News February 2014

28 February 2014

Radwaste

Geological Disposal Facility Siting Process Review – Responses to the consultation.

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Posted: 28 February 2014

27 February 2014

Rosatom

The Russian group behind the infamous Chernobyl nuclear power plant has been told that its design will be considered for a new reactor in Britain. The UK Government has given permission for safety tests and promised the Russian state-backed Rosatom, whose Soviet-era forerunner built the ill-fated plant in Ukraine, that British nuclear regulators would consider its technology. While regulators would need to approve the reactor before it could be operated in the UK, committing to an extensive safety assessment amounts to a big vote of confidence in the company. Its design is unlikely to be considered by the Office of Nuclear Regulation before 2017. Designs from the Japanese-owned companies Westinghouse and Hitachi, which have already secured sites, will be assessed first. The review process, known as a generic design assessment, would take about four years. Approval by the British regulator would be an invaluable boost to Rosatom. The group was formed out of several reorganisations of the atomic ministry before and after the Soviet era. It claims to have orders to build more than 12 reactors outside Russia and is in talks to build in the Czech Republic, Finland, Jordan and Bangladesh. Two Chinese groups have teamed up with EDF Energy to build a reactor at Hinkley Point, Somerset. In return for providing much of the investment, the Chinese want to build their own reactors at Bradwell, Essex.

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Posted: 27 February 2014

26 February 2014

Nuclear Liability

“Nuclear installations are uninsurable in normal commercial terms. Only gullible governments can bear the enormous risk. If operators paid for their own insurance indemnities, their case for economic production of nuclear electricity collapses,” said Flynn. He dismissed government comments downplaying the risk: “If risk is minimal, nuclear sites could be insured commercially.” His comments came after the government revealed that private contractors taken on to decommission the UK’s fifty-year old Magnox nuclear plants would be indemnified against liability in the event of a radioactive incident. Flynn claimed the indemnification exposed the public purse to potentially enormous costs as witnessed following Japan’s catastrophe at Fukishima. “The cost of the Fukushima cleanup and damages ranges from £150 billion to £300 billion and rising,” Flynn said

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Posted: 26 February 2014

25 February 2014

Energy Policy

Mr Osborne appears to be saying that shale gas is a low-cost way of tackling climate change.The world already has lots of oil and gas. In fact, at current use, the technically recoverable gas we’ve already discovered would last for 250 years – according to figures from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The IEA suggests that over the next forty years nearly half the world’s proven gas (and oil) supplies need to be left in the ground if we are to avoid the type of climate change that could leave new parts of the world uninhabitably hot or very wet. And European shale gas is likely to be more expensive than the gas we already know about. Which means that if you want to go out and find entirely new sources of gas and still cut emissions you need to show it’s going to stop us (meaning the world) using existing, proven, gas reserves.

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Posted: 25 February 2014

24 February 2014

Nuclear Subsidies

Shadow energy chief Caroline Flint rules out reworking controversial £16bn deal for building Hinkley Point C plant. Labour will not renegotiate the contract with the French-owned EDF Energy that will deliver Britain’s first new nuclear power station in a generation despite concerns over the price paid for the electricity it will produce, the shadow energy secretary, Caroline Flint, has said. Flint said a future Labour government would not revisit the contract to build the £16bn Hinkley Point C power station in Somerset despite criticism over the so-called “strike price” for electricity produced at the plant. Asked on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show if Labour would revisit the deal, Flint said: “No. We’re supporting the contract because we believe in the long run that actually it’s important, we hope that actually this is the first of many new nuclear builds and actually as we go forward the cost will come down.

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Posted: 24 February 2014

23 February 2014

Nuclear Liability

The private consortium that will manage the decommissioning of Britain’s ageing Magnox nuclear reactors will not be held financially liable if they suffer a major radioactive incident – even if it costs billions of pounds to clear up, it has emerged. The government will indemnify the private contractors, which means the taxpayer will be left to foot the bill for any leak, a similar arrangement to how things stand now. Critics complain that granting the multimillion-pound contract to a private consortium while freeing it of liability for a nuclear incident is such a poor deal for the taxpayer that it will render its new management unaccountable. The government has rejected this claim.

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Posted: 23 February 2014

22 February 2014

Sellafield

Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE) evidence to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in October 2013 shows a yawning gap between the level at which the commercial facilities were designed to operate and the level at which they are actually operating today.

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Posted: 22 February 2014

21 February 2014

Nuclear Subsidies

Peter Atherton Why has Britain signed up for the world’s most expensive power station? MPs owe it to the taxpayer to throw out the Hinkley Point deal. As part of our plan to help Britain succeed, after months of negotiation, today we have a deal for the first nuclear power station in a generation to be built in Britain.’ That was David Cameron in October, announcing that his government had reached an agreement with the French power giant EDF over the construction of two reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset. The Prime Minister must have a funny idea of success, because the more we learn about the Hinkley deal, the more we can see that it is one of the worst ever signed by a British government. Even the European Union can smell a rat. Last month, the European Commission published an initial report suggesting that the contract involves illegal back-door government subsidies to EDF, and will now carry out a full investigation. But it is already obvious that Hinkley is not a good deal for Britain.

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Posted: 21 February 2014

20 February 2014

 

Hinkley

Insiders are confident the UK’s EDF’s Hinkley Point C programme will go ahead despite a European Commission investigation into state aid. Sources close to the UK’s Hinkley Point C development are insisting a European Commission (EC) state-aid investigation will not affect the project’s chances of success. “This process is normal and we built it into our planning for Hinkley Point C,” said UK Energy Secretary Michael Fallon in January after details of the investigation were made public. “We’ll be using the consultation period to show that this project meets state aid rules, that it will cut carbon in Britain’s energy sector and improve our energy security in a way that’s good value for money.”

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Posted: 20 February 2014

19 February 2014

ABWR

A consultation which seeks responses to an application submitted by the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) for a regulatory justification decision in relation to the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR). Volume 2 of this consultation contains the text of the application and should be read alongside Volume 1. This consultation also sets out how the regulatory justification process applies to classes or types of practice and seeks views on the government’s preliminary view on the proposed class or type of practice in this case.

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Posted: 19 February 2014