News June 2014

30 June 2014

Nuclear Safety

Tom Burke warns the UK’s new nuclear programme may go up in flames if China’s ‘overwhelmed’ nuclear regulators fail to prevent an accident. The prospect of the Chinese becoming owners, managers and even constructors of nuclear power stations in Britain has caused anxiety in some unexpected places. Both the right and the left, united in their determination to press ahead with more nuclear, have raised objections. Carefully wrapped in a blanket of security rhetoric, their argument boils down to …

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29 June 2014


A leading group of 16 academics and experts has made a powerful plea for Scotland to have much more control over its energy policy to escape Westminster’s backing for “bankrupt” nuclear power. Energy specialists from universities in Aberdeen, St Andrews, Edinburgh, Manchester, Cardiff and London have written a joint letter to the Sunday Herald arguing that Scotland should gain control over “a large portion” of the financial incentives for renewables energy schemes. They are urging the establishment of a Scottish …

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28 June 2014

A World in Chains

Since Angie Zelter asked me, over a year ago now, to write a chapter about the connection between civil nuclear power and nuclear weapons for her book “World in Chains”, I have become more and more concerned about the likelihood that nuclear weapons will spread to flashpoints around the globe.

Angie is a well-known campaigner on peace, justice environmental and human rights issues, but she is probably most famous for her work against Trident and her role in the world’s …

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28 June 2014


An extra £50m will be made available over the next two years towards the £1.6bn project to clean up and shut down the Dounreay nuclear site. The UK government has announced the additional funding. Dounreay near Thurso on the north Caithness coast was the centre of the UK fast breeder reactor research programme from 1954 until 1994. Work to decommission the complex and demolish almost 200 buildings is to be completed by 2025. Parts of the 136-acre (55ha) site will …

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27 June 2014

Energy Markets

Ofgem has sparked what is likely to be the largest ever investigation into the UK energy market by referring the sector to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The investigation will run into next year and could spell the end of the Big Six energy companies that control 95 per cent of the market if the CMA recommends they be broken up into smaller fragments, to separate their generation businesses from the units that sell power to households and …

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Nuclear waste liabilities drain taxpayers

In the same week that the big guns of the energy efficiency world, including the Energy Saving Trust and the Association for the Conservation of Energy, called for energy saving to be declared a top infrastructure priority, and spending increased to a mere £4bn per year to tackle both fuel poverty and climate change, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has announced that its undiscounted nuclear waste liabilities have increased by £6.6bn to £110bn but warned that next year the total …

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26 June 2014

Nuclear Costs

Ahead of Ed Davey’s visit to Scotland today, the SNP has called on the UK Energy Secretary to explain to people in Scotland why he is determined to push up their energy bills with his support for nuclear energy. A report into the cost of living from consumer organisation Which? yesterday found that the cost of energy was one of the major pressures facing the 36 per cent of Scottish households that feel financially squeezed. Prior to going into …

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25 June 2014


‘Bradwell is the worst location on the East Coast for radioactive discharges…… and monitoring is wholly inadequate’, On 23 June, on a pleasant, midsummer Monday evening, 200 people crammed into the MICA Centre in West Mersea to listen to independent expert, Tim Deere-Jones, speak on the subject of ‘Radioactive discharges into the Blackwater – Who knows what’s going on?’. Tim argued that nobody knows what is going on as there is wholly inadequate data and monitoring of discharges. He added …

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24 June 2014


The bill faced by taxpayers for the clean-up of Sellafield and Britain’s other nuclear sites will be £6.6bn more than previously thought, in a sign of the challenges the country faces in dealing with its atomic legacy. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority said it had raised its best estimate for the undiscounted cost of the clean-up over the next 120 years to £110bn, a 7 per cent increase, with Sellafield alone accounting for £79.1bn of that. It also raised its total …

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23 June 2014


Campaigners have criticised Anglesey council for spending taxpayers’ money on sending a delegation to Japan to build relationships with the firm behind the new Wylfa B power station. The trip has been organised to build relationships with Horizon Nuclear Power. But objectors claim the cost cannot be justified at a time when public services are being cut. The council said the trip’s cost was negligible compared to the investment.

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