News

4 December 2011

Hinkley

A series of public information events are being held by EDF Energy to brief members of the public who may wish to comment to the Infrastructure Planning Commission on EDF’s application to build a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point. Those wishing to comment on the application must do so to the IPC, not EDF Energy. They will have until January 23 to register with the IPC as an ‘interested party’.

Taunton People 3rd Dec 2011 more >>

Plans for a new generation of nuclear power stations have suffered another setback after being delayed by at least a year. The first of the new plants will not be built until 2019 because of extra safety checks following Japan’s atomic disaster, according to one report. Ministers originally hoped to get the first nuclear power station built by 2017, before revising this to 2018. Now there has been a further slippage, after an updated timetable showed the first station, at Hinkley Point in Somerset, is not expected until nearer the end of the decade. EDF Energy, the company building the first plant, has refused to give a “firm and final completion date” for nuclear power. A spokesman said the 2019 date was only “indicative”.

Western Morning News 3rd Dec 2011 more >>

Wylfa

The Wylfa nuclear power plant appears on a new edition of the board game Monopoly featuring the UK’s Isle of Anglesey, Magnox Ltd reported. The original UK version of the property-buying and -selling game was based on London streets and landmarks. The Wylfa plant replaces the spot on the board game usually occupied by the ‘Electric Company’ and can be bought for just £150.

World Nuclear News 2nd Dec 2011 more >>

Radwaste

SIX protesters were arrested at a demonstration against plans to dump low-level radioactive waste at a landfill site on Friday (2 December). Around 20 campaigners turned out to protest at the entrance to Augean’s East Northants Resource Management Facility, in Stamford Road, near King’s Cliffe at 5.30am. Four of them had secured themselves to two barrels filled with concrete and Northamptonshire police were forced to call in specialist officers from Cambridgeshire to cut them free before arresting them on suspicion of aggravated trespass.

Peterborough Evening Telegraph 3rd Dec 2011 more >>

Politics

An extraordinary alliance of countryside campaigners, wildlife groups and green activists has launched a savage onslaught on the government, accusing it of showing “stunning disregard” for the environment.

Observer 4th Dec 2011 more >>

Japan

The desperation and helplessness workers at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant felt in the immediate aftermath of the March 11 disasters are described in a report detailing Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s in-house investigation.

Japan Times 4th Dec 2011 more >>

Iran

Make no mistake, the war has begun. Virulent computer viruses disabled Iran’s nuclear centrifuges last year. Two of the nation’s leading nuclear physicists have been assassinated, and a third was wounded by assassins on motorbikes. The UK’s decision to freeze $1.6bn of Iranian assets – which is what provoked the violence at the British embassy – was the fourth round of sanctions. Hawks talk openly of deploying unmanned drones against nuclear power stations and provoking an uprising against the government in Tehran.

Independent 4th Dec 2011 more >>

Australia

Australia’s governing Labor party has voted to overturn its long-standing ban on exporting uranium to India. Australia, which holds an estimated 40% of the world’s uranium, already exports it to China, Japan, Taiwan and the US. The country has excluded sales to India because it is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

BBC 4th Dec 2011 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

The latest NIS update includes news about release of the Trident Alternatives Review following a Freedom of Information request, the ending of the naval submarine reactor programme at HMS Vulcan, and moves to introduce new planning controls for development around nuclear sites. News from the Atomic Weapons Establishment includes details of the latest planning application for AWE Aldermaston and of the costs of new developments at AWE.

NIS 3rd Dec 2011 more >>

Energy Efficiency

Opower, a US energy efficiency company believed to be worth up to $1bn, has started its expansion into Europe with a new London-based boss. The group, which helps consumers compare their energy usage to their neighbours’ as an incentive to keep costs down, has hired Nandini Basuthakur of the New York-listed Corporate Executive Board Company to lead its European charge. Opower is currently looking for office space in London – it recently signed its first European deal with First Utility in the UK. Both Barack Obama and David Cameron are fans of Opower.

Independent 4th Dec 2011 more >>

Renewables

The government is proposing to build up to 32,000 new wind turbines with many thousands more transmission pylons as it struggles to meet green targets. A report by Chris Huhne’s Department of Energy and Climate Change says the huge expansion is essential if Britain is to meet its obligations to cut greenhouse gas emissions. At present, there are about 3,000 onshore wind turbines with a few hundred offshore. They have helped cut carbon emissions but generate only 1-2% of the nation’s power. The energy secretary wants to convert all Britain’s vehicles and homes to run on electricity by 2050. This means Britain must sharply increase electricity production, perhaps even doubling it, with almost all of it coming from low-carbon sources including wind and nuclear power.

Sunday Times 4th Dec 2011 more >>

PETROL and diesel cars and vans will disappear from Britain’s roads by 2050, replaced by electric vehicles that get their energy from wind turbines and nuclear power stations, according to proposals put forward by Chris Huhne, the energy secretary.

Sunday Times 4th Dec 2011 more >>

Editorial: Our quest for green energy could result in future generations being left with thousands of useless wind turbines dotted around the countryside.In the case of nuclear, Mr Huhne has been right to reject a knee-jerk response to the Fukushima disaster in Japan. The programme of replacing and eventually expanding Britain’s nuclear power capability must go on.

Sunday Times 4th Dec 2011 more >>

Climate

The world’s ministers and their mandarins gather in their thousands this weekend to hammer out a plan for the small matter of saving the planet. Yet few of us appear to have noticed. Despite apocalyptic warnings about temperatures reaching record levels and carbon emissions rising faster than ever, the delegates at the vast UN climate conference in South Africa this weekend could not be further from reaching a deal – or further from the thoughts of a global population gripped by economic fears. More than 10,000 ministers, officials, campaigners and scientists from 194 countries are meeting in Durban in an attempt to counter the devastating effects of global warming. With little hope of a major agreement, many are happy to be out of the spotlight.

Independent 4th Dec 2011 more >>

Joss Garman: The big question in Durban is whether an extraordinarily obstructive Obama administration is days away from killing this long climate process and burying its corpse next to the Doha round of trade talks. The stakes really are that high. Chris Huhne, the UK’s Energy and Climate Change Secretary, and his colleagues are facing a host of complex issues. But for me, three stand out. Do we keep the Kyoto protocol alive? Can we set up a fund to pay for poorer countries to cope with climate change and build clean energy? And when do we sign the next deal, the one that really nails the carbon beast? But in the end a good deal can’t be struck here unless President Obama orders his delegation radically to change course.

Independent 4th Dec 2011 more >>

Caroline Flint: Cameron’s pledges on global warming were only hot air.

Independent 4th Dec 2011 more >>

Hundreds of millions of pounds of British taxpayers money has been spent trying to get foreign countries to tackle climate change in the past five years, according to official figures. The UK has spent more than £600 million on securing an international agreement on climate change and promoting green technologies in developing countries since April 2006, according to Government spending reports. The figures do not include spending by the Foreign Office, which has an entire department dedicated to climate change, nor the amount given in aid to foreign countries for climate change projects by the Department for International Development.

Telegraph 3rd Dec 2011 more >>

Posted: 4 December 2011

3 December 2011

New Nukes

Both the Finnish and French projects are paying the price for being prototypes. In the case of Finland, the delays have resulted in acrimonious arbitration between Areva and its Finnish customer, the utility TVO, about who will pay the additional costs. “First-of-its-kind effects” were a big issue, says Claude Jaouen, vice-president in charge of reactors and services at Areva. The main problems were design and the supply chain – which had to be constructed, as no reactor had been built in Europe for 20 years – and the amount of documentation that had to be produced. Areva’s reactor design will also be used by EDF for its plants in the UK but Mr Jaouen insists that “things won’t be the same at all”. Not only will Areva have the experience of projects in Finland, France and China, but the licensing process for the design is different in the UK and will be finalised earlier.

FT 2nd Dec 2011 more >>

West Cumbria’s planned new nuclear power station will be called Moorside. NuGen, the consortium behind the project, has ditched the Sellafield name to go with a fresh image. Site investigations on land earmarked for the scheme, just north of the existing Sellafield site, are due to start next year. NuGen, owned by energy giants Iberdrola and GDF Suez, plumped for Moorside as a project name after consulting local people.

Cumberland News 2nd Dec 2011 more >>

PLANS for the latest generation of nuclear power stations – including one in Cumbria – have been dealt a blow as the Government delays the scheme by a year.

Carlisle News & Star 3rd Dec 2011 more >>

The government will not set targets for future nuclear or renewable energy as it does “not know how costs will change over time”. In the Carbon Plan set out by government this week, it states it wants to see nuclear, renewable and CCS technology compete to deliver energy at the lowest possible cost. It states: “The government is happy for fossil fuels with CCS, nuclear or renewables to make up as much as possible of the 40–70 GW we think we may need. “The government would like to see the three low carbon technologies competing on cost in the 2020s to win their share of the market.”

Construction News 2nd Dec 2011 more >>

Nuclear Accidents

In its response to the final report by chief nuclear inspector Dr Michael Weightman that was published in October, the Government said it was committed to working with its international partners in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on developing an ‘Action Plan’ for future incidents.

Out Law 2nd Dec 2011 more >>

Cumbria

4 million gallons of fresh water are abstracted every day from Wastwater to flush over the radioactive wastes at Sellafield. The British Government wants to make even more high level wastes with the plan for a new MOX plant and new build next to Sellafield – they describe it as ‘recycling’ the plutonium.

You Tube 2nd Dec 2011 more >>

Plutonium

Unwilling or incapable of learning from the UK’s disastrous MOX fuel experiences, yesterday’s Government approval for the re-use of plutonium as MOX fuel is branded by CORE as a ‘decision made in the dark that yet again puts the proverbial cart before the inevitable nuclear white elephant’.

CORE 2nd Nov 2011 more >>

Engineering giant GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) has today unveiled plans to re-use the UK’s legacy plutonium stockpile for a new nuclear power station in Sellafield in West Cumbria.

New Civil Engineer 2nd Dec 2011 more >>

Radwaste

Six people were arrested after protestors blockaded the entrance to a landfill site in Northamptonshire. They’re trying to stop hazardous substances, including low-level nuclear active material, being dumped there.

Anglia Tonight 2nd Dec 2011 more >>

BBC 2nd Dec 2011 more >>

Companies

A Carlisle firm has landed a lucrative four-year contract to supply to the nuclear industry. ERIKS will provide mechanical spares to Sellafield and other Nuclear Decommissioning Authority-owned sites under the deal. The firm, which has a base on the Kingstown Industrial Estate, will create a number of new jobs to fulfil the contract. ERIKS, which has a base on the Kingstown Industrial Estate, will provide Sellafield and nuclear sites from Dounreay, to Dungeness, in Kent, with items including valves, pumps, bearings, power transmissions, seals and gaskets.

Cumberland News 2nd Dec 2011 more >>

Energy Prices

The big six energy companies have been repeatedly taking advantage of brief spikes in the wholesale price of electricity to pass on much longer-term increases to householders, new analysis for the Guardian shows.

Guardian 2nd Dec 2011 more >>

Proliferation

How one sees the health of the NPT regime depends upon what one wants out of it. The review process itself is arguably fairly healthy, at least in the superficial sense that diplomats will continue to draw their per diem allowances and stay in pleasant cities around the world in order to engage in NPT discussions that are at least somewhat less acrimonious than in the not-so-distant past. If that’s the point, then I suppose there is little to complain about. For those of us who tend to expect a nonproliferation treaty to advance the cause of nonproliferation, however – that is, anyone who has not mistaken diplomatic process for policy substance – the outlook is less encouraging. Indeed, in some critical respects, the regime has been heading in quite the wrong direction, and things have worsened during the last three years.

New Pardigm Forum 30th Nov 2011 more >>

NFLA

A WEST FIFE councillor has expressed concerns over Fife’s continued affiliation of the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA), saying the money paid in fees could have been better spent to benefit Fifers. Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay Labour councillor Bob Eadie (pictured with wife Helen) claims Fife Council has spent around £10,000 towards the NFLA over the last three years – expenses he says that cannot continue in the current economic climate.

Dunfermline Press 2nd Dec 2011 more >>

Japan

Fukushima Crisis Update 19th Nov to 1st Dec.

Greenpeace International 2nd Dec 2011 more >>

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano stressed on Dec. 2 the need for a fundamental review of Japan’s energy policy in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident but stopped short of speculating on the fate of the trouble-prone Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor in Fukui Prefecture. During a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo, he also declined to elaborate on Japan’s future involvement in the ITER, originally known as the International Thermonuclear Experiment Reactor, an international project under way in France. The project is bringing together the European Union, Japan, China, India, South Korea, Russia and the United States.

Mainichi 2nd Dec 2011 more >>

Test Veterans

A FORMER serviceman feels he has been left stranded in his efforts to obtain an apology from the Ministry of Defence after his MP said she could no longer help him. Ken Moses, aged 74, of Kingsley Holt, was serving in the Army on Malden Island in the Pacific Ocean when nuclear bombs were tested on May 15 and 31, and June 19, 1957.

Leek Post & Times 1st dec 2011 more >>

Fuel Poverty

Letter from various: the government should be highly embarrassed by new estimates that one in four English households is now in fuel poverty. But its reaction to this escalating problem would sadly suggest the contrary. Warm Front, the government’s one remaining grant programme for the fuel-poor, has had its budget slashed by two-thirds over the next two years and will end completely in 2013. Even more worrying was last week’s government consultation on the new Energy Company Obligation, which is designed to subsidise energy efficiency measures for low-income and vulnerable households from 2013. With 4.1m English households officially in fuel poverty in 2009 – and with a government duty to eradicate this scourge by 2016 – we hoped that the consultation would include ambitious plans for tackling the problem. Instead we find that, even on the most ambitious estimates, the ECO will bring relief to only 840,000 fuel-poor households by the end of 2015. This will mean at least 3m households left to choose between heating and eating.

Guardian 2nd Dec 2011 more >>

Posted: 3 December 2011

2 December 2011

New Nukes

Britain’s plans for a new generation of nuclear power stations have suffered another setback after being delayed by at least a year. The first of the new plants will not be built until 2019 because of extra safety checks following Japan’s atomic disaster. Ministers originally hoped to get the first nuclear power station built by 2017, before revising this to 2018. Now there has been a further slippage, after an updated timetable showed the first station in Somerset is not expected until nearer the end of the decade. The Government has placed its hope on nuclear power to stop Britain being vulnerable to energy shortages when coal power stations start retiring from 2015. The Coalition’s plans for building eight to 10 nuclear plants over the next decade were described last week as “simply lacking credibility” by peers in the House of Lords. EDF Energy, the company building the first plant, has refused to give a “firm and final completion date” for nuclear power. A spokesman for the company said the 2019 date was only “indicative”. The Government disclosed in its Carbon Plan yesterday that tripling the UK’s nuclear power would be the cheapest way for the country to tackle climate change by reducing emissions.

Telegraph 2nd Dec 2011 more >>

Sellafield

Taxpayers will have to foot the £500 million bill to build a new nuclear fuel reprocessing plant at Sellafield – even though the existing one has been closed because it has no customers. The Government yesterday said that its preferred option to deal with the world’s largest civilian stockpile of plutonium – being stored at the sprawling site in Cumbria – was to build another “Mox” plant. This would recycle the plutonium by turning it into nuclear fuel for use in new reactors in Britain or abroad. But the first Mox plant was closed this summer after its only customer, the Japanese nuclear industry, said that it no longer wanted the fuel. Japan is phasing out nuclear power in the wake of the meltdown at the Fukushima plant, caused by the tsunami in March. More than two thirds of its reactors are closed. Greenpeace, the environmental campaign group, dismissed the plan as “crazynomics” that would lead to public money being spent to “fund the nuclear industry gravy train”. Nuclear experts also warned that about a quarter of the plutonium at the site was unusable because of impurities.

Times 2nd Dec 2011 more >>

The government has astonished the anti-nuclear lobby by outlining plans to spend £3bn of public money building a new mixed-oxide fuel (Mox) plant – months after announcing the closure of a similar facility that lost taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds. Energy minister Charles Hendry said Britain could not continue to keep the world’s largest civilian stockpile of used plutonium stored at the Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria. It should be converted into Mox fuel for possible use in a new generation of thermal light water reactors.

In a written statement to MPs, Hendry said the government had gathered enough information to be confident Mox was the right direction and was now “preferred policy”.

Guardian 2nd Dec 2011 more >>

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has published two documents a. the conclusions of its consultation on the long term management of UK-owned separated civil plutonium and b. our response to the recommendations for Government contained in the Chief Nuclear Inspector’s final report on events at the Fukushima nuclear site in Japan that was published on 11th October 2011. On plutonium UK Government has concluded that it has identified the right preliminary view. Accordingly, the Government confirms this as the preferred policy. While the UK Government believes it has sufficient information to set out a direction, it is not yet sufficient to make a specific decision to proceed with procuring a new MOX plant. Only when the Government is confident that its preferred option could be implemented safely and securely, that is affordable, deliverable, and offers value for money, will it be in a position to proceed with a new MOX plant. If we cannot establish a means of implementation that satisfies these conditions then the way forward may need to be revised. On Fukushima: Government sets out work we have done or intend to do in implementing Dr Weightman’s recommendations, including: Continuing to work with our international partners on nuclear safety, particularly through the development of the IAEA Director General’s “Action Plan”. Taking forward work from the Nuclear Emergency Planning Liaison Group review of the UK’s national nuclear emergency arrangements in light of the experience of dealing with the prolonged Japanese event. Ensuring that openness and transparency are enshrined in the work we are taking forward to create the ONR as a statutory body

DECC 1st Dec 2011 more >>

Although Mr Hendry made it clear that the Government sees the “Mox option” as a priority, it is not certain that a new £3bn plant to convert the plutonium into Mox fuel will ever be built. Mindful of the financial and technological disaster of the current Mox fuel plant at Sellafield in Cumbria, which has cost £1.34bn and produced a tiny fraction of the fuel it was scheduled to make, Mr Hendry said that a clear case has still to be made for a second Mox plant at Sellafield. Senior government advisers have been in discussions with GEC-Hitachi about the possibility of adapting its Prism fast reactor to deal with the plutonium stockpile at Sellafield. However, the Government’s response says that, unlike fast reactors, Mox fuel is not a pioneering technology and so does not carry the risks associated with fast reactors. If a commercial partner were prepared to take on those risks, the Government says it would consider the possibility of building a nuclear fast reactor to deal with the waste.

Independent 2nd Dec 2011 more >>

A global nuclear company is interested in building the world’s first so-called ‘fast reactor’ in west Cumbria, creating up to 5,000 jobs. GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) wants to create the reactor – known as PRISM – at Sellafield if it gets the go-ahead from the Government.

It would be used to dispose of plutuniom stockpiles at the site and would create energy as a by-product. PRISM is separate to plans by NuGen for a new nuclear power station at Sellafield.

Cumberland News 1st Dec 2011 more >>

Whitehaven News 1st Dec 2011 more >>

Morgan Sindall is opening a new, permanent base in Cumbria as it targets a range of construction and infrastructure projects in the region, including major nuclear industry construction contracts worth up to £1bn. It now has an office at Westlakes Science and Technology Park in Whitehaven. This is Morgan Sindall’s third office to open in the North West.

Builder 1st Dec 2011 more >>

PUBLIC reassurances have been given that radioactivity found in a drain at Seascale presents little risk. Five road drains in the area have shown contamination since monitoring began in 1999 but in one of them (on Drigg Road) the radioactive levels were higher than average last year. Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment expressed concerns after the increase was highlighted in the latest Radioactivity in Food and Environment report. The Environment Agency has been investigating whether it has carried any risk to public health or the environment. Ian Parker, the agency’s nuclear regulation manager, told The Whitehaven News: “We have been monitoring these drains for over a decade following the clean up of an area contaminated by feral pigeons. “The measured concentrations of radioactivity are low. Following an increase at one drain in 2010 we initiated additional monitoring and investigation. Subsequent monitoring has shown this increase to have returned to pre-2010 levels.

Whitehaven News 1st Dec 2011 more >>

Radwaste

The world’s biggest hole Mirny Diamond Mine is located in Russia. The giant hole is actually a diamond mine in Eastern Siberia. It is 525 meters deep and 1.25 km in the diameter. Chris Huhne plans to trump that with a hole 1000 meters deep, 26 km square and filled with high level nuclear wastes.

101 uses for a nuclear power station 1st Dec 2011 more >>

Letter: I found it interesting to read Elaine Woodburn’s comments in The Whitehaven News (November 10) regarding underground disposal of nuclear waste. She suggests that “Nirex made a mess of it” when they were refused permission to bury medium level nuclear waste at an enquiry, where evidence for and against was put forward and a decision against disposal was made. So if Nirex had tried a different approach, maybe something like the one she supports now, then in her opinion they wouldn’t have made a mess of it but would have been successful in their efforts to bury the waste. Even if the geology is found to be unsuitable in the whole of Cumbria, Elaine believes that by throwing money into every organisation, building project and sports group in the area, they will be able to buy acceptance for their proposals. I think she’s probably right. We may suffer increases in nuclear related diseases and lose a lot of tourists – but think of all that money.

Whitehaven News 1st Dec 2011 more >>

Hinkley

A petition signed by more than 12000 people opposed to the planned expansion of Hinkley Point power station near Burnham-On-Sea is to be handed in at Downing Street next week. The Stop Hinkley campaign group has collected 12750 signature.

Burnham-on-sea.com 1st Dec 2011 more >>

Anti-nuclear campaigners will next week present a petition to Downing Street protesting at plans for a new nuclear power station in Somerset. Almost 13,000 people have signed the petition, which will be handed in for Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday.

Western Daily Press 1st Dec 2011 more >>

Supporting the proposed EDF nuclear power development at Hinkley Point, the UK survey company Coastline was tasked with extracting vibrocore samples adjacent to Combwich Wharf, near Hinkley Point, in support of a licence application for the upgrade and enlargement programme that would allow access for the vessels required to bring heavy machinery and construction plant to the project. Using the Wharf will enable very large components to be brought on site which are too large to use road transport networks.

Hydro International 1st Dec 2011 more >>

Dounreay

WORKERS taking apart one of Britain’s most hazardous installations are swapping their knowledge of safety with those putting together parts for the world’s most modern airliners. The exchange between the redundant nuclear site at Dounreay and the Spirit Aerosystems fabrication facility at Prestwick brings together safety teams at two of Scotland’s biggest workplaces. The teams are learning how each other works to reduce the risk of accidents and taking the best aspects of each back to their own sites.

John O Groat Journal 1st Dec 2011 more >>

Berkeley

A FORMER nuclear power station worker died 21 years after his retirement from a cancer caused by asbestos, an inquest heard.

Gloucestershire Gazette 1st Dec 2011 more >>

Carbon Plan

Carbon Plan reveals UK will ‘significantly exceed’ emissions targets. Government confirms 25 per cent drop in carbon emissions and outlines how meeting 2050 targets could be cheaper than taking no action. The government has set out a wide-ranging package of measures today designed to ensure that the UK cuts its greenhouse gas emissions in half by the middle of the next decade. The long-awaited Carbon Plan confirms that UK emissions have fallen 25 per cent below 1990 levels for the first time, and reveals that a quarter of electricity is now generated from low carbon nuclear and renewable sources. At a glance it also predicts that the green policies the government already has in place will see the economy “significantly exceed” the 34 per cent target set for 2020 under the Climate Change Act. According to the plan, between 40GW and 70GW of new low-carbon electricity capacity is required by 2020, including three to five twin nuclear reactor stations similar to that at Hinkley Point C and a three- to five-fold increase in renewable energy capacity. According to the calculator, a balanced 2050 energy mix consisting of 33GW of nuclear, 45GW of renewables and 28GW of fossil fuels with CCS is estimated to save £84 per person each year. Moreover, under the scenario, energy use will be halved, mainly owing to more efficient technologies, while the likelihood of high fossil fuel prices will increase savings further.

Business Green 1st Dec 2011 more >>

DECC 1st Dec 2011 more >>

The UK is set to substantially over-achieve on its carbon-cutting targets, with potential economic benefits in cost savings and the growth of new industries, according to a government report.

Guardian 1st Dec 2011 more >>

Japan

A new analysis of the accident at Fukushima Daiichi indicates more extensive melting probably occurred at unit 1 than previously thought, although the predicted status of units 2 and 3 remains about the same.

World Nuclear News 30th Nov 2011 more >>

A JAPANESE woman living in Stourbridge has organised a fundraising concert to raise money to help a kindergarten in tsunami stricken Fukushima in Japan. Money raised will help to relocate a kindergarten, near the ailing Fukushima nuclear power plant, which has been operating amid growing fears of contamination since the March 11 disaster.

Halesowen News 1st Dec 2011 more >>

Iran

The European Union has broadened its sanctions against Iran to target 180 new individuals and organisations linked to the Islamic republic’s shipping line and the Revolutionary Guards Corps, suspected of involvement in a covert nuclear weapons programme.

Guardian 1st Dec 2011 more >>

Independent 2nd Dec 2011 more >>

Israel does not want to take military action against Iran over its nuclear program, but at some point may have no other option, the Israeli defense minister said today.

Daily Mail 2nd Dec 2011 more >>

Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s Kozloduy nuclear power plant plans to boost the capacity of its fifth and sixth units to 104%. The facility’s executive head Mr Alexander Nikolov said that would mean that the capacity of each reactor would reach 1100 MW. When working at 100% capacity, each of the two units currently generates 1040 MW of power but following the upgrade they will produce 60 MW more. The investment will cost below BGL 1 million per MW, or a total BGL 120 million, which is significantly less than building a new 60 MW plant.

Modern Power Systems 1st Dec 2011 more >>

China

An unconventional project by US university students has concluded that China’s nuclear arsenal could be many times larger than current estimates, drawing the attention of Pentagon analysts.

Telegraph 1st Dec 2011 more >>

South Africa

When criticised for their support for nuclear power, South African politicians and government officials are quick to respond that the country is no stranger to the technology. For more than 25 years, the country has stood out as the only country in Africa with a nuclear power station. The 1,800MW Koeberg plant powers most of the Western Cape and about 6 per cent of South Africa’s total capacity.

FT 1st Dec 2011 more >>

Renewables

THE case for moving towards an economy powered by renewable energy “has never been stronger” as the industry has made major breakthroughs on issues such as grid connection, the head of Scottish Renewables said last night. Niall Stuart said the renewables sector north of the Border had made significant progress over the past 12 months, with £750 million worth of projects coming on stream and positive signs from regulators that barriers such as the cost of grid connection can soon be overcome. Stuart, who is chief executive of the trade body, also declared his confidence in meeting the Scottish Government’s revised target to meet, through renewable sources, 100 per cent of electricity needs and 30 per cent of all energy demand by 2020. “It is a stretching but achievable target. It is a challenge but also a clear vote of confidence in our industry; a clear statement of intent that is already attracting investment,” he told an audience of 950 industry figures at Scottish Renewables’ annual awards ceremony in Edinburgh.

Scotsman 2nd Dec 2011 more >>

A MORATORIUM should be placed on new wind turbine developments until councils are given clearer guidance from government, environment minister Fergus Ewing has been told. MSPs warned that local communities feel they are “under attack” from energy firms whose desperation to snap up land across Scotland “resembles the prospecting days of the American gold rush”. Hundreds of local campaigners packed into Holyrood’s public gallery last night and heard warnings that the issue could now threaten flagship government energy policies. Labour’s Neil Findlay warned that the SNP’s plans to generate 100 per cent of Scotland’s electricity from renewables by the end of the decade could be “scuppered” by public anger surrounding the “over-concentration” of wind farms in some areas.

Scotsman 2nd Dec 2011 more >>

Fuel Poverty

A quarter of all households in England and Wales have now fallen into fuel poverty following an autumn of steep increases in energy bills and stagnating incomes, the Guardian can reveal. The dramatic increase in fuel poverty – up from nearly one in five households last year to one in four now – will be highly embarrassing to the government, which has a statutory obligation to eliminate fuel poverty by 2016. It now looks certain to fail to meet its legal duty.

Guardian 1st Dec 2011 more >>

Guardian 1st Dec 2011 more >>

Posted: 2 December 2011

1 December 2011

Hinkley

Anyone who wants to be able to make submissions to the national Infrastructure Planning Commission regarding EDF’s proposed Hinkley C nuclear power station in Somerset can register with the IPC from Friday, 2 December. The registration period is only open for 28 days or so. Unless you register within this period, you will have no voice in the IPC’s deliberations.

IPC 30th Nov 2011 more >>

Herbert Smith has advised long time client EDF Energy on its application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) for development consent to construct and operate a 3.2GW nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

The Lawyer 28th Nov 2011 more >>

Plutonium

General Electric set out proposals on Wednesday to build a new nuclear reactor at Sellafield that would convert the UK’s stockpile of radioactive plutonium into electricity. The multibillion pound project would take plutonium – the residue from the UK’s nuclear power plants – and use it as fuel for a 600MW reactor that could provide power for 750,000 homes, according to GE Hitachi. The company’s “Prism” reactor has been in use for more than 30 years in the US, but if the new plant goes ahead it would be the first such plant in private operation outside the US. However, the government has still not decided which option it prefers for dealing with the UK’s plutonium – others include long-term storage, converting it for use in a th orium reactor or building a new mixed oxide fuel (‘mox’) processing plant – and GE’s proposal is likely to face competition. Ministers have been increasingly talking about the future of the stockpile, which costs about £2bn a year to maintain, and some in government want the plutonium to be classed as an asset rather than a liability. Sir David King, former chief scientific adviser, urged ministers earlier this year to find a use for the stockpile. A government decision is expected “shortly”, but no firm date has yet been set.

Guardian 30th Nov 2011 more >>

General Electric and Hitachi want to spend billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money converting Sellafield’s stockpile of plutonium — the largest in the world — into electricity. The joint venture has offered to build Britain’s first modern fast reactor to deal with the 100 tonnes of highly toxic nuclear waste stored on the sprawling site in Cumbria. The reactor would operate for 60 years, supplying enough electricity to to power 600,000 homes. Nuclear experts estimate, however, that the cost of building and operating the reactor would be 50 per cent higher than conventional new nuclear power plants. Danny Roderick, vice-president of the joint venture, claimed that the plan would be the best way to get rid of the waste, but he refused to comment on cost. He said that the proposal offered better value for money than an alternative championed by the French group Areva. Areva wants to build a plant that would recycle the stockpiled plutonium into Mox fuel, which could be burnt by reactors in Britain or overseas. The Mox plant would cost about £500 million to build but the fuel that these plants recycle is more expensive to make than conventional nuclear fuel. These higher costs could be passed on to consumers through higher bills. Ian Jackson, a nuclear expert with Chatham House, said: “I’m fully supportive of what is an exciting proposal.”

Times 1st Dec 2011 more >>

Wylfa

AN NFU Anglesey meeting to discuss Horizon’s proposed Wylfa B development has been rescheduled for Tuesday, December 6, 7pm.It’s at the Wylfa Learning and Development Centre, Cemaes and replaces a postponed meeting originally due in October. Speakers are Simon Kingsley and Ed Hodge, of Horizon, and land agent John Ikin. NFU Anglesey chairman Dewi Jones said: “Many of our members have voiced deep concerns about the impact of the new power station and all the infrastructure work required and, in particular, the possibility of farmland acquisition by compulsory purchase.

Daily Post 1 Dec 2011 more >>

Radwaste

Taking on the Augean stables was one of the labours Heracles successfully overcame in Greek mythology. But Northamptonshire found no such champion yesterday as the High Court ruled against an attempt to block waste-disposal company Augean from burying radioactive waste in the county. The plan to dump 250,000 tons of nuclear waste a year at the site in Kings Cliffe near Peterborough caused outcry when it was approved by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles in May. Yet moves to block it have proved fruitless. Augean said yesterday it was “pleased” at the dismissal of the challenge to its plans to put waste with “small amounts of radioactivity” into its hazardous landfill facility in East Northamptonshire.

Independent 1st Dec 2011 more >>

Radhealth

The workers dealing with the wreckage caused by the Fukushima disaster may want to take note of the most recent breakthrough in treating radiation poisoning. Researchers have discovered that mice can survive a lethal dose of radiation if given with a newly discovered double-drug therapy – even if they get the cocktail 24 hours after exposure.

Daily Mai 30th Nov 2011 more >>

Carbon

FLAGSHIP government targets on cutting carbon emissions and helping homeowners save energy will not be met, energy firms warned yesterday. MSPs heard there are “grave concerns” among the main three suppliers in Scotland about meeting the terms of the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT), aimed at saving 293 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. The Community Energy Savings Programme (CESP) was also supposed to deliver £350 million of measures to 90,000 homes, avoiding 2.9 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. But Kevin Roxburgh, managing director of Scottish Gas, told Holyrood’s economy, energy and tourism committee that they were unlikely to be delivered. “We don’t believe the targets are achievable under the current programme,” he told MSPs. The firm is now looking for an extension, as well as talks with the government about how it can improve the programmes. CERT requires all domestic energy suppliers with more than 50,000 customers to make savings in the amount of CO2 emitted by householders. The committee also heard from Norman Kerr, director of Energy Action Scotland (EAS). He said: “EAS projections, and indeed the Cabinet secretary [Alex] Neil’s own figures, state that by the end of this year it is likely that there will be 900,000 households in Scotland living in fuel poverty, not 600,000. And the majority of that is caused by the fuel price increases that are biting just now.”

Scotsman 1st Dec 2011 more >>

New Nukes

The World is turning its back on nuclear power. That’s the key conclusion of the BBC’s poll into public attitudes towards nuclear power released last week. Conducted in 23 countries, the poll found that for only 22% of those people asked, “nuclear power is relatively safe and an important source of electricity, and we should build more nuclear power plants”.

Greenpeace 30th Nov 2011 more >>

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg MP announced in October that the government would set out the 40 infrastructure projects that it would give new special priority status to, and this was to be via the National Infrastructure Plan. So what does it actually say? There is indeed a list of 40 items, but few of them are single projects – they are mostly packages of projects or funding programmes. This list includes 8 nuclear reactors (as 1 project).

Bircham Dyson & Bell 30th Nov 2011 more >>

Dounreay

DOUNREAY’S demolition has yielded a £1 million windfall for the Far North. It’s the first payment by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to a new community-led group that will invest the money in projects to sustain the area beyond the site’s closure. Another £3m is earmarked to come from the NDA during operation of the low-level radioactive waste disposal facility between 2014 and 2023. As construction work got under way on the waste stores on Friday, Rob Gibson, MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, collected a cheque for £1m from Nigel Lowe, director for Dounreay at the NDA, on behalf of the local community.

John O Groat Journal 30th Nov 2011 more >>

A RENEWED call for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to fund a long-mooted bypass round Thurso has been made by local councillor. Landward Caithness representative David Flear made the comments following the announcement by the nuclear clean-up quango that spent fuel is to be shipped by train to the Sellafield site in Cumbria for reprocessing. Mr Flear thinks that a legacy fund should be set up as a trade-off for the fuel leaving the Dounreay site.

John O Groat Journal 30th Nov 2011 more >>

Companies

A WARWICKSHIRE construction firm has opened a base in Cumbria to pursue opportunities in the nuclear sector. Morgan Sindall is already bidding for a place on the 15-year, £1.1bn Sellafield Infrastructure Strategic Alliance. But Graham Shennan, managing director of the Rugby-based company, said he expected other work to emerge in the nuclear sector over the next few years.

Business Desk 1st Dec 2011 more >>

A national plant hire firm will create new jobs in Cumbria after clinching a £2 million nuclear contract. Speedy Hire will supply lifting equipment to Sellafield and other nuclear sites under the deal with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

Cumberland News 30th Nov 2011 more >>

Shares in AEA Technology rebounded by 40 per cent yesterday after the privatised division of the UK Atomic Energy Agency allayed investors’ fears that it could collapse. The energy and environment consultancy said that Lloyds, its banker, had agreed to continue to lend to it for “the foreseeable future”.

Times 1st Dec 2011 more >>

Politics

The Tories are not so much ditching the huskies as catching a ride with the huskies only if they are going in their direction anyway. The Oxford professor Dieter Helm has written in these pages about the folly of investing so much in nuclear and renewables and not also investing in a non-renewable fossil fuel – gas – readily available globally and potentially cheap. Helm taught the prime minister’s adviser Steve Hilton at university and is close to another government green, the Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin. Officials confirm that as Britain is closing all its coal-fired power stations, there is a debate inside Whitehall on how much importance gas should assume within a future energy portfolio.

Guardian 30th Nov 2011 more >>

Iran

Israeli officials said in a report Wednesday that a mysterious explosion at an Iranian nuclear facility two days ago was no accident. The eyebrow-raising remarks surfaced in a Times of London story reporting that satellite images show smoke billowing from the uranium enrichment facility in the city of Isfahan.

New York Daily News 30th Nov 2011 more >>

An Iranian nuclear facility has been hit by a huge explosion, the second in a month, prompting speculation that Tehran’s military and atomic sites are under attack. Despite denials by Tehran, satellite imagery seen by The Times confirmed that a blast that rocked the city of Isfahan on Monday struck the uranium enrichment facility there. The images clearly showed billowing smoke and destruction, negating Iranian claims that no such explosion had taken place. Israeli intelligence officials told The Times that there was “no doubt” that the blast struck the nuclear facilities at Isfahan and that it was “no accident”.

Times 30th Nov 2011 more >>

The Week 30th Nov 2011 more >>

The new IAEA report did not impress the Chinese or the Russians who were unwilling to allow it to prompt a new round of UN sanctions. This is one of the central problems with the Iran sanctions regime. It is really several regimes, applied to varying degrees by different countries. Even existing multilateral UN-backed sanctions are applied differently by different governments. The sum total is that it is indeed harder for the Iranians to do business. But their growing reliance on China as a trading partner – its role in the Iranian economy is growing markedly – means that innovative ways can be found to get around financial sanctions.

BBC 30th Nov 2011 more >>

Japan

Fukushima Crisis Update 22nd Nov to 28th Nov 2011.

Greenpeace 29th Nov 2011 more >>

Japan’s tsunami-stricken nuclear-power complex came closer to a catastrophic meltdown than previously indicated by its operator—who on Wednesday described how one reactor’s molten nuclear core likely burned through its primary containment chamber and then ate as far as three-quarters of the way through the concrete in a secondary vessel.

Wall Street Journal 1st Dec 2011 more >>

The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has announced the results of an analysis on the state of melted fuel in the plant’s Number 1 unit. The Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, and several research institutes made public their analyses on the melting of fuel rods at 3 of the plant’s units at a government-sponsored study meeting on Wednesday. The analyses were based on temperatures, amounts of cooling water and other data. TEPCO said that in the worse case, all fuel rods in the plant’s Number 1 reactor may have melted and dropped through its bottom into a containment vessel. The bottom of the vessel is concrete covered with a steel plate. The utility said the fuel may have eroded the bottom to a depth of 65 centimeters. The thinnest part of the section is only 37 centimeters thick. TEPCO also said as much as 57 percent of the fuel in the plant’s Number 2 reactor and 63 percent in the Number 3 reactor may have melted, and that some of the melted fuel may have fallen through reactor vessels.

NHK 30th Nov 2011 more >>

Japan’s bilateral civil nuclear cooperation accords with Jordan, Russia, South Korea and Vietnam could take effect in December, with Diet deliberations on them beginning Wednesday despite public concerns about exporting atomic technology in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.

Mainichi 30th Nov 2011 more >>

US

A report prepared by the Union of Concerned Scientists in collaboration with independent experts quotes Kent Saathoff, a vice president of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, who said last month, “If we don’t get any rain between now and next summer, there could be several thousand megawatts of generators that won’t have sufficient cooling water to operate next summer.”

New York Times 16th Nov 2011 more >>

Taiwan

Environmental groups charged Monday that Taiwan’s government has not resolved how to deal with nuclear waste and proposed suspending operations at the country’s three nuclear power plants until the issue was dealt with. The environmentalists made the appeal at an environmental assessment meeting held by the Cabinet-level Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) on the government’s radioactive waste management policy. During the meeting, officials from the Atomic Energy Council (AEC), the country’s top nuclear regulatory body, presented a report on its proposed approach to dealing with nuclear waste that will become official policy if approved by the EPA assessment committee. One of the plan’s centerpieces was to have nuclear waste recycled overseas before shipping it back to Taiwan for permanent storage.

Taiwan News 28th Nov 2011 more >>

China

China may be using thousands of miles of underground tunnels to hide a nuclear missile arsenal that is far bigger than current estimates, according to researchers. They spent three years translating secret military documents, scouring the internet and studying satellite images for clues – and concluded that China may have as many as 3,000 missiles, compared with general estimates of between 80 and 400.

Daily Mail 1st Dec 2011 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

AS workers strike today (Wednesday, November 30) over plans to clawback public sector pensions the Sentinel can reveal their contributions have been used to invest in nuclear weapons, tobacco, alcohol, bookies, oil and US arms firms including Raytheon.

Londonderry Sentinel 1st Dec 2011 more >>

Renewables

Construction company Carillion has warned 4,500 staff their jobs are at risk because of government plans for a dramatic cut in solar energy subsidies. The company has begun a statutory 90-day consultation period in its energy services division prior to the anticipated slashing of feed-in tariffs.

Guardian 1st Dec 2011 more >>

High Fearnley-Whittingstall: I’ve learned from other projects I’ve been involved with, like the Fish Fight campaign, and our Landshare website, that when you bring together people, communities, like-minded NGOs and companies, really big changes can happen. And frankly, changing the way we produce our power, so that it doesn’t deplete the Earth’s resources and mess up our climate, is change that’s as massive as it is urgent. But we have to start somewhere. And that’s why I am very happy to be involved in a scheme called Energyshare. It was launched just over a year ago with the specific aim of helping local groups, charities, housing associations and the like to generate their own renewable energy, many on a significant scale.

Guardian 1st Dec 2011 more >>

Energy Share – Please Vote

Greener Leith, our local environment group at no2nuclearpower is in the final short list for a grant of up to £80,000 for a proposed Portobello and Leith Community Wind Turbine project. If the project gets the green light it won’t just generate green energy, it will also generate a surplus of hundreds of thousands of pounds over its lifetime, which will be used to support community projects in Edinburgh. To gain the £80,000 we have to win an online public vote – and we’re currently running a very close second. Therefore, I’m writing to ask you to help us get some more votes. We’re not asking for any of your money. Here’s what you can do to help. Go to the link below and vote for us. Although you have to register on the Energyshare website, the whole process should only take a couple of minutes, and you can opt out of any further communications. Second, once you’ve voted, please share the above link with your own friends and networks – the voting closes on 3 December and we need every vote to make the project a success.

Energy Share 30th Nov 2011 more >>

Posted: 1 December 2011

30 November 2011

Old Reactors

Studsvik has signed a seven-year contract with EDF Energy Nuclear Generation for carrying out materials testing on irradiated fuel and fuel components from Advanced Gas cooled Reactors (AGR). The fuel and materials tests will be carried out at Studsvik’s facilities and are made in support of the safety cases and operation of EDF Energy Nuclear Generation’s UK AGR reactors. The seven-year contract is valued at SEK94.5m, and Studsvik intends to extend the contract for a further ten years.

Energy Business Review 29th Nov 2011 more >>

Hinkley

Around 100 delegates attended the latest Hinkley Supply Chain event, entitled ‘How to win business at Hinkley C’, to find out more about the opportunities to get involved in the Hinkley Point C new nuclear development through smart business development and collaboration.

Process & Control Today 29th Nov 2011 more >>

Heysham

EDF Energy, Britain’s biggest nuclear power producer, disconnected its 660 megawatt Heysham 2-8 reactor on Tuesday.

Reuters 29th Nov 2011 more >>

Sizewell

SIZEWELL B nuclear power station is now back at full capacity after repairs were made to one of its two turbines.

East Anglia Daly Times 29th Nov 2011 more >>

Companies

A maintenance firm which employs hundreds of people at Sellafield has won a £300 million contract to work at 10 other nuclear sites. Hertel, the maintenance and construction services firm, has landed a five-year framework contract to work on demolition and asbestos removal across 10 Magnox power stations, including Chapelcross, near Annan.

Cumberland News 30th Nov 2011 more >>

Carbon Pricing

In a clear attempt to redirect the coalition’s green policies, the chancellor told parliament: “I am worried about the combined impact of the green policies adopted not just in Britain, but also by the European Union … if we burden [British businesses] with endless social and environmental goals – however worthy in their own right – then not only will we not achieve those goals, but the businesses will fail, jobs will be lost, and our country will be poorer.” Osborne gave £250m worth of assistance and rebates to the most energy-intensive companies, scrapped a planned rise in fuel duty, announced a massive road-building scheme and hinted at a watering down of regulations to protect British wildlife. The campaigning organisation Sandbag said many of the companies that benefitted from the chancellor’s easing of carbon regulations were the same that had pocketed free carbon permits worth hundreds of millions of pounds in the last few years under the EU’s emissions trading scheme

Guardian 29th Nov 2011 more >>

Independent 30th Nov 2011 more >>

The government’s green ambition is dead, choked by the exhaust fumes and chimneystack smog belched out by the chancellor’s desperate and wrong-headed attempt to restart the economy’s engine. He threw yet more taxpayers’ cash at the carbon fat cats in the highly polluting steel, cement and other energy intensive industries, a sector that has perfected the dark art of special pleading.

Guardian 29th Nov 2011 more >>

George Osborne cheered energy intensive industries by confirming a £250m package of support in a bid to “keep industry and jobs in Britain”, but environmental groups condemned the autumn statement as a “polluter’s charter” that raised questions over the coalition’s ambition to be at the forefront of fighting climate change.

FT 29th Nov 2011 more >>

Telegraph 29th Nov 2011 more >>

Wales

Environment bodies to be merged. Three environment bodies in Wales are to be merged into a single organisation, the Welsh Government has announced. Environment minister John Griffiths said the Environment Agency Wales (EAW), the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) and Forestry Commission Wales (FCW) will be brought together. Government officials estimate the transition from three bodies to just one could result in savings of up to £158 million within a 10-year period.

PA 29th Nov 2011 more >>

Europe

Following the nuclear accident in Fukushima, the EU reacted swiftly and agreed on voluntary tests for all of its 143 nuclear power plants based on a set of common criteria. In its Communication published on 24 November, the Commission looks at first findings of these stress tests and points to some policy areas where the new EU nuclear safety framework can be strengthened through common standards.

EU Business 27th Nov 2011 more >>

The European commission last month released a preliminary report on the stress tests carried out on Europe’s nuclear power plants. The document is only 15 pages plus annexes, but some countries seem to have already drawn their own conclusions. The Czech Republic affirms that its nuclear power stations are not at risk from major earthquakes or floods. Belgium considers that its seven reactors are protected against quakes, floods, terrorist attacks and falling planes. The report produced by Brussels puts the case for tighter safety rules, but with only limited scope. It notes that the regulations already in force before the Fukushima disaster in March are still not being applied throughout the European Union.

Guardian 29th Nov 2011 more >>

France

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced his support for a nuclear research programme and new nuclear power plants, including the proposed third reactor at the Penly European pressurised reactor (EPR) plant in Normandy. The EPR would be the second in Europe. French power utility EDF is developing the first EPR at the Flamanville plant in Normandy. That project has faced a number of challenges.

Infrastructure Journal 29th Nov 2011 more >>

Japan

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant ignored warnings that the complex was at risk of damage from a tsunami of the size that hit north-east Japan in March, and dismissed the need for better protection against seawater flooding, according to reports. Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) officials rejected “unrealistic” estimates made in a 2008 internal report that the plant could be threatened by a tsunami of up to 10.2 metres, Kyodo news agency said. The tsunami that crippled backup power supplies at the plant on the afternoon of 11 March, leading to the meltdown of three reactors, was more than 14 metres high.

Guardian 29th Nov 2011 more >>

Greenpeace today renewed its demand for the Japanese government to keep its nuclear reactors offline as simulation maps of potential accidents at Japan’s nuclear plants – used in the development of nuclear emergency response efforts – are completely inadequate, and have not been updated since the Fukushima disaster.

Greenpeace 29th Nov 2011 more >>

Pressure from business people and different views of the crisis after the 11 March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant disaster, caused Japanese Catholic bishops to delay an anti-nuclear message for six months, according to a church official.

Ekklesia 29th Nov 2011 more >>

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has received approval from the Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), for the amendment to the safety regulations for nuclear reactor facilities of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Japan. The contents included in the application are: to set forth the plan required for the activities, to allocate the necessary personnel for the activities, to conduct training for the personnel for the Activities, to allocate the generator trucks, fire engines, fire fighting hoses and other equipments required for the activities, and to have the periodic evaluation on the above actions and take necessary measures based on the evaluation result.

Energy Business Review 28th Nov 2011 more >>

Belarus

Belarus has signed a range of energy agreements with Russia, handing over its gas supply network while cementing progress toward a nuclear power plant to offset the fuel.

World Nuclear News 29th Nov 2011 more >>

North Korea

The building of a nuclear reactor in North Korea is “progressing apace”, officials say, in a further snub to the US and South Korea. State media quoted a Foreign Ministry official as saying low-enriched uranium was being produced for the reactor.

BBC 30th Nov 2011 more >>

Guardian 30th Nov 2011 more >>

Green Deal

Changeworks and the Scottish Government recently held five events for community organisations on the UK Government’s Green Deal scheme. The presentations are available here.

Changeworks 29th Nov 2011 more >>

Posted: 30 November 2011

29 November 2011

New Nukes

Building new nuclear power stations will make it harder for the UK to switch to renewable energy, said one of the top German officials leading the country’s nuclear energy phase-out. But Jochen Flasbarth, president of the Environmental Protection Agency in Germany, who advises the German government, said: “We are not missionaries, and every country will have to find its own way in energy policy, but it is obvious that nuclear plants are too inflexible and cannot sufficiently respond to variations in wind or solar generation, only gas [power stations] do.”

Guardian 28th Nov 2011 more >>

UK Chancellor George Osborne has been urged to put nuclear power at the forefront of the country’s electricity supply policy by Sir William McAlpine, chairman of the pressure group Supporters of Nuclear Energy (SONE).

New Statesman 28th Nov 2011 more >>

Hinkley

Herbert Smith has advised long time client EDF Energy on its application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) for development consent to construct and operate a 3.2GW nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

The Lawyer 28th Nov 2011 more >>

Recent nuclear news from the United Kingdom includes the public release of plans for new reactors at Hinkley Point and an unconfirmed report that GE-Hitachi may pitch its salt-cooled PRISM reactor as a solution to the country’s excess plutonium problem. For Hinkley Point, British regulators released the 30,000-page application to build a new nuclear plant at the site on the Bristol Channel. EDF submitted plans to build two Areva EPR pressurized water reactors to the Infrastructure Planning Commission on Oct. 31, and the agency released them for public comment last week, the BBC reported. If approved, the project could be finished in 2020.

Nuclear Street 28th Nov 2011 more >>

Heysham

EDF Energy has restarted its 660-megawatt (MW) Heysham 2-7 nuclear reactor on Monday, a spokesman said.

Reuters 28th Nov 2011 more >>

Old Reactors

UK prompt power prices eased Monday on an improved supply outlook, with wind power output remaining high and after the return of two nuclear units, traders said. UK nuclear power generation increased Monday after EDF Energy confirmed the return of its 600 MW Heysham 2-7 unit and the 600 MW turbine 2 at Sizewell B following outages.

Platts 28th Nov 2011 more >>

Radwaste Transport

Photos of protests in Germany.

IB Times 29th Nov 2011 more >>

The Week 28th Nov 2011 more >>

Guardian 28th Nov 2011 more >>

Radwaste

The nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, earlier this year caused many countries to rethink their appetite for nuclear power. It is also, in subtler ways, altering the fraught discussion of what to do with nuclear plants’ wastes. A prime example is Germany, which decided to shut down all its nuclear power plants by 2022 after the partial reactor meltdowns at Fukushima. That decision is making it easier for Germans to have a calm and focused discussion about a permanent disposal site for the plants’ wastes, analysts say. Previously, opponents of nuclear power worried that backing a permanent solution for the wastes would make it easier for nuclear power plants to continue to exist, according to Michael Sailer, the chief executive at the Öko-Institut in Berlin, a research and consulting group focused on sustainability.

Waste Management World 28th Nov 2011 more >>

Opinion Polls

Public opinion in many countries with nuclear power programmes has become more opposed to the technology since 2005, a new poll for the BBC indicates. But the UK and the United States are bucking the trend with those polled becoming less opposed to nuclear energy than others.

Nuclear Engineering International 28th Nov 2011 more >>

Uranium

Rio Tinto is poised to win a bidding war for a Canadian uranium company after Cameco, the world’s biggest uranium producer, declined to raise its offer for a second time.

FT 28th Nov 2011 more >>

Europe

In the wake of the March Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan and Germany’s subsequent decision in June to close all of its 18 nuclear power plants between 2015 and 2022, the European Union is turning its eyes eastwards to new EU members Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia, offering further funding to ensure that its Soviet-era nuclear reactors remain out of service permanently.

Oil Price 28th Nov 2011 more >>

Japan

Masao Yoshida, 56, has been hospitalised for “treatment of illness” and will relinquish his director post at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeast Japan from Thursday. His sudden departure without a specific medical explanation is likely to prompt speculation surrounding the possible connection between his medical condition and exposure to high radiation levels at the plant. However, officials at Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), operators of the plant, declined to comment on whether Mr Yoshida’s illness was connected to radiation exposure.

Telegraph 28th Nov 2011 more >>

Daily Mail 28th Nov 2011 more >>

With the shutdown of unit 2 at Kansai Electric Power Company’s (Kepco’s) Takahama nuclear power plant for a periodic inspection, less than 20% of Japan’s nuclear generating capacity is now in operation.

World Nuclear News 28th Nov 2011 more >>

Tokyo Electric Power said it would raise about Y192bn ($2.5bn) by selling its stakes in KDDI, the telecoms carrier, and Kanto Natural Gas Development to help cover the costs of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster. Tepco, which faces an estimated Y4,700bn bill to cover compensation for those affected by the worst nuclear disaster in 25 years, as well as the cost of decommissioning the Fukushima plant, is selling the KDDI stake back to the telecoms group.

FT 28th Nov 2011 more >>

Iran

A large explosion has been reported in the Iranian city of Isfahan as the regime issued conflicting reports apparently designed to deny any suggestions of a sabotage attack on its nuclear facilities.

Telegraph 28th Nov 2011 more >>

The Iranians keep insisting all they want to do is to develop nuclear power, which flies in the face of disturbing evidence to the contrary recently released by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, which suggested that they are actively trying to build a nuclear bomb. The crisis over Iran’s nuclear programme – which has now dominated the international security agenda for a decade or more – is clearly coming to a head, with both the British and American governments pointedly refusing to rule out the possibility of launching military action to destroy Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. If Iran were really serious about reaching a peaceful resolution to this crisis it would be seeking to establish a dialogue.

Telegraph 28th Nov 2011 more >>

Bangladesh

Bangladesh has achieved ‘notable progress’ in its nuclear infrastructure development of nuclear power, according to a team of international experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency. An IAEA Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission concluded that Bangladesh has mostly met the conditions for knowledgeable decision-making and is actively preparing for the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant project.

Nuclear Engineering International 28th Nov 2011 more >>

CCS

THE £1 billion that had been earmarked for carbon-capture-and-storage (CCS) technology will be spent on other projects, the UK government has announced.

Scotsman 29th Nov 2011 more >>

Independent 29th Nov 2011 more >>

The government was forced to reassure the carbon capture and storage industry on Monday after comments from the Treasury appeared to cast doubt on the future of £1bn funding for the technology. Danny Alexander appeared to suggest money set aside for CCS could be subsumed into general infrastructure spending. But the Department of Energy and Climate Change moved to calm fears, insisting £1bn was still available from the government to fund pioneering CCS projects.

Guardian 28th Nov 2011 more >>

Green Deal

Briefing by JDS Associates on the Green Deal and ECO.

JDS Associates 25th Nov 2011 more >>

Posted: 29 November 2011

28 November 2011

New Nukes

Fred Pearce: I never thought I’d say this – but the future is nuclear. Or it should be. And I urge Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne – who, like me, has been an opponent of nuclear power – to embrace that future. Our energy bills depend on it. And so may our climate. Huhne’s ‘green tax’ sparked anger last week as it became clear that this surcharge on our energy bills will rise to £280 a year for every household by the end of the decade.

Daily Mail 27th Nov 2011 more >>

Chancellor George Osborne was urged today to put nuclear power at the forefront of the Government’s electricity supply policy. In a letter to the Chancellor, Sir William McAlpine, chairman of the pressure group Supporters of Nuclear Energy (SONE) describes the present energy policy as an imposition on consumers and industry and as failing in its objectives. “The sheer disparity between the cost of other sources – and especially offshore wind – and nuclear is startling when nuclear can reasonably be claimed to provide security of low carbon supply at affordable cost. We suggest this shows that reform of energy policy has a long way to go before it is in a position to achieve its declared objective.

Independent 27th Nov 2011 more >>

Industry

Heavy industry is set to be one of the major beneficiaries of the Autumn Statement with a £250m package of measures aimed at helping firms meet energy regulations. A trio of measures, including compensation to offset the Carbon Price Floor and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, could knock between 5pc and 10pc off electricity bills of energy intensive businesses such as steel and chemicals. The measures include up to £60m per year in compensation for companies affected directly or indirectly by the Carbon Price Floor. There will be up to £50m per year in funding to offset the cost of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. On top of these two measures the Chancellor will announce that relief from the climate change levy for heavy industries that have entered into climate change agreements will rise from 65pc to 90pc. The relief had been expected to rise to 80pc.

Telegraph 27th Nov 2011 more >>

Radwaste Transport

GERMAN police battled thousands of protesters trying to stop a train bringing radioactive waste from France. Security forces told at least 3500 demonstrators around the northern town of Harlingen to move out. With most activists remaining where they were, the police began to remove them one by one. No violence was reported while around 1300 people were detained by police. The train carrying the waste stopped for 18 hours amid the police operation against the demonstrators, and began slowly rolling again overnight. Activists said the duration of the 1200-kilometre journey from a reprocessing centre in northwestern France had now already broken the 92-hour record set last year.

AFP 28th Nov 2011 more >>

ITN 28th Nov 2011 more >>

Morning Star 27th Nov 2011 more >>

BBC 27th Nov 2011 more >>

Guardian 27th Nov 2011 more >>

Telegraph 27th Nov 2011 more >>

Scotland

Scottish ministers are under mounting pressure to reverse their “embarrassing” failures to put in place the policies needed to cut climate-altering pollution. As Environment and Climate Change Minister Stewart Stevenson arrives in Durban, South Africa, for the world’s next round of climate talks, his Government is under fierce fire at home for slashing spending on environmentally friendly travel and not doing enough to save energy in homes. The Scottish Government is criticised about failing to improve energy efficiency in homes. Although the budget proposes increasing spending on this from £48m to £65m, this is nowhere near enough, say environmental groups.

Herald 27th Nov 2011 more >>

Europe

The European Commission is considering proposing common nuclear power safety rules across the European Union. The suggestion follows analysis of preliminary conclusions from the voluntary “stress tests” of nuclear plants in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan in March this year.

Utility Week 25th Nov 2011 more >>

The European Commission has recently proposed to provide further EU assistance of €500 million to support the decommissioning in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia. These funds will contribute to the continuation of safe decommissioning of the nuclear power plants Kozloduy, Ignalina and Bohunice. This new financial assistance should support the efforts of the three Member States who are ultimately responsible for nuclear safety, including the financing of decommissioning.

Wired.gov 27th Nov 2011 more >>

Japan

The Nov/Dec issue of CNIC’s English Language newsletter is now available.

CNIC 28th Nov 2011 more >>

Denmark

Danish government proposals on Friday called for sourcing just over half of its electricity from wind turbines by 2020 and all of its energy from renewable sources in 2050. The government also invited the parties in parliament to negotiations on the proposal to shape energy policy to 2020. Denmark will take over the presidency of the European Union for six months from January 1 and aims to promote ambitious climate and energy goals for Europe.

Reuters 25th Nov 2011 more >>

Iran

Iran will bomb Turkey if the U.S. or Israel tries to destroy its nuclear installations, a senior military commander warned today. General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the aerospace division of the powerful Revolutionary Guard, threatened to target Nato’s missile defence shield in the neighbouring country. The system which Turkey only agreed to install in September, is designed to prevent Iranian missile attacks on Israel.

Daily Mail 28th Nov 2011 more >>

Iran’s parliament voted on Sunday to expel the British ambassador in retaliation for fresh Western sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear programme and warned that other countries could also be punished.

Middle East Online 27th Nov 2011 more >>

FT 27th Nov 2011 more >>

Telegraph 27th Nov 2011 more >>

Trident

The Ministry of Defence is spending £2bn on new nuclear weapons plants before a formal decision has been taken over whether to replace Trident warheads, according to ministers.

Guardian 27th Nov 2011 more >>

See also robedwards.com (with the government’s newly released, but heavily redacted, Trident ‘Value for Money’ review available to download)

Robedwards.com 27th Nov 2011 more >>

Tar Sands

The UK government has been giving secret support at the very highest levels to Canada’s campaign against European penalties on its highly polluting tar sands fuel, the Guardian can reveal. At the same time, the UK government was being lobbied by Shell and BP, which both have major tar sands projects in Alberta, and opened a new consulate in the province to “support British commercial interests”.

Guardian 27th Nov 2011 more >>

A deal to sell tar sands oil in Europe would outweigh any good the UK might do with all its other climate change measures.

Guardian 27th Nov 2011 more >>

Posted: 28 November 2011

27 November 2011

Plutonium

America’s General Electric will this week offer to build an advanced nuclear power plant at Sellafield that would consume Britain’s dangerous stockpile of plutonium. Sellafield is home to about 112 tonnes of plutonium, which takes thousands of years to decay. It was produced in the recycling of nuclear fuel and for the atomic weapons programme. Several schemes have been proposed to deal with it, including the construction of a deep underground store and the building of a new plant to turn it into “mixed-oxide” (Mox) fuel for atomic power plants. Sellafield’s first Mox plant turned out to be a white elephant — it cost about £1.4 billion to build and was closed this year with the loss of 600 jobs. This week GE will offer to build its Prism reactor to burn up the plutonium. Experts say the advantage of the GE proposal is its ability to use plutonium as a fuel. “It is a more attractive proposition than building a new Mox plant,” said one senior industry source.

Sunday Times 27th Nov 2011 more >>

New Nukes

The coalition has pinned its hopes on growing the British economy in an age of severe cuts through infrastructure, bringing the unfashionable construction industry to the forefront. An updated National Infrastructure Plan – a £200bn blueprint was produced last year – will offer ideas of how to attract private-sector investment into building roads, bridges and even energy networks.

Independent 27th Nov 2011 more >>

Companies

Centrica, the owner of British Gas, has been examining the possibility of buying RWE’s North Sea oil and gas assets for up to €2bn (£1.7bn). The move comes as German power company RWE looks to sell assets, including all or part of its oil and exploration unit RWE-DEA, to bolster its debt-laden balance sheet.

Telegraph 27th Nov 2011 more >>

Japan

How the crisis at Fukushima developed.

Telegraph TV 25th Nov 2011 more >>

Germany

Anti-nuclear protesters have scuffled with police in northern Germany where activists are holding demonstrations to try to disrupt a train carrying nuclear waste from France.

DW-World 27th Nov 2011 more >>

German police said 20 officers have been injured during clashes with protesters ahead of the arrival of a shipment of nuclear waste in the north of the country.

Express 26th Nov 2011 more >>

Anti-nuclear protestors demonstrate yesterday against the transport of nuclear waste containers in Berg in southwest Germany near the French border. The containers are on their way to the intermediate nuclear storage facility in the northeast German town of Gorleben. The text on the placard reads “The dark side of the future.”

Waste Management World 26th Nov 2011 more >>

Microgeneration

Round-up of the news of the fight against FiT changes and other news.

Micogen Scotland 26th Nov 2011 more >>

Energy Efficiency

Local authorities and other public bodies, already struggling with spending cuts, will be obliged to fit schools, swimming pools and libraries, with state-of-the-art insulation, boilers, generators and windows. Councils say the plan as it affects them alone would cost taxpayers up to £50bn. The draft Energy Efficiency Directive states public bodies should “lead by example” and “purchase only products, services and buildings with high energy efficiency performance”. Public bodies will also be obliged to refurbish 3% of their properties to the high energy-efficient specification each year, under the plans.

Telegraph 26th Nov 2011 more >>

Posted: 27 November 2011

26 November 2011

Hinkley

Somerset residents who want to have a say on the Hinkley Point nuclear power station proposal are being invited to a series of drop-in sessions. The Infrastructure Planning Commission yesterday announced that it is satisfied it can proceed to decide the application, submitted by EDF Energy.

This is Somerset 25th Nov 2011 more >>

The Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) has formally accepted for examination EDF Energy’s application to build a nuclear power station at the existing Hinkley Point nuclear site on the north Somerset coast. Provided all goes to schedule the multi-billion pound project should be determined by the energy secretary early in 2013 following consideration by the IPC and its successor, the Major Infrastructure Planning Unit (MIPU).

Utility Week 25th Nov 2011 more >>

Sellafield

CORE Briefing on NDA Options for THORP. An estimated 400 tonnes of overseas spent fuel that should have been completed around 2004, plus some 2000 tonnes of UK AGR fuel remains to be reprocessed. In addition, a further 4000+ tonnes of spent AGR fuel (including the currently expected lifetime arisings from the UK’s fleet of AGR power stations) are destined either for long-term storage at Sellafield prior to disposal or for reprocessing – at the NDA’s discretion. Should 5-year extensions be granted to the AGR power stations, a further 900 tonnes of spent fuel would arise.

CORE 25th Nov 2011 more >>

There’s a hole in DECC’s Bucket / Energy Policy: The nukes are too hot, dear Liza, dear Liza, the nukes are too hot, dear Liza, too hot. Then cool them, dear Hendry, dear Hendry, dear Hendry, then cool them dear Hendry, dear Hendry, cool them.

101 uses for nuclear power 25th Nov 2011 more >>

Heysham

Heysham power station bosses have apologised for frightening neighbours with a loud noise. The disturbance was caused by a relief valve opening to emit steam at high pressure at about 9.30pm on Thursday November 24. Operators EDF said Heysham 2 unit 7 was returning to power from a planned maintenance outage when the valve automatically opened as part of the plant’s return to service. EDF said this caused some very loud noises for a few minutes which could be heard near to the station.

The Visitor 25th Nov 2011 more >>

Sizewell

THE proposed Sizewell C nuclear power station is on a list of 72 projects which the UK’s construction industry would most like to see “unlocked” by Government action.

East Anglia Daily Times 25th Nov 2011 more >>

Old Nukes

A total of 3,970 MW of nuclear capacity is offline at the moment.

Reuters 25th Nov 2011 more >>

Dounreay

WORK has started on a £100 million project to build six 65ft-deep vaults to store nuclear waste at Dounreay, each covering an area the size of a football pitch. Around 100 jobs are expected to be created in the construction of the facility which will be the first of its type to be built in Scotland since the 1950s and the first ever to be granted planning permission.

Herald 26th Nov 2011 more >>

BBC 25th Nov 2011 more >>

Nuclear consortium Babcock Dounreay Partnership has been selected as preferred bidder to take over ownership of decommissioning company Dounreay Site Restoration in northern Scotland.

New Civil Engineer 25th Nov 2011 more >>

Waste Transport

Link to the english version of a news ticker made by activists about the nuclear waste being transported from France to Germany. On the ticker it’s possible to see where the castor currently is and what actions are happening.

Linksunten 25th Nov 2011 more >>

A French train carrying 150 tonnes of reprocessed nuclear waste entered Germany on Friday en route to a storage site after a 24-hour stop at the border following clashes between riot police and anti-nuclear activists.

Reuters 25th Nov 2011 more >>

Thousands of German anti-nuclear protesters mobilised Friday against a train carrying radioactive nuclear waste from France that has already sparked violent opposition. The train with 11 wagons of reprocessed German nuclear waste crossed the Franco-German border early on Friday, stopping for more than five hours at the small German town of Neunkirchen to change engines. Protests had been “peaceful”, said authorities.

AFP 25th Nov 2011 more >>

Telegraph 25th Nov 2011 more >>

BBC 25th Nov 2011 more >>

Opinion Polls

A worldwide poll has shown widely varying levels of support for the use of nuclear energy. A large majority in countries that use nuclear want to keep doing so, but only a few nations showed strong support for new build.

World Nuclear News 25th Nov 2011 more >>

Public opposition to nuclear power has grown since 2005, according to a survey of 23,231 adults in 23 countries. Conducted by GlobeScan for the BBC, the survey shows that many people believe renewable and not nuclear energy can meet future needs.

Engineer 5th Nov 2011 more >>

Decommissioning

Slithering into confined spaces, tackling tasks too difficult or dangerous for humans, the Snake-arm robot can “reach the unreachable” say its UK inventors, OC Robotics.

CNN 25th Nov 2011 more >>

Radhealth

Dr Ian Fairlie has a new website. See for example “Are Radiation Risks Overrated?” During 2010 and 2011, several newspaper articles claimed that the risks of low levels of ionising radiation have been exaggerated and that radiation limits should be relaxed. These reports have cited, in particular, a retired scientist, Dr Wade Allison, who proposes that there are no observable effects from radiation exposures below a level of 100 mSv or 200 mSv. In his best selling 2009 book “Bad Science”, Ben Goldacre roundly criticised the many distorted and misleading science articles found in UK newspapers and media. The above newspaper articles and BBC programmes are further examples of such bad science. But they have created concern and confusion in many people’s minds: it’s necessary to try and set the record straight.

Ian Fairlie 24th Nov 2011 more >>

India

Since August 2011, Tamil Nadu has witnessed renewed protests against the commissioning of the first of two 1,000 MW power plants as part of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP). While protests have been ongoing against the project since the proposal was mooted in 1988, the impending commissioning of the reactors in light of the devastating and uncontrollable nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, Japan, has rightly triggered a wave of concern among thinking people in India.

Weekend Leader 25th Nov 2011 more >>

Iran & Kuwait

As the sabre-rattling against Iran becomes more deafening – with threats of potentially creating a few Chenobyls or a Fukushima by bombing working nuclear power plants – another potential nuclear madness is planned. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) appears to be behaving in a partisan and shameless way regarding Iran, much as it did with Iraq. Consider then the case of Kuwait which is “blessed with an abundance of natural petroleum resources,” and that it has advanced plans for up to four nuclear power stations – two to be built on the islands of Warba and Bubiyan.

Morning Star 25th Nov 2011 more >>

Sir Malcolm Rifkind: A nuclear Iran would trigger nuclearisation of the entire Middle East and it must be prevented.

Conservative Home 25th Nov 2011 more >>

Poland

Poland’s top utility PGE shortlisted three sites by the Baltic coast on Friday as possible locations for the country’s first nuclear power plant, which it hopes will help to lessen its reliance on highly polluting coal.

Reuters 25th Nov 2011 more >>

Renewables

Senior officials at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) are sceptical that solar can play a significant role in the UK’s future energy mix and are committed to restricting demand for the technology to a level where it becomes little more than “a toy for rich boys”. BusinessGreen has learned senior figures within the department recently met solar panel manufacturers in an attempt to explain its heavily criticised handling of the proposed cuts to solar feed-in tariffs and secure support for its plans to limit access to solar incentives to buildings that meet demanding energy-efficiency standards.

Business Green 25th Nov 2011 more >>

Businesses and communities across Britain will from Monday be able to apply for a heat tariff payment, ushering in a new era of clean green heat technology, Greg Barker said today. The world’s first Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) will be open to applicants from Monday 28 November, providing payments for heat generated from renewable technologies including biomass boilers, solar thermal equipment and heat pumps installed since 15 July 2009.

DECC 25th Nov 2011 more >>

Climate

The will to act on climate change is out of political energy, running on empty. The problem is (relatively) distant, complex and intractable. The solution is costly, immediate, and the gains uncertain. It is the kind of slow-burn crisis that democratic politicians only tackle under sustained popular pressure and right now western voters have other things on their minds. Here, the government that promised to be the greenest ever is allowing emission-cutting policies to appear an indulgent hangover from a more prosperous age. Starting on Monday, when the 17th climate change conference opens in Durban, Africa has the opportunity to remind the rest of us why inaction is not an option.

Guardian 25th Nov 2011 more >>

It will involve 10,000 officials from 194 countries in a massive, complex negotiation. But pessimism is in the air as the world community comes together again on Monday to try to negotiate a new deal on climate change.

Independent 26th Nov 2011 more >>

Posted: 26 November 2011

25 November 2011

Opinion Polls

There is little public appetite across the world for building new nuclear reactors, a poll for the BBC indicates. In countries with nuclear programmes, people are significantly more opposed than they were in 2005, with only the UK and US bucking the trend. Most believe that boosting efficiency and renewables can meet their needs. Just 22% agreed that “nuclear power is relatively safe and an important source of electricity, and we should build more nuclear power plants”.

BBC 25th Nov 2011 more >>

Sellafield

THERE will be no new business for Thorp after it finishes its present contracts. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority confirmed this week that there was no “viable market” for oxide fuel reprocessing in Sellafield’s flagship plant beyond 2018. It’s a blow for the 10,000 workforce and their union representatives who have been fighting hard to put up a case for more Thorp business. But yesterday Sellafield management allayed fears that it would mean substantial job losses. An NDA spokesman said: “We have been investigating whether the current strategy for managing our oxide fuels, compared to other credible alternatives, remains the most cost-effective means. The review has concluded that completion of the reprocessing contracts in Thorp remains the most viable and cost effective option. Any remaining fuels will be placed into storage pending disposal in a geological disposal facility.”

Whitehaven News 24th Nov 2011 more >>

WORK should start soon on testing the ground on which a new power station is expected to be built at Sellafield. Energy giant NuGen has been given the green light to carry out detailed investigations which will include a series of boreholes. NuGen wants to confirm that the site is suitable for up to three electricity-producing nuclear reactors. Copeland Council has given formal planning permission for the preliminary work now that consultations with local people, including farm tenants on which the power station will be built, have been completed. The Spanish-led consortium has an option to buy 470 acres of agricultural land outside the existing Sellafield licensed nuclear site.

Whitehaven News 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Uranium Supplies

Due to a decrease in ore grade uranium production will get much more energy intensive; CO2 emissions at low ore grades can increase to over 200g CO2/kWh (renewables: 3 – 60 g kWh). Assuming the low growth scenario of the World Nuclear Association (WNA) and the IAEA data on uranium resources, would make the currently operated uranium mines last until 2055.

Austrian Ecology Institute 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Hinkley

The IPC has today decided to accept the Hinkley Point nuclear power station application, made by EDF Energy, five days earlier than it had to. It has also published the application documentation in full. Make space on your computer – I calculate that it runs to 4,700 megabytes of data.The objection period will only start once EDF Energy issues formal public notices that the application has been accepted.

Bircham Dyson & Bell 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Reuters 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Independent 25th Nov 2011 more >>

Earlier this month, councils in the area said that the promoters of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station could have done more to involve local people in debate over the project. In a joint report submitted to the IPC, Somerset County Council and Sedgemoor and West Somerset District Councils agreed that EDF Energy generally carried out the consultation activities promised before lodging its development consent order last month. However, they said the energy company could have done more to engage with hard-to-reach groups in Bridgwater. They also voiced concern about the quality of some information presented for consultation and a lack of detailed evidence on some topics.

Planning 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Plans for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset have been released to the public. EDF Energy handed its application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC), which deals with large-scale projects, on 31 October. The 30,000-page document has now been accepted by the IPC allowing its release to the public for scrutiny. Further public consultation will take place and the final decision will be made by the energy secretary.

BBC 24th Nov 2011 more >>

This is Somerset 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Wylfa

AN Anglesey farmer who is refusing to sell his land to the developers of the Wylfa B nuclear power station has received a letter from energy regulators Ofgem, which allows for a compulsory survey of his land.

North Wales Chronicle 23rd Nov 2011 more >>

THE company behind the proposed construction of a nuclear power plant on Anglesey has said they do not think a third crossing to the Island is necessary.

North Wales Chronicle 23rd Nov 2011 more >>

Cumbria

Plans showing six possible routes of pylons and cabling from a new nuclear facility in Cumbria have been revealed. A new nuclear power station is planned to be built beside Sellafield by 2023. The project will include a route of pylons or a series of underground cables running from Sellafield to Heysham, or through the Lake District National Park.

BBC 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Dounreay

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) confirmed yesterday that the Babcock Dounreay Partnership (BDP) – a joint venture between Babcock, CH2M HILL and URS, with Babcock holding a 50 per cent share – will take ownership of Dounreay Site Restoration Limited. The annual NDA budget for the contract is around £150 million.

Construction News 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Nuclear Waste Transport

A French train transporting 150 tonnes of radioactive waste was at a standstill near the German border for a planned halt on Thursday, waiting to resume its journey to a storage site in Germany, the French interior ministry said. The train had left Areva’s nuclear fuel reprocessing facility in Normandy on Wednesday after a scuffle between police in riot gear and several hundred protesters who tried to occupy the train tracks near the town of Valognes. “It could take two hours or two days until the train resumes its journey,” a French interior ministry spokesman said. “Whatever the time it takes, the important thing is that public order is guaranteed both on the French and German sides.”

Reuters 24th Nov 2011 more >>

French authorities ordered a train carrying reprocessed nuclear waste to Germany to stop near the border for 24 hours on Thursday to try to avoid more mass protests.

AFP 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Police in northern Germany have used water cannons against demonstrators waiting for the arrival of a shipment of nuclear waste from France. Scuffles broke out between police and protesters after fireworks and paint were thrown at officers. Protesters had tried to block a crossroads at Metzingen, near the shipment’s destination. French authorities have stopped the train in Remilly, short of the border.

BBC 24th Nov 2011 more >>

IB Times 24th Nov 2011 more >>

RWE

RWE, the German power company, has singled out oil and gas concessions in Egypt for sale as part of a €9bn divestment programme that is meant to bolster a balance sheet bruised by Germany’s accelerated nuclear exit.

FT 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Energy Prices

The head of Ofgem was the focus last night of an extraordinarily withering attack from a FTSE 100 energy chief, who accused the regulator of cheap attacks on the industry in a campaign that he blamed for rising power prices. Rupert Soames, who runs the Aggreko mobile electricity generating group, went to war with Alistair Buchanan in a speech to a dinner audience of oil and gas industry professionals in Aberdeen. Mr Soames’s £4.5 billion company is not regulated by Ofgem but he took up the private complaints of Britain’s big six domestic energy suppliers, which believe that Mr Buchanan has been unbalanced in his oversight of the industry. Mr Soames, a grandson of Sir Winston Churchill, said that he could not understand why ministers were surprised that investors appeared unwilling to put up the £200 billion needed to transform the domestic energy market.

Times 25th Nov 2011 more >>

Japan

During court proceedings concerning a radioactive golf course, Tokyo Electric Power Co. stunned lawyers by saying the utility was not responsible for decontamination because it no longer “owned” the radioactive substances.

Asahi 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Netherlands

Greenpeace has hung signs in 64 Dutch towns and cities warning of the dangers of underground nuclear waste storage. Economic Affairs Minister Maxime Verhagen is planning an underground repository for the radioactive waste from a new nuclear power plant, the environmental group claims. Greenpeace is calling on the minister to reveal the possible location of such a dump. “If Mr Verhagen so much wants a second nuclear power plant, he should have the courage to say where the waste will be buried,” the group says.

Radio Netherlands 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Lithuania

Lithuania on Thursday slammed a funding plan from Brussels to help it decommission a Soviet-era nuclear reactor which was shut down under the terms of its European Union entry four years earlier. “The current proposal is not acceptable for us, as it does not comply with the commitments enshrined in the accession treaty of Lithuania,” Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said in a statement. Earlier Thursday the European Commission — the EU’s executive body — offered Lithuania 210 million euros in decommissioning funds from 2014 until 2017.

EU Business 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Iran

An influential Iran parliamentarian has claimed that the country has arrested 12 CIA agents. Parviz Sorouri, who sits on the powerful committee of foreign policy and national security, said agents had been operating with Israel’s Mossad as well as other regional agencies, and targeted the country’s military and its nuclear programme.

Daily Mail 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Telegraph 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Guardian 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Switzerland

Shutting down Switzerland’s five nuclear power stations will cost about 20.7 billion Swiss francs (16.8 billion euros, $22.5 billion) and take about 20 years, Swiss authorities said on Thursday. A study published by the Federal Office of Energy said that the cost had risen by 10.0 percent compared with a 2006 estimate. The most expensive part of the process will be the long-term management of radioactive waste, it said. The Swiss parliament approved a phased exit from nuclear energy at the end of September, six months after the Fukushima plant catastrophe in Japan. Strong public opposition to nuclear led to a recommendation that SWitzerland’s five reactors not be replaced when they come to the end of their operation in 2034.

EU Business 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Spain

Spain’s nuclear lobby is attempting to whet the appetite of the country’s new conservative government for new nuclear power. The Strategic Nuclear Research and Development Committee (CEIDEN) has published a report that outlines a new nuclear programme as a means of economic regeneration. While the outgoing socialist government was explicitly opposed to new nuclear power, the newly elected People’s Party has not ruled it out.

Utility Week 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Missile Shield

Russia has threatened to deploy missiles to target the US missile shield in Europe if Washington fails to assuage Moscow’s concerns about its plans. The harsh warning reflects deep cracks in US-Russian ties despite Barack Obama’s efforts to “reset” relations with the Kremlin.

Guardian 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Test Veterans

A group of nuclear test veterans and their relatives were at Holyrood to continue their campaign for recognition and compensation from the UK Government.

STV 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Climate

Some leaders of the rich and big-emitting countries have lost interest and political momentum and want to consign the talks, like those on world trade, to a never-ending, never-achieving, low-grade, low-profile discussion to take place in backrooms without anyone listening or caring much. They may profess concern, but there is little evidence they want to act. But something else has changed since 2009, too. The 175 or more developing countries are now talking more as one, and the great illusion trick of the rich world is wearing thin. What has changed, they ask? The science of climate change is firmer than it ever was. A 2C-4C temperature rise still means that Africa fries and the polar bears die out, that Bangladesh and Egypt drown, the droughts in Latin America and Ethiopia continue to worsen, and the poorest communities and small-island states, who have the least resources to adapt, will be hurt the hardest.

Guardian 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Speaking days ahead of next week’s Durban climate change conference, Huhne said the UK was showing “leadership” in insisting on new treaty, rather than the “bottom-up” approach favoured by some, under which individual countries and industries would set their own greenhouse gas targets.

Guardian 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Renewables

New analysis by strategic energy consultants Element Energy, commissioned by Friends of the Earth and the Cut Don’t Kill campaign has revealed that the Government’s planned cut to the Solar PV Feed-in Tariff will destroy up to 29,000 jobs and cause the Treasury to lose up to £230 million a year in tax income. The research highlights the remarkable fact that this cut will cause the Government to lose sizeable amounts of money through reduced income taxes and National Insurance. Campaigners have described the cut as “utterly counterproductive”.

FoE Press Release 23rd November 2011 more >>

Even with the new feed-in-tariff rates of 21p coming into force, a good return on your solar PV system can still be made. We are seeing that new customers to Ecosource Solutions are still set to achieve an ROI on their solar panels of around 7–10% which is fantastic! However, the primary goal for any renewable energy project (solar photovoltaic, wind, hydro, etc) should be to generate as much electricity as possible, and, secondary to this, should be a real drive to utilise as much of the freely generated electricity as possible. Traditionally, over the course of a year approximately 25%–35% of the generated electricity is consumed within the property with the majority of the generated electricity being exported automatically when generation is higher than usage.

Low Carbon Economy 24th Nov 2011 more >>

The government is considering a ‘capacity trigger’ system to reduce the amount of subsidy solar photovoltaic systems are given, and spread the subsidy over more installations. It’s one idea that will be proposed in consultation documents which DECC is expected to publish before the end of the year, and it is known to have the support of both the secretary of state, Chris Huhne, and energy minister Greg Barker.

Link2 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Green Deal

£200m of new and additional Government funding has today been announced to provide a special time-limited ‘introductory’ offer to boost the early take up of the Government’s Green Deal energy efficiency scheme.

DECC 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Guardian 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Gov’t expected to confirm start of the Renewable Heat Incentive as well as £200m additional funding for Green Deal.

Business Green 24th Nov 2011 more >>

The microgeneration industry has expressed its “disappointment” at the government’s consultation on its proposed Green Deal scheme, arguing it fails to provide sufficient detail how the energy efficiency scheme could be used to accelerate the roll out of small scale renewable energy technologies.

Business Green 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Rising gas prices are set to push up costs for consumers, but energy saving policies will help to save £94 on household bills by 2020, Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne claimed yesterday.

Independent 24th Nov 2011 more >>

Posted: 25 November 2011