 GWe to reach 456 GWe by 2030, about 9% down on the increase projected in 2011. A ten-year delay in growth anticipated before the Fukushima accident is observed, with nuclear capacity taking until 2030 to reach levels that had previously been anticipated for 2020.

World Nuclear News 26th Sept 2012 more >>

The U.N. atomic agency cut its forecast for nuclear energy growth for a second year as the industry continued to feel the effect of the Fukushima disaster in Japan and said most of the expansion would be in Asia.

Reuters 26th Sept 2012 more >>

United Nations nuclear agency chief Yukiya Amano, a key figure in international diplomacy over Iran’s disputed nuclear activity, will seek a new four-year term next year, the Vienna-based organisation said on Wednesday.

Reuters 26th Sept 2012 more >>

Politics

Nick Clegg has issued a clear warning to David Cameron that he will not allow any scaling back of the coalition’s green ambitions in the face of criticism from the Conservative Party “Nick Clegg has rightly identified the necessity of building a low-carbon economy – and the huge financial benefits this will bring to the UK,” he said. “The key test of Mr Clegg’s environmental resolve will be the forthcoming Energy Bill – it must contain a legally-binding commitment to decarbonise the power sector by 2030, as called for by the Government’s official climate advisor. “It’s time to stand up to the anti-green Chancellor.”

Business Green 26th Sept 2012 more >>

Trident

Sir Nick Harvey, the former Liberal Democrat defence minister who was leading the review into the future of the UK’s nuclear deterrent, suggested there was broad support for scaling it down. The Trident submarine nuclear missile system should undergo a major downgrade, a Government review is likely to suggest. One possibility reportedly being considered is locking the warheads “in a cupboard” for delayed launch only after several weeks of growing international tension. Sir Nick Harvey, the former Liberal Democrat defence minister who was leading the review into the future of the UK’s nuclear deterrent until the recent Government reshuffle, argued there were “all sorts” of credible alternatives to replacing Trident with a similar 24-hour nuclear armed submarine system. These could include developing missiles to be launched from aircraft, surface navy ships or land, or a delayed-launch system.

Telegraph 27th Sept 2012 more >>

The government’s review of the future of the Trident submarine nuclear missile system is likely to suggest a significant downgrading of the UK’s nuclear deterrent.

Guardian 26th Sept 2012 more >>

Senior military commanders have privately questioned whether Britain needs to maintain its current level of nuclear deterrence when the country’s ageing Trident submarines are decommissioned. Nick Harvey, the former defence minister who until September had responsibility for the Government’s nuclear capability review, said officers had expressed reservations to him about both the costs and the benefits of such a deterrent. And he warned that Britain’s armed forces are facing a “perfect storm” of additional costs in the next five years that meant any decision to replace Trident would force cutbacks in other areas.

Independent 26th Sept 2012 more >>

Iran

Iran’s president has accused the West of nuclear “intimidation” in a UN General Assembly address boycotted by the United States and Israel. It was using a nuclear arms race to threaten other nations to accept the status quo, said Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

BBC 26th Sept 2012 more >>

Renewables

Denmark has underlined its position as one of the world’s leading renewable energy markets with the release of new government figures showing the country generated over 40 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources last year.

Business Green 27th Sept 2012 more >>

The EU has cemented its title as the world champion of wind power by passing the milestone of 100 gigawatts of generating capacity installed. The turbines bestriding the continent’s plains and seas can now pump out as much electricity as 39 nuclear power plants – or enough for 57m households. The new record, announced by the European Wind Energy Association trade body, underlines how quickly wind power has grown in the EU, despite the eurozone crisis and concern about the cost of wind subsidies and turbine-blighted views. It took almost 20 years to get the first 10GW of wind power connected to the grid in Europe, the EWEA said, but only 13 years to add 90GW.

FT 26th Sept 2012 more >>

EWEA 27th Sept 2012 more >>

Welcome to Lighter Learning, our programme lighting classrooms in Africa using clean, safe solar. We take light for granted. Yet nearly 2 billion people in the world have no access to electricity. And that includes schools. The only option for many teachers is to burn dangerous, dirty, expensive kerosene lamps so their students can study. These not only produce poor quality light but pose a frightening health risk too. The SolarAid solution is simple: harness the extraordinary power of the sun with robust, reliable solar technology so schools can give pupils a chance to study for a better future without putting lives and health at risk.

You Tube 25th Sept 2012 more >>

Spain at last has its own renewable energy cooperative — Som Energia — founded in Girona in the country’s Catalonia region. The group gets involved in profitable renewable energy projects to supply green electricity to its members and partners. The Cooperative has just surpassed the 3,500 membership mark. This nonprofit organization allows members to invest directly into renewable energy projects, as is already being done in many Northern and Central European countries, such as Germany. The current economic crisis is really hurting Spain, and that means that many people are looking for alternative ways of living, and joining cooperatives are a great option compared to the large multinational energy companies (which dominate the Spanish energy sector). The cooperative invests in its own photovoltaic, wind, biomass, biogas, and hydroelectric projects. And the members (who pay a one-off €100 to join ) can then change their energy provider over to Som Energia, therefore receiving purely clean energy. Alternatively, each member can invest into projects directly (investors can get a return of between 3-5% annually and can take out their investment whenever they wish).

Clean Technica 27th Sept 2012 more >>

Energy Efficiency

The number of homes being insulated in Britain has risen according to the latest figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). Between April and July 2012, over 200,000 had cavity wall insulation and 480,000 properties undertook loft insulation. That now means that 65% of homes with a loft have had loft insulation and 68% of homes with cavity walls have had their walls insulated.

Guardian 26th Sept 2012 more >>

Posted: 27 September 2012

26 September 2012

Nuclear Free Cities

Local authority leaders from across Europe are meeting in Brussels to co-ordinate opposition to developing nuclear power. Representatives from European cities held a key meeting today to discuss concerns about nuclear power and today are opening a major exhibition at the European Parliament. The group, led by Vienna City Council (VCC) and supported by Manchester-based Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA), intends to lobby European Union institutions and MEPs to improve nuclear safety and move away from nuclear power. NFLA secretary Sean Morris said that following the Fukushima disaster VCC wrote to authorities across Europe to lobby the EU on improving safety and phasing out reactors. A number of cities had given their “political support,” he said. The major exhibition called “Uranium mining in and for Europe” will be opened by speakers including NFLA chair Brian Goodall, Karin Kadenbach MEP and Elisabeth Vitouch from VCC.

Morning Star 25th Sept 2012 more >>

Radwaste

PLANS for a nuclear waste dump in Cumbria are set to be discussed tomorrow ahead of a crunch meeting next month. Copeland Borough Council will meet tomorrow to debate the final report from the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership, ahead of the meeting on October 11 when the county council cabinet and district authorities will decide whether to progress with plans for an underground storage facility. Last week Shepway Council voted against proposals to store nuclear waste underground in Romney Marsh, Kent, and only Cumbria has expressed an interest. It is feared the county council is likely to block plans for the facility. Some local councillors have complained the cabinet has not been given long enough to assess the plans and are seeking to postpone the vote until early next year. Yesterday the Sellafield Workers Campaign urged councillors to vote in favour of carrying on the search for a nuclear repository in Cumbria amid fears a new-build nuclear power station will not come about if there is no repository.

NW Evening Mail 25th Sept 2012 more >>

Hinkley

U.K. regulators plan to give a site license to Electricite de France SA’s proposed Hinkley nuclear station by the end of November, removing one of the hurdles for the company as it decides whether to go ahead with a new plant. The exact timing “is dependent still on some outstanding information which needs to be received and reviews they need to carry out,” said Colin Patchett, deputy chief inspector for the U.K.’s Office for Nuclear Regulation, in a telephone interview.“So far, we haven’t found any major issues.”

Bloomberg 25th Sept 2012 more >>

MORE must be done to protect Bridgwater from the effects of Hinkley C, a leading politician has been told. EDF Energy, the firm behind a third nuclear power station at Hinkley Point, has this week revealed details of how it will mitigate the area if the scheme goes ahead. A £64million package will include nearly £16million on roads and £8.5million on housing. But politicians in Bridgwater fear the measures do not go far enough. On Saturday, Labour councillors invited Baroness Royall, Labour leader in the House of Lords, to Bridgwater, to press for the town’s case to be heard at the top ranks of Government.

This is the West Country 25th Sept 2012 more >>

Sizewell

EDF Energy says a public consultation on building a new nuclear power station at Sizewell in Suffolk will start by the end of November.

ITV Anglia 26th Sept 2012 more >>

Prolferation

Three Swiss engineers guilty of involvement in a Pakistani nuclear smuggling ring avoided a prison sentence on Tuesday after agreeing a plea bargain with the Swiss Federal Prosecutor’s Office. Friedrich Tinner and his two sons, Marco and Urs, pleaded guilty at the federal criminal court in Bellinzona of supplying centrifuge parts and participating in the smuggling ring of Abdul Qadeer Khan, the former head of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, who in 2004 was found by Pakistan to have sold nuclear secrets to North Korea, Iran and Libya. However, after agreeing the plea bargain, the Tinner trio were handed relatively mild suspended jail sentences of between 24 and 50 months.

Reuters 25th Sept 2012 more >>

Nuclear Safety

An industry team that will review safety of new nuclear power plants before they start up has been assembled by the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) at a new office in Hong Kong. One of WANO’s major programs has been to organize peer reviews of operational nuclear power plants, where a team of experts from its membership deliver frank feedback on another operator’s methods. Now, a new pre-startup peer review team will do the same thing but for reactors that have yet to reach first criticality, focusing on their “preparation and readiness… to start safely and reliably.” It will be made up of seconded peer reviewers with experience gained at WANO’s other offices – in Atlanta, Moscow, Paris and Tokyo, as well as the coordinating centre in London.

World Nuclear News 25th Sept 2012 more >>

Companies

Germany’s two biggest power companies may have joint roots in making electricity from the coal mined in the Ruhr valley and they are still neighbours – RWE is based in Essen and Eon in Düsseldorf, 35km south. But they are implementing very different strategies to deal with the revolution they see sweeping the energy sector. With sun and wind ever cheaper to harness, they recognise “decentralisation” of electricity generation as a threat to the incumbents of old – and Germany’s accelerated nuclear phase-out, which last year brought forward the closure of the last nuclear plant to 2022 from 2036, encouraged potential new entrants all the more.

FT 26th Sept 2012 more >>

France

Newly signed contracts have seen one of Areva’s largest ever uranium orders, which will help to secure over 20 years’ fuel supply for EDF’s reactors. According to a joint statement from the two French companies, Areva will supply more than 30,000 tonnes of natural uranium to EDF for the period from 2014-2035. The companies have divulged no details on the value of the contracts, which follow on from a long-term partnership agreement announced in January.

World Nuclear News 25th Sept 2012 more >>

Japan

Fukushima Crisis update 21st to 24th Sept.

Greenpeace 25th Sept 2012 more >>

Iran

President Barack Obama warned Iran on Tuesday the United States will “do what we must” to prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapon and said time was running short for diplomacy but ignored the Israeli prime minister’s demand to set a “red line” for Tehran.

Reuters 25th Sept 2012 more >>

Telegraph 25th Sept 2012 more >>

Trident

All 120 armed warheads on Britain’s fleet of Trident submarines could be removed within a month in a staged dismantling of the country’s nuclear weapons system. It would take just two years to remove Britain’s entire stockpile of nuclear weapon from the Clyde, and four years to dismantle the entire stockpile of less than 225 warheads. This is the timetable set out in what the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) calls “a practical guide to de-activating and dismantling the Trident nuclear weapon system”. It says: “Recent years have seen the consensus in Westminster crumble, with defence analysts recognising both the crippling on conventional defence spending of retaining and replacing Trident, and the strategic redundancy of nuclear weapons”.

Guardian 26th Sept 2012 more >>

The plan preferred by the Lib Dems would see nuclear warheads fired from existing Astute submarines, eliminating the need to replace the Vanguard-class nuclear boats. A final decision is not expected until after the next general election, but the initial gate stages of preparatory work have already been signed off, resulting in more jobs being created at BAE Systems’ Barrow shipyard. Mr Woodcock said: “I have worked well with Tim Farron on a number of issues, but on renewal of the deterrent the Lib Dems are either cosmically ill-informed or seeking to pull the wool over the eyes of many thousands whose jobs depend on a thriving shipyard.

NW Evening Mail 25th Sept 2012 more >>

Renewables

Onshore wind energy: what are the pros and cons? This Q&A is part of the Guardian’s ultimate climate change FAQ

Guardian 25th Sept 2012 more >>

The assertion that wind turbines don’t reduce carbon emissions is a myth, according to conclusive statistical data obtained from National Grid and analysed here in the Guardian for the first time. With a new wind generation record of 4,131 megawatts set on 14 September, the question of how far the UK’s wind generation fleet can help in meeting our climate targets is increasingly controversial. Now it can be shown that the sceptics who lobby against wind simply have their facts wrong.

Guardian 26th Sept 2012 more >>

Posted: 26 September 2012

25 September 2012

MoX

The “Atlantic Osprey” arrived in Nordenham carrying eight nuclear fuel rods. It is the first of two deliveries coming from the Sellafield nuclear power station, destined for the Grohnde plant near Hamelin in Lower Saxony. The rods of Mox – a mix of plutonium and uranium – were already on the special trucks on the ship, which were unloaded and driven slowly from Nordenham to Grohnde, news magazine Der Spiegel reported. The rods were made from nuclear waste at Sellafield. There were some 1,300 police officers to oversee their arrival. Only around three dozen protesters waited to show their opposition, some in canoes and inflatable boats, holding up banners damning the cargo. A man even tried to climb up onto the bow of the “Atlantic Osprey”.

The Local 24th Sept 2012 more >>

New Nukes

CHINA has emerged as a potential investor in the £14billion project to build the next generation of British nuclear reactors. French energy giant EDF, already Britain’s biggest nuclear power producer, is in talks to bring partners on board to help spread the cost of the Hinkley Point scheme in Somerset

Express 24th Sept 2012 more >>

Chinese state power companies are said to be in talks to take as much as a 30 per cent stake in the new Hinkley C nuclear power plant project from French energy giant EDF. Almost a third of the £10billion project is up for grabs according to reports in the Sunday press yesterday. EDF Energy, which owns and operates eight of the UK’s existing ten nuclear power stations is proposing a new twin-reactor plant at Hinkley Point on the Somerset coast. The company said yesterday: “We have said for some time that we were open to the idea of other investment partners and as we approach our final investment decision, it is right to consider funding options. “The project is advancing well and has achieved a level of maturity to make it attractive to potential new investors.” EDF has declined to discuss the identities of possible partners, but in the most detailed leaks to emerge from the nuclear industry, well-placed sources say EDF has been in discussion with China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation, and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation. The corporations, which are rivals, have also each joined with Western consortia to try to buy the Horizon Nuclear Power company from RWE and E.O.N. Horizon owns sites at Oldbury, South Gloucestershire and Wylfa on Anglesey. Industry sources told the Sunday Times that if one of the rivals is chosen for Hinkley it is likely to end its bid for Horizon.

Western Daily Press 24th Sept 2012 more >>

The global nuclear power industry has three strikes against it – cost, catastrophes, whether man-made (Three Mile Island, Chernobyl) or natural (Fukushima Daiichi) and the not inconsiderable problem of disposing of nuclear waste generated by NPPs. Despite civilian nuclear programs dating back to the early 1960s, no country has yet developed an environmentally safe means of disposing of NPP’s nuclear by products, and these three issues are forcing a slow but significant worldwide rethink on the viability of nuclear electrical production.

Belfast Telegraph 24th Sept 2012 more >>

Horizon

Britain’s plans for a new generation of nuclear plants will take a big step forward this week when three consortiums submit bids for Horizon, the energy group with licences to build nuclear reactors in Anglesey and Gloucestershire. The battle for Horizon, a joint venture between German utilities RWE and Eon which the two put up for sale in March, amounts to a high-stakes contest between three different reactor types, with each consortium saying their design is the right foundation for Britain’s coming nuclear renaissance. Each of the three consortiums is led by a big reactor manufacturer – Westinghouse Electric and Areva, both of whom have formed partnerships with state-owned Chinese groups, and Hitachi. Areva has teamed up with China Guangdong Nuclear Power , and Westinghouse with State Nuclear Power Technology , as well as Exelon, the US power generator. Hitachi is leading an international consortium which has no Chinese role. The deadline for formal bids expires on Friday, with a sale expected to close by the end of the year.

FT 24th Sept 2012 more >>

Radwaste

Parishes and Towns throughout Cumbria have almost unanimously said NO to going any further along the toxic route to geological dumping. This however is the wrong Answer. Nuclear new build obsessed government are now trying the stick approach by sending in the heavies in the form of Sir David King who insists that the answer to climate change is nuclear power and Cumbria will singlehandedly scupper the world’s fight against climate change if we do not accept that the solution is to bury existing and future high level nuclear wastes under Cumbria in a huge mine. This is ludicrous and immoral. ANYBODY in the Silloth area who wants to add their voice to the protest, please tell them to come to a public meeting at the Golf Hotel in Silloth on 3rd October At 7 PM which could be our last chance to publicly air our views about what’s happening here. I fear that an awful lot of people still don’t seem to know what is being proposed. A frequent visitor to the town, the young guy in the picture knew absolutely nothing about it until we informed him and he was utterly shocked and was telling the local television stations guys exactly what he thought.”

Radiation Free Lakeland 24th Sept 2012 more >>

Government plans to build a new generation of nuclear reactors are facing further uncertainty over concerns that local councils are rejecting proposals to store the waste. Shepway Council last week voted against proposals to store nuclear waste underground in Romney Marsh, Kent, with research facilities at ground level. Despite bringing economic benefits to the area, local residents were concerned a storage facility could lead to public health hazards and environmental damage, which could in turn have an impact on the community. Now Cumbria County Council – the only other local authority considering hosting a waste repository – looks set to reject or postpone their plans too.

Business Green 24th Sept 2012 more >>

A meeting of Copeland council takes place this week and the nuclear dump is at the top of the agenda. The meeting, on Wednesday, will debate the final report from the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership, ahead of the crunch meeting on October 11 when the county council cabinet and district authorities will decide whether to progress with plans for an underground storage facility as big as Workington. The meeting comes after former government science adviser Sir David King warned that Britain’s nuclear power programme would be put at “serious risk” if a suitable repository site cannot be found in Cumbria.

Carlisle News and Star 24th Sept 2012 more >>

COUNCIL bosses were in such a rush to get the ball rolling on the nuclear waste burial centre project they ignored their own competitive tendering rules – by spending £30,000 on a PR firm. According to Shepway District Council’s (SDC) own rules, it must gather at least three written quotes from commercial companies for any public contract worth more £10,000. But it did not do this for its nuclear public consultation exercise, the Herald can reveal, raising questions over fairness and value for money for local taxpayers.

Hythe Herald 24th Sept 2012 more >>

Sizewell

An international fact finding mission recently visited Sizewell B nuclear power station in Suffolk. The mission was led by ENSREG, an independent authoritative expert body composed of senior officials from national regulatory or nuclear safety authorities from all 27 member states in the EU. The ENSREG visit to Sizewell B follows the stress tests held last year and the conclusion of the international peer review held earlier this year. Similar visits will be carried out at a small number of nuclear sites across Europe. These visits will provide ENSREG with information on measures being taken to improve safety and will facilitate sharing of learning gained from implementing these improvements. ENSREG will report its findings from these visits later this year. Its report will include a brief description of the plant, a summary of what was observed, measures already decided or considered, good practices, successes and any lessons learned from events at Fukushima. The ENSREG team were supported at Sizewell B by members of Office for Nuclear Regulation and EDF Energy, the licensee of this power station.

Assystem 20th Sept 2012 more >>

Wylfa

ENERGY Secretary Ed Davey has said he is “very confident” a consortium will take forward plans for a new nuclear reactor in North Wales. His optimism emerged on a day of mixed messages about nuclear energy as the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton. Party leader Nick Clegg used a question and answer session with members to express his doubts about the technology. He was “very sceptical about the economics, because I just so far have not seen any evidence of any successful nuclear industry anywhere around the world which hasn’t in the end relied upon great big dollops of public subsidy”.

Daily Post 24th Sept 2012 more >>

Scotland

Donald Trump and the world’s first ‘professor of carbon capture’ clashed last night in the Spectator’s first debate in Edinburgh over the motion : as they sparred over the contentious motion – Scotland’s Energy Policy is Just Hot Air. Stuart Haszeldine, the world’s first Professor of Carbon Capture and Storage. He advises both the UK and Scottish Governments on climate change. An Edinburgh University scientist, he opposed the motion saying he was a scientist not a debater and his role was to explain the facts about climate change and the need to pursue alternatives to finite fossil fuels. Using graphs, tables and charts, Prof Haszeldine said he could prove, both that the world was getting warmer and also that the world had to end its reliance on fossil fuels because they were running out.“Oil and gas have 50 years left at the present rate of consumption, coal has 100 years left, at a present rate of consumption,” he declared. Prof Haszeldine stressed that it took time to develop new energy sources which is why he backed the Scottish Government’s drive to generate the equivalent of 100 per cent of Scotland’s electricity supplies from renewable sources by 2020 – thought to be the most ambitious renewables target in the world. The professor warned that nuclear energy, although good for reducing greenhouse gas emissions was very expensive, particularly because of the disposal costs and that, when these full costs were taken into account, nuclear energy cost twice as much as renewables. He also attacked the opponents of climate change for spreading misinformation and not basing their arguments on proper scientific research. ”Pseudo science is being used to show global warming doesn’t exist,” he warned.

Spectator 21st Sept 2012 more >>

Politics

Tim Farron publicly voiced the frustrations expressed privately by senior Liberal Democrat ministers that Mr Osborne is blocking clean energy initiatives that could replace ageing coal-fired power stations. Speaking at a fringe meeting of the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton, organised by The Independent in association with Royal & Sun Alliance, Mr Farron accused the Chancellor of sending “mixed messages” to businesses looking to invest in the UK and called for more radical policies to promote growth.

Independent 25th Sept 2012 more >>

Mr Davey acted to prevent John Hayes, who was appointed in this month’s reshuffle, taking formal responsibility for renewable energy strategy. Mr Hayes has campaigned against wind farms in his Lincolnshire constituency, describing turbines as a “terrible intrusion” on the landscape. Conservative MPs opposed to wind farms saw his appointment to the Department of Energy and Climate Change as a positive sign, hoping that the new minister would try to curb the spread of turbines.

Telegraph 25th Sept 2012 more >>

Iran

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has indicated he is willing to make a deal on limiting Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium, but expressed doubt in the West’s willingness to negotiate in good faith.

Telegraph 24th Sept 2012 more >>

A senior commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said any attack on Iranian soil could trigger “World War III”, opening the possibility of a pre-emptive strike on Israel.

IB Times 24th Sept 2012 more >>

US

Almost two thirds of US adults favour the use of nuclear energy as one of the ways to provide electricity in the United States, according to a September telephone survey, the Nuclear Energy Institute announced in a press release.

Nuclear Engineering International 24th Sept 2012 more >>

World Nuclear News 24th Sept 2012 more >>

Thorium

Uranium 233 looked attractive because it could be made in a reactor from thorium, a cheap and abundant radioactive metal, and, almost magically, the reactor would produce more fuel than it consumed. Utilities manufactured some of it at the Indian Point I reactor in Westchester County, N.Y., which is now retired, and at reactors in Colorado, Illinois and Pennsylvania. the government assembled a few bombs with the 233 version, and a research reactor in Tennessee briefly switched to it as fuel in 1968. But very little was used, so the material sat for decades in government laboratories and weapons plants. Now, wary of the security risks posed by the stockpiles, the Energy Department is making plans to dispose of them at a cost estimated at $473 million. The department faces other disposal challenges, including how to handle tens of thousands of tons of spent fuel from civilian reactors, but uranium 233 is different, given that in the proper form it could easily be used to make a bomb. Robert Alvarez, a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies who was an Energy Department adviser during the Clinton administration, estimates that the government spent at least $5.5 billion, accounting for inflation, to produce the uranium 233. He contends that the government is poised to compound its original error in making the material by disposing of it in a way that is not secure.

New York Times 23rd Sept 2012 more >>

Coal

No resource can withstand the pressure of an exponential growth in demand. China burned 3.7 billion tons of coal in 2010, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, compared with 1.2 billion tons in 2000. Today, China uses almost twice as much coal as the U.S. while possessing only half of its reserves. Coal is behind China’s world-leading economic growth, accounting for more than three-quarters of the country’s power. An ever-increasing supply is needed to keep factories humming, lights on and, most of all, its gross domestic product growing. our supply of economically viable coal is a lot smaller than we think, at least when it comes to the high- grade variety. Not all coal is created equal. The highest grades, such as anthracite and bituminous coal, can have as much as five times the energy content of other “brown” varieties, such as sub-bituminous and lignite. If you have to ship five times as much low-grade coal to match the energy content of high-grade coal, it makes little sense to transport it to faraway power plants.

Bloomberg25th Sept 2012 more >>

Renewables

The share of Denmark’s total domestic power supply from renewable sources, mainly wind, exceeded 40 percent for the first time last year, the Danish Energy Agency said on Monday. The share of renewables rose to 40.7 percent of the domestic electricity supply in 2011, from 34.8 percent in 2010, with the portion from wind rising to 28.1 percent from 21.9 percent, the agency said in its annual statistical review. Denmark, which has a target to boost the share of its power supply from wind to 50 percent by 2020, has long been the world leader in wind energy. It has also adopted a goal of getting 100 percent of its energy from renewables by 2050.

Reuters 24th Sept 2012 more >>

Trident

Nick Harvey’s removal as the Liberal Democrat minister in the Ministry of Defence meant the review into less expensive alternatives to a like-for-like replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system was passed to David Laws. Amid concerns the new education minister had too much on his plate, the review was passed from Mr Laws to Danny Alexander, the Treasury chief secretary. But the Financial Times has learned that Nick Clegg, the party leader, originally said he would take on the task himself, meaning there have now been four people leading the review in as many weeks.

FT 24th Sept 2012 more >>

Posted: 25 September 2012

24 September 2012

New Nukes

Subsidies for new nuclear power could add £70 to annual household energy bills, Ian Marchant, the chief executive of SSE warns. Ministers should refuse to subsidise EDF Energy’s plans for the first British nuclear reactors in a generation unless the French energy giant agrees to deliver them for a substantially lower price than is widely expected, Mr Marchant argues. The government is in negotiations with EDF over a long-term guaranteed price for electricity from its proposed plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset. If the market price for electricity remains below that level, EDF will receive ‘top-up’ subsidies paid for through levies on all UK electricity consumers. EDF has so far refused to say how much the plants will cost or the level of subsidy it will seek, although last month EDF Energy chief executive Vi ncent de Rivaz told this newspaper the price would be less than £140 per megawatt hour (MWh). Writing in the Daily Telegraph on Monday, Mr Marchant calculates that the price should be nearer £65/MWh, based on estimates EDF published in 2008, and on independent estimates produced last year for the Government. “We will all end up bearing the cost of the opaque negotiations going on between Whitehall and Paris,” he warns. “The difference between paying £65/MWh for new nuclear, versus £140/MWh for new nuclear, assuming we decide to build two reactors, will amount to over £2bn each and every year. That is around £70 for every household on top of the current electricity bill.” Mr Marchant adds: “As a country we should walk away at anything over £90/MWh, if not less.”

Telegraph 23rd Sept 2012 more >>

Ian Marchant: Nuclear industry should focus on cost control rather than negotiating for the highest price. The nuclear industry, historically adept at negotiation, appears to be engaging in a classic piece of anchoring to get the highest price for new nuclear. The first “price”, appearing in apparently well sourced media reports, was £165/MWh. This was promptly denied by EdF, which is seeking to develop the first new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point and is currently negotiating the contract with the Government. EdF reportedly is seeking a number closer to £140/MWh of electricity generated, comparable to the cost of electricity from offshore wind farms. So now, conveniently, we have a price anchor that is still high and yet appears to be cheap. Unfortunately, it is at completely the wrong level. Less than four years ago, at the end of 2008, EdF said that the cost of a new reactor, specifically for the UK market would be around £45/MWh. If we allow a generous inflation figure that suggests £60/MWh to £65/MWh at today’s prices. Of course, in 2008 many countries were looking at building new reactors, but since the Fukushima disaster fewer are pushing ahead, so it should be a “buyer’s market”. So if £65/MWh was right only four years ago, why is the number now being mooted more than double that being promoted in 2008? The Department of Energy and Climate Change itself funded a report from PB Power into nuclear costs in 2011. It calculated “first of a kind” nuclear at £74/MWh, with the price reducing to £65/MWh once the technology has been proven. Given that EdF is currently deploying the technology it will use in the UK in Flamanville, France, at costs of around £80/MWh (40pc lower than the £140/MWh being touted for new nuclear in the UK), you would expect that the UK plants should b e nearer PB Power’s £65/MWh number due to the development and construction learnings.

Telegraph 23rd Sept 2012 more >>

Horizon

THE UK’s next generation of nuclear power plants will come closer to construction this week, as bids roll in for the Horizon project and EDF progresses in talks with potential partners for work at Hinkley Point. Horizon’s future was put in doubt in March, when RWE and E.ON put the £15bn joint venture up for sale, blaming the onerous cost of going ahead with the project. But a raft of firms are expected to table final bids ahead of Friday’s deadline, including a consortium led by Westinghouse and Exelon, another fronted by Areva and Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation, and General Electric Hitachi. But the line-up of bidders could be altered by EDF’s separate efforts to make progress on its Hinkley Point site in Somerset. France’s EDF last week started a public consultation about the new plant, and is searching for a partner to shoulder some of the financial burden. It is believed to be in talks with several Chinese institutions before it makes a final investment decision at the end of the year.

City AM 24th Sept 2012 more >>

Wylfa

The leader of Plaid Cymru has clarified the party’s position on nuclear power and how it relates to Anglesey. Leanne Wood said although the party’s policy is against building new nuclear power stations, Plaid would work to create jobs on the island. Ms Wood said the party had always given local party representatives “the right to make up their own minds”. Plaid’s nuclear policy has brought difficulties for the party in its strongholds in north west Wales, where jobs in the nuclear industry have been important for the local economy. Voters on Anglesey go to the polls next May after council elections were postponed for a year after the Welsh government appointed commissioners to run it.

BBC 23rd Sept 2012 more >>

Japan

The Japanese government’s proposals to phase out nuclear power over the next 20 years would cost tens of thousands of jobs in the steel industry. It would also make it impossible for many mini-mills to survive, the Japan Iron and Steel Federation has warned.

Metal Bulletin 24th Sept 2012 more >>

Gundersen: “We’re finding now that girls are having as much as twice as many thyroid lumps as boys” — “Moms had a real legitimate reason to get their families out of there”

Energy News 24th Sept 2012 more >>

Iran

German firm Siemens has denied allegations by an Iranian lawmaker that it planted explosives in equipment sold to Iran for use in its nuclear programme. “Siemens does not have any business ties with Iran’s nuclear programme,” a spokesman for the Munich-based company said.

Herald 24th Sept 2012 more >>

Sky 23rd Sept 2012 more >>

Reuters 23rd Sept 2012 more >>

AN IRANIAN lawmaker has accused the head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog of passing confidential information about his
country’s nuclear activities to Israel. Javad Jahangirzadeh said International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano would be to blame if Iran reduced its ties with the body.

Scotsman 24th Sept 2012 more >>

Reuters 23rd Sept 2012 more >>

Jordan

Israeli officials have emphatically denied allegations made by King Abdullah II that the Jewish state has attempted to block Jordan’s nuclear development.

Telegraph 23rd Sept 2012 more >>

Posted: 24 September 2012

23 September 2012

Hinkley

EDF is in talks to sell a near-30% stake in the £14 billion project to build Britain’s first nuclear reactors for more than 20 years. The French energy group wants to spread the cost of the huge scheme at Hinkley Point, Somerset. EDF is thought to be negotiating with a handful of Chinese state giants, including China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation. It has hired Credit Suisse, the investment bank, as adviser. The Department of Energy & Climate Change is in the final stages of crunch talks with EDF over the subsidies for Hinkley Point. Sources say the government is likely to guarantee wholesale power prices of at least £100 per megawatt hour – nearly twice the current market rate. Final offers for Horizon are due on Friday. Toshiba Westinghouse, the Japanese-owned nuclear technology company, has joined China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation and Exelon, the American energy company, in one team. There is a rival offer from Areva, the French nuclear developer, and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation, and a third from Hitachi, the Japanese giant. The outcome could affect the result of the EDF sale. Industry sources say if one of the Chinese groups is chosen for Hinkley, it is likely to withdraw from the Horizon race.

Sunday Times 23rd Sept 2012 more >>

Politics

An anti-green movement within the Tory party is threatening tens of billions of pounds of investment, Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey has warned. He told the Observer that a “Tea Party tendency” among Tory MPs could deter low-carbon energy projects. And Business Secretary Vince Cable has warned of a “populist backlash against everything green”.

BBC 23rd Sept 2012 more >>

Davey says, however, that there are huge opportunities for the British economy from investment in low-carbon energy infrastructure projects, including wind and solar energy, carbon capture storage and new nuclear power, all of which make up a large part of projected spending of £118bn in the sector over the next decade. Last year alone £12.7bn was invested in this country by the renewable energy industry, creating 20,000 jobs.

Observer 23rd Sept 2012 more >>

Smart Meters

For environmentalists such as Green, using demand management makes more sense than cranking up another gas-fired power station. But he does not just want big factories switching off – he wants to see thousands, maybe millions, of homes volunteering to cut consumption at times of need in exchange for a cash incentive. “On October 17, we are going to start with a small number of houses and businesses,” said Green, “but we want to get it to about 15,000 houses.” When the full scheme gets under way, participants could see savings of up to 25% on their energy bills. Some of that will come from changes in their behaviour as they learn more about their energy use. Some will come from the “remote control” switch-off of appliances and the dimming of lights. “And they also get a share of the money that comes back because they are providing this balancing service. That could be another 10 per cent off their bills,” said Green. The curtailment experiment will be launched at the Ecoislands Global Summit 2012, an event on the Isle of Wight bringing together 500 delegates to share information on sustainable communities. It will use a wireless “mesh” of linked boxes and controllers being created on the island by Cable & Wireless Worldwide and Silver Spring Networks. Houses will get a home energy management system, or HEMS – a black box half the size of a shoebox that sits alongside the meter. The box talks to appliances around the home via wi-fi or by sending signals through the mains electricity. The homeowner can choose the appli ances to be controlled.

Sunday Times 23rd Sept 2012 more >>

Renewables

ON the toe of Cornwall, where the last of England disappears into the Atlantic Ocean, there is excitement in the air. Its source is a place called Hayle, a sleepy little enclave just a few minutes’ drive from the restaurants and amusement arcades of the resort of St Ives. This is the headquarters of the south-west’s ambitions for marine energy, centred around Wave Hub, a site for testing wave-powered turbines. It is styling itself as the most advanced stop in the long road towards developing devices that will finally realise all the years of promises about the potential for getting electricity from sea water. According to the Wave Hub pitch, once you have done your research and development and then developed a commercially viable device with testing in the world-leading Orkneys, you should then come to Cornwall to test an array of devices. This i s widely seen as the final step that would give big utilities the confidence to commission wave farms on a full commercial scale. Several years before anyone is at that point, Wave Hub is currently competing to offer testing facilities to designers at earlier stages. It has announced two agreements, and the first will see a device in the water before January. The brainchild of an Irish company, Ocean Energy, it is a buoy that works by allowing water into a central chamber. That squeezes air up to create pressure to turn a turbine. The unspoken message is that Scotland needs to watch out. Orkney might be years ahead as the world’s number one venue for testing wave and tidal devices, but Cornwall is competing on waves. This is at a time of disquiet in the Scottish marine energy industry, as was evident at the Scottish Renewables Marine Energy Conference in Inverness last week. No-one is worried about resources, of course. Scotland has 25% of Europe’s tidal power and 10% of its wave power – considerably more than the south of England. But industry leaders are concerned Scotland is being held back by the UK system that charges electricity producers and consumers to use the transmission network. Unless someone comes up with an answer, they claim, the industry could collapse before it is properly under way.

Sunday Herald 23rd Sept 2012 more >>

Posted: 23 September 2012

22 September 2012

Green Deal

The government finally admitted this week the implementation of its flagship Green Deal scheme has been delayed until 2013, with retrofit work now not expected to come to market until February. The Green Deal was due to start this October, with the industry hoping it would lead to a spike in retrofit work in the final quarter of 2012.

Building 20th Sept 2012 more >>

Radwaste

Britain’s nuclear new build programme is facing fresh uncertainty amid fears that Cumbria county council will postpone or even reject plans to host a permanent storage facility for the country’s nuclear waste. Local politicians have warned that the council is increasingly wary about volunteering to store hundreds of thousands of tonnes of radioactive material underground amid the rolling hills of the north-west. Jamie Reed, MP for Copeland in Cumbria, home to Sellafield, where waste is currently processed and temporarily stored, said the county council was likely to block the proposals to host the £12bn nuclear research and disposal facility. Mr Reed, who supports the project, warned that a No vote would jeopardise the economic future of the area. Cumbria’s David Southward, a local Labour councillor, predicted the cabinet would defer a decision pending further government guarantees of the council’s right to pull out further on in the process. “I think they will postpone it to January,” he said. “I blame the government because the white paper was deliberately vague about the right to withdraw and people distrust it.”

FT 21st Sept 2012 more >>

Radiation Free Lakeland has just heard on the grapevine that the 3 leaders of the three Cumbrian Councils have been summoned to a meeting in London with the new Minister Baroness Verma. The esteemed Baroness is responsible for implementing geological disposal (!) The Council Leaders will be going to get their arms twisted …this underlines the charade of the supposed 3 independent decisions at the same time on the same day….on October 11th. There is nothing free and independent about this whole business, it stinks. If the councils (or more precisely their Cabinet/Executives) hadn’t been stupid enough to volunteer in the first place they wouldn’t be going along to get their arms twisted to sell Cumbria down the toxic river. Eddie Martin – Leader of Cumbria County Council will be busy before the 11th October as he is also going to Canada at the government/industry’s expense to be wined and dined and shown the “state of the art” nuclear dumps in Canada.

Radiation Free Lakeland 21st Sept 2012 more >>

New Nukes

Government officials have been in Beijing this week with their Chinese counterparts for an “unprecedented” collaboration on energy. On the table was new nuclear power, and its role in moving the UK to a low-carbon economy. So far, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) has been relentlessly optimistic about new nuclear, and hopes that its electricity market reform plans for a draft energy bill will do the trick, despite strong and sustained criticism from a parliamentary select committee on energy, and more recently a House of Lords working group who conclude that the reforms are “unworkable”. But Decc is still loyal to the nuclear project and hopes the financial support implied in these market reforms will attract foreign investment. Russia’s Rosatom has recently built the hugely controversial nuclear power plant in Iran at Bushehr, and is ready to help Iran build another power generating unit there, despite reports that Iran has installed an underground uranium enrichment facility, potentially paving the way for nuclear weapons development. In Tibet, the Chinese nuclear industry is engaged in a determined effort to secure uranium deposits located in Amdo, where leaching and open pit extraction are reported to have resulted in significant environmental contamination. Regulation of safety oversight mechanisms is relatively weak in the Chinese nuclear industry.

Guardian 21st Sept 2012 more >>

Nuclear Subsidies

Structural market distortions remain the main ob¬stacle to creating an internal energy market and integrating wind energy. The level of liberalisation of European electricity markets remains low while large incumbents, high market concentration, con¬tinued massive subsidies to fossil fuels and nucle¬ar energy and regulated prices remain the rule rath¬er than the exception.

European Wind Energy Association 21st Sept 2012 more >>

Hinkley

On 31 October 2011, EdF Energy applied to what was the Infrastructure Planning Commission and is now the Planning Inspectorate for consent to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset (Hinkley Point C). Today, the lead inspector of a panel of five, Andrew Phillipson, has written to parties interested in the application to announce that the examination of the application has closed today, 21 September. The examination took one day short of the maximum six months allowed. The panel of inspectors now have three months to make a recommendation to Ed Davey MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, who then has a further three months to make a decision. That means that the decision whether or not to grant EdF Energy’s application must be made by 21 March 2013.

Bircham Dyson & Bell 21st Sept 2012 more >>

BBC 21st Sept 2012 more >>

Only the wildlife seems entirely happy amid an impasse over plans to build two new reactors. A bat house, two huts for four badger families, a barbed-wire fence and an empty muddy field are not much to show for Britain’s much-vaunted renaissance in nuclear power. EDF Energy has spent more than four years and, with its partner Centrica, the best part of £1 billion preparing to build Britain’s first new reactors for decades at the Hinkley Point C site in Somerset. Visitors have to wear overalls, boots, gloves and hard hats because it was officially declared a construction site in February. But the only sizeable structures put up so far are those housing wildlife. EDF and Centrica have promised to decide whether to go ahead at the end of the year, even if getting the green light is no longer the certainty that locals and staff had been led to believe. Construction costs have soared by an estimated 40 per cent, which means the project will need the Government to agree an even bigger subsidy, paid for by a levy on consumers’ bills. While EDF haggles with officials over the level of nuclear payments it should receive, the Treasury is drawing up an alternative plan to build more gas plants instead, if no agreement is reached. Mr Cann, who has moved from Kent for the project, admitted: “I’ll be looking for a new job if Hinkley Point C doesn’t go ahead.” Not all locals want what would be one of Europe’s biggest construction projects on their doorstep. Building the two reactors will take at least seven years and cause huge disruption. To level the site, the equivalent of almost three Wembley Stadiums’ full of earth will have to be tipped into an adjoining valley. At the construction peak, 500 lorries a day will move along a busy, single-lane road that also serves surrounding villages. Thousands of construction workers will be housed in accommodation complexes, bed and breakfasts and private homes. At the Friendly Spirit pub, in the nearby village of Cannington, people make clear their opposition to the project. Lesley Flash lives in the village of Stogursey, a little over a mile from Hinkley Point: “The parish is going to be ruined. People like Stogursey because it’s a rural backwater.” She argues that just because locals already put up with one reactor doesn’t mean they should have to accommodate two more. “Don’t call us Nimbys. How would you like to have that in your back yard?”

Times 22nd Sept 2012 more >>

Sizewell

Electricite de France SA said it plans to begin a formal public consultation for a proposed new nuclear plant at Sizewell in Suffolk, eastern England by the end of November, the company said today in an e-mailed statement. EDF said it’s sending a draft “Statement of Community Consultation” today to authorities in Suffolk, the first formal step in the consultation process. U.K. planning authorities tomorrow will end a separate examination into EDF’s plans for a nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C in Somerset amd have up to three months to make a recommendation ot the government, the French utility said.

Bloomberg 21st Sept 2012 more >>

EDF Energy, the UK arm of France’s state-owned utility, on Friday started planning procedures to build a second new nuclear plant in Britain, despite searching for a partner to help finance its first new UK nuclear plant in Somerset.

Reuters 21st Sept 2012 more >>

FRENCH-owned EDF has today started to progress its proposals for a new nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast. Officials have sent a draft Statement of Community Consultation (SoCC) to both the county council and Suffolk Coastal District Council for its plans for Sizewell C. The document outlines how the energy company is hoping to engage with members of the public. It is now inviting both authorities to comment on its proposed consultation programme and highlight any areas that may or may not need improving.

East Anglian Daily Times 21st Sept 2012 more >>

The Engineer 21st Sept 2012 more >>

Energy Bill

Alan Whitehead MP: It almost seems churlish to have a go at a department that is so clearly under siege from the rest of government, but needs must, I am afraid. We are now told that the Energy Bill – the flagship of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) energy market reform fleet – is due to sail into Parliament at the end of October. Missing from the draft Bill was anything that might promote energy efficiency measures as part of the overall drive for low-carbon electricity in the future. Decc was rather apologetic about this, and in the draft Energy Bill preamble declared: “We are currently reviewing the potential for incentivising further demand reduction in the energy sector. This work will report over the summer, in time to fit legislative timetables, should it be required.” So work was going on, one thought, and, well, they’ve promised that whatever it is will fit in with the legislation. This is comforting, especially since most informed commentators (including this journal) agree that the Bill really does need some robust clauses in it that apply the same sort of incentive to removing energy demand as there may be for lowering the carbon content of the energy that we do use.

Utility Week 21st Sept 2012 more >>

Horizon

Nuclear reactor maker Westinghouse is preparing to assemble a new multidisciplinary construction team to build reactors for operator Horizon at Wylfa in north Wales and Oldbury in Gloucester, it emerged this week. The firm’s original team – known as Nuclear Power Delivery and comprising contractors Laing O’Rourke and Shaw plus engineering giant Toshiba – was dissolved in March after Horizon suspended its new build programme when it was put up for sale. The bidding process to buy Horizon from current owners German energy firms RWE and Eon, is now underway after a decision to sell was announced in March. Westinghouse is moving to secure the best team and be ready to bid when the new owner is announced. Westinghouse is understood to be bidding with China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) to buy Horizon from RWE and EON. Rival firm Areva is understood to be bidding with China’s Guangdong Nuclear Power.

New Civil Engineer 20th Sept 2012 more >>

Politics

Danny Alexander, the Liberal Democrat Treasury chief secretary, has accused his Conservative coalition partners of waging a “constant war of attrition” on green issues, warning that it is endangering billions in green investment, as well as the whole government growth strategy. Alexander describes how the government is having to deal with Tory backbenchers – including those he calls “luddite” climate change deniers – opposing green technologies such as windfarms. “I just don’t think the British economy can any more afford to have a blue roadblock to green growth,” he says.

Guardian 21st Sept 2012 more >>

Geoffrey Lean: The Tories are clean out of their mind to want new gas plants. The Chancellor, George Osborne, and Danny Alexander, his deputy, are poised to go head to head over how to power the economy. More than £100 billion is at stake – quite apart from the Government’s climate-change policies and the small matter of Britain’s future as an industrial nation. It is an important moment. Over the next 10 years, one fifth of Britain’s electric power stations are due to close, as nuclear reactors reach the end of their licensed lives and coal-fired plants fall foul of pollution laws, causing, as Energy Secretary Ed Davey puts it, “the biggest overhaul of our energy infrastructure for decades”. Successive governments have dithered, but things have grown more acute as nuclear new-build plans have slipped seriously and wind power receives only about a fraction of the required resources. Instead, new gas plants are being built. Mr Osborne has been campaigning for months to expand and institutionalise this, aiming to establish Britain as a “gas hub”, while cutting government incentives for renewables. He has been planning to announce a new “dash for gas” at the Conservative conference next month.

Telegraph 21st Sept 2012 more >>

Japan

Fukushima Crisis Update 18th to 20th Sept.

Greenpeace 21st Sept 2012 more >>

Russia

Russian nuclear energy giant Rosatom spares neither trouble nor expense to dispel the many doubts about its future nuclear power plant in Kaliningrad, despite the fact that the company started the large-scale construction without having any investors or electricity sale deals. Rosatom, builder of the Baltic Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), keeps organizing events for Lithuanian and international reporters – a trip to Saint Petersburg to show off the ageing Leningrad Plant, a conference on nuclear energy in Moscow. Last week, a group of Lithuanian and Polish journalists were invited to see the construction site just outside Neman, Kaliningrad Oblast, where the company had laid foundations for the future plant this February.

15 mins 19th Sept 2012 more >>

North Korea

Member states of the U.N. atomic agency passed a resolution by consensus on Friday that “strongly urged” North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programme, underlining Pyongyang’s international isolation.

Trust 21st Sept 2012 more >>

Iran

Is an Iranian nuclear weapons capability something to be deplored or tolerated? No, they cannot be tolerated just as nuclear weapons anywhere cannot be tolerated. What we do not want for Iran should not be tolerated for Israel. We are told that Israel can have nuclear weapons because they are less dangerous for regional peace than if Iran has them. That is very disputable. A survey a few years ago showed that the majority of Europeans thought Israel was the most dangerous country for peace. Let us be consistent and demand all the countries, without exception, get rid of such weapons.

Independent 21st Sept 2012 more >>

Canada

Canadian nuclear regulators will hold a hearing on Nov. 13-14 to consider province-owned generating company Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) request to refurbish the four reactors at the 3,512-megawatt Darlington nuclear power plant. OPG wants to refurbish the four reactors at Darlington so they could operate for another 30 years. The company said on its website the refurbishment was expected to start in 2016.

Reuters 21st Sept 2012 more >>

Submarines

Barrow-built HMS Dreadnought is among 27 Royal Nuclear submarines due to be decommissioned in the next few years. The Ministry of Defence is expected to release a report early in 2013 following a consultation on what to do with the boats following their decommissioning. A spokeswoman for the MoD said she could not confirm whether boats would be sold off or broken up following the decommissioning process, but said breaking up the boats could be a ‘feasible solution.’ Campaigners have said a possible return to Barrow for HMS Dreadnought following decommissioning would be a huge boost to the town.

NW Evening Mail 21st Sept 2012 more >>

BAE Systems’ new nuclear submarine Ambush has incredible capabilities which are just simply astounding. The subs motto ‘Hide and Seek’ seemed a fitting title for a vessel that can circumnavigate the globe and disappear beneath the waves without a need to surface for months, even years. The fact she is able to do this is down to nuclear technology enabling her to create fresh water from the sea and make her own oxygen. Yes, there are incredible tomahawk missiles too, but they seemed to be something of a sideline (as it is hoped there are never used). Her main job was that of surveillance, from the English Channel Ambush can hear a boat leaving New York and her engine is so quiet that she is virtually undetectable by other vessels.

The Manufacturer 21st Sept 2012 more >>

Microgeneration

This week’s Micro Power News: Solar installations have fallen since last FiT cut; 7 English Cities share £12m to kick start Green Deal; domestic renewable heat incentive consultation launched; Gov’t poor score on green buildings; 100 solar homes for Scunthorpe; Northern Ireland community wind share offer; Sheffield Co-op share offer; Gloucestershire wind co-op; carbon negative social housing in South Tyneside; Gloucestershire County Council going solar.

Microgen Scotland 21st Sept 2012 more >>

Posted: 22 September 2012

21 September 2012

Radwaste

Hopes of building a new generation of nuclear power stations have suffered a setback after a council ruled out hosting a storage facility for Britain’s nuclear waste. Councillors in Kent have voted to drop talks with the Government about the possibility of storing hundreds of thousands of tonnes of radioactive material underneath Romney Marsh. This leaves Copeland in western Cumbria as the only district still officially interested in taking the waste. However, Jamie Reed, the Labour MP for Copeland, said that he understood the local authority would vote against carrying on with negotiations with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) at a meeting on October 11. “As matters stand, Cumbria County Council is not going to vote to continue with the process,” he said. “It’s going to vote against geological investigations of the area.” Sir David King, Chief Scientific Adviser to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown between 2000 and 2007, warned that if the council were to vote against the plans next month, it could seriously delay the Government’s talks with EDF Energy over the reactors. “I think this would really set back the process of deciding on new nuclear,” he said.

Times 21st Sept 2012 more >>

FORMER government science adviser Sir David King has warned that Britain’s nuclear power programme would be put at serious risk if a search does not go ahead in West Cumbria for somewhere to bury radioactive waste from the new reactor fleet. One is planned close to Sellafield promising thousands of jobs and a predicted £9billion investment for the area. Sir David, the Labour government’s chief scientific advisor for eight years, was a leading light in advocating “the renaissance of nuclear power in Britain pressing the case with Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Yesterday he told The Whitehaven News that when the councils meet on October 11 to decide whether to go ahead for a site search a ‘no’ decision will have serious implications for the UK’s nuclear new build programme.

Whitehaven News 20th Sept 2012 more >>

Plans to build a nuclear waste storage facility on Romney Marsh in Kent have been thrown out by Shepway council. The final decision was taken by Conservative council leader Robert Bliss after councillors voted against the proposals on Wednesday. The issue had split residents with 63% of people rejecting it in a survey. Councillors voted 21 to 13 against formally expressing interest in the government’s facility for the geological disposal of nuclear waste.

BBC 20th Sept 2012 more >>

Kent News 20th Sept 2012 more >>

Rye and Battle Observer 20th Sept 2012 more >>

Kent Messenger 20th Sept 2012 more >>

On behalf of Swarthmoor SW Cumbria Quakers I am writing regarding grave disquiet at reports that a recent former Chief Scientific Advisor to the government as well as Copeland MP Jamie Reid have told the media ‘if Cumbria does not go forward with the search for a site for geological disposal of nuclear waste, the whole nuclear build programme could be put into jeopardy’.If this is the view of such a senior government advisor and an informed local MP there can be no clearer indication that the process is a sham. Quakers and many other Cumbrians are not NIMBYS. If high level nuclear waste is to be buried it should be in the safest possible ground to safeguard current and future generations for thousands of years. If Cumbria is the safest place it should be here. But eminent independent advice knows that it is not.

Radiation Free Lakeland 20th Sept 2012 more >>

It is clear that the majority of councillors in Cumbria are opposed to going any further along the nukiller dump road the government has carefully mapped out for us. Their opposition is not part of the Government’s preferred narrative (as continual quoting of the mori poll “support” and media blackout on the Communities opposition testifies). The pressure is being ratcheted up on Cumbria to accept the unacceptable. Last week Jamie Reed MP played some mind games by “leaking” the “news” that the Cabinet will say NO – we really really hope beyond hope this is the case. Puzzling though why is Jamie Reed saying this and why hasn’t he and his reliable Cabinet contact not been held to severe account for prejudicing the Cabinets decision?? The reason we are told Cumbria County Councillors are not allowed to vote is that a vote would prejudice the Cabinets decision. So who will hold Jamie Reed accountable for playing mind games (with the Sellafield Unions?) and prejudicing the Cabinets decision?

Radiation Free Lakeland 20th Sept 2012 more >>

Allerdale councillors are angry that they will not get a chance to formally debate plans for a nuclear waste dump. Back bench members of Allerdale council expressed their concerns at an informal meeting last night, saying it was one of the most important decisions to be made about the future of west Cumbria and local councillors did not have a formal say. The decision on whether the area could host a waste repository will be taken next month, when the executives of the borough councils and the county council cabinet vote on whether to go ahead. Bill Jefferson, representing Silloth, said it didn’t do anything for their standing in the community that they had to stand and watch what was going on.

News and Star 20th Sept 2012 more >>

Letter (Just a selection of letters here): The parishes of Ponsonby and Gosforth have a very real and close concern in the current debate about the future of nuclear waste stored at Sellafield – Ponsonby ‘hosts’ much of that nuclear waste, while Gosforth lies adjacent to it and also ‘hosts’ the Longlands Farm site. Our view is that we do not see how the Decision Making Bodies (DMBs) – Cumbria County Council and Copeland and Allerdale Borough Councils – can take a credible decision to move to the next stage, and we would not support any such move. Already the debate has moved on in the real world, with the former geological consultant to the Partnership implicitly conceding that there is no further prospect of investigating the West Cumbria coastal zone while indicating that there are only two potential rock volumes in West Cumbria “… that meet the current international guidelines for a potentially suitable repository”, before concluding that “…neither of these two rock volumes should be regarded at this stage as being particularly promising…” In our view, in order to overcome both the difficulties of finding a satisfactory solution for long-term disposal, and the inherent difficulties of continuing above-surface storage, a Plan B should be invoked involving shallow sub-surface storage for say 100-150 years.

Whitehaven News 20th Sept 2012 more >>

Letter: Cllr Yvonne Clarkson whilst we may be a community who are accepting and comfortable with the storage and management of nuclear waste, we may not have the geology to support a deep geological facility and there is considerable disagreement amongst eminent geologists as to whether West Cumbria has a suitable rock formation within which a deep geological repository could be formed.

Whitehaven News 20th Sept 2012 more >>

Letter Colin Wales: We know from Professors Smythe, Hazeldine and others that West Cumbria is one of the most geologically studied and understood regions on the whole planet and one of the worst sites in UK in which to site a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF). We also know from Jamie Reed MP in last week’s Whitehaven News that not proceeding to stage 4 (to find out what we already know) “would deal a vicious blow to West Cumbria and the British nuclear industry at a critical time in our development”. What Mr Reed failed to point out is that in other countries which are proceeding with geological disposal, they firstly screened their geology so that volunteer communities which chose to come forward did so in the full knowledge that both their regional and local geological environments were SAFE. The UK could have adopted this process, but instead the cart was put before the horse. Why?

Whitehaven News 20th Sept 2012 more >>

Letter Ruth Balogh: The argument that we should go ahead with the deep disposal plans because we already hold 70 per cent of the UK’s nuclear waste does not stand up once the dump is admitted to be an essential part of the new-build programme. Most new reactors will be elsewhere in England, and the waste from them will be there, not here. Jamie Reed’s logic on this question is false.

Whitehaven News 20th Sept 2012 more >>

New Nukes

Vincent de Rivaz: The nuclear option is essential for our future. There is a growing clamour to kick-start the economy with new and urgently needed infrastructure projects. In no sphere is this more important than energy. After years of preparation, we are close to delivering reforms that will unlock more than £110 billion needed to renew the UK’s electricity generating capacity. While this is necessary for its own sake — to create a balanced mix of low-carbon technologies and to deliver the right deal for consumers and investors — it also has the potential to create thousands of skilled jobs and stimulate economic growth. The next few months are critical as EDF prepares to make its final investment decision on whether to press ahead with our nuclear new-build programme. The Contracts for Difference (CfD) are key. These set a guaranteed price for every unit of electricity supplied by a generator. Crucially, they provide the certainty that generators require if they are to make the significant upfront investment required in huge infrastructure projects. But it is not a one-way contract. If wholesale prices rise above the agreed level, the contracts provide for rebates to customers, stabilising the price that they ultimately pay. Some argue that the need for CfD shows that nuclear power is too expensive; that it can never sit side-by-side with other sources of generation. I argue that they will reveal the true competitiveness of nuclear compared with other low-carbon technologies, including its cost stability relative to volatile gas prices. I am convinced that the outcome will represent a good deal for consumers and a reasonable return for the risks investors take.

Times 17th Sept 2012 more >>

Nuclear Subsidy

Letter European Wind Energy Assoc: governments across Europe could save themselves a lot of money, and hasten the phasing out of support for increasingly mature renewable technologies such as onshore wind, if they first removed longer-standing subsidies for more established technologies like nuclear and coal.

FT 21st Sept 2012 more >>

Hinkley

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to preserve the Somerset Levels will soon find out where a massive line of pylons or cables could go. National Grid has revealed it is likely to announce in early November its preferred route to connect its substations in Bridgwater and Avonmouth, as part of a project to link up with Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

This is the West Country 20th Sept 2012 more >>

Scotland

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) has developed a model submission response for its members to respond to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) public consultation on options for dealing with intermediate level radioactive waste in central and southern Scotland.

NFLA 17th Sept 2012 more >>

NFLA Briefing 17th Sept 2012 more >>

Sellafield

SELLAFIELD stages a site incident exercise today involving armed police and pretend casualties. A company spokesman said: “Armed Civil Nuclear Constabulary officers are taking part although no live rounds will be used and we are also using ‘live’ action casualties whose parts are being played by actors.

Whitehaven News 20th Sept 2012 more >>

Litvinenko

The poisoning of Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko would be “state-sponsored nuclear terrorism on the streets of London” if it were proved foreign agents were behind his death, the lawyer for his wife has said. The comments came as reports emerged that parts of a police report on whether Litvinenko had contact with the British intelligence service before he died would be kept secret at the government’s request.

Huffington Post 20th Sept 2012 more >>

Telegraph 20th Sept 2012 more >>

Uranium Enrichment

Silex has invented a way to enrich uranium through laser treatment, which today has been given the all-clear by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board [ASLB] to be used commercially.

Trustnet 20th Sept 2012 more >>

Japan

Before the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant last year, Takeshi Ishihara’s idea for the world’s largest floating wind farm was little more than an academic’s fancy – an expensive and risky experiment that no one wanted to fund. Now, 18 months after the world’s second-worst nuclear accident, the Tokyo University professor has Y12.5bn ($160m) in government start-up money and partnerships with some of Japan’s biggest energy and construction companies, who will install a few test turbines not far from the Fukushima plant from 2013. If the trials go well, Mr Ishihara wants to expand to 140 floating turbines generating 1GW of power by 2020 – close to the capacity of Fukushima’s largest reactors. “We aim to create the infrastructure for a 21st-century society,” he says. Japan will need more projects like this if it hopes to scrap its remaining nuclear plants by the end of th e 2030s, the goal of a new long-term energy strategy announced last week.

FT 20th Sept 2012 more >>

Japan’s announcement last week that it would abandon nuclear power by 2040 was widely praised by some green groups. Others expressed fears that Japan would miss its climate targets by abandoning atomic power. Environmental commentator Mark Lynas called the decision “madness”, saying the country’s pledge to reduce CO2 emissions by 25% by 2020 was in tatters. But it seems pressure from business forced a speedy turnaround. The government yesterday erased the ’2040 decommissioning deadline’, saying it would be used as a ‘reference’. Greenpeace – who lobbied hard for Japan to ditch nuclear, reacted with fury at this decision, claiming that three of the five appointees to the new nuclear regulator – Shunichi Tanaka, Toyoshi Fuketa, and Kayoko Nakamura – had ties to the nuclear industry. Greenpeace say that criticism that a 2030′s phase out of nuclear will create climate disaster is ‘fallacious’, arguing renewables are already rapidly coming online and that long-term energy use in the country is declining. Tt poses a serious challenge to the renewable sector in Japan, which can now see how little the government trusts them to fill the gap in energy supply. Japan’s move away from Nuclear had been seen as a boost to wind power manufacturers like Vestas, which the Financial Times reports account for 25% of all installations in the country. That confidence may well have blown away in the wind in a stroke as a result of this decision.

RTCC 20th Sept 2012 more >>

Following the announcement earlier in the week that Japan is to phase out nuclear power, the cabinet has failed to endorse a 2040 deadline for the phasing out of the technology. The lack of agreement brings into the question the government’s commitment to a non-nuclear future, despite strong public opposition to the technology. Up until the Fukushima crisis in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami last year, Japan had planned to increase its nuclear capacity from 49 GW to 68 GW by 2030. But the public backlash against nuclear power has mothballed those plans and led to the shutdown of existing plants.

Efficiency News 20th Sept 2012 more >>

France

EDF’s nuclear plant managers have assailed government plans to close the state-controlled company’s Fessenheim nuclear power station in a letter of support to the facility’s workers, French media reported.The letter, signed by EDF managers of 22 nuclear reactors throughout France, said they understood “the feeling of injustice” among the plant’s employees.

Reuters 20th Sept 2012 more >>

Iran

Mr Larijani blamed the lack of progress in the talks on western adversaries. He said the negotiations would be helped if Washington put its public statements on recognition of Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy into writing. “I assure you that these talks can be successful and help create more security in the region. But if they try to dissuade Iran from its rights to have peaceful nuclear technology, then they will not go anywhere – before or after the US elections,” he said.

FT 19th Sept 2012 more >>

A new political ad produced by a fringe nonprofit group uses footage of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning about Iran’s nuclear program in order to attack President Barack Obama. The group, Secure America Now, has spent $400,000 to air the ad in heavily Jewish districts in south Florida, including Miami, West Palm Beach and Fort Myers, Politico reported. “The fact is that every day that passes, Iran gets closer and closer to nuclear bombs,” Netanyahu says in the ad. “The world tells Israel, ‘Wait, there’s still time.’ And I say, ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?'” The ad concludes with the tagline, “The world needs American strength. Not apologies.”

Guardian 20th Sept 2012 more >>

I’ve often expressed doubt about whether Israel’s air force has the striking power to inflict enough damage on Iran’s nuclear installations to make war a rational option. It’s impossible to answer this question definitively, but on balance the answer is “probably not”. A quick reminder: the key factor here is whether Israel has enough air-to-air refuelling capacity to get its strike aircraft and the necessary fighter escorts all the way to their targets in Iran and back again.

Telegraph 20th Sept 2012 more >>

Israel

Arab states said on Thursday they had decided as a “goodwill gesture” to refrain from targeting Israel with a resolution over its assumed nuclear arsenal at the U.N. atomic agency’s annual assembly this week. Arab envoys said the move was in support of wider efforts to rid the region of nuclear weapons, but it drew no public praise from Israel or the United States, which criticised the placing of the issue on the agenda in the first place. Addressing a debate on “Israeli nuclear capabilities” called by the Arab countries, a senior U.S. diplomat said Washington was firmly committed to the goal of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction. However, “using meetings of the IAEA to single out Israel for censure will not take us one step closer to that goal. In fact, it is a step in the opposite direction,” Robert Wood told the meeting of the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency.

Reuters 20th Sept 2012 more >>

Israel has dismissed plans to hold a summit on creating a Middle East free of nuclear weapons, saying it was an unrealistic idea given the “current volatile and hostile” climate in the region.

Middle East Online 20th Sept 2012 more >>

Canada

The Quebec government has announced it is closing the Gentilly II nuclear power plant. Premier Pauline Marois made the announcement on Thursday, adding that a $200-million fund will be created to compensate for economic impacts the move will have on the community of Nicolet in Mauricie region, where the plant is located.

Globe & Mail 20th Sept 2012 more >>

Bruce Power said it synchronized its 750-megawatt (MW) Unit 1 at the Bruce nuclear power station to the Ontario electricity grid on Wednesday, after a 15-year shutdown.”With first synchronization now complete, final planned commissioning activities will be carried-out on Unit 1, including safety system shutdown testing.

Reuters 20th sept 2012 more >>

Germany

We are looking at a third industrial revolution, and just as there were once those who opposed the invention of the steam engine, there are now those who hark back to nuclear energy. In Germany we now have just over 20% of our energy coming from renewable sources. All predictions from the past have turned out not to be true: when I went to school, my teachers used to say that maybe, just maybe we might have 3% of renewable energy one day. Angela Merkel says we’ll have 35% by 2020; we at the Green party say it’ll be 45%. My guess is: we’ll both be wrong, because it’ll be even more than that. And at any rate, don’t listen to what Cem Özdemir has to say on this, don’t listen to what the Greens have to say, listen to what Siemens is doing. Siemens are not switching from nuclear to clean energy because they want to lose money: they want to make profit. And I’d warn anyone who questions whether they’ll manage: industrial policy, that’s one thing the Germans know how to get right. If the Brits would rather hand the first mover advantage down to us, then so be it – as a German, I thank them for it. We already cater for many of the markets for renewable energy around the globe, and our future competitors are more likely to come from China than from the other side of the Channel. In Germany, industry is now starting to thank us for pestering in the past, because it forced them to go through the kind of innovations that the rest of the world is now catching up with. The Brits are still discussing whether they should insulate their houses better in the future, and we insulate them.

Guardian 20th Sept 2012 more >>

Renewables

Government looks into incentives, such as discounted electricity bills or new playgrounds, for areas that install turbines.

Guardian 20th Sept 2012 more >>

Gas

The Government is expected to give the green light for more fracking in the UK to access shale reserves within weeks as it publishes a new gas strategy, but energy secretary Ed Davey warned yesterday that it was no “silver bullet”. The IoD has released a new report on the process this morning which claims there will be an upward revision in the estimate of the size of the UK’s shale gas reserves later this year, up from 5.3 trillion cubic feet. It also suggests there would be “environmental benefits” to using shale gas over coal-fired power plants. Until 2004 the UK was a net exporter of gas, but North Sea supplies have dwindled in recent years. Without new domestic resources, Britain’s natural gas import costs could rise from $8.5bn (£5.2bn) today to more than $11bn by 2015 as North Sea supplies dwindle and Norway struggles to fill the gap, Reuters research showed this week.

Telegraph 21st Sept 2012 more >>

Posted: 21 September 2012