News

13 April 2010

Cumbria

A group of Lake District artists have made an emotional plea for the country to ditch nuclear new build. The county-based eleven say they represent hundreds of artists who oppose new nuclear build, ‘deep geological disposal’ and burial in landfill of nuclear waste.

Get Noticed Online 12th Apr 2010 more >>

Terror

World leaders at a summit on nuclear security in Washington have heard dire warnings of the danger of nuclear material falling into the wrong hands.

BBC 13th Apr 2010 more >>

Al-Qaeda is trying to secure material for nuclear weapons and would have “no compunction in using them”, President Barack Obama warned, as he welcomed leaders for the largest gathering in the US since the Second World War.

Telegraph 13th Apr 2010 more >>

Daily Mail 13th Apr 2010 more >>

A dispute over the recycling of nuclear fuel by reactor suppliers such as France’s Areva SA surfaced in Washington yesterday, as U.S. officials sought to skirt the issue at a summit elsewhere in town. Former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans and former U.S. ambassador-at-large Robert Gallucci called for an end to the fuel-recycling practice at a conference of experts being held in parallel with President Barack Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit. The summit focuses on keeping separated plutonium and highly enriched uranium out of the hands of terrorists, and Evans and Gallucci said that recycling creates stockpiles of dangerous materials ripe for theft. The practice is drawing attention as more countries look at nuclear power for their energy needs.

Bloomberg 13th Apr 2010 more >>

A former investigator with the CIA and the US department of energy, Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, says there are three headlines that keep him awake at night: Pakistani ‘loose nukes’ in the hands of terrorists; North Korea supplies terrorists with nuclear bombs; Al-Qaeda launches nuclear attack. The good news is that he thinks “the odds are stacked against” terrorists acquiring a nuclear bomb. But the low probability, he argues, has to be weighed against the awfulness of the consequences. (includes map of worldwide distribution of HEU).

BBC 12th Apr 2010 more >>

Trident

LABOUR has backed down over plans to cut the number of nuclear missile-carrying submarines that are refitted in Plymouth. Prime Minister Gordon Brown offered last year to cut the number of Trident-armed submarines from four to three as part of a multilateral “global bargain” to reduce the risk of nuclear weapons. But in a move seen as a bid to rally support at the ballot box, Defence Minister Quentin Davies has now pledged that Labour is committed to retaining four boats. The Ministry of Defence insists that a final decision has not been taken, but says it is ‘expected’ that four vessels would be needed to provide the current round the clock at sea deterrent.

Plymouth Herald 13th Apr 2010 more >>

If Britain had declared a few months ago a willingness to reduce its nuclear arsenal before anyone else, Britain would have been hailed as a real leader and earned gratitude from the US administration. Labour could just have let it slip they were thinking about including such a commitment in their manifesto. But they did not, even though such plans were proposed to No 10. In today’s world, using Britain’s inbuilt international advantages – the English language, a UN seat, a dynamic economy, a history of freedom-promotion, effective armed forces and a nuclear arsenal – are key to countering any pressure from rising powers like China. In this case, Britain and the Labour government missed out.

Spectator 12th Apr 2010 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

In terms of declaratory policy, what advocates of nuclear disarmament are really looking for from the nuclear powers are NOFUN declarations – no first use of nuclear weapons. Nick Witney from European Council of Foreign Relations explore.

eGov Monitor 12th Apr 2010 more >>

Ukraine

Ukraine on Monday pledged to get rid of stockpile of highly enriched uranium – enough to make several nuclear weapons – within two years, a good omen for President Barack Obama as he opened a nuclear security summit in Washington. The agreement between Mr Obama and Viktor Yanukovich, his Ukrainian counterpart, will see Ukraine starting to transfer its weapons-grade uranium to a secure location this year, part of the US president’s efforts to ensure that nuclear materials can not fall into the hands of terrorists.

FT 13th Apr 2010 more >>

Telegraph 13th Apr 2010 more >>

BBC Blog 12th Apr 2010 more >>

Pakistan

A report by Harvard University’s Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs, titled Securing the Bomb 2010, said Pakistan’s stockpile “faces a greater threat from Islamic extremists seeking nuclear weapons than any other nuclear stockpile on earth”. Experts said the danger was growing because of the arms race between Pakistan and India. The Institute for Science and International Security has reported that Pakistan’s second nuclear reactor, built to produce plutonium for weapons, shows signs of starting operations, and a third is under construction.

Guardian 13th Apr 2010 more >>

India

The main problem seems to involve the India-Pakistan situation, where a Bush-era agreement with India on peaceful nuclear power is apparently allowing that country to devote some older facilities that had been used for that purpose to making highly enriched uranium.

Guardian blog 12th Apr 2010 more >>

Israel

It is nonsense to assume that Israel can be given a free pass. Despite the efforts of apologists, Israel’s claim of exceptionalism doesn’t hold up to regional scrutiny. Israeli security will only come through a negotiated and just settlement with the Palestinians, the Syrians and the Lebanese.

Middle East Online 12th Apr 2010 more >>

Posted: 13 April 2010

12 April 2010

New Nukes

A POLL by the Institute of Directors (IoD) shows 85% of business leaders support new nuclear power stations. The findings were in response to Ofgem’s proposals for sustainable future energy options. The IoD said: “Energy security has to be at the top of the agenda for the next Parliament.”

Liverpool Daily Post 12th Apr 2010 more >>

Proliferation

Leaders from more than 40 countries will tomorrow back Barack Obama’s plans to prevent the theft of nuclear material from vulnerable stockpiles around the world. At a nuclear security summit in Washington they will be expected to pledge concrete action to help protect an estimated 1,600 tonnes of weapons-grade uranium (highly enriched uranium – HEU) and 500 tonnes of plutonium stored in over 1,000 sites in 40 countries under widely varying degrees of security. Just 25kg (55lb) of HEU or nearly 8kg of plutonium is required to make a bomb. There have been 15 confirmed cases of weapons-grade material being smuggled in the last 17 years.

Guardian 12th Apr 2010 more >>

Barack Obama, the US President, has warned that nuclear terrorism is the gravest threat to global security as he calls for action to keep nuclear-grade material out of the hands of extremists.

Telegraph 12th Apr 2010 more >>

BBC 12th Apr 2010 more >>

Independent 12th Apr 2010 more >>

Fresh from his success in signing a new strategic arms reduction treaty with the Russians in Prague, US President Barack Obama is hosting a nuclear security summit in Washington DC. With some 47 countries in attendance it will be one of the largest gatherings of its kind in the US capital since the late 1940s.

BBC 12th Apr 2010 more >>

President Barack Obama has warned that Al-Qaeda would not hesitate to use a nuclear weapon against the United States, before hosting a global summit aimed at thwarting such a nightmare scenario.

Yahoo 12th Apr 2010 more >>

Reuters 11th Apr 2010 more >>

The common aim is to contain the twin menace of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism, which Obama has identified as the principal threats to his country and to global security. The NPR and Start have both underwhelmed arms control purists, but have generally been welcomed as positive steps towards disarmament given the political environment Obama is operating in. The Nuclear Security Summit is likely to trigger the same mixed emotions. The copies of the summit’s final communique and workplan that I’ve seen inevitably read like the lowest common denominator documents they are.

Guardian Blog 11th Apr 2010 more >>

Iran

Iran has said it will complain to the UN over its exclusion from Washington’s revised nuclear policy, while the US has claimed Iran does not yet have nuclear capacity.

Sky News 11th Apr 2010 more >>

Morning Star 11th Apr 2010 more >>

Disarmament

Peace activists have been out in force on a march against the threat of nuclear war and the possession of nuclear weapons. The Flame of Hope was carried from Worthing to Littlehampton by campaigners from Brighton, Worthing and Crawley.

Brighton Argus 11th Apr 2010 more >>

Peak Oil

The US military has warned that surplus oil production capacity could disappear within two years and there could be serious shortages by 2015 with a significant economic and political impact. The energy crisis outlined in a Joint Operating Environment report from the US Joint Forces Command, comes as the price of petrol in Britain reaches record levels and the cost of crude is predicted to soon top $100 a barrel.

Guardian 12th Apr 2010 more >>

Renewables

A BATTERY recycling scheme devised by some of the world’s biggest carmakers could slash the cost of green motoring. Nissan and General Motors are working on plans to sell used batteries from their electric vehicles to wind-farm operators. The old batteries would store power generated by wind turbines at off-peak times, when it is not required by the national grid. The batteries could also be used for emergency power supplies. Finding a second use for them, once they are no longer strong enough to power a car, could alter the economics of electric motoring. The lithium-ion batteries include rare materials and are expensive to make. They are so costly that most of the big car companies do not intend to sell them with the car, but to lease them under a separate agreement.

Sunday Times 11th Apr 2010 more >>

Freddy Shepherd, the controversial former owner of Newcastle United Football Club, could be about to make another fortune if Tyneside becomes the manufacturing centre of the coming boom in offshore wind farms. Thousands of turbines are set to be erected in the North Sea as Britain gears up to become the global leader of the offshore wind industry, generating up to quarter of the nation’s electricity supply.

Times 12th Apr 2010 more >>

Engineering tycoon Jim McColl is seeking to build two new factories in Scotland that would make components for the offshore wind industry and create many hundreds of jobs. David Brown Gear Systems, a subsidiary of Glasgow-based Clyde Blowers, of which Mr McColl is chief executive, is “gathering intelligence” with a view to building factories to supply the markets on the east and west coasts of the UK with the gear boxes required for wind turbines. With the company already close to opening a plant in China that will supply that market with similar products, the Scottish plans come in parallel with a £2.5 million joint venture between David Brown and US-based Clipper Windpower Marine to develop a 10MW gearbox for Clipper’s forthcoming Project Britannia prototype turbine.

Sunday Herald 11th Apr 2010 more >>

Posted: 12 April 2010

11 April 2010

Scottish Waste Consultation

An attempt by the Scottish Government to quietly abandon its opposition to dumping nuclear waste underground has come under fierce attack from local authorities, environmental groups and experts. They say that radioactive waste disposed of in holes in the ground could leak into the groundwater and soil and contaminate future generations. The waste remains dangerous for thousands of years. Ministers are being urged to revert to their original plan to put the waste in stores above the ground where it can be managed, monitored and kept safe. The revelation that waste could be buried more than 100 metres 300 feet underground has sparked widespread anger. The 11-strong group of Scottish nuclear-free local authorities, including Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee, has lodged a submission protesting about the change. Shetland Islands Council has written to Lochhead demanding that the consultation be extended to allow stakeholders to take account of this. The worrying policy U-turn was also condemned by Friends of the Earth Scotland. These proposals would appear to have been cooked up by officials and industry lobbyists and presented to ministers and the public as a minor shift in policy, said the environmental groups chief executive, Duncan McLaren. Nuclear Waste Advisory Associates, a group of experts and former government advisers, has pointed out that there would be problems burying the graphite because it contains radioactivity difficult to contain over long periods of time. There is a danger the nuclear industry could attempt to use Scotland as a guinea pig to assist it in its efforts to reduce costs, the group warned.

Sunday Herald 11th Apr 2010 more >>

Longer version: “When Alex Salmond joined protests against nuclear dumping in Scotland twenty years ago and supported near surface storage instead,” said Pete Roche, an environment consultant in Edinburgh, “I can’t believe disposal 300 feet or more underground is what he had in mind.”

Rob Edwards.com 11 April 2010 more >>

Carbon Floor Price

Dr Paul Golby, head of the German utility giant’s British business, has concerns that money raised by any government setting a “carbon floor price” will not necessarily be channelled to green energy projects. “I’m not a great supporter of a carbon floor price, because it seems to me to be a tax,” he told The Sunday Telegraph. “The money doesn’t always go to the purpose it was originally intended.” EON is planning to invest £7.5bn in two nuclear power stations on Anglesey and in Gloucestershire by 2025, but the current market framework means that building the plants may not be economically attractive without some form of government incentive. Rival nuclear developer EDF has lobbied hard for a carbon floor price, which would add an estimated £40 per year to energy bills. For me to build new nuclear power stations, I need confidence people are going to buy the product at an acceptable price,” The Government is understood to be looking at the idea of a low carbon obligation, favouring it over a carbon floor price.

Sunday Telegraph 11th Apr 2010 more >>

Eon forecasts that if we need to reduce carbon emissions by 80pc, electricity use will rise by 60pc because UK consumers will move en masse to electric vehicles and central heating. E.ON has been lobbying hard for nuclear power, which has neglible carbon emissions, to be incentivised in the same way as renewable energy. Its answer is a “low-carbon obligation” that would force suppliers to buy or generate a certain proportion of their electricity from “clean” sources. Now there is a whole raft of extra obligations on electricity suppliers to make sure 10pc of their energy comes from renewable sources, to buy permits to cover their emissions and fund costly energy efficiency programmes. Rather than providing simply a centralised generation, distribution and supply business, E.ON has plans to sell generation equipment to individual homes. The company has just made a major foray into this area, with the launch of its SolarSaver product, a rooftop panel costing north of £11,000. With subsidies through the Government’s new “feed-in tariff” – a way for households to sell back extra electricity to the national grid – each home could be breaking even within 12 years, Dr Golby says excitedly. This would give 13 years of profit under the 25-year feed-in tariff system.

Sunday Telegraph 11th Apr 2010 more >>

Dungeness

Opposition is growing to plans for an expansion of Lydd Airport up to 500,000 passengers a year, despite boost to jobs. Posters depicting an airliner plunging towards Dungeness B nuclear power station with the caption “60 Seconds to Disaster” have been erected in Lydd.

Guardian 10th Apr 2010 more >>

Sizewell

Repairs at the Sizewell B nuclear power station will take longer than originally anticipated, Lake Acquisitions Ltd said today (9 April). The power station was shut down manually on 17 March due to higher than normal moisture levels within the containment building. Lake Acquisitions – a wholly-owned subsidiary of EDF – said the problem related to one of the heaters associated with the pressuriser. The component is not part of the reactor pressure vessel but is connected to the cooling circuit. Early indications showed that repair techniques previously deployed at similar power stations could be carried out at Sizewell B in relatively short timescales. But detailed inspections have shown that the existing repair techniques will need to be developed further before being deployed. Until this development work has been completed the timing of the return to service is subject to some uncertainty.

Business Financial News 9th Apr 2010 more >>

IBTimes 9th Apr 2010 more >>

Reuters 9th Apr 2010 more >>

Welsh Energy Policy

Planning consent for onshore electricity generating stations larger than 50MW lies with the Infrastructure Planning Commission, and for offshore ones greater than 1MW it is shared with the IPC and the Marine Management Organisation. The most obvious area where this conflicts with the Assembly Government’s energy policy aspirations is in nuclear power, where the launch of the Energy Policy Statement was swiftly followed by the announcement of Horizon’s plans to build a 3GW nuclear power station next to the Wylfa plant on Anglesey. The Assembly Government reacted swiftly to Horizon’s announcement by saying it would push for a public inquiry.

Western Mail 10th Apr 2010 more >>

Dounreay

AN ENGINEER stopped the wheels coming off a project to clean up a nuclear reactor by donating the casters from his living-room couch. Scientists are using a remotely controlled device to inspect the depths of Dounreay’s redundant Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) as part of the 2.9 billion decommissioning of the Caithness plant. But during tests it was found the vehicle toppled over while cornering, posing a potential problem that could have cost thousands of pounds to rectify. Senior design engineer Calder Bain came up with the low-tech solution by simply removing the casters from his sofa.

Scotsman 10th Apr 2010 more >>

Plutonium Disposition

The plutonium that is the key ingredient in thousands of nuclear weapons sidelined in the new arms control treaty between the United States and Russia is likely to be around for decades at least, according to experts. They say the process for destroying plutonium has not yet started to whittle down the surplus already created by previous agreements. Since the late 1990s, the United States has been trying to build a factory at the Savannah River Site, near Aiken, S.C., that would convert the plutonium to reactor fuel. Government officials once hoped that such fuel could be loaded into reactors in 2002. But construction did not begin until 2007 and even if all goes well, the plant will not be finished until 2016. The cost of the plant, once estimated at $2.3 billion, is now $4.8 billion. The plant is the largest nuclear construction project in the country.

New York Times 8th Apr 2010 more >>

Swedish Radioactive Waste

Osthammar is a town competing for the right to become Sweden’s permanent storage site for radioactive waste. Eighty per cent of the town’s 21,000 inhabitants are in favour of the facility and Osthammar is one of two finalists among Swedish communities vying for the right to host the nuclear waste dump. Sweden would seem an unlikely setting for such a competition as the country turned its back on nuclear power in the 1980s after less than 20 per cent approved of it in a referendum. But it has reversed course recently and is now planning to begin building new nuclear reactors, adding to the ten it already operates. Legislation requires that before any new plants are built, the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company, SKB, must create permanent storage space for the radioactive waste the reactors produce. SKB will ask the Swedish government later this year for permission to build the storage depot in Osthammar. If the government gives the green light, construction could begin some time after 2015. The dump’s opponents, Osthammar residents such as Mats Tornqvist, a retired chemist who returned to his native Osthammar from Stockholm, have conceded the fight, if not the argument. “I’m a chemical engineer, I’ve worked with waste problems since 1985, I’ve read all the papers,” he said. “They can say all they want, they have no solution.” He says the prospect of jobs brought people around. “We have a community here that is very dependent on this industry.”

Scotland on Sunday 11th Apr 2010 more >>

Trident

Britain’s best know peace campaigner will this Sunday (11th April) highlight the lack of debate during the general election campaign so far over levels of spending on nuclear weapons. The estimated cost of replacing Trident is in the region of £75-£100 billion – which is around 15 times the £6 billion of proposed ‘efficiency savings’ which have dominated the party political debates over the last few days. The CND Vice President, Bruce Kent wishes to now push for ‘real debate’ about the huge levels of spending on Trident nuclear weapons, as part of the general election campaign.

Ekklesia 10th Apr 2010 more >>

The Liberal Democrats have said they will not replace Trident nuclear-armed submarines, but they have still not broken the overall nuclear hold on their defence policy, say critics – including environmentalists and disarmament campaigners. The challenge was echoed by the leader of the Green Party in England and Wales, Caroline Lucas, in a speech late last week at the Flame of Hope rally was held as US President Obama and Russian President Medvedev signed a new nuclear arms reduction treaty, cutting the number of warheads held by Russia and the US.

Ekklesia 11th Apr 2010 more >>

Disarmament

Observer Editorial: President Obama will this week host a nuclear security summit in Washington, where he will hope to build some momentum for wider disarmament. That is a daunting project that has to involve such unpliable states as India, Pakistan, North Korea, Israel and Iran. Given the scale of that task, President Obama is wise to have inaugurated a thaw with Russia. With a new generation of nuclear threats needing attention, defusing Cold War bombs is a task long overdue.

Observer 11th Apr 2010 more >>

The US and Russia are one step closer to nuclear disarmament, after signing the New Start treaty at a lavish ceremony in Prague. But a curious hangover from the threat of nuclear Armageddon is still in use across the Czech Republic. Every first Wednesday of the month, at precisely midday, air raid sirens ring out across the country.

BBC 10th Apr 2010 more >>

Posted: 11 April 2010

10 April 2010

Nuclear Research

The Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre has signed a lease for two units at the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham. Operations director for the Nuclear AMRC Steve Court has signed a lease with the UK Strategic Partnership for two units of a total area of 16,000sq ft at the AMP near Rotherham. The deal includes a 13,500sq ft workshop unit in the AMP’s Evolution development, and a 3,000sq ft office and research and development suite within the AMP Technology Centre, both of which Nuclear AMRC hopes to move in to and fit out as soon as possible. R&D work will focus on precision machining, welding and inspection processes for the nuclear new build industry. The Nuclear AMRC, a joint initiative between the University of Sheffield, the University of Manchester and industrial partners, hopes to employ 25 people in the first few months of operations, while the total final headcount should approach 100. Initial work has begun on a 80,000sq ft purpose-built home for the Nuclear AMRC on the AMP, due to complete in late 2011.

The Manufacturer 9th Apr 2010 more >>

Sizewell

Repair work is still continuing at Sizewell B nuclear power station following a fault that caused it to be taken off line. Sizewell B, near Leiston in Suffolk, carried out a controlled manual shutdown last month when higher than normal moisture levels were detected in a containment building. It remains shut down but EDF Energy, which runs the facility, said they are pleased with the progress so far.

Eastern Daily Press 8th Apr 2010 more >>

Hinkley

ENERGY giant EDF will take on 10,000 employees as it prepares for the nuclear power station building revolution, it recently revealed. Over the next five years the French company plans to embark on a major recruitment drive, taking on thousands of scientists, engineers and technicians as it builds two new reactors at Hinkley Point in West Somerset and two more at Sizewell, Suffolk. EDF, formerly Electricite de France, hopes Hinkley Point will be producing power by 2017-18, followed by Sizewell two years later.

Somerset County Gazette 9th Apr 2010 more >>

Bradwell

The three main candidates campaigning to represent Maldon in Essex are all in favour of redeveloping the site of a disused power station if a new round of nuclear reactors are built.

BBC 9th Apr 2010 more >>

EPR

Nuclear safety authorities in four countries are assessing the significance of undocumented welding on primary circuit piping for the EPR reactor under construction at Olkiluoto-3, Petteri Tiippana, director of the nuclear reactor regulation department at the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority STUK, told Platts in an interview Thursday. But Tiippana said that contrary to a statement made Wednesday by Marie-Pierre Comets, a commissioner of French nuclear safety authority ASN, regulators from Finland, France, the UK and the US are not preparing a joint statement on the piping quality issue.

Platts 8th Apr 2010 more >>

Low Level Waste

A staggering 56,000m3 a year of radioactive waste from decommissioned nuclear plants is planned for Keekle Head and Lillyhall in Cumbria. Local councillors have opposed – but radwaste is already coming to Lillyhall landfill from for example Magnox North at Chapelcross at the rate of 26000m3 a year. Radiation Free Lakeland say : the nuclear industry is sticking two fingers up to Cumbria – while masquerading as “green” – there is an unfathomable void between nuclear power and the truth.

Indymedia 9th Apr 2010 more >>

Uranium Waste

Greenpeace activists have been on the frontlines all week attempting to stop the shipment of nuclear waste from France to Russia. Despite attempts from the nuclear industry to silence us, our activists continue to nonviolently resist the transport of nuclear waste.

Greenpeace International 9th Apr 2010 more >>

Israel

Relations between Israel and the US took another turn for the worsetoday after the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, cancelled a trip to Washington next week amid reports that Barack Obama’s administration is seriously considering a Plan B for a Middle East peace settlement.

Guardian 10th Apr 2010 more >>

Israel, whose prime minister withdrew Friday from next week’s US-hosted nuclear summit, is viewed as the sixth country to have acquired nuclear weapons — a title it has neither denied nor confirmed. Analysts at British defence specialists Jane’s believe the Jewish state has between 100 and 300 nuclear warheads, putting them among the more advanced nuclear weapons states and roughly on a par with Britain.

Middle East Online 9th Apr 2010 more >>

Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, will not be attending next week’s nuclear summit in Washington. According to Israeli officials, he pulled out of the meeting after “learning that Egypt and Turkey may have been planning to use his appearance at the conference to call on Israel to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and to open its nuclear facilities to international inspection”.

Guardian 9th Apr 2010 more >>

Proliferation

President Barack Obama’s nuclear security summit approaches, Israel’s prime minister withdraws from the conference and Iran says it has new faster centrifuges for uranium enrichment work.

Reuters 9th Apr 2010 more >>

Italy

Enel, EDF and Ansaldo Energia have signed an agreement for the development of nuclear power plants in Italy based on the Evolutionary Pressurised Reactor (EPR) design.

The Engineer 9th Apr 2010 more >>

Iran

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, taunting the United States for trying to halt Iran’s nuclear programme, unveiled a new centrifuge on Friday which officials said would enrich uranium much faster then existing models.

STV 9th Apr 2010 more >>

Independent 10th Apr 2010 more >>

Trident

The US-Russia pact offers Britain a chance to delay any decision on renewing its nuclear deterrent rather than pushing ahead with an expensive plan to replace a fleet of Trident submarines, analysts said. Such a move, opposed only by the Liberal Democrats, would lock Britain into at least another three decades of keeping a full-time at-sea deterrent in contrast with disarmament efforts championed by President Obama. “The more momentum President Obama generates on disarmament, the more out of place the immediate decision to renew Trident will look,” Ian Kearns, a senior Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, told The Times. “It’s about exploring options for delaying the UK decision for another five years in order to save money and signal UK support for Obama’s agenda.”

Times 9th Apr 2010 more >>

Posted: 10 April 2010

9 April 2010

EPR

Nuclear safety authorities in four countries are preparing a joint statement cautioning against the use of piping elements fabricated by French pipemaker Fives Nordon in EPR nuclear power plants, Marie-Pierre Comets, a commissioner of French nuclear safety authority ASN. It would be the second such joint statement on an issue of safety of the “next-generation” EPR reactors, after a tripartite French-Finnish-British statement last November on the instrumentation and control system architecture proposed for the EPR in those three countries. Areva’s 1,600- to 1,700 MW-class EPR reactor is under construction at Olkiluoto-3 in Finland and Flamanville-3 in France, and the design is under regulatory review in the UK and the US. Comets, speaking at a French parliamentary group’s hearing on ASN’s activities in 2009, said the Nordon piping being installed at Olkiluoto-3 had shown quality problems and that the Finnish regulator STUK had alerted its counterparts in the other countries to the anomaly. She didn’t specify what piping was involved.

Platts 8th Apr 2010 more >>

Hartlepool

NUCLEAR police got a great reaction as they went on the beat as part of a community initiative. Hartlepool Police and officers of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC), who protect the town’s nuclear power station, joined forces to further improve policing in the area. Three CNC officers spent a week working alongside Hartlepool officers to improve relations, increase their knowledge and share their experiences.

Hartlepool Mail 7th Apr 2010 more >>

Lancashire

Protecting Lancashire’s nuclear industry and pumping cash into the county’s rail network must be the top priorities of the next Government, a leading group of North West businesses have said. The North West Business Leadership Team (NWLBT) has vowed to lobby all parliamentary candidates across the region for commitments on the issues ahead of next month’s general election.

Lancashire Evening Post 8th Apr 2010 more >>

Sizewell

Sizewell B carried out a controlled manual shutdown last month when higher than normal moisture levels were detected in a containment building. It remains shut down but EDF Energy, which runs the facility, said they are pleased with the progress so far. The fault related to an electrical heater in the pressuriser for the reactor coolant circuit. The reactor will return to service once the repair has been completed and when the regulator – the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate – has been satisfied by the activities carried out. EDF has declined to give an exact date for when the power station will be back on line because of the commercially sensitive nature of the electricity market in which it operates.

East Anglian Daily Times 8th Apr 2010 more >>

Dounreay

SEVEN staff have been made redundant and a further five posts axed in Caithness by the new owners of the UKAEA’s commercial arm. A handful of other jobs are also being reviewed by Babcock International at its base in the business park at Forss. The losses have been mainly in the engineering support team of UKAEA Ltd, which Babcock took over in a £50 million deal in September. The jobs are among the 30 or so which have gone at Forss and its two sister sites at Harwell in Oxfordshire and Winfrith in Dorset.

John O Groat Journal 7th Apr 2010 more >>

Plutonium Disposition

The U.S. and Russian governments have reached a breakthrough in a long-stalled agreement to dispose of huge amounts of their plutonium from nuclear weapons. The new protocol amends an agreement signed by then-Vice President Al Gore and the Russian leadership in 2000 under which the two countries pledged to get rid of 34 tons of plutonium each. The material came from weapons that had been decommissioned. The 2000 agreement stalled over Moscow’s unhappiness with the process by which the material was to be turned into fuel for civilian power plants. In addition, the world’s leading industrialized countries never came up with the $2 billion they had promised Russia to convert the plutonium. Under the amended Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement, Russia will dispose of the plutonium in two fast-neutron reactors, said the officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the protocol is not yet public. The agreement will include conditions on safeguarding the material, officials said. Russia will pay most of the costs, but the U.S. government will chip in $400 million, officials said.

Washington Post 9th Apr 2010 more >>

Radiation and Health

A new study by the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on cancer risk for people living close to nuclear power plants is likely to begin this summer, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has announced.

World Nuclear News 8th Apr 2010 more >>

NPT

After repeated delays, the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review – just the third such effort since the end of the Cold War–is finished. This document has been by far the most anticipated of its kind. Judging by occasional reports, it has been extensively coordinated and worked over–the hallmarks of a high-priority policy document. The report is a genuine accomplishment, bringing the threats of proliferation and terrorism into the foreground of nuclear policy. Arriving shortly before the signing ceremony for START follow-on in Prague and the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, the posture review builds momentum toward the consequential 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference.

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 7th Apr 2010 more >>

Ireland

Ireland must consider the nuclear power route – that’s according to Dr Bertrand Barr , scientific advisor to the French energy company, Areva Group, who was speaking at the announcement of the Engineers Ireland Annual Conference 2010. Barr says the depletion of oil and gas reserves, concerns about energy security and the environmental threat of greenhouse gases all point to how Ireland must consider nuclear power.

Silicon Republic 8th Apr 2010 more >>

Business World 8th Apr 2010 more >>

Nuclear Engineering International 8th Apr 2010 more >>

Israel

Israel’s prime minister has called off a trip to Washington next week to attend a conference on nuclear non-proliferation, deepening tensions with Barack Obama and threatening to overshadow an event the US president views as crucial to his global agenda.

Telegraph 9th Apr 2010 more >>

ITN 9th Apr 2010 more >>

BBC 9th Apr 2010 more >>

Independent 9th Apr 2010 more >>

Italy

France’s nuclear industry champions will today unveil agreements with Italian companies aimed at strengthening the French hand when Italy relaunches nuclear power from 2013. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s prime minister, will preside over an extension of Franco-Italian nuclear co-operation at their bilateral summit in Paris. They will also attempt to bury the hatchet on a feud over liberalisation of France’s rail sector.

FT 9th Apr 2010 more >>

Disarmament

Letter from Rae Street: it is technically Nato which holds the tactical nuclear weapons at bases in Europe, from Belgium to Turkey. Moreover it was the five states themselves, led by Germany, which made the move to have the weapons removed. Still, if the US is still lagging behind on that issue, the UK government lags even further behind. Where is the Trident strategic nuclear weapon system and its replacement in the election debates? Kate Hudson adds: Your editorial (7 April) correctly diagnoses the weaknesses of Obama’s timid shift in US nuclear policy, yet even such modest advances would be welcome if repeated in the UK. The main party leaders frequently talk of their belief in multilateral disarmament. But if we are to believe this is anything more than an attempt to avoid any meaningful action, they should take this opportunity to respond to and go beyond Obama’s pledge – promising never to use Trident against non-nuclear threats and to rule out the first use of nuclear weapons.

Guardian 9th Apr 2010 more >>

Dodgy new counting rules mean that the real reductions in deployed nuclear weapons could turn out to be far less than the 30% advertised. Indeed, they could add up to nothing at all. The treaty sets a new ceiling for deployed strategic warheads at 1550 on each side. That is indeed down about 30% from the ceilings established in the Moscow Treaty in 2002. But Article III, paragraph 2 of the new Start reveals a catch, explaining how the warheads will be counted.

Guardian blog 9th Apr 2010 more >>

The biggest nuclear disarmament pact in a generation was signed by presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev today, as they warned of sanctions for Iran.

Metro 8th Apr 2010 more >>

Guardian 9th Apr 2010 more >>

Daily Mail 9th Apr 2010 more >>

Morning Star 9th Apr 2010 more >>

Telegraph 9th Apr 2010 more >>

When it comes to recasting America’s own nuclear-weapons policy to deal more efficiently with the same threats, Mr Obama may have a battle ahead. In many ways, this week’s delayed nuclear posture review simply brings America’s official nuclear thinking into line with long-standing practice, including that of his more warlike predecessor, George Bush. With the demise of the old Soviet threat, nuclear weapons play a diminishing role in America’s defences. Like Mr Bush, Mr Obama plans instead to rely more on America’s array of powerful conventional weapons to deter future adversaries in a crisis.

Economist 8th Apr 2010 more >>

Nato Watch have produced a good briefing today which points out that “Mutual destruction is still assured but it’s a START”. You can read it here:

Nato Watch 8th Apr 2010 more >>

Posted: 9 April 2010

8 April 2010

Justification

Simon Hughes responds to Mark Lynas: Lynas accuses me of ignoring the “science” and laments my comments on BBC Radio 4 on the health effects of nuclear power. According to him, there is no plausible scientific case for this. I presume he refers to my call for an independent inquiry into the “justification” for nuclear power. “Justification” is the process of assessment of the health effects of nuclear power and is a legal requirement before any new nuclear plant can operate in the UK. One of the means by which it can be carried out is through a public inquiry. The purpose of my call was precisely so that scientific evidence could be examined in the open, and that nuclear scientists, other experts and the public can participate in the decision-making process for new nuclear power in a meaningful way. This call was supported by roughly 80 leading research academics and nuclear scientists in the UK.

New Statesman 7th Apr 2010 more >>

Radio 4 discussion between Richard Waite (NDA Divisional Director Strategy & Technology), Professor Bill Lee (deputy Chair Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) and Paul Dorfman. 37 mins into the programme, lasts about 15 mins.

BBC 7th Apr 2010 more >>

Sellafield

A west Cumbrian MP will today introduce the “most ambitious and comprehensive piece of pro-nuclear legislation seen in decades” into Parliament. Copeland MP and former Sellafield employee Jamie Reed will introduce his Nuclear Fuel Cycle Bill calling for continued reprocessing contracts for spent nuclear fuel at Sellafield beyond the end of current deals and new fuel manufacture at the atomic plant. The Copeland MP believes the move would reduce the cost of nuclear decommissioning on the taxpayer by generating billions of pounds of commercial revenue and boost nuclear material non-proliferation efforts by turning plutonium and uranium into fuel, instead of classifying the materials as ‘wastes’ which would then cost even more money to dispose of.

Carlisle News and Star 7th Apr 2010 more >>

THORP is set to restart full operations after being shut down for the best part of seven months. It has undergone extensive maintenance and engineering work. It is hoped the work will help secure future reprocessing contracts. Special attention has been given during the programme to Evaporator C which reprocesses Thorp’s spent fuel. And now, after evaporator inspections, the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate has given the go ahead to re-start Thorp and reprocess another 1,000 tons of fuel. At the time the plant went into its planned shutdown last August, a spokesman said the maintenance work and assessments would help secure Thorp’s future and with it Sellafield reprocessing. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority also gave a pledge that Thorp’s future was no longer under review and was expected to continue until 2015 as planned. Now the the plant is gearing up to resume full reprocessing later in the month. And yesterday Copeland’s MP Jamie Reed launched a House of Commons Bill calling for more reprocessing and fuel manufacture contracts to come Sellafield’s way. He told fellow MPs: “We know we need to make money to spend more money on the site. The way to do this is through new commercial contracts for reprocessing and fuel manufacture, including a potential new (Mox) facility. Meanwhile, the existing Sellafield Mox plant has chalked up its best ever year with a record throughput and yield of pellets. Eight fuel assemblies are now waiting to be shipped to Europe and another three are being built. Investigations are still taking place into the cause of the second of two separate incidents in which supplies of vital cooling water were lost to the highly active liquor plant for a short period.

Whitehaven News 7th Apr 2010 more >>

Oldbury

We suggest that the organisers of the Oldbury Fun Run consider carefully the supply of the timing rig from Horizon. Surely there is another source of funding? What is even more astounding is that a charity that helps children with cancer and leukaemia is prepared to accept money from a nuclear power company. I suggest that CLIC look into some of the research into childhood cancer and leukaemia in Germany in what is known as the KiKK study. It confirms the significant increase in these issues close to every German nuclear power station.

Shepperdine Against Nuclear Energy 4th Apr 2010 more >>

Wylfa

More than 30 campaigners gathered close to the site of a proposed nuclear power plant in Anglesey. The protest came days after Horizon Nuclear Power said it would apply for planning consent in 2012 to build a new plant on the island. The group said politicians should not be deluded by economic arguments for building a new generation of nuclear power plants. ‘The problems associated with nuclear power are far too numerous and serious for any government to decide to give substantial financial assistance to the companies that wish to build new nuclear power stations,’ it said in a statement.

PR Week 7th Apr 2010 more >>

Hinkley

A Hinkley Point Community Planning Day will be held in Burnham on 29th April.

Burnham-on-sea.com 6th Apr 2010 more >>

Ireland

Ireland needs to at least consider nuclear energy as a way to meet future energy demand and climate change targets, a report com-missioned by state agency EirGrid has concluded. The report on Ireland’s future energy needs in a low-carbon era highlights a number of options, but falls short of favouring one particular energy source over another. The report, by a company called Poyry Energy Consulting, was about “framing the debate”, said EirGrid chief executive Dermot Byrne. The report said renewables were likely to be a major part of whatever solutions emerge, but other sources would be needed. The nuclear option does deliver lower carbon emissions, but there was a problem of “public acceptance”, it said.

Irish Independent 8th Apr 2010 more >>

US

Yucca Mountain is now too small to deal with the current levels of nuclear waste produced, and concerns over the viability of the site have left a vexing problem for the US Department of Energy which has been collecting nuclear waste disposal fees from US electric utilities since 1983 over what could replace it. The issue came to the forefront this week when sixteen electric utilities sued the US government to halt the collection of nuclear waste disposal fees arguing that the country no longer had a disposal plan after ruling out Yucca Mountain.

Physics Today 7th Apr 2010 more >>

Slovakia

Slovakia extended a contract for nuclear fuel deliveries with Russia on Wednesday and dropped an arbitration suit against Gazprom in a sign of improving relations between the two countries. The euro zone member’s dominant power company Slovenske Elektrarne (SE), a unit of Italy’s utility Enel, said in a statement the agreement with Russia’s TVEL, for two new units at Mochove power plant, covered the 2012-2017 period.

Interactive Investor 7th Apr 2010 more >>

Israel

Israel plans to remain ambiguous over its nuclear policy, with US backing, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said on Wednesday.

Middle East Online 7th Apr 2010 more >>

Trident

Kate Hudson: Scrapping Trident is a vote winner. Last summer Nick Clegg broke with long-standing main party consensus by announcing that the Liberal Democrats did not support a like-for-like replacement for Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system. This came amid serious concerns from across the political spectrum that the cost of Trident was too high and could not be justified. As the country faces economic crisis, swingeing public spending cuts and a massive public debt, this was – and still is – a key question. The opportunity cost of spending over £76bn on a replacement for Trident is considerable, not to mention the billions spent every year on the existing system.

Guardian 8th Apr 2010 more >>

Disarmament

US and Russia planning to sign an arms reduction treaty in Prague today.

Wales Online 8th Apr 2010 more >>

Sky News 8th Apr 2010 more >>

BBC 8th Apr 2010 more >>

Telegraph 8th Apr 2010 more >>

Times 8th Apr 2010 more >>

Independent 8th Apr 2010 more >>

Comment by Hillary Clinton.

Guardian 8th Apr 2010 more >>

The hardline regime of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would do well to take note of U.S. President Barack Obama’s carefully-worded caveat about the conditions under which America might use its devastating stockpile of nuclear weapons. In his Nuclear Posture Review, Mr Obama stresses that the role of America’s nuclear arsenal is to deter nuclear attacks on the U.S. and its allies, and rules out the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear countries, even if they were to attack the U.S. with non-conventional weapons, such as chemical or biological devices. But he makes an important exception with regard to both Iran and North Korea. While stating that he would refrain from launching nuclear attacks against countries that have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, this constraint only applies to those countries that are in compliance with the NPT, which both North Korea and Iran are most certainly not.

Telegraph Blog 7th Apr 2010 more >>

Barack Obama’s first concrete steps towards achieving his year-old vision of a world free of nuclear weapons are disappointing and timid, campaigners have said. CND condemned the fact that nuclear weapons could still theoretically be employed against non-nuclear states, that nuclear weapons will remain in Europe and that the alert posture of all US nuclear forces will be unchanged. Kate Hudson, CND chair, commented: “We had hoped this review would mark a sea-change in US nuclear policy. “The result is markedly disappointing. There is some progress, it is a timid document. With the signing of the new Start treaty later this week and the review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty at the UN next month, this review really shows why positive momentum is vital if we are to reach Obama’s stated goal of a nuclear-free world. All countries must now redouble their efforts to bring to an end the threat that could extinguish humanity in a moment.”

View London 7th Apr 2010 more >>

Daily Mail 7th Apr 2010 more >>

Guardian Blog 7th Apr 2010 more >>

CND Press Release 6th Apr 2010 more >>

New Statesman 7th Apr 2010 more >>

The White House has announced a fundamental shift in America’s nuclear strategy, calling the spread of atomic weapons to rogue states or terrorists a worse threat than the nuclear Armageddon feared during the Cold War.

Press and Journal 8th Apr 2010 more >>

Renewables

Energy companies have agreed to pay for a new radar system to allay Ministry of Defence concerns about the threat to national security posed by wind farms. The deal paves the way for a £7 billion investment in offshore wind turbines. The MoD had objected to five new wind farms off the Norfolk coast, but it withdrew its opposition yesterday after an agreement between the Crown Estate and four energy companies.

Times 8th Apr 2010 more >>

Posted: 8 April 2010

7 April 2010

New Nukes

The U.K. nuclear industry is being launched, with Germany’s Eon and RWE unveiling plans for their first two plants, and France’s EDF announcing the hiring of 10,000 new staff to back up its British expansion.

UPI 5th Apr 2010 more >>

With memories of the oil crises of the 1970s still fresh in many minds, the Thatcher government announced a ten year programme of support for the nuclear power industry in 1980. The reactor construction rate was pegged at one per year. In response, the April 1980 issue of the Ecologist was dedicated to the ensuing nuclear debate, pointing out the problems in such an undertaking. The UK now stands in exactly the same position, with exactly the same debate still raging. Can we learn from Peter Bunyard’s article, written 30 years ago?

Ecologist April 2010 more >>

Dounreay

SKILLS used in the decommissioning of Dounreay can be transferred to help build Scotland’s fledgling marine energy industry, industrialists in Aberdeen heard this week.

John O Groat Journal 2nd Apr 2010 more >>

Hinkley

An extra 2,500 new homes are needed in the West Somerset district council area by 2026 according to the government. As a result, a series of public consultations are being held in the area over the next few weeks. The plan could see new homes built in Minehead, Watchet and Williton. Another option could also see Stogursey expand in order to accommodate construction workers from the new Hinkley Point power station over an eight year period, should it go ahead.

BBC 6th April 2010 more >>

Emergency Planning

A NUCLEAR disaster exercise is to be staged in Plymouth this autumn involving up to 10,000 people. Centred around Devonport Naval Base and its nuclear submarine section, Exercise Short Sermon (SS10) is being organised as part of the Ministry of Defence’s contingency planning.

Plymouth Herald 6th Apr 2010 more >>

Radioactive Waste

THERE are times when letting go is the best way to move forward. When the US abandoned plans for a nuclear waste repository at Yucca mountain, Nevada, there was no alternative in sight. Now, less than two months after that decision to walk away from a decades-long, multibillion-dollar boondoggle, a promising solution is coming into view. What is being proposed is not another Yucca mountain-style set of tunnels in an even more remote location, but hundreds of boreholes that could be spread nationwide, where waste would be sealed several kilometres down in impermeable rock. The approach was discussed by the world’s leading experts on deep borehole repositories at a brainstorming meeting in Washington DC on 15 March. The meeting was organised by geochemist Patrick Brady of Sandia National Laboratories and was sponsored by Sandia and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

New Scientist 6th Apr 2010 more >>

Radiation & Health

A clampdown on clinics offering MOT health checks to the worried well – which can include whole body scans – was signalled by the government today, amid concerns over the exposure of healthy people to unnecessary radiation. The Department of Health said it accepted all nine recommendations of the government’s advisory committee on medical aspects of radiation in the environment (Comare), which called for action more than two years ago.

Guardian 7th Apr 2010 more >>

South Korea

Gary Lim from Natixis associate Absolute Asia Asset Management is increasingly finding opportunities in South Korea, particularly in nuclear energy, as the country’s presence in foreign markets continues to grow. One of the country’s main energy suppliers, the Korean Electric Power Company (KEPCO), recently won a highly sought-after contract to build four nuclear reactors in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Lim has started taking positions in the sector which he tips for steady growth.

City Wire 7th Apr 2010 more >>

US

An ashen Walter Cronkite intoned: “The world has never known a day quite like today.” The face of American television news was speaking on March 28 1979, the day a faulty cooling valve led to a meltdown at Three Mile Island. Nuclear Armageddon did not arrive-–there is no conclusive evidence that anyone was even injured that day-–but the incident did mark the beginning of the dark ages in the nuclear power industry in the US. New plant construction was halted. An absolutist opposition to nuclear power became a canon of the American left. It was hardly surprising then that anti-nuclear advocacy groups reacted in orchestrated horror when Barack Obama, taking a centrist position, announced the government would provide $8bn in federal loan guarantees to build two nuclear reactors. With two dozen or so nuclear plants stalled on the drawing board across the US, supporters hope the guarantees mark the beginning of a nuclear revival.

eGov Monitor 6th Apr 2010 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

The United States said yesterday that it will resist developing any new nuclear weapons and will add new limits to the circumstances under which it would deploy its existing atomic weapons against an enemy.

Belfast Telegraph 7th Apr 2010 more >>

President Barack Obama has vowed to limit possible use of America’s Cold War-era nuclear arsenal, as part of a bold but politically risky move aimed at discouraging the spread of nuclear technology around the world. Under the new plan, the US promises not to use nuclear weapons against countries which do not possess them.

Herald 7th Apr 2010 more >>

Guardian 7th Apr 2010 more >>

Daily Mail 7th Apr 2010 more >>

Telegraph 7th Apr 2010 more >>

FT 7th Apr 2010 more >>

Times 7th Apr 2010 more >>

BBC 6th Apr 2010 more >>

The United States has for the first time declared it will not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states, which means it would not reply to a chemical or biological attack on the US with a nuclear one. But this assurance is hedged with caveats: the non-nuclear states have to be “in compliance” with their nuclear non-proliferation obligations (this specifically rules out both Iran and North Korea ); and given the catastrophic potential of biological weapons, the US reserves the right to go back on that.

Guardian 7th Apr 2010 more >>

Yesterday’s nuclear posture review (NPR) was always going to be an improvement on the last. Published in 2002 at the peak of the Bush administration’s confident assertion of the new American century, the previous NPR rejected arms control and multilateralism and sought to reintroduce the concept of nuclear war-fighting with mini-nukes, bunker-busters and counter-proliferation through first strikes.

Guardian 7th Apr 2010 more >>

After nearly a year of tough negotiations US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev are due to sign a new nuclear pact in Prague tomorrow.

Sky News 7th Apr 2010 more >>

As the signing date for a fresh nuclear arms reduction pact between the U.S. and Russia approaches, a Russian security expert says the key issue is how other states will respond.

Reuters 6th Apr 2010 more >>

Russia’s foreign minister has said his country could opt out of a new nuclear disarmament treaty if it feels threatened by US missile defence plans.

BBC 6th Apr 2010 more >>

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will miss a nuclear summit hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington next week as he campaigns for Britain’s May 6 parliamentary election, his spokesman said on Tuesday. Brown has asked Foreign Secretary David Miliband to represent him at the April 12-13 nuclear security summit.

Interactive Investor 6th Apr 2010 more >>

Telegraph 7th Apr 2010 more >>

Posted: 7 April 2010

6 April 2010

Sizewell

Nuclear Power is not the Answer to Climate Chaos. Protest, Workshops, Info Tours, Networking, Planning and remembering Chernobyl. The camp will be what we make it- so get please get involved! Where – Sizewell A and B, Suffolk UK. When – 25th April Time -12 noon. Speakers include- Pete Wilkinson Co-founder of Greenpeace UK, CORWM etc (tbc), Peter Lanyon and Charles Barnet, Shut Down Sizewell Group, Mell Harrison, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Sizewell.

Norwich Peace Camp Form 5th April 2010 more >>

Uranium

BRITAIN’S new generation of nuclear power plants could be fuelled by uranium from Tanzania. Edenville Energy, which has interests in six prospecting licences for uranium and coal in the East African state, is hoping to supply the new stations.

Daily Express 6th Apr 2010 more >>

Sellafield

It has been announced that the Government is to give the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) £2.8bn for the next financial year. And more than half of that amount is to be spent on work at the west Cumbrian nuclear site – with some of that being spent on a £400m scheme said to be the biggest-ever construction project in the UK atomic industry. The NDA’s business plan shows the money to be ploughed into Sellafield, an increase of £200m on last year’s budget. The other 18 NDA sites will share the remaining £1.3 billion.

Carlisle News and Star 5th Apr 2010 more >>

Belgium

An attempt by Belgium’s nuclear operators to challenge a nuclear producer tax has failed after the country’s top court ruled that the levy is lawful. GDF Suez, EDF and SPE had sought to annul the annual nuclear contribution, which in 2008 amounted to 250 million. The bulk of this – 222 million – was paid by GDF Suez through its Belgian subsidiary Electrabel. The ruling will probably affect the 2009 levy, which has been set at 250 million by the Belgian government.

Utility Week 6th Apr 2010 more >>

US

Entergy Corp cancelled the planned spinoff of several of its nuclear power plants after hitting regulatory hurdles in New York, and the utility owner said it would take more than $75m (£49m) in charges from the effort. The company, the second-largest US nuclear power plant operator, said it would unwind the business infrastructure associated with the spinoff.

City AM 6th Apr 2010 more >>

Reuters 5th Apr 2010 more >>

The U.S. Nuclear Energy Institute and 16 utilities filed a lawsuit on Monday to try to get the Energy Department to stop collecting fees from utilities for a waste program now that a planned disposal site has been scrapped. They want the court to tell the DOE to suspend collection of the fee, which it said amounts to about $750 million per year, because the Obama administration has announced it will not pursue plans to store waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

Reuters 5th Apr 2010 more >>

Nuclear Weapons

The Obama administration is poised to adopt a new policy potentially restricting the nation’s use of nuclear arms, US officials said, and hopes to persuade Russia to agree to mutual cuts in nuclear arsenals that go beyond the arms treaty both sides will sign this week. A policy review, expected to be released today, is likely to include language reducing US reliance on nuclear weapons for its national defence.

Wales Online 6th Apr 2010 more >>

Telegraph 6th Apr 2010 more >>

BBC 6th Apr 2010 more >>

Times 6th Apr 2010 more >>

Independent 6th Apr 2010 more >>

After a gap of 15 years, Vladimir Putin, overlord of the new Russia, resumed these intrusions in 2007. On one occasion, an eight-strong force was detected heading this way from the Barents Sea. They’re not infringing any law while they stay in international airspace, but they cannot be ignored. Jet-powered Blackjacks – along with the older, lumbering Bear turbo-prop bombers, which are also sent on these missions – can carry up to a dozen nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. They can annihilate whole cities.

Daily Mail 6th Apr 2010 more >>

Posted: 6 April 2010

5 April 2010

New Nukes

The energy firm EDF plans to recruit 10,000 staff over the next five years as it expands its nuclear power capabilities. EDF, which is building two reactors at Hinkley Point, Somerset, and two more at Sizewell, Suffolk, intends to hire thousands of scientists, engineers and technicians. It has reportedly already signed up 100 designers and engineers to be based at its head office in London.

Independent 5th Apr 2010 more >>

Emergency Planning

The Royal Navy has failed to minimise the risk of nuclear submarines colliding with oil tankers or cruise ships in the Firth of Clyde, according to a report by the Ministry of Defence’s internal safety watchdog. The Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator (DNSR) says that naval plans meant to protect Scotland from submarine accidents in the Clyde and on the north west coast are riddled with flaws. There are “difficulties” with commercial shipping in the Clyde, it reveals. At some submarine berths, weather information is outdated, maps are inadequate and there haven’t been any emergency exercises for years.

Sunday Herald, 4th April 2010 more >>

Proliferation

The Royal Society recently embarked on a project to evaluate the potential risks a nuclear renaissance may pose and how they should be managed. It will include assessing the potential of new technologies and new governance to make nuclear technology more resistant to proliferation. The international community is debating various proposals for placing uranium enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing capabilities under international control. This would be a crucial element of a comprehensive system needed to help verify a ban of all nuclear weapons, and it cannot be implemented without the full co-operation of the scientific community.

Guardian 5th Apr 2010 more >>

Energy Supplies

American technology to produce shale gas is unleashing a scramble for drilling rights in Poland, where experts believe vast reserves of unconventional gas exist that could help to weaken Russia’s grip on Europe’s energy supplies. ConocoPhillips is poised to launch Poland’s first shale gas drilling programme next month near Gdansk on the Baltic coast. Two other American oil groups Exxon-Mobil and Marathon and Talisman Energy, of Canada, are set to follow. The technology has transformed America’s energy industry and driven gas prices to their lowest level in years. Shale gas production involves the drilling of dozens of wells across a relatively small area. Water and sand are pumped in at high pressure to fracture rocks and create reservoirs from which the gas can be extracted.

Times 5th Apr 2010 more >>

Disarmament

Cutting deployed long-range nuclear warheads by one-third is not enough, as President Barack Obama and President Dmitry Medvedev have recently agreed to do. This still leaves several thousand that can be utilized for the purpose of destroying humankind.

Middle East Online 4th Apr 2010 more >>

Iran

Iran said today it will host a nuclear disarmament conference later this month, part of Tehran’s efforts to show it is not seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, was quoted by state television as saying the two-day meeting – dubbed Nuclear Energy For All, Nuclear Weapons For No One – will start in Tehran on 17 April, days after a US-hosted summit on nuclear security.

Guardian 5th April 2010 more >>

Iran said on Sunday China would take part in a nuclear disarmament conference in Tehran later this month, to be held just days after Chinese President Hu Jintao is due to attend a nuclear security summit in Washington.

Reuters 4th Apr 2010 more >>

The reported defection of an Iranian scientist to the United States has renewed speculation about a CIA plot to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program through covert action.

Yahoo 4th Apr 2010 more >>

Middle East Online 4th Apr 2010 more >>

Moscow and Beijing have made clear that they don’t believe Iran is building nuclear weapons. Nor does the US, for that matter. The CIA’s assessment is that no such decision has yet been taken.

Middle East Online 4th Apr 2010 more >>

Posted: 5 April 2010

4 April 2010

New Nukes

Energy giant EDF has embarked on a major recruitment and training drive to prepare for the forthcoming nuclear power station building revolution. Over the next five years it plans to take on 10,000 scientists, engineers and technicians as it builds two reactors at Hinkley Point, Somerset, and two more at Sizewell, Suffolk. EDF, formerly Electricite de France, hopes that by 2017-18 Hinkley will be producing power, followed two years later by Sizewell.

Daily Mail 4th April 2010 more >>

NDA

The Government’s £73bn nuclear decommissioning programme is to be accelerated with a radical repackaging of its private sector contracts. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) had planned up to five nuclear plant clean-up contracts, which would be let sequentially and take about two years each to select a preferred bidder. This has now been cut by two, with the later three projects combined into a single £13bn-plus outsourcing contract. The large value of this contract will also ensure greater private sector interest. The NDA has joined up the Magnox sites and has added Harwell and Winfrith. Potential bidders will be invited to pitch in 2012. This means there are now only three contracts for the so-called Parent Body Organisation (PBO) roles; the others cover Sellafield in Cumbria and Dounreay in the Scottish Highlands.

Independent 4th Apr 2010 more >>

Uranium

At present Kyrgyzstan does not have enough financial and technical capabilities for ensuring due maintenance of radioactive waste storages and rehabilitation of polluted territories, informs the press service of the Zhogorku Kenesh.

24 kg 2nd April 2010 more >>

Years after a six-month deadline passed, dozens of nations, including uranium producers, remain potential weak links in the global defense against nuclear terrorism, ignoring a U.N. mandate on laws and controls to foil this ultimate threat. Niger, a major uranium exporter, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the source of the uranium for the first atomic bomb, are among the states falling short in complying with Security Council Resolution 1540, a key tool in efforts to block nuclear proliferation.

AP 3rd Apr 2010 more >>

Trident

About 100 protesters have taken part in a demonstration at the Faslane nuclear submarine base, as part of a European Day of Action to ban nuclear weapons. The protesters marched from the Peace Camp to the North Gate of HM Naval Base Clyde, near Helensburgh, home the UK’s nuclear weapon system.

BBC 3rd Apr 2010 more >>

Christians have shared communion while participating in a blockade of the Faslane nuclear weapons base in Scotland. The “symbolic blockade” today (3 April) forms part of a day of action across Europe, as campaigners from various countries call for the removal of nuclear arms from the entire continent.

Ekklesia 3rd Apr 2010 more >>

Menzies Campbell has today launched his review of options for the future of Britain’s nuclear weapons policy. Welcoming the review, Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg said: “After wide consultation with security policy experts, Menzies Campbell has produced a thoroughgoing analysis which clearly demonstrates that there are credible alternatives to the like-for-like replacement of Trident.

Lib Dems 3rd Apr 2010 more >>

Venezuela

Russia has agreed to help Venezuela draw up plans for a nuclear power plant and space programme, President Hugo Chavez announced.

Telegraph 4th Apr 2010 more >>

Renewables

Iceland could pay the £3.48bn it owes the UK and Holland by providing the two countries with a steady stream of green electricity instead of cash, if an ambitious proposal by a small Dutch think-tank takes hold. There is huge potential in the country’s largely untapped sources of geothermal power – heat form the earth which can be used to drive turbines. The country’s largest power company, Landsvirkjun, believes a high voltage route to Scotland might be possible and is looking at the feasibility. Research from the company in 2000 estimated it would cost $1bn to lay a 750-mile line to Peterhead from a 600-megawattt energy plant.

Independent 4th Apr 2010 more >>

The Texan owner of the Nigg fabrication yard in Easter Ross is understood to be very close to agreeing a deal of between £20 million-£30m for offshore wind energy turbine piles which will create 400 jobs. KBR is expected to end months of speculation in the coming days by receiving formal board approval for an investment that will upgrade the plant to allow it to build the monopiles used to support offshore turbines in shallower waters. The deal will greatly strengthen Scotland’s position as a potential world leader in manufacturing the foundations for the offshore wind industry. Scotland already has the only foundation manufacturer in the UK in Burntisland Fabrication, which makes jacket structures for both shallow and deep water turbines from its fabrication bases at Methil in Fife and Arnish on the Isle of Lewis. With around 7,500 turbines required for UK territorial waters over the next 10 years to meet carbon reduction targets, it will also relieve concerns that the manufacturing industry is congregating in the north of England, near the biggest offshore wind allocations, and that Scotland could lose out.

Herald 4th Apr 2010 more >>

Posted: 4 April 2010