News February 2016

29 February 2016

Hinkley

Senior figures at EDF are pushing to delay final approval for the £18bn Hinkley Point nuclear reactor for up to a year as the company seeks new investors for the project. The long-delayed scheme to build the first in a wave of nuclear power stations in the UK has been awaiting a final investment decision from the French utility company for months. EDF has said repeatedly that approval for the plant in Somerset, in the west of England, is “imminent”. …

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28 February 2016

Terror

New weapons, unstable nations, and terrorism are raising the nuclear stakes. Is a doomsday attack more likely? Here’s everything you need to know about the new nuclear arms race. Could terrorists acquire a nuke? It’s possible. Between 1995 and 2012, the International Atomic Energy Agency catalogued 2,200 attempts to steal or smuggle uranium. ISIS’s propaganda magazine has suggested buying a nuclear weapon in Pakistan and smuggling it into the U.S. Nuclear experts warn that an improvised device could be fitted …

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27 February 2016

Hinkley

DOES the government need a ‘Plan B’ for Hinkley C? The Green Party’s MEP for the South West Dr Molly Scott Cato certainly thinks so. Following news last week that French energy firm EDF reported a 68 per cent fall in profits and is planning to extend the life of four of its other UK nuclear power stations, Dr Scott Cato thinks now is the time to focus on renewables. The Final Investment Decision had been expected this month but …

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26 February 2016

Hinkley

What’s the (Hinkley) Point? It would be best if Britain’s French nuclear partner threw in the towel. It is symbolic of a “nuclear renaissance” after the failure of a state-run industry that limped along from the 1950s to the 1980s, and equally fraught private ownership during the next two decades. It is meant to show how private investment, with a helpful state behind it, is the best model, giving a renewed lease of life to the nuclear industry, says a …

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25 February 2016

SMRs

The government’s high profile small nuclear reactor R&D programme received a boost today, as the Energy Technology Institute (ETI) unveiled plans for a major new research project to identify the initial steps needed to build pioneering new nuclear technologies in the UK. The government and industry-backed ETI announced it has appointed engineering and management consultancy Decision Analysis Services (DAS) to deliver its £300,000, six-month Small Modular Reactor Deployment Enablers project. The initiative follows a previous ETI project to assess the …

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24 February 2016

Hinkley

If the UK really wants 3.2GW of ‘baseload’ power in Somerset, then the Hinkley C nuclear power station is not the only way, write Marie-Louise Heddrich, Thorsten Lenck and Carlos Perez Linkenheil. Wind power with ‘wind to gas’ plant and CCGT gas power stations could do the same – faster, cheaper, more flexibily, and at much lower technical and financial risk. electricity is generated by wind turbines. Wind power that is surplus to the HPC’s 3.2GW is used to produce …

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23 February 2016

AGRs

A new graphite irradiation research program has been launched in support of ageing management of Advanced Gas-Cooled Reactors (AGRs) in the UK. Last week, EDF Energy announced new scheduled closure dates for four of its UK AGR nuclear power plants. AGR reactors feature a graphite moderator and are cooled using carbon dioxide. The graphite blocks cannot be replaced or repaired during the operating life of the reactors. However, radiation damage changes the shape and size of the crystallites that …

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22 February 2016

Hinkley

Nuclear giant EDF can’t afford to write off the £2 billion sunk into the Hinkley C nuclear plant, write Paul Brown & Oliver Tickell. So its cunning plan is to turn it into a ‘nuclear zombie’ – officially a live project, but actually stone cold dead – until EDF can find a way out of the hole it has dug itself into.

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21 February 2016

Fukushima

The Japanese were kept in the dark from the start of the Fukushima disaster about high radiation levels and their dangers to health, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. In order to proclaim the Fukushima area ‘safe’, the Government increased exposure limits to twenty times the international norm. Soon, many Fukushima refugees will be forced to return home to endure damaging levels of radiation. The media may have played the willing government handmaiden in reassuring the public with falsehoods, but in July …

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20 February 2016

Hinkley

The future of the nuclear industry in Europe took another blow this week when the French state-owned power company EDF again postponed a final decision on whether to build two large nuclear power stations in the UK. Construction will now not start before 2019, the company said. This is the eighth time a “final investment decision” on building two European Pressurised Water Reactors (EPRs) has been postponed because the company has still to secure enough backing to finance the £18 …

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