News

26 February 2012

Opinion Polls

After Fukushima support for the technology in the UK tumbled by 11 percentage points to stand at a record low of 36 per cent last June, according to a survey by Ipsos MORI. “Always, when you get a major disaster, people instantly stand back with a lot of antipathy,” says Angelos Anastasiou, an analyst at Investec. “But it doesn’t usually last.” He’s right: in the UK and much of the rest of the world, it didn’t. Almost as quickly as the opposition to nuclear power had increased, it evaporated, more or less in line with television coverage of the disaster. In fact, according to a poll taken in December and published last month, UK support for nuclear had not only rebounded, but actually hit a record of 50 per cent. It was as if the relationship had emerged stronger as a result of the doubt.

Independent 26th Feb 2012 more >>

New Nukes

Centrica is the only UK energy generator proposing to invest in the next generation of nuclear power but has yet to make a final decision. Its chief executive, Sam Laidlaw, says: “It is vital that the Government provides the clarity and assurance that will be needed if the [nuclear] industry is to step up and deliver the massive investment that the country requires.” Two government decisions will be crucial. The first relates to the level of “price support” that nuclear power generators can expect to get. The other is the “carbon floor price”, to be introduced in April next year. This will determine the minimum amount that the big coal and gas power plants must pay for their carbon emissions, which, in turn, will influence the price of electricity – and which will dictate the profits made by low-emissions nuclear power plants and, in turn, their viability.

Independent 26th Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Taxpayers will not have to foot the £2.3m research costs into a proposed nuclear plant at Hinkley Point, Sedgemoor District Council has pledged. The authority has voted to freeze council tax bill levels by not building in the costs of the research. The council said it would review the planning application and has renewed calls for developer EDF to pay for it EDF Energy has denied accusations it has refused to provide funds and said it is prepared to pay reasonable costs.

BBC 25th Feb 2012 more >>

Western Daily Press 25th Feb 2012 more >>

Burnham-on-sea 24th Feb 2012 more >>

Anti-nuclear activists begin their 13th day occupying a barn on the site of the proposed new Hinkley C nuclear power station today as they prepare to resist legal action to evict them. French firm EDF Energy is seeking possession of the site and an injunction preventing a return. A hearing is expected in the High Court of Justice in London on Monday.

Western Daily Press 25th Feb 2012 more >>

Energy Prices

Millions of families are paying up to £330 a year more for their gas and electricity than neighbours who consume the same amount, because of anti-competitive practices by the country’s biggest suppliers, research has found. The findings – after a week in which Centrica, the owner of British Gas, posted record profits of £2.4bn – will increase the pressure on ministers and the energy regulator, Ofgem, to act to ensure that all customers are offered the cheapest available tariffs.

Observer 26th Feb 2012 more >>

Dounreay

A PIECE of radioactive fuel with potentially “significant” health risks has turned up on a beach in Caithness. Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL) confirmed on Monday that it had recovered a particle – thought to have originally come from the Prototype Fast Reactor – from the water’s edge at Sandside beach in Reay. If confirmed by further testing it will be the first time a radioactive speck of this category has been discovered on public land locally – with its unusual chemical make-up also raising questions. DSRL’s head of communication Colin Punler explained that it has informed the Scottish Environment Protection Agency that additional tests are being carried after it was noted that the particle was twice as “hot” as the previous highest find since beach monitoring started nearly 20 years ago.

John O Groat Journal 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

Iran has warned Israel against mounting an attack on its nuclear facilities amid rising international tension over its uranium enrichment programme. General Ahmad Vahidi issued a statement warning Israel that an attack would lead to the collapse of the Jewish state.

Guardian 25th Feb 2012 more >>

Trident

A cut-price nuclear deterrent is being considered by defence chiefs as part of a concession to the Liberal Democrats. One option would see submarines equipped with nuclear-armed cruise missiles replacing the more effective Trident deterrent. Such a step would dramatically shorten the range of Britain’s nuclear missiles and increase the risk of its submarines being detected or the cruise missiles being shot down. But some experts say it could halve the £25 billion cost of a building a new fleet of Trident nuclear missile submarines, which is the government’s current plan. The government review into options other than Trident is being led by the Cabinet Office but overseen by Nick Harvey, the Lib Dem defence minister. Lib Dem MPs are confident its findings will allow them go into the 2015 general election with a credible alternative to renewing Trident.

Sunday Times 26th Feb 2012 more >>

Shale Gas

Fracking – the extraction of shale gas – was halted last year after it was linked to a series of tremors in Lancashire. Drilling companies hope a decision due soon will allow them to restart operations. But protesters say fracking can lead to water contamination, methane leaks and animals dying.

Guardian 25th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 26 February 2012

25 February 2012

Radwaste

IT’S JUST like West Cumbria – only with lots more hot sunshine. That’s Carlsbad in New Mexico, a place where, when mining declined, nuclear took over. It was not exactly a rags-to-riches story, but billions of United States government dollars have since flowed into Carlsbad transforming the old mining town. The comparison with West Cumbria is significant: a once prosperous coalfield area until all the pits closed and where nuclear is now king, Carlsbad is home to WIPP, the world’s only underground nuclear waste repository. Soon West Cumbria is likely to be at the heart of a search for the UK equivalent of a place in which to bury Britain’s highly radioactive materials. An opinion poll will shortly be launched soon to test Cumbrian attitudes.

Cumberland News 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Low Level Waste

A pledge has been given that extra monitoring will be carried out at a low-level nuclear waste dump in the north of the county. The assurance was given by MP Bob Neill, minister responsible for planning at the Department for Communities and Local Government, following a meeting with Corby and East Northamptonshire MP Louise Mensch. Since an appeal against plans to allow Augean to dispose of waste at the site in King’s Cliffe was lost in the High Court in January, the MP has been calling for better monitoring of the site.

Evening Telegraph 24th Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Although discussions with EDF have not yet been concluded, on Friday, February 24, Sedgemoor District Council agreed to set its proportion of council tax at 0%, thereby freezing the rate.

This is the West Country 24th Feb 2012 more >>

DC CABE has given YRM’s £10 billion Hinkley Point C nuclear reactor scheme a glowing design review

Architects Journal 24th Feb 2012 more >>

ONR

Two executives at the nuclear regulator have lost their jobs after ministers discovered they were being paid through private companies rather than via the staff payroll. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) last night confirmed that two of its senior managers were paid through service companies, and were losing their contracts with the ONR. It comes amid a review by Danny Alexander, the chief secretary to the treasury, into the number of bureaucrats who are paid through tax efficient private firms. Being paid through a private company can save a contractor thousands of pounds in tax because they would be taxed in part at the corporation tax rate of 21 per cent rather than the income tax rate of up to 50 per cent.

Telegraph 24th Feb 2012 more >>

Guardian 24th Feb 2012 more >>

Scotland

The company, previously known as Scottish & Southern Energy, said it will honour existing investments in Scotland but the uncertainty created by the 2014 referendum could hamper future plans until the question of independence is settled.

Telegraph 24th Feb 2012 more >>

France

French export hopes dim: We’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami — and, with it, the end of the toughest year the nuclear power industry’s had in a good long while. Since January of last year, the number of reactors online around the world has fallen sharply and raised sharp questions about what was looking for a while there like a nuclear power rennaissance of sorts. No country counted more on that revival than France

Market Place World 9th Jan 2012 more >>

Japan

A panel of experts reviewing Japan’s nuclear fuel cycle policy in the wake of last year’s nuclear accident agreed Thursday that while a fuel cycle involving a fast-breeder reactor has some advantages, it cannot be considered as a realistic option for the next 20 to 30 years from a technological viewpoint.

Mainichi 24th Feb 2012 more >>

Fukushima update 17th – 20th Feb.

Greenpeace International 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Fukushima Update 21st – 23rd Feb.

Greenpeace International 24th Feb 2012 more >>

The government on Friday said some areas surrounding the Fukushima nuclear power plant that was wrecked last year by a massive tsunami will likely remain permanently unlivable. Measurements taken between November and January confirm earlier results which show a level of radioactivity of 470 millisierverts per year when the average, under normal conditions, is less than one per year, according to a government report released Friday. Some of the highest readings were taken in the town of Futaba, to the northwest of the plant wrecked on March 11.

Japan Today 25th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

Iran failed to co-operate with UN nuclear officials during two sets of talks in Tehran over the past month, the UN’s watchdog has said in a report. The International Atomic Energy Agency said that Tehran had not cleared up questions about possible military aspects of its nuclear programme. The agency also said Iran had stepped up uranium enrichment in recent months.

BBC 24th Feb 2012 more >>

IRAN must address “serious concerns” about “possible military dimensions” to its nuclear programme after significantly escalating its ability to enrich uranium, the International Atomic Energy Agency said yesterday.

Telegraph 24th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran expanding its controversial nuclear activity, warns leaked UN report.

Daily Mail 25th Feb 2012 more >>

Independent 25th Feb 2012 more >>

Guardian 24th Feb 2012 more >>

Oil prices surged on Friday as the UN’s nuclear watchdog said Iran had significantly increased its production of higher-grade uranium over the past six months and had failed to dispel concerns that it was pursuing atomic weapons. Amid growing fears that Iran’s nuclear programme could prompt a military attack by Israel later this year, the International Atomic Energy Agency produced a detailed report into the state of Tehran’s nuclear programme which suggested it has ramped up the production of uranium close to weapons grade.

FT 25th Feb 2012 more >>

The Iranians stalled on even discussing a document setting out how “unresolved issues” relating to the “possible military dimensions” of the nuclear programme might be clarified.

Economist 25th Feb 2012 more >>

Lithuania

Lithuania’s planned nuclear power plant will cost as much as $6.5 billion, making it the biggest investment in the Baltic country since independence from the Soviet Union 22 years ago. Lithuania plans to control 34 percent of the plant, while Estonia, Latvia and Poland would each take a 20 percent stake, with the remaining 6 percent paid by companies leasing the atomic technology, Vytautas Nauduzas, a Lithuanian ambassador for energy and transport policy, said yesterday in an interview in London.

Bloomberg 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

US

After the Fukushima disaster, Germany ditched nuclear power. So why has the US stopped worrying and learned to love nukes?

Guardian 24th Feb 2012 more >>

India

Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh has said that groups protesting the start-up of two new reactors at Kudankulam don’t understand the energy situation in India and are based in foreign countries.

World Nuclear News 24th Feb 2012 more >>

BBC 24th Feb 2012 more >>

India has shut down three aid organizations it says were diverting foreign funds to anti-nuclear protests.

Washington Post 25th Feb 2012 more >>

New Nuclear Countries

At least five countries will start work on their first nuclear reactors this year despite the jolt to international confidence caused by the Fukushima disaster, a top U.N. nuclear official said Friday. “We expect that this year Vietnam, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Belarus will start building their first nuclear power plants,” Kwaku Aning, deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told a forum in New York. He said Jordan and Saudi Arabia could follow in 2013.

Japan Today 25th Feb 2012 more >>

Saudi Arabia

Both Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council maintain that they want a WMD-free Middle East. However, key members of the Saudi royal elite have recently signalled that if Iran develops a nuclear weapon, then Saudi Arabia will get one too. Speaking of signalling, they have also long indicated that if Israel were to overfly the desert kingdom to bomb Iranian nuclear sites, they would temporarily turn their radars off. Saudi Arabia has signed nuclear technology agreements with several states: China, France, Argentina and South Korea, in order to address its need for research reactors, nuclear power plants and so forth.

Daily Mail 24th Feb 2012 more >>

UAE

EnergySolutions has been awarded a four-year contract to design and supply waste management systems for the United Arab Emirates’ first nuclear power plant at Braka. Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) plans four APR14000 reactors at the site, which will be built a Korean-led consortium.

Nuclear Engineering International 24th Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

The World War Three files: For 30 years the papers have been kept secret. Now, the extraordinary story of how Whitehall drew up terrifyingly detailed plans for nuclear armageddon can finally be revealed

Daily Mail 25th Feb 2012 more >>

Microgeneration

This week’s Micro Power News: Government confirms Supreme Court Solar Appeal and other news.

Microgen Scotland 24th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 25 February 2012

24 February 2012

Radwaste

A study has called for a communications campaign to promote Cumbria if it decides to house a new underground nuclear repository. A series of consultation meetings are currently underway across the county into whether it wants to be considered as a site for the dump for higher-activity radioactive waste. The West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership commissioned two agencies – Sedley Place and The Communications Group – to look at what could be done to offset any risk of negative perceptions if west Cumbria does take part.

Cumberland News 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

A STUDY has recommended ways to mitigate against any possible negative perceptions of the county if West Cumbria takes part in the Government’s search for a suitable site for an underground repository for higher-activity radioactive waste.

Whitehaven News 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Letter: Why not simply save taxpayer money (Coun Woodburn has revealed that MRWS has so far cost £1million) by having a Copeland-only referendum NOW. Why not? Because it could mean the end of this MRWS consultation for without Copeland there is no site! Why are they consulting Cumbrians outside Copeland? So as to try to engineer a ‘YES’ result with people who will not have to suffer the consequences maybe? Windscale became Sellafield, Nirex became the NDA. Why? To hopefully distance the MRWS from the past failure and rejection of NIREX by the previous generation, councillors included, on the very same subject and her playing the patriotic card is only a sign of her arrogance and MRWS’s desperation.

Whitehaven News 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Letter: It cannot be considered a democratic process if every Copeland councillor will have a vote to decide whether to move to Stage 4 and enter the siting process, yet with Allerdale, only seven councillors (the Executive) will decide the issue for Allerdale voters. This decision will affect this area and future generations for thousands of years. I urge local people to communicate their opposition of this unfair situation to their local and borough councillors.

Whitehaven News 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

We have been assured that the Nirex proposals for a rock characterisation facility were not rejected at the inquiry on safety grounds. However, I quote the retired inspector, Mr Chris McDonald, from The Whitehaven News , July 5 2007. On Longlands Farm, Mr McDonald said: “The site selection process was flawed, not treating safety as the most important factor and irrationally affected by a strong desire to locate close to Sellafield.

Whitehaven News 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Letter Jill Perry: councils in other areas seem to think the dump is a done deal and can be used to justify their pursuit of new nuclear power stations. Essex County Council’s plans for waste disposal expose the Council’s apparent ignorance over national plans for dealing with radioactive wastes. It claims that Intermediate Level Waste already on site will eventually be “exported to the National Repository for Radioactive waste in Cumbria”. Later, the document talks about these and any future wastes arising from new build going to the new national geological radioactive waste repository.

Whitehaven News 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Dounreay

Dounreay clean-up contractor DSRL has informed the Scottish Environment Protection Agency of additional tests being carried out on a particle recovered during routine monitoring of a beach near the redundant nuclear site. The particle was detected in the water’s edge at Sandside. Checks carried out on the beach indicated the particle had higher than normal beta dose rate. Initial laboratory analysis carried out at Dounreay showed: Low Caesium-137 content; Niobium-94; High beta dose rate suspected to be from Strontium-90.

DSRL 20th Feb 2012 more >>

The future of the remaining ‘exotic’ fuels and nuclear materials at Dounreay is being considered by the NDA who have today published a paper outlining two options for the material. The paper puts forwards two options for the material: continue to manage the ‘exotics’ at Dounreay; or transport the ‘exotics’ to Sellafield for management. The paper is open to comment until March 23.

DSRL 7th Feb 2012 more >>

Wylfa

Plaid’s members will vote for a replacement for outgoing leader Ieuan Wyn Jones next month. “We need to capitalise on the number of skilled workers at the former Trawsfynydd nuclear power station and at Wylfa, and develop an industry around them. This could kick-start the national economy.” With election rivals Elin Jones and Leanne Wood both on record as against nuclear power, he added: “It’s not just the former mining industries that we should be supporting. Creating jobs in these industries will also help safeguard the future of the Welsh language.”

Caernarfon Herald 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

The Stop New Nuclear alliance has reacted with outrage at EDF Energy’s attempts to restrict peaceful protest against a proposed new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset. The French firm is seeking an injunction which would limit current and future protests at the controversial site, which has faced fierce local and national opposition. The move comes ahead of major demonstrations planned for 10-11th March, which Stop New Nuclear have said will still be going ahead. For the last eleven days anti-nuclear activists have occupied a barn on the site proposed for two new mega-reactors. This injunction is being sought to remove these campaigners, but it is simultaneously designed to restrict future demonstrations. The Orwellian language even prohibits campaigning groups from ‘encouraging other persons’ to protest at the site. The Fukushima catastrophe is just the most recent example of the dangers of nuclear power, and public opposition to nuclear new builds is on the rise. While the UK and France are planning the next generation of nuclear power stations, states like Germany are leading the way in forging a nuclear-free future. Speaking on behalf of the Stop New Nuclear alliance, Kate Hudson from CND stated “It should be inconceivable that private companies could restrict basic civil liberties in this way. They are not the arbiters of the nuclear debate, nor the guarantors of our freedoms. We will fight to ensure the rights of future generations to peaceful protest and to preserve essential democratic principles.”

Stop New Nuclear 24th Feb 2012 more >>

EDF Energy stopped its 480-megawatt (MW) Hinkley Point B7 nuclear reactor on Wednesday evening to repair a hydraulic fluid leak, the company said.

Reuters 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Enformable 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

A TRANSPORT study over the proposed Hinkley Point C development will be open for debate at a council meeting next week. Sedgemoor District Council is set to receive the detailed findings of the independent transport study and will discuss them on 27th Feb.

Burnham & Highbridge Weekly News 24th Feb 2012 more >>

Sedgemoor District Council and energy giant EdF were this week urgently trying to settle a row that threatens to derail the planning application for the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. EdF and Sedgemoor are locked in a battle over who should pay for the council’s continuing work to scrutinise EdF’s Hinkley Point C planning application.

New Civil Engineer 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Sedgemoor District Council’s council tax has not been set, the authority citing “very real concerns” about paying to scrutinise EDF’s nuclear power station plan. The council says it is adamant local taxpayers’ money should not pay for officers to analyse the £10 billion Hinkley Point C plan. The money instead should come from EDF. Council leader Duncan McGinty said: “It is entirely improper that we use extremely scarce public money to fund the development process relating to a privately owned commercial asset of a company which is expected to reveal profits of £3.8 billion.”

Wells Journal 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Bridgwater is on the brink of an industrial renaissance thanks to numerous large development projects, say property experts. Massive investment projects such as Hinkley Point C, the Morrison’s Distribution Centre and the Bridgwater Gateway development are fuelling the Somerset town’s economy.

Western Daily Press 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Protesters have taken possession of Langborough Farm, proposed site of the controversial Nuclear power station Hinkley C.

You Tube 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Trawsfynydd

THE architect who designed Trawsfynydd power station is one of several distinguished people celebrated on a new set of stamps issued today. Sir Basil Spence was most noted for his work on Coventry Cathedral. Ten stamps are published, featuring distinguished individuals from the worlds of science, technology, architecture, politics and the arts.

Daily Post 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Supply Chain

Rolls-Royce has entered an agreement to assist AREVA in the deployment of nuclear reactors, with this deal also expected to generate a large number of engineering jobs. Under this agreement, Rolls-Royce will manufacture complex components for and provide engineering and technical services in support of the first of two European pressurised reactors (EPRs) being installed at the new Hinkley Point plant in Somerset.

Career Structure 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Energy Security

How can fossil fuels and uranium be kept in the ground and agrofuels off the land in ways that do not inflict suffering upon millions? Mainstream policy responses to these issues are largely framed in terms of “energy security”. Yet far from making energy supplies more secure, such policies are triggering a cascade of new insecurities for millions of people. This report considers the pitfalls of “energy security”, both as policy and as rhetoric.

Corner House 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Big Six

Iberdrola, Spain’s largest utility by value, issued a profit warning after a sharp fall in demand for power in Spain and the UK could not be offset by growth in Brazil. Iberdrola said on Thursday that while it had previously expected recurring net profit to grow between 5 and 9 per cent between 2010 and 2012, it would now grow less than 5 per cent a year. Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation had also been expected to grow between 5 and 9 per cent a year, and Iberdrola said this measure would now come in at the bottom of this range.

FT 24th Feb 2012 more >>

Crucial investment in new power plants needed to keep the UK’s lights on is at risk unless the Government acts quickly to clarify its energy policy, Centrica said. The warning came as the energy giant reported a 55pc slump in pre-tax profits, to £1.27bn, down to one-off losses, including a £226m impairment related to shutting two UK power stations. It revealed it was scrapping a planned gas storage facility, and that it had cut 2,300 jobs worldwide – more than previously announced. “It is vital that the Government provides the clarity and assurance that will be needed if the industry is to step up and deliver the massive investment – an estimated £200bn in total by 2020 – that the country requires,” he said. There was “much detail to be resolved” on Electricity Market Reform (EMR) proposals, which must ensure there is sufficient gas-fired power capacity to help meet energy demand when old coal and nuclear power stations shut from 2016. Mr Laidlaw revealed doubts about whether an investment decision on a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point would be taken this year. Centrica has the option of a 20pc stake in the project, led by state-run French energy giant EDF, whose management is likely to be replaced if Francois Hollande wins the French election. “EDF… are the experts on French politics but clearly that is a potential risk,” he said.

Telegraph 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

Operators of Japan’s damaged nuclear power plant in Fukushima have unveiled plans to cover a vast swathe of seabed with cement to prevent the spread of radiation. An area of 786,000 sq ft at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean just in front of the nuclear power plant, in northeast Japan, will be covered with a thick layer of clay-cement compound. The move to lay down concrete across a space, which is the equivalent of 10 football pitches, is designed to prevent radiation contamination spreading further into the ocean.

Telegraph 24th Feb 2012 more >>

The wind-power farm at Rokkasho has sprung up close to Japan’s first nuclear reprocessing plant, a Lego-like complex of windowless buildings and steel towers, which was supposed to have started up 15 years ago but is only now nearing completion. Dogged by persistent technical problems, it is designed to recycle spent nuclear fuel and partly address a glaring weakness in Japan’s bid to restore confidence in the industry, shredded last year when a quake and tsunami wrecked the Fukushima Daiichi power station to the south, triggering radioactive leaks and mass evacuations. But the Rokkasho project is too little, too late, according to critics who say Japan is running so short of nuclear-waste storage that the entire industry risks shutdown within the next two decades unless a solution is found. As Japan approaches the anniversary of the March 11 quake, the nuclear power industry, which just over a year ago supplied a third of its power, is virtually paralyzed. All but two of the country’s 54 reactors are offline. The reactors have steadily been shut down for maintenance, unable to restart until they meet new stress tests. Effectively, though, the utilities have to do more than pass stress tests; they have to finally convince local governments that the waste problems will be resolved, not continue to mount up inside power plants lined up along the Japanese coast like radioactive warehouses, exposed to the risk of tsunamis.

Reuters 24th Feb 2012 more >>

Japan said on Friday it plans to strengthen security at nuclear power plants following recommendations from the International Atomic Energy Agency, a month before a nuclear security summit in neighbouring South Korea.

Reuters 24th Feb 2012 more >>

UAE

EnergySolutions has been awarded a four-year contract with Korea Electric Power Corp. to design and supply waste management systems for the United Arab Emirates nuclear energy program, EnergySolutions said February 23. The contract, worth more than $5 million, will see EnergySolutions supply liquid waste processing equipment, including ion exchange and reverse osmosis systems, to reduce levels of contamination and waste at the UAE new build site.

i-Nuclear.com 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

Some are warning that an Iran with a nuke would automatically trigger nuclear proliferation throughout the greater Middle East – an Egyptian, Turkish, Saudi bomb. Such societies, it is claimed, would be incapable of the sophisticated US and Soviet command and control mechanisms which were used to prevent accidents – and worse – during the Cold War.

Daily Mail 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Submarines

City leaders have called for the Ministry of Defence to remove nuclear submarines from the Firth of Forth and dismantle them in the south of England. The MoD is holding a consultation on its options for the seven nuclear submarines that it stores at Rosyth Dockyard. And the city council is to submit a response urging the UK Government to move them to Devonport in Plymouth – where other vessels are stored – and start the process of dismantling them there. Concerns have been raised about the potential danger of the nuclear decontamination process and the negative impact on the Firth of Forth’s image if the subs remain at Rosyth. There are also fears that Rosyth could see a repeat of the nuclear contamination at Dalgety Bay in Fife, which is thought to have been caused by dumped Second World War aircraft. But political opponents said the council’s preferred option, which will now be formally submitted to the MoD, would mean the Edinburgh area

Edinburgh Evening News 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Green Deal

Fears are growing that the timetable for rolling out the government’s Green Deal energy efficiency scheme may have slipped, with Whitehall officials no longer committing to the stated October implementation date. In recent months officials have started describing the launch of the programme as happening “before the end of the year” in meetings with stakeholders.

Building 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Face to face meetings with residents are the only way to increase take-up of the Green Deal and ensure the government meets its carbon savings target, experts have claimed. The claim is based on evidence from a community-based energy efficiency pilot project, which achieved a 100% take-up.

Building 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Shale Gas

The Government’s energy plans could cost the UK billions of pounds if a shale gas boom brings down the price of gas because current policy is predicated on high prices, a think tank has warned. Policy Exchange argued that the government’s “flawed strategy towards the electricity generation market” is “unnecessarily gambling with bill-payers’ money”. “The view that future gas prices are likely to be high was a key driver of the government’s Electricity Market Reform (EMR) proposals,” it said. “No one can predict future gas prices but shale gas developments suggest prices may be lower than previously assumed.”

Telegraph 24th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 24 February 2012

23 February 2012

Nuclear Subsidy

Ahead of next month’s budget, business representatives are calling on the Chancellor to reduce taxes on carbon-emitting industries, support nuclear power and to merge the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) and Climate Change Levy (CCL). The CBI’s director, John Cridland, has written to Number 11 with a shopping list of items he would like to see George Osborne announce in his Budget on 21 March. Near the top is a request for capital allowances to be applicable to investments in infrastructure which are currently not eligible; foremost among the list of examples is the building of nuclear power structures, as well as waste treatment structures and airport terminals. It says that giving tax relief to the building of new nuclear power stations would reduce their cost by up to £30 million.

Energy & Environmental Management 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

PLEX

The UK’s ageing nuclear reactors look likely to have their lives extended beyond the mid-2020s as the country looks to tackle a looming energy gap, energy minister Charles Hendry said today. Of the UK’s 19 reactors, only Sizewell B in Suffolk is currently scheduled to keep running beyond the middle of the next decade, leading to plans for 16GW of new plants at eight sites across the country. However, Hendry today told a conference in London that several existing reactors would have to have their lives extended to provide more time for new low carbon energy capacity to be built. He said the UK’s deregulated electricity market had not produced enough capacity to replace the fossil fuel and nuclear plants that are due to be switched off over the next 10 years, while at the same time dealing with a predicted doubling in demand for electricity over the next 30 to 40 years.

Business Green 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

New Nukes

Local opposition is something of an occupational hazard in new nuclear programmes. That is why developers should spare no efforts in trying to build relations with the community. Horizon Nuclear Power’s first ‘public information surgery’ on plans for a new nuclear power station at Wylfa, Anglesey, UK, could hardly have been better timed. Two days earlier, up to 300 demonstrators had taken to the streets in nearby Llangefni to protest against the project. There is no suggestion the two events were linked. But the incident neatly underscores the need for nuclear developers to tread carefully around the whole issue of community relations and new-build programmes. The Wylfa development is not even particularly contentious. “We’ve got wide political and public support,” states Leon Flexman, head of communications at Horizon. “Any surveys you care to look at repeatedly show that’s the case, and we are very grateful for that.”

Nuclear Insider 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

The Cameron-Sarkozy pact can’t put the wheels back on the nuclear gravy train.

Greenpeace UK 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Radwaste

A series of events are taking place alongside the exhibition and include: Saturday 10th March Walk to the top of Scafell To experience something of the scale of 1000 metres deep – Scafell Pike is 978 metres high. We will be accompanied an experienced mountaineer – but the walk is at people’s own risk.

Rock Solid Expo 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

It has been confirmed that Keswick Town Council has, rather bizarrely given the town’s reputation as tourist hot spot, voted to carry on the government ‘steps towards geological disposal.’ The vote was 5 for and 5 against with the town’s mayor throwing the casting vote while talking about the jobs that a geological disposal facility would bring. This contrasts starkly with the emphatic NO from Cockermouth Town Council, and Seaton and Above Derwent Parish Councils who have cited the threat to jobs in tourism and agriculture as just one of the very good reasons to say No. Tourism alone is worth 2bn per year to the Cumbrian economy with over 32,000 direct jobs in contrast to the nuclear industry. The combined civil nuclear workforce in the whole of the North West including Heysham is around 23,000.

Radiation Free Lakeland 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Save Our Lake District – Don’t Dump Cumbria! today has learned that 3 local Councils have decided against going into the next stage of the search for a nuclear dump site. The decisions put down a clear challenge to the very basis of the government’s proposals – the idea that West Cumbria is a ‘willing community’.

Save Our Lake District 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Electricite de France SA’s Hinkley Point nuclear power station in southwest England will next month be targeted by protestors against new reactors in the U.K. The Stop New Nuclear Alliance, a grouping of campaigners who oppose nuclear power stations, plans to blockade the station for 24 hours from about 5 p.m. on March 11, Zoe Smith, a campaigner helping arrange the protest, said by telephone from Bristol today. Protesters will gather at the site from midday, she said.

Bloomberg 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

This is the West Country 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

A VOTE of no confidence in a Hinkley C consultation panel was passed by a parish council whose community will bear the brunt of the development. At a meeting in Stogursey last Wednesday, councillors carried a vote of no confidence in the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) Panel by an overwhelming majority after the parish was not granted an open floor hearing. The hearings are designed to give local people the chance to air their concerns but so far will take place only in the parishes of Combwich and Cannington.

This is the West Country 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Supply Chain

SolidCAM UK has become a Tier 2 member of the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC), allowing SolidCAM UK to become a supplier of choice to the global civil nuclear industry.

Machinery.co.uk 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Energy Costs

British Gas owner Centrica will announce bumper profits today with analysts predicting they’ll climb 4 per cent to £2.5bn. But as senior bosses at the firm celebrate their massive bonuses, fuel poverty campaigners say it’s time to call the big energy firm to account.

Independent 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Energy Supply

Energy regulator Ofgem has strengthened plans intended to aid small energy suppliers, proposing that the Big Six companies should be forced to auction a quarter of the energy they generate.

Telegraph 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Germany

A legal battle over a tax on uranium and plutonium that was put in place last year to fund Germany’s transition away from nuclear power and fossil fuels to renewable energy is the latest twist in the country’s nuclear saga, says David Stellfox.

Utility Week 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

The Japan National Press Club hosts Arnie Gundersen. Over 80 journalists were present where questions were asked regarding the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi and the ongoing risks associated with the GE Mark 1 BWR nuclear reactors. (video)

Fairwinds 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Tohoku Electric Power is preparing to re-open the Japanese bond markets for nuclear power companies, a year after operators were frozen out by the Fukushima disaster. The utility will offer bonds next month to raise funds for the restoration of power plants damaged in the disaster last year. Since then, Tohoku – along with eight of the other nine electric utilities serving Japan’s regions – has been shut out of public debt markets, unable to raise any finance except bank loans or short-term commercial paper, both at significant premiums to pre-crisis rates.

FT 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Radioactive elements from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant have been detected in seawater and marine organisms up to 600km from Japan.

BBC 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

India

India’s commitment to nuclear energy remains strong as the country looks ahead to decades of sustained growth, New Delhi conference delegates have been told by leaders of the country’s program.

World Nuclear News 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

US

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission released a collection of transcripts of internal conference calls held in the initial hours after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in the earthquake in Japan, which reveal a sense of urgency and confusion that the situation generated.

IB Times 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

In the days after Japan’s 2011 nuclear accident, the U.S. surprised the world by ordering a 50-mile evacuation zone for U.S. citizens, far larger than Japan’s own zone. That sowed fear and created tension with one of the U.S.’s closest allies. Now, almost a year after the accident, newly released transcripts of discussions by U.S. officials give the clearest picture yet of how that move was based at least in part on faulty information about whether spent fuel rods in one reactor had been exposed.

Wall Street Journal 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Korea

US and North Korean officials are meeting in Beijing for talks on Pyongyang’s nuclear programme. The talks are the first since the death in December of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. The US says it wants to find out if the new leader, his son Kim Jong-un, is willing to discuss giving up North Korea’s nuclear weapons.

BBC 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, has said the country’s nuclear course would not change regardless of international sanctions, assassinations or other pressures.

Telegraph 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

THE United Nations’ nuclear watchdog has ended its latest mission to Iran after talks on Tehran’s suspected secret atomic weapons programme failed. The setback is likely to increase the risk of a confrontation with the West over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Scotsman 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Independent 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Guardian 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Kuwait

Kuwait is no longer pursuing nuclear power following the disaster in Japan, scrapping a plan last July to build four reactors by 2022, officials of a Kuwaiti government research body said Tuesday.

Japan Times 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

A SPACE-BASED nuclear attack on Britain is “quite likely”, according to a Conservative MP. Such an explosion would create an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) which would knock out electrical systems and make it very difficult to live in cities.

The Week 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

BBC 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Iran’s nuclear prowess is growing, fuelling a range of global tensions. Are scientists’ abilities to sniff out covert nuclear weapons tests keeping up? Two new techniques could at least make it harder for countries to develop nuclear weapons on the sly.

New Scientist 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Renewables

It first caused a stink in Ambridge. Now, thanks to an unusual alliance of the Prince of Wales, Lord Rothschild, Sainsbury’s and Fajr Capital, an investment fund focused on Muslim markets, anaerobic digestion could be coming to a village near you. They are among investors putting £65 million into a start-up company that will turn food waste into green energy. Tamar Energy plans to build 40 “anaerobic digestion” plants in the UK, which will be fuelled by the likes of potato peelings, chicken litter and household kitchen waste. Also investing is Sustainable Technology Investments, a renewable energy fund set up by Stephen Lansdown, the co-founder of Hargreaves Lansdown.

Times 23rd Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 23 February 2012

22 February 2012

New Nukes

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) Chair Councillor Brian Goodall has written today to the Chairs of the UK Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee, Joan Walley MP, and the Public Administration Committee, Bernard Jenkin MP; to consider a new report that questions the information provided to Parliament when approving two of the National Policy Energy Statements.

NFLA Press Release 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

On Saturday 10th March, there will be a peaceful action afternoon at Hinkley Point. The plan is to make a human chain around the site.

Stop Hinkley Newsletter February 2012 more >>

A FIERCE row has broken out between bosses at Sedgemoor District Council and Hinkley Point operators EDF Energy over the cost of researching plans for the planned new nuclear plant. The authority last week delayed setting its council tax, claiming it needs clarity from EDF over whether it will pay the council £2.3million to meet the costs of scrutinising its power plant application.

This is the West Country 21st Feb 2012 more >>

BOSSES at EDF Energy have served a legal notice to evict anti-nuclear protestors who have been camped on the site of the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station for more than a week. A small group of campaigners set up camp in an old farm building at the site on Sunday, February 12, and have reportedly refused requests to leave the site, which is owned by EDF. The group is angry that EDF has been allowed to start preparatory work for the new power station despite planning permission for the facility not yet being granted. The works were approved by West Somerset Council last year.

This is the West Country 21st Feb 2012 more >>

CONSTRUCTION firm Kier Group yesterday won a £100 million contract from French utility firm EDF to prepare land in Somerset for the building of a nuclear power station. Kier said the contract at the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station will create 350 jobs.

Scotsman 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Radwaste

The parish council of “One of the largest villages in England” voted unanimously last night to reject continuing on any further steps to a geological dump 1000 metres deep x 26 km square. Seaton joins Cockermouth Town Council and Above Derwent Parish Council in emphatically rejecting the government’s orchestrated campaign to turn Cumbria into a nuclear sacrifice zone.

Radiation Free Lakeland 21st Feb 2012 more >>

GDA

ONR & EA 4th quarterly report on GDA, Oct – Dec 2011. This is the first routine quarterly progress report that describes how this GDA close-out work is proceeding and we have introduced new metrics to help illustrate both our and EDF and AREVA’s progress on resolving the remaining GDA Issues for the UK EPR. Some of the deliverables from EDF and Areva have been late or do not provide the quality of information or depth of evidence that we expected. Accordingly, a number of the metrics are amber or red, indicating that, if no action is taken to improve matters, it is unlikely that the GDA Issues will be closed-out on the timescales indicated in the resolution plans.

HSE 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Supply Chain

AREVA has signed a cooperation agreement with Rolls-Royce to extend global cooperation for the manufacture of components for new nuclear power plants and other nuclear projects in the UK and beyond.Rolls-Royce will provide AREVA with equipment and technical and engineering services with an objective of GBP100m in value for the first of its EPR reactors in the UK, planned to be built at Hinkley Point by EDF.

Energy Business Review 21st Feb 2012 more >>

A series of Supplier Days, where local manufacturers can discuss their products with key buyers from the burgeoning nuclear energy sector, are being planned for the Nuclear AMRC, which is set to be opened at the Advanced Manufacturing Park.

The Manufacturer 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Skills

Organisations dedicated to education and training in nuclear energy from both sides of the English Channel are getting closer. The National Skills Academy for Nuclear (UK) and the International Institute of Nuclear Energy (France) have identified common areas of interest and potential co-operation that will really drive forward performance improvement and safety across the nuclear industry. The organisations confirmed their commitment to partnership working by signing a Collaboration Agreement at the British French summit held in Paris, 17th February 2012.

Engineer Live 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Energy Costs

In a victory for consumers and The Independent’s Fair Energy campaign, Scottish and Southern Energy is today scrapping its confusing range of deals to challenge rivals’ predatory pricing. The company currently offers 68 different tariffs to electricity and gas customers – but from today they are being slashed to just four.

Independent 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Rising energy prices have left the poorest families £450 short of being able to adequately heat their homes, a report reveals today. Meanwhile the big freeze in the past two weeks has cost each household in the UK an extra £77 in heating costs.

Independent 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

BBC programme this Thursday Feb 23 at 21:00. International investigative documentary series. When a tsunami struck Japan in 2011, it swamped the Fukushima nuclear complex causing nuclear meltdown and releasing radioactivity that ultimately would leave hundreds of square miles uninhabitable, and cost a hundred thousand people their homes.With unique footage and powerful eyewitness testimony from key figures in the drama – the engineers in the plant, firemen, soldiers, pilots, tsunami survivors, the Japanese prime minister and even the MD of the company operating the plant – Inside the Meltdown reveals what really happened in the extraordinary days after the tsunami as a disaster unfolded that Japan’s nuclear industry said would never happen. It tells the story of workers inside the plant’s pitch-dark, radio-active reactor buildings desperately trying to stop reactors exploding as radiation levels rose inexorably. ‘In the control room people were saying we were finished,’ says one. ‘They were saying it quietly but they were saying it.’ It meets the helicopter pilots who desperately dropped water from above the radioactive cores, and the firemen who braved radiation to spray water onto melting nuclear fuel. ‘We chose all the over 40s’, their chief tells the programme. ‘These were the guys who were not going to be having any more children.’ Inside the Meltdown also reveals the tensions between the plant’s owners and an increasingly distrustful Japanese prime minister, struggling to get at the truth of what was happening, fearful the owners planned to abandon the plant. He reveals his experts at one point warned he might need to evacuate vast areas of Japan, even the capital Tokyo. ‘That first week, we walked a razor thin line,’ he tells This World.

BBC 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Japan’s long and expensive pursuit of a superefficient nuclear reactor — a model once touted as the key to its energy future — now teeters on the brink of failure amid new government concerns about its runaway costs. The four-decade project to develop a fast-breeder reactor has consumed trillions of yen in funding, so far producing only accidents, controversies and a single hour of electricity. The government decided last month on sharp budget cuts for the project, and one top nuclear official in November raised the possibility of scrapping the plan.

Japan Times 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Tepco has long been a scandal-ridden company, caught time and time again covering up data on safety lapses at their power plants, or doctoring film footage which showed fissures in pipes. How was the company able to get away with such long-standing behaviour? According to an explosive book recently published in Japan, they owe it to what the author, Tomohiko Suzuki, calls “Japan’s nuclear mafia… A conglomeration of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats, the shady nuclear industry, their lobbyists…” And at the centre of it all stands Japan’s actual mafia: the yakuza.

Telegraph 21st Feb 2012 more >>

French Industry and Energy Minister Eric Besson became the first foreign politician to enter the crippled Fukushima plant since last year’s disaster, telling workers they must revive atomic energy in Japan. Besson, who was accompanied on his tour of the plant by an AFP journalist, said nuclear power was too important a source of energy to abandon.

Telegraph 21st Feb 2012 more >>

US

In March 2011, novelist Kristen Iversen’s memoir, Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats, was waiting sedately among piles of other manuscripts at various publishing houses. Then, Japan was hit by a tsunami, and the cooling systems of the Fukushima nuclear reactor were overwhelmed, giving the world apocalyptic images of toxic floods and floating cars, of whole provinces made uninhabitable. Immediately, Iversen’s book was auctioned, and the timing of its publication, in June, could not be better – since, incredibly, in the shadow of the Fukushima disaster, and even as Japan and other nations see movements against the use of nuclear power ever again – President Obama is planning more investment in nuclear energy. The US is soon to start construction on several new reactors for the first time in three decades. Iversen, a softspoken woman with a laid-back western vibe, wearing jeans and lavender scarf, seems an unlikely prophet of nuclear catastrophe. But her message is searing. She grew up in a small town near Rocky Flats, Colorado, where a secret nuclear weapons plant built over 70,000 plutonium “triggers” for nuclear bombs.

Guardian 21st Feb 2012 more >>

China

A series of research and development (R&D) projects has been launched by China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) to improve the country’s emergency response capabilities at nuclear power plants in the event of an extreme disaster.

World Nuclear News 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Engineering International 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

The U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Wednesday it had failed to secure an agreement with Iran during two days of talks over disputed atomic activities and that the Islamic Republic had rejected a request to visit a key military site.

Reuters 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

FT 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Sky News 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Guardian 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

The current drive to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear arsenal reflects two important, and inter-related, changes. From Israel’s perspective, these changes are to be welcomed, though its government must remain cautious about the country’s own role. The first change is the escalation of efforts by the United States and its Western allies to abort the Iranian regime’s nuclear quest. The second change is the perception that Iran’s nuclear capacity would threaten not only Israel.

Scotsman 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Britain could be crippled by a high-altitude space attack by a rogue state or terrorists, MPs are warning. A nuclear weapon detonated up to 500 miles above the Earth’s surface could generate an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) with a devastating effect on Britain’s critical infrastructure.

ITN 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Social networks erupted on Tuesday as people shared the terrifying message the BBC would have broadcast in the event of a nuclear attack. While the script, written in the 1970s, was first released in 2008, it didn’t stop thousands of people sharing the link between themselves some four years later.

Huffington Post 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Telegraph 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Guardian 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

A NUCLEAR bomb attack on London would leave residents of Eastbourne nursing third degree burns. A controversial new website (www.nuclearsecrecy.com) allows users to select a town or city to target and then shows the different degrees of damage and fallout which would result from the subsequent blast. The online projection shows that were the capital to be hit by a 100 megaton bomb, not only would everyone within a two-mile radius be killed instantly, but the after effects would stretch all the way to Eastbourne.

Eastbourne Herald 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

So reluctant is the government to debate the UK’s nuclear arsenal (Labour’s leadership is in no hurry either) and whether the country can afford, or need, to replace Trident, and so sensitive is the Ministry of Defence, that it changed completely a planned contribution from a senior military officer to The Bomb, a series of plays now being performed at Kilburn’s Tricycle Theatre in northwest London.

Guardian 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Nicolas Kent bids farewell to the Tricycle with a characteristically grand project: a two-part history of the nuclear bomb consisting of 10 separate plays. Obviously not everything can be included: no room for the 1962 Cuban missile crisis or the extraordinary 1987 Reykjavik summit where Gorbachev proposed a 50% cut in nuclear weapons. But this is still an astonishing achievement that puts the nuclear issue back at the centre of public debate.

Guardian 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Renewables

The prime minister has mounted a strong defence of the government’s plans to build huge wind farms around the country in the face of strong opposition from his own members of parliament. David Cameron has written to more than 100 of his own backbenchers who published an open letter to the PM asking for subsidies for “inefficient” on-shore wind power to be slashed, and complaining about planning policies putting national energy policies ahead of local objections.

Guardian 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Drax, operator of Britain’s largest coal-fired power station, is scrapping plans to build two biomass plants in the UK with Germany’s Siemens in a fresh blow to the future of renewable energy. The company blamed a lack of financial help from the government for the decision which involved an investment of around £1.4bn.

Guardian 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Independent 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Telegraph 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Times 22nd Feb 2012 more >>

Energy Efficiency

British Gas will pay £50 to anyone who refers “vulnerable” family members, friends and neighbours for free loft and cavity wall insulation from the company. Referrers will receive the sum for every individual on qualifying benefits whose details they pass on, with no limit to the number they can refer. Those who qualify must be on pension credit, certain income-related benefits or receiving child tax credit, and have an income of less than £16,190. The referred customer will also receive £50 once the installation has been carried out, in addition to the money they will save on their bills following insulation.

Guardian 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 22 February 2012

21 February 2012

New Nukes

Centrica is seeking clarification from the Government on key financing and cost issues before making decisions about whether to continue its nuclear power partnership with EDF and build four new nuclear plants in Britain at an estimated cost of £20bn. The British Gas parent wants more details about how the Government’s electricity market reforms will affect the programme and is pressing for further guidance on the fiscal framework and the complex contracts for differences. It is also in detailed talks with its French partner and consortium leader about the total costs of the first station, Hinkley Point C in Somerset where contracts worth £250m have already been let to British companies. Centrica which has a 20pc share of the partnership is expected to provide more details of the outstanding issues with the release of full year financial figures this week. Hinkley still needs planning approval and clearance for the reactor technology and a decision to go ahead is not expected before the end of the year.

Telegraph 20th Feb 2012 more >>

New nukes depend on subsidies; and Huhne’s plan was to give ’em a guaranteed inflated electricity price via a combination of feed-in tariffs and contracts-for-difference, but at an as-yet unknown strike price. When is the UK government going to show the dog the rabbit? Centrica management, the Telegraph says, “might need to reassure the City that its nuclear ambitions remain on track to create expected returns”. What happens if Sarkozy loses to the (anti-nuke) Socialists? Soes EDF have the necessary credit rating (being essentially an arm of the down-rated French state) ?

Capitalist at Work 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Renewable energy has a role in reducing carbon emissions, but the greenest solution may yet be nuclear. Nuclear energy, received Scottish wisdom as purveyed by First Minister Alex Salmond tells us, is unsafe, unreliable, and yesterday’s technology. But what if nuclear reactors were designed that could not melt down, produced little waste, or even consumed existing waste as fuel? If they were economic, might they not become a highly desirable technology of the future?

Scotsman 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Dounreay

EXPERTS have discovered the most significant radioactive particle yet on a public beach two miles west of Dounreay. Dounreay clean-up contractor DSRL has informed the Scottish Environment Protection Agency of additional tests being carried out on a particle recovered during routine monitoring of a beach near the redundant nuclear site. The particle was detected at the water’s edge at Sandside, where more than 200 particles have been found in the last 15 years. Provisional checks carried out on the beach indicated the particle had a higher than normal beta dose rate. A spokesman for DSRL said it was the first time a particle classed as significant – the highest classification in terms of radioactivity – had been found on the beach, although many had been found on the seabed and foreshore at Dounreay as well as on the site itself. Any particle with radioactivity above one million Becquerel (Bq) units is classed as significant.

Herald 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Scotsman 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Radwaste

Adopted Position of Above Derwent Parish Council by unanimous resolution 15th February 2012. We believe that “West Cumbria” should now withdraw from the MRWS process because: We have no confidence in the Right of Withdrawal; We are convinced by the argument that nowhere in Cumbria has suitable geology; We believe that it is a waste of time and money to continue the process in Cumbria when there are other, more promising, areas in England.

Radiation Free Lakeland 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Power giant EDF has begun court action to remove protesters who have set up camp on land earmarked for the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. The company served papers on activists occupying farmland on Saturday.

Western Daily Press 20th Feb 2012 more >>

It would be an accident waiting to happen if Electricité de France (EdF) were allowed to extend the life of their ageing fleet of advanced gas-cooled reactor (AGR) nuclear power stations. EdF announced their intention on the 16th February in what looks like a desperate move to keep their nuclear power generation going in the UK as investors shy away from new nuclear build that is increasingly looking like a white elephant. Among the numerous risks facing investors is that trends in the energy market suggest there will be no market for nuclear power. And potentially by 2020, customers could buy their electricity more cheaply from booming photovoltaic technology in Italy or other cheaper renewable sources across Europe rather than be constrained to buy from UK/French nuclear energy providers.

Stop Hinkley 20th Feb 2012 more >>

EDF Energy has signed a £100m+ contract with a Kier BAM joint venture for site preparation works at Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

Construction Index 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Construction News 20th Feb 2012 more >>

City AM 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Sizewell

Sizewell Camp 20th – 22nd February 2012.

Transition Bungay 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Police

FEARS have been raised that the policing of power stations could be compromised by a proposed Government shake-up. The Defence Police Federation warns that a Government proposal to merge the UK’s two nuclear police forces would not only be costly and messy, but could create a conflict of interest between protecting Britain’s weapons and its power stations. The Ministry of Defence and the Department of Energy and Climate Change have launched a study into whether amalgamating MoD police, which looks after nuclear bomb bases and other military sites, and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, which has responsibility for nuclear power plants, would be viable.

Chelmsford Weekly News 20th Feb 2012 more >>

UK/France

The UK Prime Minister David Cameron has signed a joint framework agreement with French President Nicolas Sarkozy to collaborate in the development of civil nuclear energy projects. The deal in line with UK government’s commitment to nuclear energy as it plans to build a diversified energy mix. The two governments will work together with the International Atomic Energy Agency to establish a joint framework for cooperation and exchanging good practices on civil nuclear security. The framework is expected to strengthen international capability to react to nuclear emergencies.

Energy Business Review 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Britain and France have signed a landmark deal to cooperate on civil nuclear energy. New agreements cover cooperation on civil nuclear security, research and development and nuclear education and training.

Nuclear Engineering International 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Uranium

FANS of the cock-up theory of events got a boost this week when Areva, a French nuclear-energy one-stop shop, said there had been no fraud in its disastrous purchase of UraMin, a Canadian start-up firm with mining assets in Namibia, the Central African Republic and South Africa, in 2007 for $2.5 billion. The acquisition had simply been badly managed, it said, leading Areva to overpay. Last December the company took a €1.46 billion ($2 billion) charge against the acquisition, resulting in a huge operating loss for 2011. Others suspect a plot.

Economist 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Germany

Solar photovoltaics are bringing down the cost of electricity in Germany, and electricity exports to France have been increasing!

Oil Price 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Spain

Spanish nuclear regulator CSN is supporting the continued use of the 466MW Santa Maria de Garona nuclear power plant until 2019. CSN’s evaluation clears the way for owner Nuclenor to extend its operating licence beyond July 2013. Nuclenor must apply for the extension to Spain’s industry ministry by 6 September this year to give CSN time to carry out a technical appraisal before Garona’s current licence expires. Garona renewed its operating licence and requested a 10-year extension in 2009. The Spanish government granted a four-year licence, with the condition that the plant upheld safety standards. Nuclenor is a 50:50 joint venture between Spanish utilities Endesa and Iberdrola.

Argus media 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

Kansai Electric Power Co. said Friday it will suspend its only remaining active reactor — the No. 3 reactor at the Takahama nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture — for a regular checkup early Tuesday, leaving only two of Japan’s 54 commercial reactors online.

Mainichi 18th Feb 2012 more >>

On Monday, Japan closed another nuclear reactor, bringing its total number of nuclear reactors to just two out of an original 54 in operation before the devastating March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The two nuclear reactors, according to Bloomberg News data, operate with a capacity of 2,268 megawatts, or 4.6 per cent of the total.

IB Times 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Tepco, the operator of the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, has opened up the site to journalists for the second time, weeks ahead of the anniversary of the March 11 disaster. (Video)

Telegraph 20th Feb 2012 more >>

The manager of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan has conceded that it will be very difficult to remove the facility’s melted nuclear fuel, but dismissed fears that one of the damaged reactors had started overheating again. “Our main challenge is to now remove the nuclear fuel from the reactors,” Takeshi Takahashi told visiting journalists on Monday. “Technically it’s a very difficult problem, but we want to take it step by step.” Fears rose this month that fuel in the No 2 reactor was heating up again, prompting the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) to inject more cooling water along with boric acid, which is used to prevent a nuclear chain reaction. Asked repeatedly to explain the dramatic rise in temperature, Takahashi said the cause had been traced to a faulty thermometer, one of three inside the unit.

Guardian 20th Feb 2012 more >>

A year since the Fukushima nuclear plant was destroyed, the fight to prevent disaster goes on. In an exclusive dispatch from the reactors, David McNeill becomes the first European journalist to revisit Japan’s ground zero.

Independent 21st Feb 2012 more >>

China

In a bid to avert experiencing the same fate of its fellow Asian neighbor, China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) on Monday announced it has started a series of 13 research and development projects aimed to improve emergency response mechanisms in cases of “extreme disasters” related to nuclear power plants failure.

IB Times 21st Jan 2012 more >>

Korea

Three South Koreans have been arrested for rigging share prices by spreading false rumours about a nuclear accident in North Korea, police said Tuesday. The three, including a 19-year-old college student, were accused of spreading groundless claims on January 6 that a reactor in the North had exploded, leaking dangerous levels of radioactivity. They allegedly sent such rumours to market analysts and brokers through online messaging services, sending share prices falling more than two percent at one point.

AFP 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Turkey

Much of Europe may be moving towards cleaner power but in Turkey the story is somewhat different. EUAS, the country’s state-owned electricity company, was due in early February to sign a memorandum of understanding with two South Korean groups on a USD 2 billion coal fired power plant. It is also moving ahead with plans for 2 nuclear plants. That contrasts strongly with European figures – 71% of new power generating capacity in the European Union last year came from renewable energy sources.

Modern Power Systems 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Bahrain

Bahrain has abandoned its plans to adopt nuclear power as an alternative power source, according to the country’s Energy Minister Dr Abdulhussain Mirza. The Kingdom had been exploring nuclear energy as an alternative power source, but scrapped the idea following an explosion that crippled Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant last year, Dr Mirza told the Shura Council yesterday.

Trade Arabia 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

UN nuclear inspectors have arrived in Tehran for the second time in a month to discuss Iran’s nuclear programme.

BBC 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Yorkshire Post 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Scotsman 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Independent 21st Feb 2012 more >>

“This is a make-or-break situation,” said Mark Hibbs, an expert on nuclear proliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “The Iranians have to understand the language of the IAEA report will be critical to the views of the P5+1 powers and the non-aligned countries. If it says Iran did not co-operate, Iran will be isolated in the boardroom. It will be much more difficult for Russia and China to veto further sanctions.”

Guardian 20th Feb 2012 more >>

UN inspectors have been barred from visiting nuclear sites after arriving in Iran to get answers on the country’s disputed nuclear ambitions.

Metro 20th Feb 2012 more >>

The inspectors want to meet Iranian nuclear scientists and visit the Parchin military complex – a conventional weapons development facility outside Tehran. IAEA inspectors visited the site in 2005, but only saw one of four areas of potential interest within the grounds.

Morning Star 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran has announced it will hold military exercises to boost protection of its nuclear sites. A military statement said drills would be held in southern Iran to counter “all possible threats, especially to public, important and nuclear centres”.

BBC 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Telegraph 20th Feb 2012 more >>

THE Middle East will descend into an arms race if Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons, MPs were warned last night. Speaking in a Commons debate, Foreign Secretary William Hague said that if the Tehran regime managed to construct a viable weapon, its neighbours would be forced to build their own nuclear warheads too. With Israel believed to be considering using its nuclear arsenal to prevent Iran arming, there were already concerns that the situation in one of the most volatile regions in the world could spiral out of control.

Scotsman 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Letter from Kate Hudson: Wise words indeed from John Mueller. Aggressive counter-proliferation policies come with a massive human cost – you only need to look at Iraq to see the consequences. And the lessons are clear: current escalation of tension over Iran’s nuclear programme must not take us there again. All the indications are that an attack on Iran would start a protracted war which would be ruinous for the region and have significant economic and resource consequences for the wider world. It would be good to see the nuclear weapons states getting off their soapboxes about Iran, reflecting on the consequences of their own nuclear weapons possession, and taking some serious diplomatic steps to resolve the actual nuclear problems of the region. This year sees a major UN conference to secure a WMD-free zone in the Middle East. Backing from the US and UK to bring all parties to the table – including nuclear-armed Israel – would be a major step forward for the region.

Guardian 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

While the “international community” is focused on ensuring Iran doesn’t get its hands on a nuclear weapon, today’s chart of the day looks at just how well-armed some of its members are.

The Staggers 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Renewables

Scotland moved a step closer to a greener future last week following government approval of the nation’s first near shore commercial wave power array, which will power more than 1,000 homes. Consent has been given for two new Oyster devices to be added to an existing installation to create the commercial array. Meanwhile, Siemens has taken a majority stake in ocean energy firm Marine Current Turbines. Scotland’s first near shore commercial wave power array, which will power more than 1,000 homes, has been approved by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing. Two new Oyster wave energy converters will be added to an existing device at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) at Billia Croo, Orkney, to allow operators Aquamarine Power to test the devices as an array. Each of the machines has a capacity of 800 Kilowatts, bringing the total capacity of the array to 2.4MW.Although the mac hines are demonstrators, the array will be the first near shore wave array in Scotland to be connected to the National Grid, and will supply enough electricity to power more than 1,000 homes.

Renewable Energy Magazine 21st Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 21 February 2012

20 February 2012

New Nukes

It is just David Cameron’s bad luck to have chosen to back a nuclear future for Britain at a moment when it is becoming increasingly unlikely that it will happen. And it is entirely appropriate that he should find himself doing so in Paris since that is where the fate of DECC’s nuclear policy will be determined. The idea of replacing Britain’s aging AGRs with Areva’s EPR was always inspired by a French government seeking to close an emerging decades long gap in domestic nuclear orders. The justification for British homeowners and businesses being forced to pay for a French industrial policy was a supposed electricity generation gap. Without French nuclear power stations, Britons would be freezing in the dark by 2015 according to energy ministers. This was always nonsense but has been made totally ridiculous by several recent developments. EDF has now announced that it is going to extend the life of the AGRs. There are 30GW of new gas planned or under construction and the world is experiencing a ‘glut’ of gas according to the IEA. So long generation gap.

Tom Burke 17th Feb 2012 more >>

In the UK it’s as if Fukushima never happened. The Government has too much invested to turn back now. Whether or not the nuclear power stations counted on to ensure a secure supply of low-carbon electricity get built depends entirely on decisions made by foreign-owned utilities. If they decide not to go ahead, DECC’s current low-carbon energy policy collapses.

ENDS Report February 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Energy supplier EDF has served notice to anti-nuclear protesters who have set up camp on the site of the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. A group of about seven people have been occupying an old farm building. They are angry that EDF has been allowed to carry out preparatory work before planning permission was granted.

BBC 19th Feb 2012 more >>

Morning Star 19th Feb 2012 more >>

THE South Somerset Peace Group will be holding a public discussion on Tuesday, February 28, about Nuclear Power Generation: It is a Threat to Peace? The discussion will be led by Nikki Clark, of the Stop New Nuclear, Stop Hinkley group and a founder of South West Against Nuclear, and SSPG member Robert Shearer.

This is the West Country 19th Feb 2012 more >>

A Kier joint venture with BAM Nuttall has been given the task by energy company EDF Energy of doing site preparation work for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset.

Share Cast 20th Feb 2012 more >>

British construction group Kier has won a 100 million pound ($158 million) contract from France’s EDF to prepare the ground for construction of a new nuclear power station in the west of England.

Reuters 20th Feb 2012 more >>

A local council in Somerset is taking on the mighty EDF Energy in a row over the cost of a planning application for a £10bn nuclear power station. It puts into doubt David Cameron’s promise at the weekend that Britain and France will co-operate to build new power plants in the UK. In Paris, Mr Cameron said deals between British and French companies – worth more than £500m – will allow work to start on new facilities, creating more than 1,500 jobs. But such Anglo-French co-operation is missing in Somerset where councillors at Sedgemoor District Council have accused the energy giant of using bully-boy tactics in pushing through plans for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. Kerry Rickards, pictured, the council’s chief executive, said: “EDF has put us in a very difficult position.” Last week the council was forced to adjourn the setting of its annual council tax because of arguments over an estimated £2m legal bill. The row centres on the cost of employing specialist lawyers to scrutinise EDF Energy’s application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission for its new nuclear power station. The Council is refusing to use local council taxpayers’ money to carry out the work, as it says the project is of national benefit and is being built by a commercial, profit-making company.

Independent 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Developing World

There are already some large-scale solar projects underway or planned for example in Morocco, Algeria, and Egypt, as well as in Jordon and the UAE. Interestingly, Kuwait has now indicated that it no longer wanted to develop nuclear power. Qatar similarly. Steve Kidd from the World Nuclear Association, writing in Nuclear Engineering International’s Newsletter suggested that nuclear ‘may not for some years be suitable for many countries that do not have the developed institutional framework to cope with it. Such a description must apply to most of the Middle Eastern countries currently looking at nuclear power. Maybe it would be far better for them to specialise in developing solar power and other renewable solutions, combined with developing their power grids to cope with diffuse and sometimes intermittent technologies.’ It is hard not to agree.

Environmental Research Web 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan has admitted that Japan was woefully unprepared for last year’s nuclear disaster and suggested that the crippled Fukushima No. 1 plant should not have been built so close to a tsunami-prone coastline. But he said the disaster — the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986 — laid bare a host of even bigger vulnerabilities in the nuclear power industry and its regulations, ranging from inadequate safety guidelines to crisis management, all of which he said need to be overhauled.

Japan Times 19th Feb 2012 more >>

Greenpeace today launched ‘Shadowlands’, a presentation of haunting photographs depicting the impacts of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the plight of people displaced by the crisis, and a warning to others that a serious nuclear accident can happen everywhere there are reactors.

Greenpeace International 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Nearly a year after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, it’s time to take a look at its legacy and take an opportunity to stand in solidarity with the people who continue to suffer the impacts. We’re calling for a nuclear free, renewable future and asking you to join us in sending messages of support and hope to Japan. The silence and contamination left behind by the Fukushima disaster have been captured in the online photographic exhibit Shadowlands by photographer Robert Knoth. Robert’s haunting photographs of empty villages, deserted schoolyards, and abandoned farmlands not only act as a chilling reminder to us of the costs of nuclear energy, but an impetus to continue demanding a future free from nuclear risk. We also bring the stories of several people whose lives have been seriously disrupted, some of whom live with constant worry about how their children’s health has been affected by radiation.

Greenpeace International 19th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

Why should Iran or North Korea respect the principle of non-proliferation when the most powerful states lecturing them possess such enormous arsenals?’ Why indeed.

Daily Mail 20th Feb 2012 more >>

A team of UN inspectors has arrived in Tehran for talks on Iran’s disputed nuclear programme, a day after Iran ordered a halt to its oil sales to Britain and France in apparent retaliation for tightening EU sanctions.

Guardian 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Some analysts believe the actual killings themselves were carried out by a little known outfit called the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK or The People’s Mujahedin of Iran). The MEK is a group of Iranian exiles listed as a terrorist organisation by both Tehran and Washington. It’s estimated to have around 3,000 members, with a high proportion of them female. Recently, anonymous US officials told NBC news that the MEK, backed by Israel’s Mossad espionage service, was involved in the killings of the scientists and also insisted the US hadn’t played a role.

Scotsman 20th Feb 2012 more >>

The concerns that Iran is secretly building nuclear weapons are bad enough. Iranian promises that it is merely pursuing peaceful research and development for domestic energy needs are clearly not worth the paper they are written on. Why else would they refuse UN inspectors access to various facilities if there was nothing to conceal? But the evidence now seems to be mounting that Iran is building the capacity to produce enriched uranium for which there is no other use than in a nuclear weapon.

Scotsman 20th Feb 2012 more >>

The foreign secretary said economic sanctions and talks were the best way to convince the Iranians to ditch theirA nuclear ambitions. Israel is widely believed to be planning an air strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities if sanctions fail. But Mr Hague said: ‘I think Israel, like everyone else in the world, should give a real chance to the approach we have adopted on very serious economic sanctions and economic pressure.’

Metro 19th Feb 2012 more >>

In an interview with BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show, the Foreign Secretary repeated his warning that a nuclear-armed Iran would result in another cold war, this time between states in the Middle East.

Telegraph 19th Feb 2012 more >>

Some, including the New America Foundation’s Steve Clemons, talk about Mr Obama’s impending “Cuban missile crisis”. Much as Nikita Khrushchev misread John F. Kennedy as a pushover, and then tested his brinkmanship over Cuba, so Mr Obama is perceived by Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, to be susceptible to intimidation. Mr Netanyahu – Mr Obama’s least favourite foreign leader – visits Washington in two weeks. The build-up to his March 6 speech to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee has brought a flurry of leaks that Israel’s fuse is shortening by the day. The zone of impunity is looming, people say. “Everything, from Iran’s nuclear timetable to Israel’s red lines, points to some kind of Iran reckoning before November,”

FT 19th Feb 2012 more >>

Russia

Prime minister Vladimir Putin says Russia must replace its Soviet-built arsenals with modern weapons to counter new evolving threats. Mr Putin, who is running to reclaim the presidency in a March 4 election, laid out his vision of military modernisation in an article published today in the government daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Independent 20th Feb 2012 more >>

Trident

The Herald’s star Environment Editor, Rob Edwards, holds the Ministry of Defence (MoD) regularly to account for issues across the spectrum of safety standards at its nuclear bases of Faslane and Coulport in Argyll. Edwards today published, in The Herald on Sunday (19th February), the shock revelation obtained under Freedom of Information (FoI) legislation, that the two nuclear bases on Argyll’s Clyde coast, Faslane and Coulport have been reported as failing the numbing total of 11 out of 13 nuclear safety tests. Worse, one of the two ares ‘passed’ actually throws up a situation potentially worse than failure.

For Argyll 19th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 20 February 2012

19 February 2012

Radwaste

In friday’s Times and Star on page 7 there is an unobtrusive item tucked in the Cockermouth Town Council Notices. Item number 11 is sandwiched in-between “pot hole repairs” and “permission to use memorial gardens.” Former Allerdale Borough Councillor and Seaton Parish Councillor Joe Sandwith describes it as “The most important decision Cockermouth Town Council has ever made or is ever likely to make.” Item number 11 in the Town Council notices describes “Cockermouth Town Council voted against going to the next stage of consultation for an underground radioactive waste repository in West Cumbria.” The irony is of course that only the “Decision Making Bodies” of Allerdale and Copeland Borough Council and Cumbria County Council will be given the right of veto. Cumbria County Councillors in 2008 were furious that they were not allowed to vote on the initial “expression of interest” which was swept in by a handful of people on the “Decision Making Body.” It matters hugely that Cockermouth Town Council has said No to going to the next stage on the ‘steps towards geological disposal’ and other town and parish councils will follow their lead. The so called Decision Making Bodies have no moral mandate as was pointed out by Cumbria County Councillors back in 2008.]

Radiation Free Lakeland 18th Feb 2012 more >>

PEOPLE all over Cumbria have been having their say on the pros and cons of having an underground nuclear waste repository in the county. Copeland is seen as the most likely location if anywhere geologically suitable can be found for investigation – but first of all the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Safely Group wants to know whether or not it should purse the interest further. West Cumbria through its local authorities is the only area of the UK so far to have expressed an interest in hosting a facility designed to provide the final solution to the UK’s radioactive waste disposal problem. The Partnership’s public consultations started before Christmas and are due to end on March 23.

NW Evening Mail 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Nuclear energy company EDF, today served papers on activists occupying a farm on the proposed site for nuclear new build at Hinkley Point in Somerset. The papers, served by Squire Sanders of London are applying for possession of the premises and in an unprecedented move, an injunction against all future protests, at this site, this includes any protest by other local residents such as campaign group Stop Hinkley.

South West Against Nuclear 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Activists are occupying a farmhouse close to Hinkley Point nuclear power station, to stop EDF Energy trashing land for a planned new nuclear power station; and are calling for more people to join them. Anti-nuclear campaigners have been joined by members of Seize the Day as the first residents of Edf-Off Cottage which is on the 400-acre site earmarked for two new mega-reactors. Following an occupation of trees last week, the campaign against Hinkley C power station being built on fragile coastal land has now moved to a nearby farmhouse.

Rising Tide 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Building a new nuclear power station in the region will blaze the trail for a new Anglo-French industrial pact, David Cameron has said in Paris. The Prime Minister yesterday shared a platform with French President Nicolas Sarkozy to commit to “economic collaboration” in the development of civil nuclear energy.

Western Daily Press 18th Feb 2012 more >>

COUNCIL leaders in North Somerset are to join forces with other authorities along the route of a proposed new power line to continue to campaign for the cables to go underground. North Somerset Council is poised to sign a planning performance agreement (PPA) with energy giant National Grid to ensure the authority is fully involved with every step of the power line plans.

Bristol Evening Post 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Hartlepool

But today, power station bosses allayed fears when they told the Hartlepool Mail the information was nothing more than technical data which had been publicly available for weeks.

Hartlepool Mail 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Sizewell

BRITAIN and France will today sign a landmark agreement to co-operate on civil nuclear energy, paving the way for the construction of a new generation of power plants in the UK.

East Anglian Daily Times 17th Feb 2012 more >>

SUFFOLK’S head of emergency planning has pledged to take into account criticism of the existing plans to protect residents in the event of a nuclear accident at Sizewell. Andy Osman, who faced criticism of current emergency plans when he attended a public meeting at Leiston, said a review was being carried out and views of the community would be taken into account. Residents at the meeting – organised by the Office for Nuclear Regulation, the Government’s safety watchdog – called for more information to be made readily available about actions to take in the event of a disaster at Sizewell. One resident called for the storage of anti-radiation potassium iodate pills at local schools just outside the zone. These pills are currently only handed to people living and working within the zone. There was also criticism of the extent of the emergency zone itself – a 2.4 kilometre radius of the nuclear site – when accidents elsewhere, including the Fukushima disaster in Japan last year, had led to the evacuation from a radius of more than 30km. The meeting’s chairman, Pete Wilkinson, a member of the Sizewell Stakeholder Group, said: “I’ve lived up here for 15 years and it is evident that people don’t have confidence in the emergency plan.”

East Anglian Daily Times 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Supply Chain

British firms will be left with only the ‘scraps on the table’ from an £18 billion deal for two nuclear power stations signed by Britain and France, an expert has warned. At a meeting on Friday with President Nicolas Sarkozy, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that Rolls-Royce had landed a £ 400 million contract with Areva, the French maker of nuclear reactors, that would create 1,500 jobs in Britain. But the overall contract was won by the French state-owned energy giant EDF, while Areva is expected to build the four reactors – two at each plant.

This is Money 18th Feb 2012 more >>

A series of supplier days where local manufacturers can discuss their products with buyers from the nuclear energy sector are being planned by the Nuclear AMRC. The move has been subsidised by a £2m government grant, a £6m government-guaranteed banking facility and £2m from Elonex shareholders.

The Manufacturer 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

Iran may be poised to expand its nuclear programme at an underground site near the city of Qom, a Vienna-based diplomat has told the BBC. It appears to be ready to install thousands of new-generation centrifuges at the fortified underground plant, the diplomat said. They could speed up the production of enriched uranium – required for both power generation and nuclear weapons.

BBC 19th Feb 2012 more >>

Tom Donilon, the US president’s top security aide, arrived in Tel Aviv on Saturday morning for three days of meetings with Israeli defence and security chiefs. While Washington claims the visit is simply the latest in a series of “regular, high level consultations between the United States and Israel”, it came just days after coordinated attacks launched against Israeli embassies across the world provoked outrage in Jerusalem, which claims with certainly that Iran is responsible.

Telegraph 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Renewables

The government should increase support for wave and tidal power to preserve the UK’s global leadership, say MPs. The Energy and Climate Change Committee says the UK had in the past lost its early lead on wind power through lack of support, and must not make the same mistake again on marine energy. Its report recommends increasing funding and improving links between UK and Scottish programmes. The Carbon Trust recently said marine power could create 10,000 jobs by 2020.

BBC 19th Feb 2012 more >>

BRITAIN could rule the waves if the government adopted a more visionary approach to developing marine renewables if the UK, according to a new report. The House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee said with the largest wave and tidal resources in Europe, up to a fifth of the UK’s electricity could eventually come from this “reliable and predictable” low-carbon source. And developing a thriving wave and tidal power industry could also bring economic benefits to the UK, the committee argues, with opportunities to export technology and expertise. The report warns, however, that an overly cautious approach may allow other less risk-averse countries to steal the UK’s lead, as they did with wind power.

Scotland on Sunday 19th Feb 2012 more >>

Independent 19th Feb 2012 more >>

THE public sector should share the cost of developing wave and tidal power devices to attract more private sector investment into the industry, a group of MPs will today claim. The Commons’ energy and climate change committee will call on the coalition government to reduce the risks involved for investors so that the UK can keep its lead in developing offshore devices.

Scotland on Sunday 19th Feb 2012 more >>

Doug Parr: Why we must surf this wave of hope. As sure as the sun shines and the wind blows, marine renewable energy is part of our industrial future. This is a tide which no amount of nuclear nostalgia can turn back. Wave and tidal energy cuts carbon emissions and boosts energy security, and tidal power is highly dependable. But these technologies have big economic benefits too, and the race is on to be the industry leader.

Independent 19th Feb 2012 more >>

An organic farmer in Oxfordshire is trying to persuade his local community to take control of one of the largest solar farms in the country. Adam Twine, who has been farming at Westmill in Watchfield, Oxfordshire, for 27 years, will offer about £4.5m of shares in the 30-acre solar project to local investors over the next few weeks.

Sunday Times 19th Feb 2012 more >>

Microgeneration

This week’s Micro Power News now available.

Microgen Scotland 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Trident

The Clyde bases that host Britain’s nuclear bombs and submarines are plagued by widespread safety flaws, according to an internal Ministry of Defence (MoD) report obtained by the Sunday Herald. The SNP’s defence spokesman in Westminster, Angus Robertson MP, said the problems at Faslane and Coulport “clearly put lives at risk” and demanded an urgent investigation. The MoD’s latest annual review of safety reveals that 11 of the bases’ 13 activities have been officially declared unsatisfactory after assessments by site managers and regulators. The review was released last week in response to a request under freedom of information legislation.

Sunday Herald 19th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 19 February 2012

18 February 2012

New Nukes

Britain’s energy future starts in Paris with David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy signing formal agreements for the UK and France to work together on nuclear power. Attention will soon shift to a 500-hectare (1,250-acre) plot in Somerset where the French state energy giant EDF hopes to start work on Hinkley C. If all goes to plan, the first nuclear power station to be built in Britain since 1995 will generate 2,000MW of electricity a year by 2018-2019. The reality is that few, if any, of the world’s 435 working nuclear power stations were built to cost, or on schedule – the prototypes of the two stations EDF wants to build in Britain have taken far longer and proved much more expensive to build than anyone ever expected. The question hanging over Britain’s new stations will be whether cheaper, safer, alternatives become available. If so, Britain will be embarrassed, chained to a massively expensive technology that will suck in resources for ever. If they do not, the decision to build them may prove to be one of the most far-sighted taken by any government.

Guardian 17th Feb 2012 more >>

THE Prime Minister and the French President put their difference on Europe aside today to sign a deal worth more than £500million on nuclear strategy.

Express 17th Feb 2012 more >>

eGov Monitor 17th Feb 2012 more >>

The potential synergies between the two countries are very significant given the supply chain expertise across the two countries in forgings, critical and peripheral equipment and engineering expertise. The agreement between Britain and France to work together on civil nuclear energy secures their stronger commitment towards building safer, secure next generation plants. It also paves the ways for EDF and other utilities to secure funding, and supply chain agreements for the eight sites across the UK, earmarked for new nuclear capacity.

Engineer Live 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Hundreds of hi-tech jobs are heading to South Yorkshire following the signing of a landmark agreement by Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The agreement to co-operate on developing civil nuclear energy paves the way for the construction of a new generation of power plants. It was accompanied by the news of a deal between Rolls-Royce and French nuclear reactor developer AREVA which promises to be even more important for advanced manufacturing in Rotherham. AREVA has asked Rolls to make complex components and provide engineering and technical services for two reactors to be built at Hinkley Point, Somerset.

Sheffield Star 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Rotherham Advertiser 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Yorkshire Post 17th Feb 2012 more >>

The joint declaration on energy made at a Paris summit today contained a range of goals, the greatest of them being to encourage “the emergence of a Franco-British industry that is highly competitive across the whole supply chain at the international level.” Most prominent in this will be the work of France’s majority state-owned firms EDF and Areva and their cooperation with privately held UK firms for the construction of new reactors in Britain.

World Nuclear News 17th Feb 2012 more >>

The Prime Minister met his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris at a joint summit for the first time since their bitter clashes over Europe. Mr Cameron announced that the deal agreed between Rolls Royce and Areva would see “1,500 new jobs in the UK, £100 million invested across the South West and a brand new factory in Rotherham in South Yorkshire.”

Telegraph 17th Feb 2012 more >>

BBC 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Business Green 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Yorkshire Post 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Daily Mail 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Independent 18th Feb 2012 more >>

There were fears that the company’s ambitious nuclear programme in Britain could send energy bills soaring even higher. It comes as the UK arm already faces controversy after announcing its UK profits rose by 8.5 per cent last year to almost £1.6billion while mil- lions struggle to pay their domestic fuel bills. Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace UK, said yesterday: “The track record of EDF in building new nuclear power stations on time and to budget is appalling. It will cost the British tax payer who foots the bill for the massive overspend.”

Express 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Although it is welcome news that the UK is pressing ahead with the development of new nuclear reactors to secure affordable low-carbon electricity generation, this is not necessarily the best deal for securing UK jobs and skills. Although some relatively small contracts are to be awarded to Rolls-Royce and BAM Kier, it looks increasingly likely that the vast majority of the contracts involved in the manufacture and construction of the new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point and Sizewell will go to France rather than the UK. An outcome the Institution predicted in it Nuclear New Build report two years ago.

The Manufacturer 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Commenting on today’s news that Britain and France will co-operate to build new power plants in the UK, Friends of the Earth’s Energy Campaigner Paul Steedman said: “Cameron’s deal today will leave British taxpayers footing a massive bill for new nuclear plants we don’t need and can’t afford – while EDF continues to rake in huge profits.

FoE Press Release 17th Feb 2012 more >>

A new report by Unlock Democracy and The Association for the Conservation of Energy, published last month, reveals that the government misled parliament over the need to build a new fleet of nuclear power stations, distorting evidence and presenting MPs with a false summary of the analysis it had commissioned.

Corporate Watch 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Caroline Lucas: Why we must phase lout nuclear power. the proposed electricity market reform is set to rig the energy market in favour of nuclear – with the introduction of a carbon price floor likely to result in huge windfall handouts of around £50m a year to existing nuclear generators. Despite persistent denials by ministers, this is clearly a subsidy by another name, making a mockery of the coalition pledge not to gift public money to this already established industry. The Energy Fair group is arguing that the cap on liabilities for nuclear accidents is technically a subsidy and therefore illegal under EU law – and is now taking the case to the European commission.

Guardian 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Caroline Flint: Caroline Flint MP, Labour’s Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, commenting on the UK-France agreement to strengthen co-operation in the development of civil nuclear energy, said: “Nuclear power has a vital role to play as part of a more sustainable, balanced and low-carbon future energy mix, to make us less reliant on volatile fossil fuel prices, increase our energy security, and keep prices down for families. The UK must learn the lessons from the development of new nuclear power stations in France so we can deliver new nuclear projects in this country on time and on budget.

Labour Party 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Mark Lynas: Although the UK-French nuclear power deal signed by David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy today does not add up to much in terms of its details – a few hundred millions here and there, not much in the multi-billion-pound world of civil nuclear generation – it does send an important political signal: Britain and France will not follow Germany down the path of eschewing nuclear power. Instead, the governments and industries of both countries will work closely together to up the pace of nuclear new-build in the UK.

Guardian 17th Feb 2012 more >>

There were supporting statements from blue-chip corporate names such as Rolls-Royce on this side of the English Channel and EDF and Areva on their side of la Manche. All was fusion. But behind the political smiles lies an increasingly tense reality which throws into question everything the Coalition is trying to achieve in its National Policy Statement on energy, approved by Parliament in July. The are several risks, none of which Friday’s Franco-British summit addressed. The first is Sarkozy losing the French presidential elections being held in April and May. That risk is extremely high and French ambitions for spending on UK nuclear may look rather different under Francois Hollande, the socialist challenger in poll position to oust Sarkozy. Investments in up to four new UK nuclear sites are planned by EDF which in turn is 83pc owned by the French government. The spending starts with Hinkley Point C, home to two new nukes, which will require €10bn (£8bn). There is still no detail of how much nuclear investors, such as EDF, will get for the power from their new plants. There is a promise of a guaranteed price calculated through a complex instrument called a contract for difference (you, dear reader, will end up underwriting the guarantee through your bills to avoid accusations of state subsidy). But no one knows what this price will be. When and how can this be communicated to EDF so it can commit funds to start building in time for planned switch on in 2018, a date that now looks fanciful. EDF’s (junior) partner in the UK is Centrica, not owned by the Government but by concerned shareholders who may well start to question the company’s investment in nuclear plans which, if they materialise at all, risk being late and less ambitious than before.

Telegraph 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Supply Chain

Rolls Royce will be one of several companies working on the first of two reactors built to French energy company AREVA’s EPR design at Hinkley Point in Somerset. Ultimately two more reactors will be built in the UK to the same design. The work will secure 300 skilled UK jobs at Rolls Royce, some of which will be based at a new manufacturing facility in Rotherham where parts for the reactors will be built. Planning permission for the facility has already been granted and it is hoped that it will be up and running late next year.

Telegraph 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Atkins and Assystem are to expand their nuclear engineering alliance to support EDF in the deployment of the UK European pressurised water reactor programme. The alliance will support EDF in those parts of its programme where it seeks a Franco-British team.

Money AM 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Yahoo 17th Feb 2012 more >>

YORKSHIRE manufacturers are better placed than their European rivals to cash in on the growth of nuclear energy, according to a senior figure at EDF Energy. Alan Cumming predicted that the Nuclear AMRC at the Advanced Manufacturing Park, near Rotherham, will become Britain’s most important hub for the nuclear sector. The Nuclear AMRC brings together the manufacturing and engineering expertise of the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, and the University of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute.

Yorkshire Post 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Safety

The UK’s nuclear safety watchdog has admitted an employee lost a USB stick containing information on tests carried out at a facility in Hartlepool. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) also revealed that the USB stick was unencrypted but claimed that there was no sensitive data on the device. “At the start of the EC ‘stress test’ programme, the licensees of all UK nuclear power stations committed to publishing their stress test reports, so most of the findings in this report are now in the public domain,” it said.

V3.co.uk 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Information Age 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Computer Weekly 17th Feb 2012 more >>

BBC 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Guardian 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Scotsman 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

Environmental activists have occupied the site of what is planned to be Britain’s first new nuclear power station since 1995, and on Friday accused EDF of “ignoring democracy” and starting work on the £10bn project without permission to build the station. Eight people have occupied the semi-derelict Langborough farmhouse on land due to be cleared within weeks to make way for the twin-reactor Hinkley Point C power station. The £100m preparatory earth works, which were formalised today in Paris with David Cameron and Nicholas Sarkozy signing an agreement, will remove a volume of soil and rock four times the volume of Wembley stadium from the 500ha site, destroy a site of special scientific interest and several historic buildings.

Guardian 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Anti-nuclear campaigners occupying land proposed for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point have produced an online movie from their new base. Activists took over land on the Langborough Farm site on Sunday morning, and have documented their week’s experiences in a seven-minute YouTube video.

This is Somerset 17th Feb 2012 more >>

The clearest indication yet that the proposed Hinkley C reactor will go-ahead will be signalled today when Britain and France sign a landmark agreement to co-operate on civil nuclear energy.

Western Daily Press17th Feb 2012 more >>

It was a very frustrating Valentine’s Day for one Somerset council and EDF Energy this week. They were meant to be agreeing a deal to fund the work of local authorities on scrutinising the plans for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. EDF had already handed over £13million to three local councils to help them carry out the work so that the cost would not have to be passed onto the council tax bills of those who live in the area affected by the French power giant’s scheme. Sedgemoor District Council advised EDF that another £2.3 million would be required from April 1. Perhaps not unreasonably, the energy company asked to see the council’s calculations before handing over the money. It would be normal in a situation like this, when two parties such as these disagree, that a deal would be thrashed out behind closed doors and some sort of common ground would be found. In the meantime, a bland press release would be issued and the parties would smile, if only through clenched teeth, and assure the world that all was well. Not this time.

Western Daily Press 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Dungeness

A suspect package has sparked a security alert at Dungeness Power Station this afternoon. Police were called to the Romney Marsh site when the alarm was raised at about 1pm. An emergency control centre was quickly set up by the nuclear power station staff. Rumour had spread to nearby New Romney, where some staff and their families live, that the package might have been a bomb. But when officers arrived, the package was discovered to be a webcam.

Kent Messenger 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Sellafield

West Cumbria will today move a step closer to securing a £9 billion new nuclear power station when Britain and France sign an historic nuclear pact. Prime Minister David Cameron is travelling to Paris to sign a landmark agreement with French President Nicolas Sarkozy that will see the countries work together on a shared civil nuclear programme. The deal will pave the way for the building of 10 new nuclear power stations in Britain, including one in west Cumbria which is projected to create 5,000 construction jobs and 800 permanent posts. Nu Gen, a consortium owned by energy giants Iberdrola and GDF Suez, is currently preparing plans for the scheme, provisionally called Moorside, on land north of Sellafield.

Cumberland News 17th Feb 2012 more >>

EDF

EDF said 2011 profit tripled on higher French and U.K. nuclear output, and forecast spending on aging reactors would increase over the next three years.

Bloomberg 16th Feb 2012 more >>

EDF says it plans to bid to build reactors in South Africa in a possible Franco-Chinese partnership.

Reuters 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

Fukushima Nuclear Crisis Update 13th to 16th Feb.

Greenpeace International 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

Iran is clearly trying to develop a nuclear weapons capability, and if it succeeds it will set off a dangerous round of nuclear proliferation across the Middle East, Foreign Secretary William Hague said in an interview published on Saturday.

Reuters 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Telegraph 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Many believe the west is overplaying the influence and nuclear potential that a divided, and increasingly reckless, Tehran wields

Guardian 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Submarines

The reactor compartments from redundant nuclear-powered submarines should be stored “intact” at Devonport, a campaign group has said. The dockyards at Devonport and Rosyth, Scotland, have already been identified by the Ministry of Defence as the only “candidate” sites for dismantling submarines. In all, 27 boats are to be dismantled, including the ten currently stored afloat at Devonport and seven at Rosyth. The MoD has been wrestling with the controversial issue for more than a decade. Its current public consultation ends today. In its submission, the group Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA), which represents 50 councils throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, said the reactor compartments should be removed and stored whole, rather than being cut up.

Western Morning News 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Renewables

Britain’s fledgeling marine energy industry has finally come of age after Siemens acquired a Bristol-based developer. Marine Current Turbines said that its takeover, for an undisclosed sum, would help it to further develop devices that generate electricity from tides. RenewableUK, an industry body, said that the deal could spur takeovers of British marine energy companies that are seeking a cash injection. The Edinburgh-based Pelamis Wave Power is said to be courting Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems. The generation of tidal and wave power is still at an experimental stage and only a handful of large projects exist globally. Experts say that Britain has the best marine energy resource in the world.

Times 18th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 18 February 2012

17 February 2012

New Nukes

The UK is to sign a deal with France to strengthen co-operation in the development of civil nuclear energy. The government says it reiterates the UK’s commitment to nuclear energy “as part of a diversified energy mix”. The coalition says the agreement will create a number of commercial deals in the nuclear energy field, worth more than £500m and creating 1,500 UK jobs.

BBC 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Guardian 17th Feb 2012 more >>

France24 17th Feb 2012 more >>

The British Prime Minister is meeting his French counterpart Nicholas Sarkozy in Paris at a joint summit for the first time since their bitter clashes over Europe. Sources said the two men are expected to seek to draw a line under the tense relations of recent months by unveiling new deals between British and French companies to build aircraft and nuclear power stations.

Telegraph 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Blunder

Ministers have been warned of the blunder amid concerns of the consequences, should the sensitive information fall into the hands of terrorists. The “stress test” report for the plant in Hartlepool, carried out in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, was downloaded onto a USB memory stick – against Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) rules. A senior inspector at the Health and Safety Executive, who was working for the ONR, mislaid the memory stick while attending a nuclear conference in India, it was reported. The report contains technical details and maps of the power station, which is owned by French firm EDF. An ONR spokesman told The Sun: “The use of unencrypted USB pen drives is not permitted by ONR for transporting documents with a security classification.”

Telegraph 17th Feb 2012 more >>

The Sun 17th Feb 2012 more >>

PLEX

The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change says nuclear plant life extension announced by Electricite de France February 16 does not alter the need for “urgent and speedy action” on new nuclear build in the UK. EDF Group said February 16 that it expects to extend the operating lives of its 14 advanced gas-cooled reactors (AGRs) by an average of seven years — two years longer than its previous estimates of only last year. Life extension at EDF’s AGR fleet could retain the equivalent of at least 6.5 gigawatts of nuclear electrical capacity on the national grid, equivalent to at least four 1,600-MW EPR reactors – more if Dungeness B is included in the AGRs to obtain future life extension. In its national energy policy statements last year, DECC said it expected to lose 10GW of nuclear power capacity on the grid over the next 20 years. However, EDF’s plans could significantly delay the loss of existing nuclear capacity. It could mean the only nuclear capacity to be lost between now and 2021 could be the four Magnox reactors at Oldbury and Wylfa, all of which are scheduled to close permanently this year, and Dungeness B. Dungeness B got a 10-year life extension in 2008 and is now scheduled to close in 2018, which would remove about 1GW from the grid.

i-Nuclear.com 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Hinkley

This film gives an account of the first few days of the occupation of Langborough Farm on the site of one of the proposed ‘new wave’ of Nuclear Reactors, at Hinkley point in Somerset. The activists took occupancy in the early hours of Sunday the 12th of February and are settling in to their new home and community.

You Tube 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Indymedia 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Activists who have occupied a farm to oppose ground clearance for a new nuclear site in West Somerset today entered the fifth day of their stand-off with the French energy company EDF. The protesters entered Langborough Farm at Hinkley Point on Saturday night and established a camp around derelict buildings which are believed to house hibernating bats. They want the “Preliminary Works”, which will clear and level several hundred acres of Somerset coastal land to be halted for 12 months until EDF know if they actually have permission to build their proposed reactors.

South West Against Nuclear 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Wylfa

THE company behind the proposed construction of a new nuclear power station on Anglesey is to hold an open surgery in Llangefni. The drop in session, which will be held on Monday, February 20 between 1pm and 7pm at the Llangefni Communities First Centre, will allow members of the public to ask questions about the Wylfa B site.

The Leader 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Radwaste

A GOVERNMENT benefits package awarded to Copeland if it decides to host a nuclear waste dump should leave a “long-term legacy” for the area, a meeting has heard. Elaine Woodburn, the leader of Copeland Council, accepted that the area has missed opportunities in the past to be properly rewarded for its input into the nuclear industry. She said: “The Government has signed up to the principal of giving us community benefits [if Copeland agrees to host an underground repository for high-level nuclear waste]. But it has to be something that helps the community for 200 to 300 years; it can’t be a short-term shopping list of roads and schools for example.”

Whitehaven News 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Letter Michael Baron: The truth – if there is one – is that the entire MRWS process was flawed from the date of publication of the 2008 White Paper which sought to impose a fashionable concept of voluntarism upon local authorities – if they were willing – which they did not have the intellectual capacity to manage and implement. Morally, legally, scientifically, and constitutionally, the process is a failure; and if it proceeds one can only hope that both the will and the means and the opportunity will be found to challenge DECC/Cumbria County Council/Copeland and Allerdale Borough Councils in the High Court. The partnership is aware of this possibility since it has retained Birmingham solicitors Wragge & Co to advise them on issues around the legal weapon of judicial review. There are better and more legitimate ways of finding the safest geological site in England to bury high level nuclear waste. It is the nation’s waste and it is the national government that should find the solution and manage and implement the process, as has happened in other more careful nations.

Whitehaven News 16th Feb 2012 more >>

EDF

EDF has posted strong results for the last financial year, with nuclear generation up by enough to counter an ‘exceptionally poor’ year for hydroelectricity. EDF’s nuclear power plants in France and the UK generated 421.1 TWh and 55.8 TWh respectively, beating targets and up on 2010 performance by 13 TWh. The UK’s Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor fleet posted its best performance for six years. One factor in the year-on-year increase in nuclear generation was the reduction of unplanned outages by a total of 594 days. The ending of long outages at Heysham and Sizewell B also helped, and the company noted “the positive impact of the large component replacement program” for the French fleet.

World Nuclear News 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Utility Week 16th Feb 2012 more >>

EDF plans to carry out six once-a-decade maintenance outages at its French nuclear power reactors in 2012 versus nine in 2011.

Reuters 16th Feb 2012 more >>

EDF’s chief executive has hailed the “remarkable” financial performance of the world’s leading nuclear energy supplier by kilowatts, as he braces himself for a French presidential election that will determine both his and the company’s future. Henri Proglio – one of France’s most powerful businessmen – said the electricity group increased non-recurring net income by 13 per cent in 2011 despite the “troubled environment” in which it was operating, including the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan and the eurozone debt crisis. Its nuclear plants in France and the UK performed well. He insisted the company would meet ambitious 2011-2015 financial targets despite an extra 10bn euro of spending to meet strict safety guidelines following Fukushima.

FT 17th Feb 2012 more >>

One of Britain’s biggest energy companies, EDF, faces an “unstoppable tide” of criticism after last year’s steep gas price increases helped it to pocket an 8.5 per cent rise in annual profits. The surge in earnings came despite an overall fall in energy consumption by its cash-strapped British customers. Mild weather also contributed to an 8 per cent fall in energy use last year. EDF, which is controlled by the French Government, yesterday posted a pretax profit for 2011 of €1.91 billion (£1.59 billion) in the UK, compared with €1.79 billion in 2010. Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said: “When people see energy suppliers announcing increased profits despite a mild winter, they’re bound to question whether they’re paying a fair price. There’s an unstoppable tide of public opinion demanding more affordable energy.

Times 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Flooding

SEA level rises of between 30-40cm in the Severn Estuary over the next 60 years could cause more than three-quarters of the estuary’s intertidal area to be lost, a new report has warned. In stark findings, The State of the Severn Estuary report warns that the impact of climate change could cause 77% of the zone – the area that is above water at low tide and underwater at high tide – to disappear over the next 100 years.

Western Mail 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Sellafield

Letter: NFLA Ireland: We read with concern the huge cost over-runs with the development of an evaporator for the ‘Thorp’ reprocessing facility at Sellafield (Irish Independent, February 14). What should really worry people in Ireland is, despite the Fukushima disaster and the subsequent closure of the Sellafield MOX facility in 2011, there are still big plans to develop the reprocessing business at the plant, with all its incumbent risks. Despite this four-fold increase in costs to the UK taxpayer, the UK government wants to build a new plutonium fabrication plant at Sellafield, whilst councils in West Cumbria are currently consulting about going forward with a huge underground radioactive waste repository within a few miles of Sellafield and, of course, there are plans to build brand new nuclear reactors on the Sellafield site (along with reactors at three other Irish Sea coastal sites). We are dismayed with the lack of public debate on this issue from the Republic’s Government. It has to speak out, as we are doing now, on the folly of building new nuclear facilities just 60 miles from our coastline.

Irish Independent 16th Feb 2012 more >>

That the costs of the new evaporator needed at Britain’s nuclear reprocessing facility at Sellafield have spiralled from £90m to £400m is troubling enough. That the kit will not be up and running until at least 2014 – not only four years late, but only another four years before the closure of the Thorp reprocessing plant that will use it – borders on the farcical.

Independent 14th Deb 2012 more >>

SELLAFIELD is looking to remove the limits for controlling radioactive discharges into the air from its main operational plants. These cover the discharge stacks of Thorp and Magnox reprocessing plants. The overall site limit for monitoring discharges to make sure they are safe will stay in place – for the time being at least. In the meantime site operators Sellafield Ltd is applying to the Environment Agency to have individual plant limits removed. EA representative Rob Allott told members of the West Cumbria (nuclear) Stakeholders health and safety watchdogs: “The application to vary the permit for some of the plant levels is because discharges are now so low that they fall below our criteria for setting limits.”

Whitehaven News 16th Feb 2012 more >>

NuGen

SSE yesterday sold its stake in nuclear joint venture NuGeneration (NuGen) for a cash consideration that could rise to £7m. It has now completed the sale of its 25 per cent stake in NuGen, which it jointly owned with partners GDF Suez and Iberdrola, parent company of ScottishPower. A 50:50 joint partnership between those two companies acquired SSE’s stake for £5.75m, with a further £1.25m dependent on progress with the development of a new 3.6GW nuclear power station on a site in West Cumbria.

Business Green 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Small Reactors

It may be that when a new boom in nuclear power comes, it won’t be led by giant gigawatt installations, but by batteries of small modular reactors (SMRs) with very different principles from those of previous generations. But though a technology of great diversity and potential, many obstacles stand in its path. Gizmag takes an in-depth look at the many forms of SMRs, their advantages, and the challenges they must overcome.

Gizmag 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Energy Prices

A cap on fuel bills could be introduced for the first time in more than a decade amid rising concern that customers are being ripped off by the Big Six energy firms, the regulator Ofgem has told The Independent.

Independent 17th Feb 2012 more >>

The challenge facing Britain’s energy market has probably never been greater than it is today. Public confidence in the Big Six suppliers has fallen to extremely low levels as reflected in The Independent’s Fair Energy campaign. Poor supplier behaviour and the complexity of the energy market have contributed to an erosion of consumer trust.

Independent 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Japan

Fukushima Update 10th – 13th Feb.

Greenpeace International 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Nearly a year after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, then-premier Naoto Kan is haunted by the spectre of an even bigger crisis forcing tens of millions of people to flee Tokyo and threatening the nation’s existence. His priority now is promoting renewable energy rather than political manoeuvring, and steered clear of any criticism of his successor, Yoshihiko Noda.

Reuters 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran

Alarmism about nuclear proliferation is fairly common coin in the foreign policy establishment. And of late it has been boosted by the seeming efforts of Iran or its friends to answer covert assassinations, apparently by Israel, with attacks and attempted attacks of their own in India, Georgia and Thailand. A non-hysterical approach to the Iran nuclear issue is entirely possible. It should take several considerations into account. If the rattled and insecure Iranian leadership is lying when it says it has no intention of developing nuclear weapons, or if it undergoes a conversion from that position (triggered perhaps by an Israeli air strike), it will find, like all other nuclear-armed states, that the bombs are essentially useless and a considerable waste of time, effort, money and scientific talent.

Guardian 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Iran has told EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton that it is ready to resume talks as soon as possible over its disputed nuclear programme.

Morning Star 16th Feb 2012 more >>

US

The Obama Administration is “committed to doing our part to help jumpstart America’s nuclear industry,” US energy secretary Steven Chu said during a visit to the Vogtle site in Georgia, where construction of two new reactors is due to start soon. He highlighted the steps that the Administration is taking to restart the country’s nuclear industry.

World Nuclear News 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Submarines

SELLAFIELD is tipped to receive medium-level radioactive waste from Britain’s redundant nuclear powered submarines – but at a price. Many millions of pounds could be sought for community benefits on top of safety and environmental reassurances. The material from 17 decommissioned nuclear subs will have to be stored safely for up to 100 years before it can be buried for good in an underground repository. Community leaders will insist on Copeland getting financial benefits if the Ministry of Defence decides Sellafield is its preferred site. The MoD is considering a range of options for its Submarine Dismantling Programme (SDP) which includes where the radioactive waste should end up. But Copeland Council leader Elaine Woodburn and Conservative group leader David Moore want community benefits to figure largely. Coun Moore warned: “There has to be community benefit. Why should we take it otherwise?” And Coun Woodburn said: “Our concerns are safety for people, the environment and community benefits.” A national consultation closes Friday but Coun Woodburn said: “It’s flawed. To carry out a consultation without consulting on where the waste will finally go seems ridiculous.”

Whitehaven News 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

Since the end of the Cold War more than 20 years ago, the prospect of nuclear Armageddon has gradually faded from the popular consciousness. But with approximately 23,000 nuclear warheads still thought to be in existence, there is still more than enough nuclear firepower available to basically end life on Earth. Now those interested in finding out how much damage a nuclear strike would cause in their home town can find out, thanks to a new online app.

Daily Mail 16th Feb 2012 more >>

Renewables

Solar companies are hoping to secure revisions to a key piece of research into solar panel costs, which formed the basis for the government’s latest controversial proposals to slash feed-in tariff incentives from July. The government last week issued a consultation on plans to introduce an automatic degression mechanism to the solar feed-in tariff to ensure the scheme remains within budget.

Business Green 16th Feb 2012 more >>

An independent Scotland could reap a £30bn dividend from a “reindustrialised” green energy sector over the next 20 years, Alex Salmond said on Wednesday night, raising the stakes in his economic case for a break from the union. The first minister told an audience of academics, students and members of the public at the London School of Economics Scotland’s “unparallelled energy resources” would give a fully independent Holyrood “a huge competitive advantage” over the rest of Europe. Salmond also said if Scotland had had full fiscal control since 1979, the nation would now have assets worth between £87bn and £117bn. “Under independence we would make the best use of our unparalleled energy resources,” he said. “We have 25% of Europe’s tidal power potential, 25% of its offshore wind potential and 10% of its wave power potential – not bad for a nation with less than 1% of Europe’s population.

Guardian 15th Feb 2012 more >>

Scottish and Southern Energy Renewables has applied to build Scotland’s biggest ever hydro electric scheme at the west end of the Great Glen. SSE plans a 600MW pumped storage scheme, which extracts, stores and releases electricity, near Loch Lochy. The company is asking the Scottish government for the go-ahead but says it will only reach a final decision on whether to press ahead in 2014.

BBC 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Scotsman 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Herald 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Given that hydro electricity schemes are the best way of providing energy quickly to the grid at times of peak demand and they inflict far less damage to the visual environment than wind turbines, this project, if carefully planned and supervised, deserves to be supported.

Scotsman 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Do we need more wind farms? Yes says Julia Davenport of Good Energy: Anyone who has looked at their energy bill recently can see that our energy market is broken. Sixty per cent of our energy is imported and our reliance on that has left households and businesses facing seesawing fuel costs with little or no certainty about how much the next month’s bill will be. We need to solve this problem if we want to create long-term economic security. The United Kingdom is lucky enough to have an abundance of renewable energy resources that can help us do exactly that.

Times 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Electricity Grid

A £1 billion contract has been awarded for the construction of the first sub-sea electricity link between Scotland and England, energy firms announced today. The 261-mile line will run from Hunterston in Ayrshire to a landing point on the Wirral peninsula and will have a 2,200 megawatt (MW) capacity. National Grid and ScottishPower have awarded the £1 billion contract to Siemens and cable manufacturer Prysmian. They said the new link will enable large volumes of renewable wind and other energy generation to be transferred from Scotland to areas of higher demand in England.

Independent 16th Feb 2012 more >>

BBC 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Scotsman 17th Feb 2012 more >>

Posted: 17 February 2012