News January 2013

31 January 2013

Radwaste

David Cameron in the Greenpeace warehouse in 2007 commenting that without dealing with the problem of nuclear waste, there can’t be any new investment in nuclear power.

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Posted: 31 January 2013

30 January 2013

Radwaste

Campaigners from Friends of the Earth demand the 3 Cumbrian Council cabinets halt the nuclear waste plans tomorrow. The 3 Councils – Cumbria, Allerdale and Copeland – will decide tomorrow Jan 30th whether to go forward to the next stage of a process known as Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) to look for a site to bury high level nuclear waste in West Cumbria. FoE says there is no mandate from Cumbria over going forward, and that this is a national issue not a Cumbrian one. There is no suitable geology and no willing community, the two things that the government is looking for.

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Posted: 30 January 2013

29 January 2013

Nuclear Power a Flawed Case Part 1

Writing in the Town and Country Planning Association’s Journal, Professor Andrew Blowers, in the first of two articles, argues that the case for nuclear power is flawed. The case for nuclear energy is based on two simple and seemingly incontrovertible claims. One is that ‘We need nuclear energy to stop the lights from going out’; the other that ‘We must have nuclear energy to save the planet’. In this, the first of two articles, I shall attempt to refute these claims and argue the contrary; that we can keep the lights on and tackle the problem of climate change without nuclear energy. Indeed, any further commitment to nuclear energy is more likely to hinder than help achieving those objectives. The full article can be found here:

Flawed_Case_1

Posted: 29 January 2013

29 January 2013

Radwaste

Hundreds of people marched in protest at Ennerdale over a proposed underground nuclear waste storage facility in west Cumbria.

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Posted: 29 January 2013

28 January 2013

Radwaste

The dispute over whether to build a giant underground nuclear waste dump in the Lake District has intensified ahead of crunch meetings to decide the project’s future this week. One local MP has accused some opponents of planning the “intimidation of elected representatives” while a protest group has warned a “public revolt” will occur if the plans progress. Hundreds joined a protest walk through the snow on Saturday in Ennerdale, near Keswick, the most likely area for exploratory drilling, as organisers Friends of the Lake District said that a “public revolt” was developing. However, Jamie Reed, MP for Copeland, home to Sellafield, where most of the waste is being temporarily stored, said an unnamed protest group was resorting to “intimidation”. He claims to have seen emails outlining its strategy to “scare” councillors into voting down the plans. “It’s shameful, dishonest, undemocratic,” said Mr Reed, who supports proceeding.

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Posted: 28 January 2013

27 January 2013

Radwaste

Proposals to store nuclear waste under England’s largest national park and other areas of outstanding natural beauty will face stormy opposition this week. A decision to abandon or press on with a nuclear waste dump in Cumbria will be made by three councils on Wednesday. The result will have major implications for energy policy, experts warn. the delay has allowed a dramatic escalation in opposition. Yesterday protesters from Spand (Solway Plain Against Nuclear Dump) presented a 3,600-signature petition to county councillor Tony Markley, who wants the proposals to go to the next stage. In December an online petition attracted more than 6,000 signatories and a series of public meetings has seen a groundswell of opposition. At one meeting, in Keswick this month, 600 people voted to stop the process. Influential groups including the Lake District National Park Authority and Cumbria Tourism are concerned that the proposed dump is already damaging the Lake District “brand”.

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Posted: 27 January 2013

26 January 2013

Electricity Market Reform

Government is rumoured to have negotiated the strike price for nuclear below £100/MWh, in a move that could make new nuclear more politically palatable. The Telegraph reported, without quoting sources, that the Department of Energy and Climate Change is close to agreeing with EDF a strike price of between £95.00/MWh and £99.50/MWh for Hinkley Point C. Confirmation of the deal, to guarantee power prices using contracts for difference, is not expected until March. The strike price will be critical to the prospects for EDF’s proposed Hinkley Point C new nuclear plant. Previous figures cited for nuclear have been as high as £160/MWh. Roland Vetter, an analyst at CF Partners, said: “The number coming down makes it more likely that the UK goes ahead with new nuclear, from the political side. A lower number will be easier for the public to digest. “On the other hand, a lower number does make it a bit more questionable whether EDF will go ahead.”

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Posted: 26 January 2013

25 January 2013

Electricity Market Reform

I hear that the long-awaited “strike price” for nuclear power generation has basically been agreed. This is the guaranteed minimum that EDF would get for power produced at a proposed new plant at Hinkley Point, the first of the coming wave of nuclear new-build. This floor price is vital, as it means investors are guaranteed a return for stumping up the billions of pounds needed to design, build and operate the stations. Once agreed, arguably the biggest remaining obstacle to a new nuclear dawn has been overcome. I’m told that EDF and the civil servants have all but signed on the dotted line for a minimum price of somewhere between £95-£99.50 per megawatt hour, whatever that means, which was about as high as government was willing to go as then other forms of clean energy would be cheaper. However, what the nuclear industry needs is for this deal to be finalised and formally confirmed. Nuclear’s many critics could also do with this news, so that they could at least keep fighting the inevitable fully informed. An announcement was due before Christmas, which slipped into this month. Apparently, “red tape” means official word won’t come until March.

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Posted: 25 January 2013

24 January 2013

Radwaste

Nestled in the Cumbrian countryside, on the road between Wigton and Silloth, lies the village of Abbeytown – you could be forgiven for not giving it a second glance as you drive between its two larger neighbours. Residents there are getting organised behind a common cause with their campaign posters and stickers displayed in many of the windows with the emphatic slogan ‘No to dump’. It has been organised by campaign group Solway Plain Against Nuclear Dump (SPAND) in reaction to a proposed underground storage facility for high level and intermediate nuclear waste.

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Posted: 24 January 2013

23 January 2013

Radwaste

It is planned that the spent fuel from Sizewell C&D will be moved to a final ‘geological repository’ in about 2130. At a recent consultation meeting EDF gave the impression that the technology to do so was well understood and that deep geological repositories already exist in Finland and Sweden. This is far from the truth. The repository in Finland is currently in the evaluation stage and is not expected to start operation until 2020. The proposed repository in Sweden is scheduled to start operation in 2070. There are also many concerns about the ability to seal spent fuel from the environment for a sufficient amount of time. Both repositories are relatively small compared to amount of spent fuel which will be generated by the UK nuclear programme. The repository at Olkiluoto in Finland will hold 6200T of spent fuel while that at Forsmark in Sweden will hold about 12000T. If Hinkley and Sizewell C&D go ahead they will produce 7200T of spent fuel. In the UK some of the reactor fuel may be reprocessed, however at leat another 12,000T will be needed to be stored.

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Posted: 23 January 2013