News

26 April 2009

EDF

THE French energy giant EDF hired private investigators to spy on Greenpeace in Britain as the company was seeking to build the next generation of UK nuclear power stations. Inquiries by The Sunday Times have revealed how private detectives hacked into computer systems at a time when the environmental group was planning a legal challenge to EDF’s UK aspirations. It is also claimed that the investigators informally consulted contacts at MI5 about Greenpeace, including the possibility of it being “infiltrated” by eco-terrorists. The spying operation was authorised by senior executives at EDF’s head office in Paris and has sparked a French judicial investigation.

Sunday Times 26th Apr 2009 more >>

Millom

Six of Haverigg’s eight turbines actually fall within the proposed footprint of the Kirksanton nuclear power station, where RWE wants to build up to three reactors. The German energy giant confirms that they would have to be dismantled if the power station were built. The development will delight pro-nuclear anti-wind activists while dismayed environmentalists will see it as an all-too-obvious portent of a switch in government priorities from promoting wind to advancing the atom – and as proof that concentrating on nuclear will cripple renewable energy. “It beggars belief that, at a time when windpower has never been more vital to the UK, a viable wind farm is to be sacrificed on the altar of nuclear power,” said Martin Forwood of the campaign group Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment.

Independent on Sunday 26th Apr 2009 more >>

Dungeness

A campaign group has raised concerns that the expansion of an airport would jeopardise plans for a new nuclear power station at Dungeness. The Lydd Airport Action Group (LAAG) wants to prevent proposals for the extension of the runway and a new terminal at London Ashford Airport on the Romney Marsh from going ahead.

Kent News 25th Apr 2009 more >>

Sizewell

Fifty people have gathered at a nuclear power station in Suffolk to mark 20 years since the Chernobyl disaster. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), which has organised a “peaceful” protest at Sizewell said it wanted to highlight the dangers of nuclear power. The Government said new nuclear power stations could be built at 11 sites in England including Sizewell.

BBC 25th Apr 2009 more >>

Suffolk Evening Star 25th Apr 2009 more >>

East Anglian Daily Times 25th Apr 2009 more >>

Chernobyl

It exploded 23 years ago today more than 1,400 miles away, but it is still contaminating sheep in Scotland. The Chernobyl nuclear reactor near Kiev in Ukraine spewed a huge cloud of radioactivity over Europe, after it overheated and ripped apart on 26 April 1986 because of errors made by control room staff. It was the world’s worst nuclear accident. Now, according to the government’s Food Standards Agency (FSA), some 3,000 sheep are still subject to restrictions because they remain contaminated by Chernobyl in breach of the safety limit. They are at five farms covering about 7,000 hectares in Stirling and Ayrshire.

Sunday Herald 26th Apr 2009 more >>

Test Veterans

The People was the first newspaper to take up the case for compensating the H-bomb veterans whose lives were blighted by nuclear tests. Now, at last, the 8,000 still surviving from the bomb trials of the 1950s are on the brink of getting payouts of £30,000 each. Too little. Too late.

The People 26th Apr 2009 more >>

Trident

He’s not one of the usual suspects, and he didn’t mince his words. “Trident is no bloody use,” he said. “Let’s not waste money on it”. General Sir Hugh Beach, the former deputy Commander-in-Chief of UK Land Forces, was in Glasgow yesterday to talk about Britain’s nuclear bombs. The submarines based on the Clyde and armed with Trident nuclear warheads should not be replaced but immediately scrapped, he argued.

Sunday Herald 26th Apr 2009 more >>

North Korea

North Korea has started to extract plutonium from spent fuel rods at its nuclear arms plant, its foreign ministry admitted. The announcement came hours after a UN Security Council committee placed three North Korean companies on a UN blacklist for aiding Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear programmes.

ITN 26th Apr 2009 more >>

Wales Online 25th Apr 2009 more >>

Activists

A long-running and intricate web of covert police attempts to spy on peaceful activists and infiltrate legitimate protest movements in Scotland has been uncovered by the Sunday Herald. Citizens protesting against nuclear bases on the Clyde have been offered cash for intelligence by Ministry of Defence (MoD) police, it has been claimed, while environmental activists report similar offers from Strathclyde Police. They all back up the revelation made yesterday that Strathclyde police offered to pay Tilly Gifford, an anti-airport protester with Plane Stupid, for inside information. She recorded two police officers making the offer.

Sunday Herald 26th April 2009 more >>

Climate

Ed Milliband warns today that he is “fearful” that the world may miss the opportunity to halt global warming and is calling for a Make Poverty History-style popular movement to push for a breakthrough at this year’s Copenhagen summit. He will travel to Washington this week for preliminary talks, amid concerns that Barack Obama’s ability to back genuinely ambitious cuts in carbon emissions could be hindered by domestic political opposition.

Observer 26th Apr 2009 more >>

Renewables

Scotland risks being left behind in the race for green technology by an epidemic of nimbyism holding up planning applications and threatening to derail government targets for renewable energy. While the UK and Scottish governments argue over the need for nuclear power, experts claim that numerous multi-million-pound projects which could create thousands of jobs and provide cheap and efficient power to millions of homes are being thwarted by a highly vocal opposition.

Observer 26th Apr 2009 more >>

It’s official: it’s getting windier down south. This unexpected quirk of climate change has given a much needed boost to offshore wind-farm developers. For those struggling to make the economics of hugely expensive wind farms work, more wind equals more money. Experts said that the waters off the coast of East Anglia and Essex could host many more wind farms as a result.

Observer 26th Apr 2009 more >>

Coal

Ed Miliband’s announcement on Thursday that, in future, such plants must be fitted with equipment to remove the gas, has laid down a whole

avenue of milestones. It is the single most important green measure yet by this Government. It is the first time that a Secretary of State for Energy has overridden the irredeemably pro-pollution position of his department. And, by establishing what can, and cannot, be built, it marks the end of laissez-faire energy policy in Britain. Not bad for one short lunchtime parliamentary statement. But there is more. The new measures are likely to trigger a rapid increase in the use of the technology cumbersomely entitled “carbon capture and storage” (CCS) in the United States and worldwide. They could give Britain a share of a lucrative market that it seemed determined to forfeit. And they make it much less likely that the energy company E.ON will build its controversial new power station at Kingsnorth in Kent.

Independent on Sunday 26th Apr 2009 more >>

Posted: 26 April 2009

25 April 2009

New Nukes

Factbox: Nuclear plants being built or planned across Europe

Reuters 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Letter: Allan Wilson: Scotland’s future electricity generation needs should be met from a balanced mix of all energy sources, which is why new nuclear stations must be a part of the equation. The exact nature of that mix is a matter of debate but must meet three essential criteria: security of supply, carbon emissions’ reduction and affordability. All of which criteria new nuclear generation complies with. Neil Craig: Bill Robertson quotes figures some 50% greater than the 1.7p a unit for nuclear electricity I gave in my letter (April 20), though he was using the same World Nuclear Association site as I used. The figures given there are in cents and I converted them to pence. Mr Robertson has taken the figure in cents and written it as being in pence.

Herald 25th Apr 2009 more >>

Concerns about security of supply and climate change frame the UK debate, and while the government has concluded that new nuclear build is a major part of any solution, public opinion remains deeply divided – not least because of the legacy of costly and inefficient former UK nuclear projects. This paper explores the status and prospects of the British nuclear industry, including its history, UK energy strategy and the evolving regulatory framework, and discusses the continuing concerns surrounding the prospective new nuclear build in the UK.

Centre for International Governance Innovation Jan 2009 more >>

Millom

ANTI-NUCLEAR campaigners have warned wind turbines could be scrapped should a nuclear power plant be built near Millom. Energy bosses have come under fire from action group Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment over the future of the turbines in Haverigg. RWE npower, which is behind plans to build a plant at Layriggs in Kiksanton, has admitted a nuclear plant and some of the existing wind turbines “would not be able to co-exist”.

NW Evening Mail 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Scotland

BORDERS MSP John Lamont and Conservative Westminster Candidate Chris Walker have expressed disappointment and concern after the Westminster Government last week released a list of 11 sites in England and Wales where new nuclear power stations could be built, but failed to include any options for Scotland. Mr Lamont commented: “This is not the news we wanted to hear, and leaves a cloud of uncertainty hanging over Scotland’s future energy supply and also raises questions over the many jobs dependant on the plant at Torness.

Berwickshire News 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Nuclear Waste

As Sweden debates where to store spent fuel from its nuclear reactors, scientific evidence has emerged to suggest that even if the three protective barriers that surround it are breached, there will be no radioactive contamination of groundwater. Sweden plans to protect its nuclear waste with a shell of copper reinforced with iron encased in clay and buried in surrounded by 500m of granite bedrock.

Edie 24th Apr 2009 more >>

US

Monumental grassroots victory against new reactor in Missouri. Today AmerenUE announced that it has cancelled its plans to build a new 1,600 megawatt-electric French Areva “Evolutionary Power Reactor” at its Callaway nuclear power plant in central Missouri. The project’s biggest stumbling block was Missouri’s anti-CWIP law. “Construction Work in Progress” (CWIP) allows a nuclear utility to recover the construction costs of a reactor before the reactor actually operates. Ratepayers pay this cost through their current electricity bill even though the reactor has not produced any power. Like federal taxpayer loan guarantees, CWIP is a way to overcome private investors’ wise aversion to the large financial risks of new reactor loans. In 1976, Beyond Nuclear board member Kay Drey helped lead a state-wide ballot measure barring CWIP in Missouri which passed by 2 to 1 margin.

Beyond Nuclear 24th Apr 2009 more >>

World’s largest solar power plants with thermal storage to be built in Arizona. What’s the easiest way to deal with the intermittency of many renewable sources of energy? Cheap storage. And what form of storage is much cheaper and has a much higher round-trip efficiency than electric storage? Thermal storage.

Climate Progress 24th Apr 2009 more >>

The chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Jon Wellinghoff, said today of new coal and nuclear plants, “We may not need any, ever.”

Climate Progress 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Protest

Undercover police are running a network of hundreds of informants inside protest organisations who secretly feed them intelligence in return for cash, according to evidence handed to the Guardian. They claim to have infiltrated a number of environmental groups and said they are receiving information about leaders, tactics and plans of future demonstrations. The dramatic disclosures are revealed in almost three hours of secretly recorded discussions between covert officers claiming to be from Strathclyde police, and an activist from the protest group Plane Stupid, whom the officers attempted to recruit as a paid spy after she had been released on bail following a demonstration at Aberdeen airport last month.

Guardian 25th Apr 2009 more >>

Guardian 25th Apr 2009 more >>

Herald 25th Apr 2009 more >>

Independent 25th Apr 2009 more >>

Pakistan

Thousands of Pakistani troops were massing for an assault on Taleban positions 65 miles from the country’s capital last night after giving the insurgents 24 hours to withdraw from their advanced positions or face attack. The threat of force follows a stern warning from American policymakers that Islamabad was doing too little to stem a growing militant insurgency. Washington is worried about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

Times 25th Apr 2009 more >>

North Korea

North Korea said it has begun to reprocess spent fuel rods from its nuclear power plant. The move would allow the communist country to produce weapons-grade plutonium.

Express 25th Apr 2009 more >>

BBC 25th Apr 2009 more >>

THE international crisis surrounding North Korea’s missile programme intensified last night as analysts warned that intelligence agencies have shifted their thinking to acknowledge publicly that the nation has become a nuclear power.

Scotsman 25th Apr 2009 more >>

Times 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Disarmament

Both Washington and Moscow want a new arms reduction treaty, but they want it for rather different reasons to those of the past.

BBC 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Russia and the US began landmark negotiations yesterday to cut their stockpiles of nuclear weapons. Officials opened talks in Rome with the intention of replacing the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start), which expires in December. Both sides cut their nuclear arsenals under that treaty to a maximum of 5,000 weapons each, compared with a peak of 30,000 in the Cold War.

Times 25th Apr 2009 more >>

Guardian 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Posted: 25 April 2009

24 April 2009

Nuclear Sites

Planners have warned of repeated policy revisions and public consultation on nuclear capacity following the announcement of 11 potential sites for development. The public has until 14 May to comment on the proposed locations, which include Dungeness, Hartlepool, Sellafield and Sizewell.

Planning Resource 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Hartlepool

RESIDENTS are being urged not to miss an initial opportunity to comment on whether Hartlepool should have a new nuclear power station.

The Government is currently looking for potential sites for new power stations, and prospective developer EDF Energy has nominated Hartlepool as a location.

Hartlepool Mail 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Sizewell

Sizewell in Suffolk has been pushed to the fore of a UK nuclear power debate that promises to intensify in heat after British Energy named it and Hinkley Point, Somerset, as the the company’s preferred sites for new nuclear build. British Energy’s parent company, EDF, is behind five of the 11 sites to be shortlisted by the UK Government as potential new venues for nuclear power, but wants to build its first four reactors at Sizewell and Hinkley.

Business Weekly 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Scotland

The Scottish Government’s determination to resist pressure from Westminster to build two nuclear reactors has been boosted by an independent report. International think tank The Centre for International Governance Innovation backed the Scottish National Party’s position that more sustainable alternatives should be sought. The report entitled The British Nuclear Industry: Status and Prospects, the CIGI warned that a stronger focus on sustainable energy alternatives would be better and more cost-effective than new nuclear capacity. Report author Ian Davis – former executive director of the British American Security Information Council – said: “The Government’s obsession with nuclear power is undermining and marginalizing more efficient and safer technologies – the real energy solutions. A much more prudent path would see a stronger focus on delivering more sustainable methods of generating electricity and on absolute reductions in UK energy demand, along the lines of what is being proposed in Scotland.”

Construction News 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Northumberland

A Berwick councillor has called for a nuclear plant to be built at a coastal beauty spot.

Newcastle Journal 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Cumbria

LOCAL opposition is growing against siting nuclear reactors at Braystones and Kirksanton. Lowside Quarter parish council, representing Braystones, Coulderton and Nethertown, says it is strongly opposed to a reactor on the coast at Braystones adding: “We are in favour of nuclear power based at Sellafield but are in full support of parishioners both residents and businesses wishing to stop a plant from being built at Braystones.” And Whicham parish council says that following a questionnaire sent to 176 households most people were opposed to the Kirksanton proposal. A Whicham action group has now been set up. More opposition was heard at a Joint Neighbourhood Forum public meeting in Millom on Tuesday night although some Millom residents were in favour of a Kirksanton reactor to bring more jobs. A similar meeting was held in Calderbridge on Wednesday.

Whitehaven News 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

EDF

IN JUNE 2008 French members of Greenpeace, an environmental campaign group, blockaded three quarries supplying sand and gravel to the building site of a new nuclear-power plant at Flamanville in northern France. Greenpeace, a fierce opponent of nuclear power, boasted that it had delayed construction for EDF, which is the world’s largest operator of nuclear reactors. EDF now stands accused of making an illegal intrusion of its own in its struggle to contain Greenpeace.

Economist 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

France’s highest court today rejected arguments by environmental groups against Electricite de France SA’s construction of a new-generation nuclear reactor, allowing EDF to pursue the government-backed plan for the plant. The public was consulted before the 2007 decision allowing the reactor at Flamanville in northwest France, and environmental risks had been “sufficiently studied,” the Conseil d’Etat said in a statement on its Web site. In addition, EDF met its obligations in demonstrating its ability to limit risks tied to the plant, the Conseil said.

Bloomberg 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

NDA

ATOMIC agency workers in Cumbria were paid average bonuses of nearly £12,000 each, it has emerged. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority forked out nearly £3.8m in bonus payments last year. The pay-outs were shared among 315 members of the west Cumbria-based organisation’s staff, who received an average of £11,954.

Carlisle News & Star 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Whitehaven News 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

The NDA organisation charged with distributing millions of pounds in Copeland for having the Drigg low-level waste repository on its patch has been boosted by two new board members with a wealth of business experience. The Copeland Community Fund has appointed business coach and company owner, Michael Shields, of St Bees, and commercial business consultant, Steve McClure.

Whitehaven News 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Sellafield

SELLAFIELD’S old B30 plant – known locally as “Dirty 30” – has been headlined in a Sunday newspaper as potentially the “most dangerous place in Europe”. But operators Sellafield Ltd assured The Whitehaven News yesterday that everything was being done to eliminate B30’s hazards.

Whitehaven News 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Zirconium

The nuclear industry is set to boom and minor metal zirconium, crucial in the energy creation process, will be in big demand so abundant supplies now should not be taken for granted.

Reuters 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Facts about the metal.

Yahoo 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Companies

LDC, the mid-market private equity arm of LloydsTSB, has invested £6.5m ( 7.3m) in Nuclear Engineering Services, a niche engineering solutions group focusing on the nuclear, marine defence and other specialist industrial sectors.

Alt Assets 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

US

Ameren Corp suspended its efforts to build a new nuclear power plant in Missouri due to unfavorable legislation that would not allow for the cost recovery during the construction process, the company said in a release Thursday. In 2008, Ameren filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for permission to build a new reactor at an estimated cost of $6 billion at its existing Callaway nuclear power plant in Missouri.

Interactive Investor 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Spain

Permits to operate seven of Spain’s eight nuclear plants are up for renewal in the next two years, or within the mandate of a government that has vowed to phase them out.

Yahoo 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

North Korea

The world’s intelligence agencies and defence experts are quietly acknowledging that North Korea has become a fully fledged nuclear power with the capacity to wipe out entire cities in Japan and South Korea. The new reality has emerged in off-hand remarks and in single sentences buried in lengthy reports. Increasing numbers of authoritative experts from the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the US Defence Secretary are admitting that North Korea has miniaturised nuclear warheads to the extent that they can be launched on medium-range missiles, according to intelligence briefings.

Times 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Disarmament

Russia and the United States could cut their nuclear arsenals by half under a new deal being negotiated at disarmament talks in Rome on Friday.

Telegraph 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Guardian 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Thinking about Nuclear Weapons by Michael Quinlan – Book Review.

Telegraph 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Coal

Fifteen months ago John Hutton, came within days of giving permission to build the first new coal-fired power station in Britain in more than 30 years, at Kingsnorth, Kent. The move would have delivered a huge blow to the government’s claims to be leading the world in tackling climate change and almost certainly triggered an intensification of the long-running conflict with activists, who had turned it into one of the green movement’s totemic issues. A last-ditch campaign by green cabinet members, including the then environment secretary, David Miliband, and his brother Ed, backed by Greenpeace and other environmentalists, first delayed the Kingsnorth decision and yesterday, having persuaded the Treasury, overturned the old energy department stance. “This is a complete rewrite of UK energy policy. Instead of a laissez-faire system where companies told government what they wanted to build and where, government has decided that reducing climate change emissions cannot be left to the market and it must now tell industry what needs to be built to what pollution standards,” one government source said yesterday. No new coal-fired power station will now get government consent without it having equipment to capture and bury at least 25% of emissions now and 100% by 2025 when the technology is expected to be technically and commercially proven.

Guardian 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Independent 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Times 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Bryony Worthington: The government has finally come up with a clear policy about new power stations. It wants them to use coal and be at least 20% cleaner than they would be otherwise. This won’t be enough for deep green environmentalists but it is nevertheless a significant step forward.

Guardian 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Climate

There was much to welcome in Wednesday’s budget but many more bold steps towards a low-carbon economy need to be taken over the next few years, as part of a coherent, consistent and credible strategy to tackle climate change.

Guardian 24th Apr 2009 more >>

Posted: 24 April 2009

23 April 2009

Nuclear Subsidy

The renewable power industry has been given a shot in the arm after Alistair Darling’s budget announced over £5bn worth of new funding to hasten an offshore wind revolution and kick-start solar. But there are concerns that oil and even nuclear were being given help and the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) warned that other important obstacles, such as electrical grid connections and planning delays, remained for wind schemes. David Lowry, asked whether this was a small but significant breach of its promise not to give any kind of subsidies to the atomic power sector. Doug Parr, the chief scientist at Greenpeace, said: “Nuclear has had 50 years to get its act together. It should not need more money and this is cash that could and should have all all gone to renewables.”

Guardian 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

BERR Press Release 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

New Nukes

Letters: (1) John Bruce Elliot perpetuates the myth that nuclear fuel will be depleted in the near future because reserves of high grade uranium ore are finite. This is akin to the 16th-century fear that England would run out of trees for charcoal to be used in iron production, just before the introduction of coal for smelting. (2) An Energy Secretary who wants to replace ageing nuclear reactors with new ones without a policy for dealing with the waste they produce shouldn’t even get a hearing.

Scotsman 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

The amount of money generated by the nuclear sector in the north west could double in the next 10 years, an expert has said. Professor Paul Howarth, of the Dalton Nuclear Institute at Manchester University, said the industry could grow to be worth an estimated £5 billion a year. West Cumbria will contribute significantly to that figure, particularly if new reactors are built at the area’s three candidate sites: Sellafield, Braystones, near Egremont and Kirksanton, near Millom.

Business Gazette 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

At the risk of embarrassing environmental activists, it seems to me that the greatest scope for creating a large number of well paid, highly skilled green-collar jobs lies in the development of the nuclear power industry. On this front, the Government is doing rather a good job. It has set up an Office of Nuclear Development to encourage the new investment needed to ensure the lights won’t go out as old power stations are closed. And while the UK will have to farm out the construction of new plants to foreign companies, British companies are already world leaders in the nuclear supply chain. The inconvenient truth is that if you are hell-bent on becoming a green-collar worker, your best chance is to join the car or the nuclear industry.

Telegraph 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Millom

Angry residents were out in force last night to quiz representatives from RWE npower, which is planning to build a power station on farmland at Layriggs in Kirksanton, during a public debate at Millom School. Kirksanton business owner Lorraine Wilson attacked the representatives over fears tourism could not be sustained if the plant is given the go-ahead. Ms Wilson joined almost 200 people who crammed into the school’s Alexandra Hall, to have their say before the month-long consultation process ends on May 14.

NW Evening Mail 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Letters about Cumbrian reactor proposals.

Whitehaven News 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

NDA

Nearly £4m worth of bonuses have been paid to public servants working in Britain’s nuclear industry, it has emerged.

Personnel Today 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Accountancy Magazine 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

US

No new nuclear or coal plants may ever be needed in the United States, the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said today. “We may not need any, ever,” Jon Wellinghoff told reporters at a U.S. Energy Association forum. The FERC chairman’s comments go beyond those of other Obama administration officials, who have strongly endorsed greater efficiency and renewables deployment but also say nuclear and fossil energies will continue playing a major role.

Greenwire 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Scientific American 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Three new nuclear power plants in the next ten years, max. That was the consensus among the experts attending Tuesday’s morning session on nuclear power at Fortune’s Brainstorm: Green conference. Maybe five, said one lonely voice. Either way, that’s far from the nuclear renaissance we were reading about just a couple of years ago. What happened? No1 Global recession; No2, sinking natural; gas prices; No. 3, the credit crunch.

Fortune 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Japan

The long-pending issue of selecting candidate sites for constructing a national disposal site for high-level radioactive waste has again been thrown in the air after a mayor suddenly backed out of a plan to allow the disposal facility to be built in his town in Fukushima Prefecture.

Daily Yomiuri 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Trident

A LOCAL environment group has lodged a complaint with West Berkshire Council over the handling of a planning application at AWE in Burghfield. The Nuclear Awareness Group (NAG), based in Reading, have written to the council outlining their concerns about the way plans to build a new nuclear warhead facility were handled.

Newbury News, 22 April 2009 more >>

Reading Evening Post, 21 April 2009 more >>

Green Jobs

As a programme for a green recovery, Alistair Darling’s Budget left a lot to be desired, environmental campaigners chorused yesterday – but it still contained measures that were undeniably significant in environmental terms. They included £525m of new support over the next two years for offshore wind projects, which have languished in the recession; £435m of support to deliver energy efficiency measures to homes and other buildings; and £405m to encourage low-carbon energy and advanced green manufacturing in Britain. Furthermore, the proven energy-saving technology of combined heat and power (CHP) was given a shot in the arm with the announcement that plants using CHP will be exempt from the Climate Change Levy from 2013, while the still-to-be proven technology of carbon capture and storage (CCS) was given new impetus with the announcement that the CCS demonstration plant the Government has been planning will now become two plants, and possibly even four.

Independent 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Telegraph 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Adam Bruce, chairman of the British Wind Energy Association said: “This package of measures deserves a welcome from our industry. It also restates the Government’s long-term commitment to the renewable energy sector, and should enable us to unlock up to £10bn of private-sector investment in wind and marine energy projects over the coming few years.”

Telegraph 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Solar

“This was a good day” for solar power, according to Andrew Lee, general manager of Sharp Solar UK, after the chancellor announced £45m for small-scale renewable energy. Mr Lee had feared the government would leave solar power companies in limbo, because one subsidy system had ended and the new regime will not be introduced until next year.

FT 23rd Apr 2009 more >>

Posted: 23 April 2009

22 April 2009

New Nukes

A NUCLEAR power plant near Millom would leave Cumbria open to “catastrophic accident or terrorist attack”, resulting in huge loss of life and leaving large parts of the county uninhabitable, green campaigners have warned. Political group the Green Party has vowed to block plans to build a new plant a Layriggs Farm in Kirksanton. The defiant stand was announced after a list of 11 potential sites across the country was released by the government. The list also includes land at Braystones, near Egremont, and a plot near Sellafield.

NW Evening Mail 21st Apr 2009 more >>

Letters (1) The claim is that nuclear electricity generation is so cheap but not so cheap that it won’t need metering. Neil Craig claims France is producing it at 1.7p a unit. Flamanville in Normandy is nine months behind schedule and is expected to be in operation in May 2012 with electricity costs of about 5.4p a unit. Allan Wilson seems to believe that the Labour Party in Scotland’s policy of no new nuclear power stations until the long-term storage of highly radioactive waste material has been resolved is met by the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) recommendation that this should be a geological “disposal” facility. (2) To quote costs for the wind power industry (which is technically still in its infancy), which include all of the setting up costs, is disingenuous, to say the least. Wind power is expected to provide no more than a fairly modest (but nevertheless significant) proportion of our future power, so I’m getting a little tired of the continuous attempts by the pro-nuclear lobby to imply that our future energy choice is either nuclear or wind power, while hoping we will not notice we are building and putting into operation highly efficient hydro power stations and are just about to embark on a huge programme of developing tidal and wave power generation. In Scotland, we are already producing enough power, even when our remaining nuclear facilities are down.

Herald 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

NDA

Public servants working in Britain’s nuclear industry are being paid millions of pounds of taxpayer-funded bonuses every year. The finding, which emerged from the response to an inquiry under the Freedom of Information Act, has prompted fresh accusations of government waste as the Chancellor prepares the most austere Budget in decades today. The response from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), the agency responsible for the clean-up of Britain’s nuclear sites, shows that the organisation paid nearly £3.8 million in bonuses to its 315 staff last year.

Times 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Submarines

China will unveil its nuclear submarines this week at an international fleet review marking the 60th anniversary of its navy, official media reported yesterday.

Guardian 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Test Veterans

An inquiry is to investigate possible links between severe illnesses suffered by veterans and British nuclear tests. The study comes as the High Court is about to rule on compensation claims made by hundreds of former soldiers. This has led to conjecture that the Ministry of Defence has been forced into action by the possibility of the judgment going against it.

Independent 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

The MOD announced today that it will be conducting an assessment of the health needs of nuclear test veterans and their descendants in a move welcomed by the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association (BNTVA).

MOD Press Release 21st Apr 2009 more >>

NUCLEAR test veteran Louis Holford has died – weeks before discovering if the Government will acknowledge his health problems were caused by atomic fallout. The former RAF clerk, of Oakhill, served on Christmas Island while H-Bomb and A-Bomb tests took place in 1958.

Staffordshire Sentinel 21st Apr 2009 more >>

Iran

Israel has warned Tehran that it is ready to be “the shield” defending Jewish people from a “new Holocaust” threat posed by Iran’s nuclear programme.

Telegraph 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Korea

Political rivals North and South Korea held rare, brief and acrimonious talks on Tuesday over a joint factory park as global powers tried to prevent Pyongyang from restarting its nuclear arms plant.

Interactive Investor 21st Apr 2009 more >>

FT 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Jordan

China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) could join the bidding to build a nuclear power plant in Jordan worth $3.5 billion, Khaled Toukan, chairman of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC), said on Tuesday.

Yahoo 21st Apr 2009 more >>

Green New Deal

Why is green the right path for Labour? Partly because it would tackle the jobs crisis: insulating Britain’s homes alone would employ tens of thousands of people and do so right away. Partly because it would re-tool the economy for the rest of the 21st century, when low-carbon nations will flourish while the fossil-fuel dinosaurs are left behind. But also, as Ed Miliband likes to say, because it’s very Labour. It’s about fairness, ensuring future generations don’t pay for our folly, and about a task too big to be left to markets or individuals – one that has to be tackled by governments, working together internationally, especially in the European Union.

Guardian 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Letter from FoE, Greenpeace and others: Today we face three of the greatest challenges of our time, global recession, energy security and the threat of catastrophic climate change. The only solution to this triple crunch is a low-carbon recovery. Millions of jobs could be created around the world, global warming emissions slashed and energy security increased. There is no choice between economic recovery and climate recovery – they are one and the same. But time is running out and we need bold measures at the heart of this year’s budget to build a low-carbon economy, ramp up energy efficiency and provide the renewables industry with urgently needed support to overcome immediate difficulties.

Guardian 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

Coal

Ed Miliband, the energy secretary, is expected to set out rules for more “carbon capture and storage” coal plants, despite industry doubts about whether so-called “clean coal” is cost-effective and questions about the technology involved. Mr Miliband is expected to give the go-ahead for at least one new carbon-capture coal plant, financially supported by the Government to demonstrate the new technology. A new licensing regime for new coal stations will also be set out.

Telegraph 21st Apr 2009 more >>

Posted: 22 April 2009

21 April 2009

New Nukes

Letter: Nuclear is not the answer. Sadly, new Labour ministers and the leadership of trade unions such as Prospect have fallen for the propaganda from the nuclear fission industry, which is better at peddling half-truths than safely operating nuclear facilities. However, we disagree both with your suggestion that nuclear fusion may provide a future answer and the inaccurate assertion that fusion “would produce no radioactive waste.” Fusion power does produce radioactive waste, but a different sort from fission.

Morning Star 19th Apr 2009 more >>

Editorial: Nuclear’s low-carbon nature has been overstated, concentrating largely on power stations’ operation and taking no account of the mining and transport of uranium to Britain and the construction of the new facilities. And its advocates ignore the real dangers related to waste and terrorist threats. The process of nuclear fission leaves radioactive waste that poses a threat to humans and their environment for hundreds of years. It also produces plutonium, which is used to build nuclear warheads.

Morning Star 15th Apr 2009 more >>

Letters: Global new nuclear build cannot contribute to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. High-grade uranium reserves are finite and will become severely depleted early within the lifetime of a global nuclear build programme. The use of lower-grade uranium will increase nuclear greenhouse gas emissions to the level of gas-fired power generation within the lifetime of the plants.

Scotsman 21st Apr 2009 more >>

Wiltshire’s Euro MP Dr Caroline Jackson has welcomed the Government’s announcement of potential sites for new nuclear power stations. Two of them are in her South West constituency. Dr Jackson, who will be standing down as an MEP at the elections in June, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Oldbury in Gloucestershire and Hinkley Point in Somerset have been chosen and I very much hope that new power stations are built there with the minimum of delay.

Wiltshire Gazette and Herald 20th Apr 2009 more >>

WEALTH created by the nuclear sector in the north west could double over the next decade, with Manchester at the heart of the prosperity, according to a senior industry figure. The government is considering 11 potential sites for new nuclear reactors – three near Sellafield in Cumbria and one at Heysham in Lancashire. The plans could deliver a benefit to the entire north west, with Manchester at the centre of expertise.

Manchester Evening News 20th Apr 2009 more >>

Heysham

HEYSHAM has now been confirmed by the Government as being on a list of 11 sites where a new nuclear power station could be built.

Morecambe Visitior 20th Apr 2009 more >>

Hartlepool

Environmental campaigners have vowed to fight plans for a new reactor at Hartlepool.

Evening Gazette 20th Apr 2009 more >>

EDF

EDF paid investigators to infiltrate the anti-nuclear movement around Europe, according to testimony given in a French judicial investigation. The investigation is looking into whether the state-controlled group condoned illegal practices as part of a surveillance operation

FT 21st Apr 2009 more >>

Renewables

Britain could save up to £12.6bn a year in imports of fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal by 2020 if it embarks on a large- scale programme of energy efficiency and renewable technologies including wind power and biomass, a study showed yesterday. The report, carried out by Edinburgh-based consultants Delta EE for the Renewable Energy Association (REA), is the first attempt to quantify the economic benefits to Britain of a move to energy efficiency and sustainability, rather than just the costs. The figure for savings is close to 1% of GDP at current levels.

Guardian 21st Apr 2009 more >>

Green New Deal?

The most eye-opening study, by independent consultants Ecofys, looks at the UK’s first fiscal stimulus, revealed in November in the pre-budget report. The study argued that the emissions reductions delivered by the investments in energy efficiency and public transport were more than outweighed by the simultaneous investment in 520 lane miles of new roads. In other words, the package was on balance damaging to the environment.

Guardian 22nd Apr 2009 more >>

France

Workers at France’s nuclear power plants of Dampierre in central France and Chinon in southwestern France extended on Monday a strike which began on April 16, the CGT union said.

Interactive Investor 20th Apr 2009 more >>

Yahoo 20th Apr 2009 more >>

China

China will commence construction of five nuclear plants in 2009, which includes two technologies based on from Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC (Westinghouse) and one technology based on Areva S.A., said Sun Qin, deputy chief of China’s National Energy Agency. The five of them are, Sanmen in Zhejiang province and Haiyang in Shandong, both based on Westinghouse’s AP1000; Taishan in Guangdong province, using Areva technology; Changjiang in Hainan province and Rongcheng in Shandong.

Energy Business Review 20th Apr 2009 more >>

Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC (Westinghouse), its consortium partner The Shaw Group Inc. (Shaw Group), State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) and Sanmen Nuclear Power Company of China National Nuclear Corporation have completed the first pour of basemat structural concrete for the nuclear island at Sanmen. The Sanmen site is the first of four Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear power plants to be built under a contract signed in 2007.

Energy Business Review 19th Apr 2009 more >>

Korea

A South Korean delegation arrived in North Korea on Tuesday for rare talks between the political rivals that come as regional powers are trying to prevent reclusive Pyongyang from restarting its nuclear arms plant.

Interactive Investor 21st Apr 2009 more >>

Seoul’s huge financial stimulus package pledges 81% for a swath of environmental projects. But activists fear a wave of construction may increase the country’s carbon footprint.

Guardian 21st Apr 2009 more >>

Japan

A senior Japanese politician has called for Japan to discuss allowing nuclear weapons within its pacifist constitution. Shoichi Nakagawa, former finance minister, suggested that Japan should examine the possibility of defending itself from potential attacks from North Korea by obtaining nuclear weapons.

Telegraph 20th Apr 2009 more >>

Iran

Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant has commenced testing stage by dummy fuel, an official said. The loading stage of dummy fuel has been completed and the plant has entered cold test stage. In February 2008, Iran has loaded Bushehr nuclear power plant by dummy fuel rods loaded with lead instead of low-enriched uranium.

Energy Business Review 19th Apr 2009 more >>

Croatia

Croatia’s Ministry of Economy has denied reports which the country would join with Albania to construct a nuclear power plant, media sources reported. According to media sources, a contract on the deal would be signed by the end of April 2009. Mazal said that at the end of March 2009, Deputy Croatian Prime Minister Damir Polancec was on an official visit to Albania when possible cooperation on constructing a nuclear plant in the country was discussed.

Energy Business Review 19th Apr 2009 more >>

Submarines

A fire broke out on board a nuclear-powered submarine as 20 people were working on it, the Ministry of Defence said.

Telegraph 20th Apr 2009 more >>

NW Evening Mail 20th Apr 2009 more >>

Plymouth’s naval base could become a “nuclear dustbin” for decommissioned nuclear-powered submarines.

BBC 20th Apr 2009 more >>

Trident

Campaigners will present Chancellor Alistair Darling with an alternative Budget today which does not include spending on nuclear weapons. Members of the group Scotland’s for Peace will take their case to Mr Darling’s office in Edinburgh this morning. The group, who include various public sector workers, will be holding red boxes, similar to the one Mr Darling will use for Wednesday’s Budget.

Herald 20th Apr 2009 more >>

Posted: 21 April 2009

20 April 2009

New Nukes

Growing energy demands and concerns about oil supplies and greenhouse gas emissions means nuclear power is making a comeback, top international specialists declared. “Nuclear is really back on the agenda. There is a need for more energy,” said Thierry Dujardin, a deputy director of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s nuclear energy arm. However, speaking ahead of a conference on nuclear power in the Chinese capital, specialists said the global financial crisis would slow the nuclear comeback temporarily as funding for new projects dries up.

Middle East Online 19th Apr 2009 more >>

Letter from Allan Wilson: Alex Salmond accuses the UK Energy Minister of launching a nuclear strike against the “energy policy choice” of the Scottish Government for having the temerity to point out the facts about that choice (The Herald, April 17). On a visit to Hunterston nuclear power station in North Ayrshire – still in the UK the last time I checked, and which the SNP want to close – Mr Milliband pointed out that other countries which the SNP are quick to quote when it suits, like Sweden and Finland, have faced up to their responsibilities on security of energy supply and climate change, and have changed their minds and built new nuclear plants. What’s to stop Scotland doing the same? Only the intransigence of a Scottish Government led by Mr Salmond that is determined to ignore not only the advice of his own economic advisers but also the increasing majority of ordinary people in this country who recognise that new nuclear plants are part of the solution to climate change and affordable energy, and not the problem.

Herald 20th Apr 2009 more >>

Letter from NFLA Scotland: Whilst nuclear provides around 78 per cent of France’s electricity, it only provides 18 per cent of total energy consumed (Business, 17 April). The country still consumes more oil per capita than the UK. If Britain replaces its nuclear fleet this would only save around 4 per cent of our carbon emissions. We could easily make up for this with extra, cheaper, energy efficiency measures. Recent more rigorous estimates of carbon emissions from the nuclear cycle are ten times higher than a industry estimates – around 66 g/kWh – worse than all renewable alternatives. This number is likely to increase as the industry is forced to use poorer quality uranium ores. France has the same problems with radioactive waste as everyone else. It has no operating high-level waste repository. In the UK, problems in the 1990s with the scientific basis for calculating the rate waste would leak halted the programme. It is imperative this is resolved before further waste is produced. If there are concerns about whether new non-wind renewable energy can contribute in time to Scotland’s energy supplies, then we should look at combined heat and power (CHP). P yry Energy has shown that industrial CHP across Britain could generate as much electricity as ten nuclear stations and halve gas imports. Two of the nine sites examined are in Scotland, at Grangemouth and Peterhead. Together these would be almost enough to replace Scotland’s nuclear capacity.

Scotsman 20th Apr 2009 more >>

Cumbria

Cumbria’s plans to become a leading UK energy hub have received a boost after three sites in the region were included in a list of 11 potential locations for new nuclear power stations in England and Wales.

Regen.net 20th Apr 2009 more >>

Low Level Waste

A landfill site in west Cumbria could be turned into a dump for nuclear waste if a submission is approved. The Waste Recycling Group Ltd and American partners Energy Solutions are to make a submission to the Environment Agency over the site at Lillyhall. It would be used for very low level nuclear waste. Greenpeace say the proposal could “blight the area.”

Teletext 20th Apr 2009 more >>

China

China will have 100 gigawatts of wind-power capacity by 2020, a senior energy official said on Monday, more than three times the 30 GW target the government laid down in an energy strategy drawn up just 18 months ago. That means wind is set to be a bigger source of power than nuclear, despite a construction boom in nuclear power plants, and far bigger than solar, which is expected to hit 1.8 GW by 2020, according to the 2007 plan. The original 2020 target for nuclear was set at 40 GW, but China is now aiming for 60 GW and officials have spoken of 70 GW. China had 9.1 GW of nuclear power capacity at the end of last year and is building 24 reactors with a further 25.4 GW. At least five more are planned but not yet approved for construction.

Reuters 20th Apr 2009 more >>

North Korea

The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog has said North Korea could restart its nuclear facility within months.

Daily Express 20th Apr 2009 more >>

Iran

The head of the United Nations atomic watchdog said here Monday he was optimistic about efforts to end a stand-off over Iran’s nuclear drive, following positive moves from Tehran and Washington. “I am extremely pleased with the reversal in the policy of the United States from one of confrontation to one of dialogue and mutual respect,” Mohamed ElBaradei told reporters.

Africasia 20th Apr 2009 more >>

Test Veterans

At long last there is to be new research into the plight of Britain’s nuclear test veterans, defence minister Kevan Jones will announce this week. We welcome that and applaud Mr Jones for doing something so many of his predecessors did not. But this study of the illnesses suffered by veterans who witnessed the atom tests more than 60 years ago must not be a whitewash like previous inquiries, which only delved into data that gave the MoD the results they wanted.

Sunday Mirror 19th Apr 2009 more >>

Defence Minister Kevan Jones will confirm the launch of a long-overdue study on illnesses suffered by soldiers, sailors and airmen in the Commons on Tuesday. The move is a victory for the Sunday Mirror campaign for justice for victims of the blasts, whose families have also suffered a range of illnesses.

Sunday Mirror 19th Apr 2009 more >>

Green Jobs?

Gordon Brown – with business secretary Lord Mandelson and skills secretary John Denham – will publish a comprehensive state of British competitiveness paper today. Mandelson told the Guardian that the policy was “designed to frame the budget statement, and the government’s subsequent detailed policy statements in the remainder of the year covering low-carbon industrial strategy, digital communications and bio-sciences, as well as developments in key sectors like plastic electronics, industrial bio-technologies and advanced manufacturing”. Darling will announce an extra £500m of government spending on reducing carbon emissions, including a pledge of £40m to top up and keep open a grants programme for renewable energy technologies.

Guardian 20th Apr 2009 more >>

The Government’s ”strategic plan” will be a central part of a “going for growth” Budget to be announced by Alistair Darling on Wednesday. It could lead to hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money being used to fund the expansion of “green” industry. Projects funded could include wind, wave and nuclear power, and electric and hybrid cars.

Independent 20th Apr 2009 more >>

Coal

Mounting fears within government circles that Britain’s utilities are poised for a new dash for gas – increasing the country’s future power dependence on fuel imports from Russia – has persuaded Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, to back funding for a second clean coal demonstration power plant. In an attempt to ensure that coal remains part of the UK energy mix, he will also set out licensing conditions for more coal power stations. Mr Miliband’s renewed pitch for clean coal, which could be timed to coincide with the Budget on Wednesday, is to be pushed out quickly to counter scepticism in the power industry that the Government has a viable strategy to promote carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.

Times 20th Apr 2009 more >>

Posted: 20 April 2009

19 April 2009

Nuclear Safety

Tim Stone: Modern reactors are completely different from the postwar designs. Design specifications call for less than a one-in-1m-year probability of any type of significant problem. National regulators now work closely together and learn from each other, and our own Nuclear Installations Inspectorate is at the forefront. Their internationalist approach is reflected in the certification of new designs of “standard” reactors now being considered for use in Britain – from Areva and Westinghouse – and allows even greater focus by many regulators on one design.

Sunday Times 19th Apr 2009 more >>

New Nukes

Plans for 11 new nuclear power stations were announced by the government last week. They include nine sites that have already housed nuclear reactors and two others near Sellafield in Cumbria. At the earliest, the plants will be in operation by late 2017. Each will cost an estimated £4.5 billion, but once finished they will have minimal running costs and each be able to supply about 2m homes with energy.

Sunday Times 19th Apr 2009 more >>

NEW nuclear power stations could be built at 11 places in England, according to a list of potential sites published by the government last week. There were few surprises, as all 11 already have a nuclear plant nearby.

Sunday Times 19th Apr 2009 more >>

Hinkley

HINKLEY Point is one of 11 sites in England where new nuclear power stations could be built, it was announced on Wednesday. EDF Energy – the company interested in building two new reactors at the site – nominated the location at the end of March. The Government has given its initial approval to the plans. A month-long public consultation period now commences.

Somerset County Gazette 18th Apr 2009 more >>

Sellafield

Building B30 is a large, stained, concrete edifice that stands at the centre of Sellafield, Britain’s sprawling nuclear processing plant in Cumbria. Surrounded by a three-metre-high fence that is topped with razor wire, encased in scaffolding and riddled with a maze of sagging pipes and cabling, it would never be a contender to win an architectural prize. Yet B30 has a powerful claim to fame, albeit a disturbing one. “It is the most hazardous industrial building in western Europe,” according to George Beveridge, Sellafield’s deputy managing director.

Observer 19th Apr 2009 more >>

Scotland

The UK Government is adamant there is a pressing need to explore all the options available to close a looming power “generation gap” because many existing nuclear and coal-fired stations are set to shut down. Meanwhile, the Scottish Government says it is on target to meet its target of the country generating 50% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. The SNP administration has ruled out any new nuclear power stations in Scotland after the closure of the country’s two existing plants at Hunterston and Torness. It has argued the case of renewables, saying that Scotland has around a quarter of Europe’s wave and tidal energy potential as well as big opportunities in wind power. It also recently announced plans to create 16,000 green energy-related jobs in Scotland over the next decade.

Scotland on Sunday 19th Apr 2009 more >>

A BID for Chapelcross Two has been snubbed by a UK Government list for future nuclear power stations. Westminster have listed 11 sites in the UK as having potential for the creation of a new site – but there are none in Scotland. Dumfriesshire Tory MP David Mundell said: “This is not the news we wanted to hear. “To provide a secure, affordable, low carbon baseload energy supply we need a mix of energy provision in which renewables and nuclear are complementary. “Scotland is currently relying on over half of our energy production coming from finite and diminishing fossil fuel sources.

Dumfries Standard 17th Apr 2009 more >>

A unique tidal power machine being developed at Strathclyde University could produce enough electricity to replace both of Scotland’s ageing nuclear power stations.

Sunday Herald 19th Apr 2009 more >>

Ed Miliband desperately wants to persuade Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond, to learn to stop worrying and love the . . . well, not the bomb but nuclear energy. Given Salmond’s well known antipathy for this sort of power his government’s mantra is that nuclear energy is “dangerous and unnecessary” that might be an uphill struggle. The nub of Salmond’s argument was that to build nuclear power stations would divert investment and resources from the renewable energy and carbon-capture technologies. Salmond has of late become a convincing champion of a green solution to Scotland’s looming energy gap. Salmond argued that the jobs created by nuclear power are decades away, whereas those in the renewables industry are already in the pipeline. Scotland could be generating 6GW of energy from offshore wind farms soon after 2011. Perth-based Scottish and Southern Energy is bidding for offshore sites all around the UK and Scottish coasts. Its Airtricity subsidiary has teamed up with Sea Energy Renewables to look at expanding the Beatrice site, and to develop two new wind array sites off the Scottish coast. Per Hornung Pedersen, chief executive of German wind turbine manufacturer Repower Systems says if the political will is there, Scotland could generate more than 10 times its domestic energy needs through renewables alone.

Sunday Times 19th Apr 2009 more >>

Alex Salmond: Part of the longer-term plan is to create more than 16,000 new jobs in green technology industries over the next 10 years. “Already Scotland is recognised worldwide for our expertise and ambition in renewable energy,” he said. “And this government is determined to turn these advantages – our comparative and competitive edge – into jobs and prosperity for our nation.”

Observer 19th Apr 2009 more >>

China

The nuclear test grounds in the wastes of the Gobi desert have fallen silent but veterans of those lonely places are speaking out for the first time about the terrible price exacted by China’s zealous pursuit of the atomic bomb.

Sunday Times 19th Apr 2009 more >>

Climate

Most of the Prime Minister’s vaunted green initiatives have not materialised and, in some cases, are likely to set back his professed strategy for “the creation of a low-carbon economy”. It has found that, over the past four years, ministers have launched a staggering 91 consultations relating to the issue, while actually doing little. a new study shows that the British package will increase rather than reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. A new study on the UK economic stimulus package – carried out for WWF and E3G – a respected environmental group – found that the harmful effects of new spending on roads, which will increase traffic, far outweighed the contribution of extra expenditure on energy saving and rail infrastructure. And it points out that Britain has “yet to include any investments at all dedicated to renewable energy”. Four years ago, it promised to provide £50m to help develop wave and tidal power, an area where Britain has a potential world lead. But the resulting Marine Renewables Deployment Fund has yet to give a penny to support this. Installation of rooftop windmills has been held up through bureaucratic delays over planning issues at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Gordon Brown wrote to one manufacturer last August saying the issue had been resolved, but the hold-up continues. Homeowners have also been discouraged from installing other renewable energy systems, such as solar electric panels. Just as they were beginning to take off, ministers slashed the level of grants available. They will end such funding for commercial buildings and charities altogether in June.

Independent on Sunday 19th Apr 2009 more >>

Staff are being laid off by British solar power companies weeks after the government promised to create thousands of jobs in the “green” economy. Companies from across the industry will this week accuse ministers and civil servants of damaging their business with funding cuts, “delay and disinterest”. More than 20 companies and lobby groups will petition the prime minister just weeks after Gordon Brown launched a strategy that forecast 400,000 new jobs could be created in low-carbon sectors in the next decade. Jeremy Leggett of Solarcentury, a former government adviser who coordinated the petition, said he knew of three companies that had made staff redundant, and another installation business had gone bust. More “needless job losses” will follow unless the government makes an “urgent intervention” in this week’s budget, warns the petition, which will be delivered tomorrow.

Observer 19th Apr 2009 more >>

The case for a Green New Deal to turn the recession into an opportunity, that has been advocated by the UN, taken up by President Obama and supported by this newspaper, has been adopted as camouflage by Mr Brown. But, as we report today, Britain’s economic stimulus is one of the least green in the world. A new study estimates that its net impact on the environment will be negative, in stark contrast to those of many other countries, including America, France and Germany. The green theme is now being pushed by Mr Brown’s slightly depleted band of spinners as the big idea of this week’s Budget. This is no more convincing. Indeed, the fanfare about electric cars has already been exposed as a gimmick. And it is hard to take the likes of Lord Mandelson seriously, posing in a green car, when Labour showed so little interest in the environment for so long. In the 2000 fuel protest, for instance, none of them made the green case.

Independent on Sunday 19th Apr 2009 more >>

Posted: 19 April 2009

18 April 2009

EDF

A French investigation into allegations that France’s state energy giant EDF spied on Greenpeace has taken a new turn after a suggestion in court documents that the company may have monitored environmentalists across Europe, including Britain.

Guardian 18th Apr 2009 more >>

Greenpeace and France’s Sortir du Nucleaire are seeking to implicate Electricite de France Chairman Pierre Gadonneix in alleged spying by the

utility on the anti-nuclear organizations. In a press statement, Greenpeace said it had asked the French government to suspend Gadonneix. It said it had learned through court documents that EDF contractors had been spying on its operations in France, the UK, Spain and Belgium since 2004.

Platts 17th Apr 2009 more >>

New Nukes

There are no easy answers to the dilemma which faces the UK over the challenge of meeting its growing energy needs over the next few decades while cutting carbon emissions at the same time. However, the insistence by Friends of the Earth and other environmental campaigners in opposing nuclear power and pinning all their hopes on renewable sources is simply unrealistic.

Leicester Mercury 17th Apr 2009 more >>

East Anglia

MORE than 1,000 jobs could be created if the next generation of power plants is given the go-ahead at sites in Suffolk and Essex. Sizewell and Bradwell-on-Sea have been confirmed as potential locations for nuclear reactors with the Government’s energy secretary Ed Miliband claiming: “Nuclear power is part of the low carbon future for Britain.”

East Anglian Daily Times 16th Apr 2009 more >>

Cumbria

The nomination of three sites for potential new nuclear power stations in Cumbria is a huge boost for the area, according to the county’s top regeneration chief. Roger Liddle, chairman of Cumbria Vision, said the decision by the Government to shortlist sites at Braystones, near Egremont, Kirksanton, near Millom, and a patch of land to the north of the existing Sellafield complex, will provide a catalyst for the future economic renaissance of the whole of Cumbria.

Business Gazette 17th Apr 2009 more >>

Scotland

Once again the SNP controlled Scottish Government is under fire for its stance on nuclear power by Westminster. First Minister Alex Salmond argues that in Scotland, we have the potential for vast electricity surpluses. “Perhaps, in future, up to 10 times our current electricity requirements,” he says. But the key word is potential. Salmond is betting on wave and tidal power and carbon capture to fill in the gaps left behind by the closure of the country’s two nuclear power stations. He is right to sell our expertise in marine power but he has to accept these technologies are still at a very early stage and some experts believe they won’t be properly developed until the middle of the current century.

Business 7 17th Apr 2009 more >>

Scotland could face a significant energy gap and thousands of job losses unless new nuclear power stations are built. Business leaders want the Scottish Government to review its stance on opposing nuclear power. Liz Cameron, Scottish Chambers of Commerce chief executive, said: “Nuclear is a proven technology, and we don’t believe the Scottish Government’s stance on nuclear energy is the right one for Scotland.

Business 7 17th Apr 2009 more >>

Dounreay

THE destruction of the liquid metal coolant in Dounreay’s experimental fast reactors means that the site can say farewell to two of its fire engines – the graphex tenders. Specially built for Dounreay, the two graphex tenders are the only ones in the world. They were designed to fight large-scale metal fires and each vehicle carried one tonne of graphex powder – a graphite-based firefighting agent – which could be sprayed onto the blaze.

John O Groat Journal 15th Apr 2009 more >>

Iran

Canadian police, acting on a tip-off from the United States, charged a Toronto man on Friday with trying to illegally export nuclear technology to Iran.

Telegraph 18th Apr 2009 more >>

Disarmament

Atomic weapons were justified during the Cold War but we must try to eliminate them now, says Malcolm Rifkind

Telegraph 18th Apr 2009 more >>

Kazakstan

Police in Almaty have prevented a small protest by opponents of a Kazak government proposal to host a “nuclear fuel bank” that would provide a secure supply to power stations across the world. It was never going to be a big demonstration, just 30 or so like-minded representatives of non-government groups involved in human rights and similar areas. But it did not even get off the ground. As they were setting out from their office for Almaty’s main square on April 14, Bahytjan Toregojina and two of her colleagues from the rights group Ar.Ruh.Hak were detained by police. Seven members of the opposition party Azat and two journalists were picked up separately. All 12 were taken to a police station and released after making statements.

Institute for War and Peace Reporting 17th Apr 2009 more >>

North Korea

Four American nuclear monitors have left North Korea, as tensions remain high over its nuclear ambitions. Their departure – following UN nuclear inspectors who were also expelled – leaves no on-site means to monitor North Korea’s nuclear facilities.

BBC 17th Apr 2009 more >>

Climate

Details have emerged of the raid on environmental campaigners outside Nottingham this week which saw 114 people arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause criminal damage and aggravated trespass at an E.ON power station.

Guardian 18th Apr 2009 more >>

Ed Miliband, the climate change and energy secretary, is pushing an ambitious plan to spend billions of pounds on cleaning up pollution from dirty coal plants. He is said to have cabinet support for the proposal which could help to head off controversy about global warming pollution and the UK’s future energy security. Ministers are still discussing how to fund the expensive and unproven carbon capture and storage technology, including a possible levy on customer bills. Miliband is said to favour developing “clusters” of carbon capture and storage (CCS), fitted on both coal- and gas-fired power stations, and a “national grid” for transporting and storing the polluting emissions. Such a move would be a change from the current policy of building up to eight coal plants, with only one equipped with pollution-trapping technology.

Guardian 18th Apr 2009 more >>

What exactly is carbon capture and storage (CCS)? It is technology that captures the carbon emissions of heavily polluting plants, such as power stations, and stores them underground. Power companies say up to 90% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) which would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere and contribute to global warming can be trapped in this way.

Guardian 18th Apr 2009 more >>

Book Review

Historians will look back on the first decade of the 21st century as a period of pervasive instability that caught most of the experts on the hop: the birth of radical Islamic terrorism with global reach; the spread of asymmetric warfare in the Middle East at the expense of Israel; the emergence of failed or near-failing states such as Somalia and nuclear Pakistan; and, not least, two stock-market bubbles in the US, the most recent leading to the near-meltdown of the global financial system. The “new world disorder” has posed mind-numbing challenges to those charged with protecting our security: the police, intelligence agencies and other organs of the state. As Ramo observed: it has obliged us to challenge comfortable western assumptions such as the inevitable triumph of democracy and capitalism.

FT 18th Apr 2009 more >>

Posted: 18 April 2009

17 April 2009

New Nukes

Why the environmental benefits of nuclear outweigh waste worries. NUCLEAR power, we are routinely told by Scottish Government ministers, is “dangerous and unnecessary”. Whenever I hear this, I am moved to wonder if Alex Salmond has told the French government. The French people, bereft of much in the way of natural resources to exploit for their energy needs, get about 80 per cent of their electricity from nuclear power.

Scotsman 17th Apr 2009 more >>

Liberal Democrat Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Simon Hughes said: “A new generation of nuclear power stations will be a colossal mistake regardless of where they are built.”

Liberal Democrats 15th Apr 2009 more >>

Interactive map of the nominated nuclear sites.

Guardian 15th Apr 2009 more >>

British plans for new nuclear reactors have angered Irish environmentalists. Five of the eleven proposed sites are on the Irish Sea coast while a further two are on the banks of the Bristol Channel. Director of the Irish branch of Friends of the Earth, Oisin Coghlan, said the British plans were misguided and that there were other less damaging options for the country to create a clean, secure energy supply.

Edie 16th Apr 2009 more >>

British Energy

Centrica Plc, the U.K.’s biggest energy supplier, may sell its majority holding in Belgian power generator Societe de Production d’Electricite to win a stake in Electricite de France SA’s British Energy unit. Centrica is still in talks with EDF on taking an equity stake in British Energy, the Windsor, England-based utility said today in a statement. “Discussions extend to the possible sale to EDF of Centrica’s 51 percent interest in SPE.”

Bloomberg 16th Apr 2009 more >>

The last hopes of any British company being involved in building a new generation of nuclear reactors in the UK rest on whether the French state-owned energy group EDF can agree to buy a stake in a large Belgium utility.

Guardian 17th Apr 2009 more >>

Telegraph 17th Apr 2009 more >>

Scotland

The controversy surrounding the UK’s plans for a new generation of nuclear reactors was thrown into sharp relief today when climate change and energy secretary Ed Miliband become embroiled in a spat with Scottish first minister Alex Salmond over Scotland’s ban on new nuclear development. Speaking ahead of the Cabinet’s first meeting in Scotland for almost 90 years, Miliband told BBC Radio Scotland that the Scottish Government’s plan to block new nuclear power plants meant the country would miss out on sizable economic benefits.

Business Green 16th Apr 2009 more >>

Telegraph 16th Apr 2009 more >>

Planning Resource 16th Apr 2009 more >>

Wylfa

Anglesey residents are being encouraged to make their views known about future nuclear build. The Government is undertaking a process to identify sites for new nuclear power stations. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and German company, RWE npower, have nominated Wylfa power station, near Cemaes, as a suitable site. A month long consultation on Wylfa’s nomination began this week.

News Wales 16th Apr 2009 more >>

Hinkley

An anti-nuclear pressure group has spoken of its fears at the government’s announcement that it would go ahead with the building of Hinkley C.

BBC 15th Apr 2009 more >>

A CONTROVERSIAL site on the Westcountry coast has been included on a Government list of potential locations for next-generation nuclear power stations. Anti-nuclear campaigners yesterday accused ministers of “brushing aside” health, environmental and economic concerns as it initially endorsed energy group EDF’s proposal for a plant near Bridgwater in Somerset.

Western Morning News 16th Apr 2009 more >>

Cumbria

One vocal anti-nuclear campaigner in the region has slammed the plans, claiming nuclear reactors would be the “kiss of death” for west Cumbria in its attempts to diversify away from the nuclear economy. Martin Forwood, campaign co-ordinator for Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE), said: “It would become the Lake District Nuclear Park and sit very uncomfortably alongside the Lake District National Park.

News and Star 16th Apr 2009 more >>

Sellafield

SELLAFIELD’S operators have denied the area was only hours away from a nuclear disaster due to failure in tanks containing highly radioactive liquid. Staff worked against the clock to supply cooling water to four of the 21 tanks, said to hold around 1,000 cubic metres of highly radioactive liquid waste. Details of the alert are given in the latest Sellafield site newsletter which says: “Cooling water was reinstated to the high-heat highly active storage tanks within two hours of the initial loss and to the remainder of the plant within eight hours… this is within the bounds of the plant safety case.” But Cumbrian anti-nuclear group Core has made the startling claim that “this is perilously close to the timescale of 10.5 hours catered for in the Sellafield site emergency plan”. Core spokesman Martin Forwood alleged: “This worker-error incident was dangerously and unacceptably close to resulting in a major off-site release of radioactivity with long-term consequences for human life and the environment.”

Whitehaven News 15th Apr 2009 more >>

SELLAFIELD has been told to make sure it has water-tight controls to prevent another contamination scare through wildlife being exposed to radiation. In the meantime, Sellafield’s operators are considering whether to cull more seagulls. Extensive and expensive measures have been taken on the site over the last few years to stop up areas of the site where birds and small animals could come into contact with contamination. Hundreds of birds were also humanely trapped and culled when it came to light that many pigeons being fed in a garden at Seascale were carrying radioactivity. All the contaminated carcasses were buried at the nearby Drigg radioactive low level waste repository. Now the Environment Agency has told Sellafield’s independent health and safety watchdogs – the Sites Stakeholders Group – it wants to be absolutely certain that controls are in place to prevent any recurrence of what was a major problem.

Whitehaven News 15th Apr 2009 more >>

Nuclear Research

The company that has taken over running of Sellafield’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) says it wants to create 180 jobs across the north west. A consortium made up of Serco, Battelle and the University of Manchester has been unveiled as the new operator of the facility, which will lead research and development in the UK nuclear sector.

Business Gazette 16th Apr 2009 more >>

Whitehaven News 15th Apr 2009 more >>

Nuclear Skills

Dr Brian Murphy, Cogent -the national skills council led by the nuclear industry – Director of Research said: “The industry has both the capacity (facilities) and capability (skills) to deliver all aspects of the nuclear cycle. However, we need to understand and forecast the demand to very detailed skill levels and job roles for the whole industry. This is essential as we decommission the old and bring in the new.”

politics.co.uk 16th Apr 2009 more >>

Companies

STOCKTON-based engineering giant Aker Solutions has been named as a preferred supplier for work on a nuclear power station in South Africa.

Newcastle Evening Gazette 16th Apr 2009 more >>

Nuclear Testing

For the 74-year-old, his brief exposure to radiation has impacted on his own health, that of his daughter, Julie, and his young grandson. Julie was born with a series of deformities – a finger that was 18 inches long, an arm twice the size of an average one and a host of chest problems.

Derby Evening Telegraph 17th Apr 2009 more >>

Fusion

SCIENTISTS hoping to pave the way for a world powered by limitless energy are to be trained in Yorkshire. Research into nuclear fusion has long offered the hope of a greenhouse gas-free source of power and is now reaching a critical stage with a series of major new developments around the world.

Yorkshire Post 16th Apr 2009 more >>

US

A US Department of Energy spokeswoman has confirmed that the US domestic component of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership has been cancelled. “The Department has already decided not to continue the domestic GNEP program of the last administration,” said DOE deputy press secretary Jen Stutsman in a statement on April 15. “The long-term fuel cycle research and development program will continue but not the near-term deployment of recycling facilities or fast reactors. The international component of GNEP is under interagency review.”

Nuclear Engineering International 15th April 2009 more >>

Iran

President Shimon Peres rejected speculation Israel might attack Iran to stop it making nuclear weapons and said US-led diplomacy was the solution. The US favours negotiation to curb Iran’s uranium enrichment, a process that can produce bombs, but such overtures have drawn scepticism in Israel, which sees a nuclear-armed Iran as a mortal threat. Iran denies having hostile designs.

Independent 17th Apr 2009 more >>

Green Economy

There is certainly a case for Government investment to kick-start the market for electric vehicles. But any serious effort to reduce the emissions of the transport sector will need to include action to increase the provision of renewable energy and an expansion of public transport. As Friends of the Earth has pointed out, electric cars are only as green as the electricity they run on. Without the rapid expansion of wind power and high-speed rail, the Government’s plans will simply become a subsidy to the car industry. There were encouraging signs in Mr Osborne’s speech yesterday that the Tories understand the need for a comprehensive approach from government to the building of a green economy. The shadow chancellor articulated his party’s support for the introduction of “feed-in tariffs”, which would allow individuals to sell excess energy produced through domestic solar panels and wind turbines back to the national grid. Mr Osborne also backed large subsidies for home energy conservation measures and government support for carbon capture technology for coal-fired power stations.

Independent 17th Apr 2009 more >>

Posted: 17 April 2009