News

5 April 2009

UKAEA

NUCLEAR experts have slammed Government plans to sell off the body responsible for cleaning up old power stations. The UK Atomic Energy Authority has said it plans to put on the market its commercial arm, which is responsible for the decommissioning and management of nuclear waste. Trade Secretary Peter Mandelson claims selling off the group is the best deal for taxpayers. But environmental group Greenpeace claims the Government is playing Russian roulette in the pursuit of cash.

Sunday Sun 5th Apr 2009 more >>

Terror

Two west Cumbrian apprentices were arrested after an April Fool prank sparked an evacuation. The two men who were arrested worked as apprentices for Westlakes, near Whitehaven, based Atkins Nuclear, which provides nuclear, IT and engineering services. On Wednesday morning the two moved a colleague’s vehicle without his knowledge from one car park to another in Westlakes Science Park, Whitehaven. What they did not realise was that they had parked it in a restricted car park at VT Nuclear Services, a company which provides services to the nuclear and security industry. The car park is for employees only, and security evacuated the 65 staff after they suspected a terrorist threat.

Carlisle News and Star 4th Apr 2009 more >>

Sellafield

LAND at Sellafield owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has been submitted to Government as a site for potential nuclear new build. The NDA submitted the nomination yesterday (Tuesday, March 31), in time to meet the Department of Environment and Climate Change’s (DECC) Strategic Sites Assessment deadline. The nomination concerns a 250 hectare site just north of the existing Sellafield plant, and has been prepared by the Nuclear New Build Nomination (NNBN) team Lakes Renaissance.

Westmorland Gazette 1st Apr 2009 more >>

Proposals for a new nuclear power plant at Sellafield are a monstrosity, it has been claimed. Cumbrian economic development lobbyists are behind the move which would create thousands of local jobs for construction and operation. However, SDLP Northern Ireland Assembly member Margaret Ritchie accused them of short-termism.

Galloway Gazette 2nd April 2009 more >>

US

The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission voted Wednesday to allow the Oyster Creek nuclear reactor in South Jersey to operate for another 20 years, rejecting claims made by opponents about risk.

New York Times 1st Apr 2009 more >>

Disarmament

Britain’s nuclear missiles might be negotiable “at some point” as part of Barack Obama’s drive for a world free of atomic weapons, Defence Secretary John Hutton said on Saturday.

Yahoo 4th Apr 2009 more >>

The UK government has backtracked on its suggestion that the number of submarines carrying Trident nuclear weapons could be cut from four to three. As US president, Barack Obama, launches a ground-breaking nuclear disarmament initiative and a powerful coalition of former generals and world leaders call for nuclear warheads to be scrapped, UK ministers are clinging on to their nuclear bombs.

Sunday Herald 5th Apr 2009 more >>

US President Barack Obama is to outline his vision of a world free of nuclear weapons in a major speech in Europe. He is expected to call for a global summit on nuclear security and the forging of new partnerships to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

BBC 5th Apr 2009 more >>

North Korea

North Korea launched a long-range rocket early this morning, defying mounting international pressure to cancel the test and triggering an emergency meeting of the UN security council.

Guardian website 5th Apr 2009 more >>

Independent 5th Apr 2009 more >>

Telegraph 5th Apr 2009 more >>

Times 5th Apr 2009 more >>

Posted: 5 April 2009

4 April 2009

Areva

Areva, which part-controls Sellafield and wants to be at the forefront of Britain’s atomic renaissance, is set to lose its chairman within the next seven days in what would be the latest of a series of blows to befall the French nuclear engineering group. The shake-up at the top could not come at a worse time for Areva, which is already nursing 3.5bn (£3.2bn) of net debt and needs a further 14bn to meet ambitious expansion plans at a time when it is parting company with one of its major investors, Siemens of Germany. Areva is also fighting to stem a public relations disaster at Olkiluoto, in Finland, where the first nuclear plant under construction in Europe for nearly 30 years is running three years behind schedule.

Guardian 4th Apr 2009 more >>

British Energy

Centrica and EDF are thought to be at loggerheads over the planned sale of 25% of British Energy.

Press and Journal 4th Apr 2009 more >>

Keith Lough spends his days running a pioneering coal-seam gas business, Composite, away from the public gaze. But not so long ago, in a past life, he spent three years in the full glare of publicity. As finance director of British Energy, Lough played a key role in trying to extricate the nuclear generator from the crisis the company faced when falling power prices combined with the firm’s peculiar birthright to devastating effect in 2002.

Herald 4th Apr 2009 more >>

Nuclear Waste

VT Nuclear Services has announced it will build a supply of nuclear waste drums at its DEVA plant. The manufacturing facility, in Chester Gates Business Park, Dunkirk, will make the drums for safe long term storage of nuclear waste for the Dounreay Cementation Facility.

Chester Standard 3rd Apr 2009 more >>

Nuclear Accidents

Eminent European and American Oncologists gathered today to discuss the state of EU/US preparedness in the case of a nuclear incident. Prof. Ray Powles chaired the meeting organized by the Nuclear Accident Committee (NAC) of the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT). He raised the alarm that the threat of a nuclear-related incident is real and terrorist activity from disaffected groups is broadening. Participants questioned whether the medical community was ready.

Medical News Today 3rd Apr 2009 more >>

Chapelcross

The first container carrying spent nuclear fuel rods has left the Chapelcross plant in southern Scotland. Over the next three years it is expected about 300 similar journeys will be undertaken to remove 38,000 spent rods in total.

BBC 3rd Apr 2009 more >>

Three Mile Island

A story by a witness at Three Mile Island is being brought to the public in detail for the first time — and this version of what happened during that time, supported by a growing body of other scientific evidence, contradicts the official U.S. government story that the Three Mile Island accident posed no threat to the public. “What happened at TMI was a whole lot worse than what has been reported,” Randall Thompson told Facing South. “Hundreds of times worse.” Radiation releases from the plant were hundreds if not thousands of times higher than the government and industry have acknowledged — high enough to cause the acute health effects documented in people living near the plant but that have been dismissed by the industry and the government as impossible given official radiation dose estimates. Dr Steve Wing said last week: “I believe this is very good evidence that releases were thousands of times greater than the story we’ve been told,” he said. “As we think about the current plans to open more nuclear reactors, when we hear — which we hear often — that no one was harmed at Three Mile Island, we really should question that.”

Common Dreams 3rd Apr 2009 more >>

IN THE push to build new nuclear power plants, safety assessments may be biased and concerns ignored. So say nuclear analysts on the 30th anniversary of the worst reactor accident in US history. “Among the lessons of Three Mile Island is that nuclear power is least safe when complacency and pressure to expedite are highest,” Peter Bradford, who was a member of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) at the time of the Three Mile Island meltdown, warned US senators at a hearing last week. He is now a director for the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington DC. Critics are concerned that a forthcoming NRC assessment of public health risks from nuclear accidents will paint an overly rosy picture. The study will not factor in accidents considered to have a less than a 1-in-a-million chance of happening per year, for example.

New Scientist 3rd Apr 2009 more >>

Canada

The province of Saskatchewan, home to much of the world’s uranium reserves, would be a good place to build Western Canada’s first nuclear reactor, according to a report released Friday by a government advisory panel.

Interactive Investor 3rd Apr 2009 more >>

Iran

US officials are considering whether to accept Iran’s pursuit of uranium enrichment, which has been outlawed by the United Nations and remains at the heart of fears that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons capability. As part of a policy review commissioned by President Barack Obama, diplomats are discussing whether the US will eventually have to accept Iran’s insistence on carrying out the process, which can produce both nuclear fuel and weapons- grade material.

FT 4th Apr 2009 more >>

North Korea

North Korea said it would launch its controversial rocket “soon” as regional powers deployed warships and trained satellites on the communist country to monitor what they suspect will be a long-range missile test.

Telegraph 4th Apr 2009 more >>

Nuclear Warship

Sailors are warned to keep their distance as one of the world’s biggest nuclear warships sails into the Solent. MoD police boats will patrol an 820ft exclusion zone around the 1,000ft long USS Theodore Roosevelt, which will be anchored one mile out to sea off Stokes Bay from tomorrow until Wednesday 8. Usually anti-radiation tab-lets are issued to schools across Portsmouth whenever a nuclear ship arrives in port, but the military have told Portsmouth City Council there’s no need, because the ship’s distance from the shore means risk is minimal.

Portsmouth News 4th Apr 2009 more >>

There have been 14 collisions involving British nuclear submarines since 1988 and 237 fires on board the fleet of vessels, the government has revealed.

BBC 3rd Apr 2009 more >>

Disarmament

Mr Obama said: “Even with the Cold War now over, the spread of nuclear weapons, or the theft of nuclear material, could lead to the extermination of any city on the planet. This weekend in Prague I will lay out an agenda to seek the goal of a world without nuclear weapons.”

Scotsman 4th Apr 2009 more >>

Guardian 4th Apr 2009 more >>

Independent 4th Apr 2009 more >>

Obama has hit the right note by reminding Europeans of the idealist, non-nuclear streak in America – a tradition he best represents. There are few more idealist aspirations in Europe than a commitment against the spread of nuclear weapons.

Scotsman 4th Apr 2009 more >>

Nothing of substance has changed – the core differences between Nato and Russia remain. But the tone of the dialogue has changed and that does matter. Instead of winding each other up, the two most important nuclear powers are finding ways to talk about each other in less belligerent ways.

Guardian 4th Apr 2009 more >>

Posted: 4 April 2009

3 April 2009

New Nukes

British engineering companies are set to miss out on the boom generated by the resurgence in nuclear power around the world because most are not accredited to supply components to the industry. This was shown up by the award of contracts for the first nuclear power station to be ordered in Western Europe since Chernobyl. British companies account for less than 1 per cent of those working on the 4.5 billion (£4.1 billion) reactor being developed by TVO, the Finnish utility, according to the group behind it. Of the 2,183 companies involved in the supply chain for the reactor at Olkiluoto in western Finland, only 21 are based in the UK. Most of these are consultants with only a handful supplying equipment.

Times 3rd Apr 2009 more >>

Three sites in Cumbria have been officially submitted to the Government as potential locations for new nuclear reactors. German power giant RWE npower has nominated separate sites at Braystones, near Sellafield, and at Kirksanton, near Millom. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has submitted a 250 hectare patch of land just north of the Sellafield complex. The Government will reveal which sites have been nominated across the country on April 15, before the public and businesses are asked for their views.

Cumberland News 2nd Apr 2009 more >>

Business Gazette 2nd Apr 2009 more >>

Newcastle Journal 2nd Apr 2009 more >>

PROPOSED nuclear reactor sites at Braystones and Kirksanton have gone forward to the government – in the face of fierce opposition from both areas. Villagers have given the thumbs down at two public meetings. But dozens of ‘Hands off Braystones, No to RWE’ posters put up ahead of last Thursday’s meeting in nearby Beckermet have since vanished mysteriously.

Whitehaven News 1st Apr 2009 more >>

GERMAN-BASED developers keen to build nuclear reactors at Braystones and Kirksanton have admitted for the first time they might also turn their attentions to Sellafield. RWE npower, who have options to buy farmland in both areas, says it could enter the bidding once the NDA puts the potential Sellafield sites up for sale.

Whitehaven News 1st Apr 2009 more >>

British Energy

Centrica and EDF of France are at loggerheads over the planned sale of a 25 per cent stake in British Energy, the nuclear generator bought by

EDF last year for 12.4bn. Last summer, the two companies reached a non-binding agreement that Centrica would buy the stake for 3.1bn, putting the same value on British Energy as was paid by EDF. Since then, electricity prices have fallen sharply, cutting expectations of British Energy’s revenues, and Centrica has come under pressure from shareholders not to overpay.

FT 3rd Apr 2009 more >>

Isle of Man

BRITAIN’S nuclear expansion plans have fuelled renewed Isle of Man calls for the closure of the Sellafield plant. Construction of new nuclear power stations are now a key element of Britain’s energy policy. And the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has confirmed that it expects Sellafield, together with Wylfa, Oldbury and Bradwell to be nominated as potential sites for new nuclear stations.

Isle of Man Today 2nd Apr 2009 more >>

EDF

Senior staff at state-owned energy company, EDF, have been charged with engaging in industrial espionage against Greenpeace France.

Money.co.uk 2nd Apr 2009 more >>

Twenty-four years after the attack by the French secret services against our ship the Rainbow Warrior – which cost the life of a Greenpeace photographer – the nuclear industry is once again at the heart a major spy scandal involving Greenpeace.

Greenpeace International 2nd Apr 2009 more >>

Dounreay

Workers decommissioning a nuclear power complex have found Mr Muscle to be more effective than specialised techniques for cleaning contaminated glass tubes.

BBC 2nd Apr 2009 more >>

UKAEA

ONE of the big names of Britain’s nuclear industry is up for sale. The UK Atomic Energy Authority will be putting its commercial arm, UKAEA Ltd, on the market and will be able to operate as a separate entity, independent of the government bidding for work in the nuclear field including Sellafield.

Whitehaven News 1st Apr 2009 more >>

Nuclear Skills

STAFF at a state-of-the-art facility at Sellafield have agreed to join forces with Manchester University to educate students on the nuclear industry. National Nuclear Laboratory is collaborating with the university to provide funds, provide guest lecturers and vocational placement. The pair will also work together to secure government funding for the project.

NW Evening Mail 2nd Apr 2009 more >>

Submarines

BRITAIN’S nuclear submarines have been involved in 14 collisions in the past 21 years, it emerged last night.

The Royal Navy has also admitted there have been 237 fires on its nuclear-powered submarine fleet since 1987.

Scotsman 3rd Apr 2009 more >>

Disarmament

Letter from David Lowry: I was pleased to see that alone among the serious press The Times led on the historic agreement between the US President Obama and the Russian President Medvedev on kick-starting nuclear disarmament negotiations.

Times 3rd Apr 2009 more >>

Greenpeace Blog 2nd Apr 2009 more >>

On the fringes of the G20 summit, a potentially world-changing discussion took place between US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev in London yesterday – and it had nothing to do with global finance. The two powerful leaders, meeting at the US ambassador’s residence in Regents Park, agreed to open discussions to reduce American and Russian nuclear arsenals by as much as a third.

First Post 2nd Apr 2009 more >>

North Korea

North Korea can expect a “stern, unified action” from the international community if it test-fires a ballistic missile, US President Barack Obama has said.

Telegraph 3rd Apr 2009 more >>

Iran

Tehran’s growing nuclear capability mixed with the Netanyahu Cabinet’s military experience. It could be a lethal cocktail.

Times 3rd Apr 2009 more >>

Green New Deal

When this hinge-point in human history is remembered, there will be far more sympathy for the people who took to the streets and rioted than for the people who stayed silently in their homes. Two global crises have collided, and we have a chance here, now, to solve them both with one mighty heave – but our leaders are letting this opportunity for greatness leach away. The protesters here in London were trying to sound an alarm now, at five minutes to ecological midnight.

Independent 3rd Apr 2009 more >>

Posted: 3 April 2009

2 April 2009

Nuclear Sites

The auction of NDA land which could be used for building new reactors is still going strong into its third week. Vattenfall and Energy Solutions are thought to be amongst the bidders.

Contract Journal 1st Apr 2009 more >>

The Sellafield site has been nominated for new nuclear build.

Place North West 1st Apr 2009 more >>

Nuclear Skills

THE government has been warned that an engineering skills shortage could hit plans to build new nuclear power plants. A report by MPs has claimed a gap in the civil service could impact on a new generation of atomic stations – in which west Cumbria is bidding to be a part – over the next decade. The cross-party Universities, Innovation and Skills Committee has now said a “master roadmap” should be produced to give a clear and detailed plan for building new plants.

NW Evening Mail 1st Apr 2009 more >>

NLFAB

The line-up of the board of the Government’s watchdog to oversee the decommissioning and waste disposal funding arrangements is completed today. The Nuclear Liabilities Financing Assurance Board (NLFAB) will scrutinise the financing plans for the decommissioning and cleanup of nuclear waste from new nuclear power stations. This is in line with the Government’s commitment that the taxpayer will not have to shoulder any costs for clean-up.

eGov Monitor 1st Apr 2009 more >>

EDF

A senior executive of the French state energy giant EDF, which now owns the main UK nuclear power operator British Energy, has been charged on suspicion of spying on the environmental group Greenpeace. The case has sparked outrage among anti-nuclear campaigners in France whose secret services were behind the bombing of the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior 24 years ago.

Guardian 2nd Apr 2009 more >>

Finland

A nuclear reactor being built in Finland to the same design expected to be used in Britain is running three years behind schedule. Its developers, Areva, the French nuclear energy group, and Siemens, of Germany, had hoped it would start generating electricity yesterday. It is vastly over budget, beset by design delays, water-logged concrete and faulty pipes.

Times 2nd Apr 2009 more >>

Proliferation

When leaders of the G20 nations gather in London this week, their attention will undoubtedly be focused on the current financial crisis. But it cannot be their exclusive focus: the crisis itself is a grim reminder that imminent global threats are best dealt with before the event, not after. And nothing poses a greater threat for creating further crises than nuclear weapons, either in existing stockpiles or through their acquisition by an increasing number of states or by terrorists. Over the past decade the whole fabric of the nuclear non-proliferation regime has begun to unravel notably through the failure to implement ways to strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, such as through a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. The situation is now dire. These challenges will only grow more acute if, as expected, nuclear power is revived around the world as a way to mitigate climate change.

Nature 1st Apr 2009 more >>

Disarmament

President Barack Obama hailed a breakthrough in America’s relationship with Russia on Wednesday when the two countries agreed to cut their nuclear arsenals.

Telegraph 2nd Apr 2009 more >>

Scotsman 2nd Apr 2009 more >>

Independent 2nd Apr 2009 more >>

Times 2nd Apr 2009 more >>

Times 2nd Apr 2009 more >>

Guardian 2nd Apr 2009 more >>

New Scientist 1st Apr 2009 more >>

BBC 1st Apr 2009 more >>

Guardian 1st Apr 2009 more >>

Iran

Robert Gates, US defence secretary, has said it is unlikely that Israel will this year launch an attack on Iran to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s new prime minister, this week warned as he was sworn in that the greatest danger to Israel was Iran’s attempt to develop nuclear weapons. But in an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Gates said the US and Israel had enough time to persuade Tehran to abandon what is widely perceived to be a nuclear weapons programme.

FT 2nd Apr 2009 more >>

A nuclear-armed Iran will also be top of the agenda when Israel’s new Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, meets Barack Obama in Washington next month.

Times 1st Apr 2009 more >>

North Korea

North Korea already has the capacity to launch a nuclear missile strike against Seoul and Tokyo, even before the long-range rocket test that it is promising in the next few days, an international think-tank has reported.

Times 1st Apr 2009 more >>

Carbon Capture

Carbon dioxide captured from the chimneys of power stations could be safely buried underground for thousands of years without the risk of the greenhouse gas seeping into the atmosphere, a study has found. The findings will lend weight to the idea of carbon capture and sequestration (CSS) – when carbon dioxide is trapped and then buried – which is being seriously touted as a viable way of reducing man-made emissions of carbon dioxide while still continuing to burn fossil fuels such as oil and coal in power stations.

Independent 2nd Apr 2009 more >>

Scotsman 2nd Apr 2009 more >>

Solar Power

BP is to axe 620 jobs from its solar power business more than a quarter of that workforce in a move it said was part of the long-term strategy to “reduce the cost of solar power to that of conventional electricity.” Two cell manufacture and module assembly plants near Madrid, will be shut with the loss of 480 posts while module assembly will also be phased out at its Frederick facility in Maryland, US, with a further 140 redundancies. BP blamed the cutbacks on the credit crunch and lower-cost competition saying its global manufacturing capacity would still increase during this year and next via a series of strategic alliances with other companies.

Guardian 2nd Apr 2009 more >>

Posted: 2 April 2009

1 April 2009

UKAEA

A major slice of the country’s nuclear expertise was put up for sale yesterday after the UK Atomic Energy Authority called on would-be buyers for its commercial arm. The authority is looking to sell UKAEA Ltd, its wholly-owned business which oversees nuclear clean-up work at three sites in the UK and offers consultancy work in international markets.

Yorkshire Post 31st Mar 2009 more >>

Society of Procurement Officers 31st Mar 2009 more >>

Newcastle Journal 31st Mar 2009 more >>

Energy Policy

Government policy on renewable energy was derided as “make-believe” by David Heathcoat-Amory (Con, Wells) during a Westminster Hall debate on nuclear energy. Heathcoat-Amory said that it was “irresponsible” to set targets for C02 reduction without committing to similarly rigid commitments on energy production. The policy of “drift and neglect is no longer sustainable,” he added. The government has set a legally binding target to reduce C02 emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. The former energy minister said that Britain was faced with a “looming energy gap” due to a combination of “short-sightedness and wishful thinking”. “The emerging gap between demand and supply has arisen because we have been decommissioning nuclear power stations without replacing them.” He said a succession of “anti-nuclear” secretaries of states had ignored the problem of replacing nuclear stations, at the same time as signing up to “ever more demanding C02 reduction targets”

ePolitix 31st Mar 2009 more >>

Isle of Man

The Manx Government has vowed to continue campaigning for the closure of the nuclear plant in Sellafield. Environment minister John Shimmin is also calling for the plant to be cleaned up but said he faces a battle.

BBC 31st Mar 2009 more >>

Millom

FARM land near Millom will be officially nominated to host a new nuclear power plant today. The land at Layriggs in Kirksanton has been chosen by energy company RWE npower as one of two possible sites in Cumbria to host the new facility. But the plans have been hit by mass objections from the 75 villagers living only 200 yards from the proposed land. An action group has now been set up to block the plans. Ninety per cent of Kirksanton residents have vowed to abandon the village amid fears of plummeting house prices and diminished quality of life.

NW Evening Mail 31st Mar 2009 more >>

Nuclear Waste

What if we could build a reactor that ran on nuclear waste – a reactor that generated power by cleaning up the most toxic substance in existence? Tucked among the fertile vineyards of central California is a machine that promises to do just that. Today, work officially finishes on the National Ignition Facility, ahead of its official opening in May. As we reported earlier this year, the NIF contains the most powerful laser in history, a billion-pound machine in a building the size of three football pitches.

Telegraph 31st Mar 2009 more >>

NLFAB

The line-up of the board of the Government’s watchdog to oversee the decommissioning and waste disposal funding arrangements is completed today. The Nuclear Liabilities Financing Assurance Board (NLFAB) will scrutinise the financing plans for the decommissioning and cleanup of nuclear waste from new nuclear power stations. This is in line with the Government’s commitment that the taxpayer will not have to shoulder any costs for clean-up.

Wired.gov 31st Mar 2009 more >>

EDF

Two senior executives at French energy company Electricite de France SA (EDF.FR) have been charged on suspicion of industrial espionage against the environmental group Greenpeace, a judicial official said Tuesday. The EDF security executives were charged on March 24 with conspiring to hack into a computer system, the official said, confirming a report on the French Web site Mediapart. Greenpeace France’s former campaign director Yannick Jadot said investigators were probing a break-in on one of his computers, saying that EDF “appears clearly to be involved.”

Fox News 31st Mar 2009 more >>

Yahoo 31st Mar 2009 more >>

North Korea

North Korea has developed and deployed multiple nuclear warheads that can be attached to medium-range Rodong missiles, according to a Seoul-based defence analyst.

Telegraph 1st April 2009 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

When presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev meet today for the first time, they will have an historic opportunity to confront the most urgent security threat to our world: the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the risk of nuclear terrorism. The two leaders can move beyond traditional arms control and, in a bold move, set the world on a course towards the total elimination of all nuclear weapons – global zero.

Times 1st April 2009 more >>

Green New Deal

The UK economy faces a triple crunch: a recession triggered by a major credit crisis, the looming reality of runaway climate change and critical resource depletion. As a result we face serious challenges to our livelihoods and increasing threats to our fuel and food security. Whatever the mistakes that allowed this situation to arise, there is growing international consensus that the best way out is via a green new deal policy package. Parts of the UK economy are in freefall with unemployment rising rapidly. At the same time, with less than 100 months to go before the world enters a new, more dangerous phase of global warming, there is an urgent need for the rapid environmental transformation of the economy.

Guardian 31st Mar 2009 more >>

Over fifty thousand British jobs could be created if the government invested in an energy efficiency programme that would also help tackle climate change, according to a report released today. The report coincides with research from New Economics Foundation (Nef) showing that new funding for greening the economy amounts to just 0.6 per cent of the UK’s total stimulus package.

Greenpeace Press Release 30th Mar 2009 more >>

Greenpeace Report: http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/files/EE_fiscal_stimulus_Impetus_Report.pdf

While the UK government were able to produce support to the financial sector equivalent to 20% of the nation’s GDP, new and additional spending for green measures in the Treasury’s pre-Budget report amounted to just 0.0083% of GDP. The streets of London are filling with thousands of people calling on governments to link their responses to the global recession, climate change and poverty reduction. But, across a range of economic stimulus packages in countries around the world, the average share of spending going to green investments, according to HSBC, is just 15%.

Guardian 1st April 2009 more >>

Posted: 1 April 2009

31 March 2009

Nuclear Research

SCIENTISTS in ‘nuclear free’ Manchester have claimed victory in a north-south battle to control nuclear research. A group of experts led by Manchester University will take charge of Britain’s nuclear research labs, beating a rival bid from Imperial College London. The move follows attempts by the government to put a private group in charge of the country’s six research facilities. Manchester’s consortium, which includes nuclear safety firms Serco and Battelle, has now been named as the government’s preferred bidder.

Manchester Evening News 31st Mar 2009 more >>

The petite RadBall could replace bigger, more unwieldy conventional detection devices and can be left to collect the information, saving valuable time manual scanning. It is the brainchild of Dr Steve Stanley, a technology researcher at the National Nuclear Laboratory – and was inspired by a bar-room chat.

Carlisle News and Star 30th Mar 2009 more >>

UKAEA

ONE of the jewels in the crown of the north west’s nuclear sector – the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) – has been put up for sale. The government’s move to sell the business throws into doubt the future of 22 staff based at its offices in Warrington.

Manchester Evening News 31st Mar 2009 more >>

Scotsman 31st Mar 2009 more >>

Herald 31st Mar 2009 more >>

Guardian 31st Mar 2009 more >>

Crains Manchester Business 30th Mar 2009 more >>

BBC 30th Mar 2009 more >>

FT 31st Mar 2009 more >>

Telegraph 31st Mar 2009 more >>

Civil engineering companies, including Amec and Fluor, the US contractor, are expected to be among the front runners for the nuclear decommissioning business the UK government has put up for sale.

Telegraph 31st Mar 2009 more >>

Nuclear Sites

The auction of land for new power stations – expected to last seven days at most – is now into its third week as utilities from across Europe fight for a slice of both the lucrative UK electricity sector and the growing global market. Total bids have topped the £200m mark. Applications close today for locations to be included in the Government’s Strategic Site Assessment, which will establish those plots to be included in the National Policy Statement (NPS). Another parallel thread is the “justification” required by Brussels. The consultation on the industry’s applications closed last week and is now with Ed Miliband, the Secretary of State. A draft response is expected in the autumn, with another consultation period before a final decision is made early next year. Meanwhile the Health and Safety Executive is running a “generic design assessment” to sign off the next-generation reactors to ! be used in the new power stations. The deadline for completion is mid-2011, but progress is slow and insiders are concerned about the regulator’s resources.

Independent 31st Mar 2009 more >>

Bidding for three new nuclear reactor sites tops £200m as energy giants fear “missing out” on UK’s nuclear renaissance.

Business Green 30th Mar 2009 more >>

Millom

LONG-AWAITED plans to build a bridge over Duddon Sands could be realised if a nuclear power plant is built near Millom.

NW Evening Mail 30th Mar 2009 more >>

Nuclear Skills

The Government has been warned that an engineering skills shortage could hit plans to build new nuclear power plants. In the House of Commons report, Engineering: turning ideas into reality, MPs said they were “shocked” to discover that engineering advice was absent, or barely featured, in the formulation of key policies including eco-towns, renewable energy and large IT projects. They recommended the creation of a Government Chief Engineer to raise the status of the profession within Whitehall and called for more trained and experienced engineers at all civil service levels. MPs, who supported the creation of the Office for Nuclear Development, gathered evidence that the nuclear industry is heavily recruiting and training. But the Institution of Mechanical Engineers told them that the UK’s capacity to build a new generation of nuclear power stations was uncertain. And the Royal Academy of Engineering pointed out t! hat, irrespective of whether the UK can deliver new nuclear power stations by 2018, “the UK could by no means be self-sufficient in the building of a new generation of nuclear power stations in the timescales required”.

Carlisle News and Star 30th Mar 2009 more >>

Trident

NO TAXPAYERS’ money will be spent on developing a replacement for the Trident nuclear warhead without the approval of parliament, the Defence Secretary, John Hutton, indicated yesterday.

Scotsman 31st Mar 2009 more >>

Climate

A last-ditch effort is being made to insert clearer green commitments into the global economic recovery package. The move comes amid fears amongst some British government officials that the G20 summit is in danger of missing a unique opportunity to prevent the world from being locked into irreversible and catastrophic climate change.

Guardian 31st Mar 2009 more >>

Britain’s latest coal-fired power station should not be built, according to Lord Stern of Brentford, the economist who led the Government’s review into the financial cost of climate change. Lord Stern called on the Government to halt the planning process and said that the new coal-fired power station proposed for Kingsnorth in Kent cannot be justified until the technology is developed to capture and store its huge carbon dioxide emissions.

Independent 31st Mar 2009 more >>

North Korea

Kim Jong-il, apparently recovered from last year’s stroke, is threatening to launch a long-range missile, one in theory capable of hitting Alaska. That, coupled with Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities – demonstrated, if not all that convincingly, in a 2006 nuclear test – understandably makes its neighbours nervous. If North Korea proves it has the means to launch a nuclear bomb, it could scare Japan and others to go nuclear too.

FT 31st Mar 2009 more >>

US

Renewables groups squeezed by the economic crisis are going bankrupt in spite of the billions in new funding for the sector earmarked by the administration of Barack Obama. It could take several months for the government to establish a regulatory framework to disburse the funds set aside in the administration’s stimulus package to build a “green” economy. In the meantime, some companies already are in an untenable position.

FT 31st Mar 2009 more >>

Posted: 31 March 2009

30 March 2009

New Nukes

As a string of vans bearing the names of soil analysis companies and then a host of Portakabins turned up at the tiny hamlet of Kirksanton, questions began to be asked. When those living on the farm said they could not talk about it and overall-wearing site workers announced they had signed the Official Secrets Act, rumours ran riot. Even then few guessed the truth that was finally revealed in letters from RWE: that the German energy group was “investigating the possibility” of building a nuclear power station there. Tomorrow RWE will nominate the site as part of a wider move to kickstart a nuclear revolution. RWE will also suggest a site at Egremont further up the “Energy Coast” near Sellafield while EDF of France and E.ON of Germany will put forward their favoured sites for building a new generation of reactors. These companies will be scrambling to put in bids by the formal deadline tomorrow for land being auctioned off by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

Guardian 30th Mar 2009 more >>

Obituary

John Harris (generally known as Jack) was a nuclear physicist and metallurgist who was a powerful advocate both for the use of nuclear power and for the abolition of nuclear weapons. He was best known for his interest in metal corrosion and the strain it could place on the underlying material.

Times 30th Mar 2009 more >>

Companies

PANTON McLeod, the Borders-based engineering firm that creates robots to clean the inside of water tanks, has met with nuclear experts to discuss how its technology could be used in nuclear power plants.

The company, which has its headquartered in Newton St Boswells, took its cleaning machines to the Remote Technology Exhibition in Sellafield to display its pair of pioneering underwater robots – the ROV and the VR600.

Scotsman 30th Mar 2009 more >>

North Korea

Taking a tougher line against North Korea in response to any testing of a long-range missile would be counterproductive for Seoul, according to Lee Myung-bak, South Korea’s president.

FT 30th Mar 2009 more >>

North Korea is expected to fire a second missile – and possibly more – if the United Nations condemns the planned launch of what Pyongyang claims is a communications satellite into orbit later this week.

Telegraph 30th Mar 2009 more >>

Posted: 30 March 2009

29 March 2009

Nuclear Sites

POWER COMPANIES have agreed to pay at least £200m for land to build nuclear power stations in Britain, a much higher price than the government expected. The bidding went through the £200m figure last week in an eBay-style online auction being run by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The government agency owns land near three old reactor sites that are being sold to would-be developers of new stations. Such a high level of interest underlines the attractiveness of nuclear energy at a time when the renewables sector, particularly offshore wind, is faltering. Power companies warned the government this month that several big offshore wind projects would be scrapped unless they get immediate government aid. Building work is not expected to begin before 2013, making the government’s intention to have new nuclear stations up and running by 2017 appear difficult to achieve.

Sunday Times 29th Mar 2009 more >>

Sunday Express 29th Mar 2009 more >>

Three Mile Island

TMI still haunts the US reactor industry 30 years after the partial meltdown.

Climate Progress 27th Mar 2009 more >>

There are 103 reactors in sixty-four locations across the United States. None of these reactors were designed to last more than forty years. We are reaching that deadline. During the Bush years, the NRC relicensed forty of the country’s reactors. In those eight years, the NRC did not deny a single renewal request. This is unconscionably reckless behavior. The regulators of this industry would appear to be somnambulant hostages to the nuke operators.

The Nation 27th Mar 2009 more >>

Companies

French utility GDF Suez has gone to court in a bid to recover a 250 million euro ($335 million) tax imposed on nuclear power generators by the Belgian government.

Reuters 28th Mar 2009 more >>

Test Veterans

French victims of nuclear bomb testing are getting a multimillion-pound payout… while British veterans are still being ignored.

Sunday Mirror 29th Mar 2009 more >>

Iran

The clock is ticking on the clandestine Iranian nuclear programme. Despite a series of United Nations security council resolutions and mild western sanctions, the process of uranium enrichment to make a bomb will soon be complete. The experts do not agree when that day will come any time between nine months and three years is suggested – but come it will.

Sunday Times 29th Mar 2009 more >>

Climate

THE WORLD is heading for an unparalleled climate catastrophe unless rich and poor nations agree drastic cuts in pollution in just the next few months, the head of the European Environment Agency (EEA) is warning. Even if all the current promises to cut greenhouse gas emissions are honoured, the world will still see global temperatures rise by an average of four degrees centigrade by the end of the century, according to Professor Jacqueline McGlade, the EEA executive director. This is hot enough to make most of the world uninhabitable, killing or making refugees of billions of people in Asia, Africa and America.

Sunday Herald 29th Mar 2009 more >>

THE ECONOMIC system is broken, and attempts by governments to fix it by kick-starting growth and consumerism are “delusional” and “pathological”, the Westminster and Holyrood governments will be warned by their own advisers this week. A ground-breaking report by the leading environmental advisers to First Minister Alex Salmond and Prime Minister Gordon Brown will deliver a damning verdict on capitalism and demand a radical shift to a fairer, more sustainable society. The report has been compiled by the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC), a group of 19 experts chaired by Jonathon Porritt which advises Salmond and Brown on environmental issues. Entitled Prosperity without Growth?, it is to be published tomorrow.

Sunday Herald 29th Mar 2009 more >>

Renewables

Plans to make Scotland 50% reliant on renewable sources are ahead of schedule, new figures released by the Scottish Parliament today suggest. Current targets are to meet half the country’s electricity demand from renewables by 2020 with an interim target of 31% by 2011.

Observer 29th Mar 2009 more >>

Scotland’s plan’s to host the world’s largest tidal energy project have moved a step closer after Norwegian renewables giant Statkraft joined the consortium backing the £250m scheme. The project, which will create over 700 jobs, is to build a large data centre powered by tidal energy, in a remote area on the north Scotland coast dubbed the “Saudi Arabia of tidal energy”.

Observer 29th Mar 2009 more >>

Posted: 29 March 2009

28 March 2009

Three Mile Island

Inside a nuclear power plant 10 miles southeast of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s capital, the first of a series of pumps supplying vital cooling water to the reactor unaccountably “tripped,” or shut down, at 36 seconds after 4 a.m. on March 28, 1979. But some leading nuclear-power critics, like Ed Lyman, say the industry still does not go far enough to insure safe reactor operations, or troubleshoot for possible breakdowns in materials in today’s aging nuclear plants.

New York Times 27th Mar 2009 more >>

Three Mile Island 30th Anniversary more >>

Video of a public meeting held in Harrisburg on 26th March 2009: Nuclear engineer and long-time industry executive, Arnie Gundersen gives a talk on his calculations of the amount of radiation released during the accident at Three Mile Island. Mr. Gundersen’s calculations differ from those of the NRC’s and official industry estimates. And Dr Steve Wing talks about his epidemiological research around TMI.

Three Mile Island Alert 26th March 2009 more >>

If the Three Mile Island atomic reactor near Harrisburg hadn’t melted down 30 years ago this Saturday…well, there probably would have been an accident somewhere else. The entire U.S. nuclear industry was melting down in the 1970s, irradiated by spectacular cost overruns, interminable delays and public outrage. Forbes later called its collapse “the largest managerial disaster in business history, a disaster on a monumental scale.”

Time 27th March 2009 more >>

Sellafield

The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority has just published a report on a hypothetical accident at Sellafield in England, which concludes that if only 1% of the liquid radioactive waste stored at the plant is released to air, the radioactive fallout in Western Norway could be five times higher than in the areas of Norway that were worst affected by the Chernobyl accident.

Norwegian Ministry of Environment 26th March 2009 more >>

Full report available here http://www.nrpa.no/internett_eng/index.asp?topExpand=&subExpand=&strUrl=//applications/system/publish/view/showobject.asp?infoobjectid=1005998&channelid=1000079

Wylfa

Anti-nuclear campaigners have warned of a type of uranium that is up to 15% more radioactive being stored on site for 100 years if a new reactor at Wylfa goes ahead.

Western Mail 28th Mar 2009 more >>

Millom

The proposal by RWE npower to construct a plant at Layriggs Farm in Kirksanton hangs in the balance unless prison bosses agree to cooperate with the evacuation plan. Nuclear development manager for the project, Stuart Dagnall, revealed an emergency evacuation procedure must be agreed between the prison and nuclear bosses before any plans can be set in stone.

NW Evening Mail 28th Mar 2009 more >>

Nuclear & Climate

Nuclear power plants cannot be built quickly enough and in a safe and secure manner to be a major global solution for climate change, according to a report released yesterday from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The report says the nuclear industry, under current policies and financing, won’t be able to build enough new reactors to make a difference in climate in the next 20 years.

Scientific American 27th Mar 2009 more >>

Chernobyl

ANTI nuclear campaigners have planned a sponsored walk to help those affected by the Chernobyl disaster. Sunday April 26 is the anniversary of the disaster, and Radiation Free Lakeland along with other anti-nuclear groups will be holding a sponsored walk in aid of many people who are still affected by the disaster, which happened 23 years ago at the Ukrainian nuclear power plant.

NW Evening Mail 27th Mar 2009 more >>

Proliferation

The potential for nuclear proliferation and the Government’s response to it was the subject of a discussion in the House of Lords on 26 March. Baroness Williams of Crosby introduced the debate, with contributions from Members with a wide-range of expertise including a former foreign secretary, defence secretary, chief of defence staff, UN diplomat and more.

UK Parliament 27th Mar 2009 more >>

Lancashire

A thriving nuclear industry will deliver a shot in the arm to the rest of Lancashire’s economy, according to the government’s top skills minister. John Denham, Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, said the county’s professional services and construction industries would benefit when plans to build the next generation of reactors goes ahead.

Lancashire Evening Post 27th Mar 2009 more >>

Nuclear Research

Plans for a new £20 million research centre at the Westlakes Science and Technology Park in Whitehaven moved a step closer this week.

Carlisle News and Star 27th Mar 2009 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Six new atomic submarines, armed with improved nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, will join the Russian navy. The Defence Ministry said the first, the Severodvinsk, will be launched in 2011 and at least five others of the same type will be built by 2017.

Independent 28th Mar 2009 more >>

Climate

Britain’s faith in carbon trading as a way of reducing greenhouse gases could be dangerously misplaced, according to an independent academic working with the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Dr Chris Hope of the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School has been commissioned by the government to calculate how much environmental polluters would have to be. charged for emitting CO2 to make it worthwhile for them to cut back. However, his research, due to be delivered to the government later this year, has led him to a far wider conclusion: that the current European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is deeply flawed and should be replaced – or at least augmented – with a green tax.

New Statesman 26th Mar 2009 more >>

Green New Deal

Hopes that Gordon Brown and other world leaders would solve the financial crisis and global warming through a series of “green New Deals” are fading faster than solar power on a rainy day. The vast bulk of new public spending announced in global economic stimuli seems largely “business as usual”, with major cash injections being directed towards banks and car companies rather than renewable energy firms. Some countries – notably the US and China – have been more adventurous, while wind energy and other sustainable technologies certainly stand to gain from wider ministerial efforts to unlock financial lending. But the air in recent weeks has been thick with the sound of “green” schemes dropping off the corporate agenda at top firms, such as Shell, rather than the gentle hum of increased activity.

Guardian 28th Mar 2009 more >>

Iran & Solar

Letter from Dr Gerry Wolf: Gordon Brown says that the UK and international community stand ready to help Iran achieve a civil nuclear programme. But in Paris last year, at the inaugural meeting of the Union for the Mediterranean, he said “… in the Mediterranean region, concentrated solar power offers the prospect of an abundant low carbon energy source. Indeed, just as Britain’s North Sea could be the Gulf of the future for offshore wind, so those sunnier countries represented here could become a vital source of future global energy by harnessing the power of the sun”. Although Iran is not in the Mediterranean region, it has some of the best solar resources in the world. Concentrating solar power (CSP), in which mirrors concentrate sunlight and the resulting heat drives turbines and generators, could meet all of Iran’s electricity needs from a small fraction of the Iranian deserts, although it would be prudent to use CSP in conjunction with wind power and other renewable sources of power.

Independent 28th Mar 2009 more >>

Posted: 28 March 2009

27 March 2009

Nuclear Sites

German power utility E.ON and smaller domestic rival RWE have placed joint bids for three British nuclear sites, German daily Handelsblatt reported on Thursday, citing company sources. Britain’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) last week launched an auction of 999-year leases on land near three of its nuclear power stations in the UK, at Wylfa in north Wales, Oldbury in Gloucestershire and Bradwell in Essex.The NDA potentially might be able to make an announcement next week about the winning bidders, the spokesman said.

Interactive Investor 26th Mar 2009 more >>

New Nukes

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environment Agency have collaborated to launch a new website area covering the safety of future nuclear power stations. Currently, the HSE and the Environment Agency are assessing two nuclear power station designs in particular, which could be built in the UK over the coming years. The website can be accessed at www.hse.gov.uk/newreactors/index.htm

Croner 26th Mar 2009 more >>

IAEA

The board of the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has failed to elect a successor to director Mohammed ElBaradei. After three rounds of inconclusive voting in Vienna on the two candidates vying to succeed him, the 35-member board decided to begin again on Friday. Japan’s Yukiya Amano led South Africa’s Abdul Samad Minty but did not get the required two-thirds majority. Mr ElBaradei, in office since 1997, is due to step down later this year.

BBC 26th Mar 2009 more >>

Reuters 26th Mar 2009 more >>

Companies

France is banking on 3.5 decades of civil nuclear use at home, and three domestic companies with atomic expertise and a global scale to spearhead a worldwide nuclear power rebirth. This is a list of key facts on power group EDF, nuclear reactor maker Areva, and gas and electricity group GDF Suez.

Interactive Investor 26th Mar 2009 more >>

Dounreay

A Highland castle attacked by Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army and later a site of experiments on radioactive liquid is at risk of collapse. Engineers have carried out a structural survey of 16th Century Dounreay Castle following concerns over safety. They said the ruins, which form part of the estate now managed by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, had badly eroded lintels and precarious masonry. Historic Scotland has been informed of the latest survey results. The government agency lists it as a scheduled monument and carried out its own inspection in February.

BBC 26th Mar 2009 more >>

Work is underway on the next phase of a major clean-up project unique in the history of the nuclear industry. Contractors have started to prepare the ground where a major new plant will be built to retrieve radioactive waste from an underground shaft and silo.

Dounreay.com 24th Mar 2009 more >>

Nuclear Skills

The unique new job site – www.nuclearcareersonline.com – has become the UK’s first nuclear industry career site to find candidates with direct nuclear experience and those looking to transfer their skills into the nuclear business.

Online Recruitment 26th Mar 2009 more >>

Proliferation

NUCLEAR power for all who want it, without helping those who would abuse it? A similar dream in the 1950s later turned to nightmare, as India, Israel, Pakistan and South Africa and others until they were stopped bent the materials and technologies offered as “atoms for peace” to bomb-making. Many suspect Iran is misusing technology for enriching uranium and producing plutonium (ingredients in both reactor fuel and nuclear weapons). Anxious to head off imitators, some governments and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN’s nuclear guardian, have plans to guarantee fuel supplies: countries building civilian nuclear reactors would then have no need or excuse to dabble in such proliferation-prone technologies.

Economist 19th Mar 2009 more >>

Terror

Letter from Dr Keith Baverstock: It is difficult to understand how the threat of a dirty bomb could be higher now than it was three years ago (“UK faces greater threat of ‘dirty bomb’,” 25 March). Two components are required for such a bomb, explosive and a radioactive material. Both should be more difficult to obtain now than three years ago and if that is not the case then we should look for an explanation to the Government.

Independent 27th Mar 2009 more >>

Japan

A Japanese fire brigade lifted on Friday a ban on the use of flammables and other dangerous materials at a Tokyo Electric Power Co nuclear power plant, bringing the firm closer to restarting the plant closed for two years following the earthquake.

Yahoo 27th Mar 2009 more >>

North Korea

North Korea has warned that if the international community punishes it for next month’s planned missile launch, it will restart a nuclear plant that makes weapons-grade plutonium. This week, the secretive state put a long-range missile in place for a launch that the US has warned would violate UN sanctions. The planned launch, seen by many as a disguised military exercise, is the first big test for Barack Obama in dealing with the rogue state.

Independent 27th Mar 2009 more >>

North Korea has placed a long-range missile capable of reaching the US on a launch pad as the Stalinist state prepares for what it claims is a satellite launch in early April. A US official confirmed that Pyongyang had erected a Taepodong-2 intercontinental ballistic missile at its Musudan-ri site.

FT 27th Mar 2009 more >>

US

Exelon Corp, the nation’s largest nuclear plant operator, on Thursday said GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy will supply a more mature technology for two new reactors for a proposed nuclear plant in Texas.

Interactive Investor 26th Mar 2009 more >>

India

The 1,350-MW ABWR technology is the world’s only commercially proven Generation III reactor design, with the first two of four units entering service in 1996 and 1997 and four additional units under construction today. GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy has signed two agreements with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) as the companies prepare to collaborate on building multiple GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy-designed nuclear reactors to help meet India’s energy production goals.

Energy Business Review 26th Mar 2009 more >>

Canada

Emcor Group, a provider of electrical and mechanical construction and facilities services, has announced that its subsidiary Comstock Canada has received contracts from Bruce Power in connection with a major refurbishment of nuclear generators at the Bruce A nuclear power plant in Tiverton, Ontario.

Energy Business Review 26th Mar 2009 more >>

Renewables

Iberdrola Renewables will cut its British investment by more than 40 per cent, it was reported. The £300 million withdrawal could have paid for a wind farm capable of powering 200,000 homes.

Telegraph 26th Mar 2009 more >>

A Union of Concerned Scientists’ study has found that renewable energy is a major job generator because renewable energy investments largely go to labor intensive industries, such as manufacturing, installation, and maintenance. The study further points out that renewable energy industries such as wind energy exhibited remarkably strong growth last year despite the downturn in the economy. The number of people employed in the U.S. wind industry alone increased by over 240 percent in 2008, to 85,000 people.

Climate Progress 25th Mar 2009 more >>

Ministers were last night considering fresh incentives designed to spur investment in renewable energy amid evidence that the credit crunch is threatening government energy targets. The Energy Minister hit back at claims that the Government was failing to deliver on an ambitious plan to foster a green energy revolution by building thousands of onshore and offshore wind turbines. Mike O’Brien told a meeting of renewable-energy chiefs that he was determined that Britain would meet its goal of generating as much as 35 per cent of all UK electricity from wind, wave and solar power by 2020, up from less than 5 per cent at present. Responding to news of a further collapse in financing for the UK wind industry, he said that the Government was examining new ideas to increase investment, which has been hit by the recession as banks rein in lending and the price of conventional fuels plunges.

Times 27th Mar 2009 more >>

With its report arguing that we need to accelerate radically the building of onshore wind turbines in the UK, if necessary by easing up the planning system, it became part of the Government’s propaganda machine. Any developer facing the concerns of local conservationists has just been given a bazooka marked “RSPB” with which to destroy the opposition. By what right did it spend my money on commissioning a report from a body (part funded by the EU and Defra, incidentally) that will promote the interests of central government and the energy industry? Can we expect a report from the RSPB on nuclear power? It would be interesting to hear on what bird-related evidence it bases its opposition.

Independent 27th Mar 2009 more >>

Green New Deal

Fiscal stimulus on its own is simply not enough to justify the UK taking on long-term debt that it will have to pay for for decades to come in its taxes. The 2.5% cut in VAT is a classic example of a scattergun fiscal stimulus, weakly boosting consumption and retail profitabilty, but so diluted over the economy as a whole as to have little discernible effect – while adding about £12bn to the national debt. Instead we need to design a stimulus package that will deliver against a multiple bottom line. It has to bring the unemployed back into work, find a new role for manufacturing industries as buyers turn away from consumer goods from cars to computers; It has to improve human welfare, comfort and wellbeing. It has to improve the long-term competitiveness of the British economy, creating a margin of benefit from which future taxes necessary to pay off the debt taken on can be extracted. And it has to do all of this against a backdrop of climate change – rapidly reducing our emissions in line with the mandatory targets set in the Climate Act. These considerations lead to one firm conclusion: we need to invest in the new energy economy. Any new nuclear capacity will be slow to deliver, and will come at a high cost – as demonstrated by Finland’s failing nuclear experiment.

Guardian 25th Mar 2009 more >>

Nuclear Disarmament

Fixing the economy, withdrawing from Iraq, overtures to Iran, a plan for Afghanistan, a thaw with Moscow and a bargain with Beijing… I could go on. The issues on Barack Obama’s agenda rush by like station names seen from a fast-moving train. This is a US president who wants to do more than walk and chew gum. Mr Obama is poised to add further to this burgeoning list. He is turning his mind to nuclear disarmament, a challenge that has been recklessly neglected during the two decades since the end of the cold war. If he gets it right, he could transform the dynamics of global security.

FT 27th Mar 2009 more >>

The possibility of computer hackers gaining control of nuclear weapons poses a major threat to the stability of the world, former Cabinet minister Baroness Williams of Crosby warned today. Liberal Democrat Lady Williams, who is a director of the American group the Nuclear Threat Initiative, also called for an eventual reduction in the UK’s nuclear arsenal.

Metro 26th Mar 2009 more >>

Posted: 27 March 2009