News July 2014

31 July 2014

Nuclear Industry Status

Paris, London, Washington, 29 July 2014. The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014 (WNISR) provides a comprehensive overview of nuclear power plant data, including information on operation, production and construction. The WNISR assesses the status of new-build programs in existing as well as in potential newcomer nuclear countries and looks in detail at how the changing market conditions are affecting the economics of nuclear power. WNISR2014 also updates a Fukushima Status Report featured for the first time in 2013 that triggered widespread media and analyst attention. While the Nuclear Power vs. Renewable Energy chapter provides comparative data on investment, capacity, and generation and assesses how nuclear power performs in systems with high renewable energy share.

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Posted: 31 July 2014

30 July 2014

Hunterston

Largs Community Council have debated an application by EDF to change nuclear waste arrangements for Hunterston. Fears that nuclear waste might be transported on local roads have been expressed by Largs Community Council. Members have severe concerns over a plan by the operators of Hunterston nuclear power station to change the way radioactive waste is handled. EDF Energy want to vary the authorisations for Hunterston and Torness to enable radioactive waste to be moved between sites for “accumulation” before being disposed of elsewhere via road convoys through the central belt. This has led the community council to question the implications for the area if waste is brought from elsewhere.

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Posted: 30 July 2014

29 July 2014

Radwaste

Cumbria Trust, the non-governmental organisation which is committed to opposing a geological disposal facility in Cumbria on geological and safety grounds has issued the following statement with regard to the new White paper published last week. Cumbria Trust is disappointed, but not surprised, that the Government is proceeding with the “gerrymandering” it had threatened following Cumbria County Council’s decision to withdraw from the last process.

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Posted: 29 July 2014

28 July 2014

Radwaste

A Welsh MP, Albert Owen has been pushing for Cumbria to be the nuclear sacrifice zone.

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Posted: 28 July 2014

27 July 2014

Dounreay

An investigation has been launched after the discovery of radio¬active pollution outside the Dounreay nuclear complex in Caithness. Alpha radiation was detected in a sample of sludge from a drain upstream of the site on July 10 and reported to a sub-committee of the local stakeholder group on Wednesday evening. It was confirmed on Friday by DSRL, the private consortium that is cleaning up Dounreay. According to the Government watchdog, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa), a “small quantity of radioactivity” had been found by DSRL. “The sample was taken from a manhole within a foul drain system, upstream of the Dounreay site,” said a Sepa spokeswoman. “Following the initial notification DSRL has been undertaking subsequent analysis work to determine the source of the radioactivity.

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Posted: 27 July 2014

26 July 2014

Sellafield

Since the £2.8Bn Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (THORP) was opened in 1994, Sellafield’s ’flagship’ reprocessing plant has lost some 1000 tonnes of business contracted by overseas customers. Prior to its opening in March 1994, BNFL confirmed that it had secured overseas contracts amounting to 5334 tonnes of Light Water Reactor (LWR) spent fuel from utilities in Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Holland. A majority of this fuel was scheduled for reprocessing, along with UK’s Advanced Gas Cooled Reactor (AGR) fuel in THORP’s first 10- year ‘Baseload’ period with the remainder of overseas fuel (contracted from German utilities only), scheduled for the plant’s subsequent ‘Post-Baseload’ period – an order book that BNFL confidently predicted would be swelled by further overseas contracts. In the event, no new overseas contracts were ever won. Today, following information requests from CORE, Sellafield Ltd has confirmed that a total of 4373 tonnes of overseas fuel is expected to have been reprocessed by the time THORP completes all existing overseas contracts in 2016 – a shortfall of almost 1000 tonnes on the plant’s original order book. The latest figures show that a total of 4189 tonnes of overseas spent fuel has been reprocessed to date, with a further 184 tonnes still to be reprocessed and mostly of German origin. Some 50% of this balance is expected to be dealt with this financial year 2014/15, and the remainder in 2015/16.

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Posted: 26 July 2014

25 July 2014

Radwaste

Local communities could be paid over £40m by government for simply considering the building of an underground nuclear waste disposal facility in their area, ministers announced on Thursday. The renewed effort to find a permanent solution for the UK’s growing stockpile of nuclear waste comes after Cumbria council vetoed a proposed waste dump site in January 2013. But the new approach will not allow any one level of local government to veto future site decisions. The plan allows for communities to get up to £1m a year for about five years whilst local consultations take place. If the community moves to accepting exploratory drilling, which would take five to 15 years, they would get up to £2.5m a year, meaning a total of over £40m before a decision is taken on whether or not to build the waste burial facility. The chair of the campaign group Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA), councillor Mark Hackett, said: “NFLA welcomes the new policy of carrying out a national geological screening exercise, rather than assuming waste can be buried near Cumbria where the geology has been shown to be unsuitable. We also welcome the idea of assisting communities to obtain independent third party expertise. “Unfortunately there is still no recognition of the uncertainties associated with deep geological disposal highlighted by [government advisers], and the need to prioritise storage.”

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Posted: 25 July 2014

24 July 2014

Sellafield

Sellafield clean-up gets messier as ‘failing’ consortium faces takeover: Unions are demanding answers over the future of Sellafield, one of the world’s most hazardous nuclear sites, as the US engineer leading toxic clean-up work there faces a $4bn (£2.3bn) takeover. Last week, California’s Aecom announced that it has agreed to buy rival URS in a deal that could be worth £3.5bn once debt is included. Industry insiders and unions are worried that URS heads Nuclear Management Partners (NMP), a consortium which has been criticised for a string of failures at the Cumbrian nuclear facility since it was awarded the decommissioning contract in 2009. Britain’s Amec and France’s Areva are NMP’s junior partners. The industry was shocked that NMP was granted an extension to its deal last year, as costs have spiralled to what MPs have described as an “astonishing” £70bn-plus. An industry source added: “The ownership change will just plunge Sellafield’s leadership into yet more confusion at a critical time, as the consortium tries to wrestle control of the decommissioning programme. The NDA will be left ruing the day it extended the contract.”

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Posted: 24 July 2014

23 July 2014

Hinkley

IRELAND’S National Trust is challenging permission for Somerset’s new nuclear power plant in the European courts. An Taisce is contesting the legality of granting consent for Hinkley Point C, which would be 150 miles from the Irish coast. Irish people should have been consulted about the environmental risks it is claiming under EU directives. Planning consent to build Hinkley Point C was granted to EDF Energy back in March 2013 by Energy secretary Ed Davey. An Taisce claim the government failed to undertake a ‘transboundary consultation’ with the Irish People as required by the European Commission’s Environmental Impact Assessment Directive.

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Posted: 23 July 2014

22 July 2014

Dounreay

CONTROVERSIAL plans to ferry radioactive nuclear fuel and waste by sea from Dounreay to England have come under fire. Bosses at the Caithness plant, which is currently being decommissioned, insist a successful trial could give them two potential routes for transporting the material for reprocessing at Sellafield in Cumbria – with contentious shipments already being made by rail. But critics are warning against the risks of navigating rough seas around Cape Wrath and the Minch of the west coast of mainland Scotland. Highland MSP John Finnie said he had particular concerns, given the loss of the Coastguard’s Stornoway-based emergency tug, which went to the aid of the nuclear-powered submarine HMS

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Posted: 22 July 2014