News

8 July 2006

New nukes

It would be churlish not to recognise that the Conservative Party under David Cameron has come a long way on energy policy. The interim report of the party’s energy review this week argues that nuclear power should be used only as “a last resort”. Of course, it would have been preferable if the Tories had ruled out nuclear power altogether. But this is still a significant shift for a party that has historically smiled on the nuclear industry. Meanwhile, the Labour Party under Tony Blair has been moving just as fast in the opposite direction. The Prime Minister told the Commons Liaison Committee this week that he had “changed his mind” on nuclear power. All the signs are that next week’s energy review will call for additional nuclear power stations to be built.
Independent Editorial 8th July 2006

Jeremy Warner says: No prizes for guessing the outcome of next week’s Energy Review. Unless those drafting it are completely out of touch with the wishes of the Prime Minister, there will be plenty of lip-service towards renewables but also the go-ahead for a new generation of nukes. Labour was originally elected on an anti-nuclear platform. There is a world of difference between accepting the case for nuclear and ensuring its delivery. There are two main prerequisites. Planning constraints have to be removed, allowing the construction of new nuclear power plants to be fast-tracked. If, as occurred with Sizewell B, it takes five years for the proposals to get through planning procedures, nobody is going to bother to build them. Second, there has to be a long-term solution on nuclear waste, which almost certainly means construction of a deep repository. The only problem is that nobody wants one of these things on their back doorstep. Even if these two prerequisites are met, I’m personally sceptical that a new generation of nuclear power plants can be financed without government intervention, either directly by way of guarantee or subsidy, or indirectly through market subversion. All the main contenders for new nuclear build – Areva of France, GE of the US, and the Japanese-owned Westinghouse – naturally insist otherwise, yet none of them appear willing to finance the things themselves; we are engineers, not financiers, they all say as if reading from the same hymn sheet. So who would finance nuclear and what would persuade them to do so? Ultimately, it would have to be the City, but how much of a risk are private investors prepared to take? History doesn’t give much encouragement. In Britain at least, nuclear power has proved hopelessly uneconomic.
Independent 8th July 2006

Nuclear Weapons

The defence secretary, Des Browne, yesterday strongly hinted he would join other senior ministers in supporting the retention of a British independent nuclear deterrent. He highlighted “the terrifying prospect” of a state with nuclear weapons linking up with a terrorist group.
Guardian 8th July 2006

There may be a Commons vote but the outcome appears set: the Trident system will be upgraded and replaced, to keep Britain’s place at the table of nuclear players.
Guardian 8th July 2006

Britain does not need nuclear weapons any longer, former Defence Secretary Denis Healey has said.
BBC 7th July 2006

North Korea

The United States, facing opposition to proposed U.N. sanctions against North Korea for this week’s missile tests, said on Saturday it backed China’s proposal for informal talks to re-engage the reclusive state.
Reuters 8th July 2006

Scotland

ALEX Salmond yesterday put nuclear power at the heart of next year’s election campaign when he published the SNP’s environmental proposals, vowing never to allow more nuclear power stations in Scotland.
Scotsman 8th July 2006

Iran

Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator says he feels positive about an incentives package agreed by world powers on Tehran’s nuclear programme. But Ali Larijani said Iran should not be given a deadline for its response to the offer, which is aimed at suspending Tehran’s uranium enrichment work.
BBC 8th July 2006

Devonport

Devon dockyard said it has changed its procedures after it emerged a flask carrying radioactive fuel was not transported correctly. A valve plate on the flask was fixed the wrong way round as it was moved from HMS Talent, a nuclear submarine at Devonport Dockyard, in April 2005.
BBC 7th July 2006
Western Morning News 7th July 2006

Devonport Management Limited has been warned to tighten up safety after two spillages of radioactive liquid in three months. The Environment Agency has issued a formal notice to dockyard managers because of “weaknesses” identified in management, operations and maintenance. The agency also reported that in a third incident, in May, the overalls of maintenance staff on board a submarine were found to be contaminated with a trace amount of radioactive material.
Western Morning News 7th July 2006

CoRWM

Nuclear waste should only be kept near communities that “volunteer” to host special storage facilities, ministers will be told this month. After a three-year investigation, Britain’s Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) is poised to present its final recommen-dations to the government about the long-term storage of hazardous material, whether it comes from power plants, hospitals or the military.
Norfolk Now 7th July 2006

Posted: 8 July 2006

7 July 2006

New nukes

Local objections to nuclear power plants could be over-ridden under planning changes proposed by the government’s energy review. Councils could alter the appearance and precise location of the sites but would be unable to reject power plants on the grounds they were not needed.
BBC 6th July 2006
Daily Mail 6th July 2006
South Wales Evening Post 6th July 2006
Daily Mirror 7th July 2006

“There are no easy answers.” on Planning Questions. But at last people are asking the questions. Kate Barker of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee poses them in her interim report out this week.
* The Campaign to Protect Rural England asks them in its attack on the campaign by Policy Exchange to liberalise restrictions on new housing on green fields.
** The prime minister is about to ask them in his desire to override local authority objections to new nuclear power plants.
FT 7th July 2006

A new divide in British politics opened today when the Tory leader, David Cameron, signalled that nuclear power should be “a last resort”, while the government appeared to be clearing the path for a new generation of power stations.
Guardian website 6th July 2006
Nottingham Evening Post 6th July 2006
politics.co.uk 6th July 2006

NUCLEAR power should compete on an equal footing with fossil fuels and renewables, the Conservatives said yesterday. David Cameron, the party leader, described the nuclear option as the last resort but also said that it should be made easier for nuclear power stations to be built. His refusal to rule out more nuclear power plants keeps the Conservatives’ options open in dealing with a potential shortfall in energy supplies within the next 20 years.
The Times 7th July 2006

The UK’s trade and industry minister Alistair Darling has given a round of interviews to the media outlining the likely role that nuclear will play in the country’s future energy mix. The government’s long-awaited energy review will be published shortly, and it seems certain that the document’s headline recommendation will be an advocacy of a new program of nuclear power plants.
Energy Business Review Online 6th July 2006

The cabinet and the Conservatives have united behind an energy strategy that opens the door to nuclear power in a bid to tackle global warming and ensure security of supply. An emerging consensus is set to see fast-track planning approval for the construction of new reactors. And both Labour and the Tories are likely to agree that there should be no subsidies from taxpayers for the nuclear industry. Emphasis is also to be put on boosting renewables and improving energy efficiency.
epolitix 6th July 2006

Scotland

SCOTLAND’S chances of becoming the home for new nuclear power stations receded yesterday when it emerged that the planning process would be streamlined to fast-track the development of new stations – but only in England. Alistair Darling, the Trade and Industry Secretary, said he wanted to reform the English planning process to give the government the power to overrule councils, if necessary, and drive ahead with new nuclear power stations. A spokesman for Jack McConnell, the First Minister, stressed that this would not happen in Scotland and that there would be a full public consultation before the planning process even got started, if any applications were made to build new nuclear stations in Scotland.
Scotsman 7th July 2006

CoRWM

A SpinWatch / Nuclear Spin investigation has uncovered documents that seriously question the independence of a crucial British government committee that is looking into the issue of nuclear waste. A highly controversial and divisive issue, nuclear waste is one of the last remaining hurdles that the government has to clear to be able to give the go-ahead to a new generation of nuclear plants.
Spinwatch 5th July 2006

AGRs

HEYSHAM One power station has developed cracks in its reactor cores. Sister station Heysham Two is now also being closely monitored. “But we have no safety concerns,” said a spokesman for British Energy.
Lancaster Guardian 6th July 2006

North Korea

Christopher Hill, US assistant secretary of state and chief nuclear negotiator, arrived in Beijing on Friday as Washington urged members of the six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear programme to come up with a unified response to the July 5 missile launches. The US and its close ally Japan are calling for a United Nations resolution to impose financial and military-related sanctions on the hermit state, but the move has failed to win the support of China, Russia and South Korea.
FT 7th July 2006

North Korea said that it would carry out further ballistic missile tests, as members of the UN Security Council fell out over how to punish it for launching seven missiles on Wednesday.
The Times 7th July 2006

Iran

The UN nuclear watchdog chief has warned Iran the world is “getting impatient” because it has not replied to incentives on its nuclear programme.
BBC 6th July 2006

Devonport

Watchdogs have told bosses at Devonport Dockyard to tighten up safety after two spillages of radioactive liquid in three months. The Environment Agency has issued a formal notice to dockyard managers because of ‘weaknesses’ identified in management, operations and maintenance.
Plymouth Evening Herald 6th July 2006

URENCO

Tensions are developing over the future of Urenco, the uranium enrichment company, after France’s EdF made an approach to buy Britain’s 33pc stake for about £2bn. EdF is understood to have approached Mike Parker, chief executive of British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL), within the past couple of weeks about a possible deal. Publicly owned BNFL manages the UK holding in Urenco. However, Urenco’s two other owners – the Dutch government and two German utilities, RWE and E.ON – are opposed to EdF buying the British stake. BNFL can only strike a deal with the unanimous support of the other shareholders.
Telegraph 7th July 2006

There is still a strong suspicion in this country about the risks of nuclear energy but France has had a long, relatively leak-free love affair with nuclear for decades. As more of our nuclear assets come up for sale, infrastructure funds backed by UK pension money should be bidding for them rather than leaving the potentially rich, long-term pickings to overseas pension funds.
Telegraph 7th July 2006

Renewable Energy

Generation of green power in Britain rose 16% last year over 2004, according to annual data from the government energy department. Britain generated 16,919 GWh from renewables 2005, 2,748 GWh more than the year before, says the Department of Trade & Industry in ‘Energy Trends.’ Renewables provided 4.2% of total generation, up from 3.6% in 2004.
Re-focus News 6th July 2006

Renewable Energy Targets

Renewable energy will only meet 10% of the UK’s power needs by 2020, half the Government’s aim, according to a new report. The Carbon Trust said wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy was being failed by official policies. Targets were being missed and the cost of installing renewable energy sources was higher than necessary, according to the group. The trust called for a renewed push to promote renewable energy. It said it was still possible it could meet almost one-fifth of energy needs by 2020. Offshore wind in particular offered “significant potential” to help fill the gap caused by a reduction in coal and nuclear power.
Guardian website 6th July 2006

Renewable technologies should also be given more support, said the trust, which campaigned to cut carbon emissions. Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, said: “Renewable energy needs a better support framework in place to bring down costs. The report said that if the UK gave wave energy better support it could develop an export industry worth up to £4 billion a year by 2050.
Telegraph 6th July 2006

Offshore Wind

THE government yesterday paved the way for the eventual development of the world’s largest offshore wind farm, 20 miles off the Scottish coast. Malcolm Wicks, the energy minister, gave the green light to plans to build two giant wind turbines in the Beatrice Field in the Moray Firth in the first stage of an ambitious deepwater wind-farm project. The £24 million project, a joint venture between Talisman Energy and Scottish and Southern Energy, will use two of the largest turbines in the world to test the technical and economic feasibility of deepwater wind farms.
Scotsman 6th July 2006

Energy Efficiency

Householders could be forced to cut down on energy consumption if they want to keep their lights on under radical measures to be proposed in the government’s energy review.
Herald 6th July 2006

Confronting the environmental hurdles facing Wales is a mighty challenge, writes Sandra Esteves of the University of Glamorgan. But the opportunities and rewards for those at the forefront of finding solutions could be incredible
Western Mail 5th July 2006

Posted: 7 July 2006

6 July 2006

New nukes

When Tony Blair launched a review of energy needs last autumn, his support for nuclear power was never in doubt. The big question was how, after rejecting nuclear energy as uneconomic three years ago, the government could justify investment in a new generation of plants and make it a reality. In an interview yesterday with the Financial Times, Alistair Darling, trade and industry secretary, explained that soaring oil and gas prices and the need to tackle climate change had tilted the argument in nuclear power’s favour.
FT 6th July 2006

New powers to make it easier for government to drive through the building of the next generation of nuclear power stations and other contentious energy projects are to be made under plans to be outlined by Tony Blair, the prime minister, in the next week. The government’s energy review, due to be published next week, will include proposals to force local planning authorities to accept plants that are decreed to be essential. The measures, if carried through, knock years off the time taken to build new atomic power plants.
FT 6th July 2006

David Cameron will signal the end of the Tories’ long love affair with nuclear power today by telling Conservative councillors to put themselves at the forefront of “a new green energy revolution”. The Conservative leader will say: “The future of energy is not top-down, it’s not centralised – it’s bottom-up and decentralised.” His remarks will disappoint environmentalists who had hoped the Conservatives would completely oppose the construction of any new nuclear power stations. But Mr Cameron’s comments mean he has come out as more of a sceptic on nuclear power than Tony Blair, who admitted this week he has changed his mind and become convinced that the UK will still need nuclear energy after the present batch of ageing power stations have come to the end of their active life.
Independent 6th July 2006

The Conservatives look set to rule nuclear energy in but only as a last resort and without “special favours”.
BBC 6th July 2006
FT 6th July 2006

Letter from various people including Allan Jones of London Climate Change Agency and Prof Susan Roaf: all are involved in working towards the realisation of a sustainable energy system in the UK. The use of nuclear power is one of the options that the Government is proposing in order to address climate change and security of supply in the UK. However, we share a grave concern that in order to create the framework that will enable the building of new nuclear power stations, the Government is considering bringing in measures that could distort the energy market, or undermine the democratic process by taking decisions about the location of new power stations away from locally elected representatives. Any decisions about the role of nuclear power in the UK’s long-term energy strategy should only be taken on the basis of a national referendum.
Times 6th July 2006

Nuclear Waste

A wider adoption of nuclear energy will not succeed without greater effort to convince the public that radioactive waste will be safely disposed of, peers have warned. The House of Lords EU committee, publishing a report today on proposed EU legislation outlining timetables for waste disposal, argues that nuclear power cannot be justified without improving public perceptions of its environmental implications.
View London 6th July 2006

Trident

An accident involving Trident nuclear warheads being moved on Britain’s roads could lead to a partial nuclear blast, an internal Ministry of Defence report admits. The document, obtained by New Scientist magazine, says such an explosion could potentially deliver a lethal radiation dose to the surrounding area. The MoD describes the risk as significant enough for drawing up contingency plans to deal with such an event.
Guardian 6th July 2006

New Scientist story with links to MOD Documents
RobEdwards.com

AGRs

PLANS to extend the lifespan of Scotland’s nuclear stations were thrown into doubt yesterday, after it emerged that cracks had appeared in at least one reactor north of the Border. The government’s nuclear safety watchdog has warned that a radioactive leak could be “inevitable” if action was not taken after cracks emerged in up to six UK reactors, including the one at Hunterston B in Ayrshire. Opposition politicians said the cracks could scupper plans to extend the life of Hunterston B and other plants across the UK – a claim rejected by British Energy, the plant’s owner.
Scotsman 6th July 2006

Unexplained cracks in the reactor cores of Britain’s atomic power stations have been uncovered by nuclear inspectors, it was reported today. The safety assessments, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, show the Nuclear Safety Directorate (NSD) has issued warnings over the state of the reactor cores at Hinkley Point B in Somerset and other UK nuclear plants.
Somerset Standard 5th July 2006

The government’s nuclear inspectors have played down reports of “major cracks” in the reactor cores of some UK atomic power stations.
BBC 5th July 2006

With links to the documents obtained under FoI and comment by John Large
Greenpeace release 5th July 2006

The government’s nuclear watchdog has demanded that British Energy carry out more frequent checks on its nuclear power stations amid concerns over cracks in the reactors’ cores, it emerged yesterday.
Guardian 6th July 2006

India

Two key US congressional committees have given overwhelming support to the Bush administration’s nuclear accord with India. This means it is highly probable that by mid-August the US Congress will have made virtually all the requisite legal changes for the nuclear accord to come into force.
WSWS 6th July 2006

Iran

The international outcry over North Korea’s missile tests yesterday came as attempts continued to find a diplomatic solution to the dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme. The day began with news that Ali Larijani, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, had postponed a trip to Brussels. The move may make it more difficult to forge an international consensus should Tehran reject an offer to scale down its nuclear programme.
FT 6th July 2006

North Korea

CHINA and Russia moved yesterday to block attempts to impose UN sanctions on North Korea as the reclusive communist nation fired a seventh ballistic missile.
Times 6th July 2006

Posted: 6 July 2006

5 July 2006

New nukes

Jonathan Porritt says: The government’s determination to press ahead with nuclear power is seriously diverting attention from the hard decisions required to solve the UK’s energy challenges. Despite the prime minister’s attempt to position nuclear as a kind of “tough but necessary” solution, it may simply be an easy way out of these tough decisions – and one that will make only a small contribution to reducing emissions of CO2 and achieving greater energy security.
Guardian 5th July 2006

Britain is in a nuclear bind, environmentalists say, with the government keen to promote atomic energy but hard pressed to find funding after it said it will not use public money.
Scotsman 4th July 2006
Reuters 4th July 2006

Tony Blair admitted yesterday he had changed his mind about the benefits of nuclear power since the Government ruled out a new generation of nuclear stations three years ago. The Prime Minister denied he had pre-empted the findings of the Government’s energy review to be published this month – by signalling his personal support for an extension of nuclear power.
Independent 5th July 2006

TONY Blair yesterday admitted that he had already concluded Britain needs new nuclear power stations even before his government’s review of energy policy began.
Scotsman 5th July 2006
View London 4th July 2006
Guardian website 4th July 2006
BBC 4th July 2006
Transcript of Blair at HoC Liaison Cttee

Reacting to Tony Blair’s comments this morning in support of new nuclear power stations, Greenpeace executive director Stephen Tindale said: “Tony Blair wants his legacy to be new nuclear power stations, but his obsession threatens to scupper this country’s renewable energy industry. He wants to tie the country into a centralised energy generation system that relies on huge, inefficient, polluting power stations instead of pushing money towards clean cutting edge technologies.”
Greenpeace Press Release 4th July 2006

AGRs

Documents reveal hidden fears over Britain’s nuclear plants. Unexplained cracks in reactor cores increase likelihood of accident, say government inspectors. Government nuclear inspectors have raised serious questions over the safety of Britain’s ageing atomic power stations, some of which have developed major cracks in their reactor cores, documents reveal today. The safety assessments, obtained under Freedom of Information legislation, show the Nuclear Safety Directorate (NSD) has issued warnings over the deterioration of reactor cores at Hinkley Point B in Somerset and other British nuclear plants. The directorate also criticises British Energy, which operates 13 advanced gas-cooled nuclear reactors including Hinkley. According to the papers, the company does not know the extent of the damage to the reactor cores, cannot monitor their deterioration and does not fully understand why cracking has occurred. They reveal that in June last year, the NSD said it was faced with “significant regulatory issues … for all operating AGR reactors”. British Energy is keen to extend the life of its AGR reactors but the papers, obtained by Greenpeace via Stop Hinkley, a local nuclear watchdog group, suggest that unless British Energy improves safety checks, the plants might have to be closed.
Guardian 5th July 2006

Original New Scientist Article 26th March 2006
RobEdwards.com

No one knows when the cracks first started to appear, but as long ago as 2004, British Energy voiced concerns about fractures in the cores of its 14 reactors. The cracks were spotted in graphite bricks in the cores of all the company’s advanced gas-cooled reactors, or AGRs. Collectively, they provide the country with nearly one fifth of its electricity. But the extent of the potential damage, and the consequences that might flow from it, were uncertain. However, the latest report by the government’s Nuclear Safety Directorate (NSD), obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, makes clear that nuclear inspectors have raised repeated concerns about the dangers of continuing to operate Hinkley Point B nuclear power station in Somerset and other nuclear plants weakened by cracks. British Energy, they say, knows too little about the cracks to be confident they can operate without incident. According to the NSD report, British Energy does not fully understand why the bricks are cracking; how many are damaged; and the number of cracks that would make the reactor unsafe.
Guardian 5th July 2006

Safety scares at British nuclear sites could not come at a worse time for an industry which believes that the government is poised to give the green light to a new generation of atomic plants. The energy review – to be published as early as next week – will endorse a new era for an energy sector that was written off by critics as environmentally dirty, obsessively secretive, and financially suspect. But the twin fears of global warming and foreign energy dependency have convinced policymakers that the public is willing to give another chance to an atomic industry that has only just escaped its military heritage. What Tony Blair does not need at this moment are revelations that suggest conflict at the heart of the nuclear industry about the safety of the country’s ageing fleet of reactors.
Guardian 5th July 2006

Iran

The EU will pressure Iran at talks on Wednesday to reply fast to a major powers’ package of incentives designed to end a standoff over its nuclear programme but Tehran says it must have more time.
Reuters 4th July 2006

The West has no choice but to wait as Tehran plays for time and considers an offer of incentives from six major powers aimed at resolving its nuclear standoff, Western diplomats and analysts said.
Reuters 5th July 2006

India

London-based metals and mining group Vedanta Resources Plc has invited preliminary bids for setting up a 2,400 MW nuclear power plant in India, Business Standard reported.
Interactive Investor 5th July 2006

Yemen

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said Tuesday he would seek to produce nuclear energy for civilian use in the impoverished Arabian peninsula republic as he registered his candidacy for a new term.
Middle East Online 4th July 2006

Berkeley

Residents have been invited to join talks over the future of the Berkeley nuclear site. The next Site Stakeholder Group Meeting will be an open session, at the Berkeley Nuclear Sports and Social Club tomorrow.
Gloucester Citizen 4th July 2006

Posted: 5 July 2006

4 July 2006

BNFL

State-owned British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) saw pre-tax, post-exceptional annual profits for the year ending 30 March fall to £153m ($282m) from £206m. But it said the outlook for nuclear services and generation was much improved, as its three main operating businesses come under new ownership.
BBC 3rd July 2006

BRITISH Nuclear Fuels yesterday reported a rise in profits of 23% to £208m.
Western Mail 4th July 2006
Daily Telegraph 4th July 2006
Daily Express 4th July 2006
Manchester Evening News 3rd July 2006
Daily Mail 3rd July 2006

British Nuclear Group has seen its profits slump by more than 30% in the run-up to next year’s sale, knocking earlier industry hopes that it could achieve a price of £1bn down to something closer to £500m. The company also admitted yesterday it would not be reopening the Thorp fuel reprocessing plant this summer. The plant has been closed for more than a year after a fire that brought criticism from the Health and Safety Executive.
Guardian 4th July 2006

British Nuclear Fuels, the government-owned nuclear group, will cease to exist by the end of next year, Mike Parker, chief executive, said yesterday. Most of its businesses will have been sold off by then as part of the government’s policy of privatising its nuclear assets, he said
FT 4th July 2006
Times 4th July 2006

Wales

Lib-Dem Assembly leader Mike German, below, has restated his desire for Wales to be nuclear-free, and will today call on AMs to slash the cost and red tape of generating electricity at home. In a Private Member’s Bill he will argue that planning rules should be relaxed and tax breaks offered for people who put small wind turbines in their garden or solar panels on the roof. Mr German said, “We want Wales to be nuclear-free. Micro-generation is the way forward for Wales. Mr German proposed giving people a £100 discount on their council tax if they spend more than £1,000 on micro-generation. Councils could claw back some of the money through efficiency savings on tax collection, he said.
Western Mail 4th July 2006

Scotland

FIRST MINISTER Jack McConnell’s difficulty with nuclear power deepened yesterday when one of his backbenchers said that Labour will not veto a new nuclear power station. Mr McConnell has tried to walk a tightrope between the two camps in the knowledge that the SNP, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Greens will be campaigning on a nuclear-free platform in the run-up to May. Last week he painted a picture of Scotland leading the world in renewable energy, but would not confirm that he and Prime Minister Tony Blair have done a deal which would see no new nuclear plants built in Scotland. Yesterday however one of his backbenchers, Dumfries MSP Dr Elaine Murray, said the Labour Party has no general objection to such developments. She is backing plans for a nuclear plant to be built at the site of the old one at Chapelcross, near Annan, and points out that at its conference earlier this year Labour backed development of new nuclear plants. Dr Murray believes the First Minister is obliged to endorse this.
Dundee Courier 4th July 2006
ICScotland 3rd July 2006

Asia

China and India between them have 10 new nuclear reactors under construction and nine at the planning stage. Another 43 have been proposed.
Sunday Times 2nd July 2006

Submarines

Campaigners gathered at Plymouth railway station to call for the Trident nuclear deterrent to be scrapped. Members of the city’s Trident Ploughshares action group held up three huge banners at the station to highlight fears about the refitting of nuclear submarines at Devonport Dockyard.
Plymouth Evening Herald 3rd July 2006

New nukes

Gordon Brown will on Tuesday embark on a new drive to streamline Britain’s cumbersome planning rules, seeking to speed up the time planners take to allow companies to develop land. The chancellor will publish a diagnosis of the problem by Kate Barker, a leading economist, in an attempt to meet business concerns that the UK’s planning rules are failing to respond to international competition. Revised planning rules could have a big impact on proposals for a new suite of nuclear power stations – set to win approval in this month’s energy review.
FT 4th July 2006

Posted: 4 July 2006

3 July 2006

New nukes

Ruling out building a new generation of nuclear power stations in Britain would be “irresponsible”, Environment Secretary David Miliband said today.
24Dash.com 2nd July 2006
Ananova 2nd July 2006

The government has been dropping broad hints of its new enthusiasm for privately funded nuclear power plants. The latest one was implicit in last week’s announcement of unexpectedly tough caps on carbon dioxide emissions from 2008-12. The government is steadily restricting the supply of tradeable permits to emit carbon. This is the most cost-effective way of reaching any given emissions target because it means that those who can easily clean up their act will do so while those who are producing valuable products will instead buy permits.
FT 3rd July 2006

Scotland

Labour will promise not to block new nuclear power stations when it fights the Scottish election next May, one of the party’s MSPs has said. Dr Elaine Murray is campaigning for a new plant to be built on the site of the old one at Chapelcross, near Annan.
BBC 2nd July 2006

Russia

Russia is planning to expand the share of nuclear energy in its total energy consumption to up to 24 pct in the coming decade from the current 16 pct, Minister for Energy and Industry Viktor Khristenko said.
AFX 3rd July 2006

Iran

The government here again rejected Sunday a deadline to respond to an international offer aimed at resolving a nuclear standoff, saying it would answer during the next Iranian month, which begins July 23.
AFX 2nd July 2006

BNFL

British Nuclear Fuels, the government-owned nuclear group, will today confirm that it has swung back into profit, in what is likely to be one of its last statements before it is broken up. The group is expected to say that it generated revenues of almost £3.5bn and pre-tax profits of just over £200m. Westinghouse, the US-based nuclear reactor manufacturer, and Urenco, the uranium enrichment group, have been BNFL’s best performing businesses. Their healthy finances reflect a revival in interest in nuclear power round the world as governments focus on energy security and lowering carbon emissions.
FT 3rd July 2006

Plans by BNFL to sell its stake in Urenco are being blocked by German and Dutch partners.
Times 3rd July 2006

Posted: 3 July 2006

2 July 2006

New nukes

Britain could be spared a mass building programme of nuclear power stations under plans to force power companies to reduce energy use and help the public cut their fuel bills. Alistair Darling, the Trade and Industry Secretary, said tackling the ‘waste’ of power would ease pressure on resources and, while that would not be enough to avoid the need for nuclear power altogether, it would mean fewer reactors being built over the next three decades. Darling, who admitted he would be ‘hard pressed to find anybody’ who wanted a new power station near them, is said to have told colleagues privately that as few as two or three reactors might eventually be built compared with the 20 originally suggested in Downing Street leaks of his energy review. He told The Observer it was possible, although ‘unlikely’, that Britain would end up without a single new nuclear plant.
Observer 2nd July 2006

Scotland

The argument within the Labour Party over nuclear power will intensify this week when an MSP insists that Jack McConnell will have to back the building of new nuclear stations. In a radio interview, Dr Elaine Murray, the pro-nuclear Labour MSP for Dumfries, is going to say that Labour will promise not to block nuclear plants at the Scottish elections next year. She tells the First Minister he will have to toe the line.
Sunday Herald 2nd July 2006

Turkey

Mothers Against Nuclear Power have been campaigning for several weeks now, ever since the Turkish government announced that Sinop had been approved as a possible site for the country’s first ever nuclear power plant.
BBC 2nd July 2006

BNFL

THE government’s nuclear-services business, BNFL, will report record profits of £208m tomorrow, boosting its nuclear clean-up arm, British Nuclear Group (BNG), as it heads towards a £500m sale. All four divisions of BNFL are expected to report a rise in operating profits, with BNG posting earnings of about £72m in its first year as a stand-alone business unit. The upturn in BNFL’s fortunes, a 23% increase on the year before, will be attributed to chief executive Mike Parker, who has brought down costs and streamlined operations at BNFL’s headquarters.
Sunday Times 2nd July 2006
Sunday Telegraph 2nd July 2006

The Scouser at the helm of British Nuclear Fuels, Mike Parker, is working himself out of a job as he sells off the company’s assets one by one, racking up the profit in the process. But Martin Baker finds Sellafield remains a thorn in his side.
Sunday Telegraph 2nd July 2006

Plans by British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) to sell its £2bn stake in one of the largest uranium enrichment companies in the world are being blocked by its German and Dutch partners. The state-owned company can sell its 33 per cent stake in Urenco only with the unanimous agreement of all three shareholders. It is understood that Urenco’s German and Dutch shareholders, who are interested in buying the BNFL stake, will not allow BNFL to offload it for its market value.
Independent on Sunday 2nd July 2006

Nuclear Weapons

Letter from British American Security Information Centre: THE idea that possessing nuclear weapons is seen as a kind of ‘entry charge’ to a permanent seat on the UN Security Council has no basis in fact (‘Rocket Man’, June 25). It is almost the opposite, that provision of a permanent seat on the UN Security Council drove the countries concerned to develop nuclear weapons. The five permanent members were the “victors” from the Second World War. In 1946 when the five permanent members were defined, only one state possessed nuclear weapons.
Scotland on Sunday 2nd July 2006

Letter from CND: Nick Cohen completely misrepresents CND. (Comment, last week) CND campaigns to get rid of nuclear weapons everywhere and is against all forms of nuclear proliferation. We are as opposed to proliferation by Iran as we are to proliferation by any country, including our own.
Observer 2nd July 2006

Letters: Trident neither independent nor deterrent.
Sunday Telegraph 2nd July 2006

Posted: 2 July 2006

1 July 2006

New nukes

Article by Jonathan Porritt: Based on its overall conclusion that the UK just doesn’t need a replacement nuclear power programme to meet the government’s twin objectives of dealing with climate change and energy security, the Sustainable Development Commission has tried to open up a number of deeper issues in its report to ministers earlier in the year – along the lines of “what would an official green light for nuclear tell us about this government?” The first thing it would tell us is that the government is unpersuaded by its own rhetoric about the importance of climate change. Dealing with climate change is an immediate challenge – not a “long term problem”, as the prime minister keeps telling us – requiring a broad spectrum revolution in producing, distributing and using energy across the whole of society.
Guardian 30th June 2006

Peter Hain has broken rank with the Cabinet to express doubts about building new nuclear power stations.
BBC 30th June 2006
Ulster TV 1st July 2006
Financial Times 1st July 2006
Independent 1st July 2006
Daily Mirror 1st july 2006

Campaigners staged a demonstration in Falmouth at the weekend calling for action to limit nuclear power stations. The town’s branch of Friends of the Earth were asking people to sign a petition demanding Cornwall County Council become a member of the Nuclear Free Local Authorities network.
West Briton 29th June 2006

Nuclear Weapons

SAY no to nuclear weapons. That is the message to Gordon Brown from members of his own party in Leyton.
Local London 30th June 2006

THE UK could consider scaling back its strategic nuclear deterrent in the light of the reduced threat of a nuclear attack, MPs said today.
Edinburgh Evening News 30th June 2006

GORDON Brown was yesterday accused of stifling debate on whether Britain should replace its ageing nuclear weapons.
Mirror 1st July 2006

Sellafield

A MAJOR underwater engineering scheme to dismantle and remove three radioactive pipelines which run from Sellafield out into the Irish Sea has been completed. The Sealine Recovery Project is part of the clean-up of the UK’s nuclear legacy and has taken three years to complete at a cost of over £30m.
Carlisle News and Star 30th June 2006

Posted: 1 July 2006

30 June 2006

New nukes

The Sustainable Development Commission said the nuclear option “won’t get us anywhere near tackling the UK’s energy and climate change crisis”. Its chairman called for more efficient homes and less wasted power. “The government has been so busy trying to make the case for nuclear power it risks overlooking the much bigger challenges facing the UK today,” Jonathan Porritt said.
BBC 30th June 2006

Letters: Tony Juniper says: The trade and industry secretary, Alistair Darling, is misleading the public by suggesting that the lights could go out unless new nuclear power plants are built (Report, June 28). Earlier this year the Sustainable Development Commission concluded that “it is indeed possible to meet the UK’s energy needs without nuclear power” and “there is no justification for bringing forward a new nuclear power programme at present”.

Henry Oliver of CPRE says: Alistair Darling shouldn’t talk rubbish about the planning system. In targeting “the problems of drawn-out planning inquiries”, Darling is parroting a familiar mantra of No 10 and the Treasury, one driven by their well-known dislike of the accountable way we make decisions. There are few facts, however, to support this obsession with planning delays. Between 1984 and 2002 fewer than a dozen public inquiries into national-scale construction projects lasted more than three months.

PT Sherwoos says: Alistair Darling is in favour of nuclear power because he claims that “if you want to be frightened about anything you want to be frightened about the impact of climate change”. Is he, by any chance, the same Alistair Darling who, as minister for transport, was in favour of the unrestricted growth of air travel?
Guardian 30th June 2006

THE public will have to support new power projects, including rebuilding nuclear plants, or face a “serious risk” that lights will go out, Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling has warned.
Blackpool Today 29th June 2006

The consultation period for the Government’s much talked about Energy Review closed in April and the response is due in the next few weeks. The media coverage of the review and statements from Tony Blair on this matter so far have not provided much hope for increasing amounts of anti-nuclear activists around the country.
North Devon Journal 29th June 2006

Nuclear Weapons

Britain could scale back its nuclear arsenal now that the Cold War is over, MPs concluded on Friday in a report that will set the tone for months of debate over the fate of the country’s nuclear weapons.
Reuters 30th June 2006
Independent 30th June 2006

There needs to be a “genuine and meaningful” public debate on whether the UK should keep its nuclear weapons, the Commons defence committee has said.
BBC 30th June 2006

The government must explain the purpose of a British nuclear deterrent, something it has failed to do so far, a cross-party committee of MPs says in a hard-hitting report on the future of the Trident missile system published today.
Guardian 30th June 2006

The Ministry of Defence will today come under fire from a parliamentary watchdog for refusing to take part in an inquiry into the future of Britain’s nuclear deterrent.
Herald 30th June 2006

MPs URGED the Government yesterday to consider scrapping the policy of having a nuclear ballistic missile submarine on patrol 24 hours a day to maintain a continuous independent deterrent.
Times 30th June 2006

The determination of Britain’s political elite to maintain the country as a nuclear-weapons state is rooted in a half-century of military planning to which the possibility of tactical and first use of nuclear weapons is central.
Open Democracy 29th June 2006

Comment from Kate Hudson: Parliament must decide.
Guardian 30th June 2006

Britain considered nuclear strikes on China in 1961 to defend Hong Kong, secret government documents have confirmed.
Ananova 30th June 2006
Scotsman 30th June 2006
Independent 30th June 2006
BBC 30th June 2006

Russia

Russia yesterday unveiled details of a plan to reorganize the country’s nuclear power plants, agencies, institutes and departments into a single state company modeled on the gas and oil giant, Gazprom, the New York Times reported.
AFX 29th June 2006

Iran

Iran insists it needs until August to assess an international offer of incentives to get it to halt its controversial nuclear programme.
BBC 30th June 2006
Times 30th June 2006

Emergency Planning

PEOPLE living in a small north Cumbrian village are now ready to cope with any disaster – natural or man-made. Crosby-on-Eden, which was badly hit by last year’s floods, now has an emergency plan, thought to be the first of its type in Cumbria. The plan contains advice on preparing for and dealing with scenarios including radiation leaks, plane crashes and flooding.
Cumberland News 30th June 2006

France

Anne Lauvergeon yesterday won her battle to stay on as chief executive at Areva and at the same time put paid to back-door attempts to force a break-up of the French state-owned nuclear group ahead of a merger with turbine manufacturer Alstom.
FT 30th June 2006

Posted: 30 June 2006

29 June 2006

New nukes

PLANNING laws and energy market rules will be changed to help the nuclear industry build new plants, the government signalled yesterday. Alistair Darling, the Trade and Industry Secretary, also began preparing public opinion for a new wave of nuclear power stations, warning that, without them, Britain could be at risk of power shortages or blackouts.
Scotsman 29th June 2006
Edinburgh Evening News 28th June 2006
ePolitix 28th June 2006

The government has its heart set on going nuclear, but making it happen is another matter. Professor Jim Skea of the UK Energy Research Centre puts the chances of our seeing new reactors at 50/50 – but mainly because of the practical, rather than the political, issues: “There is a lot of work that still needs to be done.” Top of the agenda is money: how to finance the new build and how this will affect energy prices overall. Other issues include safety and the attitude of regulators; whether ways can be found round the challenges and delaying tactics of protesters; and, of course, site location.
Guardian 28th June 2006

E.ON AG’s Energie unit plans to build nuclear plants outside Germany, the unit’s head Johannes Teyssen said at a press conference in Munich.
Interactive Investor 28th June 2006

HSE has published its report in response to a request from Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks for an expert report to the Government’s energy review, 2006. The report covers health and safety issues associated with a range of energy developments, and looks at the potential role of pre-licensing assessments of nuclear reactor designs should the Government decide to look further into new nuclear electricity generation.
HSE 28th June 2006

Nuclear Weapons

Chancellor Gordon Brown has defended his decision to back the renewal of Britain’s nuclear weapons system.
Guardian website 28th June 2006
Sky News 28th June 2006

Israel

Iran’s foreign minister used a speech to a U.N. conference on the illegal trade in small arms on Wednesday to take a slap at Israel and the threat he said was posed by its presumed nuclear arsenal.
Reuters 28th June 2006

Nuclear testing

Already victims of one nuclear experiment, the people of Bikini Atoll are understandably reluctant to get involved in another. The islanders are sceptical of the latest plans to reduce the dangers of a homeland beset with radioactive contamination.
New Scientist 1st July 2006
RobEdwards.com

Sellafield

Pipelines laid more than 50 years ago to carry treated nuclear waste from the Sellafield plant in Cumbria into the Irish Sea have been removed.
BBC 28th June 2006

CONCERNS over the impact of nuclear decommissioning at Sellafield and its impacts on South Lakeland were raised by district councillors.
Westmorland Gazette 28th June 2006

Iran

Iran should be allowed to enrich uranium for power generation provided there is close monitoring by U.N. inspectors to ensure that it is not trying to develop atomic weapons, Germany’s defence minister said.
Reuters 28th June 2006

Posted: 29 June 2006