News

9 April 2008

New Nukes

A Lancashire nuclear fuel firm could be frozen out of Britain’s nuclear renaissance by a pact between Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy. Fylde MP Michael Jack fears the ‘pact’ sealed during the French supremo’s visit to London last week could see the design and production of fuel handed to firms across the English Channel, which would be a massive blow to Springfields Fuels, which employs 1,500 people at its factory in Salwick, near Preston.

Lancashire Evening Post 8th April 2008 more >>

British Energy

Shares in British Energy continued to climb yesterday as speculation mounted that France’s EDF and Germany’s RWE had approached Scottish Gas owner Centrica about a possible joint bid for the nuclear power operator. Livingston-based British Energy, which operates eight nuclear power stations, has seen its share price jump 30% during the past month amid hopes of a takeover approach.

Herald 8th April 2008 more >>

BRITISH Energy is on orange alert as far as a takeover bid is concerned. If, as expected, the Scottish nuclear generator is snapped up by a foreign bidder.

Scotsman 9th April 2008 more >>

Manchester Evening News 8th April 2008 more >>

The Government fired a warning shot to potential bidders for British Energy yesterday by saying it will not tolerate the emergence of a single monopoly player in Britain’s drive to build a new generation of nuclear reactors.

Times 9th April 2008 more >>

Iran

Iran tested a new machine with greater capacity on Tuesday as part of its nuclear programme, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said. He did not specify the equipment but diplomats in Vienna last week said Iran was installing advanced enrichment centrifuges, accelerating activity that could give Tehran the means to make atom bombs in the future if it chose to.

Christian Today 9th April 2008 more >>

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran is increasing his country’s nuclear potential by installing 6,000 additional centrifuges at its main uranium enrichment plant, in open defiance of the UN Security Council.

Independent 9th April 2008 more >>

Telegraph 9th April 2008 more >>

Times 8th April 2008 more >>

Guardian website 8th April 2008 more >>

FT 9th April 2008 more >>

A former nuclear negotiator has been given a two-year suspended sentence for damaging national security, according to reports from Iran. Hossein Mousavian was arrested in May last year and briefly detained in jail until he was released on bail.

BBC 8th April 2008 more >>

Pakistan

The Pakistani Government has imposed media restrictions on the detained nuclear scientist Dr AQ Khan.

Mathaba 9th April 2009 more >>

Residents were evacuated after a gas leak from a nuclear plant in eastern Punjab. A cylinder of hydrogen phosphate gas is reported to have exploded.

Mathaba 9th April 2008 more >>

A gas leak in Pakistan has killed two people at a heavy water plant run by the country’s atomic energy agency in Punjab province, officials say. They say that the leak at the Khushab heavy water plant happened when it was closed for annual maintenance.

BBC 8th April 2008 more >>

Times 9th April 2008 more >>

US

Westinghouse Electric Co. and the Shaw Group Inc. have signed a contract to provide Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power with two nuclear power plants, the companies said late Tuesday. The two AP1000 units will have an electric generating capacity of around 1,100 megawatts and would be constructed at the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant site near Augusta, Ga.

AFX 8th April 2008 more >>

North Korea

Talks with North Korea’s top nuclear envoy on Tuesday made progress towards resuming stalled negotiations over the North’s nuclear programme, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said.

Reuters 8th April 2008 more >>

Decommissioning

UK specialist decommissioning, decontamination and demolition contractor EDS has appointed Steve Worrall to the position of nuclear decommissionin manager. He joins the company from British Nuclear Group, where he latterly was Head of Decommissioning for Chapelcross Powerstation in Dumfries, Scotland.

KHL Group 8th April 2008 more >>

Fuel Poverty

Friends of the Earth and Help the Aged are taking the government to court today for failing to meet its own legal obligation to eradicate fuel poverty. The two charities will be filing a judicial review at the high court this morning, and have called on the government to set out how it will meet its target to eliminate the growing problem, which blights about 4.5m homes. Two weeks ago the government’s advisers, the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group (FPAG), said more than 2.3m of the most vulnerable households in England are forced to spend at least 10% of their income on heating and lighting. Peter Lehmann, the outgoing chairman of FPAG, warned then that the government would miss its target to eradicate fuel poverty for the most vulnerable households by 2010, and for all households by 2016.

Guardian 9th April 2008 more >>

Posted: 9 April 2008

8 April 2008

British Energy

The prospect of a British company emerging as a key player in the future of British Energy has strengthened after it emerged that the nuclear generator’s leading suitor, France’s state-owned EDF, has held talks with Centrica.

Guardian 7th April 2008 more >>

FT 8th April 2008 more >>

City AM 7th April 2008 more >>

It is no wonder that EDF, RWE and other foreign power companies interested in bidding for British Energy are so keen to partner with Centrica. British Energy operates virtually all the UK’s remaining civil nuclear power stations, and because in practice any new ones will have to be built on the site of, or immediately adjacent to, the old ones, it also in effect controls the future of nuclear power in this country.

Independent 8th April 2008 more >>

Can it really be true that Centrica is the kingmaker to the British nuclear power industry? It’s starting to look that way. RWE of Germany and EDF of France are banging on Centrica’s door to suggest joint bids for British Energy, whose sites will almost certainly house the next generation of nuclear plants in the UK.

Guardian 8th April 2008 more >>

British Energy shares jumped again yesterday, thanks to fresh takeover speculation surrounding Britain’s nuclear operator. The company’s shares rose sharply after weekend reports that European utilities EDF and RWE had approached British Gas owner Centrica about a possible joint bid for British Energy.

Guardian 8th April 2008 more >>

New Nukes

Federally owned Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. is no longer pursuing the sale of its next-generation nuclear reactor in the United Kingdom, announcing yesterday it will focus its energy on capturing business at home. Some industry critics said AECL, which says it has spent “less than $10 million” trying to snag a purchase from the U.K., is trying to soften the blow of a certain loss and how it might be perceived as it bids for contracts in Canada.

Toronto Star 5th April 2008 more >>

Platts 4th April 2008 more >>

Greenpeace Canada’s response 4th April 2008 more >>

Reuters 7th April 2008 more >>

MPs today cast a cloud over the Government’s headlong rush into the building of new nuclear power stations, warning that ministers have little idea of what the true clean-up bill is and how it is going to be paid.

Croydon Advertiser 7th April 2008 more >>

NDA

Funding for the NDA will almost certainly have to increase.

North West Evening Mail 7th April 2008 more >>

The money spent on decommissiong nuclear power stations needs to be managed much better – and there needs to be more of it. There also needs to be better communications between the government and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), according to the Commons business and enterprise committee which has looked into how the NDA is funded (40 per cent of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform’s budget goes to the NDA).

Public Servant Daily 7th April 2008 more >>

Yorkshire Post 7th April 2008 more >>

Germany

German environment minister Sigmar Gabriel has rejected calls from RWE AG. to prolong the operating life of its Biblis A nuclear reactor, which is due to be brought offline this year.

Interactive Investor 7th April 2008 more >>

Turkey

French groups Suez and Vinci are two companies bidding to be in the running to construct the first nuclear power plant in Turkey.

AFX 8th April 2008 more >>

Potential bidders including France’s Vinci SA, the world’s biggest construction company, Belgium’s Suez-Tractabel SA and Canada’s AECL have sought the specifications, an Energy Ministry official said on condition of anonymity. The fourth company to express interest is Japanese, the official said.

Bloomberg 7th April 2008 more >>

North Korea

Top officials from the US and North Korea are meeting in Singapore in a bid to break deadlock on the stalled nuclear disarmament deal.

BBC 8th April 2008 more >>

Efforts to resolve the North Korean nuclear disarmament impasse are running out of time.

AFX 8th April 2008 more >>

Nuclear War

Apart from the human devastation, a small-scale nuclear war between India and Pakistan would destroy much of the ozone layer, leaving the DNA of humans and other organisms at risk of damage from the Sun’s rays, say researchers.

New Scientist 7th April 2008 more >>

Renewables

The North East is set to become key to Britain’s hopes of boosting its production of renewable energy after E.On submitted plans to build one of the largest ever wind farms in the country and the Government gave the go-ahead to a pilot tidal project in the Humber estuary. But E.On’s plans must first overcome objections from the Ministry of Defence who fear that the 83 turbines to be situated five miles off the coast of East Yorkshire will interfere with radar defences.

Telegraph 8th April 2008 more >>

Posted: 8 April 2008

7 April 2008

British Energy

It is only a matter of time. Since the government gave the go-ahead for new nuclear power plants, a takeover of British Energy has become all but inevitable. The nuclear power generator owns the sites on which future plants are likely to be built. It is a tasty target for EDF and other big continental European suppliers who want a slice of the UK’s nuclear revival. Placing the nuclear industry in the hands of a sole foreign owner might seem unpalatable. Yet a foreign buyer, particularly a French one, could be in the UK’s interest.

FT 7th April 2008 more >>

British Gas owner Centrica has emerged as kingmaker in the £10bn takeover struggle for nuclear power group British Energy.

Daily Mail 7th April 2008 more >>

Shares in British Energy jumped almost 5pc this morning after the Sunday Telegraph reported that Centrica has begun secret talks with EDF, the giant French utility, aimed at securing a £10bn bid for the British nuclear company.

Telegraph 7th April 2008 more >>

Utility group Centrica all but conceded hopes of keeping nuclear power generator British Energy in UK hands over the weekend when details emerged of the firm’s preliminary discussions with foreign companies about taking a minority role in any takeover deal.

Independent 7th April 2008 more >>

Mirror 7th April 2008 more >>

NDA

Funding for the authority in charge of nuclear decommissioning will almost certainly have to increase “significantly” over the coming years, despite a request for an extra £400 million, a committee of MPs has said. The Business and Enterprise Committee called into question the sustainability of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) financing model, warning of difficulties because of the “volatility and uncertainty” of the group’s commercial income.

Channel 4 News 7th April 2008 more >>

Guardian 7th April 2008 more >>

Scotsman 7th April 2008 more >>

Times 7th April 2008 more >>

ePolitix 6th April 2008 more >>

Ministers on Sunday pledged to review how the £73bn liability for cleaning up the UK’s nuclear waste stockpile will be funded, after MPs warned the existing arrangements were “unsustainable” and in need of urgent change. The annual burden of about £1.5bn on the taxpayer for dealing with waste will “almost certainly have to increase significantly in the coming years, over and above current plans”, said the Commons business committee in its report.

FT 7th April 2008 more >>

North Korea

Top U.S. and North Korean nuclear envoys meet in Singapore on Tuesday to seek a deal in which the secretive North delivers an overdue declaration on its nuclear programmes against a backdrop of stepped-up sabre rattling.

Christian Today 7th April 2008 more >>

Reuters 7th April 2008 more >>

Factbox.

Reuters 7th April 2008 more >>

Italy

Italy could build a nuclear power plant in just seven years if the country uses a site already destined for such purposes in the past, said Fulvio Conti, CEO of the electricity generator Enel SpA, in an interview with Saturday’s La Repubblica.

AFX 6th April 2008 more >>

Submarines

THE Royal Navy’s nuclear-powered attack submarine, HMS Torbay, is returning to the fleet after a year-long £8m refit at HM Naval Base Clyde, Faslane, and is now the most powerful boat in the fleet.

Portsmouth Today 5th April 2008 more >>

Renewables

A report from the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering concluded that wind power still costs two to three times more than nuclear energy, even after decommissioning. The dispute centres on the back-up needs when the wind is not blowing. E.On has done its own sums, based on the yield from its 1,100 MW network of wind parks across Europe and the US. It believes wind will reach durable “grid parity” with other fuels in just over a decade, if not before. The group is taking the plunge, spending €6bn in three years to stake out its share of the renewable frontier. It lags Spain’s Iberdrola, but aims to raise its wind power tenfold by 2015.

Telegraph 7th April 2008 more >>

EON is set for a showdown with the Ministry of Defence after it submitted a planning application for a £700m offshore wind farm despite objections from the ministry. The energy company’s move to push ahead with the Humber Gateway wind farm, which would be one of the largest in the UK, is the first new project to have been proposed since John Hutton, the Secretary of State for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) revealed a plan to install 33 gigawatts of wind energy by 2020.

Independent 7th April 2008 more >>

Companies

When Pierre Gadonneix arrived as head of EDF in 2004, the idea that France’s energy major could consider international expansion was almost risible. At the time, the state-owned electricity monopoly was in danger of drowning under the weight of €24bn ($37.7bn) debt, and other potential liabilities of €22bn, built up during a costly global expansion spree.

FT 7th April 2008 more >>

Posted: 7 April 2008

6 April 2008

British Energy

THE odds on nuclear provider British Energy falling under French or German control have shortened considerably but it has thus far failed to exercise Scottish opinion. While First Minister Alex Salmond is opposed to ScottishPower being switched from Spanish to French ownership should Electricité de France acquire its owner Iberdrola, there has not been a word on the prospect of EDF acquiring Livingston-based British Energy.

Scotland on Sunday 6th April 2008 more >>

Centrica has begun secret talks with EDF, the giant French utility, aimed at securing a £10bn “British-led solution” to the future of the country’s nuclear power generator, British Energy. Centrica, which owns British Gas, is in talks with EDF about structuring a deal that would involve buying the Government’s 35 per cent stake in British Energy as well as the company’s listed majority stake. The Government was notified yesterday of the dialogue between Centrica and EDF.

Sunday Telegraph 6th April 2008 more >>

Centrica, analysts say, will be unable to compete in a show of financial muscle against the likes of RWE, EDF and E.ON, the German company which is another of Britain’s main power suppliers. To overcome its strategic weakness, the British company could try to make a joint bid for British Energy. It has held talks with EDF and could also team up with infrastructure funds. Without a transformational merger deal, Centrica has two big problems. It is heavily exposed to fluctuations in the price of gas. Last week Centrica Energy managing director Jake Ulrich warned this situation is deteriorating because the company’s European rivals are pushing up the price of gas in Britain by buying up surpluses in summer then refusing to sell it back in winter. Secondly, Centrica is a minnow in comparison with Europe’s energy mega-players. While the Government has allowed foreign investors such as RWE and E.ON to snap up British electricity companies such as Powergen and npower, Centrica has been blocked by the competition regime from expanding domestically and by protectionism of other European governments from expanding abroad.

Sunday Telegraph 6th April 2008 more >>

FOREIGN utility groups have approached Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, about a possible £10 billion-plus joint bid for British Energy. A clutch of continental power companies – led by France’s EDF and Germany’s RWE, and including Suez and Iberdrola – are vying to take control of BE, which operates all Britain’s nuclear power stations.

Sunday Times 6th April 2008 more >>

Observer 6th April 2008 more >>

The growing sense that a “British solution” is required to resolve the fate of British Energy – the company responsible for our prospective nuclear newbuild programme – is significant.

Sunday Telegraph 6th April 2008 more >>

Nuclear Waste

Letter: The Government is hung up on its promise to build no more power stations until a so-called solution is found to the problem of disposing of radioactive waste (Christopher Booker & Comment, March 30). No one seems to realise that a solution is at least 50 years away, and it will remain so whether or not nuclear power stations are built.

Sunday Telegraph 6th April 2008 more >>

Trident

The Scottish government working group aiming to get rid of Trident nuclear weapons is due to hold its first meeting in Edinburgh this week. The 13-strong group, chaired by the minister for parliamentary business, Bruce Crawford, was set up last month to help further the Scottish National Party’s policy to make Scotland nuclear-free.

Sunday Herald 6th April 2008

robedwards.com, 6 April 2006 more >>

Iran

Iran said yesterday that it would press ahead with plans to expand its nuclear programme, after diplomats in Vienna said Tehran was installing advanced centrifuges at its key uranium enrichment plant.

Scotland on Sunday 6th April 2008 more >>

Tidal Power

The community-owned Islay Energy Trust aims to develop commercial renewable energy projects that will benefit the community. Last Wednesday, IET’s members gave their overwhelming support to the board’s proposal to lead the development of Scotland’s first commercial-sized tidal energy project in collaboration with Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University.

Sunday Herald 6th April 2008 more >>

Observer 6th April 2008 more >>

Microgeneration

Ministers are strangling the very industry they will need to help them meet ambitious targets for renewable energy and build new ecotowns across the country, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. The number of households installing solar panels and other clean energy systems has slumped by up to three-quarters in England and Wales because grants to make them more affordable have been slashed and rationed. Last week the energy minister Malcolm Wicks rejected widespread pleas to increase them, leading the industry to warn that it was being driven to the wall. Last night the former environment minister Michael Meacher called its approach “unspeakable” and said that it was “unremittingly hostile to renewable energy”. He said the department was wedded to the nuclear industry and other big traditional suppliers of energy and was “going to wipe out the alternatives, while the rest of Europe was going in the other direction”. The industry is braced for another serious setback if Boris Johnson replaces Ken Livingstone next month, since the London Mayor’s plans to install renewables in the capital has been one of the few things keeping it going.

Independent on Sunday 6th April 2008 more >>

Posted: 6 April 2008

5 April 2008

British Energy

Senior executives from Britain’s power industry have begun lobbying Government ministers to ensure that at least one UK company is involved in some capacity in the takeover of British Energy. The nuclear company announced earlier this year that it would consider takeover approaches and is now understood to be holding talks with an array of suitors, including EDF of France, E.ON and RWE of Germany, and Iberdrola of Spain. Centrica is also in discussions with the company, but given the British company’s total lack of expertise in the nuclear industry, it is understood to be more interested in a partnership or acting as an equity investor alongside another buyer. The greatest concern surrounds EDF, the world’s largest nuclear power company that is also more than 80 per cent owned by the French state. It is understood that the company’s board gave the green light this week to the chief executive Pierre Gadonneix to make a bid for British Energy that could value the group at up to £9bn.

Independent 5th April 2008 more >>

Guardian 5th April 2008 more >>

A struggle for control of British Energy loomed Friday after it emerged that the nuclear generator was still in discussions with five European energy companies about a possible bid or other form of collaboration. The companies in the talks are EDF, the French state-controlled energy group; RWE and Eon of Germany; Spain’s Iberdrola; and Centrica of the UK.

FT 4th April 2008 more >>

Reuters 4th April 2008 more >>

Electricity prices could soar if EDF, the French electricity group, is allowed to take over British Energy, the UK’s main nuclear generator, in a £9 billion deal. Shares in British Energy leapt more than 7 per cent yesterday to 711p on hopes of an EDF bid. EDF’s board has given the green light to bid for all of the UK company, which recently said that it was in talks with several suitors.

Times 5th April 2008 more >>

The Tories yesterday gave their provisional support to a takeover of British Energy by EDF, clearing the political decks for Britain’s biggest power generator to switch to foreign ownership. Ministers face few Westminster hurdles to the potential sale of the nuclear power company, including the state’s 35 per cent stake, to a continental European energy company. “I don’t think [such a sale] is politically difficult now, though . . . there is a view that ‘let’s not let Johnny Foreigner get his hands on our British reactors’,” Lord O’Neill, the Labour peer and chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association, told the FT.

FT 5th April 2008 more >>

New nukes

Countryside commentator John Sheard, a reluctant convert to nuclear power, asks if green pressure and political correctness will destroy some of the finest landscapes in England

Daelnet 4th April 2008 more >>

Terror

Attacks on nuclear power stations, oil and gas terminals, Canary Wharf and Heathrow’s control tower were being considered by leaders of the plot to blow up seven transatlantic airliners in mid-flight, a court was told yesterday.

Times 5th April 2008 more >>

Telegraph 5th April 2008 more >>

Nuclear Skills

A £275m laboratory that could catapult Cumbria to the heart of the global nuclear industry has opened. The centre, based at Sellafield and run by Nexia Solutions, is set to provide the skills to underpin atomic energy production in Britain and the world. The National Nuclear Laboratory will provide training, research and development for the nuclear network.

PA 4th April 2008 more >>

North West Evening Mail 4th April 2008 more >>

BRITAIN no longer has the manufacturing capability or skills to handle the technology at the heart of the next generation of nuclear reactors – but Teesside firms are well-placed to cash in on 80% of the remaining work generated by any future programme. More immediately, they should be pitching for a share in the £2bn being spent each year on plant decommissioning, said Colin Walters, business development manager for nuclear energy with technology advisors TWI, which has a base in Middlesbrough.

Newcastle Evening Gazette 4th April 2008 more >>

Sellafield

Workers at three nuclear power sites in the North West, including Sellafield, could be balloted for their first industrial action in 19 years in a row over pay, union leaders have warned.

PA 4th April 2008 more >>

BBC 4th April 2008 more >>

Whitehaven News 4th April 2008 more >>

A LEGAL row has blown up between Sellafield Ltd and the UK’s engineering industry training organisation. The nuclear company is declining to pay a levy or tax for every one of its 10,000 employees. David Edwards, chief executive of the ECITB, said: “I can confirm that Sellafield Ltd (formerly BNG Sellafield Ltd) has lodged an appeal with the Industrial Tribunal against the training levy.

Whitehaven News 2nd April 2008 more >>

A CORRIDOR in the Sellafield nuclear waste sea disposal facility became contaminated after a leak. On Wednesday, March 19, liquid deriving from Sellafield’s sea discharge plant overflowed from holding tanks into a concrete room designed to contain and deal with overflow incidents. A small amount of liquid was also discovered in an adjacent concrete corridor.

Whitehaven News 2nd April 2008 more >>

Companies

SPECIALIST engineer Redhall Group is to expand into Europe after signing a deal with French nuclear services group Onet Technologies. Wakefield-based Redhall has reached an agreement with Onet, the leading French nuclear waste decommissioning company, to provide nuclear services to both British and European companies.

Yorkshire Post 4th April 2008 more >>

North Korea

US nuclear negotiator Christopher Hill will hold talks in Singapore next week with his North Korean counterpart in a bid to end the hardline communist state’s nuclear weapons drive, the State Department said Friday.

AFX 4th April 2008 more >>

Posted: 5 April 2008

4 April 2008

British Energy

The UK government is planning to divest its stake in British Energy. Consequently, a number of UK and European energy players have expressed an interest in buying the utility, as its assets can be used for future nuclear build. Although the acquisition may result in market consolidation, the real result would be increased electricity generation capacity and a greater security of supply in the UK.

Datamonitor 3rd April 2008 more >>

Shares in British Energy climbed more than 6 per cent on Friday morning in expectation of a bid for the nuclear generator from EDF, the French electricity giant which is Europe’s biggest energy company. EDF’s chief executive Pierre Gadonneix is understood to have been given formal board approval to make a 100 per cent offer for the British company, which admitted last month that it was in takeover talks with a number of suitors.

Times website 4th April 2008 more >>

New Nukes

Centrica Plc. has expressed an interest in using land owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to develop new nuclear power stations in the United Kingdom. Thursday is the closing day of a month-long process launched by the NDA to gauge interest from parties wishing to use its sites across the United Kingdom, as part of the government’s push to build more nuclear power. An industry source said Centrica has expressed interest in the NDA sites. The UK energy provider, which currently has no nuclear assets, joins nuclear provider British Energy Group Plc. in expressing interest in the NDA’s sites. British Energy told Thomson Financial News that it is interested in NDA sites, particularly those adjacent to British Energy’s existing plants at Hunterston, Hinkley Point, Dungeness, Sizewell and Bradwell.

Interactive Investor 3rd April 2008 more >>

Centrica, EDF and Areva have all expressed an interest.

Independent 4th April (not on web)

Scotland

John Hutton, Westminster’s Business Secretary, yesterday dismissed as “inaccurate and ridiculous” claims he intended to grab planning powers from the Scottish Government so nuclear power stations could be built in Scotland. Mike Weir, the SNP’s energy spokesman at the Commons, raised the issue during questions to the Secretary of State. The MP for Angus asked Mr Hutton: “Whatever his plans for a new generation of Anglo-French nuclear plants, the minister will be aware that there is a majority in the Scottish Parliament, including many of his own party, who are thoroughly opposed to new nuclear plants. Will the minister take this opportunity to deny weekend reports he is seeking to remove the Scottish Parliament’s planning powers in respect to nuclear stations?”

Herald 4th April 2008 more >>

Iran

Iran has moved its nuclear programme forward by installing new, more powerful centrifuges to enrich uranium, it was reported yesterday. Iran has installed as many as 300 second-generation centrifuges at its nuclear site in Natanz, according to diplomats cited by news agencies in Vienna, the home of the United Nations nuclear watchdog.

FT 4th April 2008 more >>

Reuters 3rd April 2008 more >>

Finland

Electricity generator Fortum has submitted an environmental impact assessment report to Finland’s Ministry of Employment and the Economy, for a 1,000MW to 1,800MW nuclear power plant unit, Loviisa-3, to be built on the Hastholmen Island in Loviisa, Finland.

Energy Business Review 3rd April 2008 more >>

Star Wars

NATO leaders endorsed a controversial US missile shield for Europe yesterday, and US and Czech officials agreed on deployment of the first element – an advanced radar, despite strong Russian opposition.

Scotsman 4th April 2008 more >>

UAE

The United Arab Emirates says that it will develop peaceful nuclear power capability in a move that will make it the first state in the Gulf to build nuclear power plants. Local reports indicate that the UAE Cabinet has approved a policy on nuclear energy that would see the country establish a Nuclear Energy Implementation Organisation (NEIO). It has made it clear that its programme will not involve uranium enrichment.

Modern Power Systems 3rd April 2008 more >>

Companies

Redhall Group plc, a specialist engineering support services group, has formed an agreement with ONET Technologies (ONET) a French nuclear services group, to provide integrated nuclear services to the UK and wider European market.

New Civil Engineer 3rd April 2008 more >>

Reprocessing

The International Nuclear Recycling Alliance (INRA), led by Areva and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, has agreed an extension to a contract with the US Department of Energy to evaluate closing the commercial nuclear fuel cycle in the US, Areva said. The French group said the contract extension is worth $5.7 million to INRA. The initial contract was awarded last October as part of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, which seeks to close the nuclear fuel cycle by recycling used fuel in ways that both minimize proliferation risks and reduce the volume and toxicity of final waste residues.

Interactive Investor 3rd April 2008 more >>

Posted: 4 April 2008

3 April 2008

Sellafield

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority on Wednesday will appeal to industry for help in dealing with the UK’s 100-tonne stockpile of plutonium, and in deciding whether to treat it as waste or reuse it as fuel for nuclear reactors. One option being considered is for the highly radioactive plutonium to be used to make fuel for a new nuclear reactor at Sellafield, where the plutonium is currently stored. But the question of whether the plutonium should be used or disposed of could reopen the debate on nuclear reprocessing and whether spent fuel from the next generation of nuclear reactors should be reused.

FT 2nd April 2008 more >>

Unions representing 12,000 nuclear workers are to reject a pay offer, raising the prospect of industrial action just as the Government privatises the running of Britain’s fuel reprocessing centre. The Times has learnt that three unions will throw out a 2 per cent pay offer and begin to ask members about support for a strike next week in a dispute that centres on Sellafield, the reprocessing site in Cumbria; Sellafield’s technical facility at Risley, near Warrington; and Capenhurst, the former uranium enrichment plant in Cheshire that is being decommissioned.

Times 3rd April 2008 more >>

Drigg

A US-led consortium – UK Nuclear Waste Management Ltd. – has taken over at the low level waste dump.

North West Evening Mail 2nd April 2008 more >>

Companies

Areva said it has acquired RM Consultants Ltd (RMC), a UK-based company which specialises in nuclear safety assessment.

Forbes 3rd April 2008 more >>

Iran

CHINA, which has opposed harsh United Nations sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme, has provided the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with intelligence linked to Tehran’s alleged attempts to make nuclear arms, it was revealed yesterday. The move would appear to reflect growing international unease about how honest Iran has been in denying it ever tried to make such arms.

Scotsman 3rd April 2008 more >>

Telegraph 3rd April 2008 more >>

Saudi Arabia most likely would develop nuclear weapons if Iran acquires them, according to a report to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. High-level American diplomats in Riyadh with excellent access to Saudi decision-makers said an Iranian nuclear weapon frightens the Saudis “to their core” and would compel the Saudis to seek nuclear weapons, the report said. The American diplomats were not identified.

AP 3rd April 2008 more >>

IHT 2nd April 2008 more >>

US

The Shaw Group and Westinghouse Electric Company have entered into an agreement with South Carolina Electric & Gas Company (SCE&G) to take the next step toward delivering new nuclear power units.

The Engineer 2nd April 2008 more >>

Czech Republic

Czech President Vaclav Klaus reiterated support for the further use of nuclear energy in the Czech Republic after a meeting with the industry minister Wednesday, news agency CTK reported. The current government, which includes the Green Party and should govern until 2010, said in its coalition agreement last year that it had no plans to build further nuclear capacity.

Money AM 2nd April 2008 more >>

Coal

Britain’s leading scientists have told ministers that plans for a new generation of coal power stations pose an unacceptable climate risk, unless greater efforts are made to trap and store the carbon pollution they produce. In a letter to John Hutton, business and enterprise secretary, the Royal Society said new coal-fired power stations that fail to capture 90% of their carbon emissions by 2020 should be closed down. The move came as Hutton considers whether to approve Britain’s first coal power station for 20 years, at Kingsnorth in Kent.

Guardian 3rd April 2008 more >>

There are only two things that will determine whether the world can step back from climate change havoc. One is forests, which are disappearing at an alarming rate and which act as “sinks” for carbon dioxide. The other is coal. If we burn all the coal that is in the ground, and let its filthy emissions out into the atmosphere, we won’t be feeling genteel guilt in 20 years’ time, but raw fear.

Times 3rd April 2008 more >>

Energy Efficiency

Consumers could end up footing a £3bn bill for making homes more energy efficient through a new stealth tax, council leaders have claimed. The Local Government Association demanded an assurance that it wouldn’t be hidden as an extra charge on every consumer’s energy bill. The LGA said an estimated £18 has been added to every energy bill in the country to pay for current measures without the knowledge of householders and if the costs of the new £3bn programme are passed on this would almost double to £35.

Telegraph 3rd April 2008 more >>

Posted: 3 April 2008

2 April 2008

New nukes

George Monbiot: John Hutton claims that new nuclear power stations will generate not only the energy we need, but also 100,000 new jobs. When and how? Here, or in France? Northumberland county council has just revealed that it is spending £3.6m on one new roundabout. A staggering waste of public money? No, “it will both attract new jobs to the town [Haltwhistle] and secure existing employment”.

Guardian 1st April 2008 more >>

Letter from Prof Barry Jones: John Hutton’s speech on the prospects for nuclear power had all the hallmarks of New Labour government hype. A good-sounding figure – 100,000 new jobs – has clearly been plucked out of the air, unencumbered by any serious analysis, and the “critical planning period” of two years lacks any substance.

FT 2nd April 2008 more >>

Ann Link: Will Sarkozy let Brown put nuclear waste in France? French industry could then build new plants in the UK.

Guardian 29th March 2008 more >>

Sellafield

The Thorp nuclear fuel reprocessing plant at Sellafield has restarted commercial operations three years after it was closed following a radioactive leak – a development that should ease the funding crisis at the government’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. The Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant, or Thorp, at the nuclear complex in west Cumbria, is a large source of income for the owner NDA, which is responsible for cleaning up the UK’s nuclear reactor sites and dealing with radioactive waste.

FT 2nd April 2008 more >>

Renewables

Leonie Greene: Once again the renewables industry is dismayed to learn from the Guardian about the government’s negotiating position in Europe on the 2020 renewable energy targets (Britain seeks loophole, March 29). Quite rightly Europe has decided the UK will get the most ambitious target because of its wealthy economy and its poor performance to date. Not only is it against the EU principle of a level economic playing field for other poorer countries to make more substantial investments in renewables, it is also critical that the UK makes the right investment decisions now about how our energy infrastructure, much of which now requires replacement.

Guardian 1st April 2008 more >>

Energy Efficiency

Hilary Benn, the environment secretary, will claim today that profiteering energy companies will be required to spend nearly £1bn a year over the next three years to help individuals fight climate change, twice the amount required under previous schemes.

Guardian 2nd April 2008 more >>

Israel

Israel has admitted for the first time that an air strike in Syria last year was aimed at a nuclear facility built with assistance from North Korea. The Japanese daily newspaper Asahi Shimbun cited sources at the Japanese foreign ministry for its report of a meeting between Ehud Olmert, the prime minister of Israel, and Yasuo Fukuda, his Japanese opposite number. Mr Olmert is reported to have admitted that Israel carried out the bombing last September and that the target was a nuclear-related facility built using technical assistance from Pyongyang.

Telegraph 2nd April 2008 more >>

Germany

Germany’s economy minister Michael Glos plans to call on the European Union to loosen the country’s emission targets, taking account of its planned nuclear-power phase-out, Handelsblatt said, citing a document it obtained. In a letter to German environment minister Sigmar Gabriel, Glos invoked the example of Sweden, which was granted more lenient carbon dioxide emission targets by the EU in the early 1990s because it abandoned nuclear power generation, the paper said.

AFX 2nd April 2008 more >>

Pakistan

Pakistan’s disgraced nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan termed his detention as “irrational” in a newspaper interview published on Wednesday, and said he hoped the new government would free him soon. Khan was put under house arrest by President Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad after an investigation was launched in late 2003 and he confessed on television in early 2004 to passing nuclear secrets and materials to Iran, North Korea and Libya.

Reuters 2nd April 2008 more >>

The Afghan government says it has evidence that nuclear waste from Pakistan was dumped in Afghanistan during the reign of the Taleban.

BBC 1st April 2008 more >>

Companies

Engineering contractor Fluor’s power group has received several nuclear certificates of accreditation and authorization from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, placing the company in the top tier of engineering, procurement and construction firms capable of developing nuclear projects worldwide.

Energy Business Review 1st April 2008 more >>

French nuclear power group Areva, in consortium with URS’s Washington Division, Studsvik UK and Serco Assurance, has signed a five-year contract to manage and operate the UK’s low level nuclear waste repository located in West Cumbria in northwest England.

Datamonitor 1st April 2008 more >>

The UK Atomic Energy Authority has outlined a new corporate structure in a response to increased competition within the international nuclear decommissioning industry. UK Atomic Energy Authority, which comes under the Department for Business and Enterprise, is setting up a series of subsidiaries to take on different aspects of its work. Central to the reorganisation is the creation of a new wholly owned subsidiary called UKAEA, which will be based on the group’s existing business division and which will focus on nuclear decommissioning and environmental management. UK Atomic Energy Authority has brought in financial advisers to look at all options for UKAEA, including privatisation. In addition the UK Atomic Energy Authority team at Dounreay will become a separate company, Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd, which will hold the licence to decommission the site under UKAEA management.

Guardian 2nd April 2008 more >>

Italy

Italy should seek to build nuclear plants in neighbouring countries facing the Adriatic Sea like Albania or Montenegro to meet energy demand in the medium term, said Giulio Tremonti, expected to become economy minister if the centre-right coalition wins the elections.

Interactive Investor 1st April 2008 more >>

Posted: 2 April 2008

1 April 2008

New nukes

The world’s nuclear power stations are all situated either on the coast, or on rivers or lakes. It takes a great deal of water to cool the white heat of this technology. But are we not being warned of climate change sea level rises and floods? What kind of fools will we look if we end up with an underwater entente diabolique?

Western Mail 1st April 2008 more >>

British Business Secretary John Hutton has said that expanding Britain’s nuclear power industry could have benefits for both national security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Hutton told a conference of trade unionists that nuclear energy could gain 100,000 jobs and £20 billion for the UK economy, and said that if Britain is “serious” about its climate change responsibilities, significantly more of its energy should be coming from nuclear power.

Climate Change Corp 31st March 2008 more >>

The United Kingdom government on Monday invited nuclear power companies to put forward new designs for a justification decision for the new fleet of nuclear reactors to be built in the United Kingdom. The Justification Process is part of European Union regulation that requires the assessment of each design before it can be used in the United Kingdom. ‘The Justification Decision is the first major regulatory stage for new nuclear reactors, and an important step towards the construction of new nuclear power stations in the UK,’ said business secretary John Hutton in a statement. The process is expected to take about 18 months to complete and will run in parallel with a separate Generic Design Assessment which is underway looking at the benefits of four specific designs for the United Kingdom.

Forbes 31st March 2008 more >>

Reuters 31st March 2008 more >>

Builder & Engineer 31st March 2008 more >>

The CBI says we need to see early action taken by the government to provide the ‘clear route map’ which Hutton talks of, and the leadership required to build global investor confidence in Britain’s nuclear energy market.

Process and Control Today 31st March 2008 more >>

Dungeness

RYE area residents will have their first chance to learn details of a potential new nuclear power station at Dungeness at a meeting on Wednesday April 16. British Energy, owner and operator of Dungeness B nuclear power station, is holding the meeting to talk about the potential for new nuclear build at Dungeness. The meeting is being held at the Lydd War Memorial Institute, Station Road, Lydd TN29 9EB on Wednesday April 16 from 6:30pm – 8:30pm.

Rye and Battle Observer 31st March 2008 more >>

NDA

URS Corporation today announced that an international consortium led by the Company’s Washington Division (formerly Washington Group International) has reached agreement with the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to operate the United Kingdom’s national low-level-nuclear-waste repository in West Cumbria in northern England. The consortium – UK Nuclear Waste Management Ltd. – comprises URS’ Washington Division, Studsvik UK, AREVA and Serco Assurance and brings together a unique capability to achieve the NDA’s low-level-waste-management objectives.

Fox Business 31st March 2008 more >>

Interactive Investor 31st March 2008 more >>

BBC 31st March 2008 more >>

Forbes 31st March 2008 more >>

GNN 31st March 2008 more >>

US

Two utility groups, including units of Southern Co and SCANA Corp, said they filed applications on Monday for separate licenses to build and operate new nuclear reactors in Georgia and South Carolina to meet growing demand for electricity.

Reuters 1st April 2008 more >>

Finland

German engineering group Siemens expects a “not insignificant” financial impact from delays in completing a nuclear power plant in Finland, a German daily reported on Monday.

Reuters 31st March 2008 more >>

Forbes 31st March 2008 more >>

Forbes 31st March 2008 more >>

Ukraine

Westinghouse Electric Co. on Monday announced a five-year deal to supply fuel to three Ukrainian nuclear reactors. The contract will begin in 2011. Under the deal, Westinghouse will supply Ukraine with one-quarter of its annual nuclear fuel needs, said Aris Candris, the company’s senior vice president of nuclear fuel. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

AFX 31st March 2008 more >>

Technology

The University of Florida thinks it can tackle problems with secondary cooling systems overheating by turning to diamond – one of the best heat conductors known to science. Their idea is to add diamond nanoparticles to the water of the secondary cooling system to dramatically improve its ability to transfer heat.

New Scientist 31st March 2008 more >>

Nuclear Police

Malcolm Wicks, Minister of State for Energy, today confirmed the reappointment of Dame Elizabeth Neville as a member of the Civil Nuclear Police Authority, for a further four years.

GNN 31st March 2008 more >>

Proliferation

Joschka Fischer: The essential defect of the NPT is now visible in the nuclear dispute between Iran and the United Nations Security Council: the treaty permits the development of all nuclear components indispensable for military use – particularly uranium enrichment – so long as there is no outright nuclear weapons program. This means that in emerging nuclear countries only one single political decision is required to “weaponise” a nuclear program. This kind of “security” is not sufficient.

Guardian 31st March 2008 more >>

Korea

North Korea yesterday threatened to launch a nuclear attack on South Korea. The South is angry its neighbour tested nuclear missiles on Friday, wants the trials stopped and said it could attack the North.

Daily Mirror 31st March 2008 more >>

Microgeneration

The government announced a shake-up of its controversial grant system for renewable energy technologies yesterday but was sharply criticised by green campaigners who said it does not go far enough.

Guardian 1st April 2008 more >>

Coal

Energy group E.ON yesterday asked the government to hold back granting planning permission for the company’s controversial £1.5bn Kingsnorth power plant, which would be Britain’s first coal-fired power station for 20 years. E.ON said the Kent project should not be approved until the government had finished consultation this year on regulating carbon capture and storage.

Guardian 1st April 2008 more >>

Posted: 1 April 2008

31 March 2008

New nukes

The renewable energy sector has questioned the Government fast-tracking its nuclear programme while failing to promote sustainable alternatives. Philip Wolfe, Renewable Energy Association (REA) executive director, said: “There seems to be a mismatch in the sense of urgency the Government attaches to developing nuclear and renewables. “The Government has an excessive concentration on electricity and an inadequate realisation that there needs to be a much more coherent energy policy. Heating and ventilation are often completely neglected in policy-making.

Heating and Ventilation News 28th March 2008 more >>

Nuclear reactors of the kind France wants to sell to Britain suffer from “potentially catastrophic” problems, it was claimed yesterday. A letter from France’s nuclear safety watchdog, ASN, leaked on a website yesterday, highlighted weaknesses that could undermine the £2.8billion project. Pointing out “numerous malfunctions” in the building of the reactor at Flamanville, it calls for them to be corrected in a month. These include weaknesses in steel grids reinforcing the concrete base supporting the reactor. Such damage could lead to nuclear accidents, threatening the population of northern France, the Isle of Wight and possibly the coast of England.

Telegraph 31st March 2008 more >>

Dounreay

A MAJOR shake-up in the running of Dounreay comes into effect on Monday in a move which will pave the way for the privatisation of the site. Since the experimental fast reactor complex was built over 50 years ago, it has been run by Government quango, the UK Atomic Energy Authority. But from Monday, the UKAEA is being sidelined to make way for a commercial concern, which will make profits from the £3 billion clean-up of the defunct plant. Industry regulators have cleared the way for the site operating licences to be transferred on Monday to Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL). It will be the new employer of the 970-strong UKAEA workforce and the body charged with observing the raft of heath and safety and radioactive substances legislation. DSRL is a wholly owned subsidiary of UKAEA Ltd, a newly-formed offshoot of the UKAEA. UKAEA Ltd will employ between 12 and 17 managers, drawn from the UKAEA and its two joint venture partners at Dounreay, Amec and CH2M Hill. UKAEA Ltd is being formed to submit a bid when the management of Dounreay is put out to contract.

John O Groat Journal 28th March 2008 more >>

North Korea

An escalating war of words across the world’s last Cold War, nuclear-armed border spiraled dramatically yesterday when North Korea threatened to wreak total destruction on its neighbour to the south.

Times 31st March 2008 more >>

Guardian website 30th March 2008 more >>

Terror

Graham Allison of Harvard University assesses the threat of a nuclear terrorist attackj on the US.

Washington Times 30th March 2008 more >>

Clean coal

The government comes under renewed pressure today to step up backing for the use of clean coal as part of future electricity generation. The call to speed up decision-making comes from the TUC’s clean coal task group, which includes representatives from unions and companies within the coal and power industries. It said delays in backing emerging technologies behind clean coal and carbon capture and storage “are causing uncertainty and delaying vital investment, increasing risks to the UK’s security of electricity supplies”.

Guardian 31st March 2008 more >>

Times 31st March 2008 more >>

Microgeneration

New rules designed to help homeowners, schools and hospitals to install climate-friendly generators will be announced today by the Energy Minister. Malcom Wicks will give details of the funding as part of changes to the Low Carbon Buildings Programme in which the cap on grants will be raised to 50 per cent of the costs. The scheme is to be extended from tomorrow to give households more time to obtain grants. It takes effect just a few days before planning rules change to cut red tape surrounding the installation of solar panels and other forms of microgeneration.

Times 31st March 2008 more >>

Posted: 31 March 2008