News

Nuclear Transport

AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after a freight train carrying nuclear material ran a stop signal near to Kingussie on Friday night. The service was carrying spent fuel from the Dounreay Power Station to the decommissioning site at Sellafield, Cumbria. It came to a stop after travelling past a red light before being moved to a “position of safety” by concerned officials. Direct Rail Services (DRS), the company which handles shipments between the two sites on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), said they understand there was no risk of collision due to the error. However, concerns have been raised as to why a train loaded with radioactive material was allowed to sit there for almost two hours. An investigation has since been launched into the circumstances of the “highly-disturbing” incident. DRS has been transporting spent fuel between the two sites for a number of years. The material is taken from Dounreay to Georgemas Junction and loaded on to the train to Carlisle and then onto Sellafield. Tor Justad, chairperson of the Highlands Against Nuclear Transport group, said: “We’ve been campaigning for these shipments to be stopped and for the material to be kept on site. Storing nuclear material is hazardous enough but it’s when you go to transport it that accidents can happen. And obviously an incident like this is highly-disturbing. We know that low-level radiation is emitted from these canisters so to hear that the train was sitting at Kingussie for hours is concerning.”

Herald 16th July 2018 read more »

The annual Direct Rail Services Charity Open Day has become an important date in the railway year. Arrangements for the 2018 event, to be held at the DRS Gresty Bridge Depot in Crewe, promise to be every bit as great as past shows. The Open Day showcases one of Britain’s foremost railway operating companies, with a range of motive power present and past, technical demonstrations, trade and society stands and much more besides. Gresty Bridge Depot is a very easy 12 to 15 minute walk from Crewe station. For the first time, a special train will run from London Euston specially for the event, operated for UK Railtours by DRS and featuring both of their latest classes of locomotive, the powerful Class 68 diesel and the brand new Class 88.

UK Railtours (accessed) 17th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 July 2018

Hinkley

An Austrian appeal against the UK Government’s funding for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station has been dismissed by the EU court. The European Court of Justice ruled the government’s contribution to the new nuclear plant in Somerset – being developed by French utility EDF and China General Nuclear Power – does not violate EU rules. The Austrian Government had sought to overturn the decision as it argued the support contradicted EU policy of backing renewable forms of generation.

Energy Live News 16th July 2018 read more »

Chemistry World 16th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 July 2018

Euratom

Rebecca Harms , spokeswoman for the Greens / EFA Group in the European Parliament , comments on the European Court of Justice’s ruling that the EU Commission’s decision to grant aid to the United Kingdom for the construction of a nuclear reactor at the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant is legitimate . “The Euratom Treaty is a relic of the past and gives the high-risk nuclear technology with billion-dollar subsidies an unfair competitive advantage. The Euratom Treaty does not match the European requirements for clean energy and fair competition. We must end the distortion of competition in the European energy market, reform the Euratom Treaty and rely on the energy transition. ” Here you will find the report ” Pathways to a Euratom Reform ” on behalf of the Greens / EFA Group.

Rebecca Harms MEP 12th July 2018 read more »

Pathways to Euratom Reform by Dr. Dörte Fouquet.

Rebecca Harms (accessed) 17th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 July 2018

Energy Policy

A shake-up in carbon pricing policy so that UK taxpayers receive a direct annual dividend from an economy-wide carbon tax could level the playing-field for industry, help prevent carbon leakage, and boost public support for climate action, a new report from Policy Exchange will today argue. The centre-right think tank contends that taking a different approach to carbon pricing after the UK leaves the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) would help reduce the cost of decarbonisation across the economy and tackle the phenomenon of carbon leakage, whereby high carbon industries relocate to jurisdictions where carbon prices are lower or non-existent, negating any EU emissions savings.

Business Green 17th July 2018 read more »

The world’s energy watchdog has sounded the alarm over a “worrying” pause in the shift to clean energy after global investment in renewables fell 7% to $318bn (£240bn) last year. The International Energy Agency said the decline is set to continue into 2018, threatening energy security, climate change and air pollution goals. Fossil fuels increased their share of energy supply investment for the first time since 2014, to $790bn, and will play a significant role for years on current trends, the IEA said. Investment in coal power dropped sharply but was offset by an uptick in oil and gas spending, the World Energy Investment report found.

Guardian 17th July 2018 read more »

IGov Roundtable on putting people at the heart of the energy system, by Catherine Mitchell. Presentation to: putting people at the heart of the energy system, Citizens Advice, London, 10th July 2018.

IGov 17th July 2018 read more »

Putting people at the heart of the energy system, by Richard Hoggett. Presentation to: putting people at the heart of the energy system, Citizens Advice, London, 10th July 2018

IGov 17th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 July 2018

Plutonium

Japan has amassed enough plutonium to make 6,000 atomic bombs as part of a programme to fuel its nuclear plants, but concern is growing that the stockpile is vulnerable to terrorists and natural disasters. Japan has long been the world’s only non-nuclear-armed country with a programme to reprocess spent nuclear fuel from its power plants into plutonium. On Tuesday a decades-old deal with the United States which allows Japan to reprocess plutonium was renewed, but the pact can be terminated by either side with just six months’ notice. Plutonium reprocessing is meant to create a new and emissions-free fuel source for resource-poor Japan, but the size of its stockpile has started to attract criticism, even from allies.

Daily Mail 17th July 2018 read more »

Japan and the U.S. have extended their nuclear pact as Tokyo pledged to work to reduce its plutonium stockpile to address Washington’s concern. The 30-year pact agreed upon in 1988 allowed Japan to extract plutonium and enrich uranium for peaceful uses even though the same technology can make atomic bombs. Without either side requesting a review, the pact was extended Tuesday but now can be terminated by either side giving six months’ notice. Foreign Minister Taro Kono said Japan must reduce the stockpile to keep the pact in place stably. Japan has 47 tons of plutonium — enough to make 6,000 atomic bombs. Despite security concerns and Washington’s pressure, the amount isn’t decreasing due to slow restarts of reactors that can burn plutonium amid setbacks from the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Japan Today 17th July 2018 read more »

OPINION: How not to reduce Japan’s plutonium stockpile. Facing U.S. pressure and the expiration on July 16 of the initial term of the 1988 U.S.-Japan nuclear agreement, the Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) is expected to propose plans to reduce Japan’s massive 48-ton stockpile of unirradiated plutonium by boosting the use of plutonium mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel in nuclear power reactors. However, this plan directly contradicts the lessons from a yearlong study that I recently led of all countries that have commercially used or produced MOX for thermal nuclear power plants. We found that five of the seven countries had already abandoned MOX fuel due to concerns about economics, security, and public acceptance.

Kyodo News 13th July 2018 read more »

A new report claims that nuclear materials stolen from US Department of Energy (DOE) employees last year in Texas are still missing. The Center for Public Integrity (CPI) reports that plutonium and cesium were stolen from the officials’ car when they stayed overnight at a hotel. Authorities have not publicly commented on the theft, CPI reports, but a DOE official confirmed it to the BBC. A DOE official told the BBC the public is not at risk due to the theft. The security officials from the DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory had driven to San Antonio in March 2017 to collect nuclear materials from a research laboratory. They had in their possession radiation detectors and disks of plutonium and cesium to calibrate the devices to ensure they would collect the right materials from the laboratory.

BBC 17th July 2018 read more »

Center for Public Integrity 16th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 July 2018

SMRs

Bechtel, a global leader in engineering, procurement, construction, and project management, today announced it will join researchers from reactor designer GE Hitachi, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Exelon Power Generation Company as recipients of U.S. Department of Energy funding from its Advanced Nuclear Technology Development program. The research will investigate ways to efficiently build a plant using GE Hitachi’s BWRX-300 reactors. “We’re excited to participate in this effort to study ways to build new plants using SMRs,” said Mike Robinson, operations manager of Bechtel’s nuclear power group. “We’ll look at ways to bring innovation and modular technology to the project with the goal of reducing cost and schedule, which are key factors for companies and utilities examining SMRs.”

Markets Insider 16th July 2018 read more »

GE Hitachi Selected by U.S. Department of Energy to Lead Advanced Nuclear Technology Development Project for BWRX-300 with Exelon, Bechtel, HGNE and MIT. GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to lead a team of industry experts for an advanced nuclear technology development project.

Power Technology 16th July 2018 read more »

UK-based Moltex Energy will build a demonstration SSR-W (Stable Salt Reactor – Wasteburner) at the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant site in Canada under an agreement signed with the New Brunswick Energy Solutions Corporation and NB Power. Moltex becomes the second partner in a nuclear research cluster that will work on research and development of small modular reactor technology in the Canadian province.

World Nuclear News 16th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 July 2018

US – uranium

The uranium tailings spill at Church Rock, NM was the largest single release of radioactive contamination in US history. On July 16, 1979, the worst accidental release of radioactive waste in U.S. history happened at the Church Rock uranium mine and mill site. While the Three Mile Island accident (that same year) is well known, the enormous radioactive spill in New Mexico has been kept quiet. It is the U.S. nuclear accident that almost no one knows about. Just 14 weeks after the Three Mile Island reactor accident, and 34 years to the day after the Trinity atomic test, the small community of Church Rock, New Mexico became the scene of another nuclear tragedy. Ninety million gallons of liquid radioactive waste, and eleven hundred tons of solid mill wastes, burst through a broken dam wall at the Church Rock uranium mill facility, creating a flood of deadly effluents that permanently contaminated the Puerco River.

Beyond Nuclear 16th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 July 2018

Iran

New details from a trove of Iranian nuclear documents stolen by Israeli spies early this year show that Tehran obtained explicit weapons-design information from a foreign source and was on the cusp of mastering key bombmaking technologies when the research was ordered halted 15 years ago. Iran’s ambitious, highly secretive effort to build nuclear weapons included extensive research in making uranium metal as well as advanced testing of equipment used to generate neutrons to start a nuclear chain reaction, the documents show. While Iranian officials halted much of the work in 2003, internal memos show senior scientists making extensive plans to continue several projects in secret, hidden within existing military research programs.

Stars & Stripes 15th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 July 2018

Pakistan

Nuclear terrorism is a potential threat to the world security. Nuclear security expert Mathew Bunn argues that, “An act of nuclear terrorism would likely put an end to the growth and spread of nuclear energy.”After 9/11, the world came to know that al-Qaeda wanted to acquire nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has observed thousands of incidents of lost, left and unauthorised control of nuclear materials and such materials can go into the wrong hands. After 9/11, terrorism generated negative perceptions about the nuclear security of Pakistan. The western community often pressurises Pakistan that its nuclear weapons can go into the wrong hands. Nations mostly obtain nuclear weapons for the international prestige, but Pakistan is one of those states which obtained the nuclear capability to defend itself from India which has supremacy in conventional weapons.

Daily Times 16th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 July 2018

Germany

German wholesale power prices for August are up sharply pointing to potential output reductions by some nuclear reactors in the country which rely on water to keep them cool, traders said on Monday. With the weather forecast to be warmer than normal in August traders see “water cooling issues” as an issue for the nuclear power plants. “The first nukes are scaling down already …… due to cooling water issues,” one trader said. August delivery German baseload power was up 3.4 percent at 49.1 euros a megawatt hour (MWh), Thomson Reuters data showed on Monday.

Reuters 16th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 July 2018